Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Maths, Monkeys, Species and Science.

Some time ago, I was thinking about little Change The World type things I could do, without too much energy or effort expenditure. I had heard about SETI@home and really liked the idea that my computer could be doing Important Things while I wasn't using it.

The only thing was, I wasn't especially interested in a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

I tried to find similar things, but as I didn't know the name for this whole genre of programme, I was entirely unsuccessful. All I knew was that you downloaded a screensaver which, when active, performed calculations on your computer, and then sent them back to a base, maybe a research centre, who could use them. The idea being that thousands of computer around the world doing the calculations would get loads more done than just the computers at an individual centre.

So, being intrigued by the idea, and with the lack of any others, I ended up downloading SETI@home.

It was quite intriguing, and at first I frequently left my computer inactive deliberately, so I could see it at work. I knew the funky graphics were almost certainly for my benefit, rather than integral to the work it was doing, but I appreciated them anyway.

Look, my computer's doing science!

But I still couldn't get past the feeling that if my computer was going to be doing Important Science Things, it should really be doing Important Science Things that I cared about. Or was at least interested in.

I spoke to my brother, who informed me that the phenomenon is called distributed computing, and that he was involved with a protein folding project. He said he'd send me a link to a site which had a fairly comprehensive list of different distributed computing projects, so I could choose one from there.

So, when he sent it me, I spent some time browsing the distributed computing active projects information, trying to decide which was the best use of my computer's lazy time. How on earth do you choose between fighting AIDS, and predicting climage change, or between the search for multifactorial primes and the Prime Sierpinski Project?

In the end, I decided to go with Lifemapper.
Participants "compute, map and provide knowledge of" where Earth's species of plants and animals live currently, where they could potentially live, and where and how they could spread across different regions of the world.

I had really liked the sound of the project, and got fairly involved with it, in terms of googling the various animal or plant species which my machine was calculating, and creating a record of names and pictures of each species on a webpage.

I was, thus, gutted when I was informed that the LifeMapper project was ending in January 2005. I had really enjoyed participating in the thing, and would miss learning about new animals!

So, back to the DC Active Projects list.

I eventually decided on find-a-drug. I thought that my screensaver trying to cure cancer, AIDS and malaria had to be a good thing. I downloaded it from the Find-A-Drug site, and it is currently calculating something totally incomprehensible to me, to do with cancer.

Find-A-Drug, like LifeMapper and SETI@home, humours me by doing graphics, described as
Each ball corresponds to an atom and each stick to a chemical bond between two atoms and these are coloured in accordance with the elements. The common colours are: blue for nitrogen, red for oxygen, yellow for sulphur and cyan for carbon.


It also only does the calculations when my computer is idle, and so doesn't slow the machine down when I'm using it.

And I have also set my home page to the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, the theory behind it being the famous quotation,
"If you have enough monkeys banging randomly on typewriters, they will eventually type the works of William Shakespeare."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Joining and Journeying.

Hello! And happy belated Christmas to anyone who does that stuff.

I have actually had a nice Christmas, mainly because it was ultra chilled. I read the Join Me book, which I loved. It was funny, and really quite compulsive. And it has led me to using the word lebstromonous on at least an hourly basis.

And I can see myself joining fairly soon. Just need to get a passport photo sorted.

My diary that will change my life has finally arrived from amazon. I ordered it ages ago but my card kept being refused (oops). I had one last year, when it was fabulous. This year it's maybe slightly less fab because they are everywhere, rather than something quite rare and unique. But it's still fab. Mmm.

The weather is entirely miserable. Grey, cold and wet.

My train journey back home yesterday was hellish. I was going from Telford to Sheffield, which should involve a change at Birmingham New Street and a total journey time of up to 2.5 hours.

It actually took me over four and a half hours, and 1.5 hours of that was trying to get from Wolverhampton to Brum, which should normally take between 15 and 17 minutes, according to National Rail Enquiries.

I think it's time to re-nationalise the railways, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Used Stamps *Still* Save Lives!

I have bought the domain used-stamps.co.uk to replace the rather clunky www.geocities.com/purplestar1uk/usedstamps.html. The former should be pointing to the latter, and after a few teething problems it seems to be working well now.

In an entry in June, in Used Stamps Save Lives, I explained the page as follows,
Used Stamps Save Lives!! You know when you collect piles of used stamps to send to charity but then never get round to it, cos finding info about which charities and organisations want them is just not straight forward enough?

Well now it is. I have created a webpage with information on charities and organisations worldwide which accept used stamps as a form of fundraising.

There was also an article on Indymedia.
In looking for a good organisation or charity to send my ever-growing pile of used stamps to, I couldn't find any kind of central source of information.

So, after much searching I have compiled a list and made it into a web page.

Saving used stamps and sending them on is one of the easiest ways to help different groups to raise money, and now it's even easier with one list of organisations in different countries who would benefit from them.

Also, if you want your charity or organisation to be added to the list you can do so from that page.

With the Christmas cards I have received, I have 2 envelopes full of stamps ready to be sent off. It's nice to have such an easy way of helping with fundraising, especially at a time of year when money and time are short.

So, welcome to the world, used-stamps.co.uk.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Popping My Head Round the Door

Today is horrible, and I suspect tomorrow will be more horrible. So apologies if this entry is odd.

hippie has somehow jumped from position 191 to position 81 in the Diarist.Net Top 250. No idea why, but it's quite cool.

hippie is also the 3rd msn search result of 879 for the 12 STIs of Christmas.

The whole of this Benefits and Work Newsletter is worth a read.

That's it for now.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Obsessive, Moi?

I see this poster on a bus I get sometimes. It has bewildered me for years.

Actually, it has irritated me for years, but I have found myself looking at it quite fondly lately. I don't know why.

It's the brackets, you see. Or parentheses, if you're that way inclined.

(including)

(Thorpe Hesley).


It is a poster for a all-day ticket you can buy, and it is telling you that the ticket extends as far as a place called Thorpe Hesley, which google tells me is in Rotherham, in South Yorkshire.

But why is it (including) (Thorpe Hesley) and not (including Thorpe Hesley)? Who knows?

But lately I have been quite taken by the symmetry of the brackets as they are.

Lynne Truss would be ashamed. Quite rightly.

I guess there's not enough to do on bus journeys than to consider and reconsider the same old posters with the same old grammatical errors. And if it is true that familiarity breeds contempt, then maybe in this case, familiarity has bred contempt in me for my previous contempt at the excess bracket situation.

Or something.

(including) (Thorpe Hesley) Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Funny Flaps and Willy Wonky.

Ok, it seems that huge British institutions creating flash animations about our rude bits is the vogue of the moment. Yesterday I brought you the NHS's 12 STIs of Christmas, and today, the esteemed British Broadcasting Corporation brings us Funny Flaps for the girls, and Willy Wonky for the boys.

And they are actually great! Thanks to faintpraise for telling me about them!

However, doing the total opposite and counteracting much of everyone else's efforts to help women and girls accept their bodies, is the Vagina Institute.

