dolorosa_12: (sokka)
It's not unlikely that I've mentioned this before, but the best job I ever had was working as a sales assistant in a patisserie/chocolate shop in Sydney. I held this job for just under five years, beginning in 2004 when I was nineteen and finishing up in 2008 when I was 23. I also went back for a stint in the summer of 2010 when I was visiting my family for Christmas, in order to help with the busy pre-Christmas period.

It wasn't the most glamorous job I've ever had, and I've certainly had jobs that were more highly regarded in terms of social status. It was just that there was a perfect combination of circumstances surrounding the patisserie job that made it so wonderful.

Before I go into those circumstances in more detail, I should just point out that the patisserie was a small, family-run business. The owner was the head baker. He had two assistants. The shop itself was open Monday-Saturday. There was one older woman who worked in the shop on weekday mornings. Another woman worked Monday-Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. The owner's wife worked Thursday and Friday afternoons. I initially worked only Saturdays from 10am-5pm, but was later roped in to work alongside the owner's wife on busy Friday evenings, and after realising how busy it got on Saturday afternoons, my boss hired my younger sister to work with me from 1-5pm (previously I had been completely alone in the shop).

So, why was it such a good job? I've narrowed it down to five main reasons:

~There was very good communication between everyone. Whenever someone new started working, they were shadowed by someone more senior for about four or five shifts until it was clear that they understood how to do everything. (I've worked in other jobs where there was no shadowing at all, or where it lasted only two hours.) If you had a question or needed help, you were never made to feel stupid or like a time-waster for needing assistance. And the boss consistently praised everyone when they did well. I've worked in so many environments where good work was met with silence and mistakes were met with loud criticism, and they were awful. The need to praise people for doing the right thing is really important, and I've always taken care since to do that whenever I'm in a position of authority.

~I was trusted and my opinion and input were valued. On Saturdays, it was my job to secure the cash and lock up the shop. I've worked in jobs where I wasn't even trusted to go into the room where the cash was kept, even when other workers were there, and it was extremely insulting. Also, in the patisserie job there were several instances where I worked out a better way to do tasks they'd been performing for years before I arrived on the scene, and my method was adopted because everyone realised it was better. When I said that it was too busy for me to work alone on Saturday afternoons, instead of running me off my feet, my boss hired my sister to work with me. (Incidentally, this was her first job aside from babysitting, and stood her in very good stead for later work.)

~My boss never let customers act like bullies. There was no attitude that 'the customer is always right', and I was allowed to get angry if they were unjustifiably rude to me. If they got too aggressive, he told them to get out and would never let them be served in the shop again. I've worked in service industry jobs on and off since I was fifteen, and let me tell you that his attitude is extremely rare. For the most part, customers are free to treat service staff like absolute garbage. I don't tolerate it, and if I see people being awful to waitstaff or sales assistants these days, I normally tell them off. Nine times out of ten, the fault is not with the service staff.

~I had a good rapport with my boss and the other workers. Whenever it had been a particularly busy shift, he would give me a raise of $20 or so, his family gave me book vouchers for my birthday every year, I used to advise them about books to give their teenage son, and we liked each other so much that the year I moved to Canberra, they gave my old shift to my sister, but whenever I was visiting Sydney, they didn't care which of us showed up as long as one of us was there. I felt so warmly towards them that I rocked up and offered to work for three weeks or so in the Christmas lead up in the summer of 2010, even though I'd been living in the UK for two years at that point.

~Most importantly, they paid their staff much more than they were required by law, simply in recognition of the value of their work. At that point, minimum wage in Australia started off at about $5.40 per hour for people aged fourteen and nine months (the youngest you were allowed to work) and increased incrementally until you were twenty-one. Minimum wage for people twenty-one and older was something like $16 per hour. (I'm sure this has gone up in the intervening five years.) However, my boss paid all the sales assistants $20 per hour, regardless of their age. (Recall, I was under twenty-one for most of the years I worked there, and my sister was aged fifteen to eighteen.) The pay was entirely cash-in-hand (although they did everything by the book in terms of taxes, unlike a lot of cash-in-hand places), and so it would've been perfectly easy for him to pay us sub-minimum wage. (Indeed, one of my previous jobs paid every single sales assistant $10 per hour, even though most were over twenty-one.)

