Apr. 9th, 2011 01:51 pm
misslynx: (Default)
Via [ profile] jimhines:

The reasons behind the continued DDoS attacks on LJ, by a former LJ staffer who's now on Dreamwidth (but obviously still has some appreciation for LJ).

The link in the post to the New Yorker article on Alexey Navalny is particularly worth checking out.
misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
[ profile] kettunainen already posted this one on Facebook, but it's definitely worth repeating:

"I could use special diseases that are in poo to get rid of the government."

She adds that they had been talking about landfills, with no mention of either of poo or the government before he said that.

When I told [ profile] lgbtech about that one, she immediately asked where one could donate funding to that project. :-)
misslynx: (Quote - wrong questions)
I've seen such a wide variety of comments on Remembrance Day (and/or the various other names it's called by in other countries) on my Facebook feed today. Some are moving, some are thought-provoking, and some are -- well, varying degrees of saddening, and not necessarily in any way their posters intended.

I've always felt conflicted about Remembrance Day. Read more... )
misslynx: (Default)
  1. So, I voted, despite not really liking any of the candidates all that much. But sometimes the chance to vote against somebody outstandingly awful can be as strong a motivator and the chance to vote for someone you actually like. I suppose I should count myself lucky that at least my ward has a city councillor that I actually do like.

    25 minutes until the polls close and they start counting the votes. I am very apprehensive about this, and would prefer to get whatever news there may be in the company of friends so that we can either celebrate or console ourselves, whichever the case may be, with alcohol. There were rumours of some form of gathering growing out of the Cookies For Voting group on Facebook, but nothing seems to have materialized. Oh well.

  2. Got a dress for my Halloween costume (thanks to [ profile] 50_ft_queenie for accompanying me on the search). May I say, 40s dresses are feats of engineering, and seem to be designed to work well for my particular sort of body, but I would really like to find some control top seamed stockings. Do such things actually exist?

  3. Still need to find or make some kind of hat/hair ornament thing. The guy in the store where I found the dress recommended some little hair-comb type thing with black feathers on it and maybe a little veil. I think I could probably manage that with some fabric scraps and what not, and a glue gun. But I need to find a comb base and some feathers. I tried a few beading stores, since they often have stuff like that, but the ones I checked didn't. Arton I think does, but they were just closing when I got there. :-(

    I may try and prepare myself tomorrow to go to the one bead store in my area. It requires advance preparation because the owner is allergic to everything, so you are not allowed in if you have used pretty much any sort of personal-care product any time in recent memory. So in order to go there, I will have to forgo not only BPAL, but hair conditioner and gel, hand cream, etc. and hope that my unscented deodorant doesn't set off any alarms (because there are some sacrifices I'm just not prepared to make).

  4. Saw an absolute adorable kids' tiger costume that looked like it might fit the Lynxcub, but when last I saw him, he was very adamant that he didn't want to dress up as anything for Halloween, so I didn't know if I should risk buying it if he might not want to actually wear it. Also, not 100% sure it would have fit. Maybe I'll ask him again about the costume thing when I see him tomorrow, and if he does seem to be in favour of it now, we could always go down to Kensington and see if it's still there.

  5. "Spare Change", my story for the first challenge of the LAS competition did not get any votes - not for best, not for worst. Will have to try and do better this time.

    There were a few really good ones in this round - notably Ophidia, which got my vote for best, and Diminuendo, which would have if that hadn't. If you didn't read any of the others, I recommend at least checking out those two stories.

    The second challenge comes with a really interesting prompt: "If you are going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill. I can think of a lot of interesting directions to take that one in, though one is currently standing out more strongly in my mind than others. No hints, as if I do end up writing that one, I'm not allowed to give any indication which story is mine, so as not to bias the voting. But it will be interesting to see what all the various writers do with this one...
misslynx: (Default)
This article, which someone on Facebook posted a link to, has some disturbing information about new agreements in the US which give corporations the right to all water within certain jurisdictions, even if it's on private property. So independent farmers getting water from a spring or well on their own property could be regarded as "stealing" water from whatever corporation owns all the water in the area. Shades of Tank Girl. :-/

But there was a bit of ironic humour, for me, in the odd combination of ads in the site's sidebar. I was especially entertained by the juxtaposition of organic raw vegan protein powder with free handguns. For some reason [ profile] thewronghands immediately came to mind, but there may actually be several people in my circle of friends who'd appreciate both, strange as it might seem.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
For those who agree that the events of this past weekend deserve an independent public inquiry, there is a public rally tomorrow at Queen's Park, at 5:30pm:

Facebook event posting event posting

More info )

I am seriously considering going to this one, even though I stayed well away from the entire downtown area over the weekend. Everything that's gone on has left me so emotionally overwhelmed that I really feel I need to do something, to take a stand somehow. Calling for a public inquiry seems like something I can definitely get behind.

