public-money

Tips for driving while autistic

I feel like a lot of autistic people have a lot of trouble driving and getting their license. For many people that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that, y'all are valid in every possible way. Unfortunately, many of us live in cities where public transportation might as well not exist, in food deserts, in situations where we do not have people who can drive us places, in cities which make bike riding life-threatening and sometimes illegal. I would like to reiterate: there is absolutely nothing wrong with not being able to drive. The fucked up thing is a system which forces people to drive. This is intended to be suggestions for autistic people in similar situations to mine: in a food desert, no public transit, not enough money to pay for uber, etc.

Tips for driving while autistic and things to be prepared for:

-if you start dissociating and don’t feel that you can drive safely, pull over if you can. If there’s no clear place to pull over, get as far to the side as possible and turn your hazards on (this is the button with two red triangles, one inside of the other)

-keep plenty of water in the car. Keep food in the car too, but to prevent mice and rats from being tempted to investigate, keep the food in tightly sealed containers.

-if you miss the turn, it’s ok. I promise, it’s ok. Just take the next turn. Usually you’ll still be able to get to your destination by taking the next turn, and if not, it’ll give you a chance to pull over and re-evaluate or turn around.

-people will use some body language to indicate what they are intending to do. A waving hand means, “you go ahead of me.” A still hand, palm out means, “I’ll go first/thank you.”

-if you’re driving down a street too narrow for two cars, and you meet a car going in the opposite direction, just pull over for a second. Or if it’s super narrow, someone may have to back out of the street. It’s not a big deal. Try to be nice in those situations and they usually will be too. For that matter, sometimes I have to swerve slightly into the lane of incoming traffic because of bicycles and that happens too. People around you will do their best to compensate, but try to make sure you’re giving them enough time and warning for them to compensate (use your turn signal or hazards and spend as little time in the wrong lane as possible).

-no one wants to crash. Usually if you do something stupid the people around you will compensate and avoid you, although you might get some honks and middle fingers (yeah, mentally prepare for that)

-in terms of speed limit, it’s usually better to match the cars around you. The actual speed on a road is usually about 5mph over the posted speed limit.

-it doesn’t matter if you are going 15mph over the speed limit. There are still assholes who will tailgate you. (Meaning they will drive really close behind your car attempting to intimidate you into driving faster) The key thing to remember is that they also don’t want to crash, which means all they will do is intimidate. Because I’m an asshole and I hate tailgaters, I usually slow down when someone starts tailgating me. Remember: do not start driving faster. Police will ticket the person in front (aka you) because that person is “setting the speed” and they will not ticket the tailgater.

-parking is stressful, especially in downtown areas. Be prepared to wander for a while looking for parking and factor that into your drive time.

-some places no longer require you to learn to parallel park. Please learn anyway if you feel able. It will make finding parking a lot easier later on.

-bicycles will always be where you least expect them. Always. Especially if it’s illegal for them to be there. Just be prepared for them being anywhere and everywhere and not following the laws of traffic at all.

-the first time it rains or snows in the fall/winter, literally everyone will have forgotten how to drive. It’s a thing. Be prepared for the roads to be chaotic

-the most difficult part is the test itself. That’s the part where you disregard everything I’ve said about how driving actually works and just obey the letter of the law the best you can. Don’t forget you can retake the test if need be. Also, there will often be reviews online talking about which DMV in your area has the easiest test route.

-I try to do meditation breathing a lot while I’m driving under stressful circumstances. It’s very helpful for me

I hope this is helpful. If anyone else has any other tips for driving while autistic, I would be glad to hear them.

Edit: I can’t believe I forgot this! I’ve found that certain types of stimming can be somewhat dangerous while driving. I’d say chewing stims are fine, vocal stims are cool, but I would hold off on the visual and physical motion stims until you’ve had quite a bit of driving practice. Auditory stims are somewhat ok, but be careful to make sure you can still hear sirens and stuff (also earbuds/headphones while driving are illegal in many places)

-turn signals can basically function as a way of telling people around you “hey, pay attention! I’m about to do something!” Even if you’re just changing lanes or are swerving around an open car door you can use them to communicate that people should be ready for you to do something unexpected.

-traffic will stop much more quickly than you expect. Always keep an eye on the brake lights ahead of you.

independent.co.uk
Ireland just became the world's first country to stop investing in fossil fuels
Bill will drop coal, oil and gas investments from Ireland Strategic Investment Fund

Ireland has voted to be the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels.

