The Blood is the Life for 30-04-2017

Apr. 30th, 2017 11:00 am
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Thin Ice

Apr. 30th, 2017 01:43 am
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Look, I was going to do a long and pretentious post about this episode, and the deeper politics of it, and the subtleties of Pearl Mackie's performance... but like an idiot I squeed on Twitter first, and first Sarah Dollard and then Pearl Mackie replied to me, so I've been all "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH" all evening, so I'm just going to do a spoilerific list under the cut )

Now, some idiots people have been moaning on twitter and elsewhere about how their beloved show has been taken over by SJWs, who have to bring icky lefty SJW politics into everything, and it's disgusting, and Old Doctor Who never had politics in it, and they'll never watch it again... To them I say the following:

What sodding show have YOU been watching the last 54 years????

Because, honestly, the second ever story in Doctor Who history is him trying to introduce democracy to cavemen instead of a dictatorship. The third one is him trying to encourage pacifists to rise up and overthrow their oppressors - literally asking an entire race to become warriors for social justice. In the Green Death he and Jo and a bunch of hippies save the world from an evil nasty polluting multinational corporation with Quorn. In the Horns of Nimon he and Romana overthrow a corrupt regime that practises human sacrifice. In Vengeance on Varos he gives an entire shellshocked society freedom of choice for the first time ever. In Happiness Patrol he and Ace bring down an authoritarian government. The entire sodding Cartmel Era is about the poison of racism, as is every single dalek story ever written. As my friend Keir put it he's the original social justice warrior. If it's taken you till today to get that, how stupid and/or racist must you be?

Anyway, I thought Thin Ice was bloody fabulous, I love when Doctor Who stays true to it's SJW roots, and I can't wait for next week :)

The Blood is the Life for 29-04-2017

Apr. 29th, 2017 11:00 am
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miss_s_b: (Who: Pervy Brig Fancier)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
[community profile] fffc (Froday Fanfiction Challenge - named after Frodo Baggins, apparently, in case any of the rest of you have a slight discomfort over the name, like I momentarily did) are doing a fic challenege for May which is to write a single sentence fic. I can manage one sentence a day, right? And I used to fic loads. So maybe this is a softer way of getting back into it...

This is the prompt table I have chosen - there are 3 to choose from - and I'm going to do Brig/Benton because I'm a big ol' soppy.

never again forever and a day out of time everyday magic lost and found first job
rain breakfast school movie dancing weekend
opportunity inspiration photostudio colours friendship memories
feelings evening moonshine party future dreamer
dark adventure singing questions cats silence
miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
This is because channel 4 are running a "How Autistic Are You?" test which is so cack-handed it would be laughable... if we didn't know that so-called experts are going to base things to do to us on it (why yes, Prof Baron-Cohen, I am thinking of you).

So just what is wrong with this test?
  • Before you even get to the test proper, it has several cock-ups on the demographics page.
    1. Under "sex" the options are "male", "female", "transgender" or "prefer not to say". Sex and gender are not the same thing and "transgender" is not a category any trans person of any gender would tick for their "sex".

    2. Level of Education is (oddly) ungranular. I know lots of people who did part of a degree but dropped out. There's no option for them.

    3. Scotland and Wales are not regions, they are nations.

    4. One thing all autistic people I know have in common is that inaccuracy really, really bothers us. If your test contains enough inaccuracies before you even get to the test proper that it's going to put most autistics off even starting it, you've got a problem.

  • Once you get into the actual questions there are further problems. Some examples:
    1. I would be able to taste the difference between apparently identical pieces of candy. - in what way are they apparently identical? Do they look the same? Are they different but in the same packaging? I need more specificity before I can answer this.

    2. "I would be able to tell the weight difference between two different coin sizes on the palm of my hand, if my eyes were closed." - I'd be able to feel the difference in size because the diameter of the coins would be different if they are different sized. But they might weigh the same if they are made of different metals; the question makes no sense.

