rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

“One of the things we are figuring out is have these guys been off the coast and we haven’t seen them? Are they moving inshore for a different reason?” said Sorensen.

YES AND I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Let me know when they reach Washington.

They're known as the "unicorn of the sea", apparently, so should clearly be claimed as a symbolic animal by you (glowing) asexual people out there.

yes I know it's not the same kind of asexual okay


Jun. 21st, 2017 08:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Grenfell Tower families to be rehoused in flats at luxury complex

This doesn't cover all the displaced families. And the flats are part of the "affordable" quota developers are frequently required to build along with the luxury flats, with the usual segregation (not being allowed access to the swimming pool etc. -- in quite a few instances, developers have created buildings where the people in the "affordable" flats have a separate entrance to the building ...), so it's a lot less "luxury" than the headline implies.

And they're being bought by the Corporation of London (as opposed to paid for out of RBKC's £274 million reserves?).

Still, it's a start.

Oh, my heart (again)

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hundreds of Londoners showed up yesterday evening to hand roses to worshippers at the Finsbury Park mosque as they went in to pray:


So another morning in London happened

Jun. 19th, 2017 03:55 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Finsbury Mosque attack.

The attacker was wrestled to the ground by three members of the public; the imam of the mosque protected him (the terrorist who had just attacked his mosque) from the angry crowd until the police got there. That, I believe, is how you religion.

Grenfell dead/missing-presumed-dead now up to 79.

One of the dead is Khadija Saye, a young photographer on the verge of her big breakthrough with her work about to be exhibited as part of a group show at the Venice Biennale.

Here's the series being exhibited: Dwelling: in this space we breathe. Because it's astonishing, and pointing people to her art seems like a way to try to give at least one person a voice and identity as more than just a unit, one of 79.

I repeat my link to the North Kensington Law Centre's Grenfell fundraiser. They're only going to get a tiny fraction of the donations going to the big funds, but any donations are likely to have a disproportionate impact (especially because I'm guessing the large funds can't/won't be used to pay for legal stuff).

RBKC have been officially relieved of responsibility for responding to the disaster because of being so fucking useless.

The chief Breitbart London editor (also former adviser to Nigel Farage) is spreading flat-out lies about Emma Dent-Coad MP in order to try to smear her and Labour as somehow responsible for the fire, despite the fact that all of his statements are provably false.

In Borough Market

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
-- which is normally not open on Sundays, but was today because they're trying to make up lost days and also presumably picking up business from the Bankside Great Get Together --

-- there is a stall called Greedy Goat selling goat's milk icecream and they had liquorice-and-blackcurrant icecream and it is the best thing known to humanity. Yes very hipster I DON'T CARE.

(The Great Get Together was charming {rather like a church fete on a nationwide scale, lacking only the Church of England and the tombolas}, and exactly what we need right now, Crossbones is extraordinary, and my brain is fried by the heat and I'm going to bed now.)


Jun. 18th, 2017 01:10 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Brexit negotions start tomorrow even though we don't actually have a government, and those theoretically in charge are still pushing for leaving the customs union, ending freedom of movement, etc..

The Guardian: Big business leaders press Theresa May to rethink hard Brexit

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, says on Sunday that he would head into Monday’s Brexit talks aiming to “secure a deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom”, but signalled that the plan was still to leave the customs union and reduce immigration.

So, still "contact your MP" time.


https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/grenfell is still doubling all donations until match funds run out (and have also started releasing funds in emergency cash via the groups that have established themselves on the frontline, i.e. not via RBKC who are apparently continuing to fail to provide co-ordination, organization, or much of anything)

The Home Office are helping Mohammad Alhajali's family get to the UK, so no more need to sign that petition.

https://grenfellsupport.wordpress.com looks very useful.

North Kensington Law Centre are providing legal education and support to residents affected by the fire: their donations page -- this would be a good thing to donate to as there may be issues with the general funds being used for legal support.

RBKC have £270 million in reserves. As far as I can see, that means they could afford to buy nice property in North Kensington at market prices to rehouse the survivors.

A lot of stuff is happening right now

Jun. 16th, 2017 09:43 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong

https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/grenfell is doubling all donations (until match funds run out)



Right now, lobbying government to ensure that all survivors and people displaced by the fire are rehoused within the borough seems to be a thing worth doing. As a borough resident, I am hassling my councillors.

