Tag Archives: blogging

Excellence

I haz it. As i look down from the smuggery after finally finishing and publishing the Dragon Quartet…. oh – heh – oops.

Forgot to tell you.

Nah, marketing STILL isn’t my strongest suit. Plus i joined Patreon, and immediately (literally in the last hour before i was going to launch) they changed the pricing structure.

So $1 wasn’t a good bottom tier for patrons. Cost too much cos fees. Yep, so i’m like, okay, change pricing, move all tiers up, change rewards, done, and lowest price Rewards? $2. In Australia it ended up over $3 so i figured that was a reasonable monthly sub.

So i launched, got a patron. Yes, it’s Mr Whatsit, but you can’t say i don’t listen to fans. I have to. He might be permanently plugged into Netflix at the moment, but he has to run out of Red Vs Blue episodes eventually and then he’s going to start making demands. I’ve already had to get him to cancel his first subscription.

Yeah, Patreon changed the fee system back. So now i have no idea what cut i get of monthly subs, and i had to change all my Reward levels around again. Then Mr had to resubscribe at $1. If they change it again, i reckon maybe a PayPal link would be less traumatic.

So, about my Patreon. Not as good as it sounds – or perhaps it is. It means i’m asking you to crowdfund me. Instead of a once-off, it’s monthly. Whoa. Before you rush off, let me wheedle you a little.

So, i write books. You read books. If you don’t i probably don’t have something you’re going to be into – on the other hand, maybe you should start? It’s easy.

The first two books are free – yes, the second pair are $2.99 each. However. Of course there’s a however.

However – if you join my patrons on my Patreon there’s a Reward. You get the two books that aren’t free, free. Well, for you promising $1 a month.

Promise more than $1, you get other Rewards, starting with asking me questions (i was thinking this would be ‘about writing’ questions, but now i’m worried. I did put in a clause about me having right of refusal). There are acknowledgements in future books, appearing in my books, and poetry. Yes, darn fine poetry. Though i do not guarantee rhyme.

If you already like my writing and are thinking sure, i can spare a buck, before you change your mind here’s the link to me on Patreon. If you’d rather type it in, it’s https://patreon.com/lee_abrey

So, not into being patronising? C’mon, you know you want to. You need enticing. Well, perhaps calming down? The poetry is higher level stuff, you’re not going to get it for a buck. You’re quite safe.

What’s it all about? I want people who enjoy my work to get more involved. You see, i have a problem.

I’m trying to remember to blog here, to go on Twitter, rant a little, create when i have a spare minute. (Currently involves looking through old work to see which version warrants re-writing, edit that writing, and give Jules her head. She’s fun. If you like Polo, i think you’ll like Jules.)

Important task – I have to self-publish the paper books, because to all the people who said ‘i’d buy it if it was paper, i prefer paper books” – then i can say good, here’s the link. (i don’t have a link yet, but if you sponsored me, i COULD HAVE.)

Any spare money goes first there. Which leaves me with a problem. I can’t afford advertising. And printing the books is going to take about $1,000 to set up. Yeah – it’s not good.

Without your help, i can’t make the first steps to get my work out to more readers. It’s that simple. I’m trying to get funding to first do some advertising, second get the books ready for print instead of just ebooks. Meanwhile, i’m working on the next book, because i know you’re fickle. More words required.

Plus, as you know (if you’ve read back a bit) i’m disabled. So i simply don’t have the strength to work at anything approaching full speed any more. I need to cut the time it takes both to get income faster to pay for advertising and format options that should get the books really selling, along with raising awareness of my work to raise sales.

So think about it. You could help me break free with just $1 a month.

PatreonHeader2_2 smlr

Something to read, in the meantime? Yes, two full length books. Free.

No catch. It’s because it took so long, i ended up with 4 books. Book 2 starts with what was the end of Book 1 (which is still over 100k). Wouldn’t be fair to charge people for something they’d recognise as already having paid for. If they read The Birthday Dragon before, it was $5.99 – a fair price back in 2011. Ebook prices have dropped, especially unknown writers. Yeah, I’m unknown – i used to be notorious, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

So, the Dragon Quartet Series page is here

links to the free books:

If you’d rather start with Book 1….

