Category Archives: internet

A rightwing thinktank is running Australia

So, that’s a headline, eh? Many people now know about the Institute of Public Affairs, a very right wing thinktank, whose 70th birthday (it was formed at the same time and by the same people who formed our very un-liberal Liberal Party) was celebrated by noted Australians including Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Tony Abbott, George Brandis, and Andrew Bolt. Andrew Bolt’s son works for the IPA, just by the by.

Also there was Tony Abbott’s Opus Dei-connected confessor and friend, Cardinal George Pell, now hiding in the Vatican, lecturing on ethics and ignoring Australian police asking to interview him personally over child sexual abuse in the Church. So Australia’s great and good – or rich and snivelling, if you prefer.

The IPA gets a lot of money from its billionaire backers – and it’s linked to right wing thinktanks in the US, like the Heartland Institute, and not just a little bit. People (if we can call climate denialists that), who work for Heartland also work for IPA.

Much of IPA funding probably comes from Gina Rinehart, daughter of a West Australian mining magnate and very bad poet. The inclusion of ‘special economic zone’ status for the North of Oz (#42 on IPA List) comes right (lol) out of the Gina Rinehart Big Wishing Book for Right Wing Billionaires, right before “Rig system so i only pay workers $1 a day”.

The IPA list? Well, they came up with a list of 75 things Tony Abbott should do to transform Australia. He’s the former Liberal-National Coalition Prime Minister – Liberal in Oz meaning right wing, they’re economic liberals, not social ones, and like most rightwing parties, can’t hold government without alliances.

IPA reckoned Tony could be like Gough Whitlam. Gough was a former Labor Prime Minister, leftist, considered radical for things like ‘equal pay for women’. Tony (the IPA reckoned) should be radical for the Right the way Gough had been for the Left in the 1970’s. Sad that actual equal pay for women is still too radical for 2017 except in Iceland.

Then the IPA came up with another 25 more ‘ideas’. 100 all up, which @elliemail has listed here IPA 100 Demands.

During a conversation on Twitter i stupidly foolishly rashly volunteered to see how many of the IPA’s suggestions had been achieved. Tony Abbott of course is not PM any more, instead Malcolm “My Money’s in the Caymans” Turnbull is but the IPA influence continues unabated.

Before he was even PM, Abbott promised the IPA that the following would be done. Info from Barry Tucker‘s blog at The Sniper Takes Aim. These are the 10 Tony said were already agreed: Crossed out like this are already done…

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including: a) Lower personal income tax for residents b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

49 Privatise Medibank

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

Of course, the moment Tony Abbott won the election he went to work (thank you, Kevin Rudd, for losing an election that when you took over, Labor could have won easily .)

Tony didn’t manage his initial list of 10, but he did manage #1, Repeal the Carbon Tax. Because big polluters should not be penalised, at all. Most people’s energy bills have doubled since he did this, which he said would save everyone money. The Barrier Reef is in such bad shape our government had to throw a major shitfit to stop it being listed as In Danger in the UNESCO listings of World Heritage sites. It’s just in danger of being In Danger, so that’s alright. Already this year, (after last years ‘worst coral bleaching events ever’) the Reef is struggling.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (#2) went (in the UK, right wing PM May abolished hers too, seeing the pattern?), absorbed into the horribly wordy Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. This was abolished less than a year later.

As Wikipedia mentions, “Its functions were principally transferred to the Department of Industry; with its environmental functions transferred to the Department of the Environment

Abbott also shut down the Climate Change Commission (established to provide public information on the effects of and potential solutions to global warming).

The CCC said bugger off, in true Aussie fashion, switched to crowdfunding and became the Climate Council. Concerned Australians keep it going, because even if idiots in the Liberal National Party Coalition and the other right wing idiot fringe (yes, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, we are looking at you) can’t see global warming, the rest of us can.

Tony tried to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (#3) and the Renewable Energy Agency (almost #6), but failed when some of the minority parties in the senate voted with Labor and the Greens. The LNP’re still chipping away, trying to make the money in the CEFC available to coal-fired power stations, providing they’re ‘clean coal’, something that’s a contradiction in terms.

Tony also directly broke pre election promises to not mess with the Renewable Energy Target but didn’t abolish it (#6). The Guardian has a list of Abbott’s worst 10 environmental decisions – truly scary.

Since his fall, the Liberals have continued his work, most recently with attempts to repeal 18C (#4) though they’ve settled this week for trying to pass changing the wording (which had worked fine for 20 years).

#42 – basically ‘make Gina the Queen of Northern Oz’, still being shouted about because without it Gina Rinehart’s money might not keep funnelling into Liberal Party coffers.

