[sticky entry] Sticky: Sticky post

May. 23rd, 2009 06:05 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Now that I've got some actual content here, I guess a need a sticky post, to link to the following:
My bio
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Circle (and comment) policy

33 vs. 58

Oct. 4th, 2015 03:58 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Meme via [personal profile] chagrined and [personal profile] alias_sqbr.

At 33:
I lived in: a mid-terrace house within walking distance of the town centre. I'd moved in at the beginning of the year, from rented accommodation, after getting a job that paid enough to get a mortgage. I barely knew any of the neighbours.

I drove: nothing. Nobody taught working-class girls to drive when I wor a lass! [when I was young in the North]

I was in a relationship with: no-one. I called myself celibate, because I didn't have the vocabulary I have now.

I feared: I don't remember. Probably big things like nuclear war and environmental disasters.

I worked at: a small software house a (longish, but straightforward) bus journey away, as a computer programmer, maintaining and developing financial management systems for the construction industry.

I wanted to be: the same, but better paid with a shorter commute and fewer annoying colleagues! Working part-time for an equivalent rate would also have been excellent, as I was definitely shorter of time than of cash.

At 58:
I live in: the same house. I've had some work done on it and I paid off the mortgage the first time I was made redundant. I still know very few of the neighbours; most of them are (comparatively) new.

I drive: still nothing. The jobcentre's "removing barriers to employment" doesn't stretch to paying for driving lessons.

I am in a relationship with: no-one. I now identify as aromantic (a word I'd never encountered until I met the internet) and asexual (which, back in the day, I only knew as the term for critters that reproduce by splitting).

I fear: Nothing? I worry about things - on a global level, mostly climate change; on a personal level, mostly cashflow.

I work at: housework (not as much as I should) and looking for work (same?). I've been unemployed since I was made redundant the second time, and have pretty much given up on ever getting another job. The most important thing I'm doing, actually ... mainly consists of waiting, because my financial advisor apparently doesn't want to issue progress reports until he's done All Of The Research, and is waiting in his turn for the company currently sitting on my money to respond to enquiries. (That's "my money that I earned in an earlier decade". It's grown under their management OK, but if they want to be my actual pension provider they need better customer service.) Recent changes in the rules mean that I should be able to derive an income from it that'll last till I can afford to retire properly, while being adequate in a way that my current benefits aren't.

I want to be: retired! A bit of "the change I want to see in the world" wouldn't go amiss too, but I can't see much beyond that horizon.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
ISDS: Invester State Dispute Settlement mechanism, a system of courts run by corporate lawyers in which companies can sue governments, outside of the normal judicial process, when they claim to have been discriminated against. Apologists for the mechanism say its purpose is to protect firms when government unfairly favour domestic firms over foreign ones, or expropriate their property. That's not how it's actually used.

TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a big trade deal currently being negotiated between the US and the EU (see also TPP (US and Pacific countries), CETA (Canada and EU)). Includes ISDS mechanism.

Promoters say TTIP will be good for the economy and create jobs, but of course it will destroy jobs and only be good for some big firms that are doing well in the economy already, because that's how these trade deals work, from NAFTA onwards (and maybe before that, before my time). But if ISDS stays in it'll be even worse: a danger to all our public services and a benefit to no-one except evil multinationals.

A case in point: Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold wants to open a gold mine in El Salvador, which would pollute the country's remaining clean water (90% of their water is already contaminated). El Salvador rejected the mine, so the company is suing them at ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes), a World Bank tribunal. This is the sort of thing ISDS will be used for if we don't stop it. More detail from The Guardian.

There's a petition to the World Bank to drop the case against El Salvador at Sum of Us, and you can join the fight against TTIP in the UK at noTTIP.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
How many issues have the Greens, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP and Plaid Cymru all in agreement?

If you're in the UK, pretty much whoever you voted for, you've probably noticed that our voting system is a big mess. The Electoral Reform Society and Unlock Democracy are running a joint campaign to do something about it, with a petition which is to be handed in on May 18th: Make Seats Match Votes.
susanreads: wrapped presents (xmas)
A couple of films from last year, because I'm that far behind with films recorded off-air; the Kiss Me Kate prom; Doctor Who Does Inception; Carlos Acosta's Cuban Night, partly live on the other box because of clashage; the Agents of SHIELD "mid-season finale" (the Channel 4 continuity announcer also thinks that's a peculiar idea); QI XL; the War Horse prom.