This is all really simple stuff, but it's surprising how rarely it happens. The overall effect (for me at least) was to create a really loyal and hardworking worker. I mean, treat your staff with respect and give them a degree of freedom in the way they work, and they will do well. It's not exactly rocket science.

By the way, my thesis is eating my brain, which is why I've been rubbish at replying to stuff at the moment. I am reading, and will be replying eventually, but I'm not sure exactly when. Sorry about that.
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
[personal profile] thelxiepia, to Todd Akin (re: his reelection): The female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.


Obama: It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, Hispanic or Asian or Native American ... it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, able-bodied or disabled, gay or straight ...
Young daughter of my friend L (shouting at footage on laptop): HURRY UP WILL YOU? I ALREADY KNOW ALL THIS STUFF FROM MY TEACHER.


These two are, I think, the most representative quotes from last night's election viewing.

I hold dual citizenship, and as a result, while I don't feel very American or have any intentions of moving there, I am able to vote in elections. Some of my non-USian friends have been very critical of the way that people outside the US tend to obsessively follow the election campaigns and results, but the sheer volume of vitriolic hatred this time around has had the odd effect of making the political personal for me.

When I think of the rhetoric that's been flying around - about women (particularly, about sexually active women and women who are raped*), about the poor and unemployed, about people with disabilities, people who are ethnic minorities, LGBT people - what strikes me is a profound lack of empathy. These vocal social conservatives look at the most dispossessed and vulnerable people in their society, and are unable to see their humanity. They hate, they hurt, they bluster and blame because they are unable to imagine any circumstances where they would be in such people's shoes.

I stayed up until 5am watching the election coverage in a state of profound hysteria. It's not that I think Obama's the messiah, or that I even agree with all the things he's done in his first term, but that, in words at least, in relation to Americans at least, he strives to reach out, to compromise, to entertain multiple points of view, to affirm the worth and humanity of all. And that may not matter very much in the scheme of things, but it matters to me. It is enough, for now, for me.

And now I'm going to go to sleep. Following a nearly sleepless night with a library shift where I shelved eight trolleys of books is starting to take its toll.

--------------------------------
* Which is not the same thing, and it's terrifying how these things seem to be conflated in the eyes of some social conservatives.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I haven't had internet at home for a while, so I'm just now catching up on all my feeds, There's been a lot of interesting stuff posted recently, so I thought I'd make a linkpost.

Sarah Rees Brennan posted this thought-provoking piece about what it means to be an author and have an internet presence.

And then, for a total change in tone, she wrote a hilarious liveblog of Teen Wolf, making it sound so funny that I might be tempted to check it out.

Catherynne M. Valente posted about how she was fed up with arguing about ebooks.

She also wrote about the misconceptions social conservatives hold about 'women's work', and the supposed golden age of pre-industrial times.

[livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall made a Romanitas playlist. I geeked out.

Here's an article from Rolling Stone about the effects of global warming in Australia. I found myself nodding away to pretty much everything being said.

It's been said before, but it needs to be said again: unpaid internships are exploitative and perpetuate inequality.

Our forum interviewed Philip Pullman.

Finally, I blogged about the start of the semester in Germany.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I haven't had internet at home for a while, so I'm just now catching up on all my feeds, There's been a lot of interesting stuff posted recently, so I thought I'd make a linkpost.

Sarah Rees Brennan posted this thought-provoking piece about what it means to be an author and have an internet presence.

And then, for a total change in tone, she wrote a hilarious liveblog of Teen Wolf, making it sound so funny that I might be tempted to check it out.

Catherynne M. Valente posted about how she was fed up with arguing about ebooks.

She also wrote about the misconceptions social conservatives hold about 'women's work', and the supposed golden age of pre-industrial times.

[livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall made a Romanitas playlist. I geeked out.

Here's an article from Rolling Stone about the effects of global warming in Australia. I found myself nodding away to pretty much everything being said.

It's been said before, but it needs to be said again: unpaid internships are exploitative and perpetuate inequality.

Our forum interviewed Philip Pullman.

