Archive for ‘Culture’

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.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_EwytG66Po%5D

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.)

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.

http://vimeo.com/user27600859/howtobeagirl

14/05/2014

So the Bristish Political party UKIP have shown their true colours…

The website scriptonitedaily.com are reporting that the British political party UKIP have started taking legal action against bloggers who dare to post a certain picture on their sites. For full details read the linked page, but I for one have no problem calling UKIP what they are, a party of hate, and a party who use intimidation as their chief tool to silence any criticism.

A party that holds dear those who think LGBT folk should be punished for existing, and are to blame for floods.

A party that welcomes members who feel women have gotten too big for their boots.

A party based in part on racism of the darkest kind. A party that use inflammatory language to stoke the fires of the Other. The kind not seen since the 1930’s and 40’s. The kind that was so beloved of the National Socialist Party back in Germany’s darkest days.

A party more than happy to scream about their freedom of expression, while using any means they can to silence criticism from others.

Here in Ireland we have our version, and as soon as they show their true colours I’ll have just as little trouble calling them what they are. But right at this moment I’m worried for the futures of my friends in our nearest neighbour. My LGBT friends. My female friends. My friends who are parents.

UKIP are not Libertarians (Most real Libertarians would shudder to be placed in their company.), Ukip are to speak plainly Neo-Nazi’s in well-tailored suits. Their rhetoric matches that term, and so do their actions…Oh and that image they’re trying to have removed from the internet? Why it’s this one…

How thin-skinned the real bastards of the world are when the light is shone on them. Oh, and to use another now well-known meme.

49823761

07/05/2014

Hey, I think we all forgot one Doctor!

I’m back, well sort of, from now on I’ll be posting one glorious article a week. The sheer number of new subscriptions I’ve received in the past few months, along with how healthy my reader numbers are, have shown me that I’m probably not finished with this yet; or any time soon. “But why only one article a week?” I imagine you crying out. Well I’m short of time these days. At the moment I have a novel to rewrite, a webcomic to update (hopefully more regularly), two video blogs which I am still trying to develop, as well as learn the skills I need to make them happen…oh and I am in the middle of the second worst migraine cluster of my life. Two months, and so far no let up! Go me!

Anyway, on with the show.

So last week (while huddled in a dark room while I tried to ignore how my brains felt like they had decided to leave my body through every pore in my head) I was trying to cheer myself up by rewatching the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. How awesome was John Hurt as The Warrior Doctor by the way? So at the end of the episode we have that wonderful moment when all 13 Doctors, including a picturesque shot of Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows, fly to the rescue of a well and truly boned Gallifrey. It’s an amazing moment, 50 years in the making, a flawless piece of science fiction television; but something felt off to me. A question became embedded in my mind.

Shouldn’t there be 14 of them?

Hartnell…check.

Troughton…check.

Pertwee…check.

Baker…double check.

Davison…check.

Baker 2…unfortunately check.

McCoy…delightfully check.

McGann…meh-check.

Eccleston…ears and all-check.

Tenant…check.

Smith…yup there he is.

Oh and here’s William Hurt.

And hey look at those eyebrows controlling Mr. Capaldi.

So yeah 13…Where’s Peter Cushing?!

“What?!” I imagine you crying in Karen Gillian’s velvety voice.

You see in 1965 and again in 1966 Peter Cushing played The Doctor in a pair of full length feature films. I remember these two films more clearly from my childhood than anything else “Who”. So clearly in fact that when I would finally see the television version of the Doctor Cushing was playing I would find myself rather put off at  first. But only at first.

Cushing was recreating the part played by William Hartnell. The older, somewhat bumbling, rambling, wise, but often foolish first Doctor. The first of the two movies was in fact a direct retelling of the very first Dalek adventure. And to my eyes it was a very good retelling. I can, and have, watched both versions back to back, and despite the differences between the two versions find myself equally satisfied by both.

The second movie was Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150AD. This one was based loosely on the 10th Who adventure “The Dalek Invasion of Earth.”

Visually they’re pretty ordinary science fiction movies of the 60’s. The special effects are…not all that special. The music is okay. The acting, with the exception of Cushing himself, is passable. But the story’s make up for all that by the simple fact that they are genuinely interesting. In other words it’s classic Doctor Who through, and through.

And yet, these movies are largely ignored by Who fans.

Well I’m a Who fan. Sylvester McCoy is my Doctor. Ace is my companion. I was there when he broke the curse of Fenric, when he recovered the Silver Nemesis. I saw as she was carefully moulded in to something more than merely another human companion; a future Time Lord? The first Human Time Lord? We’ll never know, their stories were cut off mid-stream, before they could become a cultural touchstone like Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.

That’s how I see those two Cushing movies. An attempt to create a Doctor for the big screen, a companion piece to the television series. An alternative universe of adventures. A failed great experiment. But does that mean that his Who should be ignored, then forgotten?

Fuck No!

Cushing, to my eyes at least, sparkled as The Doctor. Different, but still equal to the great William Hartnell. A Doctor equal to all those who followed, more than an equal to Colin Baker…seriously does anyone like his version?

So here I am, left wondering, if the Cushing version had cracked America would we have a vast sea of Who movies to rival Bond, or Godzilla?

What if he has been so taken with the character to have supplanted Troughton? Would we ever have had the whistle playing jester version?

Is there any way that the movies can be seen as canon? Another universe, like Y-Space? Or Roses alternative happy ever after Earth?

Regardless the Who fandom do themselves, and the franchise they so love a disservice by ignoring the Cushing movies. And perhaps it’s time for a rediscovery of them, and to imagine a different Who that might have been.

10/03/2014

I forgot to do this last Wednesday. Webcomic update!

Yeah what with my having a birthday last week I got kind of distracted. Anyway, here is last weeks page of my webcomic, and yes there will be one on Wednesday too.

Page 6

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26/02/2014

New Webcomic Pages. (Oh and I’ll be blogging once a week again pretty soon.)

Well the good news is that after a week of being too sick to sit and draw Acidgirl is back with a double day.

http://acidgirl.thecomicseries.com/comics/15/

The better news is that I will be back to updating this blog regularly pretty soon after my birthday in the beginning of March. It’ll only be once a week, but I’ll be putting up one decent length article per week, and I guess that’s something.

12/02/2014

Webcomic Update Page 2

A week already?! Wow, well here I am shilling my second page of the revamped, rebooted Acidgirl. This time I managed to draw it in about half the time last weeks took. Who knows at this rate I may even find the time to do two pages a week…but not ’til after my birthday hangover next month at the very least.

Acidgirl Page 2

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