Prepare to shout...
The inner vaginal lips should not protrude past the outer lips, they should be symmetrical and even. The vagina should be small and tight with a pink hue or pink interior walls to it and lastly the female body should be shapely with beautiful facial features.
.
And so it goes on. Mostly it seems that it is important to have a beautiful (according to their weird standards) vagina, in order to please our men.
Men are not interested in female genitalia, which present deformities, although most men will have intercourse with a woman who presents some degree of labial deformations. They will not seek a long-term relation ship with her because of her abnormal vagina.

I'm actually loathe to use those quotations. On the one hand, they are illustrating the awfulness of the Vagina Institute. On the other, I don't especially want to propagate their cruel and misogynist messages.

Interestingly, it seems a Mexican Salamander can be cute. Who knew?

And gun crime may be on the rise...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree...

There's no avoiding the impending hell that is Christmas, and thoughts wander to the Christmas Carols which will soon be being played in town centres the country over, by the always surprisingly good Salvation Army brass bands.

One of the most fun of these - though only when being sung along to - is the one which causes people to joyously pop their head round doors, and interrupt their deep conversations to join in with Fiiiiiiiive go-ooold riiiiiiings. And don't pretend that isn't you.

The National Health Service has now contributed to Christmas jollity and wellbeing with The Twelve STIs of Christmas. STIs being, of course, what we used to call STDs. I'm not sure that Go-ono-reeeeeah will have the same appeal...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I Hate Listening to Gardeners' Question Time.

Starting with Billy's post, then meandering a little, I found Hello Kitty Robot, created to celebrate her 30th anniversary.
The toy is unfortunately unable to walk, but is expected to make up for this with its supposed communication abilities. With an impressive stock of 20,000 memorized conversation patterns to choose from, you can expect the robotic cat to blurt out random words and phrases at the most inappropriate times imaginable. And to aid this communication ability further, the device is able to gesture by moving its head and arms.

So, you know you want to spend 2 grand on a Hello Kitty Robot new home hippie present, yeah?

Dooey reports a great newspaper story about a couple arrested after they reported to police that their marijuana was stolen, and they needed it back because they were going to sell it... :-/ And I can't help but notice that Dooey herself seems to have had a birthday, as she's now 19 and not apologetic at all :)

PawSense, mad as it seems, is probably a must for cat owners whose cats ambush their computer keyboard. A whole series of features designed by a truly cat-centred person I feel!

Astrid brings us some nice photos of the Eid and Christmas lights in Sheffield city centre this year.

Baghdad Burning blog brought me back into a sharp, devastated focus. Glad once more I don't have a television, and didn't see the images myself - though inside my head they are there anyway. It needs to end. All of it.

Catching up in blogland anyway.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Oh My Goodness Gracious Me...

I'm back!!

I have been offline for only about 3 weeks but I have missed it terribly! I feel kinda lost now - no idea where to start as there is so much to catch up on. Courier is downloading a ridiculous number of emails, I'm listening again to last night's hilarity that was I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and I've discovered that despite moving to the other end of town, my least favourite person is still my MP.

My new house is lovely and I am full of all those great determinations which come with a new start - I'm going to keep it really tidy, I'm going to cook home cooked meals, lead an organised life, all that stuff. We'll see ;)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Magazines, Members, Majorities, Marriage and Malarkey.

Firstly, I send you over to Billy to see the cover of Time Magazine with their view of the US election results.

Secondly, I look at my own political representative - my Member of Parliament who works so diligently to represent his constituents' views and concerns. Actually he doesn't. Getting a reply to a letter you send him can take months, getting him to have any opinion which isn't exactly the same as old Tone's is virtually impossible. And now I discover, thanks to theyworkforyou.com that he replies to 14% of messages sent via FaxYourMP.com within 14 days — 564th out of 589 MPs, and that he has attended 41% of votes in parliament — 623rd out of 658 MPs.

564th out of 589 for responding to correspondence? 623rd out of 658 for attending votes. He's a fuckin MP! His job is to attend votes. And, erm, vote in them.

Yet he has a majority of 12,544, and is in the 80th safest seat out of 652 MPs. How does that work?! Git.

What else? I've heard murmurings about some Republicans in one of the swing states posing as Democrats and phoning round undecided voters and saying "Oh you absolutely must vote for John Kerry because you can rely on him to allow late-term abortion and gay marriage" and suchlike. Bet that went down well :-/

Anyway back to Billy again because I can't resist this type of task.

There's been some reyt sheninigans goin off with this election malarkey. Some folk are claiming jiggery-pokery while others are pronouncing such phrases as 'jeepers creepers' and 'golly gosh' that such a rapscallion got in again. What a brouhaha!

America??

What have you done????

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Beat Bullying

When I was at school I experienced some bullying. The first significant time was in Junior 3 (Year 5 in new money, age 9-10) when a girl in the year above pushed me and a friend around fairly regularly, and called us names. It never crossed our minds to tell anyone or do anything about it, but one day our class teacher announced to the class that this girl had been found to be bullying various people, and had she done this to any of us. My friend and I put our hands up and were made to stand up in class and say what she had done, how often, for how long. This was pretty embarrassing and fairly humiliating (which is, of course, a feature of bullying itself), but thankfully we never had any more trouble from her again.

At secondary school I was regularly bullied, particularly by two girls. I never really acknowledged that it was bullying, and tried to ignore it, to not dignify it with a response. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't seem to stop it happening.

The bullying left me feeling vulnerable, humiliated, scared (of getting on the bus, of going to certain parts of the school, of encountering them at all, of others joining in) and also full of a self-hatred which left me even less able to protect or stand up for myself.

It wasn't horrifically violent, or severe in the ways you hear of some children experiencing it, but it was really, really horrible and unpleasant and didn't help my teenage development - already a complicated process - one bit.

Children can be really, really cruel and there are many other incidents coming into my mind as I write that I realise now could also be classed as bullying. Like my whole class completely ignoring myself and a friend, being very obstructive and mean to us, constantly criticising us. I'm not sure if this was bullying, or more just a very cruel response to an argument we had had. I don't want to downplay bullying by describing any and every cruel behaviour as that, but equally it is something which manifests in many behaviours and it is important to acknowledge that.

Children have to go to school every day of the week, most weeks of the year, and for way way way too many children, school is a place characterised by ridicule, violence, shame, self-hatred, isolation and misery, all due to bullying. To be put in that situation every day, is unbearable and leads to depression, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviours, truancy and suicide.

It is entirely and totally unacceptable that so many children are terrorised in this way, and I was so so glad to hear about The Million a Week Campaign, run by and for young people, and who state,
A million young people a week are affected by bullying. The message from the young people of beatbullying is:
enough is enough!
.
They have a petition for people to read and sign here. I reckon you should go do it.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Scam Spam, Wind and Words.

