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So the nomination for WoT as *one story* has annoyed many people. I have thoughts, but not good words.

*One friend alleges that a novel-in-a-series is no good if it doesn't make sense stand-alone. There are indeed many series-novels just like this. But I feel strongly that the sort of series that really is *one story* in many volumes has a place in this world, and that it is neither necessary nor desirable for the volumes to *always* make sure that a newcomer can fully understand what is going on. Plus, even if you *could* get something out of the book stand-alone, you certainly won't get all the things that readers of the whole series get out of it (you have less background on all the people).

*The suggestion that it is "unfair" to suppose that voters should read an entire 10,000 page series. I don't really think you have to read the whole thing to get an idea whether it is any good. Start at the start. If you hate it instantly I guess you just hate it; if you love it and can't put it down then yay (you agree with me!) and I don't think you have to get to the end to know that. (I really do recommend you start at the start; because I agree that it is one story, starting in the middle would be like starting a novel in the middle)

*If just the final volume had been nominated in addition to the problems with "does it even make sense" (ish? maybe? there's a fight I guess you could follow it; but there are loads of cameos to tie up loose ends) there is the problem that if you did go "OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING" you have just read the HUGE SPOILER.

*the 'wtf is going on' and the spoiler problems are shared by two of the short-form dramatic nominees this year - if you watch the GoT or Orphan Black episodes that are nominated and not the whole series (in the case of GoT a whole 3 seasons!) then you may find yourself confused about who all these people *are* (perhaps more so for GoT which has a stronger on-going story) and they both contain serious spoilers for the serieses as wholes. (Dr Who doesn't *really* have so much of a season long plot that you can be confused about/spoiled for - but it also isn't that good, and I am tired of the category trying to be "best Dr Who episode". )

*Season 1 of GoT go nominated as a long-form in one piece. This got much less of the whining that the WoT nomination did. Is this because more people like GoT? more people have seen it all already? Or was I just not paying attention to the whining?

*I am of course a HUGE WoT fan. But also in general a big fan of very long form story telling. I like epic fantasy series that come in 10 1,000 page novels; I like TV series that have ongoing plot arcs... I think it is good that such works get recognized as awesome (when they are awesome) and not just dismissed as "too long" or have to be judged one small part at a time. Also I think that if we give more recognition to people who write at a particular length then people will be less likely to write looooooooong things and I will be sad.
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Hugo nominated novels wot I have read :
review-ettes )
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This year I am about 500 pounds richer; which is a bit crap really (most of the money was spent on amusing things like holidays and pizza).

I have run 1600 miles (mostly on treadmills); cycled 2600; and swum 11 1/2.

Visited zero foreign countries, had zero children, lost zero relatives or friends.

I still have the same job and live in the same house.

Bit boring really.
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Yay, I can still pass exams!

I can haz OU degree :- Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Upper Second-class Honours (2.1)

Go me!

In general, I found the Maths interesting and challenging and the Computing over concerned with a)tedious buzzword bollocks and b)exam questions requiring hand-writing code. But they've gone and changed all the modules, so maybe that's not really relevant to anyone else; and maybe I'm biased because I was much better at the maths.

Now I do not have things to learn, haz sad.
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I get so much comment spam on DW and so few actual comments than I've turned off commenting for non-DW users. Sorry if you wanted to comment and now can't but UGH SPAM.
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Continued Hugo ballot thoughts; everything that isn't a novel. Short answer - the short fiction is IMO much more interesting.

I guess there may be spoilers for the short fiction, I'm try not to. None for the Dramatic Presentation.

cuts are great )
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I read books...

I have thoughts about books; these thoughts are trying hard not to be spoilers but maybe they are.
Have a cut
books: 2312, Blackout, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Redshirts, Throne of the Crescent Moon )
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A thing that has been really annoying me about the horsemeat scandal reporting but is actually only tangentially related.

