baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
2017-08-09 07:55 pm
Entry tags:

Blurgh

I have woken up with the plague, which frankly is not a surprise given the amount of stress I've been under lately. Given that I've been coughing and sneezing since Sunday but blaming it on hay fever, I've likely been fighting this virus for a while already. So I've called Virgin and rearranged my travel from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning, in the hope I should be better by then. Or at least, not actively woozy and feverish.

I have emailed BiCon Bookings to tell them that I will not be arriving on Thursday due to lurgy, but will be there on Saturday.

I'm sure I'm doing something wrong here. Aren't you supposed to catch the BiCon crud at BiCon?
baratron: (bunches)
2017-08-08 06:47 pm
Entry tags:

So much love for dreamwidth right now

You can search your own journal! Meaning that I can find that post from 2003 before tags were a thing (and which I never had the spoons to go back and add tags to).

It even finds the access filtered stuff. And people with a paid account can also search comments made on their journal, too.
baratron: (london)
2017-08-04 11:25 pm

DW meta, Where *is* everybody? and Freedom Pass

I've done a bit more work on migrating my lj friends list to a new dreamwidth access list. It is, however, really depressing how many of the accounts on my new list say "never updated" next to them.

It seems that my dreamwidth reading list consists of about 10 people who regularly post. I really miss the chronic health community that I had on lj, but haven't had the spoons either to post on lj to ask where people have moved to, or to try to find a new version here. Must find some spoons. Currently accepting donations.

I still have a couple of hundred links from my mobile browser which I "need" to post on my journal. I expect most of the news-related links are now hideously outdated due to new events. A lot of the queer or disability-related links are still interesting, though.

In exciting personal news, I now have a Freedom Pass! I've qualified for one for years, I just didn't have sufficient energy/motivation to submit the paperwork. And buses in London are free if you're a wheelchair user anyway. However, due to various things (such as the fire at Camden Lock Market), I now need to take the Tube on a regular basis. £8.10 for a Travelcard with a Disabled Railcard is just horrendous (that's like THREE chocolate brownies!), and that was finally enough motivation for me to apply for the pass.

So now I can travel all around London for free, and also on buses elsewhere in England. However, my travel is currently restricted owing to the fact that platforms 7 & 8 at Vauxhall will have no lift until April. Also for the next couple of weeks, trains from Kingston are only every half hour (instead of every 15 minutes), and will be taking 48+ minutes to get to Waterloo instead of 30ish.

I must remember to buy tickets for this vegan food fair. Perhaps after Richard has recovered from the shock of paying for my last-minute train tickets to Leeds - which were already heavily reduced due to aforementioned Freedom Pass and Disabled Railcard...
baratron: (bi_pride)
2017-08-04 10:45 pm

Who is going to BiCon?

I have been very, very exhausted since Grant went home. I'm hoping this is situational rather than a relapse of chronic fatigue, since I'm in the process of trying to go back to university after two years off! (Honestly, the amount of crap and paperwork that I have had to wade through since March would daunt the most indefatigable of people. We're now aiming for me to have everything sorted out for 1st September ready for the new term which begins on 2nd October. I had been aiming for the summer term beginning in April, or at least to be ready to return in July. I really am completely sick of it.)

Due to the fatigue, I have left all my BiCon planning to the last minute. I just booked my trains. They are costing far too much money, but that would be the sick person tax. One of these days, I will simply book my train so very early that it costs under £20 for the return and just eat that cost if I am too ill to travel, because it is actually cheaper in the long run than booking my trains once I'm certain if I'm well enough to go. Sigh.

Since it seems that most BiCon discussion is done on Facebook and I don't have one of those, I'm not sure who is going other than [personal profile] skibbley, and [personal profile] ludy if well enough. Therefore I would appreciate it if you would please let me know if you are going or not?

I have arranged dinner on Thursday and lunch/dinner on Sunday with local friends, but I'm really concerned about how I'm going to feed myself for two days without a carer to cook for me, or how I'm going to carry food with me up to the place. There are probably people doing Ocado orders and suchlike, please let me know if I can go in with you on one. I have PayPal and/or can do bank transfers so that you get paid up front.

