105th Down Under Feminists Carnival

Square logo with turquoise border,, same colour text Down Under Feminist Carnival spans the top and bottom, in the centre is the symbol for 'woman' with the southern cross inside the loop.It’s the beginning of March and time for another Down Under Feminist Carnival, which I am hosting this month. Apologies for the belated arrival of things, I had most things pre-drafted and then the beginning of the month really came out of nowhere. Still, it’s International Women’s Day, so perhaps posting tonight is somewhat appropriate in any case.

Next month the Carnival will be hosted by Ana Stevenson at AnaStevenson.com, ana.stevenson [at] uqconnect [dot] edu [dot] au. 

We’re also still looking for people who’d like to host the carnival in future months, it’s super easy, there’s lots of support with people sending through links and it’s a chance to promote the voices of women talking about issues of importance to us. Here’s the DUFC contact form and here is a list of future carnivals that have already been planned (pick any month that isn’t on that list). People will send you suggestions to help you out and there’s help if you need it too. Check out the Down Under Feminists Carnival homepage for more information.


Race and Racism

Front and centre because white feminism is harmful and I’m aware that as a white feminist speaking, I should be doing less of that and more promoting of non-white feminist voices.

A listening piece, Celeste Liddle of Black Feminist Ranter writes for The Age about how we cannot ignore the radicalisation of white men. She also discusses white men and violence and the threat of radicalisation in a podcast for the ABC. This piece is 14 minutes long, but although it’s ABC there doesn’t appear to be a transcript yet.

Faye Yik-Wei Chan is a Melbourne academic writing for the Australian Women’s History Network, sharing research from her thesis on the legal status of Chinese Indonesian Women, 1930-2014. Although this piece is not situated in Australia or New Zealand it is salient to the region and focuses on intersectionality and race outside of the dominance of white people.

Amy McGuire writes for The Monthly about how the Gap is wider than ever, despite promises none of our prime ministers have lived up to commitments on Indigenous affairs.

Disability and Mental Health

@dilettantiquity of Tales from Urban Dilettantia muses on her messy thoughts and issues with the way performing adulthood intersects with disability.

Emily McAven writes for SBS about how what research shows is best for trans kids is not actually surprising: treating them as they wish to be treated. This quote is compelling and resonates strongly for me: “When children feel loved and accepted for who they are they thrive”.

Sports

Steph and Liz from No Award talk about why they’re going to the footy, and how much the AFWL means to them. And here’s their commentary after getting to attend the first round of games.

@dilettantiquity of Tales from Urban Dilettantia also wrote about the footy and her history with it and excitement over the new AFWL.

Scarlett Harris has written for Paste discussing the impact of sexism and appreciation of WWE, and while the WWE is US based Scarlett writes from an Australian perspective on trying to purchase merchandise, and also the harmful way in which segregation between women wrestlers in WWE remains harmful.

Politics, Work, and Public Spaces

I wrote about Midwifery and the Pink Collar Penalty where after my degree program for a protected position requiring maintenance of a registration, my minimum wage is still under $50k. Even though I’m supporting, educating and looking after women their babies and families during some of the most important and intimate experiences of their lives.

Scarlett Harris writes for Archer Magazine about the issues with promotion of condom use in porn when condoms work exceedingly well for the general public, but are less ideal for wearing hours on end, days on end when having sexual intercourse is your job.

Anna Temby writes for the Australian Women’s History Network, reflecting upon the gendered history of public toilets in Brisbane, Australia.

Chilla Bulbeck writes for the Australian Women’s History Network, and demonstrates in her examination of the ‘gender gap’ in voting and why feminists must continue to prioritise a gendered analyses of politics.

Blue Milk writes on her personal blog of the same name, about her experience in criticising the government and how subsequently her private information was given to a journalist and used against her publicly.

Sarah of Writehanded reminisces on starting her blog and why it remains important to counteract the negative stigma about beneficiaries that is rife in New Zealand.

Yen-Rong of the Inexorablist wrote this great piece on what she thinks white men are thinking when they stare at her, because women in public are still for the consumption of others, right? With a side order of racism.

Emily McAven writes for SBS about marching as a family and finding community at Pride.

Motherhood and Pregnancy

Sometimes parenting is being optimistic, and having that optimism dashed to pieces. Emily of Emily Writes writes about the time she attended an Arts Festival launch hoping it would all be fine (spoiler: it wasn’t).

Amanda from Spinoff Parents talks about the other end of parenthood, where your children as adults have left home and you’re coming to terms with this.

Petra writes for New Matilda on the subject of the universal basic income and its importance to motherhood. I appreciated the way Petra identifies that discussions of women and inequality are different across demographics of women who are, aren’t, or once were mothers.

Blue Milk reminisces on extended breastfeeding, linking to a bunch of other photos and posts she’s done on the subject in the past.

Radical Self-Care

Emily of Emily Writes also talks about the importance of taking time, because self-care is hard. She also talks about the fact that parenthood isn’t a binary of good vs bad, it just is and you do the best you can anxiety and all.

TigTog’s post on Hoyden About Town on discovering the Tomlin rule is timely and apt given the State of Australia, and everything else politics around the globe. I have so much time for Tomlin and her awesome quippiness in general.

Bethwyn of Butterfly Elephant also talks about her need for self-care and compassion, with some suggestions others may find useful and how important it is for her ongoing health.

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen wrote for SMH about online dating and burn out. How it had given her sexual agency, but that recently she had become burned out by the whole experience.

Food and Cookery

Alex of Acts of Kitchen talks about making a cake, a pie, and interviews Kate who talks about jams, jellies, chutneys and marmalades. This is a podcast link, but Alex does great interviews and this is a conversation between Australian women about things that are interesting to them, wholly in our wheelhouse! This piece is just under 24 minutes long, but has no transcript, I included it as something different for people who may like to listen rather than read.

Alex, from Melbourne Women’s Network talks about the douchiness of Melbourne’s speciality coffee scene, talking about the trend for male baristas to cling to their coffee machines with serving customers being way beneath their esteemed coffee calling.

Books and Media

Hsu-Ming Teo is a literary novelist and cultural historian who has written for the Australian Women’s History Network about origins of the rural romance genre and the history of literary representations of romantic love on Australia’s rural frontier.

Anne Jamison writes for the Australian Women’s History Network, reflecting on the Australian Women’s Writing Symposium which was held at the State Library of New South Wales in November 2016 looking at the significance of the 19th century history of women writers, for Australian women writers of the present.

Deb Lee-Talbot’s writes for the Australian Women’s History Network, analysing a book about how the Red Cross became as a significant Australian institution.

Justine Larbalestier talks on her personal blog about the problem with ‘boy books’ which is not that there is a lack of books for boys but the assumption by adults that boys will only read books about boys.

 

Reflection on 2016 Reading Goals

I’d hoped to get to this in December, but it didn’t happen so all my reflection and end of year posts are being mushed together with my 2017 launching/goal posts. It was a pretty great year for reading overall – but I wanted to evaluate that against the goals I’d hoped to achieve in my reading at the beginning of 2016.

Orange banner with text 2016 Reading Challenged with a book in white on in the centre. A red ribbon with 'completed' crosses the left hand top corner.Overall Reading Goal:

As far as my overall reading goal, I’d hoped to read 75 books and in the end I actually read 81 – according to Goodreads that’s 108%! A bunch of these were shorter, and there were a bunch of graphic novel trade volumes for the first time too. But I still think overall 75 was exactly the right number for a goal – reasonable, something of a stretch but something I can reasonably expect to achieve. I’m really looking forward to finishing my studies so that I can see what my reading is really like – I’ve been studying for almost a decade now, across 2 degrees so I can’t even predict what my reading looks like outside of study anymore.

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016 BadgeAustralian Women Writers Challenge 2016:

My goal for this challenge was to read and review 15 books, this was in part to tie in with other reading goals I had. I managed to read and review 17 books and I’ve also already posted my Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016 Completion post. I didn’t read all the books I had planned to, but I did read a bunch of unexpected books – and for the first time there were some audio books via podcast serials that I included. Probably my only disappointment really with my reading for this challenge last year, was that I didn’t read any works by Indigenous authors, and my diversity in this area was particularly low – I’m hoping to address that in 2017, it’s an ongoing goal.

Read with Diversity in Mind

Speaking of diversity, that was another of my overall goals for the year. I wasn’t specific with this and that was deliberate because it’s an ongoing aim of mine. It’s also one that still requires a lot of conscious effort on my part to achieve – which as a white person is the point of why I’m doing this. But, I’m also a firm believer in the fact that goals and aims need to not be an excuse to punish myself, that defies the point of the goal in the first place and makes it no more likely to occur. So I aim and where I can dedicate the energy to increasing the diversity in my reading  I do so.

Now that I’m looking over the books I read in 2016, I think I did a little better in this area than I thought, but it’s still only a handful. I did much better in reading from queer perspectives – but I’m also a queer person so it’s me seeking out representations of myself and doesn’t have the same meaning or importance in confronting my biases and being uncomfortable as a white person reading more  non-white and Indigenous perspectives. I did read books by non-white authors and books from different cultural perspectives to my own, but there only a few, although they’re ones I enjoyed immensely. I reviewed Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, Book of Phoenix by Nnedi OkoraforThorn by Intisar Khanani and He, She and It by Marge Piercy. I also read Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani, but I’ve not yet reviewed it (but will do so together with the follow up book Memories of Ash which is on my to-read list).

