- Reading, books 2017: 34
14. Christopher and Columbus, by Elizabeth von Arnim, 1919, novel. The heroines are vacuous and spoiled 17 year old junkerbrats who can't even recognise their own possessions without a maid (both vacuousness and spoiledness being faults inflicted on the teenage girls by their parents, obv), and their selfish thoughtlessness leads to them carelessly ill-using the possessions of other people who aren't in an economic position to constantly replace stolen or damaged items such as hairpins and nail-scissors, so I didn't warm to them as protagonists despite the many amusing observational moments. (2/5 off to the charity shop)
• Because I always quote these examples of changing usages 1: It was terrible to see Uncle Arthur very nearly gay, and both his wife and the twins were most uncomfortable. "I wonder what's the matter now," sighed Aunt Alice to herself, as she nervously crumbled her toast.
• Hmm: they were more than ever convinced that nothing in the way of unfriendliness or unkindness could stand up against sun and oranges.
• "Young gurl, you may be a spiritualist, and a table-turner, and a psychic-rummager, and a ghost-fancier, and anything else you please, and get what comfort you can out of your coming backs and the rest of the blessed truck, but I know better. [...]"
• Because I always quote these examples of changing usages 2: Houses have their expressions, their distinctive faces, very much as people have, meditated Mr. Twist the morning of the opening, as he sat astride a green chair at the bottom of the little garden, where a hedge of sweetbriar beautifully separated the Twinkler domain from the rolling fields that lay between it and the Pacific, and stared at his handiwork; and the conclusion was forced upon him--reluctantly, for it was the last thing he had wanted The Open Arms to do--that the thing looked as if it were winking at him. / Positively, thought Mr. Twist, his hat on the back of his head, staring, that was what it seemed to be doing. How was that? He studied it profoundly, his head on one side. Was it that it was so very gay? He hadn't meant it to be gay like that.
• LOL widows: descriptions of the dreadfulness of the early days of widowhood, when one's crepe veil keeps on catching in everything - chairs, overhanging branches, and passers-by, including it appeared on one occasion a policeman.
The Chicago evening papers, prompt on the track of a sensation, had caused her friends much painful if only short-lived amazement by coming out with huge equivocal headlines:
WELL-KNOWN SOCIETY WIDOW AND POLICEMAN CAUGHT TOGETHER
Yesterday, bound for a conference. Got the train okay.
About a third of the way into the journey, train stops.
Someone had collided with a train further up the line.
In due course we are informed that train will be terminating at a station not previously on the schedule, where we can change to a train going, presumably by some more circuitous route, to the next scheduled stop, but not, however, onwards to my destination.
When we arrive at designated point, it is chucking down rain. Fortunately the next train is in and we only need to cross the platform. It is, however, rather full, though I did manage to get a seat.
Another, local, and very crowded train at the next change.
My dearios may imagine that all this was by no means conducive to reading a serious academic study for review purposes.
Once at my destination, some 2 hours later than anticipated, there was supposed to be a taxi booked for me - I had been in touch with the conference admin person anent delays - what I had not been told was that it would be round the back rather than the main exit.
Not that it was there when I found the spot, and cameth not as I waited in an increasing state of fume - it would always have been tiresome but after the preceding misadventures this was particularly infuriating - and a chilly wind. Fortunately, what did turn up was the taxi for one of the other participants, so I went with her.
I do not mention the faff over my ticket - got details and booking ref latish previous afternoon.
Inadequate curtainage in hotel room meant undesirably early waking....
And now I have to present a paper, sigh.
All money raised for this event will provide financial aid to participants of Camp Sojourner, a nonprofit leadership program for Philadelphia girls that focuses on team-building, leadership development, creative arts, and appreciation of nature. Now more than ever, our young people need positive opportunities that their families can afford.
Please visit my page at https://wizathon.com/sojourner-truth-
I was forcibly reminded of this old (among linguists) gag while skimming Wikipedia's talk page for the article Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, whose describer "chose the name because the moth's head cover reminded him of the hair of then President-elect Donald Trump."
The talk page is over 5,000 words long, all of it since January 18, and almost all of it taken up with a user called Staszek Lem , who went apeshit over the inclusion in the article of the size of the male insect's genitals... which is a standard part of the description of insects, as another user pointed out:
And in the last section (as of now) of the talk page (oomphasis added):
And somebody did name an insect for Hitler, albeit in 1933. I don't know whether the namer admired Hitler or was just sucking up to the powerful. Plantdrew (talk)
'Tis with some chagrin that I open a letter from dearest Belinda, that writes that she hears that I am return'd to Town, and I mind that I have not writ to her this age. I hope she does not take offense in the matter or suppose I go scorn her.
But she writes in all good humour to mention that they have had dealings with Captain C-, and that she is in correspondence with Chancery over the matter of T-, but she doubts that there will be any immediate action; and she hopes that I may join 'em for the Derby again this year. She also wonders a little whether my jaunt abroad had somewhat to do with that matter I open'd to 'em last summer. But as I am happyly return'd she confides that all's well.
So I address myself at once to inditing a letter to her with as much of my news as 'tis prudent to convey, and declaring that 'twould be an entire pleasure to join their party for the Derby.
'Tis most particular shocking to me to have neglect'd to write to her, when I contemplate that this very e'en I am bound to Lord A-'s ball at B- House, that will sure be a matter of interest to her.