On radio, mostly via internet: most of my usual programs, a couple of festive specials of the usual programs, parts of the EBU Day of Christmas Music, a whole lot of World Music, some podcasts I'm still behind on, and particularly the radio serial of Good Omens, apparently the first-ever dramatisation of that book.

Also in prospect, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, some nature documentaries, Charlie Brooker, the New Year's Day Vienna Concert and a repeat of The Boy in the Dress, because the first broadcast clashed with something [unless somebody on the internet tells me it's terrible. It's a comedy about a gender-non-conforming (apparently not trans) kid, how bad can it be?]. I'm not going to have time for any more films recorded off-air, am I?
susanreads: People of pallor against racism: text on brown gradient (anti-racism)
... well, the best at-a-glance commentary on the dickery in question that I've noticed, anyhow.

This might be a strange topic for my first post in months, and I've got a horrible cold and had a very bad night and thought posting was a few levels of engagement above what I'm currently capable of; but I saw this and it got my brain in gear. Posted on someone's tumblr that I follow by RSS (not being on Tumblr), I've traced it to its source, which is Monday's chainsawsuit comic.

I don't know whether it's embeddable; there's a feed here, [syndicated profile] chainsawsuit_feed (which has a lot of other things on it as well as the comics; also, sometimes NSFW). Transcript by me:
1) Two people, the one with a self-satisfied grin says "well i think that all lives matter".
2) The person with the self-satisfied grin is holding a fire hose. "we should care exactly equally at all times about everything".
3) There are two originally-identical houses, one of which is on fire in a major way. The person with the fire hose, saying "all houses matter", is hosing down the house that isn't on fire.

Unusually for the internet, Kris Straub's commentariat mostly seem to get it, though as you go further down that becomes less so ...

(Since I'm not on Twitter, I wouldn't know what they were talking about if I didn't follow This Week In Blackness. Panel 0 would be the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.)


Aug. 9th, 2014 10:08 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I doubt anyone expects me to post here, but I do post comments sometimes, except for the past few weeks I haven't been, for a few reasons including that my internet access suddenly went from adequate to terrible. This was solved by decommissioning the old extension kit with which I first got on line, and keeping the router downstairs next to the phone instead; only possible because I finally got everything-I-use-the-internet-for working on my "new" laptop (Windows 7, has wifi) as opposed to the old tower (XP, no wifi). But that solution relied on a lashup with extension leads and wires everywhere. Today I got a socket installed in a sensible place, so I can reach the switch and get the wires off the floor. Hurrah!

The same builder patched the ceiling over the stairs, so there isn't a hole in it and also no more is going to fall down. That was one of the other things that happened: sudden crash late at night, rubble everywhere. Still some cleaning to do!

New laptop

May. 12th, 2014 05:53 pm
susanreads: a field full of spring flowers (wildflowers)
Hello Dreamwidth, it has been ... mumble ... weeks since my last post.

This one is being written on my new (well, reconditioned) laptop, which I'm still trying to get to work in a usable manner. At the moment, if it's connected to the router and the charger, the router loses its internet connection. It's taken me most of a week to work out that those are the failure conditions, and I still don't know why. It wouldn't be so bad if the battery life was the 3 hours it's supposed to be instead of more like 1½. At some point I'll turn on the router's wifi and see whether connecting that way makes any difference; I know how to turn it on (in theory), but not what all the other parameters on that page mean. Any wifi experts out there?

Something I can recommend: DuckDuckGo. I've seen people recommend it on account of privacy, but the thing that persuaded me to give it a go was this:
Our intention is to not auto-correct searches. That is, we intend to completely respect the query you type in, and (in some cases) display a 'Did you mean?' link at the top when relevant.

