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I'm in an awkward position. I'm concerned for a friend's well-being, but am eight time zones away from them. Courtesy of the wonders of epilepsy, they're occasionally prone to nasty falls. They've been unresponsive to email and phone for a few weeks. If they're in hospital somewhere (or worse), how can I find out? Can I?

huskyteer pointed out the world premiere launch party for Grandville: Bête Noire, Nov 9, in London. If you're not yet familiar with Grandville, I'd recommend viewing the trailer at that link - it's quite superb stuff.

Want an unpublished Neil Gaiman short story audiobook? For free? With a donation made automatically to charity per download? Here you go. ^_^ It is through Audible, so you'll need to be able to install their software. Donations are made in the order of 50p per download (for UK & Commonwealth peeps) to BookTrust, whilst US folk see $1 going to DonorsChoose.org, which funds educational projects supplied by teachers. Note that this is only until Halloween.

It's a short story, only about ten minutes long.

I'm the voice telling the story.

And in case you're concerned, I've been assured that you don't have to become an Audible.com member if you don't want to. You will have to give them an email address so they know you aren't some kind of downloading 'bot.

And all I ask of you is that you wait to listen to it until after dark

If I mention "felt furry hats", you'd probably think along the lines of fleece style mascot-ish apparel, even gaining some mainstream exposure - indeed, a girl in front of me in the line for the bus last week had a cute fox hat on. ^_^ But, no - these are rather different creations. Like so. =:D

A rather beautiful weblog to try, if you'd like to see some fine wildlife and nature photography from London - and humans too: The New Nature. "the new nature is dedicated to showcasing urban nature writing by a variety of authors. It's home to creative and journalistic writing, fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry – all inspired by London’s wild places and wild people."

Here's a furry book to try, free for the weekend, from Friday through to Sunday: Warren Peace. "Influenced more by Seven Samurai, Zulu and Joss Whedon than by Watership Down, Warren Peace is a novel about talking animals, but definitely not for smaller children. It will grab both your heart and your funny bone and shake them silly." he says. Sample reviews include "These are rabbits that kick and bite.. and, when occasion permits, wriggle their bottoms suggestively." and "Relatable characters (yes, even though they are rabbits!) and laugh out loud quips will keep this charming story with you after you have read the last page."

Lea Hernandez, whose work I first encountered in the rather good Rumble Girls, has an Indiegogo fundraiser running for another day or two, toward producing a collection of her latest work, The Garlicks - and the spiel includes a six page prologue! Have a peek. 'Sgood!

Say hi to vreahlifruitbat. ^_^

How to Become a Gay Prostitute in Denmark, via jessie_pup. It's a wonderfully amusing - and real - account of just how one man went about earning several thousand dollars in a few months, to pay off his cards before the new baby arrived. "'The first time I started talking price with guys online, I was amazed at how much haggling goes on,' he says. 'Everyone wants to fucking haggle, it's infuriating. Some dudes were asking if they could get, like, a 10-blowjob clipcard.'"

How it got there, nobody seems to know, but a family in Lancashire recently found an Atlas moth - normally residents of forests in SE Asia - in their home. Its wingspan is indeed impressive. =:D

How to remove e-book DRM, including Kindle, iBooks, and Adobe Digital Editions.

Here's quite a cool prize for those of an adventurous (and especially photographic) nature: a luxury Zambian safari, comprising a week for two, including all internal flights and transfers. You do, however, have to get yourselves to Lusaka, the capital - the fares around seem much like any other long-haul destination.

I don't usually get teary-eyed at train stations, but when I came across a statue sitting on one of the station's benches, I was naturally curious what its meaning was. Its story was revealed on the paper "he" held: it was Nicholas Winton, who, between March and September 1939, organised eight trains out of Prague, bound for London, saving 669 children from the horrors that were to follow. Here's a four minute interview with one of those refugees, Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines; it's very informal, and more of a personal reflection - she was only nine when she was put onto the train, and thus not really aware of the gravity of the situation. Nothing I ever do will be as meaningful, and for that I am deeply grateful.

