England, you’re doing it wrong

I’ve been living in England for a little over a year now, and it was a hard adjustment at first. There were a lot of new things to get used to. Or not. Some English/British things I think are pretty awesome. Like the NHS and shortbread cookies. Other things I am indifferent to. Like driving on the other side of the road. Other things I don’t like, but that’s just a matter of taste. Like fish and chips. Other things I don’t understand enough about so I don’t have an opinion. Like monarchy, the lack of a written constitution, and Dr. Who. And finally, there are just some things that England does wrong.

Measuring weather in Celsius

This is wrong. I’m not saying that just because I’m used to Fahrenheit. I’m used to pounds (as weight) and dollars, but I can get behind stones or kilograms and pounds (as money). But measuring your weather in Celsius makes no sense. Here’s why.

The Celsius scale is based on water. Zero is freezing. One hundred is boiling. Ok, so if you are boiling water, it makes sense to use Celsius. We used it in science class in school, so I always associate it with science. So if you’re doing sciencey stuff (hell, even climate studies), use Celsius.

But if you are checking the weather to see if you need a coat or setting your thermostat, for the love of all that’s holy, use Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit is based on weather. Some guy in Germany said this is a really cold day. Let’s call is zero. And this is a really hot day. Let’s call it 100. (Ok, so this isn’t actually what he did, but it fits.) So you have 100 degrees in which to describe weather. In the Celsius scale, you only have about 40 degrees to describe the same thing. It makes the difference between a few degrees very noticeable, and thus a very unforgiving scale to get used to.

My husband scoffs at me and says, well, in Fahrenheit, there isn’t such a big difference between 70 and 72, so why do you need 100 increments to describe the weather? This is a feature, not a bug. During the winter and summer months, we’re told to try to save money we can adjust our thermostats one or two degrees colder or warmer (depending on the season). We won’t feel the difference, but we’ll save money. You can’t do this with a thermostat in Celsius.

I know the rest of the world uses Celsius for weather. They are wrong too.*

Separate taps for cold and hot water

This also is wrong. It’s like they have never heard of warm here. When you wash your hands, you can either get boiling hot water or freezing cold water. Or, if you want to change things up, you can scald one hand and freeze the other. Washing your face is a nightmare.

People say, well, why don’t you fill the basin with hot and cold water until you get the desired temperature then wash your face with that? Because that’s gross and uses too much water. That’s the basin in spit in after I wash my teeth. That’s where all the gross germs go when I wash my hands after using the toilet. I don’t want to wash my face in that. But if that is your chosen method of washing your face, which is fine, I won’t judge, why can’t you do that with a normal tap? There is no benefit to the separate taps.

Finally, I’ve also noticed that I see a lot of signs in public restrooms warning us to be careful because the hot water is very hot and could scald our hands. So even the English admit there is a problem. This problem would be remedied by using one tap for both hot and cold water and/or by measuring temperature in Fahrenheit. One tap for both hot and cold would allow users to adjust to a temperature they find comfortable. Measuring temperature in Fahrenheit would allow the owner of the facility to fine tune the water heater to find a temperature that is suitable.

*nb, measuring in Celsius is acceptable if you measure in half degrees. I have seen no where–not thermostats or weather reports–that does this.

Being ashamed of a hobby

During college, I went to some sort of group interview thing. I can’t even remember what the job was for. You can infer how career orientated I am from that. Many of the other students showed up in suits. I did not have a suit, so I came “business casual.” I didn’t get the job.

When the interviewer came to me, she asked me what I like to do for fun. I told her I liked to write. She asked me if I’ve ever been published. I hadn’t. I hadn’t even thought about it. I said no.

After that, I felt shame. Why haven’t I been published? Why haven’t I even tried to get published? Am I not good enough? Should I not even tell people that I write? Before, I had let some people read some of my works. But after this experience, I felt uncomfortable doing even that anymore. It took a long time to get over that, and the underlying feeling of shame stuck with me for even longer.

Only recently did I realize, what the fuck? Of all the people she interviewed, I was the only one whom was asked if I’m at a professional level with my hobbies. Other kids liked playing tennis or painting. She didn’t ask them if they had played in the US Open or had works in the Guggenheim. Is getting published easy? Is it just fait accompli that if you write, you will be published? Does anyone just write for fun? I think the answer is “of course.” Otherwise blogging wouldn’t be a thing.

Why British food sucks

There is an ad on the radio for…something. I can’t remember what it is, so I guess that should tell you how effective it is. It’s not for food. It might be for a loan service or something. Anyway, the voice on the radio bemoans that there are all sorts of complicated names for simple things. He says “Like like casserole, consommé” with a hoity-toity* accent. Then he says in an exasperated voice “you mean stew!”

If you are trying to appeal to an audience that cannot tell the difference between casserole, consommé, and stew, I have no hope for your cuisine.

*By “hoity-toity,” I don’t mean British. I mean fake French.

In defense of Twilight…again

Ok, so I reread the Twilight books recently because I wanted to stop thinking. It didn’t work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: these books suck. Characters are poorly developed, if at all. The dialogue tastes like I’m eating sand. But I couldn’t stop thinking while I read them.

In the past, I thought that Stephanie Meyer couldn’t write a good climax. There’s a reason why these books are called abstinence porn. But I mean this kind of literary climax.

