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I get that the endless descriptive unfucking updates I'm capable of are not to everyone's taste, so I've given it a seperate tumblr here. So if you like pretty pictures of the messier parts of people's homes, that's the place to look.

The wider context of this post is my endless attempts to unfuck my 'study' (euphemism for 'dumping ground', but I don't want it to be!), starting with the many bags of assorted papers my parents brought over on their last visit, which happened to be when I was going through an epic depressive phase and not in the best condition to deal with it. These bags had been occupying the doorway for a couple of months and hindering my efforts to do anything that involved having access to the room.

Content warning - abusive relationship talk )
Pretty cool to go through the university stuff though. I'd worried a bit that I wouldn't be able to get rid of any of that. Some things, however, were obvious recycling candidates - there were modules I had to take that brought me no joy whatsoever. Of course there were also modules that are still relevant to things I do or might teach, so I hung onto a lot of papers from those. I also now have a stock of early essays to show my students that, actually, the sort of critical comments I give them aren't an academic death sentence - I had at least my fair share, especially in the early stages. It's frustrating that the general unsortedness of my mid-to-late twenties meant that certain things weren't available to me when I was teaching relevant subjects over the last couple of years.

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Things I get geeky about
-Periods and all associated with them
-Making vegan food that tastes like animals

Things I am a beginner at and probably always will be but still do when I have time/energy/money/etc
-Pole dance
-Aerial hoop

Things that confuse the f*** out of me
-Almost any etiquette question less basic than 'don't gob in people's faces'.
-Interacting with people
-Friendship dynamics
-The rules of any game played by more than one person
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And the prospect of moving house brings that out. I spent more than I usually would on a little set of drawers from Staples, because I can not only keep nail varnishes in it but also get them from one house to another when the time comes, subject to taping the slidey bits up. And that's my idea of a relaxing trip out. I have yet to venture into the nearby Ikea, but that may happen.
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I'm going to start off by saying that this book does not ever in any way have a happy ending, and if you sustain yourself through a dystopia by hoping for such a thing you'll be disappointed. (Go read Saci Lloyd's Carbon Diaries if that's your thing) Luckily my view of human nature isn't a whole lot more optimistic than O'Neill's seems to be, so I wasn't too shocked.

Only Ever Yours is kind of hard to pigeonhole. It starts out as just another girls' school story and you might wonder why you should be interested in the bunch of vapid fashionistas you encounter within a few pages. But it quickly becomes obvious that this isn't *quite* girlhood as we know it.

And here there may be spoilers... )
Someone called this book 'Handmaid's Tale crossed with Mean Girls', and I think that sums it up nicely. It stands as a massive warning for how bad things could get if we let them. It is also, however, a great read and one I've picked up maybe four times since buying it last July for a long train journey. I love all the little details O'Neill adds into her world, the music and TV shows that are the girls' opiates, the vintage Barbie speaking book that gets judged as too intellectual for the eves because it says 'math is hard', the little snippets of information about life in other Zones.


Apr. 17th, 2015 11:32 am
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'Let's just keep it civil' - fair enough I guess, but it's often directed by someone who can afford to be civil and won't lose anything from it at someone else who is using their last weapon. Politeness and civility don't have to be heirarchical constructs, but oftentimes that's how they seem to be (over-)used.

I don't hate the concepts themselves. I call for civility in the classroom as a last resort, an attempt to get something constructive out of a discussion that could go haywire and remind students that their classmates are their equals. We are mandated to be in each other's company for that fifty minutes each week or fortnight for a semester, and if civility is the best we can do then we'll do it. But I find it takes a lot of care to ensure that 'civility' doesn't become a cover for 'let the arseholes be arseholes and shut up the objectors'. Even if you start out with the explicit intention of avoiding that, even if your aim is to make the arseholes be civil and the objectors voice their objections as constructive arguments rather than rants, it can easily slip into arseholes being arseholes in a calm tone of voice and saying 'I'M being civil, SHE'S the one with a raised voice'. So at the very least that needs an eye keeping on it, and some awareness of whose behaviour is the most problematic.