One of these days I will get around to updating you on things that have been going on lately. If you don't hear anything, assume that I am spending my days doing battle with bureaucracy and my nights doing battle with non-player characters in Elder Scrolls Online :)
baratron: (poly)
2017-06-20 09:37 pm

Preparing for a visiting Partner

I haven't been posting more than comments because it's been too hot to switch my computer on. My laptop is "built for extreme gaming" and therefore has two heavy-duty fans, one for the CPU and the other for the GPU. Unsurprisingly, it belches out A LOT of heat. Given that it's been over 30 degrees C during the day and even over 25 at night, I haven't had much desire to add to the house temperature. I've been playing Dragon Quest VII on my 3DS instead of Elder Scrolls Online on my computer, and just checking in with my Guild for 30-60 minutes at 3 am when it's as cool as it's going to get.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I shall be 41, which is quite shocking. I don't FEEL like I should be middle-aged yet - even if extended life expectancy means we now have "early" middle-age from 40 to 55 and "late" middle-age from 56 to 70 or 75, and you don't become "elderly" until you're properly decrepit. One of my birthday presents will be a visiting Grant, which means I am now attempting to do battle with entropy such that there will be enough space in the house for him to stay.

To do... )
baratron: (voted)
2017-06-08 03:12 pm

Dogs at Polling Stations, Voting when Blind, and Eff Off Evening Standard

Am back from telling. Dogs at the Polling Station update: 5 during the hours of 1pm - 3pm.

Yay: I got licked by a very fluffy husky.
Boo: His owner was a very obnoxious Tory.

Here is an interesting video from BBC News: How do you vote when you're blind?

In other news, London's newspaper, the Evening Standard officially Went Too Far last night. It is now edited by George Osborne, who is famous primarily for being Chancellor of the Exchequer (a.k.a. Finance Minister) for David Cameron's government. Obviously, you would expect a bit of Tory bias in his newspaper.

Well, yesterday it was announced that Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, is unwell. Shadow Ministers are from the main Opposition party (currently, the Labour Party) and literally "shadow" the jobs of Government ministers. Conservatives have argued that she isn't really unwell at all, this is an excuse to get her out of the limelight because of mistakes she has been making during the Election campaign. Personally, given my chronic illnesses, it seems entirely obvious to me that a person who has previously been very competent and suddenly starts making mistakes could be ill. But hey, I'm biased in a different direction.

The Home Secretary is responsible for immigration, policing, and national security. Theresa May was previously Home Secretary, and during her incumbency the UK Home Office asked LGBT asylum seekers utterly atrocious personal questions, held traumatised people in detention, generally treated them like crap on a stick, and sent legitimate asylum seekers back to their original countries to get tortured and/or killed. The Home Secretary is also responsible for the UK's efforts to Fight the War Against Some Terrorists. It's basically the third most important job in the British Government.

The Evening Standard responded to the news of Diane Abbott's illness by commissioning this absolutely appalling cartoon. It's rude, obnoxious, and dismissive of pretty much everyone with a long-term serious health condition. The rather wonderful Jack Monroe has pointed out everything that Diane Abbott has achieved in her career. It's long, and impressive. Plenty of other politicians never accomplish this much. So why does she get so much abuse? Could it be because she dares to be middle-aged, female, black, and fat?
baratron: (voted)
2017-06-08 07:33 am

Richmond Park, Brexit, and the General Election

Today is the British General Election, and I am scared shitless.

On a local level, there is a strong chance that I will once again have the overprivileged twit who didn't know what BSL meant (when given the context of "BSL interpreters for disabled people") as my Member of Parliament. I am absolutely horrified that the local Conservative party chose Zac Goldsmith as their candidate for MP, after he resigned from the party and triggered an entirely unnecessary by-election only a few months ago. He claimed it was about blocking the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Well, guess what? The Conservative Government decided to back the expansion of Heathrow Airport! So how can he stand as a Conservative again? Okay, he never ruled out rejoining the Conservatives 'in the future', but five months later is hardly the sort of 'future' that people were expecting when they asked him.

Basically, the man is a self-serving slimeball*. He believes that the reason he lost the by-election in December was because standing as an Independent, he wasn't allowed access to the Conservative Party database of supporters, and Conservative ministers weren't allowed to help him. (Although some non-minister Conservative MPs helped him, including pro-Heathrow expansion friends.) 1871 votes isn't a big margin, and while people might be willing to vote Lib Dem as a protest against Brexit, people who are scared of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister aren't going to risk losing a Conservative seat. Urgh.

*[Since we need some humour to break up the unrelenting grimness, I saw this article in one of the local rags the other day: A huge snake paid an uninvited visit to a home in Kew and immediately texted Richard to ask "Was it Zac Goldsmith?". He replied, "It's a popular misconception that snakes are slimy. Actually, only Tories are slimy." My dear friend Stellarwind pointed out "There's a very distinctive difference. One is a predatory cold-blooded reptile that makes some people very nervous... the other is a snake."]

On a national level, the fact is that the Conservatives hate disabled people. I could link to literally hundreds of articles to prove this, but here's one about mental health, and one about physical disability. That second link should be read by EVERYONE I know except for those who are expecting a PIP assessment soon and can't afford to get triggered.

