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Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 01:12
1. Counselling is just around the corner from the V&A. [personal profile] aella_irene likes the V&A. Ergo we had lunch sat on the art installation You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well as by Reflection, having spent the morning hanging out in the ironwork collection. (My plan for next time involves making friends with the glass gallery; wrought iron is something I just... find incredibly soothing, for reasons I haven't quite articulated but that include the fact that it's very stark in terms of colours involved, and has lots of nice bold lines and repeating patterns.)

2. Relatedly, plants: the hydrangeas up the sides of the central courtyard are currently fantastic, as are the other plantings, and [personal profile] aella_irene very generously gave me a bag of her household's surplus raspberries, so that was a joy and a delight.

3. Our internet connection is unstable enough (and I'm undermedicated enough) that I don't particularly feel like coding; nonetheless I made lots of progress with my Dreamwidth todo list today.

4. Benefits-related discussion. )

5. Peak 90s Kid: my mum frantically facebook IMing me for tech support. I sort of provided it, ineffectually, and she actually sorted the problem out by herself, and that means there exist more photos on the internet of me & largest smallcousin.

6. We had tinned pineapple in the house; we now have pineapple upside-down cake.

7. Another batch of rosemary sourdough is rising on the side, to be breakfast-and-lunch food.

8. I have Steam installed on the new laptop and it was rapid and painless and completely unlike most of my other attempts to install Steam under Debian. This means that I now have a MOUNTAIN yes yes.

9. Every time I reread your blue-eyed boys I find more things in it, and they are comfort and they are in their fragmentary way moments of peace.

10. Externally-sourced self-worth: my comments on the MeFi thread are getting favourited by lots of people & positively engaged with. Hurrah for managing to say things that are useful to people.
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 12:32
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 11:14
(A stopsign in PEI altered to say Stop Harper)

The writ has dropped, election October 19.

2) Fire out West. Water back East.

You're almost certainly not as concerned as you should be.

(Two maps showing temperature and precipitation changes across Canada, 1950-2010)

3) Stop carding. Stop carding now.

4) I'm still not switching back to Rogers.

Rogers apologizes for showing porn on CHCH: Gaffe marks 2nd time in 3 years pornography was aired instead of news

5) We like Canadian Music..
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 17:30
So, I'm in the final stages of writing my last short story for a while (seriously, guys, I'm EXHAUSTED. Short stories are terrible!), and the deadline for submitting is tonight. I could wax poetic for a while how few chances this story has for this particular venue, but more on my bitter battle scars later.

This story is not actually a story. It's a 2000 word prologue for the fantasy novel I've been trying to write for ages now and mostly haven't gotten anywhere because shiny things were shiny I hate writing without an outline, and an outline wasn't presenting itself.

Well, this is finally a thing from that novel. It was written in extreme haste (EXTREME. HASTE.) and needs polishing (WOW does it need polishing) and not everything here will actually make it into the novel (mostly worldbuilding details I had to fudge because EXTREME HASTE). If you've read previous entries about it you know what it's roughly about, if not I'd rather keep you spoiler free in case you can help me out with this.

The deadline for submitting the story (which is intended to be part of a larger work) is in 6 hours (10PM GMT).

I need someone to look over a 2000 word draft in that time and help me: (1) polish up the prose (2) point out internal inconsistencies in the text

I don't really have time for any fundamental revisions, but having someone look over the text would help me a LOT (it's just been me writing so far, with no outside input).

If this could be you please let me know whether gdocs or a Word file would work best for you and leave your email after the beep! As usual, your help would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 16:29
Ugh, today is not the best day to do this, because a weather change (from cold 'n cloudy to hot 'n humid) gave me a headache and after posting this I'll hop on the couch for a nap. I can't think of much that got me excited last week (tho I suspect that is also due to the headache, not that nothing good happened) - but, I got some ideas for the next music linkspam and that makes me happy!

What good, exciting things happened to you last week? What are you looking forward to this week? It can be one thing or many things, something big or small - especially the small things, they don't get enough credit.
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 14:24
A couple of months ago, I think, my dad asked me how things were progressing with university and I had to laugh; he then said: "Do you still want to go to New York? I'm paying."

Admittedly, when I'd said I wanted to go to New York, it was because I thought it was one of the jumbo jet routes, and I've always dearly wanted to travel in the "bubble" of a 747 - but I wasn't about to turn down a free holiday.

