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[personal profile] ginalangridge
It’s wrong to laugh at people if it is likely to cause them distress and it’s also embarrassingly out of touch to think that men’s clothes and women’s clothes are fixed for eternity.

Fashions change. What’s classed as male or female dress changes. There’s not a lot now that a woman can wear that’s officially men-only clothes and we’re moving towards a similar situation with men albeit more slowly. People like Eddie Izzard are leading the way.

I’d like to see everyone free to wear whatever the hell they want and if people don’t like it they don’t have to look. Until we reach a stage where that’s generally accepted, I recommend not laughing at people who are pushing the boundaries. They are the ones that will find themselves on the right side of history.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
For a novel that I'm working on, how will it sell if the preface is awesome and the first chapter is also awesome, but the second chapter isn't that good? It focuses on introductions.

If you can write an awesome preface (prologue?) and an awesome first chapter, then you should be writing an awesome second chapter too.

I don’t understand why the second chapter needs to focus on introductions or if it does why these would necessarily be less interesting than the book’s beginning. If you can’t work out how to change your book so that it is all awesome then it’s worth getting some feedback on it, maybe from a critique group.

It’s too late after you’ve published something - people will think this is your usual standard of work and probably avoid your future books.

If you’re going the traditional publishing route then I doubt very much that the book will be even get as far as being published if it has parts that just aren’t “that good”.

How do I know if my knife is sharp?

Sep. 14th, 2017 01:30 pm
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Tomatoes resist or squish if you try to cut them with anything that isn’t fairly sharp so that could be a safe item to try it on.

Don’t, whatever you do, test it on your trouser leg while you are wearing your trousers. Trust me, that will not end well.

What's it all about?

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:32 pm
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
I've been answering questions over on Quora for a while now and I decided it was time to take ownership of my own content so I've moved some of it over here. 

I'm happy to take questions here too, so if you want to ask me something then let me know and if I feel like I've got anything useful to say then I'll try to answer you.

You can see that my answers range across a fairly eclectic mix of subject matter. You're more likely to get an answer if it's a field I think I know about, which includes crochet and cats and cycling and chocolate. I grew up in the UK and still live here, and I know about the English language, creative writing, and how to write a novel in November.

I also have a lot of opinions about equal opportunities. You have been warned!
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Yes.

I’m sure that when I’m wearing my hearing aids people think I’m more fun and more sociable.

With my aids in I can hear what people say with less struggling or lip reading. I’m not so stressed and I laugh more. (I don’t laugh when I can’t hear the jokes.)

Without my hearing aids I need to be careful where I sit so I can see people’s faces and I keep asking them to repeat things until I feel too embarrassed to ask again. I become quiet and withdrawn and leave early.

My hair is long enough to cover my aids but I have joked that I wouldn’t care if they flashed a purple and green neon sign saying “I’m a deaf old bat”, I would still happily wear them. If looks bother you, there are both very discreet ones and brightly coloured ones.

I wouldn’t be without mine for the world.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
When a baby is born one of the first things anyone says is “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy", based on the baby's external genitalia. Soon afterwards, the birth is registered as that of a male or a female based on the same criterion.

The reason it's called “assigning” a gender to the baby not “recognising” the gender of the baby is because it’s not as simple as people think.

Some babies are intersex or have ambiguous genitalia and the doctors and nurses choose which gender the baby looks most like. Later, at puberty, they may turn out to have been wrong.

Some babies have brains that don’t match their external genitalia and this is invisible at birth, so the gender they are assigned doesn’t match who they really are.

"Assigning” a gender is deciding what gender the adults think a baby is and they don’t always choose the right one.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge

No. There is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines cause autism.

The alleged “study” that claimed that they do was shown to be fake, and Andrew Wakefield who wrote it has been utterly discredited. He had financial reasons for making the false claims.

The Lancet, where the original paper was published, has said that

the paper was "utterly false" and that the journal had been "deceived".

Vaccines cause immunity, that’s all.

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[personal profile] ginalangridge
George H W Bush is remembered for “Read my lips, no new taxes” and Bill Clinton for “I did not have sex with that woman”.

So I suspect Trump’s lasting legacy will be “You can grab them by the pussy”.

Not America’s finest hour, I have to say.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
After extensive research (well, OK, trial and error on my part) what works best to hide nipples is anything loose, dark coloured, and highly patterned.

Anything light coloured may let the areola and nipple colour show and anything tight tends to show the outline of the nipple. Plain dark colours tend to allow the outline of the nipple to show but a pattern distracts the eye from any details.

After I realised this, I bought a lot of cheap t-shirts that fit the bill and I’m much happier now that I never wear a bra. I hope you find a solution that works just as well for you.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
It might be very unhealthy for my bank balance seeing as I’d be surrounded by temptation on all sides.

I don’t see what other health hazards there might be. Sure, the books are old and maybe well-used, but that’s true of libraries too and there is no hazard pay for librarians.

I looked for research on the health issues from used books and managed to find just one article on the risks of dust. It is not a scholarly article, includes no research, is not peer reviewed, and is on a website selling air monitoring and other safety equipment. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

You’d be much more at risk as a teacher in a primary school. Small kids learn to cover their mouths with their hands when they cough and they then touch everything within reach. Now that is unhealthy.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
I’d be long dead.

There would be no profanities in books or on tv, because as soon as someone thought of one they’d be dead and unable to write or produce or act.