On arriving back in town for the weekly meeting on Thursday, my first stop was at the old apartment, now cleared of most of my Stuff™, but still rather wanting a little tidying up, to get rid of a few remaining boxes, plastic bags, recyclables (not coincidentally, collection day there is Friday), as well as giving the carpet a vacuuming. And thus ended my residency there, with the keys left on the mantlepiece, along with a little note for the landlord, next to the one they'd written for me on my arrival; the symmetry appealed to me.

I hadn't heard of Toynbee tiles until a few days ago, when BojoPigeon pointed out a story on some people apparently trying to steal them. A tricky proposition, given said tiles are lino, and glued quite firmly to their homes on the streets, literally. Whilst many are destroyed in routine road maintenance, it would seem, once in a while, a city planner takes mercy.

Here's rather a nifty bit of device hacking, on the NeoTV 300, a Roku-lookalike. It's locked down, as you'd expect. But, after some digging around, this enterprising individual realised that its SSID is used as part of calls to system() - ie, for shell execution. And you get to supply the SSID.. so, yes indeed, if you tell it its SSID is "reboot", that's precisely what it does. The rest follows on from there.. and thus, you can root the device using nothing more than its own remote control. =:D

I will soon have, assuming it arrives as described, an ultrawide lens. ^_^ I placed a bid on a forum's classifieds for a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, which works out quite competitively against eBay, with the confidence of a known community. (The classifieds aren't shown until you've been a member for at least 60 days, and have tallied at least 30 non-trivial posts, to help ward off spammers) I loved the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, but as that's a teensy bit expensive, this'll do pretty well - not quite as bright, and only suitable for crop sensors, but that's hardly an issue for me, as I don't see migrating to full-frame as beneficial for my leanings toward small wildlife. (Yay buns!) That said, I'll admit, the D800 is a fairly remarkable camera, with a top-notch sensor, tied for third place in DxO's scores, coming very close to the best medium-format offerings. Still, not something I'll have to worry about any time soon. =:)
Having a separate business account doubtless made the accounting easier, but no client should have been let near the details of it because of the privacy issue.

I saw this comment of yours last night — I was wondering what you were referring to, but didn't have the time to check. Now I just got around to rereading the piece, and I still don't know what the privacy issue that you and porsupah are seeing is. :)

So... if you don't mind me joining your conversation there, what is it?
See the way he covered up his name on the apartment entrance...

Even in Denmark, there is going to be some prejudice against sex workers. Not from everyone, but it'll be there. It could affect future relationships, including mainstream work ones. So the first things any sensible person starting up does are come up with a 'working name' and buy a PAYG phone just for work.

If you're a parent, this goes double because now your kid could get flak over what you do / have done.

Specifically, no client needs to know bank account details. As well as the above, this is a cash business and anyone accepting cheques or payments into an account usually regrets it. Cheques bounce or can be stopped and online payments faked or undone.
Oh yeah, I agree about privacy in general; obviously that's important (I don't know how much stigma there really is attached to sex work in Denmark, but it doesn't hurt to cover your bases).

I'm still puzzled by what problem giving someone your bank account number so they can pay you that way would be, though. I don't know about the UK, but here in Germany at least it's standard to pay for all sorts of things using wire transfers. I'd assumed that Denmark was similar, and he did open a new account just for business.

Unless by "privacy" you mean "total anonymity", I'm not sure what the issue is, really. Certainly he doesn't seem to be seeing one, and he's neither sharing or exposing anyone else's details nor is he having his own shared or exposed against his will by (or with) a third party.
A bank may let someone know which name is attached to an account they're trying to pay into 'just to make sure it's the right one' - why take the chance?

See comments about cash. You might pay all sorts of bills this way, but not this sort.

The friend I know who most regrets doing it any other way did so because it was a regular client. Who it turned out was stealling the money. Having stolen money paid into the friend's account meant that there was a paper trail the police were very interested in. I think he came out ahead after the cost of the resulting legal fees, but it involved about two years of hell.