So, some people came over all "well don't eat this nasty crap then" so some other people came over all "but it's cheap and easy and delicious". Now, I don't dispute "easy"; it certainly is a lot easier to buy a microwave lasagne than to prepare your own. I'm not sure about "cheap"; I've never really thought about it, but certainly compared to other low-effort food options (for instance going out for food). And anyway there whole layers of stuff to do with lack of access to cooking skills, equipment, etc.

But really what's pissing me off is the "delicious" part. It's not that I dispute that some people find this type of food tasty; clearly they do. But I've seen a number of people writing about how these foods are "carefully engineered" to be exactly the sort of thing that most appeals to humans. A view that basically "these foods are super addictive; it is only through sheer willpower that anyone resists them" (and often goes on to insist that people ought to, well, have more willpower - which is a shitty thing to insist; but anyway).

Personally I think this is utter utter bullshit. What these companies have done is not a triumph of food science. It is a triumph of advertising. Of getting into people's heads and saying "this is what food should be"; especially getting to people young.

The thing is that in part because my parents were seriously strict about not having this sort of food; and in part because my current lifestyle is fairly well insulated from a lot of advertising crap; and in HUGE part because I've never lacked money to the point that I've been fretting about the cost of using the oven... well; I've never accustomed myself to eating these types of food, and essentially as a consequence of that I think most of them are simply disgusting. I genuinely would prefer to eat rice and beans. I know most people wouldn't.

I think that the people who write things like "OMG McDonalds makes addictive food we must stop them somehow!" are PART OF THE PROBLEM - they are participating in the advertising campaign that says "this food is addictively delicious".

I think that if "we" want to change the way "people in general" eat the answer has to involve teaching people that the "better" food is delicious, is "normal", etc. etc. And I think we need to get them young. Personally I'm not particularly interested in telling people what they "should" eat; but I would welcome attempts to make healthier food cheaper, and more available so that more people have more actual choice about what they eat, rather than being forced into making the cheapest choice.
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I like this meme; but I'm bad at keeping up with things... but lets see how it goes.

What have you just finished reading?

A Memory of Light and also the Hydrogen Sonata. I wrote about those already.

What are you reading?

"Delusions of Gender" which my brother got me for Christmas off my amazon wishlist; Reamde (Stephenson) and "Unidentified Funny Objects". Yes, I multi-task books. Oh, and I'm re-reading Quicksilver (Stephenson) only rather slowly because the New! Shiny! Books! are much more interesting.

What are you going to read next?

Probably Railsea (Mieville) although maybe Ghost Brigades (Scalzi) which I have already; also Legends (the short story collection).
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Bicycle Insurance:

I have my shinyshiny bike insured with cyclecover ( when I recently hit a wall at speed evading a car and thoroughly trashed the frame I claimed on this insurance in a hopeful sort of way. I sent a few emails, filled in a short form (name, policy number, how much are you claiming? why are you claiming it?), photocopied some bank statements, printed some photos & posted all that stuff off and today I have 800 quid in my bank account from them (and I haven't had to pay out for the repair yet; and I got to pick my preferred repair people).

I recommend these insurers as being insurers who actually pay out money in settlement of claims rather than arguing with you about whether they actually agreed to ever pay you any money and as being competent with email communication (I didn't have to phone them). Unfortunately I can't recommend them as being cheap; my insurance policy costs 10% of the cost of the bike annually although I expect this is mostly to do with the high risk of bike thievery in Cambridge.
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More Book!

A Memory of Light; Jordan, Robert & Sanderson, Brandon

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We went to see the Hobbit. I like it. Beneath the cut are some Hobbity thoughts that may be spoilers

Hobbity thoughts )
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So I've seen a lot of people complaining about some stupid thing about lazy benefits-scroungers with closed curtains and aren't they lazy. People have made many points about, eg, disabled people who need a lot more sleep because of their disability and shift workers who are not benefit claimants but who might be asleep at noon because they were working all night.

But also...

I got up at 0800 this morning and although it was daylight out the daylight was insufficiently good at penetrating the house, so I needed to put the lights on. I don't like having lights on and curtains open (it makes looking in very easy)... so I didn't open the curtains.

