Accidents

A prophetic title as it turned out. I hit ‘publish’ accidentally before writing anything. The rest will be up shortly… Here it is.

Today, a man drove a car (well, a Prius) into eleven people outside a London museum. Police reacted at once – this is the format of several recent terrorist attacks so it’s no surprise the police mobilised at once. The man was pulled from his crashed vehicle, pinned down and arrested.

Initially reported as a terror attack by some news outlets (The Daily Hysteria made it top story) but as a ‘crash’ by the likes of the BBC and Grauniad, it has now been officially listed as an accident.

Well, accidents do happen, and sometimes accidents involve a lot of people getting hurt. We’ve had some nasty motorway pile-ups in the past. So okay, I can go with ‘accident’ for now. Particularly since ISIS haven’t claimed responsibility so far. They’re usually quick with their claims.

Many people refuse to believe this was an accident and that’s no surprise either. The politicians and media have told so many lies that nobody believes a word they say any more. Except those who use filters to believe the stuff they like and not-believe the stuff they don’t like. Trust me, it’s safest not to believe any of it. You might as well get your news from the old ladies in the coffee shop these days. It’s probably more reliable.

So, whether this was an attack loony or just a driver who got confused and lost control, we’ll probably never know for sure. Any similar accident in future is going to be assumed, by many people, to be definitely Islamic terrorism no matter how many officials and reporters come out saying it was just an accident.

Politicians, press, police and any other official out there – you brought this on yourselves. You have lied and deceived to the point where none of you can be trusted at all. Some police will ask where they have lied and deceived the public – well, one example springs to mind right away. Rotherham. How long did you cover for those rapists again?

Now the police are to arrest anyone who repeatedly views ‘far right’ web sites. What is a far right web site? Anything they want to define as a far right website. Daily Mail, you’re pretty much screwed. The rest of us will soon be afraid to visit blogs that aren’t about cats or flowers or Marxist ideology. Meanwhile, those imported gangs get to do as they please. And the police wonder why they have lost the trust of the public.

As for Islam, you’re going to get the blame for every road accident, every accidental gas explosion, every building that catches fire and you, with the help of the liars who covered for you, made that happen. It’s too late to look for sympathy now. If you want to get rid of the criminal element in your midst, it’s up to you to deal with it. Our police aren’t allowed to do it and our politicians simply will not face it.They’d rather watch people getting killed than risk being called ‘racist’.

Otherwise, you’re going to find you are all tarred with the same brush.

I’m still thinking today’s event was an accident. Surely nobody planning to cause carnage would choose to do it in a Prius?

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A mish-mash

Lots of bits. I’m writing and procrastinating about writing by writing something else. This.

I held off saying anything about the Las Vegas shooting until there was some clarity on what happened. There still isn’t any, if anything, it’s got worse.

The shooter was a white man, a Democrat, a Muslim, a lone wolf, part of a terror organisation nobody can identify, a rich man with a girlfriend and everything to live for and no previous indication of any trouble at all, and he shot himself. After he shot around 600 people with an (already illegal in the USA or so I’m told) automatic weapon.

There are reports that there were other guns firing from other hotels. Claims that he didn’t act alone. Claims that someone on the ground was shooting too. Claims that someone set off firecrackers to distract people from the sound of gunshots. I have no idea what to believe now.

Yeah. Pick the truth out of that lot. It’s a mess.

This is, once again, being used as an excuse to take all the guns away from Americans. Well, they took our UK guns away a long time ago and the result? Criminals wave illegal firearms around because they know for sure we law abiding people don’t have any. Their guns were unlicensed and illegal before the ban. It made no difference to them.

I’ve never owned a live round gun. Never wanted one so you could argue the ban made no difference to me. It did though. You see, if a burglar broke into my house before the ban he could not know if I was armed or not. Now he knows I’m not. That makes a big difference. I can’t bluff if the burglar knows for sure I don’t have a gun.

In Scotland you now have to have a licence for an airgun. Sold mine before it happened because it was clearly coming. We had to hand in my son’s BB guns from when he was a child – they fired plastic pellets that could dent paper at 10 yards but they counted as airguns under the new law. So, in Scotland, you can’t even have a BB gun without a licence now.

What I can’t understand is that it is Democrats calling for gun control. So… only the government will have guns, not the people. The Republican government, the one they despise and accuse of corruption, Nazism and white supremacy every minute of every day, will have all the guns. They won’t be allowed to have any, only the Trump government will be armed. Why do they think that’s a good idea?

Well, these are the same people who accuse the police of being racist murderers while insisting only the police should have guns. You can’t expect sense from minds that warped.

