alithea: (Starbuck bang (made by amiyuy))
I'm glad I persevered with Joe Abercrombie books despite being in two minds by the end of the First Law trilogy because I finished reading 'The Heroes' the other night and it's his best book yet. An anti-war war novel with engaging, incredibly human characters. And best of all, he has strong female characters who have agency and achieve things in different ways according to their strengths and he doesn't resort to sexual violence to make his point that the world is a grim place. I'm not quite sure what the world of mainstream fantasy fiction has come to when I feel the need to celebrate an author for writing dark fantasy without raping anyone but maybe I'm just sick of people defending GRRM with endless excuses about historical realism.
alithea: (Rainbow River (made by hollycore))
I just got *two* letters from her - one sent at the beginning of the week making it clear she wasn't impressed with the delay over the Equal Marriage announcement either and assuring me she was on the case, and one sent yesterday including a copy of the announcement and saying she'll be working to ensure the changes to the UK Equality Act go through as swiftly as possible.

(I just wish she'd replied by email rather than feeling the need to send me 3 bits of paper in 2 envelopes, given I have only ever emailed her. But hey, no-one else has bothered to get back in touch after their initial responses to my emails.)
alithea: (Arty thoughtful)
I'm tempted to start a sweepstake on how long we are going to have to put up with everyone who likes to think they are in touch with popular culture cramming references to Fifty Shades of Grey into their TV and radio appearances before the damn novelty wears off. Seriously People, it's not the only book that's ever been written with sex or BDSM in it, why is it suddenly the way to prove you're not a prude?!

Go read the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy - it has plot and decent writing too.
alithea: (Default)
Back from holiday, had a lovely time, filled with coastal walks, castles, Roman sites, and paddling (we had 3 days of proper summer weather). And wildlife and not quite getting trampled by cows (yes, there's a story there, the moral of which is never assume a footpath marked on a map will actually be usable if you're in England). There will be a proper update with photos but LJ was down for *hours* earlier and now it's bed time so you'll have to wait.

In other news, I watched Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this evening - my, that's one trippy film...

Rants

Mar. 27th, 2012 03:18 pm
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
When discussing marriage equality, can we please use 'same-sex' and 'opposite sex' marriage? Referring to them as 'gay' marriage and 'heterosexual' marriage makes all of us bisexual people invisible and it is VERY ANNOYING! I am not becoming straight just because I'm marrying a man.
This rant is bought to you by listening to Women's Hour this morning.


People are 'real' and 'real shaped' regardless of whether they are a size 8 or a size 28. BEING THIN DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAKE PERSON!
This rant is brought to you by a friend of a friend, who probably didn't mean any harm but people thinking this sort of thing is harmless only adds to our body fascist culture.

Both of these rants are bought to you by how incredibly grumpy having a load of sticky surgical tape stuck all over my back is making me in this glorious weather, but that doesn't stop them being important rants.
alithea: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] obstinatrix at To UK Flisties
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] de_nugis at To UK Flisties
(Taken most recently from [livejournal.com profile] amber1960, slightly adapted.)

You lot know I never normally go in for chain posts but this is important:

If you're from the UK and you believe in freedom of speech and an uncensored interenet, you really need to sign this petition. There are others floating about, but that particular one is the best way to ensure that your voice gets heard. It's hosted on the directgov website and addresses parliament directly. If it gets more than 100,000 signatures, it becomes eligible for discussion in the House of Commons.

Everyone's been getting so worked up over SOPA -- and rightly so -- that ACTA seems to have slipped under the radar. This is hugely problematic, because ACTA is a similar bill, but it has the potential to be far more damaging than SOPA ever could be.

Some people seem to have this misconception that ACTA is the 'European SOPA', but that simply isn't true. It's a global treaty, and it's already been signed by eight countries, including the US, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore. Europe votes on Thursday. If they vote 'no', the bill will have to be taken back to the drawing board and reformulated, which should buy us some time at the very least.

If you think this doesn't affect you, you're wrong. If ACTA passes, it could well signal the end of the internet as we know it, and that isn't an exaggeration. It's not just about watching movies and television online. If ACTA passes, sites like YouTube, Livejournal, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and even Google and Wikipedia could become impossible to maintain. ACTA would allow ISPs to monitor your net activity and cut off internet access for your entire household if one person is suspected of breaching copyright. Think Big Brother is Watching. I don't think I need to emphasise just how damaging it can be to be without internet access in this day and age, when we rely so heavily on technology.

