This is not a test. Unless it is, and no one told me so I haven't revised, which means I'm going to fail. Thanks for that.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005


Driving too fast.
Poliece men, again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Tips for the lonely traveller

I'm doing first aid training next week (at last I get to pretend to be a paramedic, I hope they give me green overalls) so won't be in the office to skive off and post far too much.

I will leave you with the following on traveling by train to enjoy while I'm gone.

If you're on the trains this weekend and you've forgotten you pencil and dictaphone (pure detective impersonation joy), useful for making a note of the train times, take a picture; it not only makes you look barmy, but it lasts longer.

Time table

But beware if heading to Leeds, there are bobble headed people at evey turn. Keep a sharp eye out.

Bobble headed lady

That is all.

Call to action

Andrea wrote a great post about rape becoming even more legal . I warn you though, this fired me up something rotten. Moron fucking idiot Judge.

I am going to search now on how to get this @*$?!# struck off.

Apparently you can't complain about a Judge without seeking 'legal advice'. But you can complain about a Judge's behaviour.

They need the following information:
  • your name, address and telephone number
  • the name of the judge Mr Justice Roderick Evans
  • the court Swansea Crown Court
  • the number of the case (I think they'll know which one you mean...)
  • the date of the hearing 23/11/05
  • specific details about the grounds of your complaint (I have saved a copy of the Daily Mail article incase the link breaks (email me), Google news should have lots too.

You can email it as a word document, or you can fill in their pdf available online.

Please let me know if you do send an email.

Update 2:

The Telegraph have an article on this that may preclude people complaning, apparently the case was abandoned by the prosecution, after which the jury were instructed by Judge Evans to pass a not guilty verdict.

How do I look?

Does this new layout look OK cross browser?

I have spent my entire morning arseing around with the template! It looks like I am working hard, all puzzled and thinky looking, with the occasional typing flurry.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

When you go to the pharmacist...

... do they look at your prescription and try to guess what you’re taking it for? Or do they just know?

I was beginning to think it would never happen, but it has, a tampon post.

I am going hypochondria crazy today. I will not go in to what I could possibly, but will obviously not, be suffering from.

And I am totally forgetful and confused.

Normally I live in a state of terrified vigilance regarding the timing of tampon changes, but today my mind is shot. Have I changed it? Or is it a memory of Monday morning. Has it been seven hours, or is it two. And why am I not bothered…?

On checking my stash, it would seem I am remembering Monday morning.

One small step for man, one giant leap for woman kind

Liberians have democratically elected a female president.

I did not see that one coming! This is huge and amazing - a woman, democratically elected to the highest position in an African country.

I am not well informed on African politics, but I do know Liberia has seen a lot of trouble over the past few decads, the country has been at civil war and the people have been controlled under a dictatorship run by former president Charles Taylor, now indicted. Here's a timeline.

Hopefully this massive break through will mean the start on a new era for Liberia, and hopefully Ms Johnson-Sirleaf (BBC profile) will be able to resist the corruption that runs through African politics.

Imagine, she will have to sit at a table with Mugabe.

More medical breakthroughs to make mums feel guilty

A new study suggests breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of developing type II diabetes. That each year of breastfeeding means a 15% drop, and the longer you breast feed for, the more the risk is reduced.

I would like to say 'good stuff', learning more about diabetes, and type II which affects 2.5% of the UK population is a good thing. But I am a little worried about how this information will be used.

Like 'breastfeeding is good for babies IQ', is it set to becomes is just another in a barage of pro-breastfeeding propaganda fed to new mothers to guilt them into breastfeeding, even if they don't want to or can't?

Both the new mothers I know can't breastfeed, and one was so messed up about it, so bullied by the midwives to breastfeed no matter what, that her new baby became ill. She kept trying, but the baby wouldn't feed, so she kept trying and trying until the little bab was poorly and had to go back to hospital. This was a direct consequence of the guilt she was made to feel.

Also, the study showed the 'protective' effects of breastfeeding lasted up to 15 years after the last birth. Bear in mind most people do not develop type II diabetes until they are at least over 40. So, once you hit 40 you might get 5-10 years 'protection' from type II diabetes because you breastfeed, but once this wears off, are you just as vulnerable as everyone else? Is it a really a totally pointless excercise?

It's pretty damn obvious that breastfeeding is good for babies, duh, that's what nature designed for them to eat. And it's pretty plain that this can't be terrible for the mother's health (although I am sure there will be cases in which it is). In fact, my noggin will happily accept this because nature is prett clever and wonderful in the way it figures stuff out. But I can see a big red flashing sign saying 'Warning, Pro-breastfeeding propaganda', and I hope this doesn't just become another way for health professionals, and the community, to make mothers who can't or won't breastfeed feel guilty.