Anyway; we didn't do much straight away, but after I established that delays at uni had caused me to miss the deadline to apply for student finance, we began to bounce ideas back-and-forth about where we might like to go, and what we might like to do over there - first, I pitched a few days in NYC, followed by Amtrak to Washington DC and a flight home from Dulles. He returned with scrapping DC because "there's nothing to do there except see the White House", and instead suggested flying to Boston, staying a few days there, maybe going to see Harvard U, and then using Amtrak to get to NYC for a few days before flying home from JFK.

I agreed, it seemed like a nice idea... but then had a brainwave. I say brainwave; it was a real "what's the worst that could happen?" attempt that I didn't expect him to go for, mostly because it involves spending an entire day on a train - albeit the most scenic rail route in the US and Canada, but still, 13 hours! - not to mention the fact it costs more than the other suggestions we'd each floated.

But, to my absolute delight, it turned out he harboured a secret desire to go to one of the places I'd thought of, and I was proved wrong.

So, on September 21st, we leave Manchester for London (I'm choosing not to think about the environmental effects of that - train times don't fit nicely with check-in times, and and navigating across London with luggage in the peak of freshers season will be even more hellish than at any other time...), where we connect to a flight to Toronto, arriving mid-afternoon local time.

(I did just get excited a moment ago, Googling for which routes BA does fly with a 747, and found that they do in fact sometimes uses 747s on the London-Toronto route - but our specific flight, and all others the same day, are actually in 777s. I assume they use 747s in the off-season, which we're missing by a few weeks. Oh well!)

The next day is left open, and we'll likely go for a walking tour and hopefully split up in the afternoon to do some exploring on our own, as we've previously found we holiday best that way.

On Wednesday 23rd, we're catching the train to Niagara Falls for a day, taking a boat trip through the Falls themselves, exploring the towns in both countries, and walking over Rainbow Bridge (because how could I not?).

Thursday, we catch the Amtrak Maple Leaf train to NYC, and stay in Manhattan for five days, before flying from JFK back to London on September 29th, and then back to Manchester the morning of the 30th.

I am so ridiculously excited already. The hostels are booked, the flights and train journeys are paid for, travel authorisations and insurance bought. I'm going to try and hold off writing out a wishlist of all the things I simply must do until at least September, but...
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 11:19
So, I rarely post about my fannish travel adventures, even though I spend a lot of my time remembering them fondly, because I'm always afraid of not mentioning everyone I hung out with on a particular trip in a single entry and thus making people feel like I enjoyed their company less or valued them less or something. When in reality, it's just the way memories work - they pop up in your head one by one, not as a huge overwhelming collection.

So, right now I'm going to break that tradition (as I keep yearning to do) and I'm just going to self indulgently remember some cool moments from various fannish trips over the years. This is not a comprehensive retrospective! It is not a recap! please don't think I didn't enjoy spending time with you or don't remember our interaction fondly because you're not mentioned under the cut.

This is just some stuff I was reminded of, for one reason or another, lately, and that made me smile, and miss the people involved, and think of how lucky I am to have had the experiences I've had. To have found fandom when I did, to have befriended people, to have taken various leaps of faith and courage and gone adventuring to the degree that I was able to.

London, Delhi, Boston )
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 01:18
1. Day off tomorrow!

2. Today we found Molly up on the kitchen counter twice and while we're very proud of her jumping/climbing/exploring skills, this is not the sort of thing we want to encourage. But thankfully it turned out she was not just jumping straight from the floor to the counter (yet) but was using a chair to get up there, so we rearranged things so she can no longer get up on the counter. (Instead she gets on the chair and paws frustratedly at the stuff we used to block her. :p)

3. Today we had one of the closing cashiers call in sick, so for the last hour there was only one cashier and I had to help out at the register, but I was still able to get everything I needed to do done.

4. There's a new Gravity Falls tomorrow! (And then probably another three weeks until the next new episode. Seriously, I do not know what is wrong with this show.)
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 08:27
via at August 03, 2015 at 03:15AM:
I’ve always felt that as long as you’re getting your work done and up to spec, the time it takes you to do said work doesn’t necessarily have to fill your working hours. I mean, if you’re doing what work you’re assigned and the rest of the time you’re surfing the internet or reading or whatnot, what are you supposed to do? 

If you want to focus more because you fall behind and need to catch up, that’s one thing. I found that for me, setting a timer to make myself work for a set period of time, and increasing that slowly over a period of weeks, helped me to focus more (I also found out that my attention span before I need to shift gears to something new is a hard limit of about twenty minutes unless I get super-involved in something). Also making sure I kept a running list of what I had to do for work kept me on-task if I had a really long list.