But indeed, I have been entire besieg'd with invitations and callers and the wranglings among the philanthropick set, and trying put my writings in fit condition to be publisht or stag'd, and going furbish up my wardrobe so that Docket will not scold me. Yet 'tis most thoughtless in me.
But I cannot regret the hours spent about my wardrobe when I go have Docket and Sophy array me for the B- House ball: sure I am a vain creature, but it pleases me to look so exceeding well in a fine new satin gown of Maurice's devizing, with my fine Hindoo rubies blazing about my neck and my pearls gleaming in my hair. They stand back and look very approving.
Docket nods and says sure Maurice does excellent fine work.
I arrive at B- House late enough not to be unfashionable early, but not so late as to look haughty. I greet Lord and Lady A- very warm: I confide that she is at that stage of increase where she begins show a little but is like to feel exceeding well. Certainly she looks so, and I remark upon how very much she is in looks. Lord A- looks at her very proud and says, but she should not overdo: I daresay Mrs O- B- has been dispensing cautions.
I say that I hope we may have the pleasure of hearing her sing, if only a little, before I proceed up the stair to see the rest of the company.
Sure one would not know B- House for that desolate wreck that us'd to be, 'tis now a fine fashionable residence entire throng'd with quite the best society, and I can hardly even believe it that same place where I was menac'd by that creeping madman. The chamber in which I was so terroriz'd by that horrid apparition is now a fine musick room in which Mrs O- B- goes delight an audience with her song.
I go in very quiet and sit down to listen for a little while, and find myself next to Sebastian K-. We nod very civil to one another in silence so as not to distract the other listeners.
After Mrs O- B- goes sit down to considerable applause, I stand and leave the room, for tho' tis most agreeable to listen to good singing, I must go improve the shining hour, whilst I also demonstrate that I may still dance a very great deal without I go swoon.
I should perchance have preferr'd not to dance with Mr O- B- so early in the proceedings, for tho' a most amiable fellow is a quite wretch'd dancer that treads upon my feet, but I must show civil. Is most effusive as to what a fine residence this is, how very pleasant Lord A- shows - has took him a time or two to play goff at Blackheath ('tis indeed a great mark of favour); entirely doats upon Charley, and comes about to an apprehension of the duties of his rank.
Why, says I, that is entire pleasing. Was ever an agreeable young fellow but somewhat of a careless fribble.
Goes very meritorious to take up the business of his estates, goes on Mr B-. And is a fellow will listen to advice.
The dance ends and I endeavour not to hobble as I quit the floor. I stand wriggling my toes to ascertain they are not broken.
Comes over Lord O-, that has been dancing with Cousin Lalage – 'tis in exceeding good ton of him – and asks me to dance. I concede with pleasure.
He says, he is entire glad that Lady B- is return’d to Town, along with Mr MacD- - he gives a certain smile by which I confide he supposes that we have been about matters for The Cause; 'tis indeed not entirely mistook – for he comes about to have the manuscript for the book of his travels complet’d, and would scarce dare venture it upon the world without he took it before our judgements.
O, poo, says I, I am like to suppose 'tis quite entire its own recommendation: Mr L- was most entire prepossesst by the preliminary essays he publisht – declar’d they had a fine virile style -
The Marquess’s lips twitch and he says, sure he cannot have suppos’d how much assistance I had from a certain lady of the pen -
Tush, says I, 'tis entire like unto advizing concerning furbishing up a residence: a gentleman’s study and a lady’s boudoir will require a different approach. But, I go on, I see that you have quite another kind of production in progress –
He looks somewhat more sober and says, sure the prospect is exceeding delightfull, but one cannot entire be unfearfull, 'tis a perilous matter for women.
'Tis indeed so, says I, I hope you have her in good hands?
He says that he understands Mr H- to be very well-thought-of in the man-midwife line.
Entirely, says I, tho’ did you prefer a midwife of the more usual sex there is one whose interest I might advance to you.
He looks thoughtfull and says, he will ask his dear Hippolyta what she might prefer.
At the end of the measure I observe Lieutenant H- approaching. He makes me a leg and offers that I might care to dance? As he leads me onto the floor I remark that I had not expect’d to see him still in Town rather than return’d to his ship. He sighs somewhat and says, is at present second’d to duty at the Admiralty, sure had rather be at sea, hears I was lately at Naples, was the fleet there?
O, says I, arriv’d just about as I was about returning to Town, heard the Admiral’s excellent news.
He says somewhat of what a fine fellow is the Admiral, what a privilege 'tis to serve with him, and then his gaze strays to where Em is dancing with some fellow that I do not immediate recognize, and I confide that there are certain attractions ashore, even does he yearn for salt water.
At the end of the dance he goes with great expedition solicit Em, and I look about me and see where Viola is sitting. I go greet her and she says, she confides I have not yet been introduc’d to Rebecca G-, that is dear Jacob’s niece, and Julia P-, from Bombay.
They are indeed very fine-looking young women, of a most out of the common exotick style of beauty, that make exceeding civil. Miss P- in particular has a fine ivory-tint’d complexion and smooth raven hair and finely-cut features; perchance there is a little look of the Orient, that may be attribut’d to her upbringing in Bombay. I am like to think that Sir Z- R- would be quite wild to paint her, and remark on this.
Why, says Viola, perchance we might go to his studio one day, there can be entirely no objection to the matter.
