misslynx: (Default)

Support rape crisis centers and enter to win an advance copy of The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines.



Fantasy author (and all-around cool person) Jim C. Hines ([livejournal.com profile] jimhines) is doing an online fundraiser for rape crisis centres, in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness month. You can donate directly to your local rape crisis centre, or to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a US-based organization), and then send him an e-mail letting him know how much and to whom you donated. The initial prize is, as it says above, an advance copy of his latest book, but for every $500 raised he will add another prize. Further details via the above link.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
...And I have chocolate-orange shortbread baking in the oven - well, orange shortbread, anyway. The chocolate gets added after they come out. And a really, really random mix of Christmas music on, which includes everything from the Mediaeval Baebes and Loreena McKennit to various noisy punk and/or industrial manglings of Christmas carols, and everything in between.

I actually completed most of my shopping yesterday, and the few bits I still had to do today didn't involve going anywhere horribly crowded, for which I am eternally grateful. I do not do crowds well, and the amount of running around I had to do yesterday and the day before was fairly stressful.

The un-fun part of things peaked after my last stop yesterday, when, coming out of the health food store, I hoisted my two gigantic Shopping Bags of Holding, and proceeded to twist my ankle, so that all of a sudden it would barely even bear my own weight, let alone that of all the stuff I was trying to carry (partial list: two 2-litre bags of soymilk, a big bag of cat food, a crate of clementines, a kitchen sale, and about 20 other things). So I flagged down a cab, and thankfully got an awesome cabbie, who when he realized I was hurt, not only got out and carried my bags into the cab for me, but brought them all the way up to my apartment when we got there. And tried to refuse my efforts to give him a larger tip because of it.

Probably the part of yesterday that was simultaneously the most stressful and the most awesome was going to the LCBO store in the Manulife Centre. Stressful because: holy crowds, Batman. I had to resort to my crowd-coping techniques of (a) every now and then, closing my eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths, and (b) when that didn't work, digging my nails into my palm periodically to ground myself in my body and vent some anxiety. Not hard enough to break skin, don't worry - I suppose it's still a minor form of self-injury, but sometimes it's the only thing that works. But as I said, it was also awesome, because they had a crazy variety of really interesting-sounding beer. The main thing I'd actually gone there for was to get a little bottle of some kind of sherry or sweet wine, for the sweet potato recipe, but I'd figured I might as well check the beer situation while I was there and maybe get some interesting drinkables. And it was soooo hard to choose - I ended up with the crème brulée imperial stout that [livejournal.com profile] curgoth posted about a while back, a blackberry porter, a smaller bottle of a Scottish stout, and something that shall remain nameless since it's going to be a gift for someone.

Also got the above-mentioned kitchen scale, two cooling racks, and some better measuring cups to replace the mostly broken ones I had, and yesterday also a better muffin pan and a sifter. I am starting to feel like I may actually be approaching the status of being a Person Who Bakes, as opposed to a Person Who Has No Clue About Baking (But Every Now And Then Attempts It Anyway For Some Bizarre Reason).

Today, I was not enamoured of the idea of going out at all, even though my ankle seemed fine, but I did have a few last things to pick up (notably, more sweet potatoes, since the recipe I want to make for the potluck Christmas I'm going to tomorrow calls for two pounds, and my newly acquired kitchen scale revealed that I only had one). But fortunately they could all be acquired in my own neighbourhood.

The best part of today happened pretty much spontaneously: Random acts of kindness )

And with that, the second batch of shortbread has just come out of the oven and the Scottish stout is empty, and I need to haul two large bags of laundry to the laundromat before starting in on the vegan "Dulce Sin Leche" cupcakes (i.e. like Dulce de Leche but without milk).

Hope everyone out there who celebrates Christmas has a good one, and everyone who doesn't had a good whatever-else-you-do-celebrate (all the other major December-ish holidays are past now, correct?).
misslynx: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] optimystik is participating in a fundraising event tomorrow, the Global Mala 2010, in which people will do 108 sun salutations (a yoga routine) to raise money for Schools Without Borders's Safe Spaces project, for women in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and Ramotswa, Botswana.

