This is my Blog, which is the place where I announce new published works or reflect on current works in progress. It is also the place where I will occasionally write reviews of theatre shows I have seen or gigs I have been too. Less often, I will use this space to write about things in the news that annoy me or even write long essays about just how much I love all of the movies in the Star Wars universe (yes including episode one!).  


If you are feeling particularly brave, you can scroll down to the bottom of this page to read a brief biography about me too. You don't have to do so, but it might be nice to know a little more about the person whose books you are reading. 

Jayne Hecate Writer & Thinker

Jayne is a writer of fiction and reader of political philosophy. She also has the dirtiest sense of humour of anyone she knows.

<p><a href="https://iguana-america.tumblr.com/post/175452936844/foulmouthedliberty-quakerjoe" class="tumblr_blog" target="_blank">iguana-america</a>:</p><blockquote>
<p><a href="https://foulmouthedliberty.tumblr.com/post/175273682286/quakerjoe-httpwwwtrumphotelsorg-all" class="tumblr_blog" target="_blank">foulmouthedliberty</a>:</p>
<blockquote>
<p><a href="https://quakerjoe.tumblr.com/post/175217523454/httpwwwtrumphotelsorg" class="tumblr_blog" target="_blank">quakerjoe</a>:</p>
<blockquote><p><a href="http://www.trumphotels.org/" target="_blank">http://www.trumphotels.org/</a><br/></p></blockquote>
<p>ALL FUCKING HAIL, THIS IS BRILLIANT</p>
</blockquote>
<p>let us call them Trump Hotels. Lets. </p>
</blockquote>

iguana-america:

foulmouthedliberty:

quakerjoe:

http://www.trumphotels.org/

ALL FUCKING HAIL, THIS IS BRILLIANT

let us call them Trump Hotels. Lets.

July 3rd 2018

Controversial thoughts

Some of you are going to find what I say here to be down right offensive, some of you are likely to be so angry as to scrap this post before you have even got to the end, but here goes… I really like The Last Jedi and so should you.

Before I explain my thinking, let me just point out that this article is likely to contain spoilers to the whole franchise, including the most recent release, Solo, so be warned before you proceed into this.

I have been watching the films again on DVD and I have noticed a few things that had not previously occurred to me and I am tying these in, along with things I have seen discussed on Youtube and in articles on other forms of social media. 

Child Abuse and religious zealotry is everywhere:- My first thoughts are that the Star Wars universe does not like children very much. There are so many slaves and orphans among children in the Star Wars Universe, that it borders on being utterly despicable. Of all of the characters we encounter, the only ones shown on film to have loving and supportive family are the few various Royals. Even the gentle and loving Luke Skywalker has a tempestuous relationship with his Uncle Owen that borders on some seriously controlling behaviour. Later in the film, what family he has left are brutally murdered, leaving him with significant levels of survivor guilt and played nicely into the hands of an elderly religious fanatic, who drags him off to fight in a war. How old is Luke at this point? He is a teenager, a child in everything but name.

We then find out that Luke’s estranged father is a genocidal maniac, who also happens to be a religious fanatic and deeply opposed to the religion of the old man who it turns out, not only abandoned him to burn to death in lava in his own youth, but has stolen his children from him. When Luke wont change his allegiance, his father attempts to murder him. We get a final act of redemption but Luke still finds himself alone once again, having been indoctrinated into a religious cult that demands celibacy of its converts, the likes of which the Catholic church would be proud of and we all know how that ended for so many innocent children. May the force protect all of those children who were ripped away from their families so as to be indoctrinated into the Jedi faith. We will never know how many of them were abused by the Jedi faithful once they got there. We know that significant numbers of them are murdered by one of their own or even killed in battle as they learn to become child soldiers.

In Rogue One, we see more child soldiers, more abuse victims and more adults filled with trauma and damage. It is also a truly remarkable film in that every character we love is killed off, including the religious zealot who though completely blind, walks across an open battlefield chanting his faith. 

Moving into episodes seven, eight and even nine (which at the time of writing is still to come out), we see similar patterns. In Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren we once again we see children that have been abused and failed by the adults around them. Rey is forced to work in slavery for starvation rations, after her alcoholic parents sold her for booze money. I dread to think how and why as a pretty young girl with no one to protect her, she learned to fight as well as she has. 

Finn was abducted as an infant and forced to become a child soldier, a life that psychological studies here in our own universe has shown to have terrible consequences for the survivors that make it to adulthood. You can see written through out his arc, just how damaged he is by this experience.

Ben Solo was abandoned by his father Han, who was too damaged by his own childhood, to be able to communicate with his son. The boy was then sent away by his mother Leia, to be trained in the ways of a religious cult. Once there, the only family that this lonely and frightened young boy has, tried to murder him! Is it any wonder that he turned to the Dark Side and the abusive relationship and religious mania of Snoke? As Ben Solo becomes Kylo Ren, he is more and more eaten up inside by the religious cult that is Snoke’s dark faith and he is manipulated into becoming a murderer and despot. 

When Rey joins the resistance, she is barely out of her childhood and she too becomes yet another child warrior and she is told that by an accident of birth she is destined to join the religious cult of the Jedi. Does she have a choice in this? It appears not to be the case.

When you look at her relationship with Finn, he finds in her the first person in his life to offer him any form of kindness away from the military and more out of his own traumatic experience, he begins to love his newly found friend, to the point that he tries to drag her away from danger. Of course the religious mania rises up once again and Kylo attempts to murder both, before Rey vanishes off around the galaxy to find a religious zealot to save them all from another bunch of religious maniacs.

