Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 05:00 pm
Me: "Just think: in thirty years I'm going to be Shutty."
Him: "Nahhhhh... in thirty years you'll be Mick Taylor. Ten years after THAT you'll be Shutty*."
This little snippet of conversation I had recently with a LibDem activist from a neighbouring local party has been preying on my mind today, along with the maxim "all it takes to go from Liberal to Conservative is thirty years without changing a single opinion".

Both of the names mentioned above are people I would class as proper, dyed-in-the-wool Liberals. I also think it's fair to say that both of them have never stopped engaging with the world around them, with both younger and older people, and people from cultures not their own. They don't fit with the maxim because neither Mick not Shutty has ever stopped learning, growing, and changing. Neither of them has ever stopped paying attention. I'm not saying I agree with either of them on All Things, part of the point of this is that I don't**, but I know that any opinion either of them advances has been reached by deliberation, not a jerking knee.

There are people in the party, though, who aren't like that***. They only ever listen to people from their own cohort, and when they talk to people of different cohorts they talk at them not to them, and they start to become like the person in the maxim. They sit in their own little echo chamber, and if any person who doesn't agree with them in any way happens to come to their attention, they get very confused, scared and angry.
  • They start telling people that they aren't proper Liberals because they aren't doing as they are told****
  • They tell people who don't agree with their outdated views on x or y thing that they aren't proper Liberals.
  • Their war cry is "shut up and go deliver some leaflets"***** because people not of their cohort shouldn't contribute ideas, they should just be cannon fodder.
It's desperately, desperately sad. It drives people away from the party, and it hampers our campaigning ability, and it doesn't make anyone any happier, least of all the people who are confused, scared and angry and screaming about how nobody these days is a proper Liberal like wot they are.

So I hope that in thirty years I do turn into Mick, and then possibly after that Shutty, because the alternative is too awful and depressing to contemplate. But given my hatred of false binaries I'm hoping there's a middle way: when I grow up I think I'd like to be Pauline Nash. Or maybe Jeanette Sunderland.

* Shutty being Lord Shutt of Greetland, who has the most encyclopaedic knowledge of what has happened in Calderdale and it's predecessor areas in the Lib Dems and Liberals for the last fifty years. Mick Taylor being slightly younger and slightly more firebrandy.
** I've had political disagreements with both Mick and Shutty. Mostly, it was fun having a discussion with a person who genuinely wanted to actually discuss things and get to the truth of a matter, rather than shout down an opponent. Sometimes one of us will persuade the other, sometimes we'll agree to disagree. We always listen to each other, though.
*** thankfully not in Calderdale
**** which half a second's rational thought would tell them is a contradiction in terms
***** delivering leaflets, not canvassing, because we wouldn't want the people not of the echo chamber to actually talk to voters.
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 11:03 am
Today Cavity Wall Insulation is happening. It's very loud!
After the Houseing Association improved the loft insulation in the summer (and then got into a dispute with the contactors) everything had gone quiet. Then a letter that arrived on thursday or friday (with no indication of time scales) saying they would also do the walls. Followed by a suprise inspection/assesment yesterday and the work being started today.
I'm not used to things happening this quickly but i'm looking forward to being walmer
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 07:00 am
Monday, November 23rd, 2015 05:54 pm
I realised it's been nearly a week since I got home, and I'm fine, I've just mostly been in bed, either asleep or binge-reading fanfic.   I get up for meals, and to help get the children out in the mornings, and to fetch C from after-school care three times a week, but then I usually need to go back to bed afterwards.

I've been in to the day unit last Thursday and today, and it seems this exhaustion is normal for this stage of the chemo cycle.  (This is still the Evil Blue cycle - I've not actually had any of it for nearly 3 weeks,  but it clearly did a really thorough job on my blood cells which have fallen much farther than the previous cycle.)  When I get better, I have a biopsy to look forward to, and then the fourth and hopefully last round of chemo.

Due to lack of communication, Tony and I both bought a copy of Minions, which Charles saw in the cinema earlier this year, and adored. The four of us sat down to watch it on Saturday afternoon and it worked really well as a family film.  I don't think I want to watch it again but it was fun to watch once, especially with the children both enjoying it.

Otherwise, I'm beginning to think about When Treatment Is Over, and what normal is going to look like for the four of us when we get back there.