#43 – the Mining Tax was repealed after a bit of struggle. Clive Palmer’s PUP voted for it (he’s a mining magnate too) and it’s rather funny to note that while passing that, they passed the Income Support Bonus abolition and the Schoolkids bonus (welfare cuts). CORRECTION – Palmer voted for this on the condition that the Income Support and Schoolkids Bonus were put off. They’re due to zombie this year.

#44 – done – federal protections for the environment circumvented. This is why Queenslanders are now fighting the State government (which is afraid of losing votes if even 1 mining job is lost) over coal mines (the biggest in Australia!) and Barrier Reef destruction (weirdly, they don’t seem to give a crap about tourism, a much bigger provider of jobs – can only imagine Miner Adani’s hospitality must be better than anything offered in Queensland).

This goes with LNP’s federal legislating that the Environment Minister is above the law – giving then Environment Minister Greg Hunt legal immunity against future legal challenges to his decisions on mining projects – and they made it retrospective, which got Labor’s vote to pass the legislation.Yep. Don’t really have words other than horrifying.

“At the same time, State governments are seeking to ‘fast track’ major developments, such as coal mine and coal seam gas projects, reducing public participation and removing legal rights of local communities to mount legal challenges.”

#49 is quite funny – Medibank used to be a not-for-profit health insurer owned by all Australians, until it was sold off. So privatising it, as Abbott did in 2014, is like this huge joke on ALL of Oz. Technically, he was fulfilling a Howard government promise from 2007.

#69 Tony Abbott put now-PM Turnbull on the job of completely fucking up the NBN. Malcolm did an excellent job. It wasn’t stopped, not completely, nor privatised, just gutted, buggered, and ruined.

Malcolm decided that Fibre to the Home was no longer an option (despite him investing in companies delivering FTTH in Europe) but we would have the cheaper Fibre to the Node – which might be come off the optical cable a long way from your home, and be part-carried by the decayed Telstra copper network. Telstra’s been neglecting this for a decade while they waited for the NBN or some other form of cable broadband to come in. This charming article “Nope, copper network still rooted (and maybe worse than first thought)” explains.  So it would be slow. Very very slow.

In fact, Turnbull succeeded so completely that the NBN is in parts slower than Telstra’s rather pathetic ADSL2 (this can be completely destroyed by any errant radio frequency – in my last house, the Adsl2 went down every time neighbour’s badly-wired solar panels kicked in).

It’s also MORE expensive than the original by billions – he literally doubled the cost, then kept going – as this article explains “from $29.5 billion to $41 billion, and then last year to “up to” $56 billion. And instead of delivering 25 Mbps by 2016, now the MTM network isn’t expected to be finished until 2020 – only a year earlier than Labor expected to finish its rollout.”

So today in Oz you might be forced off your decent ADSL2 (if you think 10mbps on a good day is good) onto the NBN, and get LESS speed. Oh – and Turnbull called it the MTM – Multi Technology Mix – but nobody noticed.

People on Twitter still type angry tweets about the NBN. We’ve fallen to 51st in internet speed worldwide.

So. if we look back at the IPA’s list of 100, Tony did 5/10 he promised, we’ve covered 1-4 and 6 of the first 10 and several Tony decided were important. Next on the IPA list were…

  1. abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

Far as i can tell, this is still ongoing – the bid currently underway (we won a seat on the UNSC back in 2012 for 2 years, when Abbott was still in Opposition) culminates in seats available in 2029. *UPDATE – opposition abandoned when LNP decided being King Dicks at the UN felt good.

  1. return income taxing powers to the states

Kneejerk IPA hatred of Federal powers and their desire to apparently set up tinpot dictatorships in most states notwithstanding, though this has been put forward it hasn’t been made law, and the states don’t seem that keen.

  1. abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

This is an independent statutory body, that advises the Federal government on aid to the States and Territories. Why IPA wants it gone, i don’t know – except as above ‘tinpot dictatorships’. It’s still there.

  1. abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

This one’s easier to figure out as to why – the ACCC is the only thing standing between most Australians and being ridden over (totes rough-shod) by various businesses or  between businesses as some big Liberal donors set up monopolies or duopolies and get to rort the whole of Oz, something they’ve been happy doing since approximately the First Fleet.

Riding rough-shod over people is a Liberal and IPA right, so they want the ACCC gone. It’s still here.

May God bless the ACCC.

  1. withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

Pollution is ok, says the IPA – now i’m writing slogans for them.

Air to breathe is not a right the IPA want to defend, not like ‘free speech’ that US import that seems to only be for the right when they want to call someone names because of their ethnicity, sex, sexual proclivities, or religion. Breathing doesn’t affect IPA members, most are reptiles who breathe through really cool filters in their skin. (Ok, so i’m not 100% on that, but why else would they try to poison the air and water and earth? Does anyone know?)

Anyway, our commitment to Kyoto was lukewarm and we even had a special land-clearing allowance in it. This meant we could get to meet emissions targets without actually reducing pollution.