It’s also interesting to note than many of the big names claiming that nobody needs a gun for protection are always surrounded by armed security. ‘Hypocrite’ is far too small a word.

And another thing. I doubt that Las Vegas shooter hit with every round. If he hit 600 people from the 35th floor of a hotel then, even giving him a generous 50% hit rate, he must have fired at least 1200 rounds. Surely, someone buying that many rounds – especially for a weapon that the public aren’t allowed to own – would have raised a red flag somewhere? How did he do that?

Anyway, on to cheerier things. The anthology is still on target and after that I have a book by Dirk Vleugels translated from Dutch to French, a resizing of the ‘Han Snel ‘ book (apparently people think it should be bigger), an  abridged version of Hugo Stone’s ‘Cultish’ – all of which should be quick to publish – then I have a novel by Lee Bidgood (who is also in the new anthology) and two of my own, ‘Jessica’s Trap’ and ‘Samuel’s Girl’ which are out of contract with the original publisher and just need new covers and a quick revamp.

Then the Christmas anthology. Busy busy busy.

I’m also back into making little models. I’m thinking of making the van that came with Sparkle Truck  into ‘White Supremacy Van Man’. That should raise a few hackles.

I discovered ‘Metal Earth’ stainless steel kits and have made a few. They’re quick but they take a long time. Even with a magnifier and a good light, they are tiny and shiny and are held together with extremely tiny tags. So I need to stop before it gets to hammer time, and go back to it when the destructive urge has subsided. Total work time is only a few hours but some of them take days to finish.  I’ve made a few, there will be pictures. Also advice if you fancy having a go.

The train obsession has resurfaced. I sold off most of the N gauge stuff when I was broke and have been slowly accumulating OO gauge since. All second hand of course – the older models are basically a motor and contact from the track. Very simple devices. Unless the motor is burned out, a non-runner is either over-oiled or has dirty wheels. Easily fixed, as are missing buffers and couplings. I pick up the non runners on eBay and will sell a few as working engines to make the hobby self funding. Wagons, all I need is the frame and wheels and I can make the rest.

I recently bought two brand new sets. Both have a GWR 0-4-0 tank engine, a few wagons, a basic track oval and a mains-powered controller. One was £60 in Asda, the other was £48 in Toys R Us (half price). The Toys R Us one has repainted the engine blue and given it a probably mythical company name. That’s okay, I can fix that. Excess controllers are easy to sell too.

Modern engines cost a lot more because they have, or can be fitted with, DCC (direct cab control) which means you can run two trains on the same track and control them independently. I don’t want that. It’s great for clubs where you can have people running their own trains and someone in charge of signals so they don’t run a train into the back of another one, but for solo use it’s more concentration than I want to apply. It’s supposed to be a relaxing hobby.

It does mean that the old stuff is on sale cheap. That suits me fine. I recently saw a brand new Class 08 in OO gauge (you might have seen them at mainline stations, the square blue shunting engine) on sale for nearly £200! I bought a Class 58 (a BIG freight diesel) for £25 on eBay. In perfect condition but can’t do the DCC thing. Fine with me, I prefer the old stuff.

Another eBay win was the Lima station with signal. I think I paid about £5 for it. The station is continental and the platforms are too low and too far from the train. I’ve already taken the building off the base and fixed the broken signal. I’ll rebuild platforms over it. The building will make a good house somewhere.

The big thing with this bit of kit is that it has an isolating track. When the signal is red, the train is on dead track. When it’s green, the track is live. It doesn’t use LEDs, it uses a single white racist light and a blanking plate that moves up and down with the switch. I’m fine with that. Filament bulbs are easier to replace anyway.

The bugbear with this one is that the signal light takes power from the track. The higher the power, the brighter the light. This means that to have the light on full brightness the train has to be approaching the station at full speed, hit the dead track section and stop dead with all the passengers creamed into the front end of every coach.

It also means that to have the light green to send the train on its way, the power has to be on full before switching on the track, so the new passengers get creamed into the back of each coach when it takes off like a bullet.

The solution is simple, I just have to rewire so the signal light takes power from a constant source instead of the track. The dead section and light switch will work just the same and the train can come in and leave again at a normal slow speed.

I have to make a portable railway. I have an attic big enough for an impressive O gauge setup but I don’t know how long I’m going to live here. So I need something mobile.

I know, I know, you want to call me a geek and I’m fine with that.

If everyone was into models instead of guns and ideology and hate though, what would the world be like?

Halloween update

Okay, so far, here is the contents list for the next anthology. I have to close submissions on the 14th (midnight, GMT) so there’s a little time left. This time I am determined to have an illustration for each story, so after midnight on the 14th I really can’t take anything new. There were delays outside my control on the Hollow Bunnies book that meant the book didn’t show in time for Easter. This time I’m going in early.

