Trigger Warnings are there to give people extra information about the media they are consuming. It's like when the continuity announcer says before the showing of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that "this film contains strong language and scenes that some viewers might find upsetting". It's not censorship to allow people to make a free and informed choice about their media consumption.
The purpose of a trigger warning is to be courteous to people who have PTSD. It's not saying "do not read this". It's saying "if you read this, be mentally prepared to see something that might trigger PTSD flashbacks".
If you really think that allowing people to make an informed choice about something that could cause them a panic attack is a bad thing, then I think you are an inconsiderate, thoughtless arsehole. Sorry.
Once Liberator has landed on doormats I'll put the review up on Goodreads and link to it here. But if you want a little spoiler, although I had some criticisms I genuinely quite enjoyed it, and will definitely buy his next (if he ever writes another).
Originally I was going to start with, "So I went to the doctor to have my heart checked ..." Which would have been foolish, because people actually care about my health. The dog cares. My wife cares. The fire department would have to set up a funeral detail if I kicked the fire bucket, so they care. My insurance company? They totally care.
In fact, lots of people care more than I do. They would have dragged me to the doctor right away if they'd known that a while back, I started getting this fluttering feeling in my chest. It was as if my heart was trying to do a Mexican Hat Dance around my major aortas. It would come around long enough for me to get concerned, then go away, at which point I did what most men do: Ignored it.
See, this is why I never bought into this whole gender equality thing: Women are clearly superior to men. They have a problem, they go to the doctor. Men have a problem, they watch football.
Anyway, I got some testing, the electrodes were cold, ripped my hair out, yadayada, my heart is fine. The problem is stress. Those of you who follow my blog may have figured that out already--it's been a rough year. My stress levels are high. Also my pain levels are high, due to chronic back pain acting up a lot more than usual, which causes stress. The other day I missed a fire call because I was on the chiropractor's table. Welcome to my fifties.
There were several related health things that could, experts say, help reduce my stress:
Lose weight. (Which would also help the back pain.) Yeah, going into winter and the holidays ... even thinking about it increased my blood pressure ten points.
Exercise. This is an awesome idea at all times. Especially when my wife's seasonal job is shutting down for the winter, leaving me without the long hikes I was taking four or five days a week. Sheesh.
Cut down caffeine. No problem, I'll just quit my third shift job, and leave behind the stresses of paying for heat, electricity, food, housing ...
Looking back on that list, I realize I've got it pretty good. Lots of people in the world have no access to Mountain Dew. Can you imagine?
But at the moment it's all about getting stress out of my life, and I take 911 calls for a living, so it's not going to happen that way. So I've cut my Mountain Dew consumption down to exactly one can a day, about a 75% decrease; I've started using honey instead of sugar as a sweetener; and we're making some wintertime exercise plans. Small steps. Also, I'm skipping all holiday treats this year.
Kidding! Let's not get crazy. But okay, cutting down.
We live in stressful times, and there's only so much we can do. I suppose I should start some new-age type stuff--breath in the lotus position or something--because, apparently, the stress is going to kill me. But since I'm not a new-age type person, I've decided to spend as much time as possible this winter doing the one thing that relieves my stress the most.
No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Writing. Not selling, promoting, or submitting, all of which increase my stress levels. (Although I do have three completed but unpublished manuscripts, so those other things have to happen, too.) Writing and reading are two things that always make me feel better. In November, especially, I hope to do a lot of writing, which will reduce stress and give me something to show for it. And take my mind off the treats.
Or my head will explode, which is very stressful.
"Belly rubs reduce stress. So get over here!"
Surgeries: Emergency gall bladder surgery about 15 years ago.
Broken bones: No
Shot a gun: Yes
Quit a job: Yes, several.
Flown on a plane: Yes
100+ miles in car: Many times
Gone zip lining: No
Watched someone give birth: Besides, myself? No
Watched someone dying: No
Ridden in an ambulance: Not an ambulance per se, the paramedics in the fire truck thing.
... Canada: Yes
... to Europe: No
... to Washington D.C: Yes
... to Florida: Yes
... to Colorado: Yes
... to Mexico: Yes
... to Las Vegas: Yes
Sang karaoke: It was dark, I was drunk. *whispers* yes
Had a pet: Yes
Been downhill skiing: Yes
Gone snowboarding: No
Ability to read music: Yes
Rode a motorcycle: I was a passenger
Rode a horse: Yes
Stayed in a hospital: Yes
Ride in Police Car: No
Driven a Boat: Yes, sailboat, speedboat and fishing boat
Seen a UFO: No
Been on a Cruise: No
Run out of Gas: No
Eat Sushi: Yes
Seen a Ghost: Only in my dreams
But seriously, this is a call for all of you who've read our books to please, please, give us a review. Amazon, Goodreads, wherever--authors these days live and die by reviews, and hey--I don't want to die. Not without a review.
(I've heard Amazon is zapping reviews that aren't "verified"--in other words, from Amazon buyers. I guess that makes Goodreads a place to go for getting them counted.)
There are several websites I've checked out, with the idea of posting ads for our books on them; especially Radio Red, the newest, which has been getting little traction even though my publisher has it up on the Simon & Schuster website. (If you're not aware, they're a very big publishing house, which is distributing all my romantic comedies via e-books.)
