Quiet time

Jun. 29th, 2017 09:23 am
hunningham: My default icon for years & years & years - sad photo of sad grey lake (Lake)
[personal profile] hunningham
I'm waiting for other people to wake up. The children won't stir until ten, and my mother really doesn't do mornings, so I have this part of the day to myself.

It's raining hard and I'm looking out on a wet green garden and listening to the rain on the conservatory roof. I was reading Lolly Willows but felt too sadden by the constrained life of a spinster aunt, so am just drinking coffee and noodling around on the internets.

Shortly people will wake up and come and talk to me and be noisy and I will have to bestir myself and do aunt things. But right now it's just the rain.

(no subject)

Jun. 29th, 2017 06:58 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
This is the DVD commentary for Underground, requested by [personal profile] ffutures. There's no point in denying it; I'd looked forward very much to Torchwood: Children of Earth and for about three and a half days it lived up to its promise. Then it abruptly fell off a cliff. It wasn't, for me, the death of Ianto (though that was a stupid death if ever I saw one) but by the smug nihilism of RTD's vision at that stage. The mawkish Gwen straight-to-camera piece about how Earth didn't deserve the Doctor, Frobisher's murder/suicide, and the absence of any form of loyal opposition was just so typical of RTD's approach, including the female politician who unblushingly proposes class-based genocide and is rewarded with the keys to Number 10. Suffice it to say, any fic which came out of that experience would be fix-it fic of some sort or other. But even for fix-it fic you've got to have some gleam of hope to cling onto. The only gleam of hope in COE seemed to me to come from Lois Habiba, who had done the best she could to retain her integrity in difficult circumstances, and would surely have a price on her head after that. She needed a place to hide and she needed a team she could be part of and who would back her. And that led me to remember another female character who had also got everywhere by being a temp, who had also had an unsatisfactory ending and who also needed both those things. And by the time one's got two temps, both of them highly skilled, one starts thinking of a typing bureau...

Read more... )

(no subject)

Jun. 28th, 2017 03:57 pm
lycomingst: (glad)
[personal profile] lycomingst
I’m in the midst of reading Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the War of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood. There are too many Margarets and Elizabeths (a plethora!). I am grateful for Cecily of the Yorkists because I can at least keep track of her.

Anyway Richard III has just been killed and the Tudors are just getting started. I’m thinking of watching The Hollow Crown again while everybody is still fresh in my mind.

(no subject)

Jun. 28th, 2017 08:14 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] rmc28!

Drive-by posting

Jun. 28th, 2017 05:50 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
I'm frantically trying to finish a bunch of work before I go on holiday for two weeks in July, so time for blog is very limited. I'm hoping to have lots of leisurely catch-up time to post things like photos from Vienna and Spain.

Worst thing that happened today: I forgot my glasses on the counter by the mirrors in the ladies' toilets at Birmingham New Street Station. I realised this at exactly the moment my train to London was moving away from the platform.

Best thing that happened today: I received an e-mail alert titled "hggggggfgfg", which I assumed meant, "ALERT: Engineer's Cat Has Walked Across Their Keyboard." It was later claimed that this alert was issued because of "testing", which I can only mean "testing for robustness of cat-proof-ness", a test which the system has surely failed.

In conclusion, I give you the most recent studio portraits that nursery had done of the children (late April).
SCAN0170
[Studio portrait of Humuhumu and Keiki smiling together. Humuhumu has her peach-framed glasses on.]
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished A Banquet of Consequences, and, okay, family that makes the Starkadders look like the Waltons at the centre of the plot. But at least Havers is somewhat on the way to rehabilitation and not being transferred, and while I am not convinced by Lynley's new affair (I consider his new squeeze is entirely prudent to maintain high boundaries), I don't think I ever wanted to have at him with a codfish at any point in the narrative.

Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013), found in a local charity shop. Raced through it though on reflection not sure that it wouldn't be better read in doses.

Gave up on the romance about marrying an earl.

On the go

Max Gladstone, Two Serpents Rise (2013) - still not quite feeling it for the Craft Sequence - it's well-done, it's not doing anything I dislike, and yet somehow I feel unabsorbed.

Also picked up in a local charity shop, Jeremy Reed, The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys (2014), which is really, really, annoying. It could be a much better book if the author wasn't so in love with his gosh-wow prose and his vision of the sexual outlaw, not to mention, checking his bloody facts - there were two chronological bloopers in the first 20 pages, a Tory politician described as a Labour MP, a confusion between the Stones' Hyde Park concert and Altamont. Also, how can anyone possibly tell if 'most' late Victorian homosexuals were being blackmailed? The book comes from a publisher I had previously considered reputable, but does not seem to have been copy-edited (this might have done something about the Did Not Do His Research factor and the annoying repetition of favoured phrases) or proof-read, and given that some passages appear to have been written while stoned and there are sentences which are not and places where you think, that is so not the word you want there, this would have improved one's reading experience considerably. There's some really interesting material there but unfortunately the generally cavalier attitude to checkable facts makes me a bit sceptical about his ethnography of gay London, or rather, the gay West End, from Wilde to the era of AIDS. I'm also wondering whether there is any unacknowledged debt to e.g. work by Matt Cook and Matt Houlbrook.

