the_siobhan: (goatse)
Stolen from [ profile] sabotabby

Remember when these were all over LJ? And people would get mad when you called them memes?

cut for questions and answers )
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
A list that's been going around today.

Bolded the ones I've read, italics on the ones where I've read other books by the same author.

cut for list )

The number of books I've read off this list is quite small - I guess I have some new authors to search out.
the_siobhan: (book skeleton)
Answers completely off the top of my head

[personal profile] girfan gave me the letter L:

Something I hate: Libertarians. There exist a whole class of people who think that they are special snowflakes capable of operating completely independent of any kind of society and they just make me very very tired.

Something I love: Literature. Reading was my comfort when I was a kid and I still love to read.

Somewhere I've been: Liechtenstein, London (both of them), Louisiana, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Lugano, Lucerne.

Somewhere I'd like to go: All of them. From Latvia to Lesotho and all ports in between. I love to travel and would quite happily visit every place in the world if I could.

Someone I know: Lee Chaos, Lee & Lauren, Liz Lowlife. Interesting that all the "L" people I can think of are in the UK.

A film I like: Labyrinth, The Ladykillers, Life of Brian, Logan's Run, The Longest Yard, Looper, Lord of the Rings, Lord of War, Lost Boys. You can tell from this list how much I love my cheese.

Music I like: Lenningrad Cowboys, L7, Laibach, Less Than Jake, LSD, The London Choirboys. I know I'm leaving stuff out, but that's off the top of my head.

If you want to play, comment and I'll give you a letter.
the_siobhan: (NaDruWriNi)
So I decided that I am doing NaDruWriNi on Friday.

What I haven't decided is what the hell I'm going to write about.

So I am going to steal the idea of a bunch of other people I have seen posting, and get you all to ask me questions. Hopefully there are enough of you still around that this will give me stuff to post about.

So have at in the comments.
the_siobhan: (Brighter Blessed Than Thee)
So back when I suggested people give me more topics to write about, [ profile] sushispook asked me "How would you run hell?"




My first reaction was, "What the hell am I supposed to do with that? I don't even believe in Hell!"

Cut-text because I can't even pretend this is coherant )
the_siobhan: (What Would Johnny Cash Do?)
That "pick a topic you want me to talk about" thing was kind of fun. Got any more suggestions?
the_siobhan: (Dufferin station)
I've had this sitting in draft for months. I'm so slack it's not funny. It's a continuation of [personal profile] wild_irises asking me to talk about Rob Ford.

Item One: A story is reported in the paper in which a City Counsellor is requesting increased funding in order to expand a program for city kids that is proving to be very successful. Ford repeatedly derides her for wasting taxpayer money. She finally snaps and tells him to "shut his fucking mouth". She later apologized for swearing, saying that she and others had worked really hard on this program and it was doing so many good things for the children involved that she just got really upset when he called it a waste of money.

The commenters on the article rant about "tax and spend liberals".

Item Two: Somebody writes an article about how the Ford-mandated spending cuts were responsable for a back-log in a trimming city trees. Those untrimmed branches came down during the ice storm and hundreds of thousands of people ended up being without power for up to a week. The last estimate I saw of how much it's going to cost to clean up all the damage hovers around $75 $106 million[1]. The author of the article points out that by saving money on maintenance, Ford doubtlessly contributed to the damage and the resulting cost of the clean-up.

Commenters tell the writer he's an idiot for thinking that Ford could possibly have any control over an act of God like the ice storm and that liberals just want to throw money around like it grows on trees.

Item Three: Waaay back when Mike Harris was the Premier of Ontario and instituting his slash-and-burn policy on public services I read an irate letter to the editor in the local paper. The writer was pissed because his WheelTrans[2] service had been cut. In the letter, he explained that he had voted for Harris because he wanted Harris to cut taxes and he agreed with service cuts - but he hadn't meant for the services he needed to get cut.

I think of that letter a lot whenever I read anything about Ford Nation.

Every time we have an election there is always some candidate who claims that we pay too much property tax[3] and they will reduce taxes without cutting services. I always toss their flyers in the recycling bin and tell people I won't vote for any politician who can't do math. I'm being facetious of course, I know perfectly well that they don't think they can lower taxes, they're just pandering. I also don't vote for politicians who insult my intelligence so whatever.