The Irish Parliament passed the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favour of dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the €8bn (£6.8bn) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

The bill, introduced by Deputy Thomas Pringle, is likely to pass into law in the next few months after it is reviewed by the financial committee.

“This principle of ethical financing is a symbol to these global corporations that their continual manipulation of climate science, denial of the existence of climate change and their controversial lobbying practices of politicians around the world is no longer tolerated,” Mr Pringle said.

“We cannot accept their actions while millions of poor people in underdeveloped nations bear the brunt of climate change forces as they experience famine, mass emigration and civil unrest as a result.”

Once enacted, the bill would force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years.

In 2015, Norway’s sovereign pension fund divested from some fossil fuel companies, but not all.

A list of terms explained.

Capitalism: your mum washes your clothes.
You pay her a dollar.
She complains.
You call the police and claim she’s rioting.

Communism: your mum does the washing. You do the washing. Every night you salute a photo of your dad.

Socialism: your mum does the washing. You do the cooking. Everyone is theoretically happy.

Fascism: your mum does the washing whilst fearing for her life.

Nazism: your mum does the washing. You gas the laundry room.

Feudalism: your mum does the washing and pays you tax.

Liberalism: you watch your mum do the washing and feel really really bad.
“Something.must be done” u say.
Something may or may not get done.

Libertarianism: your mum does the washing. You believe you did it.

Religion: your mum does the washing. You thank god.

Atheism: your mum does the washing. You make a YouTube video demanding peer reviewed evidence she did, in fact, do the washing.

misogyny: you hate your mum whether or not she does the washing.

Patriarchy: your mum doesn’t exist. The washing is mysteriously done.

Men’s rights activism: your mum does the washing.You call her a whore.

Matriarchy: your mum does the washing. You do the washing. you are really happy pilling your weight in the house.

Gamergateism: your mum mentioned in her blog she did the washing. You doxed her.

Feminism: your mum insists you grow up and do your own washing.

White feminism: your mum hired a woman of color to do the washing.

Anti feminism: your mum has left you. A year later, You wrote “fucking whore” with the dirty clothes on the floor.

Hollywoodism: you are Colin Farrell. Your mum is Angelina Jolie. There is sexual tension. An unnamed black maid does the washing.

Islamophobia: your mum does the washing. She left out a sock. You brand her a hygiene terrorist.

Racism: your mum does the washing. She blames black people.

Cultural appropriationism: While your mum does the washing, You steal her dirty clothes mimic her in public. Public gives you money.

Colonialism: you barge into mum’s room. Claim you “discovered” it. Dump your dirty clothes on the floor.

Geekism: your mum does the washing and the cosplay outfit. You build a robot that plays chess and cricket. You sell robot to Google.

Neo capitalism: your mum does the washing.
You pay her a dollar.
You get her to do your mates washing.
Your mate pays you £50.

Corporationism: your mum considers not doing the washing. u pay your mate £35 to lobby on ur behalf. No dice. u sue for “emotional sabotage”.

Americanism: your mum does the washing. It’s in the constitution. END OF DISCUSSION.

Ableism: your mum is doing the washing. She has dementia. You call her a “retard.”

Mis-genderism: “cheers dude” you say, as your mum does the washing. She tells you she’s not a dude. “Whatever dude”, you say.

Mansplaining: your mum does the washing. You tell her how best to do the washing.
You have never done the washing.

Sexism: of course your mum does the washing.
Duh.

Cat-calling: your mum does the washing.
You wolf whistle at her. You are oblivious as to how fucking creepy this is.

Rape culture: it’s mum’s fault she does the washing/she asked to do the washing/she doesn’t do the washing as much as she says she does.

Egalitarianism: that one time you did the washing is proof its all equal and no one needs feminism any more.

Hip hop: everyday im hustling/ every day I’m hustling/ when I bring the basket/mama put the washing in.

Callout culture: your mum’s washing is problematic so you unfollow/block/subtweet/dose her mentions in acid.

Homophobia: you think it’s unnatural that your mum doesn’t do the washing. Against gods will, even.

Hotepism: Black women are queens. The white man is a devil. The black race must open their eyes.
Mum does the washing.

Narcissism: You look good in the clothes your mum washed.

Brexit: you refuse to put your clothes in the basket
In retaliation, your mum no longer does your washing
You wear smelly clothes.