The whole Star Wars universe is built on child slavery, child suffering and a huge amount of loneliness, which is heavily buried in religious zealotry. Tp me this is utterly heart breaking. With the release of Solo, we once again see more children kept in slavery for the labour they can provide to a crime syndicate. Han can only escape this terrible life by joining the army, which he later deserts when he realises that he is basically cannon fodder in a cause he does not believe in. He is captured and imprisoned for desertion, where he meets his soon to be lifelong friend, Chewbacca. Chewiewas is held in terrible, if not horrific conditions where he is forced to feed upon the bodies of other prisoners just to survive. His humanity or rather his sentience is ignored and we discover that his family are being used as slave labour. The whole Star Wars Universe is just awful and it is a wonder that any of them actually managed to survive childhood to become the damaged and traumatised adults that they later become.

So why is the Last Jedi so much better than people think? 

Simple… Because in this story, a group of child abuse survivors try to make the universe better for those who come after them. 

Despite Kylo Ren’s trained murderous impulses and traumatic child soldier life (that included having to murder his own father to win the approval of his mentor and reinforce his distance from his family), even he cannot bring himself to murder his own mother. 

Poe Dameron learns that the myth of heroic death truly does not in reality exist. He grows as a person and learns that the lives of his friends and colleagues do actually matter, losing the bleak and destructive nihilism that endangers all around him.

Finn finds that he has inner resilience that he did not know was there and as he finds this, he helps yet another lonely adult, child abuse survivor. If you look at the sad life of Rose, you will see that she is the only survivor of her entire family and it was her older sister who basically raised her for the last few years of her childhood, as they clung together hoping not to be murdered. Finn and Rose find each other and in doing so begin to support each other, to overcome the psychological damage that they have suffered at the hands of others. 

Rey finds inside her self the strength of will to let go the anger she feels for having been abandoned by her parents as a young child, although she replaces them in her life with religious zealotry which on reflection, may not be all that healthy. 

The character of DJ points out that the continuous state of war is destroying both sides and the only winners are those businesses that sell weapons to both sides. He is also one of the very few people in the whole galaxy who is prepared to admit that he can be wrong about things. His enlightenment almost goes unregarded and yet at no time does he actively murder anyone. He is a peaceful man who is just trying to survive in a hateful galaxy.

As for Luke, he is the only truly remarkable character. Luke seeks and finally finds redemption as he forgives himself the terrible things that he has done in the name of his religion and in doing so, sacrifices himself so that his last remaining family and friends can escape being murdered. His last act was so noble and so brave, it truly showed him to be filled with love and compassion for all forms of life. He also tried to bring an end to the religious order that has caused so much strife through out the galaxy. Of them all, he is the only to understand the true legacy of the Jedi. 

With this much pain and suffering going on, is it any wonder that Luke, Leia, Kylo, Rey, Finn, Rose and Poe all suffer with some degree of trauma induced sadness or mental health condition? The fact that any one of them can act with any degree of kindness towards another being, when the Galaxy is run by a series of evil despots and each of them has a significant history of loss and abuse, is frankly amazing. 

Finn running away from the war to save his only true friend from an evil dictatorship that has sworn to murder them all is not only brave, but an act of love. Rey can see the harm done to Kylo and she thinks that her kindness and compassion can save him. 

There is however one character that remains unrepentant, selfish and even racist. C3PO… He who cannot abide Jawas, he who sees Wookies as less than people. Yes, C3PO harbours, if you go through all of the movies, views that even fascist groups would find distasteful. At no point in the saga does C3PO seek to atone for his hateful words and deeds. If anything, he continues though out to be condescending towards all forms of organic life, blatantly derisive of his friends and rather quick to commit acts of cowardice and betrayal, the likes of which are only equalled by Captain Phasma. At the end of the movie, when Luke leaves the base to face down Kylo Ren, he turns to C3PO and does not actually speak to him. Why is this? I wonder if this is because Luke knows that C3PO is really a colossal golden bigot! 

The back story of Phasma by the way is once again of childhood suffering and military service. She is yet another child victim in the Star Wars universe, it is all so painfully sad. 

What makes The Last Jedi special is that at last, many of those responsible for terrible acts against children are finally given some degree of payback for the harm they have caused. At the very end, it leaves us with some hope that the children will rise up and bring about a new order of peace and an end to childhood suffering. To be honest, after all of the abuse, all of the suffering and all of the enforced child labour, it was nice to see some kids working out that they have the strength to rebel against those who would harm them.

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is among the first to acknowledge the suffering of children in the Star Wars universe. Even in the kids TV shows such as Rebels, the orphan Ezra is turned into a child soldier and religious zealot. The Clone Wars series saw many more child soldiers indoctrinated into the Jedi order and sent to die in battle. So well done Rian Johnson, I really enjoyed your movie. 

By looking at social media though, it appears that I am alone among a sea of miserable voices. 

Finally, my fellow Star Wars fans, when the stars of the movies we love so dearly are forced to to retreat from social media because of the bullying actions of a significant number of  fans, maybe it is time that we took a long hard look at ourselves? After all, it is only a fucking movie and a fucking kids movie at that. Disney may not have the best record, but they are giving us something that would otherwise have died back in the eighties

June 25th 2018

I have now seen Solo and I thought that I should probably give my view on here because as a lover of the Star Wars universe, a keen collector of Star Wars Lego and an adult woman child, it might have some relevance to my few readers.

Firstly did I enjoy it? Yes, I enjoyed the movie on the whole. Am I in a rush to see it again as I did with the Last Jedi or even Rogue One? Not particularly.

Here is why… SPOILER ALERT!

I had my reservations about this movie, Han Solo is a fairly well explored character from the original trilogy, we know that he is a bit of a scoundrel and has a past as a smuggler, so there was not a lot to tell here really. We also know that the film had its problems during production. The first directors were sacked for not following the vision that Lucasfilm had for the movie. The guy who took over was Ron Howard and he has some pedigree with movie making, with some family favourites to his name. The lead actor was rumoured to have needed acting coaching throughout production and to be honest I did find his performance a little naive at times. However, this is the Han Solo origin story, so maybe I was actually picking up on him finding his feet as a character?  

