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: (Warrior River (made by brokenharlequin))
Yesterday was the first time my feminist hackles were raised at work. Depressingly, showing we are sometimes our own worst enemies, it was another woman who set them off.

We had a visiting scientist from the local hospital in for a meeting and afterwards she was in the office looking for someone to give her a demonstration of our software. Her ploy for achieving this was to simper at the room full of mostly male developers* and say "I'm a girl, I want pretty pictures."

Now I'm not anti using 'girl' in some contexts, I will merrily refer to myself as one despite being a married 34 year old with a PhD and a mortgage. However, a male-dominated professional work context is one situation I would never use it in. I didn't approve of her infantilising herself OR making out like she was too stupid to understand technical stuff (I don't know whether she has a PhD or not, but she's the new head of a microscopy project so she must know her stuff).

I've been lucky in this job in that no-one has patronised me or assumed I can't do technical things despite the fact I'm both female AND almost the only person without a technical background in the team. But still, I know enough other women in technical fields to know this is by no means typical, and this woman didn't know this lot like I do.

*I'm usually the only woman in the office but our American developer is visiting this week so I'm slightly less outnumbered than usual.
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.


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: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
Leona Lewis is doing a worryingly good line in ruining my favourite songs. Hallelujah and Run were bad enough, now she's apparently covering Iris and Colourblind* too, but all of these crimes pale in comparison to her bid for Christmas number 1, which is a schmultzy cover of Hurt.

Anyone with any taste knows the Johnny Cash version is the definitive cover but it's a Nine Inch Nails song people; Trent Reznor does not write songs about measley broken hearts! That song has a whole world of hurt behind it which that young lady has no clue whatsoever about (not that I'd wish that on my worst enemy but still) - it needs pathos and an emotional range which is totally beyond her to do it justice.


This is why I don't like it when I love music that is too popular. No-one play Black Lab or Whipping Boy's first album at her. At least the Levellers are safe surely, being used for an advert for Boots slimming products is the worst they'll ever have to suffer, right?

*At least it's not Amy hit the atmosphere I guess. Seriously, that song performed live is something else - I've never seen so many grown men cry in my life.
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: (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!


Nov. 12th, 2010 02:16 pm
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
I haven't mentionned politics for a good while, mostly because it is simply too depressing for words and for the 1st time in my adult life I find myself actively avoiding the news and wishing I could bury my head in the sand.

As you may remember, I was impressed with Nick Clegg in the election debates and dared hope that the Lib Dems joining the Coalition would be good for both them and the country, so this article pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter right now - thoroughly betrayed. If I met him in the street tomorrow, I think I might be forced to give him a good slap (utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things but it might make me feel a bit better!).

I'm also unimpressed with my local MP - I wrote to him about supporting the BBC and got a reply back still complaining about how they wouldn't let the SNP into the national leaders debates before the election, and this week I asked him to support the Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill and got a reply saying he is too busy in the constituancy to attend parliament today and vote, completely failing to state whether he has any intention of supporting it at later stages should it get that far!

We have elections for the Scottish Parliament up here next May and at this rate, unless I find a local candidate who impresses me enough to ignore party politics, I'll be spoiling my ballot paper rather than endorsing any of the damn lot of them!
alithea: (We are all made of stars)
This is exactly the kind of hateful, patronising nonsense that makes me think I should really get around to joining the Pagan Federation or some such.

I wouldn't mind if she was an atheist and thought all religions were silly but no, paganism is an absurd cult for fascists and crazies while her religion is the root of all morality!


Fortunately for me, while Ms Phillips' definition of a religion doesn't include paganism (or Buddhism for that matter!), the British legal system's definition does, so exactly the same legislation which forbids anyone discriminating against her because of her daft beliefs, also protects my rights to my daft beliefs, thank you very much. So she can rant all she likes but in the eyes of the Law, her religion isn't any more or less valid than mine and if she thinks that makes all beliefs equally meaningless, well, she said it, not me.

