megpie71
megpie71
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Vandals attack Sikh temple by spraying anti-Islamic slurs on walls

Found here on the ABC

As a Western Australian, I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Minister for Education to amend the religious education curriculum as follows:

Taking the following set of religions -

* Christianity
* Judaism
* Islam
* Hinduism
* Sikhism
* Buddhism

Cover the following topics:

* Key theological and doctrinal concepts (eg major deity/deities, major prophets/philosophers/theorists, major holidays and the story behind them)
* Key internal splits (for example, in Christianity you'd be looking the difference between Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christianity; in Judaism, between Reform and Orthodox Judaism; in Islam, the differences between the Sunni and the Shia; etc etc etc) and the reasons given for these splits.
* Worship practices past and present.
* Conversion and Exit practices (is it possible to convert to the religion; if so how; is it possible to leave the religion; if so how; what penalties exist for leaving the religion; etc)
* Places of worship, and iconography (How to spot a place of worship for $FAITH from the outside, if you're so daft you can't read the signs at the front gate).

Hopefully such changes to the curriculum would at least ensure future generations of bigoted nincompoops will be able to target the correct places of worship with their idiotic scrawl. This will prevent us all from being embarrassed by their combination of both bigotry and ignorance.

(One or the other of bigotry or ignorance I can handle. Both at once... well, there's something which needs addressing there).

EDITED 7.35am 30 OCT 2014 - post in haste, edit at leisure.

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Current Mood: irritated irritated
Why I Don't Trust This Government

The Abbott government has decided they're going to back down on their proposals to get jobseekers to look for up to forty jobs per month (10 jobs per week, double the current maximum). This is being greeted with sighs of relief in some quarters, and in others by comments along the line of "drop the other shoe, why don't you?". I'm one of the latter.

I'm one of the latter because, as I mentioned on the ABC's comments on the article yesterday, I remember the sighs of relief which accompanied their late-April announcement they weren't going to be seeking a $5 co-payment for GP visits... which turned to shrieks of outrage when they brought in plans for a $7 co-payment for GP visits instead. Now, the word is they've taken this step on receipt of community feedback, but the strong impression is the majority of the feedback they're listening to is from the business community - and the business community basically screamed blue murder about it because it would have meant they'd be inundated with job applications from people who were essentially seeking to meet their weekly targets, whether or not they were eligible for the jobs in question.

So let's be clear on this: the Abbott Liberal Government has not given up on plans to punish the unemployed for being unemployed, and they have not given up on the notion of making all forms of welfare more onerous and unpleasant than they already are - they are neo-liberal ideologues to a man (and woman), and they strongly believe being poor is something which intrinsically deserves punishment. There's already talk of extending income management, and making it a compulsory requirement for receiving welfare - or in other words, your welfare payment will come on a specified card, rather than being deposited into your bank account; it will only be able to be spent on certain things, and you will only be able to buy these things in certain locations; and if you aren't on state housing, it's unlikely your landlord is going to accept it as payment for your rent. They haven't backed down on the six month waiting period for people under the age of thirty, and they certainly haven't backed down on the notion of extending work for the dole.

Quite frankly, I'm still waiting on them bringing back the notion of workhouses.

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Current Mood: cranky cranky
Current Music: The sound of traffic outside
Our Wonderful Government[1]

The latest bit of brilliance[1] on the part of our glorious[1] elected leaders is to continue doubling down on the unemployed. In the next edition of "the floggings will continue until unemployment decreases" thinking, there's a brilliant plan in the works to have the unemployed required to submit up to forty applications for jobs per month (ten applications per week), starting in July next year.

The current maximum rate is ten applications per fortnight, or one application per day.

On top of this, if you're between the ages of 18 and 30, you'll be required to sign up for 25 hours per week of work for the dole; if you're between 30 and 49, you'll be required to put in 15 hours a week; if you're over 50, you get to volunteer for it if you want to.

