miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
2010-05-21 12:17 am
Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction & Comment policy

Hello! There now follow some handy hints on how to make the most of your Reading My Blog experience:
  • If you don't like my colour scheme (I am aware that many people don't) add "?style=light" to the end of any url to get a different version.
  • If you want to know more about me, click here
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  • Other platforms I am active on are listed here.

Comments Policy:
  • Anonymous commenting is enabled, although anon comments are screened before publication; please, if you comment anonymously, give yourself a name/pseudonym/some form of identifier. If you don't your comment will not be unscreened.
  • I don't censor comments from people I know unless pushed VERY hard. Red lines include racism, misogyny, homophobia, unjoking advocation of violence, and being horrible about (or to) people I love. Anons tend to get a lot less leeway and a lot less benefit of the doubt; sorry. My blog, my rules.
  • If you want to point out cock-ups I have made, please direct them to Pedants' Corner; likewise if you want to ask me something off the topic of the post please go to this entry - this saves readers' scrolling fingers.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Laughter)
2015-07-30 04:25 pm
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In which @charlottegore becomes my security question

So I'm registering on a website (I'm not going to tell you which one) and it asks me to pick a question for security for in case I forget my password. And all the usual ones are either public knowledge and therefore googlealbe, or debatable and therefore I would forget which answer I had put. But I don't have to pick from the usual ones. I can make up my own.

Problem is, all that's coming into my head is "What was your mother's maiden name?" which EVERYONE knows (or can easily find out) or "what was your first pet's name?" (it depends - Shadow was in the house when I was born, but was she technically MY pet or my brothers'? And then there was Minstrel the rabbit, but he didn't last very long. It could be Sheba... Of course my first pet that I bought for myself with my own money and when living in my own house was Byron mayherestinpeace... you can see how I tie myself in knots with these things, right?)

Then inspiration struck.

So my Top Sekrit Security Question on this website is "Upon whose grave did you swear to Charlotte that you were not a spy?"

Those who know me may well be able to guess, which is why I'm not telling you which website, although it might take a couple of goes. The people who were in the room when it happened will know. But anyone trying identity theft will just find the question confusing... (please, no guessing games in the comments, though ;)).
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
2015-07-30 01:37 pm
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How I voted in the Hugos (and John W Campbell award)

tl;dr version: all the puppy stuff went below no award, as did some of the non-puppy stuff. Things I particularly hated that were non-puppy included The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. If I could have given like an overall Hugo for the best thing of all on the ballot, it would have gone to Ms Marvel, no question, that was fantastic.

If you want more detail than that, you'll find it below the cut... )
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2015-07-30 09:36 am
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Everyone else is posting about Corbyn, so why shouldn't I?

Here are some things that are facts:
  1. Most people either don't care about or actively despise most politicians

  2. Everyone in the Westminster bubble - politicians, journos, everyone* - is completely out of touch with actual public opinion, which is both more right wing** and more left wing*** than the Westminster consensus.

  3. The intellectual incoherence of the average voter's views and the fact that they can be both horrifically right wing and horrifically left wing at the same time has, since the early eighties, mostly benefited the right wing of the Westminster bubble.

  4. There is absolutely no guarantee that this is a natural law, it's just how it's fallen so far

  5. People detest those they perceive to be airbrushed, polished politicians much more than those they perceive to be genuine, even if they disagree with them.****

  6. Only one of the candidates for the labour leadership fits this mould.

  7. Proper lefties haven't had someone to vote for who has a chance of winning in decades. That does not mean that proper lefties don't exist any more, it just means they've either held their noses and voted without enthusiasm or stayed home.

  8. We don't know how many of those people there are. There could be, as the right wing media would like us to believe, hardly any. Equally, there could be loads. We simply do not know.

  9. However many of them there are, there is only one candidate for the Labour leadership who can enthuse them.

  10. Lib Dems celebrating that Labour are "abandoning the centre ground" are forgetting two things about recent history: firstly, that our time of greatest success in recent years was when we were explicitly to the left of Labour, under Kennedy, and secondly that trying to make ourselves equidistant from the two Labservative parties in the last election did not lead to much success
Now, I'm not saying that it's absolutely certain that Corbyn will win the Labour leadership, and go on to enthuse a country sick of austerity and being told we must bail out the bankers while minimum wage workers have to shoulder their share of the pain, far from it. But I think those who laughingly dismiss it as a possibility are hopelessly naive. Surely the one thing we can all, on all sides of the political divides, agree on after the last election is that none of us knows what the electorate will do? We were all so sure it was going to be a hung parliament, we believed the polls, and now look at us.

