Category Archives: Humour

Sun Safety for Writers

In Queensland, Australia, we have started the long hot season of Spring/Summer/Autumn. Winter was a flop; one cold week does not a winter make.

With that in mind, let’s look at how a writer can avoid a bad burn.

Image result for vibrant sun

‘Vibrant Sun’ by Elspeth McLean

Using Sunscreen: There are many sorts of sunscreen for all levels of protection. For the newbie, I suggest the strongest protection levels, and learn to avoid the pitfalls of spell check, use a style guide like ‘Strunk and White’, and use a good dictionary to prevent embarrassing burns. Ask for help. Don’t let a bad burn put you off trying again. For more experienced writers, I suggest a writing group or a writing buddy for protection against the harsher weather conditions.

Wearing a Hat and/or a Shirt:  Sometimes, even the toughest skin is going to get a stinging burn if left unprotected. Prevention is easier than cure. Read the submission guidelines before submitting your work. Be a belt-and-suspenders type of writer and do your research before making a submission, and polish your submission to your best ability.

Moisturize: If you do get a burn, don’t neglect it in the hopes it will go away if you ignore it. Be proactive! Slather yourself with encouragement. Selfcare is important. Good friends will help you with those places that are hard to reach; go out for coffee with a writing buddy.

Getting a Safe Tan: The only way to become a published writer is to send stuff off.  You have to risk exposure to reach that goal.

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Filed under Humour, Opinion Piece, Personal experience, The Writing Life

The Benefits of Developing Habits

Weekly stats for week ending 31st Sept 2019

I run a Facebook site called Steampunk Sunday, for all things related to Steampunk. It’s been going since 2013. I’ve watched other sites come and go, while I just pottered away. I post whatever attracts my attention. It’s become a habit to update it.

This past week, over 100,000 people read my posts. This is a new high for me. Facebook has now implemented a two tier level of security for my sites.

I never know what is going to catch the attention of my Constant Companions (my nickname for the longterm followers of the site). They get excited over anything teapot related – as do I. They like gadgets. But the post that caught the attention this week is this one:

Image may contain: one or more people, text and indoorAs an Australian, I’ve had problems when I search online for anything Victorian. I’ve learnt to use ‘Victorian-era’. However, I’m guessing this was a new concept for all those overseas Steampunk Enthusiasts. I was amused at this … I’m glad I’m not the only one!

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Filed under Humour, Steampunk, Steampunk Sunday, Victorian Era

Lurking Around

Are you a lurker?

I have been a lurker in the past. I lurked around the Voyager Online comments board for about six months before I started joining in the conversations. I spent about two months lurking around the Writing Race before I joined in. These days, I tend to jump right in, because I wasted so much time in the past.

I remember well why I was a lurker. I didn’t want to be seen as a newbie or ignorant. Now days, I don’t have the time to linger. I jump in – and sometimes I jump right back out. Most of the time, I find new friends and amazing writing resources.Boots were designed for protection.

So, I’ve crawled out of the shadows and into the light. However, I do not sit in judgement of anyone else who preferes to be a lurker. It’s a risk to step out where people can see you and make you into a target. If you feel safer lurking, lurk away!

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Filed under Humour, Inspiration, Personal experience, The Writing Life

My April Fool’s Science Page Article for 2005

Ice, Ice, Baby…

Tiger Ice Sculpture

The new fashion in diets is the “Chill Diet”.  Its inventor, Elynn Neger[1], theorises that our primate ancestors didn’t know fire, and so didn’t cook their food.  So it is more natural – and healthy – for humans to eat raw foods, and drink nothing but water.  As well, it is a fact that the human body has to work harder to warm up cold foods, so that kilojoules are burnt as the body converts the cold or cool food to body temperature. If you plan to follow Dr Neger’s diet, then all food should be consumed at room temperature, or better yet, chilled.

Dr Neger also recommends cold baths, and in cold climates, short walks in the snow whilst naked or lightly dressed.  Her goal is have her converts burn their extra weight away by making their bodies work hard at temperature regulation.

As always, you should use your commonsense before commencing a new diet.  I know for a fact that Dr Neger is a fraud and a quack.

 

Biography

Dr Elynn Neger was born in the Sixties, and can remember a time when ‘Star Trek’ was Prime Time television.  She managed to survive both the “My Little Pony” and “Cabbage Patch Kid” fads by being too old.  She is not dead yet.

