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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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Royal Mail makes sure Santa gets his letters

I just love that Royal Mail are providing an address for kids to reach Father Christmas.
Even better, they will reply to letters if you include a stamped, addressed envelope.

Warms the cockles of the heart,
Merry Christmas... one and all x

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holy camera goodness batman

Digital "polaroid" camera.

Wow.

I bet it's incredibly expensive to buy & run.

But it'd be nice to have one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I wore 28/11/08

original tank girl boots!
click image to enlarge

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay pop idol

Boyzone have never been among the playlisted bands in my life. In fact, I've never given them much thought at all beyond 'bleurgh'.

Today though, I am pretty happy and surprised with them, their management and their video direction/writing people. They have broken new pop ground by allowing openly gay band member, Stephen Gately, to play a romantic story line with a man in their new video*.

Yay for progressive pappy pop videos - this might be enough to make me watch it on You Tube.

As seen in the Guardian.

*previously he was always forced to play alongside women - despite his audience being, if not fully aware then inclined to believe, that he was gay.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Super fantastico exhaustion

I spent today exercising like I've never exercised before, then sleeping like a complete baby (with my glasses all crooked on my face) from pure exhaustion (see previously mentioned exercise).

I was fortunate enough to get to have a go at the physical activity test for the fire service entry exams this morning. And I'm totally psyched to report that I either cleanly passed or very nearly passed all of them!

Ladder climb - climb a ladder, get a knee brace & take your hands off to look over your shoulder - passed!
Breathing apparatus - crawl about in the dark turn a twisty tunnel with breathing mask & helmet on - passed!
Assemble equipment - fiddle about with ancient gadget to put it together in correct order - passed!
Ladder lift - lift 25kg weight to simulate the end of a ladder above my head - utterly exhausting, but I just passed on my second attempt!
Dummy run - drag a fake corpse 30ft - passed!
Equipment carry - ridiculous string of activities involving running and carrying heavy and awkwardly shaped stuff - nearly passed, just 3 seconds over the time limit!

Now I know what's got to be done to make myself fit and strong enough to ace the test on the the actual day - time to join a gym and get into training.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Gales of change


You might already be aware, Barak Obama won the presidential election in the USA.

Breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't a McCain & Palin double act for the win. But be ready for some disappointments too.
There is a huge amount of excitement about Obama's success (including me), but it's going to take a lot more than an election to get the ball rolling towards change. It'll take a good while for it to pick up speed as well.
Good luck to him, I can't begin to imagine the amount of pressure he must be under to live up to the high expectations of over half a country*.
* yeh, I know he's the one that gave them high expectations in the first place, but he's a mere man and it's getting a but zealoty.

Week in pictures

I spent three nights this week trying to fix the Subtext website (at the moment I'm still unsuccessful), Claire came round and kept my company one evening - she made felt badges while I scratched my head and struggled with coding.
Went out on Wednesday to see the fireworks at Nottingham castle. Quick drink in the pub before hand.
Unfortunately we didn't get tickets in time & it sold out. Turns out free fireworks are a good deal better!
The weather has been so cloudy and miserable all week - hooray then that the sun is shining today. This is my view from work - the weird spidery reflection is the spider plants in my window.

Monday, November 03, 2008

How do web masters do it?

I'm a web master (mistress), but there's currently no live site to prove it. I forgot to renew the hosting for Subtext, and now it's expired. At first I thought, no biggie! I was going to transfer to a new hosting company soon anyway. Then I realised I had no idea how to work the internet. PHP and MySQL scripts are not languages I even remotely understand, and I have broken my FTP client.

It turns out it is not as easy as it all looks.

Anyone know how to a) fix everything, and b) build me a nice site on Joomla or Drupal that I can't break?

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What I wore 30/10/08





Reversible hat: 'Columbia', from the shop where my boyfriend works
Red coat: H&M a few years ago
Black skirt: a shop I can't remember the name of in NYC
Leopard print tights: a concession in the Broadmarsh Centre, Nottingham
Boots: handmade for me by Green Shoes
Cassette tape bag: Lunacy boutique
Stripey bag: new, from a stall at Camden market

Friday, October 31, 2008

This week in pictures

This week I surveyed a walk in South Nottinghamshire, that includes the ruins of St Marys Church, near Cropwell Bishop.
Went climbing in the Peak District.
Spotted some house sparrows on the bush in the garden.
And went down to London to visit my super friend Sarah for her birthday, and to go the the Women's Library to see Subtext in an exhibition about women's magazines!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fridge-ID


I've heard it said that what's in your fridge can reflect how you live your life, but I think this makes it quite clear that what's on the outside can give an insight too - exhibit A: my fridge in all its chaotic glory.

Including:

  • a diagram for the hairdresser explaining that I do not want triangular hair any longer.
    'activist', as described in a Patagonia advert.
  • a newspaper story on surfing rats
  • a message from the Salvation army - which I took out of context because I think it applies whether you're religious or not (full disclosure, I'm not)
  • New York cab magnet
  • assorted postcards
  • (badly) photoshopped image of my boyfriend ice climbing the Eiffel Tower
  • a watercolour that looks like a vagina
  • a newspaper clipping about a friend who moved to NYC to be a butler.

What does your fridge look like? A place to paste up favourite things you've found, notes and magnetic poetry, or clean, sleek, metallic and minimalist?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Money matters

As much glee as I do feel about the atheist bus campaign raising so much so fast to fund advertising that counters religious propaganda such as the Alpha Course, it is a shame that the fervour generated here can't be replicated for other drastically underfunded causes.

I think the visibility of the Christian advertising chaffed at a lot of people, and by the very nature of outdoor advertising it was in their faces and unavoidable whenever they stepped outside, so ignited a reaction.

