Merry Christmas :-)

Blessed Solstice (ohsweetwitchery)
Merry Christmas, Nadolig Llawen!

Hope your day is/has been full of joy and love and exactly the you-appropriate amount of sillyness. :-)

And for those of you for whom today is a difficult time: much sympathy, and hugs if you would like them, and I hope it goes as peacefully and pleasantly for you as possible.

So far, [personal profile] mirrorshard, mostlyacat and I have opened our Santa presents. Sam and I got each other identical Thorin bookmarks. Heh. ;-)

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Perdita

Perdita
Perdita


Perdita Willow Metcalfe, 15/4/2005 - 16/7/2012.

Rest in peace, my darling.

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Zurker fail

Martell (lobstermania)
Oh, it turns out that Zurker have not just one, but *two* nasty, offensive, unnecessary swipes at mentally ill people on their sign-up process. I managed to miss one of them.

One looks like carelessness/silly hipsterishness - the kind of thing that reporting and challenging them on (nicely) had some decent chance of getting them to change. Hence my joining anyway, and submitting the "bug report" about it (which last time I looked had 10 "zurks" - thank-you to those who contributed to that :-) ).

But two looks like the kind of really belligerent hipsterishness that means (in my experience) they are vanishingly unlikely to respond to criticism, and might turn nasty.

Between that and their general levels of being clunky, disorganised and frankly A Bit Dodgy, I've had enough, and have now permanently deleted my account.

I'm not regretting trying them out - exploring new and better alternatives to Facebook is something that's rather dear to me, and I'm still open to more! (NB Yes, I have joined Diaspora, no, it's not user friendly so I hardly ever use it - social networks really do need to appeal to more than just uber-geeks.) But I don't think that Zurker are the Next Big Thing - and if they are, they'll just have to do without me, because they clearly don't want mentally ill people in their user base. Their loss.


In the meantime, one other social network I joined over the past few days was Untappd, which is a rather silly but cute tool for reporting what beer you have been drinking, and reviewing it. I am kindjourneys on there, and if any of you fancy adding me that could be lovely. :-)

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Not really a poem...

Pompeii Primavera
See,

This is the trouble

With those days

Which do not quite begin

Until after the afternoon

When I move, stretch, yawn, shower, enter into that life

Of solid things

Which consist of more

Than just the thin film of world within my room within my NC10 within my head.


It comes to now,

A little after midnight

And I am still

Unfurled like a flag like a ribbon like a rainbow.

And I want to keep on waving and flapping and playing in the wind,

And not take down my colours and wait

Until a new day

Which I might not quite begin to appreciate

Until after the afternoon.

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Aulos Faery (faerytaleicons LJ)
I am playing the character of Isabella Bird in a readthrough of Top Girls next week. For which, yay. :-)

I gathered from the readthrough organiser that Isabella should have a Scottish accent, which I undertook to attempt. It certainly makes complete sense from the text - she refers to her sister living in Tobermory, and doesn't refer to living anywhere else in the British Isles.

However! I also looked her up on Wikipedia (for she was a real person), and apparently she was an Englishwoman (from Yorkshire), whose sister moved to Tobermory once they were adults.


My question is this: is there a strong theatrical convention that Isabella should have a Scottish accent? Or should I go with her RL history (and what's easiest for me - I should have allowed more time to practise, bah...) and just give her an RP accent with perhaps a touch of Yorkshire?

I should also note that if the readthrough organiser comments here and requests that I definitely give her a Scottish accent (for any reason or no reason), then that is what I shall do. :-)

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Muahahaha

Arya happy (morgrix)
William Shakespeare

Look like the innocent flower, but be the mirabehn under't.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Recipe: Out Of The Labyrinth Stew

Gala luncheons (libellum - midwinter)
This is the stew I made today for lunch, while both [personal profile] mirrorshard and I are poorly with a nasty dizzy thing. Hence the name. ;-) I didn't make enough to freeze any, though I will be able to have it for dinner as well. :-)

It is vegan* and also gluten-free. It is also exceedingly nommable, and appears to have done us both quite a lot of good. :-)

I am going to share the recipe today, partly for my own reference next time I want to make stew and am feeling way too tired to think properly, and partly because I know that _jenjen_ at least wanted vegan stew recipes and I promised to oblige. :-) And also I think that nice nommable recipes are good things to share around, and I am pretty pleased with this one.

I have written it in very simple terms, including specifying utensils etc., because I would rather not assume that people know things or should feel embarrassed for not knowing them. And also because it will remind me when I refer back to it what I need washing up, which will be helpful when my cognitive levels are low.

