zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
My local Freecycle mailing list has someone offering: "Probably going to be no shortage of these over the next wee while but if anyone was after some broken bricks for hardfill etc, we have a small amount from our chimney top [...] probably about 3 or 4 wheelbarrows full."

The website of a restaurant closed due to damage.

Telecom has made around 300 payphones in and around Christchurch free for local, national and mobile calls. They've also waived fees for phone donations to the Red Cross. Yesterday they tweeted "Operations teams working on how best to share our emergency generation capacity with our friends @VodafoneNZ" and when congratulated on their altruism clarified, "It's all about NZers helping NZers in a time of crisis. Normal rivalries will resume once crisis is over :)"

I've heard stories of:
  • a dairy [corner-store] owner giving away milk and selling batteries below cost
  • a pizza place giving away pizzas
Buses aren't running so instead of going to my own church I went to the local Anglican church. Not being an Anglican I don't know whether they might have considered maybe not reading the "Jeremiah and the potter" story about God saying "If you're naughty I'll totally crush you" in the current climate. Yes, yet-another-aftershock did strike exactly then. :-)

Breaking news: Just got a phone call from my manager that everyone in our team is fine though one has been evacuated (she lives in the CBD) and another colleague hasn't been contactable (she lives in another area people have been evacuating from). The library I work in has some damage to our beautiful new ceiling tiles and apparently books are in ginormous piles; the central library on campus has entire stacks (ie bookshelves) fallen over, broken windows, and one floor is said to be "totalled". So now we're waiting to be allowed back in so we can start picking up books...
zeborah: Irony means what we point to when we say: That's not ironic. (irony)
Do they still make those bubblegum wrappers with the jokes on them? You know those jokes that had been carefully selected from a jokebook entitled The World's Unfunniest Jokes, by people who've heard of jokes but maintain their impartiality through a strict and willful ignorance of what this joke thing is all about, and who then painstakingly rewrite them so as to leech from them any remaining hint of comedy?

Well, for those of my readers who don't themselves experience that time of the month when you pour blue fluid(*) onto a Feminine Hygiene Product and then go out and ride a horse in white pants, let me just say that FHPs often come wrapped in a similar manner. Except instead of unfunny jokes, we get unfactual factoids.

The ur-FHP Factoid for me will always be "If you put a grape in the microwave it will explode." To be fair, this would probably be true if you inserted the important clause and then turn it on. And "A full moon always rises at sunset" is true for values of "always" that include "at certain latitudes, or at least at certain times of the year", so I'll pass these ones by.

I'll also pass by those familiar factoids like "The human body is made up of ninety-random percent water" and "When you sneeze, the air comes out your nose at randomty miles an hour."

But every so often my eye gets caught by something like "23% of all photocopier faults are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their buttocks." Which. I. What? I mean. I'm pretty sure that ninety-random percent of all photocopier faults occur at my workplace alone and I'm also pretty certain that I would have noticed if any of our students had decided to drop their pants, sit on the copier, and attempt to scan their buttocks and do you know how I'd know? Because then they'd have to jump off and waddle across the library casual reading area and main entrance to me at the help desk in order to tell me the photocopier wasn't working, and I'd come back across the room and discover that the photocopier was flashing a "Cannot recognise paper size" error message on its clever little screen.
Maybe this statistic was collated in the first week after the first photocopier was bought by the first company ever to use one, which coincidentally happened to be the week of said company's annual Christmas party?

Because otherwise I can only presume that the writer of this factoid has never actually used a photocopier. Other than, perhaps, to photocopy their buttocks.

And when they print stuff like that, it causes me serious doubts about the scholarship behind their claims that "Human thighbones are as strong as concrete" or that "The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by the Egyptians in 2000BC". Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that these things could be true! But so easily is scientific integrity shattered that I'll never again be able to take it on faith from my [brandname] Feminine Hygiene Products.