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon
Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life. The Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, relations who want him dead, and a very bad reputation. Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where genesplicing accidentally creates real magic and Men (or Women) might be Dragon.

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: Dragon Soldier
Polo is still getting into trouble, still in danger from his crazy family trying to kill him, or worse, be his parents again. The Crown Prince is still in love with him, and Polo’s reputation is shocking. There’s even a book out about his sexual adventures. One thing he knows, the army’s not for him. So becoming a soldier is a shock. Surviving the Army of the North won’t be easy, especially when he ends up in the stockade before basic training.

Links to the newest books ($2.99 each or free if you join my Patreon)
You can also read 20% of the books below for free, to see if you want more:

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Skin
Polo Shawcross comes back from war both notorious and a hero, ready for bad women, good food, and a lot of sleep. His enemies have other plans, as do his friends. Soon he’s fighting for his life and for parts of his body someone wants as a souvenir.
Can Polo learn to shape-change in time?

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Outlaw
The notorious Polo Shawcross is desperate for a quiet life, but his family are still out to kill him. Back at Court in Sendren, Polo isn’t the man you want to leave alone with the queen, but the king still loves him. On the bright side, he’s out of the army. Polo’s sure he won’t fight again, but the war’s coming to Sendren. Is changing shape enough?
Can Polo survive?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

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A Right Wing Thinktank II

This is a continuation of the post A rightwing thinktank is running Australia where i covered 1-11, 42-44, 49 and 69 of the Institute of Public Affairs ‘demands’ of the Liberal-National Party Coalition of Australia, a right wing political group currently in power.

After i did the last blog, i found a series of Crikey articles from 2015, where “Freelance journalist Andrei Ghoukassian and former Crikey senior journalist Andrew Crook have sifted through all 100 policies promoted by the Institute of Public Affairs”.Thanks is due the Crikey people who solved a few mysteries for me.

I discovered that pseudo-leftist Labor PM Kevin Rudd was the dickhead who scrapped the  Department of Climate Change (IPA demand #2). He did put it in another department, but that was also abolished.

So where were we?

The IPA’s list of 100 included...

12 Repeal the National curriculum
They just messed with it.

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
Same, curriculums supposed now to focus more on traditional learning rather than fancy schmancy leftist stuff.

The Arts will be only taught in classrooms without any actual children in them, and ‘Merchant Banking for Fun & Profit’ will be part of the Year 1 syllabus.

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Didn’t gain much traction, even the TV stations said let’s keep the regulator.
Kyle Sandilands, aka Vile Kyle, a radio celeb who often uses his platform to abuse his ‘enemies’ aka anyone who criticises him, was in favour, but even the LNP didn’t get behind Kyle.

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
Abandoning this is something far right people advocate at least once a year.
Usually being miffed over someone from centre being allowed to refute all their crazed claims that the Muslims have eaten all the jelly babies, but so far balance is being left alone.

16 abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
 Is considered unlikely.

17 end local content requirements for Australian television stations
Local content rules are the only reason shows are made (and then exported – yes, this is what’s to blame for both Neighbours and Home & Away) in Australia.

Tv stations have been complaining about this since the rules began, and as many of the IPA members own at least bits of TV stations it’s not surprising to see it listed. But there’s no trace of current plans.

18 eliminate family tax benefits
Nearly gone. Abbott did for some (or at least his treasurer, Joe “I enjoy being cruel to people who subsist on 20k a year” Hockey did). Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to disappear the rest. Or not – “However the government will abolish family tax benefit end-of-the-year supplements worth up to $726 a year per child. This will be phased out by 2018.”

19 Abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Tony Abbott really tried to mess this up, and it’s gone through so many incarnations, with the latest linked here (same article as Family Tax Benefits).

I don’t pretend to understand it. Other than PLP’s probably for 20 weeks and it’s been changed so many times nobody’s really sure wtf is going on.

20 Means–test Medicare
They’ve tried bringing in co-payments for doctors’ visits, ignoring that the poorest already pay something for many tests, at least a token $5.30-6.30 for scripts, and often more than a token for any specialist appointments (memorable was the specialist who charged $550 which about $120 could be refunded from Medicare – and one had to pay up front, not like people with medical insurance).

