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Messages - Tjm86

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 147
1
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 15 November, 2018, 06:06:12 pm »
I have to admit, Mr Raab's resignation excuse is highly likely to lead to the morphing of the Political Thread and Squaxx Telling Jokes.

"I cannot in all conscience ..."

He's a Tory F****** Politician!   >:( <steaming ears emoji!>

2
Off Topic / Re: question regarding writing and not working
« on: 12 November, 2018, 08:33:24 pm »
If I'm understanding your question then yes, you can contribute to your NI as you go along.  If you have a shortfall at any point you can make it up but it is time limited.  I would suggest signing on to the HMRC website and looking at your NIC's history to see how you stand then you should be able to find details from there about how to continue to contribute even though you aren't working.

3
Off Topic / Re: RIP Stan Lee
« on: 12 November, 2018, 08:29:37 pm »
"We know too many of these kids."

4
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 11 November, 2018, 01:34:04 pm »
Communism claim that Capitalism must inevitably fail has rung true; it did fail, and this is the fallout were still under a whole decade after the crash of 2008.

I'm not completely convinced that 2008 was a single event but rather the beginning of a chain of events that we're still struggling through.  It always felt like the 'left' failed to come up with an effective response largely because, as you say, the collapse of communism provided a rather effective rebuttal.  Questions relating to the damage that neo-liberal capitalism / corporatism had wreaked were dismissed by challenging opponents to provide viable solutions then screaming 'communist' at anyone who suggested anything even remotely social-democratic.

So the 'right' largely claimed that they had been vindicated and had won the day then carried on with business as normal but now with austerity thrown in for good measure.  Social welfare programs and public institutions have been decimated by freezes, real term cuts, quasi-privatisation and the 'balance the books / live within our means' narrative.  The result has been the longest and most profound squeeze on living standards in generations against the backdrop of a political and financial system that has failed to realise that 'business as usual' is no longer a viable option.

I'm not sure that we should be surprised about the likes of Trump, Farage, Robinson et al gaining traction or events like Brexit.  If mainstream politicians are going to pretend that they don't need to listen to large segments of the population someone is going to harness that growing discontent.  We've seen it before.  Mind you, someone recently noted that the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history!

5
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 09 November, 2018, 05:32:22 pm »

We are in a seriously dangerous place.

... and the award for the most subtly understated description of the utter hell into which we are currently heading in a handcart goes to ....

6
News / Re: Dredd - Final Judgement 'Special' Edition
« on: 09 November, 2018, 05:51:00 am »
The most recent edition hasn’t ‘colourised’ anything, it’s reproduced the pages that were originally coloured in colour for (I think) the first time.

Sorry, that was what I meant.  Poor choice of words.  I think the French version included the colour pages in colour IIRC, plus in hardback.

 :-\

7
Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 08 November, 2018, 07:54:19 pm »
After extensive research I can now reveal that the optimum time to buy a service station sausage roll is 8.15am.

Could I politely ask for an answer to the following questions in the interests of reliability and validity;

1.  how are you defining 'optimum'?
2.  from what purveyor do you procure the aforementioned items?
3.  are they heated or chilled?
4.  do you consume them immediately or after having departed the service station?
5.  how many service stations did you visit in the process of this research?
6.  what would you consider the most appropriate cheese to use to remove a broken headphone jack from the headphone port of an iPod?
7.  what is the meaning of life?

8
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 08 November, 2018, 07:48:51 pm »
Watching the video of the event, the intern that tried to grab the microphone from the aforementioned reporter has an incredibly aggressive look on her face.  Trying to grab hold of it was an exercise in idiocy that is surpassed only by Sanders' claim that the intern was the victim.

What is also quite disturbing about the whole affair is that the veracity of the video is now being challenged.  An 'official' rebuttal which claims to show the reporters' misdemeanour by reducing the frame rate tries to cast doubt on what is seen in the original version.

So yes, to describe this as 'media manipulation' is probably incredibly accurate.  How much do you want to bet we'll see an escalation of this now that the Democrats control Congress in the states?

I'm eyeing several books on cyberspace and liberation that were written back in the nineties and thinking 'wow, you guys are seriously babes in the wood!'

9
Books & Comics / Re: Whats everyone reading?
« on: 08 November, 2018, 06:47:18 pm »
Heinlein and Clarke do tend to be a bit more cerebral and dry.  I think some of that is down to their characterisation, particularly Clarke until he started co-writing books.  Heinlein is far more scatological, his characters far more liberal / morally ambivalent (occasionally even bordering on perverted!), and his pacing is often tighter.  I often marvel at some of the ideas he throws about consider the age he was writing in.

For me though they are always an interesting pleasure to return to every once in a while.  It is interesting to compare them with current authors.  They also often have the added benefit of being quite short which makes for a rather pleasant sense of achievement polishing them off in less than the six months it can often take for the latest tome that appears to be the only option these days.