Finally, I blogged about the start of the semester in Germany.

Personhood

Oct. 15th, 2011 12:48 pm
dolorosa_12: (una)
[Note: I'm using 'women' to mean cis women here, because the people I'm ranting about are not aware that there are any other women besides cis women.]

So. The Personhood Amendment. Not a pretty piece of legislation. I'm almost speechless with rage, so I think instead I'll link you to another person's words, which do more to rebut pro-lifers' claims that they are, indeed, pro-life than anything I could possibly say.

Potentially triggering for child abuse, neglect and rape )

I'm fed up with Tea Party types who claim to be libertarian and anti-government, except when it's the case of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, then no government intervention is too much. I'm fed up with pro-lifers who care only that a foetus grow into a child, but care and do nothing to ensure that that child (and its mother) continue to have a life after birth. I'm tired of them thinking that abortion is just something that happens to bad people, that if you bring up your daughter (only your daughter) well, then of course all her children will be loved and wanted and safely born within marriage, when statistically it's highly likely that every one of these people knows someone who had an abortion. I'm tired of them arguing that if you don't teach teenagers about contraception, they somehow will not think or want sex at all. (Let me tell you something: I still remember when my then 14-year-old sister came home after a sex-ed class at school and swore never to have sex at all, because of the risks of STDs. Knowledge is power! How can a child, a teenage girl, make a decision like that without all the knowledge?) I'm tired of MY personhood being ignored I feel their words like a physical attack. Their hatred for women is like a blow. I'm scared. I'm angry, and I'm scared.

Again, because it's worth reiterating,

“Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.

Personhood

Oct. 15th, 2011 12:48 pm
dolorosa_12: (una)
[Note: I'm using 'women' to mean cis women here, because the people I'm ranting about are not aware that there are any other women besides cis women.]

So. The Personhood Amendment. Not a pretty piece of legislation. I'm almost speechless with rage, so I think instead I'll link you to another person's words, which do more to rebut pro-lifers' claims that they are, indeed, pro-life than anything I could possibly say.

Potentially triggering for child abuse, neglect and rape )

I'm fed up with Tea Party types who claim to be libertarian and anti-government, except when it's the case of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, then no government intervention is too much. I'm fed up with pro-lifers who care only that a foetus grow into a child, but care and do nothing to ensure that that child (and its mother) continue to have a life after birth. I'm tired of them thinking that abortion is just something that happens to bad people, that if you bring up your daughter (only your daughter) well, then of course all her children will be loved and wanted and safely born within marriage, when statistically it's highly likely that every one of these people knows someone who had an abortion. I'm tired of them arguing that if you don't teach teenagers about contraception, they somehow will not think or want sex at all. (Let me tell you something: I still remember when my then 14-year-old sister came home after a sex-ed class at school and swore never to have sex at all, because of the risks of STDs. Knowledge is power! How can a child, a teenage girl, make a decision like that without all the knowledge?) I'm tired of MY personhood being ignored I feel their words like a physical attack. Their hatred for women is like a blow. I'm scared. I'm angry, and I'm scared.

Again, because it's worth reiterating,

“Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
These are my two favourite (Australian) political songs.

Clips and lyrics )

Julia: I am relieved that Labor remains in power, but I'm watching. Please don't screw things up.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
These are my two favourite (Australian) political songs.

Clips and lyrics )

Julia: I am relieved that Labor remains in power, but I'm watching. Please don't screw things up.
dolorosa_12: (skepticism)
Well, we still don't have a government (well, we have a caretaker government, if you want to get technical), and the thought of living in a country run by Tony Abbott is so depressing that I prefer to bury my head in the nearest sandbank. If the election campaign and results were decidedly lacklustre, the election comedy, from the Chaser's latest show (Yes We Canberra) to the collection of links I've been gathering over the past few weeks, are not.

Here are a few of my favourites )

Never has the music of a post seemed so appropriate! I laugh, because it's either that or cry.
dolorosa_12: (skepticism)
Well, we still don't have a government (well, we have a caretaker government, if you want to get technical), and the thought of living in a country run by Tony Abbott is so depressing that I prefer to bury my head in the nearest sandbank. If the election campaign and results were decidedly lacklustre, the election comedy, from the Chaser's latest show (Yes We Canberra) to the collection of links I've been gathering over the past few weeks, are not.