I note that it is a one-pot recipe. Rah.


(Serves - 4-ish?)

Ingredients:

2 onions
3 carrots
half a smallish bag of new potatoes
1 tin of kidney beans
1 tin of chick peas
vegan stock (I use Marigold Vegan Organic Bouillon Powder, which is also gluten-free)
white wine
dried herbs (preferably a couple of bay leaves + the Scarborough Fair combination**, though I'd actually run out of sage today and used some mixed herbs to compensate)
salt
pepper
olive oil

Requires: sharp knife, chopping board, 1 large non-stick saucepan pan, wooden spoon, a jug for measuring out the stock. Colander useful but not essential.


Method:

Peel onions. Wash carrots and potatoes. Chop vegetables.
Heat olive oil in pan until it is very slightly fizzing.
Add onions, stirring a bit.
Make up the stock in a jug, according to its instructions.
Once the onions are soft, add potatoes and carrots, and stir some more.
Add stock.
Slosh in a few glugs of wine (glugglugglug).
Drain and wash pulses and add them.
Bring to boil.
Add: herbs (lots of! no, more than that! no, even more! that's better...), a bit of salt and some pepper.
Turn down to simmer.
Leave on hob to cook until the potatoes are soft and everything has flavoured everything else and all is of Nom.
Eat. Probably in bowls.


Pretty much everything in all of that is freely adaptable. Including the order and precise times of when to add ingredients. And the ingredients themselves.




*Except probably the wine. But you could make it with vegan wine and then it would be completely vegan.

**Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!***

***I would apologise for the earworm I have just inflicted on some of you, but it wouldn't be very sincere, so I won't. ;-)

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Glitter
So, between one thing and another, I am increasingly not a fan of Paypal.

I was not even before they ordered the wanton destruction of an antique violin. (Warning - that link contains a photo of the destroyed violin. It's very upsetting, and I rather wish I hadn't seen it. :-( )

The things I mostly use Paypal for are:

- buying things on Folksy
- eBay (usually buying, occasionally selling)
- some charity donations
- buying things from sellers on LJ
- Bandcamp (selling and buying)

I'm not in a position at the moment to lose my Paypal account, therefore, but I do think I can and probably should gradually move myself on to using something else at least some of the time. Especially as I want to start using Bandcamp more!

This website lists some alternatives to Paypal. I'm particularly intrigued by what it says about Nochex, though I'm not entirely sure which of the forms of account I would be wanting to get at this point. Probably best to wait until I have some more songs up at Bandcamp, in fact...


Do any of you have personal experience or other very informed knowledge about Paypal alternatives? And in particular, any experience of using Nochex?

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New Year love and hopes meme!

Glitter
I am feeling rather small and broken today, and as though I have not been fostering enough positivity lately.

It seems like an excellent time, therefore, to launch and host a general love meme. I am making this public so that anyone can use it. :-)


Usual rules apply. Comment with your LJ or DW username (and link to it on your own journal if you like), and comment on other people's usernames (anonymously or not) with compliments, praise, love, respect, sympathy, positivity, etc. - and your hopes and wishes for that person for 2012.

Other than that, just be excellent to one another!

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Observation

Folk music (libellum - midwinter)
Someone should *so* invent a Fitocracy equivalent for music practising.

It should be enabled for all instruments (inc. voice), styles, etc. Possibly extra XP could be obtained by performing (and certainly you could announce and plug gigs, recordings etc.). And profiles could link to websites/Bandcamp things, etc. So, part social/artist network, but mostly a way to record practising and bring the same fun motivation tools as Fitocracy brings to exercise (and Chore Wars to housework, though CW doesn't have quite the same social function).

If I had the time, energy and any coding skills whatsoever, I'd be seriously tempted. However, I don't. But if anyone else does decide to do this one day, give me a shout and I will *very* happily beta (or even alpha-) test, and probably pay for the service once it's launched, etc. :-)


I wish to announce that this idea is totally stealable, and while I would enjoy receiving credit for it if someone was inspired by this post, I would not require anything else. ;-)

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Zoho

Glitter
Can anyone think of any reasons why I *shouldn't* start using Zoho for online documents and things, and possibly move towards eventually using it for calendar and even e-mail as well? So far it appears to do much of what Google can do, but a) faster, b) better (*way* better), c) without being Google. It even is usable offline and can produce .pdfs and Microsoft Office and Open Office-compatible files, which is awesome. So, what's the catch (other than I don't know many other people using it)? It is secretly evil or crap in some way? Does it sell all of my information to advertisers or other unsavoury types? The fact that it charges for high-level business users really doesn't bother me at all. And if I ever were to need it at such a level, I'd almost certainly be happy to pay - I have no problems with companies charging for this sort of service, indeed I totally understand that it's generally essential, and can be a good sign. I dislike Google's underhand-ness (as well as their arrogance and tendency to try to Take Over Everything), and turning the customers into the product.As far as I can see Zoho appear to be honest and open about where they get their money from, and that I respect.

