Lesson for the day

NSFW 24 June 2016 20:32
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)
[personal profile] evilawyer
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

(no subject)

24 June 2016 11:59
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
A very strange day to be writing about William Morris.

Zombies Run

24 June 2016 14:22
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
My current physio regime includes a certain amount of walking each day, which is slower than usual and therefore less interesting, but also hard work. So I've dug out Zombies Run again to keep me company. I'm only half-way through Season 1, but it's fun. Jack and Eugene provide occasional unintentional hilarity in radio mode, though. For example:

Shuffle: Plays Adam Lambert's Master Plan
Jack and Eugene: Talk about how they're getting misty-eyed at that last song and teared up a bit.

Jack and Eugene: This next one's a happening tune.
Shuffle: Plays S Club 7.
nanila: (me: walk softly and carry big stick)
[personal profile] nanila
Westminster flags lowered for Jo Cox

I took this photo last week, after MP Jo Cox was assassinated. I want to make it very clear, for what I hope are obvious reasons this morning, that this photo is about her death.

In the hope that others could also use the distraction of an Unscientific Poll:

Poll #17530 Telecon Unmute Bingo
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 17

Whilst on a work-related telecon, I have heard the following “participant unintentionally unmuted” actions

View Answers

14 (87.5%)

13 (81.2%)

5 (31.2%)

4 (25.0%)

8 (50.0%)

12 (75.0%)

boiling a kettle
5 (31.2%)

attempting to dial another number
5 (31.2%)

conducting a separate phone call on a different device
10 (62.5%)

deriding the person currently speaking
5 (31.2%)

deriding the chairperson
1 (6.2%)

flushing the toilet
1 (6.2%)

I can escalate this:

(no subject)

23 June 2016 23:51
lotesse: (afrofuturist)
[personal profile] lotesse
Politics fandom had at least three season finales running at once today, I stg. Kudos to John Lewis for effectively leveraging the new technology and the old (streaming and social media plus CRM protest tactics); sympathies to families thrown into uncertainty by the threat to DAPA/DACA and also by (what the hell) the apparently-impending Brexit; best wishes to Scotland for that reviving independence movement, and do have fun with Donald Trump while he's visiting, I hear he has really great golf courses, the best, most beautiful golf courses.

Referendum: VotINg

23 June 2016 10:58
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
Voting in the Referendum

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm for RemaIN.

And here is a short linkspam, [personal profile] silveradept-style on staying in the EU.

Ben Goldacre on why Brexit is not a good choice.
Chart showing UK tax spending allocations. We spend less on the EU than on overseas aid.
Jobs, export and trade. Free movement. Freedom to live and work in Europe. Access to the single market. Access to EU research fund. Oh, and peace. Me, I'm particularly keen on peace, considering that the history of Europe contains an awful lot of war.
Lettuce Romaine.
ETA: No such thing as a Brusselo.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I actually think that decent people can disagree about whether the UK should leave the EU. There's even a left-wing case for Leave that can be made, though nobody's really trying to make it.

(Pragmatically: there are a lot of credible and knowledgeable voices saying that it would be an economic disaster, which, given our government, also means more “austerity”: more people starving and more people driven to suicide.)

(Plus, you know, the stripping away of huge numbers of human rights, workplace rights and environmental protections.)

But in the last few weeks, it's suddenly turned out that we're no longer debating "Should the UK be in the EU?", we're apparently now debating "Immigrants: how much do we hate them?". And the answer seems to be "Quite a lot".

We also seem to be debating “Do you want a new government made up of Boris Johnson (a completely amoral opportunist clawing his way into power by posing as a adorably-befuddled tousle-haired buffoon), Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage?”

(It's rumoured that Boris Johnson has already offered Farage a job in "his" post-Brexit government. Farage has denied this, naturally.)

You know what? The EU is open to debate among reasonable humans. This isn't.

This is not even dog-whistling any more, it's glaringly racist and more or less identical to a piece of actual Nazi propaganda. It says "Vote Leave because otherwise scary brown people might come to your country".

