Hoyden about Town http://hoydenabouttown.com HOYDEN (hoid'n): woman of saucy, boisterous or carefree behavior Fri, 07 Nov 2014 19:00:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141108.17309/otterday-and-open-thread-302/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141108.17309/otterday-and-open-thread-302/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 19:00:47 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17309 This weekend’s Open Thread is hosted by this sleeping sea otter.

closeup of the face of a sea otter, lying on its side sleeping. Its little paws are clasped under its chin.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

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Blog downtime http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141027.17303/blog-downtime/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141027.17303/blog-downtime/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 05:15:39 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17303 The blog is doing horrible things to some poor sad servers. I need to put it into maintenance mode and figure out what the dickens. Be back in a while.

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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141025.17299/otterday-and-open-thread-301/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141025.17299/otterday-and-open-thread-301/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:00:10 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17299 This weekend’s Open Thread is hosted by an otter cuddlepile. (image from Glamhag on flickr.)

Courtesy of Hamish Irvine on flickr.
three brown-and-cream river otters lying on a wooden platform. One otter is stretched out, and the other two are leaning their fuzzy little heads on its belly.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

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Sydney Hoyden Meetup: Sunday October 26 in Camperdown http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141021.17282/sydney-hoyden-meetup-sunday-october-26-in-camperdown/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141021.17282/sydney-hoyden-meetup-sunday-october-26-in-camperdown/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:25:12 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17282 There will be a wee gathering of Hoydens and friends on Sunday October 26 in Victoria Park, Camperdown for a picnic. Join us!

Photograph of Victoria Park pond on a sunny day

Victoria Park pond, by Sardaka CC BY


Location: Victoria Park, Camperdown.

Victoria Park is at the intersection of City Road and Broadway, next to the University of Sydney. We will meet near the barbecue area and the playground: look at for a small “Hoyden About Town” sign.

Date and time: Sunday 26th October, 1:00pm.

Who: There’s no level of existing involvement in Hoyden About Town required. Creators, commenters, lurkers, newcomers and familiar faces all welcome. Friends, partners and children all welcome.

Bring: picnic gear and food. There are electric barbecues if you want to cook something.

Wet weather

If the weather is looking bad, please check here at 10am and 12 noon on Sunday October 26 for alternative plans.

Getting there

Public transport:

  • Buses: the closest bus stops are on City Road near Cleveland Street and served by the 352, 370, 422, 423, 426, 428 and M30 buses. The Broadway stop on the other side of the park is served by the 412, 413, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 470, 480, 483 and M10.
  • Trains: the park is about a 15 minute walk from Redfern station. It’s 20 minutes from Central, and you can also catch most of the above buses from Railway Square near Central, stands C and D.

Car parking: limited parking is available in the Victoria Park carpark, which you can turn into if heading north towards the city on City Road.

Wheel accessibility

The park is fairly flat, but the shaded barbecue/playground area is grassy and not well-served by paths. You will need to be able to travel on well-kept grass to reach us.


Children are welcome! Mine are coming.

We will be near the well-equipped playground. Safety-wise, note that the playground is unfenced and fairly near a very busy road. There is also a large unfenced pond at the other end of the park. Additionally the park is unfortunately not equipped with toilets. The nearest ones (I believe) are in the Carslaw Building in the University of Sydney, about a five minute walk from the barbecue area.


A quick should-be-obvious: respect people’s pseudonyms. Many people will use their meatspace name at the meetup (although if you want to introduce yourself by a pseudonym feel free). That doesn’t mean you can use their meatspace name if you blog/tweet about the meetup.


Again, should-be-obvious: if you come to the event please do not take photographs of participants without their express permission (or that of their parent/guardian in the case of young children). In particular, if you’re intending to publish it on the web or elsewhere let them know before taking the photograph.

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Media Circus: RIP Gough Whitlam Edition http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141021.17295/media-circus-rip-gough-whitlam-edition/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141021.17295/media-circus-rip-gough-whitlam-edition/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:54:38 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17295 I saw Gough Whitlam in person (from only a few other persons’ distance away) for the first and only time a few years ago at a theatrical production of political satire at Sydney’s Seymour Centre – he was in a wheelchair and looked quite frail, but still immensely alert, observant and imposingly dignified. He was surrounded by clumps of admiring political and media figures coming and going to just have a few words with him on the night. I remember that much more clearly than I remember the show in question.