Central Station - cover Book of Phoenix - cover

 

 

 

 

Thorn - cover

He, She and It - cover

 

 

 

 

Participate in Bookclubs

This was partially successful? I did participate, but the clubs I participated in where a bit different to the ones I anticipated. the YA Escape Bookclub wasn’t very active last year, and I was certainly busy enough that I didn’t get to read many of the nominated books, although Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was one of them and a fantastic discovery. The Vaginal Fantasy Bookclub was active all year, but I fell out of keeping up with what they were reading and making the effort there – I did read Radiance by Grace Draven which was one of the pics for January and enjoyed it a lot (I still want to read the following books in the series), but I think that was the only one I read from that club in the year. Although I loved the idea of Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf bookclub, it wasn’t tightly organised and was an absolutely huge group very quickly which made it hard to follow. Also, I didn’t have a lot of coping to do the kind of heavy reading being proposed, or money to access the books – plus the discussions were so huge as to be intimidating unwieldy so I let that club go midway through the year. The Sword and Laser Bookclub is one that I followed a bunch of the discussions and even joined in with them, but I think I failed to read any of the books – I started Radiance by Catherynne Valente, but I found it deeply difficult to read and eventually declared that it was not a book for me recently.

What I did pick up during the year and enjoyed immensely was the Goodreads Challenge group that does regular short and long challenges and buddy reading. I did five buddy reads including Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani, and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. I participated in some of the quarterly and monthly challenges too but I didn’t actually track those very well so no links, but I’m already tracking this year’s challenges better.

Image of a series of vertical book spines showing the twelve planet books in various colours. Header text white on transparent black overlies the image with the title 'A Journey Through the Twelve Planets'.Undertake and Manage the Journey Through Twelve Planets Reading Challenge

Steph and I started this and it went really well for the first six months, and then the second half of the year hammered both of us. Also, when I am stressed and overtired and really busy with study, I am even less likely to read horror than the best of times. So it took me most of the second half of the year to actually read Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren. The other books in the Twelve Planets series by Twelfth Planet Press that we read and reviewed included Nightsiders by Sue Isle, Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts, Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex, Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, and Showtime by Narelle M. Harris. Six books down, six to go!

I had originally planned another largeish but relaxed reading challenge but it didn’t quite come together, but it was always a nice-to-have rather than something I was attached to for last year.

Unpack and Read Some of My Physical Books

I actually do have progress to report on this – not much, but I did unpack my books when I managed to get a hold of some free bookshelves that would fit in my (actually strangely huge) wardrobe. So I unpacked books, but it didn’t lead me to reading them (yet). I hope that in the coming year that shifts – I do feel much better emotionally for being able to see and admire all my books again. I am reading a couple of physical books, but they’re definitely the slowest going for me at the moment as I often just pick up my phone to read by default now. I do still love turning the pages and reading a physical book.

Recent Listening

I work in an agency doing content things, it’s a dynamic place to work and is busy and quite open – very collaborative and has lots of informal space usage encouraged. I *love* this about it. I also love that most of us use headphones for when we want to get stuck into something and not engage outwardly (also useful for when the music playing is not to your taste).  That means that aside from my Pandora stations, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I’ve been loving this so much! So I thought I’d share what I’d happened upon recently. Feel free to tell me if you find something new you love, or if you already love these things squee with me about how amazing and wonderful they are!

The Wheeler Centre Podcasts

Walking the Walk: Next Steps Against Family Violence: Such amazing women speakers, speaking candidly and critically,  in detail about family violence and how it is so very gendered.  There was also a great question at the end about family violence that happens in non hetero- or gender- normative situations and that was well asked, and well acknowledged by the speakers I thought. The whole issue is layered and complex, it’s not as simple as any of the slogans would have us believe. At the root of it is entitlement, and that invariably almost always leads back to sociocultural norms that are taught, learned and reinforced at every turn.

The F Word: Aboriginality: I loved this podcast, it was so interesting to listen to the speakers and it is glad to see Aboriginal speakers prioritised here and having the chance to speak from their experiences about what is important to them. It’s hard to describe how this was different from what is generally a very white feminism in Australia, I don’t quite have the words, but it was there and it was awesome – more feminism like this. More everything that includes and celebrates Indigenous Australian perspectives and expertise.

Galactic Suburbia

I love this podcast and it’s the first one I ever fell in love with. I devoured three episodes recently, not quite in order as I’m saving the Tiptree Spoilerifics for when I’ve read the books (I know it’s not necessary, but it’s helpful incentive to read the books and I want to do it this way). Speculative fiction and feminism, discussed by three brilliant, articulate women. So fucking awesome. Galactic Suburbia has a Patreon campaign, maybe you’d be interested in supporting it?

126: Hugos!: All the Hugos Ceremony aftermath! I watched the twitterstream live, but not the actual livestream (I am edging my way back into awards gently). It was awesome to be on twitter and experiencing all the interaction and brilliant commentary by so many people! I loved that part of it. Also, I am really pleased about the results, and it’s gone a reasonably long way to restoring my faith in fandom for awards, which has been (a lot) lacking for a few years.

128: 2 September 2015: Interesting data thanks to work by Nicola Griffiths crunching numbers relating to awards shortlists and winners, discussions about diversity panels and how after a certain point they’re not the conversation you need to be having and putting those ‘diverse’ labelled people on – they’re the people you should be including on all the OTHER discussions, because actually, that’s what diversity genuinely looks like. Lots of smart discussion, as usual. I love it.

129: 16 September 2015: Discussion of Australian politics and the recent Spill which has given us Malcolm Turnbull as our new Prime Minister. It’s a great discussion of our political system at present and how, it’s a bit of a joke. I’m sure there was some great commentary about the ability to win elections is not an indication of competency to govern – but I’m seeing a bunch of similar commentary around in relation to our government at present so it’s all a bit blurred together. In particular listening to the politics discussion, I love that sense of knowing that I was far from alone being glued to the coverage that night. Also acknowledgement of that thing where, nothing has really changed with the change of who’s in the top job – but so many of us have *hated* Abbott for so long and so much, that seeing him gone couldn’t be anything other than a pleasant relief. Even if you wake up to something of an ongoing hangover the next day.

Fangirl Happy Hour

It’s all thanks to Galactic Suburbia that I came across Fangirl Happy Hour, but I’m so glad I did! I love Ana and Renay! They’re so great to listen to! I love their enthusiasm! I love that they have such different and similar tastes and that they support this for each other so delightfully! It’s so charming! Speculative fiction in all it’s genre awesomeness from a perspective that brings things to my attention that I am actually interested in, with recommendations that I can trust in whether I’ll like something or not. I just can’t get enough, I inhaled four episodes:

14: ALL the Recommendations: Wow! So many recommendations! It is still one of the things on my to-do list to go through the show notes and add a bunch of the things to my reading/watching list! Not the least of which is their list of 81 cool podcasts… apparently I’ve plunged deeply back into podcast listening without even trying!

15: Three Out of Five Space Bees: This was a great episode, I almost wanted to read the ‘Hawkeye’ comic (I am not a comics person at this point in time). I really enjoyed the discussion of ‘Uprooted’ which is Naomi Novik’s new book and sounds fantastic.

16: Kate Elliott: Panel Rebel: This was such a fun podcast to listen to! Kate Elliott was a marvellous guest and I am now wondering how I never read any of her stuff before – she writes right within the genre spaces that I love. So, pretty much all her books are on my to-read list now.

17: Sigourney Weavering: I felt so much for Ana in this episode – I would have been equally upset by the treatment by the staffer at the con when she was trying to find out about the photo shoot stuff. How fucking rude. I really loved the discussion in this episode about the weight of history in the fandom/umbrella genre – and how sometimes it can be nice to try and read that, but it should never be imperative. Also, sometimes you have to make your own historical touchstones, and share them – hopefully others will also appreciate them, but saying something IS like this and that X book IS quintessential and you’re not a ‘real’ fan without it, is crap. I’m not buying. I’ve still never read Asimov or Heinlein, or Clark, or a bunch of others and honestly… I probably won’t. It’s not relevant history for me – it doesn’t enhance my experience of reading in this fandom/genre umbrella.

Feminist Frequency

Today I got around to listening to the latest in Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency series about Tropes in Video Games. The most recent topic of discussion is women as reward, how that works and what it looks like, what it means in the context of gaming, designer/developer respect for women, and perpetuating and reinforcing through creating incentives out of women as objects/rewards, the sense of male entitlement that is prevalent in our patriarchal society. It’s a brilliant critique, I really loved the way she ties it all into that entitlement and how it differs in effect in gaming rather than movies, television, books or comics – the nature is the challenge, achievement and reward – interactivity and making women rewards. Not people. Rewards. Which is to say, the games make a massive assumption that gamers are pretty much cis, male, straight, and not for example women, or non-binary gendered, or queer. Anita says it much better than I do, go watch her awesome videos:

 

The Misandry Hour:

First episode just dropped of Clementine Ford’s new project and IT’S AWESOME. It’s so awesome. In case you weren’t sure, the title is a tongue in cheek poke at the whole idea and myth surrounding misandry. There is a reasonable portion of the episode devoted to addressing this idea of misandry and what it comes down to is that any cultural level hatred that any group of women could level against men, cannot bring to bear the same influence, power and social inequality experienced by women. It’s not the same playing field, and to suggest that it is, frankly is part of the problem. The guests that Clementine invites along this episode are awesome, they’re interesting to listen to and the whole conversation is in depth crunchy feminism – it’s confronting and uncomfortable in places about our individual thinking processes, our own conditioning and how we engage and why. I didn’t know that I was desperate for this until I listened to it, but wow, it was so very much what I needed. This podcast is the product of a Patreon campaign for the express purpose of valuing women’s work and time, so maybe consider supporting it if you’d like?