And, finally released this week as ebook (there were hard copies at Wiscon but I was in travelling mode), Liz Bourke, Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy (2017).

Up next

No idea.

Meme

Jun. 28th, 2017 09:03 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Gacked, this time round from [personal profile] moetushie and [personal profile] el_staplador.

Pick any story I've written, or, in the case of my longer, chaptered works, any chapter from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

My fic can be found here or here

Ukiah Picture heavy

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:58 am
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus
Sunday (night before last) I had a little 5 hour job in a hotel.  It went well.  Was fun to come out of that job and walk past part of the Gay Pride Parade. Very colourful. 

Around 3pm the dog and I headed for Ukiah.  Read more... )

Build it and they will come?

Jun. 27th, 2017 01:54 pm
oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
[personal profile] oursin

I don't know if anyone else has been aware of the hoohah over the Chalke Valley History Festival, an event which has not been on my radar even though it has been going since 2011, though when I see that it is sponsored by A Certain Daily Rag of Which We Do Not Speak, unless we really have to, I would guess that it's NQOSD. Certainly no-one has come begging yr hedjog to address the crowds on ye syph in history (with or without my sidekick Sid, now available as a keyring), Dr Stopes, the inner meaning of the 1820s cartoons of Ladies Strachan and Warwick canoodling in a park or towsell-mowsell upon a sopha, wanking panic over the centuries etc etc.

But anyway, there has lately been a certain amount of OMG History of Dead White Males (and a few queens) and the fact that it is overwhelmingly DWM d'un certain age giving the fruits of their knowingz to the audience:
Historian pulls out of Chalke Valley festival over lack of diversity
(and, cynically, I wonder how many of the 32 women historians are Hott Young Thingz researching queens, aristo ladies, and so forth, though I may be doing them an injustice.)
The lack of women and non-white historians at this year’s Chalke Valley festival sends out a worrying message to Britain’s young

There have been defences made of the event by saying that you need to have Nazis and Tudors because that is what pulls in the punters, and maybe eventually get them onto something else not so overdone and ubiquitous.

However, only today there was a piece in The Guardian about the Bradford Literary Festival: Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam have upended the traditional festival model to create a 10-day cultural jamboree that holds appeal across the city’s diverse communities

(Okay, does have the Brontes, and why not, but does not, alas, have ritual mud-wrestling by the Bronte Society...)

'They have upended the traditional literary festival model and attracted a demographic that is the dream of all forward-looking funders.'

So it can be done.

(no subject)

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] coalescent!

no totoro

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:35 pm
sasha_feather: horses grazing on a hill with thunderheads (horses and lightning)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Jesse and I went to go see "My Neighbor Totoro" at the theater. We get there and it's very nearly sold out; we get the last two tickets that someone was refunding. Neither of us are quite trained into the new system where you are supposed to always buy your tickets ahead of time, having lived our whole lives as spontaneous movie-goers.

I get some snacks and we settle into our seats. The movie starts, the cute song and the little girl walking. Soon we realize, we are seeing the Japanese version with no subtitles. Someone alerts the staff and the movie plays on. I'm happy to watch it this way-- the story is very simple and to me, not understanding the words only plays into the dream-like quality of Miyazaki movies. But not long into it, the movie pauses and the manager comes in, to apologize. He says that they got the wrong version, and they will be playing the English dubbed version. Some people in the audience object. My friend a row below us calls out for people to clap if they want the dubbed version vs. if they want the Japanese version. It's about evenly split.

Well, they must have decided to do the dubbed version because they stopped the film. We decided to leave and get our refund.

Anyways, that is our Totoro story!

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:22 am
lycomingst: (gatekeeper)
[personal profile] lycomingst
Netflix movie Doctor Strange )

When I went to the movies there were a couple of trailers that I liked. Something with Charlize Theron that’s very much like a Bond movie, impossible stunts, glamorous settings, explosions (we must have explosions). And a quieter dinner party movie with a good cast written by Mike White. I’m thinking about going to see it at the movies. I like Mike White; he is so weird.
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

10 Famous Book Hoarders

(I think we may contest the term 'hoarders' for people with lotsaboox, hmmmm?)

In most of those cases I think we do see a real love of books, though I'm not sure about Hearst and whether 'ostentation' was not on his mind rather than use?

