WoPoWriMo – World Poetry Writing Month 2013 (by )

This year I find myself once more in charge of the WoPoWriMo website and it is also it's fifth year of existing as an event!

Set up for a group who met at Poetry Cafe in Cheltenham and who turned out to all be Screnzies (Script Frenzies is a script writing challenge run by the National Novel Writing NaNoWriMo people). They felt they couldn't do more than one writing challenge in a month and who therefore could not do National Poetry Writing Month, the website has grown into a place to inspire writers.

I am very pleased to be back in charge of it again as I haven't been for the last two years really - just been popping in here and there. We have participants from several continents and at least two languages other than English plus the constructed languages sneaking in there. I've organised guest bloggers and there will be web-badges to come 🙂

As always I am dragging the whole family into this madness with me!

The Danger of Quotas (by )

Recently a Ruby on Rails conference was destroyed and never took place because feminists complained there were no women on the panels and talks etc... when it was pointed out that no women applied the response was that they had not tried hard enough to find women. This attack grew until the sponsors pulled their money.

This is a shame and horrible, a lot of work had gone into the event and I'm sorry but it is not the organisers fault no women applied. They should not be forced to look for women for fear of events not going ahead. Now what should have happened is that the event went a head and effort was then put in to encourage female programmers to apply to the next one.

Even if women had applied but were not as good as other candidates, there should not be an obligation to take them on just to fill the quota.

Now obviously there is the issue that some people for some reason still seem to think women are not as capable with things such as science and maths and programming but really forcing them to put women on panels is not going to help. The quota thing is being banded about in the science world but to me this can be nothing but damaging to the image of females in science and tech.

The reason is that it devalues what they do - ok so they are there because they are actually really good at what they do - but no one is going to be thinking that - they will be thinking oh she's the token woman isn't she? I wonder if she actually knows her stuff.

Now I had issues with this during my degree. I found out about the area I really wanted to study due to an outreach programme for getting women into the sciences and this was good. In conversations I've had since with various people in charge of universities they agree that the intake of girls on the courses suddenly increased to around 50% and that this was streadily trickling upwards through the science hierachies. There was some winnowing away with the issue of women hitting the glass ceiling with finding themselves at home with kids if they went for families in their 20's, they would often then find themselves also look after sick relatives or some such making a return harder but this was being metered out by older women joining the ranks once family were off hand.

This was great and I never experienced any problems with sexism from staff or established scientists (though disability was another thing and I believe a friend who found herself pregnant had one person say she wasn't coming back so why make a fuss - she got her degree and that staff member was horrible in many other ways). I agree that evidence of women succeeding is needed but it does not need to be rammed down peoples throats. The issue is that we are heading towards equality right?

Not female supremacy.

My main beef with quotas is that though I did not receive any sexism from the lecturers or those I worked with during my work experience I did from fellow students. And the main thing they bullied me over (and yes I mean that in all it's nastiness) is that I ticked three boxes, I filled three quotas with just one person so of course I got in. I was a disabled, poor, female, the only way I could have been better for the books is by being a minority preferable not the creamy pale white I am.

And the thing is there is no come back to this - how did I know that wasn't why I was on the course?

I already knew that I'd been offered a lower grade boundary to get in than others had - a correction made as those in 'normal' schools tend to score lower grades than those in schools you pay for but tend to actually work their buts off if they manage to get in. As it turned out I got the grades needed to get in without the concession which was a great help with the confidence when arguing my right to be there.

The most important thing for succeeding is self confidence but how can you have this if you yourself are worried that you are only there because of some damn quota. A female lecturer told me this was why women had to be better than men to get to the higher jobs in the modern science world, no longer is it to get noticed but more to keep the wolves away once you are there.

To me it is saddening to see that people are still worrying about this, and I have seen 'feminists' do and say some awful things. Things that make me not want to say 'I am a feminist' - when I say it I mean that women are equal to men. When they say it they mean women are better than men and men are all horrible and must pay for centuries of persecution against women.

Well you know if that's the case then they need to look at who's ancestors persecuted who's and start worrying.

People are people.

