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

[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction & Comment policy

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miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
2019-02-19 11:08 am
Entry tags:

Stream of consciousness blogging

- Linkspammer still broken, sorry about that.
- I kind of feel like I want to blog more than I have for ages, but I'm not really clear what about. It's like an itch. This is an attempt at scratching it. It's not really working. Maybe I ought to do another Liberalism 101 post.
- I've got to go to exercise class in a bit and I'm so wiped out after emotional roller coaster yesterday* and adrenaline rush of dentist terror** this morning that I really don't want to. I know it'll do me good though.
- Daughter is playing lots of Tetris99 since it came out and the music is properly embedding in my head.

* my brain decided that yesterday was a great time to press a whole bunch of self destruct buttons. Happily some of them didn't work.
** I really really hate going to the dentist. My actual dentist is lovely, but that doesn't, sadly, stop the soul-wrenching terror.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
2019-02-18 02:49 pm

The new Independent Group

The Independent Group's statement of values is mostly a pile of centrist mush that very few people could disagree with, apart from the very first bit under "we believe", where they dog-whistle racists with stuff about how the first duty of government - the first duty, mark you - is to do whatever it takes to secure our borders against all those nasty immigrants. I would have thought the first duty of government is to look after its citizens, or maybe uphold the rule of law. There's also the wishy-washy (at best) commitment to international co-operation, including no mention whatsoever of remaining in the EU, which given how the group was formed seems... odd.

Whatever they are, they really, really aren't liberals.

I guess they're filling a gap in the market, which is fine, fair play to them. Sadly, the gap in the market they are filling is centre-left authoritarian, and the reason that is a gap that exists, and my party isn't already filling it, is because authoritarianism is the antithesis of Liberalism; no matter how much noise Our Glorious Leader makes about us being centrists and a movement for moderates, the first thing we are is Liberal. Or so I thought.

It was with dismay, then, this morning that I saw not only all our MPs, and the press office, and a bunch of leaders of council groups, falling over themselves to praise this new grouping, but also a lot of people whose opinions I had hitherto valued and trusted. Huge swathes of my party sucking up to these people like they're the best thing since sliced bread.

They're so brave and principled, they said.

A bunch of people not forming a political party but hiding behind a company so they don't have to reveal their funding are brave and principled.
A bunch of people who let that company be in the sole name of an MP who voted against same sex marriage and who is associated with gay cure "charities" are brave and principled.

Is it any wonder that people call us spineless?
Is it any wonder that people think we don't actually have any principles?
Is it any wonder people think we'll do anything for power when here we are giving these seven people a tongue-bath the likes of which the world has never seen?

We didn't even wait five minutes. We were straight in the with "ooooo you're so wonderful and brave and principled".

Well, sorry folks, but I think this emperor is stark bollock naked, and I'm genuinely disgusted at you all for not only refusing to say so, but for admiring the finery of his clothes.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
2019-02-14 08:40 am
Entry tags:

Ron Howard's #20moviechallenge

I have actually completed a meme! For the last 20 days I have been posting a contextless, commentless picture from a movie once per day on twitter. The constraints were that the films had to mean something to you, and that you could only post a pic, no comment.

But you all knew I wouldn't be able to resist verbiage in the end, didn't you? So here is the list of films, the pictures I chose, and why I chose them.

1, 12 Angry Men (1957)

A still from the movie 12 angry men

This is actually a live broadcast television play-for-today type thing that was turned into a stage play, and then a film, rather than a film per se, and there's a bunch of versions of it that are worth seeing, but this is the canonical one for me. So tightly directed, so beautifully acted, especially by Jack Klugman (yes, Quincey). And because it's a teleplay adaptation you get that constraint in the number of sets and locations that just increases the claustrophobia.

I love the lighting, too. There's something about 50s black and white films, and the way they lit them... At the time colour was seen as garish and for fantastic movies; black and white was for realism and grit. So there are some beautiful noirish touches in the lighting on this which amplify the mood.

there's another 19 under here, so I'm going to cut to save your scrolling fingers, oh my f-list )

To be honest, I could have gone on for a lot longer than 20 days. Although those films all definitely mean something to me, it's not a list of my favourite films by any stretch. Only one musical? Whither Singin' In the Rain'? No Gremlins II: the New Batch? No Wrath of Khan? No Rocky Horror? No Flash Gordon? No Galaxy Quest? No Alan Rickman or Sheila Keith or Karl Urban? No Kubrick? No Rope or Rear Window or Psycho or Rebecca - no Hitchcock at all? etc. etc. But I expect you're probably glad I stopped when I did.
miss_s_b: Animated Viking shouts lots of words that originated in Viking language (Fangirling: Horrible Histories)
2019-02-13 09:42 pm

State of the SB mini update: CW for probably TMI about menstruation

cut for the squeamish )

But here is a benefit of polyamory: [personal profile] matgb offered to get me a glass of milk in between doing other stuff. After a bit I realise he has forgotten. [personal profile] magister comes up to say goodnight and I am pathetic at him till he goes to get me a glass of milk. Then we say goodnight and he goes to bed. Ten minutes later Mat comes upstairs with a glass of milk "OMG I'm sorry I totally forgot!"

