sareini: A Procrastinator's work is never done! (Procrastination)
It's been an interesting couple of days, hasn't it?

I wasn't expecting Labour to get a landslide victory out of nowhere in the general election, so I am more than pleasantly surprised to see them manage to knock the hell out of the Conservatives' majority. Teresa May's gambit really blew up in her face and now it's just counting down the months before she's out of 10 Downing Street (Larry the Cat, of course, remains). In my area Labour won again (we've been Labour since the constituency was formed in 1950 and at this point I think it would take the offer of a free unicorn and maybe a blowjob for ever voter to change things), but with a majority of just under 4k, which is slightly worrying. It was just Labour and the Tories in the fight; everyone else was so low that I doubt they even got their deposits back.

If this guy had been standing in my area, I'd have voted for him in a heartbeat though.

I went into town today and bought myself some (more) notebooks. One will be for worldbuilding stuff, one will be for character building stuff, and the last will be for the times when I want to write fanfic with my OCs (that I may or may not ever post anywhere, because OCs). My stationary compulsion continues unabated.

And RIP Adam West.
sareini: Bruce Campbell as Elvis from Bubba Ho-Tep (Bubba Ho-Tep)
Yesterday was more interesting than expected.

The original plan was that my brother was coming down to visit; he'd drive Lily and I to the vets for her monthly checkup (Lily is still fine, put on another 300g so now we're having to try to fix that; personally I'm happy because she had been losing a ton of weight before we got this condition under control so as long as she's not losing weight things are still going well); then go to lunch and then the cinema to see Wonder Woman (again).

Then I found out I needed cat food, so a trip to the pet store was added.

Then yesterday morning I went to put some rubbish in the bin in the back yard... and discovered that Marley had killed another pigeon and left it for me. And unfortunately this had happened several days ago, during which time nature had gone and natured all over it.

So when my poor brother arrived I handed him a pair of rubber gloves and several plastic bags and asked if he would be so kind as to help me out before I vomited uncontrollably everywhere. Thankfully he was okay with it.

(I'm trying to work out if Marley is leaving me these pigeons as some sort of offering to me as the human who provides Second Breakfast or if he's just too lazy to drag his kill home. It could go either way, really.)

The rest of the day went pretty much as planned; brother enjoyed Wonder Woman greatly; I came home and was once again shattered from a day being social with people and slept so long Lily started worrying that I wouldn't wake up.

Today is Election Day here in the UK; I went out and did my civic duty (in the rain). I have no illusions about the Tories getting booted out of 10 Downing Street, but I am at least hopeful that neither they nor UKIP get in here and Labour continues to retain. Other than that, the only other thing of note is that I actually finished a story! I'm so very proud of myself. Now I'm just waiting for my volunteer beta readers to look it over and then I might actually dare to post it...
sareini: Nate Grey from the X-Men comics (Nate Grey)
I've been ruminating a bit over the last few days over the current Marvel comics event, Secret Empire. For those of you not in the know, Steve Rogers, Captain America, was old for a while then got returned to his youthful self by the/a Cosmic Cube, which was in the form of a little girl called Kobik. Unfortunately, when Kobik de-aged Cap, she also re-wrote part of his history because of manipulation by the Red Skull, making him into the perfect Hydra sleeper agent. Several in-continuity months later, Hydra puts their plan into action and takes over the United States with Captain America, thoroughly believing that Hydra is what's best for the country, in charge. The majority of heroes get locked outside the planet by a defense shield, New York gets put into a Darkforce Dimension bubble and cut off from everything, mutants get "relocated" to a new country and Inhumans get put into camps. Oh, and there are public executions and Las Vegas gets bombed into the ground for harbouring a resistance movement. Fun stuff all round.

The reason I've been thinking about this lately is not just because I've been following the story, but because I've been wondering what Nick would have thought of all this. Those of you who knew Nick know that he created his "Benevolent Dictator for Life" idea, and his cynicism (and depression) led him to believe that humanity couldn't be trusted to govern itself, so someone should step in to do it for them, for their own good. He'd also jokingly "Hail Hydra" sometimes. So I'm wondering how he would have reacted to Secret Empire.

Short answer: I think he'd have hated it.