Ach! It's not often an email can cause my heart to stop, but I just got one that did. It looked like an average paypal receipt, but when I read it, I was informed that I had made a payment of $278.99 to phonebuyer451@yahoo.com

Luckily, I knew enough about phishing to know not to click on any links in the email, or to reply to it. Instead, I went to the secure paypal site by typing in the address, and checked my account which reassured me that no such payment had been paid. A quick google search informs me that a few others have been hit with this same scam too.

If you ever get dodgy emails like this (often from paypal or ebay), don't click on the links in the message or reply to it if you are at all suspicious. Instead, go to the site involved either from your bookmarks or type in the address, and if there are indeed problems with your account (or whatever the email is telling you) you will find out there. Another way to check is to forward such emails to spoof@paypal.com or spoof@ebay.co.uk and they will reply and let you know whether it is a genuine message or not.

Ethical Adventures (newly discovered cool blog) led me to Embrace the Wind Revolution site, where you can sign up in support of wind energy, and have your name on a wind turbine :)

When catching up with Lectrice I came across an utterly fantastic entry, detailing the years in which words entered the British vocabulary. For a linguist-y type like me it's totally fascinating. What did people sing before tiddly-om-pom-pom came about in 1909? Who was wearing a Wonderbra in 1947? What was racism called before 1935?

Incidentally my namesake, Hippy, came into use in 1953.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Disability, Democrats, Dosh, Devastation and Daftness.

Gosh it's been a week since I updated. Sorry.

So, according to the Disability Discrimination Act, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to work. The things that often spring to mind are ramps and hand rails, hearing aid loop systems and such. But what would a reasonable adjustment for a fairly mad person be?

Pyjama Girl discusses this here on BBC Ouch, and I have often wondered myself what adjustments I might need, to be able to work. This has been more preoccupying than usual lately, what with the terrifying disability benefit cuts which have been speculated about lately. All I can conclude is that the adjustments I would certainly need to even contemplate work at the moment would never, ever, ever be ccnsidered reasonable by an employer.

The stuff about cutting incapacity benefits is frightening a lot of people. Some disability benefit claimants are unable to work because they are blocked at every stage by prejudiced and discriminatory employers. This group of people absolutely deserves help and support to find and maintain work. Other claimants are unable to work because they are chronically ill, in pain, and so on, and pressurising these people to work, threatening benefit cuts, will only succeed in making people more distressed and ill.

A TUC report has been released which counters some of the myths and misconceptions which have been flying around lately.
The benefit has fallen in value to less than a fifth of average earnings, the numbers of claimants has been falling consistently for the past decade and it is estimated that less than one in a hundred claims are fraudulent.

Apparently, a single person on incapacity benefit receives 15.2% of the national average wage. Are they really going to cut it further?

A separate report announced that Disabled people on benefits are £800 a month short of an acceptable quality of life. The report's author concluded that,
Even maximum benefit levels fall well short of meeting the true costs of disability; and it is equally clear that many disabled people in paid work cannot achieve the income required to meet their needs either
.
An action plan, on getting sick and disabled people back to work, contains some intimidating and unmanagable prospects which I know during several periods of time in the last few years I would have been incapable of.
Failure to agree an action plan and discuss necessary alterations to it at subsequent interviews leads to repeated reductions in benefits until the claimant is left with just 10p a week to live on.

As for those who have been part of trying out the New Deal for Disabled People,
For the majority, it seems, a period of insecure, low wage work and then back to benefits was as close as they got to the prime minister's courageous new world of social mobility.


Do I even need to go on to talk about the social model of health? About how poverty causes and worsens diseases and disabilities? How many people I have seen relapse after someone somewhere decides they're capable of work and their money and support stops?

There is an allegation that Democrats in Tennessee have printed a poster with the text, “Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You’re Still Retarded.” The Democrats say it is a Republican dirty trick. Whichever, if either, of those it is, it's horrible. Stop it.

This made me laugh.

This made me cry.

I leave you with George, God here.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Extreme Weather

Read this first...

With all the news on TV lately about the extreme weather conditions
affecting the East Coast of the US, the mud slides in the Middle East
and South America, along with the dire predictions made by such films
as The Day After Tomorrow etc, we shouldn't forget that England has
its share of devastating weather too. I've attached a photo
illustrating the damage caused to a friend's home from a storm that
passed through Southern England last night. It really makes you
cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take things for granted.

Click here for image.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

More Nigerian Women Sentenced to Death by Stoning.

Two more Nigerian women are going to be stoned to death for adultery under Northern provinces' Sharia law. An international outcry led to the proposed stoning of Amina Lawal being overturned, so we must all speak out now to prevent these two women dying in such a horrific way.

You can send letters from here to the powers-that-be in Nigeria, to demand that these women's lives are saved.

Two Nigerian women have been tragically sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. Both sentences were imposed in the northern Islamic state of Bauchi, Nigeria.

Hajara Ibrahim, a twenty-nine year old woman was sentenced on October 5 for confessing having sex with a thirty-five year old man and becoming pregnant. The court decided that the woman will be given to a guardian until she delivers the baby after which her sentence of stoning to death will be carried out. The man whom Ibrahim confessed to having sex with was acquitted because the court found “no evidence to link him with the allegation.” On September 15, another Nigerian woman, Daso Adamu, was given the same sentence of stoning to death for having sex with a thirty-five year old man.

Sharia law has been introduced in twelve states in northern Nigeria. Last year, Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. Following an outcry from women around the world her case was then overturned in September 2003.

Please urge Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerian Ambassador to the United States Ambassador George A. Obiozor, United States Ambassador to Nigeria Ambassador Joseph Campbell, and the Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to urge immediate action to prevent these atrocities from occurring. Click here to take action!

Women's voices prevented Amina Lawal's death in 2003, and women's voices can make a difference today. Help end archaic laws and brutal sentences - make your voice heard today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Monkeys, Maidenhood and Mailshots

You know when you check your post in the morning, and you find a couple of AOL CDs that you will never use? Then you go out to the shops and are faced with multiple freebie CDs glued onto the front of the magazine you want to buy. And that's not even mentioning the one that's slipped into your shopping bag by the cashier.

You feel you should do something with them rather than just put them straight out with the rubbish, but the suggestions about coasters, and creating hanging mobiles just don't, well, don't work for you.

Well, there is an answer :)

NoMoreAOLCDs.com. Their aim is to collect 1 million of these nightmare free CDs and return them all to AOL, sending them a message about waste and junk mail.

It might sound a bit like one of those great ideas that never goes anywhere, but they have already collected 328,147. That includes 11,197 from the UK, in case any Brits were wary of what the postage rates would be to send these to the States. As it is, they only want the CDs - no packaging at all - so I can't imagine it would cost much to post even quite a few of them.

So, get sending your unwanted AOL / Netscape / Compuserve / BT Yahoo! CDs off to:
No More AOL CDs!
1601 Navellier St.
El Cerrito CA, 94530
U.S.A.


SarahJaneNewbury.com is a scary website. In fact I'd even go so far as to say that I'm actually quite scared of Sarah Jane Newbury herself.