The event is taking place tomorrow, but there's still time to sponsor him! Donations can be made securely through that site, either by credit card or PayPal.
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
T. Thorn Coyle wrote an interesting blog post a couple of days ago about that fundamentalist minister in the US who was threatening to hold a mass Qur'an burning on September 11 (which has since apparently been called off, or so the latest stories say, but I suppose we'll see tomorrow):
This Saturday, a certain Terry Jones plans to burn copies of the Qur’an outside his Gainesville, FL church. People have been mailing books to him, to help with this cause. Meanwhile, the children in this photo, along with 20 million others in Pakistan, are displaced, hungry, and struggling. Which do I care about more? Terry Jones is seeking publicity – which I am giving him right now – so I’m going to use this publicity mongering to bring us back to sharp attention that we all have a chance to do some good to counteract hatred and ignorance. We can help some people who are in dire need.

This Saturday, to honor the memory of those who died in the toppling of the World Trade Centers in NYC, and further, to honor the memory of those who died on September 11, 1944 when Darmstadt, Germany was destroyed in preparation for the more famous Dresden bombing, I say let us organize to send whatever we can afford – be it prayers, energy, or money – to Pakistan. Let us feed the three to six million who have not yet received food or medical care. Let us not let the likes of Terry Jones win this day. In the name of all who are Compassionate and Merciful, let us not give up on humanity.

The site she links to with the photo of the children is a very hard-hitting personal statement on how bad the situation is there and why it's important to help - definitely recommended reading (though unfortunately it also blasts music at you for some reason).

Even if the book burning has been cancelled, I still think commemorating tragic events by trying to show compassion and prevent further tragedy is a very worthwhile goal.

So... As an incentive, I'll write a piece of flash fiction for anyone who donates $20 or more to Médecins Sans Frontieres (known as Doctors Without Borders in the US) for Pakistani flood relief, and comments here or on my Facebook to let me know they have (up to a maximum of ten people). Their international web site (linked above) includes a pop-up menu that will take you to the national site for your country. Most of the national sites accept online donations.

If you donate and would like a story, just comment here or on Facebook to tell me, and - if you want to - give me some kind of prompt or story seed: an idea, a quote, a scrap of random text, some fragment of myth or history, whatever. Alternatively, you can just leave it up to me to choose something I think you might like.
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
CanadaParticipates.ca 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 [livejournal.com 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: (Default)
  1. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik is participating in a CN Tower climb for the World Wildlife Fund on April 15, and needs sponsors. The idea is to climb all the way up the zillion stairs in the CN Tower (1776 steps!) - and he's also trying to set a speed record. Most people take 30-40 minutes or more to do it - he's trying for less than 11 minutes. (Because he's insane like that. But in a good way.)

    Details here. You can sponsor him for any amount you choose, either via the official online sponsorship page if you have a credit card, or by commenting to his LJ post about it if you'd rather do it via cash or PayPal or whatever.

    . . .

    Elsewhere, [livejournal.com profile] jimhines is raffling off (sort of) an autographed advance review copy of his latest novel, Red Hood’s Revenge, to raise money for rape crisis centres. You make a donation either to the US-based Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or to your local rape crisis centre, and the e-mail him at endrape@jimchines.com to let him know, before April 16.

    Details here.
misslynx: (Default)
Well, assuming everyone who bid follows through, I'll have raised $195 for Médecins Sans Frontières via my [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti offerings. Two of the four winners (three for web services, one for a story) have already sent me their donation confirmations.

(Re the web services, those who have in the past chided me for working for magic beans, or just overworking in general, will hopefully be pleased to know I set very definite limits on what was included, so as not to let any of them turn into huge massive time sinks that would prevent me from doing the work that pays the rent.)

