Kindle Update Update

Oct. 17th, 2017 04:11 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I totally can see the light when it's turned to "off", i.e. when the light meter is set to 0, but only really notice it a lot at night. You guys who claim you can't see it are either lying, or my eyes are freakish. Frankly, I think it's probably the latter, given how often one of my boys complains they can't see the dogs when we are walking them after dark and I can see them perfectly fine.

Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).

I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).

I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... it's because the boundary commission have released their finalised report into the boundary review, and hardly anybody is happy about it. The vast majority of politicians, you see, wanted the boundary review to advantage their party and shaft their rivals. The boundary commission, meanwhile, have been scrupulously fair, and tried quite hard to advantage nobody and shaft nobody.

Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.

The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
  1. The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.

  2. The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.

  3. We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.

  4. The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
All in all, I'm quite happy. So here's hoping the turkeys do, for once, vote for Christmas.



1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.

The Blood is the Life for 17-10-2017

Oct. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
apiphile: (not enough fart jokes)
[personal profile] apiphile
there is a specific language for every genre and every audience. there is a specific language for fandom bnf. it was set around 2006 i think, and does not appear to have changed. i'm trying to think what voice and language it is that i like but i read so little fiction now it's hard to pinpoint. bombastic psychogeographical demi-fiction has made up a lot of my reading list for months. cosy, well-edited historical detective fiction, where everything is left hanging between what is said, and yet what is said is very blunt (... makes me think of the moments before a beat drop? weird); and listening very slowly and intermittantly to the emotional torment of inferred vicious mundanity picked apart with classical allusion and poetry in mary renault. i'm perenially concerned that i'm losing the lyricism a teacher once insisted was a hallmark of my prose, but i hanker after the absolute cleanness of pat barker so it's something of a balancing act; i used to "stack" figurative language (three different similes and metaphors, homing in on the precise image or mood) but that feels flatulent now. have become more editor than poet.
apiphile: (did it on purpose)
[personal profile] apiphile
due to transport fail, jess didn't get back from her "stupid youtube people do a talk about things" event until like 3am, and therefore didn't go to work today, which slightly threw off my schedule; all in all i would not really like to repeat any part of today as the whole thing has been a bit shite (bad workout driven by need to spread calorie consumption - shift changeover day - and not consume caffeine in the morning, ditto; rushed pre-work chores and some stuff unfortunately skipped), but i arrived early enough for dance class that i managed to go for a walk, a coffee, and some reading in the weird portentous weather Ophelia has brought to us, which was kind of good.

also dance was better this week; coffee'd, I was more functional, if SORE, and we had the proper instructor who very helpfully actually calls the time and sides, which means I don't have to add "counting" and "thinking about sides" to the list of shit to remember (she did also give general, to the whole class advice/critique which unfortunately was ALWAYS something I was doing because I still SUCK); main problem areas remain the inability to keep my foot level (world's shortest achilles tendon means i point my toes automatically), inability to use the different parts of my arm instead of my arm as a unit (shoulder! elbow! wrist! hand! NO NOT ENTIRE ARM AT ONCE), and posture. she did very helpfully also say that footwork was what to concentrate on and that everything else will follow naturally from that, and unsurprisingly the one thing i asked for clarification on (back-step hip lifts) is now the one thing i have no problem with.

still haven't done my turkish lesson for today due to TOO MUCH so i should probably get on that. have taken calorie baseline up a further 100 a day this week. am trying to head off impulse purchases (he says, currently drinking one) by photographing the thing i want and then coming back to it later.

And now: WORK. Last week of work before my Big Holiday / Book Hell. Got to get my outline edits FINISHED by the 20th because that's when I'm getting my outline booklet printed. Fnrgh.

EDIT: Turkish lesson successfully completed with NO MISTAKES for once. While sitting on the work toilet.