It's not only bloggers and fandom that would be affected, either. Small businesses, independent film-makers and unsigned musicians who have previously found their niche online would also suffer hugely, and would be at risk of being bullied into submission by Hollywood and multinational corporations under accusations of copyright infringement. All those artists who found fame by uploading covers of songs to YouTube would never have had the opportunity to do so under ACTA, as those cover versions would be prohibited.

I know the internet has its problems, but to my mind it's the single greatest invention to come out of modern times, and it would be an absolute travesty if we were to lose that now. From a personal point of view, I can't even put into words how important this is to me. I've met some of my closest friends through the internet and online fandom, people whom I would likely never have met without it, and it's given me this amazing social support system. I don't want that to end here, and I want to preserve it for future generations so that they can have the same experience and opportunities I've been given through my online interactions.

I know that opinions on the seriousness of copyright infringement and online piracy vary wildly, but that isn't really the point. Internet giants such as Google are opposed to this bill, and it's pretty safe to say that they're not in favour of copyright infringment, as anyone who's ever had a fanvid taken down from YouTube will be painfully aware. Whatever your stance on copyright, this isn't the way to go about dealing with it. This is dangerous legislation that impeaches on some of our most basic human rights, such as the right to privacy and freedom of speech.

So if you're from the UK, please, please sign the petition. If you hail from elsewhere in the world, there may well be similar movements in your own country, but I think the most effective thing anybody can do right now is to keep talking about this. Talk about it on Livejournal, on Twitter, on Tumblr, on Facebook, and anywhere else you can think of. Make sure this issue is never far from people's minds. The internet is an amazingly powerful tool: let's utilise it while we still have the chance.

Please repost and spread the word :)

SAY NO TO ACTA!

Please consider reposting this, especially if you have a large proportion of UK flisties. And please consider spreading the word via other platforms: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, your own personal network.

alithea: (Default)
I'm getting rather annoyed by all the people on Twitter harping on about Clarkson's outburst like it's a free speech issue. I defend the right of morons to make stupid jokes *but* that doesn't mean I think the BBC should give them a platform to air this nonsense on prime-time, pre-watershed TV. So don't tell me I have no sense of humour or only support free speech when it's something I agree with, tell me why the BBC should get away with selectively enforcing their editorial guidelines when it comes to big names who make them a lot of money!
alithea: (Being human (base by ahlai))
or do people mostly submit a pile of rubbish to Postsecret these days?

There used to be some really moving posts on there. Today's offerings include 'I don't shave my legs in the winter' (me either, and I still go swimming and no-one has ever made any comment about it) and a man admitting he fantasizes about getting married.

Since when did not succumbing to stupid gender stereotypes constitute a shocking or moving secret? ETA: when rebelling against them has rather worse consequences than a bit of mild bullying at school, as Andrew points out in comments.
alithea: (altar candle (please do not take))
Maybe I'm just feeling cynical because I'm ill but I'm reminded again today about the dangers of Twitter, and confusing online 'clicktivism' with actual activism.

Today, I'm reminded of this because #RIPHarry is trending on Twitter and various people are apparently tweeting in memory of 11 year old Harry Mosley, who has died of a brain tumour after raising thousands of pounds for Cancer Research. Now I know he was trying to raise awareness as well as funds, but it strikes me that appealing for everyone to donate in his memory would be rather more useful than trying to make #RIPHarry the top trending topic worldwide. But maybe I'm just being cynical, after all, if only 10 % of the retweeters actually donate, that's still better than none, right?

I guess I'm rather bitter because my first experience of getting caught up in Twitter campaigning and thinking I was making a difference was over the execution of Troy Davis*. Having taken part in the Amnesty email campaign, I was on Twitter the night of the 21st September, following #theworldiswatching as what must of been thousands of people were appealing to the authorities in Georgia to reconsider their decision to execute him. I gave up and went to bed at about 12.30 am, just after the news of the last minute reprieve had come in, full of hope that we had been listened to, that the eyes of the world watching, albeit online, had shamed them. But then I woke up to the news on the radio that they had executed him anyway. They'd blocked incoming public email when the Amnesty campaign got going and Twitter might seem like a loud voice but let's face it, it's easy to ignore in the real world. If we'd all been standing outside US embassies all over the world, that would have been harder to ignore surely?