The contents so far –

Lee Bidgood – Cobalt Blue

Roo B Doo – Trick or Treat
– Afterword

Stephen Duffy – All Change

Mark Ellot – Tout Passé
– Ghost Riders (A Morning Cloud story)
– The Eagle

H. K. Hillman – Oak and Holly
– The Macbeth Trio
– Bernie’s Bargain

I’ll also have to write a short foreword.

There is still time for a few more if you want to get in. The illustrations are a combination of heavily Photoshopped photos and hand drawn ones and combinations of the two. Mark Ellott has provided his own, and that helps a lot with my workload (hint to those who plan to send a story at five to midnight on the 14th).

Interior images have to be monochrome. A single colour image will put the book into silly prices. As always, the anthology will be priced for absolute minimum profit because they are more advertising vehicles for Leg Iron Books than anything else.

Here’s a sample image, the one for ‘All Change’ –

Yes, it’s a ghost train variant. A new twist  🙂

I will need an ‘About the Author’ page from all authors. Those who are repeat offenders, I can just re-use the ones from the previous books unless you want them updated. The author page is yours, you can say what you like there within the bounds of legality and promoting your other work is absolutely encouraged.

Authors can elect to be paid in cash (£10 per story) or in books. I will price this as low as possible, I aim for no more than £5 per print book and the absolute minimum on eBook. I can send authors an eBook in any format they want for free and spreading that around is allowed. It’s not piracy, it’s advertising. If you can get a review then that’s even better.

One thing I have to take into consideration is the Smashwords rule that all the author names have to be on the cover. That means the Smashwords eBook cover will be plastered with names and will look untidy but it’s their rule, so I have no choice.

This one is a definite ‘go’. There will also be a Christmas anthology, the rule there is simple. It has to be based at Christmas. Any genre as long as it’s Christmas. Anything from the whimsical to the horrific. It can be Christian or Saturnalia or ghost story or science fiction or whatever takes your fancy. The only rule is that it has to be at Christmas.

And it has to be good. That’s never been a problem so far.

The Spanish Acquisition

So the Catalan people remain Spanish, whether they like it or not. We’ll never know how much they don’t like it because the Spanish Robocop brigade have been stealing the ballot boxes. Spain has just invaded its own country and taken control of its own territory, using violence. That’s a tough one to get your head around.

Sure, I have heard that this referendum was not legally approved but really, all that means is that the Spanish government could ignore the result. There was no justification for sending in Stormtroopers to beat up people trying to vote. No distinction either – if someone planned to vote ‘no’ to independence they were beaten up anyway. I bet that changed their minds. If that vote ever takes place there won’t be any doubt about the result. Not now that the Spanish police have shown they are no better than a legal version of Antifa.

There are no videos showing riots by the people. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any, of course, but I haven’t seen any. All the violence came from the riot police. You aren’t supposed to start riots, guys. Read the manual again.

They beat up people standing with their hands up, they beat up old women and they even beat up fire brigade personnel who were trying to protect people from the police. No doubt the police all went home well satisfied with their actions and looking forward to the next time they are called upon to don full armour and beat the shit out of unarmed civilians.

I have heard the counter arguments, mostly involving Mrs. Thatcher ‘using the police against miners etc’ but that’s hardly the same thing as using the police to attack a queue of voters. The Catalans weren’t blockading anything, they didn’t threaten anyone’s fuel supplies, they didn’t threaten anyone at all. They were just in line to vote.

This is the Spanish government using Spanish thugs dressed in armour to attack people voting on something the Spanish government could have just ignored. Declare the ballot illegal and the result is not binding on the government.

Of course, the likelihood is that the vote would have come out in favour of independence and that would have been almost as embarrassing for the government as being seen to be no more than a mob with hired thugs. Still, there was always the possibility of a ‘no’ vote. It could have gone that way.

It won’t now.

The Pound Shop Electrofag returns

Two years ago I wrote about the 88vape Electrofag on sale for a pound – that was in Poundland. Well, the replacement clearomizers and the juices remained on sale at £1 each but the rechargeable kit vanished. I did see it briefly back on display recently but I think it was about £5. Still cheap.

I guess they can’t manage to sell that kit at £1 but after two years those rechargeable batteries are likely to be worn out. And yet the clearomizers and juices are still on sale to this day.

