hairyears: (Woolly Monochrome sketch)
[personal profile] hairyears
Does anyone remember the Trafigura toxic waste scandal a couple of years ago?

Dust off the newspaper cuttings, or look up that link: it - or something like it - will be news again, soon. Or worse, not news: secretly disposed of, and silently killing people.

A bit of background on 'Tank washing'... )
The short version... )
So my prediction is: the recent tumble in crude oil prices will have extremely negative environmental effects.

There will be other effects, and I won't have heard of them - would anyone else like to chip in?



I am baptised!

Dec. 19th, 2014 06:53 pm
gerald_duck: (rubberducky)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
Well, it happened:

Full immersion

My baptism went according to plan last Sunday. In fact, far, far better than planned. It was a truly amazing experience.

Dale was being baptised with me. We had chatted several times and knew one another to some extent; once he began giving his testimony it became obvious to me that our stories were going to contrast powerfully.

I'm used to public speaking, but normally in a more rehearsed way. I'd decided to work without notes for the sake of spontaneity. After Daniel looked askance at this with slight nervousness, I wussed out and did prepare an outline on the Thursday evening in case I froze up. I didn't freeze up; my notes went unused. More than that, I'd prayed that God would guide my testimony and the result was quite unlike any other speech I've ever given. I've blogged about writing as a stream of consciousness; this was a verbal equivalent. Apart from anything else, with my subconscious doing the work, I was blessed with the freedom to enjoy and remember the experience more fully.

Heartfelt thanks to all of you who were able to join me on the day. No less to those who couldn't make it, but whose prayers and best wishes were with me.

If you missed it, or wish to re-live the experience in a glorious online audiovisual extravaganza, the blogger formerly known as [livejournal.com profile] robhu took some photos which are here. The non-blogger known as Julian Hildersley took some more.

I've made our testimonies and the soundtrack of the baptisms themselves available here. My words run from 10m30s to 16m and my baptism from 20m50s to 21m30s, but I do commend the entire recording to you (23m09s) as Dale's testimony was very powerful.

As I'd requested in advance, we sang When I Survey The Wondrous Cross during worship. That hymn always stirs me deeply, and expresses the… well, the crux of our faith far more elegantly and succinctly than I ever could myself. Dwelling on the lines "My richest gain I count but loss, / And pour contempt on all my pride." I felt moved to read Philippians 3:7-11.

Then Julian brought me and Dale up on stage to be with him as he spoke of the contrast between our lives and the universal nature of God's love and saving grace, giving voice to what I'd perceived during our testimonies.

A few minutes earlier, I had bumped into Julian during communion.

"Today is a good day", I remarked.
He smiled broadly. "Yes", he said, with all due emphasis.

lololol joints problem diagnosed

Dec. 16th, 2014 08:07 pm
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
[personal profile] kaberett
flu.

in spite of the flu jab.

everything is terrible the internet is sending me hot + sour soup.

I have spent most of today horizontal.

December daysish - religion

Dec. 16th, 2014 12:01 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon

[personal profile] yoyoangel asked "Could you tell us something about where you're at with religion, these days, in terms of practice and/or beliefs?"

So this is actually quite difficult, because I'm a practicing catholic in the Church of England, and I don't really believe in God. Which is to say, that although I have a gut feeling that something Godlike probably exists, if I think about it hard and look at the evidence, it seems much more likely that we've evolved to have that gut feeling for various reasons that have nothing to do with it actually being true, and that in fact, it probably isn't.

However, (1) knowing that doesn't make the feeling go away, and (2) the last decade or so has demonstrated very clearly to me that participating in regular worship and being part of a church community makes me much happier and mentally healthier and kinder than when I'm not. So I just don't think too hard about it.

I'm a Christian specifically partly because it's what I grew up with, but mostly because the Easter Story, the sacrifice of everything, and the love of all humanity no matter how flawed we are is something that is beautiful and magical whether it is true or not. I'm catholic specifically because it's the liturgy I grew up with, and all the emotional responses I have to the Easter Story are hotkeyed to that liturgy. I'm anglo-catholic because "we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" and that church is Little St Mary's in Cambridge. More seriously though - LSM was a wonderful place for me, and where I first realised how much happier I was being part of a church community, but also, until recently the Roman church has been rather hostile to us queers, and although that can certainly be found in the CoE* it's also much easier to find catholic communities who are actively welcoming.

