Monday, March 31, 2008

Baby steps does it.

According to a contact in Australia, during this year's Earth Hour 'the saving was equivalent to two power stations being temporarily out of service.'

Last year it was a Sydney-based event. This year it has gone global. According to the BBC link in the previous post, (which keeps changing some of the details) Chicago and San Francisco took part, along with Bangkok, Manila, Toronto and Dublin. New Zealand joined in as well. In Bangkok they saved 73.34 megawatts of electricity, which would have produced 45.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In Britain, a number of villages arranged their own lights-out, although there has been no big publicity. 26 councils dimmed lights. I don't know which they were. On the south coast, Brighton turned off the lights on its pier, and in London - which was not officially involved - lights were turned down at City Hall.

Next year, will there be more? I guess it's our call.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour did happen

Thanks BBC again - you publicise it after the event, for those who are looking. I didn't find much about it beforehand. I wonder why the UK doesn't really do this sort of thing.

Anyway, you can link to Earth Hour 2009 and year-long action against climate change at this world wildlife fund link .

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lights out

Well, we turned all the lights off at 8pm, lit a couple of candles, and instead of running two computers and the TV, we just had the TV on. Dim lights, TV burbling happily in the background, we both dozed off. Didn't put the lights back on until nearly 10pm.

Earth Hour, Ospreys and squibbles

The Ospreys are returning to Rutland Water, to stay for the summer, perchance to breed.
There are live webcam images, refreshed every minute between 9am and 5pm daily

Today at 8pm local time is Earth Hour. A token gesture perhaps. We are all asked to turn off our lights for one hour, in order to make a point about wasting energy.
I am as guilty as anyone of failing to publicise this, and failing to organise any local switch-off. I fear it is about to squibble. [= v.i. fizzle out like a damp squib Ref: Alidictionary 2008 ;@) ].

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why Women should rule the World - Dee Dee Myers

The Guardian review by Sharon Krum of a new book 'Why Women should rule the World' by Dee Dee Myers looks interesting. No, she's not banishing men from positions of power. I'm tagging it to remind myself of the ideas put forward. More later.

OK. Long post - condensed from the article above .

Dee Dee Myers was the White House’s first female press secretary. A comment made by her daughter of nursery school age inspired the book. The child said that only boys could become President of the USA, though girls could be presidents’ wives. In fact women are still under-represented in public life and account for only17% of members of national parliaments.

Myers is not interested in knocking men, but in investigating why so few women take powerful positions alongside them. Hillary Clinton’s quest for office has exposed wide-spread sexism. Though not all Clinton’s problems have been gender-related, misogynists have had their moments during her campaign, heckling her with signs that read “Iron my Shirt”, for instance. Clinton has also found herself faced with the classic dilemma: women in power are expected to act like men, but when they do they are accused of being unlikeable.

Myers feels it is important to acknowledge certain differences between the sexes, for example, according to recent research into male and female brains, women are hard-wired to defuse conflict. “I think many differences are rooted in biology and reinforced through culture,” says Myers, “ If you say men and women are the same and if male behaviour is the norm, we will never be as good at being men as men are.”

She finds that while sporting prowess is considered a key indicator of leadership potential in the US, bringing up children - which builds skills such as diplomacy, team-playing and flexibility - is undervalued.

However, it is not just sexism that keeps women out of power. At times, she says, women undermine themselves. “We don’t raise our hands for promotions, we don’t take credit for our accomplishments.”

Researching her book, Myers interviewed a number of successful women, including the late Anita Roddick, who said that women are not comfortable with the concept of power. “They see what it’s done to men and they want no bloody part of it,” Roddick said. When Myers asked women if they considered themselves powerful, they tended to reject the term. “But if you asked them if they like the ability to make a difference, they loved that.”

She is optimistic that younger women will step on to the public stage, motivated partly by seeing other females in power. “Women in senior jobs still represent all womankind and aren’t allowed to fail quite as much [as men], but I am encouraged to see women are being elected in Chile, Argentina, Liberia, Ireland.” She pauses briefly. “More is more.” •
Why Women Should Rule the World, by Dee Dee Myers, is published by HarperCollins on April 7, priced £14.99

Condensed from Sharon Krum's article. I hope I have not misrepresented her in any way.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm a barefoot kinda person

I did this for the sheer fun, and because I really can't be bothered with shoe-obsessions.

