Mondays.

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:26 pm
sareini: "I'm sorry, I'm having a bad century" quote from Neil Gaiman's Sandman (Bad Century)
I'm starting to believe someone recently put a curse on me.

Lily had a vet appointment today. To catch up; Lily has been receiving treatment for a condition known as cholangiohepatitis since the beginning of the year. It's an inflammation of the liver and bile ducts, and unfortunately in Lily's case it is chronic, which means it periodically flares up and can't be really cured, just managed. She's on a mix of antibiotics and steroids for this, and it's improved her condition tremendously - in January she was vomiting daily, severely jaundiced and had lost about 2kg in weight. Now she has periodic bouts of vomiting, but the jaundice is being kept to a minimum and she's put her lost weight back on and more, to the point where I'm having to put her on a diet. We're coping the best we can.

I was just starting to get things ready for the trip to the vets when there was a knock on the door. It turned out to be someone coming to read the gas and electric meters; something I was not expecting, plus I was in the middle of stuff and the front room is such a mess that it's not really possible to get to the gas meter right now anyway. I try to explain this to the meter reader but he just snarls at me, "You said this last time. You just don't want to have your meter read," and stalked off.

So that was asshole #1 to upset me.

So I chased Lily around the house for a bit, got her in the carrier and got the taxi to the vet. There she got checked over - jaundice levels the same as last time, no other problems - but then the vet (who was a locum I'd not seen at the place before) started talking about pancreatic cancer.

If Lily had pancreatic cancer I'm pretty sure we'd have noticed it by now, since she's been seen monthly and at one point fortnightly since January and ultrasounds have shown that the mass around her bile ducts in January reduced in size considerably after a month on the meds (we just can't take her off them because she starts being sick again). But thanks for worrying me unnecessarily there. Then, as I'm closing the carrier up and getting ready to leave, I mention that my goal is really just to get her to 19, as my readings had shown me a 5-year survival rate for cats with this condition, and while I know she's not going to live forever, if I can keep her strong for as long as possible I'll have done my job as cat owner. The vet responds, "Oh, I don't think that will happen."

...I guess I should just not bother then, should I?

Asshole #2 needs to work on his bedside manner.

Add to that the Spanish Plume that's headed our way this week (temperatures up to 28 degrees, then thunderstorms and heavy rain!) and the deaths of George A Romero and Martin Landau, and I'm feeling pretty beaten down today. I think I'm going to spend the evening eating ice cream and crafting. Maybe watching stuff to put my mind on autopilot. Tomorrow will be better.

Needles

Jul. 15th, 2017 04:42 pm
sareini: "Yes, bugger all that. Let's curse somebody." - Discworld (Curse)
Well, today has certainly been an interesting day.

The Tour-de-Sock started today, and so I excitedly went to see what the first pattern would be. Looks great... except it's a toe-up pattern and I've never done that before. But that's one of the reasons I signed up for this; so that I could learn some new techniques. So, toe-up cast-ons.

Except after 20 minutes of trying, I realised I was not going to be able to do the cast-on with the double-pointed needles I had. And unfortunately, my one pair of circular sock needles was brutally murdered by Callie a few months ago (also the last time I buy bamboo needles). So I figured that my only remaining option was to go to the knitting shop in the next town over and buy some metal circular sock needles. And to save money and challenge myself a bit, I was going to go by bus.

It should have been easy enough. Use the local bus service's journey planner, get on buses, everything's fine. But between the first and second leg of the journey, I forgot what bus to get, and so re-input the details on my phone. Except it turns out that if you type in "59 High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme" it takes you to a different place than if you type in "59 High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastly-under-Lyme", which is where I actually wanted to go. So that was an interesting - albeit slightly terrifying - detour.

I finally get to the store, and I decide that after all the trials of getting there, I deserve a reward, and so I bought some yarn as well. I made sure at least to get sock yarn so it'll at least get used up.

Getting back was a little bit easier, since I had a better idea of what I was doing by then... but I missed my final connecting bus by one minute (more like 20 seconds, in fact, as I watched him pull out of the stop as I came within range). That left me with a 30-minute wait for the next bus, so I decided to go buy a drink.

