Monday, 30 March 2015

Immortal Space Update Deux

After accidentally calling the first update "Immortal Space Update Un" I thought I'd actually go along with the naming convention and decide to number the updates. So that's why this one has deux in the title. I think that's the correct spelling at least. I should know a thing or two about spelling; what with being a writer and all. Then again I'm only an English writer and can't be expected to know how to spell things in French.
That is one delightful piece of French toast.
I know I said I would make the first post of each month an update but I decided to change that to the first Monday of each month and, yes, it's still March, but it's so close I can just post the update now. To be honest I have nothing better to do. I'm likely to do some writing tomorrow so you can add one to however many chapters I tell you I've written now. Well I suppose it's time to check in on the progress...

I wish I was at 65%. I need a fancy progress bar.
At the time of writing, which is technically Monday morning (It's 2AM) I have written a grand total of seventeen chapters, encompassing roughly 52k words. One of those chapters came in at about 7k words and took a while to write because it was so long. I'm not good at things that take too long, hence turning them in to manageable chunks of 2k words. This means that since my last update I have written eight chapters and a further 22k words. So it's eight chapters with about ten "chapters" worth of content. The document is also up to 206 pages now.

That means I'm technically still on target for that summer release. Go me!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Costa Rica Is As Green As It Gets

I learned something pretty cool about Costa Rica this week. The country is a pretty green one literally and figuratively. The state run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (somehow known as the ICE) have announced that this year, for all of 2015, they haven't used fossil fuels at all. That's right; the country is powered entirely by renewable energy sources.
An explanation for five year olds. 
Now part of the reason Costa Rica was able to do this is because they've had heavy enough rains to power their hydroelectric plants going. They've also taken advantage of lots of other renewable energy sources like solar power, wind power, and geothermal energy. There's a ton of energy in our great world just waiting to be tapped outside of coals and things like that. It's just a shame we've not really fully learned to utilize it yet. I think that focusing on fossil fuels set things like that back a bit.
DAMN YOU COAL!
It's pretty cool that there is a country out there that has taken this initiative and said "Hey, let's give this a go." It's showing that it is possible to get your power straight from renewable sources. We're probably quite a while away from a large country being 100% clean and using renewable energy but, hey, we're getting there. Here's to you Costa Rica, giving us hope for future and offsetting the apocalypse.

I got the story from here for anyone wondering. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Non-Spectacular 1000th Post Spectacular

According to the archives today marks my one thousandth post here at The Rambling Person. At first I was never very big on "milestone post numbers" as I used to post every day. Me hitting my hundredth post meant very little as it just meant I was blogging for three months. Now however it means more as I blog three times a week in order to conserve what is left of my creativity and sanity.
Give it time...
It's a little sad that things like comments have gone down but I continue to persevere. I'm a stubborn bastard who wouldn't let this place die because of a lack of commentary. Unless I got no comments I guess. Then I'd probably stop. But for now I will keep on truckin' as it were and stick around for longer. How much longer remains to be seen but I wouldn't be too surprised if I continued for another thousand posts.

I need to become famous so people read here just to learn about me. Or become interesting I guess. I definitely need to do more interesting things but I barely have the energy to do the few interesting things I do.

Anyway, thank you all for taking the time out of your day to read the things I post here. Blogging just wouldn't be the same without the community, that's for sure. Without you guys I wouldn't be here and I'd never try to hide that.

So thank you for the past one thousand posts, and however many years it's been so far. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

British Politics And The Culture Of Exploitation

Just a warning but this is going to be long and very political. Not much fun here today.

I wouldn't blame you for not knowing this but the UK elections are coming up in just a few months. We make less of a fuss about them than 'Murricans. For the last five years the country has been run by the ConDems, an affectionate portmanteau of the coalition between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrat party. For the past five years low income families have suffered and for the past five years a culture of exploitation has thrived.

Statistically things are better. Average incomes are up and unemployment is down. These are flawed statistics thanks to Zero Hour Contracts. This is where people sign on to a job with no guaranteed hours, but no pay increase to compensate. Not to mention the "workfare" scheme where claimants of jobseekers allowance, a social benefit to keep them afloat while they look for a job, are forced to work for their benefits. It sounds alright until you consider they are forced to work 36 hour weeks for practically nothing. It's modern slavery and nothing less. To anyone who has a job, and who thinks people on benefits are all scroungers, how would you feel if you had to work at effectively less than a pound an hour? I think someone did the math and saw that was what it worked out at.

