Musings

Oct. 3rd, 2010 12:41 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
So many people on my flist have been upset by the death of Tyler Clementi, a young American student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate broadcast images of him having sex with another man on the internet.

And that's a proper thing. It should upset people.

But it should also inspire people to act.

Write for the fandom meme that's going around if you want, but, more usefully, act locally.

Smile when you see same-sex couples, smile that 'Ah, young love ...' smile that Maurice Chevalier perfected. Especially if you're 20 and they're 60.

If you're at school, support your GLBT clubs. Do what you can for their campaigns, because you benefit from them even if you're straight.

If there are GLBT political issues ongoing in your local area, from gay adoption or marriage to literature 'promoting homosexuality' in schools (many of you are too young to remember Clause 28, which is a Good Thing), write to every political figure you can think of on the topics: conservative as well as liberal. Write to the ones who are dead against it, because you will at the very least remind them that their prejudices are not universal, and may help to humanise issues that they have somehow managed to look at through the lens of 'The Other'.

Refuse to accept 'The Other', even if you're as straight as a straight thing. Biologically, morally, logically, there is no 'other' about it. Personalise the issues, because the prejudice is all personal bullshit, so why should we be denied our personal stories in response? When I hear someone pontificating 'Will no one think of the children?' I pick up my pen and say 'I was one of the children, and now I am an adult and I am happy and fabulous.' The number of times I have been able to cut through bullshit by saying 'you are talking about my mother' is remarkable. 'You are talking about my brother, my friend, my doctor, me ...' is so powerful, just have those conversations.

Question prejudice when you see it. You don't have be confrontational, a simple 'Why do you believe that?' or 'Does that make any sort of sense in terms of the real world?' can work wonders. I remember being a young woman and seeing a gang of skinheads hassling two Chinese students, so I went up to them and asked them about their philosophy. They told me white made right, I pointed out that I was far whiter than any of them, and that I thought they were wrong, so by their logic, I was righter than they were. They told me I had no idea, but backed down and left, because there is nothing more embarrassing than monstering a five-foot-one girl with pigtails. It wasn't dangerous -- people are reluctant to do more than sneer at those who question them in good faith, and we can all cope with a sneer. It appalls me that it was my whiteness that made me so safe in that situation, but given there was no risk, it was incumbent on me to speak. For many straight people confronted with homophobia, there is a chance to speak in similar safety -- take it. The worst response likely is the disdain of people whose good opinion is clearly not worth having.

And finally, keep an eye out for each other. Keep each other safe. There are all sorts of calls for Something To Be Done, but bugger waiting for laws, be there yourselves. The two kids who set the video of Tyler streaming anounced it on their Twitter stream. At least 150 other kids had access to that information, but none of them went round to bang on Tyler's door. Some of his classmates have been reported as saying they would have been there if he called, make the call yourself. Be the person who smiles and is friendly, rather than the one who looks away, or the one who is a bit of a cunt, because it's easier.

And be that person generally, even if it doesn't seem important at the time. When I was 20 I ran into a boy I had known in first year at uni. He insisted on buying me a cuppa, which I thought was a bit weird, because I did not really know him well. He told me a story about a party at a mutual friend's house two years earlier, and asked if I remembered talking to him at it. As it happened, I did. He had been looking bored, and I was a bit drunk, so I sat down with him and chatted about why Morrissey was a wanker and other important mid-80s issues, and made him laugh with my Morrissey impersonation. After a while, I swanned off with his hot mate and thought nothing more of it. Two years later he told me that he had decided no one cared, and was going to kill himself after the party, but because I had thought it worth sitting down and chatting with him, he'd changed his mind.

To this day that sends chills down my spine, because I had no idea. I didn't talk with him out of any sense of Doing Good, or of cheering up the woebegone, or being a saintly person (I'm not, I was there for sex, and went off with the hot friend), I talked with him because I was a tipsy show-off and he looked like someone I could be a goose with for half an hour until I had a better offer.

And I stammered something to that effect, and he patted me on the head and said, 'Yeah, you're still a bit of a goose, but all I needed was someone to sit down with me for a bit and smile, and you did that.'

Since then, the smiles of strangers, and the carelessly given time of acquaintances and friends have sometimes lifted me on days when things seemed very dark indeed. The power of kindness, the grace of a gentle word, of acceptance and understanding, cannot be overstated.

And perhaps that kid on the train you smile at is a kid who is having the worst day of his life, who needs a moment of grace to remind him that it does get better and that how he feels now is not how he will feel forever.

Because learning that lesson gets you through everything else. It's just a matter of learning it in time.