(Never mind that the people shown are Syrian refugees fleeing a war zone, or that leaving the EU wouldn't affect the UK's legal obligations to take in refugees under international law anyway.)

Whatever you think motivated the alleged murderer of Jo Cox, who (allegedly) 'said a variation of “Britain first”, “Keep Britain independent”, “Britain always comes first”, and “This is for Britain” as he launched the attack on Cox' -- Nigel Farage's poster is identical to the sort of far right/neo-Nazi material found in his house.

And here is Farage, a month ago, saying that if people feel they've lost control of their borders -- which he maintains has happened because of the EU -- and voting doesn't change anything, then "violence is the next step". Not that he condones it, of course. He’s just saying how understandable it would be if people felt driven to it.

I am fucking scared of these people. I am seeing stuff which is genuinely veering towards fascism, with Nigel Farage as our home-grown Trump. These are people who actually make me prefer to be on the same side as David Cameron, god help me.

When Jo Cox was murdered, a part of my brain went white-hot with anxiety, and when I managed to put it into words I realized it was asking is this how it starts?

(Which is, rationally, nonsense: there is no "it", "it" started long ago, "it" is always happening, take your pick. But.)

I want my fucking country back. Because it does not belong to these people and they cannot steal it.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
HRH Telstar
HRH Telstar presiding over the picnic table.
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Evil is as Evil Does , Giles/Spike by [personal profile] shapinglight.

Queen of Hearts , Spike/Willow/Angel by [profile] xspike4evax

Chapter Nine of Everybody Hurts by [personal profile] comlodge.

Spike/Drusilla wallpaper by [personal profile] comlodge.

[personal profile] shapinglight reviews Season Ten, Issue No. Twenty Eight .

Soundcloud podcast talks School Hard .

Storywonk podcast talks Triangle.

Tinyfences podcast talks Wild at Heart .

Hypable podcast talks Choices & The Prom .

TheMagicBoxPodcast talks She .

Storywonk podcast talks Reunion .
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Shots , Buffy/Nina by [personal profile] carlyinrome.

To Fill Her Hunger , Robin/Faith by [personal profile] katleept.

Chapter Fourteen of The Soul Lies Down by [personal profile] the_moonmoth.

Chapter Two of Somewhere Close By by [profile] quaggy_mire.

Chapter Three of One Year Away from 30: Willow and Oz Reunite in San Francisco by [profile] dawgfan527.

Chapter Fifty Four of Truth Denied by [profile] perverted_pages.
deird1: Anya looking stern (Anya glasses)
[personal profile] deird1
The Context
A kid was killed by an alligator at Disney World. The pond he was wading in had a sign saying "no swimming".

The Argument
The parents were at fault because
a) It's Florida, alligators are everywhere, and everyone should know this.
b) There was a "no swimming" sign, which should have clued them in that alligators were likely to be in the area.

The Rebuttal
a) I am Australian. I live in a very dangerous region of the world, where we don't put on gumboots without checking for spiders. We expect to find snakes, dingoes, sharks, and crocodiles in most outdoor settings.
I would not have expected there to be alligators in this pond.
Yes, I'm aware that Florida has alligators, but Queensland has crocodiles, and I still expect hotels to be crocodile-free. Crocodiles can't generally get over fences. Alligators can. I didn't know this.

b) If I see a sign that says "Danger: Crocodiles! No swimming!", I expect there to be crocodiles around, and that I shouldn't go swimming. If I see a sign that simply says "no swimming", sans explanation or exclamation marks, I assume it's roughly equivalent to "keep off the grass" - ie: the maintenance crew are trying to stop you from trashing the area. I certainly wouldn't expect wading to be dangerous.

People who keep making this argument? You kinda suck.

[Fic] A Language of Daisies

19 June 2016 15:25
branchandroot: pen with burning ink (ink burns)
[personal profile] branchandroot

Cross-post from my archive.