As Crikey points out in the article linked to above:

“Which is why at the same time that we’re on track to meet our target, our emissions from electricity and transport had soared by more than 50% and 40%.”

You’d think the IPA would be totes behind keeping Kyoto seeing it’s so easy for us to fulfil, but ALL pollution deserves to run free, and be able to make up false rumours about minorities if it wants to.

  1. introduce fee competition to Australian universities

This was scrapped, then it wasn’t, then it was, then they cut university funding in the 2014 budget that became the 2016 budget, and at time of writing they’re still trying to pass as the 2017 Omnibus.

That’s me done for now – phew. I’ll come back to this in a new post. Which i will of course link from here.

If you have ideas on why the above are so important to the IPA, leave a comment, if it solves a question or corrects the above, i’ll edit to include it.

Next, we will try to do 12-at least 20.

EDIT – Amazed myself – did the full 100 – here, A Right Wing Thinktank II

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I can’t tell you that…

I’m going against my natural instincts. They are never to share. Blogging is so freaking alien. I was born in 1960, missed being Gen X, made it into the Baby Boomer generation by literally 8 weeks, but sometimes think i am a sekrit 1930’s gel who’s been trained to keep the real shit to myself.

When i told a friend i’d been offline (this was a few years ago) because i was depressed and didn’t feel like inflicting my real life downer on my virtual community. He was SHOCKED. He’s decades younger than me, and told me straight up, i should have said something online. I loved him for his concern but tell everyone i was depressed? Pht. Or perhaps ffft. Not sure of the spelling there, but take it as an expression of disbelief.

Every time i see that “ruok” anti-suicide campaign, where you say to someone who might be depressed, “are you ok?” and they are so grateful they don’t open their veins/OD/jump off the nearest cliff, but instead say “well actually i’m totes depressed and ready to like, pinterest my suicide plans but yr concern means i am now ready to live again!” i feel like laughing. I was relieved to see a few other pplz also saying, gawd, anyone realise really depressed pplz lie??” Yes, you can tell by my overuse of Z that i’ve been back on Twitter.

However, i can understand that for other people, opening your veins in a figurative sense on social media is a way to ease that feeling of aloneness. I wish that worked for me when i’m depressed. So if you’re like me, and people offering sympathy/feelingz makes you want to run away, smiling brightly all the time, not because you don’t appreciate their concern, but because nothing stops the fucking pain… perhaps see a psychologist (because that DID work for me). Continue reading


Interesting times

Well, here i am, November, and i should have a working computer in a week or so. I’ve got a computer that works but has a dodgy mouse plate (every so often it goes rogue and hits links or marks text) which can’t be trusted online, so i’ve been using that to edit the trilogy. It’s also got a coffee-soaked hard disk, so i’m saving to memory sticks, clouds, and everywhere else i can cadge some disk space.

The editing is nearly done – i’m on Book 3, and the other two are done. I can’t believe it’s taking so long. I’m at the point of giving up writing and taking up something like illuminating manuscripts by hand, you know, something quick and totes 21st C.

Meanwhile, despite liver getting steadily better, i’ve had non-stop health probs, including so many cancer scares i’m almost blase over blood tests, MRI’s, and CAT scans. Almost. MRI’s are an exercise in Zen and the Art of Keeping On Breathing, and I still find waiting for results is terrifying. So far, so benign.

Tip for MRI machines – put in good earplugs and then their headphones over the top. Doesn’t kill the noise, but brings the constant disco thump down to ‘there’s a nightclub next door’ instead of ‘i’m lying with my head in a speaker at a Boney M concert’.

Latest was ‘you may have some kind of sinus cancer’ and a CAT scan that showed up what they thought was a brain tumour. It was, but it’s apparently not the dangerous kind. Turns out all those years abusing my body are really starting to pay off.

Anyway, weird thing about being away from Twitter this long? I’m cured. I don’t even think about it much. Which is a worry, as i am going to need to go back soon, at least to let people know my books are out.

What if i’m like a bornagain non-smoker, and can’t stop myself from criticising other people’s obsessions with baby hippos, politics, or i-Things? It’s a worry. Still, I gave up smoking and didn’t become a bornagain, so I’ll try to have faith.

One day at a time.

copyright 2015 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated

Just discovered 2 unpublished posts from last year, put aside to edit later – what can i say, 2013 was a complete bitch of a year.

Among other financial disasters, the washing machine died then the “new” (read 16 yr old, but new to us) Tank blew an engine, so we went into debt to pay for a new one. The landlord decided fixing the house wasn’t worth their while and kicked us out because we kept asking them to fix the leaks. Nice thing to happen to two broke disabled people in the middle of a NSW winter.

