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Messages - Tjm86

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Man this is a tricky one.  I'm not sure that there is a definitive answer.  I mean, Smith is responsible for some of the more bizarre aspects of citizenry but I always felt like he never really got the cityscape as it should be for MC1.  Bolland's characters and close-ups are always things of beauty but he suffers the same weaknesses as Smith. 

McMahon is probably the most rounded of the three in that respect, honouring Ezquerra's early vision of the city, providing a supporting cast of utterly bizarre characters and vehicles that fit this surreal world.  This is referring to early McMahon mind.  Modern McMahon is a different beast again.

I would also have to ask about iconic moments.  We've got "Gaze into the fist of Dredd" for instance.  With McMahon we've got those classic Cursed Earth covers.  I struggle to think of a comparable one for Smith.

So I guess for me it's McMahon, then Bolland then Smith.

Off Topic / Re: The Black Dog Thread
« on: 24 May, 2022, 07:08:04 PM »
Okay, so I'm not going to go with my usual round of garbage here.  Or maybe it is.  What I mean is that I just want to recount a few things and see where they lead.

So, the last decade has been 'interesting' to say the least, what with trying to get to grips with legacy issues and all.  This has led to total burnout, an imploding career and unemployment.  Fortunately the latter was on the heels of a relatively generous redundancy offer that for some strange reason my erstwhile employer did not want to acknowledge as 'redundancy' (perhaps they should have thought about that before putting it in writing but hey ho ...).

An offer from another employer seemed to offer hope but 8 months on it turned out that 'vetting' turned me down.  So of a sudden it was back to being totally f*****.  Trying to find alternative employment at this age has turned out to be a bit more of a challenge.  Consequently a return to the 'career' that has led to this impasse was called for (teaching).

First attempt worked okay until another burnout situation.  Needed to walk before implosion.

Second attempt led to 'underemployment'  (tip:  don't try working as a TA when you've got teaching experience ...)  Okay for a while until the 'cost of living crisis' escalated.

Third attempt is still ongoing.  Shift from secondary to primary (including nursery and infants).  To say that the kids are carrying baggage is to be generous in the extreme.  Current school's response was "what, you want to come back?" which was a little disturbing to say the least.  To say that some of the classes I've been working with are 'interesting' is more than a little generous.

What I find myself reflecting on more than anything is how much I've learnt in such a short space of time.  Today I was accused of being "the most understanding teacher" a child had encountered.  Baffling to say the least.  The difference that being considered an utter failure makes though ... It is liberating to be able to focus on the kids needs, knowing that no-one has any positive opinion about me.  I'm a supply teacher.  If the kids aren't killing each other that's a bonus (and yes I know how disturbing that idea is).  I find myself reflecting on a line from Band of Brothers about a soldier needing to accept that they are dead ...

Something about our culture is fundamentally wrong.  Always having to 'improve' but within a very narrow set of parameters.  I would say that I utterly failed as a teacher today on one level but massively succeeded on another level as a human being.  Which one is more important?

Off Topic / Re: This is the News!
« on: 24 May, 2022, 06:50:03 PM »
Bigger problem is that far too many in British politics should never have run for office in the first place.  At the risk of lighting the blue touch paper Sharkey, the 650 'honourable' members of the House of Commons are the best argument I know for your way of thinking.  Less said about the 800 odd 'lords and ladies' in the other place.

What I find incredibly disconcerting is that even the most cursory reading of Arendt raises serious questions about what is happening in our nation at present (apologies to our brethren in "the colonies" who have suffered similarly in recent years ...).

The Titan Judge Death volume is the best reprint I've seen to date.  IIRC Titan had access to some of the best sources back in the day.  Wasn't this about the time the truth about IPC's treatment of original art and the disappearance of much of Bolland's artwork came to light?

Off Topic / Re: The Black Dog Thread
« on: 18 May, 2022, 06:48:06 AM »
Must be something in the air, Jade.  I had a meltdown yesterday on the way in to work (trying again, had a few good weeks ...) and had to pull over the car.  Even then I couldn't bring it back down, certainly not enough to risk a day in work.  In the end I managed to fetch in and told them I'd been sick on the way in (kind of true ...) so they sent me home.

