10 December 2010

Politicians letting us down...again.

Apologies for last week; I just plain forgot! I'm hopeless most of the time.
Today is another rant, albeit probably with fewer words. And as the majority of you are American, you may not be interested in this, (hell, MissMermaid may not be! It's been bashed about in the media a hell of a lot this week) but oh well.
My thought processes on the tuition fees scandal/protests are as such:
* It pisses me off beyond belief that the media today is focusing on the royal couple being caught up in the crossfire. Whilst it's a shame that Charles and Camilla did happen to be attacked briefly, they were not physically harmed. Probably shaken by the events, but no-one was beaten up.
*David Cameron's (and the head of police's) insistance that these protestors are nothing more than brainless thugs out to have a gooItalicd time are also annoying. Whilst it can't be pleasant for anyone in government to deal with, these students are not there to mindlessly wreck buildings just to have agood time. There is a legitimate anger behind these protests and, rather than possibly admitting that Clegg, the Lib Dems and Tories are all out for themselves when it comes to universities, and happy to lie about everything, they instead choose to point the finger. The young are being denied the same accessible (yeah, ok) education that we have had. A lot of people cannot afford £6-9000 a year-even if they don't have to pay it off straight away, they will still have to pay eventually. Had these been the fees facing me, I would not have gone.
*(As an aside, I do realise that Americans have it much worse with regards to fees; but the entire point of these protests is to prevent this kind of expense happening to us. I don't want to sound like a whinger, but I will risk it)
* POLICE BRUTALITY. Kettling (not letting out injured protesters within these kettles), attacking students with the authority on their side, etc etc. I'm sorry, what? That is not acceptable. Have we learned nothing from the G8 protests? Seriously, this is all kinds of disgusting.
*The fact that this brutality has been swept aside and the media is rather attacking the attack on the royal car. UM, SORRY, NO. Camilla and Charles, as I said, were not harmed. Some students have been pretty badly assaulted; where is the questioning of the police force? Where are the namecalls from Cameron about this? No? Colour me surprised.
*I will have to resort to the standard anger towards Nick Clegg here, as well as all the Lib Dems who went back on their word (Ed Davey, the MP of the constituency next to mine) and voted for this. The fact that Clegg courted the student vote, encouraged it, promised voters that there would be no broken promises on his part, etc-leads him to be a less than desirable deputy prime minister. (or human being? Haha, too personal) I do understand that their policy was unsustainable; however, hiding the fact that they'd scrapped it from the public was the biggest mistake they could make. I no longer trust them, nor do I wish to vote for them again. It's back to Green for me.
*The irony that both Cameron and Clegg repeatedly attacked Brown throughout the election, and yet he's the one (for me) who comes across as the classiest politician, throughout the election debacle and here. I've lost all faith in Nick Clegg, and David Cameron has all the respect he's ever had from me: none.

Excuse this post for all of its inadequacies in content; I'm just here to vent, yet again. I'm a very angry person, ok?

09 December 2010

Reason Number 856 to Love Helen Mirren


Oh, this makes me forgive you for your unfortunate performance as Phedre at the National. Which I never blamed you for, not really; the director of that piece was a hack of the highest hacky order. But anyway. You're relieved, I'm sure, to hear my opinions on this matter.

Happy to be here

I went to the mountain today. Yesterday's rains meant the walk was wet, at times my trail was a creek, and what's usually a trailside creek was a full-fledged river, with waterfalls everywhere I looked.

I told a friend that the mountain always makes me happy, that whenever I go there, I feel so lucky, it makes me laugh. I was speaking literally. I am so fortunate; to live in this beautiful place, to have the leisure and means to spend a day wandering in it. What else can I do but laugh when this joy is mine?

What are you thankful for today?

07 December 2010

Hallelujah Puts a Smile on my Face

Hello again everyone. Apologies for missing the last two weeks, things sort of imploded family/health-wise, and in my truly British way I dealt with it by burrowing my head in the sand and not communicating generally. Things are slowly getting better though, so hopefully I’ll stop doing a general disappearing act.

Last week I was shipped off to the snowy wilds of Norfolk for a week for work and ended up battling freak snowstorms (how does the rest of the world cope with snow? Certainly better than the British…) and spending a lot of time in a van with no heating. As a welcome home present a family member has given me a horrible throaty/fluey thing, and as my job depends on me shouting a lot at small children, I’m going to bed in the hope that 16 hour sleep will kick it into shape.

It seems that several Bluestockingers are having a tough time at the moment, so thought I would use my non-post to send a big, feminine, intellectual, cross country and trans-Atlantic hug to you all.

Also, I thought I’d share this. A genuinely impressive and heartwarming feat of Christmas cheer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

You might have seen it already, but it certainly put a big smile on my face when a friend in Canada sent it to me. I could enter into a discussion about why people do flashmobs and how they developed as a type of performance art, but due to brain dissolving into a ball of mucus-like goo, instead I'm just going to point out that it makes me very happy that people take the time and effort to do things like this, and I hope it does you too.

Big hugs

Miss Mermaid X

06 December 2010

Read This Not That: Sci-fi Series Featuring Tiny Gifted Tacticians

Read THIS:



Editor's Note: As said in the title, these are both series. I've included the cover image for book one in each, but even if you start with book 5, Miles beats Ender. Here's why.

Both series feature small (child or midget) protagonists. Both protagonists win some pretty epic space battles, because both protagonists can plan tactics like we lowly humans can't even imagine. Both are plot-driven, but both take place in whole worlds that are carefully thought out; both series are full of underlying themes. But the similarities end there. Wordwrestler and Arcadian have worked together tirelessly to explain why we think you should spend time with Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, and not Card's Ender Wiggin Series. To give credit where it's due, and to give you an idea of the democratic ideals we here at FnBs represent, we give you the following dialogue which may (or may not) justify our recommendation.

Linky Goodness

Stay tuned for a proper post later (preview: it's a double-supported Read This Not That) but in the meantime, you might enjoy this video over at Sociological Images. There are issues with it for sure, but it's definitely one of the healthier responses to the question of privilege, and I wish my high school Ethnic Studies teacher had had a listen before she started teaching a class subtitled Why You Should Feel Like Shit if Your Skin Is Lighter Than Mariah Carey's. (Okay, it wasn't wholly her fault; there were a lot of circumstances stacked against her. But I am still bitter, because that was an hour a day, five days a week, for four months, that I could have better spent watching Stand and Deliver twenty times. It taught me that Racism Is Bad.)