baratron: (voted)
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)
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.]

BiFest

Mar. 20th, 2017 08:08 am
baratron: (bi_pride)
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!
baratron: (Buttercup)
UK Government and Parliament Petitions: EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum. To be fair, this doesn't have a hope in hell of succeeding. But I had to do something. Apparently, Nigel Farage said "In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way". Apparently, if it's 51.9:48.1 in the direction he wanted, it doesn't count as unfinished.

Remember, as Rami Ismail @tha_rami wrote on Twitter:
Just in case somebody argued the majority of the UK voted leave: they didn't.

37.5% voted Leave,
34.7% voted Remain.
27.8% did not vote.

In other news regarding that odious individual, Nigel Farage, he said ‘we won it without a bullet being fired’. Given the tragic death of Jo Cox MP last week, that was a terrible thing to say and he needs to be held accountable for this. 38 Degrees: Nigel Farage: Say sorry for that shocking comment regarding bullets.

The Leave campaigners have blatantly lied. The Guardian: There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - by Nick Cohen. So I signed two petitions about this:

Change.org: Petitioning Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead Rt Hon Theresa May MP. Make it a criminal offence to knowingly mislead the public to achieve electoral gain.

38 Degrees: Expand the powers of the Electoral Commission against misinformation.

and also, related to a referendum promise which now looks unlikely to be kept:
38 Degrees: Keep the promise of £350 million for our NHS. I don't actually believe we do pay £350 million a week to the EU, let alone that all of this money will be freed up if we leave (for one thing, the various regions which currently claim EU funding will need to be given that money. Sadly, the Leave vote was strongest in areas most dependent on the EU).

And some things that I feel strongly about:
Change.org: Mandatory teaching of Politics in British High Schools. Because it seems that a lot of people didn't understand what they were voting for or what leaving the EU would mean. There are still a lot of people in this country who seem to believe that we directly elect our Prime Minister!

38 Degrees: Guarantee no change in the status of E.U citizens currently living in the U.K.

Change.org: Petitioning Boris Johnson MP and David Cameron MP. Government to ensure LGBTQ+ rights do not suffer as a result of the referendum.

And I don't care if you think this is a joke. I am very serious. Change.org: Petitioning Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Declare London independent from the UK and apply to join the EU.

Still living in the hope that if Scotland leaves the UK and (re)joins the EU, that I'll be eligible for a Scottish passport.
baratron: (poly)
I haven't had much energy for livejournal (or indeed, any sort of extended writing) the past few weeks. Today I was planning to write about what we did with Grant while he was here, but I got caught up in chatting on irc and have burned through my communication spoons. Urgh.

So have some more pictures:

The three of us on the 37th Floor of the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, London. 2016-02-21
On the 37th Floor with London behind us, 2016-02-21

Here is a another picture taken at the same time in which I exhibit a seriously smug face.

We found the Poly lift! )
baratron: (poly)
Grant is visiting from the US. It's his first time out of North America and everything here is very very strange. He first got confused on the bus back from Heathrow because of how twisty the streets were, compared to the grid patterns that he's used to. "It's like driving around a Paisley!" he said.

We have done various things, including cuddling, eating, playing Elder Scrolls Online (Grant is such a nerd that he brought his non-laptop computer. Yes, a mini tower) and looking at museums and other such tourist "attractions". I will write more about that when it's not 3 am and we're not supposed to be up in the morning.

I'm sure that what you actually want to see are the pictures of us loving each other.

A couple of days after Grant arrived, in our house. Picture taken by Richard.
In our house. 2016-02

Two more pictures! )
baratron: (willpower)
I'm sitting in Starbucks on Wardour Street waiting for Richard to get out of work. Someone's broken the only lift into his building so I can't wait there, and Westminster Council hates wheelchair users so much that I can't easily get around Soho by myself due to a severe shortage of dropped kerbs. So I didn't have a great deal of choice. I couldn't even get to Costa because it would have meant hurling myself off 4 inch high pavements and then driving along the road. I value my teeth a bit too much to risk that sort of thing.

I really need to organise some sort of petition/protest/shoot a video showing Westminster Council just how fucked up their access around Soho and Covent Garden really is. That would, however, require spoons, which are in short supply at the best of times.