Then come up the gentlemen to whom the young ladies have promis’d the next dance. I sit down beside Viola, ignoring that Sir V- P- endeavours catch my eye to come solicit me.
I mind, says I, that Martha found the scent of paints &C somewhat unsettling when she first went increase with Deborah.
Viola sighs and says, indeed she at present finds there are certain scents do cause a certain qualmishness, 'tis somewhat tiresome. Might you, dear C-, be kind enough to take 'em there? Are they not quite among the belles of the Season?
Entirely, says I, do they yet have any eligible offers?
O, there are several go pay 'em most particular attention, but do not yet come to that point. But 'twixt their looks, their portions, and their very excellent address, I cannot think they will linger upon hand very long. And, she goes on, Miss C- I think has already took, Lord V- shows exceeding smitten.
So 'tis give out, says I. What about Lady Rosamund?
Viola sighs and says, she was anticipating a young woman that would display theologickal objections like unto her brother; and sure she is mind’d to suppose that that would be a deal less exasperating than the ways she shows. But, she goes on, you should not be sitting out with me, dearest C-, I am sure that there are a deal of fellows quite panting to dance with the exquisite Lady B-.
'Tis possible, I concede, so be I may evade the antient ram. Aha, I continue, I observe Mr Geoffrey M- -
Viola laughs somewhat immoderate and says, do you go have a youthfull cicisbeo like unto Lady Z-? 'Twill be said that you have got quite into Italian habits.
O, poo, says I, he is an agreeable and respectfull young fellow.
Indeed, he comes over and makes an elegant leg – one may most certain see the effect of his association with Milord – and offers that I may care to dance?
I rise and curtesy and we go tread a measure, during which he conveys to me some very shocking matters he has lately discover’d in his studies concerning the laws of the nation.
No wonder I'm not sleeping.
And yet I can't stop reading it. I would say at least it's short and sweet, but that would be too sarcastic for our current circumstances, eh?
I'm now 3 months behind on the rent. I will start posting some of our more interesting books here again; some are not terribly expensive but kind of cool, some more expensive (not over $50) and tres cool. Hopefully they'll catch someone's eye.
I'll also repost my amigurumi cats so you can see the new colors: those can be ordered directly via here or from the Etsy store (again, I'll post links along with the photos).
A girl's gotta make a living. Right now I'm not. We are down to a box of spaghetti and not even a jar of sauce. I couldn't buy bread today because I had to pay the Internet and phone bill for the store (last month's was overdue). I hate whining, but I'm worried and tired and my back is killing me (and I can't go to the doctor for my spine because ... copay fees).
Every little bit will help right now. Oh, and a reminder to everyone here: You can help with nicklels and dimes by NOT buying through Amazon and instead ordering (free shipping!) your new books through my bookstore's website. All books in print, CDs, DVDs, everything you'd find otherwise is there.
click on order books online at this site
The Summer Without Men, by Siri Hustvedt.
• What did you recently finish reading?
Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars, by Jeff Lemire. A robot who is also an adorable little boy survives terrible and mysterious catastrophes. He may hold the key to understanding and preventing their return. The other characters and the settings are interesting. The art is beautiful. I would have loved this if I had read it when I was young. Now, I have read enough stories to notice when the plot is steered by the Rule of Cool, when the answer to "Why didn't the characters do the smart thing?" is "Because the author wanted a torture scene/a robot gladiator scene/a woman dying, gasping a slogan." Also, I have read enough stories that treat women as people to find the Weasley ratio really annoyingly noticeable. There's one female main character, one female supporting character, a few more who get a line but not a name. And only one of these female characters is human: the robot boy's dead mom.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I've got suggestions to read or reread for my SF economics panel:
The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow
The Peripheral, by William Gibson
The Marq'ssan Cycle books by L. Timmel Duchamp
More suggestions still welcome!
The second half started with the Tenor and the Mezzo having their big operatic solos, then we had the Franz Jägerstatter stuff, a duet from the Merry Widow, and then Gilbert and Sullivan, which by that time came as a welcome relief to everyone, I'm fairly sure. And our encore was the Brindisi. So I had a nice rest for most of part two, and then had to run around at the end (literally, in fact, because our conductor started playing the introduction for the chorus in which I have the opening solo while the tenor and I were still taking our bows for the duet in front of the piano, and the chorus requires us to be behind the piano with everyone else), with three solos in a row, all in a bigger, more operatic style than I am accustomed to singing in. And all with top Bs and B flats in them. My legs were shaking by the time I was done. But fortunately my cold held off long enough for my top Bs to be there right at the end.
As for the duets, about which I realise I have spoken FAR TOO MUCH already, but this is my journal so I can be boring if I like...
The duet with the countertenor was, I think, the most transcendent musical experience of my life to date. I'm still breathless thinking about it. I've sung Pur Ti Miro before, with a tenor, and that was a lot of fun, but singing it with a countertenor means that you are both in the same register, and your voices wind around each other and blend in a very sensual way, and it's just breathtaking. Literally, actually – this particular countertenor is very easy to sing with (our voices match quite effortlessly), which is a good thing, because the intimacy created by the music and by staring into each other's eyes for the entire duration of the duet, I really was having trouble remembering to breathe. And not melt. He really is unfairly good-looking, and that voice is just beautiful.
From what various audience members said afterwards, the duet was a highlight for them, too, which is good to know. I wasn't even aware of the audience, to be honest.