Now there has been a development. The display now includes a disposable, single use battery for £1. A bottle of juice, a clearomizer and a battery comes to £3. That’s still dirt cheap. Who could resist trying it out? Not me…

The clearomizer has to have the ‘contains nicotine’ warning on the pack even though it contains no nicotine until it’s unpackaged and filled. This is because our medics and government are run by mindless arseholes who have no idea what they are talking about – but everyone already knows that.

Inside the packs you get this –

The battery is clearly labelled ‘disposable’ because it is the same size and (obviously) has the same end connection as the rechargeables. If it fits the clearomizer it will also fit the charger but don’t do that. It’s likely to give you an indoor firework display you’ll never forget and always regret. The battery costs a pound. Get a new one.

Filling the clearomizer is simple enough – remove the black plastic mouthpiece and use the thin nozzle fitted to the bottle to run juice down the inside without getting it into the top of the vapouriser. Then screw the two parts together and you’re ready to roll. This one has a push-button to activate the heater. I don’t know if anyone still makes the ones you just had to take a puff on.

The juice I bought is ‘rolling leaf’ flavour, which I haven’t seen before so I thought I’d try it. As I’ve said many times here, I have yet to find a tobacco flavour that gets even close to real tobacco flavour. It might not be possible. This one is 10 ml of 16mg/g juice, good enough for a trial run.

So, is it any good? Well, it works. I find I have to hold the button down for longer to get a good head of steam. The battery isn’t as powerful as the 88vape rechargeable one by a long way but it does work. Maybe I got a dud this time. I’ll risk £1 to try another one next time I’m in town.

There is nothing on the packaging to indicate how long the battery can be expected to last. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

As for the flavour, well it is an improvement over other tobacco flavours I’ve tried but still, it’s not right. I won’t be throwing away the real thing just yet. Electrofag will remain a novelty for me so I can smoke coffee and roast chicken and absinthe. It doesn’t taste like a real cigarette – yet.

Still, if you’re a smoker who is curious about vaping and want to try it without buying a load of gadgetry, this is worth a punt. The minimum price for 20 cigarettes in the UK is now around £7.25 and if you want the good ones you’re going to be paying over £10 a pack. So risking £3 to try out vaping is well worth it.

You don’t have to worry about batteries blowing up on charging with this one, you just replace the battery. And even if it all ends up in the bin, well, you couldn’t buy half a pack of cigarettes for £3 so the loss is minimal.

So far, Electrofag isn’t going to turn me away from smoking but it has done just that for a huge number of people. Will it work for you? There’s only one way to find out and now you can try it for £3.

Worth a go, I’d say.

UPDATE: I tried the clearomizer on the old 88vape rechargeable battery (mine still works) and yes, that works much better. Could be I just bought a dud disposable battery. I’ll try another one next time I’m near Poundland.

Pass the ashtray.

In conversation with @RooBeeDoo1 on Twitter, she made an interesting point. With the threat of imminent nuclear war, why does anyone give a shit about smoking/drinking/salt/fat/sugar or anything else?

Nuclear war is the ultimate equality machine. It doesn’t matter what colour or creed you are when we can each fit into an ashtray as identical piles of glowing grey dust.

Currently, Donnie Trumpton and Kim Wrong-Un are indulging in a session of nuclear powered willie-waving that is escalating rapidly. Kim Wrong-Un is likely to fire the first shot. It’ll probably be over some hairstyle insult or something equally trivial. I don’t think Trump is nuts enough to fire first (Wrong-Un definitely is) but I’m sure that first shot will be followed by a hell of a lot of return shots.

It’ll be the first time in many years that North Korea will be lit up at night.

What then? Well, China and Russia won’t like having a luminous neighbour on their border. And then there’s fallout from any nuclear explosion, which can travel quite some distance on the wind.

If Kim Wrong-Un lands a nuclear bomb halfway up the west coast of America, the fallout will spread over America and probably mostly out into the Pacific. It’s unlikely to involve Canada or Mexico at all.

If Trump lands a nuclear bomb on Pyongyang – there really isn’t much else worth aiming at – the fallout is going to piss off a lot of other countries.They might not become direct allies of the Land of Kimfusion but they aren’t going to be that friendly to America either.

And picking a fight with China and/or Russia has never been a good idea. Pakistan and India aren’t far away and they have nuclear weapons too.

The big concern, as I see it, is not that Kim Wrong-un will start a war – he probably will, he’s nuts enough to think there’ll be a bit of his country left afterwards. No, the big concern is how Donnie Trumpton reacts. If his country is hit with one nuclear bomb, will he respond with ‘Call that a bomb? THIS is a bomb. So is this and this and this’.

He doesn’t need to use nuclear. Most of the people of that country would love to be taken over by capitalists. Or communists. Or even Islam. Any of those would be a vast improvement over what they have now.