(*) Actually I just remembered an ad in New Zealand a few years back in which someone murders someone, disposes of the body, but just as the police sirens approach she notices a small but incriminating pool of blood remains. Oh noes! But wait, she has a brilliant idea! She grabs a [brandname] pad, quickly soaks up the blood, and we cut to the police leaving again, thwarted. Ladies and gentleman, Feminine Hygiene Products, your ultimate murder alibi! (Possibly works with Handee towels too.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
So my sisters and I were discussing the various someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet discussions we've been in this week, and I was monopolising the conversation with my stories of arguing with an atheist
(short and obviously biased version: she posted a distinction she makes between secular faith and religious faith; I said that her description of secular faith sounds like my personal religious faith and her description of religious faith sounds like certain libertarians I know; she said I was just proving her point which apparently had something to do with various philosophical concepts she proceeded to introduce; I said that her actual original post remained false; she and someone else tried to argue that the fact that my religion makes me happy is a bad reason to believe and I tried to argue that I care a lot more about being happy than about being right and also? her original post remains false; and so forth until I finally managed to narrow the discussion back to the point where we could agree to stop arguing)
and of a discussion on the QI forum about racism and sexism
(short version, skipping over a whole other bunch of Fail: I mentioned that it'd be awesome if we could have more than 20% women in Series A-F or 23% women in Series G, and more than 4 People of Colour in Series A-F [actually I said 3 but someone mentioned one I hadn't known about] and 0 in Series G; a whole bunch of people said "OMG, you want to choose who gets on based on their gender and skin colour!"; I pointed out that if we eg make a non-sexist assumption that men and women are equally funny, then a show trying to be the funniest but having 77% men suggests that we're missing out on a bunch of women who are funnier than some of the men who get on, and I want a funnier show; then my interlocutors make it really clear, some of them saying it in so many words, that they believe that men are in fact inherently funnier than women and that I'm sexist for suggesting otherwise.)
At which point in the conversation my sister says:
Obviously women are funnier than men. Otherwise why would we call jokes "hysterical"?
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Rainbow)
Conservative protesters tear down the canvas with which liberal destroyers-of-society had concealed a GLBT church service billboard. (This is what they were removing.)

Bonus feature: The following video contains sexual content, if you think that dancing fingers in condoms are sexual. (New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority doesn't.)



My favourite part is the New Zealand-in-a-condom logo near the end. It makes my heart swell with patriotic pride to see how uniquely suited for safe sex my country is!
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Wikimedia Commons has a category for Damnatio ad bestias. It's probably disproportionate how much this amuses me.

If you don't read Dinosaur Comics you totally should and this is why. Seriously, I think it may even be awesomer than xkcd. Also, if you subscribe by RSS you get the title which for some reason seems not to show up on the individual pages. (Today's was "it has a certain jee nee says quey" but usually they're 5-10 times longer.) tl;dr - Awesome fun times!

My house is amazingly tidy! I'm getting rid of some stuff by Freecycle and I'm planning to acquire some actual insulation by taking advantage of a government subsidy, as soon as I find out why this place has quoted me for 92 square metres when someone else (who however feels less inclined to violate health and safety regulations to squeeze into my narrow subfloor) measured 104 and I get 102 +/-2. (Well, probably +/- more than that for various reasons, but definitely not +/-10% which seems on the high side as margins of error go.)

Did I mention how tidy my house is? I keep going into rooms and squeeing at how tidy they are. My clothes are put away! My mandarins(1) are repotted and possibly regaining some of their green! My dining table has a clean tablecloth and a vase filled from a rosebush I pruned! My stovetop reflects light! My cat wants scritches!

Oh, no, that one was always like that.

But still. Imagine how tidy my house could get if I didn't have to go back to work on Monday!

(1) I was eating a seedless(2) mandarin and, after I'd finished being annoyed that it wasn't as seedless as advertised, I wondered what would happen if I planted the seeds. It turned out that they grew into tiny mandarin plants! I've no idea if I'll ever get actual mandarins off them or if there's secret sabotagey genes waiting dormant to thwart my dreams of homegrown citrus, but they seem more likely to be fructiferous if the leaves are green than if they're yellow.

(2) I may be lying about this part. Honestly I can't actually remember if these particular seeds came from a seeded seedless mandarin, but I have been disappointed by seeded seedless mandarins in the past. Also by hard to peel easy-peel mandarins.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
(*) Some details of this LJ post may be heavily fictionalised.

First of all you have to understand that New Zealand is one of those countries where we get our health insurance from the government (boo hiss) instead of from our employers (all hail!) This dangerous state of affairs, in which we rely on a bunch of people who we could vote out of power every three years rather than on a bunch of people who could make us redundant for all sorts of reasons, plays heavily into the following story.

So a month ago I got possibly-swine-flu, and then I got better, and then on Tuesday night I came down with something else, and then yesterday afternoon I was having all sorts of trouble breathing which my regular asthma medication wasn't really helping. I was starting to think that if it was still this way the next day, or if it got worse, I should seek medical attention. And then I was chatting on irc with [livejournal.com profile] painoarvokas who said something like "...Or you get medical attention *now*," and I thought "...Huh. I have noticed before in myself the tendency to fail at higher reasoning powers when suffering from oxygen deprivation. Maybe I should indeed borrow those of a more lucid friend."