Where x=page and y=tension

Where x=page and y=tension

In Eclipse, however, she did. That book actually ended with a descent fight after some action and tension building. But with New Moon and Breaking Dawn, not so much. Their climax was bad dialogue and too much of it. It was like the literary equivalent of blue balls.

As I was rereading them and trying not to think about current events, I realized that one of the reasons why I like the books (sand eating aside) is because they’re about corrupt cops and peaceful protest. I don’t mean Charlie, underdeveloped and bumbling as he is, I mean the Volturi. Early in Breaking Dawn, Edward seems confused by Bella’s “Fuck tha Police” attitude and says that the only vamps who don’t like the Volturi are the law breakers. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. But here is an example of poor storytelling or Edward being a douche. We know from The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner that Edward knew at this point that the Volturi are corrupt and wanted Victoria et al. to kill the Cullens.

The reason why the climax of Breaking Dawn is boring and painful to read (and why they had to spice it up for the movie, which I thought was a good addition) is because it’s about a bunch of people who gather to peacefully protest the cops nonviolently. Yes, they prepare for battle and some of them want to fight, but when Tanya, Kate, and the Cullens are given motivation to attack when Irina is killed, they continued to urge nonviolence and restraint. If you want to stretch the analogy, their whole way of life (not killing people to feed and rejecting “traditional” vampire “values”) can be compared to civil disobedience.

I’m not gonna lie: these books are absolutely terrible. But instead of bemoaning that today’s teenage girls read crap, can we try to take value from what they are already reading and teach through that?

Quick explanation of DV laws in Texas and Fairy Tale Land

Disclaimer: Domestic violence is a big deal, and I don’t mean to make light of it. But laws, the Constitution, and criminal defense are big deals too. It’s important to write laws well so the right people are charged with the right crimes.

Ok, quickly, when we think DV, we might think spousal abuse or child abuse. Something like when Cora tortured her daughter Regina with magic.

cora and regina

Yep, that’s it. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. Without getting into abandonment and gaslighting (which also occurs on this show where everyone is related and everyone treats everyone like crap), lets dig into the statute and the show. We’re using Texas because that’s where I practice. Let’s think about some of the people Rumpelstiltskin attacked. Can he be charged with domestic violence if he beat someone other than Milah, Bae, or Belle? Was it domestic violence when Rumple beat Hook?

hook and rumple

Outside of fanfic, Rumple and Hook aren’t getting it on. But could a zealous prosecutor charge Rumple with domestic violence for this act? What about when he beat Mr. French?

moe and rumple

Or the Sheriff of Nottingham?


Texas calls it “family violence,” and it is, in short, intended violence or threats by a member of a family or household against a member of a family or household. (See Texas Family Code, sec. 71.004.) Easy, right? Cora on Regina, yes. Rumple on anyone pictured above, no.

But wait! There’s more.

Family violence is also “dating violence,” which refers us back to section 71.0021 and is intended violence or threats committed against your date or a victim because of that person’s marriage or dating relationship with an individual that the actor has also married or dated. So when Rumple beat Hook over Milah, that’s dating violence.

What about the Sheriff of Nottingham? Rumple beat him because because he was kissing Lacy. Yes, but a dating relationship considers the length and frequency of the relationship. It probably doesn’t count hooking up with someone in the back of Granny’s diner. So probably no dating violence there.

And what about Moe? Even though the show is incestuous, Belle didn’t kiss her dad. And even though the family violence statute considers it to be family violence if you are or previously were in a household together, regardless of your relationship, and Belle was part of both their households, still no family violence there because no dating relationship between Belle and her dad and no shared household between Rumple and Moe. Once he moves into the father-in-law suite in the Dark Castle’s basement, however, it becomes family violence. Odd that beating the one person he is actually family to presents the clearest case of no family violence.



For some reason, wordpress isn’t letting me comment. So I’ll just post my thoughts about this post here:

Thank you for this! It pretty much sums up everything I feel about tort reform. Sadly, when I try talking to people about the temperature of the coffee (for example), I hear “coffee is supposed to be hot!” Because coffee is supposed to melt your tongue to your teeth or something. I don’t know, I’m a tea drinker. I also like to remind people that even though the jury gave (what some consider to be) an outrageous award, the judge decreased it, and the parties settled while appeal was pending. It could be held as an example of exactly how the legal system is supposed to work, but people seem to prefer to be misinformed about it and take away our 7th Amendment rights to a trial by jury.


Oct. 23, 2014  By Jack Jodell.

This is the third and final segment of excellent articles written by Larry Beinhart (author of Wag the Dog) which originally appeared in the Huffington Post nearly 4 years ago, vut still fits the bill today. I thank the Thom Hartmann Program on Free Speech TV for having turned me on to this excellent author. Below is “Class Warfare III – Losing Your Right to Fight Back” by Larry Beinhart which first appeared on 3/09/2011.  

“Everyone has heard of the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won $3 million from McDonald’s. Perhaps you recall an editorial similar to this one, which ran in theSan Diego Union Tribune: ‘A winning lottery ticket… absurd… a stunning illustration of what’s wrong with America’s civil justice system.’

I saw theinjuries. One look was all it took. An 82-year-old woman with such severe burns on…

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