The Brindisi was fun - I just followed the tenor's lead in being fairly over the top, and we wound up singing the last verse at each other in a cheeky and amusing fashion.
And then of course there was the Gilbert and Sullivan duet, and which was a lot of fun at the time, but hilarious in retrospect. We hadn't actually practiced in the concert space, and the main thing we had really discussed was our closing pose – which is like one of the more modern ballroom dance holds, left hands held at shoulder height, and his arm around my waist. And other than that, I said, look, just indicate what you want me to do and I'll follow.
This particular song has me singing to him, then a chorus together, then him singing to me, then more chorus. The first part went as expected, but then we got to his verse, and suddenly, we seemed to be doing a bit of dancing. There would be an arm around my waist, there would be handholding, and so forth. I went where I was put, wondering why the tenor had decided to make this so complicated for himself, but also quite enjoying it, and trying to respond with compatible and appropriate gestures, because really, it was easier than standing there trying to find a whole verse's worth of ways to look sweet and adoring.
Afterwards, we had several people come up to us and commented on our lovely choreography and how good it was and who had come up with it, and the tenor said modest things about it being improvised. And then (when the audience was gone) I asked him why he had done that.
Well, it turns out that I was playing by choir concert rules - soloist steps forward at the start of her verse, and then steps back at the end - while the tenor was playing by stage rules - soloist steps backwards at the start of his voice, the better to sing to his duet partner without having to look away from the audience. And I kept shifting back during his verse so that he would be in front of me – something I wasn't even aware that I was doing, it was that instinctive. So our entire – and apparently very pretty – choreography was the tenor trying to get me to stand somewhere that he could sing to me comfortably, and me moving into precisely the wrong spot every time he stopped actively doing so! Oops. Fortunately, he was as amused by the whole thing as I was, and I was treated to an advanced seminar in the car on the way home on the history of upstaging (in the technical, rather than the perjorative sense) and the basics of stagecraft. (This is where more than two runs of the piece before we performed it would probably have helped...)
And then I went home and could not sleep because so much music and so much singing and oh, that countertenor and his beautiful eyes!
(He's happily partnered. I'm happily married. Doesn't matter. He still has beautiful eyes.)
So yes. The concert over, and here I am at the end of my holiday. I'm back at work tomorrow, because, annoyingly, there were a bunch of things going on that meant I couldn't finish the week at home. I've got a lot less done than I meant to, but then, I really did spend a lot of time singing.
And I'm definitely getting a cold. But at least I got through the concert first. And I'm so very glad I had the chance to sing it. Especially given how apprehensive I was about quite large chunks of it this time last week.
It was an Extremely Packed weekend; I wound up spending intensive amounts of time somehow with about three or four people or groups each day, which sometimes turned into real whiplash and "Was that today? That was this morning, I guess." Except for the day that was entirely in the suburbs, I also walked about seven to nine miles each day, in some very worn-out shoes, so I think I've really earned these. Gosh — I spent two days at the Art Institute, saw nearly all my favorite neighborhoods and places, ate too much very good food, hugged a lot of very dear people and (this is the unbelievably scripted part) last night, within about three hours of each other, I had cause to run into people who were just in town for a hot minute but whom I hadn't seen in forever, and the hugs were EPIC and so, so, so good. (One was my favorite-ever teacher at UChicago, a TA for a Shakespeare class who has been one of my biggest champions since graduating; it's been quite a while in person. I was floating on that encounter for hours. The other was a guy I'd met through improv who'd just this weekend come back from four months performing on a cruise ship with Second City. I spotted him through an open door as he was waiting to walk on during a reading.)
It was lilac season, of course. The air smelled amazing every day and each night. The sky was clear and mostly cloudless, that mild, delicate perfect springtime. It all really could not have been scripted better, right down to the rainy mug that is New York right now. I had some very good conversations with family members and friends alike; one big thing that I realized about my job hunt is that I haven't been looking for what's the best fit for me, I've been looking for whatever's most prestigious, and for one reason only: revenge. As Inigo Montoya will tell you, that's not really a sustainable way of thinking. More and more thoughts ongoing about how to live my life actually for me, rather than proving someone(s) wrong or trying to make other people happy/proud.
Biggest decision: I'm going to spend the rest of this year making a real go of it at freelancing and job-hunting. I'm challenging myself to earn certain progressive amounts through writing. By focusing on that, I'll have more luck finding a job that's a good fit, as well as giving me more guilt-free time to actually work on things like comics and novels and photography and social things. If I'm not satisfied with my life in Brooklyn by the end of the year, with my lease up in January, I'm moving back to Chicago. I even bought a ring as an ongoing visual promise to myself. As my friend Clancy (who is doing freelance videography in Cincinnati and Actually Doing It, despite all her doubts!) told me on Monday, right now, with where we're actually at in our lives (ha!), the fall is not that far.
So yeah, that was a very good trip. Much-needed, and done very right.
Trying isn't the word, really. I'm compelled up and out of the house to wander the earth. Fortunately this bit of the earth is damn pretty right now.
Here, then, are some photos from various park-hunting expeditions of the last few days, organized around the theme of awesome local species rather than chronology, because I'm too tired to explain the chronology.
( Distinctive Regional Species and general springiness )
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant)
Hmmm not quite sure what to say about these books! It's been quite a while since I've reread them since this was never the Tamora Pierce series that I was most captivated by.