On the bright side, i’m now in Queensland. Only took me from 2009 to now. Bit like my novels, my Invasion of Queensland was delayed. Some other sucker is renting our old mould-ridden House of Doom and Mr Whatsit and I are on the sunny Gold Coast.

I would like at this point to thank friends (ones i had no clue i had – S you are a star and a half) and family (Mum of course and oh Ruby) for loaning $ and subsidising the move – without your help we would not have made it. Or we might have, but probably hitch-hiking and without any of our worldly goods.

Even the Mother in Claw helped, and gave us a spare bedroom when we first moved. That she then tried to kill both of us via inhaled cigarette smoke, well, Mr is off the asthma inhaler since we got out of her place, so let’s just try to forget the horror.

Being warm without having to pay for it with a 15 degree temperature drop the next day is the best bit. It is 28 C (82F) today, 28 tomorrow, unlike NSW’s 24 C (75F) today, 45 (113F) tomorrow, 21 (69F) the next.

Anyhoo, so i’m here, not really queer, and back in the groove, after a few months where i was so sick (various reasons including stress, actual illness, and being crippled in the first place, as moving did my back in) so i didn’t even log onto Twitter much.

The poor Thing, my trilogy only part-published, is much-neglected, but i’m back working on it. Publication date? Oh, don’t mock me. Soon. Presuming soon can be “before the end of 2014”?

Meanwhile, I figured if i don’t post something, people might think i’m dead, and there are some i don’t want to give that satisfaction to.

So, much love to everyone, and if you want me, ping me on here or Twitter – i’ll be neck-deep in The Thing parts 2 and 3. I was very pleased to see that Part 1 The Birthday Dragon is still at number 5 on the Smashwords best rated Sci Fi listings (number 7 on the Fantasy list) – and at number 16 on the whole site, which is a freaking achievement.

You don’t need to even have read Sci Fi or Fantasy, some of the people who’ve most enjoyed the book had never read the genres before. There are Reviews and you can read 20% of the book for free. Then it’s only $2.99 to buy the rest.

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copyright 2014 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


Forty Days and Forty Nights….

Well, i cracked the Self-Imposed Social Media Exile after 40 days in the Desert and started dropping into Twitter. I missed Twitter. Facebook i missed so little it’s brought me to a decision.

Naturally, it was something i already knew but had buried under deluded ideas of book promotion.

I hate Facebook. There, it’s said. Hate. Hate. Hate. Well, dislike intensely, at the least. Anyone i like on Facebook, i already like on Twitter and their blogs. If we need more contact we have email and can talk on the phone.

My Facebook Account as Polo Shawcross (my writing alias) is Deactivated and this is now a Facebook-free zone. I’m going back to Twitter – where a person can be free.

Of course there's such a place as West Arsecrack - Google Earth doesn't know everything.

****

In other news, i was stuck on Book 2 #TheThing and couldn’t get past the first two chapters – then about 6am i woke up, and thought “That’s it!” Suddenly figured out there is a character missing from the first two chapters, (one who can easily be picked up) and now i can get on with writing.

****

Obligatory Bit Where I Try to Turn You On to E-Books
Mine In Particular

As one reader put it – “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.” It’s also been compared to Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, and “like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate – with added stimulants.” So obviously i drugged everyone because they thought it was very funny too. If it would get me reviews, i would totally do it.

Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life, but the Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Polo’s crazy extended family keep trying to kill him, and he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

Book One of the Polo Shawcross Journals – “The Birthday Dragon” is currently Top 10 on the Smashwords Highest Rated Sci Fi & Fantasy charts and available in various formats including those to suit the Kindle or any other e-reader. You can read 20% free to see if you like it before you buy, and read the reviews in full. It’s not on Amazon, but it is on Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore (for iPads and other Apple devices), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

If you don’t have an e-reader but have a computer, there’s a free Amazon download that gives you the look and feel of an e-reader on a computer screen. (PC version is here and there’s a Mac version over here. PC version is very good, don’t know about the Mac one.)

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


The Dark Side Has A Like Button

I have probably had my best day ever for sales, as people were so lovely, and bought my book in droves. Well, maybe a part-drove? How many do you need for a whole drove?

It was bliss – i was number 5 on the Bestselling Scifi & Fantasy list on Smashwords (novels over 25,000 words). I just looked, i still am. This is because eight people bought my book, i didn’t suddenly sell a million – but yep, a real writer now.

Read 20% free

Leer at the lavish cover, and read 20% free (a good way to spend a commute) – go on, you know you want to – click the pic to go to Smashwords. It will open in a new window.

In my parallel role as proxy Antichrist, this kind of global reach obviously helps my case with World Domination. Soon we shall break out the Hello Kitty Kalashnikovs and the glad cries of the oppressed will ring out. Or i may just hold a quiet soiree with friends.

