squire
When I heard NBC was trying to do a show about John Constantine, my first comment was, "They're not going to let him smoke." My second comment was, "They're going to make him straight."

Imagine my shock and surprise at the current kerfuffle.

I have had a perverted and passionate love for John Constantine from the moment he stepped out from the shadows in Swamp Thing #37 and lit the first of his infamous Silk Cuts. I own every single issue of Hellblazer comics -- except the last; I couldn't bring myself to buy it. When the news came that the series was being cancelled, friends e-mailed me to make sure I was alright, as if someone I love had died, because fandom friends understand.

I was not alright. I was not alright when DC brought him back in the New 52, and I am certainly not alright after viewing this ridiculous television pilot. And I am here to tell you that the only way to do our Johnny justice would be to give him a show on a level with Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy.

For those who haven't been introduced, John Constantine is either the world's greatest mage or the world's greatest bullshit artist; it depends on who you ask. Everyone agrees, though, that he is a sly, manipulative, cynical, jaded, lying, cheating, stealing bastard. He chain smokes cheap cigarettes, he drinks cheap whiskey, he's generally that guy in the corner of the bar who looks like he slept there last night. He has canonically used drugs, bought prostitutes, had sex with underaged girls and, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, had sex with several men.

Oh, he also cut off an archangel's wings with a chainsaw, tricked Satan into drinking holy water, and pissed on the Prince of Vampires. Just sayin'.

Does this sound like Must-See TV? Hell yeah! Does it sound like NBC network prime time? Hell no! What were these people thinking?

DC Comics is naturally trying to get on the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV tie-in bandwagon. They did well with Smallville and Arrow -- in fact Smallville predated Marvel's Agents of SHIELD by a decade. I don't blame them for wanting to add another show to the roster. The only question is which to pick. How about one of DC's Big Three? How about the only one who doesn't have a movie franchise but had a successful series back in the 1970s? Nah, who'd want to watch a Wonder Woman show, right? Let's just do another grizzled white guy.

Enter John Constantine. Hellblazer the comic ran continuously for 300 issues from 1988 to 2013. It's a landmark series in comics history created by Alan Moore, who's a legend in his own right. Giving Constantine a show of his own should be a shoo-in.

But the thing is, Constantine is all about transgression. He dances the line between heaven and hell, good and evil, sanity and madness. He has power, oh yes, but it's power he's scrambled for by tooth and nail, devil take the hindmost -- literally. He does not live in a universe of heroes, and the stakes he plays for are far more than mortal.

His iconic quote about what he does is, "Magic's a nasty game. Go play with your dad's chainsaw instead."

There is no way to make John Constantine "likeable". There is no way to film Constantine's world unless you go balls to the wall.

It's been tried -- if you can call it trying. As much as I'd like to avoid it, I suppose we must talk about what I call the Keanu Abomination. No, I don't blame Keanu Reeves himself for anything more than bad acting, and yes, Tilda Swinton was almost literally brilliant as the angel Gabriel. Perhaps if the movie hadn't been called "Constantine" I might even have liked it. But it was a classic example of how a studio takes a concept, tries to "improve" it by committee, and jettisons everything about it except the title for name-recognition purposes. ("World War Z", anyone?)

It appears DC Comics has learned nothing from that debacle. What doesn't seem to have sunk in is that John's transgressive nature -- especially his smoking and flexible sexuality -- is ingrained in his origin, vital to his character and essential to his magical power.

In order to explain, I'm have to spoil John's canon backstory, so here's where you hit the back button if you need to.

In 1991, Garth Ennis took over Hellblazer and immediately produced one of John's most iconic storylines, "Dangerous Habits." This is the one, by the way, that was later adapted (if you can call it that) for the movie. In it, John is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and if you thought Walter White had an extreme reaction to that news, welcome to the big leagues. John devises an elaborate scheme in which he plays a shell game with his own soul, resulting in the Triumvirate of Hell having a choice between starting an unending war with one another that would bring about the Apocalypse, or making sure John Constantine never dies. Ever. Not only by lung cancer, but by anything from a paper cut to an atom bomb.

