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13th-Jun-2015 06:35 pm - Okay so... Jurassic World
museum
Not actually a spoiler. Honestly, I don"t think it can be spoiled, there is NOTHING in the movie that wasn"t in the trailer.Collapse )
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25th-May-2015 07:13 pm - I wrote a thing.
heart + stomach
Bombshell (3942 words) by innerbrat
Chapters: 1/?
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America (Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Steve Rogers, Howard Stark
Additional Tags: Rule 63, Female!Bucky
Summary:

Chapter one: Carry Moonbeams Home in a Jar

In which a fun afternoon of trespassing changes a life.


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17th-May-2015 04:41 pm(no subject)
you're awesome, Leverage
 Have I mentioned that I'm skating a marathon?

I'm skating a marathon as part of the South Coast Roll in two weeks time.

It would be SUPER AWESOME if you could sponsor me.
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heart + stomach
 YupCollapse )
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23rd-Apr-2015 09:14 pm - Vid: U.S.
heart + stomach
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Music: Us by Regina Spektor
Length: 04:53
Content notes: blood, medical equipment

Spoilers for: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Agent Carter; Agents of SHIELD (Season one)

Summary: Steve Rogers has a complicated relationship with the legacy of Captain America
Alternative Summary: It is Supersoldiers all the way down.

Download is available at vimeo.



U.S. from innerbrat on Vimeo.

AO3 | Tumblr

Video NotesCollapse )
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18th-Jun-2014 01:57 pm - Storykiller by Kelly Thompson
books

When my copy of “Storykiller” by Kelly Thompson arrived in the post, I literally squealed in delight. (It’s okay, I do that kind of thing.) I had backed the publication o this book on Kickstarter, based solely on the cover art (A woman staring ferociously out of the silhouette of a labrys made of paper) and the plot description: Tessa Battle is the Last Scion – the only Mortal with the power to kill Stories – the fictional characters who live among us.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Fables, with a labrys! Where could I possibly go wrong?

I am really really disappointed.

And not just because the axe turned out to be just  an axe, and not a symbol for lesbianism.

Now I’ve written what follows, I realise it’s actually a poorly written review, because I tried not to go too emphatic with my problems. It’s not the worst book ever, but the characters and plot itself are bland enough that the things that bother me, really do bother me.

 

 

The tagline for the book – a phrase repeated a couple of times by characters, and which is all over the promotional material – is “Fight your Fiction.” This is explained by a character as the struggle between the written word and the free-will of the character. “Fighting your Fiction” means battling your predetermined role in life and exerting yourself as a real, independent person. A great idea for a book, amirite? It certainly hooked me.

Except then Storykiller goes all-out nihilistic on that very concept. Sure, it says, fight your Fiction if you must, but why bother? You will lose.

And that’s the spoiler-free review. To explain exactly why, I’m going to launch into spoilers straight away, including the major spoiler for the plot of the book.

TW: Suicide.

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theropod

But I don’t want to cut for spoilers. What do you mean, you still haven’t seen the episode? Fine.

Everyone else, I’ll see you below the cut.

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dinosaurs

I know, I know, you want to know where I’ve been. Reporting on roller derby, for the record. Also playing roller derby, at job interviews, and also in  Dublin. And then I’ve been reading Hunger Games, and as I’m halfway through Mockingjay, you’re lucky I’m sitting at a computer at all.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes. Reasons a palaeontologist might kill someone.

Incidentally, while the last instalment was about illegal activities on the black market, fossil smuggling and dastardly private collectors, there is a more above board, but just as fraught disagreement going on right now with a twelfth specimen of the renowned Archaeopteryx, the “first bird” known from only eleven specimens all from Germany. The recently discovered twelfth specimen is not just worth millions of euros to its discoverer (and the owners of the land, if they can claim ownership) but is almost priceless in scientific worth, if it ends up in an accessible collection. [Please note, I am not saying that anyone is going to be murdered over ownership disputes over this specimen and its availability to researchers. I am saying it would make an EXCELLENT crime show plot.]