Before I went into the movie, I was really looking forwards to the bit of a romp set in the Star Wars universe, I avoided the trailers, I stayed away from most of the hype and I feel that because of this I had a far better experience. To my mind, some bits of the movie were really very good, however some parts of it left me feeling a bit cold and as I sat there in the dark, I did wonder why I was feeling those feelings. 

What did I like? Quite a lot of it really… 

I liked the explanation for how Han got his name, I also loved the recruitment officer who signed him up for imperial service. This was one of the better scenes at the beginning of the movie.

The meeting of Han and Chewie was brilliant, my heart was breaking for Chewie when we see him for the first time. He is such a noble being, a true gentle warrior, so seeing him and Han create an alliance that goes on to become a great friendship was lovely, then seeing them shower together was hilarious and to be honest, this was essential to the story. It was a throw away joke, but it needed to be seen. I have for years wondered how Chewie kept his fur nice and here we see it, he is a walking advert for posh hydrating shampoo! 

I really liked how Chewie and Han made their alliance with Becket’s crew through Han’s determination to escape from the Empire. I liked Becket too and enjoyed the character right up until the end. 

Donald Glover as Lando was good casting, he is all charm, wit and deceit. Discovering that his ship was impounded was also a lot of fun, but the reason for it being so was not really hinted at. If he was such a successful gambler, even with his cheating, why was it there? His droid L3 was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed the fact that she demands respect and campaigns for droid civil rights. The later discussion about how she thinks that Lando is in love with her had a sad element for me, when Qi’ra asks how it would work? For those of us in the LGBT world, this is a question that is asked all too often. Frankly, if Lando loved his droid, then good, she was entirely lovable. The subtle hints that Lando and her did have a more physical relationship was rather sweet.

Breaking out of the mine was awesome, Chewie finding his family was captivating and seeing the love between them was powerful. As Chewie explained to one of them that he had to leave with Han, the two Wookies embraced and the love was desperate. It had never occurred to me how much Chewie had sacrificed to spend his days with his best friend. This moment was for me one of the most powerful moments in the whole film and yet it was one of those blink and you miss it moments. There is a lot of heart in this movie.

The reveal at the end of the movie as to who Qi’ra is working with actually gave me tingles. At first I thought that it as Palpatine, but when the face came into view and yes, it was him… I could have jumped from my seat. The familiar face of Ray Park as Maul was truly welcome and ties into his exploits in the Clone Wars saga and later Rebels.

Speaking of evil, the Imperial destroyer appearing in the maelstrom was wonderful as was the filthy mud covered uniforms of the troopers. In fact, the imperial army looked better here than they have in any of the other movies, including my favourite Rogue One! They performed brilliantly as an oppressive regime with some officers being easily bribed, while other actually believed that they were bringing peace and prosperity to the universe. I refer you back to the recruitment officer, a role that was maybe a brief moment of excellence in an otherwise bleak army life.

So with all of that positive stuff, was there anything that I did not enjoy? Yes, unfortunately and all of it was irritating little bits that felt unfinished or down right silly. My first point comes right at the beginning of the movie. The ground effect is what allows Earth based craft to hover at great speed and fly across the planet. This works on land and water, hence why vehicles like Ekranoplans work so well. So why are Star Wars speeders restricted to using road ways when they could happily fly across the water too? This is very silly and needs an explanation.

During the train heist, Val (played by Thandie Newton) effectively killed herself, which was a waste of her otherwise great character. Was there really any need to kill her, particularly in that foolish suicidal way? A better story for her could have been worked out and ensured that she faced her mortality with a degree of dignity rather than giving up her life just to steal some posh jet fuel! 

Likewise, the destruction of the under used L3 and then to see her mind transferred into the Falcon, felt like some rather crude gap filling. OK, this leads on to a later aspect of the franchise when C3PO exclaims during episode five that the ship has a rather peculiar dialect. But the execution of it just felt hashed and unnecessary. It also devalued her once again, thus proving her point that electronic sentience is treated as property, just like the organic slaves that we are actually supposed to feel empathy for while they are freed, unlike the mechanical beings. The message here was too messed up to work properly.

The lack of explanation of Qi’ra’s back story was for a purpose, but it was left unanswered even at the end. Have they left it open for more story telling or to encourage fans to check out the Clone Wars? The problem with that is by Dave Felony’s own description, the Clone Wars was itself unfinished. If Qi’ra does appear in the Clone Wars, was seeing her here a massive spoiler? Sadly I have only the first original Clone Wars and a couple of the rebooted first season, so I cannot tell for sure. 

There was a lot to like about this movie, but there is also something to criticise. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did and rather a lot. However, there were parts to this film that felt like they dragged or they lacked the needed power to push the story forwards. Will I buy the Blu-ray when it comes out? Yes of course. Will I watch it again at the cinema? Not sure, but if the chance arises, then probably. After all, this is not a bad movie and it is certainly not terrible, but as with all Star Wars movies, there are some aspects that could have been made better to make it a superb ADULT level film… Bugger, this is a kids movie isn’t it? That explains it. They created this charming, happy little film to be suitable for younger viewers too. To this end, it shows a little and it is vital to remember this when watching these movies. They are family fun, with a little bit of tragedy. Rogue One was special, being a tragedy from the outset, this one has differs by having a lot to make it lighter in its tone even during the bleak or sad parts.

If you have not yet seen the film, then you were a bit silly reading this first, unless you are not really that bothered by the movie. In truth though, you should probably go and see it, it is worth the time and the money and I wish Lucasfilm and Disney the best of luck with the movie and I hope that they continue to produce high quality Star Wars movies. For all of those who wish to direct their hatred towards Kathleen Kennedy for making these movies, I think that you should probably take a long hard look at yourselves and maybe even think about what it is you really want from the franchise. Bare in mind though that I am one of those rare types who will actually admit to enjoying Episode One (although Jar Jar is a bit of a cunt, being a hidden Sith!). 