Sharing ongoing meal planning experiences

So the whole meal planning thing has taken root in our household, and this is something I’m glad about as I think it makes a bunch of things easier – especially given my particular role in our three person household is managing of food decisions and a large chunk of the cooking. I’ve been using a Pinterest board to track my cooking and recipes so that both the result and the recipe are in roughly the same location, so take a look there if you’re interested. Below is a few dot points on general things I’ve learned in this meal planning process, mostly particular to our own situation but maybe useful for readers too, and below that a bunch of recipes and my commentary about making them, or not, and what worked and didn’t.

  • You need to work out what you need out of your food – do you just need it to do dinner and not have leftovers cluttering up the fridge. or do you actually need leftovers for lunches and frozen meals for later?
  • The last point is a necessary thing to try and figure out about your needs because that influences how many recipes/meals you need and also what kind of things you might pick for the fortnight. Roughly I’ve worked out that including some leftovers for lunches/frozen meals (either or) we need 10-12 meals/recipes per fortnight.
  • This is dependent on the activities of the fortnight, if 2 of us are out every day at uni and need lunches, that’s a factor, but if one of us is home most of the time, different provisions are more useful.
  • It’s probably important to build in some flexibility – you can plot out a plan for what most nights are going to look like, but having gaps where you can either eat leftovers, or do something spontaneous can be useful (especially if you have back up super cheap/easy options on hand).
  • This is hard but worth it, but I really notice that having a well stocked pantry helps with variety and awesomeness of things I can make cheaply. The hard part of this is knowing what particular ingredients like vinegars, sauces, spices etc are useful for you and how you like to cook and eat. Then the next thing is to spread out across shopping trips buying and maintaining those things so that they’re generally on hand, but not an onerous expense.
  • I’m still noticing and marvelling at the difference it makes to have homemade frozen stock on hand, it saves a massive amount of time because they’ve already simmered for ages, plus the ingredients are super cheap and often can be done using up a bunch of kitchen scraps that would otherwise go to waste.
  • We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to divest from supermarket meat, mostly we were avoiding it anyway but convenience kept us hooked for a while. The straw was just the lack of quality and the limited range/flexibility. Also, it’s not really cheaper than the cost of meat at butchers I can find at markets near to me – this may differ for you. I’d love to do a free range meat delivery but I’m not that organised yet, plus it’s a bit more expensive than I can afford right now. Still, we’re enjoying the bounty of better quality meat, and I’ve had some great luck with specials on cuts of meat that I really love – like lamb racks/cutlets.

So some of the meal planning I have done in the recent months – note this is the plan and not it’s execution. These links are from mid July through until the end of August. There’s a bunch of stuff here and I initially tried to plot it out by meal plan sections but it’s been a bit too long for that to make sense. I’ll try and do it for the current fortnight’s plan in another post.

  • Salmon fillets with blender Bearnaise – this didn’t happen and the ‘recipe’ was mostly just to fuel an idea that would work better from us (I like some fish, but not salmon generally).
  • ‘No Time’ bread – currently my favourite go-to bread. I do it a long way because we don’t have a microwave, but the rising time is a fraction of what is needed otherwise. Also the texture is great and flavour really pleasing.
  • Asparagus with Sage Butter Pasta – this pre-dates my plan to try and focus on more seasonal fruit and veg, but wasn’t my favourite asparagus or buttered pasta recipe.Asparagus and Sage Butter Pasta
  • Pasta with Lemony Sauce – I haven’t yet made my own pasta for this, although the recipe suggests doing so (I think it will be awesome and plan to do so at some point). This is another simple sauce that does a lot with very little. Love this one.
  • Buttermilk and Oatmeal bread – I had buttermilk to use up and I was curious. Also, this is a period in which I was home a lot, so had time to bake. This was a great bread – a little sweet for my taste as an every day bread but it was *delicious*.
  • Butter Chicken – one recipe I found that looked like it was worth trying – and it definitely produced a good butter chicken-y type flavour, which was reminiscent of getting good Indian food, but not really there at all as far as the overall look and feel go. I now have two other recipes from friends who say they are awesome, so I’m keen to try those at some stage too.
  • Broccoli, Parmesan and Lemon Soup – had leftover broccoli and this was a spectacularly good use for it! Great soup, so much flavour and each element was apparent! Easy and delicious to make, will definitely become part of the winter soup staples.
  • Spiced Lamb Casserole with Thyme Dumplings – made this with kangaroo which worked really well, the dumplings were light and fluffy. I used quince jam I had in the fridge instead of quince paste which was great. This is a recipe that appealed to me as a stew but especially because it doesn’t rely on tomato for flavour (I was a bit over tomato dominated flavour things at this point).
  • Pork with Cider and Cream – this recipe was fantastic! So good, so tasty! Loved it from start to finish! We had the pork cheap from a previous market shop where pork was on sale, used frozen broad beans and easily justified a bottle of cider to try this out – so worth it. Highly recommended.
  • Made roast chicken – had originally intended to make Barbara Kafka’s Simplest Roast Chicken, but it was a night where I was with Fox in the kitchen and I just showed him how to make a roast chicken on the fly by feel – not intentionally, but getting him to touch the chicken took enough effort that I didn’t want to fuss with a recipe – I’d still like to try this one though.Fox's First Roast Chicken Dinner
  • Made pull-apart rolls in preparation for making these Panko crusted fish sticks with lime and tarragon aioli into fish burgers, but they were tiny – so we had sliders! They were so cute, but next time I’ll make bigger rolls (the recipe did indicate they were dinner rolls, I should have realised).
  • Red Currant and Rosemary Lamb Shanks – this was another recipe that I was drawn to because of the lack of tomato dominance. It was a bit of a hunt for the red currant sauce (which had been in the supermarket the week before!) but it all worked out. The sauce didn’t thicken as much as I’d have liked for this so I’ll tweak that to try and have that happen next time, but it was flavourful and I do want to make it again.
  • Ginger’s Lamb Vadouvan Chili – this recipe was on the list but didn’t get made, it’s still one I’d really like to make, but it might be getting a bit too warm in the year for it.
  • In this fortnight, I also made chicken stock, which turned out to be a particularly good batch.
  • More baking, I made Bette’s Best Sour Cream Cake – which lasted the entire week and was *delicious* It was moist and flavourful, plus was versatile. We had it with cream and cherries one night as dessert.Bette's Best Sour Cream Cake with cherries and cream
  • One of my partners from Perth was visiting, is vegetarian and wanted to learn to cook. So we spent a chunk of time on that for his benefit. One of the things we cooked was Jane Grigson’s Celery Soup, which even if you don’t like celery, is utterly gorgeous and well worth trying.
  • Another dish that I tried to teach my partner is Andrew Feinberg’s Roasted Broccoli Frittata which is absolutely one of my favourite recipe finds. This is gorgeous, glorious, utterly incredible. Do it as the recipe suggests, cutting corners means you miss out on the delicious custard-y texture which would be a shame indeed.
  • We were out with friends and there were burgers, so we needed to come home and make burgers. Ral made *amazing* homemade burgers, with Wonder Fries – and it was just so so so good. (Vegetarian partner was off exploring Melbourne this night).
  • Broccoli Pasta Bake – my own recipe, that I want to write up at some point because my cheese sauce rocked, and it’s gotten better and better each time I do it. When all else fails for inspiration, fresh broccoli and cauliflower (including the stems), cheese sauce and cheese with breadcrumbs on top.
  • Another easy pasta dish, Easiest Alfredo Sauce, aimed at teaching my visiting partner – but he was struggling with this idea of what cooking consistently meant so he begged off for this. We made this sauce for a fresh pasta we bought from the markets – goats cheese and truffle ravioli. We added the broccoli for freshness and it came together beautifully.
  • I had on my list of meal plans for quite a while to make this Traditional Beef Daube, it gave me the runaround with ingredients and being tired and not reading the preparation properly – I totally flaked on it. But, it was so worth it in the end, rich flavours that just made us all happy. Would definitely make this again.
  • More pasta – it’s a staple in our house and an easy way to get Fox to cook as it’s the kind of cooking he’s most comfortable with. So we made Donna Hay’s Pasta with Pumpkin and Sage Brown Butter. That and we had sage to use up. This pasta with sage was much better than the other one – I think I’ll use this brown butter technique with the asparagus recipe in order to bring out the best in it next time.
  • There was in August this magical day that heralded the warmer weather to come and it was all the excuse we needed! We barbecued a flat chicken a seasoning mix called ‘Duck Duck Goose’ that had fennel, juniper berries, cassia, star anise, Sichuan pepper, orange peel, cloves and marjoram. It went on the charcoal BBQ and was so delicious! For sides I made these Roasted Pomegranate Carrots, and Lemony Roasted Cauliflower with Oregano and Garlic – both of these were absolute winners as sides, I’ve made both again since.
  • I love that soup has become such an easy go-to recipe. This Speedy Tuscan White Bean Soup came together really well – despite the canned beans (which can sometimes have a weird flavour from being canned). We added bacon to the top of this and Ral fried slices of bread that were so thin they became these delicious crouton slices – it felt like a much fancier dinner than it actually was, which is always nice in a fortnight where the food budget is a bit gloomy.

DUFC Retrospective – Call for submissions for the 88th Down Under Feminists Carnival

DUFC LogoI’m proud to be hosting the 88th Down Under Feminist Carnival, to be posted in the early days of September 2015. I wasn’t planning on a theme this time, and then one jumped up and bit me!

It occurs to me that it might be a good time to take a look at some past DUFC posts, or things that were previously missed. A retrospective, or redux if you will. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who have favourite posts from some time back, now would be a great time to remind people about them. Send me past favourites or things you remember fondly, things that are still applicable now from when they were written.   (This theme idea brought to you by my cleaning up my Pinboard tags…)

So here’s my call for submissions. Send me awesome Australian and New Zealand feminist blogger content written any time in August or a retrospective post! You can send me something someone else has written, but please also consider writing something and sending it to me – I really want to read it! You can leave a comment here with a link and some details or email me transcendancing [at] gmail [dot] com.