I'm just walking out of the bus station when a middle-aged man holding his phone walks up to me and stops me. He looks a little lost so I'm prepared to give badly-described directions to him.

"Hello," he says. "I'm new here... and I was wondering where... I could fuck you."

Stoke-on-Trent, ladies and gentlemen! Shortlisted for City of Culture 2021!

I just stared for a second while my brain assured me that yes, that's exactly what I just heard, before I managed to respond, "You don't. Go away." and I started to walk in a radically different direction from him. He then called after me, "Is that a no then?"

Yes. Yes it is a definite no, you creepy stranger accosting people outside of bus stations. I was worried he was going to start following me but the homeless woman who begs for spare change nearby started yelling at him for being a creeper as well, so I was saved. Next time I see her I'm going to give her money for a coffee.

Now I'm home, where the cats have greeted me with great joy because it means they get lunch, and I'm making plans to not leave the house again except for essentials for at least a week (Ross's birthday and Lily's vet visit aside). Next time someone asks why I get so anxious about going out I'm going to point them to this tale.
sareini: "It's been lovely, but I have to scream now" (Scream)
Earlier today I was sitting at my computer in the front room, which is right in front of the window. Callie was in the windowsill, happily trying to catch moths and watching people pass by. I had the blind mostly drawn down, but there was still a good 10 inches to see out of the window.

Two people walked past, which I only half-saw from the other side of the monitor. I did see enough to see one of them stop and point at Callie, which is fine; people see cats in windows and tend to talk to them. I do so myself all the time.

Then I see one of the two bend down and press her face right into the window, looking not just at Callie but at my front room itself. Now bear in mind that I'm sitting no more than two feet from where she's looking in, and I know she can see me as easily as I can see her. She ignores me completely and continues to look into my house like she's window shopping or something, and startling poor Callie into the bargain as she clearly didn't like the extreme close-up either. After about 30 seconds, the woman walks away without a word.

Yesterday when I was in town I decided to treat myself to a lemonade at Costa Coffee. I got lucky, and they're now doing a raspberry lemonade as well, so I had one of those and an egg mayo sandwich. The only place to sit and eat was in the outdoor area, so I went and sat at a table in a corner. No more than two minutes later two teenage boys came over and sat down at the table next to mine... except one of them was not happy with the space he had and started trying to push my table further into the corner so he had more space. He never once looked in my direction even though it was pretty clear I was there.

Then a couple of his friends turned up and this guy stood up to talk to them. Except he didn't just stand up, he leant forward and into me, pushing me aside while he talked with his friends, without a single word. A couple of minutes later, some more friends turned up and he did it again. This time one of his friends noticed what he was doing and looked shocked, but never said anything (they did kind of mouth an apology as they left).

Did I miss the memo where it was decreed that people could disregard others' personal space at will now? This sort of thing freaks me out incredibly, for obvious reasons, and both times I ended up sick and panicking afterwards because of it. Maybe I should start carrying a long, sharp needle to jab at people who pull this crap in future...
sareini: "Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says, 'Bugger'." from Blackadder (Bugger)
I had plans for going out on Friday. Nowhere special, just to the cinema that's 15-20 minutes from where I live, because a new film was coming out and I really wanted to see it.

The film in question is The Belko Experiment, and I've been excited about it since I first heard about it last Christmas. It's written by James Gunn (yes, that James Gunn) and directed by Greg McLean (of Wolf Creek infamy) and it's basically a Battle Royale clone - a few score workers for Belko Industries find themselves locked in a building and told to kill each other or be killed. Frankly, they had me at "Battle Royale clone", if only so I could throw things at it if it turned out to be not so good. My local cinema had had posters up for it, and last time I was there (seeing Free Fire with my brother) they even had a trailer. It's coming out this Friday, April 21. But yesterday when I went to look up the times it was showing, there was nothing there. Further digging revealed that it's not going to be shown at my cinema at all.

So I girded my loins and messaged the cinema on Facebook, asking them just what was up. To their credit, they got back to me within three minutes and were very informative... But it turns out The Belko Experiment is on a "limited release" and so the distributors get to choose what cinemas get to show it. And my cinema wasn't picked.