I struggle with this. And almost every time I've been called on to be polite or civil it has been when I am under threat in some way or having my chain pulled on to the point where I can't take any more, and usually by a person or people who have some advantage over me to the extent that they can behave as odiously and threateningly as they like without getting sanctioned for it and I know that I'm at risk of getting sanctioned if I even show the first sign of not taking it. Because civil here means putting down your last weapon, shutting up already with the nasty loud voice, and taking being slapped around yet again. And I still struggle to avoid it.

I'm not saying we all need to run around being rude to each other. But if you find yourself picking on someone's 'tone' rather than what they are saying, think about what you have invested in keeping them quiet and compliant.


Apr. 15th, 2015 07:34 pm
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The biggest change from our previous location to this one is the amount of time it Isn't Cold. The Easter vacation (nearly over, dammit) has actually had proper hot phases. Today's peak was around 22 celsius. I'm getting through my entire summer wardrobe in the space of a week. (NB my 'entire summer wardrobe' is pretty small, because in Nottingham it consisted of mostly the same trousers and skirts with smaller tops and Stirling didn't inspire me to expand it)

Sadly the Depressive Jerkbrain attack at the start of the vacation means I'm still catching up with the work I need to do, and hence couldn't opt to go to somewhere along the coast with more of a seafront than we have. It's a minor annoyance but still gets to me.
dynamite_lady: (MyManga)
And I'm guessing the range of people I know on here has changed or dwindled. Nevermind. I want to start posting on here again, maybe cross-posting from eljay or maybe keeping the places seperate, but there are probably a few things that need to be got up to date.

1: I'm a Southron duck again - moved to Southampton last autumn. It's been a learning curve but mostly a good one.

2: I realise that, although I was on here a lot while doing corrections, I never updated on how that turned out. I've been Dr Duck since early 2012.

3: I'm a lot clearer about my limits and goals, and in a much better place to think things through, but this doesn't mean my brain never misbehaves.

4: I'm doing a lot better at dealing with my own crap and owning my failings - turns out this is easier to do when not being constantly bombarded from outside.

5: My first journal article is being published very soon. I've been working on this or some version of it for probably the whole time I've been away from DWidth.

There is more. But Actual Posts can deal with that.
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I'ma talk about BOOBS here, so if you don't want to talk about BOOBS for whatever reason look away.

Now the ice is broken, commence feminist ranting. ;)

I'll come right out and say I have small boobs. Until I was about 20 I had no boobs - I got mistaken for a boy if I wore trousers, even when the trousers were girly ones with a chain belt and I had long hair and painted nails and carried a handbag with a large flower on it. Then they grew, which could be down to eating more soy stuff but could equally be down to me being a late developer. I spent a lot of time and energy angsting about this from the age of about eleven, 'helped' by the fact that this became the latest thing for other kids to give me grief about. Nevermind that no other girl my age on the estate had boobs either, and that the boys had no idea which of us did or did not wear what passes for a bra at that age. The popular pinup at that time was Pamela Anderson and it was the heyday of Page 3, partly due to a backlash against Clare Short.

Those factors place me firmly in the target demographic for breast implants. I'll admit that the idea did occur to me, but in the end the idea of unnecessary surgery bothered me more than having small boobs. At some point I discovered that being mistaken for a boy could be useful (anonymity on a protest when you don't want certain people to randomly spot you in the street, or identify you as the person who gave a statement in the press - NOT for pulling straight women) or fun. Being tied to a gender binary sucks. But that's slightly beside the point here.

My point is, I chose not to have breast implants. This does not mean I have an intrinsic moral objection to breast implants. I'm squicked, sure, but my piercings bring out that reaction in some people. I firmly believe that body modification, whether it involves metal or ink or silicone or even obtaining a forked tongue, is a matter of personal choice. Breast implants are not intrinsically misogynist.

What is misogynist as all fuck is that a company thinks it is even vaguely appropriate to cut costs by putting TOXIC SUBSTANCES that haven't been passed for medical use into implants that are going to be put into women's bodies. That just shows total contempt. What did they think was going to happen? PIP should be the ones paying for the implants to be removed or replaced, yes even the ones that haven't caused problems YET.