You know what else is up? The number of people who rely on food banks to survive. If average income is up why are there so many more people worse off? There are a lot of people individually who are screwed completely and it's just getting worse for them.

People who are desperate are being exploited in one form or another. The job centre exploits people by treating them like shit and forcing them to work for nothing. Then people take zero hour contracts to escape this and are just exploited again. They have no idea how much they'll work or when. There are even stories of people threatening to kill themselves in job centres and even pulling out knives to do the deed. This is the point we've reached. Some people have actually committed suicide over all of this.

This is bullshit and it can't be allowed to continue. It's actually potentially going to get worse too. UKIP are the acceptable face of racism and are the main threat to the Conservative party as people are likely to vote for one or the other. Nigel Farage is the leader of UKIP and has said he's willing to form a coalition with the Conservatives. The two of them together is way worse than either of them individually. It's the worst possible outcome for the country; a racist and a classist who have a surprising amount in common.

I'm aware I don't have much in the way of UK readership but if you're out there and reading this for the love of all things decent don't vote Conservative or UKIP. The country can't take five more years of this. Vote Labour or Greens or whoever you want, just not either of those.

Please.

Friday, 20 March 2015

I Sort Of Have A Normal Schedule

I wasn't entirely sure what to make a post about, and then got a bit of a random idea and decided to see if I could actually turn it in to a post. When people discover that I generally wake up at about 11 in the morning (well, 10 right now thanks to daylight savings) they tend to assume that I'm a pretty lazy person. That's the kind of feeling that being a late riser generates. People perceive  you as being lazy and it can really suck.
Now cats ARE lazy. And cute. 
The thing is I also get to sleep at about 3 in the morning. Well, I go to bed about then and end up falling asleep around maybe 4 or so. The point being that even though I wake up late I also go to bed pretty late. I'm what people would term a "night owl". Someone who doesn't quite sleep through the day, but does still stay up pretty late. There was a time I was completely nocturnal though. I'd go for walks any time between 2 and 5 in the morning too. Good times. Except that one time someone tried to mug me.
It's a lot less fun in games. Though Saints Row IS one of my favourite games. 
The reason I'm up so late is a pretty simple one; I have American friends. To my fellow Brits it's like I'm staying up until 3 in the morning but realistically what's happening is that I'm staying up until 10 in the EST time zone. I actually have a pretty "normal" sleeping pattern of 10-6, which is the sleeping schedule I had when I was a kid. TV used to be so awesome at 6 AM. I just operate on the wrong time zone. I do sometimes wonder if I could go to America and not be displaced by the time zone difference at all seeing how I sort of live on American time already.

What's your sleeping schedule like? 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Gentleman's Single Use Monocle

I read a lot of webcomics. A lot less than I used to, but still enough for me to quantify it as "a lot". One of the comics I read is called Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It's a fairly hilarious comic I've been reading for a number of years now. It's actually kind of shocking to think about how long it's been going. Thanks to Patreon the owner even gets more money than he would at a regular job. Imagine that, being paid to draw comics. Shame I can't draw very well.
Even the first ever SMBC (http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=1) is better than I could do)
Zach Weinersmith, owner of SMBC (and yes that is his real name. It was just "Weiner" until he got married), has also done some Kickstarter projects. Some of which I've actually donated to. He's a very smart person and has a lot of great ideas. The latest one he's come out with is more stupid than brilliant, but the good kind of stupid. The kind of stupid you find yourself wanting to get behind. So, what is his latest scheme? The Gentleman's Single Use Un-Lubricated Monocle. It's hilarious in it's beauty.

It's mostly intended as a party piece or a part of costume jewellery. The quality isn't brilliant and the lens is plastic, but still the idea is fun. You go to pull out a condom but instead it's a monocle. Instant class when you need it most. It's based on a comic he drew that unfortunately I can't find. His wife finds the idea stupid and he finds it funny. He plans to sell them as a real thing after the Kickstarter if it does well but right now your only chance to get one might be through the Kickstarter.

If you've ever found yourself wishing you had a monocle when you need one, now there is an answer; the Gentleman's Single Use Monocle.

(PS the monocles are completely recyclable and he doesn't intend them to be as disposable as the name makes out)

Monday, 16 March 2015

A Plan For My Next Novel

While I work on Immortal Space I'm sometimes struck with ideas for other novels. It's just the joy of being creative I guess. It's actually pretty rare but I did recently get an idea of something to do with my next novel. It wasn't even related to story or plot. To be honest I'm not sure what I'm going to write next. I have three options at the minute.