There are plenty of other causes that are in desperate need of support - domestic violence support and rape crisis centres are just two examples - but they are out of sight of the general population and out of mind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Atheist advertising

Hold on to your hats because the first ever atheist advertising campaign is coming to London in January 2009!
The Guardian featured an article about it this morning encouraging donations from supportive atheists, and by 10ish they had received enough donations to secure the bus! By the time I looked at the fundraising page they were on £64K (update 30 mins later, £65k!)!!11!!!
Turns out atheists give generously and I love exclamation marks.
Ace.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Parallel lines

Out surveying yesterday I noticed that in this field, when you look down you just see muddy ground, but when you look up, at a angle you can see the scrubby bits of grass shoots are actually perfectly planted parallel lines of grass giving way to a green view.

video

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stamp collecting

Women of Distinction stamps, image from the Guardian.

If there was ever a time to collect stamps today is it, the Royal Mail are launching its first ever set of stamps dedicated to women who led important social (and feminist) change in the UK. Go Royal Mail!
Claudia Jones, was a journalist, socialist and campaigner for black rights.
Millicent Garrett Fawcett, who became president of the National Women's Suffrage Societies.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first British woman to qualify as a doctor.
Eleanor Rathbone, a politician and campaigner for social reform who was a major player in the introduction of family allowances (now known as child benefit).
Barbara Castle, the former cabinet minister and the fourth woman to enter cabinet.
Marie Stopes, author of the first cheap book to inform women in plain language about family planning, and founder of the first free family planning clinic in 1921.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Paliness

To build on my collection of quotes about Sarah Palin, today's example comes from well know political commentator Anne Robinson:

Robinson, Britain's best known public winker, remains deeply unimpressed by Palin. "It's depressing that she exists, never mind that she winks," she says.

From the Guardian.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Signposting - it's all about a joined up service

Ok, so that title is kind of an in joke for me as a local gov worker. I've made my excuses, lets move on.
Still, this is a signposting post, or a lazy excuse for a post, or an overexcited babbling on about stuff she loves type post.
In short, today's Guardian is ace.
I heart Richard Ayoade, particularly as the hot and bonkers shaman* Saboo in the Mighty Boosh. He is totally edearing in this interview.

"You know nothing of the crunch", swoon.

I'm also a fan of Pammy Anderson - inexplicably... She's interviewed today and kind of misses the point of feminism, though she does believe in the actual aim of the movement: equality. She also scores points for calling Sarah Palin "the helicopter huntress from hell". I can only hope that McCain** is reeling from the mistake he made to run with her - he clearly did not think that one through - she is a ticking timebomb "Let's get a woman on board, people loved Hilary, me wants some of that!"

Speaking of Palin there are some satisfyingly scathing articles on her in today's issue as well. Palin vs polar bears - my vote goes for the bears, natch. And Palin the ultimate rock and roll disaster. Hah.

* great combination!
** oven chips, hah!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

AWOL

Sorry for the absent status - and right after I promised myself I would remember to blog as well. There are a few posts coming up on Weather Station for those interested in all things pictures.
x

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Be careful what you wish for*

Imagine my disappointment when I found out that the lyrics to the Pussy Cat Dolls song "When I grow up" were not:

When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have boobies

but were in fact
When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have groupies
*or you just might get it

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Time to focus

The tv broke last night. It's been warped for almost as long as we've had it, the screen squeezed in the centre, like an hourglass. Last night one side decided to slide back out again, and the image went with it, followed by white noise, a burning smell and some disconcerting beeping.

Hopefully the death of the tv will make me more productive. I have a 'to do' list a mile long - just for home working jobs, one of the downsides to running a 'business' outside of working hours. None of them are remotely fun; accounting, processing wholesale orders, sorting spreadsheets out. As you can imagine, this will bring me a level of joy hardly experienced before. It's no small wonder I've decided to tidy the front bedroom, and write a blog post.

I was reading Colouring outside the lines #2 earlier, a zine I picked up at Manchester zine fest last Saturday. It's a great issue full of interviews with amazing (female) artists, including some comic creators who's work is super inspiring and is reigniting my love of graphic novels. Check out the Colouring outside the lines myspace for more info.

An interview with Cristy Road about communicating about punk and alternative culture struck a chord with me - she talks about sharing her punk roots because her experiences there made her who she is today. I guess this was relevant to me because I've drifted so far from the punk aesthetic that I used to be so into.

I want to reclaim this as, punk is still fundamental to my belief system - through punk I got into feminism, vegetarianism, environmentalism and anti-animal testing. Plus despite my forays into folk, pop and dance it's still punk music that makes my heart beat faster.

When I was in my teens I looked at the old folks at gigs and thought they were drab, boring and no fun at all. When I was moshing, getting a busted lip, they would stand around at the back - arms folded listening without much get up or go. It's all to easy to let that happen, let the pressures and the stifling roles assumed of adulthood push our bright, wild, creative selves into submission so we can fit in at the office. I guess punk is about rejecting the conformity encouraged of us all, the conformity we're goaded into if we're going to achieve what society tells us is success.

But success is about how close you get to the things in life that make you truly happy - it can't be measured in monetary terms or by the number of possessions someone has. 'Wealth' and 'stuff' do not a happy chappy make, don't believe everything capitalism tells you.

Embracing the dumb things that make you happy is a much better measure of success, imho. Dye your hair a stupid colour your boss will hate, listen to music so loud your neighbours will be able to hear the words and then give them all flowers for putting up with you. Pursue a dream you have, and if you get jaded because of the pursuit it's ok to take time out, isn't it. Ultimately the only person you have to satisfy is yourself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Making good my escape

I'll be away from the computer for a few days - but I'm sure you'll cope without me.
I've scheduled some photos to post on weather-station if you're looking for something distracting and pretty.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let me eat that cake

You know when you've found your perfect man when he brings chocolate cake, made by his own fair hands containing courgettes from his garden, into the office and it is perfectly gooey and supremly delicious.