Fandom/Arc: Star Driver, Triskelion
Characters/Pairings: Agemaki Wako, Shindou Sugata, Tsunashi Takuto, Wako/Sugata/Takuto
Summary: The drama club is putting on a play with some scenes worth of Wako's fantasies. Takuto has to work a little to wrap his brain around the whole thing.
Meta: Humor, Romance, Fluff, I-3
Wordcount: 2959

"We are the future of the world." Sugata's words filled the space, low and intimate. "What do you wish to make of it?" His thumb stroked over Takuto's lips slowly and Takuto felt his whole face flush hot.

"I... um... The... The world..." Takuto's hands scrabbled at the wall behind him as Sugata leaned closer. "Help...?" he finished, strangled.

The corners of Sugata's mouth quivered as he looked at Takuto. One breath, and then two, and he finally lost it, dissolving into helpless laughter.

"Takuto-sama!" Yamasugata-senpai scolded. "If you forget your part, the word is 'line', not 'help'!"

A Language of Daisies )

Jo Cox's birthday

19 June 2016 19:37
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
would have been on Wednesday (yes, the day before the referendum, which I'm sure has the "false flag" conspiracy theorists screaming).

There are going to be events (organized by her friends and colleagues) in London, Batley and Spen (her constituency), NY, Washington, Brussels, and Nairobi:


The memorial fund is almost at £750,000.


18 June 2016 19:47
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Here's Nigel Farage (prior to Jo Cox's death) explaining to the BBC that if people feel they've lost control of their borders -- which he insists has actually happened because of the EU -- and voting doesn't achieve anything, then violence is "the next step":

https://twitter.com/RichieMcCormack/status/743494371094446080 (which deserves all the re-Tweets)

He doesn't condone it, of course, you can see him making the face of high-minded disapproval, he's just saying, you know. How understandable that would be. If people felt driven to it.

Someone's used Facebook to leave a comment on the Jo Cox Fund page:

"terrorist sympathizer. Sorry for the kids though."
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Chapter Thirteen of The Soul Lies Down by [personal profile] the_moonmoth.

Chapter Four of A New World by [personal profile] forsaken2003.

Giles games , courtesy of [personal profile] harmony033.

The HollywoodReporter says that Danny Strong has signed a major deal with Fox.


17 June 2016 21:50
cesy: Cambridge University Spaceflight - picture of the curvature of the earth against space, taken by us. (CU Spaceflight)
[personal profile] cesy
The other day I went to a talk at the British Interplanetary Society about Reusable Launchers. If anyone in London is interested in coming to future events, I get a free guest ticket as a member. This one was aimed at people who are keen to see how we can get stuff into Earth orbit cheaply. It started off with a reminder of why people have been dreaming about this for a long time, and some ideas from the Fifties - colonies on the Moon, travelling to Mars, mining asteroids, giant space stations, etc. But all of them depend on getting things out of Earth's gravity well, either into Earth orbit or further out.

Cool space stuff )

It was all very interesting, and added a lot of detail to stuff I was vaguely aware of but didn't really understand properly. I think Elon Musk has a better business strategy with funding the next stage from the previous stage, though - convincing any big enough lender (which basically means a government or ESA) to fund the development of Skylon is a huge challenge. I hope they do it, though, as I'm now convinced that something like Skylon has a better chance of getting us to viable off-Earth colonies than the SpaceX Falcon/Dragon designs. But I wouldn't be surprised if in a decade's time, SpaceX find the funding to do something similar if Reaction Engines haven't already got there.


17 June 2016 19:24
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
I went to the physio today. My exercises are going relatively well - I've been doing them, at least. And my symptoms have improved. So I got more exercises to do. Instead? No, as well. *sigh*

Jo Cox

17 June 2016 16:20
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Fundraising for three charities close to her heart, chosen by her family. Got the link via 38 Degrees, so hopefully it's been verified as legit.

For anyone in London, there's going to be a vigil this evening (also in assorted other cities across the UK).
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
I think we could all stand to finish the week with something fluffy and not so harrowing. So here is a calming photo of me at my desk at work at 07:15 yesterday morning, as the first installment of the Seven Days of Selfies bit of the LJ-versary celebrations.