But anyway:

3. To Establish Publishing Priority

Okay, technically Elementary already did this plot this season, albeit with maths (whups, spoilers for Solve for X, I guess.) So it’s understandable that they didn’t go this route with palaeontology, but they so could have.

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dinosaurs

Have you watched Elementary yet? No? Care about spoilers? Yes? Then skip this post. Don’t worry, I’ll be back and you can find it again.

In this instalment of “seven reasons to kill someone (involving palaeontology):

2. Your dealings on the fossil black market are about to be exposed.

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palaeo

So a few episodes of Star Trek ago, Becca asked me: “Have you caught up on Elementary yet?” and I said “NO! But I know the most recent episode involves DINOSAURS.” And she said “I WANT TO KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU DO SEE IT.”

So there resulted an email “chain” that was really just me emailing her every five minutes while she was asleep, but then she work up and said “You should post this email chain so the whole internet can read it!”

This isn’t that post.

But this post DOES contain SPOILERS for the episode called Dead Clade Walking. On the other hand, you’re not watching Elementary for the whodunnit plots, are you?

The details of the palaeontology  used in the show I’m letting go because TV never gets anything exactly right – but I do think that the writers could have maybe done enough research to get the word ‘palaeontology’ right. They kept called the scientists archaeologists, which is already a BONUS MOTIVE for why palaeontologists might want to murder someone.

notarchaeology

And now, if you’re willing to brave spoilers, come with me below the jump…

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12th-Feb-2014 08:24 am - Took Me Long Enough
gender fuck

mismeasure-of-womanThere are quite a few books in existence that I should have read already, that if I admit I haven’t read, I’ll feel obliged to add “…yet” to the end of the sentence, and the admission would probably garner surprise, from anyone who knows me, because of COURSE I must have read them. They seem so influential on my thinking! Usually these books are in the bibliography of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould and other evolutionary biologists. (What? Dawkins has opinions about religion? I’m not interested.)

Well, that list of books just got one shorter when I finally got my hands on and read  The Mismeasure of Woman by Carol Tavris. Considering its more famous big brother, The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould was one of the most influential books on my interpretation of anthropology and psychology, you’d think I’d have got my hands on this one earlier, but I had no excuse. Other than the fact that I already knew a bit about the way social and scientific rhetoric is used to put women In Our Place,  and I wasn’t expecting to be super surprised.

I wasn’t super surprised, but there were still revelations that made me go “huh.”

Like the idea that Premenstrual Tension might not actually be a thing.

(No, think about it: the main indicator for PMT is that symptoms occur in the two weeks leading up to ones period. As in – in a two week window out of every four. That’s a really large window, ladies. Add to that observer bias and society’s insistence on dismissing every negative mood women ever experience, and I’ve decided to give up on believing myself an irrational slave to hormones ever again.

It’s 22 years old, this book, and it does only touch on intersectionality: the experiences of women of colour and queer women are only touched on, trans* people aren’t mentioned at all. And I have no idea what has changed in the last two decades:  maybe medical students don’t all learn to think of the 70 kilogram male body as the paradigm from which all other patients deviate. Possibly someone has done extensive research on premenstrual symptoms and proven that societies perceptions are right: menstrual hormones do unequivocally cause specific mood changes. But that’s not the point.

The point is that the human insistence on dividing the world into two: artists and scientists, virgins and whores, clever and stupid, money makers and nurturers, men and women, is harmful to men, women, and everybody who wants and deserves to be treated as an individual (that’s everyone).

We all lapse into oppositional thinking without being aware of it. In one charming study, parents were simply asked to describe their children. Those who had three or more children spoke about each child in individual terms: Jane is intellectual, they might say. Sam is social and Pam is athletic. Parents who had two children, however, described them as opposites: Pam is a leader, Sam is a follower; Sam is the sociable son, Pam is the unsociable daughter.