Sadly, I did NOT win the crocheted dinosaur I bid on - someone outbid me this morning, and due to my sleep schedule being all messed up because of my recent crazy string of all-nighters, I did not wake up until after noon, so bidding was closed. :-( But there will be another auction in February, so maybe I'll have another chance then, if this person or someone else offers something similar. I just think Aidan would really like it...

I did win two smaller auctions, for stories. One for a mythology-based story featuring Erzulie Dantor, and one for some sort of an urban fantasy story, for which I can apparently specify a few details like species, setting, etc. - haven't decided what I'd like to request for that one yet.

I'm also starting to have interesting ideas spinning around in my head for the one story of mine that was bid on - the fairy tale she wants it based on is All-Kinds-of-Fur, from the Brothers Grimm, and I can think of a number of ways that could go...

. . .

Oh, and in other Haiti-related news, gamer geeks should take note that Drive-Thru RPG, a web site selling PDF versions of many and various role-playing games, from the popular to the obscure, is doing their own fundraising effort, including an offer where a $20 donation to MSF through their site will get you a coupon good for downloading a massive bunch of stuff free (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wire_mother for the link).

I took a quick look over the list of products you can get with the coupon, and while certainly not all of them look all that interesting (in particular, a lot of them are add-ons for games I don't have), there were a small handful that looked quite cool (Seven Leagues, Summerland and the Kerberos Club, in particular), so I might do it.
misslynx: (Default)
So, the first [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti auction ends tomorrow at noon (EST), and I've gotten bids on all three of the web-related offerings I made, but only on one of the story offerings.

While I'm glad to be raising donations in any way I can, I was really hoping more people would bid on the stories so that I'd have an excuse to do more writing, which I generally find more fun than doing what I do for a living. :-)

So, if anyone has any desire to have me write a story for them - either a mini-legend like these ones, or a mutated fairy tale like this or this, or a pretty much anything-goes story incorporating three elements of your choice, you have until tomorrow at noon. Starting bids are only $5, $10 and $15 respectively, though I've already got one bid on the fairy tale, so you'll need to bid more than $10 for that one.

Payment is in the form of a donation directly to any charity of your choice that's involved in Haitian relief work - as in, you make a donation to the charity and send me a copy of the receipt, and then I write a story for you. You bid by posting a reply to the comments I posted the offers in (links in the first paragraph of this post).

Anyway, just thought I'd toss that out there because, like I said, the auction closes at noon tomorrow, so if perchance anyone has been thinking of bidding and not gotten around to it, you don't have much time left.
misslynx: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, just found this:

Crossed Genres, a Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine, has put up a special feature on their site called Post A Story For Haiti, in which a number of authors, including at least some fairly well-known ones (Martha Wells, obviously, and Nalo Hopkinson were the two names that caught my attention most) have posted links to stories of theirs that people can read for free, with encouragement for people to make a donation to one of the charities helping people in Haiti if they like the stories.
misslynx: (Default)
Note to self: when exhausted and massively short on sleep due to a brutal work crunch may not be the best of all possible times to keep compulsively reading news coverage about the situation in Haiti. One's usual emotional shock-absorbers are not functioning at full capacity in that state, and everything hits even harder than it ordinarily would, and I am the not the sort of person who can read stuff like that and remain unaffected even at the best of times.

Interesting article in the Toronto Star Underlying racism infects crisis response: study.

Unfortunately, the study's findings pretty accurately describe the mentality of a lot of the commenters on news stories on the Star site and elsewhere, which make me want to set people on fire. More so than I usually do, that is. Maybe one of my new year's resolutions should be stop reading the comment sections on news sites. Nothing good ever comes of doing that. Even when I can bring myself to post comments challenging all the reactionary crap that gets posted there, it feels like trying to stem a tidal wave of shit with a paper fan or something.

. . .

But in the vein of trying to do something constructive about the situation instead of just whimper and rock myself, this is a reminder that I am auctioning off three custom-written stories via the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti community. One fairy-tale based, one mini-legend like the ones I've done in [livejournal.com profile] thousandcats, and one that's more or less anything goes.