Monday, November 23rd, 2015 04:02 pm
I've been - very slowly - reading Richard Davenport-Hines' The Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes. I originally bought it for [personal profile] softfruit, who is a devout Keynesian, and then borrowed it from my local library so I could discuss it with her!
It was fascinating in parts but not an easy read. It's split into 7 aspects of Keynes' life which inevitable makes it a little bitty. I have too many gaps in my knowledge of the history (alongside a slightly random assortment of events/topics I know at least something about) and tend to muddle up the names and life stories of the various Bloomsburyites. I didn't find the style particularly flowing or easy to follow but it is written with conviction and passion about a fascinating person surrounded by facinating friends. Sometimes it feels a bit like pantomime - Davenport-Hines opinions on people are made extremely clear, which makes the book gossipy-fun but can be distracting. I don't know enough to say that he isn't comoletely right about all of them but it gets a bit annoying being so starkly told what I ought to think!
Obviously i'm intrested in how it deals with Keynes' bisexuality. I'm a little bit sad in an oh-dear-we-still-have-so-much-activism-left-to-do way that it needs to be analysed and explained but I like that it's covered as one important but not all-consuming aspect of Keynes' life. It was obviously convient for Keynes to be married but that doesn't necessarily mean he was in a Marraige-of-Convenience. You can wonder whether in different circumstances he might have settled down with a man or felt able to pursue women for the no-frills-fun he enjoyed with other men when he was young - but he didn't live in that world. We can't know if he was around now whether he'd happily fall in with our "more about hearts than parts" rhetoric or say that for him the attractions and emotions were shomehow distinct. All that we can tell from this distance was that he thoroughly enjoyed sex with men and thst he loved Lydia Lapokova who he married. He probably enjoyed the sex with her and loved at least a few of the male friends he had sex with. It would be lovely to live in a world where a biographer didn't feel the need to explain that one doesn't cancel out the other - but we don't - yet. Davenport-Hines seems to be at least trying to be even-handed (even though there's less to gossip about a middle-aged married couple than an adventurous young experimenter). He does claim that Straight Women want to be loved for their femininity, which I doubt is comoletely universal so I find the generilsation a bit patronising but not being straight myself it's maybe not my fight to pick.

Anyway I found the description of Lyia Keynes devotion to her ailing husband moving. When I was a Small in Sussex I was doing the "good little minister's kid thing of tagging along on one of Dad's many pastoral visits to an Old People's Homes. My job was to be young and cute and let old dears coo over me and interogate me about school and church etc. Sometimes i'd be asked to sing a hymn. I was very, very excited to be told "And this lady used to be a Ballerina" even though she didn't seem particularly different to any of the other white-haired arm-chair dwellers. I think I smiled at her and told her I did dance classes and she was gracious (and certainly didn't mention how clumsy I obviously was) and seemed to enjoy having a tiny, but shy, fan. I didn't find out until much later that she'd also been the wife of a genius economist...
Monday, November 23rd, 2015 02:18 pm

The picture above is an excerpt from DCM's standard terms and conditions for accepting advertising. They have been this way for a year or so, when they were changed to remove "party" from before "political" after so many people in Scotland complained about the Yes and No referendum campaign adverts. You will note that the small change I mention happened before the CofE even thought about filming their advert.

I am sure you are all aware of the maxim that one doesn't talk about religion or politics in public because someone is bound to get upset? DCM have this policy for that reason: whatever religion (or lack thereof, you'll note) is mentioned, someone is bound to get upset, demand their money back from the cinema, start protests, whine on social media, etc, and it's just not worth it. From a commercial point of view, if the money you make from accepting an advert doesn't cover the cost of the trouble the advert will cause, why would you even bother? As Ian Dunt points out here, it's not like the British Humanist Association, among others, haven't fallen foul of the same policy*. How anyone can claim with a straight face that this is discrimination is beyond me.

So no:
  • the CofE are not being discriminated against: this policy applies to groups of all religions and none. As LegionsEagle put it earlier, it's a category-based exclusion, not a content-based one.

  • this is not a new policy, nor should it have been a surprise to the CofE, nor was it suddenly brought in for some nebulous reason to do with muslims (try not to let your naked islamophobia show there)

  • The church of England is not some persecuted minority. They have a reasonable percentage of the legislature of the country all to themselves

I've spent half the day telling all and sundry from BBC Radio Leeds to everyone on twitter that this is a big fuss about nothing, is being massively misrepresented by the church for whatever ends, and it annoys me that the media are falling for it like they did for the sodding Winterval Myth; and so now I have typed it all out in a blog post I can just C&P the link.