They're obviously her first books, and have a variety of flaws (some plot points/character choices that don't quite make sense, the well-meaning racism that's racism nonetheless, the uncomfortable dynamics in how some of Alanna's romantic relationships are portrayed, and so forth) but the books are nonetheless a charming quick read, if you can look past those factors.
Also its brand of feminism is...of its era (Alanna is Not Like Other Girls! And so forth.) but it's well-meaning and was hugely important for its time.
And I still have huge quantities of childhood nostalgia for these books. I care about these characters so much!
This weekend, April 28-30, people coming to Penguicon in Southfield, Michigan can catch a number of sessions of interest to Geek Feminism readers.
Coraline Ada Ehmke is one of the Guests of Honor (her Penguicon schedule). Ehmke “is a speaker, writer, open source advocate and technologist with over 20 years of experience in developing apps for the web. She works diligently to promote diversity and inclusivity in open source and the tech industry.” She and others are participating in a Women in Tech panel and Q&A on Saturday.
Perhaps I’ll see you at the con! Feel free to comment if you’re going to be there and mention any parties or sessions you’re particularly looking forward to.
And I seem to have deleted a pile of messages from my inbox, but not those from the pathetic little trolls, whose tiresome repetition is like counting sheep, "Am I bugging you yet? Am I bugging you yet? Am I bugging you yet? How about now? Maybe now? How about now?"
Zzzzzzzzzzzzz........Ahem. Yack. Where was I?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Bell is not a graceful writer, but he conveys his information clearly. He is a sane and responsible Ripperologist--meaning that he assesses evidence logically, refers generally to "the Whitechapel murders" to avoid questions about which women are "canonical" Jack-the-Ripper victims and which aren't, and regards all letters, chalked messages, pieces of kidney, and other communications alleged to be from Jack the Ripper with healthy skepticism--and has done a great deal of research into the lives of ordinary bobbies, specifically in H Division (Whitechapel), but more generally in the Metropolitan and City Police. Questions about uniforms, about training, about what a constable's "beat" actually consisted of, about the likely career path (you could rise up steadily through the ranks as long as you didn't trip yourself up by getting sacked for being drunk on duty--which happened a lot), the procedure for interviewing witnesses, communications between Scotland Yard and individual stations, what happened when someone was arrested for drunk and disorderly, where the chinks were for corruption to creep in. He goes into detail about Sir Charles Warren's rise and fall (including some incidents I had never read about before), and throughout he presents the Whitechapel murders as much as possible as they were experienced by the police of London.
Highly recommended for anyone researching--for whatever purpose--the police of late Victorian London.
View all my reviews
Let's ignore that rich white men blocked the country's first black president at every turn.
Let's ignore that Trump is pretty much the DEFINITION of status quo: he's a rich white *mediocre* guy who's scammed and stolen his way through life, getting away with it *because* he's a white guy.
And he treated these morons the exact way he treats every new mark: he made promises.
They believed him because he's a rich white dude.
And he's broken every promise he made to them, been exposed as a conman, a fraud, a liar, and a thief----and they're just shocked. It's the Leopards Eating Peoples' Faces Off phenominon.
And now Trump's screwing over little people has ratcheted up to a whole new level: cutting taxes on rich people.
They're eliminating all tax deductions except for a few.
This bears no resemblance to what he promised.
Oh, and dude? You were NOT a "lifelong" Democratic if the switch to this Nazi asshole was that fast and that easy.
And strangely, white men absolutely refuse to even say the word "misogyny." Doesn't exist except in the dictionary. You'd have to burn tampons on womens' lawns----with giant signs saying "GIRLS SUCK"----plus signed affadavits stating that you declare you hate women before any of these guys would agree it rises to the level of misogyny. And 9 times out of ten they'd argue you were mentally ill (if you were a guy)or argue that the tampons spontaneously combusted first.
I hate everybody.
Another digital commission for the Year Two Kickstarter! Bitty and Jack enjoying a rainy day at Jack’s place. They are very happy (sleepy?) boys. Thanks for the awesome request, VG!!
But I will for my son. Because bar mitzvahs are important.
Plus side, I get a party out of it. :)
(We really ought to have found a site AGES ago.)
Some are picked because they are good examples from other countries, some show details of a move that is almost impossible to understand from a written description, some are old traditional dances and some are excellent modern ones.
You have to be registered by the 22nd May to vote in the election on the 8th June.
A lot of people, especially young people, seem to be registering. This is a good thing.
What I Just Finished Reading
Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner
Another enjoyable outing, though the plot of this one didn't grab me as much as the first two. I enjoyed the new PoV character and liked meeting her and her family, and watching their relationship with Penric and Des grow. Penric is frankly getting a little over powered at this point. There doesn't really seem to be much he can't do, as long as he can figure it out. Still, I love Des, and the stories continue to be light and funny.
Terror in the Starboard Seat by Dave McIntosh
(Memoirs of an RCAF Mosquito navigator in WWII, who very much wanted to survive the war and go home, while his Jewish-American pilot wanted to kill as many Nazis as he possibly could.)
Highly entertaining, which makes the tragic parts even more of a punch. Both the author and his pilot never seem to miss a chance to tell a joke at each other's (and their own) expense. For all that McIntosh played up the battle to stay out of the line of fire while his pilot put them in it, they seemed to work pretty well together. The accounts of base life and interactions with the other pilots and the English were probably the funniest parts.