The 1972 “It’s Time” election campaign happened when I was just old enough to realise that government was a thing but did not yet grok politics. I still remember the huge air of excitement around the promised changes and the introduction of those sweeping new legislations and what they seemed to mean for ordinary working people like our family, neighbours and friends.

By the time of the Dismissal in 1975 I was beginning to understand the basics of our political system but not much more, and then as people explained to me over the following years (with varying levels of clarity and plausibility) how this seemingly incomprehensible reversal had come about via purely political manoeuvrings, I realised how important it was to understand the operation of political tactics to push ideologies both for and against the people who compose the electorate. Fundamentally, Gough (or at least the government led by Gough and the government that followed Gough) are my blogging origin story, or at least what set up the mindset that eventually got me blogging back in the first place.

The giants who strode the political landscape of my youth are toppling one by one, leaving only gnats swarming over the entrails of serious political principles while Big Money shakes shiny things at us all, politicians very much included.

As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).

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QOTD: What’s not neutrality http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141020.17279/qotd-whats-not-neutrality/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141020.17279/qotd-whats-not-neutrality/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:01:04 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17279 Being opposed to expression of certain political positions *IS* taking a political position, not “neutrality”.]]>

Being opposed to expression of certain political positions *IS* taking a political position, not “neutrality”.

From strivingally, noting some inconsistencies in the GassyGoat claims on a recent We Hunted The Mammoth update about the GamerGate culture war and hate campaign.

As Justin Thibeault points out over at Lousy Canuck, it’s not only GassyGoat that runs this topsy-turvy style of reverse-logic playbook.

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Welcome to McHappy Day – No Crips Allowed http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141020.17275/welcome-to-mchappy-day-no-crips-allowed/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141020.17275/welcome-to-mchappy-day-no-crips-allowed/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:05:26 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17275 There I was, strolling through the Disability Parking Wall of Shame on facebook, when posts started popping up about McHappy Day.

McHappy Day, for those who didn’t know (I didn’t), is a McDonald’s fundraising initiative. McDonald’s makes a lot of noise about their work supporting children with severe illnesses and disabilities in hospital, providing family accommodation, and so on. (Of course, McDonald’s has also been rightly criticised for selling large amounts of junk food, for marketing directly to children, for environmental destruction and animal cruelty and labour issues, etc.) McHappy Day is an international day of fundraising for Ronald McDonald House. McDonald’s has various celebrities come in to their stores, they have children’s activities, it’s all supposed to be a bit of fun for a good cause, not to mention terrific publicity for McDonald’s.

So what happened at McHappy Day last Saturday? Kathleen Robertson, a woman with an ACROD (Disability Parking) permit, was looking to head in to McDonald’s at Tuart Hill, WA. She arrived only to find that McDonald’s had a bouncy castle set up in the ACROD disability parking bay. No other accessible parking bay was available – so Kathleen left.

Another Facebook user then noted in comments that the McDonald’s near them, in Western Sydney, had also blocked off the accessible parking on McHappy Day. Then another user noted that their local McDonald’s in Paralowie, South Australia, also had their disability parking blocked off.

Then? The Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade then posted a photo to their page. “Crews are currently helping out at McDonald’s Currambine for McHappy Day. Stop in and say hello!” it said. The accompanying photograph? Well, here it is. Right in a blue space.

A fire truck is parked in a clearly marked disability parking bay. The parking area is also closed off with sandwich boards and milk crates.

After being called out on it, the Bush Fire Brigade quietly deleted the photograph from their page. No apology has yet been forthcoming, either from them or from McDonald’s. Stay tuned.

The photo from above in context on Facebook, with the 'crews are helping out' caption. One comment reads 'Stop in and say hello, as long as you don't need to use the ACROD parking spot, right? Something that many of the families that use McDonald's House need to use because of their disabled or chronically ill children.'