ETA:Whereas here is a nice informative article from the Telegraph

Further ETA: response by Emma Restall Orr as a representative of the Druid Network
And this Comment is Free article about the mad woman - apparently she's a global warming denier and a fan of Intelligent Design, I guess that means I should be flattered that she doesn't approve of paganism!
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
Because I'm feeling more judgemental today, and some random browsing reminded me, there are a bunch of books that I was made to read at school which can be added to the 'hate' list:

Empty World (responsible for my aversion to any TV/books/films about a bunch of survivors of some disaster on Earth), That Was Then, This Is Now (some atrious depiction of drug-taking American teens that my foolish English teacher apparently though would appeal to the boys in the the class), and the supposed classics Animal Farm and The Lord of the Flies, because their portrayal of the human race as rentlessly without redeeming qualities irritates the hell out of me.

Just so you know.

And yes, ranting about books is very soothing, I find it much less depressing than ranting about the real world :)
alithea: (Starbuck bang (made by amiyuy))
Day 05 – A book or series you hate

Hate's a strong word that I don't use often and I think you have to be emotionally involved in something to feel that strongly about it, so while I've read quite a few crappy books that I wouldn't recommend to anyone, there is only one candidate for this (well, there had to be one category I didn't struggle to decide on!):

Hero in the Shadows by David Gemmell.

Don't get me wrong, I adore some of his books and am very sorry the poor man died so young. But this is the only book I have ever recycled rather than donate to charity because I didn't want to be responsible for anyone else reading it. He takes Waylander, one of my favourite characters, who has an excellant and highly appropriate ending in Waylander II and turns him into a victim. The character's entire story had hitherto been about redemption and with the previous ending you could imagine him moving on and spending the rest of his life being content, if not always entirely at peace. But no, in this travesty of a novel, the only thing an aged Waylander wants to do before he dies is go back in time and save his first wife, undoing everything that made him the man he was! That's not what being human is about, we don't get to undo all the painful things in our lives that sometimes make us behave in ways we aren't proud of afterwards! No, we learn to move past them and make amends where we can.
Bad author, even if you are dead!

N.B. For those of you who may want to lynch me for the recycling confession, I solemnly promise I shall never do it again! I don't believe in destroying books whatever they are about and I did feel guilty about it afterwards.
alithea: (V ideas (made by garinungkadol))
cut for those who are pig sick of the subject and don't want to read my opinions )

And now I'm off to vote and I hope all the rest of you in the UK have done so, or are intending to later in the day. Because even if your views of completedly different to mine, I'd still rather you vote than not. I believe in voting like I believe in freedom of speech - I'd even rather someone voted for the BNP (and believe you me that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because I think they are a bunch of vile hate-mongers) than not vote at all. And if you really don't feel your views are reflected by any of your local candidates, spoil your ballot paper if you must, but turn out anyway, because people died fighting for our right to this voice and you betray all of them and all of us, if you sit on your hands and do nothing today.



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: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
The other night, I was watching The Daily Show mocking Nancy Palin over all her nonsense about the "Real" America, which apparently doesn't include vast swathes of the country and quite possibly a majority of the population, and then last night, Gok Wan was at it too, insisting that "Real" women are a size 14 in Miss Naked Beauty on Channel 4.

I didn't think it was a hard word to use correctly, but apparently I was wrong. Maybe that comes with being a fake woman.

Grrr. When will people get the fact that size acceptance should be about accepting that women come in all shapes and sizes...
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
Series 3 of Veronica Mars is not very good, which is a real shame because the first two seasons were really fine. I am particularly put out at what they have done to Weevil, I would rather the character had just been written out than been betrayed so thoroughly :(

The second annoyance arrived in my inbox this morning, courtesy of an old school friend - one of those pernicious chain email things that plays on stupid stereotypes in a supposedly funny way:
only click here if you want to be thoroughly annoyed, or aren't offended by the notion that women should want to look like 12 year olds forever )
*I* am proud of my grey streak and I think bellies are sexy, thank you very much!

GRRRRRR. There was more, about men, but that was mostly just stupid, rather than promoting fascist beauty standards AND stupid.


