Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2006

Time and tide

Have you noticed that different people have different event horizons. (Does “event horizon” mean what I think it means? Ah, no. Hmmm. Almost. Oh well, never mind).

My name is Humpty Dumpty, and I refuse to define my terms.

Have you noticed that different people need different amounts of notice for future events? The one I chat these things over with told me that his aunt once asked him “but how do you know what you will be doing in two weeks?” To which his answer was “I look in my diary”. Obviously. Which may be why she goes to India on cheap standby flights, and I don’t go at all.

My event horizon is about 6 weeks. It used to be about 4 but the one I have to plan things with works shifts and rotas and things, and then I have Other Commitments which have to be slotted in, so now I know in principle what I’ll be doing for all the weekends from now and on in to the middle of January. Late January actually.

I once went out with someone who valued Spontaneity. He had an event horizon of two weeks. I ended up having to Schedule Spontaneous Weekends in amongst my plans for seeing my friends and doing other things, otherwise I’d never have seen him at all. This was pretty important, since I was in the UK at the time, and he wasn’t. On the other hand, my flights were cheaper. This fell sharply into contrast when, at about this time, I tried to book a weekend with my friend R, who had every single weekend for the following three months accounted for. Now that’s scheduling!

This all came to mind because I had an invitation to a works Christmas party for the 7th of December. I have had plans for then since the middle of October, (it is the WI winter knees-up, if you must know), so I couldn’t go. But the invitation gave us just under two weeks notice for an evening do. I said that I thought that was an inadequate amount of notice, but the people around me looked at me as if I was the unreasonable one. But it isn’t as if the party organisers hadn’t known when Christmas was this year, is it now?




Anyway, that set me to mulling over event horizons, and thus we have the blog you see here.

Morning ritual

naked goddesses –
maiden, mother, crone – rinsing
chlorine from their hair

Otters 43 x 365

I’ve just found a fascinating site: a pen-portrait of 365 people, each of them in no more words than the writer has lived years, each of them influential in the writer’s life. The result is like a series of prose haiku. Elegent. Spare. Sinewy. Fascinating.

Tie me down please, before I think it’s a cool way of spending the next 12 months.

Here’s a rope.

Here’s another.

Don’t forget my ankles.

Sisterhood is for bitches

I tumbled across a this on FtM Doctor’s blog today, and have been choking on my reaction ever since.

The story is about a feminist music festival in Michigan which is explicitly for “womyn-born womyn” and explicitly excludes trans women. Presumably they also explicitly excludes trans men. In fact, it is not actually a story, it is a press release, explaining the organisers’ point of view.

The language is interesting, veering between the hate-filled and the overly emotive. At one point the organiser of the “womyn-born womyn” sends the following email to the leader of “camp trans”.

I deeply desire healing in our communities, and I can see and feel that you want that too. I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity. I also ask that you respect that womyn born womyn deeply need our space — as do all communities who create space to gather, whether that be womyn of color, trans womyn or trans men . . . I wish you well, I want healing, and I believe this is possible between our communities, but not at the expense of deeply needed space for womyn born womyn.

The self-righteous emotional manipulation of this is nauseating, with its talk of “deeply desire[ing] healing”, “respect” and “deeply needed space”s.

We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.

Is it unkind of me to consider the spaces and places that I have spent with “womyn-born womyn” this past week, which include a women-only gym and the WI? It is not hard to find women-only groups, if that’s what you need for a while. I’ve been on women-only holidays and women-only retreats. I was educated in part at an all girls’ school.

Of course the gym, and the WI aren’t full of radical feminists or …

womyn who could be considered gender outlaws, either because of their sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, etc.) or their gender presentation (butch, bearded, androgynous, femme – and everything in between). … gender variant womyn …. ” or women who ” … consider themselves differently gendered

… so far as I know.

I find myself wondering why the organisers exclude trans women if the spread of women at the festival is so broad, (yes, I know, the “deeply-needed space” thing) and also whether or not there are any straight married mothers there, or whether monogamous heterosexuals are not welcome either.

Rather than rant on and on about this, I will conclude with three final comments.

Firstly, it would be acceptable for the “womyn” of Michigan to create an activity exclusivly for “womyn-born women” if, on other occasions, they created events which were exclusively for other sub-sets of women, for example women who have been abused, or widowed, or who are lesbians, or indeed trans. But to exclude trans women and only trans women smacks of the “all men are rapists” school of separatist radical feminism which de-personalises half of the human race in a way which is as unjust and unacceptable as the de-personalising of women by men which went on for centuries before.