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann, narrated by Christopher Lane
This ended up being something of a guilty pleasure. The style is way over the top and pulpy that I expected it to have been written in the early '50s, but that in itself circled back around to being charming despite itself. I don't know enough about the period to claim authorial bias one way or another, but all the characters were well introduced and easy to follow. Likewise I have no idea if the mystery solution is plausible, but the case was well made. I need to read more silent-era Hollywood books.
Tecumseh and Brock: The War of 1812 by James Laxer
It certainly a decent outline of the war, and I appreciated that it had more focus on the native American storyline than a lot of books do. However since both the title characters died very early in the war, it somewhat floundered for a theme in the latter third. (It eventually settled on minimizing American accomplishments, in a charmingly chippy way.)
The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Still 100% soapy nonsense, still pretty fun, still needs more lesbians. Got pretty melodramatic at the end there. I don't see why love triangles never seem to end in threesomes.
What I'm Reading Now
Library: A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer. Um. Yeah. HOLY FUCK THIS WOMAN'S CHILDHOOD.
Audio: The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's read by Chris Lee, which is pretty much all you need to know.
What I'm Reading Next
Probably a book about North Korea from the library. Not sure on audiobook.
This month sociologist Matthew Desmond won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond’s book documents, in rich and depressing detail, what it’s like to try to pay rent as a low income earner and how easy it is to end up on the street. Eviction is not caused by personal “irresponsibility,” Desmond insists, it’s essentially “inevitable.”
Eviction is psychologically scarring, but it also throws families further into poverty, destabilizing their work and family lives, often stripping them of their few possessions, and costing money — all while enriching landlords.
Here’s 7 minutes from Desmond about his experience living among low income families and the lessons he learned:Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
We are in a small city in the middle of Wisconsin where we arrived after a several hour drive from Minneapolis. When we checked in, I had to set up to do a webinar for Vita and for The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals. I'm always nervous before one of these and was glad of the time I had to prepare for the hour long 'conversationar' which is really what it is. Once a month we go on air and chat with the author of the most recent article of The' International Journal for Direct Support Professionals. The conversation, as always we engrossing and the hour up quickly. They make me nervous, these things, but I love what I learn while doing them.
Afterwards I told Joe that I'd like to get out and go to the grocery store to pick up supper. Our hotel room has a fridge and a microwave so we can cook our own supper. We headed to a store not far from the hotel and went in. Now this is a small city, everyone seemed to know everyone, and then in we come. Me, with my weight and my chair, arriving anywhere new is like throwing a massive boulder into a pond. People look, they stare, they make comments. I know I'm facing that going in so I can prepare.
One of the reasons I wanted to go to the store was because I'd felt cooped up, I'd spent the day in the car or our new hotel room working. I wanted a bit of a 'run' in my chair. So I started whipping up and down the aisles getting in as much speed and distance as I could. The exercise made my shoulder feel good, my back stretched out, it was all great.
But what was awesome was ... though there were people in the store, none took much notice of me. It was like they saw big men on wheels zipping around their local grocery store on a regular basis. Several figured out what I was doing, this never happens, and made sure that I had a clear pathway to get up speed and race down the aisle. It was strange just to be in a place and just doing what I needed and wanted to do, and have it not be remarkable.
Not one stare.
Not one silly, or rude, comment.
Nothing, not even, thank heavens, encouragement.
No one was inspired!!
I don't get to go out and just be out. I don't get to take off the coat of armour that I wear to keep me safe.
But after about 20 minutes, I did, I took it off, I felt safe. It's been years since I've dared to do this and I couldn't believe how much the protection I carry weighed. I felt free for a moment. I noticed a long pathway, with no one in it, right near the end of my run. I decided to hit it and hit it hard to see if I could really make the chair fly.
Because I was free.
It's hard to be disabled and feel free.
It shouldn't be.
But it is.
We've closed institutions but not opened minds.
Except for today.
And it was good.
Southern Star Longsword dancing 'Yorkshire Pudding' at Wimborne Model Town. this was the first public performance for many of the side, and only the second time out for the rest of us. This is a dance I wrote for the days when we only have four dancers. (We had six on this occasion, but I didn't keep the video of the six man dance as it had several mistakes in it!)
If trying to avoid dying of dehydration is a daily challenge for you, this might just save your life
Dot (£9, josephjoseph.com) is a drink receptacle with sprung ratchet cap. When rotated, cap locks into five consecutive positions, marked with a rising series of glyphs to track refills.Continue reading...
What I read
Down the JA Jance Ali Reynolds rabbit hole: Fatal Error (2011), Left for Dead (2012), Deadly Stakes (2013). I did start the novella A Last Goodbye, but am now holding off until I get to the right place in series internal chronology.
Alexis Hall, How to Bang a Billionaire (2017). This is a book that one would think had a lot of my NQOSD things all over it - at first glance it was the m/m version of 50 Shades, but I looked at the preview just to see, and okay, it still has a lot of things that are not my usual things, like it is All About The Relationship, at least so far there are no other stakes in place (but there is a sequel forthcoming), and the billionaire thing means a lot of plain practical difficulties do not operate. The title is a bit misleading, on account of the billionaire character is what in a woman would be considered pretty much stone butch - does but will not be touched or done to - it's more 'banged by the billionaire'. The narrator is a somewhat hapless and gauche, though at least not completely naive, gay guy just on the cusp of graduating from Oxford. The billionaire is pretty much on the Violet Winspear romantic hero template:
I get my heroes so that they're lean and hard muscled and mocking and sardonic and tough and tigerish and single, of course. Oh and they've got to be rich and then I make it that they're only cynical and smooth on the surface. But underneath they're well, you know, sort of lost and lonely. In need of love but, when roused, capable of breathtaking passion and potency. Most of my heroes, well all of them really, are like that. They frighten but fascinate.But, dr rdrz, I could hardly put it down.
