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.


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
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.
  • 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 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

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@

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

"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.


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

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

I went to Birmingham on Saturday Posted by Hello

Word Beads: Attributable; Estate; Cloak; Ghost; Predefinition.

Thanks to 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.

"Can we be absolutely sure that this document is attributable to Mrs. Daisie herself? Absolutely sure?".

The two ageing lawyers looked at each other in confusion, and studied the Will for the umpteenth time. There was no doubt about it. Mrs Daisie had re-written her will only a few months earlier, and it was totally legitimate, witnessed, and indisputable.

Cloaked in legalese and, at first glance at least, seemingly fitting the accepted predefinition of the usual format of a Last Will and Testament, this was in fact a remarkable document, the likes of which Mssrs. Testuary and Mandeville had never encountered.

Mrs Daisie had clearly been determined and had left nothing to chance. The declaration of her being of sound mind had been accompanied by a consultant psychiatrist's letter stating such, and all ambiguities were eliminated with the clarity and articulacy of her demands for the management and direction of her rather vast estate after her parting.

The lawyer pair reluctantly entered the Daisie Estate Library, within which were a dozen or so slightly-too-eager distant relatives, each awaiting news of their own impending fortunes resulting from the eccentric woman's demise.

Mr Mandeville shuffled papers and hesitantly began the delivery of the news.

"We are here, this afternoon, to hear the designation of the estate of Mrs. Edith Daisie, following her unfortunate death earlier this month. Mrs Daisie has left somewhat unexpected, yet explicit instructions for the distribution of her wealth and the use that the Daisie Estate buildings and land will be put to."

Nervous coughs could be heard from the semi-circle of fair-weather relatives perched around the room, while one made a tense joke about leaving her £millions to a cat home. No-one laughed.

Mr Mandeville continued, "Mrs. Daisie has requested that the following be read out to you all, to explain her wishes. Mr. Testuary?".

Mr Testuary cleared his throat and began to read.

"As I write this Last Will and Testament I can imagine you all sitting around my library expectantly. Wondering who will get the house, the land, the stocks and shares. All secretly hoping to hit the jackpot by dint of being the second cousin, or brother-in-law eighteen times removed, or some such nonsense, of myself or my late husband.

"I am sorry to tell you that you will leave here disappointed."

The discomfort among the guests was by now palpable. At least a few were shuffling in their chairs, clearly wanting to leave.

"The thing about you all is that you have spent at least the last few years expecting to profit from my death. You took financial risks, presuming that some of this estate or fortune was on its way to you. Or you worked little, or spent recklessly. Presumptions like this are not only arrogant, but dangerous too.

"None of you in this room will get what you were hoping for from this Will, and you will see that whereas the meek may be due to inherit the earth, and that one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and any other platitudes you feel apply, the one I am sharing this out with is presume nothing, expect nothing.

"Nowadays we place too much attention on the monetary rewards for what we do. Which is exactly why you are all in this room now, listening to my ghost in the form of one of my lawyers talk to you like this.

"The properties which make up the Daisie Estate are to go to a local co-operative group who will maintain it as a community property, a commune if you will, for anyone at all who wishes to stay here. It is donated to the community, and will never, ever be sold or profited from.

"The land will become an urban farm, under the same co-operative society, who will work with anyone who wishes to learn about nature and animals.

"The money which remains, once all adaptations and repairs have been paid for, will fund community projects as decided on by a majority of the commune members.

"Yes, you can close your mouths now. If you had ever paid any interest in me beyond what you presumed was coming your way once I was six feet under, you would have seen this coming. As it is, the more shocked you are, the less you knew me, and thus the less you deserved any of our wealth."

