The Blood is the Life for 29-05-2017

May. 29th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Mood: Miserable Brian :()
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am dangerously low on spoons, I have a bunch of things I'm committed to doing before the end of the month, electoral stuff is particularly pressing (I may be beginning to regret being on regional exec, and chair of Plus, and involved in national stuff too) and daughter is on half term holiday so I have less time to do everything.

I may be a bit absent for the next few days, is my point. And if I do turn up I may be irascible. Just so you all know.

Lego - Saturn V!

May. 29th, 2017 09:44 am
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
[personal profile] major_clanger
Last year Lego picked, as one of its fan-suggested kits, the Apollo Saturn V moon rocket. About a month ago details of the final kit emerged, with a launch (ahem) date of 1st June. Then on Friday a friend mentioned over on Facebook that John Lewis had the kit in stock early. I checked and there it was, with the option of next-day pickup in our local branch. The decision to order took, I don't know, about 5 milliseconds, and on Saturday afternoon we popped in to pick up what proved to be an impressively large box.

Lots of pictures of Lego building )

It's a classic

May. 29th, 2017 09:03 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

Good morning, have some cheese. Blest Pair of Sirens by Parry.

Kazakhstan

May. 29th, 2017 08:11 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
In two weeks, I'm going to Kazakhstan, a trip I've had in mind for about three years. I remember looking at expo sites and thinking, not Milan, the children are not so interested in food as I am, I'll go to Astana in 2017, because they'll love a power focus, and I'll take [personal profile] fivemack because he's probably going anyway, he'll enjoy travelling with us and he speaks Russian. I think I even mentioned this idea to him at the time, but he doesn't remember. Then Tom and I started dating, and I figured we'd have split up by then but we'd probably be amicable because mostly my experience is that we run our course and then decide we're done as a couple but can remain friends, and I figured my idea was still a good one. And here we are, three years later, getting ready to leave, most definitely still together, and super excited.

So I panicked and was all 'we should go away for the weekend' because honestly a three day lead time is more my style, but we did not because everyone around me is less inclined to panic than I am, so here I am waiting for the groceries like any other Monday. I'll do that some other time. And Judith has already decided she wants to go to Patagonia in 2020 ("can we go the next time Tom goes on holiday to see an eclipse?") so maybe I just have to get used to the idea that Tom does more forward planning than I do.

This needs to be rectified.

May. 28th, 2017 11:19 pm
monanotlisa: alex and maggie next to each other (Default)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
It occurs to me that I haven't posted about female anatomy in a while! What's wrong with me? (Please don't answer that; I probably know.)

Vagina 101: A quiz, and more! (Guardian series)

steorra: Restaurant sign that says Palatal (palatal)
[personal profile] steorra
I've occasionally noticed evidence of some sort of nasalization assimilation across vowels. Sometimes the evidence is from speech and sometimes it's from spelling errors.

I used to notice, in Fr Thomas Hopko's podcasts, that he pronounced "automatic" and "automatically" with an [n] in place of the second "t". (They sounded to me a lot like he was saying "Ottomanic" and "Ottomanically". Here the nasalization from the [m] seems to be extending through the following vowel and onto the following consonant.

The spelling error of "minus well" for "might as well" shows the same thing.

And today I saw a misspelling of "monerater for "moderator".

In all cases, the consonant that gets nasalized, whether spelled as "t" or as "d", is one that would be pronounced as an alveolar flap in North American English.

I suspect the nasalized version is actually a nasalized flap, not a full nasal stop.

I wonder if the triggering consonant has to be an [m]. I haven't seen it with any other nasal.

In a previous instance of poking at this, I found the following misspellings that also seem to reflect it:

"dramanically"
"dogmanically"
"diplomanic"

grateful

May. 28th, 2017 09:38 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Chairs. Chairs are a very good for tired.

Beds. Also good.

Got food. Food I can eat. Yes.

Water. Properly filtered now with filter from store. Yes, so many chores we did. Yay water.

NOT grateful for brain not fully boot up all day, but okay. Grateful for at least not feeling BAD on top of not think properly; feel okay, just can hardly process, and body does not want to energy. Or heavy things - heavy things are a clear firm NO DO NOT I WILL MAKE YOU SORRY IF YOU DO THAT so I was good and did not do that today. Difficult. Thanks. Yes. I am grateful for S moved all the heavy groceries and laundry. S is good.

Garden yessss and the little plants. I cannot words. But happy yes plants.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
This is brilliantly put:
NOTE TO SELF

YOU CANNOT ACTUALLY DO ALL THE THINGS

I know you want to, and you are constantly being told that you must, excel at and be committed to, for example:

1. earning a living wage
2. healing from and/or dealing with injury, illness, emotional trauma, disability
3. basic self-care and adulting (laundry, financial management, etc.)
[... nine more categories elided... ]

...plus enough downtime to keep you functional.

