Out with the old, in with something else

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

It feels kinda sad posting this. I have two incomplete posts that I wrote since The Serene Wombles, but I’ve been going through massive amounts of change up in Womble Towers, and I just couldn’t give my blog all the attention it deserves, so it’s been pretty quiet around here since October.

The summary is that my job was getting beyond busy, so in late November handed in my notice to focus on finishing my PhD, on which I am staggeringly behind, and live off proofreading (and a little help from my family). Which is all pretty massively scary. The last few weeks at my job were beyond intense as I worked to pass on seven years’ accumulated knowledge whilst helping to finish off a major project that needed to be done by Christmas. Then there was Christmas. Then I was ill, probably in part because I’d run myself into the ground again. And now I’m heading into the New Year and a new life. A life where I work from home, proofreading and copy editing, and in which I work intensely to find my feet again in my benighted PhD in a rush to finish.

I’m feeling pretty good about the working from home, thing. Not so good about how much work I have to do for the PhD. Pretty worried about failing after devoting what’s going to end up being about 8 years of my life to it. Feeling strongly that one’s early 20s are a bad time to make major life commitments, and yet, sadly, that the way our society works is to push us very hard to do so.

But I’m here, and the next six months have to be devoted to finishing the blasted thing off – because I’m damned if I’m going to have been through all this for nothing.

On the plus side, I’m feeling pretty good about my writing and my contributions to blogging and activism. Which has been building for a while, but sort of cemented in the way that one of my posts on Tumblr took off over the Christmas period. I say ‘took off’ – it has about 300 notes, whereas a successful post on Tumblr can expect anything from tens of thousands, to millions of notes. (That’s ‘likes’ and ‘rebloggings’ for those who don’t Tumbl.) But it’s good for me. The post was a rewrite of Star Wars from Princess Leia’s perspective, highlighting the fact that Leia is consistently the most competent of any of the Star Wars characters, that the story of the rebellion can be told with virtually no reference to Luke, and that a choice to tell the story from Leia’s perspective (the tough, skilled, intelligent, idealistic young politician turned uncompromising freedom fighter) could in many ways make the tale more interesting. Which is not to diss Star Wars. I love Luke’s tale, and I think a lot of credit is due to George Lucas for writing such a complex, interesting, and capable female character – one which is still lightyears ahead of most of what’s permitted to reach the screens today. I kinda feel like Katniss (from The Hunger Games) is Leia’s daughter from another Galaxy, you know?

Anyway, the point is, I wrote this – like many things I write on Tumblr: because it was the fusion of a lot of things I’d been thinking about for a long time, because I was angry with how the world is, and because I still see hope for how it can be different – I wrote it expecting it to be another shot off into the darkness that’s reblogged anything from zero to a dozen times, and then forgotten. But it’s still going. Every day I find someone new has reblogged it and set off a fluttering of new likes and reblogs in response. (Much thanks to Nick J Barlow, who seems to be the nexus of a lot of the reblogs. He’s a pretty awesome dude if you want to follow him on Tumblr or Twitter.) And more than just liking or reblogging it, people say things like:



Dammit, now I wanna see this.


I would watch/read this. Hundreds of times.


All of which is not only really sweet and flattering, but made me feel like I really do have a perspective that other people want to hear – that other people want to hear stories told from. There’s been a change in the water, this past year, about diversity and the sort of roles we give to women, and people of colour, and people who do not fit neatly into heteronormative and CIS-normative naratives, and I want to be a part of that. I think I could be a good force within that, and I want to do that. I wrote more about my thoughts on this matter here. I’m not saying that that post is all that’s behind that feeling. More like it marked a point of cumulation of impetus.

But damned if I’m gonna give up on this PhD without a fight. A lot of the time it feels like I’m the only person who really thinks I can do it. But I do think that. So. First things first. I have to finish my thesis.

What this means for this blog is that updates will probably continue to be rather sporadic for the next six or seven months. But after that… watch this space. There’s a change in the wind, and I want to be a part of it.

Lazy Vegetarian Recipes #1: Pasta, Vegetables, and Pesto

A friend of mine has recently gone vegetarian, and was asking me for recipes for healthy, cheap, tasty vegetarian meals. This is a question I often get asked a lot – actually, he’s asked me in the past, as he cooked for me a lot – and my answers aren’t always that helpful. This is in part because it’s really easy to make tasty, cheap vegetarian meals – often it just means substituting some other kind of protein for the meat. However, it is also really easy to make veggie food that tastes like shit just because you’ve never worked with the non-meat protein of choice before. And vegetarian cook books aren’t a lot of help; they usually include a lot of fancy vegetables, sauces, and seasonings that you wouldn’t usually buy and/or which are hard to obtain and expensive and/or take ages to prepare.