There's also the absolute mess that Brexit is going to make of our country. I have no training in economics and cannot really argue this point, but I do know that the pound was worth US $1.6 only about a year ago. Now it's more like 1.1. And that isn't because the dollar got a lot stronger, it's because the British economy is collapsing.

I was arguing with an idiot this morning who claimed that "u can look at it as people more incentivised to buy local and your economy will benefit". I replied "'Buy local' means giving up every foodstuff which can't grow in your climate. Goodbye, oranges!". The exchange rate matters A LOT for trade. Even on the most basic level of an individual wanting to shop, it matters. I want a $20 nerdy t-shirt from the US? It used to cost me £12.50. Now it costs me £18.18. (The idiot claimed I should "buy a nerdy UK shirt. this is how you rek your own economy gettin evrythin foreign", and I tried to point out that the specific design I want to purchase is sold by an American company, and then I gave up trying to argue.)

The Conservative government is violently pro hard-Brexit (i.e. a complete split from the EU, removing the right to free movement, withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights, withdrawing from the European Medicines Agency, etc). I'm a scientist and I'm worried sick about the effect of Brexit on science. I'm also a person with Northern Irish ancestry, and I'm worried sick about the effect of Brexit on the Irish border. These things matter, and it's like a load of little Englander UKIP-voting Brexiteers haven't even thought about them.

And I just can't cope. My mental health has been collapsing ever since this election was called, along with many of my friends'. Richard is kicking himself for not taking up Belgian citizenship when he was still entitled to it. I'm going to be out today working for the Liberal Democrats, trying to make sure that we keep our Sarah and don't let that awful Zac back, but a General Election really isn't the same as a local by-election. And I've been too ill and stressed lately to do more than cheer Richard on as he's delivered leaflets. If we lose by a narrow margin, it's going to feel very personal.

[Leaving this public for now. If any anonymous trolls decide to have a go at me, then I'll close it down. Not in the mood to argue.]
baratron: (Luka)
2017-06-07 03:51 am
Entry tags:

Have been to the dentist

I went to the dentist and it was not traumatic! It may have helped that my dentist was an attractive woman ;) I've never had a female dentist before.

Cut for people who don't want to hear about dentistry, although it was not scary for me and I'm pretty dental phobic. )
baratron: (Luka)
2017-06-06 02:34 am
Entry tags:

Wolfy has a Bad Fang

I have tooth pain. I was asleep on Sunday afternoon because my sleep patterns are completely messed up. Woke up on Sunday night having dreamt about tooth pain, and woke up to find it was real :( Specifically one of my wisdom teeth (bottom left) has decided to start breaking through the gum line and my gum is all puffy and swollen.

Read more... )
baratron: (endurance)
2017-06-02 12:43 am

Have accomplished DSA forms

Last night I spent about 3 hours filling in my Disabled Students' Allowance forms and wanted to die. There is nothing quite like detailing EVERY WAY in which you are medically broken to make you feel like a non-person.

I had to fill in three years' worth of forms in one go, because I need some funding for 2015/16 to cover 4 x sessions I had with my disability support mentor before deciding to go on a break in studies, as well as the current year (2016/17) and next year (2017/18), which made the whole experience extra tedious. Although virtually all the questions were the same, so I could copy and paste stuff.

The worst thing was that my name - "Helen-Louise" was too long to fit in the boxes of the older forms because apparently a first name should only have 10 characters in it?! I mean, what?

In other news I am slowly continuing to move people over from their old livejournal usernames to their new Dreamwidth usernames for access and subscription purposes. If you think you should be on my access list and are not currently (can you see this post?) feel free to leave me a comment here.
baratron: (bi_pride)
2017-05-31 11:05 pm

I booked for BiCon!

Who is going? And who wants to share a flat with me?

Proviso: I need an accessible room/bathroom which may reduce the number of humans that can be accommodated within the flat.
baratron: (cn tower)
2017-04-26 02:08 am

Home from travels

Home from travelling. Actually, I got in somewhere around 1 pm yesterday and proceeded to pass out for many hours. Woke up at 1 am and (much to my surprise) have been awake ever since. Husband has been snuggled. Boyfriend has been talked to on Skype. He looks very sad, poor thing, but it remains against the laws of physics for me to be in two places at once. Hoping we can have him visit in late June/early July for my birthday.

Super weirdly, I have been physically energetic enough to have emptied the laundry rack, folded the dry laundry, sorted all of the dirty laundry in my suitcase, put on a load of laundry, emptied the clean stuff out of the dishwasher and refilled it. I hope that I will not pay for this tomorrow, though I have A Theory. A theory which involves, of all things, vegan bacon and my ability to get it.