So lets say it's a work-day morning and I get up at 0700 (LOL, but lots of people do); it is dark out so I put on a light, scarf down breakfast, pull on clothes, grab bag and head out (turning off the light). Now my curtains are all shut - so I'm still snoozing? no! I'm at work 60 miles away (only reason I can think of for being up at ungodly hour).

In fact I venture to suggest that people with *open* curtains in their houses are the ones who are lazy snoozers-in; like me - I don't actually get up until 0830 on a work day by which time opening the curtains is sufficient to give me the light I need so I open them.

So if I were job-hunting I could get up at 0800 and go out to do job-hunting things; leaving my curtains closed because opening them would be useless... or I could snooze in to 0900 and then get up and open my curtains, and sit around in my living room playing PS2 games.

Also I think that victim-blaming police types think we should keep our lounge curtains closed so thieving types can't see our Valuable Lounge Stuff through the window! And I think closed curtains probably keep the heat in better too (especially when sun isn't shining on the window; which most of the day it is not on ours).

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE LOGIC of this "your curtains are closed at 1100 so I will shame you" nonsense. Even if it has slipped your mind that some people work shifts or that many people who are unable to worth through disability are also unable to get up and out in the morning for non-work tasks... Which of course you should not forget! HORRIBLE PEOPLE.
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Fun meme!

What are you currently reading?

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. Which is hilarious! Oh Ivan. Book many of lots in an ongoing loosely connected set (ummm, there should be a word to distinguish the sort of series that WoT or aSoIaF are (a single story in many volumes) from the sort of series that Discworld and Vorkosigan are (many stories in the same universe with overarching character development) form the sort of series that Darkover is (many stories in the same universe but not really related to each other at all)). Bujold is fabtastic. Science Fiction with the emphasis on the people.

The Eternal Flame. Volume 2 of 3 in Egan's as-yet-unfinished Orthogonal trilogy. I <3 Egan; and this one has DIAGRAMS. It's a bit confusing because the world has a different space-time to ours which has lots of interesting consequences - there are applets on his website to do experiments in strange-space-time. Science Fiction with the emphasis on the science.

Quicksilver. Volume 1 of 3 of Stephenson's completed Baroque Cycle. The setting is on the border between Historical and Fantasy but a lot of the writing is about scientists doing science, so maybe it's SF :-p This is a re-read and I'm finding it a bit slow. Maybe because the book is heavy.

What did you recently finish reading?

Recently finished re-reading volumes 1-5 of GRRM's unfinished 7? volume Song of Ice and Fire. Which certainly benefited from re-reading to pick up lots of details missed the first time around.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well that rather depends how long these things take to read... I've got some other stuff in the to-read pile but the book I'm eagerly anticipating with great eagerness in a Memory of Light, volume 14 of 14 in the NOW ACTUALLY FINISHED OMG Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan with some help from Brandon Sanderson.

Yes, I like series :-p
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Yay, so it is now the last day of November. I did post something for every day, although some posts were... delayed.

So that's cool. Also I like interacting via DW/LJ post; so maybe I will try to keep that up.

Also some knitters declared November to be National Knit a Sweater Month (NaKniSweMo) and I did in fact also knit a sweater! OK, I need to sew the googly eyes on (it's got owls) but I'm wearing it, it is a perfectly functional sweater. Plus I finished a shrug, knit most of a cardigan for baby Snape (I have to do the edging, grrrr, icord edging and the sleeves - baby jumpers are great because babies are tiny), and started a second jumper for me (there's about an inch of that done). Yay knitting.
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In the news recently: minimum pricing for alcohol. I find I don't have a useful opinion, anyone want to help me form one.
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Wednesdays are for climbing, which is fun. What is less fun is when your train is cancelled so you get to spend half an hour of what should be climbing time hanging around at the station waiting for the next train.

No driver, apparently...
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OK so that other post was long and difficult to write. This is an easier post...

My bank wrote to me to say (basically) "in 2010 you withdrew 50 quid from an ATM but didn't take the money and the ATM ate it. We debited you the 50 quid and didn't credit it back; but we just audited our ATM logs - here have 50quid plus 3quid interest".

