21/07/2014

Ukulele Twiddles – 1 – Flamenco (inspired) Exercise

On Saturday evening I uploaded the first in an occasional series of YouTube videos which will highlight my favourite ukulele exercises. So today I bring you a link to this video, as well as a basic tabulation for the piece I play in it.

Please note that I’m not putting in time signatures, or standard notation. Just watch the video to get a rough idea of the melody, and play it at a speed which is comfortable for you. Also this was written for a standard tuned high-g ukulele.

Flamenco (Inspired) Exercise

 

14/07/2014

These dreams, the ones that make me think…well fuck.

You ever have one of those glorious dreams? The ones where you wake up, angry because it wasn’t real, and you know most of it will never be real. I had one of those last night.

I was on a road trip with Tegan (one of my guardian angels), we were having a great time. But the RV I’d rented for the trip broke down…bummer. The fourth car to come up to us stopped, well I say car, FUCKING HUGE pick-up. Okay, cool, not glorious yet though is it?

Patience folks, it’s about to become so.

Well I’m relieved, Tee is relieved, the RV is dead, and the pick-up driver is Beth Orton.

Beth “so fucking beautify my heart could break just lookin’ at her” Orton.

Beth “her voice makes my spine melt every-time I hear her” Orton.

Anyway the RV is fuckered, the hire company are sending out another for us, but it doesn’t to us ’til the next day. So what to do? Turns out Miss Orton has an idea, dinner at hers, a spare bed, and my not stressing ’til I’m in tears for the whole day.

Well the dream went on. Dinner was eaten, my uke was dragged out, I ended up playing, and singing badly with our hostess. My badly, not Beth who sings like my idea of a perfect angel. And the next morning I woke up to find my uke signed by her.

Then I woke up…fuuuuuuuuuuck. It was a dream…*sigh*

All that said a road trip has been mooted in the past 12 months. I’ve started the ball rolling on actually making some money from my MANY projects. My partner in crime has made it clear that I need to learn to drive. An RV…well if it was done right would cost less than hotels, and give me something I would desperately need; instant access to a toilet anytime day or night, oh and an unchanging space that’s mine.

Yeah this could work.

Wonder if Miss Orton will appear somewhere in it all.

04/07/2014

Oh look at that assault rifle, his dick must be fuckin’ tiny girl!

I had a chat with a now former friend in Georgia (US) the other day. He was all enthused about being able to openly carry his guns anywhere he wanted. So I decided to see just how far down the rabbit hole of nuttiness he actually was, and asked “So if I go there can I wear my replica xiphos (an early Macedonian cavalry sword.) in a shoulder scabbard.”

You know, for my own protection. In case someone random went nuts and decided that I, and all the people around me needed to die for some random reason. Like I don’t know, he didn’t like my hair colour (blue), or my sexuality (lesbian), or Mondays (The Boom Town Rats.)

He went (appropriately enough) ballistic, because apparently that would be carrying a weapon, a dangerous weapon which he would be uncomfortable having his daughter around…seriously, he said this before adding this doozy to the mix, “a gun’s just a tool. A sword is a barely controllable weapon. You’re making a mockery of my country.”

Yeeeeeeeeah. Look I like guns as much as the next tomboy. They’re, much like swords, longbows etc, interesting pieces of engineering and materials use. They can be used to teach/learn physical and emotional control, responsibility, yadda yadda. But if you’re penis is so small you need to carry an assault rifle to the local store in compensation, dude you have big problems that you should probably see someone about.

But let’s break this down. To hurt someone with a sword, not even kill them, you have to be physically close to them, willing to look at them as you harm them, see the damage, gory, horrifying damage your weapon causes, and quite literally get their blood on your own hands. If it’s in a scabbard it’s not much more than a very clumsy club.

To hurt someone with a gun you don’t even have to be able to really see them. You can shoot them from across the room, street, hell with the right rifle across the whole fucking town. But it’s in a holster I hear you cry, are you 100% sure that the numbnut over there trying to fill his petrol car with diesel remembered to put the safety on? Are you certain he remembered to even uncock the damned thing before he holstered it? I ask because those things happen.

I would have to be built like Hulk Hogan to get a sword through even a plasterboard wall and still be able to get it to do much more than tickle the person on the other side. Seriously try it someday if you get the chance. On the other hand an accidentally discharged gun will make mincemeat of the wall, and anyone behind it, or a car door, or pretty much anything Hollywood has taught us is bulletproof.

Don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t swords vs guns. And I am not anti-firearms. Have a gun for home defence, have a gun for hunting (and fucking eat what you kill.) Hell, have a gun just for target shooting. But don’t act as if you have this god given right to carry a fucking assault rifle in a crowded shop, where there are children who will learn from your bad example. Yup I’m making this about the kids.

I am left wondering though, how long after the first rifle is snatched from an utterly incompetent carrier and then used to mow down half the shoppers around him, will this law be reversed. I can see this coming. In fact I would say (Coming from a nation that was essentially in a civil war only a decade ago, where the combatants on both sides would have fucking LOVED this sort of law for all the opportunities for mayhem it would have supplied.) that now domestic terrorist groups in the States must be positively drooling with the possibilities this law has created for them.