Have some references:

Unemployed to be forced to apply for 40 jobs a month as part of $5 billion dole overhaul

Industry concerned about Coalition's 40-job-applications-a month plan

Work for dole program to be expanded to include almost all jobseekers

Work For The Dole Doesn't Work And Never Has

Now, as I mentioned in my post of 25 JUN 2014, we're already seeing an increase in the experience required in order to get a job - it's gone up to an average of 2 - 5 years recent experience in role (or equivalent) since the budget in early May. I have a suspicion by July next year, we might be looking at a minimum of five to seven years recent experience in role to be considered. Or in other words "so much for working your way up the ranks".

The business community has already spoken up about this one, concerned they're going to be flooded with applications from people who are mainly concerned with getting together their numbers and meeting their targets. Already, employers have largely ceased replying to application letters unless you're a successfully short-listed candidate - a number of ads are saying explicitly that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Or in other words, applying for these jobs is a bit like Don Marquis' lovely metaphor regarding publishing poetry in the US market - he compared that to dropping a rose petal into the Grand Canyon, and listening for the echo of it hitting bottom.

I find this depressing enough when I'm only required to apply for five jobs a fortnight.

One of the more interesting snarky suggestions on the Guardian's comments is sending regular applications and query letters to the offices of Liberal Party MPs and Senators. I'm strongly tempted, I must admit. Just write up a form letter, put together a brief database of names and addresses, and set the silly thing going on a weekly basis. I'd need fifteen candidates a week to bring me up to the level required for forty a month, and it'd be almost cathartic after another week of combing through jobs databases trying to find something suitable to apply for. Oh, and just think, they could bask in the warm glow of helping another Australian do their share of the "lifting" for the economy. What a pity I'm on the wrong side of the country to realistically send applications or query letters to Messrs Abbott, Hockey and Abetz[2].


[1] Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
[2] No, I'm not being sarcastic. I'd love to try out applying for a job in their offices anyway - and see how fast I get sacked for having left-wing political opinions. Maybe I could try a spin on the US Religious Right trick of suing them for discrimination, the same way anti-abortion types are trying to sue for the right to work in family planning organisations...

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Current Mood: irritated irritated
The Law of Unexpected Consequences

There's a lot being said about what the detrimental effects of the government's proposed efforts to make young unemployed people "earn or learn" will be for the economy. I'd like to point out an effect it's having right now, before the legislation has even been passed (it was introduced to the House of Representatives this week).

In the last few weeks, I've been noticing an up-tick in the number of jobs which are effectively demanding applicants have between two and five years experience, minimum, in the position they're applying for. Or in other words, it's suddenly becoming a lot harder to break into the job market unless you have experience. It's also suddenly a lot harder to trade up within the job market.

Now, I'm theorising here, but I suspect this is due to an influx of CVs and applications from people who are under thirty, and who are desperate to get employed before the Budget legislation is passed through the Senate (because they have to work on the presumption it's going to be passed unaltered; pray for amendments, but plan for the full horror). Employers are getting flooded with applications for any job they offer, and as a result, they're tightening up their selection criteria. The first thing to go is the option to take on someone who might need a bit of training. The end result, of course, is experience criteria get tagged onto just about any job.

Problem is, a certain amount of labour market participation is a condition of getting Newstart allowance here in Australia. The general level is an expectation of putting in applications for ten jobs a fortnight (twenty a month). One of the lovely conditions being proposed for younger unemployed people (i.e. those thirty years old or younger) is a minimum of forty job applications a month, or ten a week, whether or not they're receiving a payment. Which means employers are going to be confronted by more people applying for jobs they definitely aren't qualified for, and will correspondingly tighten up the selection criteria even further, making it even harder for inexperienced job seekers to get into employment.

I would venture a guess Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey aren't expecting either of these results. I'd also venture a guess they don't particularly give a monkey's one way or t'other. They certainly don't seem to give a damn about all the job losses which are occurring (Mr Abbott said earlier this week he considered his government to be "the Australian worker's best friend", which argues either a thoroughly warped definition of friendship, or a possibly psychotic level of detachment from the consensus reality).