Scientists are people that do science - end of.

It Didn’t Want to Come Out (by )

WARNING this is a TMI post with some gross bits.

Yesterday I went to the hospital to have the stuck coil removed - we arrived early and so actually got to go in early! It had to be tugged, twisted and cut out as was embedded fortunately in the place of polyps so have free polyp removal and my c-section scar is unruptured - which was the main concern with the removal. It was all under a local anaesthetic which is great as generals are bad for you. I was a big baby so they gave me more to numb it all. For a while they worried that it had lost it's arms. They had to use an internal and the belly ultra sound to deal with it and were fiddling for about 45 mins - coil removal normally takes a few minutes but I knew I was going there as it was stuck and this was nothing compared to what might have had to happen..

They gave me a copy of the scan to show just HOW far away the coil was from where it should have been. The biopsy is still not done due the mess it was all in so have to wait a few months for a second scan to check for growth. Feeling sick but v v v relieved and no where near as bad as I was expecting.

The Dr said she could quiet see why I had been put off having another one to replace it but that if my bleeding became uncontrollable and dangerous again then to get my GP to send me back to the clinic so that it could be fitted using the Ultra Sound machine.

I am hoping that the headaches I've been having are going to be gone now as it is likely they were a coil side effect. Only time will tell with the bleeding but I position of the coil means that it probably was not helping with that anyway.

They could tell that one of my ovaries had just ovulated too and were being paranoid about me getting pregnant. And infact I am really lucky that I am not pregnant as as a preventative it was doing nothing.

However I realise that I am just unlucky and that the coil works for most women who have it and the number to times it goes wrong verses the number of extra pregnancies without it probably works out well (not sure don't have the stats).

I don't think I'm ever going to forget the sight of the thing when it came out as it had bits of me attached but I needed to see it to be honest just assure myself it was gone. I didn't really want it, got it for medical reasons and was always very aware of it and then when I found out it was stuck it sort of freaked me out to be honest. Part of me wonders if I somehow made my body reject it by being so worried about it - bodies are funny things.

We are very lucky to have had friends step in to look after the girls after dad's trip in an ambulance and I am just very relieved that it is gone.

The Writing of Serious Stuff (by )

I has been wanting to write about news events and serious things for a while but I am finding it hard, I used to write what ever I wanted and pop it on here but I become increasingly worried about offending people etc... It is really lame and very sad so I want to get back to writing what I feel needs to be written rather than worrying about what people want.

Part of the issue is that I have been told I sabotarge myself - by bringing up political stuff etc... but really I can't just ignore stuff. Sometimes I have not had the energy to tackle a subject, not had the time to research it as much as it needs to be etc... Part of the issue is that I am also bored of having/listening to the same arguments again and again. It's like philosophy - it got old at university and everyone just moves in circles and it drives me nuts!

Anyway I want to get back to writing my little ranty essays even though it means I will probably be going in an ever decreasing circle and be called Ozzel Um.

Having said that - there is now a Snobberlink Category on Wiggly Pets full of daft comics 🙂

Hypos and Fits (by )

Mum and Dad were supposed to be coming up for a visit today, partly to look after children whilst I go to the hospital to get the stuck coil removed and partly for Mary's birthday. I got a phone call this morning to say they were not coming - I assumed it was the snow so started saying how the roads were round here.

But no Dad had a massive hypo in the night, the sort where he thrashes out and sort of fits so a real deep one. An ambulance was called and he is still in hospital on oxygen and they seem concerned due to the history of heart attack etc...

Mum says he's ok.


Dad's oxygen was low because he happens to have a chest infection which was found during an x-ray, his sugar level is all over the place but they think they can sort it. He is on antibiotics and resting they aren't letting him home yet.

Update 2:

He's been let out and is at home with a stable blood sugar and antibiotics to kill the chest infection but he is bashed up a bit from the thrashing during his fit - his head and shins and arms mainly. My brother has been a start and been with my one of my parent all day. I am a bit worried being this far away as Dad is Mum's carer and David has a full time job.

I have postponed Mary's Birthday Party too for when he better.

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