All those easy to reach weapons, just slung over a shoulder by someone not really paying attention to what’s going on around them because lil Brittany is demanding a new dress. No need to carry a weapon in themselves, just window shop ’til you find the one you want, then boom, boom, BOOM!

(I’m writing this because some of the people I love most are in the States, and I’d really like for them not to get shot by some dipshit having a bad day.)

03/07/2014

Yeah strike what I just said…

A couple of days ago I said that I hoped to have the next page of my webcomic up today…not happening. Yesterday was too busy and tiring to do any work on it. And I’ve spent most of today locked in a panic attack, crying, and vomiting. Gotta love how those three go together for me.

Anyway I do have a really nice page shaping up, but it’ll go up when I’m able to work on it again.

Sorry about that.

01/07/2014

The shock of realising you’ve grown.

As most people who follow my bits ‘n’ bobs know by now, I have a webcomic. What many may not know is that I’ve had to teach myself to draw, essentially from scratch. It’s been three solid years of going through multiple sketch pads a month, as I try to create a link between my mind and body; all so that what I see in my mind is, more or less, what appears on the page.

It really hasn’t been easy. Add together the facts that my eyesight is very…unbalanced, with some nerve damage in my hands, and a general lack of graphical artistic talent; well you can see the problem.

But last week, and again today, I’ve found it all much, much easier. Something had just clicked, and I suppose after 3 years of struggle is should have by now. And with that click came the realisation that I needed to change a few of the ways I do each webcomic page.

So today has been a first day for a few things…Acidgirlish.

I’ve switched from roughing out on A4 to A3. This was so I could mark out the proportions of the box the comic sits in on the site. I got rather sick of doing shitloads of drawing only to end up with it cut out at the end.

I’ve also switched from using a 2b pencil for everything to a 3h for rough out, and 2b for lining…that’s proving very, very awkward after 3 years of doing everything with 2b’s; but it’s actually lending a pretty cool finished product. (or as finished as the rough outs ever are.)

I’ve started working in a well-defined “hard” box. Meaning that everything I draw on paper ends up in the comic on the webpage. This is a little odd feeling in a good way. It gives me a very defined space to work inside, which makes laying out so much easier.

And finally this is my first time very harshly limiting my rough out time. 1 hour per panel to do the four stages of rough out I use. I just managed it with the 1st panel of the next page, I actually had 30 seconds to spare. And guess what? My rough out work was so much better than usual. The time limit means I don’t have time to mess about trying to get this line, or that line perfect. The rough lines end up more…real because I’m just letting my mind and body to get on with it; much less conscious thinking involved, and far less worrying about whether it’s “right”.

In short in the past two weeks I’ve progressed so much as a developing artist that for once even I can see it. Me, the super self-critical creative person can see genuine progress in the development of my own artistic style…hell one of these days I might even feel comfortable describing myself as an artist!

So all that said, the new page will be up on Thursday the 3rd. And for the second time ever (last week being the first) I’m finding myself feeling confident in my own creation. It still feels, surprising to actually feel nearly as confident in my artwork as I usually am in my writing, alien even. I’m so used to not being sure whether something is right or not, that feeling instinctively that even if it’s not how someone else would do it, it is right, my version of right, it’s shocking. And hugely enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

25/06/2014

Webcomic Update…

After way too long, and WAAAY too many completely redraws the new page is up! Enjoy page 8 of Acidgirl.

Acidgirl Page 8

23/06/2014

For me it was when I was 4…

…then again at 7, but first time first. We lived in a huge mobile home in a field owned by my grandparents in pretty much the most isolated part of mainland Ireland. It was…okay I guess. I don’t really remember much apart from the dogs. Everybody had a dog. My grandparents had a border collie named Candy, my grand-aunt a border collie named, I don’t remember that makes me sad, I loved that dog. Anyway I had a border collie mix named Charlie, who I found out this year was put down the day we left; he went mad when I went away, and after nearly killing my uncle as they drove home from the train station my uncle was forced to drown my lovely 2-year-old dog so he wouldn’t end up crashing the car. I get it, but I hate it. It says a lot that that dog is still my 2nd clearest memory of Mayo, and that I still miss him 30 years later.

I say second strongest memory because my strongest memory is the time I told my Mom that I was a girl. I can remember standing in the tiny kitchen with her, watching her make scones, and then blurting it out. I was 4, I was already trying to read, already had had so many nightmares that they’d stopped scaring me, and I already knew something had gone horribly wrong with me. My body felt like a loaner. It felt like a stop gap while my real body was being finished. It didn’t feel like it was mine. Oh and it was already becoming sick, I started to have the bowel problems that have plagued my entire life since in those 2 short years in Mayo. But, time to focus on what’s important here; the gender.