So maybe Corbyn is a leftwing dinosaur, a blast from the past, and completely unelectable, and will destroy the Labour party. Or maybe lefties under the age of 40 have NEVER had someone they can vote for, and Corbyn looks refereshingly unairbrushed and says what he thinks, and anyway retro is trendy these days. I'm just saying that perhaps those of us who aren't in Labour ought to be just a little bit more circumspect and a little less sneering, lest it all come back to bite us in the arse?




* and yes, I do include myself in this
** criminals and benefit scroungers should be hanged and flogged, immigrants should all be sent back where they came from
*** railways should be renationalised, pensions and tax credits should all be raised massively because working people on tax credits are not benefit scroungers
**** Even those embedded in politics, like me. For instance, Ann Widdecombe's political views are a foul stain on humanity, but I can't help but have a grudging respect for her because she at least seems to have a consistent philosophy and applies it with intellectual rigour.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2015-07-30 08:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 30-07-2015

miss_s_b: (Default)
2015-07-29 08:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 29-07-2015

miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
2015-07-22 04:19 pm
Entry tags:

Book Review, crossposted from Goodreads: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

The Three-Body Problem (Three-Body, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin




OK, as usual for a book that's going on my Abandoned shelf, I'm not rating this. I have tried so hard to read it, but I just cannot get into it at all. I don't care about any of the characters, and even were I to start to care, there's so many of them and they appear or disappear entirely at random (or so it feels to me). There's just nothing hooking me into the story.

I am reliably informed that the story is good, and I'm sure it is. But more than a quarter of the way through this book, I'm just getting the feeling life is too short to find out, especially as it ends on a cliffhanger and expects me to rush right out and get the next one.

Sorry.



View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
2015-07-21 03:19 pm
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Couldn't resist this #SorryNotSorry

Anon is back. (S)he says: it's not acceptable to say you're not publishing [my comment], and then pick out selected comments for ridicule. I'd have expected you to know better than that.

* points and laughs *

Oh dear, sweet anon, I think you'll find it's acceptable for me to do whatever I like on my own damn blog. If you don't like it, you're perfectly free to set up your own, or even adhere to my comments policy, which is not exactly difficult. All it would take would be for you to click on the link I have helpfully left you on several occasions, read it, and stick to it. Given that you seem singularly incapable of doing this, while leaving repeated nasty, vituperative and passive-aggressive comments on my blog, I think it is perfectly acceptable for me to treat you like the stupid entitled arse you clearly are.

I know you are the same person, because my blog records IP addresses. I have been politely asking you to adhere to my comments policy for ten months now. You steadfastly refuse to do so.

I think I am perfectly within my rights at this point to single you, and bits of your comments, out for ridicule.

You don't like that? You could always stop leaving nasty comments on my blog. Surely you can think of something more productive to do than leave comments which only one person is ever going to see?

ETA: still commenting on this post. Still incapable of clicking a simple link yet magically capable of typing screeds of bollocks. Oh dear.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2015-07-21 12:34 pm

The @timfarron saga rolls on, then. This post is in answer to an anon comment...

... which has remained screened and will continue to remain screened for not sticking to my comments policy. I am going to pull out one point from it, however.

Anonymouse says: It just won't wash to say - or to imply - that you think it's morally wrong for homosexuals to express their love physically, but that you're still a liberal because you support their legal rights.

No, no, no.

That's EXACTLY what liberalism is. Liberalism is legislating for the rights of people to do things that you personally disapprove of, because as long as they aren't harming anybody else it's not within your gift to intervene. If you can't grasp something this basic about Liberalism, then I'm sure everyone else can understand why I'm not unscreening the rest of your comment.

Liberalism isn't about purity of thought, about everyone being in agreement, about Borg-like adherence to conformity. That's the antithesis of liberalism. Liberalism is about defending the rights of people to do things you detest, because even though you detest their actions, they are not hurting anyone else.

I think people who drink mass-produced lager are the scum of the earth and morally reprehensible. Doesn't mean I'm going to do anything to stop them doing it. Doesn't mean I didn't live with one for ten years. I think people who prefer cats to dogs are utterly wrong. I'm deeply in love with one of those people right now, as I type.

And yes, the example you gave in your comment, dear anonymous, was intentionally far more inflammatory than those I give above. I know people who would agree with the view in your example, as well. And yes, I think those people can be liberals, so long as they actively agitate for the rights of people to do the thing they disapprove of.