Or maybe not.

Maybe I'm just having one of those days when I feel crappy for not making enough of a difference in the world and taking it out on others who I perceive (quite possibly wrongly) as having lower standards than me. Either way, there's something about Twitter that feels like it should make more difference than stupid chain statuses on Facebook, which I never get sucked into, and I think that's dangerous.



*I'm fundamentally and totally against the death penalty and am not open to discussion about that here - if you want to debate the pros & cons of it in general, or Troy Davis's case, go do it on your own journal.
alithea: (Default)
*Twitter is a very strange thing - one minute I'm reading loads of worthy liberal campaigning stuff and the next I end up wandering into a love-in between random actor-types in LA... Did you know the guy who plays Damon in The Vampire Diaries has set up an environmental charity?

*I finally found someone who procrastinates more than me - Ben Goldacre. I wish it wasn't so hard to get into science journalism, I want to get paid for ranting about (mostly) science-related stuff online. Especially just now because I have an essay on food ethics rumbling around in my brain, inspired by a combination of stuff I'm doing for work (carbon losses from chopping down the rainforests to grow palm oil, soybeans etc) and observations on a friend's veg*n ethics, which unfortunately isn't enough work-related to justify spending the time on at the moment.

Also, completedly unrelated to this post, but I must really get around to updating my pottery blog!
alithea: (footprint (made by girlyboheme))
Having consulted the map, we headed off to the Rossie Estate in Perthshire on Saturday for a wander around in the sunshine. The estate is absolutely beautiful, I wanted to live in one of the little cottages:

We had a lovely walk (oh, how I love the lack of trespass laws in Scotland*) and then a potter around the Scottish Antique and Arts Centre where we had left the car. And I found The Ring - no, we aren't engaged but we have talked about getting married at some point in the future, so now I've put my order in ;)

*Actually, all this furore about the Lockerbie bomber being released (see my previous post) is in danger of turning me into a naturalized Scot. I've realized that after 10 years up here come next month, I've started to use 'we' when talking about Scots (although I'm still disturbed to find myself agreeing with the SNP over an issue, although maybe that is less to do with national pride and more because I think they are incapable of basic maths). I'm a big fan of the marriage laws up here too, because they mean I'll get to have a minority religion wedding that is actually legally binding.

Compassion

Aug. 20th, 2009 01:53 pm
alithea: (V ideas (made by garinungkadol))
So the Lockerbie bomber is being released on compassionate grounds so he can die at home with his family. This will no doubt cause considerable consternation to some, such as Hilary Clinton, while others doubt he was ever guilty in the first place.

I don't know whether he was responsible for all those deaths or not, what I do know is that compassion for victims and their families is easy. Surely, the test of a truly compassionate person or country is the ability to show compassion even under the hardest circumstances, and it doesn't get much harder than a convicted mass murderer. So I'm sorry if the victim's families feel betrayed by this judgment, but for my part I'm proud to live in a country where we can show compassion to a dying man, regardless of what he has done.
alithea: (Default)
Not an awful lot has been happening around here recently, although I do have a guy phoning me about doing some work for a farm scale greenhouse gas calculator at 2pm so *fingers crossed* that will happen.

Things happened as planned following my last post - Eurovision was fun, birthday also (although slightly marred by the Royal Mail depot, who decided not to bother providing proper cover while our regular postman was on holiday, meaning some of my parcels took 9 days to arrive 1st class!), and I've posted about the re-enacters at Edzell Castle and Potfest over on my ceramics blog.

Last week I had an annoying migraine, which didn't shift properly for days and left me rather out of sorts, but the weekend just gone was good. The weather was glorious and on Saturday, the Boy and I headed out to Arbroath and walked along the Seaton Cliffs towards Auchmithie, although we didn't make it the whole way because we had to get back in plenty of time for the DAFTAs (annual Roleplaying Society Awards Dinner), which was good fun. On Sunday, we headed over to Halliburton and walked around a forest park on the Angus/Perth & Kinross border, which was very pleasant, although a miscalculation involved having to walk about 2 miles back to the car park along the main road was rather less pleasant.