This is the second time this has happened this month as well. At the beginning of the month they had adverts up for the French cannibal/coming of age film Raw that I also wanted to see - even though I'm not that big a fan of cannibal movies - but when the release day came around the nearest cinema to me that showed it was 25 miles away. So I'm not at all impressed by this idea of "limited release". In this era of digital and with the big movie companies so psychotically pearl-clutching over piracy, you'd think that they'd be getting films out to as many cinemas as possible to get people to pay instead of heading online for the film. Even if I was able to travel the 25 miles minimum to see a film I wouldn't, unless it was the best film in the history of humanity or I was being paid a very large sum of money to do so. The other cinema in my area is showing it, but only in the evenings when I'm not comfortable travelling further than the corner shop and it would cost me a hell of a lot more as well (taxi fare, plus I have a card for my preferred cinema). You'd think the competition would also encourage them to show the film in more cinemas, but apparently not.

So my Friday afternoon has suddenly become free, and I'm rather annoyed by it.
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
Yesterday I found out that the British National Party are going to be contesting the seat held by our local Labour MP Mark Fisher.

This will not do.

It disturbs me that the area I live seems to have such a growing number of BNP supporters - they managed to win 9 seats on the local council at the last local election. Between this and the fact that the English Defence League (exactly what the fuck do we need defending from anyway?) are planning a demonstration in the city centre next week, it's almost enough to make a Discordian depressed.

Almost. But I am a Discordian, and I like having something to campaign about. Nick and I might be Liberal Democrat in our politics in general, but Mark Fisher has helped us in the past and done some good things in general (voting against the Iraq war, and then personally responding to Nick's e-mail to him about it for one), and so we have no problems with him. I mean, come on - even the BNP is struggling to come up with something when the only mud they can sling is that he claimed for a Kit-Kat and a bottle of Toilet Duck on his expenses! So I guess I'm just going to have to start ripping the BNP to pieces at every chance I get again.

(And their main complaint about the Tory candidate appears to be that's she's a "Pakistani belly dancer" who was earning £260 an hour for her dancing, to which I can only say that she must have been bloody good at it then.)

Mark Fisher has said that he's "ready to fight" the BNP. While I hope he has more of a plan than "I hope people will stick with me," but I do like his final line in the article.
sareini: default (cthulhu)
This is something I've been meaning to write up for some time. I'm finally getting round to it now because I'm (a) down with the sickness right now (damn flu!) and (b) at something of a loose end while I craft things in Fallen Earth. So I might as well use the time productively.

The long, long story is behind this cut... )
sareini: default (lfg-fwoom)
It's local election time here soon, and this morning we got the British National Party's "vote for us!" flyer in the mail. Here's a few choice quotes from it, complete with my... translation/rebuttal/snarking:

There isn't a single white person on the flyer )
All in all, this is a rather disappointing flyer from the BNP. Hardly anything to rip apart in it - well, apart from the above and the rather insulting "Battle for Britain 2009" logo with a WWII bomber they've got. Because, you know, WWII was all about fighting to allow facism in Britain wasn't it? It's almost enough to make me want to miss some of their earlier gems (snarked here and here).
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
UK government comes one step closer to legalising slavery, Daily Mail readers rejoice

Most of you should be very used to my views on this sort of thing by now, so I'll spare you most of the frothing-at-the-mouth ranting and raving about this.

Basically though, the government is using the old "sledgehammer to crack a nut" practice to deal with the dual problems of the small number of people illegally claiming benefits, and how to get basic stuff done in this country as this recession creeps ever closer and they can't afford to pay everyone. So we get this "community service" idea to make the problems look like they're going away.

I'm lucky now in that I have a job. Granted, it's not exactly a job I envisioned myself doing, nor it it the best-paid job in the world, but I do enjoy it and we make do with it. But I've also been through the benefits system, both Incapacity and Jobseekers, and so I know full well what it's like. It's not the life of Riley that so many of the far-right brigade like to shout about.

