Coronavirus – Day #115

Today I have done some cleaning, written an article, and done some day job work. Productive, I think.

Also there has been cricket. Or, rather more typically for an English summer, there has been a lot of waiting around for the rain to stop and the occasional few minutes of actual cricket. Verily, we are back to normal.

Elsewhere the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a raft of incentive schemes designed to get the economy back on its feet. None of them apply to me.

Coronavirus – Day #114

I did my weekly shop today. There was no queue to get into Tesco. I don’t know if this was because there were fewer people than usual, or because the store is letting more people in, but it is a change.

What hasn’t changed is mask wearing. There were only two people besides me wearing masks: an elderly couple who looked to be in their 80s.

My car insurance is due for renewal this month. Normally by this time I would have been flooded with quotes. This time I haven’t heard a peep, not even from the company I’m currently with. Score one for Lockdown.

In politics news, Bozo has apparently said that everything is the fault of other people. Nothing is his fault.

Coronavirus – Day #113

Work has happened. Today the main project was a book that I’m really looking foward to being able to talk about. Also invoices! I am exceedingly lucky to still have regular income.

I don’t think that the government has done anything spectacularly stupid today. I am assuming that they are all drunk and hungover after a weekend of grinning photo ops in pubs.

Coronavirus – Day #112

Yes, I forgot to post yesterday. I was watching Hamilton, which is a very powerful piece of musical theatre about a deeply problematic subject. Daveed Diggs is superb in it, but then you knew that.

Today there was an actual Grand Prix, with a great finish, and the local boy came in 3rd. Go Lando! Motor racing is a bizarre thing for Somerset to be good at, given that our roads are highly unsuited to racing, but we might just have another World Champion in the making.

Also today we had another fun WiFi SciFi event. Thanks as always to Anne for organising it.

If the media are to be believed, most of the UK population spent the weekend in the pub. Thankfully none of them will be coming home here, and if they truly want to gain their freedom (from this mortal coil) who am I to stop them?

The contrast between the strict security and hygiene in place at the Grand Prix, and the “let’s all grab a pint or ten together” attitude of the UK government could not be more stark. Our country would be better off being run by a bunch of petrolheads.

Coronavirus – Day #110

Formula 1 is back! Today has just been practice, and of course there are no fans at the Red Bull Ring circuit, but there are actual cars being driven by actual human beings on track. You may not have missed this, but I have.

Interestingly the sport is going out of its way to be socially responsible. Everyone actually attending races gets tested regularly. Most people are wearing masks. And the Mercedes team has adopted an all-black livery for the year in support of Black Lives Matter. This is not what one might expect from a macho, big-money sport.

There’s an England v West Indies test match due to start on Wednesday.

And Hamilton is now available on Disney+.

So basically I’m very happy staying at home and watching TV, which is just as well because pubs are opening in the UK tomorrow for the first time in months.

Coronavirus – Day #109

Wizard’s Tower accounts done, including another royalty payout for Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion.

Quite a bit of reading done, some of which is paid work.

And now I am going to make a loaf of bread.

Interestingly there is no update of COVID-19 data from the government today. Normally the daily figures are posted around 4:00pm. It is now almost 9:00pm and there’s nothing. That suggests that the news is bad.

Coronavirus – Day #108

The first of the month is usually an admin day for me. I get to spend it doing backups, accounting and so on. I haven’t done the Wizard’s Tower accounts yet because it is Canada Day across the Atlantic and consequently no one is at work at Kobo to run their June accounts reports.

I have put in a request to run a party at Worldcon. I wonder what that might be for?

I have also booked up for Virtual World Fantasy. After all, I can. (It is in Utah this year so I would not have been able to attend physically.)

The big news in the outside world today is of a major piece of dishonesty by the UK government. Their reporting of COVID-19 cases has been divided into two groups, the so-called “pillar 1” and “pillar 2”. Pillar 1 consists of the results of tests performed by government agencies. Pillar 2 consists of the results of tests performed by private contractors. A week or so ago there were very few pillar 2 tests. Now there are a lot, but they are not included in the official government statistics.

The official statistics say that new cases of COVID-19 have been steady at around 1000 per day for a while, and have been dropping slowly. But when you include the pillar 2 tests you see that infections are rising rapidly and the current rate is around 5000 per day.

This is not yet being relfected in the death tallies, but we know that the virus takes a while to incubate and people don’t die immediately. It seems like a spike in deaths is just around the corner.

Interestingly the rise in new cases seems to be quite localised. As you may have heard, Leicester has been very hard hit. So have a few locations in Wales. Mostly this seems to be a result of people being rushed back to work and employers not putting proper precautions in place. I’ve seen reports that at least one employer in Leicester ordered staff into work even though they were sick.