I might be in huge amounts of pain, but I am a happy little milk addict.
miss_s_b: (Music: Nick Cave/PJ Harvey)
2019-01-30 11:24 am
Entry tags:

Because we all have iTunes or Spotify or Google Play Music or Deezer or whatever these days, a poll

Poll #21228 Playlists
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 19

What sort of playlists do you compile?

View Answers

7 (41.2%)

11 (64.7%)

3 (17.6%)

11 (64.7%)

8 (47.1%)

8 (47.1%)

What's your favourite genre of music?

Who is your favourite artist/composer?

When is your favourite era for music?

What moods do you have playlists for?

View Answers

8 (61.5%)

8 (61.5%)

5 (38.5%)

2 (15.4%)

1 (7.7%)

3 (23.1%)

8 (61.5%)

It's completely normal to have Judas Priest on your horny playlist, right?

View Answers

Of course!
12 (100.0%)

miss_s_b: (Music: Progtastic Rock Wankman)
2019-01-28 03:54 pm
Entry tags:

A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs

I've been reminded to post this by seeing it recced on twitter today. And yeah, I know, I've put this in linkspam a couple of times, and you probably think I am just wanging on about it because it's by my friend. And sure, there's probably an element of that. But if you are a music geek? Even you're even vaguely interested in music? You really need to listen to this podcast.

Andrew has SUCH an ear for detail, and brings in so many things that are not standard analysis, but are so interesting. And he's got a comfortingly Scouse-ish accent.

Honestly, trust me, go listen to it:

miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
2019-01-25 11:52 am
Entry tags:

Survey thing via [personal profile] softfruit, [personal profile] nanila, [personal profile] hollymath and others

How old are you?
Chronologically, I'm 41. In sense of humour terms, about 12. In world-weary cynicism about 9000. In my love life right now... Somebody's making me feel about 17. Which is great.

Click for more noseying into my personal life )
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2019-01-25 10:26 am
Entry tags:

Report back from FCC 19th January II - Judgement Day*

Zoe's post on motion selection is now live, so I'm going to follow up my initial post with my thoughts on some (not all) of the actual motions. If I haven't put any comments down on a motion it's just because I would have been pretty happy to see it go on the agenda but did not have any particular passions roused by it. Other committee member's passions are different from mine, and that's as it should be. These are my views, not the views of the committee, and any issues you have with them are with me.
  • Access to Justice for All** is one that did rouse my passions, and I am very glad it made it onto the agenda. I don't think it counts as MHAP because I can see Liberal Reform types arguing against it - as, indeed, a couple of them did at FCC - so I think the debate will be interesting, and I hope this will ultimately pass.

  • Broadcasting Standards for Video Websites came from my own local party, and... would also have caused an interesting debate, if in not quite the same way. But it was probably fair that it fell. I think it would have been difficult to implement, had it passed, which is not necessarily a reason to shy away from a motion (see UBI, below), but...

  • Boycott the world cup was just far too late. Should have come four or five years ago, whenever it was the venue selection happened.

  • Sign the UN Treaty on Nukes. * sigh * Where to start on this one? This is a motion we have seen several times before in various iterations. The submitters of it have been given lots of advice as to how to make it acceptable. They have not taken any of that advice. I'm a passionate unilateralist when it comes to nuclear weapons, and I despair that this motion is the one that keeps getting put before us. It's cloaking its unilateralism behind a smokescreen of multilateralism because it thinks it's clever and it really, really isn't. Please can somebody write something on nuclear non-proliferation I'd be happy to put before conference for next time? Please? We might lose (we probably will - conference splits four ways on nukes) but at least we'd lose honestly.

  • Leaving London: Moving Parliament. While there were some issues with the drafting of this, I loved the sentiment. Sadly, FCC, which meets in London, tends to have a London-heavy membership. Props to the one member of London region who piped up about them having to move parliament anyway because of the refurb, so why not debate this. You're a good egg.

  • Demanding Better Transport for the English Regions. This split almost entirely on London/not-London lines as well***, with predictable results. I'm actually a little annoyed by that. The place we are holding conference is served by the two worst performing rail companies in the country, and it would have been nice to at least acknowledge that on the agenda. Still, Democracy.

