These are new-to-me books. Titles in bold are for the 2019 50books_poc challenge. Fiction is in green.
34. The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, Carolyn Murnick (2017) (a response: "An Open Letter to Carolyn Murnick")
35. A Man of Independent Mind (Clorinda Cathcart's Circle Book 2), L.A. Hall (2019)
36. Nebula Awards Showcase 2004, ed. Vonda N. McIntyre (2004)
A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip, Alexander Masters (2016)
Full Dark House: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery, Christopher Fowler (2003)
To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis (1997)
Screwtop, Vonda N. McIntyre (1976)
Mainly, about the show's use of "Proud Mary". Another of my favourite Tina songs and I was looking forward to it, but dang the stage context. It's set smack dab at the height of Ike's abuse, where literally after Tina attempts to overdose and is revived at the hospital, she is forced to get up and perform. The musical depicts this semi-symbolically, with siren sounds and Tina standing upright but dazed as doctors & nurses surround her, stripping her down to her underwear (complete with wig removal) then dressing her back up in her stage clothes, just as her mom orders her to go on stage. She sobs a little, and then smooths her face over and goes into performance mode. "You know... every now and then I think you might like to hear something from us... nice and easy..."
I was very much thinking of her (first) autobiography, where she explains in detail the physical toll on her mind & body during that period of her life, so there's whiplash at very direct depiction of what she had to endure off-stage to perform on-stage, and it made me feel kind of that I shouldn't applaud, or even enjoy the performance. Which was made more disconcerting because at least one person in the audience whooped in recognition when the song started, while I was still going D:
That discomfort seems to be point, though, which I find interesting! Can/should we enjoy art if we know the context behind its creation, when at the same time we're being called to enjoy the literal performance that the actors are putting on in front of us? Plus the real Tina herself divorced the songs from their context in that era, so there's those layers and I dig it?
I'd watched a few interviews with the creative team back when the promo machine was warming up, and they mostly focused on the empowerment aspect of the show and seemed to skirt around Tina's earlier history with naive-sounding questions, which frankly irritated me, but in retrospect, I can see that the neutral questions were more an awareness of how that platform wasn't the place to talk about abuse & domestic violence in a meaningful way, so they kept the questions flat. And, likely, they decided to let the show speak for itself. Much like how Tina is very candid about what she went through, the musical seems to be taking a leaf out of this and being candid as well, albeit stylized.
Plus some other thoughts!
- At one point the characters are listening to a radio and The Four Seasons's "Stay" is playing. It's used as setting, not a Jersey Boys reference, but I cracked up all the same.
- Oscar Batterham's Australian accent is pretty damn decent. A little too clean, but that's usually the case with accents that are learned, plus it's way too easy to slip over into joke!Australian. Good job!
- They don't resolve the emotional thread of Tina's relationship with her sons, Ronnie and Craig. I didn't register it until I listened to the whole recording in order, and how they neatly wrapped up the threads with Ike and Tina's mom before the finale, but the last we hear of Tina's sons is that they're unhappy at her workload and miss her, and then there's no more. I wonder if perhaps that is a bit sensitive due to Craig's passing. Maybe they'll fix it before they transfer to Broadway.
- I really love the female duets, especially Tina & Grandma in "Don't Turn Around" and Tina & Rhonda in "Open Arms". Wish Tina & Alline had a duet, though.
- So, like, Jersey Boys and We Will Rock You did the thing where they built anticipation to a specific Iconic Song by talking about it and referencing it before they actually perform it, the former being "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and the latter being "We Will Rock You". Tina does this with "What's Love Got to Do with It?" by having other characters sing it in demos while she side-eyes them and that's just??? Really nice??? On a meta level it's super obvious because it really was her comeback song but it still gives me all the feelings!!!
(yes I use the somewhat cheap "grocery store" spices and I drink Stash tea, because they're always in stock at the QFC/Bartell's that's about six blocks away for not much money, and reliable/accessible/affordable is good.)
Before I got the spice rack, all those little bottles were just on the shelf all at the same level, with wasted space above, and theoretically the least-used ones were at the back but it still DROVE ME CRAZY trying to find shit. Now it's all accessible! For like a good five minutes after I finished I just stood looking at it, absurdly pleased. (Yes, I also like this tumblr, don't @ me.)