[Before anyone says anything about this: yes, I'm aware job ads tend to have criteria which are listing the ideal, and employers tend not to find their ideal employee anyway. Yes, I'm aware I should be applying for anything which seems to even vaguely fit my abilities and skills, and not worry about the experience criteria. But really, can anyone please explain to me how doing so is any different, at my end of the equation, to buying a lotto ticket every week?]

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/43696.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

location: The dole queue
Current Mood: frustrated frustrated
I Love My Fsckin' ISP...

... and it appears my ISP loves fsckin' me, too.

Our (phone and) internet connection went out on Thursday afternoon (around 12 noon to 1pm). Given our nyetwork at home tends to be somewhat picky about matters of temperature, and also given Thursday was a fairly sultry and humid day, I figured the most likely problem was that one out of the modem or the router had decided to throw up their little hands in horror at the heat, and collapse. It's happened before, and Himself keeps them in a cupboard without much air circulation in the hottest room in the house (his bedroom). So I opened the cupboard, and being unable to reach the silly things (they're up on a shelf) I decided to wait for Himself to get home.

Once he got home, he did a few diagnostics, determined the problem wasn't with the router or the modem, and also determined (by the highly technical expedient of picking up the phone) that we didn't have a dial tone. So, pick up the phone and call up our ISP.

We're using iinet in WA. Just so's people know.

Saga below the fold ) we now have temporary internets.

And himself is no longer twitching and shaking... as much. The connection is via Orac, so he has to figure out a way of getting Orac and his PC to talk to one another (and share the internet connection nicely).  But that's minor stuff.

I have no fewer than four copies of the iinet technical support customer satisfaction survey in my inbox (I'm tempted to forward them on to Himself so he can have the joy of replying to them). 

Oh, and I've worked out an update for that lovely quote by Susan Ertz: "Millions long for immortality who don't know how to cope with an internet outage."

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/40313.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: optimistic optimistic
Vaguely disjointed ramble.

So, I seriously need to do something about my anxiety problems.

I've spent the past five weeks of the election campaign getting steadily tighter and tighter wound, envisioning all the various ways the next three years can go catastrophically wrong. It's not that hard, given access to a number of news feeds - all it requires is a look at the US and Europe, and figuring out how the parties currently in charge of Australia are going to implement austerity this time around. Because, let's face it, they're going to implement austerity whether we need it or not. The Proprietors want it, so we're getting it. Less government "interference", less "handouts" (particularly if you're in the lower income brackets) and less government service. Goody goody gumdrops.

Anyway, I've spent the past five weeks dreading what's going to be happening. Yesterday, I did the best I could against the onslaught. Now I'm stuck with the results of the past five weeks, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I've spent most of today feeling exhausted - physically, mentally, and psychologically. I really just want to curl up and go to sleep, and hopefully not have to wake up again. All that wound up tension is unwinding, because there's really nothing I can do at this point. I have a feeling I'm going to be having another depressive crash as a result, lucky me.

But really, I need to figure out a way of avoiding getting into these anxious states in the first place. It seems to be all tied in with the amount of feeling I do - I seem to feel things too deeply for my own comfort a lot of the time. I can't be detached, or isolated. I care too much, and that caring leaves me vulnerable, because the caring makes me angry, and the anger makes me anxious, or depressed when it goes sour. It's like I was born without the top layer of skin - I'm all raw, all the time, and all exposed nerve endings. So yeah, I can see why the SSRIs help, even though what they do isn't to actually stop me feeling - at best what they do is put a delay between the contact and the reaction (meaning I stay in contact with the harmful stuff longer, and it hurts me more before I pull away). But it slows the impact of the hurt, makes it possible for me to react to it.

I dunno. I think what I need is some way of not caring about things as much, of not having as much passion about the world, of not having everything so close to the surface. But on the other hand, that's ME. I've always been like this; it's part of what makes me who I am. Would I still be me if I stopped reacting so readily to things?

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/37332.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: vaguely depressed vaguely depressed
The State of Things 07 APR 2013

So, just a bit of an update to let everyone who's interested (and anyone who's reading this) know where we're standing at present.