And fuck that for a laugh, right?

So, I’ve decided to take some ownership here and say that if there are myths about veggie foods I should provide the goods to show people how not to make the easy mistakes and how to cook food you’ll like cheaply. I’m not good at following recipes, so many of these dishes will be of my own concoction and will not have names (or at least, no names I’m aware of), but the food itself will be the sort of food that I, someone with little patience for cooking and no funds for expensive ingredients, would be happy to make at least semi-regularly.

Today’s meal is literally what I just had for lunch, and it tastes amazing.

Pasta, Vegetables, and Pesto

Makes three, but can be expanded easily with more pasta or veg. Just remember: if you keep upping the pasta and not the veg you’ll need to make sure you have some more veg in one of your other meals to make up your five a day.

Takes 15-20mins

Estimated cost per serving (standard version): 96p
Estimated cost per serving (with extras): £1.10

You will need:

Some pasta (two handfuls per meal, so six handfuls for three meals – I used fusilli, but rotini, penne, conchiglie, farfalle, or any smallish pasta shape should work)
1 red onion
1 bell pepper (sweeter is better (orange, red, yellow); green will work OK, but it’s a bit bitter for the mix and you’re gonna put other green vegetables in)
Spinach – several handfuls; this stuff will wilt down to nothing, so don’t be timid, I wouldn’t use more than half a bag, though
Mushrooms – you can really dress this dish up by using a fancy mushroom, but closed-cup will do; at least six to ten, more if your budget allows
1/3 of a jar of pesto (or whatever, you can vary for taste or budget)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil – ahahaha, only kidding, I don’t measure this shit! I just put ‘some’ in, but I estimate 1-2 tablespoons; whatever you’d usually use for a fry-up job

Optional extras:
1 clove of garlic
3-5 broccoli florets
2-3 cauliflower florets
Or whatever the hell you fancy.

I say these are optional because I would usually put broccoli in (broccoli is full of so much good shit I don’t even know where to begin), and I just tried cauliflower and it was fine, but I know it’s not an intuitive pairing, and if you’re not used to experimenting with vegetables it may seem strange. I imagine julienne cut parsnips or carrots would be awesome, but I haven’t tried it.


Get a large saucepan and fill it with water (you can heat the water up in the kettle first to save time, if you like). Set it to a high heat and leave it alone for a bit.

Put another large saucepan on a medium-hot hob (3-4 on my electric oven, whatever that means) and put in the oil.

Cut up your onion into longish slices. I usually top and tail the onion, then cut in half lengthwise, then just slice each half lengthwise in strips no wider than my little finger… but I have tiny-ass hands; let’s say 3/4 of a cm to 1 cm.

Swirl the warm oil around the base of the saucepan to make sure it’s all covered, then add the onion. If you’re gonna add garlic, chop it up and do that now. stir periodically to stop it from burning.

You want to move from hard to soft with your other vegetables, so if you’re using broccoli or cauliflower, cut these up and add them next as they’ll take the longest to cook. Break off sub florets so that a) your broccoli doesn’t dwarf all the other veg, and b) they look like tiny trees. Chop up and left-over stalk into thin strips and use that too.

Next the pepper, then the spinach, then the mushrooms. I recommend strip-cutting for the pepper and the mushrooms, mostly for aesthetic reasons and to make them easy to skewer with your fork. The spinach just grab and tear up a little.

At some point whilst you’re chopping your vegetables, the water in your other saucepan will start to boil. Add your pasta and stir periodically.

Now you’re just waiting for the pasta to be done. This should usually take about 10mins from when the pasta goes in.

Drain the pasta when ready and add the pesto to the vegetables. Add the pasta. Stir until the pesto is evenly mixed.


If you’re saving any for another day (it works great cold for lunches) put it immediately into plastic tubs and add the lid to keep the pasta moist and soft.

Nutrition facts*:

Most vegetables are a source of protein, especially mushrooms, but meals with lentils, tofu, quorn, and TVP are better, so make sure you’re not trying to get by solely on this sort of light meal.

