Apr. 11th, 2017 11:12 am
msconduct: (wilton)
New account set up at Dreamwidth, sigh. Same handle.

Who, me?

Jul. 16th, 2015 05:30 pm
msconduct: (wilton)
I just had a written communication from the Harvard Business Review, offering me the Global Leader Discount Rate.

I think they're overestimating me a bit there.


Mar. 2nd, 2015 06:51 pm
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In Vegas. Got drunk•. Bought an ammonite.

• This is not strictly true, as in fact I only had one (truly excellent) cocktail. The ammonite, however, is entirely factual.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

At last!

Apr. 17th, 2013 11:02 pm
msconduct: (wilton)
Yay! Marriage Equality Bill passes into law! What a great night to be a New Zealander.

*dances round room*

At last!

Mar. 14th, 2013 02:19 pm
msconduct: (wilton)
Just discovered that while my Chinese zodiac sign is the rabbit, in the Vietnamese zodiac this sign is a cat. A CAT! I AM A CAT! Considering I put no stock in the zodiac (of any kind) whatsoever, this makes me far happier than it should.

Now, if I were only MY cat. Then my life would have a SERIOUS upgrade.
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Yesterday an acquaintance discovered that I was going to Botswana for the second time next year, a trip which involves travelling via South Africa. "I spent a night in Johannesburg once," she confided, "but I didn't like it." Oh, why? "I thought it would be white people with just a few black people, but they were all black!".

Wow. WOW. I'm going to leave the racism just lying there, because what can I say that isn't completely obvious? Forging bravely on, I asked her why she would have thought that South Africa had a majority white population. "When you meet South Africans in New Zealand," she explained with unassailable logic, "all of them are white!".

Africa. Where the WHITE people live.
msconduct: (circe)
I'm kind of grateful I saw Flight Of The Conchords (before they sold out, etc) when it was just me and ninety-nine other people in a titchy little room with bar service. I mean, I like them and all, but I don't think I have the fortitude to queue all night/sell my firstborn and then sit in the back row of the hideous Vector Arena. (Actually, I think I'd give the Second Coming the swerve if it was in the Vector Arena.)
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I wasn't as ecstatic as some people about Obama's election, not because I wasn't thrilled that the US could actually elect an African-American president, but because I thought no one human being could possibly live up to the amount of adulation that was being shovelled onto him. And so it proved, alas. But dear God, Obama's shortcomings pale into the tiniest of insignificance compared to the Republican candidates.

It seemed to me, as a non-American, that the Bush years were all about the Republicans - what they wanted, what they were trying to accomplish, what legislation they were pushing through. Fast forward to the Obama administration, and it's still all about the Republicans. I've heard a thousand time more during Obama's administration about the Right's outrage than I've ever heard about the Democrats. What does it take, in America, for the Left to get a turn?

Bush terrified me, but compared to most of the current Republican candidates he seems a model of restraint and sanity. And that's horrifying.

In New Zealand there's often a shortage of good IT people. At the government department my company contracts to, you hire the best qualified person for the job (who is usually not very qualified at all), then when they leave you hire the next best person you turned down the first time, then the next, then the next. There is nobody else. And that, it seems, it just what's happening in the Republican race. Mitt Romney slunk away, an ignominious failure, last time, beaten by McCain who himself was scarcely a noble figure. Now Romney's back again, and next best is now OK. In a country of three hundred million, this is the best the Right can do? I was grateful Romney didn't get the nod last time, and now I can't believe I'd rather he succeeded than some of the others. I hope to God the Iowa result was an anomaly, because if Santorum really is that popular, God help us all.
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Just finished my Pilates at 1.58 a.m. because it was on my to-do list. Which is not to say that I always must do everything on my to-do list. Hahahahaha! Rather, it is to say that I was desperate to get ONE thing on my to-do list done. And I did. Yay! The rest of my list, however, may feel at liberty to suck it.
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Today I subscribed, for the first time in my life, to a newspaper printed on paper. With ink. Add that to my reversion to buying music on vinyl, and I soon expect to be purchasing my first whalebone corset.
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David Cameron apparently texted John Key to send his condolences about the earthquake. Isn't that just lovely? I bet John felt really special. How do you think it went? Here's my guess:

O hai, sry re ur quk:(. U can has srchrs, K9s if u want. Kthxbai, UKPM.
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Christchurch people, assuming you don't have more urgent priorities, don't hold back from tweeting and blogging until your fingers bleed. Those of us outside the disaster zone want to know you're OK, that you continue to be OK, and if you're not OK whether there's anything we can do to help.
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Can't do anything today. How am I supposed to concentrate on anything at all when people are struggling with a major disaster in Christchurch? Watched TV till the news repeated itself, and now am pressing refresh on the newspaper and Twitter. I wish I could think of something helpful to do, other than the obvious donating and stuff. If you're in any doubt at all, Christchurch, the rest of New Zealand is so with you.
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Frank Whitten has died, too young.

He's known to most New Zealanders primarily for the Speights ads and for playing Grandpa in Outrageous Fortune, but to me he's always been a theatre actor. And not just any old actor. I remember seeing, at the late lamented Mercury, a production of Amadeus directed by Simon Phillips (who swiftly moved to Oz, alas) and starring Frank as Salieri. I've seen theatre in five countries, and this was the most stunning theatrical production I've experienced. Even now, thinking about Frank transforming from the old to the young Salieri while simply getting out of a chair sends chills down my spine.