I enjoy hosting the carnival a whole lot, it’s really rewarding. There is a need for some additional people to host the carnival from October onwards – if you’re interested, leave a comment here or you can email the coordinator Chally directly: chally.zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com. Hosting is not difficult, you get to read some awesome stuff and there’s lots of support.

Any questions? Leave a comment or email me – happy August blogging!

Link Salad: Oh humanity…

I’m not sure how to characterise these links, maybe I just need to put them out there together and let them speak for themselves…

Centrelink (one of my least favourite organisations) is coming under scrutiny for poor response times and leaving calls unanswered. I think the criticism is actually a little unfair though because they like any other public service department has to operate within budget and the public service in the past several years has been very poorly funded. People are already working beyond their means in an effort to meet demands – just because you ‘restructure’ and justify cutting jobs, doesn’t mean the amount of work actually reduces – it’s all still there and those trying to do it struggle.

What’s also interesting is their response to the criticism, pulling people off all other tasks to answer calls and reduce waiting times, as though this will in any way address the underlying problems – all the non-phonecall work still needs to be done, and probably also suffers from delays. Answering calls will absolutely increase the amount of that non-phone work that needs to be done. Once you get to a certain point in the process/acceptance of your claim it is easier to deal with the online process and that becomes possible – but only after a certain point, before that it’s just painful and frustrating. Painful and frustrating describes the general experience of Centrelink overall.

More on politics in Australia, this article from The Australian (note, some readers may find this is behind a pay wall, sorry about that) talks  about how the ALP may be forced to recognise that Australia is now a three party political system (let’s assume the Liberal National Party are still firmly in denial about this).  It’s nice that the ALP strategists are finally joining the rest of us in the present, because I feel this has been true for a while – certainly the way in which the Greens have been a more effective Opposition, they’re saying things that the ALP won’t say and refusing to support things that the ALP should refuse to support (data retention, whistle blower laws anyone)? Anyway, the language of this article is appalling ‘serious threat’ – please! A friend commented that ‘viable alternative’ and ‘effective choice’ were better ways of describing it. I’d also like to point out, that holy fuck the language in this article! “planning a campaign directed at conservative voters in Liberal territory who had strayed” as though the voters are naughty children or something. I can’t even!!!

One of the bigger news stories going on in the past week has been the boat full of Rohingya refugees that have been turned back by multiple countries, and basically are being left to die in the middle of the ocean. The callous response to these people in need has horrified me so much that I’ve barely been able to stomach the headlines. These are some of the most oppressed people in the world, and I don’t understand how we can stand by and let this happen. Gambia puts us all to shame by making room for these people and offering to resettle them despite the poverty of the country. The bureaucratic way in which there’s the ‘multi-country effort’ double speak trying to make it seem as though Gambia hasn’t shown up the rest of the world makes me ill. I wish these people peace, and recovery and a place to call home without fear.

And now a small breather, something more positive to uplift for at least a few moments and break the horror and sadness. There’s an Australian bat rescue hospital. They look after and rehabilitate bats! And the little bats all wrapped up that way is seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen! How cute is this?!

Two orphan baby bats, wrapped up in coloured blankets, one bat hugs the other and one is dozing with a teat in its mouth.

Back to reality… Maggie Gyllenhaal has been notified by Hollywood that she’s ‘too old’ at 37 to play the lead against a 55 year-old male co-star. What the actual fuck?! Maggie Gyllenhaal is a brilliant actress – people should be clamouring to have at her after her performance in ‘The Honourable Woman‘. Also since when is 37 ‘too old’ – that’s not even in the same decade as the male lead! I know it’s part of the existing culture of Hollywood, but I’m so glad when any of the esteemed actresses speak out about it honestly and candidly because it’s the kind of thing that needs to change. I live in hope.

And here we have an article that looks into the statistics and reports from the NSW Coroner’s Court in relation to domestic violence. The findings are not at all surprising, they remain sobering. The fact that as a nation we’re not coordinating a national response addressing the existing horror, need for change, rehabilitation, healing and also on prevention and changing things for the future is despicable. It remains obvious to me that the lives of women don’t matter. We have a deep societal problem with family violence, but we just don’t seem to care – or we think it’s someone else’s problem. Whatever it is, the real threat of terrorism in Australia is domestic violence.

Another positive moment, and I feel like they’re necessary given all the awfulness! I realise that it’s a bit in the realm of clickbait, but the story itself is actually adorable. I love the way this little girl describes seeing her little brother being born. Just gorgeous!

Link Salad: Post Spill Edition

Head shot of Julia Gilllard giving a speech with the Australian flag in the background.

Julia Gillard addressing the nation with her resignation speech. (Image from Guardian UK)

The Labor leadership spill last week leaves me with a deep feeling of sadness, and quite a lot of anger. It’s not even that I particularly liked or advocated for Gillard’s policies – actually I disagreed vehemently with a bunch of her decisions and actions. While they may also be the actions of the party, they made her ultimately responsible for them. However, I cannot view the way she was treated politically and by the media as anything other than horrendous – and very tellingly evidence as to the massive problem with gender inequality in the country. (This is not to downplay the other massive issues of inequality, just that I’m focusing on gender stuff in this post).

This is my current round up (it may get updated) of links to articles and blog posts about Gillard and the spill, because something like this needs to be acknowledged and talked about. I want to read analysis and I want to commiserate and I want to speculate. I want people with whom I can share my anger and my sadness, my disgust over all that happened. If you want me to add any links to this, leave me a comment.

It’s also worth noting that I haven’t vetted the comments on any of these – I don’t tend to read comments if I can avoid it as a rule, so proceed with care if need be.

I think that the Guardian piece ‘Julia Gillard: where did it all go wrong?‘ by Katherine Murphy gives the best overview I’ve seen politically as a post fact analysis of Gillard politically and with consideration given to the gender issues. I also think it’s one of the most balanced views I’ve seen.

Another article looking at the value placed in neutrality and respect surprisingly comes from the Herald Sun (?!) where Wendy Tuohy discusses the reaction to Gillard’s knitting photo and the coverage of that by the Australian Women’s Weekly. I’ve seen people angry about the photo because somehow there’s this idea that knitting isn’t feminist (it absolutely can be), that the photo was staged and therefore a ‘cheap ploy’ and also plenty of outrage that Gillard was attacked for her knitting when it is a very popular craft.

Delahunty’s opinion piece ‘Is Australia serious about women in power?‘ (Answer: no) is less about the value of neutrality and balance and instead gives voice to the anger and disappointment around Australian politics right now, especially the overall misogynistic treatment by politicians and the media of our first female prime minister.  I kind of wish I could just quote almost every other paragraph from this piece, it’s both candid, astute and empathic.

Secombe is satisfyingly snarky in his article ‘Abbott vs Rudd: The choice Australia deserves?’ [link no longer available] discussing the leadership spill, the overwhelming disrespect to both Gillard as the PM and the office itself, and the Labor infighting. He calls it plainly and his contempt for the state of politics is obvious. Not exactly a positive article, but it is a satisfying read.

Monica Attard reports on Gillard, her prime ministership and the leadership change from a foreign perspective. The overall sense of the article is summed up in the title  ‘Julia Gillard: admired abroad, vilified at home.‘ The outside perspective on Australian voters and politicians is quite interesting.  

Last but not least, Gillard’s resignation speech. Classy and forthright.

Yet more TED talks… perfect background listening for work!

Today for you I have another linky post of TED talks. I promise that I also have the intention of posting more thinky content, but that requires more of my brain than I’ve had available of late. I’m working hard and often my background listening is TED talks, hence I seem to always have a plethora of those to share with you.

I have an incredible mountain of links just waiting to go into linksalads (yes, plural), but I think I will declare an amnesty on a truck load that have been stored in Facebook and nowhere else simply because we’re going on 8 months or so since I trawled through it and… well you can imagine how many links that would be. Maybe I will, but it’s likely I won’t. It really depends on the scrollback interface on whatever Facebook layout is engaged at the time. We shall see.

But for now, inspiring and thinky TED talks!

Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations:

This was really interesting, according to West, the problems caused by the increase in ubranisation can also be solved through that same mechanism of cities and corporations through scalability and networks. I found it particularly interesting that if you double the size of a city, you increase all the good things and bad things, by about 15% (apparently up to and including walking speed o_O). Fascinating stuff.

Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself:

“I was an ‘other’ before anything else, even a girl.” This talk cuts to the heart of the interplay between self and individuality, and the abstract concept of connection and that sense of oneness. Newton speaks beautifully and with poignant insight, stating that “Race is an illegitimate concept, which our selves have created based on fear and ignorance.” It is a statement that I am in agreement with and think that the concept can be extrapolated to many other spaces where oppression and inequality lurk.

Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity:

This talk was about language, how it is a tool for social cooperation. It allows us to take an idea that we have, and transfer it directly into the mind of someone else (through the filters of perception of course). I was interested in the way he referred to this as solving a crisis of ‘visual theft’ with groups of people. You could also call this copying or learning. Interesting to think for a moment and consider how the addition of language makes clear the intent and the purpose of actions. Language uniquely enables prosperity through the transfer of ideas.

Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better

If we take ‘listening’ to mean ‘making meaning from sound’ then it is also reasonable to consider what filters we utilise through listening. Filters such as our culture, our language background, values, beliefs, attitudes, intentions and more. Listening is distinct from sound in that we often become desensitised to sound in general. Treasure mentions some concern with how the art of conversation has been replaced by personal broadcast, that it doesn’t facilitate conscious listening which is required for understanding. I like the idea that spending 3 minutes per day in silence that we can maintain a high degree of sensitivity to sound, something I’d like to try. I am aware through other talks also of the concept mentioned about the ‘hidden choir’ in the chorus of sound and the different ways it comes together, for example birds and trickling water and road noise. By far the most important point for me is that listening promotes connection, and that depending on your listening position, the opportunity for connection is increased or decreased accordingly. A favourite (judging by my notes) from this set of talks.