You Are Bare Feet

You are a true free spirit, and you can't be tied down.

Even wearing shoes can be a little too constraining for you at times!

You are very comfortable in your own skin.

You are one of the most real people around. You don't have anything to hide.

Open and accepting, you are willing to discuss or entertain almost any topic.

You are a very tolerant person. You are accepting and not judgmental.

You should live: Somewhere warm

You should work: At your own business, where you can set the rules

What these things really tell me is that I'd rather waste time than do something more constructive! Tolerant, huh? That's a two-edged quality if ever there was one.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Barn Owl hunting

This afternoon about 5pm we saw a barn owl flying low along the hedge where we were driving.
This photograph isn't much good, as I took it from inside the car. We had stopped to watch it as it perched. For about five minutes it flew along field edges and followed the river bank, then returned. Maybe it was out early to hunt for food after last night's snow. It's the best view I have had of an owl in the wild. Harry has taken some better camcorder shots with a decent zoom.

Happy White Easter

I love snow. I wait for it all through December, January and February.
By March I want spring flowers. I want to feel that summer's on its way.
Still, it's a pretty sight, though it's already melting by a quarter to eleven and the road outside is just car tracks through the slush.
I should have jumped out of my warm bed and gone for a brisk walk in the virgin whiteness, but I didn't.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Otters, owls and wild boar

These beasts, viewed safely from behind a fence, live at the New Forest Otter and Owl Sanctuary, along with many other animals, from wallabies and badgers to tiny harvest mice, which move so quickly I couldn't manage a photo. There are also a couple of hand-reared rescue deer which enjoy chewing scarves and shoelaces while you're wearing them.
The wild boar and his family seem to lead a fairly placid life. He has a ferocious-looking set of tusks, and is no lightweight. I don't know how many live in the wild in England, but I would hate to corner one.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Writers' Dock Poetry Competition

This competition closes on March 31st. Cost £3 for one poem, £6 for three. First prize £100.

WD is a website which started when the BBC Get Writing site closed in 2005. Writers of all standards can post their work and discuss it with others. The emphasis is on constructive feedback, rather than simply telling people their work is great or crap.

I've been a moderator on there for about two and a half years alongside a dedicated and competent bunch of people.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Something silly.

Time to lighten up a bit. :-)

Written from prompts - Ladies limited; feminine fayre;women's world;galactic girl; female fascination

This lady should limit the length of her legs,
lissom and lithe though she is.
She’s lost sight of the light, in the dark of the night
and can’t find her toes in her tights.

The feminine fayre was a fayre for the fair -
no feminist fairies invited,
so they waved their wild wands in the woods of the west,
and scorned the affairs of the flighty.

A world where all women would wander and wave,
a globe for the wise and the free.
But alas with no men the magic was gone
they had to make love to a tree.

But the girl from a golden galaxy grinned
with a mouth that was wide and enticing.
She yawned like a cave mouth and swallowed the lot
just like cake with a marzipan icing

A fascinating female foiled a fight
by showing a glimpse of a garter.
The poor helpless male was caught by the tail,
and she told him 'Stop playing the martyr.'

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oh dear, I rant...

Oh, I missed a couple! BBC homepage mentions in its History section, that in 1975 the UN created International Women's Day to 'commemorate the historic struggle to improve women's lives'.

And on MSN you can click to find out more about 'American women who changed the world' as part of Women's History Month.

Local Events look more promising - Radio Northamptonshire is reporting several local sporting events for women, and (I think this is this year) Birkenhead has also held an event for local women.
I had to search to find these though.

BBC has some pics from around the world.

International Women's Day? Is it?

I can find very little about this in the news online.

AOL has its usual front page of celeb bad boob jobs, fit celebs with gorgeous bodies, weather 'babes'. Two other mentions of women or girls - Margaret Thatcher's 'hospitalization', and a murder victim. Oh well, I guess it's a bad day.

