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: (poly)
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.

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: (what's this?)
Have some links:

Slate.com: The Snarky, Clever Comments Hidden in the "Acknowledgments" of Academic Papers. A few days later, this article appeared in The Times, hardly edited at all. Hrm.

Twitter picture: Just wrapped the other half's Xmas present. I should have kept it in the box. May be NSFW?

Fungal Christmas tree. Yeah, I should have posted this link about a month ago.

Short story: The Racist Tree by Alexander Blechman.


Webcomics:
BBC News: Amiir and Family: Somalis in Norway. Rather moving webcomic in the style of Persepolis and Maus.

The Dwarf Bride by Sammy Montoya. Awesome 8 page comic with queer theme.


Random Tumblr stuff:
Real bear with a teddy bear.

Fifty Shades of Grey as read aloud by a Kindle.

Books I Like by Katie Viggers. Children's picture books reviewed.
baratron: (Skyrim)
I wish to register a complaint. There is precisely one canon gay couple in Skyrim, and they're both dead when you find them. No, that's not problematic at all.

I'm generally fairly easy-going when it comes to fictional characters. After all, we don't know the sexuality of anyone in the game for certain. People in happy, loving, opposite-sex relationships might identify as bisexual rather than heterosexual, just like in real life. Also, there are an awful lot of characters who aren't currently in relationships, and the game doesn't have speech options for you to quiz them about their sexual orientation. The best you can do is put on an Amulet of Mara and ask people if they're interested in marrying you. The same 60 or so characters are available for marriage, regardless of the gender or race of the character you're playing. And if they have a high enough relationship level with you, they will always say yes.

So Skyrim's a lot more generous than many games in terms of what it allows the player. Opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are treated absolutely identically. But the only characters who talk about being romantically involved are people in opposite-sex relationships. There may be same-sex relationships, but they're not overt.

The only overt same-sex couple are both dead.

The tale of Hrodulf and Bjornolfr is a tragedy which you only piece together if you have enough interest to do so. Technically, I should mark this as containing spoilers. )
baratron: (boooooks)
What am I reading now?
Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs. Actually, I'm sorta cheating with this - I have read everything but the last two chapters in order, and flicked ahead to the end to find out what happens, but I don't want it to end!

I adore Patricia Briggs' modern urban fantasy - you know, the kind of story set in a world that's almost exactly like ours, except it has werewolves or vampires or whatever. But I really, really love her traditional fantasy, set in a medieval-type world with dragons and dwarves and so on. The characters are just awesome.

What have I read recently?
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs. And then I went out and bought it.

The Alpha and Omega series: Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. Modern urban fantasy set in the same universe as the Mercedes Thompson novels. I really like the way she writes werewolves, and that she doesn't gloss over the bits that don't make sense about lycanthropy. The werewolves themselves comment on how they break physics by suddenly gaining a load of extra mass when they transform!

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. I've only had it out since *cough* February. The whole reason I hadn't got round to reading it before was because it's a hardback, and I can only read those sitting at a desk or in bed. I enjoyed it even though it's about football, fashion, and celebrities - three things I have no interest in ;) All of the recent Discworld books have been excellent - basically, since it turned from "fantasy" into a parody of our world, though I do wonder how much of it makes sense to readers outside the UK.

What am I going to read next?
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. Also a couple of books of short stories, after which I will have read everything by this author in the whole of the London library system. I'm going to have to search second-hand booksellers for her other stuff.

The Awakening and The Hunted by L.A. Banks, the two immediate sequels to Minion. I seriously do not know how I'm going to feel about them. Flicking through them suggests that BABIES!!!!11! are going to feature heavily in the plot, which might drastically reduce their appeal for me, depending on how it's done.

WANTED:
Recommendations for fantasy novels featuring queer characters - especially "traditional" dragons/dwarves/elves-type fantasy. Ideally not books that are the size of telephone directories either. Preferably books that are available in print in the UK, because I still hate eBooks. Though characters are everything, and I will read an enormous weighty tome if the characters keep me interested enough.

This is basically "research" for the book that I ultimately want to write, when I have time and health. I've figured out how to take my characters from the video game universe where they originated into a universe of my own creation (known for now as Generic Fantasy Universe 43). But I want to know what has already been done. I have a horrible feeling that the only gay fantasy books out there are self-published because of it being seen as a niche market, but... prove me wrong?
baratron: (bi_pride)
I'm not feeling hugely well today, so I'm not sure that anything I planned to do will happen. But I thought I might manage a bit of 5 minute activism, and then I can feel as though I've achieved something with my day. Oh yes.

So, with that in mind, will you all please visit this site and vote for Jen Yockney as "Homo" Hero!