Tis a shame then that he is about 10 years too old, married and into cricket.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Get thyself in line Gurinad

Normally I quite like the schizophrenic editorial lines of the Guardian, voicing conflicting arguments and encouraging discussion are good things. Read the paper one day and someone's reporting on surveys that show the public's attitude to working women is turning sour, the next day someone else is slagging off said research as ho-bunkem. But today's cheap-chic autumn wardrobe feature is a step too far into the hypocritical.

After just recently launching their new online ethical clothing finder, today's number 1 'life and style' feature is about getting your hands on fleeting catwalk trends while struggling under the hefty weight of the 'credit crunch'. Primark and Matalan, holders of the coveted award for worst child labour practices on the highstreet, are among their list.

Encouraging debate is one thing, but encouraging conspicuous consumption of useless tat that's been directly linked to the exploitation of workers - that's not something anyone, never mind a liberal paper should be doing.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More reasons

I keep finding ever more reasons to go completely vegan (I don't have milk or yoghurt but have recently started eating eggs, and icecream again - as wll as chocolate and cheese*).

After eating an egg salad sarnie for lunch I came back into the office to read this Guardian article about activists saving 'spent' egg producing chickens from the chopping block when the 72 weeks of their useful egg laying life come to an end.

The free range chickens mentioned in the article start producing eggs, which are gathered up for human consumption, at just 18-22 weeks. The chickens are killed around a year later because they are no longer economically viable.

An egg laying chicken's 'useful life' amounts to about an year and a half. A living thing classified as uneconomic. That really turns my stomach, the lingering taste of egg in my mouth is turning really sour.

If that wasn't enough to put you off animal products, a friend recently told me that something like 25% of a carton of milk is puss. That sounds pretty implausible, right? But some amount of puss, coming from infected udders of over milked cows, that's a whole lot more plausible.

This 'fact' has stayed with me, and today I decided to verify its accuracy. Google Answers to the rescue. In summary - milk has a measured amount of puss in it, some puss, but too much and it's not saleable.

The worst thing about this is the thought that cows can (and are) overmilked to the point of infections in their udders. I kind of feel that if you could still sell infected milk some dairy farmers would, and the cow would have to suffer for it.

Ultimately, selling live animals, flesh or animal products must exploit animals - by the very nature of the relationship. I've heard this described as speciesism, or the hierarchy of powerful over vulnerable. It's the type of power relationship that underpins capitalism and is replicated across human behaviour too; rich:poor, male:female, young:old.

* I buy organic says the little voice that feels bad about eating animals products. Is that the liberal curse? If you can't make yourself do it, at least make yourself feel bad about it instead.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Study tells us nothing about the way things actually work

Articles like Cambridge survey shows new doubts over working mothers in today's Guardian just serve to reinforce the misconceptions they claim to be observing.

More people will start to think family life will suffer if women work if you keep telling them more people think family life will suffer if women work.

If you mis read it even slightly - you could actually come away with the impression research has discovered family life does suffer. And we all know how easy it is to misread things - I do it all the time and I'm a copywriter. People who have lower levels of literacy would probably struggle with this even than me.

Feminism is still not dead, it keeps clawing its way back to life out of the necessity of women and men everywhere to avoid this frickin nonsense.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Phew!

Issue 6 of Subtext is out now - hoo-frickin-ray that took a while!

The latest newsletter's on the blog, and you can get it online, or subscribe at the website.


I plan to have a little sleep now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lunchtime

video

I ususally eat my lunch by the Trent. Swans, geese and ducks all like to come by and check if there are crumbs on offer. There never are.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

To do list

Ikea Hacks is a great little site about reworking Ikea products for different uses.

A recent hack was to turn a Not lamp into a globe lamp, which I love and want to do for my house. We were bought a Not lamp as a gift, and it resides on our landing covered in dust. The lampshade on the ceiling lamp on the landing is a globe, so it would be the best accompaniment - especailly if I can find one with terrain/geological rather than political boundaries.


Language of reporting - Darwin fraud

I was shocked and amazed to hear this morning that Anne Darwin had received a longer custodial sentence than her husband for her part in the 'canoeing accident fraud saga'.

Earlier in the week Em at Adjust the Sails commented on the harsher treatment and increased criticism Anne was being subjected to, which is unfortunately unsurprising since women are consistently subject to harsher judgements and stronger sentencing in criminal trials - something likely to do with the pure, chaste and caring image of women so keenly promoted in society.

While watching the breakfast news this morning a commentator described Anne as a 'demon', while sat in front of huge images of her walking to court. Not one image of John was shown during this whole report.

There is no doubt that the plot Anne and John hatched is criminal, and I am at a loss as to how they could openly lie to their sons for 5 years about John's death - but it would seem they share at least equal blame. In fact, part of Anne's defense was of spousal coercion - in that her husband forced her into lying to their sons. Perhaps this claim is a desperate lie of a condemned woman or perhaps it's true. Worse crimes have been committed as a result of familial pressure.

On researching the sentences awarded to Anne and John this morning I found that the differences in their sentences is 3 months - Anne receiving 6 1/2 years, John receiving 6 years 3 months. John admitted his deception ahead of the trail which I assume knocked 3 months off his sentence, whereas Anne pleaded not guilty.

While the sentencing may now appear to be justified, the vilification in the media of Anne alone is not.

