The Prison Island of Sodor

A few months ago (!) at Continuum, Liz and Steph and friend of No Award Melina did a panel about the prison Island of Sodor. Steph finally wrote up her panel notes to tell you about it. Behind the cut — if you’ve ever wanted 1000 words on the governance of the Island of Sodor, this is for you.

Continue reading “The Prison Island of Sodor”

practical suggestions for riding to work in winter

Here in Melbourne it’s raining, it’s gross, it’s easy not to cycle. Steph didn’t cycle today because it just all seemed a bit much. But winter riding is GREAT. Team No Award is all about the cycling. So here Steph, along with BFF Danni, bring you practical tips and suggestions for winter cycling. They commute all winter! (Yesterday they got more wet than expected, but it was still great)

Continue reading “practical suggestions for riding to work in winter”

reasons why i, a cyclist

Reasons why I, a cyclist, am on the road right now

The bike lane is full of pot holes and broken beer bottles.

There is a car parked in the bike lane.

There is a car poking out of the bike lane.

It’s a car’s fault.

There is no bike lane.

The bike lane is effectively the gutter, and that’s not safe.

A gutter made of cobblestones.

This is Sydney Road.

The bike lane is basically 100% drains.

The bike lane is full of parked/stopped cars/temporary road signs

Reasons why I, a cyclist, appear to be breaking the law right now

The bike lane just disappeared and this is a four lane road. Damn right I’m on the footpath.

It is actually legal for a bike to cycle on the road.

I can’t set these road lights off.

It’s much, much safer this way.

I’m sorry about that time I clipped your mirror while squeezing between the cars. Moving to the bike box is actually legal for me to do. Consider leaving enough space for me to do so.

HOOK TURNS ARE LEGAL FOR BIKES.

stephanie in a rainbow skirt riding a bike on a road with a building in the background
bikes definitely allowed here

I locked my bike to this sign because you didn’t put in any bike parking, whilst you did decide on eleven trillion car spots.

I locked my bike to this sign because the bike parking that Council installed has been obscured by cafe seating.

I’ve been to train stations, I know how cars park when there aren’t any spots. I’m practically unobtrusive right now.

Reasons why you, a driver of a four wheeled vehicle of death and steel, are wrong

No, we shouldn’t register bikes.

There are more cyclists than cars okay.

Actually I can take up the whole lane in the roundabout; no, don’t honk at me for it.
You’re just jealous you can’t jaywalk in a car.

I also pay taxes that pay for these roads.

You should actually be happy, I pay approximately the same amount of tax as you do at a significantly lower infrastructure cost.

Really, I’m saving you money.

Not to mention, otherwise I could be driving a car, and if I was I’d be in front of you, because I’m a chirpy morning person.

(I’m mostly a chirpy morning person because I’m riding my bike, but still)

Registration doesn’t pay for roads, it pays for insurance when you hit someone, which statistically you will (our insurance scheme in Victoria is actually quite good). It’s really very hard to kill someone running into them with a bike, it’s a lot like running into them really fast with your legs. I bought insurance anyway, because I’m a responsible adult.

I know you’re in a rush, and how if you weren’t stuck in traffic you’d be there by now. Instead of getting aggressive consider riding a bike.

I’m also sorry about the time I didn’t stop in time and clipped the back of your car when you pulled out without a lot of notice. However if I’d been a car you’d cut up there would have been actual property damage.

Cycle tourists contribute five times more money to local economies than other domestic tourists in Australia because they can’t bring all their stuff and have to buy it all locally. So try not to buzz me when you’re going at 100km on a poorly serviced highway.

No, I can’t go faster; why don’t you go slower?

danni on a bike; she is at a stop at an intersection, and her bike is located in the bike lane.
no award staff writer danni on the roads (also allowed)

Reasons why I, a cyclist, just dinged my bell at you

It is dark, and you are wearing black.

There are limited street lights.

You’re in the bike lane and you’re an almost completely invisible bike/pedestrian/skateboarder/wheelchairer.

I’m passing you.