So, it's very easy to understand how you feel about the book shop situation.  That's not the sort of thing you shake off easily, especially as it was something that gave you so much.  It might also explain why you're sensitive to the way this lass has been behaving.  Even if it is nothing and you're seeing things through the lens of your experiences, it's still difficult.

Churches can be funny places, too.  They're incredibly open to new faces to start off with at times.  Everyone is almost effusive in their greetings.  Then you become a familiar face and there's almost a sense of "job done" but where do you fit?  In some respects that's when you find out how genuinely welcome the place is.  Not to mention finding out how many members have as many problems as yourself!

I know you say that the docs are probably not going to be much use going back to (or even getting an appointment with right now ...) but given the symptoms you describe it might be worth it.  I know that the last time I started making some of the comments you've included here I was told that this came under their heading of crisis even though I didn't think so myself.

In the meantime though could you please keep checking in here?  Just so we can support you through this.  Remember, we're crap at advice, don't have the first clue about how to manage mental health problems (mis-management ... now that we're experts at!) are about as medically qualified as barber surgeons and are prone to off-the-wall jokes that are about as amusing as watching Nadine Dorries gazing longingly at Johnson (okay, that is funny in a rather disturbing kind of way).

What we can do though is be here for you.  Lend an ear.  Help you sift through thoughts if you want.  Talk complete and utter crap.  Argue the minutae of Dredd until your brain oozes  out of your ears.  Whatever ...

Take care, pal.

Books & Comics / Re: Whats everyone reading?
« on: 13 May, 2022, 08:37:49 PM »
Next up I'm reading Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.

Hmmm.  Methinks now would be an opportunity for a re-read and comparison.  Having read it numerous times but finding it less memorable than some of Sir TP's work (not often I'd go with the honorific but in this case it is entirely justified to my thinking ...) it will be interesting to see how our views compare.

"... but room good Fairy!  Here comes my master!"

Ho boy, this is definitely an interesting one.  Two classic but also sometimes flawed strips.

Dare ... Belardinelli's batpoo crazy aliens, Gibson's technically smooth machinery ... Space Fort ... Mekon ...

... then that cliffhanger that still hasn't been resolved decades later (admittedly since the strip hadn't so much 'jumped the shark' as tried bungee jumping the damn thing and wrapped itself around the beast a dozen times ...)

Robo-Hunter ... Gibson art, totally insane robot world, crazy robots, ... did I mention Gibson art? ..., Rhian Clark on art ...

... casual racism, homophobia,  annoying robot side-kicks, less said about a certain writer who shipped off to the states the better, fat-sl**s rip off ...

If this were just the early Robo-Hunter vs Dare then it would be pretty clear cut.  The Verdus strip and God-Droid strips were amongst the best the title had.  Just comparing the RH / Dare strips that ran alongside each other then, Slade definitely slays it. 

After that it became a serious case of diminishing returns before cutting the head off and performing unspeakable acts on the decaying corpse ... (okay, maybe a harsh description of some of the more 'controversial' 90's tales ...)  It is hard to get past the 'please, rinse out my brain with bleach and caustic acid' memories of those years.

Adding this into the mix, Dare winds up in a much stronger place.  Ultimately Dare's greatest sins are the final 'superhero' style strip and its abrupt ending.  Even then, the "Servant of Evil" tale does have a number of redeeming qualities, largely as a result of Gibbons' work.

In some respects then this comes down to which of the two is least offensive to a degree.  On that score, Robo-Hunter is far more problematic.

TL:DR ... Dan Dare ...

I've worn one quite a bit during my working life.  Can't be bothered any more ...

However good Mayflies may or may not end up being, Ant Wars is at this moment superior. Because it is GIANT KILLER ANTS TAKING OVER THE WORLD! And ain't nothing better than that. Can I get an Amen?



Testify brother.

Amen and Hallelujah!!!!

... and you just know those O'neill covers are direct from the Lord!!!! (Tharg, that is ...)

(Just in case it is not clear, this is another supporting vote for Ant Wars.)

Prog / Re: Dredd: The Citadel
« on: 07 May, 2022, 08:05:51 PM »
We don't get to see if the clone's badge had a tracker on it.
I’d say at the very least that’s inferred by the artwork.