Ford did that, claiming that he was going to cut waste. There is no waste of course, so instead he's doing things like cutting tree-pruning on city owned land and fuck the consequences to all the people sitting in the cold and dark in 40-below weather. But instead of learning from that, the same people in "Ford Nation" are getting ready to vote for him again. And after watching them in action I finally got it[4]. Waste isn't spending money on things we don't need. Waste is spending money on things I don't need.

I don't have kids so I shouldn't have to pay for schools. I own a car so I don't want to pay for the TTC. Cancel mental health outreach programs and harm reduction programs and after school programs, the jails will clean up the mess. Why spend money on maintaining parks, I have a perfectly good backyard. Sell the lots to developers and make the city some money.

Oddly, spending hundreds of thousands on ripping out bicycle lanes doesn't seem to come in for the same level of criticism. Go figure.

The thing is it would be really easy to just dismiss his supporters as hateful - and yeah, there is plenty of anger in there - but I think some of it is genuine desperation. Wages are stagnant. The job market is shrinking. The Tories keep making it harder and harder to get unemployment benefits. Canada came through the bank crash in comparatively good shape[5], but thanks to the feds our economy has been getting worse every year since. The price of housing in this city is through the fucking roof. People are feeling stretched and politicians play on that by telling them that the big chunk of money that gets added to their mortgage is getting frittered away on wine & cigarettes in homeless shelters[6].

The thing is that right-wing politicans have somehow managed to convince people that tax money is wasted. They point at all the things that cost them money on a day to day basis, and tell people that they would have more money for those things if they got to keep the tax portion. In reality, getting rid of taxes just means moving the costs directly onto the user, which always ends up being more expensive because the cost is split up among a smaller base of people. If you won't pay for taxes that fix roads then you have to replace the shocks on your car more often, etc. So people can afford even less while they watch their expenses balloon. And the conservatives point at the tax bill and say, "See if you just didn't have to pay that you would have more money..."

This is not specifically a Ford problem and it seems to have infected every level of government. And I'm not sure how to even start addressing it. Ford is, however, a great example of what happens when people honestly believe that government doesn't do anything and politicians spend their time taking baths in swimming pools full of cash. It doesn't matter that Ford is incompetent, has no idea what he's talking about half the time and contradicts himself the other half. It's not like he needs to knowledge or understanding or even a grasp of reality to do his job. It's why none of his supporters care that his staff cannot find him on a regular basis when he is supposed to be in his office.

Whenever Ford speaks publicly he says that he saved the city money. That's all Ford Nation cares about. They don't even care about the part where everybody else keeps pointing out that his statements are just not true. I wish there was more focus on how bad he is at his job, and less on his hobbies but I'm not even sure that would make any difference to the people who vote for him.

[1]Which Ford has said he's going to ask the Province to pay for. Because the cleanup money shouldn't come from the taxpayers. I swear I am not making this up.

[2]WheelTrans is a program that provided public transit to people who cannot travel via standard means, usually due to requiring a wheelchair or some other mobility-assistance device. Massively underfunded. Go figure.

[3]I've been hearing this since long before I became a homeowner. First time I actually got a municipal tax bill I was genuinely shocked at how little I was paying for all the bitching and moaning people do about it.

[4]I never claimed to be quick.

[5]Thanks to Paul Martin's government for putting regulations in place that restricted how extended Canadian banks are allowed to be - regulations that Harper lobbied against at the time. Of course Harper later took credit for the fact that Canada was one of the countries least impacted by the bank failures.

[6]True story. There is a program at one of the men's shelters for clients who are pretty much at their end of their lives, but are so heavily addicted they would not stay at the shelter if they couldn't get an alcohol allowance. Providing them a small dose of wine a day keeps them out of an infinitely more expensive street-exposure-emergency services-extensive hospitalization-back on the street cycle and lets them finish out their lives in some dignity. Ford has campaigned to cut this program every single time the budget comes up for review, even though it's supporters point out that it would cost the city more to have cart the poor fuckers back to the hospital multiple times every winter.
the_siobhan: (Hunter S Thompson)
I shamelessly stole this from [personal profile] firecat

The Telegraph published a list of the 50 best cult books. They don't really define "cult" other than to say they know it when they see it.

In response, Nisi Shawl and Nin Harris created an alternative and suplimentary list of
Best Cult Books
. Nisi provides the following definition for the books she chose;

Cult books are, by my definition, books that introduce the reader to a culture, a group of people who share values delineated by the book. Such books may be big seller or underground hits passed along via loans, but they have an impact beyond that of run-of-the-mill works. And they draw people in rather than merely preaching to the choir: they convert readers into believers.