And I don't think there's a huge likelihood of getting arrested at this event, since it seems like the police are being much more careful this week now that they've had a huge amount of bad press focussed on them. To my knowledge, no one got arrested at the rally in front of police headquarters on Monday. It may help that most of the out-of-town cops that were sent in for the weekend have probably gone home by now... But of course, there are never any guarantees.

Honestly, the only thing making me consider not going is that [ profile] lgbtech is coming in by bus later that evening, and I don't want to risk possibly getting arrested and leaving her stranded. Like I said, I don't think the chances of anything like that happening at this event are very high, and if I do go, I will certainly observe all sensible precautions like making sure I have ID, have nothing contentious in my purse or pockets, not wearing black, etc. (and anyone who knows my wardrobe knows that last one's a bit of a sacrifice!)

But I think ultimately, whether I go may depend on whether I'm able to arrange a "Plan B", just in case - as in, someone with a copy of my keys who could meet LGBTech at the bus station if need be. I think it's very unlikely that I'll actually need that, but you never know...

In any case, I wanted to pass the event info on to everyone else that I can. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who, even if not involved in any of the original protests, is feeling compelled to take some kind of a stand now.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
When I was walking along St. Clair earlier today, carrying the Lynxcub, we encountered a policewoman (parking enforcement, nothing G20 related) who smiled and said hi to us, and we responded in kind.

Just a momentary, random encounter, nothing of real significance, but at the same time, it somehow made me feel a little bit better about everything.

Sometimes the biggest danger in conflicts like this is that each side dehumanizes the other. I wasn't at any of the protests, but I have enough of an activist background to still feel like the people who were (well, the ones who weren't being complete dickheads) are "my" people, to some degree, anyway. And while I try very, very hard not to fall into the trap seeing the opposing side as some kind of completely alien "other", sometimes it's more of an act of faith than anything. So it's nice to get some affirmation of that once in a while, however small.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
Last night, I wrote in an e-mail to my mom:

Why I was having second thoughts about going to the G20 protest today )

It would have been nice to have been wrong about that... :-( *sigh*

I didn't go to the protest. Instead I opted for cycling and cupcakes, which was great fun -- I'd never been on the West Toronto Railpath before, and it's beautiful -- a hidden trail lined with wildflowers, winding its way through what is otherwise mostly an industrial wasteland. Definitely one of they city's hidden gems.

But I did feel a bit like a sellout... In my 20s, I'd never have missed out on an event like this. But I'm not in my 20s any more, and the political landscape now isn't what it was then either. Cops were not nearly as likely to attack nonviolent protesters as they are now, nor were protesters as likely to get violent -- and it only takes a very small handful of people doing that to make things horrible and dangerous for everyone. And of course, the two create a vicious circle -- uber-militant assholes doing stupid things makes the cops more paranoid and more inclined to overreaction, and cops being heavy-handed makes some people who might have stayed peaceful otherwise more inclined to get angry and reckless, and the whole thing can spiral out of control very easily.

And because a lot of the media report mainly on whatever's most dramatic, the thousands of peaceful protesters are completely eclipsed by the relatively small handful of store-smashing yahoos. Most of the discussion I've seen online, apart from that by people who have some contact with activist communities, has talked about what "the protesters" did, as if they were one uniform mass who all think and do exactly the same thing.

But one positive thing I've seen is at least a couple of fairly mainstream journalists have bee trying to draw attention to the fact that most of the protesters were peaceful and that many were attacked with batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, etc. and/or arrested despite that. Despite my general distaste for Twitter, the Twitter feeds of the Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias and TVO's Steve Paikin have both highlighted that. Kudos to both of them for having the nerve to talk about the stuff the rest of the mainstream media aren't. Here's a string of posts from Paikin, about the cops attacking a journalist and a group of peaceful protesters:

Cut for length )

More of my thoughts on all this )

I don't even know where I was originally going with this post... I think I'm just having a "Stop the world, I want to get off" sort of day. Good thing I already had a tag made up for that...

I think this is one of those days where I just need to put "See Who I Am" (see this post) on repeat play until I feel like there's hope for the world again. But I'm exhausted and need to sleep, and that song is way too energizing, so I'll settle for making a user icon based on it instead.
misslynx: (Quote - wrong questions)
So, I had been kind of undecided as to what to do about Pride this year, in that (for non-locals, and anyone local who somehow hasn't heard) it had become a huge political mess, due to controversy over a pro-Palestinian group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) which some people perceive as being anti-semitic (despite the fact that, one would think, criticizing the policies of a country's government is very different from attacking the people of that country).