1. An Immortal Space sequel
2. Caspian
3. The Spirit.

I'm thinking the Spirit because it's the first story I wanted to write. I planned it out a few years before even doing Immortal Space. What happened is that I wanted to improve my writing skill, feeling I owed it to the story.

One thing I've realised while going through Immortal Space is the importance of second drafts. What I'm working on now is sort of almost a third draft of Immortal Space, rather than a second. But it's proving a pretty good idea. Last week I was rewriting a 2000 word chapter that turned into a 3000 word one because I didn't put in enough detail the first time around. It made me curse the older me who didn't do enough work the first time.

Well writing a second draft isn't really my great idea. That seems almost a given at this point as something I should do. No my actual plan was to do a handwritten first draft. I've always wanted to do a handwritten book but the problem was I never wanted to do a second draft. So I always typed things up to save time later on. Next time round though I'll probably do a handwritten first draft.

RIP My hands.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Lesbian Dating Shows

You might have noticed this post on Monday. What happened was I accidentally scheduled two posts for the same day. So I moved this one to today.

So I was watching TV with a friend last week. By which I mean I was in a video call with them while they watched TV. I have very few local friends. Actually my boss and his partner are the only local friends I have. I guess they're pretty relevant to seeing how they're gay. The show on the TV was a gay dating show. It was basically a gay version of Dinner Date.
Look at that smug asshole's face. 
The show itself was pretty bad. It relied heavily on stereotypes and terrible jokes that reinforced those stereotypes from the narrator. There was more innuendo than in a Carry On movie and the narrator actually used the word "Gayte", a combination of gay and date. That was one of the last straws for me. I was pretty sure that we'd moved on from the idea that gay people are oversexed and can't look at something without seeing something they can shag. Guess not. This stuff wouldn't happen on a straight dating show.
They wouldn't imply the female contestant on Blind Date was an oversexed slut for example.
But this got me and my friend thinking and I came up with something I was a little surprised I'd never realised before;

There are no lesbian dating shows.

There are barely even any lesbian TV shows in general. There are a few; such as The L Word, but there are far more gay TV shows like Queer Eye, Queer as Folk, Will And Grace, and the gay dating shows as I mentioned. I don't know if anyone else realised this but lesbians are, without a doubt, more culturally and socially accepted than gay men. In my opinion at least. So it struck me as being a little odd that there are less lesbian related programs. I certainly can't think of any lesbian dating shows.

Knowing my luck there's probably loads and I'm just that far out of the loop. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Drugs Accidentally Made Legal In Ireland

Don't be too excited about that title up there. The drugs were made legal for pretty much only one day, and that day was yesterday. In what was a spectacular legal failure for Ireland they accidentally made more than 100 drugs illegal by sort of deciding that an add on of the Misuse of Drugs Act introduced in 1977 was unconstitutional.
Wrong constitution...
The amendment never officially passed parliament and was introduced anyway, meaning it was technically an illegal law. Because the amendment was thrown out, the entire act was meaning that anything banned under it became legal again. This didn't include really hard drugs like cocaine, but did include a number of legal highs and legitimate drugs such as ketamine. There were some emergency laws that were supposedly brought in in time before an official law could be made and approved today.
Remember kids; drugs are bad mkay
It was brought about when someone was arrested a few years ago and his lawyer noticed the amendment that made the drug he was caught for technically unconstitutional. Sometimes people we need to come together and accept that lawyers are a force for good. If it wasn't for lawyers we wouldn't have people accidentally making drugs legal.

Monday, 9 March 2015

I'm Not Dying (Apparently)

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not but I currently have something akin to a lump in my throat. The problem started about a month or so ago (I'm terrible with dates, for all I know the problem could have lasted since last year) and so last week I finally decided to see the doctor. Once they could see me, due to cancellations and doctors themselves being sick.
"Physician, Heal Thyself" (source)
He said, quite frankly, what I expected him to say. Because the problem originally began as a sore throat he believes I have just a little bit of an infection of inflammation left over from that sore throat. I should leave it a few weeks and make another appointment if it goes away. Thanks. I guess. Not like I waited a few weeks to call a doctor in the first place. At least he looked in my throat though and said he couldn't see anything. So it wasn't a complete dismissal. There was a dismissal of it being anything seriously bad though because I neither drink nor smoke.