Long answer: Oh boy, where to begin. First off, I think Nick would have empathised with the over-written Captain America - he's clearly supposed to be thinking this is the best for everyone, that Hydra really will help Make America Great Again (hah). The problem is - and this is most likely down to bad writing - that Cap's actions don't always mesh with the fact that he's still supposed to be trying to do the right thing. Look at the things I listed above, to begin with. Concentration camps? Public executions? Bombing a city into rubble and killing thousands of innocent civilians just to send a message? There is no way that Captain America can still be thought of as "trying to do the right thing" when he's taking part in any of those actions. I don't think even Doctor Doom in his villainous prime went so far as to have concentration camps, and yet here we have Steve Rogers going along with this like it isn't a big deal at all. The man fought in WW2! (There was a page from a 90s X-Men/Avengers crossover event called Bloodties that I wanted to put here to illustrate the point - it takes place on Genosha where the mutate population have been put into camps to "protect" them from the Legacy virus that was ravaging the country, and when Captain America finds one such camp he is... less than happy - but I can't find a scan of it anywhere and I don't know where my own copy is, so just take my word for it.)

So we have those problems with the whole thing. Then we have the way Hydra is keeping control of the US now that they have it. Propaganda and information blackouts are one thing, but they're also putting mind control agents in the water and encouraging people - including children - to inform on anyone they think is harbouring "anti-Hydra" thoughts. And if they catch you... well, it seems all you have to do to stop the torture/execution is to "Hail Hydra", and again, how the hell can Captain America still be thought of as in any way "good" or still heroic if he's going along with this? He kills two of his friends because of this! In panels where they discuss these things he looks more annoyed by the bureaucracy than anything else.

It seems that Marvel might be starting to realise that they've written themselves into a corner with their portrayal of Captain America now, as the end of #2 of Secret Empire seems to be setting up a "good Steve/bad Steve" situation, but certainly right now they can't go on trying to make Captain America be all, "It's all for the best! No really, my murderous brainwashing Hydra allies aren't bad!" without completely destroying the character forevermore.

So in conclusion: no, Nick would not have been agreeing with Steve Rogers and Hydra on this. At all.
sareini: "Do not fuck with Cthulhu" (Cthulhu)
Today was a horror movie day.

Elsewhere on the internet, I have a blog exclusively for reviewing horror movies, that's been going for several years now. Ideally I'd be posting to it every day or near enough to it, but as with everything else that means fighting the depression and finding the motivation to not only write the reviews, but to watch the films I want to review in the first place. So what I've started doing is watching two or three horror movies in one day and making notes about them as it goes, then writing them up later (by hand before I type them up, for there is is still a luddite inside of me and it's the only way I can make myself do more than one draft). Today I felt like I had a good amount of focus, so I watched The Void and The Bye Bye Man.

Brief thoughts on both films )


(I'll put links up to the proper reviews when I get them up.)

In other news, we're having a snap general election! Oh, what fun, more canvassers knocking on the door for weeks on end. I haven't even cleared up the last of the crap from the by-election in February...
sareini: default (Discworld - Exclamation marks)
Well, it's finally here. Tonight we'll see what the UK government is going to be like for the next few years or so (possibly less in the unlikely case of a minority government and the first vote of no-confidence it fails), and Nick and I are going to be covering things as they happen. With alcohol. And chocolate. And more alcohol. And a drinking game!

Of course, the polls don't actually close for another half hour or so and so neither does the BBC's live coverage, so until that all starts I'm going off to clean a couple of glasses and come up with some more rules for the drinking game. So far we've got:

- every time your party wins a seat, take a sip.
- every time Peter Snow looks to be getting overly excited about the Swingometer, take a sip.
- whenever Jeremy Paxman shoots down an MP in an interview, take two sips.
- if Jeremy Paxman breaks an MP (reducing them to tears, making them swear live on air etc) drain your glass.
- if the BNP win a seat, drain your glass.

Six hours of commenting follows )
sareini: default (Discworld - Ibid)
It's St. George's day, and so of course the BNP chose today to launch their election manifesto. I plan to pick through that, but I think that's going to require alcohol and/or chocolate to fuel me through it, so that will have to wait for a later date (possibly tomorrow). Instead, let's have a look at their election leaflet that also came through the door today (with an added bonus feature of a look at some of the other leaflets we've gotten this week).

Where to begin... )

And now, a brief break while I go play computer games with Nick to calm down.
sareini: default (B5 - badgers)
2000: Ok, so I'm cutting this one close. I was asleep till five minutes ago, and the debate's just starting. Watching it on the BBC website this time, while it's being shown by Sky. No line on the screen showing public opinion today, sadly.

Minutae continues here... )
sareini: default (lfg-fwoom)
It's a televised debate night! It's a new thing for us over here, having the three main political party leaders (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) stand up and talk about their policies for 90 minutes or so. Tonight's theme is apparently "domestic policies", which they get 45 minutes to talk about, and then the remaining 45 minutes is taken up with general stuff.

