The Future Prayer

Dodgy connection tonight. Gales, horizontal snow, freezing temperatures and the phone line is still trailing across the garden. So, I wrote this offline first in case I get suddenly deleted from the internet again. Life is now random and unpredictable. Better get used to it.

It’s probably what you can expect in a future world where gods are corporate and all worship the Jabberworkers. Look around, we’re nearly there. Many already are.

You’re told that the New World Disorder plans a new world religion, among other idiocies, and it does. It both understands and fails to understand religion. It understands the heirarchy of things like catholicism, where the big boys get to keep all the money and the poor bring them more. It does not understand the visceral beliefs of the followers of religion.

You cannot simply go to a Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Jain and say ‘hey, this new stuff is the best religion now’. If that were possible there would be no Jews or Christians in the world, they would all be part of Islam, the latest Abrahamic religion. People believe what they believe. You cannot force belief.

You cannot attack belief with logic. They are entirely separate mindsets. Just as you cannot attack logic with belief. You can believe there is an entire English teaset orbiting Betelgeuse. I have no means to prove you are wrong but logic suggests it is very, very unlikely. Actually I would be delighted if it were ever proven to be true… but I digress.

The religion intended by Swabby Klaus and his Great Messup is a humanist religion in which humanity worships themselves. Right. I have no religion. I have never felt the need for religion. I have studied religions to see what makes them tick. This entire ‘man worships man’ is the biggest load of rancid mammoth bollocks I have ever encountered.

Religious people worship something or someone far more powerful than themselves. Whether that is God or Allah or Krishna or Darvell Gadarn or whatever. I don’t believe in worshipping anyone but I can see the logic in the argument here. I don’t follow any religion but I do not poke fun at them either. In the end, at least one of them might be right.

I can see no logic in worshipping Man. I am one. What am I to do? Sacrifice things to myself? I do that every time I cook a lamb shank and it’s made no bloody difference to my life so far. So should I pray to myself while it cooks and hope I help or guide myself to get it right? It makes not the slightest sense.

That’s not the real new world religion, of course. You will not be worshipping yourself. You will be worshipping your superiors. The corporate gods.

Our Pharmer
Who art in profit
Hollow be thy needle
Thy vaccines come
Thy experiments done
In adults as they are in children
Give us this day our daily booster
And forgive us our hesitancy
As we forgive those with hatred against us
Lead us not into early treatment
And deliver us from cures
For thine is the immunity
The power and the money
This ride lasts forever
For all.

So yes, you will be worshipping humans in the New World religion but you wil be worshipping little fat old humans who see you as inferior.

The New World Order comes with a whole raft of new gods. The most piss-weak, feeble, useless gods any world religion anywhere has ever seen. If you worship them, it follows that you are even weaker than they are.

Do you really want that label?

A Slow Recovery

Well, it has been an eventful time, but certainly not a productive one. I couldn’t even work on books or covers for most of it and I haven’t been able to work out author payments for this quarter yet.

The storm hit us on the evening of November 26th. The power went out but that’s not at all unusual during storms here. We lit the fireplace, lit candles and settled down to wait. It usually comes back on in a few hours.

Not this time. This time, it stayed off. The landline phone was dead, my mobile had no signal and CStM could only get a weak signal on her phone by standing at the door to the greenhouse. Seems it was time to party like it’s 1699.

Doing this, she was able to determine that the power outage affected most of Scotland north of Edinburgh. And that it was likely to last some time. We had just had a food delivery a couple of days earlier so the freezers were well stocked. As the ‘estimated repair time’ shifted back further and further, the freezers were getting up to the point where they would start to thaw.

At this point I was very glad I bought that generator. Considering how much was in those freezers I’d say it’s now paid for itself. It also allowed us to get the water pump going again.

Of course, there was no writing/editing/emailing during this time since computers don’t really work that well with no power, no matter how loudly you swear at them.

The power returned for a while on Sunday afternoon. It went out again on Tuesday for another 12-hour blackout, then came back again.

Still the landline was down so no mains internet. My phone still had no signal so I couldn’t use it as a hotspot. CStM’s phone was our only link to the outside world so it would have been unwise for me to use up her data by sending out a ton of emails containing book/cover attachments.