I'm sure I owe you guys an "I got home from my travels safely" message, but I have been far too ill since I got back to manage anything. Nothing new, "just" severe period pain combined with my usual back/hip pain, the combination of which has required eating enough painkillers that I've been too sleepy for coherence. Joy! "Conveniently" I had an appointment at the Pain Management Clinic already booked for Monday. But it was hard to fill in the pain questionnaire when I'd been lying flat on my back groaning because of my uterus for days.

So after a week of doing absolutely bugger all, today I've got up & gone into London. Earlier it was sunny but not warm, now it is positively freezing. It was 30 deg C in Canada and I got irradiated by strong sunlight every day - here it is a maximum of 18 deg C in the middle of the day. Positively autumnal, and I miss my summer. Going out for dinner with Richard and his vegan colleague who is visiting from Canada. Richard has been unimpressed by the way his company has been treating this guy, e.g. yesterday they went out for steak even knowing that nowhere that serves decent steak in London also does vegan food at all.

I'm tired. Life could be a lot worse, though.
baratron: (london)
Last night I went out for curry and ice cream in a clean t-shirt. And then proceeded not to spill any of it over myself. Who am I, and what have I done with h-l?!

The evening also featured a visiting [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses. It was lovely to see him, just as it was to see [livejournal.com profile] epi_lj and [livejournal.com profile] clawfoot in May. If any more friends from the other side of the Pond have a burning urge to visit London, do come and see me :) I am under the impression that there is some big science fiction convention going on in a few weeks, so if any of you are coming over for that, do let me know...

I have been trying to sleep since 6.30 am and it is now 10.30 am. Conclusion: My sleep patterns are fubared. And yes, I meant "fubar" and not "fiber", thank you spillchucker. I have Plans for seeking medical attention, but it occurs to me that I shouldn't go running to my GP flailing about the state of my brain before I've done everything I agreed to do/have checked out from my last visit. So I have to go and see - or at least arrange appointments with - some other medical professionals first. Waah.

Linkspam

Mar. 20th, 2014 03:51 am
baratron: (endurance)
I'm feeling less awful than I was a couple of weeks ago. I've got my exhaustion under control now, I think. But I ran out of one of my antidepressants over the weekend and had to ration it, and am now back to depression with no concentration span. Argh.

Here's some links I've been wanting to post:

Buzzfeed: 15 Comics For Anyone Struggling To Explain What It Means To Be Queer. I'm going to post about webcomics in general when I get around to it. (Please don't post me circular-shaped pieces of card labelled "Round Tuit", it won't actually help even if it's funny).

Milkshakes - adorable women loving women comic from Tumblr. Click on the first picture to get it to zoom, then use the arrow keys to read consecutive pages.

Buzzfeed: 17 London Underground Maps You Never Knew You Needed. Yes, I know I'm a big dork, but these are amazing. Especially the Daily Mail Tube Map.

Female Armor Bingo. For feminist gamers.

BBC News: Rainfall. Pictures from around the world.

BBC News: Pandas on Tour. A single photo of more papier mache pandas than you're likely to see in one place at once.
baratron: (black)
Is anyone in/near London doing anything interesting on New Year's Eve? We are entirely struggling to find a rock/metal club playing the sort of music we like. One friend is going to Shenanigans, but the list of bands is seriously not Richard-friendly (although I wouldn't mind most of it), and a random person on the internet suggested Jubilee at the Barfly, but even though it's run by Chris McCormack who was in two of my favourite bands, most of the music played at the club is apparently stuff that would make me scream, and that's even without the stairs.
baratron: (angry)

Today my life is a fucking disaster & I want to stab everyone in the head. I was supposed to be attending a lecture on research very similar to what I'm doing, at UCL, at 1pm.

Woke up at 9.50am with Richard's alarm. Couldn't go back to sleep. Got up & had a Proper Breakfast (!). Arrived at Kingston station just in time to miss the 11:34 train - could have caught it if I didn't need the bloody ramp to get onto the train :/ Got the 11:49 okay. Arrived at Waterloo at 12:15, so far making very good progress. It's normally no more than 15 minutes from Waterloo to UCL by taxi... Sat in the taxi queue for 45 minutes. Got in the taxi just after 1pm. Arrived at UCL at 1.50 pm. All because of the student & anti-cuts demonstrations that I didn't know were happening today, which blocked up the roads for people like me too crippled to use the bloody Tube.