But honestly, if you’re keeping up and doing the work well, the time you’re not “working” at work is really on call; you’re waiting for something to do. Enjoy it – no reason to feel guilty if you’ve done the task. Thinking about tasks instead of about time helps me a lot. And taking a break to check tumblr every while helps keep me sane. :D 

Good luck! Slacking at work can be very rewarding as long as you do it right :D
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 07:42
via at August 03, 2015 at 02:30AM:

a hymn for the millennium
When I asked why you abandoned me
The minute you possibly could
You told me a charming story:
A man saw a butterfly emerging,
And wanted to help it get free.
But in helping he forgot:
Butterflies need to push against their prison
To grow their wings strong in the struggle for freedom
And in helping, he doomed the fragile creature entirely.

You said it with such a self-pleased smile,
Such confidence in your morality tale.

But I am not an insect
And you are not the hand of God.
You weren’t letting the butterfly emerge;
You were starving the worm.
So if you think what came out of the chrysalis was a monster,
And if you’re afraid I’ll devour you in my hunger,
You have only yourself to blame.
Monday, August 3rd, 2015 06:57
via at August 03, 2015 at 01:45AM:


okay so my dad got me a pen

and i was like “oh, thanks dad, it’s even my favourite colour”

but then it was like, ‘oh, what’s this?’




THAT’S BRUTAL I want ten
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 22:08
Thank you so so much to everyone who donated, signalboosted, and commented on my donation post. I'm already a third of the way to my goal, got several job leads I didn't find anywhere else, and also got this cutie:

a ferret drinking from a pond

♥ You're all great.
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 20:48

These are the pictures I showed [personal profile] woggy and my friend Linda. They both found them...rather eww.

ew gross. hall bathroom )

I did do some serious disinfecting of the bathroom yesterday and I guess tomorrow I'll start on the cleaning of it? I'm not really looking forward to it, but it does need to be done. I need a bathroom I can send guests to, since the other bathroom is the master bathroom (and it's got pea green fixtures. Not kidding.)

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 19:52

I took pictures of the house on Monday night, but I didn't get a chance to post them Tuesday. [personal profile] woggy saw a couple of the worst of them, but those will be under a cut.

photos under here of Rat te Kāinga! )

That's the house! Except for the hall bathroom, but that might go on it's own post of EW GROSS.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 08:17
Thinking about quiet things to do today, sedentary but productive and not all about computers. This is not a list of things which all need doing, it's just something to choose from.

Note, if you go on etsy and look for "punk note cards" you will quickly think, "What the fuck is WRONG with me" especially once there are no good options. All my notecards are pretty landscape paintings suitable for mailing to my remaining grandparent. Amazon has got nothing. Etsy, fucking nothing and nothing good for "feminist" either. Note to world. Those retro pictures of some woman looking femmy from the 40s and saying "fuck" don't make it feminist. for fuck's sake.

I believe precita eyes store over on 24th has either postcards or notecards with some women other than (but including) frida kahlo. thank fuck. in the meantime I will make my own, which in theory is as it should be, but in practice I would like to buy some!


Get all my data off Revolt's hacked up hard drive and get it back to him.
More setting up of power strips in convenient places by the couch, counter, kids' room
Fiddle with music things. Can I get it so my giant music collection will play to speakers?
Open up Airport Express and just look at it. Read up on what might be wrong with it.
Write short blog posts about books.
See if there is a better blogging client than MarsEdit.
Play clash of clans since it's now Battle Day for my family clan


Continue clearing desk area, go thru file cabinet
Does the metal shelf in-out box from garage fit under the "charging table"?
Laundry. Clean laundry smells like mildew. Get z. to re-wash with borax
Coax the cat to eat tidbits.
Groceries for the week. make a list. zond7? or instacart?
Cook some delicious plátanos today.
Deep water all the plants.


Write another letters. 2 per week is good. Maybe 1 per day.
Think of some more letter writing people. Ask for addresses.
Write to grandma finally even if no printed photos seem suitable
Make more notecards. Punk feminist ones. Color them with colored pencils.
Make set of punk feminist notecards for my sister
Look over poems.
New tiny zine (Alpha Suffrage Club) research and writing
Plan new tiny zine on combahee river collective. Important!
Organize sticker collection at least roughly, in envelopes.
Hardware store again to contemplate fancy small plant pots.
Repot tiny succulents as presents for R. and the nice post office lady


How many people can I handle seeing this week.
- intern
- yatima's brother
- tru
- Revolt
- hazelbroom
- sundress?
- would like to call debbie
- new nice friend who plays ingress?