I worship at St John the Evangelist, Brownswood Park, which is actually my parish church. When we last moved I was expecting to go to another church nearby which I used to attend last time we lived near Finsbury Park, but it's about half an hour away, so I figured I'd try the parish church first, and it turned out to be just my sort of place liturgically, as well as being closer, having an extremely charming** priest, and not being Backwards in Bigotry***.

I'm on the serving team, which means that most of the time when I'm attending Mass I'm in the sacristy party - either thurifer (that's swinging the smoking handbag with incense in), or crucifer (carrying the cross during the procession in and out, and helping the priest prepare the bread and wine which will become the body and blood of Christ). This actually helps a lot with the not-actually-believing stuff, because it means that I'm concentrating sufficently hard on what happens next in the liturgy that I don't get bogged down in too much "but what if this is all meaningless".



*I remain utterly devastated that I still can't get married - please tread with extreme care if you want to discuss this
**although younger than me, which I find a bit terrifying
***Forward in Faith, the organisation opposed to the ordination of women, which is made up of an uneasy alliance of evangelical biblical literalists who think that women should be silent because that's what Paul said (and also that homosexualists should burn in hell), and high church Anglo-Catholics who are mostly older gay men who think that women have cooties and should be kept away from their playhouse.

#15 Feelings about snow

Dec. 16th, 2014 12:48 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
... are dependent on my geographical context. In cities I like it for the first few hours and then find it enormously stressful, because it massively increases the difficulty of getting around (balancing becomes much harder; if I'm wheeling, control is hugely more difficult and my hands get soaked in freezing water and it's the worst thing).

Whereas: in mountains I adore it and even in relatively flat countryside I adore it. Basically, anywhere it's not going to get compacted to ice. Because it smells good (I love the smell of approaching snow) and it reminds me of glaciers and it makes the world blue and dazzling and -- yes. It feels like home, for one of my various definitions of home, and that is a comfort and a grace.
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
[personal profile] kaberett
Okay, there is Something wrong with my hips and I really don't understand what (and maybe it is my shoulders too idek). What is going on is: as of a couple of days ago my hips are really not liking me moving my legs forwards or backwards particularly. Stairs are awful. The bending required to get socks & shoes on or off is the worst. Sitting cross-legged isn't really possible. Transferring between sitting and standing is also pretty grim. It's taking vastly less time than usual for standing/walking to get me to actually-shaking-uncontrollably (starts in my knees, moves up to rest of motor control particularly hands if I push it) and needing to perform controlled falls.

FACTS:
  • I am hypermobile and my hips are Not Great in this respect.
  • I've been wearing flat shoes and walking a bit more than usual?
  • I haven't been doing anything terribly unusual in terms of Things To Sit On and in fact have not done any of the really vile stuff involving full days sat on wooden stools in lab.
  • Sex is not a plausible culprit on this occasion.
  • ???


Thoughts much appreciated because this is not fun and I don't know what is More Wrong and it is bothering me. I do not like yelping in pain when I try to reach my wheelchair bag or check a clock behind me or take off my damn shoes. It is extremely tedious.

Reader, I was sad

Dec. 15th, 2014 09:33 pm
kaberett: A pomegranate, with eyes and mouth drawn onto masking tape and applied (pomegranate)
[personal profile] kaberett
... which means that dinner was: roast potatoes with thyme, lightly steamed broccoli and green beans, stewed red cabbage, and CHEESE SOUFFLE. MY FIRST EVER SOUFFLE. THEY WORKED. I WAS SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

Followed, natch, by profiteroles, which: also not something I had ever made before. THEY WORKED, give or take slightly burning the first batch (but not the second!); topped off with melted dark chocolate and filled with plum-brandy-and-vanilla-sugar-whipped-cream.

So pleased with myself. Two foodstuffs I'd worked myself up into being intimidated by, and they both just worked. :-)

December Daysish - fabulous nails

Dec. 15th, 2014 04:00 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
[livejournal.com profile] bunnypip asked for "a post about the hows and whys and wherefores of having fabulous nails", and since I've just had my nails & cocktails party this weekend, now seems a good time for it.

I used to wear nail polish quite a lot whilst I was living in Cambridge and going to goth clubs regularly, but then fell out of the habit until my recent stint in Oxford, where there was once again a club I could go to and be able to get home without wrestling with night buses. At first is was just a single basic colour - usually dark jewel colours or metallics. Then one time when I was buying nail polishes I noticed some nail stickers that were quite cool, and a little while after that I tried looking for some specific stickers online, realised just how many interesting nail art supplies and gadgets there were to be had, and kind of fell down the rabbit hole.