Josette Sheeran: Ending hunger now:

This was fascinating and moving. Hunger and starvation horrify me and it made me so overwhelmingly happy to hear the ways in which the World Food Program is working to combat hunger. I agree with the speaker in that it seems inexplicable that we can have all this technology, all this advanced society (so to speak) and yet… we’re still dealing with this basic lack of food for a significant portion of the global populace.

It was interesting to find out that stunting as a result of malnourishment from conception through to two years of age is apparently irreversible and thus limits the capacity of those individuals to participate in society fully and advance their position. School feeding is apparently a significant way in which significant wins against hunger have been achieved. Not only is there food for consumption, but it promotes education and keeps kids in school longer. Sheeran states that if you use local agriculture and produce from local farms for school feeding programs, that the effect is “transformative”. An example of this is Brazil, whose school feeding program comprises 0.5% of the GDP per annum. I also agree that in order to solve hunger globally that it needs to be a global commitment with a collective approach.

Jeremy Gilley: One day of peace:

In 1999, Gilley was part of an effort to create a global day of ceasefire and non-violence. A global day of peace. This is one of the most interesting examples of how a commitment to idealism inspires individual action in people worldwide toward a common commitment to peace.

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities:

There is in today’s world an opportunity to consider how we tackle climate change. Steffen urges a call to rethink how our cities can help rather than hinder. Our energy use is predestined by the types of cities and communities that we live in. I love this particular quote where Steffen states:

“Right now, our economy by and large operates as Paul Hawken  said, ‘by stealing the future, selling it in the present and calling it GDP’ And if we have another 8 billion … people living on a planet where their cities also steal the future, we’re going to run out of future really fast”

Ultimately, the point is that it is not about the leaves above, but the systems below as a part of our ordinary and everyday that provide us with the most useful ways in which to engage with climate change and future humanity considerations.

Eve Ensler: Suddenly my body:  (TW: sexualised violence and rape culture references)

Author of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ Eve leads us in a deeply personal, confronting account of how she came to understand her disconnection and eventual connection with her body. This is is quite intense in the language and it might be triggery for anyone sensitive to sexualised violence, so keep that in mind and look after yourself if you wish to watch this talk. I am a fan of Ensler’s poetic metaphor, the charismatic and intense way in which she speaks, commanding respect and challenging us to think and to listen regarding what goes on in the world around us.

Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy:

This is probably my favourite talk of this set of links. In this talk, the speaker asserts that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries and that they are vital to life. Halifax has a unique perspective on death through her work with the dying and condemned and how one aspect of wonderousness is that people all around us can be dying and we do not quite take on that can happen to us – it is disassociated. I thought her statement about “the strength that arises when natural compassion is really present” in those who tend to the dying as being very poignant.

This talk moved me on many levels and this quote is another example of how deeply this resonated with me: “compassion is comprised of the capacity to see clearly into the nature of suffering. it is that ability to stand strnog and to recognise also that I’m not separate from this suffering”. I am not separate from the suffering around me. This resonates strongly with me and it’s something that I am thinking on increasingly.

Halifax speaks with conviction that we “aspire to transform suffering” and that although seeds of compassion must be activated, that they are present in all human beings. I agreed with her that it is fear, pity and moral outrage that are enemies of compassion and that our present experience of the everyday is overladen by terror and fear and such a very narrow band of moral rightness. This global condition is insidious and it pervades our ability to perceive and act with compassion and love. The answer is to consciously take on compassion, to actualise compassion and nurture the quality of resilience that it brings to our lives. Far from draining us, compassion supports us and provides us with an inner well of strength with which to deal with our experiences.

So much food for thought in this talk, one I think would be worthwhile to listen to more than once, perhaps periodically. Much like the Brene Brown talk on vulnerability (I’ve linked to that before).

Sasha Dichter: The generosity experiment:

This talk was interesting and I appreciate a lot of the context where he engages with the ‘no’ reflex and how that closes off opportunities for generosity. Generosity is about ‘yes’, and that what that means is that there is potential and possibility involved in listening to someone and taking a risk on an opportunity to address issues and global problems that are generally considered ‘impossible’ or inevitable. Well worth listening too and considering how you yourself engage with generosity. Are you always responding ‘no’ to requests for help? Is the ‘no’ a reflex or a considered response? All good questions that I’m letting tick over in the back of my brain.

 

A slightly shorter links post than I usually give you, but I must admit I’m rather pleased by that 🙂  Enjoy! Let me know what your thoughts are about these talks, I’m interested in how other people hear these ideas from visionary people that I’m exploring and find inspiring.

A Blogroll kind of Link Salad

I’m well and truly daunted by the prospect of trying to dig up all the links that I’ve been sharing in other more immediate spaces and not here for OH SO LONG (like since last year…) I still want to do this, but I’m not sure yet the best way to approach it. I’m being gentle and sneaking up on it.

That’s why I’m doing this blog post first! It’s a Link Salad! It’s a special kind of Link Salad where I thought I’d share a bunch of the blogs that I’m reading. I read A LARGE number of blogs pretty faithfully I read everything from cooking and environmental and picture blogs, lifestyle and self devleopment blogs, plus a large number of feminist and social justice blogs.

Somehow I am not stressed at being 1000+ entries behind in my reading, it becomes something of a marathon challenge to work through. I enjoy getting lost in the spaces between what other people write and publish online. I’m getting closer to being in a space where I am also writing and contributing to the space with insightful and lovely things to say. (I hope.)

I will point out that I almost never read comment streams. Sometimes that’s out of laziness, but in a large number of cases, I find the comment streams a little (or a lot) toxic and I’m just not interested in *that* level of engagement. So before I go into the list, a couple of warnings…

Trigger Warning – comment streams have not been vetted in most of these cases. I’ll state specifically if there are comment streams I’ve found valuable rather than the other way around. If you find comment spaces difficult, you may wish to be aware that I’ve not vetted most of these ahead of time. 

Sexual Content Warning – some of the links I want to share with you are overtly sexual in nature, I’ll post those in a spaced out paragraph on their own, but if you’re not interested in those kinds of blog spaces just be aware there will be a section in the post for this stuff. There is only a couple, and they should be easy to skip but I’ll flag it clearly for those uninterested. 

 

And now… onto the Link Salad!

First, one of my most favourite blogs in the world… Havi’s Fluent Self blog. This is one of the spaces that I’m most behind on because I read it carefully and intentionally. I don’t skim or rush it. I often mark posts to go back to and revisit after thinking about them (or forgetting about them). This is one of the few blog spaces where I enjoy the comment stream. I don’t always read it, but whenever I have, there’s never been a whisper of ick. Instead there’s an awesome coming together of people all working on their own stuff and sharing accord)ingly. I’ve learned so very much from the blog and Havi, but also from the community of people who comment as well.

Havi writes about her business, about being a Pirate Queen, about her community and the different ways in which she works with herself and others around biggifying and destuckification, negotiating with our inner monsters, about finding playful ways that work and not having to run her business in a traditional way. I cannot emphasise just how much I love this blog.

 

Next, the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) blog. It’s just an image, but it’s never *just* an image. I have a deep and abiding fascination with space and the universe. Once upon a time I wanted to be an astronomer (until someone scared me with all the maths involved, which now makes me a little sad). There is an amazing array of images displayed, some more artistic, some more scientific, some telescopic photographs, some Earthscape photographs… but all amazing in their way. Getting to look at all these images reminds me of the love and the wonder I see in how everything connects in some way. I’m reminded of a Carl Sagan quote: “Within us is a little universe”. 

 

This won’t surprise anyone, but I love the XKCD webcomic! A great number of my friends also love this webcomic (not really a blog, but I follow it as faithfully!) I fell in love with this comic when I was linked to this particular offering titled ‘Grownups‘. Since then I’ve followed it’s array of geektastic, romantic, sarcastic, linguistic and scientific with delight.

 

I found Chally’s blog ‘Zero at the Bone through reading a number of other blogs I read. In particular her posts resonate with me, make me think, make me consider the world and people around me differently. Chally’s blog is one of my favourites overall for a social justice perspective, she’s not afraid to have conversations or ask questions that many other people either don’t notice or don’t have time for. In particular I value Chally’s recurring theme on identity, not so much the way we choose to form identity, but the invisible ways in which the dominant culture around us forms our identity – it also informs us how to judge others’ identities.

There’s a lot of interesting and insightful reading to be had from this blog, and it’s worth a look – though be aware it’s not discussing social justice from a 101 perspective and is instead tackling greyer and more thorny approaches to the goings on in the world.

 

There is a treasure trove of geeky suggestions and ‘hacks’ via Lifehacker Australia to have your life run better, everything from tech choices, plans for your tech (broadband, mobiles etc), office setup, wellness and work, work life balance, travel and even home and DIY tips. There’s a lot of recommendation and discussion on software particularly of the open source kind and if I want a program that does ‘x’ I’ll hit their archives first to find out what they’ve had to say about the subject. I love it, but it also tends to be completely unaware of it’s pivilege and sometimes that shows, but overall it’s not terrible. The interesting suggestions and advice I’ve gotten from the site make it well worthwhile. Also, I often find comments here to be helpful, (although there are also some trolls).