Also watch out for your iron content. I’ve included spinach, here, but bear in mind that spinach is a source of non-heme iron, which is harder for the body to absorb, and spinach contains other chemicals that inhibit iron uptake. Vitamin C is a good enabler of iron uptake, and broccoli is a good source of both vitamin C and iron, which is why I try to eat a lot of it. Also: MINI TREES. Curly Kale is also recommended as a better source of iron than spinach, but I’m not a fan – and so it goes…

*Note: I am not an expert, and you should always read around a bit yourself and possibly consult your doctor if you are thinking of going veggie, especially if you have specific health needs.

Announcing the Serene Slumber Party

A black kitten sleeping

I’m currently trying to produce a complete draft of my thesis for the PhD I’ve been working on since… I dunno anymore – the dawn of time. This is a terrifying enterprise from which I can be very easily persuaded to run away, and reviewing science fiction and fantasy things over here is one of the more time consuming ways I have of procrastinating. I have therefore invited some exciting guests over to Womblevonia to hang out and blog in my place for the next few weeks so that I’m not tempted, and you guys still have exciting geek and speculative fiction related things to read.

This post will slowly become an exciting index for the posts of my Slumber Party guests. Stay tuned for the first guest post, by Jessica Meats, which will be up and at them later today.

Serene Slumber Party guest number 1: Jessica Meats, Strong Characters

Box Art

Now that Christmas has passed and all presents have been given, I am liberty to post them in the world.

A local shop started selling these nice-but-plain-looking wooden boxes, you see. And as I’ve got a bit of a black and silver paint thing going on at the moment, I thought it might be quite effective to paint them up in such colours, especially as a very dear friend had a significant birthday approaching, and I couldn’t afford to get her anything exciting. And so, came the first box*:

Box 1 from 1st angle

Box 1 from 2nd angle

Box 1 from top

Box 1 from 3rd angle

Box 1 from 4th angle

I was really pleased with the effect, so I did another one as a Christmas present, this time on a tentacle theme for a friend of the Lovecraftian persuasion:

Second box from front first angle

Second box from front 2nd angle

Second box from back 1st angle

Second Box from back 2nd angle

But the one that took me the longest, and of which I am now most proud was one I made for a friend who’s been there for me a lot over the last few years and who watches Game of Thrones with me (her husband has, too, if he’s reading, but after I made this I didn’t have time to make one for him and so got him Darth Vader chocolate/ice cube moulds instead):

Game of Thrones front

Game of Thrones top

Game of thrones top and front

Game of Thrones box front, side, and top

Game of Thrones box from side

Game of Thrones side, back, and top 1

Game of Thrones box back, side, and top 2


When I first started this I really had no comprehension of the work it would involve, but I am nonetheless pleased with the results. You can see here the sigils of the houses of the contenders for the Iron Throne: Lannister (lion) and Stark (dire wolf) fight it out on the front, embodying more typical coat of arms poses; Baratheon (the stag) is on the side, to the right hand of the Starks, sheltering under a weirwood tree; on the back is the kraken of house Greyjoy, its tentacles sprawling with the branches of the tree onto the top; coming from the back round onto the side is the three-headed dragon of the Targaryens, with the flowers of the Tyrells just edging up the side.

Anyway, once I was finished I wanted it for myself, which I think is always a sign of a good present.

*Please excuse the poor camera skills throughout. It said it was running out of battery, so I rather rushed things… now suspect if may have been lying.

Today In Search of the Happiness Max has topped 50,000 hits!


I feel like I ought to have something more intelligent to say about this happenstance, but I’m a bit tired, so I’m afraid it’s all going to get a bit Tumblr-y. By which I mean to say: Let the reaction gifs commence!


Aww Yisss

Daleks Party

The Doctor Parties

The Tenth Doctor Parties

Batman and Robin Party

Fred and George

Arya takes a bow.

Lee Pace smiling

I like to imagine all the above came to party in this post. Except the baby. And probably the owl. I’m just saying, it would be a good party.

Rest well, Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon

I don’t quite know how to describe my feelings. A few minutes ago, NBC Nightly News tweeted: ‘#BREAKING: Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, has died at age 82, NBC News has learned‘, and then: ‘#BREAKING: More on the death of Neil Armstrong: he passed away at 2:45pm ET; suffered complications following heart surgery‘. And for the first time I realised that I had tacitly assumed he was immortal. Like landing on the Moon had somehow made him so. Because he defined an era and changed the world – changed forever the feats that human beings had shown they could achieve. Walked on another world, and spoken to us from there.