I'm trying to wean myself off Google, especially Documents and Reader, and it feels like this could help. Also it appears to be Shiny. I have signed up, and am exploring it. But there are many people on here who are far geekier than I, and may know more than I do. All comments and recommendations welcome, especially if they're based on sound knowledge and/or personal experience.

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(Somewhat morbid) trivia question...

Glitter
other than Homo Sapiens, which are the only two species ever to have lived known to have/have had what we would (human-centrically ;-) ) recognise as rituals around mourning/death?

Note, ritual specifically, rather than more general mourning.


Comments screened to give everyone who wants to a chance to answer...

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Writing (libellum - midwinter)
Dear Cheryl Gillan,

As you know, the Welfare Reform Bill is being debated again in the
Lords today.

I was distressed to learn that there is an intention to move the debate
out of the main chamber of the Lords, and into a smaller committee room
which cannot accommodate all of the Lords who may want to debate this,
nor have access for wheelchair-using or guide dog-using visitors.
For disabled people such as myself, this is one of the most important
debates of the year - indeed, of the decade. So, why limit the numbers
of Lords who can attend, and prevent disabled visitors from watching
proceedings? It seems like an act of sheer and overwhelming contempt
towards the very people that the Bill affects.

I am certain that you and I disagree very strongly on what the outcome
of the debate should be. But I hope that as a compassionate woman and a
committed democrat, you will agree with me at least that this proposal
is a deeply worrying and disturbing one. As a Minister as well as a
Conservative MP, you have a good chance of being listened to here.

Please do the right thing for all parties, and do your best to ensure
that the debate takes place in the main chamber of the House of Lords.

Yours sincerely,

Elly Metcalfe




Am disabling comments, since I have neither the time nor anything like the energy for a debate on here! Please do let me know, however, if you e-mail your own MP to say similar things, so that I can give you my heartfelt thanks. Deadline is 3.30pm today - so, just over two hours.

ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH

Boy's urine (nomorewolfie)
To whichever company decided to auto-dial me every 20 minutes this morning, waking me up and assuring I couldn't go back to sleep again when I am having an ME flare-up and desperately need more rest:

CURSE YOU! MAY ALL OF YOUR LEAST WELL-PAID/WELL-TREATED EMPLOYEES LEAVE YOU ON THE SAME DAY IN ORDER TO GO AND WORK FOR MUCH NICER COMPANIES! MAY YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEMS ALL CATCH A VIRUS THAT MAKES "I AM A FISH" SCROLL ACROSS THE SCREEN PERPETUALLY! AND MAY ALL YOUR HIGHEST-PAID MANAGERS AND WHICHEVER ARSEHOLE DECIDED THAT AUTO-DIALING EVERY 20 MINUTES WAS A GOOD POLICY ALL TREAD ON LEGO AND SLUGS IN BARE FEET. AT THE SAME TIME.


Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

(Eventually I put the phone in the room I was sleeping in one of the other rooms, and turned it on to "ready to call", which effectively took the phone off the hook. I still couldn't go back to sleep, but at least it was peaceful. If they try again, I will actually attempt to answer it before they ring off, and calmly get the company's name and contact details before telling them they suck, that I'm on the TPS and they're therefore breaking the law, and then reporting them.)


Auto-dialing at regular intervals adds weight to my suspicion that some advertisers are simply malicious - they know that a particular tactic isn't going to lead to increased sales, they're just wanting to punish and harass people who aren't interested in their products, or who dislike advertising in general.

It's not just disabled people who might be asleep between 9am and 11am in the morning. It's also people who work night shifts, who are suffering from a temporary acute illness and plenty of other people as well.

(And, yeah. Those of you with my number all know that you shouldn't phone me before 10.30am or so except in emergencies (or times when you know I'm getting up especially early), yes? I assume so, since you're all pretty good about this. :-) )

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Petition wrt corporal punishment

Hat
This is a petition on the (UK) govt's epetitions website, for a Commons debate on corporal punishment. The petition is in favour of the removal of the right of parents to hit/smack/otherwise strike their children, or anyone else's children.

