Curtain Call

Remember how it was unbearably hot a month or so back? I was sweltering in my home office (spare room) during that, and realised that the curtains were really not up to the task. This weekend, I finally got round to putting up some blackout curtains.

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I just took a photo, with no flash, but all I can see is glowing laptop screens. So that's working as intended. Now I get to repeat the whole process for the living room, because I want to use the projector in there.
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Scrabble scores

It's Monday morning and I'm annoyed. Here's the current tally of which news sources can use the right pronouns for a trans woman:



Too many to list. Starting with the Guardian (where I actually encountered the story, so I've taken time out of my procrastination to send 'em an informative email), the Independent, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, assorted regional papers. Maybe there weren't enough "S" tiles left to write "she".

No can do

A slightly more focused whinge this time.

Sainsbury have switched the packaging of their Basics-branded Chopped Tomatoes from cans to cartons. This sounds like a good idea if it saves me 1p per 400g, but it causes some problems:

Opening. Now, a can isn't easy to open. It's a well-sealed unit designed to keep out vermin, bacteria and small children. Packing tinned food and forgetting the tin-opener can lead to hours of frustration (see "Three Men In A Boat"). One of those Swiss Army Knife attachments might just save the day, but you don't have a hope if left with your fingers. But, due to my extensive collection of bourgeois kitchen equipment, I *have* a tin-opener. Cardboard cartons have an ill-defined bit of perforation, the cardboard is quite likely to rip at other points, and the spout isn't really appropriate for chunks of tomato (not that it makes for precise pouring when there's juice in the carton, mind). When opened, it's still impossible to get a bit of cutlery in there to scrape the last bits out. I assume it's designed to be doable entirely with fingers, but I still end up relying on tools - scissors or sharp knives.

Recycling. I have no information on the relative damage to the environment of cans vs cartons. The information I do have is what the council will come and collect: Cans go in the blue box that sits outside my home and gets taken away once a fortnight. Cartons go on the pile in the kitchen, which builds up and up and up until I have enough to fill a backpack, at which point I take them to a carton recycling facility. There's one down at Redbridge, and (apparently) one in the car park of Cowley Rd Tesco. The last time I made the trip, the carton bank was full enough that I had to squish them in one by one, and there were lots of WASPS, no doubt interested in all those juice cartons that hadn't been washed out properly.

So what am I willing to do to save the planet? Break fingernails on cartons, or even buy a new tool? OK. Cycle to the recycling? OK. Spend over a minute disturbing nasty little stinging insects? No bloody way. I'll try Tesco, and if their carton bank is as grim... well, I'll be near Tesco, where the cheap chopped tomatoes come in tins.
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(no subject)

Is it me, or is Dr Ben's Bad Science turning into another troll-magnet? In the latest one, which starts by comparing number of news articles with size of threat, the comments include

  • global warming science not settled

  • every abortion a preventable death

  • and my personal favourite, pavement cyclists not a problem

Do I have to stick to private blogs to get pure, untarnished, people-being-right-about-shit?

Comfy-chair vigilantism

A note for the Oxfordians:

The Rusty Bicycle has been quite a nice pub of late. I went there this evening to catch up with a few friends and pontificate about the recent Doctor Who special. While there, one of our number had a bag stolen. When we asked the bar staff if anything had been handed in, they said that they'd had four bags snatched just this weekend.

What I hope you all may learn from this is: (1) Bag theft is not an isolated event here. (2) The staff haven't yet put up a sign to this effect.

On my way back home, I made myself feel better by shouting at a bad cyclist. He ignored a red light, had no lights on and was talking on his phone - I only managed to shout "get some lights on and stop at red lights" (I hadn't had time to prepare my speech, and I can't remember if cycling while yapping is illegal or just Stupid, Selfish and Dangerous) before he shouted "shut up". Several seconds later, he embellished this with "you fucking twat". I really hope that between these, he was awkwardly telling the person at the other end of the line that he hadn't been telling *them* to shut up.
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