Thursday, June 27, 2013

Welcome to summer ... without chemicals

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually. Here's a sunscreen package I spotted in the shops just the other day:

Apparently you can now purchase things made without chemicals. Srsly. And here I always thought that mixing anti-matter with matter would bring about a catastrophic failure of the universe, resulting in the same universe's immediate lack of ongoing existence, but apparently I'm wrong on that point.

You can purchase this chemical (matter)-free material for less than $20 Canadian, probably in any number of fine establishments that scoff at the laws of physics.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Administrative Professionals' Day

April 24 is Administrative Professionals' Day.

Some years' back, I caught an episode of the Max Ferguson Show and heard the most apropos song to celebrate the amazing feats of brilliance by administrative professionals on behalf of their inept, pointy-haired bosses. The acapella-style lament--sung from the point of view of the pointy-haired boss--had the refrain:
Whatever will we do, however will we fight,
When our secretaries demand their human rights?

I dearly wish I knew the song but haven't had any luck finding it. The piece was sung in the same vein as Stan Rogers' famous Northwest Passage.

Whether one is a pointy-haired boss or simply someone needing to interact with the same, the administrative professional who keeps everything moving along smoothly is a rarely-sung hero! To all of you out there, a very happy (and thankful) Administrative Professionals' Day!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Social media transcends time, space

Social media use appears today to be ubiquitous. How many of us habitually reach for our devices without second thought, anytime, anywhere? How about September 1932?

Social media and other digital technologies are already known to transcend time, generally assumed to be forward ... perhaps this image shows they're capable of transcending time backward as well?

Above: detail of photo from LIFE: The First Decade (1979). Caption reads [links added]:
Saloman, Dr. Erich/1932
From the balcony outside his room at the Lausanne Reparations Conference, Ramsay MacDonald with his daughter Ishbel [not pictured in this detail] and his private secretary Mr. Butler watch Premier Herriot trying to avoid journalists who have waylaid him in the lobby below. 
FWIW, way to rock those shades, MacDonald.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

National Day of Unplugging: March 1-2, 2013

... a 24 hour period – running from sunset to sunset – and starts on the first Friday in March. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, an adaption of our ancestors’ ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.

Download your own I UNPLUG TO poster, fill it in, take a photo of you and your poster, and upload it to the National Day of Unplugging website. When sunset arrives on March 1, experience what it's like to get seriously turned off.

Looking for ideas about how to unplug? The Ten Principles of unplugging is available for download at the Sabbath Manifesto. Folks looking to take more frequent technology breaks might also enjoy subscribing to the UNDO List, sent every Friday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Vast Bathroom Conspiracy, February 2013 edition

They're out to get you. That's what proponents of the Vast Bathroom Conspiracy would have you believe.

Bill C-279 is a federal Canadian bill that if passed, unamended, aims to add the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.

Explicitly affirming that Canada's equality rights actually apply to "everyone" doesn't necessarily make everyone happy. Even federal Members of Parliament have been known to participate in spreading the unhappiness on either current or previous iterations of the bill, one MP for this iteration going so far as to create a petition that tries to prevent some trans people from accessing washroom facilities (or, if one were to follow the actual language of the petition precisely, would affirm that people who have transitioned to male should continue to use non-female washrooms).

Unlike the Alberta Government's "CROTCHES KILL" campaign (featured above, slightly cropped), fearmongering propagandists have no evidence whatsoever that affirming Canada's equality rights do indeed extend to all Canadians will translate into terror in the toilets. Except, of course, in the fervid imaginations of those same fearmongering propagandists.

However, amendments to Bill C-279 appear highly likely. The bill possiblymaybeperhaps will be back in Parliament for third reading on February 27, 2013.

Note: See Alberta Transportation for the uncropped image (above) and full range of advertisements focused on trying to get people who text-and-drive to stop doing so. Alberta Transportation also has actual statistics of actual harm connected to distracted driving.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Recommended post: RPG and transitioning

Well worth reading: a fantastic reflection by Samantha Allen about role-playing games and transitioning, Boob Sliders, Or How Role-Playing Games Helped Me Transition.

Hat tip to E for spotting this for me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trans air travel: this explains almost everything

Back in January 2012, trans Canadians were startled to learn transgender people weren't allowed to board airplanes in Canada through a detailed post by blogger Christin Milloy. The problem arose from changes to regulations governing the federal Aeronautics Act that had come in to effect in July 2011.

The Canadian Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference (SOGIC) wrote a letter urging the Minister of Public Safety to amend the regulations to be inclusive of transgender and gender non-conforming people.

A motion to repeal this portion of the Act was defeated 6 to 5 in a meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Where does this strange animus against transgender and gender non-conforming travellers come from? Why do legislators and policy makers freak out at the notion of trans folk travelling? Perhaps this clip from The IT Crowd (Series 3, "The Speech") explains it all:

... starting @ 1:30 on the clip:

Douglas: Oh, poppet. To think, when we met, you were so worried that you came from Iran.

April: What?

Douglas: When we met. As if I'd be worried about something like that. I don't care where you're from-- Iran, France--doesn't bother me. I'm very modern.

April: I'm not from Iran.

Douglas: Well you said something along those lines.

April: No, no--not Iran, a man. I said I used to be a man.