abendgules: (Mountjoy)
...but seems to have survived the experience anyway.

The response, almost entirely on social media, to current TRM deciding against a couple for Crown, demonstrates a) how strong a tool social media is and b) how it's a truly terrible way to share news.

For those not in Drachenwald:

TRM had refused a couple entry (as is *within* their right to do) but discovered that being straightforward enough to say it was because they were a same-sex couple (and TRM felt that such couples were not historically accurate) meant the whole of online Drachenwald roared in furious response.

Happily TRM have changed their decision, and [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher has posted an extremely thoughtful thank you note, remarking on helpful and less helpful responses.

There's still a strong simmer of people, still arguing about what is and is not discrimination, equal rights, legal options, etc. It's as if they wish they still had someone to be angry at instead of simply cheering the change.

Robert and I were at the local revel in Thamesreach, doing medieval(TM). [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham heard of the news of the change from [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer, and passed it on, and there was a palpable sigh of relief in the hall.

I've written to TRM to thank them for their change and assure them they will be very welcome in Insulae Draconis in a few weeks.

I pointed out how bitter the business of same-sex marriage rights has been in the UK (something they'd know nothing of) and how that might have driven some of the anger from our quarter.

It's much easier to argue in a small group about a small injustice, when you feel helpless to change law in a much larger society stuck with an 18th c voting system.

I really really hope the upshot is: everyone cheers when TRM arrive in Insulae Draconis, and we can all take a deep breath and move on.

At the revel, it was splendid: great food, small well received court, dancing, good instruction. All the fine things that make our revels fine things.
abendgules: (editor)
I'm a recent discoverer of Rev Richard Coles, and the show he co-hosts on BBC4: Saturday Live.

I've rarely so willingly got up for 9am Saturday.

Charming, warm, funny, gentle. So refreshing.

Very thoughtful, painful article, courtesy of my Twitter feed:

The Women I Pretend to Be: Feel free to join the tech industry, but remember: being yourself is not an option
abendgules: (fierce)
...this assessment of the outcome made me feel better.

Compare this to the BBC's highlights of the results.

It's like BBC want to focus on the most damaging party rather than focus on the results in the local elections, which will have the most effect on most people's lives.

Part of the reason UKIP got seats in EU is that EU, unlike UK, US and Canada who are still stuck in the 18th century, use proportional representation, so they reflect the opinions of people who really vote. And angry people vote.

If UK residents understood how PR worked, they'd vote in droves, but they're so used to their vote feeling meaningless that they don't bother.
abendgules: (fierce)

You have to read the reviews and questions for yourself...
abendgules: (archery)
Our office now has TVs, which we've largely used to watch big sports events - Wimbledon, notably, and now the Olympics.

To my horror I found not one or two but THREE channels of hockey by the end of yesterday, covering just two live games. Argh.

Today it's either curling (urgh) or cross country skiiing. I really like Xcountry, the little I've done, and this is way cooler than watching people fall down a mountain strapped to pieces of wood-substitute. (It was striking just how many elite athletes did not finish their runs, either in downhill events or in the silly snowboarding race.)

For some reason, even in these enlightened days, the women still race shorter distances than the men in cross country skiiing.

If women can run marathons, duathalons and triathalons, surely they can hobble their way through 15km, instead of 10km, for the middle distance? and can stagger through 50km for the long distance, instead of 30km?

These are serious endurance athletes who probably log this much distance in a routine training week.

The curlers curl the same length of ice.

The hockey players have the same size of rink, and (these days) now wear the same national colours. The figure skaters have the same events, though I still don't think their 'sport' belongs in the Olympics.

The biatheletes shoot the same size of target using the same guns (though again, the womens' skiing distances are a quarter shorter! WTF?).

Short track? (just checked, short distances are the same, longest distance is 5k for men and 3k for women, unbelieveable).

The traditional speed skaters do the same short distances, but there's no 5k and 10k event for women... apparently they just fall over after 3k (well, lots do, but only briefly).

(Aside: the Netherlands skaters are a great example of 'doing one thing well' - they're just clobbering this event, and had all three medals in one of the skating events yesterday.)

Why are the women still trailing behind in the skiing and skating endurance events? Dumb dumb dumb.

Also: I've found out why Britons keep calling skeleton the 'tea tray event' - it's because noone has sleds, toboggans or crazy carpets at home. So they don't have the cultural background of sliding downhills on pieces of kit built for that purpose.

But the nation of tea drinkers DO have tea trays - even if they don't use them, even if they now have largely abandoned their teapots and cozies and specialist teatimes. They still have teatrays. So that's what they use to slide down hills, on the rare occasions there's snow on them.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Watching the news about protests in Ukraine: anyone who protests outdoors through an Eastern European winter has got to be serious.

Footage on Channel 4 shows Ukranian police using war board-sized shields: flat aluminum shields with angled left and right edges to curve around them. They're overlapping the edges when they're gathered in a group, with the classic testudo shelter of shields over head held by the second and third rows.