It’s not lost on me that I got this news near-instantaneously via a sort of communication that couldn’t even have been dreamed of at the time. Yet it is not the Internet and Twitter that are the stuff of science fiction, now; walking on the Moon is. Only a short time ago NASA’s Curiosity landed on Mars and started sending back startling images, and we all felt somehow stirred to discover the wit and humanity of the people who did this as we watched them hugging each other, became obsessed with one man’s hair, and started following Curiosity’s endearingly first-person Twitter feed. But we’ve stopped reaching out there ourselves. Even as commercial space flight becomes a possibility, I find myself wondering if we will see people working on other worlds again within my life time.

With the death of Neil Armstrong I can’t help but feel that an age has passed. Like the Space Age was something we could pretend was still going on as long as he was alive, but now we must concede that this has become an Inner-Space Age, where we explore each other’s inner feelings by spilling them out electronically around the world, and hold back from leaving the world ourselves.

But maybe it doesn’t have to be like that. Maybe we can stop pointing to Neil, now, and saying ‘Look! See? Men have walked on the Moon!’. Maybe we can stop pinning our imagination on dreams of the past and start thinking about going there ourselves. I used to be such a big sci-fi nut. I loved space and everything about it. But more and more I’ve found myself turning to fantasy. I think maybe because I realised that I would never walk on strange new worlds – that no one in my time, at least, would meet new civilisations. That we had stopped going, boldly or otherwise, beyond the bounds of our Earth. And a certain sort of novel started to feel more of sadness than of joy.

So, rest well, Neil. You did something few men could claim to, and fewer women. The world changed today. It became a little colder, a little smaller. But I am still moved by the dream you embodied for us these 43 years. I hope we can restore it to life again in your memory.


So, I haven’t watched and reviewed The Hollow Crown, Part II, yet. This is basically because I woke up at 12 noon and went ‘Oh, yeah, I guess I really was tired, just like I told my doctor before he gave me iron tablets for anaemia’. In stead, I focused my efforts on trying to become a superhero. You can find out more about my journey to become Super-Ro on a new tumblr I have made to chart my progress, here.

My First SFX Weekender

There were many things I loved about the weekend I spent in Prestatyn, flying the Angry Robot table at the SFX Weekender. There were also a couple of things that were mindlessly irritating, and one thing that was fairly disgusting. This is not how I wanted to begin my account of the weekend. How I was going to begin it until about 15mins before calling it a night on Saturday, was like this:

‘If you’ve not danced in the same room as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Captain Picard, Tron, and Bananaman, you haven’t lived.’

What changed that was really the last straw of something I’d been trying to grin and bear the whole weekend. I’m talking about the semi-naked women. No, not the slave-Leias – those ladies do that because they want to fulfil their own fantasies, and I respect that, especially when they’re braving the gold bikini on the coast of Wales in February – I’m talking about the women hired by SFX as entertainment, where the entertainment consisted of walking around in little but a thin film of silver spandex, on stilts, trailing men with cameras. I’d heard the complaints about them last year, and was appalled that nothing had been done to even out the score.

Let me be absolutely clear on this: I’m not appalled by the women – they’re doing a job and I imagine they’re extroverted types who are drawn to the work; neither am I appalled by the concept of employing people to dress up in risqué SF and fantasy costumes to entertain the punters. What I’m complaining about is the complete lack of equality. It sends a completely different message to employ only young women to walk around wearing very little with the deliberate purpose of titillating men in a purely objectifying fashion. (They may well have been titillating some of the women too, but I don’t think that was the aim.) It’s clear by such a decision that the organisers neither considered that heterosexual women might want a bit of harmless titillation, too, nor how discomforting it would be for the female attendees to have to endure the constant leering of their male companions without any similar outlet to balance it out.

It was deeply discomforting to have to listen to the constant comments whenever they were around; deeply disappointing that nothing similar had been laid on for me. But I tried to set it aside. I assumed it would be done after the trading room closed and the evening events began. Yet there I was, partying with the Lukes and the Leias, the Picards and the Uhuras, feeling like this was the closest I would ever get to a genuine alien disco, and there were superheroes there too, and I saw them: the same women from the daytime-posing, now dancing on stage wearing nothing but tiny black straps and lightbulbs over their crotches and breasts, reducing them to giant glowing versions of their sexual characteristics.