Also hassling Alok Sharma, as he's issued a statement that all survivors will be rehoused within the "local area" but hasn't consulted with the council or given any indication that the government will help with funding for this (either directly or by lifting the benefit caps which make it so hard for people to find housing in the borough).

I will not be hassling my new MP as she's hit the ground running (and housing and planning are her thing to begin with), but a card of support may be in order.


It's a year today since MP Jo Cox was murdered by a white supremacist terrorist. This weekend is The Great Get Together, started by her family in her memory: neighbourhood celebrations all across the UK intended to bring communities and neighbours together. I'm hoping to go with a friend to the Bankside one on Sunday (they have a "quiet zone" in Crossbones).


Borough Market is open again, and full of Londoners aggressively Defying Terrorism by purchasing delicious foods.

*secret autism signal*

Jun. 16th, 2017 09:57 am
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Okay, so [personal profile] yhlee has been diagnosed with Asperger's a few months ago and is feeling a bit *flail* and unsure what to do about it (having not been given much in the way of resources beyond a book aimed at teens).

I know there's a metric fuckton of people on the autistic spectrum on DW, so I wanted to put out a call for people to raise your hands if you're on the spectrum and don't mind talking about it, talk about how finding out about being on the spectrum changed things for you (if it did) and the process of adjusting to a diagnosis, discuss coping strategies, rec books you've found useful, websites, bloggers you follow, people on other platforms, etc..

To get the party started: for me, I think the hugest thing has been having vocabulary and concepts for things I'd never had words for before, and just knowing they're things:

sensory overload (and overload in general)

tactile defensiveness and difficulty with proximity (a HUGE issue for me personally)

meltdowns (best analysis I've found of how these happen is in Ross Greene's The Explosive Child, otherwise known as the book my mother most wishes she'd had during my childhood)

executive function (and lack thereof)

difficulty with change (and usefulness of schedules, predictability)

(also just knowing that even if I was the one who chose to change something in the first place, my brain will default to DIFFERENT BAD WRONG at first and that this doesn't actually mean the thing is necessarily BAD WRONG, I just have to allow myself time to adapt before deciding on mature consideration whether it is in fact BAD WRONG) (here is [tumblr.com profile] into-the-weeds making a social story for themselves: http://into-the-weeds.tumblr.com/post/161276884349/more-my-bed-has-changed-and-that-is-okay-it )

stims (stimmmmmmmms) and all the sensory integration toys (weighted blankets have been a gift to my life)

"special interests" (in my head I used to call them my "follies" pre-diagnosis)


Also, while I'm in "ONE OF US, ONE OF US" mode: also one of us is Micah Fletcher, the survivor of the three men stabbed in the Portland attack, the poet who made a video asking for people to re-focus on the girls who were the original targets rather than making a "white savior" narrative centred on the guys who stepped in to defend them. That guy. He's on the spectrum.
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat

The War of Silver and Ash (15883 words) by astolat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game), Witcher 3 - Fandom
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Geralt/Emhyr
Characters: Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia, Emhyr var Emreis, Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, Lady Orianna
Additional Tags: Vampires, Toussaint - Freeform, War, Nilfgaard
Series: Part 7 of Witcher works

He hadn’t come here with a contract. He’d come here to get the faces out of his head: the bloodless dead sprawled in heaps through the streets of Beauclair, the morning after the rampage Detlaff had unleashed; the blank eyes of the boy in the orphanage tilting his head to let Orianna drink from his throat, with the lullaby she’d been singing him still hanging in the air.

Wasn’t working that well so far.

Grenfell Tower fire

Jun. 14th, 2017 09:37 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Evening Standard are administering an emergency appeal (there are various others on crowdfunding sites, but I don't know which are verified):


The Guardian "what we know so far"
The Guardian liveblog

Currently the council are saying to hold off on further physical donations at the moment as all the various sports and community centres and churches acting as resources have been swamped by more than they can handle. However, anyone who wants to volunteer to help with the support effort should please contact them on 020 7361 3008 (RBKC info page) ETA: it's been changed to Grenfellvolunteers@rbkc.gov.uk .