I am terrible at Maths, but if you're not, and you can figure out what a 2.5% chance reduced by 15% actually means in terms of chance compared to the general population please tell us, is it a big difference? My bad maths tell me it's not, but then I might have my equation the wrong way round...

Monday, November 21, 2005

A warning for bloggers

Beware bloggers who use blogger. If you save your post as a draft, blogger eats bits of it.
Check and recheck because you'll loose words and links will disappear.

Keeping you informed

Public opinion: Women are to blame

A report published today (Guardian/BBC) by Amnesty International reiterates the skewed public opinion surrounding rape and the blame culture that works towards keeping victims silent.
One in three people believe that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible if they are raped.
I wonder how can this possibly have happened? How is it even possible for women to be responsible for being attacked? Do these idiots think men are completely unable to control themselves? Do they think that men faced with the slightest hint that they might get some action can't then stop themselves from committing a crime if they don't get a shag?

Do they actually think rape is about sex?
Men are marginally more likely to blame the victim than women, although in the case of drunkenness 5% of women thought a woman would be totally responsible if she were raped, compared to 3% of men.
The figures are totally appauling. And depressing. And insane.

The conviction rate for rape is 5.6% - the lowest ever recorded, with 741 cases resulting in conviction last year.

It's no bloody wonder why when a third of the people in the country think that the woman bears some of the blame. Do people who have their cars stolen of get mugged or beaten get blamed for actions of violence that take place against them? Would the same view be taken for male-male rape, or even female-male rape (as opposed to male-female)?

I doubt it. Women are sex objects, they're around to appeal to men, entice men, flirt with men, shag men. When they don't act as they should and submit, their a cock tease. People seem to have a lot of difficulty in seeing male-female rape as anything other than sex. Male-male of female-male rape is different because it doesn't start from an assumption that women are for men to have sex with.

Thankfully this report has got the publicity it deserves. However it's not going to do a damn bit of good if no one explains why these assumptions are so wrong. Hopefully some long overdue education is to follow.

A recent group of posts by Nick about her own experieinces (starting with this one, look particularly at the comments) on Alas, a blog show just how intrenched this blame culture is across the Western world, and pretty much everywhere else it would seem.

Amp also comments on the Amnesty report.

Death penalty for cop killers

WPC Sharon Beshenivsky was murdered last week during an armed siege of a travel agents. It's been 31 years since a female police officer was killed on duty.

Understandably there's been a fuss, but the reaction has led me to wonder why it seems a police officers life is valued so much more highly than other members of the population. For example the police force have errected boards cordoning off the entire street in which the shooting took place. This is unusual.

As a direct result of Sharon's murder there are calls to reinstate the death penalty for people who kill police officers. I am against the death penalty for many reasons, but I am left wondering, if the death penalty then why just for cop killers?

Surely the murder of a person, no matter what their profession, is horror and should be punished.

Bang bang you're dead.

Gary Glitter (in the news again) could face a firing squad after boning two 12 year old girls.
He's 61.

Kicking it to the paedo's Vietnam style.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On being an obsessive geek with a spending habit.

I used to have this problem with ebay. I would check it every single day, searching for new things to buy. Sometimes I would search and search for hours, looking at different types of things, watching and bidding on items I neither needed nor really wanted. I passed two years at uni doing this. Staying up late on ebay. Not doing work because I was surfing ebay. Missing lectures or setting my alarm to wake me up at two in the morning to bid on something.

I was so cheap though. At least there was that. I used to like getting close off ebay, and still do, because you can get great bargains, and you can get ridicolous old vintage stuff like carpet bags (which I am currenlty lusting after). I would go into shops and say "£10 for a top! What a rip! I can get a whole outfit plus shoes for that on ebay."

When my paypal account maxed out I had to stop buying things. I could never be bothered with the faff of cheques. I did get some great things off ebay, but I also wasted a lot of money.

I think I've replaced this ebay obsession with blogging. I have to read blogs, I can't get on with my work until I've taken my daily walk around the net checking my favourite sites. Once I've got an idea about something I want to blog about can't get on with stuff until it's done.

Aw man - I've just realised it. I've turned into on of those internet geeks who hangs out in chat formus all the time. Except my chat formus are blogs.

I sometimes wonder if I should go cold turkey.

