May. 24th, 2010 07:17 pm
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
Ugh, why do most of the available sources for my end of term paper seem to be discussions in Indonesian about esoteric Islamic concepts like tabarruj and 'illat? (I'm researching secular legislation, for god's sake! And I'm fairly sure Indonesian legislators don't speak half as much Arabic as is in these goddamn articles!)

Irksome things:

Detainees Barred From Access to U.S. Courts - So if the US government captures you and sticks you in Guantanamo, you have the right to contest your detention a US federal court. But if it captures you and keeps you in a hole in the ground in Afghanistan, it can do so indefinitely and there's nothing you can do about it. Awesome!

U.S. Approval of Killing of Cleric Causes Unease - The CIA is apparently allowed to kill US expatriates without judicial review. So do you get to find out if you're on the kill list, or is it like the no-fly list-- only instead of getting turned away at the airport without explanation, you get a bomb dropped on your head? (Or the heads of the unfortunate people living next door, as the case may be.)

Obama Jokes About Killing Jonas Brothers With Predator Drones - Yeah, my Pakistani friends found this hilarious. Because, you know, targeted assassinations with substantial civilian collateral are totes funny.

French cabinet approves burqa ban law - Because it's totally all about women's rights. Uh-huh.

Secret plan to boost spying - ASIO gets weapons and ASIS goes paramilitary. Yeah, I can't tell you how many times I've thought: man, Australia is really missing out on the whole 'paramilitary organisations that kidnap and torture interrogate people' thing.

Happymaking things:

Drink Up, Dreamers (The Jaded Underworld Remix) - (via [ profile] lassiterfics) Wonderful Dean-and-Sam-and-Castiel gen story from the remix challenge. Fraught and shivery and full of a feeling of... vast oldness, if that even makes sense.

Why is my list of happymaking things so short? Any recs from you guys?
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
Ironically, lacking the ingredients for cake in a mug, I was forced to make actual chocolate muffins to satisfy my chocolate cake craving. They're pretty damn good, if I do say so myself, and you can't even tell they're vegan. (Come on, like I'm the only one who remains generally unconvinced by vegan baking. Though feel free to blow my mind with your recipes.)

1 cup self-raising flour
2T cocoa
5T castor sugar
1 cup (approx) chopped dark chocolate
2t whole flaxseed, ground and added to 1.5T water, stirred until goopy
160ml soy milk
1/4 cup oil

Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix. Pour into greased muffin pan and cook for 20-25 minutes at 190C (375F). Makes six medium muffins, i.e. one for you, one for morning tea tomorrow, and a couple for your least hated colleagues. Recipe adapted from here.

Having moved to a land deprived of the ethical egg (the choices being imported cage eggs, or a 50% hit ratio on rotten egg when purchased from the local market), I've actually become quite the convert to flaxseed as an egg replacer. Also, you can just keep the seeds in a jar and grind them when you need them, which saves having eggs kicking around the fridge for yonks. Extra also, people can send you flaxseed by international mail. Free-range eggs, not so much.

The other thing on my mind tonight, besides the craving for chocolate baked goods, is the realisation that I just used the word 'blessed' in an LJ comment. As in, "I'm blessed because [xyz]." As an atheist, I'm usually fairly careful about trying to use secular terminology wherever possible. I've scolded The Boy for using 'sin' as a shorthand for 'deliberately causing harm', had epic arguments about whether or not 'good' and 'evil' actually have meaning in a secular context (The Boy studied computer science and I studied engineering, so we never had these arguments in university like the humanities kids), and (so far unsuccessfully) tried to ban Christmas entirely from our household.

I suppose what I was reaching for was the more unwieldy concept of 'good fortune without having done anything to particularly deserve it'. To me, the word 'blessed' implies a certain element of intentionality. I was chosen. Everything happens for a reason. I guess I think about it like this: when I look around, I can think of ways in which I'm more fortunate than pretty much everyone I see. Call it luck, call it privilege, whatever -- but what it doesn't mean is that I'm intrinsically more special in any way. I'm just a regular person chosen by the cosmic dice. But if I turn it around to thinking that I'm more blessed than everyone around me, suddenly it's no longer random. It's about me, an intrinsic quality of me. And... now I have no idea why I'm discussing semantics, when I started off talking about chocolate cake.


Speaking of good and evil, or perhaps merely of 'people whose lives have sucked more than my own', you should all now go away and read And then they came for me, a shudderingly affecting posthumous editorial by murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga.

Say what you like about my government, at least it hasn't tried to hurt or injure or murder me.* Which, sadly, yet again makes me more fortunate than pretty much everyone in the world.

*Though it has, of course, hurt and injured and killed many, many others, and continues to do so.


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