Ghost Stories Zine Volume I

I don’t know about you, but in January, while midway through adding notes and deadlines to my Benedict Cumberbatch Work Calendar, I noticed that 2015 has a large number of Friday 13ths: today, 13th March and 13th November. ‘What a great day to promote quirky or weird art or work,’ I thought. ‘Too bad I don’t have any to promote.’

So I made something new.

Today, in March and in November, I will be releasing Ghost Stories, a zine celebrating all the things that should be celebrated – or at least acknowledged in conversation – on Friday 13th. This issue has haunted graveyards, an advice column from Hades a brief but polite notice from the Ghost-Mortal Alliance Office. You can get it here if you’d like to read it, and enjoy the only pre-made bit of work I had, The Mystery of St Aidan’s, on Story Shack here.

'Ghost Stories I' Front Cover

If you get it, let me know what you think! I’m working on the next two issues at the moment and I’m drafting out new/different pieces, so if there’a anything superduperfabulous that you absolutely need in the next one, now’s the time to ask!

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Freezing Fingers and Good Tidings, Etc.

Today Indifferent Ignorance had a visitor from Guatemala, which is very cool. Speaking of cool, the weather today is awful. Should we still call rain ‘rain’ if it feels like a damp flannel is dripping down your neck.

To counteract the cold, I have a Christmas gift for you guys!

XMAS WISHEZ 2014

I first got the idea for customisable Christmas/Hanukkah/holiday cards in September or October, but publishing them took a while because the first set had terrible colours and I toyed with using a Photoshop border made of holly. I’m glad I stopped myself from including the holly… Ruby pointed out the colours were reminiscent of basic ye olde Interwebz.

Anyway, you can download the postcards yourself here. Actual postcards will be up within a few days! I’m running a discount between now and 31st January; 20% off if you plonk in SNOWFLAKE14 at the checkout.

Happy December y’all!

I’m getting quite in the mood for a celebration or two. Has anyone experienced any seasonal indifferent ignorance? I’m waiting to overhear something about ‘presents that are only for girls’ or ‘this is a Christian country and I want all the atheists to stop buying presents’. Hey, you never know.

A Simultaneous Piece of Art and Indifferent Ignorance

I’m still trying to get over the awfulness of Sunday’s blog title. I was very sleepy that day and struggled to think of anything smart, but still… I feel like the rockstar in that Private Eye sketch, and it’s icky.

Anyway, back to good vibes.

I noticed today that Indifferent Ignorance has had 1200 comments. About half of those are mine, because I try to respond to everyone, but that’s quite cool, especially because as of Sunday I had written 400 posts (wish I’d known that at the time).

I’ve also got about 100 drafts.

Cool huh.

Right, onto a simultaneous piece of art and indifferent ignorance! I’ve been thinking that I should share more art on here, and as it happens this piece is perfect. Basically I saw The Imitation Game on Sunday and it is brilliant and blew my mind both in terms of this dude pretty much invented the computer and civil rights were fucking bullshit back in the day.

'The Imitation Game' by Francesca

Just a thought.

PS At least i improved my watermarks.

Explaining the Internet Slowdown (and protesting so you might not be able to read it)

It’s not that often that a lot of the people who use the Internet agree on something, but it looks like the US government has given us all a common enemy (again. Didn’t this happen with SOPA and Prop 8?!). I don’t have a huge understanding of the technical aspects of it, but essentially the US Federal Communications Commission has proposed laws that mean Internet providers can charge money for websites to access their subscribers. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay would get slower Internet connections than those who could. It’s kind of like private healthcare versus the NHS; companies who can afford to pay for top healthcare plans (or Internet) would get seen to quickly and in top-notch conditions (quick page loading), and the rest of us would be put into an 18-month waiting list and spend a week in A&E (the buffer symbol for minutes or hours at a time).

A&E is slow at the moment, but imagine if NHS hospitals were purposely given rubbish equipment compared to private ones? People on the NHS would stay ill or get worse while private patients would be sorted in a jiffy. Now I think about it, that analogy is quite similar to the debacle of non-free-at-point-of-use-healthcare countries… like America. Now’s not the time.