Here is the landline problem. This part of the garden looked like this in March 2020. The little yellow arrow points to the phone line which links the house (out of shot to the left) to a post that’s on the other side of the trees. The line goes through the trees.

On the morning of November 27th, it looked like this. The phone line is gone. So is the one linking to the next pole in line. I have no idea how far the line is down but this isn’t going to be a quick fix.

By December 3rd my phone was beginning to pick up a little bit of signal. Intermittent, but it was there. I tried setting it up as a hotspot but the connection was far too unstable to be any use. Anything from a brief and hopeful 4G to ‘no signal’. I have a feeling the local mast was down. Today it seems stable once more but I’ve taken the precaution of typing this offline so I can just do a quick copy/paste.

The weather continues to be appalling and I can quite understand why nobody would want to work at the top of a pole or with anything electrical in these conditions. At the time of posting this, it does not look like the landline will be back in action any time soon.

So I have only one option. I have taken out a further mobile contract with one of the few providers still covering this area and will be using that as a data link. It’s 4G, it’s fast, but I do have a monthly limit and I really have to prioritise the books right now.

So if I don’t immediately answer emails, please don’t get upset. I was behind with the books before all this happened and I’m way, way behind now. If I’m going to get Christmas day off, it’s all work for a while.

Sorry about the low quality photos. I can’t waste data on the good ones right now.

Storm part 2

Hi everyone, CstM here back for a quick update. I hope you’re all doing well and keeping warm.
This is just not our week. Although that can probably be said by a bit chunk of the area. Leggy still hasn’t had his phone signal return. The website is promising it’ll be fixing in the next 16 hours. But then it was 16 hours away from being fixed 24 hours ago. So that’s great.

Tuesday night we had a leak in the entrance hall way. The storm had completely filled the gutters with pine needles. We got a small hill of gunk out of the thing. At least the floor is concrete out there so there wasn’t that much damage.

Last night we decided to have a relaxing night. Watch the film we didn’t watch on birthday night. Well we were almost at the end of the film, when the power went off, again! So we’ve spent another night sleeping in the living room. Luckily it was only gone overnight.

We’re still waiting on the engineers to come and fix the telephone line. I’m not sure if it’s the snow and hails that keeps them away or all the fallen trees.

The phone line is somewhere in there

Storm

Hi everyone, CstM here for a quickie. I hope you’re all doing great.


We had the big storm roll over Friday. It cost us several trees, one of them my favourite holly tree and our power. Now had the trees just had the decency to fall alone, that would have been great, but sadly one of them took our phone line with it. So we have a snapped phone line and no internet.
We were without power, and water, from Friday afternoon until Monday. We’re still waiting on the people to come replace the phone line.
At least I got lucky and my mobile signal came back, so we have a small window to the outside world.
Most of all we were lucky, in that the house came out unscathed and we’re both fine.


All this to say that if Leggy hasn’t replied to an email, he hasn’t ignored you guys, he’s just not receiving anything at the moment.
Hopefully everything will be back to normal in a day or two.

The month of spookiness and soup

Hey everybody, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing amazing.
This has been the month of trying out new recipes, especially soup. Leggy has been my culinary guinea pig. A job I don’t think he minds too much.

Clockwise Potato soup, Shrimp and broccoli with homemade prawn toast, tomato soup, French onion soup and broccoli and cheddar soup


It started out with loaded potato soup, with homemade croutons. That was very delicious, although I still think it’s a slightly over glorified mash with extra steps.
Then we tried out a recipe for Broccoli and cheddar soup. Now I wasn’t really expecting too much from this soup, but dang that thing was so good. Definitely my favourite one so far. Closely followed by the tomato soup. It has roasted tomatoes and garlic in it, plus chipotle paste that gives it a nice kick. The grilled cheese sandwich even had bacon jam, which warms my Danish heart.
The French onion soup wasn’t my absolute favourite. It wasn’t terrible, just not the most amazing either.
Lastly we tried the stir fried broccoli and prawns. That was very delicious. I’d highly recommend that. Was very quick and easy to make.

