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The Big Lancaster & Fleetwood Candidate Roundup

Thursday night is now, it seems, politics night. So here we go.

Now, as anyone who's been anywhere near me during election times previous will know, I have a massive stick up my arse about voting for the representative and not the party that they're affiliated to. I won't bore people with the rant unless prompted, but I'll admit that my stance on this has relaxed a little bit.
The first thing that contributed was the US elections. That was a powerful night, let me tell you, and it rather brought home the power of having a real focus for the nation's interest, someone about whom people can say "see him? He's in charge". Okay, so this isn't really relevant in this case; we don't have anything like a presidential electoral mechanism, even if we now have more and more of the trappings (such as live debates).
The second thing that has forced me to lift my gaze a little bit from the candidates to the wider general election has been watching my own reactions to the debates. I find myself thinking more favourably of the Labour candidate when I hear Brown calmly and firmly defend economic policy, or look at the Lib Dem candidate all the more seriously as Clegg puts himself forward as more and more of a statesman. Is my mind really so suggestible? There's no real link between the national and the local there, but the national debate is inevitably making my mind settle on local candidates who have jack all to do with the top-end mudslinging.
I may just be deluding myself into thinking I have more national clout than my vote (admittedly one in a marginal seat) actually has. Nonetheless, there is a wider context to view the election of personal representatives to Her Majesty's Government or Opposition to be had in all this. To me, the context (other than post-recession recovery - thank you Gordon Brown for raising that dull but unavoidable truth) is that this election may, in all seriousness, see the start of something resembling a multi-party system. Or rather, ahah, the time when there's a colossal clusterfuck because we don't yet have a multi-party system, despite there being more than two parties getting appreciable chunks of power. This means hung parliament, and political Interesting Times. I wanted context for my choice of representative? Well here it is: we need someone who can be effective in whatever place the end up in in the clusterfuck. And if it comes down to vote-by-vote coalligning to get the job done, then every damn MP in the commons is going to be important, especially if their judgment could be the clincher in a crucial vote.

So, in the end, it comes down to: vote for the strongest candidate. Whatdoyouknow.

So, for my personal election choice, I've pretty much put everyone on the table and examined them and, you know what, I'm still undecided: there are some real surprise contenders for my affections in here. I present my finding to you now, gentle reader, that they may be of use.

Surprise contender #1: Eric Ollerenshaw.
Now, I'd be tempted to consider him for office on the 'Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do' basis that the vast majority of people I know socially would start making wild-eyed panicked "you can't possibly" noises when I say that yes, he's the Tory candidate. Not voting Conservative has become so deeply cultural in some parts that it isn't even questioned much anymore, and that's just damaging. I'm really not convinced that a new Conservative government would set a fire to all the good work the Labour government has done in areas that the Tories traditionally opposed but now accept (like Minimum Wage, way back in '98), nor that the lunatic fringe (all parties have one of these) will be allowed anywhere near actual power. That cleared up: the candidate.
I'd initially pegged him as "someone your gran would like", and that's probably still true, but he does appear to be the most politically experienced candidate of the field. The other side of this is that his big league political experience, well, wasn't got in little old Lancaster. I find it hard to care too much about this, although I would love to ask him "Why Lancs & Fleetwood, and why now?". To be honest, the most intriguing aspect of Ollerenshaw's CV is his experience working directly with other parties. Y'know: bilateralism. This was back in his days in London politics when he was working alongside his labour counterpart in an attempt to stop Hackney eating itself. In the aforementioned event of a hung parliament, the ability to sit down with the other side and figure out what's really important will be pretty damn crucial.