Musings

Oct. 3rd, 2010 12:41 am
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
So many people on my flist have been upset by the death of Tyler Clementi, a young American student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate broadcast images of him having sex with another man on the internet.

And that's a proper thing. It should upset people.

But it should also inspire people to act.

Write for the fandom meme that's going around if you want, but, more usefully, act locally.

Smile when you see same-sex couples, smile that 'Ah, young love ...' smile that Maurice Chevalier perfected. Especially if you're 20 and they're 60.

If you're at school, support your GLBT clubs. Do what you can for their campaigns, because you benefit from them even if you're straight.

If there are GLBT political issues ongoing in your local area, from gay adoption or marriage to literature 'promoting homosexuality' in schools (many of you are too young to remember Clause 28, which is a Good Thing), write to every political figure you can think of on the topics: conservative as well as liberal. Write to the ones who are dead against it, because you will at the very least remind them that their prejudices are not universal, and may help to humanise issues that they have somehow managed to look at through the lens of 'The Other'.

Refuse to accept 'The Other', even if you're as straight as a straight thing. Biologically, morally, logically, there is no 'other' about it. Personalise the issues, because the prejudice is all personal bullshit, so why should we be denied our personal stories in response? When I hear someone pontificating 'Will no one think of the children?' I pick up my pen and say 'I was one of the children, and now I am an adult and I am happy and fabulous.' The number of times I have been able to cut through bullshit by saying 'you are talking about my mother' is remarkable. 'You are talking about my brother, my friend, my doctor, me ...' is so powerful, just have those conversations.

Question prejudice when you see it. You don't have be confrontational, a simple 'Why do you believe that?' or 'Does that make any sort of sense in terms of the real world?' can work wonders. I remember being a young woman and seeing a gang of skinheads hassling two Chinese students, so I went up to them and asked them about their philosophy. They told me white made right, I pointed out that I was far whiter than any of them, and that I thought they were wrong, so by their logic, I was righter than they were. They told me I had no idea, but backed down and left, because there is nothing more embarrassing than monstering a five-foot-one girl with pigtails. It wasn't dangerous -- people are reluctant to do more than sneer at those who question them in good faith, and we can all cope with a sneer. It appalls me that it was my whiteness that made me so safe in that situation, but given there was no risk, it was incumbent on me to speak. For many straight people confronted with homophobia, there is a chance to speak in similar safety -- take it. The worst response likely is the disdain of people whose good opinion is clearly not worth having.

And finally, keep an eye out for each other. Keep each other safe. There are all sorts of calls for Something To Be Done, but bugger waiting for laws, be there yourselves. The two kids who set the video of Tyler streaming anounced it on their Twitter stream. At least 150 other kids had access to that information, but none of them went round to bang on Tyler's door. Some of his classmates have been reported as saying they would have been there if he called, make the call yourself. Be the person who smiles and is friendly, rather than the one who looks away, or the one who is a bit of a cunt, because it's easier.

And be that person generally, even if it doesn't seem important at the time. When I was 20 I ran into a boy I had known in first year at uni. He insisted on buying me a cuppa, which I thought was a bit weird, because I did not really know him well. He told me a story about a party at a mutual friend's house two years earlier, and asked if I remembered talking to him at it. As it happened, I did. He had been looking bored, and I was a bit drunk, so I sat down with him and chatted about why Morrissey was a wanker and other important mid-80s issues, and made him laugh with my Morrissey impersonation. After a while, I swanned off with his hot mate and thought nothing more of it. Two years later he told me that he had decided no one cared, and was going to kill himself after the party, but because I had thought it worth sitting down and chatting with him, he'd changed his mind.

To this day that sends chills down my spine, because I had no idea. I didn't talk with him out of any sense of Doing Good, or of cheering up the woebegone, or being a saintly person (I'm not, I was there for sex, and went off with the hot friend), I talked with him because I was a tipsy show-off and he looked like someone I could be a goose with for half an hour until I had a better offer.

And I stammered something to that effect, and he patted me on the head and said, 'Yeah, you're still a bit of a goose, but all I needed was someone to sit down with me for a bit and smile, and you did that.'

Since then, the smiles of strangers, and the carelessly given time of acquaintances and friends have sometimes lifted me on days when things seemed very dark indeed. The power of kindness, the grace of a gentle word, of acceptance and understanding, cannot be overstated.

And perhaps that kid on the train you smile at is a kid who is having the worst day of his life, who needs a moment of grace to remind him that it does get better and that how he feels now is not how he will feel forever.

Because learning that lesson gets you through everything else. It's just a matter of learning it in time.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
This morning I left the house roughly on time, and immediately ran into an old friend from 20 years ago right outside my gate. After a 10 minute chat, I left him and continued on.