The Guardian has three films about key issues that affect women in the developing world Why International Women's Day matters.

The Independent has an article about intellectual women ending with the words 'Women beware women.' I only found this by searching for an article about women in the opinion section.

The Telegraph has an interesting article about male and female sexuality in France.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but IWD is not hitting me in the face.

Friday, March 07, 2008

International Women's Day

My attempt to explain and publicise this Day.

  • We women have it all ways. All jobs are open to us. No-one judges us on our looks any more. We have sex with anyone, male or female, who attracts us. We have nurseries, nannies or au pairs to look after our children. We have supportive partners who share housework, cooking and childcare.
    Isn’t this true? So, why do we need a special Day? Surely this battle has been won.

    This year's theme is ‘Shaping Progress’ and events all over the world are being held today and throughout March. These events celebrate the centuries of struggle for equality and justice, and the real achievements of women. They also encourage women to continue to fight any remaining obstacles. And many do remain.

    Some shocking facts.

    According to The Independent, last year Thursday March 8th 2007, in the world as a whole:

    Women produce half the world's food, but own less than 2 per cent of the land.

    Of the more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, 70% are women

    Half of all murdered women are killed by their current or former husbands or partners

    Two thirds of the world's 800 million illiterate adults are women.

    2 million girls aged from 5 to 15 join the commercial sex market every year.

    Violence against women causes more deaths and disabilities amongst women aged from 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

    From the Guardian (6.3.08)
    In Britain women fill only 14.5% of non-executive board positions. One in four of the FTSE 100 boards has no women at all. The number of women holding executive directorships in FTSE 100 companies fell last year to the lowest level for nine years.

    And of course, most women still work in the notoriously underpaid fields of health, caring, catering, shop-work and education.

    I’m not a feminist but…
    Feminism has become a dirty word. Many women arguing a feminist case, will begin by saying, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ Most feminists don’t hate men, but simply want men and women to have equal opportunities and equal responsibilities. Feminism is about women (and men) going beyond the traditional limitations of their gender.

    Men and women are not the same.
    There are differences between the sexes, but these differences are not so great as the differences between individuals. Gender differences are often exaggerated by the way we dress boys and girls, and treat them differently . Children are encouraged to conform to the stereotypical view of a girl or a boy. This is constantly reinforced by scientific articles about gender differences, and children’s needs, backed up by often misleading headlines.
    Why can we not raise children to act as human beings first, who happen to be male or female?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

World Book Day March 6th

The UK and Ireland celebrate this on March 6th, so that schools can be involved. In most other countries, it's April 23rd.

This morning the postman rang the doorbell, and handed me a package - Joanne Harris's 'Lollipop Shoes', a sequel to 'Chocolat'. A late Mothers' Day present. How well my daughter knows me.

I have read most of Joanne Harris's work, and especially like the short stories, 'Jigs and Reels' and 'Five Quarters of the Orange' which deals with the topic of collaboration in wartime France.

The film of 'Chocolat', while beautiful to watch, doesn't entirely do justice to the darker side of this writer's imagination. I think she writes beautifully.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Keeping track of myself

OK. Last month I planned to post at least a short piece each day on WD - it didn't happen, but I wasn't too far off, and I have been blogging.
And since I last totted it all up (February 23rd), I've written a sonnet for a challenge. Topic (chosen by me) anything but love. I was all Valentined out after last month's challenge.
I've also posted a couple of very quickly written flash poems from prompts.

We've been discussing the 'to be continued' story idea - someone writes about 100 words, and others add their 100 words to it. At least two of us admit we have trouble writing endings.
So next week, I'm going to post 100 words, and we'll use it in two ways. One will be as normal, as the start of a story. For the second version, others will write the 100 words leading up to that situation, and so on backwards. Until we arrive at a beginning?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Happy St David's Day...

...and a grand new month to play with as well. I know, I should take stock too, but let me have a couple of cups of tea first, and seek out some photos of daffodils.
March has roared in like a noisy lion over here. According to folkore that's good news for later on in the month.