    3. Part 2 is all about how good you are at telling how other people are feeling - I'm usually hypersensitive to this because I have taught myself how to do it. Long hard study of psychology texts. Pictorial studies of body language and facial expression. The questionnaire doesn't even consider if this is natural or a learned skill, though. I actually struggled to get past q 16 "I can tune into how someone else feels rapidly and intuitively" - quickly yes. Intuitively? Not in the slightest. But you can't pick "strongly agree" AND "strongly disagree" for the same question.

    4. "When I learn about a new category I like to go into detail to understand the small differences between different members of that category." - category OF WHAT? Again, this makes no sense whatsoever. Some things I am interested in; other things I am completely uninterested in. I don't know which of those this "category" is until you tell me more details.

    5. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details. this is such a false binary. BOTH BOTH BOTH. Cthulthu, autism test designers, embrace the power of AND. Again, I really struggled to get past this question, and only did it to see what horrors lay beyond.

  • Hoo boy. And then we get to the results page. So, I scored autistic female on sensory perception, and autistic male on organisation (because YAY LETS GENDER EVERYTHING AND OFC THERE ARE ONLY TWO GENDERS). But because I am very good at the social skills it asks for (because I taught myself to be, remember), even better than most neurotypical people, it tells me I am neurotypical. In fact, beyond neurotypical. The typical neurotypical people are waaaaay to the right of me on the little chart. This is despite there being a growing body of research that shows many autistic adults, especially women, are hyper-empathetic.
Honestly, all of this could have easily been solved by having some actually autistic people involved in the test design. We're really, really good at nitpicking. It's one of our defining features. But, OfC, lots of autism experts see us as a problem to be solved, a disease to be cured, not a people with feelings and rights.

I'm not a problem.
I don't want to be cured.
I like being me.

All I ask for is to be treated as if I have the same intrinsic worth as my neurotypical fellows.
Is that really so much to ask?
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Since today is Sir Pterry's 69th birthday, it seemed as good a day as any to remind you that Leeds Waterstone's (not as pretty as Bradford, but bigger and with more events) is starting a Terry Pratchett Reading Group. The first meeting is on Tuesday next week, and the first book to discuss will be The Carpet People. You have to sign up in advance to join in; I already have.

Maybe see a couple of you there?

The Blood is the Life for 28-04-2017

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:00 am
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tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
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2017/37: Grave of Hummingbirds -- Jennifer Skutelsky
Gregory stood still, aware of circumstances closing over his head in a flood, images pouring in: the body in the highlands, laid out on his table under a scalpel; the tattoos and their scabs; Alberto’s beatings at the hands of the police; the woman at the café, who resembled Nita too closely, who seemed an afterthought of Nita or a memory made whole in flesh and bone.[loc. 1552]


Grave of Hummingbirds begins with a mysterious murder and mutilation in Colibrí, a remote Andean town. marginally spoilery )

The Blood is the Life for 27-04-2017

Apr. 27th, 2017 11:00 am
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2017/36: Our Game -- John le Carré

Apr. 27th, 2017 07:10 am
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2017/36: Our Game -- John le Carré
‘Such an inconsistent man you are. One minute you are looking for Emma, the next you are looking for your friend. You know what? I don’t think you wish to find your friend, only to become him. ’[loc. 4325]


Tim Cranmer, retired 'civil servant', receives a visit late one Sunday night: his friend -- or associate -- Dr Lawrence Pettifer has gone missing, and the police wonder if Cranmer can help with their enquiries.minor spoilers )

Lots of longsword

Apr. 26th, 2017 06:32 pm
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 If anyone would like to see a wide selection of longsword dances, try my Pinterest page -https://uk.pinterest.com/judithproctor/longsword-dances/

Some are picked because they are good examples from other countries, some show details of a move that is almost impossible to understand from a written description, some are old traditional dances and some are excellent modern ones.
miss_s_b: (Politics: FU)
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Comment below with your seat predictions for the general election, in the following format, where x is your prediction:
Alliance 0 > x
Conservative 330 > x
DUP 8 > x
Green 1 > x
Independent 4 > x
Labour 229 > x
Liberal Democrat 9 > x
Official Monster Raving Loony 0 > x
Plaid Cymru 3 > x
Sinn Fein 4 > x
SDLP 3 > x
SNP 54 > x
Speaker 1 > x
UKIP 1 > x
UUP 2 > x
Others 0 > x

Total 649* > 650
The winner gets nothing but boasting rights and glory. Sorry; I'm both skint and disorganised, so arranging actual physical prizes is beyond my capabilities at the mo. And yes, I'm going to put my pixels where my mouth is. my prediction under the cut )



* NB: total is currently 649 because of the death of Gerald Kaufman.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Yorkshire)
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The Grauniad is loudly trumpeting "Farron Sacks David Ward".