It sucks that HSBC didn't notice this at the time (I did, but I didn't complain to them because I thought someone else probably took the money; and it was my own stupid rushing-to-catch-a-train fault). But it's good that they did eventually spot and give me my money back.
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Pizza distracted me from posting yesterday.

This post is about abortion and probably isn't very well argued. I have these thoughts in my head because of this very distressing news story from Ireland. This post might be distressing.

have a cut tag )
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Today I ran around town in a silly santa outfit. That was very silly.
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Parkrun is fun; well, and a good reason to get me out of bed on a Saturday morning.

Today I was much faster than last week - I think I have solved the problem though; parkrun requires COFFEE, tea simply doesn't cut it. Allegedly 3degrees out *shiver* but running is nice and warming :)
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The speed of the naath...

recently (last few months):

Running on a treadmill - averaging 8mph topping out at nearly 10mph mostly 7-13km at a time
Running outdoors - averaging about 7mph. most 5km but some 10-13 miles and 10km as well.
Walking - averaging a little over 3mph. mostly over ~3miles but I can do that most of the day if I break for food at reasonable intervals.
Cycling - averaging a little under 10mph; marginally slower on the old bike than the new. Top speed around 18-20mph. That's a travel-time average for Cambridge commuting rather than a moving average; I guess my moving average is more like 12mph on the shinybike. Averaging ~7mph on the 35miles to Kentwell; including time spent stopped in the pub for food.
Swimming in a pool - averaging 1.25mph. Pretty constant whether I do 1/4, 1/2 or a whole mile.

Onna train - about 60mph? I've not measured the train speed but it does the 60miles to LST in just over an hour (that's including time spent in stations). 106mph on the E* which is probably the fastest train I've been on.

My world goes past pretty slowly compared to people who drive a lot I guess... then again, I see a lot of people in traffic jams on my commute so maybe not.
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So I was just reading the Economist, an article on poverty in the USA which was moderately interesting. Except for they seem to completely accept the false dichotomy that EITHER a child has two married parents OR they only have one parent in their lives. That's just bullshit. Lots of children have two parents who are unmarried but living together; or live with a parent and a step-parent or parent's partner. Some children have divorced parents who are both actively involved in their lives (both contributing to money, childcare needs, etc).

I see this stupid dichotomy too often.
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Today the CofE are voting on women bishops.

This is really none of my business on account of how I am not and never have been a member of the CofE. However it is slightly closer to my life than that; because my Dad's Dad was a CofE vicar and my Dad is very active in the CofE. Also it turns out that my Dad's ex-vicar is now my Mum's Catholic priest; which is super weird (he left the CofE because OMG GURL COOTIES or something, I don't pretend to understand the theological wossname). Anyway so in my Mum's church there are women who are working slowly slowly carefully towards a great place for women within the Catholic church (which is way behind the CofE on that) and they would be... not so very happy with the cheerful welcome extended to dudes like this dude. Yah, so that's all sucky.

But victory in a personal dispute with my parents means I will not have to put up with attending church at Christmas! I'm orf to the outlaw's instead. Yay.
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Today I have used my allocation of brains for debbugging stupid work problem.

So today's thought is - Mondays are for pizza. Pizza is nice.
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Sundays are for arguing with phoning my parents.

So today's annoyance is that Dad hates the EU. Go the EU! (I can't seem to come up with a natty chant). True it could be better - like, it could be more democratic, for instance; but a lot of the ways I think it could be be better mean more EU not less.. But it's beet >50 years since the Germans have been at war with the French, that has to count for something right?

It's not that I find euroskepticism entirely impossible to understand mind, I just disagree with it.

(Bring on the USE :-p)
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Today's thing to love is cycling. I luffs my bike, cycling is fun and a useful way to get around (especially in Cambridge). Although in November it is also cold and a bit damp from all that fog.
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Dammit, distracted by maths yesterday.

Maths is better than the news, on which Lord McAlpine was claiming that being accused of being a rapist is the WORST THING EVAR; apparently missing the obviously juxtaposition with BEING RAPED which is almost certainly much much worse, especially if you are 11.