Winning bidder on each one donates the amount of their bid to any recognized charity doing relief work in Haiti, and forwards a copy of the receipt. Only received one bid thus far (on the fairy tale), so I'm hoping to stir up a little more interest, so as to actually generate some useful amount of donations.

Note: if you do decide to bid, make sure you're clicking on the "Reply" link right under my comment with the offer, and not on the "Leave comment" link at the bottom of the comment thread, otherwise your bid will go in as a comment to the entire 3000-comment thread rather than coming to me specifically, and I'll never find it.

. . .

BTW, I'm finding the level of activity in that community to be really inspiring. There are hundreds and hundreds - maybe more like thousands - of things being auctioned, from books and stories to homemade cookies, souvenirs from all the different parts of the world that contributors to it live in (there's a lot of "A Box of [place name]" items that are basically collections of random stuff from the places in question - I was very tempted by the Box of Holland, which included stroopwafels among other things), graphic design and editing services, crocheted Cthulhus, PHP scripts and web hosting.

Yesterday, the moderator posted a request for people to translate the community FAQ & userinfo into other languages, and within just a few hours there were versions of it up in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Russian and Tagalog. A day later, that's been supplemented with Hebrew, Italian, Catalan, Welsh, Hungarian, Portuguese and Greek, and people are working on Korean and Chinese.

Note to self #2: more time perusing communities where people are coming together to do helpful and positive things, and less time looking at comments on news articles makes for a happier and more productive Lynx, with more faith in humanity.

. . .

In related news, I am delighted to report that I am still, for the moment, the top bidder for the crocheted dinosaur I want to get for Aidan.
misslynx: (Default)
A lot of you probably already know about this, but there's a new community called [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti focussed on raising money for Haitian earthquake relief by auctioning off pretty much any sort of creative work.

People who want to offer something for auction post a comment to one of the main posts (one for each general type of stuff - writing, art, etc.) and then other people can bid by commenting to that. Whoever wins an item has to make a donation in the amount of the winning bid to a charitable organization of their choice (as long as it's a known and reputable charity) that's involved in helping people in Haiti, and send a copy of their donation receipt to the person offering the item, and to the community organizer for verification. So no money changes hands between people in the community - winning bidders donate directly to the charities.

It seems to have started as mainly a fan fiction thing, and there's still a lot of that on there, but they've also got stuff like professional authors auctioning off books, and offers of things like knitting, tattoo designs, jewelry... you name it.

The approach they initially chose, of having all the offers be comments to a small handful of posts, does make it hard to browse through looking for things you're interested in, but volunteers are in the process of cataloging all the offers and trying to get things more organized.

Anyway... Definitely well worth checking out.

BTW, I posted a story offer of my own, or three, really (a mini-legend, a fractured fairy tale, or a more free-form story), in case anyone's interested in having me write something for them.
misslynx: (Default)
I'd been thinking for a while of making some kind of post about some of the controversies surrounding H1N1/swine flu, because I seem to find myself arguing with people about it a fair bit lately. But then, I think of making many more LJ posts than I actually make. I am constantly writing LJ posts in my head, and maybe 5% of them ever actually get posted. But I think this one's important.

I recently wanted to strangle someone in one community I read, for giving blithe assurances to someone whose partner's child was seriously ill with it and having difficulty breathing that "Oh, it's just the flu. She'll be fine." The kid was in the hospital. Having what sounds like respiratory failure. That does not meet my personal definition of "just the flu", let alone "fine". (OK, admittedly the original poster hadn't mentioned the hospital part at first, just in subsequent comments, but still, even on the basis of what they had described, it sounded serious.)

It seems like there's precious little ground out there between all-out panic and hysteria on the one hand, and dismissing it as trivial on the other. And I don't think either extreme is justified. No, it isn't the end of the world. The majority of people who get it will have a relatively mild case and recover completely. But even a relatively mild case of this flu tends to be longer and more severe than the ordinary seasonal flu, and there is a significant risk of it shifting into a more severe form, which can be life-threatening.