Reasons why I, a cyclist

I just am

Something something lyrics linkspam

What lies beneath: Sydney gets the southern hemisphere’s first body farm Australia

We Need To Talk About Fairy Bread – Please note that Stephanie has chosen to take “you can’t gentrify fairy bread” as a challenge. But also, what counts as gentrification? As a lower-middle-class person from Perth’s dodgy suburbs, is it gentrification if I take my favourite childhood snack and change it up?

The Future’s Been Here Since 1939: Female Fans, Cosplay and Conventions

Favourite pieces from this weeks’ AusPol: Abbott coins “doing an Abbott” to mean making a mistake; on the impacts of Sir Prince Phillip; on Adam Giles and the NT.

New site Future Black, decolonising design in Australia’s built environment.

One for stationery nerds and people with Khe Sanh earworms: The illustrious history of the yellow legal pad

The article title is misleading, but about how talk of Polyamory is white, when Polyamory isn’t. (Surpriiiise)

MAPS of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Notes on the Melbourne Free Trams. We were just going to link this with no commentary, but it turns out Steph has some feelings. The entirety of the City of Perth is a Free Transit Zone (FTZ, for those from Perth), and it a) takes in a huge chunk of the tourist attractions, and b) is used a lot by workers who drive to work, and then would ordinarily take taxis or cars between meetings at different ends of the CBD. The FTZ and the ubiquity of the buses, as well as the existence of the Cats (buses that exist solely to do laps of different sections of the CBD), means they do get used. And don’t end up with the overcrowding issue that Melbourne’s CBD trams were already experiencing. I don’t have a solution, I’m just saying.

Attitude round-up

Last year, the ABC axed RampUp, its excellent site for discussion around disability.  A short time later, comedian/writer/disability advocate/all around hero Stella Young passed away.

That quote, ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude’, the reason that’s bullshit is … No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshelf and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille. – Stella Young

Now, the ABC is airing New Zealand show Attitude, a series of short documentaries about people with disabilities.  There is also also a crowdfunding project for an Australian version.

Unfortunately, Attitude doesn’t seem interested in prioritising the experiences and views of people with disabilities.  Here’s a round-up of posts about why it’s not great.

The problem with ABC’s new disability series, “Attitude”

Disability voices have to be heard to change attitudes

Disability media and Attitude TV — Carly Findlay discusses her hopes for the Australian version

Attitude series and the power and responsibility of portraying disability on mainstream TV

More favourable:

Graeme Innes, formerly Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, writes in favour of Attitude.  

I respect Innes a lot, but I strongly resent that Attitude seems to be entirely aimed at an able-bodied audience.

A different kind of attitude

(note: this post talks a lot about the so-called third world, and basically trades disability inspiration porn for poverty inspiration porn)

For my part, the whole concept of “attitude” is fraught.  My rheumatologist constantly praises me for improving my chronic conditions by having a good attitude, and it makes me quite uncomfortable.  It’s easy to exercise and practice self-care when you have a full-time job, a functional bike and access to an affordable public swimming pool.

And it’s distressing to realise that you’re being classified as a Good Patient just because you have these advantages — while, for example, your mother is classified as a Bad Patient because she has no energy to exercise, no access to a pool, and the public rheumatologist who sees her intermittently assumed she was an alcoholic.  (She’s a teetotaller.)

And I don’t even have that great an attitude.  “Yes, I have multiple chronic illnesses.  It’s very dull.  Let’s get on with it.”  That’s me on a good day.  In a bad week, I can and will bore everyone I know with my incessant complaints about being in pain — but my rheumatologist doesn’t see that.

Adam Baldwin/Supanova/GamerGate round-up

Adam Baldwin is an actor, best known for Firefly, who also holds some very conservative opinions, coined the term “GamerGate”, and facilitated the doxxing of game developer Zoe Quinn.  Here’s a handy round-up of his behaviour.

Supanova is one of the very few pop culture expos in Australia. Adam Baldwin will be a guest at the Sydney and Perth events in June. Suffice to say, lots of people are unhappy about this.  There is a petition to revoke his invitation.  (You should sign it!)