OK, he didn't do it (wasn't even in the location of the crime), yes, I get that. And yes - the BBC and other reputable news outlets ought to have done some basic fact-checking beyond simply taking an accusers' word at face value; but in general I would much prefer it if people were quicker to believe people who say "I was raped" than slower. Not quicker to the point of throwing people in prison, courts must obviously look in detail at the evidence, but to the point of not calling the victim a liar and a slut.
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Today we got to vote for pointless PCCs... I think the whole thing is a thoroughly stupid idea but I voted anyway on the theory that it was better to vote against the racists than to spoil my ballot on the theory that the whole thing is a pointless waste of time.

Also I think supplementary vote might be the stupidist voting system of all time. I think everything about this election sucks.

At least there wasn't a queue for voting.
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A thing I am interested in (but not, I think, very good at actually DOING ANYTHING ABOUT; I suck) is in expanding what counts as "normal" in social terms.

A lot of the opposition to ideas of expanding "normal" seem to fret that what I want is to *change* "normal" to be me, not them, and to exclude them. But I don't really want that at all - I want a bigger "normal", not a me-shaped "normal" (if everyone were just like me the world would be a boring place).

I guess expanding "normal" makes it harder for people who conform to the current normal to find like-minded people; because with the narrow normal they get to assume that everyone is "just like me" and that people who aren't will be polite about correcting them (or just let it slide). Whereas in a world where more choices are normal you have to spend more time on working out what option a person has chosen rather than just assuming they are "like me".

I'm not sure how to make it easier for people who are current "normal" to adapt to a new, wider normality that includes them but also many other people.
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Yesterday's post (bother, slipping).

Thinking about the Saville mess.

One of the things that I think is pretty clear from this present mess is that an awful lot of people were abused and didn't feel they could (usefully) complain about it, and also an awful lot of people were abused and did complain but it turned out that this wasn't useful (useful would be for instance putting Saville in prison, or convincing hospitals/charities/the BBC to stop letting him near children) because people didn't believe them.

To me this is part of a larger pattern of human wossname - that we are (as a species) much more happy to put people in a GOOD box or an EVIL box than we are to recognise that individual humans are in some ways good and in some ways bad. It is really very hard to stand up and accuse a person who is widely regarded (either in general social terms, or in your specific social situation) for having done a terrible thing because there are so many people ready to say "no, they are a good person, and good people don't do terrible things, so you are a liar [1]". I think it is heartening that (as I heard on BBC news 24; can't find a good reference online) Childline have had a huge increase in people phoning them for help; the news furore surrounding Saville may be saving children from abuse by encouraging them to come forward and be believed. I can only hope we can keep on believing children (at least enough to put some investigative effort in) for longer than Saville remains headline news. In this case the people doing the not-believing were powerful people in institutions like the BBC; but also similar situations can play out in much smaller situations, and I think a particularly pernicious meme is the notion that accusing people of doing bad things is "causing drama" and in itself a Bad Thing. I think quite the contrary - it is good to openly accuse people of doing bad things (if you do so honestly) because otherwise the tendency is that they will get away with it, and may go on to do it to more people causing more harm.

Of course the flip side is that once "we" (a very general we) have got ahold of the notion that a person is EVIL (whether we are right or wrong about the thing we suppose them to have done and it's bad-ness) it then seems hard to argue against that. Either to say "actually no it wasn't them" (Lord McAlpine had this problem - he didn't do it but "everyone knew" he did, and "everyone" is very hard to argue with) or to say "yes, he did Bad Thing A but we don't think he actually did Bad Thing B" (the gutter press seems very keen to see Qatada posted off to Jordan) or even sometimes "yes, he did ALL THE BAD THINGS but that doesn't mean we should $retaliatory-action" (see arguments about how we should treat prisoners).