Instant buzz kill.

I wasn’t the only woman who felt this way. And the thing is this: no one would have minded if there were some semi-naked chaps strutting around for the het ladies and gay fellas to enjoy as well. It’s much less objectifying if the sexual desires of the other genders and sexual preferences are being recognised, too. It was a real shame that something so easy to rectify should sour what had been working out to be one of the best discos of my life.

So, yeah, there was that.

The other problems were fairly endurable. The accommodation was terrible. If buildings had personalities, Pontins would be a little old woman whose grandchildren never visit and who can’t really look after herself anymore, but refuses to have a carer in to help. Most of the windows in our ‘chalet’ didn’t close properly, and one was hanging off its hinges. There was no mirror. The heaters were ineffectual, and the beds were singularly uncomfortable. Oh, and we had no hot water for the first day, so I endured the coldest shower of my life.

But I didn’t come to Pontins for a luxury holiday experience; I came to hang out with awesome people dressed in awesome clothes talking about awesome geeky things. At the end of the day the poor accommodation instilled a sort of camaraderie: ‘Yours doesn’t have a mirror? Ours doesn’t have a microwave! And have you seen our sofa bed?!’ I can’t say I ever want to experience that sort of accommodation again, but for a weekend it was endurable.

My experience of the various panels was limited, due to my duties on the stall, but that’s OK, I come to conventions to socialise, for the most part, anyway. The panels I did get to see were fantastic. I especially enjoyed the Q & A with Eve Myles. Anyone who’s read my reviews of Torchwood: Miracle Day will know that I’m recently converted to Eve Myles fandom. I thought she was absolutely fantastic in TMD, both as an actor and as a realistic female action hero. It was wonderful, then, to discover that she was such a wonderful, open, entertaining speaker, as well. I enjoyed both her stories of Torchwood (including certain amusing and bizarre stories concerning John Barrowman’s ‘little Barrowman’) and her accounts of her own life. I admire a woman who is pleased by the concept of wine in pint glasses and endless buffets. She’s gained status as a sex symbol without ever being tempted to destroy her beauty by starving herself to abnormal thinness. Every moment of her Q & A was an absolute treat.

I also have to say how much I enjoyed the Kitschies, awards presented by the very fine people at Pornokitsch for ‘the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works of genre literature’. I can’t help but approve of an award ceremony where the winners receive handmade stuffed tentacles and Kraken rum as prizes, as well as monetary rewards. It’s great to see progressive and intelligent genre fiction rewarded, and I’ve noted several of the nominees and winners to chase down and sample myself. You can read more about them, and this year’s winners, at: http://www.thekitschies.com/ . I kind of felt that A Monster Calls deserved the Inky Tentacle for its cover art, but as it won the Red Tentacle for most progressive, intelligent, and entertaining novel I suppose it’s only fair that the Inky went to someone else.

There was a special pleasure, too, to singing along to ‘Once More with Feeling’, the Buffy musical episode, with several hundred other people, at least 50% of whom knew all the words. There’s no doubt that this was a convention for fans, and as such it had a joy and exuberance not quite like any other I’ve been to. The costumes were fantastic. There were Daleks and Aliens and stilt-walking transformers. One of my favourites had to be the wookie, which I first saw being greeted by a tenth Doctor. The wookie called out to the Doctor in wookie, and the Doctor responded in kind (of course, the Doctor would speak wookie), and then they hugged. I also heard tell of a dalek saying to someone who held the door open for it ‘You will be the last to be exterminated’. All in all it was as warm and open and kind as you would hope a bunch of geeks would be when they’re all just enjoying the openness and company of others as prepared to celebrate geek culture as themselves.

My only regret is that I didn’t have anything resembling a true costume myself. I would have loved to join the ranks of the superheroes and aliens. All the same, until my buzz was killed, there was really nothing quite like the costumed disco. I’ve rarely enjoyed dancing quite so much.

And I can’t talk about the weekend without saying how great it was to catch up with people. Conventions are a great way to cross the Internet divide, and I’ve never known so many people coming to the same event. I met up with old buddies like Ros Dando and Natalie Burford, who I know from college; and Dave Moore, who I know from LARPing. I met people I’d previously talked to only on Twitter, like the fabulous Emma Newman and Jenni Hill, with whom I worked on Genre for Japan, but never actually met in the flesh until yesterday. And I caught up with people I’d had the good fortune to natter with at EasterCon last year, as well, such as Anne Lyle, Amanda Rutter, Andrew ‘MyGodItsRaining’ Reid, and Emma Jane Davies, to name but a few. I only wish I could have caught up with everyone I knew who was there, but without wifi to get in touch with people it was impossible to find everyone amongst the thousands of attendees.