(Gods, I knew that Yves Veggie Bacon wasn't very fatty, but I didn't realise that 3 rashers had only 0.5 g of fat between the lot of them, along with 14 g of protein. Short of actually, y'know, BAKING my own tofu, I am unsure where to get tasty textured fake meat products which are low fat and high protein. Nasty-tasting, weird textured but low fat, I can do. Nice-tasting, well-textured and full of fat, I can do).

Continue to be Unimpressed with Aer Lingus. Will relate the full story later when spoons exist.
baratron: (cn tower)
2017-04-23 10:55 pm
Entry tags:

And it just gets better and better

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10:00 p.m. — Monday, April 24, 2017, 5:00 p.m.

Due to system maintenance during the dates and times listed, there will be a partial shutdown of AirTrain JFK service. There will be no service to/from all airport terminals and no service at the Howard Beach and Lefferts Blvd stations. AirTrain JFK service will continue to operate a normal schedule to/from Jamaica Station and Federal Circle. Free shuttle buses replace service and will be available at the affected AirTrain stations and airport terminals. Please allow extra time when traveling to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport and see a Customer Care Representative for assistance if needed.


Argh! I just LOVE the idea of having to travel around the airport in a shuttle bus instead of a nice, accessible train! *facepalm*
baratron: (boots)
2017-04-23 06:26 pm

People are stupid (sometimes including me)

I have many photos of my trip to the US to post, when I get A Round Tuit. They are crappy mobile phone pictures, but I cannot be bothered to carry a real camera with me any more. I am a terrible photographer with the best equipment in the world, and I'm more interested in recording memories than attempting to take good shots.

Currently I am worrying about being stranded in New York tomorrow once Delta drop me off there.

It turns out that Aer Lingus are morons. I've had several "incidents" with them this trip and am never flying with them again, but in the meantime they are supposed to be getting me home to London tomorrow.Read more... )
baratron: (sleepy)
2017-04-19 03:16 pm
Entry tags:

So tired

Ye gods, I am so tired.

Shifty is in the process of replacing all of the kitchenware and appliances that he "inherited" from various relatives. However, he doesn't ever use his toaster, so it's pretty low priority for him. The toaster doesn't pop up properly, so I usually unplug it and then reach in with a fork to get the toasted item out.

Today I caught myself reaching into the toaster with a fork while it was still plugged in, thought "I don't want to electrocute myself" and flipped the pastry with (now-burned) fingers. Then I did the exact same thing when getting it out to serve!

My brain is just fried with fatigue. I am seriously contemplating going back to bed because I'm woozy as hell. No idea why I should be so tired, beyond the normal chronic fatigue. I'm sleeping well and falling asleep within minutes of getting into bed, which almost never happens at home. Although yesterday I was feeling like a sim whose Social bar was close to zero, so maybe it's that.

Emailed Dawn and [personal profile] hoopycat a few minutes ago to see if they want to come round for dinner tonight. We have a metric buttload of food that needs to be eaten up because Grant and I keep going out. I'll be up for socialising once I've rested some more.
baratron: (endurance)
2017-04-18 02:27 pm
Entry tags:

Easter, Christians, and Church

Well, I am an idiot. On Friday I went into a complete panic because the official invite for the party with Grant's cow-orkers got sent around, and it was very actively Christian. I generally have no problem with Christians who I meet through queer or poly circles, or who are members of the same political party as me, since I know they are likely to share my liberal values. However, given the state of American politics and the people currently running the country who call themselves "Christian" but share none of the values of tolerance and love expressed by Jesus Christ, I have something of a phobia of American Christians.

Grant says that I am being judgemental and jumping to conclusions, but it is a real problem when people who are in favour of love, equality, and social justice use the same name for their religion as people who are in favour of hatred and rich-white-cis-heteros being superior to everyone else. Of course, neither of them are willing to change to a different name, with the argument from liberal Christians being that they need to reclaim the name of Christ from the hatemongers. I can understand their point of view, but it makes it really difficult to know whether a person who calls themselves Christian is the "good" kind of Christian or the "bad" kind.

of course this gets long, it's me after all )
baratron: (poly)
2017-04-14 01:32 pm

Dinner with a Good Friend and Total Strangers

Yesterday was a little surreal. First of all, a friend who I've known for 15+ years outed themselves as non-binary and planning to start a medical transition approximately 5 hours before we were due to meet in person. Of course, I have no problems whatsoever with a person changing their name and pronoun (as I said, sometimes I feel like the only person in the bi/poly community who isn't non-binary or genderqueer*)- but I usually expect to find out a bit sooner than the day we're meeting for the first time in seven months! It helps to practice the new name and pronoun for a bit by myself so I don't accidentally blurt out the wrong one with the person present.