A lump in the throat is no laughing matter though. It can be any number of things. The worst being, of course, throat cancer. I really hope it goes away on its own like the doctor said but fuck, just once, I'd like to go to a doctor and be told something other than "It'll go away on its own" or "lose some damn weight". Another reason I hate going to the doctor. There's only one in particular who says that though so I just have to avoid him.

Well here's hoping the problem fixes itself and, if it does't, it's nothing serious. I'd like to avoid an early death.

Never thought I'd say that.

Friday, 6 March 2015

"Bible Study"

So yesterday we had some good news coming out of the so called "Bible Belt". Now today we have sad/hilarious news to come out of one. I'm told this is actually pretty legit and it's something that's probably become more big news by now and something everyone has seen. I'm just writing this pretty far in advance. I figure because it's something stupid rather than Earth shattering news I can write about ten weeks from now and still have it be funny/relevant.
Sometimes funny too
Anyway, a school in South Carolina ran a "Science Quiz" for their fourth grade class. I actually can't prepare you for this, so I'll just post the pictures and quietly sneak away. I will warn you though, you may rage, and probably will. Here's what passes for science in this school. If it's any consolation this story IS true, but it's also very OLD. The school that ran the quiz has since closed.


What a sad day for humanity it was when this quiz was given. At least the kid got all the questions "right". 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cool News For (Former) Convicts

This is a story I didn't even hear about until yesterday, but apparently it's been going on for a while. Anyone who has ever applied for a job will know that a lot of jobs, if not every job, will ask you about former criminal convictions. Now, obviously, some jobs require this. I would want to make sure that everyone working with children, for example, is not or has never been a convicted sex offender. It's just the smart thing to do.
I wouldn't want this man looking after my kids. 
But for some jobs it's not really necessary. Or the conviction is for something entirely unrelated to the job, but will hinder their chances of being successful. I will preface this by saying I've worked with young offenders before. They might not be full blown criminals but they have been in trouble with the law. They get sent to volunteer with us every so often as part of the reformation process. I understand a lot of people don't like working with ex-cons, but if you have no idea that they are one, then you'll be fine. Well anyway, on to the cool bit of news.
Georgia, a state normally known for backwards laws (or at least being a part of an area where that happens a lot) actually became very progressive. They became the first state, at least in the south, to "Ban the Box" as it's being called. This means that people who apply for jobs can't be asked about their criminal past unless they are one of the most qualified candidates. That means that an ex-con is judged on their skills until the final process by which time they should have made a good enough impression to let the whole "ex-con" thing slide. Even then only relevant convictions can be taken into account.

I don't know about you guys but I think this is a really good move. Some people in prison learn a lot, and spend a lot of time studying, and then they have serious trouble getting a job when they get out. Even more plan to not offend, but their criminal past means they can never get a job so they resort to stealing again. It's a vicious circle and it's nice to see that some states are taking steps to stop it.

So thank you Georgia, and the other 12 states to sign up to this, that have said they're willing to give ex-cons more of a chance than ever before. Hopefully this is a good step and leads to less re-offenders and a more efficient and effective prison system.

Could you work with an ex-convict? Would you even be able to tell you were working with one if you didn't know?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Immortal Space Update Un

I've decided to dedicate the first post of each month to Immortal Space updates. It gives me an easy blog post to make, keeps you guys aware of how much progress I've made, and also keeps me in check. If I don't write much, come here and declare that, I'll feel guilty as shit at the disappointment you guys will obviously feel.
It also means you GET HYPE!
So where am I in Immortal Space so far? I suppose I should give you a quick run down first. Right now I have plans for 48 chapters. When I'm done I'll wait a week and go through it once more, further combining chapters. I'd combine them as I go through now but then I'd have trouble tracking my progress. So then, just what is that progress? That's the whole point of this post after all.
Unfortunately my cats weren't big fans of their posts. 
As of the time of writing (Sunday night) I have written a grand total of 30260 words across nine chapters. So in terms of progress I am just over (or under) a fifth of the way through. 48/6 is 5.3. At my current pace it will take about four more months if I've done my maths right. Maybe five. But I am hoping to pick up the pace a little moving forward and have it take about four months. We're looking at a summer release here folks. I tend to write one 2000ish word chapter every writing session. Though of course those last few chapters are going to be written from scratch and will probably take longer. They'll also probably be longer and how long chapters are going to be in the final release.

In other words, it's happening. It really is. 

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