In other words, I can search for "obscure thing that the poster expected readers to recognise" without wading through pages of "much commoner search term that happens to start with the same letters". Hurrah!
susanreads: wrapped presents (xmas)
My favourite corporate card received this year (from Shared Interest):


(in which I might actually post occasionally! Who knows!)
susanreads: barcode of my username (barcode)
Today I got photos for renewing my passport. The requirements are much pickier than they used to be - I couldn't have done it without the help of the Post Office employee. ♥Post Office♥

With my glasses off I look about ten years older, and also as if I hadn't slept for a week. I know I haven't been getting enough sleep but this is ridiculous. *Waaaaah*

Also my hair is a haystack. I washed it on Saturday! I know it's a haystack the day after washing it but it should be under control by now! /cry moar

ETA: fixing typos apparently introduces more typos dammit
susanreads: Pooh with his head stuck in a honeypot, "Oh Bother" (oh bother)
I've been watching Operation Snow Tiger (it finished a week ago, but I built up a bit of a backlog during Springwatch).

The researchers are trying to find a particular tiger in the reserve, and Liz Bonnin says they're splitting up to improve their chances, and I hear "Let's split up, that way it's bound to get one of us." and sure enough ... they were checking a camera trap and found that it had been triggered by one of their colleagues, on foot on his own, and the very next shot was a tiger (not the one they're looking for). And then they were going to pick up their colleague before sunset, which is when tigers like to hunt apparently, but they had trouble with the vehicle.

*sigh* Didn't any of you people ever play D&D? Don't you watch movies, for crying out loud?

*needs a headdesk icon*
susanreads: One Red Drop: Cuts hurt when its you thats bleeding (benefit cuts)
I've had this earworm stuck in my head all day. Oddly, I managed to avoid it yesterday, but this morning, there it was. It might be less annoying if I could remember all of it - even after looking up the lyrics this afternoon, I forget what comes after "Below, below, below" ...

I shouldn't be celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, not because that's icky (she did enough damage not to be forgiven for a hundred years), but because her legacy is still with us. Her current heirs and assigns are doing their best to finish the job of destroying the society she didn't believe in ...
digression about that )
... and in her wildest dreams, I don't suppose she imagined they'd get away with privatising the NHS, but here we are.

I found a site about positive things we can do to remember the people her government attacked, but I can't get that song out of my head ...
Sing it high
Sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead.
susanreads: snow-covered houses at night with lit window (snow (night))
I looked out this morning, and what did I see? That all the horizontal surfaces were covered with solid water, again. (I wasn't sure it was snow rather than frost until I opened the door.) That's the fourth time this year! In Fourth Month! After Easter, i.e. northern-hemisphere-spring festival! What the f*** snow!
susanreads: Julia set (detail, bright background) (maths)
My contract with my ISP includes 40GB data usage per calendar month (over the used-to-be-BT landline; I don't have one of those fancy phones). It's a big increase from my previous contract, where I was always paying by volume for extra usage. This summer I started paying attention to the figures on the bill.

have some statistics )

I just had to update the software again (disabling the Java that's already running? That's a bit extreme isn't it?), so I'll get some idea how much difference that made when I get my next bill.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
So, a lot of things have happened since I last posted anything like regularly! And if I wait till I've Caught Up With Stuff, that'll be ... actually it might never happen. In lieu of a longer post that is ... not going to happen today, here are some brief notes, without links or anything.

My shoulder got better. I had shoulder pain that was identified as a rotator cuff injury early in the year, and it just kept getting worse until I had the steroid injection in May, then it gradually got better. I'd just stopped taking Paracetamol for it a few weeks ago when I fell over and hurt my back! But all my joints are back to their usual state of unreliableness now.

My new windows went in at the beginning of October, just in time for the nasty weather. I now have double-glazing in the kitchen for the first time, "obscured" glass in the bathroom for the first time, and windows I can open in the other rear-facing rooms for the first time since I gave up taking down getting somebody to take down the secondary panels in summer. Bye-bye, unfeasibly heavy secondary glazing, I won't miss you.

My benefits got sorted out. It felt like I spent the summer wrestling with the benefits agency's assumptions, but when I'd paid for the windows and did the change-of-circumstances form again, they got it right first time, for a change. So I'm back on full job-seeker benefits, yay! (Well, an actual job would be more yay, but you know).