Our survey says…

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:32 pm
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Obviously for data protection reasons I can't go into much detail about the responses FCC got to the end of conference survey, but I do want to highlight one small area:

The impressive number of you who said Glee was the best fringe event, and the smaller but still impressive number who said we were the best thing about conference full stop, and the hardy few who said the best way to improve conference would be to have more Glee, and the one dear sweet soul who said Glee was their main reason for coming to conference?

I am genuinely touched and I love you all. Thank you. It makes it absolutely worth trying to chair a debate with a hangover and a sore throat first thing in the morning after. You guys rule.

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

One of Those Days

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:48 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Been a strange, nerve-jangly sort of day.

I missed a lecture because there were no fucking buses for 40 minutes. I know I could've turned up late but I was all wound up by then, and I can catch up because the lectures and slides are recorded.

We got the orange sun around lunchtime, it's clear and sunny here now (though still with particles of dust in the air hurting my eyes) but it's gone down south where a million more people are tweeting about it, and a million freaked-out status updates on Facebook and bad-joke tweets haven't helped somehow. That we feel such a sense of impending doom at such a minor change in the quality of the light makes it easy to see why humans had to invent religion.

I didn't feel doomy but I was also pretty sure it was something to do with the hurricane, and the hurricane is because of climate change and that make terrified and so miserable. My anxious brain told me "One day we'll look back on these as the good old days, weather-wise," because my anxious brain hates me.

I slept awfully last night. Went to bed early, woke up after midnight and didnt get back to sleep until five in the morning.

Andrew emailed while I was out saying the washing machine is broken, he thinks he can fix it but I'll need to help. But when I got back home he's out, so I'm sitting here writing this instead. I hope the washing machine's okay, we can't afford it not to be. Don't know where he is, but I think he was going to buy food. And I thought of something on my way home that I wanted but I forgot to tell him to get.

The people next door are having building work done on their house, and the loud whine of the drills makes it hard to concentrate or relax.

I need a hug or a cry or a sleep or a vacation. But none of those things seem like they'd be enough really.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I just got around to filing all my paperwork from Bournemouth conference, and I realised that I'm not going to be able to fit any more into that lever arch file:



This means that paperwork from the three meetings I have remaining to attend this year will need to go in a new file. This displeases me; I wanted to be all neat and do a file per year.

* grumpy face *

The Blood is the Life for 16-10-2017

Oct. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
Every year, a bunch of ChrisC's university friends rent a big house and go away for the weekend.

Which caused a little consternation for us )

So there was some panicking, and ChrisC and I churned out a 50-question "nostalgia" quiz. Note: the target demographic for this is quiz is emphatically people who were born in the mid 70's, and grew up in the UK. Anyone else is very possibly going to struggle.

Hell yeah, I'd like a 90s nostalgia quiz... )
apiphile: (quite enjoying this)
[personal profile] apiphile
guys here are two things i have known about myself for a long time:

1. i respond really well to sunlight
2. being around people who visibly enjoy my company makes me energised and stops my brain from eating itself (until afterwards when it goes into overdrive somewhat); sometimes to the point where i become A Bit Manic and talk far too much and too quickly

for some reason, much like "the day after exercise hurts" and "eating food make stomach pain go away" this continually surprises me.

SATURDAY (remainder): Probably should just accept that sitting on a bus for hours just puts me into a trance in which it's impossible to read or review outlines. At best I just play 2048 obsessively or stare out of the window. I manage a maximum of ten minutes. Saturday, I had absolutely monstrous bus stress (compounded by not reading instructions properly, journey planner being a big liar, Bank being the hell on earth it has always been, and deciding to stop to buy a banana from Starbucks and being stuck behind world's slowest idiot and most conscientious and forgetful barista) and wasted data venting it onto Twitter, but in spite of this AND getting temporarily lost on the very short walk in Rotherhithe - which is very pretty at the moment but unnavigable beyond my ur-bility (that's "innate" but also "urban ability" herf derf) of "find river" (South London is not a real place, the Thames should never be NORTH of one within the city) - I got there slightly early and was almost immediately mistaken by both a M.O.P. and a volunteer for one of the performers. Outfit (& make-up: https://www.instagram.com/p/BaO0gWHhvPa/?taken-by=derekdesanges ) of waistcoat, shirt, (pins: https://www.instagram.com/p/BaO1ucmhBTA/?taken-by=derekdesanges ) and black harem pants standing in for high-waisted wide-leg 30s trousers probably didn't help. Sat with R & C over their dinner and listened to the nightmare that is C's working life (much like J, and indeed H, C's problems stem from imbecilic immediate boss, communication problems, and not having work appreciated fully; I feel oddly alienated as mine basically revolve around my impending obsolescence and complete lack of opportunity for advancement out of this state).