I don't want to hear anyone saying that the women who got implants 'deserved' to have health problems as a result. That's bollocks. Assuming the women in question followed whatever guidelines they were given in the hospital, this isn't their fault. I wouldn't blame a piercer if my ear became infected because I was shite at cleaning a new piercing or bled because I hit it with the hairbrush - I do blame Claire's Accessories for the fact that the cartlidge piercing I kept scrupulously clean for two years didn't heal in that time. The difference is it wasn't sewn up inside my body so the solution was just to take the earring out - totally free and doable at home. Removing breast implants isn't, so the company responsible need to take responsibility.
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Christmas is a hard time to be generous and a feminist. We all like to think that we shun the consumerism of chain-store-sanctioned gift sections, but it is becoming ever more difficult in shops to dig out anything that a real person might like among all the "gifts for him" (golf balls) and "gifts for her" (soap). And then you come to the children's presents...

Now let's get one thing straight. I don't think pink intrinsically 'stinks'. It's on the same part of the colour spectrum as red and purple, so it has to have something going for it. My Escher gang in Necromunda wear pink*, because I like the idea of pink-clad ladies with large weapons beating the shite out of a range of Enforcers, Scavvies, Van Saars and whatever else Ducki acquires. Some of the aforementioned weapons are pink and one is getting a pink sparkly heart-shaped nail art sticker when I can be bothered. My study in the new house will be pink until that (preexisting) paint gets tatty enough to replace - it'll have my usual books, desk and various accessories in rather than Disney Princess pictures, but it does nonetheless have pink walls and curtains. Not what I'd choose, but not bad enough to repaint on entry. I own various pink items of clothing, some of which are even appropriate to teach class in. I don't feel that wearing a pink t-shirt or nail varnish weakens my brain** or makes me less good at my job. I prefer purple, red and quite a lot of black, but it's nice to have a change sometimes.

What does stink like dog poo before it goes white is the idea that everything for girls - and to an extent grown women - MUST be pink. And that girls can't like anything that isn't girly, and that women have to have a pink version of everything (none of my household tools are pink, not because I didn't think the pink sparkly ones looked nice but because I'd already heard that they were considerably flimsier than plain ones of a similar price) in order to be able to use it - and that men and boys CANNOT touch any of this stuff or their willies (which in the case of white guys are ironically pink) might fall off.

It also stinks that people make sweeping assumptions about what a boy or a girl might want, right from the moment the child sticks its head out from you-know-where*** with no knowledge of that child's preferences. It's a baby. It wants lots of things to look at and make noises with and chew, Genuine preferences come later, and involve CHOICE at some stage. Don't say that outside influences don't have an impact. I hate Emu to this day because there was a replica at the preschool I went to and one of the teachers used to attack kids with it if we were naughty, and it totally stank. I have a residual impression of being chronically thick because that was what my classmates called me, even though any low marks I got were down to being too busy crying or beating them up to do the work. So if girls are directed towards the frilly pink stuff and boys away from it, then yes that is going to stay with them, regardless of what goes on at home. Even if the family avoid stereotyping at home, the time kids spend out of the house will influence them.

And now more than when I was young - as in when it is my friends having babies rather than my friends' mothers, the linked article having been posted on facebook by a colleague who has just given birth to a baby girl - everything seems more firmly divided into pink and blue, even nappies. (I can incidentally see the point in different boy and girl nappies, because lets face it the pee comes out of different places. But why do girls' ones need princesses on? I would love to let a child of mine shit on Disney, but sadly the illustrations seem to be on the wrong side.

Let's face it - tiny babies don't care what colour they wear, just how the fabric feels against their skin and in their mouth. Ducks, trains, cars, dinosaurs and other imagery popular on kidwear isn't gendered - or shouldn't be. Pink and blue are not the only parts of the colour spectrum. I came to my liking for pink (and purple, red, black, green, etc and ducks, trains, flowers, spiders, murder stories, Canaries and all things goffik) after a childhood which, while far from perfect, at least contained a full colour spectrum.