One of the things I really like about it is that although I'm not at all artistic, and generally can't do the complex hand-painted designs especially well, there's loads and loads of other techniques and designs that don't require much skill once I've had a bit of practice, but are interesting enough that strangers compliment them fairly frequently. I did different things for each nail at the party - initially because I was demonstrating techniques, and then after that because it would be silly to have one hand all different, and one hand all the same.

pictures and notes below the cut )

I really enjoy the process of doing my nails, especially when a new technique really comes together well, and what's more, I get a little burst of joy every time I look at them for days. It may be horribly vain, but it still makes me happy.

#14 Feminism & humour

Dec. 15th, 2014 12:16 pm
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] kaberett
In a whole bunch of senses [personal profile] jedusaur and I ~grew up together~ - we met in [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes back in the day, have met up in person a couple of times now, and did a lot of thinking about sexuality/gender/theology/fandom/ethics/etc in at least peripherally related ways; I know Julia's influenced my thinking (even if we haven't always agreed) & I'd like to think the reverse holds. ;)

-- which is relevant partly because I'm speculating about why she asked this particular question (when I could, you know, just have asked her, but hey!) and partly because I think it's useful context for how & why I'm framing my response.

Two key points, I think: (1) yes, becoming a more aware feminist has changed some of my attitudes to what I find funny and; and (2) no, becoming a more aware feminist hasn't meant I no longer have a sense of humour.

Read more... )

Tada/todo

Dec. 14th, 2014 03:14 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
tada )

todo )

#13 Favourite winter beverage(s)

Dec. 14th, 2014 01:10 am
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. Mulled apple juice. I mostly don't consume alcohol, largely because I'm chronically depressed and adding a systemic depressant to the mix is just plain a bad idea never mind the fact that it makes my doctors cry inside, and first came across mulled apple juice when I was organising a winter concert in a Methodist church and trying to work out what we could serve with the mince pies in lieu of wine and suddenly it occurred to me that there was probably prior art on this topic. Because I am a bit awful (i.e. I resent paying that much of a mark-up when I already own all the possible constituent ingredients, plus I want to have a personal mix) I tend to make up mulling spices myself and stick 'em in a teaball; one of my vast collection of bay leaves (from my mother's tree, which did rather better in food mile terms when I was still living in Cambridge but whatever), plus whatever of star anise + cinnamon sticks + nutmeg chunks (I have some whole) + cloves + allspice + black pepper I feel like. Because I am snobby if I am doing this for myself I will get Slightly Nice Apple Juice, whereas if I'm doing it for a crowd I will tend to up the spices a bit and get cheap stuff (sorry, folk).

2. Hot chocolate. I have been ever-so-slowly working my way through a tin of Hotel Chocolat gingerbread hot chocolate I picked up in a sale a couple of years ago, and finished it a few weeks ago. And then smitten kitchen encouraged me to make my own hot chocolate blend, and I haven't quite got my act together to do so yet but you better believe I am going to. I will pretty much drink any hot chocolate going, but the darker & more viscous the better; I default to whole-fat dairy milk, keep meaning to try with hazelnut milk, and for bonus points have been known to whip cream with a bit of vanilla sugar and a splash of plum brandy and dump it on top. I've got very strong location-associations with this, too: the February week I visited the Black Forest near Freiburg with family friends, and was astonished by snowdrifts as tall as I was, and sat outside eating Apfelstrudel and drinking hot chocolate; and, a few years later, the German exchange to Heidelberg where a Starbucks was giving out samples; and cocoa at Guides; and Supper at the mouldering ancestral pile, where to this day at bedtime Papa will creak to his feet and make cocoa in the front kitchen for everyone present, and will offer you just a snifter of some liqueur or other to go with. Every time I make hot chocolate (I do it in a pan; I've never got the hang of microwaves on this one) I end up half-smiling, half-wincing about the time I heard Papa berating Mama for leaving the pan to soak instead of getting the milk fat out straight away; and I remember that I am perpetually baffled at people apparently not liking the taste of scalded milk, because to me it tastes like home and comfort and love and a house creaking gently in the sea wind and the sound of waves breaking down on the beach.