Now you understand why one of John's nicknames is "the Right King Of All Bastards."

John has also used his cigarettes as a means of power. For example, in one storyline, "Hard Time" by Brian Azzarello (issues 146-150), John is incarcerated because reasons. In order to escape and discover the mystery of how he got there, John devises an elaborate scheme... yeah, you get the idea. Cigarettes are currency in prison, and currency is power, and anything that is imbued with so much material power by the collective unconscious of the inmates can be used to manipulate a different kind of power altogether. John begins the story merely trying to stay alive under brutal circumstances, and ends up starting a prison riot of apocalyptic proportions. And it all starts with a nic fit. Whoops.

Azzarello is also responsible for one of Hellblazer's most controversial arcs, "Ashes and Dust In the City of Angels" (170-174). Yeah, this is the one with the kinky S&M bisexuality. "Angels" is not the first time John's bisexuality is alluded to, but it is the instance that caused the most uproar.

It's important to remember that John is not a role model; the issue of the erasure of his full sexuality does not depend on whether his behavior is acceptable or likeable or a "positive depiction." John uses his sexuality as a weapon as much as any femme fatale, and this storyline is based on John's seducing a mysterious millionaire with a dark tortured past who lives alone in a mansion, and who is named -- wait for it -- S.W. Manor. In other words, not only does this arc make explicit use of John's sexuality, but it insinuates that a certain Dark Knight cruises S&M clubs for rough trade.

The fanboys completely lost their shit. "Angels" is often voted as one of the worst arcs in Hellblazer's history, and the forum boards on the subject are full of backpedaling and denial. The most popular "explanations" are, "The whole story didn't really happen, it was just one of John's mindfucks", or, "It doesn't really count as bisexuality because John was just doing it for a con." Don't get me wrong, I don't think John was doing it for love, but as I said, John doesn't have to be a "good bisexual" in order to protect his sexuality from erasure. If he'd seduced a woman, there would not have been the same fan explosion, even though John still wasn't doing it for love.

John has indeed done it for love. He has had epic romances, and every one has led to death and despair, just as a good anti-hero's romances should. He's a great one for standing at a graveside in the rain, brooding in his rumpled trenchcoat. (Speaking of the trenchcoat, he's the character who coined the term, "Trenchcoat Brigade", for DC's numerous brooding occult detectives, and Sera Gamble, a showrunner for Supernatural, has admitted that she based Castiel's look on Constantine.)

Constantine, in the right hands (oh baby), could make as groundbreaking a series as Breaking Bad, The Wire, or Sons of Anarchy. But it's not going to happen as long as the powers that be remain scared to take the viewer fully into John's brutal, brilliant world.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/564504.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

Winter Soldier Fic: "Muscle Memory" NC-17

parlor
HOLY SHIT SPIDER ACTUALLY WROTE SOMETHING. Blame (or thank) 51stcenturyfox, who goaded inspired me to write it.

I don't think there are any spoilers unless you know nothing about who the Winter Soldier is and how he got that way.

Please take note that this whole fic is one big trigger warning for electric torture and non-consent. Don't take this warning lightly. If you've read my other stuff, you know how I roll.

Fic behind the cut; also available at AO3 here.

Muscle MemoryCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/564464.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

Shiva Tomorrow Night

parlor
Just a reminder that I'll be sitting shiva for my mom tomorrow from 6-9pm in Cambridge. Email me if you want more details. Brief visits are fine and appreciated.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/563996.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

Shiva

parlor
To all my Boston area friends:

I want to sit shiva for my mom. If you think you might want to visit, contact me by email. Thanks.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/563879.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

My mom is dead.

parlor
My mom is dead. She was found dead in her apartment yesterday and they've been trying to reach me since then because my mom didn't write my phone number in her book.