Didn't even attempt to get to the last 10 minutes of the lecture. Lurked outside to apologise to Philip & the person running it & the speaker. That took a huge amount of courage & I'm really quite shaky now. Want to do nothing more than crawl home & back into bed, but seeing as it cost me £26 (!) to get in, I might as well stay here. Guess I'm having a protein bar, "fruit flakes" (TM) & ginger biscuits for lunch, since I only have £1.88 left in my purse. Unless Richard happens to have no work to do (lol!) & can come up with food...

I "should" have just gone into London as soon as I got up - but I didn't bloody know I needed to. Really annoyed that I didn't check the internet news when I woke up - but I didn't know I needed to. I even generally support the demonstrations taking place. It's just that I wish I'd known they were happening e.g. last night before I went to bed, because now I'm fucking tired & stressed & grumpy & hungry & headachy, & didn't make it to the lecture I was supposed to be at, & would quite like to fall over and die, thank you very much.

Edit: Day has only improved... Headache didn't go away, so didn't dare go into the lab because solvents. The bus driver on the way back failed to see that I existed despite me pressing the "disabled" button to get off, and a total stranger decided to fall over me at Waterloo station because she wasn't looking. Ready to fall over dead now.

baratron: (bi_pride)
Tomorrow is, variously, International Celebrate Bisexuality Day or Bi Visibility Day.

I couldn't decide whether to go to the London BiFete or the Brighton Evening With Cake, so I'm doing both!

I will be at BiFete with my friend Lou from 2-3.30ish, and then at the Brighton Evening from 6-8pm. And on trains the rest of the time.

I have discovered that First Capital Connect are actually competent, and were able to book my assisted travel despite my journey consisting of three separate train companies. This is so amazing that I might have to die of shock.

Scary.

May. 2nd, 2012 02:44 pm
baratron: (corrosive)
Holy crap, police with guns at Waterloo. And I don't mean little handguns like American police carry in holsters. These were big, fuck-off, two-handed RIFLES carried IN THEIR HANDS. Edit: I've been informed they were sub-machine guns. This is not an improvement.

Do Not Want. Especially Do Not Want every day between now & the end of the Olympics. I don't understand how people can feel safe when there are guns waving around.

...and this is even, or ESPECIALLY, after visiting a gun range in Florida last October & learning how to shoot. I was taught in my gun training to never point a gun at someone unless I intended to shoot them. But these policemen were standing at the top of an escalator. They were pointing the guns towards the floor at a 45 degree angle... so "unintentionally" aiming them at the people on the escalator.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

SNOW!

Nov. 30th, 2010 08:29 am
baratron: (what's this?)
HOLY CRAP, IT'S SNOWING!

And the snow's settling :)

I hope this'll get some of the wretched humidity out of the air, so those of us with joint problems will be in a bit less pain. My back would really appreciate that.
baratron: (london)
You know those fake Irish pubs that exist in places outside Ireland? They have Irish names and menus which talk about the craic, and signs over the door saying Failte, but the staff are Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders or Eastern Europeans just like every other pub in London. And they simply serve Guinness along with the same Budweiser or Stella Artois that other pubs have. Apart from the odd independent, there's a whole chain of them in the UK called O'Neills, and they are about as Irish as my arse+.

Fake British or English pubs are less common, but I've seen a few around the place. There is one in Colorado Springs which listed its menu in the phonebook, and I nearly died laughing at it. Can't remember any of the details now, I was there for alt.polycon 11 in... 2003? But it included such British staples as black bean soup with nachos, along with attempts at actual British food that went a bit wrong and ended up like the "beef trifle" on Friends (Video).

What I really wasn't expecting to find was a fake British pub... in central London. It's called London Pub! No, really. It's just round the corner from College, on Woburn Place. Fear.

+ My arse is actually more Irish than you'd think, given that my mother's maiden name was - well, something I'm not going to tell you here, due to the vast quantity of online bankers and retailers that use mother's maiden name as a security question - but certainly a surname that would turn up in any top 20 of Irish surnames. Though the shape of my arse comes entirely from my Asian grandmother. Still, its genes are some percentage Irish. About the same percentage as those pubs, I reckon.
baratron: (richard again)
Anyone want to go & see Toy Story 3 tomorrow? I'm thinking a late showing, 8.30 or 9pm, in central London, to ensure that Richard is actually out of work on time.

It would be useful if we could acquire an even number of people for maximum use of Orange Wednesdays vouchers. I want to make the most out of that deal before Richard & I quit Orange in disgust! (I'm thoroughly sick of phoning him and the call failing to connect simply because there's not enough Orange bandwidth. Also sick of randomly not having reception for the same reason. Bah).