This clear division into GOOD PEOPLE and BAD PEOPLE is also a common trope in our fiction - there is the HERO whose every action is NOBLE AND RIGHT, and the VILLAIN whose every action is EVIL. The hero will probably win, and Get The Girl. (sometimes the hero looses and the outcome is dire and terrible). The whole "OMG HOW DARE YOU CRITICISE MY FRIEND" instinct spills over into arguments about fictional people too - in fandom I see a fair amount of this sort of thing; people reaction very angrily to suggestions that their preferred character could possibly have done something wrong or that the book they love could have any flaws. And on the flip side that any action of the character-they-hate could be justified, or any book that they think is garbage might have any redeeming aspects. Fictional characters of course don't argue back...

Right now one of my favorite works of fiction is a song of ice and fire; essentially *because* the characters are really hard to pin down as GOOD or EVIL - almost everyone is portrayed as having both good aspects and bad aspects.

[1] I find this work (liar) stupid-hard to spell. I don't really know why. I'm adding this footnote because maybe you have a helpful way of remembering how to spell declensions of words like "die" and "lie" because I don't. Also as a diversion from the vileness.
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ENOBRAIN. Rant postponed.

Question instead. I want to buy a new computer because this here computer what I have has insufficient memory to manage, er, twitter.

I figure I'd go to World Of Computing and buy a small computer with a 1TB hard drive and 8GB of memory and no OS and stick my current Debian install on it and go "hey presto, a new computer". Are there flaws in my plan? Looks like costing c. 300 quid (I don't need a new monitor).
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Stuff I love Saturday (oops)

Knitting. I love knitting. It's calming, and I make pretty things.
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Two words I hate "but surely"

As in...
"but surely you could park at work" - no, I live 3 miles away, on a convenient bus route, I'm not disabled, and I'm certainly not important; the carpark is tiny and the waiting list for permits huge. I can not park a car at work.

"but surely they would love a toaster" - no, they've been living together for years, and besides that hate toast. If they wanted a toaster they would have asked for one, they don't. Give them the money they asked for or not, as you wish, but buying people superfluous toasters is just plain rude.

"but surely you could get a lift" - probably I could, but I like my bike

"but surely you don't have to pay that much" - that's what the bill says... I'm not about to argue with it.

My mother is the MASTER of "but surely". She will argue with ANYTHING she finds irritating or unusual; attempting to cause the world to be the way she wants it to be by sheer force of ASSERTING THAT IT IS.

The world is probably not haw you want it to be (no money tree in my garden :-p); that's an unfortunate fact of life for most people. ARGH.
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Today I am annoyed about and (Wiggins and British cycling's head coach both injured in crashes with vehicles). And about twitter reaction to same, not all of it of course but some of it.

Anyway. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR I hate motorists who drive without taking enough care to spot cyclists; which obviously isn't ALL motorists, but it's ENOUGH motorists that I (as a cyclist) need to be very wary of all the motorists on the road because I can't know which of them are good, observant people and which of them are not. But even more GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR I hate people who think that when a motorist drives their vehicle in such a way as to hit a cyclist that the cyclist should be blamed for being there.

So now I'm cross about that. And not very articulate.
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Yay Obama is still president!

Also yay! 4 states voted for (or against being against) same-sex marriage to be allowed!

Legal notions of family.

I am strongly in favour of allowing same sex couples to get married (also couples where one or both parties are neither male nor female). In the UK we have the campaign for equal marriage who would like to introduce this right here too. I support them (but think they have a kinda nasty website). I don't like calling it "gay marriage" because it's not really - not all same sex couples are gay (some are bisexual) for one thing.

Also I'm in favour of bringing in civil partnerships (or similarly named non-marriage marriage-like things) for all couples; because I have strong personal reasons to not want to get married myself. I'm not in favour of claiming that CPs are "just like marriage" and should be "good enough" for same-sex couples. They really aren't; it's a principle-of-the-thing even if the rights are very-nearly-identical.