(THE FOLGER'S INSTANT COFFEE IS NOT MINE, IT IS T'S. INSTANT COFFEE SHOULD BE ABHORRED AS AN ABOMINATION UPON THE EARTH. He says he likes it. He also uses the nasty Kroger cinnamon on his morning oatmeal. Says ditto. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
( Simple, for a god. )
I feel so tired though. I worked the two days before this, and did other important stuff like decluttering my stuff in preparation for packing and applying to a job I really want.
The newspaper headlines in southern Alberta are all jubilant. The UCP won the election and the Flames are in playoffs; what more felicity could be demanded from the world, this early in the year?
ZIZEK IS HAAAAAARD I don't know how to respond.
( more )
Zizek you have never tried to be as short as possible.
( more )
( rebuttals )
( questions )
Conclusion: That was really bad. Like funny ha-ha bad, but also just bad-bad. Despite the pretence of talking about Weighty, Important Subjects, there was really none of that, because you need the other party to at least have the same reference points, and Peterson is just not that well educated. Also because Zizek's a dick and has gone red-brown, making him a shit spokesman for contemporary Marxism. It was like a 4chan cartoon come to life.
I guess the best thing that came out of it was that some of Peterson's fanboys, having seen their idol soundly humiliated, might now flock to Zizek, whose ideology, though demented, is substantially less harmful.
Save yourself some suffering and watch the toilet speech again:
So, over to fanfic. In fully new stuff, there's [recipes for sorry] by Feather - part of her "[to see you there]" series, where we see a fairly clear picture of just how neurodiverse Tony Stark is, and how much trouble this can be to live with. (If you're still unsure how being neurodivergent can be disabling, go through this story... and then think about having those thoughts and feeling those feelings without several million dollars as a personal and social buffer between you and the consequences thereof).
In updates, well, one of my favourite Persona 5 AU fics at the moment, AyuOhSeki's wonderful To Catch A Tiger Cub, One Must First Enter the Tiger's Lair has had its final chapter posted (today, in fact - I'm cheating a little). Note to anyone who likes happy endings: this is not the fic for you. It is bittersweet all the way through. It is, however, brilliantly crafted, and a wonderful ride the whole way. I strongly recommend it to anyone reading in the fandom.
A couple of new chapters this week in a couple of fics which are slow to update: Delicious Danish updated their fic He Can't Talk And I Can't Walk (Persona 5, actually mute protagonist in a relationship with Ryuji, post high-school); and Alexilulu updated their fic Black & Red (Persona 5, trans protagonist dating trans Haru).
So that's what I've been reading this week (actually haven't been reading much - most of my time has been spent running in twenty-seven different directions at once for other reasons. I'll explain why later).
Really bad, lazy, sloppy Time Lords.
But there is literally no other explanation for their shenanigans. "Life finds a way." My ass. Those two have a T.A.R.D.I.S.
I mean, okay, no other explanation except a Time Turner, but honestly, would you rather them be wizards or Time Lords?
(Seriously, which would be worse?)
Stephen Blackwood is the moderator, says some self-congratulatory shit, and then welcomes the Muppets.
Lobster in a suit, Oscar looking slovenly as always in a polo shirt and pants that don't reach his shoes.
Oh shut up Stephen, this is not "real thinking about hard questions" this is mud wrestling.
IDEOLOGY! *takes a shot*
Stephen just claimed that neither are primarily political thinkers. Broken clocks, etc.
"Surprising agreement on deep questions" yes they both have cryptofascist leanings.
"Let's hear it for psychoanalysis!" Audience cheers.
I am pretty sure no one has ever called Zizek "dazzling" in his life until now. Zizek facepalms, then yawns, then claps for himself.
Audience is overwhelmingly Peterson fanboys, judging by the cheers.
OH GOD PETERSON IS GOING TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. He's doing a Thinker pose.
There is far too much San Pellegrino and not enough coke on this table.
EACH OF THEM GETS TO MAKE A 30 MIN OPENING STATEMENT oh god. Then each has 10 min to reply. Then there's 45 minutes of fanboys asking questions. It's going to be a loooong night.
( more )
The audience looks about half empty. I guess not that many people wanted to pay $500 for a ticket? There's, unfortunately, a live chat as well, and it is full of fascists, tankies, and people just typing "sniff" over and over again.
Now faded to a galaxy thing with an ominous silhouette.