* Our car has just returned from having two CV joints and the muffler replaced (courtesy of Steve's parents, who heard about the problems and offered to pay for the work to be done by the mechanic they've been using for years).
* We have to be out of our current rental accommodation by Monday 15 APR 2013 at the absolute latest. We've asked about getting the lease extended by a week, but apparently the owners have contractors coming in to do things pretty much immediately after that, so we were turned down.
* We had an application in with a real estate agent to rent a 2-bedroom flatlet in Mandurah (Silver Sands area) at $200 per week. We heard back from them regarding whether our application has been successful yesterday - it hadn't.
* On Monday (08 APR 2013), we're heading down with Steve's parents to visit some friends of theirs who have access to some storage space in Yunderup. If it looks okay, we've then got somewhere to store all our excess furniture and goods.
* On Friday (12 APR 2013), we're getting a removalist to move our gear out of our current location in Parmelia. Current destination for us is the caravan at my parents place for a week or so, and then the downstairs rooms of Steve's parents place.
* We'll have to spend at least the week from 12 APR to 22 APR 2013 staying either in my parents' caravan, or in a motel room, because Steve's folks are expecting one of their sons and their grandson to visit for that week from NSW.
* The plan at present is that Steve's folks are planning to do a bit of a tour of various friends and rellies during the winter (sort of doing the grey nomad thing, only in a bit more comfort, from what I can tell) and they'll use us as house-sitters during the meanwhile.
* We're still both on the dole. Steve's looking for work. So am I, officially (although given I can only do about three days a week at most before the stress starts getting to me, unofficially I'm pretty damn certain I really should be looking into the various hoops I'd need to jump through for Disability Support Pension to see whether I'd be able to get it).
* I've wound up withdrawing from study (again!) because while I thought at the beginning of the semester that I'd be able to cope with everything, it turns out that I'm not. I would have had a major essay due about a week from now, and I really wasn't coping with keeping up with things for that, so rather than try and fail (which the uni tends to get a bit icky about) I decided to just withdraw. My withdrawal was after the HECS census date, so I'll still be paying for this attempt at the unit. To be deadly honest, I couldn't give a monkey's. With regard to paying off HECS, it's a case of first I need a job, then I need a job which is going to be paying me more than the HECS repayment threshold for three days a week, and then I'll start worrying about the size of the debt I have to pay off.
* In the meantime, we're in the process of packing things up, handing on the excess to the Salvos or the Sammies[1], and either selling or Freecycling the stuff which is in good enough nick to get rid of. If anyone in the Perth area has a whole heap of packing boxes they want to get rid of, we're on the lookout for them, since it's pretty clear we're not going to be able to fit our entire household into the boxes we have even after thinning things out. Contact me by email (megpie71 at yahoo dot com dot au) if you're able to offer 'em.
* Either way, from about 12 APR 2013 until we have a fixed abode again, don't expect to be hearing from me - 'net access is going to be patchy at best, I suspect. I have plans to drop in to the nearest Centrelink to wherever we wind up on Monday 15th and use their self-service facilities to make my fortnightly income report (because hey, they've got them handy), as well as bringing them up to date with either our new address, or the best available postal address for us.


[1] Good Samaritan Industries - a charity group which provides a lot of jobs for the intellectually less abled in the WA region. They do a lot of work reprocessing second hand clothing.

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Current Mood: stressed stressed
I'm F I N E...

... and we all know that stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, right? Right.