Went down THE SHAFT for the singalong after a brief sojourn to the roof for marshmallow toasting. The garden (full of braziers and burning torches, overseen by some stars, dotted with stumps and herbs? Literally perfect. could not have asked for better) is on the roof of a tunnel shaft made - as Tricity informed me later, having just learnt herself and like me always eager to immediately pass on knowledge - by building the whole shaft and then digging under it so that it sank. Never done before Brunel, but ever since it's been the way to make a tunnel shaft? IKB was a big name where I grew up because of the bridges and the GWR (Great Western Railway, which has been resurrected as a business name because of the stank associations of First Great Western) but this I did not know.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaPIRZThn2J/?taken-by=derekdesanges multi photo set includes my odious mug ;)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaPjrMnB774/?taken-by=derekdesanges

Lovely singalong slightly marred by two separate sets of people talking constantly behind us, in two separate bloody acts, but elevated by an audience member who took the opportunity to make her Jazz Kazoo Soloist debut in her magnificent and stylish stride; by the mocktails (pictured above) I stuck to all night being delicious; by the amazing acoustics and the chance to finally test out my vocal range around people who won't COMPLAIN CONSTANTLY BECAUSE I'M SINGING; by getting all my marshmallows toasted *just so*, and a conversation with C about indigenous insular plant cuisine and mallow; and lastly by Tricity being delighted to see me (last time was at the Caravan Club many months ago, when I acted the part of Rico in her Copa Cobana ukulele singalong, if you recall) and introduced me to Matthew Floyd-Jones, also known as Mannish, one half of Frisky & Mannish, whom I've loved since I went to see a night which Maud was stage-managing and Suzy was also visiting, at the Café de Paris about 8 or 9 years ago.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaPjjArhWYO/?taken-by=derekdesanges (multi image set features tricity & kazooist fern, matthew singing about depression, the garden, and the punters leaving at the end of the night, taken from the top of the shaft)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRAaIIBYgl/?taken-by=derekdesanges video

SUNDAY: Scoured the farmers market after breakfast and being asked directions to the football grounds by a man wielding an appropriately football-attired small child, but as I was sans cash and the only thing I wanted really to buy was coffee (which only takes cash) I had to limit myself to hoovering as many free samples as I could (mainly apple, some of the vegan cakes; "How are we this week?" asked Cute Vegan Cake Man, recalling my admittedly memorable constellation of piercings. "Hungover all to balls," I lied, to avoid conversation).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRQHqZB_WY/?taken-by=derekdesanges
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRP6Y1h18b/?taken-by=derekdesanges

After a surprisingly productive bus ride and accidental grocery spree (Co-Op is dangerous), I used my "arrived early" time at the Tate to write the first half of this entry, while sitting on the weird carpeted floor carefully just out of the trajectory of the massive shiny swinging wrecking ball that everyone else was lying underneath because NO THE FUCK THANK YOU. Raced Bear Chris and Holly by text nagging; Chris on motorbike, Holly by Tube. Chris won, because Holly forgot where the tube IS in relation to the gallery, which gave Chris time to interrogate me about "A hole in Rotherhithe?" and "YOU'VE BEEN BLOODY QUIET ABOUT THIS ANTHOLOGY" (I'm superstitious, Chris, if I talk about it in public it will be shitcanned and everyone will think I'm a liar).