I think it's a shame that the debates are limited to just the three main parties, but at the same time I realise that if they were going to have all the parties up there, the programme would end up being about 10 hours long, and no-one wants that. Still, it would be a good comparison to hear parties like UKIP and the BNP stating their policies against the Tories, Labour, the LibDems et al, if only so that people could see just how... different their policies are from everyone else's...

Cut for length )
sareini: default (Discworld - Ibid)
There was an article in the Sentinel online yesterday, talking about how the "battle" for the Stoke-on-Trent MP's election is "hotting up" and becoming "one of the most watched" in the country. I have to say, I had to read it to believe it, because despite living in the area, since the general election was announced last week we've had a total of one leaflet from a candidate, and he was an independent (and not one of the "big name" ones like the ex-BNP councillor or the Labour guy standing in protest of the other Labour guy).

This disappoints me. Oh, sure, I can find out about all the candidates and their manifestos online (I've become mildly obsessed with the BBC's live Election tracker), but considering how important this seat is supposed to be with Mark Fisher stepping down and the BNP's deputy leader as one of the candidates (we have 10 at last count, I believe), I'd have thought the various candidates would actually have been making more of an effort to canvass and actually get out and speak to people.

I could be wrong and/or unlucky enough to have missed them all, of course. For all I know they could be camping out in the city centre and jumping on anyone who gets close enough to be begged for a vote. But right now we're nearly two weeks in and I'm having to actively seek out information on the parties and candidates standing in this area. Since I only do that because I'm actually interested, I imagine that the average voter isn't doing much searching on the subject at all.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to stick to watching everything online. And watching the TV debates tomorrow. Maybe something will actually change soon - I even have questions I'd like to put to the candidates.
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
Yesterday I found out that the British National Party are going to be contesting the seat held by our local Labour MP Mark Fisher.

This will not do.

It disturbs me that the area I live seems to have such a growing number of BNP supporters - they managed to win 9 seats on the local council at the last local election. Between this and the fact that the English Defence League (exactly what the fuck do we need defending from anyway?) are planning a demonstration in the city centre next week, it's almost enough to make a Discordian depressed.

Almost. But I am a Discordian, and I like having something to campaign about. Nick and I might be Liberal Democrat in our politics in general, but Mark Fisher has helped us in the past and done some good things in general (voting against the Iraq war, and then personally responding to Nick's e-mail to him about it for one), and so we have no problems with him. I mean, come on - even the BNP is struggling to come up with something when the only mud they can sling is that he claimed for a Kit-Kat and a bottle of Toilet Duck on his expenses! So I guess I'm just going to have to start ripping the BNP to pieces at every chance I get again.

(And their main complaint about the Tory candidate appears to be that's she's a "Pakistani belly dancer" who was earning £260 an hour for her dancing, to which I can only say that she must have been bloody good at it then.)

Mark Fisher has said that he's "ready to fight" the BNP. While I hope he has more of a plan than "I hope people will stick with me," but I do like his final line in the article.
sareini: default (lfg-fwoom)
It's local election time here soon, and this morning we got the British National Party's "vote for us!" flyer in the mail. Here's a few choice quotes from it, complete with my... translation/rebuttal/snarking:

There isn't a single white person on the flyer )
All in all, this is a rather disappointing flyer from the BNP. Hardly anything to rip apart in it - well, apart from the above and the rather insulting "Battle for Britain 2009" logo with a WWII bomber they've got. Because, you know, WWII was all about fighting to allow facism in Britain wasn't it? It's almost enough to make me want to miss some of their earlier gems (snarked here and here).

Budget

Mar. 23rd, 2006 08:40 am
sareini: default ("bad century")
So, yesterday was Budget Day over here in the UK, which meant that Gordon Brown got to whip out his Big Red Box and wave it all around at everyone.

Budget 2006

A few points: )

The BBC's "Have Your Say" board is full of people complaining too - about half of them are complaining about the new Road Taxes (which I admit are getting silly as well) and that they're not better off, and the other half complaining that they're still having to support all the 'scroungers' (ie. people like myself who have the misfortune of being unable to work due to disability and therefore have to claim Incapacity Benefit or similar). There's also an interesting little side debate over whether people are being punished for not having children (Gordon Brown is getting a bit of a rep for overdoing it on stuff like Child Tax credits, new parent payments and things like that, which started around the time his first kid was born), whether they should just get down to having kids to keep the country going (after all, someone's going to have to fund all those bloody pensioners in 30 or so years!), or whether they're all just feckless baby-making machines. You know, the usual.

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