Alt Rightism: your mum does the washing. All the clothes are white
She also has to wear a pepe costume. Because you find it funny.

Polling: there’s a 70% chance you will do your washing on Saturday night
Come Sunday morning it was all done by your mum.

Corbynism: your brother wants to radically change who does the washing
Your brother also hangs out with anti semites and looks shabby.

NASA: Your mum washes your astronaut suit and we only find out 50+ years later.

Toxic Masculinity: Your brother helped your mum do the washing so you called him a pussy to his face/drank all the beer/demanded a fight etc.

Same sex marriage: Your mums do the washing.

brazil is on the verge of it’s second impeachment
in a bit more than a year
politicians were recorded bribing other politicians and government employees
still, they denied and practically told all of us to fuck off
the current president just had a goddamn mental breakdown on national tv saying he won’t renounce
said president just got caught yesterday authorizing others to silence people with public money
they literally got on tape some of them saying they could even kill disposable pawns

this is only the last 24 hours in brazil tho

Something I want to note about homeless shelters-in many districts in the US homeless people have no rights to nondiscrimination in shelters and discrimination is rampant. 

 Some courts will insist that homeless shelters don’t count as housing or as public accommodations and don’t apply the non-discrimination laws that would affect even something like an ordinary restaurant (though those are grossly under-enforced in general).  There are shelters who have received public money that have been legally allowed to discriminate in regards to things like gender, race, sexuality, trans status, religion, and disability.  

Even if homeless people had the sort of resources to sue for equal access in court, which they don’t in reality have in any substantial way at all, there are large swaths of the US where they would just be told the law doesn’t apply to them.

Homeless shelters are a major area of discrimination in the US.  It’s not uncommon for LGBT people, POC (especially Black people), disabled people, non-Christians, drug users, women, mothers who are homeless with their children, teenage boys/teenage male assigned at birth kids trying to be housed with their mothers and siblings (this usually happens to children of color far more than white children), domestic abuse victims, immigrants, leftists, people who speak English as a second language or have limited English, and many others to face pretty intense discrimination in accessing even the extremely limited amount of homeless shelters that do exist.  And the law absolutely fails them in a myriad of ways over and over again.

If I as a queer trans person tried to access a shelter, including ones that take public funds, and they just flat out told me they don’t serve LGBT people it’s not even clearly illegal in the US, just as it wouldn’t be clearly illegal for them to refuse to make the building one I could physically use as a disabled person.  While I haven’t lived in a shelter, I’ve heard numerous horror stories from people I knew personally, and the closest shelter to where I live (which is still over an hour drive away, which, how would I even get there?) is one that refuses to serve people like me.

While there are some very good shelter workers out there and some programs that really are respectful and caring to the people they are supposed to serve, abuse, paternalistic control, theocratic bullshit, and discrimination are extremely common.  And the social and legal systems typically choose to support and enable that abuse.   This system is no substitute for a real robust public emergency housing program, let alone a full housing or adequate public housing system.

anonymous asked:

blastr(.)com/2017-4-18/sexuality-sells-hollywood-capitalizing-lgbtq-characters-better-or-worse I love t100 getting dragged a year & 6 weeks later.

Bless this entire fucking article. This isn’t really about The 1OO, this is about the problem with media rep that I’ve been talking about for YEARS now and how y’all keep falling for the crumbs of rep every damn fucking time. 

…This, in and of itself, is not an issue. In fact, it’s a very good thing that creators are taking the opportunity to update older stories to fit a more modern view of the world.

The problem is that the sexuality of these characters is being used for marketing and not much else.

When a TV show or a movie introduces a gay character, two things happen without fail: there is a lot of press, and there is a core audience who will tune in, no matter what. LGBTQ+ audiences, generally, will see anything that shows even the slightest inkling of being a little bit gay.

There’s a particular way that LGBTQ+ audiences interact with media. It’s a kind of desperate need of representation akin to an abused animal. We want and need to feel like the media we consume cares about us and wants to represent us truthfully and compassionately. At the same time, we’re extremely well aware of the fact that that same media has mistreated us horribly in the past and continues to do so. If there’s a gay character on TV, you can bet that character has a legion of loyal fans simultaneously cheering them on and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will the character be evil? Die? Both?