Which brings me neatly on to
Surprise contender #2: Gina Dowding.
Gina's Green, and no fluffy hippy. The Greens have, by their own admission, held off fielding anything other than a "paper candidate" for Lancaster as they didn't believe they had the power base here. Now, judging by their share of the council, they do have a political base, and they've fielded a not too shabby candidate for their first real stab at a constituency you'd think was Green-leaning (in part) anyway. Gina's a bit of a mover and shaker, from what I can tell. If something's not there, she makes it happen. I'd go so far as to say that if she got in for L&F we'd hear her name in national politics within a year, even if it was just in the form of an angry diatribe from some far corner of the Commons. Of course, the flipside is one would imagine her being less willing to work with the tools to hand, and the other parties without coming up against a wall of Irreconcilable Differences. For historical context, she was suspended from the council for leaking documents pertaining to a tax-deferral arrangement for Heysham 1 Power Station because she objected to the way the decision was made. The ethics of what she did under the circumstances are a grey area for me, and she did a half decent job when I pressed her on it of convincing me that she doesn't just spit her dummy out if she doesn't get her way. I can't help but think however that I'd want someone who can play the game by it's rules, even it's slightly retarded ones. As someone who'd push her own rules though, she's worth my consideration.

This envelope-pushing is not something I'd expect of
Surprise contender #3: Stuart Langhorn
I need to accept that if the election was today, and I voted Lib Dem, it would mean I'd abandoned my principles spoken of above. It's not that Stuart's a bad candidate, far from it, he just... a bit wet. It's probably not fair on him at all, and in fairness I think he's very capable on the local level, and things are working well for him at the City Council. But that's just it - that's where I picture his level to be. He may be an excellent small town politician, but I just can't see him butting with Westminster's most headstrong. If he can convince me that he's up to that in the next few days (I may have to stalk him down again, like last time) then I really can't fault his 'application'; knowledgeable about local concerns; able to tie those concerns to national policy; and backing a party that are really striking a chord with me this election.
Why yes, I too have been swayed by Nick Clegg's approach of
1. Stand back while the others fight
2. Address the questioner using his/her name
3. Deliver a rhetorically tight answer that touches on core values.
I have, however, been more swayed by the growing mood that something's going to change in British politics, and the Lib Dems - with their history of pushing electoral reform - act as a focal point for this. Also, while Blue and Red are arguing about relatively small variations in tax hikes and spending cuts, and making claim after counterclaim that their version of Elderly Care reform is the super-nicest and they thought of it first, Yellow are talking about things that seem different enough to inject a feeling of Change ("Yes we can!, etc"), and that makes things interesting. Okay, so I may regret my desire for interesting when the political landscape gets frustratingly Interesting, but that could just be the influence of Steady Hand At The Tiller Brown this evening.

Talking of Brown, let's talk Red.
Surprise contender #4: Claaaive Grunshaw.
I'm given to imagine that after last election's defeat, the local Labour party did go down to the muddy sands of the Fylde coast, they did take up a measure of river clay, and Lo! did they sculpt a Core Old Labour Values Candidate primed for success in a university town with an ailing fishing town next door. Seriously, if he was fictional he couldn't have a better background for picking off Labour voters in the area, from his apprenticeship as a trawler winch builder to his Lancaster degree.
I'm finding it hard to connect to the guy though, despite voting Labour the last 2 elections. This could be because he's a bit Fleetwood-centric (yes, having a fading, isolated, Innsmouth-esque fishing town in the same constituency as a student heavy, fluffy middle class historic town is a bit Special. Goodness knows what the thinking was there). Or it could be because, well, I was always more a New Labour kind of guy (I liked Blair. Sue me.). It could also be because I'm not convinced that he's got the breadth of thinking that I'd like to see; in his election documentation there seems to be a lot of weighting towards very local issues - buses and the like - that I'm really not interested in when it comes to choosing my national government. I suppose this could be a result of his background in Fleetwood: the logic being that when times are tough you look to getting your immediate concerns in order, but this in itself drums home to me that he's really Fleetwood's man.
On the other hand, he does seem to have a chunk of decent political experience under his belt, some of which was parliamentary, and if old habits get the better of me, I could do a lot worse.

Talking of a lot worse...

No, I can't even bring myself to list the others by name. The UKIP guy is, well, a UKIP guy with an axe to grind about the 'political elite'. Although he's got an interesting enough background he's not really a contender. And as the the BNP lady... Yeah, well.