What's stressing me out 15 MAR 2013

* Have to go to Centrelink and hand in paperwork - don't want to deal with bureaucratic bullshit
* Scared we're not going to be able to get enough money from Centrelink between the witholdings for the debt and everything else to afford food and rent simultaneously.
* Scared this is going to count against us when we're looking for accommodation
* Deadline for accommodation is coming up faster and faster
* Behind on assignments
* Haven't been taking meds, because taking meds falls off the bottom of the list very early on when I'm even vaguely stressed
* Don't have enough meds to last more than about a fortnight
* Getting more meds would entail going back to the doctors and I haven't been since about mid-December
* Don't want to go back to the doctor and have to explain why I haven't been taking meds, why I haven't been back to see them since December, and why I didn't book that blasted ultrasound
* Don't want to have to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining why the hell I don't like making phone calls (eg to book appointments for a thyroid ultrasound) because I know it sounds insane and stupid and idiotic and pointless.
* Don't want to have to damn well get back on the medication-go-round for the depression because I know it won't work more than temporarily.
* Haven't done anywhere near enough work on my assignments and study for uni
* Haven't done anything about looking for new accommodation since about Monday
* Haven't been keeping up with the housework
* Feel like I need to be keeping up with all of these things and I haven't got the energy or inclination
* Didn't eat anything yesterday apart from that sandwich and the spring rolls and the coffee
* Don't want to be scolded for not having eaten
* Don't want to cook
* Suspect my period is starting
* Nerve in my right shoulder/upper arm/forearm is trapped *again* and it's giving me gyp
* Scared I'm breaking down again
* Don't want to be homeless, and really can't see how we're going to avoid that at this point
* Steve doesn't seem to understand any of this, so I'm getting next to no support, and what support I'm getting isn't really the useful stuff
* Feel isolated and crazy.
* If I go to the doctors to talk about not taking the meds, they tell me to take the meds, and when I explain I'd like to but my brain isn't processing the request properly they tell me to get Steve to remind me, except Steve doesn't seem to take his OWN meds regularly so why the merry hell would he be willing to nag me about mine, never mind my typical reaction to nagging is to run screaming in the other direction. So how this is supposed to help is beyond me.
* There's so much to be done with regards to packing and decluttering and clearing things out and all the rest and I have no idea how to deal with it all.
* I don't know whether there's a clothing reprocessing group (like Salvos or Sammies) which is likely to take the stuff which is piled up in the spare room - all the shirts and clothes I've worn through over the years - and be able to salvage the usable cloth from them, and I don't want to just chuck everything in the bin because there's still something that someone could use in there I'm sure and I don't want to waste it. So it sits there and doesn't get dealt with and sits there and reproaches me because I'm a bad housekeeper and I'm lousy at being useful and it's just THERE squatting in the corner like some kind of malign Buddha.
* Don't know whether the djembe and the bodhran would be resellable (presume they would) and don't know what a reasonable price to ask is, so I'm scared of over-asking and getting no offers, or under-asking and having people laugh at me, and if I just say "make me an offer" I'm going to look like a fool.
* Don't think we can afford to live on foodsicles and takeaway much longer (if indeed we can now) and quite honestly that's all I feel like eating because cooking means I have to cook and clean and shop and function and I'm not functioning and it's all too bloody hard and why can't Steve do some of this?
* I know I'm dropping my bundle, and I feel useless because of it, because I should be able to HANDLE THIS, DAMN IT. But I can't and I can't even make it an amusing post to put up on Dreamwidth because who wants to see me exploding into a billion pieces ... again?
* I haven't done anything for HaT since about the end of January, and the rate I'm going I probably won't do anything for them any time soon and I feel like I'm letting people down when I do that.
* I have no idea where to start with dealing with any of this. (Well, okay, I tell a minor lie - and I'm a horrible person for that, I know - I've taken my meds for today, and I've taken a couple of neurofen to deal with the pain of the pinched nerve). It's all just there and it needs to be dealt with and I desperately need to do some washing today because I have one pair of clean underwear to my name and and and and ... and I just want to go back to bed and hide.
* But I can't go back to bed and hide because I have to go to Centrelink today to hand in paperwork and I don't want to because I don't want to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit, and we're back where I started the list, time to go round again.

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Current Mood: melting down melting down
Cranky and Bitchy. Beware

So yesterday was Australia Day, or as I am now nicknaming it in my head, the Bogan Festival of Flags. Some bright spark in our area decided they were going to have a home fireworks display. Which they started doing at about 1pm, and carried on irregularly throughout the afternoon until about 7pm. Some other little darlings decided that our cul-de-sac street was a good one to hoon up and down on their dirt bikes at irregular loud intervals.