As it was, I blurted out the wrong name within minutes, and didn't even mean to - I was trying to say "Grant", but my stupid noun aphasia (caused by high doses of venlafaxine, which is otherwise a really good medication for me) cut in and substituted the friend's old name. Just great. Fortunately, friend has indeed known me for 15+ years and has been aware of what my mental health is like when inadequately medicated, and could agree that annoying side-effect beats the state I used to be in.

Then the friend (who may out themselves here if they wish) and I went out for dinner with Shifty and two of his cow-orkers. They were all hideously late owing to their charity work being extremely disorganised, and I was very glad I wasn't sitting in the restaurant by myself. The cow-orkers asked how Shifty and I had met, we started talking about Elder Scrolls Online and the UESP Guild, and it turned out that one of the cow-orkers has been using the UESP wiki since Oblivion (2006). And he was basically fanboying at me for running the UESP Guild and knowing the site owner.

Meanwhile, my friend was talking about their wife and girlfriend, and I was talking about Grant and "my husband, Richard". I mentioned things like when the three of us go out for dinner, how they always pick the same thing and then one of them has to switch so they can try more dishes - that they don't just have the same taste in women. While not explicitly at any stage using words like "polyamory" or "open relationship".

The dinner was nice and it was not too stressful, but I was feeling pretty wiped out by the end. I seem to be fighting some sort of throat infection, which is attempting to ruin my holiday and can sod off any time now.


*I am bigender rather than non-binary or genderqueer, so I am female except when I'm not. I have somewhere between a few hours and a few days of raging gender dysphoria per month where my entire body is Wrong, and the (actually bi but scared of women) gay man in the back of my head comes out. And the rest of the time it's just fine and I want to be addressed as "she/her" and recognised as A Female Geek Doing Nerdy Things. The conclusion I've come to is that my social and political gender is female, but my sexual gender is male.
baratron: (baratron)
2017-04-14 12:53 pm
Entry tags:

New Exciting Dreamwidth Meta

I am about 50% of the way through fixing my Dreamwidth Circle to include people's DW names instead of their LJ names if I am certain that they have moved over. It's exhausting! And removing the people who are ACTUALLY DEAD or who I have irreversibly lost contact with (i.e. they haven't logged into LJ since 2003) is emotionally draining.

If you are reading this but are not already in my Circle because your name is different here than it was on LJ, please let me know. Also all of my old filters are messed up, I literally cannot remember who used to have access to what, so if you happen to have a bookmarked post which you can't read any more, let me know and I'll filter you back in. I'm a little tempted to simply delete ALL of my old filters and start again, but I have around 25 of the things - they must have been useful for something!

I also need to remind myself how the S2 system works, and port over my old LJ style if it's actually S2. I can't remember whether I ever got around to switching from S1 to S2! I quite like the default Dreamwidth style that I'm using at the moment, apart from all of the titles being in BLOCK CAPITALS. I am the sort of person who even likes to put her own name in lower case, so all of these BLOCK CAPITALS are quite SHOUTY and I don't like my own journal SHOUTING at me.

In related news, I need to set up a custom mood scheme because I don't like any of the defaults. I *like* my rainbow faces over at LJ, okay?! Might have to commission someone who can sprite to create a custom mood scheme for me. That's not actually a bad idea...

Edit: Ye gods, this is depressing. Apparently it's livejournal's 18th birthday. I could cry.
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
2017-04-12 01:30 pm

Visiting my Big Man

In the process of importing my livejournal. Hoping it won't take forever because 2001-most of 2013 is already here. Wondering about some of my communities (the two or three that I really care about) because I haven't been back to lj to "agree" to their TOS and mark my entire journal as Not Suitable For Children yet. Mostly due to lack of time.

In the meantime, if you want to be added to my Fiends List and use a different username here, please comment. I do so like Dreamwidth's separation of "Subscribe" and "Grants Access".

I am currently in Rochester, New York, USA visiting my partner Grant. Here are some pictures from Monday:
Me and Shifty cuddling

And two more! )
baratron: (bi_pride)
2017-03-20 08:08 am
Entry tags:

BiFest

Apparently there is a BiFest on Saturday 8th April, approximately 10 minutes walk from my house. This is so very close that I really have no excuse not to go. So who else will be there?

The day after, I am flying to the US to see Grant for two weeks, so it will be awesome to see all my bi and/or poly friends beforehand!