The very next person I saw was wearing a traditional tin-foil hat.

I knew it was going to be one of those days, and it was.

My friends at work have a book running on how many days I can restrain myself before I bring my archery equipment in. Next Thursday is popular. This is, of course, nonsense. I will poison the teacups of those who exhaust my patience with carefully chosen botanicals that could easily be mistaken for perfectly safe herbs.

Also, for anyone who has ever held fic writers to account saying 'well, if you were a published writer ...', know that if they were published writers there is every chance under the sun they could not spell, count, be in touch with reality, stick to a style guide or commission brief. Fandom people have no idea how lucky they are!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
This morning I left the house roughly on time, and immediately ran into an old friend from 20 years ago right outside my gate. After a 10 minute chat, I left him and continued on.

The very next person I saw was wearing a traditional tin-foil hat.

I knew it was going to be one of those days, and it was.

My friends at work have a book running on how many days I can restrain myself before I bring my archery equipment in. Next Thursday is popular. This is, of course, nonsense. I will poison the teacups of those who exhaust my patience with carefully chosen botanicals that could easily be mistaken for perfectly safe herbs.

Also, for anyone who has ever held fic writers to account saying 'well, if you were a published writer ...', know that if they were published writers there is every chance under the sun they could not spell, count, be in touch with reality, stick to a style guide or commission brief. Fandom people have no idea how lucky they are!

Whew!

Nov. 1st, 2009 11:31 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
October was a month of mank. However, since for some of my friends, it was a month of genuine disasters, so I am considering myself lucky that overwork and minor stupidities were the worst things that came my way. They're tiring and frustrating, but in years to come I won't care about them at all. I wish I could make other people's problems disappear as easily.

Today I spent the afternoon with lovely friends at a baby shower. You can tell the parents and non-parents at these things: parents and people who have done the reading planning to become parents gave many, many bibs and baby burglar suits (the ones with legs and arms and usually stripes), along with towels and nappies. The rest of us gave organic everything, or high-tech tricks like the re-usable chemical bottle warmer, or handmade loveliness (which at least can go through the washer, that girl was smart).

We had to leave early, as we had a friend with us who was booked at a barbecue. I was relieved in a way, as I was knackered after yesterday's Goth Fair. Newtown and Enmore played host to the Dark Side and I had organised to pop up and meet a friend for gelati. Bravely, I decided to wear my punk platforms (I normally live in flats), and I actually have some gothy clothes. Because I am Of A Certain Age, I decided to do a Vintage Goth look, and so rolled the back of my hair over padding (this is not easy when you have long hair!) and curled up the front in Victory Rolls, then added a slick of blood-red lipstick. I was so amused by the look that I think I will need to trot a slightly modified version of it into work when we next hit deadline, so that I can work my Vera Lynn meets the Bride of Dracula mojo on recalcitrant writers. Sadly, no photos.

Sadly, too, there was not bouncy haunted mansion, but every type of goth was there, from full Victoriana, through classic (including band T-shirts from London in the 80s), to Gothic Lolita and anime, and even the little sort of furry ones who have ears and tails and little back puppy noses. They all stayed in a little group in the corner, with everyone else looking on sympathetically and hiding their giggles behind fans and parasols.

My friend deense looked fabulous in her steampunk, and lovely anna was gorgeous as always in her corsetry. The local funeral homes had embraced the event, with one putting on a horse-drawn hearse (the horses had feathers and the undertakers had top hats, but alas, no trailing crepe) and the other doing a series of talks, we were invited to one on embalming, which I turned down (deense has funeral director friends and I watched all of Six Feet Under). 

A lovely time was had by all: I had forgotten that goths were by far the nicest of all the subcultures. There is a certain necessity for manners when one is wearing a bustle or crinoline, and cooperation is needed to keep lipstick straight and hair in whatever convoluted shape one wants. There were more 'excuse me', 'thank you' and 'are you having a lovely day?' comments from the people there than I have ever heard in Newtown. And it was acceptable to say to the young people 'You look utterly gorgeous!' which I think they do need to hear sometimes, but it usually seems to embarrass them.

All up, I've seen more of my friends this weekend than I have in months, and it was wonderful, even if [livejournal.com profile] hunydd mocked my zombie joke! I will have to organise my life better so that I have the time and energy for socialising more regularly!

Oh and [livejournal.com profile] hunydd ? Just for you: 
What would Hamlet have eaten if he'd returned as a zombie?


Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanes

Whew!

Nov. 1st, 2009 11:31 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
October was a month of mank. However, since for some of my friends, it was a month of genuine disasters, so I am considering myself lucky that overwork and minor stupidities were the worst things that came my way. They're tiring and frustrating, but in years to come I won't care about them at all. I wish I could make other people's problems disappear as easily.