Here are a few of my favourites )

Never has the music of a post seemed so appropriate! I laugh, because it's either that or cry.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got lots of great links tonight.

The first two are from i09. Honestly, I really should add it to my RSS feed, rather than waiting for other places to link me to awesome stories, as that site always has really great articles.

The first one is about what 'Team Jacob' (or rather, the 'defeat' of Team Jacob) represents in Twilight. The second, via [livejournal.com profile] thelxiepia, is about tropes in television (but not TV Tropes). They're both really thought-provoking.

[livejournal.com profile] ceilidh_ann has a great post snarking Cassandra Clare's book City of Ashes. It's part of a series of posts reviewing dodgy YA literature.

Hal Duncan has an excellent article up at BSC about the Last Airbender film.

Finally, the Australian federal election has been called for 21st August. I don't think I know many 17- or 18-year-old Australians who read this blog, but if there are any of you reading, make sure you're registered to vote. Being in the UK myself, I'm going to have to figure out how to vote from over here, since I'm going to be flying back from Ireland that day. Clearly, I'll have to get a postal vote, so I should organise that as soon as possible. Any UK-based Australians reading this should sort out what they're doing, too.

ETA: Via [livejournal.com profile] angelofboox, this Marauder-era Facebook timeline by Julvett on DeviantArt. The link goes to part 1. There are three parts.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got lots of great links tonight.

The first two are from i09. Honestly, I really should add it to my RSS feed, rather than waiting for other places to link me to awesome stories, as that site always has really great articles.

The first one is about what 'Team Jacob' (or rather, the 'defeat' of Team Jacob) represents in Twilight. The second, via [livejournal.com profile] thelxiepia, is about tropes in television (but not TV Tropes). They're both really thought-provoking.

[livejournal.com profile] ceilidh_ann has a great post snarking Cassandra Clare's book City of Ashes. It's part of a series of posts reviewing dodgy YA literature.

Hal Duncan has an excellent article up at BSC about the Last Airbender film.

Finally, the Australian federal election has been called for 21st August. I don't think I know many 17- or 18-year-old Australians who read this blog, but if there are any of you reading, make sure you're registered to vote. Being in the UK myself, I'm going to have to figure out how to vote from over here, since I'm going to be flying back from Ireland that day. Clearly, I'll have to get a postal vote, so I should organise that as soon as possible. Any UK-based Australians reading this should sort out what they're doing, too.

ETA: Via [livejournal.com profile] angelofboox, this Marauder-era Facebook timeline by Julvett on DeviantArt. The link goes to part 1. There are three parts.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
It's not often that I I go to sleep and wake up with a new Prime Minister. (Also, I know we're not meant to talk about this stuff, but I haven't seen Julia Gillard in a year or so, and she's got a MUCH IMPROVED new haircut.) As I was saying to various people, I quite like Gillard, and I've always thought it would be cool to have a female PM, but I don't understand what it is that Rudd did wrong. I quite liked him too. It's weird finding this stuff out second-hand, and living at such a remove from Australian politics.

This is just awful. Copyfighting is NOT extremism.

Emma's report on Supanova makes me wish again that I was back in Sydney.

I really like John Scalzi's post about being self-aware of your own incompetence.

Here's a link to a rather old post by me on the Radio National Bookshow Blog about [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales's book launch for The Demon's Covenant.

I've had only two hours' sleep, and I'm meant to be working at Kumon in an hour and a half. Eeek.
That's it, I think.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
It's not often that I I go to sleep and wake up with a new Prime Minister. (Also, I know we're not meant to talk about this stuff, but I haven't seen Julia Gillard in a year or so, and she's got a MUCH IMPROVED new haircut.) As I was saying to various people, I quite like Gillard, and I've always thought it would be cool to have a female PM, but I don't understand what it is that Rudd did wrong. I quite liked him too. It's weird finding this stuff out second-hand, and living at such a remove from Australian politics.

This is just awful. Copyfighting is NOT extremism.

Emma's report on Supanova makes me wish again that I was back in Sydney.