The problem is, websites devoted to helping writers with publicity are being overwhelmed with requests right now. As a result, many of them won't take on your book unless it has a certain amount of--yep--reviews. In other areas *coughAmazoncough*, word is some websites use algorithms that keep your book from getting noticed until, well, it's noticed, and reviewed. Catch-22? Yep. I wonder how Catch-22 would have done in modern times?
I guess I could have just shortened this to: Please, send in some reviews of whichever of our books you've read, and make sure they're honest ones, no pulling punches. I have zero dollars in my bribery budget, so we might as well have the truth. If we get, say, ten new reviews overall, good or bad, I'll ... I'll ... hm ....
Oh, I know! I'll record a video of me reciting one of my own poems, and post it for all to see. Yep.
Guess I'd better go write a poem now, just in case.
Emma Jay Olsen's Angry Feminist Playlist
and my very own Ladies Who Rock
But in terms of feminist metal bands, you can't go far wrong with:
Hysterica (esp Heels)
McQueen (esp Not For Sale)
Wicked Wisdom (esp You Can't Handle)
Halestorm (esp Rock Show - principally because I've never heard anything capture that feeling better)
In This Moment (esp Comanche - we've took all we can and we won't take any more)
and of course
Skunk Anansie (esp Rise Up)
I fed back all the things that you folks asked me to feed back in this and this post; pretty much all of them were received loud and clear. Especially popular was hollymath's suggestion that we put "would you benefit from step-free access" rather than "are you a wheelchair user" on Speaker's cards; this is definitely going to be done, hopefully for spring, but if not then for next autumn.
I've been given more work to do, which is mostly my own fault for volunteering to sort shit out. Nick Da Costa and I have to redesign the end of conference survey, so if you have any specific ideas about that do let me know. Is it too long, too short, too fiddly, etc? What questions do you think should be asked, and which ones do you think should be retired? As usual, I can;t promise to act on every suggestion, but I promise to at least read and respond to every suggestion.
Specifically regarding the app, which I know a few of you talked about: there was a feeling that we've sunk a lot of time and effort into the bespoke app, and it gets better every time - which it definitely does - and the developer is very responsive to requests for changes, so Grenadine is not going to fly. The specific comments about line numbers and clock hiding and too much nesting are definitely going to be fed back to the developer, so if those aren't sorted out for Spring you can take me to one side, spank me, and call me Gerald.
I'm going to go get a well deserved drink now.
It's interesting to note who has a clear speaking voice and who doesn't. No, I couldn't possibly name names :P
Will report back on actual happenings later...
ETA: Have just been christened The New Gareth Epps due to my scathing comments about real ale provision; I'm taking that as the compliment it was doubtless meant to be
So yes, I'm slightly biased here because the game is made by someone I know, and is set in a fictionalised version of a town two train stops away, and my daughter voices one of the characters (look out for small child of indeterminate gender Little Bilge)... but this is the most fun I've had playing a game in ages. It doesn't try to screw you for more money, it doesn't make you do stupid repetitive daily tasks, it doesn't rely on ninja reaction times. It's happy to just make you laugh and warm your heart. In times like we are going through now, that's more valuable than diamonds.
Honestly, guys, you know I wouldn't bullshit you about anything involving money, I'm from Yorkshire.
Go buy Yorkshire Gubbins. You won't regret it.
Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).
I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).
I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.
All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.
Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.
The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
- The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.
- The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.
- We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.
- The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.
The impressive number of you who said Glee was the best fringe event, and the smaller but still impressive number who said we were the best thing about conference full stop, and the hardy few who said the best way to improve conference would be to have more Glee, and the one dear sweet soul who said Glee was their main reason for coming to conference?
I am genuinely touched and I love you all. Thank you. It makes it absolutely worth trying to chair a debate with a hangover and a sore throat first thing in the morning after. You guys rule.
This means that paperwork from the three meetings I have remaining to attend this year will need to go in a new file. This displeases me; I wanted to be all neat and do a file per year.
* grumpy face *
Albion Fire Auxiliary Holds Fundraiser
The Albion Fire Auxiliary is having a Sportsman Raffle Fundraiser, to support the Albion Volunteer Fire Department's efforts to purchase fire equipment not available through their limited budget. Only 500 tickets are being sold by firefighters at $10 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $20. A Remington Model 770 .270 caliber Hunting Rifle with Scope is first prize, a Parker Bushwhacker Crossbow Hunting Package is second prize, and a Case Hunting Knife is third prize, with the drawing date of November 11th.
The Albion Fire Auxiliary has recently become incorporated as a Nonprofit 501 c 3 organization, so any donations are fully tax deductible. It's the mission of the Albion Fire Auxiliary to support the Albion Volunteer Firefighters' efforts to better serve their community and its emergency needs.
For more information, contact Project Chairperson, Bryan Peterson at 260-564-1995.
For those of you who aren't into raffles or perhaps don't live close by, don't forget that all the proceeds from our book, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With the Albion Fire Department also go to the AFD's operational fund. Like the raffle tickets, a copy is only $10, or less as an e-book.
I've also authorised Mastodon Bridge on both Mastodon and twitter, and would encourage others to do the same, to help us all find each other. It's important to get the syntax of your mastodon name right, but don't worry if you cock it up (like I did) you can just hit back and try again ;)
ETA: having looked at this "which instance should you join?" Mastodon quiz I'm thinking I should maybe have plumped for this one instead... so if you're considering it, it might be worth doing the quiz. We'll see. If I get into it, and if enough other people turn up on there, I may move to a different instance.