It’s that deep need and deeper fear that makes LGBTQ+ viewers some of the most passionate: perfect to market to, and dangerous to cross….

and fucking this…

Characters who happen to be gay have become a brand new form of tokenism. They are not, themselves, token characters - their characterization exists outside of their gayness - but they are being used to appeal to a certain demographic. Rather than serving the role of traditional token characters, Trini and LeFou do not support tired stereotypes or to allow the creators an out for borderline jokes at their expense. But, much like their token predecessors, these characters also do not exist because said creators think representation is important or meaningful. They get butts in seats, they stir up controversy, but they are inoffensive. You cannot rightfully fear them because they don’t do or say anything scary. You cannot hate them because they don’t actually do any of the things you hate.

But at the same time, you can’t really champion them, because they aren’t really doing or saying anything at all.

Read this article, then read it again thirty more times or until you understand that they’re literally playing you and that thankfully I’m not the only one pointing it out anymore. Every studio, every network, every showrunner. They are using you for ratings, money, and publicity without doing the work and you keep giving it to them. Stop falling for it. 

No obituary.  No tombstone. Only a shining legacy.

Reclusive woman donates $800,000 to National Wildlife Refuges, parks across the West

Photo by Nancy Zingheim in front of Rita Poe’s truck, which she used on her trip to see six National Wildlife Refuges.

By Brent Lawrence

Nobody really knew Rita Poe until she died.

She moved through the final years of her life with little apparent interaction with others. Few people could recall the tall, thin woman with salt-and-pepper hair and brown eyes. She died at age 66 in her home – a 27-foot travel trailer parked in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains – of colon cancer on Nov. 16, 2015.

Though Rita’s life came to a close, her legacy will live on for generations thanks to her final act of astonishing generosity.

With no known friends or heirs in her final years, Rita’s closest connection was Nancy Zingheim, the manager for SKP RV Park in Chimacum, Washington, where Rita had parked her Airstream during the summer of 2015. Their only encounters were when Rita would come in to pay her lot rent or an occasional wave on the street when she walked her dog, an Italian greyhound/basenji mix named I.G.

Then in September, Rita showed up with a question for Nancy: “Will you be the executor of my will?” Nancy agreed.

Rita died a few weeks later, and Nancy got her first look at the will. It was as generous as it was surprising: give almost everything – nearly $800,000 – to eight National Wildlife Refuges and four parks across the West.

On the list were three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges from her home state of California, with one refuge in each of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Texas. The four others recipients were state and national parks from Texas and Wyoming.

Photo of a young bull moose at Camas National Wildlife Refuge by Rita Poe

Rita’s legacy started Nancy on a path that culminated with a 4,000-mile “trip of a lifetime” during which she learned about wild spaces and public lands, and what made them meaningful to Rita.

Between December 2015 and April 2017, Nancy researched each refuge and park online. She called them with questions, intent on making sure that each refuge and park would live up to Rita’s expectations.

A big obstacle for Nancy was fighting to collect $374,000 owed to Rita from a long-ago inheritance. Once Nancy won that battle and the money came in, she could have considered her work nearly done. Someone else might have simply written the checks.

But not Nancy.

Over the months of searching through Rita’s paperwork and photos, Nancy started to understand Rita on a deeper level. The last photo Nancy found of Rita was from a 1981 Texas driver’s license. Nancy discovered that Rita was born on October 20, 1949, in California and that she was once a nurse. Nursing may have been what Rita did at some point, but it was clear that it wasn’t what fulfilled her. There was an empty spot in Rita’s soul that could only be filled on public lands.

Rita’s devotion to the places that left a mark on her was infectious, and Nancy was determined to see firsthand where Rita’s final act of generosity was going. “I had never heard of a (National Wildlife) Refuge,” Nancy said. “I wanted the money to go to what Rita would have wanted.”

Keep reading

Extroverted vs Introverted Functions

Te vs Ti

What they have in common: Logic.

Extroverted Thinking (Te): I want proof. I strive for self-evident achievement - awards, public recognition, money. I need to show you I’m right in a way everyone can understand. There’s no time for theory; we need a plan of action. What good is it if it doesn’t solve the problem? If hard science can disprove my claim, then I’m wrong. I think logic is more or less universal, therefore right and wrong are very clear.

Introverted Thinking (Ti): I want knowledge. I strive for personal understanding - satisfaction, collecting odd tidbits, feeling like an expert. I only need to know that I’m right, even if I don’t show it. There’s no need for practicality; we need to make sure this is conceptually sound. What good is it if it doesn’t have internal consistency? If you can show me logically that I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. I don’t need proof. I think logic is highly personal, therefore right and wrong are often a matter of opinion.

