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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Clever Entertainment.

Today's fun thing to watch is The Incredible Machine. If you like it when people line up lots of dominos on a course and knock the first one over, then you will love this. It seems to use household objects and masses of ingenuity to create 14 minutes of video that just doesn't feel like it lasts that long. Watch it here.

I have lots and lots of animations, songs, videos and cleverness listed on the one page, initially for my benefit but it is now shared and enjoyed by many! You can find it here, at Animations to Watch. Suggestions for additions welcome, too.

This water balloon explosion photo is bloody incredible.

And last night's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue was great, not least for Jeremy's singing.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Apologies.


100_0110
Originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.
Apologies for my recent quietness. I've been here in spirit, but I guess you don't know that.

I am still alive. Thought I should let you know.


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Newest ATCs.

Some artist trading cards I recently created.

Firstly, a 'butterfly swap':


Secondly, a 'travel swap':



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Friday, May 12, 2006

Technological Turmoil

I was all excited a week or so ago, because after being slightly cheeky and ringing my ISP to see if they could improve on my current contract, they offered me 4x the speed for a fiver less a month. Sounds marvellous!

I was all excited, until the speed actually went up. I connected, went WOW new speed, and then nothing worked. 24 hours, 5 calls and 7 tech support operators later, I am finally connected.

There's nothing quite like the stress of a not-working computer. I don't know why it winds me up so immensely, but it really does and I hate it.

hippie blog was also having problems loading, and a consistent problem in the page loading was to do with pings.ws. I have now removed every trace of that site from my html coding and, lo and behold, hippie blog works again.

I wish my body was so easy to resolve (remove a bit of bad coding or a link to a site that doesn't work), but I am at the (hopefully) end phase of The Cough which currently everyone who's everyone in Sheffield is suffering with. I have had a course of antibiotics and a course of oral steroids and, though I am still coughing, I am, I think, on the up. As it were.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Labour Labours.

Thank you for all the comments and votes on my post about the local elections. I found it an interesting consultative study!!

The results are now in. Quite surprisingly, given the political atmosphere lately, the Liberal Democrats (who had a possible chance of re-taking the nearly-always Labour council, as they did in 1999) lost two seats, one of which went to Labour (who held control of the council) and the other to the Green Party (who now have two seats).
Overall Sheffield Local Election Results 2006
Labour 44 seats (no change)
Liberal Democrats 35 seats (-1)
Conservatives 2 seats (no change)
Green Party 2 seats (+1)
Independent 1 seat (no change)

I've been looking at the more specific, ward by ward results and the BNP bastards got many hundreds of votes, even coming second in one area. I hear they are even the official opposition now in Barking.

So where do we go from here? I want everyone who has been privileged enough to be elected to use their power and influence well, to make changes for the better for people and the world, and to be generally all-round groovy kinda folks. I guess that's what that whole incurable hippie thing is about. I know, I know, it will all go on before, with a few new faces. But for a chronic depressive, I have a surprising level of optimism going on a lot of the time.

But not enough to actually believe that what I hope for will come true. *SiGH*

[Edited to add - I realise I have contradicted myself with what I said about Labour gaining one Lib Dem seat and Greens another, when the table I copied and pasted said Lib Dem only lost one seat, to the Greens, but that is the different info I have got from the BBC website and the Sheffield City Council site. Time will tell, I guess, which is correct!]

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'd say Oy, Carol, No!

This appeal is to ask the respected TV presenter, Carol Vorderman, famed for her mathematical nous, to, after nine years, stop doing secured loan adverts.

Please sign the petition
(Please forward/tell friends and family about this)

The "Carol Vorderman: Secured Loan Ads Don't Add Up" Appeal

Supported by debt counselling charity The CCCS and money education charity Credit Action

The British public now collectively owe a massive £1,100,000,000,000. The secured loan market has increased five times over the last five years and the growing normalization of these loans is a danger to our society. Sold as a 'cure all' where people place all their debts together, secured loans are often actually potentially expensive debts, which trap people in for long periods, and if you can't repay, they can take your home.

For nine years Carol Vorderman's advertised these loans. Advertising works, that's why companies pay for it, and over time her powerful advertisements will have contributed to the growing normalization of this form of borrowing. I believe this is truly worrying, as secured loans should only ever be seen as loans of last resort. I would like her to stop and I'd urge all who agree to sign the petition to let her know.

Read/sign the online petition: www.moneysavingexpert.com/carol

Please forward/tell friends, colleagues and family about the petition.
The more supporters, the more impact it will have.