In some cases those appear to be the personal libraries that have fetched up in public collections, and one wonders whether there was a certain amount of weeding and selection at the point of accession. (I'm not saying that Houdini or Arendt also had vast collections of pulp westerns or school stories or whatever, but I'm not ruling out that choices were made at some point.)

And indeed, while calling your private collection 'the Library of the History of Human Imagination' is indeed quite a long way along the pretentiousness scale, I look at that picture: 'It has three levels, a glass bridge, floating platforms' and feel a certain covetousness.

And even if it's ponceyness turned up to 11, it's not as cringe-making as this, which crossed my radar pretty much on the same day: Meet The App That Revolutionized Book Reading For 2 Million People

We sort through the approximately 2,200,000 books published worldwide to find the best nonfiction books out there. Then, our subject specialists, writers, and editors identify the key ideas from each of these hand-selected books and transform them into smart, useful summaries of insights we lovingly polish and refine until they are nothing but the absolute most essential elements of the writer’s main ideas. We do the filtering for you, then we share those ideas with you the way your dream-friend would.
Tonstant Weader called for a stiff drink.

*'Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his [Gordian II's] inclinations; and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation.' Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I.

Culinary

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:47 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

During the week, baked a loaf of the Shipton Mill 3 Malts and Sunflower Organic Brown Flour.

Friday supper: Gujerati khichchari - absentmindedly used ground cumin rather than cumin seed but I don't think the effect was disastrous.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flours with maple sugar and sour cherries.

Today's lunch: redfish fillets rubbed with Cajun seasoning, brushed with milk and egg and coated in panko crumbs, panfried in olive oil, served with steamed samphire tossed in butter and baby leeks healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with gooseberry vinegar.

Out on the ocean

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:34 pm
yourlibrarian: Willow (BUF-ImaGirl-chosenxone)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) I took these a while ago and kept forgetting to post them. Just some more photos of birds on our balcony, including a new set we hadn't seen before. Read more... )

2) We watched Moana this week. I think it may be my favorite Disney "princess" movie so far. Read more... )

3) We finished S1 of Travellers and I was glad to hear it's been renewed for S2. It's a lot harder these days to keep up on whether a show has been cancelled or renewed, and if it's returning, when. Read more... )

4) Another study on how people get news has some interesting results when it comes to young readers in different countries. Also an interesting surprise is that the increase in use of ad blockers has rolled back. (Although perhaps the bigger news is that only 24% of desktop users and 7% of smartphone users use it at all) Read more... )

5) When Petzi posted this article on heat wave impact, my first thought was that the lack of climate change planning also involves a lack of migration planning. Because surely over the next 50 years there's going to be a substantial move by people (or a lack of moving) from one part of the U.S. to another. Read more... )

The level of anxiety is unreasonable

Jun. 25th, 2017 06:37 pm
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
My brother lives in the US. He & his family coming over to the UK, and the children will stay with my mother for some quality granny time while he and his wife bugger off to Paris for a week.

Tomorrow I am going up to Scotland to stay with my mother and be her chief assistant child-wrangler. I volunteered for this, I wanted to do it, but now I am really panicky about it.

It's partly child-related anxieties (small people! what do I do! aargh!) and partly just the prospect of my mother for a week unleavened by any other adult.

She will want to talk about politics. To give you a flavour, she's against wind-farms, believes that nationalisation improved the railways and thinks that Corbyn is the Anti-Christ.

I am also having packing panic, and trying to decide what I want to wear next week. It's Scotland. It will be cold. It will rain at some point. I want all the clothes and then some more.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:34 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] shana!

Couch

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:11 pm
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus
Today was the great couch swap.  A couple of months ago M decided he wanted a new couch/love seat.  He had seen a very nice one at his son's furniture store.  Clearly he couldn't get the furniture from his son in Indiana, so on his return he contacted a local store.  His much anticipated new furniture arrived today.   Almost at the same time a young family showed up to take our "deal": pick up M's old couch (love seat size), bring it to my house and then take -my- old love seat for free.  It was a struggle to get the old love seat out of my house.  It had a tall, fancy backrest that is really pretty, but not easy to get down the stairs and around several corners.  Pretty as it was, I'm glad to see it go, it was too big for our little flat.  M's couch is lower and less deep front to back.  It's proportions are much more appropriate for our house, and it is far more comfortable.

Accomplished today:
Swept patio
Repotted a rose and a pelargonium
Fertilized the indoor orchids.
Cleaned up area around couch.

Also had a lovely lunch with M.

It has been really great to have some time to clean up the house in that deep de-cluttering mode.

A pique-nique of linkspam

Jun. 24th, 2017 02:57 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and

Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.

And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.

See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)

And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.

Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?

A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature

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