I'm also also in favour of extending legal recognition of marriage (and/or CP) to groups of more than 2 people; although I understand that this is rather harder, because (for instance) if you have 3 wives who are all exactly as closely related to you in law then how does the law decide which of them gets to turn off the life support machine? Also if my wife's wife husband divorces her then does he get a share in my worldly wealth (because I agreed, by marrying her, to own all things in common with her)? It's not as simple as writing three names on the marriage cert. (Although note that it's clearly not IMPOSSIBLE; and Islamic jurisprudence presumably has a full set of rules for how one-man-many-wives works).

I'd also like the law to recognise intentional family bonds other than "spouse" (through marriage) and "parent-child" (through adoption); and also the dissolution of blood family bonds in a similar way to divorce. For instance the law recognises my brother's relationship to me if I die intestate or if I'm on life support, especially if our parents are dead; it would be nice if I could "divorce" my brother and/or "adopt" friends as my siblings-in-law (er, except that term already means something). This seems like it might be a legal minefield.
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Today the Americans are voting. So the interwubs are all American Elections all the time; also if I were a betting person I would put money on BBC News 24 being all American Election when I get to the gym (geee, that'll be so fun. Maybe I'll watch Pointless instead).

Next week I get to vote on our Police and Crime Commissioner (he's going to commission crime? and btw it will be a 'he' 'cos all the candidates are men). I'm not sure who I want to vote for although I think I do want to actually vote in order to vote against the frightful fascists from the English Democrats and UKIP. We have two independents who might be decent (but I've heard nothing from them!) one of whom is on the Police Authority at the moment (actual experience!) the LDs have an ex-councilor, Labour a current councilor (does he have to quit that to be PCC?) not sure that a very political person is the best choice.

I thought we had a Loony; but apparently we don't. Sad. 'cos I'd totally have voted for them first.

Of course I could spoil my ballot, which would more accurately express how much I feel this whole thing is a REALLY STUPID IDEA. But I worry about what the EDL would do with the job.
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Lets be constructive!

What do I need to do to have the best chance of convincing the nice A&E doctors that they really want to call ewx and not my parents when they scrape me off the wheels of a bus? Please don't suggest marriage, I'm aware that's an option already and dismiss it for other reasons.

What do I need to do to persuade the nice doctors that I really don't want them to go to every length possible to squeeze out another painful month of life for me? I guess that *at the time* I'm not likely to look like a mentally competent person but I'm pretty sure I am *now*.

If I pay a lawyer money to arrange these things does it all turn out to be an expensive waste of time when someone decides that because I don't want what they want?
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Yesterday I forgot to post; too busy freezing my arse off in a muddy field.

This is yesterday's post. One for today later.

Yesterday's annoyance was going to be "goddawful weather" which seems to gravitate towards any 10k race I enter... However there was a more annoying thing.

It is my habit to listen to BBC podcasts whilst running (outdoors; at the gym I watch news 24) this is because I get bored very easily. Anyway, a podcast that I was listening to was women's hour and a thing they were talking about was some research about baby girls liking faces more and baby boys like mechanical things more. This research apparently showed that there is some small bias towards this arrangement.

Now, personally I think it's pretty hard to find children who haven't been influenced by social norms; even very tiny children are treated differently by adults by gender.

But lets assume this is true - girls just "naturally" prefer people and boys just "naturally" prefer machines. Well, this research was claiming it's sort of a small bias; not a huge one. So it isn't Girls Are A vs Boys Are B; it's "girls are on average a bit more A and boys are on average a bit more B".

This doesn't tell you anything about YOUR BABY - it can tell you what your baby is "more likely" to enjoy; but you don't need that, your baby is RIGHT THERE you can consult them! OK, when your baby is a few days old they aren't very consultable; but toddlers can be quite vocal about which toy they want! You don't need to say "oh Suzy clearly wants a doll" when Suzy is demanding mechanno every visit to the toy store :-p

This is also true of a lot of things that are supposedly clearly divided into male/female - none of these things are clear cut "Men X, Women notX"; they are overlapping distributions. You can't look at a woman and know that she's worse at X than ALL MEN (or better at notX than all men); whilst the fastest marathon runner in the world is a man, the fastest woman marathon runner at the olympics would have come 60th were she racing in the men's olympic marathon which had 85 finishers - sure she is slower than the fastest man, but she is faster than 25 men who qualified for the olympic marathon, she is faster than *most men* if you wanted to hire a fast runner there is no point in saying that men are faster than women so you'll just look at the men.

