sqbr: exploding train. This is fremantle station, this train terminates here. (train)
Saturday, July 29th, 2017 05:47 pm
A while ago I bought the hidden object game Alchemy Legends: Prague Legends on sale on Steam. The description is:
Follow orphan Eva on a trip to mystical Prague in Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends. After a relative's mysterious death, Eva inherits an ancient house in Prague. Knowing nothing about her past, she goes looking for answers. There she uncovers secrets about the house, her family and an insidious plan of the black alchemist. A wonderful and dangerous adventure is about to begin. Are you ready?

Sounds pretty run of the mill, right? And then today I got around to playing it.
Read more... )
sqbr: A happy dragon on a pile of books (happy dragon)
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 11:05 am
The main character of Copper Rise (the game I'm working on) is from an Indian family and culturally (and to some extent religiously) Hindu and I've been trying to figure out how to write that properly, especially avoiding the trap of having any empowering experiences draw too much on my own very white-western-culturally-Protestant experience. Part of the challenge is that the game is set in an alternate 19th century where England never took over India, so most articles on specific modern Indian approaches to sexism/homophobia are hard to extrapolate.

Today I found an interesting looking paper on JSTOR: Hinduism and Feminism: Some Concerns. Just as I was about to sigh and close the tab I realised they have a new "read online free" beta! So I am taking notes for my future self and the other members of the team (who have less of a tolerance for academic papers :))

If you have any tolerance for academic papers yourself and don't mind signing up for an account it's a very readable and interesting article. My second hand notes really aren't the same. And don't worry Indian/Hindu readers, I will not take this one woman's POV as universal, but it's a useful place to start.
Read more... )
sqbr: Faith holding a spray can next to "Buffy the Vamprie Slayer" with Faith scrawled over the top (faith)
Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:05 pm
There's been a lot of discussion recently about Atheism+ as a better alternative to the existing sexist and generally bigoted Atheist community.

I've been reading with interest. Cam was all "pfft, it's just Humanism", the two counterargument I've seen seem to boil down to
(a) Humanism may be pro-equality on paper, but the Humanist community does a pretty bad job in practice.
(b)Not all atheists want to be humanists. For a start, Humanism tends not to be sufficiently anti-religion for anti-religious atheists.

Now (a) is a good argument for me not getting involved in humanism. Alas, (b) is a good argument for me not getting involved in Atheism+, since I am not anti-religion, and find broad strokes anti-religious argument irritating.

In the comments to one of these posts I saw people talking about how alienating they found the post The New Atheism +, the main response to which seemed to be "But if you're against bigotry why do you feel alienated?" And I have to say I found it pretty alienating myself and not because I am pro bigotry.

I really dislike the framing of there being Good People and Irrational Dead Weight. In general I am very uncomfortable with the way Irrational is used as the worst possible insult amongst atheists, even if it is at least being more accurately applied by including sexism etc now.

I mean... Our compassion entails we will and must always be the enemies of the uncompassionate. When for me compassion means trying not to think of people as enemies at all. Sure, some people are so totally opposed to what I stand for that I am unlikely to ever find compromise with them, but they are far outnumbered by the people I currently oppose on on or more issues but would like to think could be my allies one day.

The cynical part of me thinks this kind of rhetoric appeals to male feminists (or white anti racists etc) because then they can draw a bright clear line between themselves and the Bad Guys. And if you disagree then clearly you are PRO SEXISM. Then when they are called out for their own sexism (and they will be eventually) they often get all huffy because zomg they're not one of THEM.

(nb this is me slowly crawling back to sentience after SUCH a stressful few weeks, including a tumnmy bug, cold, and my cat being temporarily BURIED UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS. So this post may not be entirely coherent)
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 09:44 am
I donate to World Vision every now and then since it's a friend's favoured charity and they always seemed ok. Yesterday I read a little rant about foreign aid which included a swipe at World Vision for forcing Christianity on people and in general bossing locals around and being condescending and unhelpful. I mean to look into that, but before I had the chance got an email from World Vision asking me to do a survey about charities in general, and I decided to get it dealt with before I lose my answering-email momentum.