I react badly to unexpected loud noises. They rattle inside my head, and I wind up getting very stressed by them. If it's been a stressful week for me already (which it had been - re-enrolling for this year at uni had required three separate visits and a very angry performance in the student centre to get things sorted out, which I was not impressed by; then I went shopping on Friday which was more stress again) that kind of thing catapults me into full-on overload mode, and I go straight to depressed and stay there. It was one of the things I disliked about living in Canbrrra (where private fireworks are permitted on certain public holidays), and one of the things I was quite happy to leave behind when I left the place.

Never mind that private usage of fireworks in Western Australia is something which is illegal since 1967 (and was made so due to bushfire risk - a fireworks event permit refers to the Bush Fires Act of 1954, which probably has something to say about it all). Never mind that this street we're living on is close to a couple of small "nature strips" which are currently tinder-dry, due to the prolonged drought.

I called in the performance to the police last night, and wrote an email to the council reporting the whole business. I suspect the idiots who were doing it didn't have a permit from the council, and quite frankly I hope they enjoy the fines and the charges.

So, I'm still cranky, I'm still bitchy, and I'm still annoyed despite having got an extra few hours sleep (slept in until 10am today, which is unusual for me in summer). I still have the beginnings of a headache, and I'm still not in a fit mood to deal with anything else sentient. Sounds like the perfect time to go thump kobolds in D&D Online.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/34659.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Falling off the edge of the world... again

Okay, so Christmas day was the start of a rather lengthy heatwave for us here in Perth WA - we've been experiencing temperatures over 38C (the old 100F) every day since 25 December, and they're not expected to go down until the 2nd of January next year. Yay.

I'm coping fine. I'm back to my standard "hot weather" pattern of waking up at around about dawn each day to deal with the business of closing up the blinds on the laundry doorway, and opening the front and side doors so that the cool night air can circulate through the house before the day starts to heat up. Then I dress in a very light voile sarong (and not much else) and spend the day sitting in front of the computer or the XBox with the water cooler going. Unfortunately, our water cooler is a fairly old model (it came west with us from Canbrrra) and it's given up on the water-cooling bit - the various cloth bits drape down into the reservoir, but they aren't wicking anything up any more. So these days it's just a very fancy fan. Still works fine in conjunction with a squirty bottle of water, though. Mist self down with squirty bottle, sit in front of the fan, and I cool off very nicely.

However, our nice neat replacement server decided it wasn't having with all this hot weather. It started sulking on Wednesday night, and when I tried to reboot it on Thursday morning, it gave us the standard "my hardware isn't playing nice" disgruntled beeps. Memory problems. Himself tried fiddling about with the RAM, but it didn't help; he suspected either the RAM wasn't working at all, or there might have been a problem with the motherboard.

So, today he went out and got another server for us (rather than spend hours chasing around in 40C temperatures to try and find a computer parts specialist who had the right bits to replace all this stuff) - or rather, he purchased a second-hand PC from someone who was getting rid of an old box, and set that up to do the Internet thing.

With any luck, we're back on the 'net...

*crosses fingers*

(Late news: new box will not boot without a keyboard. BIOS fiddlery undertaken.)

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/34554.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: hot hot
Falling Off The Edge Of The World

Soooo...

Tuesday night, we had a bit of a storm around our place. Or, to put it more bluntly, our area received a lake via air drop (always fun).

Long Story Below )

However, as a result of all the futzing around, and the lightning flying everywhere and all the rest, our old gateway server had decided it was all too much, and died on us. So yesterday, I had the fun chore of testing the two older PCs my partner had sitting around waiting to be turned into something, and finding out whether they'd boot at all (the original plan was to switch out the power supply from one of them into the existing gateway box).

EDITED TO ADD: Mumblefrotz, gotta remember not to hit enter on the autocomplete for the tags - Dreamwidth isn't LibreOffice.

Anyway, we wound up finding one of the boxen worked just fine (it used to be my PC, but the USB ports started playing up on it, and when I got my former laptop, it sort of went by the board) and with the addition of an extra network card (one to connect to the network, one to connect to the router) it should work just fine as a gateway box itself. All we had to do was install a copy of the gateway software on it (which was an adventure in itself - would you believe the boot loader for the gateway software didn't recognised USB keyboards as existing, even though the BIOS for the machine did, and the eventual software itself does? Fortunately Himself has an old keyboard with the PS2 connectors - the round ones which only work one way up - rattling around in his pile of miscellaneous PC junk) and get it up and running.