I got a couple of cross stitches finished for Halloween, so that was pretty neat. I’m working on one last Halloween piece before switching to my pile of Christmas projects.

Now new things are happening. I actually finished the book of the month. I know, it’s a bit of a shock. Who saw that coming?
There will be spoilers of The Pearl coming up, so if you want to keep yourself free of those, please skip this section.
I actually really enjoyed this book. I admit I had a somewhat hard time getting into it at first. It started out very action packed with baby being stung by a scorpion, but it has moments of being quite over descriptive of the nature. Like no one cares about all the different species of fish in the water. Well at least I didn’t.
Then there was Kino and his ability to hear the song of family, the song of the ocean and so on. I’m sure it’s some metaphor or something but it just left me wondering if the guy needed to talk to a doctor or something.
Now the copy I had was 124 pages, now what I didn’t realise was that 40 of them was an extract from one of Steinbeck’s other novels. So I had a massive emotional rollercoaster reading the book. First the joy of finding the pearl, then the outrage at the pearl merchants trying to cheat Kino out of his rightful pearl price, followed by the horror of Kino turning into a bit of a twat, hitting his wife when she tries to free them of the pearl. He really should have listened to his wife. Did he learn nothing from Alien? Granted that is a bit after his time, but still. Listen to the woman!
Then as if it wasn’t dramatic enough Steinbeck throws in a bit of manslaughter and an epic run for safety up in the mountains.
Now at this point, my book till had plenty of pages let. Or so I thought. So I was in a false sense of security, thinking there was plenty of pages left. They still had loads of time to get through the mountains, sell the pearl and live happily ever after. Imagine my surprise and deep feeling of betrayal, when we went from Hey, we’re in the mountains, there’s a nice pond with wild life. It’s really pretty, a scene straight out of Bambi. And then, Bam! dead baby! Like WTF! I was not in anyway what so ever prepared for that. What sort of Game of Thrones moves are you pulling here, Mr Steinbeck. I’m still not over it. Who kills a baby?! Jesus!
So yeah, I love the book but I also kind of hate it.

November is my birthday month, so I figured we’d read the Stephen King book that I’ve been thinking about reading for a few month now. Carrie.
I’ve seen the new version of the film, so I haven an idea of what I’m going into this month. I never saw the original film, but I’ve heard it has John Travolta doing weird things, so sounds like I may have dodged a bullet there.
I hope you guys will join me in the reading and I hope you all had a great Halloween.

The Door Ajar

Halloween is tomorrow, but this particular tale takes place in the early hours of the 31st of October so it’s best enjoyed the day before. In the UK, that’s when summer time ends and the clocks go back to give us our early darkness in the evenings. I wonder if any trick-or-treaters will venture up the driveway this year? They haven’t managed it yet. Which reminds me, I have to put those pairs of mini red glowsticks in the trees tomorrow. Have to get them in the spirit in case they do decide to visit.

So anyway, here’s the story. It’s in ‘The Darkness at the End of October’, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

The Door Ajar

“We’ve been here three days. It hasn’t bloody worked. Let’s go home.” Jim started packing his things into his rucksack.

“Well, give it a few minutes. We’ve spent all this time setting it up.” Billy kept his gaze on the fire in the centre of their pentagram. “Maybe it just takes a while to get through the dimensions.”

“It’s ten past midnight. The demon was supposed to show up at midnight. Nothing has happened. It’s all bollocks. We’re never going to get rich by wishing for it, Billy. We’re going to have to work for it like normal people.” Jim pulled out the tent pegs and collapsed his tent.

Billy studied the book in his hands. Had he misread something? Pronounced a word wrong? Was there something missing in their carefully constructed pentagram? A wrong stone, a misplaced candle, anything? No, it was all as it should be and yet the demon had not appeared to claim this book and give them riches in return. What did the demon want with the book? Who cares? Billy and Jim just wanted the money.

He sighed. Jim was right, they were never going to get rich the easy way. Although camping out in the woods for three days while finding specific rocks to form the pentacle was hardly ‘the easy way’. Billy read once again the first instruction in the book – The demon must be summoned in the first minutes of Samhain, after the last stroke of midnight.