But excelling at each of those is equivalent to a full-time job and you cannot physically do them all. In fact, our society considers basic competence at two of them to be a passing grade. ONLY TWO.[...]
Read the whole thing. Recommended.

ETA: I would spin yet a thirteenth category off from #2. Distinct from health is recovering from catastrophe – I had to deal with both The Evacuation and exciting health issues in the past year, and they were quite distinct, though intersecting. Dealing with moving out of my home, having it remediated, and then moving back in, on no notice, was a full-time job. Heck, I'm not even done. TODAY I moved one of my large garment bags (full of summer clothes, natch) home from [personal profile] tn3270's place. I still have [personal profile] jducoeur's handcart. My house is still full of boxes (though, admittedly, that's its default state.) I still don't know where everything goes. Meanwhile along the way I was also trying to do physical therapy appointments and seeing an escalating chain of medical specialists. Whee.

'Xhausted hedjog

May. 28th, 2017 08:07 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Had a terrible night last night: insomnia exacerbated by the hip thing playing up; then woke up ridiculous early and failed to get back to sleep - okay, I know, just lying in bed has some benefits - so got up earlier than I had intended, and went to the panel I thought I might do if I was up and breakfasted.

Walked about a little and had lunch - I have really not been terribly organised about arranging to have meals with people, sorry. Have a couple sorted for tomorrow, at least.

Chilled a little in my room in preparation for being on a panel then doing a reading.

I think I might have been more idea'd and articulate on the panel if I'd been better slept, but at least I managed to get in some of the thoughts I'd had.

The reading, I think, went well - at least, the audience laughed, and amusement was intended, so I think it counts as a win.

I am intending going to the GOH speeches but don't know how much longer than that I will manage to stay up.

An extra bit of music

May. 28th, 2017 11:15 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

This is the first single I ever bought, a cover of a song which was a hit for Roberta Flack in 1973. Flack won two Grammys for it; best female pop vocals and record of the year.

Killing Me Softly With His Song by the Fugees.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon

I bought it at Asda, and stuck it between a couple of pizzas to keep it from getting bent on the way home. And you can guess the rest....

It seems to have survived the experience.

Definitely not with a whimper

May. 28th, 2017 11:40 am
monanotlisa: (explore - sga)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
As I've outlined in pictorial form in my Instagram, our last one was, as my wife called it, "a doozy of a day".

In the morning, we did the boat tour around the Na Pali Coast documented earlier -- not pictured is the actual snorkeling session in a reef far away and accessible only by boat because I was, after all, too worried for my smartphone (although I'd brought both a supposedly waterproof case and a supposedly waterproof bag for immersion). The reef was teeming with marine wildlife, including a school of yellow convict tang fish. WE SWAM WITH A SEA TURTLE, TOO, AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Both the swimming with it, and the turtle itself. It had clearly seen LIFE, y'all: scratches across its shell, scaly skin deeply-lined, and those old old eyes...

In the afternoon, then, we'd booked a helicopter tour of the island. We flew with Captain John Song, who's actually mentioned in our guide book, and his flying was so soft and smooth that I actually didn't have to be hand-holding during the flight. ;) Way to make us feel safe up in the air, sweeping across the whole island of Kaua'i and into the ancient volcano crater of Mount Wai'ale'ale itself! Unforgettable, and a bit of a best-of tour: We'd travelled the whole island by the ten-day mark; hiking in the West, strolling through the gardens of the South, shopping in the East, and doing basically all of the above on our most-beloved North Shore.

I'd be back to Kaua'i any time. That said, and there's no way to not make this a humblebrag -- Kaua'i is the Haiwai'ian island for fit and physically daring folks. I'm not talking about size (we saw super-cute chubby girls hop up and down the hiking trails) or age (some of these elderly HIKER!111! ladies left me in. The. Dust) or having children (the family with three, yes, 3 kids age 1-6 that passed us twice on the Kalalau Trail: chapeau, y'all). I am talking about ability and confidence when it comes to steep heights, slippery slopes, rough seas, shallow reefs to carefully float across, and strong currents that pull at you...sometimes while rain is pelting down at you from above. I enjoyed all of these, greatly, but yeah, that's me and my kind.

Music meme

May. 28th, 2017 07:00 pm
swaldman: A sparkly bauble. (pretty)
[personal profile] swaldman
Stolen from somebody who posted it locked (and thus shall not be named):
There's a list of prompts for music choices. I'll aim at one a day, but will actually post them on a strict "when I get around to it" schedule. Maybe some will enjoy.