Fe vs Fi

What they have in common: Morality.

Extroverted Feeling (Fe): I want harmony. I strive for public approval - appreciation, respect, admiration. I need the atmosphere to be pleasant and appropriate for everyone. I’m willing to hide my true opinions if they would upset others; what they think of me is more important than what I want to say. Everyone is more or less the same; it’s easy for me to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

Introverted Feeling (Fi): I want authenticity. I strive for self-approval - knowing I did the right thing, that I was honorable, just, and fair. I need the atmosphere to be pleasant and comfortable for me. I’m willing to displease people if I need to express what I truly believe; what I want to say is more important than what they think of me. Everyone is unique and incomparable; it’s necessary for me to understand where someone is coming from before I can empathize.

Se vs Si

What they have in common: Fact.

Extroverted Sensing (Se): I want stimulation. I strive for things that are pleasing to my senses - food, drink, sports, luxury. I need to be surrounded by a physically appealing atmosphere. I am constantly aware of what is going on around me, whether it is changes in a person’s expression or the passing scenery. I notice all the details. It matters less to me whether something is familiar than whether it is aesthetically pleasing.

Introverted Sensing (Si): I want familiarity. I strive for things that remind me of my past - souvenirs, stories, traditions, our old home. I need to be surrounded by a physically comfortable atmosphere. I am constantly aware of the difference between my current environment and the way it used to be, whether it is the new corner store or my daily routine. I compare all the details to my internal ‘database.’ It matters less to me whether something is aesthetically pleasing than whether it is familiar.

Ne vs Ni

What they have in common: Abstraction.

Extroverted Intuition (Ne): I want novelty. I strive for possibility - ideas, potential, things that sound good in my head. I need to have lots of information to explore. I have a ‘mental playground’ of facts extrapolated from things I have experienced or read. I am constantly aware of what things could be. My thoughts often feel like they lack structure because they branch out in ways that are hard to explain. There are essentially many ways to look at an issue, and many possible solutions.

Introverted Intuition (Ni): I want vision. I strive for insight - the universal truth, the goal, the central meaning. I need to have information relevant to my interests to explore. I have an organized mental space wherein I’m highly aware of what I should be doing to reach the next step. My thoughts often feel like they are pointing in one direction, even if I can’t explain this direction. There are essentially a few ways to look at an issue, which can be narrowed down to one solution.

Osomatsu-San Extra Stories Translation ‘Karamatsu of Dreams” Part One

Another translation from the Extra Stories (Bangaihen) novel. This time about Karamatsu and his dreams of putting on a live concert. Quite a lot of painfullness, as you would expect. Doing it in two parts this time.

Cultural note: The Nippon Budokan is a big indoor arena in Tokyo that was originally built to host martial arts contests. It’s also a well known concert venue, and it’s considered very prestigious to play here. An artist or group playing here is a sign that their career is on the up.

Karamatsu of Dreams - Part One

Beneath the blue sky –

Karamatsu was sitting on the roof of the house clutching his guitar.

“Heh… the Goddess of Music is fickle.”

He wasn’t playing the guitar, and he certainly wasn’t singing. From the outside, he didn’t look like he was doing anything other than basking in the sun.

His whole body was bathed in sunlight. He felt as if he were shining like the sun itself.

“Oh, Sunshine! What are you trying to do by heating me up even more? After you’ve lit my heart on fire, you’ll only end up burning yourself, aha?”

He faced the sun and put on his sunglasses.

“I’m dazzling, aren’t I? You can use me, Sunshine!” 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

A lot of high profile kickstarter games seem to have been suffocated by "feature creep." The developers had some small core idea when they pitched their kickstarter to the public, got way more money then they expected, thought they could make a much bigger game, then ran out money before they finished even making the proper foundations of their expanded idea. I have to ask, does feature creep kill AAA games as well, and if so how common is it?

So it turns out that making video games is actually really, really hard, and that’s primarily because estimating how long it takes to complete big tasks is not very accurate. The biggest reason for this is because no single part of a game is really on its own. If we want to add or update a big feature like the animation system, it doesn’t just mean we’re affecting the animations in the game. It also means that we are affecting the AI, the riggers, the modelers, the visual effects, the level design, combat design, and all sorts of other things. Also, by taking up a lot of engineering time, it means that other lower-priority engineering tasks would have to be cut. 