Waiting for the swings (that we'd come to have a go on) to come free, I climbed up the supporting poles and turned myself upside down because I will literally do this at every vaguely socially-acceptable opportunity and also I was already slightly more highly-caffeinated than I should have been. Indescribably bad plan. After squats my thighs are a wreck and hanging on got quite difficult. Happily Holly didn't manage to sort out her camera in time to capture me turning into an inverted tomato. Also, not only wired on coffe by SERIOUSLY OVERSTIMULATED. There is also a film on Chris's phone of me "being competitive" and "about to kick me in the head" - I've only met the man a handful of times and already he's formed An Opinion and the Opinion is that I'm violent and competitive. I put this to Lindsay just now and his entire response was "yes, that is accurate".

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRhGuDl3xg/ i was not trying to break it i was merely trying to launch myself into orbit. now. admittedly. i have never seen how high i go before, from this angle. it is. a little alarming.

We also went up to the observation deck of the new wing, 10 floors up in a crowded elevator, which - unlike Monument, St Paul's, the Shard, the Eye, or Oxo Tower, is FREE - and talked architecture, since there was a lot of it around. Not a bad day for it. Amazing views. I haven't uploaded all of them yet but:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRgPMzh-CB/?taken-by=derekdesanges
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRhfDRh-VE/?taken-by=derekdesanges

Chris fucked off to see the art show he'd meant to go to before when stricken with INTESTINES; Holly and I examined the rest of the gallery - well, some of it, there's a lot:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRfbgwBxYl/?taken-by=derekdesanges (video)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRf73OBuM4/?taken-by=derekdesanges (video: word at the end is bengaluru & believe me sitting on beanbags to watch three videos about beijing, beirut, and bengaluru/bangalore and how those cities impacted the specific artists in the videos was a welcome relief from stairs and yelling... also made me realise suddenly i could just like, pin up more fake ivy in my house? somehow that connection was made. only i can't because i can't find my fucking hammer)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRfshVBxXg/?taken-by=derekdesanges (composite)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRf4MEBDqM/?taken-by=derekdesanges (composite)

and uh, i tried on one of the kids' miffy t-shirts (there is a photo but i haven't uploaded it). for ages 7-8? fits like a belly top and i look distressingly swoll. i want it. it's £15, unlike the bike tyre bag they also have which is £140 or their OUR BEES ON THE ROOF OF THIS BUILDING MADE THIS honey, which i feel is probably also idiotically expensive.

We slowly made out way to the Diwali celebrations in Trafalgar Square via South Bank, please just imagine my NON STOP TALKING (including a brief belly dancing demonstration and Holly revealing that she'd tried teaching herself with a downloaded video while at Uni). The celebrations were as they usually are: loud, crowded, impossible to get to anything, I didn't have cash so couldn't buy the intriguing Spice Essence Oils - you're meant to eat them - or any chai, no chance to get into any of the remaining workshops (too late for bhangra or learning to tie a sari or learning anything about the meaning of Diwali), too hard to get into the comedy tent (overheard: "[something about a woman in the corner], that's my mother actually. Disapproving of my life choices.") although we did get to meet some Hanuman actors with gold tops and blue faces who decided Holly's hair and my piercings were wildly entertaining (Holly has a photo of herself with them in which she is pulling an appalling face). Holly took the whole madness and crowdedness rather better than Jess took Matsuri, which was positively sparse and calm in comparison (I mean, I could make a generalisation about cultural differences as well between India and Japan but eh).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRx9KHhFLE/?taken-by=derekdesanges (holly informed me a former colleague had told her she would suit a sari, but holly feels like if she ever wears one DOOM WILL COME; i am like 9000000000000 sure a sari is Just Clothes and that it's only Specific Saris that have important cultural context but also that she's right to fear tone-deaf shouty tumblr).