I really like John Scalzi's post about being self-aware of your own incompetence.

Here's a link to a rather old post by me on the Radio National Bookshow Blog about [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales's book launch for The Demon's Covenant.

I've had only two hours' sleep, and I'm meant to be working at Kumon in an hour and a half. Eeek.
That's it, I think.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
So, as you might've noticed, there was a tiny general election in the UK on Thursday. As a Commonwealth citizen currently living in the UK, I was able to vote (although I'd thought I was only allowed to vote in the council elections, and rather hastily had to make up my mind about who to vote for at national level, once I got into the polling station). As a voter (and a political - and more specifically, election - junkie) I think I'm as qualified as anyone to offer my 10 cents on the result, the situation that's unfolding, and electoral reform. These are just some scattered thoughts, based on my observations and conversations over the past couple of days. I'm not sure I'm qualified to offer anything more comprehensive than that.

The political ramblings of a disgrunted social democrat. You've been warned. )

That's it from me. Feel free to disagree, vociferously, in the comments.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
So, as you might've noticed, there was a tiny general election in the UK on Thursday. As a Commonwealth citizen currently living in the UK, I was able to vote (although I'd thought I was only allowed to vote in the council elections, and rather hastily had to make up my mind about who to vote for at national level, once I got into the polling station). As a voter (and a political - and more specifically, election - junkie) I think I'm as qualified as anyone to offer my 10 cents on the result, the situation that's unfolding, and electoral reform. These are just some scattered thoughts, based on my observations and conversations over the past couple of days. I'm not sure I'm qualified to offer anything more comprehensive than that.

The political ramblings of a disgrunted social democrat. You've been warned. )

That's it from me. Feel free to disagree, vociferously, in the comments.
dolorosa_12: (una)
So, I've been thinking about Livejournal etiquette (and online etiquette more broadly). It was brought on by a couple of posts linked in a [livejournal.com profile] metafandom roundup, one of which was a sort of users' guide for newbies to journalling sites, and the other of which was about non-journal-based vs journal-based fandom. It made me realise that I have, over the years, developed my own set of very clear rules for (Livejournal-based) online interaction. I should emphasise that they are MY RULES, and not in any way directed at others. They were arrived at by a combination of trial and error, based on my seven years on LJ, and they work for me, but they may not work for you.

These are my rules )

I've changed a couple of my icons. It's the first time I've really struggled with my Basic account's six-icon limit. I stuck with Basic a few years ago because I don't like looking at ads, and I didn't have any control over the kinds of ads my journal would've shown, and I've never regretted the decision much until now. Six icons is enough to convey my five main moods: Happy/enthusiastic, Busy, Sad, Angry, Surprised, with one left over for a generic default icon. However, fifteen icons would be even better! But what I really struggle with is the limit on posts. It's about 400, and I write so much that I've gone over it years ago, which means LJ keeps deleting my oldest entries. That makes me somewhat unhappy. But not enough to upgrade.

One interesting link from Penny Red about political apathy and Gen Y. (I disagree with her labelling us the 'lost generation Mark 2', though. Please! We're Generation Meh or the Whatever Generation!) It ties in nicely with what I was saying about Regurgitator and my generation. I agree that both posts make generalisations, but they're generalisations with some truth.

EDIT Hello [livejournal.com profile] metafandom people! It's great to see you here. Just a quick heads up about a couple of things:

I've never been [livejournal.com profile] metafandomed before (although I follow it and read a lot of the posts that get linked to in [livejournal.com profile] metafandom), so I apologise if I make any newbie mistakes when it comes to discussing meta with a whole group of meta-enthusiasts.

Also, I'm going to be awake for about another 45 minutes (until midnight UK time), so I'll be responding to comments for that time. After that, if I don't respond, it's not because I'm ignoring you, just that I'm asleep, and I will reply as soon as I can tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying talking to you all!
dolorosa_12: (una)
So, I've been thinking about Livejournal etiquette (and online etiquette more broadly). It was brought on by a couple of posts linked in a [livejournal.com profile] metafandom roundup, one of which was a sort of users' guide for newbies to journalling sites, and the other of which was about non-journal-based vs journal-based fandom. It made me realise that I have, over the years, developed my own set of very clear rules for (Livejournal-based) online interaction. I should emphasise that they are MY RULES, and not in any way directed at others. They were arrived at by a combination of trial and error, based on my seven years on LJ, and they work for me, but they may not work for you.