Here's the list, and the first pick:



1.A song you like with a colour in the title
2.A song you like with a number in the title
3.A song that reminds you of summer
4.A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about
5.A song that needs to be played LOUD
6.A song that makes you want to dance
7.A song to drive to
8.A song about drugs or alcohol
9.A song that makes you happy
10.A song that makes you sad
11.A song that you never get tired of
12.A song from your pre-teen years
13.One of your favourite 70's songs
14.A song that you would love played at your wedding
15.A song that is a cover by another artist
16.One of your favourite classical songs
17.A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke
18.A song from the year you were born
19.A song that makes you think about life
20.A song that has many meanings for you
21.A favourite song with a person's name in the title
22.A song that moves you forward
23.A song you think everybody should listen to
24.A song by a band you wish were still together
25.A song by an artist no longer living
26.A song that makes you want to fall in love
27.A song that breaks your heart
28.A song by an artist with a voice you love
29.A song you remember from your childhood
30.A song that reminds you of yourself


1.A song you like with a colour in the title

99 Red Balloons. It's a good song, and it manages that weird mix of happy music about a sad topic that I often enjoy. And while I'm a little young to be sure, I'm guessing it nicely encapsulates the feeling of being in one's late teens or twenties in the last decade of the Cold War.




hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
So Pink News, which seem to cause me some kind of headache every few weeks, put up an article today called "Is bisexuality real?"

As soon as I saw the headline, I angrily thought (and tweeted with a link to this terrible question):
Is EVERY damn "LGBT" thing biphobic? Are we sick of it to literal death because biphobia kills people? The answer to all of these is yes.
It turned out the headline was just clickbait; for once this was an article whose title was a Question To Which The Answer Is Yes (Betteridge's Law dictates that the answer is No, of course).

The reaction that I saw to that tweet was, at least a few hours ago...not what you'd call good. It ranged all the way from sarcastic to angry. My awesome friend [twitter.com profile] natalyadell said, "I nearly didn't read the damned article, saw the headline was biphobic, ran away. When trying to fix prejudice, committing it is No.1 fail."

And...unfortunately it gets worse than the headline. If you actually do read the thing (which I wouldn't recommend, but here's a tweet screenshotting the relevant bit), it says "Unlike pansexuality, bisexuals do often recognize the binary genders but are attracted to both males and females."

Which, at the very least, indicates to me that the writer is not bisexual. As Sali Owen who does all the bi stuff for the LGBT Foundation has pointed out, there are no bi activists or organizations that use this definition and it tends to drive bisexuals up the wall. We have to argue about this all the damn time.

I genuinely do not know anyone who thinks this. I can credit almost everything I do know about trans people and issues and history to the UK bi community I feel part of. It includes plenty of non-binary gendered people and I promise that they're as likely to be fancied by bisexuals as binary-gendered men and women are. (That this charming quote refers to "males and females" instead of men and women is just the icing on the shit cake.)

It's such a weird fight to have to keep fighting, but in this case I think it's enough that, as I said, it's an indication we're unlikely to be dealing with a bisexual writer. In a way, this is the same problem as I complained about earlier with regard to immigrants: we're being talked about, not talked with. Much less listened to.

"Nothing about us without us" is a valuable concept from disability activism that I really wish applied to bisexuality within LGBT activism. It applies in bisexual activism, because there's absolutely no reason to even do that if you don't have a horse in the race -- there's no money in it and no one else, straight or gay, seems to care about it. About us.

And this, if nothing else, means we know a lot about bisexuality that other people don't because they have few if any ways of finding it out. We're the only ones talking about our rates of mental illness, domestic abuse, homelessness, and other grim stuff, which are higher than the rates in straight or gay/lesbian people.

We talk about stuff nobody else will think of to say about us and that is why our voices are needed. It's not my ego saying this, it's all the suffering my friends and I are going through. We've seen these kinds of suffering decrease in gay and lesbian people because of resources that have been poured into their health, housing, education, employment protection, and other stuff. Bisexuals are like the control group: we show the world how bad it'd be without all those specialized resources. And...it's pretty bad.

The "LGBT" organizations are still stuck on "does bisexuality exist" when you cannot imagine a LGBT publication writing "is homosexuality real?" We're still fighting to clear that first hurdle when there's so much else to talk about. Biphobia kills. And no one but bisexuals is saying this, so most people don't know it because our voices aren't reaching them.

We're the bit of LGBT that's likeliest to go unrepresented in LGBT events and venues: this year bisexuals are going to be excluded from Pride In London for spurious reasons: 320 entries in the parade and none for us. You'd never have such a big Pride with no gay-specific groups. Or lesbian ones. Or even, now, trans ones. And if anybody tried it, there'd be outrage. But this? If you're not bi and following a few people on Twitter or reading The Queerness, you probably don't know about it (I'm grateful to The Queerness for covering the issue (and really well!), because I haven't seen any others of the so-called LGBT media do so).

It frustrates me so much, because there's no reason it has to be like this. There are tons of good writers just among people I know who write well about bisexuality. I've tried to do my bit, on everything from how "love is love" sounds good and supportive but isn't enough to encompass the experience of being bisexual, the perils of being a bi asylum seeker, and even what it's like when biphobia happens on the main stage at Pride. There are so many of us out there. And plenty of us are unemployed or underemployed or just poor, partly because of all this shit that's more likely to go wrong for you if you're bi!