The government will doubtless blame it all on Black Lives Matter protests, even though the locations of the outbreaks are not strongly correlated with major demonstrations.

Right now there doesn’t seem to be any serious rise in cases in the South West, but I will keep my eye on the situation.

Coronavirus – Day #107

The big thing that I have done today is create a list of trans and non-binary writers, editors, etc. in the SF/F/H community. Why I have not done this before I do not know. But it is done now.

There will be people that I have forgotten. There will also be people that I have never heard of. There may also be people whom I have put on the list who don’t want to be on it. If you are in one of these groups, please get it touch. I’m also open to suggestions from non-trans folks as to who to put on it, but if you suggest someone please be sure that they are open abuout being trans first. And check to see if they are already on the list before suggesting them.

I also did my weeky Tesco trip. It was very quiet. There were no shortages. I only saw one other person wearing a mask.

Coronavirus – Day #106

What have I done today? Hmmm…

I did a bunch of trans stuff on social media.

I answered a lot of emails, mainly Diversty Trust work. It is good to see that ramping up again.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to do online training effectively. My thanks to a bunch of academic friends on Twitter for sharing the learning that is being sent their way.

I finished writing a thing for next year’s LGBTHM, which involved reading a PhD thesis about “sex changes” in 1930s Britain.

I gave a talk on trans history to a trans youth group.

And I finished the June issue of Salon Futura.

There were a few more things as well, but that will do, I think.

Meanwhile in the so-called real world, the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, suggested on Radio 4 that cis women need to be protected from the likes of me. Apparently he has also challenged Bozo to 50 press-ups at the next Prime Minister’s Question Time. I think I can join every other woman in Britain in echoing Nicola Sturgeon’s, “Oh for goodness sake…”. There is not enough facepalm in the world. Who let men be in charge of anything?

Coronavirus – Day #105

The most significant event of today is that I have discovered that Duolingo has finally added a Finnish pack to their list of languages. I am so there. I doubt that I will ever be able to speak Finnish well because I will have trouble pronouncing the various vowel sounds correctly, but at least I should be able to learn to read it, and to understand something of what people are saying.

I have a huge collection of back issues of Thätivaeltaja to practice my reading on.

One of the Sunday papers apparently featured a picture of Bozo doing press-ups to prove how fit he is. He was wearing a suit (minus jacket) and tie. And of course it was a still picture so there’s no proof he actually did any. Goodness only knows how patriotic British people manage to avoid dying of embarassment. Queen Victoria is doubtless spinning in her grave. How on Earth is anyone supposed to write satire about this nonsense?

Coronavirus – Day #104

Today has mostly been spent working on the new issue of Salon Futura. It will probably go up on Monday.

In the outside world I woke up to the news that a particularly nasty transphobe has been permanently banned from Twitter. People have been calling for this for months, if not years. What he finally did wrong was go after the Women’s Institute, who had made a trans-supportive tweet.

Twitter bans tend to happen in two ways. Firstly they may be the result of mass reporting. That’s the way that people from minority groups tend to get banned. It doesn’t matter what was actually tweeted, if enough people complain at once a ban is automatic. The other mechanism is when someone important complains. The WI have a lot of members, and they are very respectable so Twitter listens to them.

Anyway, Twitter bans for right-wing trolls are bit like deaths in superhero comics. I’m sure he’ll be back in a few months, once he’s found the right person to whisper in Jack Dorsey’s ear.

Coronavirus – Day #102

It has been rather warm in the UK over the past few days, and having no air conditioning I have resorted to siesta. I’ve been working in the morning and evening, and sleeping in the afternoon. It seems to work.

The inevitable result of the combination of good weather and people being furloughed is that huge numbers of people are heading to the beaches. That seems unlikely to help with virus containment, but Bozo lost all moral authority on that subject when he refused to sack Cummings. And in any case he doesn’t care. As usual he will assume that if people die that will prove that they were unfit to live.

The 7-day rolling average of UK deaths ticked up again today. And we are back over 1000 new cases per day.

Coronavirus – Day #101

Odd as it may seem, I spent part of today doing convention planning. While most of the forthcoming events have had their face-to-face component cancelled, several are continuing online and I need to work out how best to represent Wizard’s Tower at them. There will be announcements in due course.

For some time now I have been tracking the state of the C-19 pandemic in the UK via the official government data portal. I’ve been a little suspicious of it, but not greatly so. Yesterday, however, I saw people citing this site which claims a death toll from yesterday of 280, as compared to 171 on the government site. As the total number of deaths are the same on both sites, I presume this is another case of the government sneakily allocating some of the new cases to previous days so that the “today” figure doesn’t look so bad.

Today, however, people were sharing a leaked report from Public Health England which claims that the actual numbers are much higher. In particular for June 18th, when the government claims there were only 1346 new cases of infection, the actual number was 7000. That’s terrifying, especially with Lockdown restrictions being lifted.