May 30th 2018

Why I hate computers so fucking much... An essay.

Just recently, I have had rather an unfair level of computer problems and I know why they have occurred, it is a combination of old tech, new tech and downright bad tech. Allow me to explain more and I think that you will see what I mean.

Let’s start right at the beginning, with my first computer. Back in 2002 I bought my first real desk top computer, a PC World tower with a cheap Chinese micro-ATX board, a huge 500GB HDD, a tiny CRT monitor and a pair of terrible external speakers. This whole thing cost me close to five hundred quid and I was over the moon. The OS was Windows XP home edition and I quickly learned the hard way that virus protection was needed if I wanted to browse on line and not have my computer filled with pop ups and malware. I remember in particular that one virus would slow my computer down to a crawl and fill my screen with bouncing tits. Looking back now, this was quite funny and having my screen filled with inch wide icons of bouncing tits that sat in my screen bouncing at me, was frankly hideous as I lost all functionality. I never found out what the bouncing tits were for, but I did discover that virus protection does not have to be paid for.

After a few years, I was given another slightly older desk top PC from PC world. Although not as fast as mine, it did have a very similar board, but was in need of a new fan for the CPU and a damn good clean. My reason for acquiring this second computer was that I wanted to learn about networking computers and I was stunned to discover just how easy it was to build a home network with a couple of cables and a router. With in two hours I was file sharing and even chatting with friends (who were sat no more than five feet away from me), through the medium of the computer. It was all so exciting.

A short while later, as my experience grew, I discovered that Windows was not the only operating system and I was introduced to Linux, in the Ubuntu flavour and even back then it was remarkably pretty. So in 2006, I built my first Linux based system, discovered that I needed to learn how to code into the terminal to make some of the features work and before you could say Bill Gates, I was discovering that Windows and Linux on the same network can cause a clash between them. But I persevered and with a small but essential amount of work, my home network was working swiftly again.

It was also about this time that I discovered MP3 files and even how to add hardware to my towers. This final new skill was kind of forced upon me when my super cheap OEM HDD failed and was sent scurrying down to PC to buy a new one. With the new HDD fitted, I slapped my OS install CD in the optical drive and with in three hours, I had my system back up and running with a working computer. How nice of E-Machines to include a back up CD I thought… Ahhh, they were simpler days indeed.

My first Laptop was a skip rescued Dell that ran Windows ME! This was a truly terrible machine, which was probably why it ended up in a skip, well until I came along and rescued it. The processor was barely powerful enough to run ME, the HDD was barely large enough to store more than a few albums and the amount of memory was measured in megabytes rather than the more modern Gigabytes. Why did I want this terrible old thing you may ask? It was for one single purpose only, I desperately wanted to run the computer game Theme Hospital, which although very silly and not hugely exciting, did make me laugh. A few minutes of playing that would see me giggling like a loon. However, if I chose not to advance through the levels, the computer would crash badly and I would have to start again at the very beginning. To this day, just the mention of Bloaty Head disease will see me sniggering!

My second laptop was a very capable HP with good old Windows XP and to be honest, I still have this computer despite it being very battered and occasionally unreliable. When this computer came to me, it was fourth hand at least, having been passed around the community in Weston. It came with an external webcam and not much else. It was fast, reliable to begin with and had a lovely action on the keyboard. The operating system was simple to use, it did exactly what I told it to do and it did not bog me down with Windows Update when I was busy and trying to type on it. In many ways I miss that computer, but given the age of it now and the fact that it has a serious over heating issue that makes the area below the keyboard painfully hot to the touch, I can’t really keep it going for very long.

However, it is here that we first find the issues that are going to start bugging me more and more as we move on though this story. Updates stopped happening and slowly my XP software that I loved and found simple to use was rendered obsolete, first by the frightful Windows Vista and then the frankly awful Windows 7. Windows seven was quickly replaced by Windows 8 and that soon fell to version 8.1 before Windows Ten was rolled out as the saviour of modern computing. Meanwhile, my trusty old laptop was not powerful enough to run a bigger operating system and the programs on it began to fail with each update until I was given the final message that my days of happy XP use were to end because XP was no longer supported by anyone.

So with the demise of my laptop also came the demise of my Desk top. I re-homed the second hand PC and even rebuilt my first PC a couple of times before the Micro ATX board became useless, forcing me to replace it with an old MSI board, sold to me by a close friend. The MSI board was a revelation, the amount of memory available was measured in Gigabytes for the first time and I learned about something called clock speed and also the dark art of over clocking… With this system I ran my first big stand alone Linux OS. The only Windows machine in my collection was the old XP laptop (The ME based one finally let out all of the magic smoke and gave in to the years of dust in the case, that I just could not extract.) and that was it. Linux was great, the updates occasionally gave me issues and I would have to find new drivers and install them through the terminal, but even that got more and more complicated when my graphics cards and audio cards suddenly became unsupported and generic drivers created software clashes with in the hardware, until finally the system ground to a halt and did the computer equivalent of a very wet fart into its pants. After a few years of daily service, a new Mother board was eventually needed and I was forced to buy a copy of Windows Seven to go with it so that I could run software for internet radio broadcasting.

Windows seven took all of the worst aspects of Windows XP and made them features. I had to learn my way around a new OS that was so glitchy it would crash when I needed it most. My very first show on internet radio was blighted by the system deciding that it needed to update just as I was about to start my broadcast and stopping the update forced the system to freeze, causing me to have to perform a hard restart and then run through recovery, until after fifteen minutes I was finally ready to go and I hit the digital waves with my favourite black metal.