That is too many. Dammit. Maybe will need to wait till post mexico visit to invite extra people.

My luxurious bath and applying a korean face mask, then every kind of lotion I own last night including the low strength marijuana lotion - that was a good plan. I feel extremely moisturized, and smell like rosemary and lemon.
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 08:21
via at August 02, 2015 at 03:15AM:


I reblogged this so fast.
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 07:36
via at August 02, 2015 at 02:30AM:

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners; or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book, a Guide and Manual for Ladies, by Eliza Leslie, 1864
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 06:51
via at August 02, 2015 at 01:45AM:

The evolution from Edwin to The Vision

For the amazing vislon
Saturday, August 1st, 2015 18:51
It's getting on to two years since John died.

There've been some changes in my life recently that I like to think would have made him happy for me. One was the adoption of Ferdinand, my wee kitten. The other was moving to Poplarville and getting a house. (I really have to get those pictures up on this journal.)

I like to think that he'd come up and help with the cleaning and make it funny and joke a lot, cause that's how he was. He'd also know all the secrets to getting a kitten trained to not treat your fingers as toys. Then we'd go to the BBQ place here in town and gorge ourselves silly on the best BBQ in the area.

I like thinking that it would be pleasing to him that his little sister was having a good life and was happy. Even if the hall bathroom should be condemned for health violations. (He'd probably paint a biohazard sign on the door, knowing him.)

I still notice shopping buggies in random places because of him.

Pain is mostly gone. Sore, but not sharp. It will probably never go away.
Saturday, August 1st, 2015 01:41
1. Friday means I get to sleep in for three days in a row!

2. We got this chocolate-coated lemon cake in at work and it's really tasty!

3. Thanks to [personal profile] lovepeaceohana I got hooked on this word game called Alphabear, so I've been playing that a bunch all evening.

4. I got a great picture of Molly tonight:

Saturday, August 1st, 2015 08:31
via at August 01, 2015 at 03:15AM:

I love this moment.  I love it, because Agent Carter she is historically accurate.

American servicemen serving in the UK were issued pamphlets reminding them that the UK women had been in that war longer than the Americans had and deserved their respect:

A British woman officer or non-commissioned officer can and often does give orders to a male private. The men obey smartly and know it is no shame. For British women have proven themselves in this war. They have stuck to their posts near burning ammunition dumps, delivered messages afoot after their motorcycles have been blasted from under them. They have pulled aviators from burning planes. They have died at the gun posts and as they fell another girl has stepped directly into the position and “carried on.” There is not a single record in this war of any British woman in uniformed service quitting her post or failing in her duty under fire.

Now you understand why British soldiers respect the women in uniform. They have won the right to the utmost respect. When you see a girl in khaki or air-force blue with a bit of ribbon on her tunic - remember she didn’t get it for knitting more socks than anyone else in Ipswitch.

No wonder she decks him. And no wonder his boss believes he deserves it.
Saturday, August 1st, 2015 07:31
via at August 01, 2015 at 02:30AM:

No. No, it’s all right. You’re just… You’re not exactly what I expected.
Saturday, August 1st, 2015 06:47
via at August 01, 2015 at 01:45AM:


Paging copperbadge

It’s because so many of the fields where we grow our fucks were barren last year. 
Friday, July 31st, 2015 23:52
It's a theory, or a perspective, I've been kicking around for a while.

I think that humans, like our cities, are fractally interesting. A person or a community can be quite bland and boring when viewed large, but that surface impression is not the same thing. The closer you look, the more you find things that are complex and fascinating and amazing.

We spend a lot of time wanting to sum up, to label, to take people in at a glance. To write people off. The same with the places they live, I muse as I spend time this summer in small no-account towns in an extraneous province of an ignorable country. I was sitting in a friend's back yard tonight, watching apples fall from her tree, thinking about all the secret hidden places you don't see if you look quickly, roughly, from a distance; they only open up to patient and careful eyes.

People don't always show you from the outset the way they peel vegetables, the way they learned to spell, their moments of grace and resilience. Those things are learned slowly and often they're hidden pieces of knowledge. There are things you'll never know about people and places until you, say, meet a local scientist who can tell you that the local variety of dandelion shows genetic drift from the variety that grows in the sidewalks of a city fifty minutes down the road. The most interesting parts are hidden away in unreadable alphabets or in houses or in skin. and it takes work to find and decode them.
Friday, July 31st, 2015 14:23
I feel like I've been falling behind lately, which of course brings up the question of "Behind on what? You are on maternity leave. Is your baby still alive? Still growing? Still learning? THEN YOU ARE NOT BEHIND."