If you want to claim Incapacity, you have to collect endless sick notes from your doctor and send them off regularly, then fill in a long form with tick-boxes for nearly every possible physical and mental problem imaginable (interesting point: being an alcoholic can get you Incapacity Benefit, and you don't have to do anything to deal with your addiction. Considering yesterday's big story was about the latest Scarlet Letter against smokers, and how no-one would ever suggest half of the measures they use against smokers to be used against people who drink, it's an interesting little tangent...). Then you have to have a medical examination with a government doctor, which is usually a crap shoot. I've had mixed luck with them - one time it was fine, but another time the doctor outright lied on the form and denied me the aid. And that's just to get on Incapacity Benefit. The government claim that the "severely ill and disabled" will not be affected by this, but somehow I expect that a lot of people will suddenly find themselves declared "fit for work" when they shouldn't be...

Jobseekers' Allowance is even more fun. Not only do you have to prove that you're looking for work (which so many people claim is easy to fool and that they know someone who does just that, to which my answer invariably is, "Well, bloody shop them then!"), but if you haven't got enough National Insurance credits then you don't get anything anyway. This is what happened to me when I had to claim it, just before I started this job. I'd therefore expect that the influx of people being unceremoneously turfed off Incapacity Benefit will find themselves working - sorry, "doing community service" - for no money at all because their NI credits aren't up to date. Which will help practically nobody, except the government who get their cheap slave labour.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are a good few people who are just out to scrounge and take whatever they can, but they're still very much in the minority. And rather than spend the extra cash to try to ferret them out, the government decides to just punish everyone on benefits to save time and try to distract the growing mobs of people baying for their blood as the recession deepens.
sareini: default (Pissed Off)
Why, oh why, did I think that Virgin Media (formerly known as NTHell) would actually get something right for once?

Backstory: on Friday I rang them up enquiring about getting a landline installed at our house. I'd checked on their website, which had said that their home phone service was available in this area, and so I was just ringing to find out how much installation would cost as we couldn't find a phone port anywhere (we have since found one). The girl on the phone was very nice, answered my questions, and double-checked that we could get phone service round here, which she also told us that we could. So I went ahead and requested it.

This morning, I get an e-mail from them.

"We've just checked your address to see which services we can bring to you. Unfortunately, we won't be able to bring any extra services to your home just yet, due to the way our network works where you live."

What the unholy fuck? We checked twice to make sure we could get the service. Are you all on crack? Are you sniffing glue between calls?

I wish Nick were able to switch internet providers (unfortunately with his job, he can't have any downtime), because then at least we could finally be free of this giant fracking millstone of a telecommunications company!

Update: Managed to find a payphone reasonably close to the house (we had one that was only a 5-minute walk, but they took it away because they were building a new house there) and rang them. Apparently Virgin got a new database a couple of months ago, and so not all the data might have 'migrated' over properly, because the woman I spoke to said that, while our account said we weren't eligable for phone services, our address said we were. She's going to ring back tomorrow after checking with another department (and hopefully my mobile will actually let me connect, because it's been a pain like that lately if anyone calls from an internal line). If the answer's still no, it's going to be the Post Office with their £110 install fee.

For £110, I expect the cord to be inlaid with gold and to be given complementary quail's eggs during the process.
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
So, for a few days now Nick has been having problems with his eyes which we assumed were hay fever related - not a big stretch seeing as he was sneezing non-stop as well, and it's that time of year. His eyes were incredibly itchy, and try as he might he just couldn't stop rubbing them. Clarityn also did nothing for him (although it did stop the sneezing).

Yesterday I'm woken at the ungodly hour of half one in the afternoon (shut up, I was up all night doing an STF with friends) by the sound of Nick in obvious pain in the bathroom. After a few minutes he comes through and asks if I'd mind going into town for him and getting him an eye bath as his left eye is rather painful.

Read on for the gruesome details! )
sareini: default (Pissed Off)
Nick hasn't been paid yet. Due to Nick's workplace being so busy with preparations for the launch of their new Big Thing next week, Nick doesn't feel it's right to pester then over when he will be paid.

As a result of the not-paid-yet issue, we have no money and, more importantly, no anti-depressants in the house for either of us (we were going to get them last week no problem, but that had been planned out in advance when we had expected to, you know, have money).