Now don't get me wrong here, I think the very concept of sin is utter bollocks. I'm not going to defend the view that homosexual sex is a sin, because I don't agree with the concept of sin, and even if I did, I wouldn't think that any number of people of any gender enjoying themselves sexually would be a sin anyway. But I absolutely am going to defend the person who expresses that view from some sort of permissiveness thought-purity test. The question is not what Tim Farron (or anybody else's views) are of morality. I don't care if my leader thinks it's morally indefensible to eat cheese on a Tuesday, so long as he defends my right to eat cheese on a Tuesday.

Tim Farron's voting record is there for all to see, and the fact that the mainstream press are trying to misrepresent it to bash his private religious convictions is something that I, personally, find far more reprehensible than him having religion.

I'll say it again:
I'm an atheist.
I'm bisexual.
I'm polyamorous.
I voted for Tim Farron in the leadership contest, and I do not regret it.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
2015-07-20 10:10 am
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Film Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at @hbpicturehouse

I've been pretty lax about going to the cinema of late, so I missed this when it was on at the local Cineworld. Happily, I have access to Hebden Bridge, and it is showing at the Picture House there (still on tonight, if you want to go) which is a place I've been meaning to visit for a while, albeit that I'm more of an Elland Rex girl when it comes to small independent cinemas.

So, firstly, the actual cinema: is gorgeous. It has absolutely loads of legs room in all the seats, more than in any other cinema I have ever been in. Neither of my 6'5"+ partners would have the slightest trouble fitting into any seat they wanted to, which is incredibly unusual. Tickets are slightly more than at the Rex, and there's no organ at the front or snogging seats at the back, but it's clean and the decor is your traditional cinema decor, all red plush and gold frogging. The snacks and drinks are reasonably priced, and you can get a cup of tea in a proper cup as well as fizzy pop and stuff. The staff are friendly and helpful, and you get proper old style Pearl And Dean music and idents at the start of the adverts. Oh yeah, and the "turn your phone off" and "don't put your feet on the seats" messages are delivered in the form of twee poetry, which is so Hebden Bridge. I really liked this cinema, so much so that I signed up for the email list and will definitely be going again.

Secondly, the film. Wow. For starters, the visuals: it's absolutely stunningly beautifully shot. Lighting comparable to that in Night of the Demon (which those who know me will know is my favourite film for beautiful lighting ever). There's flavours of the German Expressionist school in there, too. The framing and timing of every shot is so spot on, both the editor and the director have done amazing jobs. The scenes where drugs have been taken by one or another character are as well done as the SloMo drugs scenes in Dredd. The close-ups on the pivotal cat are amazing, and the way the film plays with focus to show you different angles on the same shot is lovely.

Then there's the sound. Music plays a big part in this story, and the songs and music played by characters within the film blend seamlessly with the overarching soundtrack. It's incredibly well-done and immersive. Again, in the drug-taking scenes, the soundtrack works with the visuals, going muffled or muted or oddly loud in all the right places.

Other things... The pace of the thing is slow and lyrical for most of the time, such that when ther is a jolting shock, it's really jolting. The plot is... Well, for the second time today, I'm not going to go into the plot, but it's unusual and interesting and fun. It's a bit gory in places, and there's some sexual nastiness, but nothing that triggered me. It passes Bechdel. The acting is first class, from the elderly drug addict to the jaded prostitute to the terrified little boy; and through all this the titular Girl floats ethereally, like the otherworldly thing she is. Oh yes, and the male lead is so impossibly beautiful he looks like a sculpture. All in all, I would fully recommend this to anyone who is a film geek.

See this film if:
  • You want to see something visually and aurally stunning that will NEVER come out of a major Hollywood studio
  • You want to see some great acting from a range of actors
  • You want to see what can be done with black and white in the modern era.
Don't see this film if:
  • You think black and white films are boring and you can't cope with foreign language movies
  • You want breakneck pace and explosions on a regular schedule.

Scores: Acting: 9/10, Script: 8/10; Technical 10/10. Overall 9/10
If you liked this you should watch: The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920), Night of the Demon (1957), Let the Right One In (2008)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
2015-07-20 10:04 am
Entry tags:

Review of The Annihilation Score by @cstross, X-posted from Goodreads

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I loved this. It was very refreshing seeing things from Mo's point of view rather than Bob's; her voice is different from his but no less compelling. She's less jaded, even though she's older and more senior. She's got a vibrancy, and her humour is similar to but not the same as Bob's. She's also authentically a woman; the stuff she worries about is stuff I worry about. The impostor syndrome, the becoming invisible, the dress codes (yes, those who know me, I know I don't look like I worry about those things, but I do. Societal programming is strong).