Ok I'm quite embarrassed by how blatantly moralistic that turned out. But it was quite fun to write anyway!! Please forgive any glurgey tendencies within it! It is 5.57am and I haven't been to sleep yet - does that count as an excuse?!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Invitation to Meme

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate—the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)


To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL:

(2) I found it via “Newsreader Software” or “Browsing the Web” or “Searching the Web” or “An E-Mail Message”: browsing the web - my own links list

(3) I posted this experiment at URL:

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 06/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 20.25

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK


(7) My blog is hosted by: blogspot

(8) My age is: 27

(9) My gender is: female

(10) My occupation is: general mad person

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: none

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: blogger

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 07/03/2004

(14) My web browser is: firefox (though IE to post to blog)

(15) My operating systems are: windows xp

Bigoted People attack Belfast Pride

Oh my lord. I had heard that Christian fundamentalists were going to protest at Belfast Pride, but I had no idea just how serious that was until I was sent a link to this horrific site.

Some of it is so misinformed it is almost laughable...
Because homosexuals can't reproduce naturally, they resort to recruiting children. Homosexuals can be heard chanting "TEN PERCENT IS NOT ENOUGH, RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT" in their homosexual parades.

Some is rude...
A phrase that has come up recently on this earth is "sexual orientation." This is a phrase made up by homosexuals to try to make themselves look less filthy than they really are. The purpose of the phrase is to take the spotlight from what these perverts do,

Some would make some of us homosexuals wonder where we might be going wrong. We clearly socialise in all the wrong venues if it is true that
Of homosexuals questioned in one study reports that 43% admit to 500 or more partners in a lifetime, 28% admit to 1000 or more in a lifetime,

The site also encourages us to become heterosexual, which they call recovery. They also wax lyrical about why it was wrong to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental illness.

On odd occasions they pretend to be nice. They're doing it all for our own good, you see?
We do not hate homosexuals, we love their souls and because of our love for them we have set up this group to try and highlight the need for them to rethink their lifestyle choice and to help them turn their back on their present life. Homosexuality is not only sinful but it also carries various risks from disease, infection and a whole catalogue of disorders. We would be less than Christian if we did not try to prevent such harm befalling any human being.

It doesn't take long, however, to see the evil and bitterness behind their words all too clearly.

They have a banner on the site which states, "United Against the Perverts Pride Parade", they make unfounded connections between gay people and paedophilia, they dismiss the legitimacy of same sex relationships, stating that
Apart from the sexual aspect of a gay relationship, what they have is really "best friend" status, and that does not require legal protection.

It's all rude, offensive, upsetting and totally unnecessary. As I have said I don't know how many times, I cannot understand why so much hate and anger is focussed towards us in the gay community, when there is so much injustice and pain throughout the world.

If only half of the energy that was put into gay-hate was instead put into campaigning to eliminate third world debt, or getting rid of the death penalty, or reversing climate change, or just plain feeding the hungry, then not only could incredible things be achieved, but also that all fits in much better with what the Jesus I read about in the Bible was all about.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged." (Matt. 7:1)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Letters to Editors

to: Daily Telegraph

re: "This 'epidemic' is all selfishness"

Dear Editor,

I was appalled to read Mr McKinstry's article about self injury being selfish and attention-seeking.

Self harm, or self injury, is the result of intense mental and emotional distress, and becomes a coping mechanism (albeit a seemingly counter-productive one) which can not only relieve high levels of distress, but also prevent the sufferer from doing further harm to themselves.

Comparatively few people who self-harm present for medical treatment afterwards. Many feel they do not deserve treatment, others are scared of the treatment they may receive, and as for most people self harm is an intensely private act, there is a lot of shame and humiliation about showing others your injuries.

This means that people patch themselves up when many do have injuries which require specialist attention.

Contrary to Mr McKinstry's accusations, self harm is not the epitome of attention-seeking behaviour. It is a desperate and devastating way of coping with immense distress.

Yours faithfully,

to: Guardian

re: Cut it out, please

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to the above article written by Rachel James.

She clearly has little understanding of the dynamics of self harm, and
the sheer number of people who refuse to seek medical treatment as a
result of the views of medical professionals like her.

Discouraging people who have self-harmed from seeking treatment seems
highly irresponsible as the consequences of this could be - and indeed
all too often are - fatal.

Yours faithfully,

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Independent Imagery

Last Tuesday, The Independent ran front page coverage of new self harm research. There were also other articles on the subject inside the paper, including by the ubiquitous Dr Raj.