On the go
The end is almost in view with the Inchbald biography!
I am on the edge of my seat in re The Course of Honour
Well, the thing for review I intend to read on the train.
And new Sara Paretsky VI Warshawski!!!
Comes Sandy one morn to say that The Fearsome Strand, that is my novel of wreckers and sea-monsters, does extreme well, and the publishers are exceeding anxious for anything else I might give 'em.
I sigh and say, 'tis gratifying, but has he had a chance to look over the plays I gave him?
Indeed, says he, as Celeste comes with coffee and shortbreads, and has already been see Mr J- with 'em. Likes 'em exceedingly – in particular the comedy, for hints most alluring at certain late scandals, without it could be suppos’d to refer to specifick persons. Also, there is Miss T-, that undertook Miss R-'s parts while she was unable to be about the business, comes on very promising, and with three fine parts for actresses, there will be no brangling amongst 'em.
I am pleas’d to hear it, says I, but I doubt not that Mr J- has suggestions for telling business that might be includ’d.
Why, says Sandy, taking a shortbread, I have a few notes to the purpose. But I think he may be dissuad’d from including a volcanick eruption in The Antiquarian’s Daughter.
La, says I, I may suppose he has late took on some fellow that manufactures spectacles -
Sandy remarks that he fears 'tis so, for Mr J- put out some feelers as to whether the esteem’d dramatist thought of turning The Fearsome Strand into a play?
I shudder and say, why, had consider’d upon it, but should shrink from matters of vulgar spectacle.
Sandy laughs and says, sure you are in accord with Mr P- for once, for he deplores that practice, as too oft employ’d to distract from the poorness of the play itself. And I myself am in some doubts as to whether brings about anything of enduring value to the drama.
We look at one another very amicable.
But, says Sandy, dear sibyl, you look a little troubl’d.
O, says I, 'tis entire foolish qualmishness about this dinner-party I go give, Lord and Lady T- and their gloomy son, and Sir B- and Susannah, with their house-guests.
Sandy winces and says, including Mrs D- K-, I apprehend. Sure will not be the jollyest of gatherings, but I daresay you have some strategy upon hand?
Why, says I, I am not sure I entirely have a strategy upon hand, but there are matters I hope observe; and sigh. Sure, says I, I can think of more congenial gatherings.
Come, dear C-, consider your soirées, that have brought together in harmony a deal of assort’d society.
La, says I, I would not answer for what might happen did Mr P- ever discover that Deacon Brodie was of the company.
Sandy laughs quite immoderate and says, naming of seconds, for a dawn meeting for the exchange of critickal opinions, at ten paces.
I am brought to laughter myself. My dear, says I, I am delight’d to see you in such restor’d spirits.
Why should not my spirits be lighten’d at receiving such kindness as I do not deserve? Has he not quite the noblest of hearts?
I look at him very fondly and say, harmony entire restor’d, then?
Sandy looks thoughtfull and says, somehow seems that the painfull breach has come to bring about a better understanding.
Long may it endure, says I.
But, dearest C-, I must be about my business: you may laugh when I tell you, Lord A- is mind’d to employ a secretary that may advize him upon such politickal matters as he is call’d upon to deal with in the Lords –
What? I cry.
- 'tis the influence of Mr O- B-, that he finds himself on excellent terms with, has contriv’d to bring him about to think upon his responsibilities and the condition of the nation &C.
I laugh a little, 'tis such a very unexpect’d conjunction of the fribble and the cotton manufacturer: but indeed I am pleas’d to hear it.
- so I go about certain of my acquaintance that might suit.
Why, I would not hinder you in such a task. Kindly leave Mr J-'s notes with me and I will address myself to the matter, ‘twill distract my mind from fretting.
But, alas, when I have done that, and set certain suggestions aside so I may think 'em over further, I am return’d to the frets, so I determine go take a little ride on Jezebel.
When I come to the stableyard I find Nick, Nell, and Sal, that is her sister that tends the mews cottage, that huddle together and I daresay are in concern over the matter of the sale of the livery-stable. They jump apart and Nell and Sal scurry off about their proper business. Nick goes fetch out Jezebel, that Ajax has been saddling &C.
'Tis another matter for me to go fret over as I ride.
But comes at last the time when my guests arrive, and sure 'tis ever pleasing to see Sir B- W- and dear Susannah, and Captain C- looks as tho’ having made his decision to sell out takes a deal of weight from his mind, and Mrs D- K- is looking in good taste. And Lord T- is ever amiable, and Lady T- makes exceeding civil to me, even if Lord K- is the same sad dull fellow, his eyes ever straying towards Mrs D- K-.
Timothy comes with some excellent fine wine - has acquir’d a deal of polish in the matter, I confide he took some lessoning at R- House in such duties – that most fortunate I had already in my cellar, for have been so busy since my return have had no opportunity to convoke with Mr H- concerning his friends of the Trade.