Allegedly Britain's Most Famous Virgin, this site includes details of ex-boyfriends, several tributes to the late Queen Mother, scans of letters from various of her doctors confirming she is virgo intacta, a strange, strange collection of letters from the public, and some of the most visually painful backgrounds I have ever come across.

And that is a fairly conservative description of the site. You really need to see it to believe it. If you dare. And are wearing sunglasses. And can deal with letters saying things like the following:
God bless the Queen mother who like yourself is the same height as me and one of our mutual ancestors through Scottish royalty and the Lyons. In fact when we toured Scotland we felt something very strong and are so delighted you have helped us find our roots. I always felt she was an older version of myself and never knew why.

[Shudder]

You know the saying,
"If you have enough monkeys
banging randomly on typewriters,
they will eventually type the works
of William Shakespeare"
?

Well, that theory is being tested on the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator site where the best result so far is a monkey having typed the first 20 characters of Coriolanus. Which is pretty damn impressive when you think about it.

If you go to the site when you come online, you can just leave the simulator running in the background (whether you are online or not) and they will all be typing randomly, leaving you in the hope that your computer screen will be host to the first monkey to get the next record of 21 letters.

It can get a bit obsessional, incidentally ;)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I am the very model of a modern sesquepedalian.

That means someone who likes using long words :)

Thanks to Daydreaming on Paper I am writing about my favourite words. Thanks to sheer exhaustion I may just list them.

Serendipity.

Discombobulated.

Gratuitous.

Fuck.

Felicitous (can't remember what that means).

Machrihanish.

Epiphanous (apparently I was in an epiphanous mood state. Not often you learn a cool word from a doc).

Nepenthe.

That will do for now. Bye.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

War of the Roses

It seems that the (in)famous Yorkshire dialect is flummoxing some otherwise entirely competent, intelligent, and fluent GPs new here from Austria.

For some reason these docs didn't understand when being told of mardy snecks and such, though apparently most of them gathered what was meant when patients complained of feeling jiggered. In any case, a dictionary was created for them and all seems well now. Except maybe til people start complaining about their hard-earned taxes being spent on Yorkshire Dialect Dictionaries.

But I think it's a great idea. As someone who committed the cardinal sin of moving from Lancashire to Yorkshire, the differences are far more pronounced than I would have expected. Nowadays I've been here in South Yorkshire for long enough to be accustomed to people teasing me for being nesh, to men calling each other love without a blink of an eye, with hearing myself use the word reyt to mean very. I have a wash when I feel loppy, if you need to know what time a shop closes, you are told it's open while 5 rather than until. That in particular leads to commonly told tales of someone going into a shop at 8.55am and being scolded and told, "You can't come in while we're open!". And don't even get me going on breadcakes. (It is, of course, a barmcake).

But, in true Yorkshire-adoptee style, I have to also tell you that for the last few days I haven't been online or doing much because I've been badly. Hope to be back properly soon.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Hippie's Hunt for Happiness

The world is fairly disastrous at the moment, I feel. It scares me.

I am trying desperately to find some positive things to write about. Community events, creative resistance, something... Not to pretend the shit isn't happening - that's impossible. But as, I guess, a way to try to re-balance the things we are exposed to, things we hear about, things we see. I need there to be more going on in this world than what I hear on the news.

Sheffield's annual Off The Shelf festival of reading and writing is happening this month.

Now in its 13 th year, Sheffield 's annual literary fortnight is a well-established festival which is one of the highlights of Sheffield 's cultural calendar and one of the largest festivals in the North of England.

Radio 4 comedy really has its pretty impressive moments. A new series of the rather splendid The News Quiz started today. I slept through it this evening but will be listening again once it is up on the site.

I thought googling happy might be the next step in my quest for despair-erasing enlightenment. I was sadly wrong.

But it's got to be promising that there are about 39,900,000 results, yeah? I'll keep looking.

Ok, result number 470 informs me that there is such thing as a Happy Number in mathematics. Note the cunning use of the full word to avoid any potential UK + AUS (maths) and US (math) semantic conflict.

I don't understand a word of the first paragraph, so will slip in an easier extract, as follows:
The first few happy numbers are 1, 7, 10, 13, 19, 23, 28, 31, 32, 44, 49, 68, 70, 79, 82, 86, 91, 94, 97, 100
.
There, see. Happy numbers. Follow the link there if you actually understand maths stuff and want to know more.

You know when you look at a certain word a lot, and it starts to look odd. That is now happening with HAPPY.

Willkommen Im Happychat is actually the absolutely last google result for happy.

Not sure any of this is actually making me any happier. Keeping me occupied, mebbe, but not making me happy.

The article entitled Reassurance sounded promising, even if it was from Dermatology Times. The image search shows some odd perspectives on reassurance, though they were significantly less garish and harsh on my tired eyes than the results for happy.

Maybe, just maybe, the answer is more in contentment, or friendship, or love, or sunny days. Not the thing, but rather a combination and build-up of many small things.

Maybe.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Laydees and Gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for!

Hippie's Oh My Gawd link of the week award goes to...

[drum roll]

WKetchup.com.

Their slogan is (really and truly, this isn't Hippie ripping the piss - there's no need for that, they provide you with it all! Where was I? Oh yeah, their slogan),

You don't support Democrats
Why should your ketchup?


It's true! I don't even have to make any of my own jokes!

Cool web address of the week has to be www.hop-skip-jump.com/ which is just ultra cute - and entirely fitting for the Beatrix Potter website.

And the not seen for a while but totally worth a click award of the week goes to Tom Lehrer's Elements song animated in Flash.

'Next Blog' of the Week (if you don't know what I'm talking about you can see here. Or just leave, if you want), chosen from four randomly clicked on 'Next Blogs', goes to Witchesland, for pure oddness value.

Cool poster - Boycott Stagecoach.

I'll go in a minute - this is the last of tonight's Hippie Awards. Soooooooo, Quotation of the Week (that being the week I heard it, rather than the week it was said...) goes to the aforementioned Tom Lehrer.

'I'm not tempted to write a song about George W.Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them.'

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Saturday Superstore

I won 5 competitions this morning. Five!!

The postman came with some stuff I'd bought from ebay, a free gift from a magazine subscription, and five competition prizes!!
  • Lindor chocolates
  • Sanex shower gel, deodorant and mirror
  • Kent Minihog hairbrush by appointment to her majesty the queen brushmakers g. b. kent and sons plc
  • Rolson tool kit
  • and
  • a Learn Portuguese in a day DVD
.
As Faintpraise so aptly put it - not bad for a day's work!

Someone has compiled a list on amazon of authors with, umm, unfortunate names. Entirely childish and silly, but here it is. My favourite really does have to be the poor sod called Norman Conquest... :))

And you know all those tricky questions which keep you awake at night? The intricacies of creation vs. evolution, could an all-powerful God build a wall that he couldn't climb over? Well, all is solved by the publication of this comprehensive God FAQ.