There were a few opportunities to express my opinion on the relationship between charity and religion (I have no issue with religious charities in principle if they're actually helping people, but prefer secular charities given the option), which I took gladly, but there was absolutely no way to express a desire for charities to work with communities and let those in need control or even offer input on what form their aid takes. It wasn't anywhere in the list of priorities, and there was no place to leave it as a write in answer or add general comments at the end. Hmmmmph!
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Friday, October 22nd, 2010 02:22 pm
Does anyone have a link to a nice clear straightforward post which goes through point-by-point why what she said was bad? I'm having a discussion on twitter and most of what I can find is either more broad or just people bolding the relevant sections (which was enough for me, but hey) EDIT: An open Letter to Elizabeth Moon is pretty good, as are the comments in the various screncaps of the original post. EDIT: Elf has also very nobly written exactly the sort of post I was looking for.

For more see elf's linkspam.

And of course since she got disinvited from being GOH (which does not mean she's been banned from the con) people are trotting out all sorts of racist and Islamophobic crap. There's this huge assumption that "muslim" is somehow a distinct category from American and feminist and nerd. That because in their minds Islam is a sexist/violent religion overall (and I don't think it is anyway(*)) any muslim who might be interested in going to a feminist science fiction con is going to be sexist and violent too. Bah.

And now people who would never go to Wiscon and don't care about feminism are getting involved and causing more drama. If you think all feminism is overly sensitive and PC then obviously the standards expected at a feminist con are going to seem overly sensitive and PC to you. If the basic premise of the con has no value in your eyes, what is she losing by being no longer honoured by it? Bah!

(*)I suppose it's possible that if you took all the members of all the religious belief systems in the world and took a measure of their average violence/sexism then Islam would win. Or maybe atheists would win, or Chistians or Buddhists or Jains (ok, probably not Jains) Who knows! Who cares! There's nothing in Islam that forces any individual muslim to be sexist or violent, as should be obvious to anyone who's actually met any muslims.
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 10:35 pm
So Cam was watching Supernatural and I had my headphones on listening to music instead. But he knocked on my shoulder "This is actually pretty good." he said. Yeah..guess how long that lasted.
Cut for spoilers for 5.19 )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
Monday, April 12th, 2010 05:13 pm
I'm currently working on a Dragon Age: Origins fic which amongst other things addresses the position of the Denerim elven Alienage under Anora. Since the alienages are fairly obviously based in part on Jewish ghettos I've been looking into them and it's just as happy funtimes as I was expecting.
cut for depressingness and links )
sqbr: Faith holding a spray can next to "Buffy the Vamprie Slayer" with Faith scrawled over the top (faith)
Monday, March 22nd, 2010 04:26 pm
Within about twenty minutes of finding out about [community profile] atheist_fandom I posted some thoughts about humanist fantasy that have been noodling around in my brain with all the discussion of religion in fandom. It's written for an atheist audience so I didn't bother justifying why I need the occasional antidote to religious fantasy, I'm a little worried it comes across as actively anti-religious which was not my intention.

It is raining! It hasn't rained here in a very long time, even by Western Australian standards. (EDIT: Wow. That was quite a storm! I lost power for a full day! Other people had flooding, golf ball size hailstones, the works!)
sqbr: I lay on the couch, suffering an out of spoons error (spoons)
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 10:58 am
Just had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to the door and since I was bored I had a talk with them (the way I see it we both get a chance to refine our arguments with a polite determined advocate for the other team).

They were reasonable enough as evangelical doorknockers go, though they refused to believe me when I said the "We only use 10% of our brains" myth is bunk. (I mean, they refused to believe me about various creationist etc things too, but I was expecting that)

But when we got to death (eg "What will happen to my dead grandma?" and didn't I appreciate them latching onto that) I asked what would happen with my Grandad: will he be resurrected with his Alzheimers? If not, what happens to the person he is now, who is quite distinct from the person he used to be? "Well, he'll be resurrected as he was before he got the memory loss, because God will make him perfect."

When I asked about people who have "disabilities" like deafness that they see an inherent part of themselves the response was that they were wrong, because who wouldn't prefer to be able to hear? "Well then I would like to be taller. Would God make me taller?" No: that's a difference, not disability. I tried explaining my opinion that there's no neat dividing line between innocuous/positive difference and imperfection/disability but they had to go (yes, I won the game of chicken :D)

Some googling found me:

Anyway, not meaning to pick on Jehovah's Witnesses in particular, I just found it interesting. It's funny how much disability related stuff I never noticed before (for certain definitions of "funny")

(nb pleas try and avoid unnecessary ranting about he Evils of Religion. I'd like this to be a conversation which reasonable Witnesses could engage with if any come along. And yes they do exist :P)
sqbr: me cosplaying the bearded dwarf cheery longbottom, titled Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 02:54 pm
Livejournal to make all users (or just new ones?) choose one of male or female EDIT: Possibly all a big misunderstanding

Iranian men are posting pictures of themselves wearing women's head scarves as a political statement, supporting both a male protester who the government is trying to humiliate by posting pictures of him in women/s clothing, and Iranian women in general.