Guardian coverage
BBC coverage

Monday, July 21, 2008

Live and learn

I learnt yesterday that there is a mu-hassive loophole in legislation that allows fox hunting to carry on practically unchanged in the country since the ban in 2004. (some info about this here)

Basically it is fully legal to hunt a fox with dogs, as long as you kill the fox before the dogs get to it. This could be with a gun i.e. shoot the fox and then giving it to the dogs to rip apart before dousing yourself in it's blood, or sometimes a bird of prey is used to kill the fox (I found this quite hard to believe).

Frankly, I find fox hunting abhorrent, and cannot begin to understand the motivation of people who consider this a spot (and a tradition worth preserving).

Why anyone should be able to kill another creature in the name of 'sport' or 'entertainment' is beyond me. This goes for deer stalking, grouse shooting, fishing, trapping and all manner of different ways we as humans have found to waste life and interfere with nature.

I was happy to read that the proposed cull of badgers to halt the spread of bovine TB, which was thought to be linked to them, has been abandoned. There is scientific evidence that badgers do not exacerbate bovine TB, and that a cull could actually lead to worse conditions. The Woodland Trust provide a good summary to the background of this.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Percieved increase in violent crime - link to media sensationalism?

A report on national crime figures for England and Wales published today shows an overall reduction in the amount of crime, including violent crime - and an increase in public belief that crime has gone up.

Apparently this reduction in crime rates is part of the longest sustained reduction in crime recorded - 48% since 1995, and the chances of being a victim of crime have fallen from 24 to 22%, the lowest recorded since 1981.
So why do 65% of people think the level of crime has gone up nationally?

Could it be linked to media sensationalism, 24 hour news and the tabloidisation of news programmes? Drama, violence and even fear sell papers and engage viewers. From my own observations today's news seems to be more about speculation than reporting. And stirring people up.

The amount of news coverage we receive today could also be a factor - we're never far away from the latest breaking story - radio news, terrestrial tv news, 24 hour news channels, interactive news on tv, newspapers, web based news sites, blogs - all of these outlets will essentially be running the same stories for a given day - but the glut of them surely gives the impression that a whole lot is going on.

I don't much like the local news here because it seems to be knife crime after knife crime after shooting every day. Apparently though Nottingham - a place widely considered to be the East's home of violent crime - is not even in the top 5 areas for knife crime in the country.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Joy

Hilarious and heinously denim clad. Flight of the Conchords are a bit of a current obsession in our house.

May I present "She's so hot" (click to listen)?

"She's so fucking hot, she's like a curry
I gotta tell her how hot she is
But if I tell her how hot she is she'll think I'm being sexist
She's so hot, she's making me sexist?"
Or "Business Time"?
"I remove my jeans but trip over them 'cause I still got my shoes on.
But I turn it into a sexy dance.
Next thing you know I'm down to just my socks,
and you know when I'm down to just my socks what time it is?
It's time for business.
It's business time.
You know when I'm down to just my socks it's time for business,
that's why they call them business socks."
Are you a Breterosexual or a Jermainiac?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Drawings

My note book - somewhere to keep interesting and motivating ideas. A couple of weeks ago i was really psyched to sort out the tip of a house that I live in so I printed off a load of pictures of rooms that I liked from flickr and stuck them in alongside a quote from William Morris

" have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful "

it applies double to our house since we are total hoarders,

Above: The top one of these I drew when my boyfriend cleaned the fridge and stuck it on the front because i would be out when he got home - the clean fridge was a nice surprise for me so I thought I'd make one for him. Domestic bliss :o)

The bottom one I drew for a friend who's gone to live in the US for a bit. I meant to send it to her before she went as a postcard, but I forgot, so I kept it...

Above: Another postcard I drew for a friend and forgot to send!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Anonymous witnesses

The Guardian reports today on the witness anonymity bill, a bill that if accepted will mean all witness in criminal trials have the right to anonymity, granted by a judge, if they can show a "harm to the public interest" if their names are made public.

I can envisage only a small number of criminal trails at which anonymity for witnesses could be a good idea, for example trials for rape. It's well documented that women survivors of rape who pursue a conviction are subject to investigations into their lives and analysis of the sexual history - enough to put off anyone, but add to that the slim chance of a conviction and it's no small wonder the majority of rapes go unreported. Witness anonymity in this case could be a good thing that would spare a victim the trauma of open court cross examination.

Having said this there are some very obvious problems with witness anonymity. Never being able to know who's making claims against you and no cross examination of anonymous witnesses makes for a trail shrouded in mystery. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for a defendant to challenge the witness testimony. There are currently no safeguards proposed to prevent someone being charged based solely on secret evidence from an anonymous witness.

Call me paranoid, but in our surveillance society, where our movements are monitored (and false records could be easily created) allowing anonymous witnesses undermines the fairness of trails and gives powerful people/organisation yet another opportunity to frame an individual for a crime they did not commit.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Courgettes success

We ate our first courgette from the garden yesterday! Yum.

Here's a photo of me pissing about to celebrate.

Home made

Here's some photos of my final show for college - I made those!

Here's a shot showing some of the other garments people on the course made.

The beige/brown stripey dress on the right is amazing. It's made from an original 50s pattern - with original 50s sizing. I tried it on but the waist is about 26".

Monday, June 30, 2008

Vegetarian and Vegan products

This is kind of a difficult post to write without seemingly to plug something - but I find it really useful when someone recommends a good veggie/vegan cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning products company that I thought I might list a few that I use. A lot of the ones listed below are also organic GM free.

If you can't buy direct you can get most of the products (in the UK) from Honesty Cosmetics (who are super) or the Vegan Store (who are also great).

Cosmetics

Barry M - fantastic colours, (some) vegan products, inexpensive. My favourite. Available online from their website (quick delivery reasonable postage costs) and in some shops.
Beauty without cruelty - nice liquid concealer, their translucent pressed powder is a bit pink though (I'm really fair). Not much colour choice - one for the neutral classics.
Lush - a bit more expensive, but nice packaging! Available online - the makeup's not usually available in store.