With update as locked down as tightly we could make it and with the system made as stable as possible, given all of the issues that came with it, that computer served us well as the main radio system for a good couple of years, before finally it succumbed, as these things always do, to the constant heat and it eventually died. On the day that it failed, it gave a few warning toots of the old computing whistle, before letting out all of the magic smoke, with a burned out chip somewhere on the motherboard that would prevent it from ever starting up again. It later transpired that this board was well known for that particular glitch.

So that almost brings me up to date, so here is another platform to think about. My lovely wifey introduced me to the joys of Apple Mac and despite my initial reservations, I was quietly impressed with quality of the software and the overall prettiness of the construction of the hardware. The iMac design is basically all of the least convenient aspects of a laptop, combined with the least portable aspects of a desk top, all crammed together in an overly small case with the design considerations of a huge engine crammed into a tiny sports car. This analogy actually holds up well, because both car and computer will struggle to dissipate the generated heat! Heat kills computers and the iMac does run rather hot. If left on and actually used rather than just left idle, the iMac gets so hot as to become a useful room heater, which is great on those cold winter afternoons of sleet and drafts down the chimney! When Wifey’s iMac finally issues a wheeze and stopped working, we discovered that replacement parts are seriously difficult to source and even harder to fit. Our only hope was actually to pull out the offending failed board and send it off to a component repair guy, who sat over it with a microscope and a pair of tweezers, replacing the tiny surface mount components. However, getting the iMac apart was a test of ingenuity in itself. The screen cover has to be removed, but given that it is flush fit and has no fasteners, this is a real bastard to do. The only way we found was to use the vacuum cups that are used to move glass sheets around.

Once inside the iMac, the dust had to be extracted and there was a lot of it. The machine has clever ducts that blow air across the cooling fins of the heat sinks, however by the time the air reaches these fins, it is no longer cool. Great design there Apple (more on that later) because not only is the air now warm, it deposits all of the dust it carries into the hardest to reach and most annoying to clean out heat sink ever. Finally with the board repaired, the heat sinks cleaned out and the irritating leads glued back into position, I began to reassemble the iMac… Which thankfully I had taken photos of because that thing was like putting a jigsaw together without seeing the picture. It worked and the OS was reinstalled because the nice folks of Apple actually ensure that OS disks are included with the machine.

In need of a laptop for travel, Wifey and I chose a Samsung Chromebook, after the very nice man in PC world told us that it was a delightful machine and would work anywhere in the world… He neglected to mention that this came with the proviso that it was dependant on having a strong wifi signal though! The Chromebook was a beautiful thing, the keyboard was unbelievably elegant and weighed in at well under a kilo with a battery life that lasted almost ten hours, this machine was amazing… Until we found ourselves on a remote island in the Indian Ocean with no wifi… All that we wanted to do was transfer some photos from Wifey’s camera to the external HDD, via the Chromebook… Which, with no wifi to download the OS from, utterly refused to even start. Leaving us with a very pretty, but ultimately useless paperweight and a new name for it. From that day forth, it became known as the Crapbook!

With the failure of my windows seven build PC, I had a new ASUS motherboard, a new CPU and even a new graphics card. This was a costly build and put together by the husband of a good friend. My old HDD was no longer compatible because it was IDE and not SATA, which meant that I lost a load of my files despite having back ups because they were also on IDE drives, but I did have a second hand SATA drive from another stripped down laptop that I had been playing with. The HDD was on its last legs, but was not as bad as the optical drives. Again one of these optical drives had to be ditched because despite being in perfect working order, it was IDE and not SATA. My new graphics card had a HDMI port for a second monitor and I quickly and joyously discovered that a HDTV made a great second monitor and so I set about writing my first novel… which went well.

The Crapbook claims to have office software on it. This claim is true. It does indeed have a form of office software. I would then add that this software is fucking awful, being barely above useless. The functionality is frankly appalling and may the heavens help you, if you should even so much as consider swapping your document to another platform to compile your work! With such an action, there will be the introduction of a random error into the text, which makes formatting all but impossible and I spent many hours simply trying to decipher what the bastard computer had done to my document. The other issue was that I had no choice but to sit next to the wifi router because the signal kept dropping out and then if I should dare go away from my wifi, the machine stopped working. Google claim that the Crapbook has functionality even when away from the wifi… which is sort of true. They fixed it enough that it no longer sits there refusing to turn on, but with no wifi, none of the applications work, including the office software. I finally managed to find a text editor that would work with no wifi, but this was so basic, that it did not even have a spell checker and it added numbers to the start of each line as one typed.

Yet another skip find gave me a HP laptop with windows 8.1, but this had been dropped in the skip because it obviously had HDD and keyboard damage caused by a spillage of some kind. One does hope that it was water and not spunk, but it pays not to check too closely with skip found computers. With a lovely new install of Ubuntu, this computer was working almost well enough to write with, providing that I did not need any of the keys on the left hand side of the keyboard. With an external keyboard, it sort of worked, but I could not touch the case next to the trackpad due to a serious overheating issue, that I was never able to track down.

So for Christmas 2017, Wifey bought me a brand new Lenovo Laptop to counter all of the glitches that were happening with the ASUS desktop and the skip find HP. The Lenovo was a thing of beauty, but it came with Windows ten, a truly vile OS. No worries thinks I, I will just put Linux on it… Uh no. Lenovo forbade this so with barely enough time to start up my first program, the laptop utterly failed and the man offering online support from Lenovo told me that they had specifically engineered the laptop not to run Linux and that by doing so, I had erased the bios which he claimed was stored on the HDD! Further discussions with him ended when I politely requested that he take said computer and insert it into his anal passage. My three hour old laptop had in the handbook stated in bold black print, that the machine was entirely compatible with Linux, the hardware however proved that along with many other promises made by tech companies, they are simply not true. It had occurred to me before that many tech companies tell a few fibs, usually when they claim that their computer is so much better than another which runs the same OS, on the same components, but in a less shiny case. However, it came as a startling surprise to me that the lies told by the many various tech companies are so blatant.

