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Wednesday Week: International Women’s Day

9 Mar

Yesterday was International (Working) Women’s Day in New Zealand, and I managed to do absolutely nothing except be a working woman. (For, lo, I have acquired a job. I don’t seriously believe that anyone who reads this doesn’t keep up with my life in some other way, but there you go.)  However, luckily, today is IWD in most of the rest of the (English-speaking) world, so I can cleverly look like I was waiting for my links day AND for the day in which I’d be able to link you to lots and lots of posts, so that I can get away with the frankly pretty lame excuse that man, I’m so tired.

But it really doesn’t matter, because there’s so much amazing stuff for you to read. Here are some people whose posts moved me in the last 48 hours:

The Wellington Young Feminists’ Collective did a bunch of posts from their members, wild Gen Yers just like me, on what feminism means to them. Read ’em. Coley; Matthew; Cait; Rachael; Stephanie; Caitlin.

 

The tweets of John Darnielle on IWD, as capped by Autostraddle (click through yo, they're great).

 

On Feminism and Fireworks at Shakesville

The Yarn Harlot: I am a feminist, because I know what the word means.

There are more out there. You pretty much can’t turn around on the internet today without reading something about women that will make you laugh or cry or be proud and ashamed to be a person in the world. You probably don’t have time to read everything, but maybe you could read just one thing, or two? Yeah.

And here’s a golden oldie that I was thinking about the other day.

Image of a young girl with text "Mommy, when I grow up, I want to smash the white, racist, homophobic, patriarchal bullshit paradigm too!"

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Wednesday Week: A few things I’ve been reading lately

2 Mar

After last Tuesday’s earthquake in Christchurch, a city I lived in for four years, I’ve struggled to come up with anything I thought was worthwhile posting about – not a very useful reaction, I think, since I’m sure those people in Christchurch who have power need frivolous distraction as much as anyone ever does. Still, after the tiny earthquake in Wellington last night I think I began to realise how profoundly this will go on affecting all of us, and I don’t mean financially. I used to enjoy earthquakes, the small ones, would roll over in bed and go back to sleep if one woke me up, as they occasionally will in Wellington. Not so much anymore. The idea of living with that feeling, multiplied a thousand times as everyone in Christchurch must be doing – I can’t even imagine.

There are some incredible blog posts and news pieces around about the earthquake. I just read this one by Cheryl Bernstein. I think most people who read this are already pretty aware of what’s going on, but – yeah. The other one that is a must read is this piece: Christchurch’s Three Cities, about the dramatic differences in conditions across Christchurch and the help that the eastern suburbs desperately need.

And now for something completely different: my friend Frith, who was in Christchurch when the earthquake hit, is a really terrific baker. You know Gretchen on the greatest TV show on earth, New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker? Their food is similar – impeccably presented and delicious (well, I have no idea how Gretchen’s food tastes; and I should add at this point that I suggested this comparison and received relatively mild vitriol, because Gretchen is not exactly anyone’s favourite.) So I was pretty amused a couple of weeks ago when Frith told me she couldn’t cook. I learned to cook and bake at the same time and so, even though the skills are quite different, I’m always surprised when I come across people who only like to do one or the other. Around the same time, xkcd came out with this astounding comic. Since then I’ve been noodling over in my head those cooking skills that I think are absolutely essential (how to make and dress a salad, how to roast veges and a chicken, how to make stock, how to make everything with mince, how to stirfry, how to fry rice, how to buy a rice cooker …) and wondering how I’d teach someone to cook if I had to.

Luckily, because I’m not really sure how I’d start, this blogger is doing a series she calls Home Ec for Everyone. The first post is Flourish’s Well-Stocked Kitchen and it’s really pretty great. Check it out! (Even if you know how to cook, because then you have the satisfaction of thinking, well, *actually*, silicon mats are a way better idea than parchment paper, because they’re not very much more expensive than buying a single roll and you don’t have to keep buying them.)

And finally, here is a picture of Cate Blanchett in her amazing Oscar dress, which I’m hotlinking like a filthy hotlinker from Tom and Lorenzo. For the record, if you do not like this dress, I’m totally looking at you funny right now, that means you, Dominion Post, for putting her on the Worst Dressed list. tsk.

cate blanchett in her oscar dress it's beautiful but I don't have the fashion vocab to describe it sorry.

Wednesday Week: Just one this week

12 Jan

A very brief Wednesday Week at least partly because I forgot Tuesday Poem yesterday.

For a very long time I’ve been reading the political and social musings of a friend of mine and just nodding like one of those bobble-headed dogs – frequently without even interacting with her, because on the rare occasion I have something to say it tends to be, rather than a thoughtful, intelligent comment on the world, incoherent feelings liberally sprinkled with profanity. This doesn’t exactly contribute to public discourse, so, other than wondering whether she’d mind if I just printed off her words and pasted them up everywhere I go, I tend to just sit back and agree silently and wish everyone could read her.

Well, now you all can. I really encourage everyone to read Hazel Parson. She’s smart, she’s thoughtful, and she lays it all out in a very clear, consistent manner. She is, in short, the perfect thing to read after you’ve accidentally spent five minutes reading the Stuff comments and need to feel like there’s still good in the world.

Wednesday Week on Thursday: ‘Tis the Season to think Carefully About Your Aid $$

9 Dec

Dear reader, I hope you will forgive me for being a little late with my links post this week. Thursday is the day I’m supposed to use to talk about work, but since I am unemployed, trust me, that would be a very boring post. And I think this is important enough to get it up now.