I thought it was good coverage. I mean, self harm issues taking the whole front page of the paper? That is pretty amazing. Not undeserved, as it is ridiculously underreported, just surprising.

They were wise, and absolutely correct, to point out that the number of people who present at A&E with self harm injuries, was in no way a sum total of the number of people who self harm. I, and many people I know, rarely have to have emergency treatment after self injury.

The article was very focussed on treatment. How treatment should be. Some of it is very basic respectful stuff (i.e. don't stitch someone up without local anaesthetic), other is a wider issue, like whether someone presenting with self harm injuries are referred onto mental health services.

I can't help but feel that if there were an eclectic range of support services, easy to access by self-referral, GPs, and A&E / walk-in centre staff, where people could go for help, support, advice, at the first signs of distress, that a good percentage of people would receive the required help and support, and go on to be ok.

As it is, many people can only get mental health care when things are totally, totally desperate. By this stage, things are almost certainly much worse than they were, and had they been able to access help earlier, things might never have got that bad. And by help I don't automatically or necessarily mean mainstream mental health services, it could be any of several models, such as community workers, peer support services, befrienders, support groups and so on.

But the reality is that by the time people qualify for help within a hugely cash-strapped service, things are usually very bad, and will take a lot longer to resolve.

Ah-ha, I knew I'd talked about this before.

But yeah, back to the Independent coverage. I thought all the Independent articles I read were worth reading, I was impressed with the volume and quality of coverage, but there was just one problem... the central column on the front page being a graphic photo of a disembodied, scarred and cut arm.

Why oh why? I don't want to know that the answer is to attract attention and increase sales, though I guess it was.

On the one hand, increased attention and sales should mean wider awareness of issues around self-harm and mental distress, which is good, but does the end justify the means? I'm not sure it does. Not only was I shocked and disturbed to be faced with this image unexpectedly on looking at the racks of papers, it was also what people on the net refer to as triggery. It made some people want to cut, it made others compare it with their own scars (either "Argh, mine are worse than that" or "Argh, mine aren't that bad... I don't do it enough", or many variations on those themes), and it also made me very aware of my own scars when I, in my short sleeves, paid for the paper, very aware of the visual connections between the image and my arms for the woman serving me.

I really appreciate positive and empathetic reporting on mental health issues, but when they are accompanied with such images that just feel exploitative, it leaves something of a zopiclone-aftertaste in my mouth.

This letters' page and this one contain various responses to the articles which are worth a read.

Home Truths is on the radio. It really is the Woman's Own of the BBC ;)

Vocabulary and the Vatican

An astute commentator has pointed out that as a result of my entry about Witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses, the targeted ads at the top of this blog are, well, targeted to JW sites. So, I have become a reluctant advert for (currently, tis subject to change n all) a Jehovah's Witnesses Singles Site.

I heard a great word on the radio just now. The weather guy stumbled over it, but that didn't detract from its coolness. I give you, specificity. [Bow].

I am aware that this has the potential to become very much an anti-religious blog. I have no desire or intention for this to be the case, but if religious people keep doing stupid things, I will have to keep writing about them.

So, yeah, the Vatican, on women.

I have neither the time, the patience, or the concentration to read the whole of the original document, but the Guardian tells me a lot of what I need to know.

So let's see. Apparently, women's key traits are:

  • Listening
  • welcoming
  • humility
  • faithfulness
  • praise and
  • waiting

How do I do?

Listening? I'm good at that. I have Radio 4 on almost constantly, and I sometimes even pay attention to what it says. So yep, I pass the first test.

So what's next? Welcoming. Well [cough], funny story there [cough, blush]. Ummm. I used to be, I'm sure. But for ages now I've had something close to a phobia about allowing people into my house, so noone comes in, so I don't do much welcoming. Yeah, I know, fuck-up.

Faithfulness. Yuck. To what? If it's to God, I fail. If it's to my partner, I pass. If it's to myself, we're getting waaay too deep.