Today I spent the afternoon with lovely friends at a baby shower. You can tell the parents and non-parents at these things: parents and people who have done the reading planning to become parents gave many, many bibs and baby burglar suits (the ones with legs and arms and usually stripes), along with towels and nappies. The rest of us gave organic everything, or high-tech tricks like the re-usable chemical bottle warmer, or handmade loveliness (which at least can go through the washer, that girl was smart).

We had to leave early, as we had a friend with us who was booked at a barbecue. I was relieved in a way, as I was knackered after yesterday's Goth Fair. Newtown and Enmore played host to the Dark Side and I had organised to pop up and meet a friend for gelati. Bravely, I decided to wear my punk platforms (I normally live in flats), and I actually have some gothy clothes. Because I am Of A Certain Age, I decided to do a Vintage Goth look, and so rolled the back of my hair over padding (this is not easy when you have long hair!) and curled up the front in Victory Rolls, then added a slick of blood-red lipstick. I was so amused by the look that I think I will need to trot a slightly modified version of it into work when we next hit deadline, so that I can work my Vera Lynn meets the Bride of Dracula mojo on recalcitrant writers. Sadly, no photos.

Sadly, too, there was not bouncy haunted mansion, but every type of goth was there, from full Victoriana, through classic (including band T-shirts from London in the 80s), to Gothic Lolita and anime, and even the little sort of furry ones who have ears and tails and little back puppy noses. They all stayed in a little group in the corner, with everyone else looking on sympathetically and hiding their giggles behind fans and parasols.

My friend deense looked fabulous in her steampunk, and lovely anna was gorgeous as always in her corsetry. The local funeral homes had embraced the event, with one putting on a horse-drawn hearse (the horses had feathers and the undertakers had top hats, but alas, no trailing crepe) and the other doing a series of talks, we were invited to one on embalming, which I turned down (deense has funeral director friends and I watched all of Six Feet Under). 

A lovely time was had by all: I had forgotten that goths were by far the nicest of all the subcultures. There is a certain necessity for manners when one is wearing a bustle or crinoline, and cooperation is needed to keep lipstick straight and hair in whatever convoluted shape one wants. There were more 'excuse me', 'thank you' and 'are you having a lovely day?' comments from the people there than I have ever heard in Newtown. And it was acceptable to say to the young people 'You look utterly gorgeous!' which I think they do need to hear sometimes, but it usually seems to embarrass them.

All up, I've seen more of my friends this weekend than I have in months, and it was wonderful, even if [livejournal.com profile] hunydd mocked my zombie joke! I will have to organise my life better so that I have the time and energy for socialising more regularly!

Oh and [livejournal.com profile] hunydd ? Just for you: 
What would Hamlet have eaten if he'd returned as a zombie?


Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanes

Buggery ...

Jun. 3rd, 2009 11:16 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It has been a while since LJ ate one of my posts ... This is now a recap of a longer post consigned to pixel history.

* [personal profile] marguerite_26  and I often have very similar tastes. Because of this, I believed what she told me about two great Beltane pieces in this post. One art, one fic, both brilliant, you should believe her, too.

* Alas, I have not been following Beltane, but I do think that everyone should also look at these pieces of art, A chance meeting at the Fires has the first H/D meeting after the war and is simple and stunning. And The First Day of Summer is still making me giggle weeks after the first time I saw it.

* HAPPY BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] bewarethesmirk  and [livejournal.com profile] sachael , may you both have a wonderful day!

* The Demon's Lexicon
STILL not in shops (they hope for Saturday), though my new Frances Hardinge book has finally arrived, only three months after ordering.

* I have accidentally seduced one of my friends into H/D fandom. (NB, VERY important to read the whole of that sentence!) She is quite talented, the rotter. If you come across [personal profile] treacle_tartlet , make her right at home.

* I do NOT need to do the HD Careers Fair, but it may be that you do. In particular, I do not need to write about Harry being a Zombie hunter and Draco being a cat-loving librarian, Harry being a novelist and Draco being a mean critic and DEFINITELY not about Harry being a political cartoonist. Watch me resist!

* Australian Family First Senator Steve Fielding is too stupid for words. He has just attended a Climate Change Skeptics conference in the US, and has now realised that it is all caused by sunspots. For fuck's sake. It's not 1978!

* June 4 marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I remember watching, horrified, as Kate Aide reported from China; weeks of hope and excitement vanishing as bullets flew and bodies fell behind her. The only thing more heartbreaking than the sight of twisted young bodies on makeshift stretchers strung across bicycles was the sense of loss of hope.