They also provide their reasons for including each book, so check out the list on their blog if you're trying to figure out why a specific book is on the list.

Ones I've read are in italics )

My reading seems to be pretty evenly split between both lists.

Somebody else suggested that Stranger In a Strange Land ought to be on there - I can buy that, it did start a religion.

I'm actually surprised Lord of The Rings isn't on there - it's on every other bloody list.

So suggestions? What would you add? For me it would the Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. It changed my entire way of thinking.
the_siobhan: (cartoon)
[ profile] sabotabby gave me the prompt;
The most bizarre adventure you've had.

The problem is I've already written down most of my adventures. And I'm smarter these days - or at least more experienced - so nothing seriously weird has happened to me in a long time.

So I picked out the two that I think rate pretty high on the "bizarre" scale and I'm just going to link them here.

The Ballad of Hillard

Holiday in Cambodia

You all can tell me which one you think wins.

Comment here or at the original post if you want to add a suggestion of things to write about.
the_siobhan: (steps)
It looks like I'm going to be doing these out of order. An order that is primarily based on how long it will take me to come up with a coherant answer for each one.

[ profile] jackspryte gave me the prompt;
A vivid and/or evocative description of the most beautiful/amazing/awe inspiring place/space you've been to/in.

I decided on my answer to this one when I was looking at a friend's FB post about places they had visited in Canada and it mentioned this location.

A whole bunch of years ago Axel and I were invited to a friend's wedding in Maine. When we were making our plans around that we decided that we would extend our vacation after the event, drive North into New Brunswick and check out some of the east coast provinces, since neither of us had ever been there before. We did that and spent several days tooling around the coast taking pictures of covered bridges and boats at low tide, eating fresh seafood and being completely touristy.

There were a few places that were on our short-list of things to see while we were out there, and the Bay of Fundy was on that list. So we found a campsite near the park, set up our tent and pulled out a schedule that we had picked up at some rest stop along the way to figure out what time we should show up at the park in the morning. It said that the low tide was going to happen at 11am. Only it also mentioned that low-tide happens twice in a 24-hour period. It was currently around 10 pm.

It took some doing for Axel to convince me that it was a good idea for the two of us to go roaming around on a unfamiliar shore in the pitch black all by ourselves but somehow he talked me into it. The gates were locked so we had to leave our car on the side of the road that leads in and climb over a fence to get into the park. There is a walk along a wooded trail that is quite short to get to the stairs that go down the cliff, it seemed like miles in the dark. I was still half-convinced that we were going to end up on some Darwin Awards website and Axel kept taunting me by turning the flashlight off. I finally made him stop by saying the word "bears" at him. I was glad I did; we didn't see any bears but we did spot the world's biggest toad sitting in the middle of the path and I would have been very sad to have stepped on him.

If you have never been to the Bay of Fundy, it's an inlet between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and it happens to be the site of the highest tides in the world. We were in a provincial park on the New Brunswick side where they have built wooden staircases that take tourists down the 15-metre cliffs to walk around on the shore when the tide is out. So we climbed down the stairs and walked around what is essentially part of the ocean floor.

There was no moon at all that night so it was pitch black. There were also no clouds so we could see the rocks above us as black shapes against the backdrop of dense stars. The mud was sticky and sucked at my feet with every step and everything stank of brine. If I put my hand on the rocks I could feel spiky barnacles and slippery seaweed. We could hear the water lapping at the sand just a few yards away and the deeper ocean noises off in the distance. And of course the sound of our feet squelching through the mud.

It's hard to explain what it was like walking around down there. The inlet is wide enough that the sky above us seemed to stretch to the horizon. It was one of those nights where the air is so clear that if you focus on a cluster of stars for a few minutes your eyes suddenly realize that the dark patches between them are full of even more, even fainter stars. And etched against that background is the pure black shape of the flowerpot rocks. I felt incredibly tiny and ephemeral.

We walked around in the dark for about half an hour before we decided to head back. We ended up taking a slightly different path through the woods and promptly got lost[1] but Axel "Country Boy" Johnston managed to guide us back to the road and we found our car easily from there. We went back during the day of course and did some mucking about on the ocean floor in full daylight with the other tourists. We took a bunch of pictures and were able to see the parts of the inlet that you can't walk around on because they are nesting areas. It was gorgeous and it was fun and it didn't have a tenth of impact of walking around down there in the middle of the night.