To show what these new conditions would be like, lots of sites – including Tumblr, Etsy, Twitter and Automattic, which powers WP and therefore here – have enforced a slow Internet day, today. Pages, videos and music streams are loading at the speed at which they would load everyday if telecoms companies started charging for access. Many sites affected probably could pay for the quick connection, especially if they increased adverts – but users are likely to be put off by the ads and anyway, what about little online businesses who pay for their own connection? What about people who want to stream videos from sites who haven’t paid for quick access?

The buffer symbol. All the goddamn time.

What can we do to prevent this shit happening at all: head to this website, which is petitioning Congress to stop the proposal from becoming law. If you’re using a site that’s campaigning for ‘net neutrality’, as they call it, you can have a look to see that they’re doing in protest.

Most big Internet companies are a bit corrupt. Most people on the Internet are tossers. But none of us wants to put up with slow service, regardless of the sites we use or the people we abuse while on them.

PS (sort of) Since Etsy is protesting too, I’ve put a discount on my Etsy shop. I was going to anyway to celebrate Blood of Olympus coming out in October, and today seemed a good time to start it. Enter UNCLERICK2014 at the checkout for 30% off, although maybe wait until the protest’s over for a good long browse.

Slight Smugness and a Poster About Slugs and Snails

Today is the day I would have gone back to school were I still a student, and it felt really, really strange going about town seeing people in my old uniform trotting to and from that wonderful institution/seventh layer of hell. My feelings are kind of mixed about the whole thing; on the one hand, I’M FREEEEEEEEEEEE. On the other, I’m broke and spent a large portion of today ironing.

Still, in the spirit of change, I decided to try out WP’s new post editor. It’s clean and simple, which I like, but I also miss the insane intricacy of the old editor, which has about a billion links to click if you’re bored. Now I have to go on YouTube more than normal.

Okay let’s get down to business and learn how to upload images here:

SugarAndSpiceByFrancescaBurke SlugsAndSnailsByFrancescaBurkeWhat do you reckon? I had a bit of a moment when I was browsing Etsy and everything I saw seemed to be focussed around gender, especially gifts for babies – who, let’s face it, are not aware of their gender. So I came up with a couple of alternatives to those cutesy little nursery rhymes people like to sing!

They are available here as prints and here as downloads.

Excellent, the link button is the same. Hmm. Maybe I’ll flit between the two editors depending on my mood, like those rich ladies who go from a cafe to bar on a whim.

Bugger, I can’t find spellcheck.

Packing – Or Not – Some Bags

I always get a bit confused after a bank holiday – the joy of long weekend is kind of negated by not knowing what day it is for the rest of the week. So to make myself feel efficient in the face of uncertanity I’ve been adapting my Society6 and Etsy shops a little bit. Etsy will be completely digital after 30th September because I’m out of the UK for a month and posting physical items will be a bit tricky. Have a look at both sites to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Oh, Francesca, where are you going?

Eh nowhere special. Just Greece.

Just kidding.

From lisce.tumblr.com
From lisce.tumblr.com

I’m excited as my friends are to be going to university, which is to say slightly nervous but ready to make an important change to long term living arrangements.

There’s so much to do. Normally I pack two days before a trip maximum, but this time I have to think about the things I don’t want to be without for a month. Apart from the dogs (apparently they have to stay home, pfft), that’s mostly work stuff.

You know, my computer.

Which is a mishmash of ergonomic writing gear, a TV screen, an external hard drive and a small-but-still-sizeable PC tower. Apart from the keyboard and mouse none of that will fit in a suitcase or be physically transportable, which leaves me with a few options:

  1. Take my iPad and beforehand find an app or piece of tech that allows me to plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  2. Get a cheap-as netbook and plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  3. Just get a netbook and take the risk that by using a normal keyboard I won’t take ten steps back physio-wise
  4. Attempt all business from my phone.

Personally I favour option one because it doesn’t involve taking out a loan or wrecking my muscles. I suppose I could lug everything I normally use a thousand miles in a lot of bubble wrap, but that would involve paying EasyJet a billion quid for extra weight allowance and that’s not including clothes and stuff.

Hmmm.

Okay I’m off to move cardboard boxes out of my bedroom and maybe have a shower (I thought at 10:30am “I’ll do some work then have a shower.” It’s now 5:40pm). If anyone knows where I can get hold of Hermione’s beaded bag, let me know.