#12 A piece of nature observation

Dec. 14th, 2014 12:55 am
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett
We are getting to the time of year that contains my favourite weather: blue skies and streaming sunshine and crisp air that turns you into a dragon and numbs your face just a little. I've been gently envious of the people getting frost - that doesn't seem to be a thing London is doing, just yet - but nonetheless I get bare branches and autoexfoliating plane trees and bark and bite to the air and -- yes. Yes. When first the air smells like ice, and such.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. Fic. Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic, as recced to me by [personal profile] jedusaur, who was spot on, seriously, this is so good, it -- just -- everything. And similarly, though less fluffily, my end and my beginning by [personal profile] recessional (-ish the latest in your blue-eyed boys) is heartbreaking and grounding and amazing.

2. Other fanworks! In particular, today I have been having FEELINGS about this Orphan Black s1 fanvid set to Vienna Teng's Closer to Home, because it is perfect.

3. I made it to my wheelchair dealer and back without messing up public transport at all! It was pretty astonishing! I mostly didn't panic! My chair has been tuned up, I've got my repaired wheel back (thank you all, seriously, so much), and I had a good chat with someone else who was getting a chair tuned up.

4. I continue preposterously mushy about facesfriend in ways that are causing me great cheer, not least because he linked me to a bunch of photos (largely of LARP) to which my reaction was guh. For bonus points largest smallcousin grabbed me and was all SO YOU SAID YOU'D TELL ME ABOUT YOUR NEW BLOKE so I got to gossip with her, and it was great!.

5. My housemate made me pizza last night even though I was out, and I ate it all for lunch, and it was great and amazing and delicious and I am super super lucky.

6. SOFA WAS STILL THERE and housemate very patiently helped me get it down the stairs. It is now drying off a bit outside. I am assured that I only think it's incredibly vibrantly purple because I am a geologist, and it is in fact grey or possibly taupe. ('s purple.)

7. I did make it into work despite having to navigate public transport by myself, and got done some labwork that I've been blocking on (hurrah!). Now I just need to keep up momentum and go in tomorrow to do a bit more handling of Stuff, but that should be doable.

8. I tidied the kitchen! It was a multi-stage process but it made me happy, because having a clean kitchen is happy, and I sorted it out while housemate's guest cooked us dinner, and <3 (I also tidied my room a bit, HURRAH.)

9. Out of largely-idle curiousity I attempted a French plait on myself for the first time in several years and to my utter astonishment I did a reasonably tidy job, which means VICTORY and more specifically that I am going to do that thing more of the time as optimal for a. keeping hair off my face and b. my gender presentation (idek).

10. ... no okay pretty much you are all fantastic and I am so lucky to have you around me. Thank you, so so much; I am so grateful for your kindnesses & generosities & for how much you are willing to trust me. I will continue to do my best to deserve it. ♥

(AND ALSO: my Yuletide fic is well over wordcount and just needs another paragraph or two, then tidying, and I have finally worked out what on Earth is going on with it; and I have finished washing out a honey jar with decorative embossed glass bees on it to hold tealights for when I want Ritual Fire. And -- just -- yes. Yes.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
Oh goodness, I've only been visiting since late summer, so I'm not sure I've actually got a terribly good handle on this! Definitely I have readers who are more familiar with the place than I am, so I encourage you to weigh in in comments, but--


Light through autumnal oak leaves, red and gold, against blue sky.


-- I adore the oak walk. I suspect I will adore it as much in spring with just-barely-green and summer with full leaf cover as I do in autumn, and I am going to enjoy it in winter too because bare branches are A Thing and I love how structural oaks are -- at which point that's not terrible helpful, because I've basically gone "Quercus are always amazing, go any time of year!!!"

I am similarly fond of gingko; there follow three photos from a few weeks back taken in fact on the A4 rather than in Kew, but -- there's a couple of gorgeous big gingko trees in the gardens, which are as might be expected spectacular in late autumn.

Read more... )

Kew also has an excellent collection of Wollemi pines, which are pretty much good all year round.

... honestly, I am pretty much an autumn person - it's my absolute favourite season, with some trees going bare and chestnuts everywhere and leaves beginning to turn and holly coming into its own and autumn crocuses - but I do also adore botanical gardens in the spring, so I'm looking forward to that especially too. The glasshouses are good all year round; I'm a big fan of alpines (which again I associate with late summer/early autumn) and of kitchen gardens (which I prefer in late summer/early autumn because that's when the majority of exciting things are fruiting), so! I am biased. I am hideously biased. But: lots of excellent trees, fantastic selection, Kew is very good, if any of you ever want to visit I am a member so get a guest in free, please do let me know.