 - p90

Do I agree with EVERYTHING in the book? No. Do I take even what I agree with at face value? No. But it paints a powerful picture of the way the way we think and speak of sex and gender affects our society, and it’s well worth picking up if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

4th-Feb-2014 01:48 pm - Dear Invisible Writer
muahahaha!
Iiiii signed up for [community profile] invisible_ficathon on [personal profile] skygiants' insistence because the very idea of it filled me with such glee I knew exactly what I was going to request in half an hour.

And YOU, my wonderful assigned writer, have amazing taste, and I know you're going to write something awesome. Just remember, optional details are optional and I would much rather receive something I know you've enjoyed writing more than something that fits my requests perfectly but you have to struggle to fulfil. Follow your imaginary-fandom heart!

I like: characters being competent at their thing; cross-dressing; relationships based on mockery and mutual condescension; lesbians; puns; characters who are braver then they are clever; and cross-dressing lesbians.

I don't like: mind-control, puppets, and anything that compromises body or mind autonomy.

On with the fandoms:Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley; La Triviata; Miserable Les; Rebecca (first cut); Boxing Day by Jennifer Banberry; KickpuncherCollapse )

Thank you, invisible writer! I know that whatever we were matched on, and whatever you write it will be awesome! Good luck!



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26th-Jan-2014 11:15 am - Well, that explains a lot.
judd winick

I really wanted to title this post “Well, that explains alot,” but it doesn’t. This post explains alot. The book I’m talking about explains something much less important than that. It explains why a terrible broadway musical was terrible.

I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? Okay, context: Three years ago, Becca, Feather and I went to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark while it was in previews. To say that this was a terrible Broadway musical is not in fact accurate; when we saw it, it was two terrible musicals: Spider-Man, a terrible musical retelling of Sam Raimi’s 2002 movie; and Turn Off the Dark: a terrible musical retelling of Phantom of the Opera, but gender-flipped, and with spider-powers instead of music. Incidentally, I can’t stand ‘Phantom of the Opera, I think it is a bad musical telling a bad story, but Turn Off the Dark was worse, as I have gleefully told anyone who would stay still long enough for the last three years.

Spider-Man

So when Becca, tasked with the job of being my Secret Santa, sent me a copy of Song of Spider-Man, a memoir by book writer Glen Berger, my squeal of delight was probably audible back in New York. A chance to relive the train wreck from inside!

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13th-Jan-2014 06:09 pm - Marvellous Disney
comics

For the 13th January (LJ | DWnadriel asked for the Disney acquisition of Marvel, and any ramifications you can think of, which…

Okay, I HAVE no thoughts about this. None whatsoever. I haven’t seen anything particularly DISNEY happen since the acquisition. I don’t know enough about how corporations work to think this should change Marvel properties or Disney properties.

Spider-Man ride at Disneyland?

I don’t know.

OPEN TO THE FLOOR. What should I be worried about?

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

11th-Jan-2014 05:22 pm - That large Malus
london

For the 11th January (LJ | DW[personal profile] sdelmonte asked for one thing I miss about NYC and one thing I don’t. And because MY FRIIIIIENDS would be obvious, I’m going to make it specifically about the city itself.

A Thing I Miss: TWENTY-FOUR HOUR SUBWAYS

The thing about living in London was that every late night at work, every social event, every night out, had to be planned and structured around The Last Tube, and the alternative Night Bus route and the difference in timings and does this pub close before or after Last Tube. When I worked at the Poorly Managed Sexy Coffee Shop, the time I finished cleaning up could make the difference between a 45 minute journey home and a two-hour journey home. Evenings out in Manhattan? You just allow half an hour more, maybe, because of infrequent trains. But you know you will get a train, and despite what popular culture would have us believe, I never felt unsafe on the late night subways…

(Well, except that one time I witnessed a domestic violence incident and then had to suffer a homophobic tirade from the man sitting next to me)

…but definitely not to the extent that waiting for a Night Bus – or even travelling on a Night Bus – would.  No matter, the knowledge that no matter what the hour, I could get my usual subway home, made my life a lot easier.