Praise. What does that mean?



  1. Expression of approval, commendation, or admiration.
  2. The extolling or exaltation of a deity, ruler, or hero.
  3. Archaic. A reason for praise; merit.

tr.v. praised, prais·ing, prais·es

  1. To express warm approbation of, commendation for, or admiration for.
  2. To extol or exalt; worship.

How is that a trait?

I do praise people and things. Just not so often the whole God stuff. Which is probably what they're talking about.

Where were we?

Waiting. There's a bus strike for goodness' sake! If I wasn't good at waiting before, I'm certainly getting more proficient as time goes on.

Seriously though, reading the various details and commentaries on this newly published text does concern me. Women within Catholicism are oppressed and controlled by the patriarchal and misogynist forces within the religion (not to mention within society at large), but it is done so in a veiled way. By stating that the above virtues of women were particularly evident in the Virgin Mary, the Church oppresses women while maintaining the illusion that in fact they are venerating and honouring us.

It all very much reminds me of the extract of the 1950's Home Economics textbook for school girls which makes its wat round the net periodically.

The thing about this Vatican statement which particularly disturbs / confuses me is that they are very much using the argument that women are this way because of biology. That women and men naturally behave differently and have different roles. And yet they are making it a moral argument about whether women fulfil these roles. I guess they are using the going against God-given nature stance, but it is infuriatingly clear that they are desperate to keep women in a submissive, pliable, easily manipulated and controlled state, to maintain their misogyny.


Sunday, August 01, 2004

Sheffield Posted by Hello

Word Beads: End, Abscessed, Annotate, Comparator, Imaginably

I got this meme from Word Beads.

"The end of the world is nigh! The end of the world is nigh!", chanted the man, always on the same road, always with the same placard, always announcing the same thing. You wonder just now nigh the end can be given that he's probably been doing the same for at least 30 years. Though time is relative, I guess.

He tried to override the pain of his abscessed legs and feet. Believing in the Christ, believing that the agony he suffered, trekking the same paths with the same message every day, was minute compared to Christ's agony on the cross, and believing that experiencing this pain led him closer to God kept him going.

He was leaving early today, to see the nurse. She would dress his lower extremities, and check his blood sugar. He'd had diabetes most of his life, but he still could never quite get the hang of those annotated comparators to check the sugar levels once he had pricked his finger.

The nurse knew he would die soon, and wondered whether to approach the subject. He would imaginably be quite content, she thought, meeting the Lord after all this time.

She wondered how anyone could have such an unwavering faith, no doubts at all about his role on earth and how things were to be.

At least a small part of her envied the simplicity of his life. Not just in what he did, but how unquestioning he was. She didn't envy the teasing he must experience, with his placard in the street, nor the physical pain he must be in, though never complained about. But never debating whether there was anything more, or what happens next, that pure confidence, was calm and accepting within him.

He died shortly afterwards. He waited for the light, for Jesus, for the Lord. None of it came. There was nothing.

ReVisit #6

Please don't interrupt

ReVisit #5

Chainblogging: Carnivores and Herbivores

ReVisit #4

Early on in my playing with photos

Revisit #3

Christianity, Cutting and Corn Dogs

Revisit #2

Bush and Lush

ReVisit #1

Bigots, Bastards and Brides

Round 2

Ok, the good news is that I suspect that my theory about the layout mess-up being to do with the image on the Vote Manor Lodge entry could be correct, as looking at other individual entries, the layout in Internet Explorer seems fine.

The weird thing is that Firefox is managing to read the code and make it work fine and Internet Explorer is not, but at the same time I can only write entries or make template changes in IE as Firefox can't seem to manage that.

Layout problems

It's all been working fine for me in Firefox, but it seems that in Internet Explorer there is nothing to the right of the blog entries - i.e. where the links and such are.

I suspect that this is due to the image on the Vote Manor Lodge entry overlapping both columns.

If necessary I will just post enough new entries so it is not on the front page any more.

I'm sure that if I had the time and the energy I could suss out the code problems, but my meds have been whacked up and I can't think straight.