The sick and unemployed and old are trying to pay for these extra expenses out of a benefit supposed to be enough to live on without extra medical costs because MEDICINE WAS FREE.

The co-payment bombed – even bulk-billing doctors weren’t in favour, though stuck with frozen Medicare fees since 2013 or so (a temporary $ saving put in place by Julia Gillard, then grasped with fervour by the LNP, thinking they could force all doctors to move off Medicare and into only private practice).

So the LNP have chiselled away, taking away Medicare rebates for many tests, putting drugs off the PBS (which means whatever the drug company wants to charge, the end user has to pay) and making the lives of the sick harder.

Stuff like criminalising anyone who uses codeine for pain (have to show your driver’s licence and be on a national register). Also the same for pseudoephedrine, which yes, is used to make meth, but ffs, some of us used it for hayfever, and can’t any more because the intrusive questions at point of sale got too much to bear.

The LNP feel all fuzzy and warm over this harassment, to the point where many of them have had to go buy another investment property just to celebrate.

Next, 21 on…

21 end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the Dept of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
“The Coalition dissolved the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, splintering it into the Department of Industry and the Department of the Environment soon after election. However, their functions remain essentially the same.” From Crikey

22 introduce voluntary voting
This hasn’t happened – but it’s being put forward because it would help the Right wing stay in power forever. Australia’s compulsory voting means the Left has a chance. Conservative voters are better organised, more likely to turn out, worldwide – it’s why Margaret Thatcher, for instance, was able to stay in power all those years. She barely got 30% of the actual voters, but because so many didn’t vote at all, she was elected on that. Like Trump in the USA.

23 end mandatory disclosures on political donations
They haven’t managed this, but they’re trying. Malcolm Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the Liberal Party but didn’t disclose it until quite recently – their usual donors got cranky when Abbott was removed as PM, so Turnbull helped out, or ‘bought the prime ministership’ as some people (one of them might have been me) unkindly put it.

GetUp estimates 85% of political donations aren’t declared anyway, being ‘laundered’ through various entities.

24 end media blackout in final days of election campaign
This is probably going to be kept – the LNP announced billions in cuts during the blackout, that nobody heard about until after the 2013 election. Which they won.

25 end public funding to political parties
IPA wanted this, political parties didn’t. Simple.

26 remove anti-dumping laws
Wtf is it? Dumping cheap (below cost) goods in a market, usually with aim of destroying local industry, providing afterwards a captive market for the not quite so cheap any more goods.

Interestingly, Abbott didn’t support it.

However, people like Alan Oxley “an Australian academic, a lobbyist for free trade agreements, a climate change skeptic and trenchant critic of the Kyoto protocol along with being a supporter of cutting down forests in Asia to grow palm oil, keep #26 alive, in articles like this one.

Free trade is their grail – local industries can go fk themselves or move their manufacturing to China.

27 eliminate media ownership restrictions
They’ve achieved this one, or will soon – and Australia, already the most concentrated media ownership in the world, will get worse. Country people will lose out most, as restrictions that stopped one company from owning every outlet in Australia have been dropped completely.

Rupert Murdoch’s name springs immediately to mind, and of course, he’s a member of the IPA – his dad started it. Gina Rinehart also enjoys buying into media outlets and is said to be the one who bought Andrew Bolt his show.

We can only hope Unca Rupe’s enjoying all those LNP tongues up his arse – he’s been wanting this to happen since the 1970’s – possibly before.

28 abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
We understand why the IPA, who live overseas at least part of the year, are in favour of free markets, free speech, and free money for their mates.

So far, the LNP haven’t been interested.

29 eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
A victory for Big Tobacco, Big Food, and Big Booze. Supposed to be absorbed into Health, but Crikey say end result is cessation of its good works.

30 cease subsidising the car industry
Done and dusted. Because a few towns outside Tony Abbott’s electorate dying doesn’t matter to him.

Anyway, this is where i think we’re at…. those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be.