A Thing I Do Not Miss: TIMES SQUARE

Ugh, what is the point of Times Square? It’s like the location equivalent of those celebrities that never seem to do anything – maybe they were on a reality TV show or perhaps their parent is a thing – but are just famous for being famous. Times Square is… some steps. And a bunch of shops that are there to cash in on the tourists who come to see… the shops. And the TKTS booth, I guess. It’s a hotmess of the things I hate most in the world – crowds and people dressed as muppets. SO MANY CREEPY ELMOS.

I said this to someone once, and they said “what? Doesn’t London have Piccadilly Circus?” and my response was “I know! I don’t get that, either!” Sadly, Times Square is close to places I actually did want to be (comic store, dance class, the garment district, the theatres) that I had to go there a lot. But I did so reluctantly and not without grousing every step of the way.

Ugh, Times Square.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

10th-Jan-2014 05:44 pm(no subject)
Korra

It’s my bedtime when I’m starting this, so I’m sorry it won’t be long, but for the 10th January (LJ | DW[personal profile] shoroko asked for my thoughts on Avatar: The Last Airbender / the Legend of Korra, which I really don’t know if I can do justice this late, but I will, because I was asked to!

Although I will say, it is hard at the best of times for me to give thoughts on Avatar that don’t amount to incoherent hand flaps and I love this franchise so muuuuuuch, because that’s not fair. Neither cartoon is perfect. They both have flaws. And the one I am most personally attached to is possibly the more flawed, and sometimes I want to hit them, if it were possible to hit cartoons. But then I realize how much I love them and I hide from the internet’s right and just criticism of them both,

But I love Avatar, a lot. A lot.

I love Aang, because he is excitable and distractable and incurably optimistic. I love Korra because she is self confident and headstrong and rushes straight in without think. I love that both Avatar shows are about children with great power and even greater responsibilities, who have to live up to the image the world holds up to them. Aang evades and Korra barges in, and both are scared and pushed around, and both turn around to the world and decide that no, actually I’m going to do things my way.

Aang has a counterpoint in his one time enemy turned friend Zuko, who also has to deal with the world’s expectations, and struggles to find his own path and make his own decisions when faced with the burden of a family’s expectations. Korra has… a boyfriend who is a jerk and who gets a weird plot that should be about a girl who has to live up to the expectations given to her by her social status, her financial power and her political leanings, but instead is all about… well, Some Guy. This is less interesting. But hey, can’t have ladies hogging the storylines, right? Everyone knows men can’t pay attention to women.

I love the world building – I love the idea of a world built around four elements, I love that the powers are tied into actual real martial arts and there’s a constant spirituality and it all looks and feels so constant, even when the two shows are separated by 70 years.

I love the supporting characters – even though I think the last season focused a little too much on the wrong characters. I love the way it manages to be a show centred on young people in a world run by adults, without making the young people any less important.

I really like the themes of growing into power in a world that’s real, complicated, and changing. Of changing the world and being changed by it. Of facing the world’s expectations and redefining those expectations to suit your path.  And the fact that it’s consistently funny, and always pretty to look at – well, that’s a bonus.

Aaaaand now it’s even later and I want to write MORE. But it’s been a long day at the museum and… bedtime.

(I love Avataaaaaaaaaaaar.)

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9th-Jan-2014 12:17 pm - Phenomenal Cosmic Powers!
dc

For the 9th January (LJ | DW[personal profile] bjornwilde asked what global or cosmic hero/es I like, based on the correct assumption that I tend to prefer street level superheroes (The Question, Black Canary, Daredevil)

So here’s three powerhouses, from three different publishers.