Throw her to the lions

So, this is my 200th post. I’m marking the occasion because I forgot to mention my 100th and I feel like I missed out. This blog’s been going since April 7th, when I announced to the world I would spout ‘a hell of a lot of crap’, I think I’ve lived up to this claim.

In celebration of 8 months and 200 posts clogging up the internet I have the following for your delectation.

My first post, god I’m an idiot.
My first comment, apart from the comments I left for myself on my own posts.

I was so excited when I got my fist comment! When I started out I didn’t think anyone would ever read my blog, so getting a comment was a total thrill. I am so sad.

I still get dead excited now, and I check my emails about 30 times a day for comment notifications! Thanks for leaving comments when you do.

According to my ‘stats counter’ this blog gets about 30 visitors a day now. Wow. Thank you for coming back even though I have a tendency to post inane narcissistic nonsense and get my facts wrong.

TP x
Not a poet

p.s. In writing this I managed to write over my Feminism and Capitalsim post in preparation. Damn it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Am I conditioned to be late?

Today I was late for work. I was late yesterday. I am late everyday. I was 30 minutes late on Wednesday.

As I drove to work this morning, realising I would be at least 10 minutes late (the reason being I had to scrape the ice off my car) I mused on the topic. Why don’t I get stressed out when I’m late, again?

My musings led me to think about operant conditioning, and Pavlov’s dogs.

Now, for those of you who were fortunate enough not to study psychology at some point in your life, here is a little introduction to Pavlov and his dogs. (I say fortunate because even though I love it, psychology has fucked me up irreparably. I know too much and too little about the internal workings of the mind. It drives me mad. I analyse myself, badly, and come to unsettling conclusions. I think about stuff like classical conditioning when I drive to work. Who does that!?)

Back to the point. Ivan Pavlov was a physiologist who originally intended to study dogs drooling. I don’t know how that went, but in the process he discovered a phenomenon now called operant conditioning.

I’m not sure if Pavlov was a nice man, he was not nice to dogs (they say serial killers start off torturing animals…). He rigged up several different experiments the involved tricking, fooling and electrocuting dogs in some way. The famous study I will describe involved electrocution.

Pavlov constructed a box, in which he put a dog. One half of the floor of the box was conductive, the other half wasn’t. He stood the dog on the conductive half and flipped the switch. The dog jumped off the conductive side onto the non conductive side to avoid the shock. Result: dog learns to move to avoid shock.

As I said, Pavlov did not like dogs, so next he put a wall in the box separating the conductive and non conductive halves. He put the dog on the conductive side and flipped the switch. The dog panics, I imagine it yelped in pain, it tries to get off the conductive surface – but can’t because of the wall.

Pavlov does this a couple of few times cause he’s a sadist.
He then takes the wall away.

Pavlov again puts the dog on the conductive half. He flips the switch. The dog doesn’t move. It stays there, even though it can stop the shock by moving onto the non conductive side. The dog has given up. It has been conditioned not to try and escape because it was shocked so many times in the box with the wall stopping him moving.

Sad story, poor dog, but what’s the point?

The point is, have I been conditioned to stop trying to get to work on time because I never get to work on time? Have I given up hope of this ever happening because no matter what I do it just doesn’t work?

Will that excuse fly at (an inevitable) formal review of my tardiness?

For the real story on Pavlov, and not just what I can remember having done bugger all research, please do not google operant conditioning and find nothing about this study so making it look like I made it up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fooling the fashion types

Success! My rather pathetic excuse for a disguise fooled another member of the public today. He obviously thought I was one of those trendy people who spends a fortune buying their clothes from fancy designer boutiques – so gave me a card promoting such a boutique. No, in fact, he chased me through the shopping centre to give me this card.

It must be the cool aloof (or is that blank and distant) look I get when I’m plotting the best possible way to make the most of my ever so sweet lunch break that sold my disguise.

On reflection, maybe I should not be so proud of my disguise. He may in fact have spotted me for what I am, someone with contempt for fashion and its minions. This gesture of good will and money saving may have been made in pity for my blackened soul; an attempt to draw me back into the 'overpriced for the amount of material it contains' fold.

A narrow escape was provided by pressing matters at the bank.

Found - sugar free lemonade

Great angry post by Gwen. Venting on abortion rights, religious zealots (read her jehovas witness story) and conservative anti-feminists.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nerve wracking

I have decided to go and see my doctor. Except she is not my doctor, he is on holiday.
She and I do not get on. I worry this will end badly. I am extrememly nervous.

Today's Shocking news.