Nick's mother very kindly put some money in the post for us on Monday so we could get the damn drugs. Because there is a postal strike going on right now over here, she posted it Special Delivery, which cost her nearly £5 to arrive "the next day, although not guaranteed before 1pm".

Wednesday afternoon is now here, and there's no bloody money. Hell, we've had a bloody regular post delivery, but no Special Deliveries!

The most annoying thing about this? My week-and-a-bit with Royal Mail taught me that we can't even complain. First off it'd have to be Nick's mother as she posted it, and second, Special Delivery items have to wait seven days before they're reported lost (it says 15 days on the website but they're lying, that's just for regular mail and because they don't want the plebs making any fuss). Even so, I think I'm going to go down to the local post office (luckily situated at the bottom of the road) and ask if there's anything that can be done, as quite frankly, another day with the two of us suffering withdrawal from our medications and I'll snap and go on a spree. And, you know, it always makes me feel better to be pointedly polite to people when I'm mad.

(The ironic thing about this? Nick's mother just got a new job... with Royal Mail.)
sareini: default ("We're Fucked!")
Ok.

For the most part, I've been keeping pretty quiet about the whole "inappropriate content" clusterfuck going on right now. This is for several reasons, which include, "I think I would have way too much to say about media censorship and would end up writing an essay" and "I'd probably end up mocking some of the more... hysterical posters in all of this, which wouldn't really help".

But I'm going to say something now, after someone on my Friends list pointed out what LJ have said regarding "pro-ana" (that's "pro-anaorexia") communities on their site.

"...it's not illegal to aspire to be thin. It's not against the ToS to give people bad advice."

And now for a cut, in case some people find what I'm going to say upsetting... )
sareini: default (necronomicon)
(I'm sure you can all guess what I'm talking about here)

One man's Seventh Seal is another man's Plan 9 From Outer Space.

That same man's Plan 9... is another man's New York Ripper.

And that man's New York Ripper is another man's Nostril Picker.

Deciding 'artistic merit' is always going to be one of the most subjective things a person will ever do, and so as a method of deciding whether something is 'porn' or not... Not going to be all that successful, sorry.
sareini: default (books)
I started writing a big long post on this topic (connected, of course, to the great clusterfuck that has been going on with journals and communities round here over the last couple of days), but it got too long (and I've been a little ill) so I saved it with the intention of continuing tomorrow.

Of course, between then and now stuff has happened which has made a lot of what I wrote obsolete. You snooze, you lose, I guess.

So, an all-new post.

I am a writer. I write both original fiction and fanfiction (albeit somewhat less of the latter, although that may be changing). Sometimes I write things which other may not like or approve of - homosexual relationships, child abuse, sexual practices which could be considered 'deviant' by some, violence, supernatural elements... pretty much the whole shebang. Sometimes the things I wite about might well be considered illegal (I have an ongoing problem, for example, with two of my characters who, at the ages of 16 and 17 respectively, are legal to be involved in a sexual relationship in the UK but not in some parts of America)

This does not mean that I am in any way in favour of any of the things I write about (well, the patently illegal things, at any rate... I'm fully in favour or kinks, homosexuality and the like - if that makes sense). And people shouldn't think that I am just because I write about them. Tom Clancy writes about terrorists, but I don't see him in Guantanamo Bay, for example.

The events of the past couple of days have reminded me of things I've read about and seen in the past. The 'video nasties' panic of the early 80s (and its brief resurgence in the early-mid 90s, which I was... 'lucky' enough to live through). The 'satanic panic' of the mid-late 80s. They all started with 'concerned citizens', and ended up with mass hysteria, blanket condemnations and innocent people being hurt.

To be fair, the issue of pedophiles on the web is a problem. But pedophiles were around before the web, and they're going to be around when the next big thing for communication comes around, and the one after that... And they're not nearly as big or well-organised a problem as some 'concerned citizens' would like to have you believe. And this sort of thing is certainly not the way to go about dealing with them.