We walked up to... well, initially to go to Boba Jam but got waylaid; first there was a premiere again (with a protest from BECTU members outside about a living wage, still; signs saying "£80m profits but we can't pay our rent"), and then by See Woo, where an accidental grocery spree happened but like, on the plus side, I have cheap enoki and tofu and goddamn TARO CAKES. THEN to Bobajam. I heroically resisted buying a dessert but had the chai I'd been deprived of earlier and ate some of Holly's cornflakes:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRxw9bhYrR/?taken-by=derekdesanges (i'm going back there on my birthday wandering though and i'm going to have something stupid).

Language trivia, since Duolingo has taken me through food recently: not only is "pasta" CAKE in Turkish ("makarna" is pasta) but, slightly more helpfully, çay is "tea" (ç is a "ch" noise), and "bira" (unaccented "i" is always equivalent to the "ee" in "beer", so) is beer...

Conclusion from at least one barracking, circular conversation that took in ... a lot of topics ... was "everyone who wants to be a Revolutionary should read, among other things, Lawrence's account of trying to hold and operate Damascus during the Arab Revolt and perhaps realise that small progress within a stable system in which the system is continually revised and improved upon is preferable to the ETCH A SKETCH END OF WORLD approach even if the latter feels more satisfying when you're emotionally aroused".

Mastodon

Oct. 15th, 2017 02:57 pm
miss_s_b: Christopher Lee's Dracula hovers over Joanna Lumley (Fangirling: Sir Lee Dracula)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Just flagging up that I have signed up. I am miss_s_b@mastodon.social if you are on there; there are some interesting differences with twitter, but also some depressing similarities (mansplaining strangers; prominent TERFs, despite TERFery being explicitly outlawed in the TOS) so we'll see how it goes.

I've also authorised Mastodon Bridge on both Mastodon and twitter, and would encourage others to do the same, to help us all find each other. It's important to get the syntax of your mastodon name right, but don't worry if you cock it up (like I did) you can just hit back and try again ;)

ETA: having looked at this "which instance should you join?" Mastodon quiz I'm thinking I should maybe have plumped for this one instead... so if you're considering it, it might be worth doing the quiz. We'll see. If I get into it, and if enough other people turn up on there, I may move to a different instance.

Kindle Update

Oct. 15th, 2017 02:26 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Thanks to everyone who answered my poll as to which Kindle I should get. Today I have ordered a paperwhite, and the poll is therefore now closed.
strange_complex: (Dracula 1958 cloak)
[personal profile] strange_complex
Tom Holland is best known to me for writing utterly conventional popular history books away from which I periodically have to steer my students, and nowadays also for behaving as though this somehow makes him a uniquely insightful commentator on world affairs on Twitter. (It doesn't.) But it turns out that in the mid-'90s he wrote a really rather splendid book about Lord Byron becoming a vampire. I only found out about it after the DracSoc Diodati summer bicentenary trip to Lake Geneva (LJ / DW), so missed out on reading it as part of my pre-trip prep, but probably reading it afterwards steeped in everything else I had read and seen was the best way anyway.

The start feels very, very mid-'90s, in a way that I never realised while living through it at the time that that decade could. I don't think Holland actually says that Rebecca, his wordly and professional yet nervous red-headed heroine, is wearing a scrunchie, but, metaphorically, she is. By chapter 2, though, we have moved on to a vampire Lord Byron telling her the story of how he became what he is, and that is where things really take off. Holland had obviously researched Byron's real life history very thoroughly, and blends that together with the gothic motifs of his own literature, eastern Mediterranean history and vampire lore to create something absolutely magical. We have storms and bandits in the mountains, disturbing local superstitions, a beautiful young person of ambiguous gender… and then we meet the Pasha. Vakhel Pasha, whose huge castle in the mountains stands over an ancient temple to Hades, deep beneath Byzantine, Venetian and Islamic superstructures; who has read and mastered all the teachings humanity has to offer; who can walk among the stars and call to Byron in his dreams; and whose castle and its village are peopled with dead-eyed ghoulish disciples. He is essentially Dracula with a little more historical and cultural depth, and I absolutely loved him – so ancient, so powerful, so loathsome, so malignant!