Toiletries

Shampoo & Conditioner - I have curly hair and LOVE Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose. Super moisturising and smells lush. My local health food shop has just decided to stop stocking the conditioner though, so I'm using their GPB one instead, but this has milk in so it's no good for vegans.
Colour shampoo - Jason do colour enriching shampoo, I tried the red which worked well to bring out the red in my hair dye at the time, but didn't really bring out the red in my natural hair colour. The one is used is discontinued now, but they do some henna ones on their website. It wasn't as moisturising as the Aubrey Organics so I swapped back.

Soap - Co-op's own Oatmeal soap is great - I use it to wash my face. Shock horror! She uses the dreaded soap on her the face!

Shower gel - Jason do massive pump action bottles which are great and smell nice. I'm using Rose at the moment - which is from the health food shop again, but you should be able to get it online.
Serum - Daniel Field Smooth & Shine serum is really nice, non sticky and makes my hair feel soft.

Curl booster - Daniel Field again, their Curl Hold & Shine, pump action spray that I've just started using. Seems good so far, not sticky or heavy. And it doesn't dry out your hair like moose does.

Intensive Conditioner - Daniel Field, again! The Plant Re moisturising Treatment is good, but don't put too much on otherwise it's heavy. I use it on wet hair and leave it on.
Cleaning products

I like Bio-D and use their concentrate for just about everything from kitchen surfaces, to the guinea pig hutch, to the bathroom sink. I'm still using up my bottle of Ecover toilet cleaner, but I don't think I'll get it again since discovering they use rabbit blood in their product testing.


Eco balls for the laundry. We got a great deal on these from a shop in Manchester and they last for years before needing new balls. Clothes come out smelling nice, you can wash at 30, and they get stains out (we're mucky).

Supplements - some people say take 'em, some say don't. However current training for nutritionists is everyone should be taking multi vitamins, whether veggie, vegan or not since intensive farming methods rob our veg of its nutrients.

I take:
Omega 3 6 9 by Vertese
and I need to find some new vitamins - I think I'll try Deva.

Do you have any good recommendations?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Word play

Re: incognisant, as used in the previous post.
I don't think I have ever used this word before, I'm not even sure how I knew what it meant (I checked the definition online before I used it)

The brain is a wonderful and surprising thing - 'incognisant' must have been ticked away somewhere, in the folds of flesh and goo that generate my thoughts, clawing is way to the surface of my consciousness at just the right moment for its use to be useful*.

*I am suddenly let down by my amazing brain when I need it to come up with alternate ways of saying this clumsy phrase.

Pregnant pangs

I can't imagine being pregnant, having something wriggle about in your belly Alien style. I do get the feeling like those last few days before you're due must feel like killer period cramps. The terrible rolling pains that make you want to cry from frustration more than anything else. I also imagine you're totally overheated and uncomfortable 100% of the time in your last couple of weeks. It sounds way too much like suffering. I guess the fear of pain, and birth in general, must subside at some point, otherwise why would anyone choose to put themselves through it?

I don't actually know much about the mysterious world of pregnancy - so my thoughts above might be totally incognisant.

Monday, June 23, 2008

TP: On blogs

I don't read many blogs anymore, which seems weird, since about 2 1/2 years ago I must have read at least 10 a day. I think I got a bit tired. There was so much fighting in feminist blogs and it was a lot of hard work. Photo blogs, blogs about pretty things, they were a nice refuge.

Today I visited an 'old friend', someone who was one of my first commentors back when I started this blog years ago. From the looks of his page he's given up blogging in the main now, kind of like I did for a while I guess, there was a lull.

I've been reading a few blogs again - kind of oddly a lot of them are 'fashion' blogs - a whole new realm I got into when I started my college course (which is now finished! I have free time again!). I need to get a new blog roll going - old faves, new faces etc. If there's anyone still out there let me know and I'll put your blog on the roll.

I'll leave you with this photo, rich in comedy value: so religious they need to spell out Jesus in multi cloured card in the windows of the Christian Centre. Just in case you didn't figure it out. Sutton-on-Sea, religious fervor on the east coast.

A little bit of film

This pigeon waddled into view, across the top of the garage, as I was cooking tea.
Apparently he wasn't ready for his close-up.
video

In other news, I'm blogging here again/now too weather-station.blogpsot.com - with an invited guest who will make her appearance any time soon...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Generic angsty teenager

It's nice to think we're all unique, complex and individual. I look back on my teenage years and remember my unique experiences, the ones that shaped me to become the person I am today. They're special to me, right?

Turns out my teenage years weren't quite a rebellious, individualistic or unusual as I had given them credit for. I may have been a generic angsty teen.

I came across Past Notes today, where the author posts class notes, love letters and general ephemera from her teens online. Her description of the memories stirred up on hearing 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins (that song gives me palpitations), and reintroducing me to the long forgotten song Popular by Nada Surf (which was on a compilation tape my then boyfriend gave me when I was 14 ) has kind of freaked me out. It's like reading my diary from back then, only without all the pornographic doodles.

Song links to Songza, online music directory, which contains the Tundra Rap and is now my hero.

Money saving expert

me, in my Lincoln backgarden in summer 2003, taken with an ActionSampler by Gem
I just tried to buy some new kit off Lomography online; a 35mm adapter for my Holga (which I never use because I don't know anywhere that devlops medium format, and yes I know you can DIY a 35mm Holga but my 'make' failed miserably) and an ActionSampler that takes 4 shots one after the other all on one frame (see above). After two unsuccessful attempts at paying I decided to check my bank account.
Turns out my bank won't let me pay online now unless I have a little doodad that does something like read your card and generate a random number for you to enter. Bad luck then that I don't have a card reader. Seems mine must have been lost in the post.