Scientist at work

And here is Friday's Unscientific Poll, which is soothing and about socks and has been shamelessly poached from my Twitter friend [twitter.com profile] katieshould.

Poll #17524 Business time
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 51

Can you sleep in socks?

View Answers

Yes, whether it's business time or not, I like having warm feets
25 (49.0%)

No, I'm sorry, my ankles are hot
26 (51.0%)

petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Meta on Whedonverse visual landscapes and themes by [personal profile] yourlibrarian.

Slayathon is back. Kelly Creamer's organized another great Slay-A-Thon event to honor kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Please remember to send a donation, and, if you're in the Chicago area on Saturday, June 25, to attend the event.

Slay-A-Thon is a part of the the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois. Whedonverse fans can attend an all-day event filled with pop culture relating to Everything Whedon: BtVS, AtS, Avengers, Doll House, etc. The event is organized for fans who are delighted to attend and also donate to a wonderful charity via sponsored donations, raffles, games, and auctions.

Since its inception in 2002, Slay-A-Thon has raised more than $220,000 and granted over 36 wishes for The Make-A-Wish Foundation in Illinois.

How to donate? visit slayathon.org, go to the link, enter the amount, and provide the card info/paypal info required.

Lynnvander says a new official BtVS board game is in the works.

120 years of horror

17 June 2016 08:30
beer_good_foamy: (Bernard - black books)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Thought this was pretty neat:

A History of Horror - a timeline of influential and aesthetically beautiful horror movies around the world since 1895 until 2016.


16 June 2016 20:46
nanila: (tachikoma: broken)
[personal profile] nanila
A little over a year ago, I wrote this, about what I wanted from the UK government. After the general election, I did something I’d consciously rejected all my adult life: I joined a political party. Slowly, verry slowly, I’ve been getting involved in my local party’s activities. I attended a meeting for the first time about a month ago, about campaigning for the Remain side on the EU referendum.

Now, in my constituency, joining any party other than the Conservatives could be seen as a bit of a jolly. Put it this way: Sajid Javid (Business Secretary) is my MP. He toes the party line so hard it’s a wonder he’s not permanently wearing sandals. But still, for me, a naturally cautious person, it was a big step. Even working myself up to entertaining the idea of campaigning for a political cause took me far outside my comfort zone.

Some of that caution has been trained into me. Many scientists discourage their proteges from being actively political. The message that’s tacitly (and sometimes overtly) drilled into us is that politics is for people who are willing to make bold, brash statements and even change laws based on very little evidence or popular sentiment. This idea is anathema to scientists, who are taught to prize the acquisition of repeatable results and well-considered, demonstrable precepts above all things. It takes months or even years to even think of putting possible conclusions based on those results before your peers.Politicians simply don’t have that kind of time to make decisions.

Anyway, my point is that for the first time in my life, I was actually willing to, however remotely, entertain the notion of running for a political office.

And then, today, Jo Cox MP, who has been outspokenly supportive of refugees and campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU, was killed in the street by a man who allegedly shouted “Britain First”* as he committed the crime.

Jo Cox is, apparently, the first MP to be murdered since Ian Gow, who was killed by a car bomb planted by the IRA. In 1990.

Jo Cox is a woman only a couple of years older than I am. Jo Cox is survived by her husband and two small children, aged three and five.

So if you’re asking, is this heinous crime going to put women off of the idea of becoming active in politics? I can assure you that the answer is yes.

* an ultra-right political group
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I need to post about this because I've forgotten who I've recced it to and who I haven't, and really I need to rec it to everyone (assuming you have some interest in podcasts).

In Our Time -- which sounds like it should be some sort of current affairs program, but isn't -- is a radio program which is also available as a podcast from iTunes and Stitcher and the usual sources.

It's worthwhile in itself, but -- the aspect that will be particularly relevant to some people's interests -- I also find it an especially soothing thing to listen to when I'm insomniac and/or anxious. Darkness, eyemask, headphones, safe, relax as much as possible. One of the little things that can help keep the brainweasels at bay. A very neurodiverse friend put me onto it, and it was one of his best recs ever.