These are my rules )

I've changed a couple of my icons. It's the first time I've really struggled with my Basic account's six-icon limit. I stuck with Basic a few years ago because I don't like looking at ads, and I didn't have any control over the kinds of ads my journal would've shown, and I've never regretted the decision much until now. Six icons is enough to convey my five main moods: Happy/enthusiastic, Busy, Sad, Angry, Surprised, with one left over for a generic default icon. However, fifteen icons would be even better! But what I really struggle with is the limit on posts. It's about 400, and I write so much that I've gone over it years ago, which means LJ keeps deleting my oldest entries. That makes me somewhat unhappy. But not enough to upgrade.

One interesting link from Penny Red about political apathy and Gen Y. (I disagree with her labelling us the 'lost generation Mark 2', though. Please! We're Generation Meh or the Whatever Generation!) It ties in nicely with what I was saying about Regurgitator and my generation. I agree that both posts make generalisations, but they're generalisations with some truth.

EDIT Hello [livejournal.com profile] metafandom people! It's great to see you here. Just a quick heads up about a couple of things:

I've never been [livejournal.com profile] metafandomed before (although I follow it and read a lot of the posts that get linked to in [livejournal.com profile] metafandom), so I apologise if I make any newbie mistakes when it comes to discussing meta with a whole group of meta-enthusiasts.

Also, I'm going to be awake for about another 45 minutes (until midnight UK time), so I'll be responding to comments for that time. After that, if I don't respond, it's not because I'm ignoring you, just that I'm asleep, and I will reply as soon as I can tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying talking to you all!
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
I wrote a Longvision chapter commentary post. It's about Romanitas chapter 2, 'Green Thames'.

In response to a variety of things, I wrote an impassioned defence of J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. Against what charges was I defending them? The charge of encouraging children to challenge authority. Oddly enough, on the same day, Neil Gaiman linked to a New York Times article about absent and bumbling parents in children's literature, which is sort of what I was discussing.

Scalzi, as usual, has some good stuff on his blog, including this (conservative US senator Tom Coburn tells conservatives to get their news and current affairs from a wider range of sources than Faux News, which is stating the bleeding obvious, but welcome nonetheless), and his thoughts on this year's Hugo nominees. Abigail Nussbaum's opinions on the matter, are, as usual, worthwhile.

Here's a GREAT post by Justine Larbalestier about teenagers and reading, which I urge you all to read. She makes the sensible point that a lot of the panicking seems to be that teenagers aren't reading the right kind of books, that is, not novels. But, as she notes, teenagers are reading, so stop panicking. She's also got an interesting post about how most US readers seem to be interpreting Karen Healey's book Guardian of the Dead as being set in Australia, when it is, in fact, set in New Zealand - and very clearly stated to be set there.

This Boing Boing post about a ramen connoisseur is pretty cool. So is this article in The Independent about John Oliver, a British comedian who's been a very successful addition to The Daily Show line up.

Despite my strong resistance to becoming British, it seems to have rubbed off somewhat. In case you didn't realise, the general election's been called for 6th May. While I can't vote in it, I've found myself getting caught up in it, and read the election coverage in three papers from cover to cover today. I actually quite enjoy elections. The US one in 2008 I spent watching with three American housemates, celebrating ecstatically as the night wore on. For my last Australian one, I was working for a newspaper, and there's something very special about being in the media during an election year. There's a sense of knowing camaraderie that you don't find elsewhere, with everyone dropping everything to stand transfixed in front of the office televisions whenever an important speech comes on and so on.

As a foreigner, the British election won't have a huge impact on my life (unless the government decides to kick out all foreign students or limit our ability to work or something), but as a passionate participant in several other elections (and a person from a country where voting is compulsory), I urge all my British friends to register to vote, if they haven't already, and to vote.