I think a lot of the military would be happy to be captured. They can’t just down weapons and not fight because the bowl-haircut in charge will have their families killed. Heck, he does that to people who merely look at his style of government and say ‘Hang on a minute…’

Basically, the only real enemy in that country is Kim Wrong-Un himself. Everyone else, including most of his government, would love to see him erased. He thinks he has support and I’m sure he has a few but really he’s in charge because of layers of terror laid down by his grandfather, then by his father.

Kim Wrong-Un, in reality, nobody likes you at all. They’re all just scared and it only works because you have petty people who love to report other people and nobody can be sure who they are. They worship you because you’ll have them and their families killed if they don’t. No other reason. It’s not loyalty.

Nobody in North Korea knows who they can trust. It’s Orwell’s 1984 in action. Your brother might turn you in to save himself. So everyone has to be very, very careful. The slightest doubt in the regime can get you imprisoned or killed. People have been publicly executed for making international phone calls or watching a Hollywood movie.

Nuke them, and they might rally behind their flag. Invade and they might welcome you.

At the moment, the North Korean soldier fights because his family are at risk from his own leader if he doesn’t. The American soldier fights for flag and country. Not for the President, so don’t think they are bowing to Trump or to Obama or any other president. There is a big difference in motivation there.

Of course it’s not that simple. If America invades, China and Russia will not want an American base on their doorstep. They might resist, not to save Wrong-un but to defend their borders. Wrong-un will see it as support for his regime but they don’t care about him. They just don’t want Patriot missiles that close.

So a ground invasion might not be such a good idea either.

Trump is in a very difficult place. Nukes will piss off every country around North Korea, a ground invasion will worry Russia and China. There are only two real options.

A targeted strike to take out Kim Wrong-Un and his inner cabal, or…

Get China to deal with it. Russia won’t touch it and the North Koreans are more likely to welcome a Chinese takeover than anyone else.

So far, China doesn’t seem interested.

Which is unfortunate. With a few tanks and well-aimed missiles, they could stop World War Three before it starts.

Even so, with all this going on, why are Western governments obsessed with smoking, vaping etc?

Smoke ’em if you got ’em. You might not have to worry about any long term effects.

 

 

Working, boss. Working here.

Underdog Anthology Three (Halloween 2017) is taking shape and now has a Morning Cloud story from Longrider to add to the list. I am working on a story based on the cover image – which looks like this at the moment. It could change, but probably not by much.

There will be a bit trimmed off around the edges for the print book. I already have an idea for the back which will give me a canvas for some text.

I still plan to have a monochrome illustration for each story. I’ll deal with those – unless any authors have a particular image they want to use. It has to be monochrome and you have to have copyright. No internet pictures, nothing that will get you sued.

The cover picture is of a little bit of decoration in my garden. It was there when I arrived and I’ve left it alone because, well, I like it. I took new photos today. It looks better now the tree has regrown a bit.

There might be a change in the Leg Iron Books pricing structure, especially for eBooks. Currently all prices are fixed to US dollars which means that they change in every other currency, depending on that currency’s status against the dollar. Smashwords don’t allow fixed pricing in each country but Amazon do allow it.

The trouble is, if the Smashwords (or any of their retailers) price drops below the Amazon price, Amazon will get all shirty and might pull the books from their site. So I couldn’t use fixed pricing on Amazon unless I could also do it on Smashwords.

However, Smashwords are working on allowing fixed pricing by currency. That will mean I can set prices (for eBooks at least) that don’t fluctuate with the currency exchange rate.

I’m going to have to be very careful with this. I don’t want to have a book go into ‘negative royalty’ territory which would mean I’d have to pay Amazon to sell it! I will investigate this new system and see if negative royalties is a possibility. If it looks safe, the book prices won’t wobble around as they do now.

I am determined that every book sold makes a profit, however miniscule, and every sale generates a royalty for the author. No creative accounting here, I’m not that good with money. I keep my accounts very simple indeed.

The Smashwords version of that cover will have to have all the author names on it. It will look a mess but they insist. I still haven’t got the Easter anthology through their tortuous system but this time, I am forewarned. Authors get paid anyhow, these anthologies pay a flat rate for one use of the story and breaking even on that is entirely my problem. One day…

I have three weeks to finalise this one so if you have a story still to go in, get writing. If you miss this one I’ll be doing a Christmas anthology, number four, and that won’t have to be scary stories. Just Christmas themed.

It already has four authors in it and I have plenty of old Christmas tales I can recycle – including a few that aren’t in my own anthologies.

Of course, mine aren’t all that cheerful.