We exchange a little civil conversation – Lady T- wishes to know is there any lace made about Naples, for 'twas once most exceeding not’d for that art. Alas, says I, has declin’d from those days, there is indeed lace hawkt about but 'tis somewhat coarse. However, I go on, the Contessa di S- has some very fine antique lace that has been in her family this long while.
Susannah says, she is ever in the greatest admiration for Lady T-'s skill with the bobbins and the fine lace she makes. Alas, she goes on with a flourish of her lorgnette, I fancy I am too near-sight’d to be able to undertake anything of the like, even did my fingers have the skill.
Lady T- smiles a little and I see this prepossesses her with dear Susannah, that she has been like to suppose a sad bluestocking that rules her husband.
In due course comes Hector to inform us that dinner is serv’d, and we go into the new part of my house and my fine dining-room, and I look about it very pleas’d, for the furniture is all well-polisht and the table laid with my good china and my very fine wine-glasses, and there are candelabra with fine candles burning, and two epergnes that hold pickles and relishes and are deckt with flowers that were especial sent over from R- House.
'Twas no difficult matter to think who should take who in to dinner: Sir B- W- takes Lady T-, Lord K- takes Susannah, Captain C- arms in Mrs D- K-, and I, of course, am took in by Lord T-.
And Hector and Timothy come around laying the dishes that have come fresh and hot by means of that very excellent device from the kitchen beneath, and go round with wine, and I observe Lady T- look most approving at my dinner service. Euphemia has done most exceeding well and all except Lord K-, that looks sorrowfull at Mrs D- K-, look upon the first course with great pleasure.
I hear Sir B- W- offer to carve Lady T- some of this excellent beef, or perchance she would prefer duck, and here are some little new peas, and I see that she becomes amiable towards him. Susannah goes endeavour make conversation with Lord K-, that picks at his food as if fears might be poison’d.
Lord T- says 'tis pleasing to see me return’d to Town in such health, and hopes that the matters of my property at Naples are entire settl’d? – indeed, says I – and hopes they may see me at C- Castle this summer. We discourse a little of mutual acquaintance, and he remarks that Mr C- answers most excellent as secretary.
There is a pleasing little buzz of conversation tho’ one must observe that Lord K- does not say much.
At the remove and the bringing of the second course – Euphemia has contriv’d to obtain a very fine fresh salmon upon which all exclaim, and there is also the excellent early sparrowgrass – Lord K- is at last at liberty to speak to Mrs D- K-, that he does in somewhat of an undertone, waving away the while the offer of the very fine rice pillow with almonds and raisins. (Sir B- W- looks at me, and says, all the more for the rest of us.)
Lady T- goes converse with Captain C-, and very soon they determine upon some family connexion by way of Mrs Robert G-, and she displays a markt increase in civility towards him, and shortly he is telling her about his adventures at the Cape with his regiment, and later in Nova Scotia, and I see her eyes go to Lord K-, that leads such a dull life going about quacking himself for imaginary ailments, and I daresay she makes odorous caparisons.
The ice-pudding is most well-receiv’d, except by Lord K-, that says somewhat about the unwholesomeness of such things. He also eschews the very good cheese, that has been sent by Martha from the dairy on the Admiral’s estate.
At the proper moment I rise to withdraw the ladies to my parlour, so that Hector may bring out the port and brandy and cigars for the gentlemen.
There is tea and ratafia ready for us, along with some little macaroons, and we talk of various matters – what a shame 'twas I misst the M- House ball, 'twas an excellent occasion, but doubtless I saw a deal of society at Naples – until the gentlemen come in, that is not a long while at all.
Lord T-, Sir B- W- and Captain C- are conversing very amiable about Nova Scotia, but Lord K- has somewhat of a sulky look and goes with somewhat uncivil expedition to Mrs D- K-'s side.
I do not think he would drag her from her bed to kick her, but sure I am in some concern about how he would show as a husband.
Speaking of which, is there a place I could post my Black Tapes genfic? A general fandom genfic comm? I couldn't find a specific Black Tapes comm, but in searching, I did find that there's an option for DW to add that topic to your interests. (Which is awesome.) And then through that, I found addme_fandom, which is like addme, but fannish.
Meme with me? (as seen everywhere, probably because it's a good meme!)
1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed
Also, from yohijideranged, a music meme!
1. A song you like with a colour in the title.
I have three, because how do you choose these things?
( Under this cut: Birdy, Lorde, David Bowie )
Youtube, why do you do that massive gap thing with your embeds? Why?
( The rest of the topics )
Today I'm teaching maypole and longsword dancing at a local school. I do this every year on Wednesday afternoons in the run up to Wimborne Minster Folk Festival. The children will perform on Saturday at the festival and they always do me proud.
Saturday, I'm calling maypole at the Dorset Venison Fair for two half hour sessions.
Sunday, I'm calling maypole at a private event at Rockley Park and teaching a longsword workshop as well.
May bank holiday weekend is always a busy time. We turned down a request for May 1st as we knew we'd be knackered by then. (We being Anonymous Morris, who will be dancing at the two weekend events)
The catch is that calling for dances, even using a mike, always leaves me with a rough voice. Time to get out the glycerine!
Fandom: The Black Tapes podcast
Characters/Pairings: Richard Strand, Alex Reagan, Nic Silver
Notes: Written for Yuletide 2016. Thank you to lilacsigil for the beta
Summary: "Almost certainly," said Alex. "Is most definitely not certain."
Also at the Archive
( The apocalypse didn't start right away. )