More than inferred, surely.  TBH though I missed the detail on a first read.  The colouring makes it blend a bit into the background brickwork.  I read that as deliberate, linking to the idea of Winterton's questionable memory.  What is remembered is what is attended to ...

One of the issues I'm struggling with, in terms of accepting The Citadel as being set during The Apocalypse War, is that the design aesthetic doesn't match up. The Sovs are using a bunch of equipment we never saw during the original depiction, so it seems like a visual reboot.

The artwork was one aspect of the story I had an issue with on the first reading.  Like I said, the visuals seem more in keeping with modern than early-80's Dredd.  Thinking about it from the point of view of memory issues though, it does make sense.  I know it's over-analysing but ...

Artistic licence. Dredd doesn't really wear a new uniform in every story, it's just different artists' depictions of the same hardware.

Dredd: Stomm, is it Brendan McCarthy week again already…? Have I really gotta wear this gruddamn helmet? It looks like a drokking wok!

IIRC there was a strip about that once up a time.  Want to say Fabry or Pugh on art.  Thought it was Prog 500 but got that one wrong.

Prog / Re: Prog 2280 - High-Octane Sci-Fi Action!
« on: 07 May, 2022, 07:51:22 PM »
I felt two school based stories in one special to be pretty bad planning.

Not so sure TBH.  The bigger problem is perhaps the similarity between the concepts with the two school-based stories.  A possible future regened could well be an "education special" with a Dredd Academy tale, maybe another variation on Mili-com memories, perhaps Unteachables or Lowborn High (not both though ...) ...

would a "Slaine at School" strip be too many?

Overall though despite a couple of decent strips this felt like one of the weaker ones.  Another vote for "no more Chopper" though ... definitely not working.

Ooh!  A nasty little round here.  Henry Flint vs Carlos Ezquerra?  I mean, Angelina .... as depicted by el maestro himself?  Then again, Flint in full throttle "alien menagerie mode?"  An artist a close second to Kevin O'Neill when it comes to "loving the alien"?

Still by far and away SSR has to be one of the best adaptations around. 

Gah!  What way to go?

Guess it has to be the old nostalgia vote in the end ...

StaNilus Steel Rat [sic]

News / Re: Help Sandra Ezquerra get this piece of artwork back
« on: 28 April, 2022, 06:50:06 AM »
I'll be mildly astonished if the legal position turns out to be so completely at odds with the moral one.***

***Although, it wouldn't be the first time.

I was going to suggest that possibly some of the recent legal 'reforms' introduced by the present government might be considered as strong evidence that this is actually not just vaguely possible.  Glad you added the caveat there. 

Prog / Re: Dredd: The Citadel
« on: 25 April, 2022, 04:33:10 PM »
I think the final part does provide the answers you are looking for.

.. and finally it lands.  Point taken.  So the final part draws out many of the threads mentioned regarding memory and reliability.  Another viewpoint is offered that purports to show the 'truth' and offer another interpretation of events.

The proof of the alternate theory is a subtle throwaway visual.  A cursory reading would possibly miss it.

What does it change?  I think Richard has a point.  There is nothing dramatic, nothing that is likely to ripple out.  The list of those who know the 'truth' is incredibly short.

I suppose the same could be said for us as readers.  As we move forward will we continue to struggle with changes to MC1 and Dredd?  What I would say though is that it has been a more interesting tale than I originally felt it was.

Off Topic / Re: The Black Dog Thread
« on: 24 April, 2022, 08:35:27 PM »
No, time blocking is something I find really useful too.  I tend to use my countdown timer quite a bit to help with it.

It's strange how useless therapists can be at times.  Something we've mentioned quite a few times over the years IIRC.  Even when they draw on the same set of techniques from CBT (but please, no 'mindfulness' ... chewing a raisin to death does nothing for me ...)

A couple of approaches that have grown out of CBT that I've found helpful are DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).  DBT has a handy set of resources for dealing with split thinking / catastrophising for instance.  ACT has techniques that can help with 'surges', something I find really helpful for avoiding 'the cascade' as I call it (you know, start feeling a bit wobbly ... something 'unhelpful happens' ... anxiety starts to spike ... start getting manic / reactive ... light blue touch paper and stand well back ...)

As for support groups ... strange as it sounds, this place is the best I've come across ...

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