OTOH, when they run down protesters (and apparently they're going back and forth in the centre of Kiev), they don't keep that formation - they each carry their shields separately, and chase down individuals to club them.

It's like watching the Pennsic battlefield - only with Molotov cocktails...yikes.
abendgules: (editor)
I want to share this link, because it's an excellent satire of a current issue, but realised it's not as funny outside of the reach of the BBC and current UK politics.

However for those in the know:
In response to a UKIP local counsellor sending a letter to the Prime Minister blaming the recent floods on the same-sex marriage bill,

someone has recorded the UKIP shipping weather forecast, with touches of other UKIP policies and remarks slipped in.

UKIP is the far right wing party: anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-Europe, anti-change. They've gained a following among conservative voters who believe the tabloid propaganda that the country is going to the dogs, and it's everyone else's fault. Especially women. And immigrants. And gays.

Their MPs and prominent members have a knack for being caught on record making painfully misogynist and racist remarks and then getting mad at the press for recording them.

The counsellor's party has now suspended him. Even for UKIP, he's embarrassing.

The shipping forecast is just that - forecast of weather on the coasts. Wikipedia has a nice explanation.

But it's grown into a sort of mantra: a recital of island names and weather conditions, that takes about 2 and half minutes at the end of the news, that is read in a slow clear voice, apparently to allow listeners to write it down if needed (says Wikipedia - I didn't know that).

It's part of the background noise of living in the UK, like knowing the theme music to 'As it happens' or 'Hockey night in Canada'.

I think it's a connection to UK's heritage - a reminder that at one time these islands were far more island-ish, driven by island economies of shipping and trade, and far more dependent on the weather conditions than most people are now.

If you haven't heard it before, it's online. Or you can look at the map version on the BBC site.

ETA: sort of related: an observation on 'what is gay?' to help the political-hard-of-thinking, from the Grauniad (more cultural refs!).
abendgules: (fierce)
Found this guy's summary of the so-called National Health Service - it won't be for much longer (won't be national, won't be about health, and won't be a service).

Very discouraging, and not certain what anyone can do to combat it, short of a revolution...and a meaningful reform of the voting system, which was shot down fairly thoroughly 2 years ago. It would be the only way of evicting the architects of the changes, and possibly pushing back on them.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
The goats deployed to curb the poison ivy round historic site are taken home, in case park shutdown in NY state runs long.

Do watch the short clip of their 'deployment' - the text is follow up on their original arrival in the spring.

Great idea, except you then end up with toxic-coated goats...
abendgules: (monsters)
The Vagenda

'Like king Lear, but for girls'.

It's been awhile since I read something so witty, that didn't make me irritated-to-irate at the injustice of the world at the same time.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Canadian government's war on science.

If you don't have the evidence, you can't make evidence-based decisions. But apparently if it's evidence based, it's on the block.

Let Canada's scientists speak.

Is this getting any coverage in Canada? Does anyone care?
abendgules: (downhill)
where every Twitter troll has decided it's time to threaten women who are in public life.

Twitter is just the latest in a series of technical tools (following free email accounts, and comments on blogs and newspaper sites) that allow otherwise normal people to behave badly in public, making statements they'd never dream of saying to anyone in person.

I'm not a great fan of the Statesman, but this was one of the cooler headed observations.

At the same time, Adam Hills summary of 'Don't be a dick' pretty much covers it.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I've been a Wimbledon watcher for a few years now that I live in the same city as the event - don't bother with other tennis, but it's been a great bonding experience in our office this year. (Just watched Murray win it, at last - well done.)

This year I felt I was watching footwork, distance and timing in a way I hadn't before, particularly comparing singles to doubles, and long-armed, long-legged players vs more compact players.

Years ago I went to a Players invitational in Toronto, in the bad old days when cigarette companies could sponsor sports. And I managed to catch a glimpse of Chris Evert (Lloyd, at the time) from just a few feet away, and was astonished: she was a compact woman (5'6" says Wikipedia), but she was solid muscle - she had thighs that looked thicker than my body. Again, Wiki says she was 126lbs as a player. I've no idea if things like weights are accurate, but that would suggest she was nothing but muscle.

This year's winner is Marion Bartoli: she's 5'7", 139lbs according to Wimbledon stats, and absolutely block-shaped front-on; the knit sundresses this year seem to show all the womens' rows of abs and she looks, on TV, round and blobby.

Her lack of 'looks', the fact her opponent was a charming German Amazon with a delightful toothy smile (5'10", 154 lbs says Wimbledon) with thick blonde braids, really played against her.

Not just the crowd, but the commentators had all set up their 'stories' to be about Sabine Lisicki the German: it was about her 'getting it back' getting into the game, getting serve back, and a dozen other variants on 'jeez, she seems to be screwing up wickedly'.

Bartoli had beaten her semi final opponent in straight sets, in about an hour. Brilliant but precious little remarked on it. Lisicki had fought to the last game to the very end in her semi, and was lauded.