So I’d told my Mom I was a girl. You know who liked dogs, and calves, and guns, and building random things, and hid all the time (like a soldier) with my dog in the tall grass at the edges of the field, you know, a girl…with a penis. And her response was…

…nothing.

No response. None at all. Now the fact that my Mom has absolutely memory of this at all makes me think that she actually didn’t hear me. Mom is a very quiet woman, but she’s a noisy baker, so it’s likely that she didn’t. But tell that to a 4-year-old who’s just told her Mom that penis and boy-play-stuff aside, she’s a girl. Yeah it all got put in a small box, locked up tight, and fucked down the deepest darkest part of my psyche. And there it stayed ’til I was 7.

7 was a big year for me. I started Primary School, I had my First Communion…ugh, got my first watch, discovered Virginia Madsen, and got molested for the first time.

The last part would be the part that’s pertinent here. You see I hadn’t had any sexual awakening at that stage. None, at, all. I was a blank sexual state, on a blank gender slate, all balanced on an already geeky as hell slate. So it probably shouldn’t be surprising to me that having my sexual nature activated in just about the worst way possible, against my will, and far too early for me would have a secondary effect. Yup my boxed up gender hit a trampoline somewhere down that deep dark hole, and then it bounced back up into the light of day, walloping me in the teeth, and adding immeasurably to my misery.

I told my Mom again, and again she doesn’t remember this. I don’t remember her response, I don’t even remember if there was a response. But whatever happened when I told her it was almost 2 decades before I would tell her again, this time making sure it stuck. In the mean time I hid who I was. I hid what was being done to me all the time. Well really I hid everything that makes me me.

This is all by way of sharing my early experience of my own gender. Why?

Because the video below shows how to (mostly, and even where she got it wrong it’s totally understandable) get it right if your child ever comes to you with something similar. But how to get it right is summed up best in these words…

Pay attention to what they say, and don’t dismiss it. They know themselves in a way you never will.

22/06/2014

Waking up can be rough sometimes…

So last night I had a dream where my PTSD had vanished, I was my old self again, and the really gorgeous goth girl who gets off the bus across the street from my house most days had asked me out; AND it gets better…

I had just bought an old 2 door cinema, and was converting the two theatres into a house for myself, with these insane multi-tiered mezzanine floors, and enclose spiral staircases between them, two walk in wardrobes, a 100 square foot artists studio, a command centre of my own with a custom dual motheboard, 4 graphics card, 32 gigabyte, liquid cooled gaming rig. Oh and a 16 foot projected screen with 7.1 surround sound for my 360…AND it got better.

The following morning I was travelling to ComicCon as a panellist, because not only had Acidgirl become huge, but it had been made in to a cartoon. The dream ended with my PiC and I having a pint with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Then I woke up…rough morning man, rough morning.

11/06/2014

How My Eleven Year Old Son Taught Me That Having a Gay Character in ‘Train Your Dragon’ is Important

Originally posted on evoL =:

Guest post by Mindy Forsythe.  Mindy is also the adoptive mom in the evolequals story   The Real True Story About How Parents Adopted Out Their Child When He Told Them He Was Gay

 

Image

My eleven year old son Mason has been a big fan of DreamWork’s “How to Train Your Dragon”. In the new sequel, DreamWorks plans for Gobber the Belch to reveal his homosexuality.  Dean DeBlois, writer-director and openly gay himself, told E! News that the character’s acknowledgement will be subtle.  Subtle or not, this is exciting news for our family.  We have four beautiful children aged eleven to nineteen.  They are typical siblings…fighting one minute and best friends the next.  Two of our children, however, have a relationship that has shown me just how important and influential DreamWorks’s decision to include gay characters really is.

Mason, the baby in our family, is athletic, intelligent, tough as nails…

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03/06/2014

No country for young women: Honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland

Amanda Harper:

People forget that Ireland was, and often still is a nasty small-minded, parochial country. And people seem to wilfully ignore that Ireland may say “We treasure our children”, but the truth is completely different.

As an abuse survivor, I’ve had people tell me to shut up about it. That’s it’s in the past and should be left there. Never mind that it is my past, my present and something I will never escape in my future.

The people who tell you to shut up are the same ones who will turn around and use that information to destroy you given a chance.

Yes Ireland, such a beautiful country, until you scratch the surface of that lovely veneer…

Originally posted on Feminist Ire:

magdalene

When I was in first year in secondary school in 1997, a girl in the year above me was pregnant. She was 14. The only people who I ever heard say anything negative about her were a group of older girls who wore their tiny feet “pro-life” pins on their uniforms with pride. They slagged her behind her back, and said she would be a bad mother. They positioned themselves as the morally superior ones who cared for the baby, but not the unmarried mother. They are the remnants of an Ireland, a quasi-clerical fascist state, that we’d like to believe is in the past, but still lingers on.

The news broke last week of a septic tank filled with the remains of 796 children and babies in Galway. The remains were accumulated from the years 1925 to 1961 and a common cause of death was malnutrition and preventable disease…

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