10
News / Re: Dredd - Final Judgement 'Special' Edition
« on: 08 November, 2018, 06:41:15 pm »
That's the thing, this is the third volume from the 2012 Dredd world and the second that I've let pass by.  The lack of consistency is the real bug bear. 

<rant> I can understand the idea that this is niche, limited demand and that cost effectiveness is a challenge.  TBH I would much sooner pay an extra tenner for hardback, bookplate and print.  Special should mean precisely that.  Let's face it, it's not like these are targeted at youngsters with limited financial resources.  Way too many of us are KOS's that want to use any surplus cash we do find ourselves with from time to time on something special. </rant>

.... and breathe!

11
News / Dredd - Final Judgement 'Special' Edition
« on: 07 November, 2018, 05:11:02 pm »
The news of this dropping in my in box sent me scurrying for the shop.  Limited edition 200 print run, Signed Jock Prints.  I was within a hairs breadth of banging in an order.  Then it hit me ....

Paperback!

I can appreciate the standard edition being paperback but come on, special edition?  So the colorised Charley's War, the Mazeworld 'special edition', ... paperback.  El Mestizo, 13th Floor .... hardback.

I've no objection to paperback editions but would like the option.  I can appreciate that demand might not make it viable but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of rhyme or reason.   :(

12
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 06 November, 2018, 07:24:32 pm »
Is it tinfoil hattery to suggest that Putin has had a very big role in all this populist nationalism?

This is arguably the greatest tragedy of political developments of the last few years and the  greatest threat to democracy, this complete breakdown in trust for sources of information.  I'm not sure that I would blame Trump but I think he is an example of someone who has 'weaponised' it very effectively to negate potential challenges.  The concept of 'fake news' has at one stroke neutered formerly trusted sources whilst at the same time elevating 'conspiracy theory' to the level of possibility.

So now not only do we now know what to trust but we also find ourselves suspecting that formerly insane ideas actually might be credible.

13
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 03 November, 2018, 08:57:06 pm »
Luckily the issue at its heart isn't complicated at all,  listen to what people say about their own gender identity,

At the very real risk of sticking my head in the lion's jaws so to speak, I do find myself wondering if perhaps this is something that needs considering from a different direction.  Feel free to shoot down some very poorly formed thoughts and educate me correctly, but is it possible that there is actually an issue with how people define their own gender identity that a lot of this is throwing up?

I'm thinking about comicgate and some of the reactions to recasting major Marvel characters as female or raising the profile of their sexual orientation.  All this at a time when core ideas about historically defined gender identity has become so radically open but at the same time intrinsically linked with a person's core identity.  So what has historically been a source of security and identification for a group of individuals who already have their gender identity defined externally by others (think about it, masculinity for instance has for a long time had very specific connotations that can result in rather traumatic experiences for non conformists) is suddenly being transformed in a way that may well be troubling.

We all have to be given room to evolve our thinking.

I think this is perhaps the most astute comment that I have seen in a long while on this issue.  A lot of folks are struggling with these issues and need the time and space to get there.  Speaking personally, I'm confused as hell at times regarding my gendered identity, in fact I'm confused about many aspects of my identity.  I don't think it is that easy to define myself although I have a rather nasty habit of letting other people define and limit me in quite negative ways.

In terms of evolving thinking, there are things about the #metoo movement that have made me incredibly uncomfortable when I've reflected on my past, particularly now that I am the father of two daughters..  That's not necessarily a bad thing because it has transformed my thinking and behaviour.  The sorts of conversations that we would have considered appropriate in the crew room out in Germany are ones that I view quite differently now.  My first thought when someone talks about pornography now tends to be "but that is someone's daughter ..."  These things are not static.

So I guess I'm with Funt Solo with regards to everyone needing to take a deep breath and try to see things through someone else's eyes for a change.  It's something that tends to happen quite well here.  Folks are open to being educated and willing to recognise the limits of their understanding.  It just needs to happen on a much larger scale.

Anyone for a quick round of Kumbaya?


14
Other Reviews / Musings on The Small House.
« on: 03 November, 2018, 06:55:13 pm »
Quote
“When the archetypes, tropes, stage settings, stages, and other props of fiction grow boring and you lose enthusiasm for using them, your writing inevitably reveals this loss. The tropes and archetypes lose their mythic power and become mere clichés.”  Geoff Hart http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/house.shtml

   Rob Williams’ latest Dredd tale is slowly evolving into an interesting beast, living up to the promise that “There is a very big moment in Dredd’s world coming.” [Rob Williams prog 2100].  For some the thought of conspiracies within Justice Dept smell of cliché and such ideas have been done to death in popular media in recent years.  The team that Dredd has pulled around him; an architect, an insane Wally Squad Judge, an Accountant and a street judge certainly fail to fit most models of a crack team.  Up against the mysterious Smiley and his team of Enceladus Energy Empowered Ninja Judges and without the sanction of Hershey the team certainly seem in a challenging place.  Perhaps what is more of interest is whether this tale will prove Hart’s argument that “re-examining the roles of flagging props can reinvigorate them. [which] happens whenever an author looks deep into a literary device, discovers why it still holds meaning for them, and refreshes interest in that literary device by evoking its essence in an entirely new way.”  Is Justice Dept and Mega City One, is Dredd himself, that literary device that is being reinvigorated?