The Antichrist gig came my way after i coshed the real Antichrist met with an Unfortunate Accident. As i’m a much nicer person and won’t infest you with boils and perhaps frogs up your jaxie, it’s in your interests to support my interests. My interests are simple.

I had an email, you see, asking about what i was doing to promote the book. Uh, i said, suddenly remembering that part of the plan hadn’t really been executed, thanks to Elements Beyond Our Control. This was mostly that  – right up to a day or so before the publication of the The Damned Thing – due to illness and various pressures, i was ready to cancel for six months.

So in order to enhance our World Domination Experience™, we decided to join the Dark Side, irrevocably. Yeah, Polo Shawcross has a Facebook account. He doesn’t know how to work it yet, and i have no idea, so excuse us while we try to get savvy.  We are adrift on a sea of social media.

And now for something completely different, some more shameless self promotion….

Polo Shawcross has a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, and a very bad reputation. Then he becomes an unwilling party to treason. Nanny Black says he’s like the goddess of death with testicles.

Despite this, he’s considered a fine companion for the heir to the throne. Nobody else seems to have noticed that the Crown Prince is in love with Polo, that the half-brother with the eating disorder is trying to kill him, and of course, Mother’s still  crazy and in denial over Father’s alcoholism. Polo doesn’t know where he fits in, but discovers that shapechanging is harder than it looks. A science fiction fantasy, set on the planet of Galaia in the Sigma Quadrant, where Men might be Dragons. Read more at Smashwords…

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If you don’t want to read on your computer but don’t have an ereader, you can get a comfier reading experience with free software for the PC or Mac – it’s rather good, i tried it.

Free Kindle Software for PC

Free Kindle Software for Mac

http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

Sting in the Tail, Polo Shawcross, and Sheila NomNomDePlume are all pen-names and net-names of one person – she secretly rules the world.

Copyright https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


10 Reasons Not to Follow Me on Twitter

You see a lot of people begging you to follow them on Twitter, so they can get a bigger Follower list. You shouldn’t follow me. Not at all. I can hardly keep up with the Followers i have. I probably won’t follow you back, so don’t do it.

In fact, i bet i can think of ten more reasons why you shouldn’t follow me.

1. I’m not always on a lot every day, but i make up for absences with  a high typing speed. If you’re not following many people, you’ll get a wall of me. “Many” in this case means less than about three hundred very chatty people.

2. I’ll follow you back, then decide oops, you’re not for me after all, and unfollow. Unless you happen to try to Direct Message me (to send a DM, the other person has to be following you back) or use a program like Twitter Karma to show you who’s unfollowed you, you’ll never notice.

3. Sometimes i divest myself of followers in drug-induced frenzies housekeeping binges, by Blocking then Unblocking. This makes them unfollow me too, which i figure is fairer than just unfollowing, as i don’t really want you to follow me on Twitter. Once i did it to about 500 people, so don’t feel special don’t get paranoid.

4. I talk about my writing. A lot. Everyone on my twitter list gets to know the #amwriting hashtag, because i tweet to it usually a couple of times a day. (It’s a writers’ group on Twitter founded by @johannaharness, who’s a very nice person to follow, to find out more, click on link – opens in new window.)

5. I rant. Pretty much all the time. I shout about religion, feminism, humanism, politics, bigotry, getting older, um…  sorry ,what was i saying? Politically, I’m an anarchist monarchist, which means lots of shouting. I get to be queen, and you can do what you like. Unless i’m right there, and bossing you round, but i can’t do that to many people at a time. Not without a sound system.

6. I don’t get jokes, or sarcasm. Call it being blonde, autistic, whatever. Sometimes i do, but i fluff it reasonably often.

7. I’m vain and want you to pay attention to me. At the same time, just when you’re sure i’m the shallowest person on the planet, i’ll disconcertingly pay microscopic attention to you. Usually when you’re being light and flippant.  (See also .6)

8. I am evil, and regular readers will know i’m the ad hoc Antichrist. I have to fill in, seeing the real Antichrist met with an unfortunate accident and is in a coma. *Hides cosh behind back.* It’s nearly time for the Rapture. (see below)

9. Did i mention my book? I call it The Thing, but that’s because it’s a shorter title than than the real one. and i need a short version so i can earbash you about it on Twitter. (Twitter only allows 140 characters.) Not about buying it, that joy is still to come. You get to ride the creative process. Or me wasting time on Twitter when I should be writing. This is actually The Thing Mark II.

10. I’ve already forgotten why i’m doing this. (See 1.) (NOTE: that doesn’t make sense, because 1. was edited, and no longer includes the bit about how dizzy i am… *sighs*)

Despite the above advice, if you want to see what i’m shouting about now, to follow me on Twitter, (remembering that when the Rapture comes, you’ll be one of the ones that God’s Giant Faulty Vacuum Cleaner leaves behind), or perhaps if you’d like to block me in a pre-emptive act of self-defence to save your immortal soul…

it’s ~ @stinginthetail ~

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


I Killed The Thing…

Well, not killed it, so much as moved to a new version. I spent several days at Easter staring at the first page, wondering why i hated it so much. (The Thing is my work-in-fitful-progress.)