More background, including today's developments )
. . .
What to do for Pride, including a mini-rant which may annoy people )
. . .
And a mega-rant which will almost certainly annoy virtually everyone )
misslynx: (Default)
  1. After a whole lot of uncertainty, looks like Torchwood is coming back! Yay!

  2. Via [ profile] sabotabby: the Toronto Star is soliciting suggestions for names for the ridiculously expensive fake lake the government is having built for the G20 summit. Click on the comments tab to read the suggestions (which are up 20 pages or something now). My favourites from among those suggested: The Excesspool, Lake Flaccid, Lake Inferior, and (bonus points for bilingual punning) Lac Integrity.

  3. Via [ profile] pagandelight: an entertaining "remix" of some comments by a homophobic preacher in Uganda. For some reason, this especially made me think of [ profile] tamago23, but I think anyone else with a warped sense of humour will also enjoy it. Not even remotely safe for work, life, or anything, really )
misslynx: (Default)
Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that apparently this couple had done everything right, legally speaking - they had each other names in their wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, etc. - and the county was still able to overrule it all, preventing from seeing each other, and treating the older partner as though he had no kin and the men were just "roommates".

Now, as some of the comments on that story note, it is somewhat short on details and leaves a fair number of unanswered questions. Some of what's reported there sounds like it shouldn't have been legally possible, so it would be really useful to have some kind of investigation into it. If what is reported in that story is even close to what happened, it's horrifying and needs wider reporting to raise awareness - and if by any chance the story is not accurate, it would be good to know that as well.

There's a petition afoot to get a local newspaper in that area to do a story on it, and this comment on the story also has a lot of contact numbers and e-mail addresses for relevant politicians and media.
misslynx: (Default)
I was totally blown away by the volume of response to my little mini-rant about that O-Canada-in-Hindi e-mail forward. For something written off the top of my head late at night when tired and cranky, it seems to have made a lot of people happy. The comments really made my week/month/year, and was particularly welcome at a time when I've been highly stressed and fighting off depression. Thanks to everyone who commented!

And for anyone who enjoyed it, I have to point you to the most awesome development in the comments: One commenter ([ profile] secret_weapon) actually did translate "O Canada" into Hindi! And provided a cool little video to go with it, which has sparked all kinds of imaginings in my head.
misslynx: (Quote -shut up)
OK, still no promised catch-up post, but multiple posts in one day nonetheless. Because I just have to rant about this:

An otherwise relatively sane and reasonable (to my knowledge, anyway) acquaintance just sent me an e-mail forward, the least annoying aspect of which was that it was completely untrue and had already been debunked on The most annoying? Well, I'll just link you to the Snopes page on it and let you do the math.

Herewith follows the response I would like to send to said person, but probably won't.

Cut for vitriol )
misslynx: (Me & Aidan in ravine)
If you're as annoyed as I am with the bizarre and unrealistic picture US conservatives seem to be painting of Canada's health system, you might want to sign the petition has on their site:

Yes, I know online petitions probably don't count for much, but it's something, at least. And they have an interesting feature after you sign it where you can see the comments people have left popping up in real time, as they leave them. Some pretty interesting stories there...

More info behind the cut if you're interested.

Info from )
misslynx: (Clucking Bell)

So, unless you've been cut of from the Internet for the whole long weekend, you've probably already heard about the AmazonRank shitstorm (and yes, that link was a Googlebomb -- feel free to pass it on!).

If you HAVE been cut off from the Internet or in some other way missed it, the quick summary is: over the weekend, Amazon removed the sales rankings of pretty nearly all queer-themed books in their catalog except for those written from a fundamentalist Christian anti-gay perspective. Removing the sales rankings mean that not only do those books not show a sales rank on the book page (which would be pretty trivial), but they also don't show up on bestsellers lists and, most importantly, don't show up in search results. So once this was done, searching for a keyword like "homosexuality" brought up nothing but How-Jesus-can-help-you-not-be-gay type books.

Initially the autoresponse they sent to people complaining said that they'd deranked books with "adult" content, "in consideration of our entire customer base" - i.e. to keep from offending absolutely anyone, supposedly. But they did not derank heterosexual books that were far more graphically sexual than most of the ones that got it, and they did derank a lot of queer books that were completely non-sexual, like travel guides, biographies, historical books and even children's books!

Now, they're claiming it was a software glitch and is being fixed. This really doesn't sound terribly convincing to me. I do think it was likely a technical screw-up in some sense, but not just a random glitch that happened out of the blue. And whatever happened, they owe the public a lot better explanation than that.

My e-mail to Amazon )

My initial comment on this, which I posted in one of the communities I first saw the issue raised in, was a little more heated and less well thought-out. After sleeping on it, I think it's worth remembering that Amazon doesn't have any sort of history of being anti-gay or otherwise right-wing -- as I mentioned in my e-mail, they've always had the reputation of being a fairly liberal company. So I don't really think they've randomly become right-wing homophobes overnight. However, they've certainly screwed up in some kind of substantive way here, and I think they owe people a real explanation and apology.