There's an independent as well, but if anyone can find anything useful about one Keith Riley you're doing better than me. He likes the fishing industry.

So yes, it's pretty much wide open, with less than a week to go. I don't know what's going to sway me in any particular direction, but if anyone's got any opinions on the above candidates they'd want to throw in, then jump right in. You never know, you may sway a floating voter.
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Wanted: blue suit

Reminded by lucrecia's call for aid, I too require Items for the Come As Your Tabletop Character Bar Crawl this Friday.

So, does anyone have a Blue suit.
Idealy, a horrendously tasteless blue suit, but I'm easy on that point. I already have the red shirt and faded yellow coat with the special lining, but the suit will be sought to complete the eye-bleeding ensemble.

If anyone can entrust me with such an item for the evening they will be rewarded with Drinks Of Choice.
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Getting Back into things

For the reference of anyone who might be interested, my cross-posted pitch for my planned WFRP campaign lies behind yonder cut.

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Yes, I am indeed looking to get my lazy arse back to Lurps again, having been absent for a wee bit too long. I was tempted to play in something, but I've been wanting to have a play around with wufrup (like mumorpuguh) for a long while now. I've been tightening here, loosening there, and generally trying to make the system feel as good as the setting now does.


Before I dash off for a spur-of-the-moment decision to go see District 9, I thought I'd break my silence to say a big thank you for all those who made the Yellow Sign event special, down to and including Sinister Horse Wingate.

Despite Peter being generally confused about where to ally himself for most of it, there were plenty of really epic moments to be had, and I can name several people who are absolute joys to roleplay with. Also, he got to strike the first meaningful blow against invasion from an Eeevil alien menace, so that's good enough an ending for me.

Oh, and the Dark Migo were actually really good fun, even when torturing their 'friends'. In a future event sometime I totally want to play one who used the Assume Human Form spell (under Peter's advice, may I add) and is trying to make his way in an uncertain world ina pityful Hoomann body, although I doubt that'd be in the feel of the genre somehow...

Words, parts 1+2

For mrvi:

A lot of what I have done in my education, work and hobbies can be summed up by putting numbers on things. When designing my own number systems, I like to work in a base of ten or three, as powers of three scale nicely. My favourite number is 27. I wish I had a head for discrete mathematics, as I'm sure that the fact that numbers themselves have unique properties can be used in some fun way.

So, the last couple of years has shown that I quite like to dance. Quite a lot actually. I would suggest that everyone try it, especially if they want to enjoy a night out at a venue where one can dance. It's really quite simple: shift your weight onto your leading leg (my left knee gets a thrashing at many a Dark Side) on the bass thump, and flick your trailing shoulder back on the treble offbeat. The music will take care of the rest. I will often relate will familial pride that my father was a sword-dancer.

Not a favourite colour, nor one that suits me, aesthetically, but it seems to stick to me a lot. Which is fine by me, as we all know such things go fasta. Associated with Questing, and a nickname from one of the characters in the Game for the discarnate personality (ie. me) she talks to in strange, out-of-narrative space.

The foxly demeanor and associations play into each other, and I for one have no objections. Foxes are smart, enterprising, and not above taking food out of bins.

Ah, my first love, from wanting to be the inventor of Fantastic Machines when I was of the "When I grow up, I want to be a..." age. No longer pursued as a career, but I would not be without the knowledge base I've acquired, or the thought processing skillz associated with it.

For bodybag_pilgrim:

Combining daring, dexterity and charisma, who wouldn't swashbuckle given the opportunity. I endeavour to buckle swash wherever possible, and encourage others to do the same. Piratecore ftw.

Although I don't see myself as cautious as such, I'm all for attention to detail. To a fault perhaps, as I sometimes overthink. Mind you, I also wing it a lot, and it's always satisfying when playing things in the moment gives the impression of mad care and attention.