The trouble is that this government lies so often, and so transparently, that no one believes anything they say any more.

Thankfully I have no need to go anywhere except to Tesco once a week.

Coronavirus – Day #100

Wow. 100 days of not seeing any of my friends in person, and not leaving the small town where I live. I’d like to say something profound, but really it hasn’t been that hard. I’ve been constantly in touch with friends around the world by email, social media and Zoom meetings. I’ve continued to have work. I have probably gained weight and saved money. I’m upset not to have got to Sweden, Canada and Finland as planned, and not to be going to Croatia, but right now it seems that international travel will come back eventually so I’m OK about it.

As I have said elsewhere, I am far more afraid of the government than of the virus.

I have got to the end of She-Ra, season 5. If Noelle Stevenson doesn’t get a Hugo for that there is no justice in the world.

Coronavirus – Day #98

I appear to have spent much of today watching TV. There was housework as well, and an online meeting, but lots of TV. Or, to be precise, Netflix.

So, yes, I have watched Disclosure. It is rather painful to be reminded of the many awful ways in which trans people have been portrayed in film and TV, but it is also quite powerful to be reminded of what the media has done to us. Because something that has been done can be undone.

After which, I needed a reward, so I binged the rest of season 4 of She-Ra. Tomorrow, season 5.

Wait, no, tomorrow back to work, what am I saying…

She-Ra.

In the outside world, the 7-day rolling average of deaths in the UK ticked upwards again. Its only one day. We’ll be fine. I hope.

Coronavirus – Day #97

Today was the first day I can remember since Lockdown started that I didn’t have urgent things to do. Obviously I have a huge backlog of things I should do, but nothing urgent. I am so very tired.

Fortunately New Zealand is out of Lockdown by now so there is live rugby on TV. Also I read about half of a novel. And I have started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, I know, I’m very late to that. But it is now on Netflix so I can watch it and I’m doing so.

I haven’t seen anything much about the outside world today, but I assume that the government will have been lying about something.

Coronavirus – Day #96

Today’s big excitement was taking my car in for an MOT. I’m delighted to report that she passed with flying colours yet again. Not bad for a car that cost me precisely £0.

Also today I was phoned out of the blue by my hair salon. They are opening in July and wanted to let regulars book up. Obviously I can survive longer without a haircut, but I’ll be very pleased to get one if it is still safe to do so by then.

Taking of which, the infection and death rates in the UK continue to fall very slowly.

Elsehere our Foreign Secretary has demonstrated conclusively that he has no idea what is going on in the USA at the moment. I mean, it is only a country that we are supposed to be negotiating a major trade agreement with. Fortunately there is good news. He is well up on events in Westeros. Perhaps we’ll be able to tuck into some juicy White Walker steaks alongside our chlorinated chicken and Vegemite. It will make a change from having to eat each other, which is looking increasingly plausible as each day goes by.

Coronavirus – Day #95

I made my weekly run to Tesco today. I was pleased to see that they are finally selling facemasks, though it is still the case that the vast majority of shoppers are not wearing one. The staff aren’t either, but I’m assuming that they have all been tested and are COVID-19 free which makes it less of an issue.

Talking of the virus, I’ve seen a few people posting in the last few days that they have had serious relapses. One was the TV historian, Dr. Janina Ramirez. I’ve been coughing quite a bit over the past week, which is annoying because I thought I was over that. Maybe it is something to do with the weather. Or perhaps it is just a case that if you get too tired the virus comes roaring back.

In Parliament today the Minister for Men and Inequality, Liz Truss, was required to take questions. Because none of the other political parties are prepared to stand up for trans rights, she got few questions on her plans for equality law reform. Those she did get, she bumbled past saying nothing of substance.

On the one hand that is good news. She could have said a bunch of awful things. It is also possible that yesterday’s letter-writing campaign had some effect. As of close of business today over 25,000 people had sent letters to Bozo via the Gendered Intelligence gateway that I wrote about yesterday. More people have written directly, or written to their MPs. Apparently some MPs experienced website crashes and overflowing mailboxes today.

I don’t expect that this will have any effect on the government’s plans. Truss did not come up with this idea by herself. Dominic Cummings will be patiently explaining to panicked Cabinet members that the whole point of leaking the plans ahead of time was to allow the public outrage to run its course so that by the time the plans are officially announced people will be tired of the subject and only those directly affected will complain. We will need to prove him wrong.

In the meantime there has been a public statement of support for the trans community from Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Not from Kier Starmer, of course. He is sticking to his policy of not getting involved least JK Rowling stop donating to his party, but at least we have got Labour a little bit rattled.

And yes, as you may have noticed, billionaires are a very bad thing all round, regardess of which political party they support.