Gary Glitter is dirty old man.

Women are in the news again, this time they are spending too much!

Apparently women are more in debt than men (although I am yet to find a link - I heard about this on the radio). Expert financialists and media types speculate why this is.

Could it be women are being coerced into buying more things, things they cannot afford because the magazines tell them to? Maybe. Could it be they take out store cards that have ridiculous interest rates because they are not given the full information about that card on which to base their decisions? Maybe it’s that too.

It might even be because when relationships break down women are more often than not left to care for the children. It might also involve the fact that if these women are left to care for the children they cannot work, can only work part time, if they work full time they have to pay extortionate amounts for childcare, or it could be that they can’t get the higher paid jobs because they have responsibilities outside of the office.

Our whole society is geared up for man-woman partnerships, whether you’re raising children or not. If this doesn’t exist, then the system falls down.

Quit work have babies

Recent scaremongering news reports claim women are putting off having kids until they are old (the horror!) and this delay is making it more difficult for them to conceive. This makes them very bad and selfish, or so news reports claim. (Thanks to Gendergeek for the links)

I have not really experienced the direct effect such reports have on women. Until yesterday that is, when during role play in my counselling class my ‘client’ spoke about her ongoing decision making process regarding starting a family, juggling her particularly stressful, competitive and male dominated career and her progressing age. Recent news items and events in her life had brought all her concerns to the front of her mind.

Her particular worry was based on the ‘if you are too old you won’t be able to conceive and you will have terrible trouble and complications’ message in the recent news. She has a career planned out, she knows she had the smarts and ability to be successful, but her occupation and particular work place require total dedication to career, and have a less than favourable maternity leave set up.

The feminist in me fought against the (trainee) counsellor in me during our talk. Counsellors should not advise or pass judgement, nor should they steer the conversation to their own ends – but I wanted to tell her it was a crock. Instead I tried to help her think about the future, what she wants, how she could achieve it and not loose out. I encouraged her to look at the facts behind the scaremongering.

I was thinking about the strange double standard in our society regarding women and childrearing on the way home after my class. On the one hand working women are under pressure to put their career on hold (or abandon it altogether) to have babies, quick!, before it’s to late.
On the other, women having babies ‘too early’ are equally pressured, they have made mistakes that will ruin their lives, they are unfit, they are irresponsible!

Now or later, it would seem we cannot win.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Public toilets are horrible. They are much much worse when you have to put your hands on the seat and your face in the bowl.

They are especially terrible when you are being sick in them. And on the floor, and on your shoe. The sickness is made worse by having your head next to a tampon bin. The smell alone makes me wretch.

Why have I not gone home yet?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gender roles and psychoanalysis. Lowering the tone.

For some strange reason I will sit and watch a full episode of ‘Shopaholics’ on BBC3 when I channel surf upon it. For those of you who don’t know, Shopaholics is a reality tv show that attempts to reform people who overspend to the point that they are in thousands of pounds in debt.

Thrilling viewing pleasure, I can imagine you’re thinking, why on earth is she telling me about her viewing habits now? Well, there are two reasons, and they are completely unconnected

1) Gender role reversal

The two person team on Shopaholics is made up of one women and one man, already there is balance. In a shocking reversal of stereotypes and a swooping move to turn the viewers world upside down the woman is the financial advisor whiz and the man is the caring airy fairy emotion centred psychologist type (I am not sure if he’s a proper Psych-o though).

I like this.

2) Psychoanalysis bites

The caring airy fairy emotional psychologist man seems to be a lover of the psychoanalysis. I myself am rather a hater of the psychoanalysis.

We watch him try to pin every single Shopaholic’s untamed spending habits on depression, triggered by some kind of childhood trauma. When he cannot find a childhood trauma he does the psychoanalysts trick of making everything into a trauma thus confusing the poor Shopaholic into thinking they’ve had a terrible life and their childhood was full of sorrow and pain.

Being a psychoanalyst it appears he thinks every problem stems from childhood. Being a psych graduate who likes to short loud her opinions on all kind of topics and who thinks she knows something about some stuff, I think he is wrong. Yes, I do believe childhood and adulthood trauma can trigger psychological distress, but I don’t think that’s the root of all psychological distress, or the root of all the Shopaholics’ particular wild spending habits.

I believe that learned behaviour could play a large part in the development of a Shopaholic and their debt, as well as the development of other psychological problems. I also believe that addressing and challenging this learned behaviour, along with why it is carried out, can do more to help some people than creating childhood traumas. Don’t that fuck you up more?