So c'mon, Pink News, hire me and I'll make your bisexual stuff awesome, instead of this worse-than-useless stuff you're putting out now. Hire one of my friends, or all of them. You've probably got more than one gay writer; you should have more than one bisexual, too!

Tikun Olam: SwingLeft and vigil

May. 28th, 2017 09:54 am
sonia: US Flag with In Our America All People Are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants & Refugees are Welcome, ... (tikun olam)
[personal profile] sonia
Right after the US House of Representatives passed their horrific "health" "care" tax cut act, I donated $100 to opponents of swing district Republicans who voted for the act. No idea if the money will make any difference or will even end up where it's supposed to, but I had to do something.

Yesterday I went to the vigil for Taliesin Meche and Ricky Best, the two men stabbed and killed by a white supremacist on the MAX train Friday afternoon. They stepped in to defend two young Muslim women from the white supremacist's harassment. Micah Fletcher, who also intervened and was stabbed, is expected to survive his injuries. The armed, violent white supremacist was taken into police custody alive.

The organizers didn't have sound amplification at the vigil, so we couldn't hear any of the speeches. We stood quietly with the candles someone kindly gave us, shielding them from the breeze. The people in the crowd looked kind, authentic, like people I would want to know. There were a lot (for Portland) of people of color, Middle-Eastern faces, Jewish faces. I felt like I belonged there.

There was a brief chant of "Not in our town!" Nice thought, but yes, this is happening in our town. Fascism and racism go way back in Portland. At the same time, it's good to know there are a couple of thousand people willing to stand in the heat on short notice to say "We're here. We stand for peace, and inclusion."

And then we biked home and sat on my front steps to enjoy the evening coolness and clear light. As we collectively spiral down into disaster, life also goes on more or less as usual. For those of us who didn't get directly affected this time.

The murders happened a couple of miles from where I live, at a MAX station I use sometimes. I went to the Farmer's Market right near there as usual the morning after, and people were chatting and buying vegetables in the bright sun, but with a jangling tension in the background. Too close to home. That could have been me. I keep reminding myself that people of color have been living in this dystopic world for a long time.

This spiraling descent like a bird pinwheeling out of the sky is not what I wanted to live through. And yet here I am, here the world is. We each contribute as we can, some by fighting disconnection, some by fostering connection. I don't know what doing enough looks like. I don't know if any amount would be enough to make a difference, to change our course.

I do think every little bit helps in the long run, making people's lives a little better where I can. And, the long run might be long. Things might keep getting worse for quite a while.
kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
[personal profile] kaberett
The Red Turtle is a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and Oscar-winning British-Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit. Having premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, it's had a general release in the UK this week. [personal profile] me_and spotted a poster in one of our local stations; I've just started showing him the Studio Ghibli back catalogue; he suggested going. (It's Ghibli! It's turtles! These seemed like good things.)

The Guardian, in one of many rapturous reviews, says:
Suffice to say that the official one-line synopsis of The Red Turtle – "the milestones in the life of a human being" – rings entirely true; the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is expressed with piercing clarity.


... which is sort of accurate, but very telling about expected audiences, and reviewers, and... everyone involved in the thing.

'ware spoilers! )

To be clear, I'm glad that I saw it: I loved the animals and the textures and the ways in which one got to know the small island; I loved the atmosphere and the great sweeping shots of tiny people against a vast expanse of sea and sky; I loved the detail of the glass bottle that washed up on the shore, echoing a much earlier barrel.

I just really wish that it didn't, in framing itself as universal, once again write the experiences of anyone who's not a factory-default man completely out of the story.

Designed to create failures

May. 28th, 2017 06:25 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
It then seemed to me that the immigration system was designed to create failures was the quote my friend [twitter.com profile] SMerlChest pulled out of this story when she tweeted it.

I read it with a panicked heartbeat (only eventually assuaged by remembering that I (very nearly) have citizenship now so this can't happen to me; after a decade of anxiety verging on panic attacks at reading stories like this, a few days apparently isn't sufficient for me to have trained myself out of that reflexive reaction). The tl;dr version is that a Canadian living in Scotland with a good job and a wife and little kids who's just been granted a huge sum of money for his academic work is set to be deported in a couple of weeks, and it seems to be only because he was told the wrong thing to do by the Home Office ages ago and had no idea until a couple of weeks ago.

My friend [twitter.com profile] elmyra quickly pointed out "Oh look, he's white, middle class, and Canadian, so media are paying attention." (They are a white Eastern European immigrant to the UK, one of the voices I'm so grateful to have in my book, so they know whereof they speak here.) [twitter.com profile] SMerlChest added that the class thing might be crucial (contrasting this with another Canadian family that got deported from Scotland recently). I said that I think having young British kids also makes this guy's case more likely to get media attention.