It's very very BBC radio, and I say this fondly. Each week, Melvyn Bragg (noted presenter of things) cat-herds a group of academics with appropriate expertise while they spend fortysomething minutes talking through the week's topic, with past topics ranging from "The Empire of Mali" to "Simone de Beauvoir" to "Neanderthals" to "Catharism" to "Icelandic Sagas" to "The An Lushan Rebellion" to "Ada Lovelace" to "The Pelagian Controversy" to "Holbein at the Tudor Court" to "The Science of Glass" to "Islamic Law and its Origins" to "Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty" to "Penicillin" to "The Philosophy of Solitude" to "Annie Besant" to "Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists" to "The Building of Saint Petersburg" to "The Cambrian Period" to "Victorian Pessimism" to "1816, The Year Without A Summer". *pauses for breath*

It's full of all the topics which you've maybe somewhat heard of and might be curious about but wouldn't necessarily seek out a book on, but where the opportunity to spend forty minutes being gently edified is (for me, at least) interesting and delightful.

It's pitched at a level which assumes you are an intelligent person with some general knowledge who happens not to know anything about this particular subject. Comparatively little fail, and surprisingly good representation of women and non-Western history. And there are literally hundreds of past episodes (well over six hundred at the moment, I think); you will never run out unless you engage in truly heroic binge-listening. This is comforting.

(iTunes only shows the most recent 200 episodes under "In Our Time", but it's also on there broken up into subject archives such as "In Our Time: Science", "In Our Time: History", etc. which let you see back further.)

And it's wonderful for anxiety/insomnia because it's reliably interesting and so absorbs your brain enough to (mostly) prevent it drifting off into ruminating about bad things, but with this mild, calm, civilized BBC-ish tone. It's never suspenseful or tension-inducing; if you find you're actually falling asleep, you can press pause without stress and look forwards to having the rest of the episode to listen to tomorrow.

(OMG today's ep is on "The Bronze Age Collapse", I can't wait.)
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Community Service , Spike/Buffy by [personal profile] shapinglight.

Tangibility , Giles by [personal profile] badly_knitted.

Stay With Me , Spike/Xander by [personal profile] forsaken2003.

Chapter Twelve of This Soul Lies Down by [personal profile] the_moonmoth.

Attention writers! this site is re-posting without permission or credit.

Giles/Ethan fan art by [profile] shirohime777.

TVGuide includes Willow and Tara in their "The Greatest LGBT TV Characters of All Time". "We thought we'd never get over Willow (Hannigan) and Oz breaking up, but then Willow and Tara (Benson) became a serious 'ship for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The couple broke ground in a very heavily heterosexual WB landscape, and Willow turning into a dark witch after losing Tara is still one of the most iconic episodes of the series".

(no subject)

15 June 2016 17:49
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
I - here's the thing - my Ex was a self-hating queer man, and he tortured me over it for the better part of a decade.

I'll put the backstory angst behind the cut, I think )

He was brought up Catholic, not Muslim - but from the outside, gotta say, all Abrahamic religions look just about the same. Variations on a theme, like.

Sometimes I feel bad for the nice older poz guy I finally unloaded him on, but mostly I'm so grateful I could kiss the man's feet, because I got out thanks to him.

I am feeling so fucked up about the Orlando shooter, the self-hating Muslim queer man, and his abused girlfriend who dropped him off at the club door. This is where toxic masculinity becomes tragic, and I am strangled by pity and disgust and rage in equal and conflicting measures. These poor self-hating queer men - and the way they can make other people fucking suffer for it.

I don't mean to suggest that any of these things are on the same scale. Mostly I'm just wailing.

(no subject)

14 June 2016 18:21
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
Hi! I'm watching the Fun Home bootleg and Not Dealing. Entering the second half, so expecting the uncontrollable weeping to commence at any moment; the catharsis will be welcome tbh. How bout alla y'all?