[1]My sense of direction is hopeless if you take me out of an urban environment.

Comment here if you want to add a suggestion of things to write about.
the_siobhan: (Brighter Blessed Than Thee)
A few people on my reading list have posted this one, so what the hell.

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want.

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject.

Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet (or if I feel I will only speak negatively on something, I might ask you for something else).

Topics: you can get an idea from my tags/from the stuff I usually ramble about/from things you maybe wish I talked about more but don't.

My particular version of this;

1. No dates. I'll get to it when I get to it.

2. I assume this came from somebody who is part of a fandom community, but whatever. You can focus on that or anything else.

3. Subjects "I will only speak negatively on" are fine. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a good rant.

Fire away.
the_siobhan: (Kurt Vennegut Jr)
Recycled from [personal profile] bcholmes

The meme asks: What are you reading now? What did you just finish reading? What do you expect to read next?

Eon cover jacket

Right now I'm reading Eon by Greg Bear. I'm maybe halfway through? Reading time is usually when I'm on the bus these days so it's going more slowly due to the holidays. Anyway, the Russians and Americans have finally succeeded in blowing up the planet and the survivors are stranded in a hollowed-out asteroid and trying to figure out what to do next.

I admit to not being completely blown away by the story but there are hints that humanity gets very odd over the next several thousand years and I'm kind of curious as to what that is going to look like.

Integral Trees cover jacket

Previous to this one I read The Integral Trees by Larry Niven. We appear to have a lot of Niven books in the house. (Including two copies of Ringworld Engineers, neither of which are mine.) I love the world he created in this one. The setting is a low gravity world with a gas ring around it, and all life exists within a narrow band where the gas is dense enough to be breathable. Everything exists in free-fall and humans grow to be taller and thinner due to the low gravity.

Swords Against Darkness V cover jacket

The one before that was the Swords Against Darkness V anthology. Which I didn't so much read as skim the beginning of the first six stories and then gave up on because they were all so pants.

As you can see I'm gradually working my way through the SF pile. So the next book will probably be more Niven if only because we have so much of it.

Music Meme

Apr. 11th, 2012 10:38 pm
the_siobhan: (goth music sucks)
1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[ profile] sabotabby gave me C. So here you go.

Crazy Little Girl - Kevin Quain
Change of Ideas - Bad Religion
(The) Cause - Broomfiller
Chocolate Jesus - Tom Waits
Catharsis - Anthrax
(The) Criminal - Sons of Freedom
Clarissa - Mindless Self Indulgence
Cutting - Consolidated
Catholic Boy - Jim Carroll Band
Charity - Skunk Anansi

[ETA] I'm adding Connie I Found The Door - Chainsaw Kittens to the list. For [personal profile] bcholmes.
the_siobhan: (Professor Fly)
Toronto, ON, Canada
Chicago, IL, USA
North Platte, NE, USA
Green River, UT, USA
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Park City, UT, USA
Targhee National Forest, WY, USA
Gilette, WY, USA
La Port, IN, USA

You know, other than the Vegas/Park City trip and one wedding in September, I honestly don't think I've left town at all this year. I'll have to fix that in 2011.
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
Because all the cool kids are doing it.

Toronto, ON
Amsterdam, NL
Bury St Edmunds, UK
Cheltenham, UK
Brighton, UK
London, UK
Stratford, ON
Long Beach, CA
Albany, NY
Boston, MA

There may have been a trip to Detroit in there somewhere too, but I rather suspect that was last year.
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred: ) You know, there ain't a whole lot I won't try at least once.

Icon Love

Aug. 28th, 2009 10:11 pm
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
Livejournal content generator thingy from [ profile] etcet.

01. Comment to this entry saying 'ICONS!' and I will pick 6 of your icons.
02. Make an entry in your own journal and talk about the icons I picked.

pics below cut )

Music quiz

Jun. 8th, 2008 09:53 pm
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
1. Reply to this post and I’ll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.

[ profile] the_axel gave me 'J'

1. Justice Keepers: Bad Brains
2. J. B. Witchdance: Masters Of Reality
3. Jock-O-Rama: The Dead Kennedys
4. Just Lust: The Buzzcocks
5. Jesus Was Born (On An Indian Reservation): Big Stick


the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)

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