I loved it when i mapped out the plot and began, i still liked the plot, but six months later, it felt like i was trying to re-animate a corpse. Was this one of those times when i’d feel better about it, if i just put The Thing away for a few days (or a week, or a month, or six months)? Or was it honestly crap?

Then it came to me. I hated the main character. Detested him. He wasn’t easy to write, (everyone else i could relate to, but not him). I didn’t get what motivated him, in fact, very little did. I never made it inside his head. Despite killing several of his family and friends, he never showed any real emotion. I gave him kinky sex, made him think he was gay, but nothing made any impact.

Six months into The Thing, i had to make a decision. So that’s what i did over Easter. Then, i decided that the basic plot was fine, it was HIM. Somehow, he’d turned into a ponce. Gay, even effeminate i could deal with. Cross dressing, yep, no worries. But he was a boring little fart. I tried killing his father, crippling his mother, abandoning him, making him king too young, but nothing had any impact.

So, there was only one thing to do. It was Easter Sunday. I started again. I now have a new Thing. Son of Thing. Zombie Thing. Thing Mark II. It’s great. I’m enjoying it, he’s a real boy! The plot’s the same, so it’s easy, there’s bits of the old one i can reuse. Well, so far, one bit, a one-line joke from a character.

****

That’s where i’m at. Hope you’re well. Along with my trials with The Thing and its Children, I’ve had the most traumatic severance from my Twitter fix, after Mr Whatsit went mad looking at camping videos online.

Yeah, i know, most people blow their downloads on porn. He’s weird. The main culprit was the Teardrop Camper, a tiny caravan. (This pic’s on the Aussie site for them – click pic for a look.)

Cute as, but Mr Whatsit watching the “How To Build Your Teardrop” vids on YouTube gave us a highest web traffic day EVER. We recently raised our download speed, with the resultant ability to watch vids we can’t afford to download.

Oh LOLZ, phone company, we didn’t see that coming. And the next upgrade costs $20 a month, of course. Just out of reach. I nearly strangled Mr for going over the limit. Without Twitter, being plugged into the news, and being able to look at cute pics, what would my life be?

God, that’s sad, eh? Seriously. I thought so, so tried out the old ‘cold kitteh’ cure. To my surprise, i didn’t die with no baby animals to look at. I did manage 7,000 words on The New Thing. Then the end of the billing month came. I could look at baby animals again.

Did i show you this already? Best baby hippo pic so far.

Squee! indeed.
Pic from the Daily Squee, click to visit.

Unless cute freaks you out.
But it’s not that bad, it’s not Hello Kitty kind of cute.

****

Meanwhile, i think a large part of The Thing’s problems are due to point of view. Telling the story from the viewpoint of a friend of the original person will make it even better.

Yes, it’s now “Friend of Thing“.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


It’s not you, it’s me…

This post can be subtitled – Why I Unfollowed You on Twitter.

Over the weekend, I did something amazing to my Twitter account. In the last post, we were publicising the competition to win a prize – an art catalogue pictured here on this blog, a guest post from Christopher L. Jorgensen (@jackassletters on Twitter) . The competition (open until 3rd March 2010) can be entered at his guest post on the Tweet Fail blog, The Secret to Fewer Followers. (NOW DRAWN – for details of Christopher’s adventure, see the previous post. Winner was @Fifikins!)

The post inspired me, and i decided to bite the bullet. I’ve always been strict about spammers in my nearly a year on Twitter – i use the Block & Report button a lot. I realised early on, that I don’t care how big my follower list is. As i’ve mentioned before in “So, how big is your virtual penis?” I’d rather have people i like and enjoy around me.

  • There were 850 people following me.
  • I had 550 i was following
  • About 20 of those weren’t following me back.
  • I was Listed by about 115 people.

So, i ran through the methods Christopher lists in his post, and loaded up Twitter Karma.

  • I began by Defollowing everyone who wasn’t still tweeting – in the last two months or so. That is, I blocked the person, then refreshed the page, then unblocked. (Twitter doesn’t give any other options.) This forced them to unfollow me. It seemed fairer to Defollow, than to simply Unfollow and leave them following me. After all, they can always follow me again if they want to, and i didn’t want people to think i was trying to rort my follower numbers. Most people don’t check their followers, so don’t know who’s unfollowed them. (It’s one of the functions that Twitter Karma has. See who is following you back.)
  • If anyone had turned spammy I blocked and reported – the more spammers are reported, the less of them will be causing Twitter to crash by overloading it with ads about raising the numbers of your Twitter Followers.
  • If i couldn’t figure out who they were, weren’t really into their conversations, and we didn’t seem to have even any Twitter buds in common (that they were talking to on first few pages), i Defollowed.
  • I looked at 100’s of profiles in the end, and anyone i didn’t recognise as someone i interact with, (or someone i follow and adore, but don’t interact with often) i Defollowed.
  • I also Defollowed some #amwriting people who i don’t personally chat to, as i can always follow their writing tweets on the #amwriting hashtag and they can read mine.