Switzerland bans minarets to, amongst other things, "support women's rights" I eagerly wait the banning of church towers to support science.
sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia)
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 10:53 am
I keep having ideas for posts, deciding to wait until I expand them a bit, then forgetting. So I'm going to try just saying whatever pops into my head when I'm inspired. So:

While googling for something totally unrelated I came across Teachings of Some Christian Churches Drive Some Converts to Buddhism, which says that Australia has the largest Buddhist population of any western nation (interesting) and implies that ALL Australian Buddhists are white ex-christians (um?). This didn't sound right to me, so I looked up Buddhism in Australia on wikipedia, and it implies that ALL Australian Buddhists are asian immigrants or their descendants.

I assume the reality is somewhere in between(*) (white ex-christian Buddhists do definitely exist :)), but further towards the latter. Because afaict anglo-australian attitudes to religion tend to be fairly average for a western country, certainly places like Sweden or France seem even less Christian than we are but haven't turned as much to Buddhism.

Anyway, I found it interesting for the assumptions it brings to light: Lots of Australians are Buddhist. Australians are by default white and from a Christian background. Therefore, all Australian Buddhists must be white ex-Christians!

Also, I just want to say that I think the little "contemplative" rabbit mood-icon, with it's teeny carrot thoughts, is adorable. It brings me joy every time I make a thinky post :)

(*)And includes Australians from mixed cultural backgrounds, converts from non-Christian religions etc.
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Saturday, February 14th, 2009 02:30 pm
EDIT: HMMMMM. So it would appear my framing of this question is flawed thanks to my simplistic understanding of religion and other such ineffable philosophical things my non-arts-major brain gets very confused by. I may take a while responding to comments while I have a serious think about what I really mean.

So most arguments I've seen for being religious use some very flawed arguments. Unfortunately, so do most arguments against being religious, and this bugs me (I'm always more annoyed at the flaws of "my side"). One of the main flaws in both(*) is an assumption that either you're christian or you're an atheist: thus if you can poke holes in atheism people must automatically convert to christianity, and if you can poke holes in Christianity you've proven atheism is the best choice.

And a lot of the time the "Christianity" people are criticising is a straw man anyway, based either on fairly extreme denominations or just particular annoying individuals.

So I thought I'd go through all the things atheists tend to say "all religions" do and see how many are actually true of all religions.
Read more... )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
Friday, November 7th, 2008 07:55 pm
I've been pondering doing one of these for a while, but wasn't sure I'd get the wording right. Since it worked so well on his lj, I've decided to completely steal the language of [livejournal.com profile] angriest's recent post instead(*).

1. Tell me your religious beliefs. It can be as simple as "I am an X" or it can be a lengthy paragraph if you like. If you feel your religious and/or spiritual beliefs are private, either don't reply or leave a note saying as much.
2. If you want to reply to something someone else has written, feel free - particularly if you want to ask them a question about the religion you've always wanted to ask but have never been able to, or felt comfortable enough to.
3. This is one of the biggies: if someone asks you a question and you don't feel comfortable answering it, do not feel obliged to answer. Either don't reply at all, or drop a quick reply saying "I don't really want to answer that".
4. Religious intolerance will not be tolerated. I'm aiming this particularly at the aggressive atheists who seem to get their kicks scoring points, but the rule applies in any direction.

I know a lot of you are on both flists, I decided to do it now while it's still fresh in your heads. You are quite welcome to repeat/post a link to your comment over there! And yes [livejournal.com profile] fred_mouse I know you were also planning on stealing his idea, but, well, there's no reason it can't be stolen multiple times :D

(*)And yes, I checked it was ok. Don't want to be sued for copyright violation by the big mean famous writer :)
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Sunday, October 5th, 2008 09:30 am
This conversation about the definition of atheist got me thinking about exactly what I believe, and I was curious to know if anyone else has a similar POV, since afaict I differ from most atheists. I went into it a bit here but I feel like having another go at describing it. I've used a God-believer/atheist dichotomy here but it applies just as much to other forms of spiritual experience.