And the particularly disturbing part is that, contrary to what the person I was arguing with in the above community said (something to the effect that "It's no worse than regular flu unless you have AIDS or something"), most of the severe cases of this one have not been people with AIDS, nor have they been elderly people as with most flu viruses (people over 65 seem to have partial immunity to this one) -- they've been children and young adults. Women especially, for some reason. And while certainly having a compromised immune system does put someone at higher risk for complications from it, so do a lot of more common factors, like asthma, diabetes and pregnancy. And a substantial proportion of the people who've gotten seriously ill or died from this have had no identifiable risk factors at all -- they've been previously healthy children or young adults.

Anyway, I haven't had the time to put together the sort of detailed write-up I really wanted to, but as it happens, a friend of mine did just post a whole lot of information, so I'm going to be lazy and just link to his posts. A couple of words of introduction before I do:

  • The friend in question has a science background, but isn't currently affiliated with a university or other institution that would give him direct access to medical journals etc., so the research he did on this was mostly from publicly available sources (which usually means abstracts rather than full papers), plus some discussions with people in the medical field.

  • He started out being skeptical of the H1N1 vaccine and not sure it had been through enough testing to be considered safe (pretty much how I was feeling until fairly recently), so he did most of this research trying to answer his own questions about it and make an informed decision. That involved looking into both the disease itself and the vaccine, since choices like this always need to based on a risk/benefit analysis.

  • He ended up deciding that he did want to get the vaccine, and I'm fairly certain now that I do too. But I am also quite sure that no one who's vehemently anti-vaccine in general is going to have their mind changed by this, because that particular debate really falls into the religious-war category by now. But I hope that even the anti-vaccine people will read over this info, because quite apart from the is-the-vaccine-safe issue, there's a lot of valuable information about the disease itself.

  • All that said, while most of me wants to thank my friend for doing all this research and making it available for me to link to, part of me wants to smack him for not citing sources more specifically. I know him well enough to trust his research, but other people on my friends list who click through to this may not. But then, he originally wrote these posts as e-mails to a small handful of friends, not to put on the web, so they weren't originally intended for a wide audience. He only posted them his LJ after I asked if I could repost some of his info.

  • One last note: from my perspective the most important issue in all this is not so much whether people should get themselves and/or their kids vaccinated - that's a personal choice - but becoming informed about the disease and taking it seriously.

    In particular, knowing that the warning signs that could indicate a severe infection, and when to get medical help. Because in those cases, survival is very strongly correlated with getting them into the hospital fast. Seriously, this thing can go from ordinary flu symptoms to total respiratory failure in 24 hours. If you or someone you're caring for has it and is having any sort of trouble breathing, or running a very high fever, go to the ER. Now. Do not delay, do not hope it gets better on its own, just fucking do it. Because while not every instance of difficulty breathing may be an indicator of impending respiratory failure, a significant proportion are, and this is not something to fuck around with. Getting into the hospital and onto a respirator is the only thing that will keep you alive if it does go that route, and how fast you do it may be literally a life or death decision.

Having gotten that out of the way, on to [livejournal.com profile] oxystat's info:Edited to add one more comment: any references in the posts to "here", "in this country", "in this province", etc. mean Canada and Ontario respectively. One of the hazards of making information originally written for a small handful of locals available to a wider audience is geographical ambiguity.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
Yes, I know, I'm way overdue to make a real LJ post. This is not going to be it, however. I've been in a mega work crunch that will probably be continuing all this week, though maybe I'll manage at least some kind of point-form catch-up somewhere in there.

But the main reason for this post is to let those of you in Canada know that the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is coming up. It runs from Sept. 19-27, with individual cleanups of different areas scheduled for various points during that time. You can go to the web site to see what cleanups are happening in your area. "Shoreline" is defined pretty loosely - you don't need to on the ocean or even a large lake to do a cleanup. A lot of the ones in Toronto, for example, are around creeks in ravine parks (since we have rather a lot of those, in addition to the lake and two major rivers). There are over 1500 cleanups happening in various locations across Canada.