#amwriting was founded by @johannaharness
a wonderfully inspiring and supportive writers’ group on Twitter
it asks the question ~ what are you writing?
To find out more go here.

  • Then there were the people i’d spoken to and they’d not really ever spoken back, which isn’t much fun after the first couple of times. I mean, why would you want someone to follow you, but not be prepared to speak to them? (These were not people who had lots of replies, i checked.)

At four in the morning, also known as stupid o’clock, i finished, down to around 400, most of whom were ‘mutual friends’, with less than 10 one-way follows. There, i thought, staggering off to bed. That’s so much more manageable.

In the morning… – well, after lunch – i went back, and loaded up Twitter Karma again. (You can see all your followers on one page, makes it easy to see.) Now i’m down to 345 people. Wow, i can see my friends again! I hadn’t realised how cluttered it was.

After a few days, I’ve shed a few more people, (easier to notice who didn’t seem friendly) and added a couple. None of the new ones i’m not following back have spoken to me. No point in adding them but they’re welcome to follow. So far, they’re not spammers – i’ve blocked and reported maybe 50 of those. I’ve also Defollowed several who obviously only added me because of a keyword and didn’t seem to be engaging much with followers. Like the Newcastle radio station who ignored my tweet that said i couldn’t get their station from here.

I’ve also discovered ManageTwitter, which does multi-unfollows – thanks to @Tarale . It wouldn’t have helped me, as i wanted them to stop following me too, but it would have been handy.

**************

In other news: The Thing (my work in fitful progress) proceeds – i had to lose 30,000 words. Not because i had too many, but because those ones were suddenly irrelevant. So i’m down from about 95k to about 65k. (My target is 110k so it was a hard cut to make.) I’m pleased with how it’s going, the plot tightened up so much with that 30k gone.

There was a scene where his mother fell off a tower, and the hero fell too, but the plot required her to be crippled and him to survive, but i couldn’t make it work until i realised – silly me – it was the half-brother what done it! I’d been trying to hammer the scene out, unable to figure it, and suddenly it dropped into place – like people falling off a tower. And 30k of it just didn’t work any more, because it was all trying to fit the scene in without it making sense. I keep learning so much as i go.

**************

What else? Feck knows, i’m not paying attention, i’m trying to focus on The Thing. Whilst procrastinating, I have updated my bio on here – it was previously only about 60 words, now it’s 600 – the tab above with All About Me on it.

There is bad stuff happening all over, especially with the Puritans pushing for net censorship. I get irate on Twitter about it. And i look at kittehz, make jokes, swap food porn, pine for a larger garden, tease Generations X & Y, and send tweets to the Prime Minister that he never acknowledges.

Follow me there if you want to know what i’m ranting about today.
Or for a laugh.

I can’t promise i’ll follow you back.

**************

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


List me, baby, make me squeal….

I have never more truly understood the concept of “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Not until i moved to New South Wales. People round the world think Sydney is some sun-drenched paradise.

Oh puh-leeze, summer here is about as comfortable as Newark – yes, 90% humidity and 39+° C (100+° F). Then the weather breaks, it plummets to 20° (62°F) and we’re all shivering, except the bloody humidity is still so high you feel underwater.

It also gets hotter after the sun goes down. Demented place. My plans for The Invasion of Queensland ‘09 ’10 ™ have been set back a bit, thanks to an emergency trip there by Mr Whatsit that meant using every cent of our savings and borrowing, so now every week i’m $50 down.

One of his family faked her own death, then recovered – okay okay, so she had a kidney removed and everyone thought she was going to die. It still fucked my budget up.

Meanwhile, it’s the end of January, and i’ve had to get extensions on the phone and electricity bills, and am paying them off. *sighs* At this rate, i’m going to have to hitch-hike to the bloody border. (It’s about 1000k, 800 miles.)

Rather than bitch about the weather and money, though i could go on for another thousand words without breaking a sweat, (in real life, i’m sliding off my towel) I thought i would explain my lists a bit.

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Lists on Twitter are a great way of keeping your followers in some kind of order without resorting to cattle-prods. It also gives other people a chance to look at who you’re following, talking to, and to see if they’re an interesting bunch. Some people even follow whole lists of mine, which is flattering.

I enjoy lists, they’re a good way to find new people to follow, though some people don’t seem to take much care over lists, as you spot spammers posting ‘make $ on twitter’ or ‘monetize your twitter.”