Incidentally, I am fully aware that while I write silly stuff, much of the world is being ripped apart in one way or another. I am not ignoring it, I'm just not able to blog about it for now. I liked what Billy said.

It's keeping me awake at night, it makes me cry several times a day, it fills my thoughts. This, this, this, this, this, this, this... Need I go on? Because I could have done. For pages and pages.

I'm blogging about daft stuff, I'm taking the happy pills, but my soul hurts.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

If You're Not Outraged You're Not Paying Attention.

Yuck. I hate that I published that last entry. As I said several days earlier, I was inspired by an amazing woman's words, but in my own writing there, obviously momentary confidence led to me posting it. The proceeding reality and self-flagellation have led to me regretting it.

So mainly I'm writing here so it's not so bloody visible at the top of the page.

I'm kind of getting obsessed with the Next Blog link at the top right of the page. You never know if one more click won't take you to the ultimate blog of all blogs. Generally it doesn't, and lots are in Spanish, which I don't speak, but there's always a feeling of I'll just click it one more time...

Several times I was led to what could be a great blog, but which only had one entry. You can't judge a blog on that basis, so I didn't save them, though had there been more in them, chances are I may have done. Ah well.

I've added some new links to incurable hippie tonight. Over there to the right. Yep, there. A few new blogs and a bit of extra stuff too.

I wonder sometimes if I should categorise the Blogs I Like links, but generally I quite like the randomness. Though it is getting longer. But I'm crap at categorising things. Nothing is ever that simple, in my experience.

Next Blog

Next Blog

Next Blog

Next Blog

Next Blog

Next Blog

Next Blog

need...to...stop...clicking...

Next Blog

[sigh]

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Weight? Wait!

Until I was 23, I was slim. Periods of anorexia nervosa meant that for some of that time I was more thin than slim, and received very mixed messages from the world around me.

Those who knew me well cautioned me about how ill I was and looked, while those who were more passing acquaintances complimented my then emaciated figure. I, of course, chose to only pay attention to the latter, enjoying the attention and praise.

Nowadays, four years on, things are quite dramatically different. Firstly, nowadays I eat. I enjoy food and do not allow myself to submit to any inner voices berating me for being 'weak' or 'greedy'. Secondly, I am now overweight. Medication I have to take has resulted in significant weight gain, and adding that to the result of the anorexia I used to have on my metabolism, means that my body now, compared to my body then, bear little resemblance to each other.

The medication-induced weight gain occurred remarkably quickly, and it took me a long, long time to adjust to living in what was seemingly a stranger's body.

It wasn't just that I was heavier - rather, my whole body shape had changed, people's reactions to me had changed, the shops where I could buy clothes had changed, as had the styles of clothes I felt comfortable wearing.

Fortunately, there had been a long enough passing of time since my last period of disordered eating that, although I found my 'new body' somewhat difficult to adapt to, I wasn't especially traumatised by the sudden and rapid weight gain, as I am sure I would have been had it happened earlier.

I still regularly did double-takes, though, shocked at what I saw and didn't recognise when I caught an unexpected glimpse of myself in a mirror. Who is that round person?!

I had been flung from the world of the thin person (Top Shop, short skirts, can eat cake without people tutting) to the world of the fat person (badly fitting clothes, random disapproval from strangers, outraged stares if you dare to even think about eating cake), and I was secretly quite enjoying it!

I think this was, at least in part, because I could quite justifiably absolve myself from any responsibility for the weight gain. Within the mental health community which I am part of, the mere mention of the medication involved provokes knowing nods and mutterings of others' 3 or 4 stone put on while taking the same pills.

Nowadays I know where to shop for clothes which will fit, I eat as I please, and I am pretty damn comfortable with the body I'm living in. But even that in itself can lead to horrified reactions from (invariably thin) people who sincerely believe that I should hate my body, and constantly work against it to make it 'fit' the small sizes which are, it seems, the only ones which are socially acceptable.

Quite simply, I refuse to do this. I refuse to starve, and I refuse to apologise for my weight. More to the point, I will not apologise for not apologising!

We all have the right to live in the body we live in, without feeling a societally-imposed need to battle against, and hate it. I have gone from anorexic and underweight, to big and overweight, and for that, I refuse to apologise!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Fathers, Fakes and Foxes.

This last week seems to have been characterised by so-called breaches in security. First of all, Batman climbed onto a ledge on Buckingham Palace. The next day we found out that Robin had also been in attendance, but arrested early on.

Then we had pro-hunt protestors who got onto the floor of Parliament during the debate on hunting. Amusingly, this article goes onto talk about a breach of security in May when protestors threw (and I quote), purple powder missiles at Tony Blair. Purple powder missiles eh?! They were condoms full of purple flour!!!!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, so the pro-hunt rich blokeys got onto the floor of the House of Commons and there has since been much talk of banning the public from Parliament buildings now, and such. Outrageous. How can we have even a pretence of democracy if we don't have access to our MPs and to the proceedings of Parliament?

Then, the icing on the government security embarrassment cake was that a reporter from yucky tabloid paper got a job as a waiter in the House of Commons, and smuggled in a fake bomb.

Sure, there are many questions being asked at present. Mine is... what on earth constitutes a fake bomb?? A ticking clock? a plastic hand grenade? A fake bomb?!

To the person who wondered whether I said that Fathers 4 Justice were misogynist in order to be controversial. No I didn't. I may write more about that issue in time, but until then Caroline hath spake wisely and more articulately than I could manage :)

About fox hunting. Get it banned! It's barbaric, and has been dragging its feet for so long. Calling it a vital pest control method is a ridiculous argument. One fox being ripped apart once a week on a Saturday afternoon is surely a totally inadequate way to keep any kind of pest under control.




I am a Hippy



Which America Hating Minority Are You?


Take More Robert & Tim Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim Cartoons


Monday, September 13, 2004

Batman@BuckinghamPalace.com

The press are having kittens. It's not every day the news begins with, "A man dressed as Batman has scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace and is protesting on a ledge".

Cute trick. Unfortunately it's one of the gits from Fathers 4 Justice. They threw the condoms full of purple powder at Tony Blair from the public gallery in the House of Commons too.

We need to take from their ideas for funky stunts, but we need them to not ever succeed in any more of their misogyny and the hatred of women which fuels so much of their action and words.

In terms of the Batman stunt there is, of course, much speculation now of what if it had been an Al Qaeda terrorist and what if the royals had been there. I still stand by what I have said before. The royals are no more or less important than any of the rest of us.

dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner bat maan Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 12, 2004

You Learn Something New Every Day...

Lembit Opik is so called because of his parents' Estonian background, and he speaks fluent Estonian.

FrankenBush Complaints

Here and here, little.red.boat talks about the Disneyfication of Pooh. She writes really well, and has summed up my own grrr about it perfectly.

I grew up with a magical Winnie the Pooh, the drawings in the books feeling like they had been drawn for me. It was personal and lovely. But now it's mass-produced, marketed, wrecked. It's just not at all the same.

