Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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QEDcon 2016

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Part of this year’s goodie bag – a QED sticker to adorn whatever you fancy

After about 13 hours of sleep post-QED, I started to write some words about it!

6 years in a row. A strange feeling walking back into a hotel room like one I stayed in 3 years ago, but quickly settling into familiarity, largely because of all the friendly faces to see and hugs to give/receive.

I haven’t been to many conventions in my time, but of those few, this skeptical event has to be the best by a long way.

Not just because the organisers are very talented and kind people I’m proud to call friends, or the consistently excellent, approachable and affable speakers, or because fellow attendees are a joy to be around (in all states of sobriety and so far from it). All of that and more.

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Brexit.

It might be a glaring omission that I haven’t written about this yet.

teardrop-eu-flagHonestly it’s because I couldn’t. I and many others were repeatedly reduced to tears by this; we didn’t think it was possible. We couldn’t believe we even got to the point where the question was asked.

But then, of the (still depressingly few) people who bothered to get out and vote, a slight majority decided our European identity was disposable. Or, indeed, that we never had one in the first place. Continue reading


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Friendly book review: genes and brains

I am lucky to have met some amazing people over the last decade and a significant number of them are writers of various sorts – some journalists, bloggers, freelance writers and indeed authors.

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It definitely was worth it, Dean! Trying to enjoy the ride, Kat x

It seems it’s the time for book-writing so naturally I have picked up some of these labours of love (and occasionally deep resentment, inevitably) and will share my non-spoilery thoughts about a couple of them with you. Continue reading


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Fear, Anger, Hate, Suffering

It’s been an unbelievable few days and now I’ve stumbled home in a daze after shedding some tears at today’s news, I will try to collect myself here.

At the weekend we saw the massacre of 49 mainly Latinx LGBT+ people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,FL. This act of homophobic terrorism shook the whole world and I walked down to Old Compton Street to be with the community at the vigil here in London and pay our respects.

Today one of our Labour MPs has been murdered by a man apparently shouting “Britain First” (the name of one of our openly racist and nationalist political groups). She was a passionate activist who was trying to serve people in her work. I did not know her, but friends did, and extremely high praise is all I have seen.

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International Women’s Day

I haven’t written for ages, many reasons for that, but I thought I’d jot down what I was thinking about on the way to work this morning. It’s longer than I expected, as usual.

Before getting to that, I’ll reflect on going to work – something many women even a generation ago did not get to do, so I’m grateful for that and always have been. This is no slight on anyone who does not have a contracted-to-do-things-for-others, leaving-the-house type job. Or two.

There are many ways to earn a living, and many forms of work that are unpaid and undervalued. I don’t refer to that, but to the option and opportunity I have been afforded that many were – and are still, globally – denied.

Let us not forget the women who are forced to work, lucky if they earn any wage, risking their safety and their children’s. Women in poverty. Women faced with false choices of abuse or homelessness. Women living under legal systems that deny them basic rights.

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Warning: may contain warnings

Trigger warnings! People are still talking about them.

Edit 2016: especially when the University of Chicago does this

As I think I’ve said before, I prefer terms like “content note” or just NB/ or similar, as I have read convincing arguments that the very use of the words “trigger warning” can be kind of self-defeating, so maybe it’s better to avoid that. Although whether “TW” may have the same effect, I’m not sure. Not my point.

What warning?

I’m talking about little notes at the start of something – a piece of writing or a talk, or a post in (for example) a facebook group – that gives people a heads-up about the content. It might be “Content note: disordered eating” or “TW: rape” or similar. The point is that if people aren’t in an appropriate state to deal with that or prefer it not creeping up on them unannounced, they don’t need to -just to let them know so they’re better prepared when it comes up.

What’s the problem? Continue reading


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Substituting for ‘crazy’

As I’m sure I’ve argued before, words really do matter in some contexts. They both reflect and define our realities, and can indicate to each other what we feel and think about things, as well as what’s acceptable in groups.

People might now switch off because “omg the PC police” but, try replacing “political correctness gone mad” with “people would like respect” and see how things look…

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Yeah, no, it really isn’t

Today’s subject is the increased use of terms that usually reference mental ill-health being substituted for descriptors of the unusual and notable like baffling, unconscionable, inexplicable, astonishing, amazing, awesome, fantastic, brilliant, shocking, clever, super, awful, despicable, outrageous, indefensible, unfair – and many more besides; I am (sadly) not a thesaurus.

That’s a big range of stuff to throw words like crazy, insane, mad, batshit or mentally ill at. I think it’s more common in America (especially insane) but seems fairly ubiquitous now, especially in clickbait headlines (a root of many ills).

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