 

Some other social justice blog links now, first up Blue Milk who discusses motherhood in relation to feminism and social justice. Blue Milk’s posts are insightful and draw not only from her own experience of the world but from academic and other blog spaces. She makes astute comments regarding motherhood and feminism, the difficulties in both these spaces and how they interconnect. This is another blog that I picked up from carnivals and other cross linking like I did Chally’s.

I believe that Hoyden About Town was the first specifically feminist blog I read, and it is still a favourite. I belive that it was through HAT that I discovered both Chally and Blue Milk’s blogs. I love their broad social justice perspective – I do actually seek out blogs that have a broader view of injustice, oppession and the seeking of equality. HAT certainly has that, I’ve learned immense amounts from this blog with it’s cohort of regular bloggers and occasional guest bloggers.

One thing I value about Blue Milk, Hoyden About Town and Zero at the Bone is that they’re all largely Australian/New Zealand in perspective – they all cover material outside of Australia and New Zealand, but I really value that they’re talking about their experiences and that they’re relevant in a local way. I appreciate other blogs that are mostly USA-centric, but the balance provided by these (and other Australian/New Zealand blogs) is very welcome.

 

I’ve been following the Geek Feminism blog almost since it’s inception. I love it’s focus on things that are geeky and that the interpretation of what constitutes ‘geeky’ is broad and inclusive. There is as like to be posts about knitting as there is about tech conferences. This blog is valuable in that it interrogates and discusses a particular focus of feminism that I’ve felt at times was missing from the other blogs I was reading. Other feminism blogs do cover the high notes of what is discussed by Geek Feminism, but this blog drills down and takes on those deeper conversations about geekdom, feminism and the interplay of privilege within.

 

Another different perspective on social justice, these two blogs take on the other side of the conversation about equality and feminism by looking at what’s going on in men’s spaces and how the culture of oppression and inequality hurts them too. In reading both Hugo Schwyzer’s blog and the No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? blog, I’ve gained insight into parts of culture invisible to me as a cis woman. I’ve been able to consider the issues and concerns that relate to men being in the world as it is, where in one form or another privilege harms everyone unchecked.

Equality is a huge cultural soup and no one side of any conversation can hope to make headway toward that goal without the involvement of the other parties. I value these blogs as part of a movement of people dedicated to moving forward with equality in all areas, committed to learning and exploring the issues, to sharing and having the conversations and to offer critique.

 

On a food related note… I have been dearly enjoying The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader blog posting not only cafe reviews (from around Perth) but also cooking adventures. I find the reviews insightful and I’ve found them to be useful on more than one occasion. (I still really, really want to get to Toast for example).

I also really enjoy the reviews that come out of Crema and Crumbs. This blogger notices awesome things about cafes and talks about places I wouldn’t have even thought to try, with obvious success on their part. Again this is Perth-centric, and I love it for that factor too.

And now the picture blogs! These are general blogs that are generally speaking safe for work (your milage may vary on that though).

Zoo Borns! Baby animals! The unbelievable cuteness! Perfect for crappy days when I need a pick-me-up. Also, baby animals! ‘Nuff said 😀 

Cute Boys With Cats! Kitties, and boy-identifying people with kitties! How can this not be awesome?

Pansexual Pride is not just a picture tumblr but it does have a lot of awesome images. It’s a very genderqueer friendly space (to my eye at least) and there’s lots of people being out and proud about their sexuality and feeling comfortable about it. I love being part of that kind of space. The positivity and the way people express themselves with pride is just delightful. I love that there’s lot of different relationship and people shapes and experiences and backgrounds. The diversity is so heartening.

 

 

This is the space bubble for the links relating to sexual content, if you’re uninterested you you can finish right here, if you’ve got some particularly awesome blogs that you recommend I take a look out – feel free to share them in the comments. I hope you liked some of the links to blogs that I mentioned. These are a selection of some 75 ish blogs that I follow (not including my livejournal/dreamwidth).

 

If you’re interested in some of the more solidly sexuality based links see below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bubble bubble bubble and this is the beginning of the bubble. Sexual content follows.

 

Just two links, first off Sex Is Not the Enemy. I love this blog – one of the top tags is for ‘smiley happy people’ – how brilliant is that? There are plenty of people for whom sex is fraught with worry, pressure and other less than positive feelings. There are also plenty of people who are uninterested in sex all or most of the time and that’s fine too.

There are also people who are just comfortable and who delight in their sexuality and it is this latter space that this blog seeks to capture. For those of us who are interested in, invested in and who pursue sexual partnerships with people, I think a blog like this is invaluable. I love the variety of people, relationships, shapes, of acts – the diversity here is brilliant, I love that it’s candid, it usually comes across moreso stylistic as opposed to pornish – though that’s a personal view and others may find that very different.

 

The second link is more overtly pornish – at least that’s my experience of it. Frigging is just brilliant. It’s a tumblr blog from the perspective of a pansexual cis-gendered woman, it’s just stuff that takes her fancy, but it’s just so much of the awesome. There’s a lot of different images here, some are about beauty, some are attractive for attractiveness sake, some is fashion or photography and yes, pornish stuff. It’s delicious. There’s again, lots of different shapes, people, depictions from a diverse space… I just can’t get enough of such positive imagery.

 

Bubble bubble bubble… this be the end of the bubble 🙂

 

Also, it’s the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed the links and again, if you’ve got some particularly awesome blogs that you recommend I take a look out – feel free to share them in the comments.

Epic Recent TED Talks Post…

Lately at work I’ve been using TED talks as my background for working interspersed with music and podcasts. (I have a post about both of those brewing, with about a hundred other ideas…I’ll get there one day?) 

As always, TED talks are too good not to be shared and I always like seeing links from people to talks I want to listen to that I haven’t yet heard of. That said I’ve gone through a LOT of talks lately, so be warned that this post is rather epic.

I was thinking of trying to group them by similar topic… but I don’t know that I’ll do the best job of that also I tend to think inspiration, creativity and people doing cool stuff is its own category 😛 Even if they’re talking about different subjects.

Some of these I’m going to have more comments on than others. All of them were worthwhile listening, some of them I had more wordy/thinky reactions and some of them were just interesting and different to listen to and I haven’t got more to say about it just now.  

Bruce Aylward: How we’ll stop polio for good

I didn’t realise how devastating this disease still is, I actually thought it *had* been eradicated.

Shirin Neshat: Art in exile

This talk really did embody that statement ‘the personal is political’, the speaker’s journey through exile and artistic expression is engaging and I was particularly struck by this statement: “Every Iranian artist, in one form or another, is political. Politics have defined our lives.” I’m struck by my privilege because… that isn’t true for me in the way it is true for her and other Iranians, other people who live under very different circumstances than I do. This was a good and timely reminder of looking outside my own little bubble.

Daniel Temmet: Different ways of knowing

This was fascinating – I loved for a moment experiencing the world in a very different way. What I took from the talk overall is that there are a million different ways to see and perceive something – don’t limit that possibility, don’t make it reasonable.

Maya Beisar(s) and her cello(s)

This is technology, music and imagination put together beautifully. Remixing, it’s everywhere.

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

I’ve never been a fan of Jobs’, but I did like this talk about how to move through the world and work out what you’d really like to be doing, and trying to find a way to do that.

Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously

This is one of my favourite recent talks. The artistic expression on a massive level makes my heart soar. If you’ve recently seen those amazing paper sculptures turning up in various places, you may well enjoy this talk. The speaker discusses how she really came to understand the value of imagination being an artist, beginning with a fishing net.

Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound

The introduction to this talk mentions that we don’t know much about what the universe sounds like, which seems like a funny thing to say, but then getting to *listen* to space was amazing.

Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus script

The infectious fascination this speaker has for this particular mystery of history – what he calls the “mother of all crossword puzzles”. I’d never heard of anything around the Indus script or the peoples and civilisation surrounding it. I was surprised about that, as a result I really enjoyed this talk and wondering about history in a very different way than I have before. I love how he breaks down the way they’re forming assumptions and rules from which to translate from, in order to test translations and so on. Fascinating stuff.

Two talks from Stefan Sagmeister, a short talk: On what he has learned (so far), then a longer discussion on: The power of time off.

This speaker really had a way of speaking, of sharing and inviting you to consider and imagine. I loved his list of things from the first talk that he’d learned and then was amazed by some of the art pieces and installations he’d created based on those learnings. Some of my favourite things were “Being not truthful always works against me”, “Assuming is stifling”, “Over time I get used to everything and start taking for granted”, “Everybody thinks they are right” and, “Everybody who is honest is interesting”.

In the following talk the speaker talks about what value taking one year in seven completely off from his business, going on sabbatical really brings to him. He talks about it in a personal context, in a business and earnings context and other ways, it was very interesting and I found a lot of merit in what he talked about. The work I’d ultimately like to be doing could really benefit from something like this being part of my business model and my practices. Just imagine what could happen if we had more opportunity to stop, take stock, to think, to be, to reflect and engage inwardly, to explore. I love this idea so much. I’m not at all considering the reality of funding such a practice, right now that’s not so much a practicality as it is a reason to never think about how I could make it happen.

Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky

This was an interesting talk and speaks to parts of me that pull for community and transformation of conforming surrounds etc. I love his description of “a mile of wildflowers through the middle of Manhattan” and how he kept invisioning the creation of an “inner city wildscape”.

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

This idea had a lot of merit – the examples the speaker showed were useful, within reach, both ordinary and inspiring. I may think about this a little more and try and find a way to incorporate something like it in my ordinary and my everyday.

Jessi Arrington: Wearing nothing new

This woman’s delight was infectious! I loved her enthusiasm for being exactly who she is, in conjunction for how she went about achieving it. Also, I loved some of the looks she shows in the talk. I do think that her concept gets a bit more difficult for those of us with irregular body shapes – certainly going op-shopping is as much an exercise in frustration as regular shopping (though at least it costs less). Maybe I just need to practice. Regardless there’s a lot of merit in this idea and I’ll be thinking about this too as part of my everyday/ordinary.