Installation last night, final configuration touches today, and now we're back onto the internet.

In between times, I've written approximately 10,000 words of a D&D campaign novelisation. How did people procrastinate successfully before there was an internet? I've forgotten...

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/34054.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: relieved relieved
A Brief Marvel Avengers Movie-Verse Rant

I swear, Darcy Lewis' middle names must be "Mary" and "Sue".

That is all.

(This rant brought to you courtesy of a lot of Avengers Movie-verse fanfic, from various different authors, where Darcy Lewis gets to be a sorta-sidekick-in-training for just about everyone on the Avengers team, and apparently has the super-secret superpower of superhero wrangling. I keep meaning to watch the Thor movie just to find out whether her apparent ability to be a useful plot device under all circumstances is canon or not).

(Cross-posted to [community profile] fanficrants. Apologies for any duplications on reading lists.)

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/32226.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy
On Being "Socially Awkward"

In the wake of the Readercon incident, and the general rush of convention season in the USA, I feel like addressing the regular refrain which springs up about people who are being accused of sexual harassment at conventions (particularly within the geek community).

This refrain is, of course, that the harasser (particularly a serial harasser) is "socially awkward" or has "poor social skills".

To which I say: bullshit. Absolute and utter crap. I do not believe this in the least.

Why not? Because their behaviour argues otherwise.

It takes a lot of social skill to develop a set of behaviours which are both threatening to the recipients and innocuous to disinterested bystanders. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to perform these behaviours in a public setting on a regular basis without drawing attention to oneself. Choosing your victim is a skill which takes practice and social awareness. So does choosing your friends in order to be believed when you tell people you're very, very sorry and it won't happen again (or at least, not until your friends have forgotten the last time).

Serial harassers aren't socially awkward. If they were socially awkward, they wouldn't be the menace they are. On the contrary, they're socially skilled, socially competent, and well practiced in what they're doing. They know where the lines are, and they're adept at walking them. They have enough empathy to figure out what's going to upset their victim, and enough callous self-interest not to care.

Genuine social awkwardness will manifest itself in all environments, in all settings, and around all people. The genuinely socially awkward person won't have many friends, and will have problems fitting into normal social routines under any circumstance. They won't be charming. They won't be popular. They will creep out people of both sexes, and all gender preferences, because they will be obvious. Genuine social awkwardness is rarer than you'd think.

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Current Mood: infuriated infuriated
We're Going To Look Very Silly Dying Of Nothing At All

Couch potato lifestyle kills 5 million per year

PSA: People who don't drink, don't smoke, exercise regularly, don't take excessive physical risks, eat a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet, never let their BMI get outside the healthy range for their height, and have no history of heart disease, diabetes or cancer in their family background will still die.

Reducing inactivity by 10 per cent could eliminate more than half a million deaths every year - no, it won't. At best, it will delay these deaths. It will not "eliminate" them, because death is a natural process, part of the life cycle, and at last count, the number of immortal persons inhabiting this planet was approximately zero.

We will all die. I figure that by being the fat, lazy slob that I am, I'm at least making it easy on the medical practicioner who eventually has to fill in my death certificate.

I also suspect there are going to be a lot of rather affronted corpses over the next few decades - all these people who did all the right things all their lives, and yet still died - because the medical profession and the media have been selling this myth that death is somehow a preventable disease instead of being a developmental stage like puberty.

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Current Mood: irritated irritated
All right, Orac, where did you put it?

I want my "My recent Documents" menu back. It was right there on the start menu in WinXP, so I could be working on a document hidden about six layers deep in the directory structure, and go straight back to it. No need to create shortcuts on the desktop, no need to have multiple copies for ease of access - just click on a link in a menu, and back I went to the document I was working on yesterday (provided, of course, that I hadn't done something daft like clearing out the menus).