*it's a shame Ian doesn't make the intellectual leap to apply the same logic to the other frozen peaches he's been trying to stop from thawing recently, but I think Ian and I just fall on different sides of the fuzzy-like-peach-skin generational divide line so eloquently described by Andrew here
Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 07:32 pm
We're updating the site momentarily! Once the dust settles, please let us know if anything isn't working as expected. I'll edit the entry here if we confirm any issues.

Update, 21:45: All done!
Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 01:03 pm
We are planning to do a code push in about six hours, around 5pm Pacific time.

Most of the changes with this push are cleanup and small backend fixes, but we also have a new journal style called "Pattern" with 24 themes for you to choose from, and most excitingly, QuickReply has now been enabled for journal, day, and network views.

We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!
Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 08:28 am
So... busy, busy, busy as usual.

Nearly finished a shirt for Arden. I embroidered an oak leaf design on the collar and cuffs and am just assembling the final shirt now. Need to check that the front opening is long enough and hem it, and then that's done.

On Monday morning I'll be helping a student makes a herald's tabard for our next feast, and on Monday afternoon another student and I will be painting heraldic designs on tablecloths.
Then it's volunteering on Tues morning and calligraphy on Tues evening...

Today, if the weather allows, we'll have the Champion's Tourney.
I don't expect a large crowd of spectators in this weather. It's really cold out there. I'm wondering how many layers of thermal underwear I can put on before it starts to prevent me moving my arms...

Made it out to the Citrus Club for the first time in a while on Friday. I got the opening time wrong so we ([personal profile] xora, Becca, Anth and Jacky) were tragically forced to sit in the Filmhouse Bar and drink beer.
Music was a bit bland to start with, but it did liven up, and we danced plenty.
My back started complaining at around 2am. Not as young as I used to be.

There was a group of youngsters, two girls and a boy, who were dancing with us. By about half way through the night they were coming over and inviting us on to the dance floor whenever we sat down.
A different young man first of all approached Anth, who was briefly polite and then ran to the dance floor, and then me. He was a little the worse for wear, but seemed nice enough. He said he was impressed with how we were all having so much fun and not caring about being the oldest people there, and something about apologising for being male and having lecherous thoughts and wanting to date all three of us. Danced with him for a bit. He persisted in chatting me up for a bit, but did eventually give up and just dance for a while before wandering off.

[personal profile] xora gave Becca and I a lift up the hill on his way back home, and stopped by for a cup of tea.
Saturday, November 21st, 2015 05:34 pm
There aren't many things i do without my glasses on - i prolly could make myself a cup of coffee without them but i wouldn't feel confident and i certainly couldn't do anything more complicated safely.
So it's interesting/wierd how often on the rare occasions when i'm not wearing them - if i've gotten up to go to tje loo in the night or i'm drying my hair - that my hand unconsciously reach for, and accidently switches off an already turned on light-switch because when i can't see properly my brain's first thought is that there isn't enough light.
Saturday, November 21st, 2015 11:40 am
And having reeled off a few names (Ursula K, Octavia B, three or four current ones) I thought it might also be useful to share a couple of the Goodreads Groups I lurk.

Feminist Science Fiction Fans is the more serious of the two, and they do a book-of-the-month thing which I've got into the habit of just buying. They are great for exploration of feminist ideas.

Girls, Guns and Grimoires is, as their name suggests, more on the funloving side. They're not explicitly feminist, but by Cthulhu they rec some awesome feminist books. They also have a book of the month thing, and you can vote on which book it should be.

I would genuinely recommend both these groups to a lot of you on my f-list, cos I know a lot of you have similar reading proclivities to me. Obviously this isn't going to feed all your reading urges, but it's nice to get pointers sometimes, and I have discovered some great new (to me) authors via these two groups.
Friday, November 20th, 2015 06:18 pm
I've been watching ALL the YouTube videos and I haven't liked a newfound geek this much since I discovered Hans Rosling. I recommend him to anyone interested in people, autism, autistic people, or experts. I like experts. Mmm, experts.
Friday, November 20th, 2015 12:06 pm
I've just finished listening to the last of John Finnemore's Double Acts on Radio 4. And after raving about them on an lj post of [personal profile] softfruit I thought I should big them up here too. They are just lovely - with brilliant, witty and intricate little worlds build just from the interaction of two voices.

Currently 5 of the 6 are still on iPlayer. My favourites are WYSINNWYG and The Goliath Window but they are all worth listening to (particularly if you are in need of cheering up)