In displacement activity news, I finished Gemcraft chapter 0.

Now I hit Post before I get distracted again:
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I don't know how to start, so I guess I'll just start. I've been more-or-less keeping up with reading, but not writing anything here, for months. It started with a whole lot of offline things happening early this year, and now the stuff that specifically kept me from writing doesn't apply, but there's this inertia, you know?

I've made some, mostly slow and inadequate, progress with everything, but nothing is resolved! Agh! There are two things I'm willing to write about here that have made progress, though: the windows and my shoulder.

tl, dr )

In a couple of days the Proms, WOMAD, and the Olympics will all be on at the same time. Don't expect to hear from me for a while.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day.

I don't think I can write anything coherent for it. I had my first SALT (Speech & Language Therapy) appointment today, and maybe I used up all the words? ... no, actually I've been lurking for weeks if not longer and it's not because of that (my speech problem is intermittent and physical, except for where I get anxious about it) ... it's more Living With Pain (, Dammit), Too Many Distractions and possibly some lack of cope. I'm sure I'll start "talking" online again sometime!

So: BADD links:
Master roundup post at Diary of a Goldfish - more links than you can shake a stick at, and probably more to come;
The Exploitation of Home Health Workers at This Ain't Livin', because May 1st is also Labour Day.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I doubt anyone reads me who doesn't already know about the Tories' plans, in the Health and Social Care Bill, to destroy the NHS. 38 Degrees have put up billboards to publicise the danger, and you can download posters and leaflets at their blog. It appears that the govt. will try to push the Bill through the Lords tomorrow (19th March), then back to the Commons for the last time. A lot of Lib.Dem. and cross-bench Peers, and Lib.Dem. MPs, seem to have been bought off with minor changes that don't affect the crucial elements of the Bill: privatisation, postcode lotteries and even more red tape getting in the way of staff doing their jobs. The TUC's Going to Work campaign has a tool for you to "adopt" a member of the House of Lords, to ask for their support for an amendment delaying the Bill, as well as the usual write-to-your-MP mechanisms.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I know, I've been quiet for a while. I've mainly been preoccupied with a couple of things in my off-line life, but here are some things I've been pointed at online.

Part of Oxfam's food security campaign: Help farmers in Gutu end the hunger months

rally banner
Save the NHS: the TUC are organising a rally against the Government's plans to destroy the NHS, on 7th March at 18:00-19:30, at Central Hall Westminster and live online. You can book a place for the rally, if it's not full yet, or pledge to attend online, at Save Our NHS.

Protect refugees: sign the Refugee Council's pledge, to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, calling on the UK government to make the asylum system fair, humane and effective.

Protect people-with-uteri's right to choose: I might post about this again, but not every day for 40 days! Apparently some people are, though. 40 Days of Choice is an online campaign offering positive ways for pro-choice supporters to counter anti-abortion activity and clinic protests during Lent.

WWF's Earth Hour this year starts at 8:30pm (in all time zones, so it moves round the world) on 31st March. Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity, it’s much bigger than that. It’s about realising that the actions we take, from the energy we use, to the food we buy and water we drink, has an effect on the world.
susanreads: a gate covered in snow (snow (gate))
It goes: Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

Until the past week, this winter has mostly been fairly mild. Anything approximating snow would more-or-less melt once it hit the ground. The last few days have been f- f- f- jolly cold, and some time after it got dark yesterday, it started snowing farreal.

Looking out of the windows today, there's snow lying everywhere. Anything vaguely horizontal is covered with a white blanket, and the compost tumbler looks as if it has a furry hat two feet high. It's pretty to look at, but thank FSM I don't have to go out in it today. I do have to go out, if only to buy food, in the next day or two, so I hope it goes away soon! Brrrrrrr.

People from or in Scotland, or anywhere where it's been snowing for weeks, can laugh now.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I posted in 2010 about Lost Kingdoms of Africa, a BBC(4) series, presented by art historian Gus Casely-Hayford, about pre-colonial centres of civilisation in Africa. A new series starts tomorrow evening, repeated late at night and on Thursday night. (I love BBC4's system of repeating things hours and then days later, now that digital switchover makes it harder to watch one while recording another.)


susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)


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