(I told my therapist today - it's like it started at "oh no," descended to "oh no," and now we've reached "oh god oh god" levels of no-ness with the revelation that the shooter was a club regular himself. 50 club-goers dead, not 49.)
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
And now, my friends, the 15-year LJ-versary celebrations continue, with the flip side: The Five Best Things About Being an Immigrant.

5. You get to act as sole representative of your entire country

If you’re thinking, oh hang on though, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a pattern for the entire list.

I have discovered, after many years of developing thick enough skin to see this as an opportunity to get a little of my own back, how to turn people’s perceptions to my own advantage. For instance, if I tell an English person I’m from Hawai’i, there is a 35% chance they don’t realise that Hawai’i is part of the United States. I’m not kidding. Americans have a reputation for being bad at geography, and deservedly so. But even though the current US President is from Hawai’i, there are a lot of people who think, “fabulous foreign holiday destination!” and don’t connect it to the USA. So they get to tell me, “I thought you looked exotic/Polynesian/etc” and then squee to me about beaches and honeymoons, and I sit there smiling and imagining what I could get away with telling them now that they have literally no idea that I’m American. I don’t do it, but it is fun to think about.

Assuming, however, that they do recognise I’m American, I can get into conversations about their perceptions of the USA. 90% of the time, if they’ve been there, it’s to New York or Florida. Their memories of those holidays are almost overwhelmingly positive. If the conversation is long enough, I sometimes have the opportunity to point out gently that prejudices about Americans don’t correlate well with their actual experiences of the people or the country. Or, more subtly, by sharing my love of England and travels in Europe, I can in a small way help to combat the assumption that all Americans are nationalistic xenophobes who believe blindly in the superiority of their way of life.

4. Your relationships with natives are hard-earned and incredibly precious

As you no longer have local friends with whom you’ve grown up, gone to school, worked, played sport with or otherwise spent leisure time with, you are starting from the beginning with everyone you meet. You have to build on the shared experiences you generate from the moment of your arrival. You also have to be conscious that the cues you’ve used in the past to pass judgement on, for instance, how welcome you are in a gathering or how worthy a person is of your confidence and affection, might need re-calibration for your new culture. And of course, the usual general social rules surrounding not being too clingy or emotionally demanding of your nascent circle of acquaintances still apply, at a time when you’re probably feeling intensely lonely. So you tiptoe cautiously around, hopefully reaching out to people, sometimes being rebuffed or ignored and trying not to take it to heart. Eventually your weekends are booked up and you have people you can ask to the pub or the theatre or the cinema without hesitation. Or who might even desire your company enough to invite you along. Perhaps you won’t recognise that you’ve made friends until you start to be able to choose to be alone if you want to be, rather than having solitude be your default state.

I can still very clearly remember the first time that I realised I had actually succeeded in acquiring a group of trustworthy, kind, generous British friends whose company was richly rewarding. I’m not going to write about it in a public post, but suffice it to say that it reduced me to tears.

3. Your resilience and adaptability are strengthened beyond what you thought possible

It’s commonly believed that among the most stressful occurrences in adult life are moving house, changing jobs, ending relationships and having children. Immigrating lets you inflict the first two of those on yourself simultaneously whilst putting tremendous pressure on your relationships. (It doesn’t force you to have children, thank goodness.) And - assuming you’re not a refugee or victim of forced migration - you’ve volunteered for it. On the positive side, you have time to prepare as much as possible in a physical sense. If you’re moving at the behest of your employer, you likely have financial and practical relocation support. Once you’ve arrived in your new home, though, you’re largely on your own. You have to forge a way forward into the vast unfamiliarity that stretches around you on all sides. So you do it, every day. You wake up and the wave of uncertainty and panic and isolation crashes over you, but you shower and dress and you make yourself go outside into that unknown territory full of worryingly unknowable people. With the right combination of determination and luck, eventually you win yourself a measure of comfort and a sense of community.

