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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Music Meme.

Open iTunes/iPod or Windows Media Player to answer the following.
Go to your library.
Answer, no matter how embarrassing it is.


How many songs? 2273

Arrange by artist:
First artist: Abdou

Last artist: Zorba the Greek!

Arrange by song:
First Song: 4st7lb US Mix - Manic Street Preachers

Last Song: Zither - Doves

Arrange by time:
Shortest Song: Latin - Father Ted (6 seconds)

Longest Song: La Mer - Debussy (24:02)

Arrange by album:
First Album: 1967-1970 - The Beatles

Last Album: Women's World Voices 2

First song that comes up on shuffle: Pay Attention to Me - Orlando Brown (Thirteen)

How many songs come up when you search for "sex"? 2

How many songs come up when you search for "death"? 1

How many songs come up when you search for "love"? 103

Arrange by play count:
Which is your most frequently played song? Free like a flying demon - E-type


PS, you can see what I generally listen to here at last.fm.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Are you feeling naughty??

Edited to add: Apparently they have caught on, and now if you offer to pay less than their 'suggested amount' they won't let the transaction go through. Nice while it lasted though, eh?!

Well, get rid of that filthy mind, and read on...

Shopping Spree

How to Get Free Books, CDs, and Movies from Focus on the Family—Thereby Taking Money out of the Pockets of Anti-Gay Bigots—in 12 Easy Steps by Noel Black.

Gay marriage is on the ropes and you may be feeling despondent about the tedious process and dim prospects for any kind of meaningful change in the near future. And why wouldn't you? There are a total of eight states in the U.S. that don't have Defense of Marriage amendments either on the books or in the works, and Massachusetts is still the only state that permits same-sex marriage. The Washington State Supreme Court handed down its anti-gay-marriage decision several weeks ago and Washington's gay community is licking its wounds and contemplating an incremental push for civil unions.

When I'm feeling despondent over the state of gay rights in America—or the concurrent assaults on reproductive freedom, science, and rational thought—there's just one thing that helps me overcome my feelings of despair: getting free shit from Focus on the Family!

Few people know that Focus on the Family — the powerful evangelical Christian para-church based in Colorado Springs—will give you, absolutely free of charge, books, CDs, and DVDs. Usually people pay for these products, and the millions of dollars raised helps Focus on the Family produce yet more books and CDs featuring Dr. James Dobson and other Focus "experts." (Focus on the Family's experts, when they're not chatting on the phone with Karl Rove, run around the country teaching people how to stop being so gay and when it's appropriate to kick their kids' asses.)

Not only does ordering free stuff from Focus on the Family—sent to myself or people I don't like—satisfy a deeply juvenile impulse, it has the added benefit of taking money directly out of homo-hater Dobson's pocket. The one drawback is that getting free shit from Focus on the Family is a tad time consuming and a bit tricky, but it's well worth the effort.

Here's how to do it:

1. Go to www.family.org and you will see their home page.

2. Once you're at the home page, look for the "Resources" link in the blue bar on the left-hand side, right above the "Search" box, and click it.

3. Under the "Resource Category" menu on the left-hand side, you'll notice categories such as "Homosexuality." Go ahead and click that for shits and giggles.

4. It's time to start shopping! Scroll down a little bit and feel the homophobia flow. How about a nice copy of A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality? Go ahead and click the "Add to Cart" button.

5. Now comes a tough decision: Do you have the book sent to yourself so you can sell it on eBay for cash (my personal favorite) or do you keep it on your mantel as a high-larious conversation piece to point at and laugh when your friends and family come over? Or do you send it to a jerk? I always opt for sending it to myself. Yes, you may end up on the Focus on the Family mailing list (though I've been doing this for some time and have never received anything beyond what I ordered), but reading Focus on the Family's junk mail is a good way to keep tabs on their activities and it will cost them even more money in postage.

Please note: Focus on the Family won't send you more than $100 worth of materials for free in any given shopping trip, so be sure to keep it reasonable and return often.

6. Select "Add New Shipping Address" and click "Proceed to Checkout." Or, hell, continue to shop and pick up a box set of The Chronicles of Narnia on CD.

7. The next screen will ask you to sign up for an account and give your information. Don't worry, they don't ask for your credit-card number. Enter whatever name and address you like, because you won't be paying. You might want to make up a phone number, too.

8. Once you've filled out all the required fields (you can also create a fake e-mail account if you're super paranoid), click "Proceed to Checkout" one more time. You'll now find yourself at the "Here Is Your Cart" field. Annoying thing alert: You may have to reenter your info again after this field to actually set up your account. But just keep going until you get to the "How Much Would You Like to Donate?" page.