THE IPA’S 100 IDEAS TO TRANSFORM AUSTRALIA

  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 benefit will be undone
  2. abolish the Dept of Climate Change

  3. abolish the Clean Energy Fund
  4. repeal section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act
  5. abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
  6. repeal the Renewable Energy Target
  7. return income taxing powers to the states
  8. abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
  9. abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  10. withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
  11. introduce fee competition to Australian universities

  12. repeal the National curriculum

  13. introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

  14. abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  15. eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
  16. abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
  17. end local content requirements for Australian television stations
  18. eliminate family tax benefits

  19. abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
  20. means–test Medicare
  21. end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the dept of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education
  1. introduce voluntary voting
  2. end mandatory disclosures on political donations
  3. end media blackout in final days of election campaign
  4. end public funding to political parties
  5. remove anti-dumping laws
  6. eliminate media ownership restrictions

  7. abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
  8. eliminate the national preventative health agency

  9. cease subsidising the car industry

Only 6 out of this 30 done, and 4 about to happen – 10/30.

Now the rest of the list – research cursory so it’s bound to change. Again those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be. …

  1. formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
  2. rule out federal funding for 2018 commonwealth games
  3. deregulate the parallel importation of books
  4. end preferences for industry super funds in workplace relations law
  5. legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
  6. legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of the budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
  7. force government agencies to put all their spending online in a searchable database
  8. repeal plain packaging for cigarettes & rule it out for all other products, incl alcohol & fast food
  9. reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
  10. introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
  11. repeal the alcopops tax
  12. introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including
    a) lower personal income tax for residents
    b) significantly expanded 457 visa program for workers
    c) encourage the construction of dams
  13. repeal the mining tax

  14. devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

  15. introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax free threshold
  16. cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25%

  17. cease funding the Australia Network

  18. privatise Australia Post
  19. privatise Medibank

  20. break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    (or cut funding, and put someone sympathetic to the right in charge – tick!)
  21. privatise SBS
  22. reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
  23. repeal the Fair Work Act
  24. allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
  25. encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
  26. abolish the Baby Bonus

  27. abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
  28. allow the Northern Territory to become a state

  29. halve the size of the coalition from 32 to 16
    (“Abbott’s first cabinet was made up of 19 members, close to the IPA’s ideal number of 16.” This doesn’t count the three or four junior or assistant ministers for every minister. Turnbull’s first cabinet shot up to 26.)
  30. remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    (Some done – S Korea, Japan, and China. Trans Pacific Partnership not signed yet, let’s hope US exit makes ours less likely.)
  31. slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the USA
  32. end all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    (Arts slashed, sports not so much.)
  33. privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    (No – even Cory “I started my own RWNJ party” Bernardi  loves the AIS.)
  34. end all hidden protectionist measures, such as preference for local manufacturers in government tendering
    (Officially, not done – but French submarines, Australia?)
  35. abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
  36. rule out any government-supported or mandated internet classification
  37. means-test tertiary student loans
  38. allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    (This one freaked me out – people without pensions, starving in the street – but so far not being done, though super’s been cut.)
  39. immediately halt construction of the national broadband network & privatise any sections that have already been built (See last post for discussion of this. Not yet is the short answer.)
  40. end all government funded nanny state advertising
  41. reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
  42. privatise the CSIRO
    (Massive funding cuts leading to dreadful staff cuts, often privatisation precursor but so far no.)
  43. defund Harmony Day
    (It was former Liberal PM John Howard’s baby – so no. Perhaps just announce that you’re going to legalise hatespeech ON Harmony Day?)
  44. close the Office for Youth
  45. privatise the Snowy River Scheme