I've known Jen since 1999. She really is one of the mainstays of the British bi community. As well as running the Manchester group Biphoria, she also edits Bi Community News, runs workshops at BiCon, helps out at Pride including one not even in her area, organises BiMedia, and lately is revamping the Bisexual Visibility Day site.

Voting for Jen is a way to get B & T issues recognised by a group that still only uses L & G in its name. It's also a way to show how many bisexuals and allies are out there. You don't have to vote in any of the other categories, although you can if you wish (I certainly did).

It doesn't matter what country you live in. Although the Lesbian & Gay Federation is based in North-West England, all you need to give is your name and email address to prove you're a unique person. If you wish to say where you heard about the Homo Hero awards, "from a friend" or "on the internet" will do.

It takes less than 5 minutes. Please vote.
baratron: (bi_pride)
Are any of my friends travelling from London to Brighton this Saturday for Pride? Or wanting to meet up in Brighton?

I will need to somehow get myself from being entirely nocturnal to being awake in the morning, which will be "interesting", but other than that, I want to be there in time to see the Parade. I seem to remember that arriving about 12 noon is plenty early enough since it never starts on time.
baratron: (bi_pride)
The bits of BiCon that were Bisexual, Spending Time with Friends, and Edinburgh were all awesome. I had really good food (not least of all [livejournal.com profile] nitoda lemon cake!), lots of time with people I love and don't see enough, awesome gaming, some very useful activist discussions, and a few interesting workshops. Only a few because my chronic fatigue played up something chronic (ha ha) and I spent most of the mornings and some of the afternoons asleep. Of course, as is typical with these things, there were some people I really like who I said little more than "Hello" to, but that always happens. Next time.

The bits of BiCon that were Sharing the Venue with Other People were crap. Bad enough that the team ended up calling the police to report repeated instances of hate crime from other groups on site. That is all I am saying in public, not least of all because 95% of the stories are not mine to tell.

The weather in Edinburgh was glorious - mid 20s, quite dry, and light until almost 10pm. I have returned to London to find it over 33 degrees C (94.3 deg F). THIRTY-THREE. This may be a normal temperature for some parts of the world in summer, but it is nothing short of freakish for here. It's so hot that I can't wear the wrist supports that I'm needing right now, because they make me sweat so much that the skin under my wrists simply peels off. Ouch. And I really miss that extra hour of daylight. Ah well.
baratron: (bi_pride)
Hooray (so far). Still got the Lords to go. Actually, still got A LONG WAY to go: we're at the first 2 on this diagram.

David Lammy ♥. You may need tissues.
baratron: (bi_pride)
This story is amazing, and pretty much the definition of intersectionality: How My Korean Mother Gave Me the Courage to Transition. The author is a male-to-female transsexual who was adopted from Korea as a baby and now lives in the US. She found her birth family and came out to them.

Warning: You will almost certainly blub before the end. Have tissues handy.
baratron: (test tube)
NASA finds Cookie Monster on surface of Mercury. Awesome :)

Parody of anti-gay pamphlets offers detailed, behind-the-scenes view of how liars misuse real citations. Very interesting, and Relevant To Our Interests.

Sexist bastardJames Watson on The Double Helix and his changing view of Rosalind Franklin. I still want to spit at him, but I suppose he comes across as slightly less objectionable when all the evidence is considered. Bah.

More than you maybe needed to know about the echidna. Warning: Contains echidna penis. Once seen, can never be un-seen!

Protein art. This is also Relevant to My Interests.

OMG, baby octopodes! *hyperventilates with Teh Cute!*
baratron: (bi_pride)
On electing the better of your two options for President :) Given how the Electoral Colleges work in most states, with winner takes all, I was genuinely very worried about the state of the world today. But it's Going To Be Okay.

Also congratulations to Maine, Maryland, and Washington for voting to allow same-sex marriage. The gap between "red" and "blue" states grows ever stronger.

In other news, this is relevant to our interests. Veteran British actors Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi are teaming up to play a bickering gay couple in a new ITV1 sitcom. Vicious has been created by Will and Grace writer Gary Janetti and award-winning playwright Mark Ravenhill. Sounds rather interesting!
baratron: (willpower)
You know what I've been really missing since people started spinning off to other types of social media? Awesome links that people found. I only have a couple of people left on my friends list who post cool links, and it tends to be one or two at a time rather than massive linkspams. I miss them!

I myself am terrible at getting round to posting linkspams (indeed, I usually have 20 or more tabs open waiting until I have spoons to write coherent English), but here are some of the links that have been sitting around waiting:

Science Links:
Photos: Bear researcher Lynn Rogers keeps making tracks. This is the guy who's been on a couple of BBC TV programmes, and whose bear research I follow every day. Lovely photos of Ursus americanus. Bears!