The most difficult test of my own resilience and adaptability with respect to the decision to immigrate permanently is ongoing. Every day that passes is another day in which my children are immersed in my adopted, not native, culture. I am hopeful that the environment that my partner and I have created for them is a rich and diverse place, and that they will be able to pick and choose elements of their nationalities and associated cultures that make them kind and happy people. But only time will tell.

2. You get to redefine yourself

As you learn about your adopted culture, you can embrace the elements that you enjoy, from tiny things like putting milk in your tea and going to the pub after work (without setting off a slew of concern trolling about what must be incipient alcoholism), to big ones, like believing in the ultimate good of a socialised health care system. You can revel in the pleasure of throwing off the oppressive shackles of your native culture and past experience. You can carve out a new identity, one which integrates the desirable remnants of your old self with the traits and behaviours you admire in your new culture and are trying to emulate. While striving to understand those around you, you are becoming more accepting of yourself.

Before this descends into a morass of woo (maybe it's too late...): you also get to smoothly and relatively painlessly sever communication with those irritating acquaintances and relatives whom you could never shake off when you lived thousands of miles closer, as part of this redefinition. I’m definitely not advocating immigration as a first-choice method for selective bridge-burning, but there is a certain petty satisfaction in it being an inevitable side effect.

1. You are living your dream

I must caveat this as well: it does not apply to refugees and victims of forced migration. However, for those of us who have always wanted to live in our adopted countries, it is a hard-won accomplishment and an honour and a pleasure to be admitted into it. You have achieved a thing: immigration. It was a difficult and painful thing as well as a joyous and a valuable thing. You made a dream into your reality.

uses of the word NO

14 June 2016 13:11
deird1: the kidlet, looking oh so cute (kidlet with hat)
[personal profile] deird1
The kidlet now has three different types of "no".

I find it interesting that, ever since the kidlet started saying "no" at all, everyone has assumed that he's yelling "No! I won't do it!" at me. Which he still hasn't done, even at all. What he has been doing is this:

1) "Do you want a biscuit?" "No."

This is a very short, definite no. It's invariably a simple answer to a question of the "do you want..." variety. Very informative. SO helpful when he started doing this - suddenly our interactions involved a lot less guesswork.

2) "Do you have a wet nappy?" "Nooooo..."

Stretched out no - pretty much used as a response to nappy questions or other quests for information. This has been happening for about a month now.

3) "No, you can't play with the knives." "No, no! No, no!"

This is often accompanied by a wail of upset disbelief. The "no!" here isn't him saying no to me - it's him expressing his displeasure that I have said no to him. And it's very cute.
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
I’ve decided to kick off the 15-year LJ-versary celebration with the most negative topic from last Friday’s Unscientific Poll. That way it can only go uphill from here. Neat, huh? So, without further ado: The Five Worst Things About Being an Immigrant.

5. You get to act as sole representative of your entire country

There’s nothing quite like chilling out with a relaxing beer after work with your English friends or colleagues, and suddenly being asked to explain:
  • American gun culture
  • The Iraq war
  • Guantanamo
  • Republicans
  • Donald Trump
  • Insert incomprehensible & idiotic thing Americans have been or done that they’ve encountered most recently here

This is jarring enough, but it pales in comparison to how much worse it would be to be, say, a visibly Muslim woman and asked to explain Islamist terrorists. Or spat on. Which, by the way, I have been, by a stranger, allegedly for speaking with an American accent.

4. You get to act as sole representative of all immigrants - and none

This sounds contradictory, but stay with me.

English people can instantly recognise that I was not raised in the UK when I speak. Despite this, I have often been in close proximity of discussions about immigrants as an abstract group rather than a group of people to which I belong. This is because I (mostly) conform to Western standards as befits a woman of my age in matters of attire and verbal and visual presentation. I have a well-paid job and an English partner, and while a person I’ve only just met might not know either of these things immediately, they will naturally assume from my demeanour and confidence that I am the sort of person who will be agreeable about - to their minds - the undisputable fact that there is too much immigration into Britain because “it’s far too easy to come to this country”, a myth I am quite happy to eviscerate.