And if she is right that videos called Cowboy Pooh and Frankenpooh have been made, well, I rest my case.

I like slow afternoon, who has a great list of Bush sites here worth a look at. For instance, you can see my own better Bush which I built. Frankenbush, if you will ;)

As you know, we don't have relationships with Iran. I mean, that's - ever since the late '70s, we have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other words, there's no sanctions - you can't - we're out of sanctions.
- George W. Bush, forgetting about America's arms sales to Iran, Annandale, Va, Aug. 9, 2004


When I had a TV, I made the odd complaint. About offensive (misogynist, racist, prejudiced stuff) things I had seen. Not loads. Probably 3 or 4 in total over my lifetime. I know several friends who do / have done the same. The Filth and the Fury, about different things people call in to complain about, is funny and enlightening. Though I may, of course, have to complain about their use of offensive language regarding those with mental health problems...

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fat Feedback Flurry

She's fat. And that's fine. Good, even. Telling her she isn't is nonsensical. Fat isn't a bad thing to be.

I want her confidence, but for now I shall just love her words.

Ebay feedback seems to be becoming a theme here recently. It wasn't deliberately so, it just keeps being worth mentioning. Today's randomly selected ebayer (well, kinda) has an almost inconceivable 8320 negative feedbacks. Eight thousand three hundred and twenty! Negatives! And the buyers keep buying... Mad!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Genuine Idealist Freak

I referred to strange ebay feedback a few days ago but now I have been directed to some feedback extraordinaire.

Ebay tells us that
The Feedback Forum is the place to learn about your trading partners, view their reputations, and express your opinions by leaving feedback on your transactions. Such member-to-member comments help the millions of buyers and sellers in the community build trust and share their trading experiences with others.

Ebay user Andy46477 seems to have a somewhat different comprehension of its purpose...
  • I'll bid on you til there's nothing left but crumbs! Then I'll bid on the crumbs
  • The box you sent was open-proof. I had to use a BIG KNIFE and act MENACING. Bad!
  • I'm eating a helicopter, I mean a hamburger. Did you send this? DELECTABLE!
  • Would you like a bowl of soup? Of course not. See?
and so on...

I did this BBC What Am I Like quiz and apparently am an idealist...

Your answers suggest you are an Idealist

The four aspects that make up this personality type are:
spontaneous, ideas, hearts, introvert.

Summary of Idealists

* Make sense of the world using inner values
* Focus on personal growth and the growth of others
* Think of themselves as bright, forgiving and curious
* May sometimes appear stubborn

More about Idealists

Idealists put time and energy into developing personal values that they use as a guide through life. They may seek fulfilment by helping others improve themselves and often want to make the world a better place. Idealists only share their inner values with people they respect.

Idealists are the most likely group to say they are vegetarian, according to a UK survey.

Idealists enjoy discussions about a wide range of topics, particularly those that deal with the future. They are typically easy-going and flexible, but if their values are challenged they may refuse to compromise.

In situations where they can’t use their talents or are unappreciated, Idealists may have trouble expressing themselves and withdraw. Under extreme stress, Idealists may become very critical of others, or lose confidence in their own ability to cope.

Recognition for their work is important to Idealists; however, they are also good at spotting false praise.
Idealist Careers

Idealists are often drawn to jobs where they can help people reach their potential. They are also attracted to careers that allow artistic creativity.


I also got 18/20 correct when distinguishing genuine and fake smiles.




And I leave you with something to bring tears to any man's eyes... Scary scary scary.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Positive Mental Attitude.

How to start your day with a positive attitude:

1. Create a "New Folder" on your computer
2. Name it "George W. Bush."
3. Send it to the recycle bin.
4. Empty the recycle bin.
5. Your computer will ask you: "Do you really want to get rid of
"George W. Bush"?
6. Answer calmly "Yes" and press the mouse button firmly.
7. Repeat as often as desired.


sky Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Dusty Demolitions.

I spent an hour or so this afternoon watching the old Claywood Flats being demolished by nibbling.

I have to say that, though Sheffield City Council refer to it as nibbling, having watched it for some time I think that is understating it. This is a vicious munching metal monster! I watched the thing actually eat two whole flats. And I got covered in dust. Weird, but quite compulsive to watch.

Whoever it was who found my blog through searching for shagging underwater, I was alarmed to be number 2 on the search results list. As it was, when I worked out that it was the most boring pets in the world that led you here, I giggled a lot. Ha!


munch Posted by Hello

nibble Posted by Hello

Monday, August 30, 2004

Desktops, Direct Action, Disturbing Feedback

My brother sent me to Tony Blair's Desktop which is totally interactive and well worth exploring for ten minutes. It's very clever.

Wednesday 22nd September is to be World Carfree Day. They have some quite fabulous direct action ideas. It got my brain ticking anyway.

The 90% for 90% campaign idea is brilliant. It is action to reduce the ridiculously expensive public transport costs. The same site also has a list of Fifty Ideas for Actions on Climate Change. I have also found a very comprehensive guide to protesting road building.

Raar.

I've just come across one of the more obscure ebay feedback comments I've come across.

As described and well packaged. Ate the sweets but not the blades.

Mmm. I guess that's good.

I also like,

You can overpay me again next time if you wish.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Velveteen - Meme

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog or journal.
5. Now go to page 67.
6. Find the third line from the bottom of that page.
7. Post that line in your blog or journal.
8. Write a blog entry based on either or both of these phrases, or any word contained within them.
9. Post the blog or journal entry along with these
instructions.
10. Invite people to guess what book they are from.




Page 23, 5th sentence: It may have been known that Blanche was lonely, but having never known company other than her mother's, she did not notice it.

Page 67, 3rd line from bottom: velvet, soft and smooth, but not effeminate. It's too



Velvet takes me to velveteen, which takes me to the Velveteen Rabbit.

There's a blog called the Velveteen Rabbi too, by someone who insists she is actually not a rabbi!

People are breeding actual velveteen lops, though of course as they are alive (I can't say real after just re-reading the original children's story).

There are anime lyrics for a song called Velveteen, and Lenny Kravitz lyrics also.

There are study ideas, a musical, a selection of e-cards, velveteen fabric care and a strange account of being a Velveteen Mother.

I leave you with a recipe for Black Velveteen.
Ingredients:
  • 12 oz Stout
  • 4 oz Hard Cider
Instructions:Pour both ingredients into a large beer mug, and serve.

Mmmm mebbe.

Word Beads: Motel; Emasculate; Communicant; East; Mud.

From WordBeads.



From the motel window she saw the procession. 20 or 30 young Communicants traipsing in girl/boy pairs to Mass. The somewhat emasculated young boys resisting the urge to roll in the mud and instead looking up in awe at the stunning east window in the strange old building which, for now, was doubling as a Church.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Everybody loves surfin'.

I've been blog-surfing. Starting off with my links to the right and following their links then their links and, well, often ending up back where I started.

Found some fabulous moments worth sharing though.

Some fantabulous news clippings.