Rachel Botsman: The case for collaborative consumption

This talk was another favourite, it looks to the way we as individuals and consumers are adapting to a new surrounds, how we’re questioning the drive to simply purchase and consume. I love the idea that we could start to see some really obvious and amazing changes in the way we as communities and individuals engage with ‘stuff’ and consumption moving toward a more collaborative and less impact model. She talks about how we’re now becoming “wired to share” in a “peer to peer revolution”, that we are no longer passive, but have become creators and collaborators, or, groups for purpose.

Marc Koska: 1.3million reasons to re-invent the syringe

This was a mixed thing for me. On one hand, the health concerns are staggering, on the other hand, the waste impact seems to be so massive. I can’t argue with the necessity, given the reports of re-use of needles and the obviously devastating effects that come from that.

Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before

I loved that they actually cut things in half to photograph them! I love that they concentrated on the 1/100th of a second that it needed to look good for the book. I think that such a book genuinely has a lot of potential in getting people involved in cooking and understanding what’s going on when they cook. 

Jonathan Drori: The beautiful tricks of flowers

This is one of those talks that I listened to because it’s never an area of interest that I’ve taken much notice of before. Actually the way flowers do their thing with insects is pretty interesting and amusing in places. Some beautiful images in this too.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf: See Yemen through my eyes

This woman is the Editor of the Yemen Times and is flat out amazing! I am so deeply inspired by her, I love how outspoken she is, I love how powerfully she comes across and I love the way she seeks to see and speak clearly into the future about the past.

 

So, that’s what’s been going through my brain as I’ve been working this week (and oh how scary are my process maps becoming, plus there’s been development of a business case in there too)! Hopefully you enjoy some of these too 🙂

Recent TED talks that I’ve appreciated:

The good thing about using TED talks for background music/company while I’m working is that they’re inspiring and often very motivational. I got a heap of work done on Friday because I was listening to these. I love TED talks – I’ve got a whole other bunch of talks that I’ve yet to listen to, so more posts like these are planned.

First of all Stanley McChrystal talking about leadership: ‘Listen, learn and lead‘. This quote really sums up what I got out of the talk: 

Leaders can let you fail, and not let you be a failure.”  

This talk came from a military background of experience, I don’t usually find myself in a space where I find that inspiring or motivating. However, there were interesting insights around leadership and how people who are so very different can find a commonality with which to come together as one unit. I appreciated this. 

This next talk almost brought me to tears for it’s beauty and vision. Harnessing the internet for the powers of breathtaking connectionism and creativity. Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre presents at TED talking about his experience creating a virtual choir: ‘A virtual choir, 2000 voices strong. This talk really gives you an amazing platform from which to truly appreciate these virtual choir performances. 

His first piece titled “Lux Aurumque” involved 185 voices from 25 countries around the world, is an amazing proof of concept. Its success inspired Eric to create an even larger virtual choir using his song “Sleep”. The result was an epic music experience, a virtual choir 2.0 comprised of over 2000 voices from over 58 countries around the world

Although I’m disappointed in Google as a organisation at present, I was impressed by Sebastian Thrun’s presentation to TED: ‘Google’s driverless car. After losing a friend to a car accident, Sebastian says that he “decided dedicate my life to saving one million people every year.” Sebastian reports that he’s not there yet, that this is just a progress report.

In my listening his work on the driverless car has a number of potential positive impacts on society. Not the least of these is the potential to massively reduce traffic accidents; plus, the ever persuasive money maker in saving people time – he estimates around “4 billion hours per year” in the US. He also comments on how it will contribute to environmental initiatives to reduce pollution by reducing time spent waiting in traffic – his estimate for the US is that it would save “2.4 billion gallons of gasoline per year”. This car looks pretty nifty – I wonder how far we are from cars like this being ‘ordinary’ and part of the everyday landscape?

“Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz talks about how we engage with being wrong, or rather how we avoid it at all costs focusing only on being right and in many cases not taking the lessons that come with being wrong into account. Her talk ‘On being wrong‘ is well worth a listen. Also, how cool is her job title ‘Wrongologist’?!

I really enjoyed David Meslin‘s talk on ‘The antidote to antipathy‘, He talks about how people in general aren’t uninterested or uninvolved with politics because they don’t care, or because they’re stupid or because they’re lazy… but that apathy as we think we know it doesn’t actually exist … that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.” From intentional exclusion, unprofitable messages with the economy of freedom of expression to the cynacism provoked by political parties who all say similar things and are unwilling to engage genuinely outside of the politics machine. 

In another fascinating talk, David Christian discussed ‘Big history‘, and how the increasing complexity surrounding conditions for the universe involves amazing instances of vulnerability and fragility. This was one of those talks that makes me swoon over science and physics and cosmology. To think about the universe with this kind of breadth leaves me breathtaken. 

Forth grade teacher John Hunter presents about ‘The World Peace Game‘ and his experiences of teaching in classrooms with it. He talks ofchildren’s ability to act on far reaching vectors and affirm their actions as the right thing despite the disagreement of others. He talks about his student’s understanding of war and it’s cost when they write condolences letters to the families of the soldiers who are killed when they ‘go to war’ on another nation.

The World Peace Game’s board has 4 levels including a deep sea and deep space level, as well as a land and sea level with four nations both rich and poor. The way he talks about all he’s learned from children’s engagement with the game is truly humbling, I love that he’s created a trust between himself and the students in order to achieve the potential of what the game has to offer. I also love that the concept really does engage with real world issues that we’re unable to solve as adults – hearing children’s perspectives on them is amazing. 

Caroline Casey tells the story in her talk ‘Looking past limits‘ about how she became Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book‘. She’s had an amazing and far reaching career, but everything all came together for her with an intense authenticity when she trekked across India on the back of an elephant. This was a beautiful story, and reminds me of the notion of considering what I would do, if I knew I couldn’t fail? I don’t have an answer in words yet, though my heart knows the words. 

Silence is the subject of Anil Ananthaswarmy’s talk on ‘What it takes to do extreme astrophysics‘, he visits some of the most remote and breathtaking locations in the world and the astrophysics projects going on there. I am so very excited by the passion and dedication with which teams of people all over the world undertake to take us to new levels of understanding about the universe and our place in it. 

Another Link Salad!

Another set of recent(ish) links for your collected enjoyment/appreciation.

First up, a recipe: Swedish Meatballs (you know, like the ones from Ikea that many of us know and love?) This came out beautifully and was well appreciated by my family.

Communities like this delight me beyond measure! How to save a library: residents from Stony Stratford borrow all the books in their local library in an attempt to avoid it being closed down.

To say that I am humbled by this is an understatement. Given the horrible treatment our detainees experience at the hand of our government, that these individuals would still reach out to us following the Queensland floods is truly amazing. It is well beyond time for us to put an end to the way in which we engage with asylum seekers.

Rebecca Drysdale kicks ass in this awesome music video “It Gets Better” in response to the It Gets Better Project started by Dan Savage in response to teen homophobia in the United States. From the website it looks like there will be a book coming up for release in the US on 22nd of March, preorder here if you’re interested (all proceeds will be donated to assist LGBTIQ youth).

Yet another reason why Twitter wins all over Facebook, contesting a gag order {link broken so removed} relating to US Government request for user information it is clear that they have rather awesome privacy ethics.

Twelfth Planet Press has recently announced a plan for 2011 releasing a series of female author collections collectively to be known as ‘The Twelve Planets’. The list of authors being showcased by this series include: Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Rosaleen Love, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Sue Isle, Kirstyn McDermott, Narrelle M Harris, Thoraiya Dyer, Stephanie Campisi. There are several ways to get your hands on these amazing collections, check out the Twelfth Planet website for ordering details.

A message of productivity on why you should avoid reading email first thing in the morning. It’s a technique that I’ve used a fair few mornings since reading it in order to get a chunk of study out of the way before I get caught up in minutae.

Recently a 19th century French townhouse has been opened to the public after being sealed for the last 100 years. The photos are just beautiful and the idea that something like this has stayed preserved as a vision of what a yesteryear ‘everyday’ looked like.

In a different and less positive vision of the everyday, Andrea talks about rape culture asking the question ‘Who Will Rape Me?’ Creating a discussion context that considers the likely reality that a great number of women in their life times will be subjected to at least one instance of sexual violation or assault.

Going back to the revolution in Egypt, a few different links for you. In this video Waseem Wagdi talks about the events in Egypt, dated 21st January, 2011. This facebook album depicts images of women in Egypt, as in the media coverage there were few mentions or visuals of women participating in the protests. In this article, Techland discusses ‘World Web War I‘ and why Egypts digital uprising has been so different. Finally, two images of humanity as an ‘us’, one the celebration of a wedding in Tahrir Square {link broken so removed}  where the Egyptian protests took place and another showing Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers {link broken so removed} . Here is the Al Jazeera announcement of Mubarek resigning – so much promise for the future in this result! Truly my heart goes out to the Egyptian people and my will stands with theirs that they choose the future pathway of their country and its leadership. As a demonstration of ‘usness’ it is pretty spectacular and I am still, even now, deeply moved by it.

More on the concept of ‘us’ and community, this is much closer to home. There has been a brilliant summer initiative running in Fremantle this summer called ‘The Cappuccino Strip Street Club‘. On the first Thursday in the month, people gather in a selected street location engaging in activities of ‘placemaking’ and togetherness. There’s a facebook group that’s open invite if you’re interested here. Rugs, couches, chairs and tables take over the road spaces. Costumes, performances, children playing and adults merry-making fill the space and people come together, reclaiming space from cars and traffic, for people. It’s pretty amazing to participate in, I’ve watched some great performances, met lovely people and just relaxed and enjoyed being in the place that first stole my heart.