And as we were all talking about this, about what would actually help this man avoid deportation vs what has made this story get media attention that tons of similar stories won't get (which is an overlapping circle but not the same: the good job is in both circles, the British kids are in the latter (because British family didn't save the poor woman deported to Singapore...see, she's not white and she was a carer rather than having a proper job and don't tell me those things didn't count against her). I actually also think this story is getting media sympathy because he can claim the Home Office made this error; he himself is an innocent, falling afoul of red tape which is a particular hatred of the British for whatever reason.

As I was sort of dispassionately discussing the elements that make a good sympathetic immigration-horrors story, I didn't want to make it sound too much like I wasn't genuinely sympathetic for the man. My fledging panic attack was borne out of my awareness that the same thing would happen to me. And something that I never let myself think about too much consciously until now that it's over...I knew that if it had come to it, my story would not have gotten the sympathetic media attention that this has.
  • I don't have a proper job and for the last year neither has my husband, however British he is.
  • We're both disabled, which Britain is not sympathetic to generally.
  • We don't have any children.
The last especially: not having those babies (and yes they'd be white!) being all photogenic and British and everything to pull on strangers' heartstrings and to legitimize my presence here in a way that my childlessness cannot.

It's one thing to feel that your life might not measure up to the goals you have for it or the expectations your parents have for it, it's I think on another level to have to think about how your life compares to what the Home Office approves of, what the public will approve of if you have to take your immigration horror story to the media.

It seems like something not a million miles from the current concept in America of being "popular enough to live," getting enough people to back your GoFundMe that you can pay your medical bills. Thankfully immigrants having to appeal to the British public and/or Home Office as sympathetic less common than crowdfunding healthcare has to be in America.

Musing on this, and finally letting myself admit the lens through which I had to look at myself as an immigrant, and thinking about what I wrote here yesterday about not being happy or even relieved yet about my citizenship got me to tweet: "OKAY I THINK THE RELIEF AT BEING A CITIZEN HAS FINALLY KICKED IN."

This is why I paid thousands of pounds and put myself through this? Just so I don't have to panic, just so I don't have to think about how my life looks to the Home Office. Andrew and I don't seem enough like a family, my work is that "second shift" women do that doesn't look like work, it'll only be my nationality and my whiteness that made this as easy for me as it has been.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
Prompted by having received an utterly anodyne response from the party that completely ignored all of the actual issues I raised.

So, with content notes for transmisogyny and transmisogynist violence, here's the very brief summary of why -- regardless of party leadership's opinion on that matter -- that poster is Not Okay. (Yes, I have explained this in painstaking detail in reply to the e-mail from the party.)

Read more... )
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
This morning I saw someone quote an idiotic tweet, "Do you want a world of women-only screenings, or a world where everyone can go see a movie with no gendered problems? You can't have both."

This is in reference to a movie theatre in America scheduling women-only showings of Wonder Woman, and is part of the inevitable backlash of men who can't cope. Poor little snowflakes, who don't realize they've made the whole world into their safe space and now don't see why anyone else wants one.

It got me thinking, though: while I don't need women-only screenings (it'd mean I can't go with either of my usual moviegoing partners/carers who I'm happy helping me get around in the dark, for starters!) I would love some only-"people who are okay with the existence of women-only screenings" screenings. (This would get me both of my boys back, of course, as well as anybody else I'm likely to feel happy being around!)

It also got me thinking about the saying that's cropped up recently: "When you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression." I really loved it at first and have made a lot of use of it but...I'm starting to realize the situation is even worse than that. These women at the women-only screenings still face gender pay gaps, the "second shift" of housework and caring responsibilities, street harassment, and the million other instances of individual and systemic misogyny that women endure.

They're getting to hopefully escape all that for a couple of hours (except however much there is in the movie, I guess; I thought I remembered fatphobia but I guess that's only in the advertising campaign outside of the cinema, where all the men are).

This is not equality.

It's not equality that is making the privileged men feel oppressed. It doesn't take anything as profound as that. Maybe a more accurate version of this modern proverb could be "When you're used to privilege, even a momentary gesture towards equality for a few people feels like oppression." Yeah, it's less snappy, but sadly it's more true.
Anything that carries the merest whiff, the possibility, the potential to even slightly threaten the privilege is greeted like oppression.

Heaven knows how the privileged would react to actual equality. We have no way of knowing, since it's never happened yet.

Brightest and best

May. 28th, 2017 05:33 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Today I saw a politician (Philip Hammond this time, but it could've been any of several) quoted as saying Britain "need[s] to continue to attract the brightest and the best from around the world to these shores" and I think that was just one time too many for me with that terrible phrase, best and brightest.