And then I saw one of the bravest men I have ever seen walk out in front of a row of tanks and stop. And the commander of the leading tank also stopped, and would not run him down, and he pleaded with him to clear the way, and the man on foot, who was carrying a plastic bag, would not move. And the tank commander, even knowing that he was likely to be punished severely given the climate of that day, would not run over him. The man with the bag was swept away by a group of bystanders. Reports from that day suggest that they could have been government officials who took him away, but just as many reports say no, they were ordinary Chinese who wanted to save someone and who saw that they could. I have always hoped that the latter was true.





Buggery ...

Jun. 3rd, 2009 11:16 pm
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
It has been a while since LJ ate one of my posts ... This is now a recap of a longer post consigned to pixel history.

* [personal profile] marguerite_26  and I often have very similar tastes. Because of this, I believed what she told me about two great Beltane pieces in this post. One art, one fic, both brilliant, you should believe her, too.

* Alas, I have not been following Beltane, but I do think that everyone should also look at these pieces of art, A chance meeting at the Fires has the first H/D meeting after the war and is simple and stunning. And The First Day of Summer is still making me giggle weeks after the first time I saw it.

* HAPPY BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] bewarethesmirk  and [livejournal.com profile] sachael , may you both have a wonderful day!

* The Demon's Lexicon
STILL not in shops (they hope for Saturday), though my new Frances Hardinge book has finally arrived, only three months after ordering.

* I have accidentally seduced one of my friends into H/D fandom. (NB, VERY important to read the whole of that sentence!) She is quite talented, the rotter. If you come across [personal profile] treacle_tartlet , make her right at home.

* I do NOT need to do the HD Careers Fair, but it may be that you do. In particular, I do not need to write about Harry being a Zombie hunter and Draco being a cat-loving librarian, Harry being a novelist and Draco being a mean critic and DEFINITELY not about Harry being a political cartoonist. Watch me resist!

* Australian Family First Senator Steve Fielding is too stupid for words. He has just attended a Climate Change Skeptics conference in the US, and has now realised that it is all caused by sunspots. For fuck's sake. It's not 1978!

* June 4 marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I remember watching, horrified, as Kate Aide reported from China; weeks of hope and excitement vanishing as bullets flew and bodies fell behind her. The only thing more heartbreaking than the sight of twisted young bodies on makeshift stretchers strung across bicycles was the sense of loss of hope.

And then I saw one of the bravest men I have ever seen walk out in front of a row of tanks and stop. And the commander of the leading tank also stopped, and would not run him down, and he pleaded with him to clear the way, and the man on foot, who was carrying a plastic bag, would not move. And the tank commander, even knowing that he was likely to be punished severely given the climate of that day, would not run over him. The man with the bag was swept away by a group of bystanders. Reports from that day suggest that they could have been government officials who took him away, but just as many reports say no, they were ordinary Chinese who wanted to save someone and who saw that they could. I have always hoped that the latter was true.





blamebrampton: (here to have fun)
And one that may be more suitable for those who fear or dislike cats, is the work of Tim Minchin. Minchin is an Australian comedian/musician, and I find him hilarious. Those of you living in London are lucky, as he lives there these days, but he is often to be found at comedy festivals around the world. He is interesting, smart, sort of oddly hot (and there's a great story behind that), and a genuinely nice guy.

This is his website, where you can check out upcoming gigs and download some of his routines.

This is one of my fave routines of his, alas, sound only this time. A word of warning: if you are a trippy hippie who believes that facts are just opinions, you will be offended by this. However, if you are a trippy hippie who believes such things, since you clearly enjoy being offended after hanging around my lj all the time, go for it (and also, you kinky little masochist, you! Nicely snuck past the keeper, there! (oh god, football metaphors, kill me now ...))



blamebrampton: (here to have fun)
And one that may be more suitable for those who fear or dislike cats, is the work of Tim Minchin. Minchin is an Australian comedian/musician, and I find him hilarious. Those of you living in London are lucky, as he lives there these days, but he is often to be found at comedy festivals around the world. He is interesting, smart, sort of oddly hot (and there's a great story behind that), and a genuinely nice guy.

This is his website, where you can check out upcoming gigs and download some of his routines.

This is one of my fave routines of his, alas, sound only this time. A word of warning: if you are a trippy hippie who believes that facts are just opinions, you will be offended by this. However, if you are a trippy hippie who believes such things, since you clearly enjoy being offended after hanging around my lj all the time, go for it (and also, you kinky little masochist, you! Nicely snuck past the keeper, there! (oh god, football metaphors, kill me now ...))



blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I know that a lot of you out there have kids who are interested in all things HP, which is what makes the new comm set up by [livejournal.com profile] leochi  one of the coolest things around at the moment. [livejournal.com profile] yay_potterkids  is a safe place for fic and art that features kid-friendly themes set in the HP universe. So far there is some lovely art and I know that several writers have fics and drabbles planned (including me, eventually!)

