September 8th, 2008

face only, scary

vegan festival, snot and interview

Went to the London Vegan Festival on Sunday. Saw friend_of_tofu, alextiefling and darkfloweruk there. IT WAS VERY BUSY! So much so that when I arrived (3 pm) they were having to count people in and out of the venue due to having exceeded capacity. Wow. Got some amazing (bilingual!) maple syrup chocolates from hipo hyfryd, some less than 1% fat but still tasty fake meat from Yagga, and various other odds and ends. Was somewhat taken aback that none of the people selling cakes had BOXES to put them in. Am I really the only person who could drop £10 at a time on cupcakes to take home and share with all my friends? Next time, will be armed with reusable plastic tubs.

Currently feeling a bit eurgh. Basically ok but snotty. Not sure if I'm going down with some virus or simply have a lot of allergies at the moment. So, the Alanis Morrisette-style irony is that I desperately need to clean my house, because it's dusty as anything and I am severely allergic to dust mite poo, but am in the worst possible state to tackle such a chore because I'm already all wheezy and sticky-eyed. Think I will be fluttering sticky eyelashes at Richard tonight and saying "Wuzzie, can you do some vacuuming please?". (Wuzzie contributions to housework haven't been happening so much lately because he is still trying to work two full-time jobs. Hmm.)

Am having a minor attack of wibbling and flailing because I have an interview at Birkbeck College at 6pm on Thursday. The timing is awesome, because even given how exhausted I've been the past week or so, I will be properly awake by then. Also it is with the member of staff that I got on fantastically well with at the open day. Nonetheless, it is still An Interview and thus still Scary, and I still have Fear that he will ask me chemistry-related questions to which I go "Uhhh..." and look like an idiot. Should really get offline and do some revision...

I think, therefore I am dangerous.

Also, I have 101 tabs open in Opera. Can we just take it for granted that I personally consider Sarah Palin to be the very worst sort of US politician? The sort that makes any left-wing liberal city-dwelling European go "...W. T. F.?". (Actually pronounced like that, sounding out all the letters in disbelief.) She does BAD THINGS to polar bears and wolves. I actually cried about the wolf bounty business. According to Time magazine, which when I've read it has seemed rather conservative and significantly more right-wing than the current UK government, when she was mayor of Wasilla she tried to get the library to ban books. I'm not sure I can think of any situation involving book-banning or burning that doesn't make me grit my teeth and growl for the sheer Wrongness of it. Even crappy books espousing opinions which "any right-thinking person" would find offensive deserve the right to exist.

One of the things about US politics that I really will never understand is how it's so all or nothing. On the one hand, you have anti-gun people arguing along the lines of how guns are evil and no one should be allowed them, and on the other hand you have the National Rifle Association going on about how it's an American's God-given right to bear arms and enshrined in the Constitution. Where are your sensible gun proponents? The ones that say that gun ownership is unnecessary if you live in a city, but useful if you live in the middle of nowhere 3 hours drive from the nearest police station? This is something that many city-dwelling Europeans will never get, because we don't understand the sheer scale of North America. I don't think any parts of Europe are 3 hours drive from the nearest police station. Hell, in most parts of Europe, you drive for 3 hours and you're in a different country!

It's taken me an awful lot of thought to get to a point where I'm even vaguely comfortable with the idea that there are circumstances in which it's sensible for ordinary people to have access to firearms. I'm a pacifist hippy vegan type, y'know? But, through the limited amounts of travel I've done in the US, I've managed to get a highly limited understanding of living in the middle of freaking NOWHERE - though I will never understand why a person would ever want to do so. I still believe that guns are evil - but then I also believe that people should have a chance to avoid having their house destroyed or family killed by a large rampaging wild animal. Though my emphasis is firmly on the gun for defense, rather than offense.

Similarly, the names used for the various sides on abortion. "Pro-life" or "Anti-abortion" versus "Pro-choice". "Anti-abortion" is particularly problematic as is there anybody in the world PRO-abortion? I think we all agree that it's horrible. But, as I've said before, if the choice is between a legal, safe abortion - and an illegal, unsafe abortion, I support the right for legal medical assistance all the way. Why is it that the people who are most against teaching kids about sex, and giving them access to contraception, are also the ones most against abortion? Why are they not fighting abortion by improving knowledge and access to resources so that young people know how to avoid getting into a state where they'd need to have one? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Why do we not see the politicians who argue a middle ground? "Those of you in cities do not need guns as you have the police to protect you. Those of you in the middle of nowhere need proper training and licensing of guns so you can protect yourselves." / "I am against abortion, so I am going to ensure funding for contraceptives and sex education so that kids are protected when they go through their adolescent experiments?". I suspect I will be continuing to read Mudflats for some time, whilst shuddering in my boots.

It makes me all very sad. So here are some silly (but excellently done!) Obama supporter badges to cheer me up. I'm a little confused as to why classic cars, unicycles or beards should be for Obama as none of these things can vote - but maybe "classic car owners", "unicyclists" and "beard wearers" would take up too much space? Also, a tiny turtle, which is my new panacea. Feeling stressed? Tiny turtle! Internet flame war? Tiny turtle!