Well, my immediate association with this word is the context of my Mathematical Mechanics A-level course, which was mostly concerned with Newtonian laws of motion. As such, and quite appropriately, the word evokes that Age of Enlightenment feeling of discovering that a given closed system was not a mysterious closed box, or governed by anything more than 'simple'/calculable rules. This is quite a powerful thing, and I'm of the opinion that everything has its own mechanics.

I feel, it says something about my teenage years that I had a favourite opera (Rigoletto) before I had a favourite band. My first live opera was an open-air production of Tosca at Belsay Castle, which climaxed with a dramatic 'leaping' from the castle's battlements. Oh yeah, sorry: Spoiler Warning, she dies. In fact, consider this a spoiler for all grand opera: She Dies At The End.

I'd almost find it odd that my cycling, as a concept, is something that would be a Thing for me. Cycling was always just meant to be practical, affordable, and faster than most alternatives. Nonetheless, I am proud of my bike competance, proud of the leg strength & pulse rate that it's given me and, as of the last Olympics, proud to be part of the country's Cycling Culture, as ridiculously Governmental Initiative as that sounds. Oh, and talking of cultures, assume that I also subscribe to your anti-consumerist, politically radical, blanket animal rights activist, and everything else that sits within your 'Alternative Opinion' cultural package just because I cycle, and find out just how my elevated leg strength and physical fitness allows me to kick you repeatedly without my getting tired.

More to come.

Word, boyyyy

Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.
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I for one welcome our new corvid overlords

Proper update when I have time.

What's that? Spare ten minutes before I put the rice on, you say? very well:

  • Birthday weekend epic:

    • Opera really good, and it fitted the setting the best of those that I've seen (well, Trial by Jury in particular, obviously, but the genteel environment really worked). It's been a week and I've still not dislodged the songs from Pinafore. It's possible I never will.
    • The night out at Jilly's was pretty awesome. I am but from a small town, but the all nighter thing still feels very hardcore. Er, especially when you've got a Live to go to the next day... I felt a bit like everyone had too much choice in their precise flavour of dancing, and the floors are in serious need of live feeds telling you what's playing on the others, but a good night was had by all!
    • 19ninetynine seriously Rocked Out the Yorkie. As a commented at the time, they could easily have filled a bigger venue.
    • ByProxy, the indie night at the Phoenix, was a bit of a letdown. It doesn't help that the Indie Types in attendance only wanted to dance to their more obscure favourites, and the rest of us wanted more commercial, overplayed stuff.
    • For anyone needing to entertain parents any time soon, I can recommend the Mill Inn near Conder Green, where I was taken for Sunday Lunch, for rather tasty food. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, as I had my heart set on a Cosy Pub Lunch TM, but being fed Pig always brings me round. :)

  • luvlymish and I will be running laceandsteel next week! This is remarkable in that, although it's a long way off completion, it's looking like it could well be a project I actually finish at some point. And by finish I mean in a Version 1.0, of course. There's always room to want to hack around.
  • Work going very well at the moment, and I'm playing the politics hard to get me the full hours I'd need to do more than just get by. The buttering up of our contract manager (in other words: our employer) continues apace.
  • Got a couple of days of being sent to the bright lights of Wakefield for a training/complaining conference/meeting thing at the start of this week. Rather contructive, given the role I'm cutting for myself as office data wrangler. Also, free hotel.
  • In my UA game, my players astrally headbutted James K McGowan IV the other night. If you want to know why this matters, ask one of the players.
  • Dark Side tomorrow!
  • Iron Ref one-shots the day after! I've decided not to run, there seems to be a good few good GMs up, and I don't have the brainspace to think of more plot at the moment. I'm rather looking forward to playing in the game of a GM I've got no experience of, I think.

Right, now for food and more Lace & Steel work.
I apologise for the number of exclamation marks in this post. It's been one of those weeks.