Windows 7 doesn't appear to have that. So in order to get back to the stuff I'm working on, I have to chase them through the directory system every single fscking time. Instead of just having the "My Documents" folder sitting open to the top level so I can look just about anywhere in my rather convoluted hierarchy of things and bits and pieces, I have to damn well be paging back and forward and round about in circles. It's irritating.

I want my "My Recent Documents" menu option back. Very much.

I'd also like to be able to have the icons on the desktop a little smaller, since they're currently bloody huge. 7 icons to the short side of the screen? Really, Microsoft? This is with things at their smallest resolution, too. Not fun. I don't WANT my desktop covered over with cutesy little pictures of shortcuts to every single damn thing. Seriously, each of those shortcuts is approximately 4 times the size of the XP version; on a screen with better technology than the previous laptop, and with a much better graphics card, why am I suddenly looking at the Large Print edition of Windows?

Actually, comes to that, with a better processor, a better graphics card, and a whole heap of newer hardware, why am I suddenly looking a drastically less screen real estate in the first flippin' place? I want to be able to read PDF files, thanks, without having to print the fsckers out at great expense. This means I don't want to have to be constantly scrolling back and forth and hither and yon in order to view the top and the bottom of each column. Seriously, things keep up at this rate, I'm going to be buying another monitor just so I can have it in portrait orientation to read documents on.

I want Windows XP back. Windows 7 sucks.

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Current Mood: cranky cranky
State of the Meg... the New 'Puter Edition.

So, last night, around 9pm, my computer decided to die on me. I have a 1500 word lab report due tomorrow. I have a 2000 word essay due Wednesday, and a 12 part online quiz that needs to be taken before then. So I'm sure you'll understand why I had a bit of a meltdown as a result. We're not sure precisely what died on the old 'puter - my guess is it's either the hard drive or the battery or the power systems. All I know is that when I try to boot the silly thing, it bleeps, switches itself off, switches itself back on again, the CD drive whirs, and then it fails to boot at all. Gave me an IRQL Less than or equal, but of course that vanished before I could actually note anything sensible off it too.

Anyway, Himself offered his spare laptop as a substitute. Problem is, his spare laptop hasn't actually had Windows activated on it yet - he's been sitting with it running non-stop for a couple of months without actually doing anything useful about this. Can we say "no help whatsoever" kiddies? I knew we could.I

Cue meltdown.

I begged a couple of minutes on Himself's PC in order to write up some very rapid emails to a couple of unit coordinators, basically explaining that ohshit, the PC had died, but I was pretty certain I still had all the data I needed, but ummm, I might not be able to get everything in on time, so sorry.

Then this morning, I did some fast research (again, via Himself's computer) and headed down to J&B HiFi down in Rockingham, where I picked up the new computer. J&B won out over Dick Smith because the J&B website actually has all the computers organised by PRICE - so I could see they had a good solid range of options available in my price point, as well as having a lot of possibilities to choose from.

Meet Orac, folks. He's a 15" Samsung laptop, with a nice schmick "no messy fingerprints" case and all the latest and greatest bits and pieces (plus go-faster stripes on the graphics card, if what the salesdude told me is correct - I just walked in there with a list of requirements, a budget, and a bad case of "gotta get this fixed NOW!"). I lucked out - J&B were having a sale, so I got him 15% cheaper. But the name is deliberate. Orac here is small and pretty, has heaps of power under the hood, and blinkenlights galore. He's also cranky, bossy, and determined to be in charge of everything.

I spent most of the day doing the standard install and reboot polka as I found drivers and software and you name it for all my various bits and pieces again, and then I spent the afternoon getting to work on the various assessment items I had to work on. But I couldn't do anything online, because for reasons only known to Orac and Himself, while Orac could see the household network, it couldn't see the internet. So that had to wait for Himself to get home (he knows where the pitfalls are with regard to the household network; I don't. So I don't touch it).

Anyway, now I'm in the process of recreating my previous Firefox setup, and recreating about six to eight years worth of flippin' bookmarks as well (because guess what *was* on the hard drive of the old PC?). If I owe you email, it'll have to wait until I get Thunderbird sorted out.

I love my life, really I do.

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Current Mood: frazzled frazzled
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