Byron's time with the Pasha, (involuntary) transformation into a vampire by him and eventual escape take up almost half the novel, and had me absolutely captivated. I really felt like Holland had seen the full potential implications of the Romantic tradition and vampire lore, and brought them to their beautiful apogee. After that, though, I found the rest of the novel a little disappointing. The fundamental problem which Holland faces is, having transformed Byron into a vampire c. 1810, how does he then carry him through the remaining fourteen years of his well-documented human lifetime while maintaining that conceit?

Now, in fairness, if you are going to do this, Holland has approached it quite cleverly. His vampires can walk around in the sunshine, eat food and father children, so Byron can pass for human without difficulty: he just has some special powers, thirsts for blood, and will burn up in the sun if he doesn't get it. Holland also draws on Byron's own vision in The Giaour of a vampire fatefully driven to drink the blood of its own family to create a tragic secret for Byron and explain much of his real-life behaviour: that he particularly craves the blood of his own descendants, and now also needs it in the present day to restore his beloved yet shriveled and ancient vampire bride to youth and beauty. This is fine and makes for a pretty decent second half of the novel, but the obligation to chug through all the main known events of Byron's lifetime alongside it does lead to rather a lot of scenes which don't serve the vampire story-line very effectively, and certainly wouldn't be in there if Holland weren't constrained by his historical framework.

Still, as I say, I think Holland handled the basic conceit of Byron-as-a-vampire about as well as he possibly could have done, and the first half of the novel in particular very much justifies the whole. It's one I will almost certainly read again at some point in the future, and would highly recommend.

5.-6. Farewell to the Discworld

Oct. 14th, 2017 08:55 pm
strange_complex: (Wicker Man sunset)
[personal profile] strange_complex
Still working my way through 2016 book reviews... I wouldn't even call these reviews, really - more just notes on my personal reading experience. Anyway, here they are.


5. Terry Pratchett (2010), I Shall Wear Midnight

This is the book I was reading when Mum died. I mean, not at that literal moment (I believe I was actually scrolling through Facebook when the phonecall came), but I was gradually working my way through it at the time. It, and The Shepherd's Crown had been lent to me by a local friend who knew about the situation, and thought some nice Terry Pratchett would be just what I needed t take my head out of it, and he was right on the whole. I knew of course that The Shepherd's Crown contained Major Character Death, so remember consciously thinking that that one might be best avoided right while I was experiencing the death of a close loved one for myself. But of course I Shall Wear Midnight also covers the death of the elderly Baron, including scenes of Tiffany providing (magical) palliative care for him beforehand, and pre-empting the decay of his body by pulling all of the heat out of a stone slab so that acts like a refrigerator afterwards. So that was all a little surreal to read while my Mum lay in a hospice and then a funeral parlour, although overall the effect was more comforting than upsetting. Death is a major recurring character in the Discworld stories precisely because he is unavoidable and universal, and it was not the worst thing to be reminded that my experiences were far from unique at that time. As for the rest of the story, it was enjoyable and non-demanding, which is exactly what I wanted from it, and I particularly liked meeting Eskarina Smith again, and seeing how awesome and accomplished she had gone on to become since we last saw her in Equal Rites.