I HAD JUST CALLED HER AND GOT HER VOICE MAIL AND LEFT HER A MESSAGE. AND THEN LIKE FIVE MINUTES LATER I GOT THE CALL THAT SHE'S DEAD.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/563500.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

Dear Fanfic Writers

bitch and jerk
(*blows dust off LJ*) OMG SPIDER IS POSTING, IS IT THE APOCALYPSE? (*checks watch*) Nope. But maybe this'll get me back in the habit.

AAAAAAnyway...


Dear Fanfic Writers:

I'm writing this because I've been reading lots of Supernatural wee!chesters fic, which in canon would take place in the 1980s. But it applies to anyone who writes fic set in the recent past.

I'm an old fart, I know. A lot of people in fandom these days are young enough to be my grandchildren. A lot of you write fanfic, and I love you for it. But when you write, you have to remember that the world was not always as you know it now. Even just a few decades back, things were very different. If you're going to write about the 1970s and 1980s, or even early 1990s, you have to do a bit of rethinking. Maybe even research and digging. But don't worry, I'm here to help you.

Kids, gather 'round and listen to Spider Grandmother's tales of long ago.

1) People did not drink bottled water. Really.Collapse )

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

bounce
Happy birthday to my wonderful Boy, who deserves nothing but wonderfulness today and every day. I love you, baby. Here's to another healthy, happy half-century. (HALF CENTURY OMG!) Don't worry, I'm still 16 days older than you.

Spleen.

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So it goes...

Cheers!
Today is my fiftieth birthday.

Fifty. 50. Huh. Weird.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/562700.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

GEEK CENTRAL TODAY!

cunning plan
Boy and I are going here later this afternoon: http://geekcentral.org/

I know you SCA peeps are going to be there, so if you read this, I'll be at I Sebastiani, the Asgard Pub, and the MIT Science Fiction Society book sale. Plus whatever else strikes our fancy. I don't know how you'll recognize me, but I'll be with the most handsome guy in the room. <3

I hope to see/meet you there!

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/562337.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

NOT DEAD!

bounce
I just realized I haven't posted here since my and Boy's anniversary. Whoops!

Um... stuff has happened? Lots of stuff? But only a couple are seriously important.

1) I have my Social Security Disability and am now a lady of leisure. I can't begin to express how much metaphorical weight has been lifted from my metaphorical shoulders.

2) Boy and I have been in Florida for a week, because Reasons. We are now in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale coming home. Everything is absolutely marvelous.

Other than that, it isn't as though I've "moved" to Tumblr, but I gotta admit I'm spending more time there than here. Who knew? As I've said a couple times before, I'm spiderine over there. Follow me or pick it up on your RSS if you're interested in the flotsam and jetsam I stumble across as I traipse around the Intarwebz.

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4

threat
Four years ago I had a Hot Date with a Boy. It hasn't ended yet.

Happy anniversary, baby. You save my life every single day.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/561896.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

I HAVE A THEORY - and it ain't bunnies

cunning plan
I HAVE A THEORY.

It's kind of obscure; you might not understand it. [/hipster]




Cecil Baldwin* of Welcome to Night Vale
(* the actual voice actor)




Kurtjmac of Far Lands or Bust


THESE TWO MEN HAVE NEVER APPEARED IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME, YET THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY.

COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/561465.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
Night Vale
 I don't know if you're aware, but like everyone else these days, I have a Tumblr. If you really want to see all the crap I'm reblogging -- I do not post text posts there -- you can follow me at user name spiderine (duh), or put it in your Dreamwidth or LJ friends page by RSS feed. Just copy this link http://spiderine.tumblr.com/rss and subscribe.

In other news,  Welcome To Night Vale.   A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.   Or, if you prefer, a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community radio for the small desert town of Night Vale, in which the soothing voice of a broadcaster named Cecil  gives you local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.  It's one of the best podcasts I have ever heard, best described as the unholy offspring of NPR and HP Lovecraft by way of Twin Peaks.   A rabid fandom for it has sprung up practically overnight like a fungus, and very much deserved it is, as the podcast is quite well-written and well-executed.  But I suspect that the big reason the fangirls are all over it is the ongoing romance between Cecil and the perfectly-coiffed scientist Carlos.  