On the topic of comms, hp10k_showcase began posting today with a fantastic story by [livejournal.com profile] snegurochka_lee . It's beautifully written, if tremendously sad. Catch it here: The Path of Least Resistance. The remaining stories are all very very fine, too, and written in support of many good causes (which you can ignore and just go straight to the fic, but the universe may be a finer place if you do not.)

Next Yays, HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] gameazel ! Sorry it's late, I have been writing and running around  like a fiend this week. I hope you had a great one.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY for today to the lovely micolerose. I am sending you every wish for good health and good luck for this year, with added father discovers housecleaning and niece or nephew is perfect child of great sleeping and behaving with no regurgitation issues luck. You are such a cool chick, but I am not following you into the darkside of new fandoms. Oh no. I am too far behind in just the one!

And the final yay, the university that I was doing some work for last year, the one who had students who believed in Evelyn War and that one was best going to Antarctica from Tasmania via South Georgia and then Macquarie Island, has FINALLY paid me! Only six months late. It is so nice not to be several thousand dollars behind any more! I have ballast in my account again! Yippee!

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I know that a lot of you out there have kids who are interested in all things HP, which is what makes the new comm set up by [livejournal.com profile] leochi  one of the coolest things around at the moment. [livejournal.com profile] yay_potterkids  is a safe place for fic and art that features kid-friendly themes set in the HP universe. So far there is some lovely art and I know that several writers have fics and drabbles planned (including me, eventually!)

On the topic of comms, hp10k_showcase began posting today with a fantastic story by [livejournal.com profile] snegurochka_lee . It's beautifully written, if tremendously sad. Catch it here: The Path of Least Resistance. The remaining stories are all very very fine, too, and written in support of many good causes (which you can ignore and just go straight to the fic, but the universe may be a finer place if you do not.)

Next Yays, HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] gameazel ! Sorry it's late, I have been writing and running around  like a fiend this week. I hope you had a great one.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY for today to the lovely micolerose. I am sending you every wish for good health and good luck for this year, with added father discovers housecleaning and niece or nephew is perfect child of great sleeping and behaving with no regurgitation issues luck. You are such a cool chick, but I am not following you into the darkside of new fandoms. Oh no. I am too far behind in just the one!

And the final yay, the university that I was doing some work for last year, the one who had students who believed in Evelyn War and that one was best going to Antarctica from Tasmania via South Georgia and then Macquarie Island, has FINALLY paid me! Only six months late. It is so nice not to be several thousand dollars behind any more! I have ballast in my account again! Yippee!

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Am back in Sydney, where the expected 47 degrees was a merciful 32 instead. But the air is dirty with smoke, and I am hiding inside where there is an air conditioner and iced water.

Mostly I am worried about my friends in Victoria. Jamie and Mere, are you two still all right? Blindmouse, where are you? Push and feral, if by chance you read this, I know you're in town, but how are your people? I have three friends and their families out on properties in the broad rural regions around Melbourne, and have not heard back from SMSes, possibly because my phone company is crap and can take ages to deliver them, possibly because they have their phones at the bottom of their bags as they evacuate to safer ares. Nothing for it but to wait until they have time to call back, until then I'll keep fingers and toes crossed.

It is truly horrible there now, at least 65 people have died in the fires and over 600 homes have been lost. I remember the Canberra fires a few years ago, and reading about Ash Wednesday, but these fires have taken a worse toll despite the improved fire fighting and better communications. The countryside is so dry and the air so hot that there is nothing to stop them. A wall of flame races faster than any car, burning people when they are trapped inside vehicles whose tires have melted to the road. I selfishly hope that none of my friends have been touched by the devastation, but when things are so bad that the state Premier and nation's Prime Minister are both moved to tears, how is anyone untouched? 

They say that some of the fires were lit by arsonists, and are looking for the culprits. I hope that the police find them, for they will then go to trial. If they are found by the residents, I do not think their fate will be so easy.

There are birthday wishes to send and news from New Zealand, but I will make a happier post for them. For now, good luck, Victorians.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Am back in Sydney, where the expected 47 degrees was a merciful 32 instead. But the air is dirty with smoke, and I am hiding inside where there is an air conditioner and iced water.