The project is coordinated by the Vancouver Aquarium, with an annoying but probably necessary level of corporate sponsorship from TD and sponsored by TD (which is very nice of them, though I wish they could have been a little less aggressive with the branding) (Edited to clarify that it's not the corporate sponsorship I mind, just the way it's being shown), but the individual cleanups are mostly organized by volunteers in the various communities. They provide things like garbage bags and disposable latex gloves, but if you want something like work gloves for handling sharp things you will want to bring your own. I actually organized a cleanup last year for Cedarvale Park (the big ravine near me), but I didn't have time this year.

However, while I couldn't coordinate a cleanup this year, I did at least register to participate in the cleanup of David Balfour Park, the ravine near Yonge & St. Clair, which I had also participated in year before last. I don't visit that ravine as often as Cedarvale, but I do really like it, and I find it particularly helps the cleanup to feel like a form of spiritual service for me, because something about that ravine tend to make me feel Danu's presence strongly there.

Anyway, this is basically just a nudge for those of you that might be so inclined to check out the site and consider joining a cleanup in your area. If you're in Toronto and not particularly drawn toward any other cleanup, the one at David Balfour Park is at 1:00 this Sunday, if anyone wants to join me there.
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, Amazon.ca 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: (Default)
As most of you probably know, Health Canada proposed a little while ago to declare the endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (leached by polycarbonate plastic) a toxic substance, and ban it from baby bottles and infant formula cans. This is good. However, it's used in a lot more places than just that, including in a lot of food and water containers, like those clear plastic Nalgene water bottles and the plastic, and currently they don't seem to be in a hurry to ban it from those places.

According to ToxicNation.ca, Wednesday, June 18 is the last day fthat t he public has to make an impact on the federal government’s decision on how to regulate the toxic chemical. On this day the 60-day comment period on BPA closes and the government will begin reviewing the comments submitted by the Canadian public, stakeholders, and industry.

Send them a message now!

We won!

Dec. 15th, 2007 03:53 pm
misslynx: (In tree)
For those who signed the Avaaz climate change petition, you will be pleased to find out it really did get results: at the last minute, Harper reversed his stance and dropped his opposition to the 2020 emissions targets!

OK, so it probably wasn't all due to that one petition, but still -- it means the people spoke up loud enough to drown out the interests of the oil industry, and that's very cool to see.

More info: http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/1.php
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
From Avaaz.org:
Right now, a major UN summit in Bali has just a few days left to hammer out an agreement on stopping catastrophic climate change. But instead of helping out, Canada is actually sabotaging the talks! On Saturday, experts gave us the global "fossil" award for being the worst country in the world on climate change.

There's still a few days left to save Canada's reputation -- and the climate -- but we need a massive democratic roar to remind our Prime Minister what Canada is all about, and stop him from blocking the world at Bali. Click below to sign the petition, which will be advertised with the number of signatures in an ad campaign across Canada this week. The goal is to get 25,000 people to sign in the next 3 days -- before the ads run. After you sign, please pass this URL on to everyone you know:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/98.php

Prime Minister Harper's short-sighted, undemocratic and big oil-driven policy on climate change is damaging the world and destroying our image as a good country. We're supposed to be the nice guys, who try to do the right thing in the world.

The vast majority of Canadians are hopping mad on this issue -- we can win this. We just need to show Harper how serious we are that he change course. Sign up now and forward this message to everyone you know -- we've got just 3 days to hit 25,000 signatures!

Thanks for you help!

PS -- Here are links to some more info on this:

David Suzuki calls the government's spin on climate change "humiliating" and "ludicrous"

The former editor-in-chief of CBC news discusses the damage done by Canada's climate policy to our international reputation
I signed -- your turn now. And no, you don't have to live in Canada to sign it.