(Amusingly, when I was in Southport with my cousins, I learnt that British elections are always on Thursdays. Australian ones are always on Saturdays, so as to allow everyone to vote. My cousin remarked that the British ones were held on weekdays to keep people from voting. However, every election I've ever voted in has required me to duck out of work in the cake shop because, as a student, I had been working part-time on Saturdays...)

The other example of rubbed-off Britishness is a bit sillier. I was reading a book published in the US, and found myself flinching every time the author used the word 'pants' to mean 'trousers'. Somehow, although this is a perfectly acceptable Australian usage, the British meaning of 'pants' seems to have lodged in my brain. It's only 'pants'. I still happily say 'chips' to mean both 'crisps' and 'hot chips', 'swimmers' for 'swimming costume' and so on. But 'pants' for 'trousers' looks wrong.

One final piece of ephemera before I leave you to cook dinner. While running today, I had the best seamless transition from one song to another:

'I'm totally addicted to -' 'Bass in the place, London!'

It kind of made my day. Which is kind of pathetic.
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
I wrote a Longvision chapter commentary post. It's about Romanitas chapter 2, 'Green Thames'.

In response to a variety of things, I wrote an impassioned defence of J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. Against what charges was I defending them? The charge of encouraging children to challenge authority. Oddly enough, on the same day, Neil Gaiman linked to a New York Times article about absent and bumbling parents in children's literature, which is sort of what I was discussing.

Scalzi, as usual, has some good stuff on his blog, including this (conservative US senator Tom Coburn tells conservatives to get their news and current affairs from a wider range of sources than Faux News, which is stating the bleeding obvious, but welcome nonetheless), and his thoughts on this year's Hugo nominees. Abigail Nussbaum's opinions on the matter, are, as usual, worthwhile.

Here's a GREAT post by Justine Larbalestier about teenagers and reading, which I urge you all to read. She makes the sensible point that a lot of the panicking seems to be that teenagers aren't reading the right kind of books, that is, not novels. But, as she notes, teenagers are reading, so stop panicking. She's also got an interesting post about how most US readers seem to be interpreting Karen Healey's book Guardian of the Dead as being set in Australia, when it is, in fact, set in New Zealand - and very clearly stated to be set there.

This Boing Boing post about a ramen connoisseur is pretty cool. So is this article in The Independent about John Oliver, a British comedian who's been a very successful addition to The Daily Show line up.

Despite my strong resistance to becoming British, it seems to have rubbed off somewhat. In case you didn't realise, the general election's been called for 6th May. While I can't vote in it, I've found myself getting caught up in it, and read the election coverage in three papers from cover to cover today. I actually quite enjoy elections. The US one in 2008 I spent watching with three American housemates, celebrating ecstatically as the night wore on. For my last Australian one, I was working for a newspaper, and there's something very special about being in the media during an election year. There's a sense of knowing camaraderie that you don't find elsewhere, with everyone dropping everything to stand transfixed in front of the office televisions whenever an important speech comes on and so on.

As a foreigner, the British election won't have a huge impact on my life (unless the government decides to kick out all foreign students or limit our ability to work or something), but as a passionate participant in several other elections (and a person from a country where voting is compulsory), I urge all my British friends to register to vote, if they haven't already, and to vote.

(Amusingly, when I was in Southport with my cousins, I learnt that British elections are always on Thursdays. Australian ones are always on Saturdays, so as to allow everyone to vote. My cousin remarked that the British ones were held on weekdays to keep people from voting. However, every election I've ever voted in has required me to duck out of work in the cake shop because, as a student, I had been working part-time on Saturdays...)

The other example of rubbed-off Britishness is a bit sillier. I was reading a book published in the US, and found myself flinching every time the author used the word 'pants' to mean 'trousers'. Somehow, although this is a perfectly acceptable Australian usage, the British meaning of 'pants' seems to have lodged in my brain. It's only 'pants'. I still happily say 'chips' to mean both 'crisps' and 'hot chips', 'swimmers' for 'swimming costume' and so on. But 'pants' for 'trousers' looks wrong.

One final piece of ephemera before I leave you to cook dinner. While running today, I had the best seamless transition from one song to another:

'I'm totally addicted to -' 'Bass in the place, London!'

It kind of made my day. Which is kind of pathetic.

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rushes into my heart and my skull

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