Mostly I am worried about my friends in Victoria. Jamie and Mere, are you two still all right? Blindmouse, where are you? Push and feral, if by chance you read this, I know you're in town, but how are your people? I have three friends and their families out on properties in the broad rural regions around Melbourne, and have not heard back from SMSes, possibly because my phone company is crap and can take ages to deliver them, possibly because they have their phones at the bottom of their bags as they evacuate to safer ares. Nothing for it but to wait until they have time to call back, until then I'll keep fingers and toes crossed.

It is truly horrible there now, at least 65 people have died in the fires and over 600 homes have been lost. I remember the Canberra fires a few years ago, and reading about Ash Wednesday, but these fires have taken a worse toll despite the improved fire fighting and better communications. The countryside is so dry and the air so hot that there is nothing to stop them. A wall of flame races faster than any car, burning people when they are trapped inside vehicles whose tires have melted to the road. I selfishly hope that none of my friends have been touched by the devastation, but when things are so bad that the state Premier and nation's Prime Minister are both moved to tears, how is anyone untouched? 

They say that some of the fires were lit by arsonists, and are looking for the culprits. I hope that the police find them, for they will then go to trial. If they are found by the residents, I do not think their fate will be so easy.

There are birthday wishes to send and news from New Zealand, but I will make a happier post for them. For now, good luck, Victorians.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
For anyone who has ever read any of my Australia: it'll kill ya posts and thought to themselves "Oh Brammers, you and your comedic exaggeration for effect ..." , I bring you this genuine news story from what passes for quality press in these parts. And you can have the link as is, since the untouched humour is immediately apparent.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/jogger-attacked-by-kangaroo/2008/09/01/1220121130240.html

You expect this sort of thing in the rural glades of Canberra (which is quite a nice city, so long as you either like roundabouts or are in no hurry), but not in Melbourne. [livejournal.com profile] tomatoe18 , your teacher told the truth!

It is the first day of spring here and Sydney turned on a splendid day of sun and blue skies. I still have influenza, because it's influenza. The chap at work, where I was vaguely functional for six hours, kept telling me that he'd had a really bad cold recently. "Yes," I said, "but I have flu, which is not the same."

"That's just a bad cold, isn't it? Are you on antibiotics?"

"Influenza is a different virus family to the set of viruses that cause colds, but both are viruses so neither respond to antibiotics," I told him, a little testily.

"Gosh, how do you know all this stuff?"

I resisted the urge to cough on him.

But I have to confess that is more than I did this morning on the train when a man decided that he could fit into the over-crowded carriage if he just leapt at my back and sent me careening into a (fortunately sturdy and understanding) young woman. I was fortunate to be pointing my face away from her, so my gasp of virus-laden air went over his outstretched hand, not any part of her. And then, I am ashamed to say, I sighed deeply over the side of his face. Be alive little viruses!

The train home made up for it, though. At Wynyard the sweet sound of a girlish soprano spilled pop ballad through the underground station, taking me back to one of my early Australian summers where I was on a train that stopped at St James to encounter a five-part harmony a cappella version of Like A Prayer. There is something very lovely about the sound of children singing (and the acoustics of underground stations are enough to tempt me, too).

I stopped to pay my Visa bill since I was at the nearby station rather than waiting for the train that stops across the road from my home. While I was in the bank I decided to change the PIN to something I can remember without having to look at the slip of paper hidden cunningly in one of the many books on my many shelves. I accomplished this, but not before the bank girl attempted to lend me half a million dollars and asked for my advice on successful relationships. That was an odd conversation, even by my standards.



blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
For anyone who has ever read any of my Australia: it'll kill ya posts and thought to themselves "Oh Brammers, you and your comedic exaggeration for effect ..." , I bring you this genuine news story from what passes for quality press in these parts. And you can have the link as is, since the untouched humour is immediately apparent.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/jogger-attacked-by-kangaroo/2008/09/01/1220121130240.html

You expect this sort of thing in the rural glades of Canberra (which is quite a nice city, so long as you either like roundabouts or are in no hurry), but not in Melbourne. [livejournal.com profile] tomatoe18 , your teacher told the truth!

It is the first day of spring here and Sydney turned on a splendid day of sun and blue skies. I still have influenza, because it's influenza. The chap at work, where I was vaguely functional for six hours, kept telling me that he'd had a really bad cold recently. "Yes," I said, "but I have flu, which is not the same."

"That's just a bad cold, isn't it? Are you on antibiotics?"

"Influenza is a different virus family to the set of viruses that cause colds, but both are viruses so neither respond to antibiotics," I told him, a little testily.

"Gosh, how do you know all this stuff?"

I resisted the urge to cough on him.