BTW, the song that came on while I was posting this is nicely appropriate... It's about being patriotic by means of being an activist and trying to keep your country from being stupid. :-)

And hey, I just noticed that in the e-mail invite text it says they're shooting for 25,000 signatures, but on the site it says they're now at 76,498 and shooting for 100,000. And the number is up by a few hundred since when I first hit the site about ten minutes ago. That's nice to see!
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
There is something particularly enjoyable about putting the finishing touches on a new class on pagan epistemology and critical thinking, while listening to Nightwish at as high a volume as I can manage without disturbing the baby.

Smelling like many delicious spices courtesy of BPAL's Plunder scent makes it even better.

And having [livejournal.com profile] optimystik bring me food while I'm working so that I can eat before I have to head out to teach is better still.
misslynx: (Default)
Don't forget that today is election day. And it may be one of the most important elections ever, because for the first time we have a chance to change the entire system.

Yes, I'm talking about the referendum on whether to switch to a Mixed-Member Proportional system. I can't bein to count the number of times I've heard people say "Well, I'd like to vote for _____ [party they actually support], but of course they don't have a chance of getting in, so I'll probably vote for _____ [party they don't especially like but consider the lesser of two or three evils] so that I don't waste my vote." Hell, I've said it myself.

Proportional representation, which they have in some for other in most European countries and some others, would mean that parties would have seats in parliament in proportion to how many people actually voted for them, rather than just how many ridings they got a majority in. So parties like the Green Party, who consistently get a pretty significant percentage of votes even with the current system, under which voting for them effectively amounts to flushing your vote down the toilet, could actually get seats. And think how many more people might vote for them if they knew their vote would actually count. Parties like the NDP, who get a handful of seats but mostly place second or third in most ridings, would also do better under this system.

The only party that would do worse would be whichever one actually won any given election, because power would be more spread out and less of a winner-take-all situation. They'd actually have to learn how to negotiate and compromise and work with other people.

The "mixed member" part of the proposed system means that we would still have representatives of geographical ridings like we do now, but there would be additional MPPs to make up the balance and ensure that parliament actually reflected the way people voted.

So...
  • If you've ever voted Green, or even considered it...
  • If you've ever found yourself resorting to "strategic voting", where you vote not for who you really want but for the least awful party that you think has a chance of winning...
  • If you'd like to see more co-operation and less arrogance and complacency in politics...
  • If you'd like to see a provincial parliament that reflects the way people actually voted...
Please consider voting yes on the MMP referendum!

No, the proposed system isn't perfect. But voting for it is at least a start -- it gives us something to work with, and gives the powers that be a signal that we at least want some kind of change. If it's voted down, they'll take that as a sign that everything is fine the way it is, and we'll probably never have a chance at any kind of electoral reform again.

So rather than nitpicking it to death as a lot of people seem to have been doing lately, let's at least choose change and get things moving! Because if we say no to it now, there isn't likely to be another chance. Ever.

More Info:
misslynx: (Default)
Received today from Avaaz.org:
The Burmese protests are widening, the international response is building -- and the Burmese generals are panicking. Today, the Burmese junta banned gatherings of more than 5, and sent thousands of troops to take control of the streets -- but still the monks and protesters march. Desperate officers have beaten, tear-gassed and fired on their own people, reportedly shooting five monks in Rangoon.

The next 36 hours are crucial. Leaders have called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council -- but only a decisive initiative will prevent a massacre like the one from 1988. Already, 75,000 people from 192 countries have signed our emergency global petition. Please forward this email to others who haven't yet signed -- they can click below to add their name, and we'll send an updated petition to the Chinese government and the UN Security Council members every day:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/h.php/?cl=20591984


We're calling for UN powers -- above all China, which holds the economic strings of the Burmese regime -- to apply decisive pressure now to stop the violence, and to broker a peaceful transition. If they fail to do this, the massacres will be sudden.

The protesters have declared they will not back down. The Burmese have showed their courage. The scenes fill our television screens -- now the world must act.
I don't know how much good petitions do in a situation like this, but it's better than nothing. I signed it; hopefully some of you will too.

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