So, I think we all have flawed perceptions of the world, and the best we can do is talk to other people and try to reconcile all our POVs into a semi-consistent description and hope we're not too far off the truth. (Thus, science)
Read more... )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 12:01 pm
Note: I am posting links to two posts in anti-racist communities. Keep in mind that the assumption is that readers are familiar and agree with anti-racist ideas so they're not explained or excused, and I'd rather you reply here unless you genuinely mean to join them (in which case, as always, read the userinfo first!) Also, as I say in the first post, please do not use this as a chance to snipe at other people's religious groups.

So a while ago I posted a post called How to reconcile anti-racism with atheism (or other religious belief) to [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite, and thought about posting it here since it's something I'm interested to discuss with other atheists but at the time didn't feel up to dealing with the discussion. But hey it's not like I have anything better to do at the moment...

I actually think Towards an Intersectionality of Atheism and Race is a better post on the subject, though :)
In which I ramble )
sqbr: And yet all I can think is this will make for a great livejournal entry. (livejournal)
Saturday, July 26th, 2008 07:50 pm
So I have just discovered the existence of Reza Aslan, a very interesting american muslim writer (watching this debate made me feel like converting from atheism to Islam as the more rational, pluralistic choice. That atheist guy! Such a moron!) Anyway, my favourite thing about him is this line from Wikipedia:
The Guardian newspaper in Britain reports that Aslan is a Shi'a Muslim.
(Second favourite is that he has groupies)

Also, via [livejournal.com profile] tevriel (nee sonnlich): Non newtonian fluids in action.

EDIT with amusing story:
Normally when I get other cat's scent on me Kira isn't too fussed, she just sniffs out of curiosity then makes sure to cover their scent with her own.
I went to visit [livejournal.com profile] kitsune_iii today and Storm was immediately drawn to my bag. "oh ho!" she was thinking "So this Kira thinks she own this bag huh?"
So she rubbed herself all over it as much as possible, and then curled up against it for some time looking cheerfully smug.
When I came home Kira wandered past my bag and then stopped, sniffed it, and became immediately tense, tail sticking out all frizzed up and everything. For quite some time she'd wander past, sniff it again and again get all narky, she was not happy with me. I get the feeling Storm made the cat-scent equivalent of a rude gesture at her :)
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Saturday, February 25th, 2006 10:27 am
O-day was fun, I ate waaaay too much free sugar and ended up with almost no voice at [livejournal.com profile] the_riviera_kid's going away thing. Met several adorable children (Quinn Basden and my supervisors(*) kids, who I haven't seen for so long it's like they're new people)

Wait, how is it 10:30 already?

And now, some topical humour. I'm quite proud of this one.

(*) No, not the one whose youngest has nearly finished his engineering degree :P
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Thursday, February 23rd, 2006 08:12 am
First, to anyone who saw the wedding post I accidentally posted here..heh, just be glad I'm not on any weirder communities :) (Though with me, the worst you'd be likely to get is some technical discussion on right-angle-weave beading or abstract algebra)

Also, Alinta Gas, Australia Post and the Commonwealth Bank are all out to get me. It's all fixed, though now the phone company is refusing to acknowledge a bill as being paid... Man, I was having a bad drawing day. Oh well.

Finally, something that keeps coming up in conversation but I don't want to derail the topic just to settle a minor point of accuracy: I get the feeling some people think I'm really very jewish, which I'm not. Not that this is the worst thing ever, I just like things being categorised correctly. My mothers mother was brought up as a liberal jew and became an atheist, while my mothers father and everyone on my dads side is whitebread anglo/irish/ukranian etc. I was brought up to be an anglican and then became an atheist. I didn't even realise I was of jewish descent till I was about 10, but still feel a disproportionate connection to that side of the family because my dad and mums dad are not the sort to talk about their families, while my mum and mums mum so incredibly are :) By one definition I am 100% jewish (since it carries down the maternal line) but by most others I'm really not. There!

Oh, yeah, and I and Cam are thinking of moving to England in a few years (just for a while, not permanently). You all knew that, right? *cough*

In other news, I have a headache.