  • Towards income security for all. I am very sorry that this motion did not make it onto the agenda, and I voted for it to do so. We were told that UBI will be considered by FPC in their fairer share consultation****, but my suspicion is that they will consider it in the same way they considered it last time - how can we get rid of this troublesome suggestion?***** - rather than actually considering it.
    I do think that at some point we need to get beyond the mentality of having a fully costed programme for government in the pretence that we are going to win a majority at the next election, because that is always used to stop us from considering big questions of principle, and I think that this is a big question of principle that at least merits "should this be an aim to work towards" consideration, rather than being shot down for not being capable of being immediately implemented.

  • Alleviating Poverty in Britain and Restoring British Values. This was an odd fish. It didn't call for anything to be changed in party policy, only for the party to campaign more vigorously on existing policy. Which... lobby FCEC******, don't put it in a conference motion.

  • Completing One Member One Vote. This was called out of order for some drafting issues, but I really liked the sentiment of it, and what it was trying to do - basically that only directly elected members of federal committees would get voting rights, so all the various reps from other committees and HQ appointees would only be able to sit on committees in an advise and observe capacity rather than (as in some cases they do at the moment) forming a majority of the voting members of a committee. I'd like to see a redrafted version of this come back to us.
And now I have lit the blue touchpaper, I am going to retire to a safe distance. I hear New Zealand is nice this time of year...

* legit the bit of this that took longest was deciding the title. The Nightmare Returns? This Time It's Personal? Obvs couldn't be Tokyo Drift because that's for a far later sequel than part 2...
** what I have been thinking of as The Metallica Motion because of this. If anyone wants access to it, I have it on vinyl, but Spotify is a thing too.
*** Even the LR types split regionally on this one
**** there will be a consultation on this at York, to be followed by a paper in the autumn
***** Members of FPC and policy unit may disagree with that characterisation
****** Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee, who steer campaign priorities. You might discover, upon doing a quick google, that this committee is not massively public-facing, and does not have an easy method of contact. A mischievous person might suggest that a question to the federal board report might be in order about that.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-20 09:14 pm
Entry tags:

Report back from FCC 19th January

I'm sure Zoe's post on LDV will be up soon detailing what got selected and what didn't, once all the submitters of motions have been informed. When that goes up I'll have a couple of comments about which motions I liked and didn't like. But right now I'm here to give you the scuttlebutt about the rest of the meeting.

Firstly, conference office was not immune to the recent upheavals in staffing that HQ has suffered, and we are going to be saying goodbye to a much-loved and very long-standing member of staff. Conference office staff do a huge amount of work, and I don't think the party in general necessarily appreciates that, because much of it is invisible work. With conference people only notice when things don't run smoothly, rather than when they do. I hope the restructure doesn't have too much of a negative effect on York conference: that said, I'm sure you lot will all let me know if it does.

A decision has been taken as to where the 2020 conferences will be, but I can't tell you what it is yet (sorry). After York this spring some work will be undertaken to look at a bunch of alternate venues to the ones we have used in the last few years, some of them suggested by members, and we are going to find a way of communicating to members why certain venues do and do not make the list (and why). Inevitably all venues elicit both positive and negative comments in some measure, and doubtless there will be a lot of robust comment on this whatever happens.

We discussed also encouraging members not only to put forward motions, but to put forward motions on particular topics: it was felt that sometimes it would be timely to have a motion on a particular topic, and that might also encourage submissions in general. Prompts work for fanfic, so they should work for conference motions too. I can't promise you that it'll actually come in the form of a prompts grid, but who knows?

The other notable thing that happened was that I found myself in unexpected agreement with Simon McGrath 3 times. It's really disappointing when the right wing bogeyman turns out to actually be a reasonable and affable human being... ;)
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-18 11:02 am

Manual Linkspam of the stuff that failed to autopost the last couple of days

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miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-17 02:44 am

Manual Linkspam of the stuff that failed to autopost the last couple of days

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miss_s_b: (Music: Progtastic Rock Wankman)
2019-01-16 05:57 pm
Entry tags:

Audiophile Wankery

So for various reasons including not actually having my own room for most of the last few years my audiophile tendencies have gone unloved. My lovely Technics turntable sat lonely and unconnected. My vinyl languished on its shelves.

Recently I got my room back.

So I decided to reward myself for getting it (mostly) sorted out, tidy and shipshape by buying myself one of these.

Oh. My. God.

I am hearing some songs as I haven't heard them in YEARS. All those people who tell you that there's no audible difference in sound quality between compressed digital stuff and analogue are bullshitting. I know this because one of the first things daughter and I did was put on Fear of the Dark (1998 digital remaster) followed by Fear of the Dark (2015 remastered for hipster vinyl) and it was astounding. So I have spent most of the last couple of days excitedly fishing out old records and cooing over how amazing they sound. Side 2 of Welcome To My Nightmare gave me goosebumps.