If you're worried that it's too scary, be assured that 95% of it is quite amusing and will cause nothing but gentle laughter, but I warn you that the other 5% is...   Guys, you know I love creepy horror, but I really should stop listening to it in bed at night.  There I am, dozing off to the mellow sound of Cecil reminding me that all Night Vale citizens are mandated to eat at Big Rico's Pizza once a week, and then  -- HOLY SHIT WHAT IN THE NAME OF HEAVEN and I'm wide awake yanking off my earpods.  So give it a whirl... but maybe not with the lights off, y'know?

As a lure lagniappe for you Avengers fans, go read The Job Fair by sabinelagrande at AO3.  It's a fine and funny fusion of the MCU Avengers and Night Vale 'verses in which Phil takes Clint to meet his parents.  You don't need to know Night Vale canon to enjoy it -- in fact, the less you know, the better.  
       
Ah, weird at last, weird at last, god almighty, weird at last.  Welcome to Night Vale. This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/561261.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
i can see forever
For some time now my eyeglasses have pretty much failed. I've had to put them on and take them off constantly, raise them and lower them to peer through the top and bottom of the progressive lenses in order to see close then far away, and remove them completely to do things like thread a needle. For the first time in my life I read more clearly without them than with them, yet even with them I can no longer read tiny print and I still need to wear them when using the computer. Plus, my peripheral vision has been a bit blurry. In other words, time for a new prescription!

So I went to the eye doctor and had an exam. Turns out that yes, my prescription has changed, but not as drastically as I thought. On the contrary, it appears I have teeny tiny cataracts right over the center of my eyes! Whee! The doctor said that cataracts are usually associated with aging, but early onset like mine is sometimes associated with steroid use. Which... um, no?

I can only conclude that mama was right when she said if I kept doing that I'd go blind.

The doctor said we didn't need to "do anything about them" yet, but they'd monitor my eyes every six months and if they started to "significantly affect my quality of life," we would "discuss our options." Which sounds to me like they're going to euthanize me like an old dog.

Menopause, a bad knee, and now cataracts! Every day, in every way, I'm getting cronier and cronier! Hurray!

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/561018.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

I miss "Supernatural Classic". Please help!

he ain&#39;t heavy
For some reason today, I'm feeling wibbly about Supernatural.

I haven't watched Supernatural in years. I miss it. Rather, I miss what I call "Supernatural Classic".

I miss this:



I miss this:



Cut for wibbling and whining, bitching and complaining, GET OFF MY LAWN!, poor essay organization, and a plea for fandom helpCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/560699.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
parlor
Dear person who shall not be named (and anyone else to whom this applies):

"Triggering" does not mean (a) something makes you uncomfortable; (b) you don't agree with it; (c) you think it's offensive.*

"Triggering" is one of those things that, if you have to ask, you haven't experienced it. If you are ever triggered by something, you will know. It is highly improbable that you will be able to write a coherent email about it.

A traumatic trigger is the involuntary remembering or reliving of a traumatic event. It can be prompted by a a relevant stimulus or a stimulus that might seem innocuous to anyone else. There is no single universal cause or reaction. It is not something you can control at the outset -- although with experience, help and mindfulness you may learn to control or at least lessen the reaction.

I can't give examples because I can't talk for anyone else. I can only tell things about me, and I'm not going to talk about my triggers because those things are TRIGGERING. I don't want to end up in the emergency room again. I don't want to lash out at my beloved Boy or be unable to get out of bed for three days. I don't want to try to overdose or hack at my wrists with a broken sea shell. I don't want to scream and cry until someone calls the ambulance. I don't want to hide and refuse to let anyone touch me.

That's just me. Other people's mileage may vary. So if your genuine reaction to being triggered is sending off a coherent, offended email, that's cool. But somehow I doubt it.



*Reacting to something that's offensive, or something that makes you uncomfortable or something you disagree with is more than reasonable! I wouldn't dream of saying it's not a genuine reaction. But if you can control your reaction, I can confidently say you haven't been triggered.

