Tag Archives: ranting

My 100th Post: The Best Of Blog Tour

This is my 100th post, and so I have decided to try and get 100 views to my blog today!  I have been failing to have much traffic lately, barely a handful of viewers per post, which means that even my dear friends and family may not be reading anymore.  It’s ok, I still love you – but I want you back!

The goal of 100 views is perhaps a too high, since so far the only post of mine which has gotten close to that was my Eurovision post on Conchita Wurst, and that got 90 views that day.  And that was only because of random people who had searched for the busty Polish girls and instead got my post.  Sorry, fellas.

So I’m going to have to try really hard to get people interested in the nonsense I spew forth from my keyboard.  Let’s just consider this post a Best Of Blog tour, in the hopes that at least some of what I write is appealing to the general public.

Every post you read gets me one step closer to 100!  So click away!!  Read, enjoy, or roll your eyes and look at pictures of hilarious animals instead.  Just do it after you click.

So perhaps you’re reading this because you like writing, and that is what this blog is supposed to be about.  Maybe you want to read topical posts like Worldbuilding with my discussion of Ursula Le Guin’s awesomeness or The Mirror of Fantastic Vanity in which I call out Neil Gaiman.

Or maybe you, like myself, struggle with finger-stalling brain-demons and would appreciate Mental Bran Flakes.

Perhaps, instead, you’re only here because I have Facebook press-ganged you into it, or a friend of a friend has posted this link.  In that case, maybe you’d rather read something random and potentially humourous like The Spider and the Flute: a sleep-deprivation-inspired tale of arachnid tragedy about which critics, by which I mean the only person who commented (looking at you, md456), have proclaimed: “I have not felt this sympathetic for a spider since Charlotte’s Web.” Or maybe Hobbies, or “the tale of the boob coaster” where I had an R-rated yarn-craft disaster.

Are you one of my falconry friends?  Or have a passing interest in things raptorial?  How about A Falconry Rant where I bitch about the ignorant masses at my old job as a display falconer, The Austringer’s Lament where I wax lyrically about the hunt, or There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question – No Wait, There is where I give up on people in general as having common sense at all.

Maybe you’ve read all these before because you’re my mother and read everything I ever post (I love you!), or maybe you’ve never read any of them and have a new-found appreciation or concern for my mental state.  Whatever the case, thank you for taking the time to read what I write.

This will also be a test of how far this platform reaches.  I have decided that the avenue of self-publishing is the only way for a new writer to break into the industry currently, as much as I long to one day hold one of my books in solid printed paper.  So without the weight of a traditional publisher behind me I will be needing to do all my own marketing and advertising, and that’s the real reason I created this blog.  An author needs to be in charge of her own online presence and so this kind of self-advertisement, however uncomfortable it makes me, is part of the game.

So read, my pretties, read!

Hipster Collie Approves

Not Dead … Again

I often disappear from this blog, but this last one was a doozey.  My last post was December 2012, and it’s now May 2014!  Shocking abandonment, I know.  What have I been doing with myself for all that time, you ask?

Well I was a little busy, and the end result is that basically I made another person.  The Husband helped a little.


Yeah, I made that.

I wish I was one of those people who could obsess over several things at once, but sadly I am not so disciplined.  I got pregnant in January 2013 and started being obsessed with all things baby-related, researching everything from what I should be eating, what we should be buying (or not), and just generally what we had gotten ourselves in for.  The Munchkin was born in October, at which point I realised that 99.9% of that research was a pile of nonsense.  Now, six months later, I finally have gotten to the point where things have calmed down somewhat, we’re getting some decent sleep (finally!) and I have begun to have some free time in the regular intervals that are Nap Time.

Oh, Nap Time, a most sacred time indeed.  Those who dare to disturb the peace during Nap Time shall forever rue the day, as I operate a strict “You Break It You Buy It” Policy.  In other words, if you wake up my child then you get to be handed a screaming infant and told to “FIX IT!!”  I wonder if the postman has any idea just how close he’s come to being given temporary custody of a six month old.

But I digress.  I’m finally feeling mentally sound enough to start writing again, so here I am, back from the dead, with new ideas and determination.  Also feeling the extra pressure to finally finish something, as my maternity leave has ended and with it my paycheques.  Sadly child care costs make my fabulous job untenable, as I’d be paying out about the same per day as I’d be earning and that’s just ridiculous.  So unless I can find a job which magically fits around the constrains of my new responsibilities, I’m calling myself a self-employed full-time writer.

I’m hoping that by using this blog as a tool to make me write every day, even just in my usual wittering way, I’ll start to regain discipline again.  So watch this space for various rants on various random subjects, some of which might actually have something to do with writing.

A Falconry Rant

At least once a day in the busy season, if not twice or more, I’ll overhear a particular comment as members of the public drift by to see the birds at our mews.  It’s usually some variation of, “Oh, now this I don’t like to see.”  And inevitably followed by some dramatic statement about how, “They’re chained to their perches, and not allowed to fly!   How cruel!”