[twitter.com profile] westwaysports (who have turned themselves into a giant emergency overnight shelter) say no more physical donations unless they ask for specific things, and that they're also currently well-supplied with volunteers.

(I don't think I can use the "poisoned trash fire" etc. tag on this one. Particularly not if it was the fucking cladding. FUCK.)

Turning off comments because this is my local area and I can't quite deal with responses on this one.

In other news, here's a petition asking for Brexit negotiations to be conducted by a multi-party committee:

rydra_wong: Assorted Watergate conspirators sing along: "We're Richard Nixon's seeecret tapes club band!" (secret tapes club band)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Vice-President has to resign before you fire the special prosecutor counsel. Everybody knows that. There's no point doing a re-enactment if you're not going to take the details seriously.

(The article points out that Trump vents and threatens a lot of shit that he doesn't actually do. Which is good, because if he did fire Mueller you guys would have a constitutional crisis on your hands now, and ... get ready in case, I guess?)

A thing I am enjoying greatly of late

Jun. 13th, 2017 10:46 am
rydra_wong: black coat, green stripy stockings, and a strip of bare skin just above the knee (knees)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
One From The Vaults, Morgan M. Page's podcast about trans history (link goes to Soundcloud, but it's also available on iTunes and all the standard podcast sources).

[personal profile] vass hooked me by quoting from the intro to each ep: "I love history because it's my favourite kind of gossip. Scandalous, sensational, and most importantly of all, not about me," and since then I've been mainlining it.

For me it hits something of the same spot as You Must Remember This (the use of music isn't as slick, but it's early days) -- Page has something of the same arch, confiding tone as Longworth, and the same ability to balance seamlessly between the gossipy and the deeply serious, to use glamour and scandal as vehicles to look at underlying social issues. Also, fascinating stories about fascinating people.

It seems well-researched, and I appreciate how much she cites her sources and notes when there are contradictory accounts or vagueness about the historical facts. She's very thoughtful about the ways in which people's sense of their own identities may or may not fit neatly into our current categories.

But basically, really good stories, recommended to anyone who has an interest in trans/genderqueer issues and/or gender issues in general and/or feminist history and/or history in general and/or really interesting stories told really well.

Note: given that trans people have been subjected to such spectacularly awful treatment through history, it should not be a surprise that some of the episodes involve mention of rape, child sexual abuse, violence, and murder. However, it's never been graphic and I've never felt blind-sided by it (YMMV).

Feministing: The Feministing Five: Morgan M Page -- interesting interview with Page about her goals and why she chose the particular style of the podcast

The OFTV Patreon
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian exclusive: Donald Trump's state visit to Britain put on hold

Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.

The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.

For quite some time, indeed. I'm disappointed I won't get a chance to shout at him in person, but OTOH it's fucking hilarious that he's refusing to come if the nasty protestors are going to be mean to him, and we should all feel proud of ourselves.

(Especially the gentleman who ballooned him.)


Jun. 11th, 2017 10:39 am
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Not unfairly, campaigners for abortion rights in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are being like "oh, NOW you give a shit about the DUP being appalling?"

From the Guardian liveblog (currently on page 2, I think):

Irish pro-choice activists protesting in Westminster say their own campaign has received a surge of interest amid concern over the prospect of the DUP propping up a minority Tory government.

“A lot of of new people have been getting in touch and some of them turned up today,” said Lorna Kelly, a member of the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, which advocates the repeal of laws prohibiting abortion in the Irish Republic and for the extension of rights to Northern Ireland, where laws on terminations are far stricter than elsewhere in the UK.

Jane Wells, a London resident from Belfast who is on the Northern Ireland subgroup of the campaign, said many politically engaged people in Britain only now appeared to be waking up to the situation in Northern Ireland.

“The DUP are the trailblazers in limited access to abortion rights in Northern Ireland and, as a result of this election, women who need to have access to free, safe and legal abortion there won’t be represented at Westminster,” said Wells.

“Some of us have been very frustrated for a while about the relative lack of support that we feel we have received from some feminists in Britain. Although there have been some good and very high-profile exceptions, we have felt left down.

“We need people not just to be writing to their Tory MPs about the DUP now, but also to focus on the situation which has existed in Northern Ireland.”

They have a point.