I think part of it is that game development scope just isn’t as scalable as people think, and it’s really easy to make a mistake when doing so. It’s a huge pitfall that a lot of experienced developers fall into. Feature creep happens in the AAA space all the time and has killed many projects. One of the most dangerous phrases in game development is “Wouldn’t it be cool if… ?” because it can easily start with something that seems totally innocuous, but balloons to a black hole of resources that is both mission critical and requires an inordinate amount of work to bring to a shippable state. Feature creep accounts for many of the games that were delayed or cancelled, but also just as many games you’ve never heard of that were killed before announcement. Another big sign of feature creep is when a game has had a really long development time, but the finished product still feels rough or unpolished. In such cases, it’s often because the team poured resources into features and content that were cut during development, which left the core experience feeling rough, especially around the spots where the cut content was excised.

One of the biggest flaws with crowdfunding titles specifically is that the feature list and stretch goals are inviolate - in traditional game publishing, almost all features can be cut if they prove to be too expensive or just not working. The publisher understands that this sort of thing can happen and is focused on the big picture - they did not fund the game for its specific features, and will work with the developer to come up with a better solution for the project. Crowdfunding isn’t done this way - the people who put their money up in these games are often doing so for the express purpose of delivering these features, which makes them sacrosanct. If those features end up becoming too expensive, it’s not possible to cut them because they were promised to the backers. This makes feature creep much more dangerous to the crowd funded title, because a bad feature can end up dragging down the entire project.


Got a burning question you want answered?

lizardcool17  asked:

Alien AU where Emil is an alien that crash landed on Michele property and that can only learn new languages through kissing.

  • Mickey is a young cop in a small Italian town
  • He’s pretty strict, but everyone in the neighbourhood love him, he always helps everyone and is always just.
  • His twin sister Sara is a psychologist
  • She works in the town hospital, but a lot of times she helps Mickey with his cases (and it saved his ass numerous times)
  • One summer night a the town goes crazy, Mickey gets a lot of calls about flickering lights and weird noises, he honestly starts thinking everyone in the town got drunk or high or something
  • But he goes investigate anyway
  • As he drives outside the town, he almost runs over a man that stumbles in the middle of the road
  • Mickey stops and, obviously, starts yelling as he gets out of the car
  • And then he notices that the person is naked
  • And visibly hurt
  • And also frickin’ h o t ????
  • Mickey asks him whas he’s doing there, but the tall man just mumbles something incomprehensible and collapses
  • Mickey calls Sara right away and stays there until the ambulance comes 

Keep reading

How to Be a Great Art Ally to Your Creator Friends

Slightly tweaked from my 2015 post How To Be A Great ART ALLY

I’ve been having a lot of heart to hearts lately with my friends who are authors and artists and we’re all saying the same thing: It is getting harder and harder for everyone who isn’t in the top 5% of their industry to get the word out about work they are doing.

Because of the way the industries are now, many artists are not getting the marketing and push that they deserve or need. Much of that promotion and publicity now falls on the artist’s shoulder. Your artist friend may have a good career, but unless they are crazy lucky, or have the “it” thing of the moment, your artist friend is probably really struggling.

“What. But they have so many books out! They are on tour all the time! They are always doing some wacky play!”
Sadly, about 90% of artists are struggling and barely making a living wage. Most have full-time day jobs on top of their full-time art careers. Remember, every new project that they do is like starting from scratch.
For example, many of the people who I know who are not artists see all the stuff that I am doing and think that it’s going so great for me that I don’t need their help to get the word out about my books. But I do. All of your artist friends (even the most famous ones) need your support all the time.

To be a great Art Ally for any of your author/artist friends I’ve drummed up a list of things that you can do. I’ve focused on books, since I’m an author, but I’ve added helpful tips within to give you ideas on how to help your music, performer, filmmaker, comic book, visual artist and indie game maker friends.

1) Pre-order their stuff. Seriously. If your friend has a book (or CD or DVD or indie game or comic book) coming out pre-order it. Pre-orders give the publishing company an indication of interest and can help with print runs. Good pre-orders sometimes help a book because the publishing company may give a book a little push with extra marketing money and publicity based on those numbers.