I hope he enjoyed the money and fame he found in the latter part of his career. I wish he'd had longer to enjoy it. I'll miss him.
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If only I'd picked out two well-behaved black cats as I'd planned instead of inconveniently falling in love with evil rescue torties, my life would be so much smoother. Let's face it, "Do not nom the screen door!" shouldn't be part of any sane person's vocabulary.
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I watch Glee unfailingly, even though it frequently annoys me beyond measure. But this week (in New Zealand)’s episode was just too enraging to let pass without comment.

It’s obvious the showrunner has looked up from his script to discover that all that oh-so-hilarious bullying of the Glee kids, and the specifically homophobic bullying of Kurt, isn’t looking quite so side-splitting given the spate of US gay teen suicides. Never one to ignore an issue when he can elephant-footedly make it even worse, in he wades. The football player who’s been shoving Kurt over turns out to be closetedly gay himself. Kurt visits a private school, where they laugh, literally, in the face of homophobia. And Kurt calls Mr Schue to account and absolutely nothing happens.

There’s so much horribleness here it’s difficult to know where to start unpacking it all, but let’s start with the football player. Hey, it’s OK! He isn’t really bullying Kurt at all! When he slams into him, it’s actually just a love pat! What are we to learn from this?

1. Being gay is so terrible anyone not an obvious flaming freak like Kurt is likely to repudiate it as violently as possible.

2. Homophobic bullying’s nothing to do with straight kids’ prejudice and hate at all. No, no, no. it’s the gay kids, bullying the other gay kids! Problem solved.


Moving on: the private school. Where they don’t tolerate homophobia and all the kids are Grade-A welcoming and tolerant. This is a whole other level of obnoxiousness: what they’re saying is that homophobic bullying is a matter of class. Happens in the public schools, nonexistent in the private schools. First of all, ugh again, and second of all, what a complete load of bollocks. When my ex was a teacher at a private school, the stories he told made it perfectly clear that every ism you can think of flourishes at least as brightly, if not more so, amongst kids whose parents can afford to pay for private school as amongst those with parents less fortunate. So much for that.

But the absolute worst thing, the part that actually made my mouth drop open, is the conversation Kurt has with Mr Schue about the bullying thing. In the midst of a lot of straightsplaining from Mr Schue that somehow makes all of this Kurt’s fault, Kurt observes that Mr Schue is far too quick to excuse and overlook homophobia at the school. Yer darn tootin’, obviously. So there I am, waiting for the Hammer Of Clue to fall, at long last, on Mr Schue’s oblivious forehead, and what happens? They just leave it there. He doesn’t agree; he doesn’t use the remark as an opportunity for a bit of well-deserved self-examination; he doesn’t even reply. And that’s that. Utterly, utterly gobsmacking.

I dunno. Maybe they develop this further in future episodes in a way that redeems all of this crappitude. Even if they do, I don’t think it excuses it here. Bullying is a terrible problem. I was bullied as a child, but as I’m straight I’m not going to pretend for a second I know what it’s like to be bullied for being gay, except that I’m fairly safe in saying that it must be a lot worse. I didn’t know what to do about bullying then, and as an adult I still don’t. It’s a very difficult problem to solve. But I do know that offensive stuff like this, especially presented as it is in a way that purports to grapple with the issue when actually the opposite is happening, is very much Not Helping.
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I can't say I'm exactly in daily pursuit of coolness. But occasionally the stars align to produce it accidentally, much to my mirth. And thus it was one day in October in New York when we trotted down to SoHo to go to Uniqlo. Now, Uniqlo to me is a good place to get nice, well-made basics at a reasonable price, but apparently to New Yorkers it's the ne plus ultra of cool. Maybe because there's only one store in the US, I dunno. Anyway, so there I was with my Uniqlo bag, full of nice, well-made basics at a reasonable price, and for the entire day people were stopping me in the street to ask about it. Yes! New Yorkers! Talking to strangers! Some wanted directions to the store. One guy begged me to tell him if I'd been shopping from the fall line (not likely. There was a line across the store just to look at it. I'm not that fond of Jil Sander).

Then when we came out of Uniqlo, we were looking for some lunch in SoHo and finding it difficult to find any (it's all retail down there). Then we spotted a restaurant at last, went in and asked for a table. Were all of our party there? Yup. Then they thought they could take us. Much to our surprise, this turned out to be Balthazar's, the kind of place that paparazzi camp outside of and where you usually have to wait weeks for a table. Huh. Who knew? Well, the trout salad was good.

By the next day, the celestial configuration had moved on and I was back to my usual obscurity. But it was fun(ny) while it lasted.
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I'll be in the US and Canada for the next six weeks or so, and since this is my one chance in the year not to stare at a screen all day, I hope to be online as little as possible. Keep calm and carry on. Over and out.
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I didn't want to take up communications bandwidth yesterday, but my thoughts are with my friends in Christchurch who yesterday had to go through a major earthquake and today are having to deal with what the long-term consequences of that will be. It's great that nobody was killed, but the consequences, including the sheer bloody inconvenience of the damage and the uncertainty as to when things might improve, are no picnic.
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A friend of mine is currently on holiday in the UK, and today I got a National Gallery postcard from her. A postcard! Not an email or a Facebook post. A lovely, lovely postcard.

Postcards. Because tweets don't come with Renoirs on the back.
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