9. So, how much would you like to donate? Zero dollars, obviously. Don't be fooled by the field in the lower-right-hand corner that shows you the suggested donation amounts. Simply select "Enter other total amount" and enter 0.00 as the amount you would like to pay. (Don't put in a dollar sign or it will ask you for credit-card information!) Proceed to checkout.

10. You'll now be led to a screen that will try to make you feel guilty about the amount you haven't donated. But don't feel bad! Just proceed to checkout again.

11. Jesus! Here you are on the twelfth step and you still don't have your self-hatred materials! And you thought preventing homosexuality was supposed to be easy! Click "Checkout Now" and you're done.

Congratulations!


You have just removed a few dollars from the coffers of a major anti-gay organization. You can further capitalize on your brief investment of time by selling the item/s on eBay. You'd be surprised how much money you can get—a friend of mine makes a few hundred extra dollars every few months on this perfectly legal activity.

And if your conscience begins to bother you, think of it this way: Focus on the Family would probably like for you to have the materials anyway, because there's that minute chance that, once in your hands, the materials may inspire you to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Finally, don't forget to pass this information on to all your friends. Proselytizing isn't just for Christians, you know. Go gay!


(NB, not that I'd know anything about it, international postage adds $10 to the cart, so account for that in the $100 limit...)

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Apparently...

Tony Blair's popularity is currently lower than Thatcher's was during the poll tax riots!

Ha!

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reading like it's going out of fashion.

I have been reading quite voraciously lately. Some cruel combination of depression and medication means that a lot of the time I cannot focus on reading much more than short magazine articles. So when I find I am capable of books, the temporality of that ability weighs heavy and while I love the reading which ensues, I never know when, all of a sudden, I'll be looking at the pages blankly and the ending of whatever I am reading will have to await my next phase.

I love reading, I love books, and I have been trying, and enjoying, genres of books which I have never totally embraced before. Let's say that trying to work out who the murderer really was does keep the pages turning!

Here's some of what I have consumed...

Refugee Boy, by Benjamin Zephaniah - A beautifully written and thought-provoking book which I bought for pennies in a charity shop. I knew I liked Zephaniah's poetry, and actually did not know he had written novels.

The book centres around a boy whose parents are Ethiopian and Eritrean, and suffer persecution where they live. The father takes his son on a 'holiday' to Britain, then seemingly abandons him in the hotel they are staying in, with a letter explaining it is for his good and safety, and he can seek asylum and be well-treated there.

Already the reader is experiencing the dilemma of whether that is the kindest thing a parent could do, or whether in fact he has actually been abandoned. His exploits and tales are beautifully and convincingly told, and I adored this book.

Book reviews to hopefully follow...
The Devil's Feather, by Minette Walters

We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver

The Sculptress, by Minette Walters

The Abortionist's Daughter, by Elisabeth Hyde

Fear and Trembling, by Amelie Nothomb

Want to Play?, by P J Tracy

and I am currently reading Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh.

See also pippa reviews blog

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hello For Now.



I've been on my first holiday in 6 years! A few days in Scarborough, by the seaside, has been a lovely, and exhausting, break away from day to day life.

More to come, but just hello for now.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Book Meme: Tagged.

1. One book that changed your life?
All the Rage: Reasserting Radical Lesbian Feminism - my first real introduction to radical feminism, totally inspired me and fired me up!

2. One book you have read more than once?
The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron. A story about an anorexic teenage girl that, as a teenager, I read and re-read obsessively. I was very disappointed, on re-reading it a couple of years ago, how twee and simplified and unrealistic it actually was.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Outdoor Survival Handbook: The Classic Indispensable Guide to Surviving the Outdoors by Ray Mears. Seems the obvious choice.

4. One book that made you laugh?
Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident by Danny Wallace - strangely compulsive book which I found difficult to put down, even though in many ways it was driving me mad. Many laugh-out-loud moments though, making it great.

5. One book that made you cry?
Life and Death by Andrea Dworkin. Devastating, but essential reading.

6. One book you wish had been written?
How to Change the World by incurable hippie.

7. One book you wish had never been written?
Any of these.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Want to Play? by P. J. Tracy. I have phases of reading thrillers, and I'm in one at the moment. This one is fitting the bill nicely!

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
The Idea of Prostitution by Sheila Jeffreys.

10. Now tag five people.
Zinkibaru
Anais Nin
slow downloads
travelling punk
Gwyn.


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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Critical Cynicism.

So, Britain is on 'critical alert' for terror attacks. Plans to explode 9 aeroplanes over the Atlantic, travelling from the UK to the US. Air chaos today.