I always and only ever hear in the context of a Labservative government reassuring the xenophobes (even when, like now, they have nothing to reassure us about; Britain is hemorrhaging citizens of countries that will remain in the EU for longer than the next year and a half and the Tories want to cut immigration to less than half of what business says the UK needs).

I finally realized exactly what it is I so dislike about the phrase "best and brightest" -- apart from its obvious politician-speak and doesn't really mean anything. Beyond that, I just managed to articulate this morning that I think I hate it because it's evidence of something I am always complaining about: that immigrants are always talked about, and never talked with (much less listened to). That British media and politicians mostly talk about us as if we can't hear or read what they are saying.

As an immigrant, I hear this and think: What on Earth makes the UK think it's so special it can only even tolerate those immigrants who are "brightest and best"? But it's not speech directed at me. It's directed at British people who are wary of accepting any immigrants, it's not challenging them on that xenophobia but just saying, however grudgingly, that we need a few immigrants, lads, but don't worry, we'll make sure they're only the good kind. The best.

What it sounds like from the outside is that Britain is telling all the other countries in the world: Don't even think about sending us anything less than your best and brightest! But it isn't, and it wasn't even before Brexit, doing anything to convince the rest of the world that it deserves the cream of their crops. Indeed, it's doing everything in its power to persuade other countries that it doesn't deserve or even really want their brightest or best: even before Brexit we outside the EU have suffered a lot, as any of my readers surely are sick of hearing about by now.

Still British politicians talk like the world is a labour force to be tapped if necessary. I am not the most informed person to be drawing comparisons between Brexit and the British Empire as often as I do, but I can't help think that mentality is at play here. There's this idea that the rest of the world is composed of resources that Britain can take advantage of as often as necessary and to whatever extent is necessary. This went for natural resources all over the world, but also human resources: people. Post-World War II, when Britain needed more workers, its colonies, especially the West Indies, were called on to provide them. Britain still hasn't learned the lessons about racism and exploitation that this and other such history could have taught it, and I swear this has contributed to the casual idea that Britain can get exactly as many immigrants as it needs and not one more, from exactly the places it wants them, at any given time.

As if the rest of the time, these black and brown people, these people who speak with derided accents, are patiently waiting in case they can be of service. Dutifully sending their brightest and best people out of their own countries, just as they had to send their food even when it left them with none, send their gold even when it left them poor, send everything bright and good to Britain.

Heat and vanity

May. 28th, 2017 04:29 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
The temperature went over 20 degrees C this week, at which point I discovered all the things in my wardrobe that aren't really suitable for hot weather. One of my favourite Svaha dresses is too lowcut for me to wear without something underneath, unless I can figure out some kind of insert to the neckline. (Or possibly go to a professional alterations place and get them to do so.)  Another of my staple dresses (from Evans) is beginning to wear out. I have had a spendy month and ordered a bunch more Svaha dresses, which will turn up at some point when shipping and customs get around to it.

cut for mention of weight + body image )

The weather also prompted me to actually get my hair cut.  It was getting increasingly shaggy and annoying me; while it was just long enough to tie up off my neck, I really wanted to get it tidier.  The post-chemo curls were also a constant reminder of having had chemo. The more recent growth seemed straighter, but I wasn't sure if it was just being pulled straight by the weight of hair below.  Spoiler: nope, my hair seems to be straight again (photos at Twitter).  I am quietly delighted and enjoying having my hair back again.

(I promptly spoiled the lovely blow-dried effect by letting C persuade me to go swimming yesterday afternoon, but my hair seems to still be straight.  Woohoo.)

better

May. 28th, 2017 08:14 am
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Slept almost all day yesterday. Managed some food. Feeling much better - less pain, more energy.

Making mental notes on what worked. (NOT doing things that hurt for one.)

(no subject)

May. 28th, 2017 09:33 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] genarti and [personal profile] green_knight!

(no subject)

May. 28th, 2017 01:45 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
I did something this week I'd been meaning to do since I was in college: Went to one of Andy Statman's regular residence gigs at the Charles Street shul in the Village. He's been in residence there since, like, the late 90s, and I spent four years in the mid '00s just a half mile east, and I knew he was playing shows, and I knew I loved Andy Statman's music like burning, but I never managed to do it. Because his weekly gig was on Thursday nights and Thursday nights were usually frisbee team practice in Union Square, I think.


Statman is a klezmer clarinetist and bluegrass mandolinist and sometimes a jewgrass mandolinist/clarinetist. He plays both instruments with prodigious speed and fluency, and more importantly, with tremendous soul and spirit. He was a student of the great klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras and became one of the great proponents of the '70s klezmer revival.

I came across one of his albums in the library last week and said "Hey, I wonder if he's still playing at Charles Street" and I checked and he was, so I went in to the City to see the show.