2) Show up. If your friend has a reading or something, go to it. “But I went to it once for another book!” That’s great! You are a supporter! But, every book is a whole new thing! (Go to their rock show! Play! Art gallery opening! If your friend is in a film/made a film go opening weekend, that’s when the box office counts. Or order it on VOD the week it drops. Or buy the game the week it comes out. You get the idea.)

3) When you are there, buy the book. “But I already pre-ordered it!” Yeah, I know. But buying it at the store or the reading helps the bookstore and the numbers and will help your friend do another reading there the next time. This is especially important if your friend is doing a reading not in their hometown. (If your friend is a musician, buy merch because that might be how they are paying for gas. If your friend is an artist, buy a piece of art because that might equal a bag of groceries.) (comics peeps put your pals book on your pull list) (etc)

3a) “But argh! This is not my kind of book. I don’t read that genre. It’s not for me. I’m not a kid/teen.” Sure, that’s fair. The book might not be for you. But I bet you one million dollars that you know somebody that the book (or other thing) would be perfect for. Maybe a strange aunt? Maybe your weird nephew? Maybe your co-worker? And remember the holidays are always just around the corner! Why not get it signed? Think of it as a back up present. You can give it at a white elephant exchange. If all else fails, get a copy and donate it to your local library or if it’s a kids book, to the school library nearest you.

4) Signal boost it. While it may look to you like everybody knows about your friend’s book, they probably don’t. Remember that we are all kind of in a bubble when it comes to social media. Authors (and artists of all kinds) are always looking for new readers/audience and you totally have a bunch of friends that your author/artist friend doesn’t know. And those friends might have never heard of your friend’s book, movie, game, music and it might be right up their alley. And those friends have friends that you don’t know. And so on. And so on. So every once in a while, if you like and in a way that you are comfortable with, an easy Art Ally action is to Tweet, Instagram, Pintrest or Facebook (or repost) something about that person’s art thing on the social medias! This signal boosting helps to get new eyeballs on the book (or art thing) that your friend is doing.

5) Review it / Rate it. Perhaps you are on Goodreads? Or perhaps you frequent Amazon or B&N or Powells? If you really are a fan of the book (or art thing), a simple way to help boost your friend’s work is by giving it a star rating or a review. (For musicians you can do this at those places as well. Also you can add their album to your streaming site and rate it! For films rate it on Netflix if it’s there! For games there are places to do this too!)

5a) For books, on Goodreads it’s also helpful if you add it to your to read shelf. It’s both helpful before the book comes out and when the book comes out. So if you haven’t done it already, go to it! Add all your friends books to your to read shelf. It’s not too late!

6) Make sure that it is in your local library branch! Libraries are the biggest purchasers of books! An author wants their book to be read! Libraries help with that! Maybe you are librarian? Or someone super close to you is a librarian? This is where you can really help to get it on the library radar by making sure that it is on the order list for your branch or for your system. Sidenote: Many libraries are too poor to purchase books this is a great place for you to donate that extra book!

7) Many books have reader guides or teacher guides. Are you a teacher? Or is someone super close to you a teacher? If you love the book, consider using it in your class! Or if not that, you can donate the book to your (or your teacher pal’s) school library or classroom library for students to enjoy.

8) Book Club it. If you have a book club, suggest your group read your friend’s book. Or maybe just have a one-off book club and get a group of your friends together to read your friend’s book. If your friend writes for kids, do a mother/ daughter or father /son book club with a group of people. I’m 100% certain that your author friend would be delighted to come over (or if they live far, Skype) to discuss their book with your book club. (for musicians you could host a living room show at your house)

9) Ask your art pal to come in and speak! Maybe your school or library has a budget to bring in a variety of guest speakers for classrooms or assemblies? Your friend would be perfect for this. If your institution has no budget, you can still ask your friend to come and speak! Lots of authors have sliding scales and can organize a way to sell their own books and that can offset a pro bono visit. Also, it will help them to get new readers. Being an art ally is all about getting new audiences for your arty friends. (Your other artist pals would make great classroom / assembly visitors as well.)

10) Vote and Nominate. It’s possible that there are lists that you can vote on or nominate your friends for that they may be eligible for and deserving. This could be anything from your local publicly voted on thing to a list that is for professionals which you might be. It’s easy for everyone to remember to nominate the big best sellers of the year or the debut books that are getting the big pushes. But there are many midlist books that are wonderful and get lost in that shuffle. Make sure to champion the midlist! They really need help to be seen! (This is the same for all of your artist friends. There is always a thing that is going on where they can use your vote or nomination. You’ve gotten those emails / updates.)