People discussing the matter have been doxxed, abused, driven from their preferred social media platforms, and generally treated badly.  (Liz got off lucky with some rather tedious mansplaining.  Nice try, guys, but I work with lawyers.)

Supanova, meanwhile, has engaged in some epic fence-sitting, also some general rudeness, also tried to manipulate a feminist comedian into supporting them. (The original article, published in Fairfax’s Daily Life, has been removed; the link is to an archived version.)

A summary.

The thing is, this isn’t about Baldwin’s politics.  Hell, Star Trek: Voyager‘s Roxanne Dawson quotes Bill O’Reilly on her Twitter, but I wouldn’t say she’d be an inappropriate guest at a nerd convention.  It’s Baldwin’s behaviour, and that of the people he supports, that’s the problem here.

As a small, fat, feminine and female nerd, I would not feel safe at an event as attractive to misogynist bullies as Supanova with Baldwin as a guest.  And I wouldn’t want to give money to a company that engineers that situation.

Baldwin himself is easy to ignore and avoid — I’ve attended a whole lot of Supanovas, and accidentally encountered a guest once. But the men he attracts?  Most are just keyboard warriors, mired in self-hatred, lashing out at women to compensate for their problems.  But as Brianna Wu’s experience would attest, some are dangerous.  And Baldwin feeds them. That’s why I don’t want Adam Baldwin to be a paid guest at Supanova.

melbourne pt. ugh.

flooded stationYesterday it rained and Team No Award chose to leave their bikes at home and brave the elements/Melbourne’s public transport system. We’re not happy about it. We’d like to tell you why:

  • people who surge towards the train doors as they open and have to be forced to let people off
  • bikes on trains at peak hour (travelling with the peak) leaving no room for wheelchairs and mobility scootersflood3
  • myki
  • the smell
  • the East West Link
  • every single driver, cyclist, tram and pedestrian on Sydney Road who isn’t Liz
  • Upfield Line comes only every 20 minutes
  • unlit stretches on Upfield Bike Path (obviously the fault of the train line)
  • the number of disposable coffee cups abandoned underneath the seats
  • people who insist on not getting off the tram till they’ve touched off, in the city centre. DON’T DO THAT
  • that time someone yelled at Steph for having her bike on the train (despite it being contraflow and in an empty front section)
  • the way people all crowd around the door
  • the distance between the platform and the train at brighton beach station
  • IT IS NOT RAINPROOF
  • ptv’s lack of integration
  • giant puddles form a lake between tram and footpath on Sydney Road
  • rail infrastructure dates back to 1930s
  • the smell
  • having to hear ‘dumb ways to die’ four times whilst waiting for your burger from the lord
  • that one time someone Steph knows was masturbated against on the tram
  • how hard it is to actually report a thing to Metro Trains
  • ticket inspectors seem to mostly target young men of colour and the vulnerable or disadvantaged
  • twitter last week had a person whose sister was harassed by PSOs at her station
  • remember that time they assaulted a teenage girl and then charged her for spitting on them?rail_safety_wideweb__430x286
  • and people who get off then stop stock-still right in front of the doors.  I WILL BODYSLAM YOU, PEOPLE, DON’T THINK I WON’T.  YOU’RE MORE YIELDING THAN THE TRAM DOORS THAT WANT TO CLOSE BEHIND YOU
  • people who insist on staying in the doorway until their myki has registered before they’ll get on the tram.  THERE ARE FORTY PEOPLE BEHIND YOU AND WE ALL WANT TO BOARD.  SWIPE ONCE EVERYONE’S ON BOARD
  • teaching visitors how to myki
  • ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD YOU CAN’T BUY A TICKET BUT YOU CAN GET A FINE FOR A LACK OF TICKET
  • THE SMELL
  • sitting on a train between north melbourne and southern cross
  • sitting on a train between flinders street and richmond
  • “the train will be departing shortly” OH WILL IT