Unless I carry the doodad around with me all the time this is going to serverly restrict my impluse purchasing of stuff online. To save me from myself this is probably only going to be a good thing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guys don't make passes as girls who wear glasses


Bloom Zoom
Originally uploaded by siouxsiette
A statement that's regularly proved untrue. My uber sexy friend C is always having guys make passes at her and she rocks some specs.

I've recently splashed out and bought myself a couple of new pairs of spectaculars (one retro tortoise shell type and one red with polka dots on the inside), having decided a few months ago to actually wear my glasses all the time, as the optician recommended.

Surfing flickr for hot chicas with glasses today (as you do to pass the time at work) I found this group for photos of Blythe wearing glasses.

I love the crazy souls who spend ages styling and setting up these shots. My fave after a bit of rooting around has got to be the group icon though, Blythe putting her specs on.

But Blythe's a bit creepy though isn't she?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

That's just not cricket

I walked to the shops this lunchtime listening to Rage Against the Machine, feeling angsty and dissatisfied (this is all part of the mid 20s life-crisis I'm having). I returned from the avenue, having forgotten to buy toothpaste again - damn it, head full of plans to dye my hair pillar box read and wear a lot of heavy eye liner. I think listening to Rage connected me with past teenage rebellions.


When I got back into the office I had a look out of the window over the cricket pitch (we overlook Trent Bridge, where the England vs NZ test match is being played at the mo') which was full of primary school girls in Asda caps and t shirts playing really bad cricket.


Amazing.


Unfortunately the adults were back on the pitch by the time I thought to take a photo. Also, our windows need cleaning.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Misquotes, mishaps and misinformation?

Today I was reading a report on research into men who pay for sex ( "It's just like going to the supermarket": Men buying sex in East London [opens a pdf]) in which they refer to an Ofsted report...

"a 2007 Ofsted report which suggests that the sexually explicit content of magazines such as Nuts and Zoo offer a “very positive source of advice and reassurance for many young people”, despite acknowledging that they do this “while at times reinforcing sexist attitudes” (Ofsted 2007:13/14)."
Thinking, "my god fathers*, this is so completely not ok" I checked the source (oh joy accurate referencing and the power of Google.)

Thankfully Ofsted have been slightly misquoted and aren't in fact pushing low grade porn mags as useful learning tools for boys. I think they might actually be referring to girls magazines such as More and Just 17 (which might not be available anymore but were around when I was a youth) in which they would run articles about safe sex, different crazy sexual positions of the month and frank and responsible problem pages side by side (by responsible I mean they always advocated safe sex, didn't patronise and treated their readers as intelligent and able to make decisions for themselves).

I have no conclusion...

*throwback to early years Catholic brainwashing?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Anti abortion Torries.

What the fucking fuck?

Torries misrepresenting research data to support their anti-abortion crusade.

Cameron tieing this into his campaign against 'Broken' Britain - like it's not totally 'broken' to force women to give birth to an unwanted child. This supports his plan to create wholesome, nuclear families with a mom and a pop?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Party planning

Browsing blogs, the way you do, I turned me up here and was inspired by the road trip thrift store adventures.

I've been dreaming about a cycle gang for a while now, cruising around second hand shops, eating cakes, looking nuff. As yet I am the only member of said gang as my friends either can't ride bikes or aren't interested in biking about looking for cakes.

Maybe I should turn up at Critical Mass advetising my bike-gang-come-cake-club? Maybe I should draw up some cute ass flyers and leave them all over town in trendy places. Maybe it's easier to advertise it here!

I'm thinking a Saturday a couple of weeks from now. I have access to cycle maps, I can plan a route :o) We could offer croggies to anyone who can't ride...

Residents of the East Midlands, Nottinghamshire locals. Wanna road trip with me?

Contact your MP - say no to restrictions on the time limit for abortions

There is a crucial debate in the House of Commons next Tuesday 20th May, on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Part of this Bill seeks to reduce the time limit on abortions from 24 to 20 weeks. This is based (in part) on the belief that premature babies born as early as 20 weeks are viable (we know that anti-choice campaigners have many other varied reasons why they don't want women to have autonomy with their bodies).

A study published in the British Medical Journal has proved this not to be the case (Link), and undermines the argument of some anti-choice MPs who seek to reduce the time limit and restrict a women's right to make decisions about her body.

The good news is that in a poll of MPs the majority said they did not support this restriction! Please show your MP you support for a woman's right to choose by sending them an email or letter before the crucial vote on the 20th. You can contact them quickly and easily via "write to them" or get their address details from the website for parliament and send them a letter.

Dear [MP’s name here]

I am contacting you to ask you to vote against the proposals to lower to upper time limit for abortions, as proposed in the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill to be debated on May 20th.

There are three reasons why you should vote against this change:
1) A recent, peer reviewed research study published in the British Medical Journal looking at premature births in the Trent Deanery has shown the age of viability for premature babies has not changed since the 1990s, and that 80% of premature babies do not survive. The argument to lower the time limit for late term abortions is based upon the misguided belief that medicals advances over the last 15-20 years has improved this. It has not.

2) Women seeking late term abortions are among the most vulnerable, and often have many and complex reasons for doing so, ranging from pregnancy as a result of rape to unexpected pregnancy as a result of failures in contraception –a small percentage of women will get pregnant while on the pill despite using this contraception exactly as prescribed, and discovering complications with the birth or the foetus.

3) 77% of the population support a women’s right to choose [Abortion Rights 2007], woman’s right to an abortion, and to make decisions about their own health and their own body. The erosion of these rights through incremental restrictions on time limit for abortions restricts this right and works to erode it away. Women must have the right to make decisions about their bodies – not anti-choice members of parliament of the clergy.