I do no like this. I shout-a at the man on tv.

Yes, this was a half cocked discussion of gender roles and psychological approaches to treatment all combined to form an odd post that lacked any kind of conclusion. I should probably leave off the blogging for a while, at least until I can write a post based on something other than me and the tv, so I do not anger readers any further with this waffle.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Proud to be a feminist

That’s what the badge I picked up from FEM05 proclaims. Damn straight.

FEM05: A review

The conference was a great success. It ran smoothly, all due to my excellent cloakroom and welcome desk skills (erm…no!), it was interesting, and well subscribed.

My early cloakroom duties meant I missed the opening talk and the first seminar on violence against women, but my other job involved me being in the auditorium so I was able to catch the second seminar on women in the work place, which was excellent.

There were three speakers, Sheila Wild from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Rachel Gill from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Vivienne Hayes, Director of the Women's Resource Centre. Of the three, Rebecca Gill stood out the most for me. Her speech not only challenged the gender inequalities in the workplace, but also stirred passion among the audience to arm themselves to fight against it.

In the afternoon I attended a workshop run by Jennifer Drew, Chair of Object, on Challenging the Normalisation of the Sex and Porn Industry. I had high hopes for this seminar which focussed specifically on lads mags, but actually found it provided little new information, lacked organisation/control and failed to offer useful and proactive channels for the anger many women in the seminar felt about the topic.

On reflection some interesting points were raised, particularly that the ASA are self regulating body funded by the publishing industry (so that’s why they’re so ham fisted and reluctant to strike back) and it also exposed the astounding double standards of the ASA in their strong censorship of gay mens magazines such as Gay Times as opposed to lads mags such as Zoo. For example a cover of Gay Times showing a buff man in just his Jockies was censored for being explicit, where as Zoo or Nuts could have a naked woman on the cover with just tassels covering her nipples and her hand covering her muff. It also reminded me that teen girls magazines are highly censored and strictly monitored, but there’s no one checking up on these mags that are being sold to boys as young as 10.

It was also interesting and quite surprising that this workshop filled up the quickest, was over subscribed and appeared to contain no pro-porn feminists.

The final seminar of the day was entitled Feminism, and aimed to argue why feminism is still important. This was another great seminar, with speeches from Prof Jeff Hearn (of Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland & University of Huddersfield, UK) a Profeminist who spoke on Masculinities and ‘the problem of men’. His was a strange talk, which left me with the impression that he believed men needed to be oppressed in some form to ensure women can become equal. An idea that doesn’t sit very well with me. I didn’t take up the feminist cause to oppress men, and I don’t think that’s the way to gain true equality.

Jenny Westaway of The Fawcett Society also gave a great speech on the paygap and why feminism is as relevant as even and Jo Salmon, National Women's Officer, NUS and feminist and LGBT blogger, spoke on issues relating to students at university and beyond, again mentioning the paygap, and an disgraceful fact that within 5 years of leaving university women can expect to be paid 15% less than their male counterparts when doing exactly the same job!

An interesting discussion started up after the seminar, from which I remember one specific question that struck me. A delegate asked whether equality can ever be achieved in a capitalist society.

It can’t. Capitalism relies on the cheap labour of the underclass to grease its wheels. To achieve equality we need not only to fight for women’s rights, but against capitalism. I will write more on this soon.

All in all FEM05 was a long day, but a good day. And I got a free lunch, a free t-shirt and a lot of inspiration and ideas for this blog and Subtext for my trouble.

My only criticism is that it focussed too heavily on what’s wrong, and not how we can work together to put it right. I think if Subtext can balance these two things, and give readers options how they can work towards equality in their community if not on a larger scale we would be on to a really good thing.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Smiling means you're mad

04Smiling, originally uploaded by mentalnurse.

I am totally buzzing.
I can’t sit still.
I can’t do any work.
I can barely think straight.
I am pure energy.

Words zip in and out of my mind.
They don’t mean anything.
I can’t control them.
Tea.Coffee.Mouse mat. Pen.Ball.Kite
They’re not useful words.

It’s getting in the way.
My mind.
It’s stopping me thinking.
It’s stopping me working.
I can’t sit still.
I am totally buzzing.

Faster is better.

Dan Osman was an amazing climber (he died some years ago when his rope failed during a jump). He's a hero to many, and his lifestyle was the envy of pretty much every climber.

Here's a video of him speed climbing that I've just found. It's truly amazing.
Watch out for the 'dyno' near the end, where he lets go of the rock completely.

If you're scared of heights, you might not like it.