Everyone would be very afraid in case they thought a “bad thought”. Trying not to think about a word would result in thinking it and boom! Another fine mess to clear up.

It might be more interesting if you could think words but not say them. There would be the most amazing circumlocutions to avoid the bad, naughty, dangerous words.

A bit like living in the 1950s really.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge

A swear word carries a strong emotional charge that other words don’t. You can see that from the research that shows that swearing can be useful in reducing pain*, and I doubt if I’m the only person who swears when I stub my toe.

The best explanation I’ve seen as to what makes a swear word centres around the idea that this is a taboo to protect society from a perceived danger.

For example, a taboo around not touching feces makes sense because human waste can be the source of illness. But then the words associated with feces start to evoke fearful feelings so it becomes taboo to use them.

The kind of things that taboos arise around can include

  • bodily fluids (snot, urine, feces, blood)
  • sex and sexual organs (which are also associated with defecation and urination)
  • deities

because if you really believe in a deity, they can be quite dangerous too**.

If you look at the development of swear words their force seems to lessen over time. When I was a child, “bloody” was a very strong word and there was shock at hearing it for the first time on television. As time passes we become accustomed to hearing the words and now “bloody” is relatively mild. In the same way, the word “fuck” is becoming more prevalent and less shocking.

In the UK, profanities in the orginal sense of the word (i.e. religious words) are not seen as very strong language and “damn” and “hell” are considered quite mild. I think that’s because we’re not a religious society so no one really believes that any harm will come from saying them.

The words that cause shock and horror now are more likely to be racist or sexist epithets. My sense is that these words are genuinely harmful because of the effect on society of talking about other people in such a dismissive and disrespectful way. You’ll notice I’m not giving examples of those words, which just shows how powerful that particular taboo is.

**Forbidden Words: Taboo and the Censoring of Language

*Swearing 'helps to reduce pain'

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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Women wear men’s clothing all the time without anyone remarking on it. Who will even notice if I wear men’s jeans instead of women’s?

A woman wearing a suit with a shirt and tie would be more unusual, but still mostly acceptable.

A man wearing a dress is at risk of verbal abuse and actual physical harm in some circles, although in others he would be seen as simply wearing what he likes.

I don’t think any of those situations is “weird” and I’m a strong believer in people wearing whatever the hell they like but sadly in our society women are still devalued compared to men, so a man dressing in a way that is expected of women is seen as being counter-cultural and transgressive.

I’m hoping that as time goes on more and more clothes will be considered unisex, so that men can wear skirts and women can wear ties and no one will bat an eyelid. We’re not there yet, though.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge

It’s a tedious process and much worse than tinking back in knitting.

However, I have done it to the end of a sleeve once, when I made a jacket and found the sleeves were too long. (I hadn’t allowed for stretching when the jacket was put on.) The jacket was made from side to side, starting at one cuff, so one of the sleeves was the last thing I made and it was very easy to undo the ribbing and a few rows and redo the ribbing.

The other sleeve was the very beginning of the work and it was a tedious job to unpick and remake. I have the feeling I may have just cut off some of the first rows before unpicking some of the others, then used fresh wool to put back some ribbing. I’m not sure I’d have wanted to tackle it if I didn’t have enough wool to do that.

It was only worth even considering it because I really didn’t want to undo the whole thing and start again.

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[personal profile] ginalangridge
You can test this yourself by putting a route into Google Maps that you know is very much uphill (or downhill) and setting it to bicycle. Make a mental note of the times Google is suggesting, then click the arrows beside the start and finish points to reverse them.

You’ll find that Google suggests a longer time for the uphill ride than it does for the downhill ride.

I don’t find the time difference is great enough for my level of fitness but at least the attempt is there!
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Write it badly.

That’s not as silly as it sounds. For very many writers, their first draft is always a crappy draft.

The hard thing is to write anyway, knowing that what’s going onto the page doesn’t approach the story as you have it in your head. Once you’ve got the words out you can revise it, and put it away, and come back to it later, and revise it some more. You can’t revise something you haven’t written.

The thing to remember is that all writers are terrible writers when they first start. No one is born knowing how to write well. You learn how to write by doing it.

Every time you write and revise and get critiques and think about better word choices, you’re refining your skills.

Then the day will come when you read through something you’ve written and you think, “Hey, that’s not too bad. I quite like some of this.”

But for now, just focus on getting the story out somehow. Being a good writer will come later.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Be glad. Be very, very glad.

Your son is rebelling against you, or establishing his own separate identity as I prefer to think of it, which is exactly what he needs to do at his age. And he’s doing it by growing a beard! He’s not getting drunk, or stealing, or even getting piercings or tattoos! You’re not dreading a phone call at three in the morning telling you he’s been arrested for joyriding.

Tell him you don’t like it. That establishes that your norms and his are different. And then suck it up and just silently remind yourself of all the other ways he could be rebelling and isn’t.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Alternative facts is a phrase used initially used by one of Trump’s minions to justify some serious outright lying.

Now it’s used a lot by those opposing Trump to remind the world that he will say whatever is convenient at the time without regard to its truth or falsehood, often contradicting himself in the process. So an “alternative fact” is a lie told by Trump or by one of his staff.
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[personal profile] ginalangridge
Just one, and it’s a mug cosy!

Mug Cosy With Bite pattern by Gina Langridge

Most of my designs are crochet, and only three of them have been written up as patterns.

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