( more )
Doubtless I will complain endlessly about sharks, including sharks I'd previously solved but not bothered making a note of.
Other things this evening included: takeaway dinner from Roti King with A, in the vicinity of Granary Square, followed by ice cream, because the shop I got this laptop from in the first place was on Tottenham Court Road, so by the time we'd got there sitting by the canal eating dinner while the sun went down seemed like an excellent idea.
... but for right now probably I should just do some Duolingo quickly and then head to bed...
The Honey Month is a collection of very short stories and poems, themed around a gift of a month's supply of samples of different honeys. Each piece begins with notes on that day's honey - colour, smell, taste - followed by a story or poem inspired by it. El-Mohtar's writing is beautiful: lyrical, sensuous, atmospheric, and several of the pieces in this collection play with familiar fairytale narratives in the way I loved so much in 'Seasons of Glass and Iron'. It's a short book, but utterly delightful and deeply absorbing.
Again, spoiler warnings in effect if you read this before watching the episode...
Co-executive producer, and director of the two-part second-season finale for Star Trek: Discovery, Olatunde Osunsamni discusses the processes of making this episode in the link below:
To everyone who worked on that story, my thanks for work well done.
The vi'lets from her lap, and lillies fall:
She misses 'em, poor heart!
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....WHOOPS, I apparently missed my own 10-year anniversary on this DW about a week ago. (I forgot my mom's birthday. Twice. I never forgot T's birthday, but for years I thought it was two days later than it really is.)
I know there's probably entirely justified concern about what information Facebook is gleaning about people who use it - and even if my use of it is pretty minimal it would still be problematic to give it up when there are people in my life who do use it as their primary means of contact.
But I have been lately been given to wonder exactly how granular and detailed is the information that is gleaned, and, okay, I daresay my adblocker is blocking ads so I'm not seeing these anyway, and I've gone into the ads settings and turned off just about everything that might be deployed to advertise things to me -
Which hasn't stopped, once or twice over the past weeks, sponsored advertising posts popping up in my timeline WOT, but after I have spent some time clicking to hide these, the hint appears to be taken...
But, anyway, in the wholly Point Thahr: Misst stakes, when I go into Settings/Ads/Preferences/'Advertisers', and find a whole swathe who come from 'contact list added to Facebook', they are 99.9999 recurring US-based, most of them realtors, with a tiny sprinkling of health-related organisations. And I go through, and I delete them, or at least remove them from view, and wonder Y O Y? how pointless is that? given that my location is one of the few bits of public-facing information available?
Or is this a subtle misleading? and in fact I am being bombarded with subliminal wombattery, because their algorithms have noted that what I post is mostly wombats? and I am being lulled into a false sense of security?
I feel like that’s really all that needs to be said. Either this is something you immediately want to read, or not. But a few more things I liked about it…
- It’s epistolatory, told completely in the form of letters, chicken quizzes and pamphlets, to-do lists, etc.
- There are a lot of completely accurate chicken facts.
- The superpowers are used the way that actual chickens would use superpowers if they had them. They’re not superintelligent chickens, just regular chickens with unusual abilities.
- The heroine, Sophie, is biracial (white father, Mexican-American mother) and while this is relevant to the story, it’s not what the story is about. Are you or do you know a Latina girl who wants a book where someone like them is the heroine and it’s not about Issues? Do they like chickens and/or The X-Men? Then they are the perfect reader for this book.
- Honestly though anyone is the perfect reader for this book. I guess unless they hate and fear chickens.
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
(Hey! She's Canadian!)
The first work was "A Picture of You Falling." It began with a voice that would iterate and elaborate phrases throughout the work, reminding me a little of Laurie Anderson circa the 1980s, though less preoccupied with cliche.
"This is your voice," a female-coded voice, British. "This is a picture of you." Enter a man in a suit, an almost disappointing sign for "the generic" -- then his path is crossed by a woman in a similar suit -- again, that sense of almost-disappointment -- oh, will she only enter the centre of the narrative through his signification? Will he still define the terms of this dance? -- but then the coat comes off and she begins an exploration of movement, extension -- "This is a picture of you leaning back" -- it becomes her dance -- and she gives a solo performance of such strength.