Jul. 17th, 2007 02:12 pm
alithea: (Ivanova (made by amergina))
I am highly unimpressed with my stupid hormones just now :(

Also, I'm beginning to think I need to go into hiding from *now* until this time next week in order to avoid spoilers for the last Harry Potter. Much as I am in favour of anything that encourages people to read more, I do wish I could enjoy the last one at my own pace without having to worry about *everyone else* being desparate to discuss what happens :(
alithea: (Red Inara (made by singingrl))
BBrrrr! It's amazing how a few days in a milder area makes you feel the cold back in the Frozen North, although it's probably as much because I'm tired as anything, straight to bed after BSG tonight! And a nice cuppa and chocolate in the meantime :)

I didn't have time to blog about it before I left on Friday but I was most gratified upon reading last week's New Scientist, to discover that there are people out there who actually agree with me regarding the percieved conflict between Science and Religion. For those of you who have missed the arguments around here about it, while I agree that some individual religious traditions, or at least some of their followers, are anti-science, I do not see an inherent conflict between being a person of science and a person of faith, and I get very frustrated when the rabid atheists (as i like to call them, as opposed to the perfectly reasonable 'believe what you like so long as it doesn't hurt anyone, and you don't shove it down my throat or expect me to live by your rules' atheists) rant about how no rational person could possibly believe in something that current science cannot prove ('cos no-one has a faith based on personal evidence, right?), and use arguments almost entirely based on the Abrahamic faiths' notion of God and Creation ('cos all religious people believe God is a man who sits on a cloud and created the world in 7 days and people in his image, right?). Anyway, John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, wrote the following while reviewing a book about Islam and Science:

If advocates of creationism or intelligent design lack intellectual rigour, then the militant Darwinists who attack religion while knowing virtually nothing of the immense varieties of religious belief and experience are no better.

The true conflict may not be between science and religion, but between science and monotheist faiths in which humans have a privileged place in the world.

Hear, hear!!

Finally, I was bemused to witness the amount of furore in the media over Britney shaving her head last week. As the TV news story I happened to catch progressed, she did come across as a bit of a mess, but to start with they seemed to be asserting that just the act of removing her hair must obviously mean she was having some sort of break down! Why, I wondered, is it so shocking for a woman to shave her head, or lose her hair for that matter, while bald men are just a fact of life? Turns out, I wasn't the only person wondering, and Women's Hour had a piece about it this morning, which was rather interesting listening. Despite finding it somewhat bemusing that lack of hair is such a strong statement for women in our society, I have to confess, I entirely empathise with Jenni and Prof Lisa Jardine, who found hair loss the most upsetting aspect of breast cancer. My mother was just the same, and putting myself in their place, I would be far more devastated to lose my hair, albeit temporarily, than my breasts (although in my case, that is heightened by the fact I have a very small chest and therefore have never seen my breasts as a fundemental expression of my feminine identity). I guess the importance of my hair to my identity, coupled with my control freak tendencies, make it abundantly clear why i have such an aversion to hairdressers!

As a side note, it was also interesting to hear, that while the cultural studies lecturer could appreciate nuns shaving their heads as an act of renunciation, she couldn't see Muslim women covering their heads as anything other than them being oppressed by men, which is maybe a somewhat bizarre dichotomy given that the nuns belong to religions ruled by men too...
alithea: (Bang (made by amiyuy))
What was that about going out before lunch and not pratting around on the 'puter all morning???

Now the weather has gone mad, and there's lashing rain between sunny spells...

Sod it, I'm going to have lunch and watch Strictly come Dancing that I recorded on Saturday evening.

Had a lovely time at [ profile] mcwoof's yesterday though. Must get around to dusting and hoovering lounge so i can put up my decorations and fairy lights. And go to the post office before T'ai Chi or else no-one t'other side of the pond will be getting cards in time for Xmas...

Hope whoever has abandonned a single bed and mattress in the back garden moves it before the bins need to go out tomorrow night, they've cleverly positioned it in the most awkward place possible, between the bins and the door out to the street - oh the joys of living in a block of flats with a bunch of people whose ideas of being a considerate neighbour include smoking in the close and owning a drum kit :(

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