Secondly, I wonder if this is actually personal. If it isn’t about all trans women, but about one particular trans woman, if the organisers lacked the balls to exclude her and if they therefore decided to exclude them all. I find this theory rather compelling, given how petty, emotional and factional groups of women can become. See quotes above.

Finally, I put the press release through Gender Genie, and it scored 30% female and 70% male. Which made me snigger. Bitch that I am.

Shock news – I’m female

I am, apparently, female. But not very. Especially not when I am writing about my eggs.

Blog Female Percentage Male Percentage
There should be a special level of hell… 55% 45%
… a woman’s work is never done 52% 48%
Saved by a meme 53% 47%
Migraines II 62% 38%
Summer flowers, winter mornings 75% 25%
Sofa so good 42% 58%
Amazon, my river of shame 31% 69%
“Aphra Behn racism poems” 55% 45%
Exercise and the placebo feel good factor 55% 45%
Scrambled Eggs 47% 53%
Averages 53% 47%

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. The analysis of my writing style came from Gender Genie.

I feel peeved that my gender is so obvious in what I write, and also peeved that my femininity only just shows through.

There I go, wanting it both ways.


I’m looking forward to December when I don’t have to scrabble round for blog subjects, and I can think more and write less.

Laughter the best medicine – available on prescription only

Bloglily produced the rather chilling statistic the other day, that children laugh thousands of times a day, but adults manage to laugh only 14 times.

So, plagiarist that I am, I conducted my own laughter audit.

8.00-9.00 – driving to work, listening to Sir Terry et al on Radio 2 – several giggles but no laugh out loud guffaws.

9.00-10.30 – da nada.

10.30-10.45 – some general purpose wise-cracking at work – I can’t remember the details, but the mood was jovial. It took me three months to get that team to lighten up.

10.45-3.20 – da nada.

3.20-3.30 – more wise-cracking – I do like working with bright, sarcastic, clever peeps.

3.30-5.45 – da nada.

5.45-6.00 – my boss claims that someone else was “agressive” in a meeting. Think pot. Think kettle. Think Aphra saying so. Think boss looking sheepish. Not guffaws, but gentle ribbing.

6.00-6.30 – driving home listening to the news. No laughs there.

6.30-7.00 – driving back from work, listening to the evening “funny”on Radio 4 – one smiley moment, but no actual, you know, laughy stuff.

7.00-7.30 – talking to a girlfriend on the phone, lots of goss and giggles – she thought she’d pulled a tennis coach, so she booked herself in for a complete de-fuzz, but then the bugger stood her up. Or “sobered up” as her best friend put it.

7.30 – text from the one I like to get texts from – private but laugh out loud funny.

7.30-10.00 – Christmas cooking demo at the WI– do you know the scene in “Catch 22” where the entire hall of enlisted men starts moaning at the sight of the Colonel’s tottie? – well there was an unanimous moan of hungry appreciation from an entire hall of middle aged ladies as the demonstrator folded melted chocolate into whipped cream to make a torte, which gave me a private silent giggle. Chocolate and cream aside, (and that is a hard phrase to type), there were l moments of individual and shared laughter at the WI too.

10.00-10.05 – talking to friend who’s visiting tonight and tomorrow, including a couple of laughy moments about why he was late setting off (he was tarting around on IM, trying to pull – I’d put him in touch with the girlfriend from earlier in the evening, but she’s got her eye on the tennis coach’s second service) and the fact that he is doomed to get lost on the moors a la “American Werewolf”.

11.00-01.30 – with said friend, (I don’t ususally entertain this late, but I wasn’t going to stand up the WI, and he’s coming to the theatre with us tomorrow night). Lots of laughter. He’s a clever and witty bloke. Favourite anecdote was one he told about his mother’s hyper-flexive cat. He picked it up, folded it nose to tail and showed it to a friend who was mildly impressed and said, “Very good, can you make it into a bird”.

So no rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-my-ass off episodes, but not bad for a weekday. But it would be much duller without the sarcastic buggers I work with.

Half Way

A little NaBloPoEm

Apples be ripe
Nuts be brown
Quantity up
Quality down