One of the things I have done in the past, and I know others do too, at Christmas or other gift-giving times is to donate for other people. Oxfam Unwrapped is popular for this, I used to enjoy tailoring my gifts to the recipient, like the year I gave my friend Lucy condoms (her mother is a family planning nurse and so the whole family is awkwardly passionate about sexual health). I won’t be doing that this year; I’m knitting from my stash for Christmas, which means most people I know won’t be getting gifts till the new year (sorry guys, but it’s OK because you won’t want to wear your gloves til April anyway.)

However, seeing this post reminded me that I’ve learned some things about giving to charity recently, mostly from reading material at one website: Good Intentions Are Not Enough. They pretty much do what they say on the tin: explain why, as commendable as giving is, giving aid without being thoughtful can end up doing more harm than good. I highly recommend spending some time on their site. Particularly unexpected for me was the idea that giving money is usually better than giving time or goods. But it makes sense when you think about it: in almost any situation, it’s better to be able to pay someone trained to do a good job than it is to utilise untrained, irregular workers who also have a day job. Good Intents have a handy holiday giving guide; I also recommend their various posts about in-kind donation (this post about why not to donate shoes is my favourite because it is extremely concrete). You can also read up elsewhere on voluntourism and why administration costs might be a good thing.

I can’t tell you which charity to give to. But be aware that the pushy charities aren’t always the best ones; sometimes religious charities come with strings attached; and that sometimes, it’s not the thought that counts. It’s the cash.

Also, don’t forget to think about giving locally as well as or instead of to the sexy international charities! I hear it begins at home.

Wednesday Week

30 Nov

Twitter has Follow Friday, and Tumblr has Tumblr Tuesday. But there isn’t a day of the week that begins with B, so I thought I’d make Wednesday my links day – apart from anything else, in the middle of the week we all need something to distract ourselves from work, right? Anyway, I wrote this post last week and forgot to hit post, so, like, if you’ve seen some of this before now, that’s why.

Wednesday Week is going to be in two parts this week: three food blogs I adore, and three posts by people I’ve never read before that I think you should read.

Local Eats

These three food bloggers are local women whose food delights me. I read a lot of food blogs, mostly US ones, and there’s something really nice about reading recipes written with people like me in mind: people whose oven thermometers come in degrees Celsius, people whose tomatoes are ripening now and not in June, and people whose chocolate comes in 250g blocks with shiny gold wrappers.

Hungry and Frozen
Hungry and Frozen was recently nominated for a TAWA (the Annual Wellingtonista Awards), and I knew it was a food blog after my own heart when I read phrases like these: “Parmesan is too expensive – or at least, it’s one of those things that I always set out to buy, but then can’t bring myself to pay upwards of $7 for a tiny triangle of yellow matter. So I just grated regular cheese using the smaller holes to make it look fancier.” “I’m not sure how long this would last for but it seems to be one of those Bernadette Peters-style cakes which just keeps getting better and better as the days go by.” “I just forgot that I’d set the asparagus – one of the central, yay-it’s-Spring-already ingredients – to the side. It wasn’t till I’d finished taking photos and we’d sat down to eat that I remembered.” Substitutions, Broadway jokes, skipping the central ingredient in a menu and plenty of baking … oh yes.

Something Else to Eat
Anne Else’s food blog is warm, seasonal, and delightful. Her collection of recipes from all over, tried-and-true favourites and new experiments, reminds me of passing recipes from friend to friend and parent to child, and school fundraising cookbooks with recipes titled “Amy B’s Ambrosia” and “Jim’s Speedy Lasagne.” Filling, elegant, practical, thoughtful, simple, complex. This is the way I want to cook, the way, I hope, the best of my cooking is right now.

Heartbreak Pie
As it happens I have book group with Delaney (this is Wellington: had to be someone on the list I know), so I’m well aware that I do not cook the way she does. No, Heartbreak Pie is my aspirational blog, the kind I’ll read and drool over while thinking “but who has time to make pistachio cardamom sugar?” and “but my crepes always stick to the bottom of the pan.” I especially like it, though, because it’s not entirely out of my reach. A few blogs I read – Ms. Adventures in Italy, say, or every time the Yarn Harlot posts a gorgeous jumper – make me sigh and daydream and clutch my heart – for about fifteen minutes, and then I put them aside because I know that I haven’t got the patience to make an adorable lacy 4ply jumper. And also I don’t live in Italy and couldn’t afford to cook with five kinds of olive oil if I did. Heartbreak Pie recipes, on the other hand, stick with me, and some of them work their way inside my head and say, hey, I’m not that hard. You could do me on a Sunday afternoon. And sometimes I do. (Like that onion bread. Fond, fond memories.)

Recommended Read
Educational, funny, moving, or beautiful links to distract you at work. Seriously, just read these.

Five Things You Should Know About Ableism
Like that ableism kills.

Nayan Woods’ dad and Nayan Woods’ mum write about understanding, the media, forgiveness, and the criminal justice system after the death of their son. These are incredible citizens whose articulateness, honesty and compassion must be honoured. Truly moving.

Standards for Gender Equity in TV Shows: a Seven-Point Scale
One of those very useful posts that instantly makes it possible to talk about things without needing to rehash old, old ground. Also kind of funny and a little bitter.