11) Hand sell. Maybe you are a bookseller? Make sure that the book is on the shelf. And then, when and if you love it, hand sell it! You can also help by making sure that the book is still on the shelf once it’s sold. Many stores don’t automatically re-order a book if it doesn’t sell more than a certain amount. If you are not a bookseller, you can still hand sell by just talking up the book to people. (Talk up their music, game, comic, play, and movie.)

11a) If you work in retail anywhere and your pal is a musician and you like their music: Try putting their album on at work! Who knows? Maybe someone will ask you who that swell band is? Your pal may gain a new listener!

12) Support their Indiegogo or Kickstarter or Patreon. For your other artist friends who are making movies, plays, albums, comics, indie video games support their crowdfunding or patreon effort. Really. You can totally afford the $5-10 level (even if you think the project is lame.) for a crowdfunding and $1 for patron. And it will really help them and boost morale.

13) Be a good literary citizen. If you are an author, remember to be a good literary citizen. Promote yourself, but also do stuff for the larger literary community. Participate and include others. There are many things you can do. You can organize events. You can pitch panels. You can show up to things. You can volunteer to be a judge for things or to moderate panels (be a good moderator if you do.) You can write essays about other works. Remember to extend past your own inner circle of friends to include people who you might not know. Being an artist is very hard. There are many ups and downs in a career. At some point everyone goes through a hard time and needs help. Avoid the cool kids table mentality. Be kind. When you are on the top, don’t forget to keep helping your community. Diversify your literary and artistic world. (Other artists, you know what this is in your own field. Art citizens for the win!)

14) Invite your friend over to dinner. Or buy them dinner. Or have a potluck. Everyone could use a good night out with friends and conversation. It’s a spirit booster. No lie.

You have the power to be a great ART ALLY! Champion what you love. From all artists everywhere, I thank you for your support!

Did you know...?

- In Spain there are (still) 120.000 missing people (after all these years). Spain is the second country in the world for the number of missing people, only behind Cambodia.    

- There are more than 2000 known mass graves still to be opened. Not to count the unknown ones. Here’s a map. It’s horrifying.

- Fifty kilometres north of Madrid, in the granite mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama, is the tallest stone cross built anywhere in the world, it’s called the Valley of the Fallen. It’s more than 150 metres high, it stands guard over a vast basilica hewn into the rock below. It was built by republicans prisioner-of-war and victims of reprisals. The tomb of the Dictator is located here.

- Every year, diehard followers of Franco pay their respects around the anniversary of his death (November 20), either in the Valley of The Fallen or even worse, in the church of Los Jerónimos, in Madrid, where they sing the fascist hymn and there’s a priest celebrating a special mass in his honour. 

.The Popular Party (PP), the most voted political party in Spain, was founded by Ministries and personalities from the Regime. They have never been able to bring themselves to condemn Francoism. Their opinion is that although the wounds are still open, we shall remain silent and forget.

- There is a foundation called Francisco Franco, that gets public money every year. One of the main benefactors is the Popular Party. They organize acts and events defending the right of the uprising and subsequent war.

-After all these year, the government passed a controversial law called “Ley de Memoria Histórica”, calling for the removal of Franco statues and street names, and opening of war graves. The Popular Party, and the new right party ‘Ciudadanos’ (C’s) are constantly blocking any change in most towns where they are governing. They argue it’s “opening old wounds” and “threatening the tranquil co-existence”.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The American government is being taken over.

This is honestly appalling.

Politics have always been bad, we’ve always just barely been able to keep going with our shit systems, but things are going to be worse than ever.

Donald Trump is destroying our international relations and what little reputation America had left.

Steve Bannon is a racist little prick who’s going to bring us back to the 50s and undo everything we thought our children were guaranteed.

Pence thinks we should cure homosexuality with shock therapy. Let that sink in.

Aaaaand Betsy DeVos is Secretary of education. Someone who’s never been to a public school and never sent her children through public schools and who wants to take money from public schools to support religious schools.

Great.

This country is sliding into the pit of no return.

And not even with a glorious scramble of life and death, of RIGHT and wrong doing honorable battle…

But with a whimper.

What a sad state of affairs we’re living in.

I’m passed sadness, I’m passed anger, I’m passed hope.

I’m just…


Well.

Hoping that the meteor that falls and obliterates all life on earth comes soon.

Before things get REALLY messy.