Luckily Ducki tends to agree with me on this point (although not every gender or childrearing issue) - luckily for him or I might have to do something regretful with a certain pink sparkly item that has been in where babies come out.****

*The Amazon Blood Bowl team, however, will be in yellow and green and have the provisional name of the Birds of Paradise. I may even come up with the Lustrian pronounciation of Delia Smith if necessary.
**Except insofar as inhaling any nail varnish is a bad idea - that's why I don't breathe it in directly... :P
***Because directly mentioning ladyparts would clearly be the last straw in a gender rant post - whoops...
**** And again ;)
dynamite_lady: (Default)
Today's task list is considerably more pleasant than some of the last few! (Friday morning - search out page references for the cover letter my examiners need - realised I'd accidentally deleted something that I'd referred to in it, and had to go in the outtakes folder and put those sentences back in then kill 50-odd words from somewhere else - a word was deployed which rhymes with 'duck', and it had nothing to do with what fire engines are called on the far side of the Atlantic) Nonetheless, it's taking me a while to get into it. Getting used to living on two floors and having to make a conscious effort to locate my toothbrush consumed most of the time I've been here so far.

What Lisey needs to kick her own arse to do and you are all welcome to remind her of if you catch her pissing around online at any point this afternoon/evening:
-Wrap Nottingham presents/write cards (the latter can be done on the train if necessary)
-Get all three copies of thesis in the same bag with some kind of waterproofing
-Pack night things
-Make packed lunch because I'd do better getting a drink of unicorn piss than vegan food on campus
-Facebook/gchat/skype with Ducki when he's at his office (he has our backup computer and internet dongle at home, both are on the slow side so he isn't keen on doing these things there)
-Have a bath. I know former colleagues are used to me being a skanky arsebeast from hell, but if I only see them once a year they deserve the less arsebeasty version. Locate the wherewithal to get vaguely clean then dry afterwards BEFORE removing so much as a sock.
-Work on vegan guide.
-Watch the last two episodes of This is England '88. (can't do both at once without a lot of fuss because my laptop battery has a lifespan of about 15 minutes from fully charged)
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Stage 1 of Very F***ing Stressful December is nearly done. My revised thesis is off to be printed. Now for the travel and family bits.

Brave face

Dec. 4th, 2011 11:23 am
dynamite_lady: (Default)
Rose face cream

-Three teaspoons of room temperature coconut oil. Work it with your hands until it becomes creamy, ooer missus.
-A teaspoon of olive oil. Stir this well into the coconut oil
-A teaspoon of rosewater. Stir well into the oil mixture.

Apply when needed, although possibly not when about to go to work/put makeup on unless you enjoy looking shiny.

Developed because pure coconut oil is a pain in the arse to apply at what passes for room temperature in Stirling in December.


Nov. 24th, 2011 11:36 am
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I am about to make my FIRST cup of coffee of the day. That is all.
dynamite_lady: (coffee1)
Today was my lesser teaching day (as in two seminars to tomorrow's three). I decided to take the brave terrifying positively foolhardy slightly unusual step of not taking in a thermos of coffee to keep me going. I had two cups of coffee in the morning before going out - one very early when Ducki got up and made me one, then another after a couple of hours work. I GASP bought a cup from one of the many more-or-less branded Costa outlets around campus in my break, and sat in the cafe reading a work-y book.

Both seminars were fine, if a bit sparsely attended. The students responded well to being offered mince pies. I'll miss the little bastards dears, hope I get some of the same ones next semester. Not just because I want to reap the rewards of spending the last 9 weeks trying to instill good work habits in them!

Then I managed to finish my summary of the literature on alter-globalisation movements. A day later than I'd have liked, but that's not so awful.
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You'll be pleased to hear I haven't been trying to fit a new toilet by myself. (although if I did I'd be tempted to use the old one as a garden planter - my parents had TWO of the things in their garden at some point but were total spoilsports and didn't put plants in them) No, this is about the various homemade and apparently 'natural' substances I've plastered myself with today.

Hair things first:

Deep conditioner )

Vinegar hair rinse )

My hair is soft and shiny but feels a wee bit greasy, and isn't quite as 'big' as usual. That's disconcerting. We'll see what it's like in a few days.

Now for other stuff:

Ylang ylang and lavender bath salts )

Moisture cream )

Deodorant )
dynamite_lady: (coffee1)
I don't intend to do a lot of work today - some, sure, to keep ticking over so I don't have to pick it up from scratch on Monday, but not a major push - so I decided to have fairly low rations of coffee. I woke up with a slight withdrawal headache, but I normally have a coffee first thing anyway (Ducki makes me one, and changing his habits is harder than quitting the black stuff ocmpletely would be!) so that solved that. That's the only coffee I've had today. I have another headache but want to leave coffee #2 until an hour after I finished eating lunch, because I don't want it to interfere with absorbing nutrients. (that's the other reason I want to cut down - I need my iron levels high right now) So I've rubbed peppermint oil into my temples and made a cup of mint and chilli tea.
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I'm not quite doing 'buy nothing Christmas' this year, but 'make almost everything' is a pretty accurate description of what I'm going for.