I don't really get what's happening.

So, this potential plot was unveiled and lots of arrests and raids this morning. That's fair enough, but then all the airport security systems went into overdrive, doing mega-security checks, and banning hand luggage, drinks etc. from the planes. Alert status was raised.

And I thought, Well, if they've just done these arrests and raids, surely we're actually more safe rather than in more danger.

But what do I know? This huge big discovery happened, they're doing their best to keep us safe. That's good surely.

Then I thought, Well, why today? Were the attacks supposed to happen today? If so, it's pushing it a bit fine really, to arrest this morning. But better late than never I suppose. But if they weren't supposed to happen today, why the sudden surge in alert status? Hmmm....

I have to admit that I started thinking of Dubya, and how he is so good at terrifying Americans at the thought of further terrorism, as a means to make them so scared that they will agree with whatever nonsense he proposes (bombing anyone else, Bush?), as long as he assures them it will keep them safe, and stop terrorism.

Is that what's happening here? I think it is in general, but is today's drama to do with that in a bigger way?

And then we find out that George W. Bush was informed about this situation last Sunday, and that relevant airlines were informed yesterday.

So... it's a huge sudden terrorist threat that they knew enough about, days ago to tell idiot-blokey across the ocean, but didn't start actually doing anything practical here until today. If it's such a massive risk this morning, why not yesterday morning? Or the day before? How urgent just is it?.

And then I thought about how sometimes things like this are absolutely perfect for diverting the media from something else. Making all the media and public focus on baby bottles on planes, so that noone thinks about a (the utter disaster of Lebanon), b (Iraq's utter disaster) or c (anything else we're not hearing about. And there's plenty).

I genuinely don't understand what is happening. How far can I trust 'intelligence' after the execution of a Brazilian electrician on the tube, and the shooting of an innocent guy in the raids a few weeks ago? They claimed to be acting on vital information then. Are they now?

I don't know if we're being duped, manipulated, bullied, informed, fooled, laughed at, or protected. But it's just not sitting right, somehow.


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Friday, August 04, 2006

Volunteering Lunch Expenses Campaign.

We need your support for the Volunteering England lunch expenses campaign.

As part of Volunteering England’s ‘Right to Reasonable Expenses’ lunch campaign, we are urging volunteers and volunteer involving organisations to join us in Volunteering England’s Lunch Expenses Protest Week. We want you to post your lunch receipt to the Secretary of State The Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP at the Department for Work and Pensions to illustrate the true cost of buying lunch outside the home.

Volunteering England Protest Week will run from Monday 14th August to Monday 21st August 2006.

We must convince the DWP to withdraw their guidance ‘A guide to volunteering while on Benefits’.

We need your support to maximise the protest week.

Please forward this email to all volunteers and volunteering involving organisations you know. We are also calling on umbrella bodies that have a wider membership to circulate this message as widely as possible.

We have until Monday 21st August to make a real difference to 2 millions volunteers who could be affected by the guidance.

Below is the wording of the letter template for you to use.

    To the Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP on the issue of volunteer lunch expenses.

    Please find attached receipts for the cost of lunch whilst volunteering. The new interpretation in the Department for Work and Pensions ‘A Guide to Volunteering While on Benefits’ prevents volunteers on benefit from claiming reasonable expenses. We believe that:

  • the guidance issued by the Department for Work and Pensions is unfair and contradictory and should be withdrawn

  • lunch expenses are a legitimate expense, the cost of which should be reimbursed to benefit claimants whilst volunteering

  • nearly two million people may now face an unnecessary barrier to volunteering which directly contradicts government’s expressed aim of opening up access to volunteering to disadvantaged groups.


The message and receipts should be sent to:

The Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP
Secretary of State
Department for Work and Pensions,
Richmond House,
79 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2NS

Further Information
For more information about the work and services of Volunteering England, please visit our web site.



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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wardrobe Refashionistas.

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The Wardrobe Refashion Pledge

I, Pippa hippie,

Pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 months.

I Pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recylcle pre-loved items for myself for the term of my contract.

I Pledge that I shall create and craft items of clothing for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract.

I Pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoated, recylcled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings!




I was inspired to do this by a post of Caroline's, and I loved the idea. I have been altering fabrics and clothes lately (with varying techniques, results, and randomness) with mainly bleach, dye, tie-dye, embroidery (loosely!), beading, adding embellishments. I love it, and the feeling of walking down the street knowing that noone else in the world is wearing what I'm wearing. And getting compliments! Wow!

I intend to add regular posts about my refashioning of pre-loved items, both here on hippie blog, and also on the Wardrobe Refashion blog itself.

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