Happy birthday to me.
Despite spending the best part of the last year convinced that I was 27 already, this birthday seems oddly significant, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.
It's certainly living up to it so far, starting as it did last night at the game, where I received tasty dinner, caaaaeek, my players being crazy at me, a book combining Pirates and Great Cthulhu, and the classiest motherfucking cigar cutter in the world. This morning brought whisky, tea-making accesories, a rather fine leather and pitch goblet that I'll go out of my way to get use out of, moneys, and a selection of books, the cream of which was a tome called Pooh and the Magicians. To quote the back:
At the very heart of the Ancient Mysteries of the World sits the Great Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. In astrology, where even a constellation is named after him, in Alchemy, in the deeper secrets of Hermetism, Druidism, the Qabalah and in the interpretation of the Tarot, Winnie-the-Pooh is a master of every branch of magic lore.

I lolled.

Opera stuff

Celebrations continue tonight with Gilbert & Sullivan in the apt setting of the castle court. Now, this is at 7, and I understand that there are actually quite a few folks heading along for kultcha'n'shit. I therefore propose assembling beforehand for an early dinner and drinks. So that people may just arrive when they can, I suggest (top) Wetherspoons. I'll be sitting there from around four 5, but anyone who wishes to join me can do so when they wish. Hell, even if you won't be coming to the opera, I welcome well-wishers!

Spread the word.

Right, I'm off to spend birthday money.

Edit: Decided getting back to town for 4 would be a bit of a rush. Will be in W/S from five.
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So, Dark Place...

...there seems to be some interest, not least from me. In fact, I am looking forward to their mix of more... moderate rock and metal with ever growing anticipation. I'm even daring to think that going out dancing can once more be a compliment to going down the pub, rather than a replacement (as often happens with Dark Side - not that I'm complaining, but pubbing pre-Dark Side tends to be quite fleeting).

However, I have some niggling concerns that I've not heard anything official (or even unofficial) on. Concerns re: Cuba. As often happens, I wouldn't be surprised if someone has Heard something regarding the following:

Cuba Enforces A Dress Code, or so it proudly states next to the door. Although they encourage their clientelle to 'dress to impress', I suspect they mean 'dress to impress someone who isn't a dirty metalhead'. The list of clothing you can be turned away for wearing reads, in parts, like a rather accurate description of dress habits of the Dark Place's regular customers...

And, perhaps even more annoyingly:

Admission by recognised student ID only, guests must be signed in and can be refused entry on the doorman's discretion. Ho hum. I had no idea that Cuba was, effectively, a student nightclub, but it doesn't surprise me, per se. This could be workable, but completely inconvenient, particularly as there cannot be many people around who remember the Dark Place's last residence (not counting the Bobbin) who have not graduated (at least once!) by now.

Anyone heard anything about either of these issues? I'm really looking forward to it, like I said, but I don't have the mental energy to deal with a clusterfuck of people trying to buddy up students and non-students, nor to be turned away from a rock night for wearing combats, an offensive t-shirt, and para boots...

(no subject)

Oh yes. I have a job again, don't I?

It's only part-time, and actually temporary instead of more open-ended, and not really in the field I'm looking for, and thus I'm still looking for work so it doesn't feel as newsworthy as it would otherwise be.
I'll be working in the (grounds of the) power plant at Heysham, for a company who's sole purpose in this instance is to put up scafolding on site. Mostly doing data entry, and other light admin tasks, with the occasional opportunity for spreadsheet hacking. It seems like a nice enough setup all told, I still get my afternoons for my own purposes, and it stops my money from decreasing, which is the main thing.
To top it all off, I may be getting a tour of the facility at some point. This week, if I can badger the right people. If anyone wants me to pick them up a Uranium rod, let me know.

So yes, not at all bad, and the Agency will be in touch if they find anyone who wants to throw vast amounts of money at me in exchange for smrts.
Oh, talking of which, if any studenty types still in Lancaster are willing to whore themselves out for Beer Money, there are opportunities to be had fliering queues outside of nightclubs on Thursday nights, apparently. Not my bag, really, so turned the offer down, but should it be yours, get in touch with Adecco (Lancaster) and tell them I sent you. Seriously, they seem to like me there.
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