The concerts are in the tiny and cramped basement of the shul, with Hebrew school posters of the Alef Bes on the walls. There was a bottle of vodka and some pareve cookies on a table, apparently for anybody who wanted to take. They didn't take admission, but at intermission the shul president asked everyone who could afford it for a fifteen dollar donation. When a woman tried to give him a twenty, he forced her to take change. It was, in short, one of the most heimishe concerts I've ever been at.

And the music was splendid, an opening set of klezmer with Statman blowing beautiful strings of notes on his clarinet along with his trio of bassist Jim Whitney and drummer Larry Eagle (Highlighted by 'the Lobster song', supposed a song played by Romanian Jewish lobstermen in early 20th century Maine while they gathered their treif bounty), followed by an instrumental bluegrass set. They were later joined by visiting guitarist and bluegrass singer Gene Yellin for a handful of songs. They made up the setlist as they want along, sometimes just strumming a chord or a simple melody to get the rest of the band on the same page. Yellin wanted to play a couple of songs that Whitney and Eagle didn't know- Whitney told Yellin and Statman- "You two get started, we'll either figure it out and catch up or we won't." Spoiler alert: They figured it out.

The whole experience was a blast, getting to hear such great music in such a low key setting. I need to go back again when I get a chance.

Sunday morning gratitudes

May. 28th, 2017 07:56 am
kass: A glass of iced coffee with milk. (coffee)
[personal profile] kass
There's a lot that's hard right now. So I'm doing what I can to cultivate gratitude:

1. Iced coffee. Turkey bacon. Challah french toast.

2. Cuddling with my kid yesterday and marathoning a bunch of Sword Art Online, which I enjoy as much as he does.

3. My kid is seven and a half today! On his suggestion, we're going to the grocery store later today to get cupcakes to share with friends later this afternoon.

4. Watching wee birds at my bird feeder, supping on seeds.

5. Friends. Including all of you.
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
OK, so I didn't like the last couple of weeks very much, but that? That has actively made me angry. Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship? Do not watch this episode.

What kind of cut for spoilers and lots of swearing ). And that's without even getting into the fact that more spoilers ).

So yeah, I am angry. I am especially angry given how good the first few episodes this series were. If it had all been crap I could have just shrugged and carried on. But this is... ugh. It feels like such a waste. A waste of Bill, and a waste of Erica, who was an awesome new character.

30 Day Music Meme day 14

May. 28th, 2017 07:54 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Rings)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

I'm not ruling out getting married again, but it's not something I'm ready to do right now. I seem to be good at picking spouses so it would probably go well if I did. I'm eager to not organise another wedding, though, and would rather go for 'turn up, say our vows, maybe go to the pub' than anything more formal or organised. This (pdf) is the current text of our vows, Colin and I didn't promise to forsake all others, but we had a lot of long conversations about what it would mean if we did. I think whether we left that line out or how it affected our life would be part of the discussions around how any new marriage would work.

Anyway, I'm not sure whether it means literally the actual wedding ceremony (in which case, we had I the Lord of Sea and Sky, Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him, Love Divine and Tell Out My Soul first time around) or for the reception (in which case, we had The Nearness of You by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong and I made sure I danced the whole song with Colin because I figured it would be about all I saw him all day. I figured we were looking at something secular, ideally, though, and I don't know that there would be space for that in the sort of ceremony I'm likely to agree to.

Putting reality aside for a moment, imagining the world in which I want a wedding with songs, I'd probably choose this waltz:

Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
This had better be awesome. I'd forgotten how much work sautéing ground sausage is. Ow.

Originally from the Peace, Love and Low Carb blog. I have, as usual, changed it:

3lb ground Italian sausage (used Johnsonville)
2 + 2 Tbsp butter
2 + 1 Tbsp olive oil
2 C spinach, packed (baby, and all of a 5oz package)
1 C carrots, diced
1 leek, not so small, cleaned and sliced
1 box (6oz) minced onion and celery
~5 C chicken stock
1.5 C lentils (green)
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C Parmesian cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Original instructions: Heat slow cooker on low setting. Thoroughly rinse lentils, and add to slow cooker with chicken stock.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage in olive oil and butter.
Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings. Add the cooked sausage to the slow cooker.
Add spinach, carrots, onions, garlic, leek, celery and a little salt and black pepper to the pan. Sauté vegetables over medium heat until tender. About 10 minutes.
Add sauteed vegetables to the slow cooker and mix in.
Stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar. Cover and allow to cook on low 6-8 hours.

What I'm doing:
Brown sausage in olive oil and butter. Sauté veggies + salt & pepper in drippings. Package everything up and put in the fridge.
Do everything else tomorrow.

The original had one sautéing 1.5lb ground sausage in 2 Tbsp each of olive oil and butter. I wound up buying 3 1lb packs, and running low on oil in the pan about half way through and sloshed more olive oil in there. Then when sautéing the veggies (which were, like 2x the original) in the drippings, it looked too dry, so I added 2 more Tbsp of butter.