  46. have state premiers appoint high court justices
  47. allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament
  48. extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes
  49. abolish the Federal Department of Health and return health policy to the states
    (Billions ripped from it, but not abolished)
  50. abolish the Federal Department of Education and return education policy to the states
  51. repeal any new mandatory data retention laws
  52. abolish the Human Rights Commission
    (or just persecute Gillian Triggs, now former President of the HRC)
  53. have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight
    (or just have Royal Commissions into unions – ignore public outcry for one into banking – and bring in laws to gaol anyone making secret payments to unions for 10 yrs. While allowing your own ministers, and yourself, to rort or ‘not tell the truth on time‘ without penalty.)
  54. end all public funding to unions and employer associations
  55. repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act
  56. extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the USA
  57. negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea
  58. restore all fundamental legal rights to all existing Commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence
  59. adhere to section 51 (xxxi) of the constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation
  60. repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power
  61. allow full competition on all foreign air routes
  62. abolish the Medicare levy surcharge
  63. abolish the luxury car tax
  64. halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed
  65. abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry
  66. make all government payments to external parties publically available including the terms and condition of those payments
  67. abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry
  68. cease the practice of setting up government funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian constitution
  69. rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines

  70. abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging

Another 7 done, 2 pending (NT to become a state in 2018), which brings the totals to 19/100.

Funnily, I can only conclude the IPA is not ruling Australia – who knew? I bet the right wingers in the audience are mortified. The IPA are getting some of what they want, (not quite 20% so far), but the LNP has ruled out a lot of what they want, or has even promised the opposite.

I know political promises are not worth anything, but what i’m seeing is that the IPA are in opposition to the Liberal National Party Coalition on a fair number of points, or the vote loss means the LNP are too canny to consider granting more IPA wishes.

Yet.

What’s happening now? Cuts to company tax, to the rates paid by the rich, and to Sunday pay rates for the poorest of workers. Cutting staff numbers, cutting funding (then “oops it’s not running well, we’d better privatise it”).

All these are the way the Coalition roll.

So let’s be aware, and ready to fight the next big idea the LNP claim is all their own.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 


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


Welcome to the future!

It’s finally happened, after 6 years of serious pining, i’ve got a smartphone. Android, which is what i wanted – i’m just not an i-Person. And it was free – you can’t get better than that unless you’ve been paid to have a phone, in which case yr the kewlest kid of all.

Me, i was about to lose connectivity (my old phone was 10 yrs old and about to be obsolescent) and Telstra gave me a phone – talk about freaking surprised. I’m busy catching up with all those things everyone else has been doing for years – yes, swiping, looking at apps and trying to get my phone to understand my speaking voice. Which it does! Coming in late on tech can be great, you get something that works pretty well right out of the gate.

Continue reading


Phew… wait, omigod, noooo!

I just finished what should have been the final edit. Yeah, you detected the ‘should’ bit. It’s so long since i even looked at most of the trilogy i have no idea if it’s even slightly ready for publication. However, with it having been now nearly 5 years since i published the first book, i’m way over time.

What I’d really like to do is print out and run through it red-pencil. Well, if we’re talking about ‘likes’ i’d like to pay someone else to edit it but that’s not going to happen. I am my own editor and luckily, unlike most, it’s something i have done professionally and was trained to do. One’s own work can be tricky, but leave enough time between writing and savagely cutting the dribble editing, and it’s possible to get enough distance.

So, i’ve reached a compromise. I’ll read through each book, with the view simply to reduce length, (and i read over a thousand words a minute, so it won’t take as long as that sounds). Then i’ll publish. It will give me time to sort out my tax status with Smashwords and the Australian government, and to figure out wtf i’m going to do about marketing.

I’m thinking perhaps I should try semaphore, as waving flags would at least give me exercise, or perhaps morse code with a torch – which has the advantage that it could be done after hours and from a great distance in case someone takes offence.

There’s the problem with marketing, i don’t really want me to be part of it. I don’t want to write under my real name and especially, I don’t want to be a celebrity. For me, the books are what’s important. I’m not in the books, at least not completely, so why I need to get my tits out for the cause, figuratively speaking, i don’t know.

A voracious reader, I can consume an average novel in a day, and don’t care who the author is fucking. Celebritydom is inclined to put me off a person’s work, not bring me to pick the book up and read. So marketing will be much the same as before – i’ll blog, tweet, beg, give away copies in competitions. If i’m ever invited, i’ll happily meet people at a convention but until i get to publishing paper copies, i don’t think that’s something to even consider.