But the brain angsts over what it will angst over, so there you go. To combat this feeling, I will now list my triumphs:

they are rather mundane triumphs and so I cut )

We had a really nice walk today. It's hot and sunny, but with just enough of a breeze that it doesn't feel oppressively hot. We did our usual tour of the neighbourhood. I've been on a mission to invest in my community (I really like this neighbourhood), so I've been picking up one piece of trash in the park on every walk to put in the bins. I'd pick up more, but I have seventeen pounds of baby strapped to my front. [personal profile] bell says she will get me a grabby-claw thing the next time she goes to the dollar store, and then I'll be able to do more.

Along those lines, we happened to pass a house today where an older woman was unloading groceries, so I offered to take her bags. It was just two loads, but 'just' for me looked like a tough job for her. She met Lucas and we said good day and, well. That was it! But it felt nice to be helpful and neighbourly. I'd like Lucas, when he's older, to be able to run around a few blocks within a certain radius of our house the way I used to. It seems like that's becoming more and more rare. But if we can get to know people through small acts now, it'll make it easier for him later, maybe. I can hope.

The other triumph of today isn't mine as much as his--he went down for his third nap without a fuss. Thus I can even update! And that is good self-care too. Hooray for journalling.

Happy upcoming long weekend, y'all!
Friday, July 31st, 2015 18:23
2015 is, apparently, the year my hayfever makes its comeback. While I am not sneezing, my eyes are swollen and hurt and itch. Bah. I just bought some loratadine, hoping it won't make me too tired.

In better news, 10 months after leaving my previous glasses on the plane, I finally got myself new ones. It's weird at the moment, but it's also nice to finally be able to see details again. My sight isn't too bad, so I really only need glasses for seeing things in the distance when driving and it wasn't unsafe without them or anything, but having the option to use them is good.

And now I am off work for two weeks. Yay!
Friday, July 31st, 2015 14:20
Well honestly less about LFS and more about the various links I've been following having just finished it - THE NEXT BOOK IS GOING TO BE BACK IN ALT COLOUMB (though I really want more about Mal and Caleb, augh, why is it that I am so invested in more about those two, oh right it's because the books are about the tension between integrity and human relationships and the ways the world runs on contracts built of Craft). But also here's Max Gladstone talking about LFS at SFSignal (spoilers! -- but also note that Max, in that article, once again uses "she" as the generic and default pronoun just as he does in the books, in stark contrast to that review at Tor), and oh but I have feelings.

Some spoilers. )
Friday, July 31st, 2015 01:53
1. I only ended up staying at work for about an hour and a half today, so that meant I had a mostly free day off. :D

2. They were doing construction on our street most of this week, including starting this morning at eight just after I woke up, but they were done and gone for the day by the time I got home.

3. We went to Target tonight and I finally found some jeans that fit me well! Not only that, but they were $5 off and then on top of that there was a $10 off coupon, so they were only $10. For Levis. I got two pairs; it was tempting to stock up at that price, but with my luck if I buy a lot, I'll lose or gain weight and then be stuck with a bunch of jeans that don't fit, so just two.

4. I got this month's chapter of Yasha posted, so that's all my monthly manga. (I was so late on the translation for that, I thought it might not be ready until early next month, so I'm extra glad I was able to post this month after all.)

5. I got a couple really great kitten pics today:

Friday, July 31st, 2015 08:22
via at July 31, 2015 at 03:15AM:

God, you know what i would die to see? First Age elves. Elves untamed in the wildness of their youth. Elves with going to battle in war paint and tattooed faces. Elves beautiful yet terrible–and not just awe-inspiring, like Galadriel, but elves with the thirst for the death of their enemies in their eyes as they go into battle. Elves who love and live with reckless abandon, elves that face Morgoth with a grim smile on their faces. 

First Age Elves
Friday, July 31st, 2015 08:57

Third Laundryverse book. It starts with Bob being treated like a mushroom (as, ahem, usual). Angleton (Bob's boss) is strong in the belief of "show, don't tell" and has sent Bob off on a little job at RAF Cosgrove, with the intention that Bob shuold see the "White Elephant" hidden in a hangar there.

Things don't, quite, go as planned. Then wheels start getting unstuck and an imperial arseload of fecal matter is making hasty progress towards an air-propagation device of monstrous proportions. Then more stuff happens and the shit really hits the fan.