But I have to confess that is more than I did this morning on the train when a man decided that he could fit into the over-crowded carriage if he just leapt at my back and sent me careening into a (fortunately sturdy and understanding) young woman. I was fortunate to be pointing my face away from her, so my gasp of virus-laden air went over his outstretched hand, not any part of her. And then, I am ashamed to say, I sighed deeply over the side of his face. Be alive little viruses!

The train home made up for it, though. At Wynyard the sweet sound of a girlish soprano spilled pop ballad through the underground station, taking me back to one of my early Australian summers where I was on a train that stopped at St James to encounter a five-part harmony a cappella version of Like A Prayer. There is something very lovely about the sound of children singing (and the acoustics of underground stations are enough to tempt me, too).

I stopped to pay my Visa bill since I was at the nearby station rather than waiting for the train that stops across the road from my home. While I was in the bank I decided to change the PIN to something I can remember without having to look at the slip of paper hidden cunningly in one of the many books on my many shelves. I accomplished this, but not before the bank girl attempted to lend me half a million dollars and asked for my advice on successful relationships. That was an odd conversation, even by my standards.



blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Still manky, which is to be expected, but I was very sensible and spent the weekend in bed or inside save for a few short walks in the warm part of the day, and well rugged up. Back to work tomorrow, which will not be fun, but they have craft specials going off to the printer and someone who knows something about craft should look at them before they go.

However, nice things have come out of the blue! My dearest artist friend is studying set design at NIDA and needed to borrow a spinning wheel for her assessment. I supplied mine, with a few bits of dressing, and she is off to commit acts of great art. "But!" she said down the phone, "I am not just calling in a borrowing state of mind! I have a gift! From a set!"

And so she showed up tonight with a treasure from the Farscape film she worked on the other year: a genuine Scorpius mask. You can imagine how much this made me giggle.  The lights on the side still work and all. I will have to make him a head to go inside for the full freaky effect. I have the best friends ...

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Still manky, which is to be expected, but I was very sensible and spent the weekend in bed or inside save for a few short walks in the warm part of the day, and well rugged up. Back to work tomorrow, which will not be fun, but they have craft specials going off to the printer and someone who knows something about craft should look at them before they go.

However, nice things have come out of the blue! My dearest artist friend is studying set design at NIDA and needed to borrow a spinning wheel for her assessment. I supplied mine, with a few bits of dressing, and she is off to commit acts of great art. "But!" she said down the phone, "I am not just calling in a borrowing state of mind! I have a gift! From a set!"

And so she showed up tonight with a treasure from the Farscape film she worked on the other year: a genuine Scorpius mask. You can imagine how much this made me giggle.  The lights on the side still work and all. I will have to make him a head to go inside for the full freaky effect. I have the best friends ...

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes and especially the lovely and generous [personal profile] raitala! Am feeling considerably better after a mammoth post-class nap this afternoon and some food.

Watching the Olympics since it is pretty much the only non-dodgy cable movie channel in my hotel (where I can now receive my wireless signal with no issues, who can explain it?) and the only out gay man at the Olympics is currently second in his diving event. Fingers crossed!

And an Australian won the pole vault. How? What's happened, Russia? Still, a Norwegian just won the javelin, so [personal profile] pingrid, your nation's cunning defence strategy is still on course.

At least I was able to teach my class today, but I missed the delicious dinner that a friend cooked for me (my other friends have raved about it). It was particularly annoying because this girl and her husband are new friends and I like them a great deal. And they have the World's Greatest Cat Run. Oh well, next time.

I have flown a thousand miles to sit in a hotel room and eat cheeseless pizza while watching the Olympics. Sigh. I might have a bath and make a real night of it!

ETA OMG! Matthew Mitcham, the only out gay man at the Olympics, WON THE GOLD in the men's 10m diving!!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes and especially the lovely and generous [personal profile] raitala! Am feeling considerably better after a mammoth post-class nap this afternoon and some food.

Watching the Olympics since it is pretty much the only non-dodgy cable movie channel in my hotel (where I can now receive my wireless signal with no issues, who can explain it?) and the only out gay man at the Olympics is currently second in his diving event. Fingers crossed!

And an Australian won the pole vault. How? What's happened, Russia? Still, a Norwegian just won the javelin, so [personal profile] pingrid, your nation's cunning defence strategy is still on course.

At least I was able to teach my class today, but I missed the delicious dinner that a friend cooked for me (my other friends have raved about it). It was particularly annoying because this girl and her husband are new friends and I like them a great deal. And they have the World's Greatest Cat Run. Oh well, next time.

I have flown a thousand miles to sit in a hotel room and eat cheeseless pizza while watching the Olympics. Sigh. I might have a bath and make a real night of it!

ETA OMG! Matthew Mitcham, the only out gay man at the Olympics, WON THE GOLD in the men's 10m diving!!

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