Plus, it was a great weekend for the Angry Robot team as well. We sold out of nearly everything and did our best business ever at any con. Loads of authors did signings, including my Twitter mate Adam Christopher (author of Empire State) and my old writing group buddy Dave Tallerman, whose debut novel, Giant Theif, was launched on Thursday. We sold out every copy of each of their books from the stock we had with us, and you can’t ask much better than that.

Thanks again to the Angry Robot team for enabling my convention going. If I’m asked to fly the Angry Robot table again next year I shall definitely accept (although I hope we’re able to get different accommodation, and that the event’s organisers will join us in the 21st century regarding sex and gender).


Today has two sides, both of them important, one more serious than the other. I’m going to talk about the serious one first.

Part I: Remembrance

At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the First World War came to an end. A minute before, they were still fighting. For hours and days afterwards, they were still dying. But on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month they laid down their weapons and took actions to cause no more death in the name of this war that the leaders of those countries no longer wished to fight. 70 million military personnel had been mobilised to fight, more than 9 million of those were killed, and countless more were injured, or would suffer for PTSD for years afterwards.

My sister and her husband are in the military. I’m not what you’d call ‘pro war’, and I protested against the Iraq war when it first began, but I appreciate the sacrifice of those who go to war in my name – both for the necessary wars and the good causes, and for the wars that I disapprove of. Because when you sign up to fight for your country you agree to fight for whatever the people of your country choose to fight for, whether it is a good thing or not; whether you, personally, approve of it or not. That’s an incredible thing to do. It is an honour to be protected by such people. It is an honour to have had this life I live in this world as I know it guaranteed by those who fought and died for me before I was born. It is an honour to have the continued protection of those who would lay down their lives for me now. You don’t have to be pro war to support those in the military – in fact, I doubt very many sane people are pro war in the strictest sense: no sane person wishes for death and suffering like war brings – and you don’t have to support any particular current war to give honour to those who fight in it. But if you allow others to fight and die for you, you do owe them something: remembrance.

Remember those who have died in all the wars since the First World War – the war to end all wars – this day at 11am.

Part II: Celebrate Life

11/11/11 is a very silly date. As someone who inputs great quantities of dates to pay the bills, I was looking forward to inputting this one today. However, I have a great quantity of research to get done, so I’ve taken the day off work. I’m missing out on the pleasure of all those once-in-a-life-time silly dates in the name of RESEARCH.

I’m a big fan of silliness. I think it’s an important part of life. On Remembrance Day, as much as any day, we must remember what those who die in our place are protecting: our right to live as happily as we’re able; to enjoy the simple, and the complex things, both; to live lives that are as happy as we are able to make them – lives that have room in them for the silly, the ridiculous, and the sublime. So, at 11 minutes past 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of this our new millennium, I invite you all to break for elevenses. This is not my idea, I’m not even sure who started it, but I think it’s marvelous. Some might think that it undermines the importance of using this day to remember the dead, and the living who protect us now – I couldn’t disagree more. Celebration of life and remembrance of sacrifice should go hand in hand.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to use a very silly date to do something remarkable. Do it. Remember the dead and celebrate the living, and the wonderful parts of the life you have the fortune to lead.

Make tea, not war.

Relevant to my Interests: Man with Wings

As some of you will know, I’m currently writing a superhero novel. Some of those people know that its lead character is a man with wings. Others of you will have seen the background of my twitter account, which includes a copy of a painting I did four (?) years ago, of a man with wings. This is not the only piece of artwork I have done of people with wings. I like drawing wings, I like drawing people, I like the combination. Anyway, point is that this was a thing that was likely to be relevant to my interests, hopefully it is also to yours!

Sufjan Stevens, with wings

(image via @mhtoomes on Twitter)

This, I’m reliably informed, is Sufjan Stevens. Who it turns out is a rather cool musician. I would not have heard of him but for his admirable wings. Kudos to you, sir! Only too happy to spread the love and point people at this rather beautiful song of yours:

(via @Contrarah on Twitter)