I am very, very much in favour of this petition, which I think also words the reasons rather well.


I am screening comments. Please note that this issue is not something I am even slightly up to debating. I feel too strongly, and it's too personal and triggering for me* - if you disagree with me, and especially if you think that smacking children is okay, then I'd really rather not know about it, probably ever. If you think that the petition isn't likely to be effective so there's no point in signing it, then that's fine but I'd also rather you didn't say so, because a debate on tactics is also something I'm not really up for on this issue. :-)

If you *do* agree with me, then please feel encouraged to sign the petition, and to spread the word. And please feel free to comment and say so, and I will be very, very grateful and pleased with you. :-)

Please tell me if you'd rather I didn't unscreen your comment. Otherwise I'll use my own judgement.


* As in, diagnosed PTSD levels of triggering. Srsly. Don't go there.

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Pet insurance...

Hat
Yay or nay?

Details: Nick and I are hoping to adopt a cat, hopefully very soon. One of the cats we might be interested in has FIV, which I imagine will affect insurance somewhat.

(We have no garden, and intend to adopt a cat who would actively prefer or need to remain indoors. We do however have a large enough house to keep a cat pretty happy. And I am eyeing up awesome scratching posts and activity centres... ;-) )

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On personal space and wheelchair users

Me and Sam
Cut for ranting and also, annoyingly, non-consensual touch triggersCollapse )

*sighs* Okay, I feel a bit better for that rant. I will be going back to that pub, including in the wheelchair if that becomes relevant, because there aren't many pubs in Chesham town centre and it's very pretty and has good beer. But if he or anyone else tries something like that again, I might actually allow myself to lose my temper and swear at them to their face. Because grrrr. mirrorshard and I are both absolutely livid.

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Glitter
Elly: Nick, wyt ti'n hoffi rhedeg?
Nick: Erm... ja. Tengo trece anos.


(He'll have to dysgu Cymraeg a bit before September, but... ;) )

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:-)

Me and Sam
Happy Birthday, my darling mirrorshard!

May the coming year bring you vast amounts of joy and contentment and peace and interest and shiny things and books and general wonderfulness. :-)

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Notes of an audio-visual nature...

Hat
  • Kathryn Hunter should blatantly be the next Doctor Who

  • If they can't get her, then clearly it should be Meera Syal, Paterson Joseph or the_elyan. Or possibly smhwpf. But awesome as they would be, Kathryn Hunter would be even better. I am counting on the_alchemist to back me up on this. :-)

  • But who would her companion be? Please form an orderly queue. :-)

  • There is an absolute certainty that when I watch Dennou Coil I *will* point at things and saying "OOCHI!" for a while after. This probably means that some people should not watch Dennou Coil with me, because it is probably annoying. Fortunately, mostlyacat doesn't mind, and does it back. :-)

  • I blame oneplusme and taimatsu for the above. ;-)

  • This week, I have been advised by two people I trust a great deal to avoid being either a) Angel or b) the couple from the painting American Gothic. They are wise. Sometimes I feel that I am morally obliged to be miserable, even when things are good and I have lots to be thankful for and rejoice in. This does not make me a nicer person! I will try to remember their advice, and laugh at myself and feel lots of affection for my exceedingly lovely friends. :-)

  • Tomorrow, I am going to the opera with my menfolk and a very delightful friend of mine. Hopefully we will see artnouveauho there too, as she is the producer. Rah.

  • One day (but not this day), I will organise a day-long readthrough of Buffyverse episodes, from several seasons, probably in Chesham. Different cast for each episode or double-episode. Scheduled to not clash with or detract from anything emperor. If late Angel season 3 is involved, [personal profile] mirrorshard has first dibs on Wesley. Unless I steal him instead. ;-)

  • I recommend Y Teulu Mawr to people who like learning Welsh, elephants, and general cuteness. I relate most to Moc, Malan and Mam. I know the English names came first, but I'm trying to avoid learning them. ;-) Modlen should team up with Kyoko, Bea, Freda, and one or two others and take over the universe. Bea might have to be in charge, though. ;-)

  • I think that given the change in the weather, I may have to get Nick to cut my hair soon. We're thinking an urchin cut. Winona Ryder-type thing. This is not very audio-visual, but hey. :-) It may require nancy-boy hairgel, but I still promise not to brood. See above. ;-)



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