And oh myyyyyyyy, Spiderman camps it up.... I've been watching it for hours :))

the common man led me to the rather hilarious is my little baby going to be gay? They also have a store where, amongst other things, you can buy a What Would Jesus Do? thong, a rather fabulous collection of cards and postcards and truly creepy Bible verse gear.

Which reminds me... there was a radio discussion about the US presidential elections earlier. A woman talked about the 3 Gs of big issues. Guns, God and Gays. I was so excited! I'm a G!!!! (Clue: neither a gun nor God).

Street Memes has some great ideas. For some reason it has made me think of sociology lectures on globalisation. How the world has got a lot bigger and a lot smaller. Like in my city I can eat Chinese, Kurdish, Japanese, North American, whatever... so the whole world in my city. So the world is smaller. But also things from here are elsewhere making my city bigger... and that applies to everything. Anyway, I'm not saying globalisation is a good thing... just that this idea of the same graffiti appearing in cities and towns all over the world is quite amazing.

These cats hate you. Yes they do.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Presidential Pronunciation

Dooey at Infected Papercut is one of my favourite bloggers. She writes fabulously, and always has a great link or two.

A man playing with his balls is a fantastic link from there which I just followed :)

But here, Dooey's audioblogging entry is great.

She talks about what a poor public speaker the dubya creature is. Illustrated with extracts from speeches which is has famously, and not so famously, fucked up.

You kinda giggle when you're listening to it, but in a doleful way. Cos it would be funny on a bloopers type show. It's not so funny coming from the most powerful man on earth. That makes it scary.

Over here, we kinda have the opposite problem. I think Blair is, if anything, perhaps too good a public speaker. He spouts shit, but in a convincing way. I can't hear him without hearing intense insincerity and manipulation, but I have heard it said that he is good. And I guess he must be, given the sillily high numbers who have voted for him in the last general elections.

I'd have hoped, you see, that Bush being so bad at speeches, would be a good thing, and mean that people would see the light and never vote for him again. But it doesn't seem to be working that way. BBC Radio 4 even reported that his faux-pas-filled speeches actually endear him to many Americans, who see him as more like them. I really think that those people who think that could do with some self-esteem workshops. You're better than him, whoever you are!

I don't know what the answer is. Two big leaders, one as good as the other is bad at speech-giving.

Whatever will get Bush out is good. And Dooey is doing her bit :)

Randomosity: return, games, tomatoes and cathedrals...

I'm back. Audio Blogging is damn cool though!

I'd like to say I'm back because I fixed my computer and found my glasses. In fact I'm back because I tricked my computer into believing it was never broken in the first place, and I found an old pair of specs which make things only marginally less blurry, but my face doesn't feel quite so naked.

The Invisible Mouse Cursor Game is, according to b3ta, "fiendishly difficult". According to me, tis fiendishly difficult too.

Tomatina Photos look initially like some sort of bloody massacre, but it's a huge, huge tomato fight in Bunol, in Spain, with 20,000 participants.

One of yesterday's news items was that the Queen's organist has been jailed for child sexual abuse. It is as horrific and sick a story as they all are.

But then the comments of Judge Jonathan Playford actually did take my breath away (as witnessed by the person I was on the phone to when I heard it on the radio). So yeah, Mr Judge said:
It's bad enough that you could misuse your position as choirmaster and organist, it's really that much worse, that much more deplorable and offensive to the public that you should at least in some instances actually make use of one of our great cathedrals to perpetrate your crimes.

[Cough Splutter] WHaT?! The fact that it happened in a great Cathedral is somehow worse than it happened at all? That it could have ruined a kid's life, left them chronically depressed and mistrusting, just for a start? That it happened in a beautiful building is worse than that? Fuck off!

And people wonder why people don't come forward to the police and legal system about rape and sexual abuse.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Early Morning Awakening with Radio 4

Why oh why am I awake?
It's the UK Theme for goodness sake!
I really should still be asleep,
Covered with my duvet in a heap.

Dead to the world, dreaming away
Not listening to Farming Today.
John Humphrys just mentioned toilet paper
It's making me more and more awaker!

It's hours before I should wake up -
I fumble for the coffee cup.
With a cigarette I should be fine
Though I do regret those glasses of wine.

I should be asleep, in the land of nod
Not listening to thoughts and prayers to God.
The news is on - the world's a disaster
They seem to be talking faster and faster.

I'll lie back down, attempt to doze
Before my irritation grows.
And if it is to be my fate
I'll stay asleep beyond half past eight.




I wrote that in almost-sleep, as I had no memory of writing it until I found it tonight. But it was written, it seems, between 5.30am and 6.15am or so this morning!

Incidentally, in the middle of typing the poem out, I got totally and completely sidetracked listening to The Blunder Clips. The one near the bottom with the ever-professional Charlotte Green is especially worth a listen :))

Thursday, August 19, 2004

google, gmail. poodles, PMs and protests.

If you go to google.co.uk and type in poodle and do a UK only search, you will like the first result that comes up.

I feel very proud to have played a part in it ;)

Speaking of google, incurable hippie is way too high in their results for rude pippa. What could they be suggesting?! ;)

People are still very much campaigning for Naseh to stay, which I talked about a few days ago. There are daily demonstrations. It is thought Naseh has just a matter of days left.

Incidentally, does anyone want a gmail invite? I've been in on the beta testing since May and have a couple more invites going. If you do, leave me a comment to this entry and I'll see what I can do, but it's worth checking back here in a few days anyway.

Gmail is pretty damn fab.


My Links Map. Coolness. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Listings and Listings (Films and Buildings).

I actually momentarily stopped breathing when I read number 2 in the list of Top Ten Pro-Catholic Movies. How can you say such a thing about the totally wondrous Sound of Music?? And no, I'm not joking! My Sound of Music adoration is a very serious matter!

I wasn't entirely sure why Schindler's List was number 9 in the Top Ten Pro-Catholic Movies. I don't remember any particular Catholicism within it, but it could just be my memory.

Priest is number 2 on the list of Top Ten Anti-Catholic Movies, as chosen by a panel of judges. I have seen this film a few times and it is a hugely moving and powerful portrayal of one man's agonies. The Magdalene Sisters is also on the anti-Catholic list.

I really wish people would think before ranting and raving about how awful and offensive the mere existence of certain buildings are - particularly if they are, ahem, grotesque.

People do feel very strongly on both sides of the arguments about places like Park Hill flats in Sheffield, but it is, frankly, just plain rude to talk about people's homes in the ways that people talk about Parkhill.

To emphasise my point, I leave you with Conservative councillor Anne Smith who said Park Hill should be flattened, ground up, and used to resurface the M1.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Word Beads: Orator; Tamper; Prejudice; Alginate; Spend.

from Word Beads.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to string those words together with other words of your choosing to fashion into a sentence, several sentences, a paragraph, several paragraphs, a poem, or even a short story.

Have fun.