Neither I nor any other writer - of original or fanfiction - should have to put up a disclaimer stating that we don't agree with the things we write about. It should be obvious to anyone with a bit of common sense - but as Nick tells me often, common sense is exactly that - common. We shouldn't be made to feel like criminals for what we write. We shouldn't have to censor ourselves.

I've been anti-censorship for most of my life (started as soon as I was old enough to understand the term). I understand that certain things need to be controlled and banned (for example, actual footage of people or animals being tortured and killed for entertainment should be illegal). But other than a few exceptions, I believe and support the right for people to read and watch whatever they damn well want. Even if I don't like it myself. Because that's what freedom of speech is all about.
sareini: Amanda from the Saw movies wearing an reverse bear trap (Saw)
There is a guy on the CD board right now who claims to have never heard of Auschwitz. He's my age and (allegedly) a college student/graduate.

I weep for the future, and the US education system, if this is true.
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
Pagans are Eeeevvvvvil! And here's why!

I take great offense to his description of Discordianism - we predate D&D by at least 20 years. The correct description should be:

"Discordianism (Pretentious pillocks worshipping Chaos as invented by a couple of Californian stoners in the 1960s)"
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
The Virgin Media/NTHell fascime are trying to drive me crazy again. They've started pulling the 'trick' where the net goes down unexpectedly at around noon and stays down till a little after midnight, thus leaving you with no way of doing most of the things you want to do because they require a working net connection till you're ready to go to bed. You also can't ring their tech support line because they apparently exist in a vacuum where they have no idea if there's a regional problem or maintenance session going on, they just do the 'reboot your modem' routine and then book a tech for you, who isn't needed and who has a 50% chance of adding an extra £10 onto your bill.

And the same thing will no doubt happen again tomorrow.

And Nick won't let me ring them to quit (partly because there's nowhere else we can go right now, and partly because he has a pretty good idea of the sheer number of expletives I'd use while doing so).
sareini: default (Angry Princess (one))
Of course Channel 4 aren't going to pull Celebrity Big Brother unless they're absolutely forced to. BB is their biggest cash cow ever - that's why we've had so many bloody seasons of it when it should have died out after two or three.

Personally I'm finding the whole thing ironic - first time Jade Goody was on Big Brother she was hated, then everyone decided they loved her, and by the time this is over everyone's going to hate her again. Full circle... I also think that Donny Torette had the right idea with his escape after being asked to wait on her.

Finally, I admit that I'm mildly disappointed to hear (because I'm not watching any of this, just picking things up from the news and everyone else - the only times I've ever watched Big Brother was when Nick got evicted in Season one and when Vanessa Feltz had her nervous breakdown in the first celebrity season) that Dirk Benedict has apparently stated that "America is the last great country and that Bush represents all that is good about the US", or words to that effect. I guess I'm just sad because I always liked the A-Team and Face... but on the other hand I'll bet anything Mr. T and Murdoch would beat the snot out of him if he said that around them...

*no words*

Jan. 17th, 2007 02:55 pm
sareini: default (Pissed Off)
I've just read this and.

I.

Am.

FURIOUS.

I just... I don't know what's worse, the idea that most/all gypsies are illiterate and need to be given special priviliges, or the comments.

*goes and finds a cat to pet to calm down*
sareini: default (Pissed Off)
Annoyed. Quite spectacularly annoyed, in fact.

I got my registration documents for my OU course this morning. I was slightly surprised at this, becuase I thought I'd done all the registration online, but apparently not.

There's a slight problem with receiving the documents today, however.

The day they have to be back is also today. (The course starts on Monday.)

So I ring the OU, explaining the situation and hoping that, if I can get the documents in the post in the next hour so that they arrive at OU HQ tomorrow morning, then everything will be fine.

Nope. Well, technically yes, but only if I pay the full course amount over the phone before 8pm today - that's £525 - by credit card.

So, that's my time unexpectedly freed up for the next three or so months (and possibly more, because right now I'm pissed off enough to consider just not bothering to try for the Feb 2007 enrollment).

Why the fuck did they send me a time-sensitive document three days before the cut-off date? Why? I mean, I know I'm disorganised a lot of the time, but I kind of expect international universities to have their act together a little better than this...

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