With the Lenovo actually replaced with a new machine rather than repaired, I was forced to endure Windows Ten, but not right away because that would be far too simple. What was given to me was a computer that was pre-installed with Windows Seven (ughhh, yeah that delight in OS!) and an inbuilt command to update as soon as it found a Wi-Fi signal. So my shiny new computer, fresh from the box, proceeded to perform Windows update rendering the computer unusable for a little while. Well, I say little while. I actually mean for over a day. Yes, for over twenty four hours my new laptop computer sat there with a circle of dots spinning in the most irritating manner, with a message stating that I must not turn off the computer, in the middle of an other wise blank screen. It was a pile of electronic shite. When it finally came alive the computer was glitchy, the trackpad reacted randomly and the screen resolution was weak at best. It would also randomly freeze up and often when I would switch it on, it would sit there with the circle of spinning dots telling me that it was updating and I could not use it. This circle of spinning dots would last anywhere between thirty minutes and six hours. Often at the end of the cycle, it would restart and after less than five minutes inform me that it urgently needed to restart again and that I had to save any data I was working on. Trying to prevent it from restarting resulted in it slowly losing functionality until it froze and any data I was working on was lost for good.

Finally, the laptop died after five months. The HDD had failed and when I started one morning it informed me that there was no HDD or OS and I should install one ASAP… Thankfully I had got into the habit of working with back ups, which was especially useful when the OS on the ASUS desktop failed too due to software clashes following a glitch in Ubuntu update that wiped out my sound card, graphics card and multi screen display. I also lost my saved levels of Lemmings on both machines. After thirteen hours of trying to recover the Laptop, I gave up, put it back in the box and took it back to the store to complain. They smiled knowingly, nodded their heads sympathetically and asked me if I would like to try a different machine because they would not recommend the Lenovo… I explained that wifey had the same computer and had not had any of the issues that I had reported, which was given a kindly nod and a sad smile. It seems that my blue one was not alone with this issue which had been exacerbated by a fault with Windows, who had released a faulty patch.

Now this is where the lying and the general indifference to customer needs really pisses me off. It seems like computers are assembled and shoved out of the door of the factory with shiny bits and funky functions, but they are all built the same way, to be controlled by the manufacturers rather than the owners of the new machine. If you want to experience this for yourself, try repairing your old or even brand new iMac or iPhone. Apple it seems have turned into an evil megacorp who do not want you repairing your hardware. I am an iMac owner and have one that is twelve years old. It has performed beautifully, had excellent functionality and did everything that I wanted it to do, but not anymore. It has lost functionality over the years. Every time I switch it on, it tells me with a bright yellow and black warning bar that it is no longer supported because it is so old and out of date! How dare I continue to try to use this “Neolithic” workhorse, I may as well be trying to program Stonehenge for all of the care and concern that Apple have for me! My iMac has been cleaned out of dust (a major and difficult chore at best) and has been fitted with a new HDD to increase storage from three hundred and fifty gigabytes to one terabyte. It has four gigabytes of memory and does very well with that. Can I make it speak to my Sony smart phone though? No. Can I make it speak to the wifi network? Yes, but… Can it connect to other computers on the home network, including Wifey’s iMac? That is a big fat no.

I left the shop with my third laptop in six months and wandered home dejectedly knowing that I faced fuck knows how many hours of windows updates and setting up wifi networks again. I also knew that I desperately needed to back up the files from the iMac because that was my last storage place given that the ASUS had failed, the Lenovo was gone and the Crapbook was garbage. Were it not for my USB memory sticks, I would have lost everything.

Oh yeah, USB flash memory… Brilliant invention, until I ask the Crapbook, the iMac, the Linux powered ASUS and the Lenovo to read the same card… Did you know that USB stands for Universal Serial Bus? Meaning that it is supposed to be universally usable, across many platforms. Only the Crapbook has a hit and miss affair with USB. Somethings work, but a lot of things don’t. The iMac has a format that only the Ubuntu powered ASUS can read and the Windows Ten filled atrocity that was the Lenovo could read everything except if it came from the Crapbook or the iMac or the Ubuntu powered ASUS… When formatting your USB memory stick, make sure that you choose the correct format for all machines and do not go for some freaky single machine only use, such as NTSC or whatever bollocks the fucking iMac made it!

With the Lenovo gone, I sat on my bed and built the free Lego set that had been given to me by the shop my laptop had come from, because they felt sorry for me. The new laptop, an ASUS, sat in the box still tightly sealed and wrapped in protective packing. I knew that when I opened that box, my life would be on hold as I spent countless miserable hours tapping yes or no to a myriad of ridiculous questions. Finally, at three PM, I opened the box and lost the rest of Friday, most if not all of Saturday and so finally a day and a half later, I am using my machine for the very first time. Why did it take so long you may ask? Well this is for a number of reasons, the first of which is that Windows Ten is a fucking pile of shit. Out of the box it has Windows seven on it and this has to update, thankfully this only took five hours. However, the repeated attempts to update a single faulty update that even Microsoft know is faulty, caused a loop to develop… You can see where I am going here. Then when it finally updated, it crashed. The cause was a failure of the Powershell. I don’t actually know what the Powershell is, but it is obviously essential because without it, my machine was an expensive paperweight once again. This time I dived right into the forums on the Microsoft Website and found the easy fix… Open the terminal, start typing several lines of code and hey presto, you have removed a glitch in the software. You then have to paste in a patch which you can find on a long and torturous hyperlink, that you have to manually type in because the fucking laptop does not work and I am stuck on the fucking Crapbook looking for answers to fix my new fucking laptop!