6. Terry Pratchett (2015), The Shepherd's Crown

So yeah, then I went straight on to read this, knowing of course about Granny Weatherwax. Being forewarned meant I didn't find it particularly upsetting, and indeed the way Pratchett has always set up the relationship between witches and death meant that it was very matter-of-fact and unsentimentalised. She knew it was coming, she accepted it, she planned for it, and so it went. I was slighly surprised that it came so early in the story, but again that fitted Pratchett's deliberately unsentimentalising approach – it was never meant to be a dramatic and terrible death which came in the midst of a fight against evil (like, say, Fred Weasley's death in Harry Potter), but an ordinary everyday death, of the kind which is just part of life. Meanwhile, I was pleased for Tiffany that she inherited Granny Weatherwax's patch, which seemed a fitting honour, and liked the storyline about her struggling to cover both that and the Chalk, as well as the eventual resolution where she decides that she needs to concentrate on the Chalk after all. And I loved having the elves back, who are just so beautifully evil – absolutely my kind of malignant magical creatures. Generally a very good read.
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I'm weirdly delighted at this card my grandma got Andrew for his birthday.

He didn't bother punching out and assembling the paper airplane, but I did!

"Maybe it's because she thinks of us as going to visit on a plane?" Andrew said when he'd opened the card and was telling me about the paper airplane in it.

It certainly makes me think of that, now.

I miss my grandma. It was nice to see her handwriting again. She doesn't do e-mail or cell phones or anything, but she used to write occasionally -- it's harder now, because of her eyesight -- and I wrote back, never often enough.

This time of year is often the worst for me missing people. One of the unexpected upsides of university is how much better I've handled the changing of the seasons because of it: I've been too busy to be wistful. But there are moments.

I'll write her a nice letter, thanking her for such a great card.
apiphile: (not enough fart jokes)
[personal profile] apiphile
Taking the same bus four times in one day is some kind of new and special kind of masochism hell. (Okay on one of those four occasions it was actually a slightly different route but mostly the 67 and the 243 go roughly the same way). When that bus is also the first of your two buses to work it descends into farce.

Nevertheless, I successfully got my hair cut ("I'm not allowed to agree with you while I'm at work, and you've just described about 30% of our clients," quoth she, as I cheerfully described what I meant by Pronoun Hair, "but I do."), then with an alarmingly quick turnaround necessitated by living my entire fucking life on buses at the moment (this will teach me not to make work mistakes), went back out and arrived slightly early at Maud's to watch Clue projected on her wall.

Overate somewhat (to the point of feeling like I had appendicitis as my body isn't used to eating that much food with that much sugar in it in such a short space of time) but didn't drink-drink so I'm calling it a win. Having not seen Clue since about 2002 when I first watched it, it held up very well, was a lot funnier in more company, and the people who hadn't seen it really enjoyed it as well. Suzy's buggering off to ... somewhere warm - oh right, Malaysia - two days before the actual Halloween party and Rosie & her boyfriend will be at the Anarchist Bookfair doing facepainting all night so it was kind of a good chance to see them as well; was waxed lyrical at about the joys of bulk-buying (guys I love you but at least two of you know how small my flat is and why that categorically will not work), interrogated about my reasons for learning Turkish ("well, it's better than anime fans determined to learn Japanese, you're more likely to meet a Turkish-speaker in your area --" yeah and they're more likely to consume Japanese-language media, don't diss them) and joined in mulling over wtf is wrong with teachers who sleep with their students, a subject which comes up with all my teacher friends in exactly those terms at least once per session of socialising, because they're so dumbfounded by it ("have you MET teenagers? they're oily and smelly and clumsy and sometimes their figuring-out-their-sexuality stage might vaguely be endearing but it is NOT attractive oh my god gross"); and Maud and I explained to everyone else about the thing where our taste in movies is almost - but not quite - two entirely separate circles on a Venn diagram. "If Derek likes it I won't and if he likes I won't." // "We both like Withnail --" // "And Clue," Fred pointed out.