Power-Girl

Power Girl

I’d been dabbling a toe into the Super books since Kelly-Sue DeConnick’s run in Supergirl, which for a while was the only Super book I read. I really really did not like Man of Steel in a way that was eye opening about what I thought was important about Superman (no doubt acquired through osmosis by spending my weekends watching Justice League with a man who did his dissertation on Superbooks). So it turned out I had Opinions! And I started reading more superbooks. And then I fell into a hole of Power Girl, because 1) Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and 2) if the Super family is a family of people who are displaced from their home and trying to find their place, then Power Girl is the losted and most displaced of them all. And of course, in the Ame-Comi universe she’s essentially a genderswapped Superman, and we all know how much I like genderswaps.

Anyway, I like Karen cause she’s flexible in her changing situations. She’s smart and tech savvy, and uses her secret identity to help people with Starrware rather than building up a personal arsenal, like SOME smart super rich ‘hero’ types I can mention. And she takes absolutely zero crap, from anyone. She’s brave, compassionate, and  just trying to find her place in a planet – no, a universe, that isn’t her own.

Captain-Marvel

Captain Marvel

Any claims that I like Carol Danvers for exactly the same reasons that I like Karen Starr will be met with a shifty look and an awkward subject change.

I jumped on the Captain Marvel bandwagon at the same time everyone else did – when Kelly-Sue started writing her solo book. (A pattern? To heck you say!) And I’ve been meaning to go back and read the rest of Princess Sparklefists, but there’s no hurry, right? As it is, Captain Marvel is one of the very few books I judge good enough to be on my small pull list. Carol, like Karen, is take-no-prisoners lets-punch-things. She has global powers and responsibilities (co-leader of the Avengers), but very real fears and worries (and a case of imposter syndrome, which is a very female concern.)

Atom-Eve

Atom Eve

Otherwise known as Invincible’s super girlfriend, Samantha Wilkins has her own life, and her own problems (which don’t get focused on nearly enough) including her own archnemesis. Dealing with Mark Grayson’s melodrama should be enough to get her a medal on its own, but she never ever lets it stop her. She’s pretty much the most powerful person in the world, including Invincible himself, even though she makes the tough decision to not use her powers when she gets pregnant.

Yeah, there are problems in Atom Eve’s story, but she’s an awesome character and a great  superhero.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

6th-Jan-2014 12:44 pm - The Five Best Things about the NHM
museum

I don’t have anything scheduled on the blogging on demand meme (LJ | DWfor tomorrow, so if you want me to ramble about something, you’d better get to it. Anyway, the 6th January,  [personal profile] herdivineshadow asked for my favourite 5 things about the Natural History Museum.

Archie the Giant Squid

archie

Giant Squid, Architeuthis dux , were until relatively recently a bit of a mystery to scientists, with everything we knew having come from the study of incomplete specimens washed up on beached, or found in the stomachs of sperm whales. If you’ve visited the AMNH in New York you might have seen the diorama of a squid vs whale fight constructed from speculation. In 2004, however, a trawler near the Falkland Islands caught a full specimen, which was donated to the Natural History Museum on the provision it be put on display. That posed a problem, however: the public galleries of the museum are nearly all within the iconic Waterhouse Building, which is a) not structurally sound enough to carry the weight of Archie’s giant fluid tank and b) a Grade One Listed Building, so not something you can just reinforce. Archie IS on pubic display, but to view her, you need to book a free public tour of the Darwin Centre Spirit Collection (ages 8 and up). This is well worth it.

The Aurora Pyramid of Hope

2728 Aurora Collection

This collection of 296 naturally coloured diamonds exhibits a variety of fluorescent colours – and pretty tricks with light is of course one of my favourite things. On display in the Vault, next to a meteorite from Mars, the gems are displayed under alternating white and ultraviolet light, showing their incredible beauty to the maximum.