Do you remember that little talking Paperclip that Microsoft were once so badly maligned for? The Microsoft forums are far, far worse. If you cannot type code or do not have the skills to trouble shoot your OS for the numerous glitches introduced by overly nerdy and underwashed code writers, then you are clearly a moron who has no right to own a computer! Some of the comments on these forums are deeply unkind, there is a new level of rudeness to these websites that I have not previously encountered. These forums are populated by the sort of person who has had an empathy bypass or an empathy-ectomy if you will! I am not going to label the cognitively different as less worthwhile than myself, but this is feeling I picked up as I was directed towards the other non nerds who like myself who go to these places to simply ask for help.

Sensing my frustration, a pop up opens on my screen with an invite from Microsoft to discuss my problems with an actual person. Yes, an actual real person or at least a close approximation of one which is all I am going to get from the sort of automaton who works at Microsoft. When I finally get my turn to talk to an actual person, the real human being is so stunted and awkward that I genuinely thought that I was chatting with a synthetic and rather poorly programmed computer system. The give away was that no computer can come across as that patronising or hostile. I lost count of how many times I had to tell the man that I had a brand new machine and had not been browsing porn on the web. I could feel his sneer across the screens as he discounted that a brand new machine right out of the box could have a Powershell failure or that Windows Update was causing a closed loop of chaos! So he asked if he could access my computer with a remote desktop (which he did) and then he started flicking through my new Laptop files… Which being brand new were completely empty. He warned me that I needed to back up my system because I was about to lose all of my data. He did not reply when I pointed out that there was nothing to back up.

After forty five minutes he informed me via chat on my Crapbook that my new computer was fixed and ready to go. I asked him if he had fixed the Powershell and he stumbled for a moment before diving back into the terminal and typing yet more lines of code. Finally, he was finished and he informed me yet again in the chat window open on the crapbook, that my new ASUS laptop computer was finally ready to use… Just as soon as I had performed a restart on it. All Righty Then!!!!! However, my first action after restarting, he advised, was that I should run my virus checker because I very clearly had picked up a virus while browsing on line…

The restart took slightly less than three hours. With dawn approaching, I prepared to retire to bed and thought that I would just leave the new fucking laptop to spin its fucking infuriating little circle of dots. Sensing that I was now in my pjs and painfully exhausted, the computer decided to switch on, thirteen hours after I had taken it out of the box and plugged it in for the first time. The first thing it did after this switch on was to inform me that the Powershell had crashed. I turned the computer off and retired to bed.

Once again the lying of the big companies comes out here. Because they tell so many lies, they do not believe the customer when they say that a computer can come out of the box and not work. The keyboard on the new ASUS was set up in a foreign language when I took it out of the box, which took some working out to fix, despite telling the machine that I spoke English and typed on an English keyboard. I finally discovered that there is a rare and often unused English keyboard that allows you to type in Taiwanese. With this repaired, I was able to type in English to tell it my name, which was as far as I got before it failed me. I had not even made it on line by that point.

My biggest complaints though is not that I am a barely computer literate idiot who has only half a clue about what I am doing, although that is a large part of my life. No, my biggest complaint is that the tech companies like Microsoft, Like Apple, Like Lenovo, like Google and no doubt like almost all of the others out there, have no desire to please customers. They want to rake in cash and are happy to sell poorly designed products in the process. Apple used to have a reputation for sleek, purposeful design. Now they have a reputation for mean spirited, rip off machines with inbuilt designed obsolescence. There is nothing at all wrong with my iMac, it functions perfectly well or rather it did before they deleted the software it needs. My iMac cost over a thousand pounds when it was new, which is a huge amount of cash to spend if you live on a budget. Twelve years later, that investment should still be providing use, not be sat on a shelf ready for the recycling skip. I understand the urge to continue pushing technological barriers, but why not make the iMac so that it is updatable the same way that my PC is? The ancient second hand HDD that currently runs my ASUS desktop had failed me finally (which was hardly unexpected), but the computer can be made to work again with a new HDD. Wifey’s iMac has a failed optical drive in it, which we have tried to replace twice, but the hardware is either not compatible or comes broken, which was instantly refunded because they knew that it was dodgy.

Lenovo, when I spoke to them about my computer problems, told me that the issues were because I did not spend enough money. I should have bought the more expensive machine to prevent me having the problems that I had. Buying an idea pad was a bad choice they said because I clearly needed the thousand pound plus think pad… But I don’t have a thousand pounds said I, but you should have they said.

I want to turn off Windows Update I told the Windows man, so that I can update it at a time when it is convenient for me. Is that so much to ask? But this is not what Microsoft want. So I have to have windows update on all of the time and this means that when I switch my machine on, to do what ever work I have to do, sometimes (read as a lot of the time) the machine will have no functionality because it needs to restart to install updates that it has. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to twelve hours.

My Linux system is beautiful, the systems are so intuitive as to be sublime. Update is controlled by me and so when I start it, I can update if I am not in a hurry or postpone it if I am. Ubuntu update takes hardly any time and install often takes less time that a windows machines requires to start. I love Linux, but there is a problem. Linux requires a degree of understanding and programming ability that many simply do not have. Trying to make a DVD play on your computer requires the downloading of codecs and inputting of codes into the terminal that many frankly find intimidating. A simple mistype and the system can be damaged. Also the provision of drivers for ancillaries can be problematic and don’t bother with a Linux machine if you have designs on being a movie maker, the software available is rather poor and I don’t have the knowledge to write my own before you even go down that path!

Apple is the biggest disappointment to me, they have gone from an exciting tech company to a company that frankly make Dr Evil from Austin Powers, look like the good guy! When they deny you the right to repair your machine, knowingly sell low quality products at premium prices and then charge people huge sums of cash to repair badly designed tech, they are starting to look very much like the bad guy on the tech market.