On Monday, I spent a chunk of the day reading Living with Honour: A Pagan Ethics by Emma Restall Orr, which was interesting; discussion and mini-rant ) And then I went running, and yesterday was swimming; I'm on an exercise kick at the moment because I need the endorphins, I want to be much fitter, and also all my summer dresses and several of my tops are too tight across the rib cage where I have acquired flab, and I don't want to have to buy something new to wear for this summer's crop of weddings, when I already have several lovely frocks I have hardly worn. This may have to involve stomach exercises though, which I'm not very taken with...

Plans for the next few weeks involve hopefully some work, job hunting, and lots of flat wrangling - bought the paint for the bathroom woodwork yesterday so need to sand it all down in preparation for the undercoat.
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
The scientists who are climate change sceptics don't deny that the climate is changing (this is established fact to people who don't have their heads buried in the sand), they just aren't convinced that the changes are anything other than natural cycles ie. they deny that human activity is a contributing factor and that our actions can change things.

I, along with the majority of the scientific community, do not agree with them, and personally, I also happen to believe that even if we aren't certain, doing something is better than sitting on our arses assuming it won't do any good without trying.

But, regardless of what the nutters commenting on New Scientist online think, there is not some sort of mad conspiracy going on - if you actually read an IPCC report, they make it clear the level of (un)certainty surrounding the science of climate change. Only the people who want to avoid having to do something (I'm looking at you American oil companies) have a vested interest in trying to cover up evidence and hood-wink the public!
alithea: (V ideas (made by garinungkadol))
For all the wrong heads (*grin*) around here who do not read Neil Gaiman's blog on a regular basis, here is an excellant post he has written about how defending freedom of speech sometimes means we have to defend things we find icky. His example is to do with child porn in comics but his argument applies across the board.
alithea: (V ideas (made by garinungkadol))


Today is not about whether we are anti-war or not; it's not about the why and whether it was just or necessary; it's not about whether they died in vain or for peace.

It's about the fact that they died, and We Will Remember Them.
alithea: (Rainbow River (made by hollycore))
Looks like Prop 8 is going to pass, banning same-sex marriage in California.

*sigh*
alithea: (V ideas (made by garinungkadol))
So as of today, a black man is president-elect of the USA. Even if he completely fails to live up to expectations (although I really hope he doesn't, for all our sakes), nothing will change the fact that there are black people in America who remember being 2nd class citizens and not having the right to vote, and now one of their own is going to run the country, in their lifetime. From my position of privilege, I'm finding it hard to comprehend how huge that must be for them. (ETA: which is not to say it isn't a big thing for all of us and that we don't all benefit from increased equality)

The thought of having Sarah Palin as Vice President when McCain is eldery and not exactly hale and hearty, was always much scarier to me than the thought of McCain as president (I might not agree with his policies or the way he conducted his campaign, but i think he is at heart a person worthy of respect and not an utter nutcase like she is), but now there's a liberal intellectual heading into the White House, and from my place of liberal intellectual bias, that's a very good thing for world :)

ETA: This blog post is the most eloquent I have found on why this is so important. Read it and weep for the right reasons.
alithea: (Default)
I have raffle tickets for the SSPCA if anyone wants - £1 each, prizes = 1X£2000, 1X£1000, 1X£500, 10X£100. Draw on the 26th October. Comment or email me.
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
Women are half the world's people
who do two-thirds of the world's work.
They earn one tenth of the world's income
and own one hundredth of the world's property.

- United Nations


Because women's work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we're the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it's our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we're nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we're nymphos and if we don't we're frigid and if we love women it's because we can't get a "real" man and if we ask our doctor too many questions we're neurotic and/or pushy and if we expect childcare we're selfish and if we stand up for our rights we're aggressive and "unfeminine" and if we don't we're typical weak females and if we want to get married we're out to trap a man and if we don't we're unnatural and because we still can't get an adequate safe contraceptive but men can walk on the moon and if we can't cope or don't want a pregnancy we're made to feel guilty about abortion and...for lots and lots of other reasons we are part of the women's liberation movement.

- ?? via [livejournal.com profile] itchyfidget

The fight for equality isn't over yet, not even in the supposedly 'enlightened' West, and we need to remember that, but today let us also honour all the fantastic women we know, who inspire us everyday through great acts and small.

Here's to you, Ladies - I'm honoured to know you all!

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