Sincerely,
Me

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parlor
Sometimes the stars are aligned,
the Three Sisters are kind,
and things I love are intertwined.
In other words, my darling dear:
Hannibal Lecter brews beer.



In episode 1.07 of Hannibal, entitled "Sorbet", Dr. Hannibal Lecter cracks open a home brew for Dr. Alanna Bloom. He tells her it was brewed in a wine barrel for two years. Alanna correctly identifies the wine as a cabernet sauvignon. It would be the perfect mating dance of smirking psychiatrists, except for, y'know, the whole cannibal thing. Alanna is hanging out with the world's foremost connoisseur of human flesh, in his kitchen, making dinner with him. And she doesn't know a thing.

But who cares about that when there's beer?


Cut for length, large photos, and the blathering of a beer snobCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/560151.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
surrounded by idiots
Quite possibly this is one of the most controversial, disliked things I'm ever going to post on this journal. Content warnings for rape, sexual assault, misogyny, assholery and the FIRST FUCKIN' AMENDMENT.

Let's get this out of the way:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
-- attributed to Voltaire

Or, to put it bluntly: I absolutely defend the right of the author of "Above the Game" to raise funds for his book on Kickstarter.


If you click this, don't say I didn't warn you.Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/559901.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
parlor
... that word post, I don't think it means what you think it means...


Hyperbole and a Half's "Depression Part Two" has, as kids say today, gone viral. As well it should; the blogger had not been posting for some time and now she's back with something brilliant, stunning and heart-wrenching.

I posted the link myself because it's been a very long time indeed since I found something that I could point to and say, "LOOK! THIS IS ME! THIS IS IT!" It is wonderful that the post is being so widely passed around. It'll probably lead to some much needed conversations, realizations, educations and other words that end in ions (yet have nothing to do with electrons).

(Hey Spider, I sense a "but" coming...)

BUT

I think a lot of people who are passing this link along entirely miss the point of the post. The central theme of the post is not encapsulated the final panel with the rainbows. It's here:



If I see one more reblog or link to the original post with the caption, "at least know you're not alone", or "I know it doesn't do anything, but you have all my love and best wishes and support and good vibes" I am going to reach through your screen and take a sledgehammer to your computer. WITH MY MIND. MY MIND SLEDGEHAMMER. IT IS A THING.

Let me tell you a secret: All that "best wishes" and "I'm here for you" and "you're not alone" mean NOTHING to us. You're saying them for yourself, to make yourself feel better for not being able to do anything. That's cool, I understand. You have a loved one in agony and you can't help them. You have a friend who is walking dead and you can't resurrect them. Of course you feel like shit. Just quit shifting the burden to us to make us feel we have to say, "Thank you. Your wishes mean a lot to me." Because we're lying. We're going through the same socially expected motions that, when someone asks "How are you?" make you answer "Fine, thanks!" instead of "Dead. Whatever."

And, just as the original post points out, if we do tell the truth (because you say you want us to be able to talk to you) most of the time we end up having to comfort you.



What's the solution to this? Hell if I know. If I knew I'd write a book and make a million.

So go ahead and say anything that makes you feel better. Just be aware that that's what you're doing. I think the biggest help you can give is to know that, and don't expect us to appreciate it.

...and you never know; maybe later we will.

This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/559815.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.

This yes this

parlor




Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part Two.


If you have depression or have someone in your life who has depression, you must go read this now, because OMG someone has finally been able to express what it's really like.


Thank you, thank you.  I love you.



This entry was originally posted at http://spiderine.dreamwidth.org/559606.html. There are comment count unavailable comments over there. I've disabled LJ's Facebook and Twitter cross-posting idiocy as much as I can, but if you're especially concerned, feel free to comment there.
And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.

-- "Moby-Dick", Herman Melville

But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the USA

-- Leonard Cohen


Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.

-- Bertolt Brecht

Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.

-- Bertolt Brecht

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