The role of a modern day orator is to be informative and entertaining. S/he can surprise her audience if s/he tampers with their prejudices, while leaving them wondering how much of the speech should be taken with a pinch of alginate. If we are to spend time and money nowadays on orators, they should be worth our time and money.

kayaks and other things

It seems that John Prescott rescued a kayaker who had fallen from his boat. How scary for the poor bloke. No, not JP, but the poor sod who woke up from his trauma to be faced with the deputy PM. [Shudder]

This is fantabulous. And not dissimilar to opening a tub of fish food to find 8 billion pharoah ants circling it so adeptly that the food flakes were moving. Yeuch.

Keep checking Sheffield Indymedia for updates on Naseh's situation and campaign.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Please do something.

I am so ashamed of my government.

Naseh Jabar Ghafor has sewn his lips together 37 days ago to protest that he has been told he must return to Iraq - where he saw his brother and father murdered, and his mother and sister are missing.

He knows he will be killed if he is returned to Iraq, and has made the unbearable decision that dying through hunger strike is, for want of a much better word, preferable.

There is going to be a round-the-clock picket line outside immigration offices at Aspect Court, in Pond Street, Sheffield, from Monday at 11am. I hope lots and lots of people are there.

Local people are spending time with Naseh too, making sure he is never alone, and it is thought he is dying. One woman doing this is Jean Woods, who said
"This man's ordeal makes me hang my head in shame for being British. I wouldn't leave a dog in the condition he is in - lying starving to death on a dirty floor.
"I don't think he understands much English but I've been sitting with him and stroking his hand, which I hope shows him I care," she said. "I've even written to the Queen about it. But I feel so helpless - it's breaking my heart but I don't know what else to do."

I just want to cry.

At the War Memorial this afternoon I witnessed a Service with ex-servicemen who had been prisoners of war in Japan until the war ended there 59 years ago. It made me want to cry too, wondering how we can declare some things awful if they are in the past, and yet ok or even honourable if they are in the present.

So please, think about what you can do. Come down to the protest tomorrow. Join Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers (CDAS). Write to David Blunkett, or your MP.

Just do something. Please.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

blah n all that

Richard Madeley does it again...

Listen, mate, I can use that word about myself, but you can't, ok? Even if you do think of yourself as a bit of a heteroflexible.

I don't know quite why I laughed so much at this story, but I did ;)




Following from OBJECT UK

Lads Mags: Front AFFRONT

Men's Magazine 'FRONT'. Cover features a bound, gagged blond on all fours

Get active

Go to your supermarket and ask them why they are selling this!
Sign our 'on the top shelf' petition. Details from ido@object.org.uk

Gail spoke to a Front rep who said this image was empowering and that the woman had earned a whole £100. He also said since there is no regulation they use whatever images they can get away with.

"I even had the police in at Tesco's and I marched into every other street in my Highstreet. This is not sold as adult material, it is not age-restricted. So it is ok for 10 year olds to buy it?"




Abortion Rights - Stop the GAG

Abortion Rights are challenging the Regan/Bush global gag on abortion.

The Gag stops any voluntary group that receives USA funds (or using other non USA funds) from 'promoting' abortion in any way (providing abortion services, lobbying, counselling or information).

The effect globally has been devastating

Contact Abortion Rights now@
http://www.abortionrights.org.uk


It's as if they are trying to wipe abortion out of the dictionary




Mo - latest lads mag 'babe'

Mo Mowlem is now Zoo's Agony aunt
We have written to her (c/o Zoo as no other contact address can be found) asking her why?
We will keep you updated with her (no doubt edited) response !




ASA - Ann Summers

Ann Summers ads to be pre-vetted, after its van ads of g-stringed & bra (and stilletoed?) woman on horse with caption 'ride a cock hoarse'

It was stated this was ad, with nursery rhyme connotations, was offensive and inappropriate in front of children.




Hotel workers call for porn ban

Norwegian hotel workers call for adult movies ban in guest rooms because they are being accosted by randy (sometimes naked) guests

full story
here

"oh but surely the media and porn can't possibly influence people's behaviour and attitudes"

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

[Measuring Geraniums] [Continued Unnoticed]:

They are anagrams of each other.

Hearing Joan Bakewell say bling bling is disturbing. It's like hearing your gran swearing or something.

I've never paid much attention to Concrete Cow on the radio before, but tonight's show made me laugh out loud several times :))

Incidentally, Judy Finnigan, a motivational speaker?!

A rapist has won £7 million on the National Lottery. He is serving a life sentence and bought the ticket while on weekend release. Women and rape crisis organisations are calling for the money to be given to rape crisis projects, and I couldn't agree more. (No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.).


Melted Warning... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Misheard Addresses, Missing Letters, Massive Responses

Listening to Converting Britain earlier, I was amused to learn that Billy Graham frequently told people that they could write to him at Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he once received a letter addressed to

Billy Graham, Many Apples, Many Sodas.

It arrived though!

It reminds me of Countdown, who apparently once received a letter addressed to

One From the Top and Five from Anywhere Else, England.

Hehe!

On a more glum, note, The Guardian has not deigned to print a single reader's response to the awful Cut it out, please article it printed last week. However, it has at least printed a response from one of its own columnists, Nick Johnstone.

This is an upset and angry response, quite rightly, by someone who has previously self harmed who seems equally outraged and bewildered by these comments (almost) unashamedly coming from the mouth of a doctor in an inner-city NHS hospital.

I am glad that The Guardian has published this response, but I am still left wondering where the complete silence on the undoubtedly considerable number of readers' responses is from.

The Telegraph, however, did print some readers' letters. I never thought the Telegraph would score points over the Guardian, but maybe they have this time?

And yeah, read this.

I'm a survivor of sexual violence.
No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.


The most stunning thing is the comments after comments after comments. So, so many people. I'm not amazed by the sheer numbers who have survived sexual violence, but rather the sheer number of people who have been prompted to state that openly, some for the first time. My head is spinning.

No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.

Musical meme (weird taste in tunes)

Swiped from deconstruct.me.uk.

Open Winamp/XMMS/iTunes.
Put all of your music on random.
List the first 25 songs that appear, no matter how embarrassing.


1. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Nina Simone
2. Rise Up - Skunk Anansie
3. Ticket to Ride - The Beatles
4. Laid - James
5. Mysteries - Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man
6. The Mind of Love - kd lang
7. Ain't Got No - I Got Life - Nina Simone
8. Mad World - Gary Jules
9. Strangers - Portishead
10. Paperback Writer - The Beatles
11. Roads - Portishead
12. La Bagre... - Cerys Matthews
13. Arglwydd Dyma - Cerys Matthews
14. So It Shall Be - k.d. lang
15. Positively Somewhere - Melanie C
16. Mainstream - Thea Gilmore
17. J'ai Zappe - Lara Fabian
18. Ls Brune - Louise Attaque
19. I Can Dream - Skunk Anansie
20. My Immortal - Evanescence
21. Haunted - Evanescence
22. Vrbana Bridge - Jill Sobule
23. Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
24. True Love Waits - Radiohead
25. Self Evident - Ani Difranco