Then it would be trapped in the pentacle and they could bargain with it. It wants the book, and it will give them absolutely anything for it. Here they were, in the first few minutes of Halloween, and all their effort had achieved nothing. Billy sighed again. It had all been a waste of time. He closed the book and joined Jim in packing up their camp.

“Well, it was worth a try.” Billy tried to hide the disappointment in his voice as he dismantled his tent. “At least we had a fun camping trip.”

“Fun?” Jim spat the word. “Camping at the end of October cannot reasonably be described as ‘fun’. It’s bloody cold out here, and we’ll be too knackered to enjoy the Halloween parties tomorrow night. We’ll be lucky to get home by two o’clock in the morning.”

“We’ll have a lie-in. We’ll be fine for the parties.” Billy placed the book carefully in his rucksack. He’d have to sneak it back into Marchway Library on Monday, before anyone noticed he’d stolen it.

“Hurry up.” Jim rolled his tent away and started strapping it to his rucksack. “I’m not waiting for you if you take too long. I want to sleep in a real bed tonight.”

“Okay, okay, I’m packing.” Billy folded his tent. “Come on, Jim, you were all for it until now. We both thought it would work. We both fell for it.”

Jim stared into the darkness of the woods. “Yeah. You’re right. It’s not your fault. We both believed in it.” He lowered his head and traced his shoe in the dirt. “We’re both losers, and we’d better get used to the idea.”

“Oh it’s not that bad.” Billy finished packing his gear. “We got caught up in a bit of fakery, that’s all. I mean, how many people got caught up in scams before? And still do. It doesn’t make us losers.”

“Huh.” Jim strode to the pentacle. He kicked one of the outer circle stones into the central fire. “You’re probably right, but it feels like failure right now. We did everything we were told by that book and it was all rubbish.” He closed his eyes. “We’re supposed to be anti-establishment and we just spent days following rules from an ancient establishment. We probably don’t want to tell anyone about this.”

Billy laughed. “Since we did it with a stolen book, we definitely don’t want to tell anyone. I’ll sneak it back into the library first chance I get.” He finished packing, hoisted his rucksack onto his back and with one last glance back at the pentacle and the dying embers of the fire within, he followed Jim along the trail to home.

***

As they approached the lights of town, Jim broke the silence. “Well there’s one thing we can be happy about. When someone finds that pentacle, they’ll wonder what the Hell was going on.”

Both laughed. Billy checked his watch. “Ten to one. We’ll be home and asleep by half past, I reckon.”

As they reached the main square in their small town, Jim glanced up at the town hall clock. He squinted. “What time did you say it was?”

“Ten to one.” Billy checked his watch again. “Well, it’s almost one now.”

“That’s odd.” Jim pointed upwards. “The town hall clock says midnight. Are you sure your watch is right?”

“Must be. It’s one of those radio watches. Picks up a time signal and sets itself so it’s always right.” Billy frowned at the town hall clock. “Maybe it stopped?”

The front door of the town hall opened and old Charlie Simmonds, the caretaker, stepped out. He closed and locked the door behind him.

Jim and Billy gave each other a quizzical look. This was pretty late for a caretaker to be at work.

“Hey, Mister Simmonds, I think your clock has stopped.” Billy waved from across the street.

Charlie glanced up, smiled and shook his head. He walked over to join them. “No, lads, it’s fine. I’ve just been setting it back for the end of Summer Time. The clocks go back tonight, you know?”

Billy showed his watch to Charlie. “I’ve got one of those radio ones that updates itself, and it says it’s one in the morning.”

“Yeah, but officially the time doesn’t change until two a.m., and I’m buggered if I’m waiting up until then. Everything is closed, everyone’s asleep – apart from you two lads and me – and the clock will be right in the morning. So I don’t have to get up early to change it.”

“So what’s the real time?” Jim wrinkled his nose. “I mean, is Billy’s watch or the clock showing real time now?”

Charlie pursed his lips. “A lot of people get confused about that. It’s actually simple. Summer time, daylight savings, is one hour ahead of the real time. The real time is in the winter, it changes on the last Sunday in October, when we’re on the ‘one hour back’ time. The time on the clock up there is the real time. Billy’s watch will change over after two a.m., and it’ll then say one a.m. So we all get an extra hour of sleep tonight.” He slapped Jim’s shoulder. “Well, assuming you two plan to sleep tonight. I certainly do, so I’ll say goodnight.” He walked off, whistling, into the growing fog.

