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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

Dear people who deserve it: SCREW YOU
no can has eyes
Sometimes, I tend to feel that I'm only pretending to be an adult, and I'm actually still just a kid, really. Then there are times like today. I don't go out much, and since I live in a fourth floor flat with my mailbox down in the lobby, that means I don't check my mail often. From the last week and a half or so since last check – and not including "to the occupier", junkmail, fliers and assorted other crap – I received 9 letters. Of these 9, there were precisely zero that were actually in any way desirable.

Four (4) letters from the DWP and/or Jobcentre Plus saying, essentially "your claim for benefit was turned down, but we need you to come in and see us anyway, and if you don't it may effect any future claims you make". Yeah. Screw you too.

One (1) from the environment agency, warning me yet again that my home (that same fourth floor flat) is at risk of flooding and urging me that it is absolutely vital that I give them my address and phone number so they can phone me at 3 in the morning if they think the water level is rising. Screw you too.

One (1) from BT telling me that for no! extra! charge! I could get a discount on my phonecalls so long as I take up a stupidly long contract with them, even though I already spend way way more on line rental than I do on calls anyway. Screw you too.

One (1) from Scottish Power, with an electricity bill. Screw you too.

One (1) concerning home insurance, saying "yes, we're taking your money and you're now covered". You don't get a screw you, since that's actually kinda good to know, but you're still taking our money, so don't expect me to be happy about it.

One (1) from the laser clinic I go to, sadly informing me that they're having to shut down at the end of February. You definitely don't get a screw you, because I really liked you and am sad that you're closing. However, Bush, Brown, Blair, and everyone else responsible for royally fucking up the global economy? You get a gigantic screw you for making this sort of thing happen.

This sort of thing never happened when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I got naff all mail, but when I did get it, it was almost always something exciting. A mailbox full of this much shit reminds me that I definitely must be an adult. Yay me. Can I go back to being a kid again now?

On LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
As ever, I'm late to the party posting about this, but that's never stopped me before.

In case anyone managed to miss it, half of the US employees of LiveJournal got laid off a couple of weeks ago. As is usually the case, this was surrounded with a whole lot of completely inaccurate "the sky is falling" rhetoric that managed to cloud the real issues involved. This doesn't mean that LJ is about to die a horrible death, but there are two things that I think we can take from it.

1) SUP care a whole lot more about the Russian userbase of LiveJournal than the Anglophone userbase. This is hardly surprising. They bought the company based on its Russian userbase and they were involved with the Russian elements of the site before they bought the rest of it. Obviously, that's going to be their main focus. That they're getting rid of half their US staff and just keeping the Russian staff around to do the jobs just emphasises that.

I'm not saying that the Russian staff aren't going to be highly capable people who can produce some really good stuff. They may well be. The fact remains, though, that the site is used in vastly different ways by the Russian userbase than by the Anglophone userbase. Russian workers are much more likely to understand and to focus on the needs of the Russia userbase. This is a bad thing for Anglophone LiveJournal users any way you slice it. That two of the people who were laid off (janinedog and chasethestars) are long-time LJ users who really understand how the site's community works and had been able to advocate for us only makes things worse.

Now, there are still good people left working for LJ out of America. The only ones I actually know are coffeechica and markf, but I am assured that there are other Good People who Get It left among the LJ staff still. LJ as we know it isn't going to go away any time soon, but this is very definitely a clear statement of SUP's priorities, and that's not something that's good for us.

2) SUP don't give a shit about people. The laid off staff were given less than a week's notice and no redundancy (severance) pay at all. I'm a realist. I know that sometimes people need to be laid off. I even know that sometimes there are circumstances where, for the good of the company, you can't even provide any redundancy pay because you're so strapped for cash. However, barring freak occurrences, if things are that bad, then you know about it in advance and can give more than a week's warning. Doing it the way that they did just shows a completely disregard for the actual people involved.

I looked at this and I thought, if the powers that be show that little regard for the people who have worked for the betterment of the company and the site for years, how little are they going to care about me? The only answer I could come up with was "not in the slightest". That I have a permanent account, and therefore never give them money and never generate any ad revenue for them certainly isn't going to help.

I don't think they're going to go out and yank my account or anything. To do so would generate a shit-storm that would cost them far more than they'd save by getting rid of me. The thing is, I can't help feeling that that's the only reason. Human decency doesn't seem to enter into it any more, and that's a worry. LiveJournal is built entirely on people. If you remove the people and get rid of the human element then LiveJournal is nothing.

Personally, I've decided that I'm going to get behind Dreamwidth. There's more information about it at that page I linked, but the thirty second version is that Dreamwidth is a project run by people who fell out of love with LJ, and want to create something worth loving again. It's going to be based off a fork of the open-source LJ code, but with a whole bunch of neat changes and additions on top.