I suspect that what actually happened is that there was a phone call to Yorkshire regional candidates' chair, who in her turn made a phone call to the chair of City of Bradford Liberal Democrats, who in her turn made a phone call to David telling him that the situation was untenable... But the narrative of Tim making swift and decisive action won't hurt us in the press, even if constitutionally it's a bit suspect.

I'm not going to comment one way or the other on the justice of this outcome in the particular case of David Ward. He has undoubtedly made some indefensible comments at various times. However, I don't like to see procedures circumvented, whether actually or only apparently. I can't help it, I've got legal training. Equally, I can see that there's a strong argument that the party's internal disciplinary procedures are crap and toothless, or if they have teeth, that the teeth are carefully muzzled in any situation whether they might actually have to put the bite on someone. The party's internal disciplinary procedures are, however, also currently under process of review.

I am supremely uncomfortable about the idea of being in a party where one can be summarily dismissed at the whim of the leader without some form of due process in place. I fear that because that is what the media expects, not to say bays for, we are creeping ever closer to it. I wish we had more robust and transparent disciplinary procedures. I hope and expect that once the governance review is fully completed, we will have more robust and transparent disciplinary procedures.

Still.

I wonder what we'll be smacked in the chops with tomorrow?

Southern Star Longsword dancing

Apr. 26th, 2017 12:26 pm
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[personal profile] watervole
My fledgling longsword team is slowly gaining people.  We have two figures of one dance and one figure of a second dance at a reasonable level now.   (a 'figure' in longsword is equivalent to a whole dance in any other tradition)

Southern Star Longsword dancing 'Yorkshire Pudding' at Wimborne Model Town.  this was the first public performance for many of the side, and only the second time out for the rest of us.  This is a dance I wrote for the days when we only have four dancers.  (We had six on this occasion, but I didn't keep the video of the six man dance as it had several mistakes in it!)  



The Blood is the Life for 26-04-2017

Apr. 26th, 2017 11:00 am
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tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/35: Paradise Lost: The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance -- Giles Milton
When the screams from the distant quayside grew too loud to be ignored, the captain ordered the ship’s band to strike up tunes.


This is not a cheerful book: but it is fascinating, brilliantly written, cautionary and informative.spoilers for history )

Maypole weekend

Apr. 26th, 2017 07:46 am
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 I'm going to be pretty croaky by Sunday evening.

Today I'm teaching maypole and longsword dancing at a local school.  I do this every year on Wednesday afternoons in the run up to Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.  The children will perform on Saturday at the festival and they always do me proud.

Saturday, I'm calling maypole at the Dorset Venison Fair for two half hour sessions.

Sunday, I'm calling maypole at a private event at Rockley Park and teaching a longsword workshop as well.

May bank holiday weekend is always a busy time.  We turned down a request for May 1st as we knew we'd be knackered by then.  (We being Anonymous Morris, who will be dancing at the two weekend events)

The catch is that calling for dances, even using a mike, always leaves me with a rough voice.   Time to get out the glycerine!
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/34: The Little Stranger -- Sarah Waters
Arriving at that crumbling red house, I’d have the sense, every time, that ordinary life had fractionally tilted, and that I had slipped into some other, odder, rather rarer realm. [loc. 1151]

minor spoilers for events rather than plot (if you see what I mean) )

Ah, yes, the English weather

Apr. 25th, 2017 03:09 pm
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[personal profile] flick
Mike's just come in from mowing the lawn to let me know that it's snowing.

Edit: Aaaand now hail!



Lovely and sunny on the other side of the valley, though.

The Blood is the Life for 25-04-2017

Apr. 25th, 2017 11:00 am
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