In the realm of science fiction, Marianne de Pierres has just had her first YA novel ‘Burn Bright’ released – I’m ecstatic about this and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! If you haven’t seen the amazing book trailer, check it out here. The second book in this series ‘Angel Arias’ is already a hot topic and so is the book soundtrack of the same name by Yunyu, there’s a trailer preview of the soundtrack here.  In other science fiction related linkage, this Tor blog asks where is the polyamory in SFF? A question I’m highly invested in myself, and though I know of a few different scattered titles, aside from the Robert Heinlein they’ve required quite the hunt and I’d love to see more exploration of different family, relationship and people/beings connecting setups in a genre space that proposes to speculate.

And now we break for a baby bunny picture. It just cheered me up and made me feel squishy and happy. We all need that sometimes! Also for your enjoyment and cheering, this UPular remix.

This blog post on friendship guidelines is an interesting one, I don’t agree with everything it puts forth, but the idea that being discerning in friendship is a privilge is one I’m interested in engaging with, and actually is a privilege I’m happy to be part of. I’ve recently been in situations that have led me to remind myself that minimum standards for human engagement are just that: minimum standards. They don’t even dictate the probability or likelihood of friendship, just that as one human being engaging with or relating to another there are certain minimum expectations I hold for communication and engagement.

So as part of the recent flooding in Queensland, premier Anna Bligh engaged an AUSLAN intepreter whilst giving out updates on cyclone and flood through media services. For some strange reason there was a lot of criticism for that, and this video is a response to that criticism from the Victorian Council of Deaf People.

This interactive webgame ‘Spent‘ challenges the idea that you may never need help, may never end up poverty stricken and unsure how to make it through. Very interesting and quite confronting in places. US centric, but no less pointed for that. 

Yet more awesomeness and light heartedness! The most awesome cello battle and video clip (very slashy too) where Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic play ‘Smooth Criminal’ by Michael Jackson.

This video animation ‘Thought of You‘ came up on another social media site and was so beautiful and well made that I had to share. Also, this would have to be my favourite LOLcat ever, on world domination {link broken so removed} no less! More YouTube goodness, a mixture of art, animation and incredible talent, first with ‘Sometimes the Stars‘ by Adelaide band ‘The Audreys’, so beautiful as a song and as a clip. This in addition to the breathtaking power of the internet and fan culture undertaking ‘The Johnny Cash Project‘ in an effort to link together thousands of artwork frames into a music video for Johnny Cash’s last song ‘Ain’t No Grave’.

Natalie Latter discusses the ethical implications of the Australian government choosing to act or not act on climate change. I appreciated the discussion of the ethical stance rather than another article on the economic cost or the economic savings to be made. I am so over the economy as a the most important global focus.

As part of the centenary celebration of International Women’s Day, three links (and a follow up, more dedicated post later, I promise): Annabel Crabb at The Drum discusses the concept of ‘behind every successful woman is a wife‘ and whether our focus should be on getting men out of the workforce instead of predominantly on getting women back into the workforce around child care and other commitments. Selma James reiterates that point and makes several more, in her article looking at International Women’s Day on a global scale. She discusses women in the world,our commonalities and differences in the struggle for equality. Finally, 007 frocks up for International Women’s Day, and brilliantly narrated by Judi Dench this short clip asks the question: ‘Are We Equals?

And finally, how else could I end, but with TED Talks I’ve been watching recently?  Three for your viewing pleasure today, Jody Williams talks about a realistic vision for world peace and the idea of reclaiming the word ‘peace’ with new relevancy. Krista Tippett discusses reconnecting with compassion, and this was a truly stand out talk. Krista discusses compassion as a technology for living and connection in our contemporary world. There was also unexpected very different insight into Einstein as person and not only a scientist. Finally, Van Jones discusses the economic injustice of plastic. I really liked how he talked about the human cost and the concept of disposability in general. Not just about giving plastic bottles a second chance, but people too.

Link Salad: Recent (ish) links that came my way for your interest:

Talking Back Without Talking Back is an article by Maesy Angelina about a different approach to activism and how the act of having conversations that simply occur and continue encourages an overall shift. The strategy described herein has immense freedom in that there is no target audience “everyone is a participant” and the aim is to form a collective with a “shared understanding” and where there is no target group identified as the opponent. Very interesting and ties in nicely to the ideas that I keep encountering around the context that there is no group labelled ‘them’ but simply the acceptance that instead we are all an ‘us’.

Ragnell hits the nail on the head in her blog post ‘Can You Be Prettier When You Cry?’ discussing how we tend to blame pretty young actresses for their lack of acting talent. However, Jessica Alba discusses a different reason in an interview with Elle magazine that suggests instead that the fault lies with Hollywood and its directors hiring actresses based primarily on appearance. They encourage the actresses to act inside of that attractiveness mandate which effectively makes them flat, like greenscreen canvases where special effects and post production will erase any perceived imperfections. Meanwhile the audience is left wondering whether there was a character there at all, wondering why the actress so obviously ‘phoned it in’.

The Melbourne Feminist Collective is holding a Feminist Futures Conference {link no longer valid so removed} which quite aside from the attractiveness of Melbourne, the event sounds interesting and I’d love to go if somehow money starts to grow on trees. The structure of the event looks to be just serious enough and just social and engaged enough to really appeal to me. I also like the broad areas of discussion outlined and the aims set out.

Chally from Zero at the Bone starts of a stint writing for Bitch Magazine on Iconography in Literature. There are several posts in this series and all are thought provoking drawing the reader to consider deeply held assumptions about the everyday, privilege inherent in how we go about our lives unthinking and giving us a whole lot of new reading inspiration (not to mention a contemporary experience of what makes a text literature). I’ve been delighting in this series and I highly recommend it.

Bminstral provides this amusing definition of polyamory that simultaneously makes many of us already poly giggle with understanding, and provide some minor measure of insight to those who perhaps are new to the concept: “Polyamorist (n): one whose life is characterised by a set of complex overlapping calendars and scheduling conflicts and, to a lesser extent, multiple loving relationships.” It’s not universally true of course, just one of those astute generalisations that has enough relevance to enough people who find it amusing. Like me 🙂

My partner is the director behind Rebel Empire Workshops, this video is what he and and a huge number of dedicated and inspirational volunteers put together for Worldcon 2010, taking a team of just over 20 performers to Melbourne to culminate many months of late nights, creative brainstorming sessions, arguments, tears, blood, a whole lot of sweat and dedication.

Helen Mirren delights me so very much in her articulate and astute summation of Hollywood’s obsession with worshipping at “the alter of the 18-25-year-old male and his penis”. ABC writes an article here about the awards ceremony from which Mirren is quoted, while the YouTube clip of the event is here.

Aimee from Hook and Eye on Imposter Syndrome, key quote: “If we can’t talk ourselves aggressively up, do you think we might manage to stop talking ourselves down?”

At Viva La Feminista Sally blogs for Summer Feminista about feminism and not-feminism and how sometimes it looks rather similar: Like (Un-Feminist) Mother, Like (Feminist) Daughter – “You don’t need the feminist label or a college degree to strive for women’s independence and feminist ideals. All my mother needed was three daughters to fight for, including one slightly obnoxious daughter who doesn’t let anything go. So call it whatever you want, just let it grow inside of you. I’ll keep calling it feminism and my mother probably won’t, and we’ll still agree more often than not.”

News with Nipples gives us this rather apt description of how ‘We’ve been pwned‘. We are attached to this idea that we make our own decisions about a whole bunch of things. Sometimes that’s true, and sometimes that’s less true – or at least, guided a whole lot. This is well demonstrated in the above link.

Cindy talks about her love/hate relationship with Wired Magazine and their representation of women on their covers in her post: An Open Letter to Wired Magazine, also including the magazine’s response which was such that I thought I might actually become interested in the magazine.

On a lighter and fascinating note, the Mimic Octopus {link no longer valid so removed} doing amazing things to mimic other creatures and surrounds. Absolutely fascinating.

Beppie at Hoyden About Town looks at Intersectionality and Privilege: Addressing the Squishy Bits, by discussing the fact that sometimes there is no clear or right answer that “sometimes, every “right” answer carries a little bit of wrong in it too.”

Mona Eltahawy writes for the Star about being a Muslim feminist and what that means for her. Her article explores commonly held beliefs about both Muslim women and feminism and is well worth a read: ‘Let me, a Muslim feminist, confuse you

At Tranarchy, {link broken so removed} Asher Bauer details a must read post titled: ‘Not  Your Mom’s Trans 101‘ {link broken so removed} which looks at the idea of a Trans 101 and the way in which it often perpetuates cissexual supremacy within society. This is a brilliant article that really addresses cissexual privilege and highly recommend reading. Asher also discusses how irritating it is being advised on how better to be ‘Man Enough‘ {link broken so removed} and uncovers a whole bunch of assumptions and privilege that go into that, often well intended but rather offensive desire to offer gender performance advice.

Also on the topic of  trans, personal experience with gender and navigating a cissexist world, Red rants spectacularly about the hypocritical way in which people assume gender: Questions for cis people….

Katie Makkai, a veteran poetry slammer – defining the word “pretty“. Powerful and really attacks the vicious culture cycles about this idea of girls and being pretty. Also following on from Katie’s piece is this post from Don’t Type Angry which articulates the sublime experience of being human with all it’s imperfection, in the post ‘You Are Not Beautiful Enough‘. {link no longer valid so removed}

And finally at the end of this epic link salad, something to think about, something to breathe in and out, something inspiring, something to live by (if you wish): Holstee: This is your LIFE.