You do all know this is what they used to call a pyramid scheme? You buy their software, (which is a pile of rubbish, as Twitter is all about who follows you, not who you follow), they make money, you don’t. Instead, you get blocked and reported on Twitter.

****

So, Lists  – what do i have?

Most recent is the Conversation list which is “A dynamic list rebuilt daily of the people you are talking to and about. ” It’s not one i collate, it’s done automatically, you too can have one if you go here. It updates every day, but is about 12-24 hours behind. So it’s more like “who i was talking to yesterday”.

There are currently “Following: 25 Followers: 2” – which means there are 25 people listed because i’ve been chatting to them or about them, and another 2 people are following my list to see who i talk to. I hope it’s for entertainment, not for stalking purposes.

I checked (paranoid, me?) the followers on that list (listed on right of page when on web) are @loveunrg from New Zealand, and @thepainterflynn who’s in Dublin – both lovely people i’m often chatting to.

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Then there are my lists i made:

  • blogs People whose blogs are worth a visit
  • stopaussienetfilter Australian Government is bringing in Net Filter over All Australia – banning nipples – help stop it
  • food Cooking, Eating out, Foodies, Enthusiasts, Whole Food, No Genetically Engineered Food Campaigners
  • interestingtweeps no matter what you’re into, these people are ones that make good tweeple to follow
  • shopping If i had any money, i’d buy their stuff or use their services
  • centralcoastnsw Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia – some Aussie-wide tweeps
  • gardening Gardeners, Sustainability, Growing Food
  • music Musicians, singers, songwriters
  • arts-and-design computer art, painting & fine art, architecture, crafts, also comics (not writing)
  • geekish Geeks of all kinds, from the extreme to the subtle – my private collection
  • newsmedia Journalists, News outlets, the Media (not social media)
  • forlaughs Funny people & feeds – possibly NSFW, (not safe for work)
  • writingpublishing Writers, agents, publishers, feeds about these things (not bloggers)

****

i think my notes on them mean they are self-explanatory. If i unfollow someone, i also remove from any lists – as it’s not automatic. If someone is listing you, and you don’t want them to list you, you can block or block and report. I have 107 listing me – (this goes up and down a lot, as more people get the Conversationlist going) i also go through those (not the Conversationlist, that’s just who i’m talking to or RTing), and block any spammers, or people who aren’t following me (if you don’t follow me, you don’t get to list me).

Also, i list people on more than one list – some people are on four – i think 200 is the upper limit for numbers you can have in one list, but i haven’t hit there yet.

So, you want a list? Look on the right hand side of your Twitter page on the web. Past the top, where it tells you who lists you, go down, past the Search line – see Lists? Before Trending Topics. Just click on New List, and off you go. Make a list, then look through your Following list (not much use Listing people you don’t follow back), and start adding them. As you go, you’re bound to find new subjects you could put as lists. Some people just divide theirs into people they chat to, and have “Chatters1” “Chatters2” and so on.

****

I am in some strange lists. These are some i’m listed in, (not necessarily strange!) of my favourite Twitterers.

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The above isn’t everyone – basically, if i’m following them – around 460 people at the moment – then it’s because i think they’re good. The further back they are in my Following pages, the longer i’ve been following them – so if they were tricky spammers, i have already blocked and deleted, and you’re safe to follow. Like everyone, I do sometimes make mistakes with following people who turn out to be spammers.

So, no excuses – get off your respective butts and list meh!

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Widget alert: yes, how many people has lunatic anti-vaccination campaigner Jenny McCarthy’s bullshit killed, maimed, or made ill? I have a new widget, (on the left) that tells you. [EDIT unfortunately, it’s no longer working – but you can click through here and see the totals. At time of writing, it was 501 dead, and 54,907 people ill with preventable diseases – those with polio will never fully recover, and indeed, will get worse as they get older. And how many poor lil kiddehz had autism as a result of inoculations? None. Zero. Nada.]

Around here, we’ve had a whooping cough epidemic, and children have died, because a bunch of celebrity seeking idiots want us to go back to the days (pre-1955) when polio epidemics killed thousands and crippled tens of thousands – every year.

I’m not going to go deeply into it here, you can click the link for more info or to put the widget on your own blog – but despite this woman’s rantings, there is still NO scientific evidence that vaccination causes autism, though she and her fellow self-serving cohorts have been known to make up scientific ‘proof’ – it’s just wishful thinking, looking for a reason for autism, followed by misery when the people who believe them have to nurse or bury a child that catches a preventable disease.

If you’ve ever seen anyone with polio, or living with the life sentence that is the after-effects, (including twisted limbs, and the most agonising pain and muscle wasting), you would never ever think that vaccinations are optional, or worse, that they’re so bad you shouldn’t have them.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com