In less demanding and more uplifting news, lookit some of the new baby MPs -- better than kittens and puppies! They're so diverse! And fluffy!

Popcorn on this side of the Atlantic!

Jun. 11th, 2017 10:00 am
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: May’s plan to govern with DUP support thrown into confusion: No 10 announces deal has been reached, but is then forced to backtrack after Democratic Unionists say negotiations are continuing


(Side note: the sole plus of the DUP is that they do want a soft border in Ireland, which -- as I understand it -- would require staying in the customs union. Otherwise, they are homophobic anti-choice creationists, and doing a deal with them would potentially seriously fuck over the peace agreement in Northern Ireland, even more than it's already been fucked.)

The petition mentioned, calling on May to resign rather than do a "confidence deal" with the DUP.

A former media adviser to May has said she is now "alone and friendless", so let's all enjoy that.

The Guardian: 'Drop hard Brexit plans', leading Tory and Labour MPs tell May

Suggestion: especially if you have a Conservative MP, tomorrow would probably be a good time to start calling/e-mailing to say loudly that May went to the country explicitly to get a mandate for her vision of a (hard) Brexit and was explicitly rejected, and demand something with cross-party support.

Things are changing so fast it's hard to come up with action suggestions because it may all have changed by tomorrow. But that seems like one.

Though I will probably not be trying that hard to contact my MP as I doubt she has an office yet and is probably still hastily trying to change all her life plans for the next five years. I have set up a TheyWorkForYou alert so I can get automatically notified of her parliamentary activities, though.

(Thing I discovered with her predecessor: if you send a letter saying roughly "I noticed because I got a notification about it that you said [X] in the Commons and am SO GLAD to see you speaking out about this issue in an incredibly occasional token way, coupled with obediently voting the shitty party line on it; I hope that like me you will be OUTRAGED that [Tory adviser] said [incredibly offensive ableist thing], which expresses the basic views behind [latest government attack on people with mental illnesses]," you get mega attention.)

Also Nigel "Lord Haw-Haw" Farage is threatening to return as leader of UKIP, so here's the link to Hope Not Hate's "suing Nigel Farage for libel" fund:


As well as their usual anti-far-right work, they also seem to have done significant work on getting out the youth vote during this election, so may be a good group to keep an eye on/support for generally useful activity.
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I almost ran out of the house last night to join the hastily-arranged evening shouting outside Downing Street, but did not because a) my brain, and b) its being past my bedtime by the time I found out about it anyway.

I'm not on Facebook (which is where these things seem to get organized), so if anyone knows of any scheduled shouting, please give me a heads-up.


Jun. 9th, 2017 09:15 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong


I mean, I'm sure tomorrow May and the DUP will be busy pouring petrol on the poisoned trash fire of the country, but right now I'm just going to take a moment to try to process.

(And I mean, this is exciting but I'm also being swept by a wave of anxiety because this is all so far off what anyone realistically expected, and also we still have a fucking Tory government to deal with. My brain is shorting out. I'm going to bed now.)
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(Too fuzzy and shocked to even focus on the big picture right now, but a hung parliament is way beyond anything I was letting myself hope for, and I am prepared to take back at least a third of the bad things I've said about Jeremy Corbyn. And a Tory-DUP government could be as much of a fucking horrorshow as a Tory-only government. But damn. I can't even really think about it all yet. Focusing on the small self-centred thing because it's one of the few bits of the picture I can see clearly at this stage.)

Context: all my life I've been registered in Kensington (or Kensington and Chelsea -- it's been re-shuffled a bit), and all my life it's been a Tory safe seat (the only time it's been close was in 1988, where the gap was 815 votes -- otherwise, it's been in the multiple thousands). And I have always voted, having been brought up to believe you always vote.

(And yes, I know that in a democracy your vote always matters as part of the overall blah-blah-blah and many grains of sand etc.. Still. It takes a certain perverse stubbornness to go on voting with no expectation ever that the person you're voting for has a hope of winning.)

Kensington is currently the one constituency left undeclared; they suspended the count because after multiple recounts, tellers were falling asleep at the tables, and will be resuming once they have enough fully conscious staff for any sort of accuracy.

Whoever ends up winning the constituency, that means that it's come down to a very, very small number of votes.