If you've enjoyed previous Laundry books, chances are high that you will like this too.
Friday, July 31st, 2015 07:37
via at July 31, 2015 at 02:30AM:


I didn’t think I could love this man more, but I do oh my god. These were probably my favorite part of this comic. I loved seeing this side of Jango and his relationship with Boba, so precious


Friday, July 31st, 2015 06:49
via at July 31, 2015 at 01:45AM:

Smoky Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Really nice recipes. Every hour.

Show me what you cooked!
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 21:21
I need some help getting back on my feet. I'm a grad student who won't graduate for six months, and I've been unemployed since I had to quit my job after I had a really bad depressive episode last year. I've been getting better and I've started looking for jobs, but the government unemployment benefits I've been living on since then have ended. I'm looking for $2000 to pay my bills and debts for August as I hunt for a job. I have hope that I'll find an intermediate position in a social service agency where I can work for a year or two, maybe even stay on after I graduate and evolve into a psychologist; as a backup I'm looking for part-time data entry work that will pay my bills and leave me spoons left over to keep looking for something better while preserving my health.

Also gratefully accepted: job leads of either variety in Edmonton, AB.

I'm tracking all donations through my GoFundMe, so if you prefer to use PayPal it will still get added to the campaign total.

If you're in bad financial shape, please don't send me money you could use yourself. However, signalboosts and cute mustelid pics are appreciated.

Thursday, July 30th, 2015 16:06
Periodic reminder: the phrase "The Personal is Political" was not introduced into radical discourse as an affirmation that one's personal lifestyle choices have political effects (though they may well on some level, that's a matter of social norms).

The phrase may have mutated into that meaning over many years of use, but I suggest that meaning is strategically useful to establishment powers and harmful to people who repeat it to themselves.

The phrase originally denoted a very different meaning: the assertion that problems you've grown accustomed to as seeing as "personal", or that you're been told to think of as "personal", usually have a locus in policy. That is, in the very laws and institutions of normal ballot-box, public-office, power-and-influence politics.

In other words: when someone tells you that you've (say) been personally lazy at and that's why you are so often exhausted after work and housework, that you're personally bad at saving money and that's why you can't get loans, or that you're personally not strong enough or are a pushover and that's why that non-consensual things keep happening to you ... that these blame-assignments are themselves worth analyzing and rejecting. That what makes them possible is only a particular policy framework that treats some matters the concern of institutions, as "politics", and other matters "personal", ignorable, individual concerns. And that those frameworks can change.

To quote from a revised introduction to Carol Hanish's essay:

But they belittled us no end for trying to bring our so-called “personal problems” into the public arena—especially “all those body issues” like sex, appearance, and abortion. Our demands that men share the housework and childcare were likewise deemed a personal problem between a woman and her individual man. The opposition claimed if women would just “stand up for themselves” and take more responsibility for their own lives, they wouldn’t need to have an independent movement for women’s liberation. What personal initiative wouldn’t solve, they said, “the revolution” would take care of if we would just shut up and do our part. Heaven forbid that we should point out that men benefit from oppressing women.

Recognizing the need to fight male supremacy as a movement instead of blaming the individual woman for her oppression was where the Pro-Woman Line came in. It challenged the old anti-woman line that used spiritual, psychological, metaphysical, and pseudo-historical explanations for women’s oppression with a real, materialist analysis for why women do what we do. (By materialist, I mean in the Marxist materialist (based in reality) sense, not in the “desire for consumer goods” sense.) Taking the position that “women are messed over, not messed up” took the focus off individual struggle and put it on group or class struggle, exposing the necessity for an independent WLM to deal with male supremacy.

(emphasis mine)
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 22:53
Yesterday I rode my first Audax sans-[personal profile] damerell, and have now officially failed to finish more Audaxes than I have successfully completed, which is not quite the achievement I was hoping for.

It was meant to be a very hilly ride - starting in Marple, up into Glossop and Hadfield, past the reservoirs and over Holme Moss (one of the categorised climbs from the Tour de France's Grand Depart in Yorkshire last summer), then down into Langsett and Midhopestones and Strines, and then back into the Peak District through Edale, Chinley, New Mills and finishing again in Marple.

Well, it was a very hilly ride, and I did make it up to the summit of Holme Moss, with a bicycle, using only the power of my legs.

At the summit of Holme Moss

I also enjoyed descending the hills, and spotting road paintings leftover from when the TdF came past last summer.

Ey Up! / Go Yates Go! Allez Allez Jens!
Shut Up Legs Vive Le Tour!