At least this time, i’ll know not to mark it “adult” – which made Book 1 completely invisible to everyone except porn-hunters for the first 10 weeks after publication.

Which reminds me, part of my exile from Twitter involved reading a lot. If you haven’t read these people already, do. I haven’t named genres, simply because i think good books cross genres, and can be read by anyone, all you have to do is like a good read. Or if you love good writing. I can actually just read these people, i don’t have the omnipresent Editor Inside saying, “oh dear, look at all the typos!” and distracting me from the plot.

  • Daniel Polansky. Fabulous. Simply fabulous. Buy his books, then lose yourself in the worlds he creates. I’ve read his Low Town series, and have two from the Empty Throne series ready to read – i am looking forward to them so much.  http://www.danielpolansky.com/
  • John Sandford. Funny, intriguing, smart. And sexy. Not bad for books usually set in Minnesota. (A much under-rated state, i loved it when i visited, in case any Minnesotans are reading this.) Sandford’s Prey series are uniformly very good, his characters Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers are likeable multifaceted guys who feel like old friends, and showing he’s not a one-trick pony, his co-authorship (with Ctein) Saturn Run is brilliant. http://www.johnsandford.org/
  • J.D. Robb. (also writes as Norah Roberts) Her Of Death series is a fascinating dip into the not-so-distant future, with interesting characters, deft humour and sizzling sex. Oh, and bad guys and girls of all kinds. I didn’t enjoy her Norah Roberts books, (too much romance for me, it’s one genre i’m not happy to wallow in), but you might. http://www.jdrobb.com/
  • James Lee Burke. He’s always good, but i’m besotted with his Dave Robicheaux series.  Flawed heroes as intensely painted as the sometimes skin-crawling villains, in a vision of America’s Deep South so vivid and beautiful you can see the bayou and smell the barbecuing shrimp, with the leavening of inequality and corruption a bitter aftertaste on the back of your tongue. http://jamesleeburke.com/
  • Jeffrey Deaver. The best til last? This is stellar company, but Mr Deaver can stand tall here. A master storyteller, he can scare you, move you, and always, make you turn the page. http://www.jefferydeaver.com/

I don’t care what these people are doing in their lives, their work is what attracts me. I’m hopeful my work will stand alone too. However, i’d love the kind of PR machine they get from having a paper publication deal, don’t get me wrong. (I’m not nuts!)

copyright 2016 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


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


Sorry, Forgot You Were There…

I did mutter something on Twitter about delaying publication, but it’s not really enough. So, here’s the thing. Due to circumstances beyond my control, Book 2 was delayed. I was ready to publish, edits done.

The time while i waited gave me thinking space.

****

Book 2 is now not going to be released until i finish Book 3. Book 2 is complete, the Beta Readers loved it. No doubt I’ll do another edit, but due to those circumstances i couldn’t control, I was going to have to delay the release.

Book 2 took longer than I thought, about nine months, and I had a lot written to start with. It’s really good though, I’m glad I took the time. I hadn’t announced a publication date, wary of possibly having to change it, but was planning to release the book mid-April, and people did know I was close to publication, so figure I need to let them know I’m now finishing the trilogy first.

I’m learning from experience, at least in places. Book 1 suffered from a lack of promotion. The sales figures speak for themselves. It has only sold when I had time to promote it, despite being in the 10 top-rated books on Smashwords for nearly 12 months, and with a free sample (20% of the book) for anyone to look at.

I didn’t have time for promotions, being busy writing Book 2. Something for those self-publishing to remember, you really are doing everything yourself. I’ve decided I need time to promote the trilogy properly. I had already said to a number of people that I was glad that I self-published, but that it would have been easier if I’d resisted the pressure to put Book 1 out, and instead got the trilogy done first.

In my defence, I was planning a paper edition only a month before publication, which would have been easier, as being epublished (with no paper version) meant being in the forefront of a new publishing paradigm. Because i’d been planning for paper publication, being shafted that time (the person who was going to invest in me was just messing with my head for fun) meant when it all blew up, i was actually adrift without a plan at all.