Now usually I’m just out of eyesight of these people, and to address their comments directly is often impossible, or at the very least a bit creepy as I burst from the weigh room going, “Well, about that!”  So I generally go up to the fence and cheerfully ask if anyone has any questions.  Inevitably, the sort of person who’s vocal enough about their views to have made a comment in the first place will also be vocal about the perceived cruelty they’ve judged, in their ignorance, to be in front of them.  Their subtlety ranges from the careful: “How long do the birds sit out here like this?” to the blunt: “Isn’t it cruel to leave them on their perches all day?”

My current tactic has been a sort of upbeat, hyper-education in which I smile widely (this would be their cue to run), and start in about a wild raptor’s day-to-day life.  How catching prey uses so much energy that they need to conserve it for the chase.  The concept that they don’t spend their whole day swooping and diving just for the heck of it often comes as a surprise to these misinformed members of the public, unsurprisingly.

I tell them how our birds do get to fly, every day, in safe and controlled conditions.  To let all of our birds loose at once would result in a very messy end!  And that ones’ domestic dog needs a lead for its, and other dogs’, safety, so how is it very different?

I then go on to relate anecdotes about the time our Barn Owl, Louise, picked her knots and was free on the lawn one day – and promptly put herself in her mews to sleep.  Since they do fly free each day, if they didn’t like their living conditions they would just fly away!

Then I invite them to tell me if they’ve seen any wild birds of prey, and inevitably they’ll have seen a buzzard.  Who hasn’t?  I tell them how buzzards have become so lazy that they will often sit, for hours, on fenceposts by the sides of busy roads to wait for road kill, so that they don’t even have to put themselves through the bother of actually catching their own prey at all.

Sometimes they hear one of our birds shouting, and make an off-hand comment, “Oh he’s not happy.”  As if they know this after a five-minute observation of raptor behaviour.  I laugh, not cruelly at their expense, rather as a chuckle of long-sufferance from many, many hours of listening to all the screams, hoots and warbles that is the background music to my days.  I translate the call they’ve commented on, and then go on to talk about that bird’s personality, and relate stories of its hijinks.  They all have hijinks, it’s not hard to think of amusing ones to tell.

Generally by this point, the people who first saw rows of “chained” birds (where are the chains, I ask you?) forced to sit on perches all day now start to see the relaxed postures, the raised legs and preening.  The veil of outrage has lifted and their powers of observation start to return.  Sometimes they leave soon after, before I force more education into their closed minds, but other times they stick around and watch indulgently for a while.

There’s always the odd person who will never agree with us, because obviously they would know better than the people who make caring for birds of prey their life’s work.  Sure, we can agree to disagree.  Or rather, I can agree that you’re willfully ignoring the facts just to suit your self-righteous outrage.  Enjoy that.

But thankfully most people are happy to be informed otherwise, and I invite them to watch our birds flying free and see how the bond between falconer and bird works.  How impossible it would be to do what I do if I thought there was any cruelty to it.  We all come to this work from a love of these birds, and admiring their wild cousins, and we want to ensure their lives are just as good.  More so, since there’s no fear of starvation or an injury that wouldn’t be treated.

So when you say you “don’t like to see this”, I tell you to first try and actually understand what’s in front of you.  Ask us questions, and listen to our answers.  If you’re still outraged, well then please leave and maybe we won’t mind if you never come back!

What Is The World Coming To – Part 38 of 194

A news article came to my attention via Twitter, entitled “Parents: English Teacher Writes Racy Novels”.  Read it and wonder, as I am right now, what the world is coming to.

Unless you’re someone who agrees with the angle taken in this article, in which case I would ask that you vacate my blog now.  Your kind is not welcome here.

What’s next?  We’ll start requiring all teachers, or anyone in contact with our children on a regular basis, to be practicing celibates?  Because if they have sex  and their students know they have sex, then it makes it all kinds of awkward sitting in their classrooms.  Right?  Is that not the next logical step in this parade of foolishness?

What gets me is this quote:

Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. “She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author,” Stepp said.

Now I might just begin to understand the point if perhaps the adult novels in question are paedophillic in nature.  There might be grounds for debate there.  But barring that, what teachers do in their own time is their own business.  This woman shouldn’t have to choose between being a teacher or an author, she should be free to be both.  And parents can just go fuck themselves.

Oh, but they can’t – just think of the children!

This makes me sick.  It reminds me unpleasantly of a commercial I saw yesterday for a police hotline parents and guardians can phone if they have suspicions about someone who interacts with their children.  Let’s all suspect everyone we know of hiding a secret, child-abusing past!  I can see this going well.

It’s not true that there are more paedophiles now than there used to be in the “good old days”.  It’s better reported, surely.  But to think we need to immediately assume the worst in all adults interacting with children is outrageous.  And to ingrain an unfounded fear of adults in positions of responsibility in those children is simply shameful.

There’s being safe, and there’s being ridiculous.