However, I did come undone a little on a hairy descent out of Midhopestones - taking a corner much wider than I should have and probably somewhat faster too - I know that I was going for 66kph on the approach to the corner; I was braking heavily so probably didn't hit the ground at that speed, but still a little too fast. Unfortunately, on a 25% reverse-incline with a tailwind, there's a lot of factors against you...

So that goes some way to explaining why my front wheel was the wrong shape when I dropped the bike off at my local bike shop this morning, and also why I've got a small-ish rugby-ball shaped lump on my elbow, and why I had the help of Northern Rail to avoid the final big climb of the day (Mam Nick) - which is why I officially didn't finish the ride.

On arrival at the ride rendezvous point, the ride organiser (an old family friend) offered to take me and my bike home and deliver me to the A&E department up the road, where I hung about for three hours or so, had a number of X-rays, and eventually got sent home with painkillers and the good news that nothing was chipped, fractured or otherwise broken.

I have acute neck/shoulder pain today, leaving me wondering if I did bang my head after all (I knew that I hadn't lost consciousness, but didn't know if I'd hit my head or not) - but I'm at work until Saturday morning so unless it gets any worse I'm just going to assume whiplash.

Incidentally, how to make a hospital receptionist really struggle not to laugh at you:
"What's the problem?"
"I came off my bike and my elbow is the wrong shape."
"Was it an RTC?"
"No, just stupidity."

Think I'll stay away from hills for a little while.
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 20:51
The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is an odd sort of story. It's position in the season running order frames it as almost, but not quite, a big dumb two-parter and maybe that is the best description for it. It is certainly the last of the form, Moffat opting for a far higher proportion of single episodes in his next two series. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is a tale of dubious ethics, personal identity and human failings. It also involves a fair amount of running around though, I think, it is less focused on delivering spectacle than the "big dumb two-parter" generally is.

More Under the Cut )

I still don't really like this story but while I'm not convinced it really warrants being spread over two episodes, I think it holds together pretty well on a second viewing and avoids a lot of the problems that afflicted previous stories of the same kind.

metanews coding (LJ): <a href=>NuWho Rewatch: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People</a> (LJ) <i>Discussion of the sixth series episodes</i>

metanews coding (DW): <a href=>NuWho Rewatch: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People</a> (DW) <i>Discussion of the sixth series episodes</i>
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 21:18
I HAVE COME UP WITH A CUNNING PLAN. Several months in advance, so I can prepare properly.

Things that I do in winter: stay inside, staring at a fixed point, consuming audiobooks or TV; consume vast amounts of cheese and potatoes; be miserable
Things that I do not do (much) in winter: exercise

Reasons I do not exercise:
- outside bad
- lack of outside-worthy clothes
- outside cold!
- decision fatigue: get home, go flop, no more going places
- depress: does not enjoy anything, therefore does not enjoy things normally would enjoy about running, eg, ducks
- outside too dark to see ducks!

Reasons I should exercise:
- lose weight? at least stop gaining weight? (this is the least useful motivation ever, but it must be noted that outgrowing my exercise pants significantly hampers further exercise)
- wish not to make fool of self on 'gentle walks' with swiss people (this is a good motivator: it is the only reason I'm running at all)
- short-term energy boost / smugness / etc (less effective in winter anyway, because depress)
- long-term supposed to be good for mental elfs?

Things I have already figured out are significantly more likely to lead me to exercising:
- monotonous routine (run same route. every time. bonus points if ducks)
- eradicate decision fatigue by using app which tells me what to do when
- minimal human interaction
- Ridiculous music choices
- bicycles if not on roads


GYM. Go to gym before 6pm, for minimal human interaction. Pick a gym between uni and home, in order not to get home and then go flop. If necessary, play the 'no speak french!' card for avoiding human interaction.
GYM HAS: running machine. Can stare into space and obey instructions. Bicycle machines that are not on roads.


CARROT: PODFIC. Headphones in ears is a great way to avoid humans in gyms!

I'm gonna be miserable, staring at a fixed point and consuming trash media anyway, right? If I can somehow convince myself that the best place to do this is in a warm gym while running on the spot, we might achieve either long-term mental elfs benefits or at least cardio-vascular fitness.