I loved Mhari seen through Mo's eyes, rather than Bob's. She's become quite an interesting character. And Ramona remains awesomesauce on legs; well wheels now.

The plot is, as usual for a Stross novel, creative, interesting, and had enough twists in to wrongfoot me a couple of times, which is always enjoyable. I'm not going to go into plot spoilers because I don't like it when other people do, but I was very happy with it.

I'm still waiting for that Chekov's Gun of a cat to pay off, mind, which might be sort of a negative spoiler - it hasn't happened yet.

And a final note: the people who are complaining in their reviews that Mo is a "bitch" because she's not totally subservient to Bob and sacrificing her life for him? Clearly didn't read or understand The Jennifer Morgue, which was four books ago in the series. The point Bob realises that Mo is more powerful, more scary, smarter and sassier than him is the point Bob asks Mo to marry him. He doesn't WANT someone who will sacrifice herself on the altar of his manly manness. The point where things start to go wrong in their marriage is the point where he comes into his powers, because it upsets the dynamic of their entire relationship. Seriously, people, stop it with the sexist assumption what woman must submit to man she's married to. Please?



View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2015-07-20 09:22 am

On Corbyn: It seems the right-wing press have learned nothing from what happened with the SNP

You can't move these days for articles in the right wing press, and even in some Labour outlets, declaring how Labour will never get back in unless they stop demonising the right; I'd like to posit an equivalent theory: that right-wingers, especially those in charge of certain national newspapers, as well as those who have been in charge of the Labour party for the last 20 years or so, don't understand what motivates lefty voters.

Look at what happened with the SNP last general election. The more the rightwing press fulminated about what a disaster it would be if the SNP came close to the levers of power, the more the Scots voted for them, and the more the English said they wished they could. People in this country in general, but especially its lefties, do not like being told what to do. They don't like being told what to do by politicians they mostly detest, and they don't like being told what to do by journalists they trust even less than politicians.

The mood around Corbyn, and the reason his support is snowballing, is intrigued. Everybody who pays attention to politics had heard of Burnham and Cooper; few had heard of Corbyn. He's therefore new and interesting. The EDM about Pigeon bombs just makes him look like he has a sense of humour. He speaks human, unlike any of the other three Blairite clones. And the more the right-wing press and the right-wingers currently leading the labour party squeak about what a disaster he will be and how nobody should vote for him, the more people like him.

I have, actually, been wondering if it's some sort of deep dark reverse psychology in action. Like "we must say he'll be awful, that's the only way to get people to vote for him!" Because, of course, there is also the right wing view that if Corbyn wins, the Labour party are doomed.

I genuinely think that those who say he'll be an unelectable disaster if he wins are dead wrong. The received wisdom that you have to be either Tory or Tory Lite to win only has worked so far, sure. But it's done so by depressing turnout, not by converting vast numbers of voters. Normal People countrywide who haven't voted in years will vote Corbyn the same reason people in London voted Boris in the first mayoral election he stood in: they think it'll piss off the political elites, and they think that'll be funny. Lefties who haven't had anyone to positively vote for in decades will flock to him because he speaks the language of hope, not despair. And it'll almost certainly be the death of the Green party as all those watermelons roll home.

So yeah, if I was a Labour member, I'd probably vote Corbyn, and do it with a song in my heart. And I think all those rightwingers who are encouraging votes for Corbyn because they think it will kill that Labour party are in for a nasty shock if he actually does win. Lucky for all concerned, I'm not and never would be a member of that bunch of authoritarians, right?
miss_s_b: (Self: Tattoo)
2015-07-20 08:57 am
Entry tags:

Pale ale: one of my bigger bugbears as a beer drinker is people calling things pale ale that aren't.

On Saturday night I went out for a couple of beers. Of the five beers I tried, all of which were labelled as Pale Ale, in three different pubs, only one was actually pale.

I blame Greene King for this. Their shitey, piss weak, nasty-tasting "IPA" which is neither the strength an IPA should be (5.5 or above), nor the colour a pale ale should be, is none the less cheap, therefore lots of outlets sell it, lots of idiots drink it, and the brewers have thought well if they can call THAT an IPA and get away with it...

If you beer is brown, it's not pale. Pale Ale should be Straw Yellow or even paler. For an attempting-histoircal-accuracy IPA I might accept this, but this or darker is right bloody out, OK? This is not rocket science, people. And the next time I order a "Pale" ale that comes out the pump the colour and flavour of Black Sheep Best Bitter, I'll be naming and shaming the brewer.