She is a profession troublemaker.

At university, she had a reputation for supporting causes simply to join in the heated debate.  Since obtaining her questionable doctorate in Science (in S.F.A.), she has developed several diets which I would pause to recommend.  Her most current diet is the “Chill Diet”, as mentioned above.

 

Concept of the Month

The April Fool

All Fool’s Day developed as a celebration of the first day of Spring.  Once upon a time, the New Year started on the first day of the European spring.  When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, changing the date to the first of January. Poor communications meant that that some places were still celebrating the unofficial date for many years, and were considered ‘fools’ the general public.  This evolved into the tradition festival of playing pranks or practical jokes.

 

[1] Please consider this name carefully, taking into account the time of year.

Update from 2005: Weight management is a huge industry worldwide, there are going to be scammers and snake oil salesmen trying to make a quick buck as well. Many years ago, I wrote this ‘quack’ diet up as an April Fool’s joke for my Science Page. About 18 months later, I found it on a ‘serious’ diet page, listed as a proper diet! I contacted the page administrators immediately, and they did take it down. However, it did give me an insight into how easily some people can be fooled by pseudo-scientific language.

However, since I wrote this article, the Ice Diet has become an actual thing!

The Science of the Ice Diet

http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/why-ice-diet-will-likely-leave-you-burned

 

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Filed under Humour, Personal experience, Science Articles, Science Page, Uncategorized

Friendship versus Shipping

spock-kirk

Kirk and Spock were the original shipping couple. It is easy to understand why this was the case when you see photos like the ones below.

There was a real homoerotic overtone to their relationship. This didn’t stop Spock being the fantasy fuel for millions of women. After all, everyone likes the idea of a romantic partner who is also their best friend.

Sherlock and Watson.jpg

However, these days, just about any intense friendship seems to be an excuse to ship a couple. Sometimes, this can add a certain mystique to the couple. Sometimes it interferes with the concept of platonic friendship. A good friend is just as important as a romantic partner, and can be just as much fun.

doctor-donna

Oy! We’re just mates, sunshine.

I do a bit of shipping myself, but I tend to keep it to myself. However, sometimes it seems a shame that best friends don’t take that final step until it is too late. What are your feelings towards this topic? To ship, or not to ship?

xena-and-gabrielle.png

 

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Filed under Humour, Just for Fun, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

Crinoline Cartoons

 

17_january_1857_inflatable_crinolines_punch

The Inflatable Crinoline

800px-1850-g-cruikshank-crinoline-parody

The polite necessities brought on by wide crinolines.

useful-crinoline

The Hidden Uses of Crinolines

mistletoe

Who needs a chaperone?

crinoline-as-a-parachute

Useful as a parachute

belles

Belles

aghast

flames

going-to-church

The Usefulness of Crinolines

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Filed under Humour, Uncategorized, Victorian-era Fashion

Humour and the Steampunk Genre

Grim men with rocking horse.

Horsing Around

For some unknown reason, we tend to look back at the Victorians and consider them rather grim. I put this attitude down to the black & white photographs from the era. Even the brightest colours are reduced to dreary shades of dust and charcoal in B&W photography, and the unsmiling expressions were an artefact of the length of exposure time to obtain a clear photo. As an example, study the image above. The uniforms of the men could be scarlet for all we know, and the presence of the ‘smoking’ hobbyhorse, balancing baby doll, and toy cannon suggests this image was taken in jest. I would love to know the full story behind this image; I suspect this might be a bachelor party.

Logical progression from 'headless' photographsPhotoshop in the Victorian era

Most humour is ephemeral. But there are several strong suggestions that the Victorians enjoyed a good laugh: the success of Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and Gilbert & Sullivan; the enormous number of humorous photos and postcards; the popularity of Punch magazine; the lyrics of music hall songs; and the fact that even the most serious novels usually had some humorous scenes. So much for the stiff upper lip …

Girls dressed as gnomes 1902

So, what does this mean for your Steampunk narrative? Some authors add humour to their work as a matter of course, like Michael Pryor, while Ged Maybury writes with the intent of creating a humorous novel. The definition of what is humour changes from person to person. If you want to throw a tragedy into sharp focus, you contrast it to humour – the premise of nearly every modern horror movie.

The best humour isn’t forced. When in doubt, take it out. There is no such thing as half funny.

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Filed under Genre Markers, History, Humour, Mash-ups, Steampunk