Salary goes up in September; there's a 'woman fitness' gym on my street with student deals. If I start this in october or november, when I still have some cope, I might be able to establish an actual habit?
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 20:00
I feel like the only person on my reading list who didn't have some kind of revelation when reading that recent Metafilter discussion on Emotional Labor

I guess it's a combination of already having read about all the concepts behind it and also it not being all that applicable to my life. A lot of these things, I just don't do - I am not managing our relationship with my husband's family, or reminding him of birthdays, I am not doing some kind of therapy replacement for friends, or get people to be nice towards each other at work. My husband gets just as annoyed as I do when other men talk about "babysitting" their own children or need their female partners to remind them to buy Christmas presents.

There are obviously trade offs in my life, and not everything is smelling of roses, not even in my marriage, but emotional labor investment just isn't really one of those areas.

Important article and discussion, just not a very personal thing for me, I guess.
Thursday, July 30th, 2015 19:08
I have been swallowed up by a blog as though it was a novel. In a way I'm happy - I've been really stressed about original writing lately, and couldn't find a TV show or a fic to take my mind off, and here suddenly, 6 years worth of blog posts I simply can't put down.

The blog is What Now?: A Candid Account Of My Experience With Foster/Adopting A Teenager in Los Angeles. It's written by a woman who, along with her husband, decided to adopt an older teenager from the foster care system (so, basically a lot like The Fosters minus the lesbians). The blog starts when she first enters the system, in 2008, through meeting and adopting her son (and then adopting his brother), and was last updated this May. Her eldest son is now 21.

I... can't really explain why I love this blog so much - it's certainly well written, but I've been reading it with the urgency and addiction of really, really excellent fic - except that, you all know my weakness for narratives about psychology and troubled teenagers, and well. There's so, so, so much packed into this blog, it's so honest and so introspective. It's teenagers getting over substance abuse and trauma and PTSD and sexual abuse and complicated relationships with their biological relatives mediated by extreme poverty and drug addiction. It's the author, who, while she enters this with her eyes open and relatively well prepared, slowly undergoes a process of... if not relinquishing her privilege then slowly having her world view shifted as she understands realities middle class white women like her don't get to experience.

I'm currently up to the point where her eldest son is nearing 18 (yes, I've read every entry because I CANNOT QUIT READING THIS BLOG), and over the course of seeing her son's life disrupted over and over and over again, at extremely high cost (imagine putting a kid who's trying to kick drugs and has a host of mental disorders in an overcrowded jail for a week for no reason), largely due to systemic racism, her understanding of right and wrong, her faith of the overall justice and balance of the criminal system, slowly waivers. She says at one point that she and her husband have trouble reconciling their son's petty crime habit - theft, mostly - while they have no fundamental, moral qualms about his drinking or drug use - because they grew up seeing the issue as very clear cut. Over time her perception, her understanding of the appeal of petty crime to marginalized teenagers, changes.

It's also very clear, at the point where I'm at, that her son was headed for the school-to-prison pipeline, and if it hadn't been for his adoptive parents would have quickly ended up in jail. Despite living with his white, middle class parents for years, he's still arrested in an exaggerated, humiliating way, taken to prison, denied medication for days, sentenced to house arrest for a month and not provided with legal counsel, despite having clear-cut, irrefutable evidence, provided to the system within days of his arrest, that he couldn't have committed the crime he's charged with.

I found particularly striking the odd trajectory that emerges over the years - this boy becomes slowly ever more hopeful, optimistic, joyful, as every time the system or his demons knock him down, his parents are there to help him get up again. When terrible things befall him his parents are shocked to find him in much better spirits than they expect, where despair is replaced by hopefulness and cheer, because each time they come for him, and that signifies a fundamental improvement in his relationship with the universe.

The parents, on the other hand, go from optimistic, hopeful and trusting of the system (even after the hellish bureaucracy of Children's Services reveals itself) to ever more cynical and jaded. This is a journey down for them, on the scale of privilege. They're exposed first-hand (despite knowing all this in theory beforehand) to what being poor and Black means in their country/city, and the realizations take their toll. It's just sort of amazing to me, when you realize a few years, their son has become a kind of guide for them, who tells them to cheer up every time he ends up in custody or booted out of somewhere for purely racist reasons. He doesn't really understand why they're so upset by the simple facts of life.

It's impossible to summarize what I love about this blog - partially because I'm barely half done reading it - because there's just so much. I mean, I binge watched World's Strictest Parents, I think you get the picture. I think it's also interesting that when reading, I saw some of myself and a lot of the people I grew up with in the traumatized teenager, and I liked the author (or wouldn't have kept up with the blog), but the moment I had the strongest reaction to was probably when he has his first serious breakdown, a real, complete crisis, and the parents manage to call in an emergency team of psychiatrists to evaluate him/help resolve the situation.

spoilers )