For a while there I wasn’t sure epublishing would catch on, but fortunately for me, the Kindle and other ereaders have become commonplace. In the meantime, I’ll be re-releasing Book 1 – The Birthday Dragon – after a last run-through to remove stubborn typo’s. It will be Edition 4. Am sure I’ll get it right eventually.

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. 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 has noticed that the Crown Prince is in love with Polo or that the half-brother with the eating disorder is trying to kill him, and Mother’s still in denial over Father’s alcoholism. Polo doesn’t know where he fits in, but discovers that shapechanging is harder than it looks.

Adventure with more than one twist, set in a vivid new world where Men might be Dragons.

The story hasn’t changed, the editing is just a little more coherent, and there are fewer typos. The sheep are still suicidal and Polo Shawcross still has the kind of appeal he’s quite happy to take full advantage of. He still ends up escaping the farm, getting tangled in the machinations around the throne, and learning about the sexual possibilities of vegetables from the wife of the Kavar ambassador.

Thanks to all the people who encouraged and assisted me in getting The Thing this far. It’s called The Thing because it’s part of this Thing. It’s huge, I’ve been writing in this universe for over a decade, learning about it.

Always, at the birth of the Dragon Kingdom, there was a hero.  I couldn’t help wondering, what was he really like? The man from the songs and the legends, the man who united Theus. And so, I sat down with Polo Shawcross and his journals, and began to take notes.

****

My sincere apologies to those lovely people waiting. I have no new publication date other than I’m hoping to get it done this year. I’m not starting from scratch with Book 3, but I may not make it inside 2012.

Thanks for your patience.

copyright 2012 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I will never do that…

I was never going to learn to type – no kidding, this was when i was growing up last century (horses and carts weren’t even invented yet, because they only came after electricity, but we had manual typewriters and iceskates, even in Western Australia).

You see, if i learned to type, i’d never escape the steno pool – in 1975, a woman with ambition did not learn to type. Being typists was something women did in droves before men learned to use computers (email happened) and made the steno pool obsolete.

Steno is short for stenographer – someone who took shorthand (a form of hieroglyphs men couldn’t read), and operated the Gestetner machine and made it spit blurry purple copies. Men didn’t know how it or typewriters worked. All that stuff was women’s work. (No, am not joking at all.)

To my disgust, when they wouldn’t let me do woodwork at school i had to learn typing instead. To my surprise, it came in very handy, as though i’d discarded my idea of being a poet, turned out being a writer was something i wasn’t going to grow out of, and of course, computers were about to change the world completely.

I also learned to sew, much against my will, forced once more to do it while the boys did woodwork or metalwork. It too turned out to be stunningly handy, and i really think everyone should learn at least to sew a button back on. Meanwhile, as electricity was introduced, along with hair-dryers, (in my early 20’s, back before there was internets), I discovered computers.

I did not want to learn computers. At all. However, there was this game. Like many people before me, i was hooked. I don’t remember the name of it, but it came on a cassette tape. Yeah, it was the Dark Ages of Computing.

By the mid-80’s things were moving much faster – and the lights no longer dimmed when the rich woman down the road started up her electric toothbrush. Though i do wonder, in these days of moar RAM than a girl can swallow comfortably, how in the name of God did i write my first book on a machine with only 20 megabytes of disk space and a RAM so low it was in triple-kilobytes? (360k i think.)

The only way to accommodate the hugeness of my average-size 125,000 word scifi fantasy – basically a small text file by today’s standards – was to split it into small enough chunks. I kept splitting it until it was loading in seconds, not minutes. Yeah, that 125,000 ended up cut down to twenty chapters that each were separate documents, so the machine didn’t choke.

I fought against learning to cook. Oh teh stupid! Cooking is a joy, a pleasure, an expression of art, sustaining and tasty all at the same time. Being able to feed oneself something fabulous (as simple as good bread), is cool. Fortunately i absorbed quite a bit from being around women cooking and then being forced to attend cooking classes at school.

I was never going to …. well, pick almost anything i said NEVER to. It seemed the Great Siamese Cat in the Sky liked to mess with my head, and if i said NEVER, it was a guarantee the thing would happen.

I was never going to self-publish. Oh har-de-freaking-har.

copyright 2011 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.

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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.

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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/