Of course even if you're not as much of an audiophile wanker as I am, and are merely a tech geek, I'd still rec the particular amp I bought because it works seamlessly with things like spotify too. Best of both worlds? Hell yes. Thank Cthulhu for hipsters, I say. You'd never have got something that did spotify AND vinyl even a couple of years ago... I can punt podcasts to it from bed! I am really genuinely massively happy with it.

Of course now I need to get new speaker cables, and build a proper stand for it, and... ;)
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-14 11:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 14-01-2019

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miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-13 11:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 13-01-2019

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miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
2019-01-12 03:48 pm
Entry tags:

Motion Selection for Spring Conference

Motions have landed in my inbox for Spring conference, and I am composing my emails to the spokes I need to contact on the topic I have been designated, but I'm reading all the others too, and...

I actually really like the name blind submissions.

We get "10 or more members" or "SAO" or "local party" or "federal committee" under who the motion was submitted by, and honestly? I think even that is too specific. But FPC/FB would probably moan if we got rid of the differentiation completely... I'd really like to see their motions assessed on their merits... But it's very nice to not even have the possibility of an accusation of unconscious bias against a particular submitter.

Anyway, those of you who have sent things round saying "the more signatures we get the more persuasive it is!!" - sorry. Doesn't work like that. Just thought I should publicise that.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-10 11:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 10-01-2019

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miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
2019-01-09 11:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 09-01-2019

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miss_s_b: (Mood: Drama queen)
2019-01-09 10:29 am

Adventures in Depression

This morning I woke up at 5.30am. The instant I awoke my brain was bombarding me with all the reasons I am a terrible, worthless person who does not deserve to have anyone's time, attention, or care.

At 7.30am, after two hours of constant berating by my own brain, I sent a message to someone who might reasonably have expected contact from me today that I would probably not be as responsive as usual because my depression was acting up, and that I was planning to throw myself into work to see if that would help at all.

By 10am, still lying in the dark, not even having been able to summon the spoons to go brush my teeth, I realised that throwing myself into work would need me to actually be able to do some work, and turned on the laptop. Of course I could not concentrate on work.

I've managed to get here, typing this blog post, by composing an email entitled "Maybe typing out an email I am too mortified to ever send will help" which contains within it a list of all the things my brain is beating me up about today. A non-exhaustive list of my flaws and failures and inadequacies, all down in black and white. Looking at them like that... I'm not able to convince myself that they're not bad - they are bad; I am bad - but I can convince myself that they're understandable. That anyone could have these issues, that it's not just me who is uniquely and embarrassingly awful. Apart from anything else, looking at the list pricks my sense of the absurd: it's faintly ridiculous that I am letting this consume me instead of doing the ibble words and getting on with something productive.

So NOW I'm going to throw myself at work and see if I stick...

ETA: It's now after noon. Still no work done but have managed breakfast. Baby steps...

ETA 4pm: Have had a bit of good news, which has helped, and a bag of mini cheddars. And have managed some work! YAY!
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
2019-01-08 02:33 pm

Why are Gilets Jaunes turning up in the UK? UPDATED

A casual glance at the news these days will see lots of journos giving the fash the publicity they crave reporting on this new craze of pro-brexit protestors in yellow hiviz jackets. Why, you might think, would people who abhor Europe and all it's works suddenly adopt the markings of a European protest movement? Why do people who object to being dismissed as gammons voluntarily clad themselves in mustard?

A little trawl through some UK primary legislation will bring you to the Public Order Act 1936 {wikipedia link for those who get the heebie jeebies at the thought of reading Acts of Parliament}, which prohibits the wearing of political uniforms on protest marches. While this may come as a surprise to many of us who have marched at Pride happily emblazoned with rainbow Libby Birds (or, for that matter, the execrable red "never kissed a tory" shirts), the Act has seen some use in recent years against fash members of the far-right political group Britain First. And if you look at the make-up of these groups of British Gilets Jaunes, they bear a striking resemblance to groups like Britain First and other far right groupings.

It's almost like, as Cass pointed out on twitter this morning, they've found a uniform that's worn by lots of people in the course of their work and thus it is difficult for the police to prosecute them for wearing it...

Of course it's properly shitty for those poor buggers who actually have to wear hiviz for work, that they are now starting to be tarred with this brush. And workplaces who change their hiviz colour to green or orange or pink off the back of this are not going to be stopping the fash from wearing those colours too. Well, the fash probably wouldn't wear pink, now I come to think of it, given how much they hate us queers... So I guess if you have a choice at work, pick the pink hiviz?

ETA: I have now seen them referred to as "Neon Nazis" and that's just too perfect to not pick up :)