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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141011.17265/otterday-and-open-thread-300/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141011.17265/otterday-and-open-thread-300/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 19:00:53 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17265 I don’t know what’s going on here, but they’re Oriental Short-Clawed Otters, they’d be adorable doing anything at all. Courtesy of Hamish Irvine on flickr.

two Oriental Short-clawed Otters. One is behind the other, clasping the second otter's neck and pulling it backwards, as if executing a wrestling move. The attacking otter's face is serene, looking off into the distance. The defensive otter has an arm up as if in submission.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

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Don’t You Ladies Realise That Earbuds + Sunglasses + Scowl Discourage Me From Approaching You? http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141010.17254/dont-you-ladies-realise-that-earbuds-sunglasses-scowl-discourage-me-from-approaching-you/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141010.17254/dont-you-ladies-realise-that-earbuds-sunglasses-scowl-discourage-me-from-approaching-you/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 03:25:18 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17254 There’s a chap in Chicago who has decided to tell the world how he finds that women walking along the street wearing earbuds and sunglasses appear “unapproachable”, and how this discourages him from telling many many women he finds attractive along the path of his daily commute the happy news that he likes the way they look, but somehow he has concluded that the women sporting this combination of external signifiers must just not realise how unapproachable they are making themselves look.


Kara Brown at Jezebel has fisked the Open Letter he published on Craigslist: Local Chicago Man Would Like Women to Smile, Accept His Advances. If you want to spend some time in sorrowful headshaking at some stupendous lack of both self-awareness and empathy, it’s worth reading his letter in full, but if you want to save some time, the way he signed hits most of the high points:

Your 40 Year-Old, Male, Single, 5’10”, Fit, Bald, Caucasian, Hazel-Eyed, Overeducated, Nice Dressing, Wine- and Food-Obsessed, West Loop-living Secret Admirer

P.S.: Oh, and by the way, it’d be nice if your default expression was a smile – or, at worst, a merely neutral expression

* do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers.

As was noted at Jezebel, this rather common background expectation of #toomanymen that women owe them time and appreciation for their unsolicited compliments juxtaposes jarringly with the background threat level negotiated by women being highlighted yet again just this last week with one young woman being shot and killed and five of her friends and relatives wounded because she wouldn’t give a man her phone number, and another young woman having her throat (non-fatally) slashed with a knife because she refused to talk with a man. These two incidents are at one extreme end of the risk/loss/benefit scale for women responding to intrusive approaches from strangers, but even if all we are doing is walking along enjoying our music (or sitting reading a book) then an intrusion from a stranger is stealing time that we are clearly indicating we want to spend doing something for ourselves.

Off the street and in zones where earbuds and sunglasses would likely be viewed askance by bosses and colleagues or clients or customers, there’s another guy who has told the internet that he doesn’t think it’s creepy or stalkerish to follow women strangers home from their place of work in order to ask them out rather than finding another way to start a conversation before going to all that effort to intrude upon them when they least expect to deal with a workplace-related person deciding to hit on them. He sees it as simply a 25% successful dating tactic.

It’s hit and miss for sure, but stalking? I don’t think so. I’ve waited outside bars, places of work, restaurants, stores, etc., for women to exit, watched them get into their cars, and then followed them to their door, and I don’t see how that is “stalking.”

I shivered just copy-pasting that quote.

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Friday Hoyden: Kathy Sierra http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141010.17252/friday-hoyden-kathy-sierra/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141010.17252/friday-hoyden-kathy-sierra/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 01:35:43 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17252 Kathy Sierra has the dubious honour of being known for being among the first women to have her life torn into little pieces by an online hate campaign designed to silence her.

I was following her as @seriouspony on Twitter without realising it was her. She has now left Twitter, for the time being.

When she found that one of her key abusers is being resurrected as a tech and free speech hero, even by people who have all the facts to hand of his vicious behaviour, she wrote an article detailing not only what had happened to her, but analysing the way people get drawn into the narrative being spun by abusers. She notes that it may not be left up for long. We should all read it while it’s there. Here it is:

Trouble at the Koolaid point

This woman has shown amazing strength and continued compassion and dignity, under horrific pressure. I figure she doesn’t need any additional pictures of herself on the net, but that extra ponies might make her happy, so I’m illustrating with those.

Brown and white ponies on windswept hill, ocean behind.

On the Shetland Islands


Brown ponies in snow.

On Exmoor

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