It seemed that as Lisicki steadily lost the game, handing away points to her opponent by making mistakes, crying between games, Bartoli could gain precious little credit whatsoever for winning hers, for keeping her head together, for staying in the game the whole time, for returning beautifully, for anticipating shots (L Davenport did remark on this last point, that she had 'great hands').

Even afterward in the analysis everyone struggled to say anything nice that wasn't guarded. She's been around for 15 years, 'she hasn't had it easy' and this is her first grand slam win, so this 'gives hope to everyone' rather than being fucking brilliant. Austin pointed out that it was a final 'without Williams', as if Serena Williams had somehow declined to play instead of being beaten out.

Bartoli has won after 47 grand slam entries - again this seems a strike against her instead acknowledgement for accomplishment. T. Austin says,'we may not see her in a grand slam again'. WTF? on what grounds?

SO: well done Bartoli, the sweet, gracious, slightly gobsmacked winner. She's not tall blonde and model-ish. She's someone who worked her butt off to get where she is, and deserves just a bit more respect and gracious courtesy for her accomplishments.

Why is this tagged politics? because I think it's little short of sexist mysogyny: we like our Wimbledon underdogs to be beautiful, not just underdogs.

Awesome game: shame about the commentators who had made up their minds before the game, and were so damned slow to come round to see the game as it was actually being played, rather than the game they'd expected.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Another day, another bunch of politicians caught on secret camera agreeing to take money in exchange for promoting commercial interests. You think they'd learn.

It's as much the brazenness of it as the crime that I find offensive.

Here's a response based on PM Cameron's election posters that I quite liked.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
There's a story circulating this week that NHS hospitals sell access to maternity wards to a company (Bounty) who send in reps to collect personal details, so they can send you piles of junk mail and offers. Your information is sold to other companies targeting new parents.

You get sample packs of products, and confusingly, Bounty can also provide you with the forms to sign up for maternity benefits.

The conflict of interest seems pretty plain to me.

But what's really interesting is the Finnish solution: a newborn kit sent to every expectant mother, so everyone, regardless of income, is equipped with the same stuff. It started as a response to high child mortality, and now it's a part of Finnish modern culture - getting your new-baby box. The box can even double as a crib.

It's a great demonstration of what a policy to give everyone the same good start can provide.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Great article about explaining “Why do women try to get ahead by pulling men down?”

I'd never heard of Medium (appears to be a collective blog) - anyone else know it?
abendgules: (monsters)
I've been enjoying the Borowitz Report, a satirist from the New Yorker magazine. It's like a finely condensed Onion without the occasionally tasteless bits. Borowitz has been paying particular attention to the NRA and the gay marriage stories of late.

Browsing New Yorker led me to this post about 'spoiled kids'.

I can't decide which is weirder, having a six year old who can catch food and cook it, or the families from LA. I know my upbringing was certainly closer to the latter, if not quite so accommodating as described. I tied my own shoes, for one thing.

The author refers to someone writing 'Bringing up Bebe', which sounded familiar - it was sold in the UK as 'French children don't throw food' (no idea why, unless 'bringing up baby' is somehow an 'Americanism').

As a nice Canadian, I've found that many expressions, that I just thought of as 'two ways of saying things' prove to be firmly divided here: one will be the British expression, and one is judged an 'Americanism', which is always said with disapproval and a sniff.

It's that napkin/serviette, toilet/washroom/loo, trash/garbage type dichotomy, where I can't see a difference, but are apparently class indicators as well as signs of American influence, that I feel I'll never get hold of.

No real point, just passing on today's reading.
abendgules: (fierce)
thinking of [livejournal.com profile] veronica_milvus. I haven't listened to it yet, but thought of you...

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] starttheweek at STW: The State of Feminism with Natasha Walter, Finn Mackay, Shereen El Feki & Catherine Hakim
Anne McElvoy explores the state of feminism, fifty years since Betty Friedan's landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, questioned the role of women in society. With Natasha Walter, Catherine Hakim, Finn Mackay and Shereen El Feki.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I've been thinking about reputation and 'renown' of late - partly related to work problems (the usual office politics sniping) but partly because our Society works on reputation. Our game relies a lot on reputation, story-telling, and personal connections, so how people are perceived matters. Part of the fun of our game is recounting tales of 'no shit there I was, me and the king of Calontir...'

So I found this interesting - Schnier on Security is always a good read, but this one's about reputations in the internet age, and trying get justice (for a given value of 'justice') when the conventional sources are either corrupt or out of reach.
abendgules: (Confesse)
In 1989 a guy walked into a Montreal technical college classroom, separated the men from the women, and shot the women - for being women, for being women studying in a 'man's world. Then he shot himself.

A little older than me, they would have graduated, and been 20+ years into their fields by now - or wherever their lives would have taken them.

I don't often talk about feminism or views on equality, not the way I did in university when all these concepts where fresh and new. But those deaths remind me that even in civil society, even in somewhere as comfortably modern as Canada, women are not equal to men.


abendgules: (Default)

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