   History features large in this tale.  The history between Dredd and Hershey.  Dredd’s pivotal role in the history of Mega City One.  Smiley’s hidden role in the same history, his invisible hand that we were first introduced to in Trifecta.  Chief Judges of history; Cal and McGruder.  Frank’s pre-Wally squad history with Smiley.  Dredd’s old foe Kazan’s aging, decaying clone.  Political challengers to the judicial system in Blondel Dupre.  Against all this ultimately looming large, locked away behind cryptography, the file for 2103; the year after Dredd and Hershey returned from the Krysler Expedition.  A year of seemingly inconsequential cases and a looming threat that ultimately evolved into all-out war with East Meg One.  It seems that the weight of those years is evolving a physical reality for Dredd, pressing down hard on him.  The question of his role in the actions that has outraged him, that sent him once before into the Cursed Earth in response to how he saw Justice Dept developing.

   Dredd has been here before, questioning his place, the role of Justice Dept, of the reign of the Judges.  Kraken puzzled over his annotated note on “the Big Lie”.  Dredd shared his misgivings with his mentor.  He commented previously on the tactics the Judges use to maintain their rule.  Yet this was before the encounter with the Father of Justice, Fargo, once more.  How much do Fargo’s words haunt him?  How much does his lie to Hershey bother him?  For Fargo to judge what had grown out of his works so harshly could hardly have washed off him so cleanly.  Now though Dredd does not have a mentor with whom to share his thoughts.  Moreover the circle of trust has drawn ever smaller and even that has been infiltrated.  Kazan may well have served as a foil but at the same time he also lay out small nuggets of wisdom for Dredd to mull over in his barbs.  Now even that has been taken away.

   So what is the ‘Small House’ of the title?  Is it Dredd’s world, Mega City One?  The once sprawling metropolis that dominated the whole Eastern Seaboard now reduced by war, terror and plague?  Is it Justice Dept?  The previously indomitable judicial force now reeling from the events of the past forty years?  Is it Smiley’s humble abode?  The hidden dining room that he inhabits, hidden behind the walls of the Grand Hall?  Or is it all of the above?

   Returning again to Hart, it is worth considering his observation that “what kind of living space the house is, and what it says about the inhabitants” is pertinent here.  Once more history figures here.  Smiley’s house is redolent with historical iconography.  The flight of ducks on the wall would likely be a familiar figure to more aged readers.  The dining room arrangement of Smiley’s house, so mundane and familiar.  The old fireplace, the gas lamps and sideboard.  All of a similar historical era.  Just like Smiley himself, both a name and character from literary history.  The quintessential spymaster always slightly removed from officialdom in his duties and actions and yet intricately linked.  Everything about him points to the past.

   In respect of Dredd, the question of house or home becomes a compelling one.  Everything seems to be pointing to a perturbation.  Everything Dredd has come to know and believe is being increasingly challenged.  His own ‘father’ has questioned the home Dredd has come to know and love.  It is the source of his identity, of his very being.  His commitment to justice has always been unwavering but his commitment to Justice Dept has been measured against this standard.  It is hard to imagine the conflict that such tension must provoke.  Doubtless it is only his training, upbringing and experience that has enabled him to weather it.  What then when the instability that has been introduced slowly grows into something greater?

   Is this what is at the heart of Williams’ latest exploration of Dredd and his world?  In disturbing the very centre of Dredd’s being, upending his world and his relationship with the other inhabitants an opportunity exists to redefine Justice Dept, its relationship with its citizens and the way in which the city is run.  Is this at the back of the reference to Blondel Dupre and the fact that the Judges are Fascists?  Are the seeds Fargo planted in Dredd’s mind about to bear fruit? It would certainly be interesting to see how a world in which Dredd and his fellow Judges find themselves in a completely different relationship with the citizens they rule over would develop.


15
Prog / Re: Prog 2106 - End Times
« on: 03 November, 2018, 05:13:19 pm »
Yeah I deliberately didn’t even look at this thread before reading the Prog.
....
Good to see there is an ulterior motive for Frank's actions.
....

I'm mindful as well of the fact that you can accidentally read this thread through the 'Recent Posts' thread which is why I'm being obtuse.

I'm also wondering if perhaps I'm reading too much into Frank's vision as he stares into the teacup.  Wondering about the link to the snowflake.

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