Now, in New Zealand, the Death Panel, euphemistically known as "the health system", is administered by various branches. There's the "emergency department" if you're keeling over, and it's free. If you can't get there yourself you can call for an "ambulance", which is like a bookmobile except with medicine instead of books; they'll later bill you for $50, or about 5kg of cheap beef mince, but you get a while to pay and also I'm pretty sure if you actually need the money for mince instead then they cut you a deal. If you're not keeling over then you can see your "general practitioner" during office hours, or after-hours you can go to an "after-hours clinic". All the people working at these places are bound by the Hypocritical Oath (or something like that - I'm not a doctor, what would I know?) which they have to follow in order to decide who will live and who will die.

I couldn't get myself anywhere by myself but it didn't quite feel like a 111 thing, so I called my family instead. Dad prescribed decongestants and Mum brought me back to their place so I wouldn't be alone. The decongestants didn't help and after dinner I was feeling bad enough that I got Mum to drive me to the after-hours place. Due to my flu-like symptoms I had to wear a mask and use antiseptic hand goop, and I have to say that masks don't actually make it any easier to breathe!

So I went to the Death Panel reception desk where they asked my name and address. This is so they can dig up my records from last time I was here to help them make their fatal decision. Then they got me to stand waiting for a nurse. I divined that this was a test and that if I proved unable to stand for long enough then they'd just euthanise me (or possibly save my life - it's hard to tell the difference as both procedures involve a gas mask). In any case I didn't have sufficient oxygen in my brain to seriously consider disobeying and when I didn't collapse a Death Panel nurse came along and asked about my symptoms. Then I got to sit down and wait for another Death Panel nurse.

(At this point I brought out my laptop as it's my experience that things always happen much faster if I have my laptop open. A bus that would otherwise take 15 minutes to arrive is guaranteed to pull up immediately, for example. This time I wasn't thinking well enough to be interested in any of my stories, but while I was looking for mindless computer games the second Death Panel nurse came along anyway.)

So we went to their flu bay. She determined that I had no fever and that my blood oxygen levels were normal (could have fooled my brain!) but my peak flow was low. Then I got to go to another place to wait for a Death Panel doctor. I got out my laptop again and discovered that in fact I'd uninstalled all my mindless computer games in an attempt to actually do some writing. Mental note: must remedy this! Fortunately the laptop ploy did the trick and the Death Panel doctor arrived pretty promptly. She listened to my lungs and decided it was in fact asthma. Also she made the official decision that I should live, yay!

(She spent a bit of time asking if I'd had prednisone before, and I said yes, and she said "20 mg?" and I said "... Er, if that's the normal dosage then I guess that's what I've had before, I dunno." And she said, "Okay, I can tell you're not thinking clearly at the moment," and I wanted to say that it wasn't so much that I wasn't thinking clearly as that I really had no idea, but I wasn't thinking clearly enough to be able to explain this, so I decided to just go with the flow.)

At this point there was a little confusion because she couldn't find the spacer for giving me my salbutamol, so she had to consult with the rest of the Death Panel on that. And when they found it I kept breathing in when I pushed the inhaler down, like I do at home, instead of pushing it down and then breathing normally, like I was supposed to, and that gave me a fit of the giggles. But after six doses of salbutamol I was high as a kite and then the Death Panel sent me out with a prescription for prednisone and antibiotics in case of infection.

Oh, first I presented my credit card at the desk and they deducted NZ$72 from it. (This is about the price of 7kg of cheap cheddar cheese so you can see why poorer people would go to emergency even if it's not an emergency and they have to wait for hours. Because mm, cheese!) Then I went to the pharmacy and got my prednisone and antibiotics for $7 (or about the price of 5 cheap loaves of sliced bread at today's inflated prices).

Then I went home and took my medicine and went to bed. I was still shorter of breath than usual and also it took me about an hour to relax enough from the high-as-a-kite effects that I could sleep. But while I slept, nanites emerged from the prednisone and went to work building me new bionic lungs! Seriously, it was quite disconcerting when I woke up a few hours later and discovered that my lungs were just breathing all by themselves. But then I reconcerted myself, because if the Death Panel has seen fit to give me bionic lungs, what can I do about it? That's just how oppressive my government is!
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
The 16th century has the best dirty jokes ever.

A man that was ryght iolous on his wyfe, dreamed on a nyght as he laye a bed with her & slepte, that the dyuell aperd vnto him and sayde: woldest thou nat be gladde, that I shulde put the in suretie of thy wyfe? yes sayde he. Holde sayde the dyuell, as longe as thou hast this rynge vpon thy fynger, no man shall make the kockolde. The man was gladde therof, And whan he awaked, be founde his fynger in his wiues ars.

(A small selection in modernised spelling. Find the full text in a library near you.)

ETA: Also, this guy is so not talking about a bird.

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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