A cold chill ran through Billy. “We were an hour early. We missed it.”

“Would it still work? I mean, you read the spell, we set everything up. Do you think the demon is there now? And where did this fog come from? It’s getting really thick.”

“If it’s there, it’s trapped in the circle.” Billy looked back the way they had come. “Maybe we should go back. If it’s stuck there it’s going to be pissed.”

The colour drained from Jim’s face. The image of the rock he kicked into the circle’s central fire replayed in his head. “It’s not trapped. I broke the circle.”

Billy continued to stare back at the way they had come. Jim followed his gaze. In the distance, a red blaze glowed. Getting stronger and bigger. Or maybe not bigger. Maybe closer.

The fog intensified. Something was coming, and now it had no need to bargain for what it wanted.

Curry and evils of the world

Hi everyone, CstM here I hope you’re all doing well. I am doing much better than my last post. Thank you all for your kind comments. I really do appreciate all your advice and well wishes.
I’m so sorry for the late post. Life has been busy around here, with the visit of the Welsh mothership. It was a very lovely visit. We had a dinner party, and of course I had to go all out and make two different currys and homemade onion bhajis. At least Leggy got to have a spicy curry for once, so he was happy. I’m a strictly butter chicken girl, anything else can be too spicy or has coconut in it. Dang weird allergies.
Speaking of allergies, something funny happened. Well I thought it was funny. I was oven roasting butternut squash for the curry. For some reason if I handle butternut squash with bare hands, I get a really bad rash, so I wear rubber gloves as protection. The Welsh mothership was in the kitchen watching me prepare the butternut squash, wearing my handy rubber gear and didn’t bat an eyelid. Although I guess it’s more dramatic inside my head. I always feel like some Dr. Frankenstein ready to bring my creation to life. Even if it’s just a curry.

Another thing I’m behind on is the books. I’m about half through the Hunger Games book. I’m genuinely enjoying it, I just keep getting distracted by other things. I must admit I didn’t remember the original books being this brutal. Maybe it’s because I’m older and everyone seems so much younger.
It is an interesting book though. We’re following Coriolanus Snow, as he and his classmates mentor the participants of the games. A game they are trying to make more viewer popular. Now this is a guy who, if you’ve read the original books, will become the personification of all the evil in the Capitol. But hearing his traumatic upbringing in the first rebellion, you do end up feeling sympathy for this young boy, who is just trying to survive and excel.
It does make you wonder, when does bad people turn bad.

The book reminds me in some ways of the film The motorcycle diaries. It’s a film about young Che Guevara travelling through latin America and seeing the poverty and destitution first hand, and ultimately leading him on a path of trying to make a change. Now I don’t condone what he did, but watching that film, you do get a bit of understanding of where he came from. He started out wanting to do good. Does that excuse all the evil he brought into the world? No, in no way. It just makes you understand to some degree where he was coming from.

One book that is a very good read on the topic of evil is The Lucifer Effect by Robert Zimbardo. It looks into the psychological explanation for why even good people sometimes turn evil. It goes over his Stanford prison experiment and also talks about how similar things has occurred in real life like the Abu Ghraib prison.
It is well worth a read, if you’re interested in the topic. I’m still annoyed that someone borrowed my hard back copy of the book and never returned it. Although quite ironic to steal a book about evil.

Now for this month book in the Gloom Dog book club, I went for something short. I figured there isn’t much left of October, so to make it plausible to actually finish it, it needed to be an easy read.
So this month we’ll be reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Cade over from Cade F.O.N Apollyon was the one who suggested it. He’s been reading along, and helped start the Gloom Dog Bookclub, so go give him a read, if you have the time. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
I’ve heard very good things about The Pearl, so I’m excited to start reading it. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, so it’ll be nice to read some more of his works.
I hope you’ll join us on our next reading adventure.

Frank Davis

Bad news, I’m afraid. Frank Davis died in his sleep on Friday night. It was peaceful and painless, which is a mercy at least.