. . .

One of the aggravating things about the whole saga for me, as well as previous calls to boycott them over other issues, is that in Canada, is the only major online bookseller that carries titles from independent publishers, so boycotting them means there's a lot of books I just can't buy at all. Americans can go to Powell's (who I heard is having a sale on LGBT titles in response to all this), Borders, etc., but none of those companies, last I checked, operated in Canada. And yes, it's possible to order books internationally, but it's really bloody expensive. By the time you factor in the exchange rate, international shipping, duty, etc. a $15 book ends up costing you $35-40 a lot of the time. Meanwhile, we do have Chapters-Indigo here, who are Canadian -- but they only stock books from large mainstream publishers, which means that a lot of the books I tend to order online can't be found there.

So honestly, I'm really hoping Amazon get their shit together and come out with some kind of coherent response to all this. Because while I can't in good conscience buy anything from them until it's resolved, that boycott is going to be a major pain in the ass to sustain for any length of time.

. . .

I was going to include a list of links to all the various sites dealing with this, but honestly, the info is absolutely bloody everywhere at this point, so I'm sure you can all find it on your own, and I'm overdue to go edit my dad's textbook manuscript, plus have one more post I really need to make before I leave.
misslynx: (Seal kiss)
All I have to say is...


Well, all right, that's not quite all.

I also have to say that for the first time in longer than I can recall, I am feeling almost proud to have been born in the US. I won't say proud to be American, because having lived in Canada since I was 6 I'm pretty much thoroughly Canadian, up to and including regularly apologizing for things that are not my fault. But proud to be at least as minimally American as I am. :-)

Also, happy to have not succumbed to the temptation to renounce the US part of my citizenship during Bush's 2nd term - because keeping it meant that I was able to cast an absentee in this election (and did).

And feeling an interesting sense of connection with family history - from my parents' involvement in the civil rights movement in the 60s back to my Quaker ancestors who helped run the underground railroad. Just voting may not seem like much compared with that, but it still feels like part of the same current, in a small way.
misslynx: (Default)
According to the Voter Help Desk at the Overseas Vote Foundation:
You are right, the oath just means that you are not voting any where else in the U.S. Even as a dual citizen you maintain the right to vote, however, in federal elections only.
And thus my ballot goes into the mail...
misslynx: (Default)
During the past month, I've started seeing something I can't recall ever seeing before here during a US election campaign: US election signs in front of houses here!

Seriously, in the 39 years since my family moved here from the US, I can't recall ever having seen that before. But there are at least 3 or 4 houses just in my neighbourhood alone with Obama signs in front of them, and I spotted another in my dad's neighbourhood yesterday.

I don't even know how people here would get those signs - whether they actually picked them up while travelling in the US, or got them by mail order, or what. I mean, normally you get election lawn signs here by saying yes to a door-to-door canvasser, or if a canvasser from your party doesn't happen to come by, by calling their riding office and asking for one. I can just picture someone here calling up their nearest US riding office:

"Hi, I'd like a sign for my lawn, please."

"Sure, where do you live?"

"Er... Canada."


Anyway, US Democrats, take heart - you apparently have unprecedented international support this time around.

* * *

Now, for the question: like a lot of American expatriates in these parts, I went to and registered to cast an absentee ballot or whatever it's called. Yes, I'm a naturalized Canadian citizen, but from what I've heard, the default these days if you're originally American and then get Canadian citizenship is that you're considered a dual citizen, unless you actually go to the US consulate and renounce your US citizenship (which at least one person in my family has done, and I considered, but didn't actually do).

At no point in filling out the forms to get my ballot did it ask if I was a citizen of any country other than the US, but when my ballot arrived, it has a little declaration that has to be signed, on the outside of the envelope the ballot goes back in, which says in part:
I do declare that I am a qualified special federal voter of said district; that I am not qualified and am not able to qualify to vote elsewhere than as set forth on the reverse side of this envelope... [emphasis added - it wasn't bold in the original]
Well, fuck.

Then again, maybe they just mean not qualified to vote elsewhere in the US? It's really not very clear. I should probably call up someone official and ask for clarification, but I'm not sure who to call. I did submit a help ticket to the OVF, but in the meantime was wondering if anyone else out there had any ideas on this.

In addition to wondering if I'm technically qualified to vote or not, I'm also wondering if they really have any way of checking - i.e. if I just signed the declaration and sent it in, do they have any way of finding out I'm also a Canadian citizen?

I mean, you would think if it was that important, they would have asked it somewhere in the forms you have to fill out to vote from outside the country...


misslynx: (Default)

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