So, we all know that people who think that people who think that cilantro is pleasantly astringent are normal, and people who think it tastes soapy are normal, and people who like it because it tastes soapy are complete weirdos. And we've known for a while that whether it tastes pleasantly bitter or soapy to you is because of genetics. Here are the actual genetics.

Carnivores pick meats over sweets. Apparently, lots of carnivores can't actually taste sweet things. I presume that bears are not among them.

Awesome animations. Unfortunately, the version of The Cambrian Sea shown here does not include the Opabinia. ([livejournal.com profile] stellarwind's favourite prehistoric creature).

[livejournal.com profile] otterylexa informs me that 8th-12th October are Cephalopod Awareness Days. All hail our future overlords!

Ada Lovelace Day is on Tuesday 16th October. Rather tempted to go to this event in London, anyone interested?

Cute Things:
Liz Climo's Tumblr. Adorable drawings of bears, bunnies, dinosaurs, foxes, and more.

Queer Things:
Illustrated Kinsey Scale. NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Now I want someone to do a female version, please. And a bi version with all genders of people.

Disability Links:
Found by accident: Sign language that African Americans use is different from that of whites. Very interesting.

Linked from that, and on a similar note: Gallaudet University’s new dorm designed with deaf students in mind. Will be generally interesting to anyone who cares about access issues.

How Things Work When Your Lover Is Also Your Caregiver. This is great.
baratron: (bi_pride)
So, who's going to the Hackney Bi Celebration tonight or Bi Visibility Evening tomorrow?

I'm planning to do both, but if I flake on either it'll be tonight, as Hackney is all the way north whereas Gower Street is just round the corner from college (where I need to go to drop off a form).
baratron: (bi_pride)
Who's going to Brighton Pride this year?

I haven't decided what to do about it yet because they're charging this year for the first time. It costs £12.50 for adults living outside Sussex, if you buy the ticket in advance. There's no concessions whatsoever, so if you're a disabled person who needs a carer, that's £25 up front. I don't need a carer, as such, but I need someone to push my wheelchair when it gets stuck in a hole. Hrm.

Pride for me is about two things: 1) watching the parade, 2) seeing my friends. I don't care about the other paraphenalia. It's fun to see lots of queer people all dressed up, but you can do that in Brighton on a normal day. I'm not sure if I want to spend quite a lot of money just for the privilege of sitting in the park being deafened by music that I don't like - when it costs nothing to stand or sit on the pavement to watch the parade.

Does anyone know to what extent the ticket income is expected to fund the park event itself, and to what extent the income will be fed back into the community as donations to help run events that I do want to go to? Like quiet Pride events associated with queer books, and money being given upfront to run Brighton BiFest?

If I knew for a fact that £2 of my donation was going to pay for toilets, £2 for policing and other essential services, with £4.50 going to be fed straight back to community events, and it was only £4 that was going to pay for the bloody noisy sound systems - that'd make a big difference to my desire to pay the money; compared with a situation where it's £10 for the noise, £1 for toilets, £1 for policing and 50p going back into the community...
baratron: (bi_pride)
This is not the serious post I was going to make about the British Library. That is still to come. This is ranting.

So, I was on my way out of the Library yesterday at 7.55pm when the building shut, and this guy got into the lift with me and started spouting off homophobic abuse. Of course it's triggery )
baratron: (lego)
I have reached a stage of ARGH with my work, so I'm going to post all of the links I have cluttering up my "working" Firefox profile :)

From [livejournal.com profile] epi_lj: Hollywood's Racism Exposed ... by Lego. Interesting.

From [livejournal.com profile] skibbley: New bisexual IKEA ad airs in Austria. It's amusing... apart from continuing to propagate the "bisexuals are cheaters"/"can't be monogamous" stereotype. Or does it? Maybe the boyfriend simply doesn't like to be in the flat when his partner is having sex with his girlfriend!

From Shana Logic: IKEA Let Loose a Herd of 100 Cats Into Store to 'See What Happens'. If you're really interested, the ad was shot in the branch of IKEA we used to go to when I was a kid (Wembley). We don't go there any more because there's one much closer to us now (Croydon).

From Beetlebau on #soc.bi: Night of the Living Trekkies (book trailer). Books have trailers now?

Finally, in case you haven't seen this anywhere else, and care: the Complete Pokedex for Pokemon Black & White.

*hits Refresh a few more times to see if anyone's replied to my message asking for help yet*
baratron: (bi_pride)
Ricky Martin is a gay homosexual.

How many years has "everyone" known that already? Ah well, at least he finally admitted it :)
baratron: (bi_pride)
[livejournal.com profile] adjectivemarcus wrote an article about bisexuality in yesterday's Guardian (a national British newspaper) - Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT. Currently it's on the front page of the newspaper's web site as "Most commented on" article.

It is well worth reading, and I'm rather pleased to know Marcus!

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