ELEMENTARY.

Dec. 12th, 2014 10:34 pm
kaberett: Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson sit side by side, facing forward, heads slightly tilted towards each other. (elementary-faces)
[personal profile] kaberett
3x07 ???spoilers

Read more... )

Bravery

Dec. 11th, 2014 08:19 pm
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
[personal profile] kaberett
Lyrics to that one Vienna Teng song I keep quoting at people. )

Last night I sat on Brighton beach and listened to the waves come in and ate chips and onion rings and talked with [personal profile] sebastienne about this and that and the other and bravery - various different media we imprinted on, which boil down to: you can't be brave without being scared.

Which -- obviously resonates with all my current Feelings about being afraid, and the varieties thereof; but also ties in to something else I've been thinking, that I fake bravery by calmly and quietly making space in which other people feel safe to risk speaking their hopes, thereby neatly avoiding ever being the person who goes first or ever being the person who looks scared or, really, ever being the person who takes the risk. I close myself off with fear, and dress it up prettily enough that by and large people don't notice. (I'm perhaps being unfair to myself here: I put my shonky python up on github, and I put poetry up here, and both of those terrified me to the point of day-long adrenaline spikes when I started; and now they're just things I do, without fuss, and that represents more progress than I think about terribly carefully most of the time.)


A bit relatedly, I've been thinking some about compassion and generosity, and about how I might consider going about feeling compassion for people who've hurt me (specifically, I was thinking about how in the hells I might ever feel compassion for my father). And I... don't think I can. I think I can pick apart how they got there and feel pity for them, but that's condescending; compassion, I think, presupposes an equality I don't feel inclined towards; perhaps that I don't feel safe permitting? Something to come back to, I suspect.


& lastly for tonight - trees-post to come tomorrow - we have home internet again; and I am deeply frustrated that a gorgeous wing-backed purple corduroy sofa left on the kerb by some neighbours for rubbish collection tomorrow morning is just too awkward for me to have managed to get it down the stairs solo when I got home at 1am, so I am just going to have to hope that the "please don't take this away" note I left on it is respected and I can badger my housemate into helping me get it down the stairs in the morning, because it is squooshy and comfortable and the right shape for curling up on and I really want it, okay, and I even know where in my room it would live.


Goodnight, Dreamwidth. xx

YMMV

Dec. 11th, 2014 11:56 am
gerald_duck: (quack)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
D'oh realisation of the day:

Different people experience God in different ways. Given my fairly strong phobia of surprises, it's pretty obvious why God waited until I prayed to reveal Himself to me, rather than leaping out from behind a cloud or a burning bush and shouting "boo!".
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
For starters, I knew it was an option because I grew up being mentored by a bunch of folk (hi ♥) who viewed poly as normal and fine and just the way some people work; I got to see lots of examples of people making it work, and people not making it work in ways that were nothing to do with being poly and everything to do with the fact that sometimes relationships don't work or stop working.

As it happens I was still massively insecure; one way or another it was the case that I was cool with the concept of me having more than one partner, but got incredibly tied up in knots about the concept of people I was seeing having other partners, and consequently didn't think it was good or kind or fair for me to try to do the thing. Thus began (after my useless ex & I broke up) a period of ill-advised monogamy (ha, folk, I am so so sorry for turning into That One Friend Who Keeps Making Inexplicably Terrible Relationship Decisions), from which I emerged blinking and very, very mad. In the aftermath of getting on anti-depressants and out of that particular horrorshow, I found myself increasingly spending time with the boything and increasingly doing things that were unambiguously flirting and dates. I didn't properly register what was going on until his boyfriend Lucian cheerfully turned around during a birthday party and went "so, are you and [insanejournal.com profile] dreamfracture a thing, then?" whereupon I went "... I DON'T KNOW WE HAVEN'T REALLY TALKED ABOUT IT??? :D"

And that was how hanging-out-with-a-person morphed into a relationship in spite of the boything having other folk in his life, and mysteriously the world didn't end. I thought I was treating it as fairly casual; I was still surprised when I turned out to be completely fine with him rolling over one Sunday morning and going "alex alex alex last week I slept with a PERSON", apart from the bit where I still wanted to be asleep.

Read more... )