The two main people behind it are xb95 and synecdochic both of whom used to work for LJ, having been users and volunteers before they were staff. They're good people, and they have a whole lot of relevant experience, both technical and administrative, that makes me confident that they can pull something like this off. There are also a whole bunch of current and former LJ volunteers involved with getting it off the ground, and a bunch of people who have just been users on LJ but have got excited enough by the new project to want to get involved. Personally, I'm getting involved mainly with documentation, because I want to be able to make something that sucks a whole lot less than LJ's FAQ.

We're not trying to go back to some sort of golden age of LJ. There never was a golden age of LJ. You'd have to have pretty impressive rose-tinted glasses to long for the days when the site would often move at the speed of a tranquillised sloth and when brad was left making business decisions that he was completely unqualified to make.

Instead, what we're trying to do is to be what LiveJournal could have become. We can look back with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and avoid some of LJ's mistakes, and we can make the site that we want. LJ used to be my home. Now it's just a site that I use. I'm hopeful that DW can turn into my new home.

It will be a site for the users, by the users. It will be run by Our People. It will be open source, open expression, and open operations. It will be and is a labour of love. Hanging around with all the other people who are busting their asses to make this real is showing me just how much of a labour of love this is going to be, from a lot of people.

To be topical, Dreamwidth is a lot like Obama. There's a lot of hope there, and everyone has high expectations, that it's never going to be able to meet entirely. In both cases, I don't care. Obama won't be a perfect president. Dreamwidth won't be a perfect website. Both of them have high potential for awesome though, and I'm not going to let the things that will inevitably go wrong sour my opinions.

The other thing I've heard is that Dreamwidth may fall flat on its face. A whole lot of startups do, and trying to create an Internet startup in the current financial climate is possibly crazy. Sure. It might fail. It'd take an idiot not to acknowledge that that was at least a possibility, but I'm optimistic. And really, there's only one thing that you can say with absolute certainty, and that's that it will fail if we don't even try. That's why I'm getting involved and volunteering. That's why I'm going to move over there once it's up and operational. I believe in it, and I'm going to do my damnedest to make sure I do my part to see that it doesn't fail.

(I'll also add that I'll be keeping my LJ account for the indefinite future. I know there will be a bunch of people who can't or won't switch over, and I don't want to lose touch. After all, the whole endeavour is, ultimately, about people. They're what's important now and what will continue to be important throughout.)

PPPS Still not sorry
drowning man
I just had to share this IM transcript, for the immense wrongness of it all. As we join the conversation, rho is playing the advanced test chamber stages of Portal, and gnashing her teeth at their unforgiving nature.

[01:02:06] rho: whoever designed these levels is evil enough for the evil league of evil
[01:03:48] rho: i'm sorry, but apparently i did :D
[01:03:52] rho: (ps, not sorry)
[01:03:55] sarianna: AND YOU'RE NOT SORRY
[01:04:02] rho: (pps, plz to be writing)
[01:04:04] sarianna: ....i still love you
[01:04:07] sarianna: *snrk*
[01:06:17] rho: it could be a beautiful romance. glados applies to join the evil league of evil, and then as bad horse watches her, she watches bad horse, and... yeah
[01:06:47] sarianna: .....dear g-d, NO
[01:07:11] rho: aww, why not? :(
[01:08:07] sarianna: can you imagine the music?
[01:09:25] rho: and believe me i am still a horse. and when you're dying i'll be still a horse. and when you're dead i will be still a horse. still a horse. still bad horse, bad horse, bad horse bad horse bad horse.
[01:10:59] rho: yay! i made it up that jump!
[01:11:11] rho: now. to figure out how the hell to do the next bit
[01:11:14] sarianna: i think i'm going to fall in some acid to get that out of my brain
[01:11:33] rho: my pleasure :)

delirium happy
Who here is on Steam? I am lowercaserho on there, and would like to add you all, so I can stalk you see what you're playing, so I can get a feel for what games my friends think are good that I might wish to buy, and can see where there are interesting opportunities for multiplayer shenanigans.

For those of you who aren't on Steam but are gamers, you really should be. Especially since today is the last day of their rather spiffy sale.

Out with the old, in with the new
So. 2008, then?

Yeah. I've got nothing.

I'm sure that lots of interesting stuff happened, but I can't quite think of any of it. Oh well. I'm also fairly sure that I failed horribly at all the goals I set myself for the new year this time last year. This is why I set myself goals rather than resolutions, because then I dont' feel bad for breaking a promise to myself when I faff them up.