Today's shopping:
-Huge pot of coconut oil (established that the independent health food store does this cheaper than the chain one, nice)
-Box of rock salt (ironically it is from Essex, so if we give any to Ducki's family members it will have done a round trip)
-Bag of coarse pink salt crystals
-Bag of fine pink salt crystals
-Half a dozen bottles of essential oil of various sorts - didn't go out intending to get quite so many, but they were on two for three!
-Plastic clip-shut pots and zip-seal sandwich bags
-Christmassy (in a secular way) sticky gift labels

I've made a few batches of bath salts and one of melts already.

To make bath salts )

Making bath melts )

So that's what I do when I get time off at the moment! I'm hoping that constantly inhaling aromatherapy oils does me some good...
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So yesterday I tantalised everyone with a '(more about that later)', then got too damn busy to live up to the promise. My apologies. Anyway, yes, I am making a move that is equivalent to going blonde or owning a pair of white trousers - I am cutting down on caffiene. Yes, this is me, my account has not been hacked - or if it has, this entry isn't part of the hack.

Me, L. Duck, confirmed caf-fiend since puberty, had to be talked out of thanking Percol on the acknowledgements of my dissertation, maker of chocolate coffee beans to eat in class, etc. Why? To be honest, mostly for health reasons.

I don't think coffee itself is unhealthy. I do, however, think disordered sleep patterns are unhealthy, and that's what I've been getting. Not going to bed until midnight, not sleeping until possibly a few hours later, not waking up until late morning, quaffing several cups of coffee in a row, being jittery for a few hours, rinse, lather, repeat isn't conducive to getting these sodding corrections done, finding a contingency plan if it all goes wrong, or otherwise having a good life. The low point was drinking cola on Sunday night, taking a ton of valerian (which helps me sleep but patchily and always with more-or-less horrible dreams) to counteract it, and having a vivid, realistic and very scary nightmare on a subject that worries me anyway.

Also, if I get into the habit of five cups a day, it takes six to have any real effect, then that becomes a habit, then I end up like the Countess who can down ten of the things in a day without any obvious effect. And that would be a waste of coffee. I'd rather keep it as a pleasure.

So now I'm keeping coffee down to the minimum effective dose for the circumstances. And to the equivalent of four full-size cups a day, all before 5pm. It won't fix my life, but I'm hoping the better sleep patterns and greater effectiveness of less coffee will help...
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I am chronically embarassed today. I have two students with the same (slightly unusual) first name. Normally I'm not conscious of this, as they are in different groups so I'm not thinking about one when the other is there, if you get my drift. Let's call them Sabrina - no resemblence to the real name, but has a similar level of infrequency among people their age.

Sabrina #1 was a bit high-maintenance when the first essay was due. She doesn't quite beat the record of one of my Nottingham students who sent at least one email each day in the runup to the deadline and at least one a week at every other point in the term, but there were a lot of emails. So when she emailed me a question yesterday, I did wonder if it would be the start of a deluge. Of course I answered constructively, because at the end of the day I want them to do well.

To set the scene this morning. Enter decaffinated tutor stage left and Sabrina #2 stage right. Sabrina #2, understandably I guess, asked a very similar question to Sabrina #1. Being in a decaffienated state and having pretty much just woken up, I just read the name 'Sabrina' and felt my heart sink - surely nobody could need to ask pretty much the same thing twice! My reply was polite but terse and involved something along the lines of 'you were on the right track yesterday with...'

Then, after hitting send and logging out, I thought 'OH FUCK I have two Sabrinas don't I' and logged back in to discover my mistake. Cue apologetic email, qualified with 'but [debate] is the way forward for you as much as it was for her'. Coffee #1 was downed before the fuck-up fairy could have any more input. Amazingly I've only now started drinking coffee #2. More on that later.

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