Because I spent over ten years working here on various types of permit, and during that time I could not claim benefits. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I note also that I was steadily paying into the benefits system throughout this time. I could not quit my job or be made redundant without having another job lined up, because if you do lose your job on an employer-sponsored visa, you have to find another within 28 days or leave the country. The visa rules changed every time I had to renew (every 2-3 years), so every time I had to fill in a completely revamped 75-100 page form which suddenly wanted to know if I’d had at least £800 in my various bank accounts for the past 12 months. (On the subsequent renewal, that requirement was taken away.) The waiting times for work visa renewals went from six weeks to six months between 2004 and 2012. A lot of times, a working immigrant’s work visa will run out before a renewal has been processed. As long as you still have your job, this is fine, but if you lose your job in the meantime, you’re stuffed. That’s not at all stressful, nope. Oh, and a work visa went from costing about £350 in 2004 to nearly £1000 in 2012. And then there’s permanent residency (£1000+) and naturalisation (£1000+). So immigration to Britain is not “easy”. It’s an expensive, painfully bureaucratic and difficult process.

If you speak English fluently and are white or not quite brown enough to be threatening (hi!), then you’re told “Oh, but I don’t think of you as an immigrant”. Which is 100% intended as a comforting compliment and has entirely the opposite effect on the recipient. The logistical acrobatics required to perform this act of exceptionalism allow the speaker to retain the perception of theoretical immigrants as benefit-scrounging job-thieves rather than attempting to change their views based on the actual immigrant in front of them. There you sit, having declared yourself to be a representative of immigrants to people who refuse to believe that you are one. It’s a cartload of joy, let me tell you.

3. You will never, ever fit in completely

Through careful study and behavioural modification, you can succeed in adopting enough observed traits to integrate into your new culture. You’ll probably have to, if you want to be happy during your stay. If you immigrate late enough in life, as I have done - well past childhood and even early adulthood - it’s unlikely you’ll be able to adopt perfect enough mimicry to have an undetectable accent. Even if you can, through having a very good ear and/or being a professional voice actor, you may not wish to. (I neither wish to nor am I able.) So if you decide to settle, if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford the exorbitant fees involved in repeated visa renewals, settlement fees and naturalisation, you have to accept that as soon as you open your mouth, native inhabitants of your chosen homeland will know that you were born a foreigner. You are choosing a lifetime of unease.

2. You cannot easily recover fluency with your homeland

Some immigrants, like myself, are able to accumulate sufficient sources of happiness that the aforementioned discomfort fades to a fairly mild, constant, background hum. I can also afford to make occasional visits to the land of my birth. However, as the years pass, it becomes more difficult to slide back into a set of cultural norms with which you had instinctive familiarity. When you visit your original homeland, your family and friends tell you your accent sounds British. Strangers begin to assume that you are. You forget your native vocabulary. Things that you could once do without a second thought - tip appropriately at a restaurant, greet a sales assistant in a shop, open a conversation with an innocuous comment about the price of petrol-I-mean-gas - require a conscious effort. Eventually it dawns on you that if you were to move back, you might actually not be able to recover a complete sense of belonging.

1. You have to rebuild your entire support structure

If you are lucky enough to be able to choose to immigrate as a full-grown adult - and I say “lucky” because if you’re choosing it, that means you’re not fleeing a war, you have sufficient money and skills to qualify for a dearly priced legal work visa and you’re likely fluent in the dominant language - then you are most probably signing up to living away from your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your niecephews and all of your until-now physically close friends. You must learn to navigate new tax, medical, legal and social support structures. You may even have to re-qualify to do things you’ve taken for granted for many years, like drive a car. And you have to do these things all at once, while trying to make new friends whom you’re constantly fearful of alienating because you cannot correctly read social cues, which may be blatantly obvious to natives but are often imperceptibly subtle to immigrants. I’m not exaggerating when I say that immigration is a traumatic experience, even for affluent economic migrants.

So why do we do it? Find out in the next installment: The Five Best Things About Being an Immigrant.


quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

December 2015

67 89101112


Page Summary

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Style Credit