Microsoft has always been troublesome, making demands of the customer to use their product and bloody well like it! But I don’t like it. I really don’t like the waiting around, the rude attitude and the having the machine tell me when I can write. With Windows Ten, they have got worse. I don’t know who it is they are appealing too, especially with the deeply irritating Cortana tool, but it is clearly not me. I am after all just a creative writer and I want a tool that I can type my stories into, at a time that suits me and not at a time that suits Microsoft.

As for the data-mining shitbox that is the Google Crapbook, this is a laughably bad product that is barely functional as a web browser. If you do use one, just bare in mind that no matter how old you are, they will mine your data so that they can send you pointed advertising. All that this machine is good for is facebook and eBay. If you actually want a machine that you can type a story into, do not bother with a Chromebook or any other Chrome OS machine. Just trying to get a copy of your story off of the Google machine into a format other than its own, is a test of patience and rage.

Given that these machines are sold as tools making our lives easier, why do they introduce so much stress and irritation? I think that it is because that these machines are designed by people who look down on us ordinary users as idiots. We are too thick to know what we are doing, we are too lazy to update our own machines and we need our technology to tell us that our bodies are just the wrong shape to use them. I recently heard that one of the excuses Apple used to justify their poor products in mobile phones was because “making mobiles phones is hard.”

Were it not for the arthritis, I think that I would be going back to pen and paper! Now before you decide that I am some sort of technology hating Luddite, I will point out that there is one piece of tech that I have that constantly and consistently works exactly how I like it. My Kindle eReader is the best piece of tech I have ever purchased. I love that machine and if I were forced to live with only one entertainment device for the rest of my life (I include all forms of TV/DVD/BluRay/Laptop/Smartphone/MP3 player), I would probably pick one of these. The only time it has ever annoyed me was once when I was reading a particularly exciting book and the update stepped in and gave me a five minute wait to finish my page! That little bug has since been fixed and it has worked flawlessly every since.

You see, if a company like Amazon can get it right (and we all know how truly evil Amazon are!), why are companies like Microsoft, Apple and the other tech firms getting it so painfully wrong? I want to enjoy my tech, I truly do, but they don’t make it fucking easy do they?

Finally, as for the new ASUS laptop? Don’t bother buying one, the keyboard feels like I am typing on an empty ice cream tub and the whole things feels flimsy and weak. So that was £400 well spent!

May 27th 2018

Another book

Yes folks, I have been published in another book of short stories with my writing club, so grab yourself a copy now! 

Now before we go anywhere with this, let me first point out that this one has been problematic from the moment I started putting the document together. Who would have thought that it was so hard to build a three hundred page manuscript and then convert into a format that Amazon can read? That has been my week, working so hard on that damn formatting issue. With it finally sorted, I upload and order my copy, only to discover that the random formatting issue had damaged the document again.

So, I was forced to re-edit and upload again… How many hours has this taken me so far? Far more than I care to think about, it has been a lot of hard work and I am now beyond the ability to care if there is another formatting issue.

So computer woes aside, I can conform that our writing club has again published a book and it is excellent.

This is available now on Amazon in both e-Book and Paperback, so check it out and order your copy now.

This time, I have submitted a couple of my short stories, mainly the sort of thousand word snapshots, but there are also a couple of slightly longer ones in there too, 

As always, I conspired with my dear co-writer Jan and together we wrote another novella set in the Fairy Realm. This one is another critique of global politics, international business and thin skinned American dick wart presidents. We might also be taking the piss out of those folks who use fast food delivery services… Well that will include myself as well then.

Given current world events, delving into the land of Fairy might be just what we need to avoid the depressing and sadly not unexpected news from the orange painted idiot currently leading the USA!

So go and buy our latest book, it is filled with fabulous stories, exciting ideas and a lot of wonderful new talent…

Buy it from Amazon now and enjoy at your leisure, If that link does not work, just type Second Compendium into your Amazon search bar and you will find it easily. 

May 10th 2018

So who is Jayne Hecate?

Jayne Hecate is a collective of evil thoughts 

coalesced into one very wicked person!

Jayne Hecate just happens to be a published author, who lives in the nice bit of the South West of England,where the sea is brown and the beach is mainly mud. 

She is a keen movie buff, loves a good book and will eat pizza for every meal if allowed. If that were not enough, Jayne also spends far too much time playing Scrabble and eating cakes cooked by her wife. Oh yeah, Jayne is an advocate of gay rights.

Jayne has few hobbies, most recently she discovered that she enjoys making replica props. When there is nothing else to do, she will sit at her desk and build Lego trucks until her fingers give out. Yet, when her ancient rotten bones allow, she likes to ride her motorbike as fast as possible, for as long as possible. She uses many of these influences in her writing and bases many of her stories on the experiences that she has had. 

 

Jayne on her Suzuki SV650
When not writing, Jayne is an advocate of human rights for all, with ideals that state that all people should have access to clean drinking water and a safe roof over their heads. Jayne is a proponent of the ideas of anti-war and anti-fascism, but then it is hard not to be when you consider all people to be equal and worthy of respect. Jayne believes that mental health is just as important as physical health and has a great deal of respect for those individuals who work in mental health. Having been a user of these services, Jayne is thankful every day for the strength and courage given to her by these medical professionals. Due to this belief Jayne is a strong advocate of the British NHS and strongly believes that it needs saving from the greedy eyes of the capitalist Governments who want to place it in private hands. 
Jayne holds an Honours degree in Environmental Science, is a qualified teacher of Outdoor Education and likes to read almost as much as she likes to write. Although since discovering the Kindle, she has rarely been seen above a duvet with out one clutched in her bony arthritic hands. Often known to be self critical to the point of combustion, she is peculiar in more ways than can be listed on a single website and is utterly devoted to her partner and her cat. 

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