As a constituent I am asking you to vote against the proposals to lower to upper time limit for abortions, as proposed in the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill to be debated on May 20th.

Yours sincerely.
[Your name here]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Give us a break

Public sector workers take more sick days.
Really, that's not surprising.

* We're subject to ridiculous pay cuts, that are totally removed from our performance levels. Implementation of the Equal Pay across Councils has meant that as much as 25% of staff are loosing thousands of pounds off their annual salary, and we're expected to work alone to defend ourselves from this since the unions are complicit with the Councils. Link

* Our wages are kept low to 'control inflation in the public sector'.
This year's cost of living pay award was 2% across the public sector, below that of inflation. Link

* Our unions fail us repeatedly in securing fair pay and terms and conditions deals.
Maybe this is just my union, who are utterly hopeless.

* In the environmental sector we're expected to do the work because we 'love it' and as such are not given a wage that reflects our skills or responsibility levels. Yes, maybe we do love it, but we have to put food on the table and pay the bills. This difference in pay is evidenced by simply comparing salaries for an administrator at a private firm and one in local gov working for an (underfunded) conservation team for example.

* Workers in the private sector get bonuses, promotions and pay rises for good performance - at least.
I would struggle to work in the private sector though, my perception of it mostly looks like flogging stupid and useless products and lining the pockets of managers. In a world driven solely by money and the pursuit of it.

It's no small wonder that sickness levels are higher among public sector workers. People feel undervalued, are over worked, have no leverage to change their situation (eg pay rises and promotions are few and far between in the public sector because of governing rules and guidance that restricts dynamism).

Yes, we're all screwed over by the work-a-day world in which we have to give over the best and most productive time of our day to fulfil someone else's aims and ambitions. Most of us spend far more time at work than we do at play. Maybe more public sector workers are dreamers, hoping to achieve more for their community with their work day. Maybe that dreamer nature makes it more difficult for us to accept the depressing reality.

Update @ 3pm:
The fog of cynicism and depression is lifting a little. Please forgive my indulgence above ;o)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Home Office campaign

Catchy headline, to entice you to read about the new Home Office campaign to disuade men from buying sex from traffiked women.


What do you think?
Image hotlinked from Home Office.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day of action: Abortion Rights

I can't make it down to London for the Abortion Rights protest, but would be able to do something over lunch that day in Nottingham. Do any of you think we should organise something? Maybe just a mass gathering outside the Council House or something?

Posts in the pipline:
feminist lap dancing
feminism vs capitalism (I know I promised this ages ago, I still intend to write it.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bespoke coffins bring colour to funerals

Colourful coffins made to look like trams, covered in rainbows. What a great idea.

Although, I would probably prefer to be buried in a compostable box in an eco graveyard, or under a tree.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Be the first to know

Subtext has launched a blog. Subtext reviews and news.
I've been slaving all day over this! Wish I could get some of the new blogger features for this old dinosaur.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Housekeeping

TLC for the blog, newly added:

catergories links (though most of the archives aren't categorised)
links to Subtext website and FEM08 (26th APril, Sheff Uni, see you there)

I'm planning a redesign, new colours, picture and maybe some actual posting.
Also, must update my blogroll, though sadly I don't get much time for reading blogs nowerdays.

Robbing us blind

I'm moved, as I'm sure many other bloggers are, to question what the hell the Gov think they're up to abolishing the 10p tax rate? What were MPs and our unions playing at when this was first mooted? Only now does anyone show any signs of reaction and protest at the change, this plan could have been cut off when it was first suggested back when Brown was still Chancellor.

Also the plan to support those of us on low incomes through increased tax credits is totally cockhanded (basically this will mean tax us then credit it back to us in the form of a benefit at a later date - which, knowing our situation, will probably be subject to tax.) They very well know that the benefits system is complicated and difficult to navigate, thousands of people are not receiving what they're entitled to now, never mind when the new poor are added to the mix through this new tax law.

FFS.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The BBC are evil

for making me think penguins could fly.

I am a dumb ass.

Bollocks to all that

I work in an office. Depressingly, I've been working full time in offices for the last 4 years.

No one I have ever worked with swears. Properly. I mean, they might occasionally when it slips out before they can 'check themselves', but they don't relish a good "bollocks to this" the way they should.

When I inevitably drop the odd diatribe of foul language (I say inevitably because I am a hip young thing who lives on the knife edge) it clangs around the quiet, open space, like a bomb.
The F bomb, actually, now I come to think of it.

Polyamory

How would one go about telling their partner they wanted to have an open relationship?

"Erm, honey, can we talk?
"You know we've been in a monogamous relationship for X years? Well, I quite fancy someone else and would like to shag them."

Stunned silence

"I wanted to talk to you about having an open relationship..."

Friday, February 29, 2008

Criminalise buying sex says leading expert on prostitution.

One of the world's leading experts on prostitution is interviewed in the Guardian today. Definitely worth a read if you didn't catch it already.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Subtext issue 5


Horray - issue 5 is now available!
This time I've updated the website using FTP, ooh, and it's been surprisingly easy.

Until now I've updated the website the cheats was using frontpage extensions, which is nice and easy and quick and doesn't involved thought or house keeping for those of us who are a little bit scared of netty things. Well, after 2 years of being a 'webmaster' I thought it was time I stepped up and started using FTP. I don't know what I was worried about.

I used Filezilla, a free FTP client you can download, and you just drag and drop files into your remote folder. Then they're online!

Monday, January 28, 2008

In other news

  • I finished making my trousers! Huzzah!
    All except the hem on the legs and the button.

  • Today may be the first time in months that it is still a leetle beet light to walk home.
    Horray! Spring cannot come round fast enough.