I was thinking recently, that 2009 will be the tenth anniversary of 1999, which was a watershed year for me in many many ways. 1999 was when I became irrevocably sucked into the Internet. I started hanging out regularly on IRC, and I met Internet people in person for the first time. It was also the year that I finished my A-levels, left school and went to university, which consequently meant it was the year when I first lived away from my parents, and first lived in a city other than the one where I grew up. It was the year when Is tarted doing stuff about my gender identity issues. I came out to people, I saw a psychiatrist, I started taking hormones. It was also the year when I first had a girlfriend (of sorts).

In short, 1999 was the year when I started to become myself, and even to become an adult, in a way. Before then, I was very much shaped by my circumstances, and being what I was allowed to be. From then on, I started to be what I wanted to be, to a much greater extent.

I shan't be celebrating all these individual anniversaries, mainly because I can't remember the dates for most of them. Dates just aren't that important to me. However, in recognition of 1999 (and because I think it's a good thing for me to focus on anyway), my goal for 2009 is going to be a simple one.

For 2009, I will come as I am and not as I should be.

Or to put it another way, I'm aiming to let go of as much baggage and anxiety as I possibly can, and stop worrying about how people perceive me and what they expect from me. Personally, I think I'm pretty groovy actually, and if people don't like it when I'm being myself, well that's their problem and not mine.

I wish everyone reading this, and especially all my wonderful friends who help enrich my life, a very happy 2009. May it bring you peace, love and joy.

I have a lot I want to say, but a complete inability to put my feelings into words. So here, have a couple of quotes from second-rate pop-culture to sum up what I want to say:

Gwen: "Why? Why go to so much trouble? I...I didn't ask for this!"
Lieutenant Thackeray: "There was no need to ask, Gwen. Everyone deserves a little happiness, even you."
Gwen: "A little happiness...? But I..."
Lieutenant Thackeray: "Wintersday is a time to spend with family. We may all have different blood and different backgrounds, but the Ebon Vanguard is your family. We care about you."

 – Guild Wars, quest "Wintersday Cheer"

I didn't even know myself what it was I wanted. Sure, I had friends ad associates; but I'd cut myself off so completely from any real emmotional attachments that I didn't even realize how much a part of life was missing.

 – Mara Jade, Star Wars: Vision of the Future, by Timothy Zahn.

Think that covers most of the main points.

Googlebombing for fun and more fun.
delirium pissed off
Since I've not actually posted about this hypocritical bigot before, I suppose I'd best give the brief summary so you can all know what I'm talking about (copied and pasted from a comment I left elsewhere because I'm lazy).

Highlights of Bindel's opinions include the belief that transsexuals should be denied any medical treatment beyond "talking therapies" to convince them that no, there's nothing wrong with them and they're just deluded. And also the time when she bemoaned the expansion of the queer movement to include the likes of trans people, and said that she as a lesbian didn't want to be lumped together with the likes of cat-fanciers and devil worshippers.

All of which is just one particularly unpleasant individual, except for the fact that she was recently nominated for a "journalist of the year" award by Stonewall, a British queer rights group.

Understandably, a lot of trans folks (and our allies) got rather upset about this and protested, including writing letters to Stonewall and also holding a rally outside the awards ceremony. What's worse, throughout the whole thing, Stonewall and Bindel have painted themselves as the victims, and demonised and belittled the protesters.

I've actually been meaning to write about the whole thing for a while, but haven't managed to find the words for just how royally it all pisses me off. Now, however, auntysarah has come up with a way. In the spirit of santorum, I am proud to pronounce my support for the redefinition of bindel to mean:

"The smegma-like mixture of dead skin cells, gynaecological lube, stale urine (gives it its distinctive smell) and sweat that is sometimes present as a white residue on the end of a dilation stent when a post-operative trans woman withdraws the stent after dilating her neovagina."

Go forth and spread the good news!

Lol meme
drowning man
1. Open graphics program of your choice.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Draw a cat.

Read more...Collapse )

That actually turned out better than I expected. Which isn't saying much.

Mathematical clerihew of the day
Jean le Rond d'Alembert
Took a piece of camembert.
Dividing it with great urgence
He tested its convergence.

Feeling the benefit
delirium happy
When it was summer and it was hot, I took my duvet out of my duvet cover, and just slept under the cover. It was too hot for a full duvet, but I find it easier to fall asleep with something draped over me, so the duvet cover worked nicely. Then, as summer turned to autumn and autumn turned to winter and it got progressively colder, I somehow never quite got around to replacing the duvet.

Part of this was, admittedly, laziness. Changing bedding is one of my least favourite household chores, and anything that minimises that is a good thing in my book. Part of it, though was a stubborn insistence that it wasn't really that cold, and I didn't really need my duvet, and if I replaced it too soon then I'd not feel the benefit when it got really cold.

Today, I decided that it was now really cold, and I reinserted my duvet in its cover. Mmmmm, snuggly.