The appeal also calls for secured debt firms to develop a charter of responsible advertising that only targets the limited number of niche individuals who could possibly benefit from the product.

Read more about the appeal, how secured loans work, and why Carol?

This appeal is supported by the UK's largest debt charity the Consumer Credit Counselling Service and the money education charity Credit Action.



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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Think Global, Act Local.

The local elections are tomorrow. I was unenthusiastic, to say the least, about my voting options but as I got a postal ballot, I have already (after much deliberation) filled in my ballot paper and decided who, if anyone, gets my X.

But for the sake of interest, what would you have done?



Labour currently runs the Council in Sheffield. There are some good things being done - lots of regeneration and positive stuff around the city centre. There are also some very unsatisfactory aspects - doorstep recycling provision is appalling, council housing is being demolished at an alarming rate, and the buses are becoming a disaster.

I've had two leaflets and letters from the Liberal Democrats. They spent a lot of time telling me that a vote for anyone other than them is a vote for Labour and I really don't believe in tactical voting (with the occasional exception when the BNP is involved). They also gave over a lot of space to ranting about the evils of Park Hill, when they are being not only snobby, but also strictly speaking it has little to do with my ward which is quite a distance away from there.

The Conservatives are not an option I'd consider voting for under any circumstances, so I won't even merit them with any pros and cons.

And Green - often an attractive option for me - have been, well, underwhelming in their approach. I have not heard a single thing from them. I don't know what they are standing for in this election, I don't know anything about the local candidate, whether they have a chance of getting in, or what they want to do, even!

That is just looking at the very local issues. I am entirely unimpressed with any of the main parties nationally, and while I do want to bear the national parties' issues in mind (e.g. not voting Tory), I do also want to think about Sheffield, and my area within Sheffield.

I have filled in my ballot paper, as I said, but reluctantly. What would you have done? Vote in my poll, above.


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Monday, May 01, 2006

Blogging Against Disablism.

Some time ago, BBC Ouch, the BBC's disability webpages, ran a survey of its readers' Worst Words relating to disability. The results were as follows:
Total votes cast: 2053
1. Retard 19.6% (404 votes)
2. Spastic 18% (373 votes)
3. Window-licker 17% (350 votes)
4. Mong 13.4% (276 votes)
5. Special 10.2% (210 votes)
6. Brave 7.9% (163 votes)
7. Cripple 5.5% (113 votes)
8. Psycho 2.9% (60 votes)
9. Handicapped 2.5% (52 votes)
10. Wheelchair-bound 2% (42 votes)

Interestingly, they also have a chart of the different results as divided by disabled and non-disabled respondents to the survey.
I have mostly unpleasant gut responses to many of those words, but one of my own worst words in terms of offensive terms used against disabled people is nutter.

I hate this word. It hits me like a punch in the stomach, it makes me sad, scared and angry. Its implications are, in my experience, ones of violence and aggression, as well as mental illness. Those links are all too prevalent in much of the widespread opinions and thoughts about mental illness, and people who experience it.

Many of us work incredibly hard to break the links constantly. We have statistics! We have facts!

Did you know that people with mental illness are much more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else?
Did you know that people who have mental illnesses are victims of crime more often than those who don't?
Did you know that the most dangerous group in society, those most liable to commit violent crimes, are young men who drink?

The media really doesn't help. You may remember the 'Bonkers Bruno' headline in the sun, or Osama bin Laden being described as 'psychotic'. 'Schizo', 'Psycho', 'Maniac', 'Mad' are all words which are used prolifically in headlines and stories designed to alarm and rouse people's fears and opinions.

The media has so much power to spread correct information and to break stigmatic associations with mental illness, but instead it grabs the Mad, Bad, Dangerous headlines and exploits and glorifies them.

Mental illness and violence are different things. Using the same words to describe both, or borrowing a word from one to use to discuss the other all do an incredible disservice to the 1 in 4 people in Britain who will experience mental distress at some point in their life.

There is more than enough stigma already, it is hard enough already to ask for and receive support and help for anxiety, depression, hearing voices, paranoia, or whatever may strike. The proposed changes to the Mental Health Bill don't help, the media don't help, and the rantings of uninformed people who are happy to blame all the world's (street's, town's, room's) ills on the poor sods who are easily available to target because they may talk to themselves, or hide away, or cry a lot.

Using stigmatising language, and constantly making connections between mental illness and violence - connections which don't exist in any objective study! - creates fear and hate, and does nobody any good.

As someone witty said at the time shortly after September 11th 2001, "If Osama bin Laden is being described at psychotic, it must be because of his mistaken belief that large numbers of people are out to get him".

Blogging Against Disablism Day


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