  • I got trashed on the weekend and decided it would be a good idea to go backstage at Rock City (it is not).
    After deciding it was a good idea to go to Rock City (it is not, we don't call it Cock Shitty for nothing).
    After trying to blag free entry to the Cookie Club (they said no, the expression on the manager's face when 5 drunk women turn up wanting free entry was TOTALLY worth it though).

  • I was pining out a pattern in the lving room yesterday, and left for a second to get a drink from the kitchen. When I returned Bert two-patch-piglarter (sounds like barter) had chewed through my pattern piece, and had a bit of fabric dangling from his cheeky little gob.

    After chasing him around a bit, carry on style, he dropped it and made a dash for the hutch. They cannot be trusted for even a moment.

More things to consider

So, my new amazing boots arrived, and they're supremely excellent.

When I ordered them I could get them in either leather, something called ecotan leather (more ecologically sound tanning process and a bit more expensive) or vegan, so I was forced to think about my preferences and personal ethical stance re leather goods.

Leather is the norm for shoes. As a consumer of leather you can get any shoe you want - if you're not bothered about where it came from.

However I don't apply that thinking to other areas of my life or things I buy.

I wouldn't buy clothes from Topshop just because I like them. I boycott Arcadia Group (among others) because I don't want to wear clothes that have been made by underpaid workers in unsafe conditions. That’s not cool.

Despite it being a bit of a pain in the arse, I don't buy makeup that's been tested on animals. Or supplements, or toiletries.

I would never wear fur - and leather’s the same thing really, just less fluffy.

But leather is waterproof, breathable and flexible. And I was brought up to think of non leather shoes as cheap and crappy.

That’s just not the case anymore. Lots of shoes are available with a fabric upper – though it’s a bit cold for winter and not waterproof, this is very breathable for summer. You can buy breathable vegan leather now, which is waterproof and breathable - I have experience of a few pairs of vegan shoes so can vouch for this.

And there are so many good vegan shoes available now, it's hardly like I would be missing out if I didn't buy leather. So, I decided that I would always try to seek out a vegan shoe where possible. I'm going to approach this the way I approach most things – stick to it whenever I can, but be careful not to make a massive crux for myself in making this 'the law'.

I was thinking, though, what is the impact of my choice to buy vegan shoes on the planet? We know that cows produce a shit (ha!) load of methane, and we rear a hell of a lot of cows for eating/dairy/leather purposes - so is my choice not to wear leather good for the planet?

Or, is it ultimately bad? Vegan shoes are made of hemp, canvas or vegan leather. If you want something warm and waterproof vegan leather is your best bet, but I don't even know what vegan leather is made of? I’m guessing it’s some kind of plastic, which ain't good for the world – it requires oil to produce and doesn't biodegrade.

Sadly the internet has failed to find me the easy answer to all this. ‘Buy less’ generally comes to mind but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Making up the news

I saw this reported on BBC over the weekend, and thought at the time - that's the kind of story you would not believe. Turns out you shouldn't believe it after all.

When someone (the Guardian) bothered to trace it back to origin it turns out it's come from a high profile pro-life campaigner, and it looks to be just another insidious way their agenda is fed into the public conscience.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A little tear

Hilary Clinton apparently attributes her most recent upturn in the polls to... crying.

I'm sorry, did you say crying, in an electoral race, against all male opponents?
How on earth can this have given her an advantage? Being British, I know full well that crying is a sign of weakness (stiff upper lip and all that - really crying is totally OK, you' know when not in a race to lead a country and actually campaigning. in fact I am somewhat of a crier, I cried 4 times while watching crappy/wonderful Disney-type movie Snow Dogs the other week*).

Surely the American populous is not looking to elect someone tearful under stress? Who cries (in public!) when she thinks she isn't going to get her own way?

Oh the double standards! Imagine if Barack Obama cried because he didn't think he was going to win. He certainly wouldn't be reminding us about it and pointing it out as a turning point for his campaign.

* There was a border collie, and a whole team of huskies. The border collie wasn't allowed to pull the dog sled, despite bringing a harness out for herself to use (aw!). Then, in an unexpected twist, she was promoted from lap dog to lead dog of the sled! For a life saving expedition into a dangerous storm! *Cue tears* This is was Christmas is all about.

I even cry at frickin RSPCA and Dogs Trust adverts.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Things are hotting up in the kitchen

I've been trying to write a veggie cookery zine for at least 6 months. I take a long time to finish zines - that Subtext ever comes out even near to the planned publishing time is close to a miracle!

Anyway, someone on my college course (learning to make clothes) mentioned she was planning to 'go veggie' and I said I would finish off my zine so she can have a copy since it's got recipes in it.
Well, today I spent most of my (work) day doing just that. And Lazy Veggies: good food for lazy cooks is born!

If you'd like a copy email me travellingpunk at gmail dot com and I'll send you the pdf - cos I'm a gadget wizard who does zines on the twinkly beeping machine.

* For info, I am also working on anarcho-politico zine 'this land' and random nonsense zine'. For about a year.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Heels aren't good for the feet

The sky is blue, Tuesday follows Monday, the chemical symbol for water is H2O.

These are all things we know.

Except I didn't know exactly what high heels did to feet that made them bad for you - apart from making you unbalanced and in crappy ones, in general pain.

This kind of quashes any ideas I might have had about getting some heels. I have been kind of digging the idea of being super tall recently (I'm 5'10'' in flats, but it's not quite tall enough to touch the sky).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Babies in spoons

A new publication for transpeople, their families and friends, and NHS staff who care for them was released by the NHS today called Transgender experiences, Information and support. After a quick read I think it comes across pretty well.

Apart from the babies in spoons, what the hell is that about (page 5)
There's another leaflet to accompany it, a guide to hormone therapy for trans people.