Anyway; even where it is true that more men are more X than women (or vice versa) it is almost never true that all men are (all men are men and all women are women; which tautology is probably the only 100% true statement of that form), and there's no point to using these generalisations when deciding who you are going to hire, or pick for your team, or what you're going to buy your 5 year old for Christmas. Much better to find out the X-ness of the individuals who are actually relevant.
naath: (Default)
Saturday is a day for happy!

I am happy today because I love running. Parkrun is awesome because it gets me out of bed on a Saturday and it's cool to see the trees changing colour throughout the year and other nature stuff; nature being something I'm not very in touch with as a citified person. I'm not great at running, but also I'm not shit at running; I'm about... half way good I guess? I come about half way up the field at races like parkrun; also I'm about 50% the speed of people who win serious races like the olympics. I'd like to do better, but I don't want to beat myself up about being "bad" at something I'm better than lots (most?) of people.

Also ewx is *quacking at me*. Weirdo.

naath: (Default)
A general trend in nuisances...

Whilst it is very nice to be helpful, to offer practical assistance or information or opinion that might assist me in making decisions (there are many ways to be helpful) it is often the case that the help offered may not actually be helpful, for a variety of reasons. Naturally this help has been offered out of kindness and generosity and should be politely refused, not rudely rejected. This is not the nuisance.

The nuisance is when the help-offerer goes on to insist that you accept their help, follow their advice, etc. even after I have politely declined and offered an explanation.

This is a nuisance (and worse than a nuisance) at a wide range of levels - from the small-time barely-a-flicker-of-irritation right up to serious assaults. Naturally the more serious the violation the more annoyed I am about it; but I am also generally-annoyed about the prevelance of this idea that my help/advice/etc is SO WONDERFUL AND AMAZING that OBVIOUSLY you want to follow it.

At the most trivial end - my bike lights have no battery, they do not need to be turned off, I deliberately leave them on at all times because I'm a lazy wottsit. So, naturally my life includes a large number of people telling me I have done so; or even turning them off while I'm not there. I strive to remember that these people are generous helpful people who I can't reasonably expect to know anything about how my lights work.

At the most serious end - the law in this country provides for detaining and forcibly medicating people if the relevant someone decides that that's a good idea. Now, I am absolutely all for providing absolutely everyone with all the medical treatments that they want; and I am on-balance in favour of detaining people who have committed crimes in part in order to protect others from the possibility that they will commit more crimes; I'm certainly in favor of offering people who have committed crimes the option of receiving medical treatment whilst detained; I'm just not in favour of people being forcibly medicated against their will.
naath: (Default)
Ridiculously irritating thing of the day:

People who treat the word Halloween as Hallo-ween rather than Hallow-een and then proceed to make up words like "Jesus-ween" or "sexy-ween" or "Howl-o-ween" (this is a selection of things I've actually seen; I'm not intending to comment on the content intended).

It is All Hallows Eve(ning); the 'w' is part of "hallows" not "evening".

I just... don't understand why people do this.

(Also I've decided I'm going to try to post one thing that's been bugging me/on my mind/happens to sound interesting every day in November; instead of trying to write a novel which clearly would not work).
naath: (Default)
I have a nooooo toy

bike )


Aug. 20th, 2012 03:56 pm
naath: (Default)
So, this September I will be 29; and also will have been in Cambridge for 10 years (stuck now). I will also be variously in Belgium and at my Dad's 65th birthday party. But I should have a party anyway! Probably last weekend in September or maybe some time in October or something.

But I don't know what sort of party I should have. It should be a very Cambridge party, because hey, 10 is more of a round number than 29. The weather will probably have stopped being hothothot by the end of September so outdoor things might not be so advisable. What should I doooooooo oh flist?
naath: (Default)
So, I finally managed to finish chewing through almost all the Hugo-nominated works and now I'm going to bore you by writing about them.

long )


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