Right now I have the sausage browned and the veggies sautéd; I'm pretty much ready to combine everything when I wake up tomorrow so it can cook through the day.

ETA, 5/28 17:54:

Goddamn, this is good. After having a few tastes, with steely resolve [personal profile] tn3270 and I portioned it into individual servings – seven of them – and packed them into the fridge for later. And then scraped the liner and licked the spoon. My apartment smells amazing.

I put it to cook at 11:30am, and came home to it being done with the lentils just past al dente at 5:30pm. So 6 hours was fine.

The crockpot was about half full, i.e. I could have doubled the overall quantity (again) and it still would have fit. And that's having doubled the sausage and veggies already (the amounts listed above are about 2x the original). I probably should have doubled the lentils, too; the photos were not at all representative and the lentils are now a footnote among the sausage.

So I could have done 6lbs of sausage, etc; 6lbs of meat is pretty standard for when I cook meat in the crockpot.

The problem with that plan is that I already had to sauté the sausage in three batches, in series, and then the veggies completely filled the pan, to the point I had to feed in the spinach gradually to get it all in there and it was so full had trouble stirring the veggies without sending them everywhere. Doubling the veggies again means two batches of veggie sauté. And I think my wrist would snap before I got through the fourth (of six!) batch of sausage; I was hurting pretty bad after the second one. (Hey, ! About a year ago you were looking for recs for slowcooker recipes with elaborate prep. Found you one!)

This is frustrating, because it seems pretty delicious, and I prefer to cook at scale; I generally want 10 to 16 servings of something. It's my first time cooking with leeks for myself, and oh god I had forgotten how much I love leeks. (Everybody, please rec leek recipes.)

Okay, the other problem is that this is not cheap. The ground sausage was on sale for about $4.50/lb. At six lbs, that's $27 just in meat. It's normally $5.50/lb. Leeks were also on sale; I got that one for about $1.50, but normally it would be a shade under $2. I bought pre-chopped celery+onion, for $2.50; chopping my own is a non-starter for a recipe already this hard on my arms. The small package of spinach was on sale for $2.79, normally $3.50. The one cup of cream was $1.99. I alread had the chicken stock in the house: one had been $2 on sale, regularly $2.50, the other $3.50. Call it $5 for the stock. Double all those item's regular prices, and that's another $30. Plus nominal amounts of lentils (like $1.50 for twice what I needed), carrots ($2 for twice as much as I needed), garlic, mustard, vinegar, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Doubling this recipe would push the price over $60 – way over $60 if the sausage isn't on sale – for 14 servings. Which is between $4 and $5 per modest sized serving. Ouch. At that price, and with this amount of work, it had damned well better be fabulous.

5 good things

May. 27th, 2017 06:41 pm
cofax7: Olivia Dunham's ponytail (Fringe - Olivia - behind)
[personal profile] cofax7
1. Yesterday, a meeting I stressed over all week was cancelled, and instead I treated myself to a nice lunch and a long afternoon nap.

2. My house is mostly clean, and the new vacuum cleaner works well.

3. The dog's medication is working, which means she no longer pees in her sleep. (Yes, really. Sigh.)

4. I had a lovely lunch (with gelato!) and a long walk in the redwoods with [personal profile] laurashapiro and [personal profile] shrift.

5. There are still 2 more days of the weekend, and I have no obligations whatsoever. This is kind of awesome.

A good but tiring day

May. 27th, 2017 08:24 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Even though I had a reasonably decent night's sleep last night.

Good meetings with people and good conversations, some tasty food, a panel that (I think) went fairly well even though it was in the room I hate, with the speakers on a platform and a spread-out audience, and cold. (One might also mention the single microphone that had to be handed back and forth among the panel.)

Also managed to get to a couple of other panels.

Was contemplating the Tiptree Auction but felt some recharge time alone was necessitated, May go to the parties for a little while, but am already feeling a bit that what a hedjog wants is a nice cup of Horlicks and a Nice Book to go with it.

The Long Night of Religions

May. 27th, 2017 11:20 pm
lethargic_man: (Default)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
Six years ago, I put on my list of things to do before I turned forty attending a service of another religion (other than Christianity); but it remained not done well into my forties, because I didn't have the contacts to achieve this. (Actually, I suppose if I'd really wanted, I could have used work colleagues as entry points, but didn't.)

Then last week [livejournal.com profile] aviva_m got me off my tochus (and overcame my fear of not understanding enough German*) to participate in the Long Night of Religions, in which different religions open the doors of their houses of worship up to the public.

This is such a good idea; I look forward to exploring other religions in subsequent years, but if I just say that I came back not just edified but very well fed, can you guess which religion's house of worship I ended up attending?

* I prepared for only understanding two-thirds of what I might hear by reading up on the religion I chose in advance. I'd guess my poorer German at the time is the reason why I didn't take advantage of this last year.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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