Slightly later we accidentally somehow got into - oh that was it
re Clue: "I just feel like everyone in that film is having SUCH A GOOD TIME with it."
Fred: I think the cast of Superman and so on might have been having fun too
Me: Different kind of fun
Maud: Not fun, no one can have fun on those films. Ever. Not just on the film. It sucks the fun out of the rest of your life too.
Me: It retroactively erases all previous fun from their lives. Watching it certainly does that.
Fred: See, you both hate Zak Snyder too!
Maud: That's...
Me: Yes but that's not really indicative of anything
Maud: Yeah
Me: Wow, we both hate DROWNING IN SHIT! WE have so much in common.
Maud: I can't believe so many people hate drowning in shit! It's a unifying experience!
Me: I bet even Donald Trump hates drowning in shit! Are we really so different, you and I?
Maud: SO MUCH UNITES US.

And then I put my ass on the bus before anyone else had left because the way home is loooooooong.

Admittedly I stopped in Akdeniz to buy fresh dates because I've always wanted to try them fresh and since I was already in calorie dumptruck territory I thought I might as well. I did. They taste almost exclusively of sugar and fibre, although slightly dry somehow? Probably the fibre. Anyway, they're great, and paired with a plum - as I had them this morning - perfect.

Today's workout was physically pretty easy (I got very distracted trying to free up enough memory on my phone to download an app with which I can monitor my fruit and veg intake because apparently stats is all I care about now) but logistically difficult as some penis hid the fucking kettle bells in the cupboard at the 24 HOUR GYM and then when I went to get the dumb bells instead one of the PTs nicked the spot I'd marked with my bottle and towel for his client. So that could have gone better.

Remainder of today is going to be spent a) on three buses and b) down a hole (possibly on a roof? Instructions are unclear got my dick caught in the ceiling fan), listening to ukulele caberet with Ruthi, which will be nice ("down a hole" here means at the Brunel Museum, a charmingly dinky museum in Rotherhithe; I am doing my utmost to support any and all events which combine Retro Party - or indeed modern rave - with education or educational locations, much as I wanted to - but never quite managed to barring once with Emma - support "Laughter in Strange Places", aka non-theatre-based stand-up comedy. I am all for busting things out of their normal locations. I liked the purity of the early flashmobs - pillow fight club in particular - and grew up on open air theatre. More unexpected cool shit and off-brand use of space please. Please.

(also last night:

Rosei & Fred are talking about how they never take buses any more because they cycle everywhere)
Derek: I'd like to cycle to work but I have to work up the strength in the gym first because it's kind of a long way
Rosie: How far?
Derek: uh, about 16km each way
Rosie: EACH WAY?
Fred: So 32 overall.
Derek: Kilometers though, not miles
Suzy: What's that in miles?
Derek: About... eleven? Each way.
Rosie: God no, that's too far.
Maud: Yeah it's only one and a half to work from here and I'm frequently like, eh, fuck it
[i'd literally just walk if it was that close]
*some discussion arises around speed of cycling*
Rosie: I mean that's going to take hours
Maud: Yeah you're averaging what, 8 mph.
Me: No? I'm definitely faster than that.
Rosie: Well about 11, max.
Me: I usually average about 25kmph
Suzy: IN MILES?
Me: *looks this up on the unit converter* No that's ... fifteen and a half, in miles an hour.
Maud: No wonder you don't have the strength, you can't go that fast!
Rosie's boyfriend: YOU AVERAGE WHAT
Me: At the gym, on the spinner.
RB: Oh, right.
Fred: It's a question of getting a nice straight cycle. There's very few chances for that.
Me: It's downhill most of the way.
Suzy: Yeah, and then uphill on the way back.
Me: Only a slight incline.
Fred: It's twenty-two miles.)

The Blood is the Life for 14-10-2017

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
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[personal profile] hollymath
"The world's quietest room is in Minnesota," Andrew just told me. "That seems appropriate, somehow."

I had to laugh. Andrew still thinks my dad is so quiet he doesn't even say all the words in his sentences, and just expects the people around him to be used to him enough to fill them in.

(After he said this I paid extra attention the next time I was around my dad, and I'm sure he says all the words. But the fact that I found this plausible enough to have to check? Probably says a lot.)
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