Comment here if you're interested and I'll try to find a cheapish central London cinema that takes the Orange Wednesdays vouchers and has a 9pm showing.
baratron: (richard again)
From yesterday's Sunday Times: It’s a grolar, the climate-change polar bear. The photo in the paper was even cuter, it featured much more of the bears and you could see that the polar bear had his paw on the grizzly bear.

From today's Metro: Dramatic pictures of polar bear encounter. Featuring omg baaaaaaaaaby polar bear triplets! Obeys many of Cute Overload's rules of cuteness, e.g. #7: A thing, accompanied by a smaller version of that thing, is always cute and #9: Piles of a cute thing jack up a cuteness rating exponentially.

Also, some other newspaper articles:
'I lost the gift of joy for a while'. The artist behind Purple Ronnie and Edward Monkton writes about depression. I hadn't realised it was the same artist but it makes sense - they're both simple art styles with surreality.

And I have been checking the date to make sure it's not April Fools' Day... London commuters in a spin as Circle Line becomes a tadpole. Seriously - there was once a time when I would have known about this sort of thing months before normal Londoners. I miss Usenet.
baratron: (dino)
Had a fairly meh weekend due to my entire body crapping out on me on Saturday. I'd wanted to go to Birmingham BiFest but with my back, legs, right hip and left ankle all hurting, I wasn't going to manage 4 hours on trains. Even my gall bladder decided to get in on the action! I haven't had gallstone pain that bad in years. Instead I spent 15 hours asleep. Woo.

Yesterday was much more interesting. Richard & I went to see Ghost Forest in Trafalgar Square. It's an exhibition of tree stumps from rainforest trees in Ghana. Some of the trees had been felled sustainably (every tree in the rainforest there is numbered, and you can only take a certain quota of trees from a particular area in a 40 year period), others had fallen naturally. It was particularly useful to have the exhibition there because Nelson's Column is a similar height to the mature trees, so you had an immediate reference for the size of them when living. Also the plaque alongside each tree had a simple graphic comparing it to Nelson's Column (like when blue whales are compared to London buses, or in a video game info screen where you see size of monster compared to your character). Richard took lots of photos and I shall prod him until they go online.

Today the exhibition was being taken down, and sometime this week the trees are going to Copenhagen for the climate change summit. I don't know if there is a comparable building to be a size reference there.

I like the story about the Denya tree not wanting to leave the ground.
baratron: (wolfy)
Today, London had snow. About 8 inches of snow. As a result, all the buses and trains were cancelled and most people got a day off work/school/college. This may be hilarious to those of you for whom 8 inches of snow is a daily occurrence at this time of year, but we're just not geared up for it. Snow doesn't happen here often enough for people to have chains for their tyres or anything useful like that. Most people don't even have snow boots!

Anyway - I went out and built a snow wuzzie and wolfy in our front garden. They're not very wonderful because I haven't played with snow for about 20 years, but they do at least look like a wuzzie and wolfy! You can click on the photo for a bigger version.


Snow Wolfy Snow Wuzzie and Wolfy
Snow Wolfy
Made by me, 2009-02-02.
Snow Wuzzie and Wolfy
Made by me, 2009-02-02.
baratron: (baratron again)
The other day I was in the lift at Goodge Street tube station with some UCL students. (I know they were UCL students because they were talking about their lectures – and one of them had a UCL bag). One of the girls was wearing a pair of beautiful purple velvet ballet shoes. You can tell they were beautiful shoes because I noticed them – me, the woman who doesn't really care about footwear. She was bemoaning the fact that they had been soaked with water and were now ruined. I had some sympathy because they really were quite delightfully purple, but had to wonder why someone who studied in London thought it appropriate to wear non-waterproof shoes in November. It's not as if torrential rain is exactly uncommon here...


I managed to freak out my course director slightly today with my amazing psychic ability to know where he was despite the fact the room he was in a) was not his office and b) had an opaque door. Read more... )


Am currently trying to decide whether I am a genius or an idiot. I oscillate between the two positions at a rate of knots, sometimes espousing both positions multiple times within a single minute of a lecture. For some reason, my brain just isn't willing to deal with the intermediate perspective – that I am a person who knows some things but not others. I wish I knew where that all or nothing approach came from.

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