The Treasures Gallery

archaeopteryx

I still hold this was my idea – when we visited what was once the Tree Gallery (there is a cross section of a tree on the ceiling) and I said “they should turn this into a showcase gallery for their most iconic specimens. And the next thing I knew: BAM! TREASURES. This is the gallery where you can see a dodo skeleton, a first edition of On the Origin of Species, the only piece of Apollo moon rock owned by the UK, and of course, the fossil and counterslab of the London Archaeopteryx.

This piece of malachite

malachite

The Live Ants

leafcutters

 

GO TO THE ANTCAM

I know, I know. Live leafcutter ants are so cliche for museums and zoos, but I don’t even care. Next to handleable objects, I think live and ‘real’ specimens are one of the most important things museums can provide their visitors. It makes a memorable, significant experience and captures people’s attention much more than models and labels ever can.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

ornithischian

For the 5th January (LJ | DW[personal profile] swankyfunk asked about my favourite dinosaur. Everyone, of course, has a favourite dinosaur, I think it’s compulsory for being a human being. As a child, my favourite dinosaur was Protoceratops, but now I always answer with the same answer: Animantarx.

animantarx

Animantarx is a nodosaur, one of the armoured dinosaurs related to Stegosaurus. I always feel nodosaurs and ankylosaurs get short shrift in the popular depiction of dinosaurs: they don’t appear in Jurassic Park (Well, they appear briefly in the third movie), the Ankylosaurus in Fantasia is asleep, and Spike in Land Before Time is a non speaking role. This is frankly a ridiculous move on behalf of the dinosaur publicity people, because ankylosaurs rock. They were huge animals covered in armor and spikes, and ankylosaurs (not nodosaurs, and sadly not Animantarx) had a whopping club on the end of their tails. They make stegosaurs look like lightweights.

Paleontologist R.S. Lull once said of ankylosaurs that they must have been an ‘animated citadel,’ and it is this phrase from which the name Animantarx derives - animus, living, tarx, fortress.

Animantarx was about 4.5 m long, and comes from the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah, at a horizon where the fossils are somewhat radioactive. It was discovered by a retired radiology technician called Ramal Jones, using a radioactivity-detecting scintillation counter that makes it the first dinosaur to have been discovered remotely – with no surface exposure before excavation.

So there you have it – my favourite dinosaur is a radioactive, spike-covered ornithischian with a fantastic name.

 

 

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4th-Jan-2014 10:29 am - I like driving in my car
shiny, thing

For the 4th January (LJ | DW[personal profile] herdivineshadow asked how it feels to have the driving test thing done. And the answer is REALLY QUITE NICE, ACTUALLY.

Bit of background: I failed my test three times when I was eighteen. Considering I had unresolved attention and anxiety issues, this should surprise absolutely no one. Then I lived in London for ten years, and New York for three years, and not only did I not really have much use for driving, I also didn’t really want to learn to drive or keep a car while I was there. Also, other priorities. But ALSO, driving is sort of scary.

But my parents don’t live in a big city with excellent public transport. And I don’t currently live in a big city with excellent public transport. And occasionally jobs will come up in museum education that requires the ability to drive between sites, or to transport objects to learners, or to take learners to objects. So it’s nice to be able to tick that box on my job applications.

When I couldn’t drive, I was pretty much completely dependent on the kindness of others: I was only able to attend derby practice twelve miles away because an (at the time) total stranger offered to give me a lift twice a week. I was only able to see my best friend because she drove down to see me. Every single social occasion I wanted to attend had to involve friends picking me up at pre arranged times or me organising public transport. And the thing here is: I am terrible at asking people for things, because it scares me to the point of aversion, and I am also pretty bad at organizing things in advance. So the fact that I could go to Chrissy’s Christmas party in Reading by just jumping in my car and riving to Reading, the fact that I can go to a party tonight by just jumping in my car and riving to Wycombe, that I can leave when I like, that I am not obliged nor placing an obligation on ANYONE…

…that’s bloody amazing.

 

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