Franks was always a calm and steady voice among the blogging world. He wasn’t given to the wild rantings I, and others, sometimes give vent to, even though he faced the same smoker-persecution as the rest of us.

Well, now he’s gone to the Great Smoky-Drinky in the sky. I hope he saves us all a seat because we all go there in the end.

Rest in peace, Frank. We’re going to miss you.

The Darkness at the End of October

The fifteenth Underdog Anthology is being assembled. All author contracts are now in, the book is being formatted and it should only be a few more days. My mother is visiting this week so it’s been slow work but it’s getting there.

Naturally, there is a closed road between here and my kids’ houses. Every damn time. The local council really hate me. I hear it’s actually open again now so the last couple of days should be easier.

This anthology is called ‘The Darkness at the End of October’ because this is the year I’ve been waiting for. I’ve had a story ready for this for years. This year, in the UK, Summer Time actually ends on October 31st. One hour back, to GMT, at 2 am on the morning of Halloween. The story is ‘The Door Ajar’ and I’ll post it when the book is out.

Right. Back to work. Lots to do… and Underdog Anthology 16 will begin in mid October!

Another fake shortage

In a rerun of the toilet paper fiasco, people are now filling entirely unsuitable containers with petrol and in many cases will be turning their homes into potential infernos.

Why? Same reason as the toilet paper game. The media have told them there is a petrol shortage and petrol stations are going to run out of fuel. The result, again as with the toilet paper game, is that everyone rushed to fill their cars and anything else they could find with petrol, bought it all and… petrol stations ran out of fuel.

What kicked this off was a report that BP and Texaco were finding it difficult to employ enough delivery drivers so they were going to temporarily close ten petrol stations.

Ten. In the whole country. Ten out of over 8000 petrol stations. Now they are all swamped with idiots convinced it’s going to run out, and not realising they are the ones causing it to run out. As with the toilet paper, again, there is no real shortage. There is plenty of petrol waiting to be distributed and it is being distributed. The problem is the surge in demand – which means it’s disappearing from stock faster than it can be replaced. Give it a week and all those petrol stations will be back to normal. I look forward to the idiots trying to take their stock back for a refund.

More importantly though, some of the photographs show people filling actual petrol containers, others show them filling any plastic container they could find. Some of them will be corroded by the petrol and leak. And they are not small containers.

I live on a farm. I have a small stash of petrol for garden tools and I can store it well away from the house. Many of those people filling dodgy containers are likely to live in houses with attached garages, or even in flats. So what happens when the containers start to leak, the electricity goes off (almost inevitable this winter due to the Green lunacy) and they light candles? Terraced houses and flats are likely to go off like gigantic firecrackers.

They can’t return the petrol to the garages. They can’t safely dispose of it – and at current UK fuel prices they really aren’t going to try anyway. It’s just sitting there, waiting for a spark. Just as I wrote in May of 2020

So why this fake media-induced shortage and idiot-driven panic buying? Several possibilities have emerged. One is the idea that if you can’t get petrol, you’re better off with an electric car but with looming electricity outages, that doesn’t really work. Not being able to buy petrol really isn’t any different to not being able to plug in your car. And how many can afford those battery powered toys anyway?

One that does seem likely is that, to get the new crap E10 petrol loaded up, the government wanted to clear out the forecourt tanks so the new petrol won’t be diluted by the old stuff. I’ve been running on the new E10 for at least one full tank now. The car runs fine, but the mileage is already very noticeably down. So I’ll have to burn more of it to go the same distance as before. Green? This stuff is nowhere near ‘green’. Buring ethanol produces – guess what? CO2. So it will actually increase emissions. It will, incidentally, also increase the duty and VAT take because the same tank of fuel won’t take you as far as before.

I’d have thought that gradually diluting the new E10 with the old stuff would make the drop in mileage more gradual and less noticeable. This clearout is going to make it really, really obvious to anyone who wasn’t really paying attention before.

But then, sensible policy has never been the cornerstone of government. We vote them in and they think they are bloody emperors.

Soon, we are likely to have another King Charles. I have a very strong feeling that history, ignored as it is by many these days, could well be about to bite some political arses.