Another dancer. "This is a picture of you, falling. Knees, hip, hands, elbows, head. This is how you collapse. This is the sound of your heart hitting the floor." A kinetic, impossibly flexible performer abstracts and -- yes, again -- elaborates and iterates -- the phases of falling, through some kind of half-narrated dreamlike repetition, like trauma, relived and distorted -- the noise of traffic, metallic crunch, door slam -- I really felt, watching nothing but this solo dancer's body jolt on a bare stage, that his body might fly into pieces. It was terrifying.
Later there is a room, a relationship, a pas de deux of striking equality of power and movement, seeming (to me at least) largely cleansed of the gendered tics of dance roles -- "they danced each other," said J., and I thought that was perfect.
The second piece, "The Other You", is a mirrored work for two male dancers -- uncanny, comic, destabilizing. J. thought it was about depression and I thought it was about power.
I found a great quote on the website of Pite's troupe, Kidd Pivot: "Your actions are pivotal—each change of direction extends your perspective of the possible." Like that.
Here are some clips from a 2012 performance -- but honestly I think the one we saw was more powerful -- sharper, cleaner, stronger, more focused.
* * * * *
And! LES BALLETS TROCKADERO are coming next season! (The drag ballet troupe that Brooke Lynn Heights performed with for five years!)
While I bought a license for Amarillo USAF from tlai-dot-com, and consider the freeware font Airborne II superior because it includes character sets for Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew (in case you want your Earth-built starship hulls to be multilingual), this one went in for getting lower-case glyphs added to the mix.
Okay, okay, okay, there's a lot of stuff in and about the fire at Notre Dame, some of which was more flammable than the gargoyles could ever be. But I'm weird this way.
Okay, okay, okay, there's a lot of stuff in and about the fire at Notre Dame, some of which was more flammable than the gargoyles could ever be. But I'm weird this way.
I understood where he's coming from, though my assessment differs. I started reflecting on those exceptions. Do they "prove the rule" in the colloquial sense that "every rule has exceptions," or do they "prove the rule" in the older sense, in that they give us an opportunity to test the rule? A few years ago I learned about this technique called "appreciative inquiry" which says: look at the unusual examples of things that are working well, and try to figure out how they've gotten where they are, so we can try to replicate it. So I think it's worth thinking a bit more about those exceptional FLOSS projects that aren't developer tools and that are pretty high-quality, in user experience design and robust functionality. And it's worth discussing problems and approaches in product management and user experience design in open source, and pointing to people already working on it.
FLOSS with good design and robust functionality: My list would include Firefox, Chromium, NetHack, Android, Audacity, Inkscape, VLC, the Archive Of Our Own, Written? Kitten!, Signal, Zulip, Thunderbird, and many of the built-in applications on the Linux desktop. I don't have much experience with Blender or Krita, but I believe they belong here too. (Another category worth thinking about: FLOSS software that has no commercial competitor, or whose commercial competitors are much worse, because for-profit companies would be far warier of liability or other legal issues surrounding the project. Examples: youtube-dl, Firefox Send, VLC again, and probably some security/privacy stuff I don't know much about.)
Mass Market: NetHack, VLC, Firefox, Audacity, Inkscape, Thunderbird, youtube-dl
Controlled Ecosystem: Zulip, Archive Of Our Own
Business-to-business open source: Android, Chromium
Rocket Ship To Mars: Signal
Bathwater? Wide Open? Trusted Vendor? not sure: Written? Kitten!
The only "Wide Open" example that easily comes to mind for me is robotfindskitten, a game which -- like Written? Kitten! -- does one reasonably simple thing and does it well. Leonard reflected on reasons for its success at Roguelike Celebration 2017 (video). But I'd be open to correction, especially by people who are familiar with NetHack, VLC, Audacity, Inkscape, or youtube-dl development processes.
Design: Part of de Vos's point is about cost and quality in general. But I believe part of what he's getting at is design. Which FLOSS outside of developer tooling has good design?
In my own history as an open source contributor and leader, I've worked some on developer tools like PyPI and a linter for OpenNews, but quite a lot more on tools for other audiences, like MediaWiki, HTTPS Everywhere, Mailman, Zulip, bits of GNOME, AltLaw, and the WisCon app. The first open source project I ever contributed to, twelve years ago, was Miro, a video player and podcatcher. And these projects had all sorts of governance/funding structures: completely volunteer-run with and without any formal home, nonprofit with and without grants, academic, for-profit within consultancies and product companies.
So I know some of the dynamics that affect user experience in FLOSS for general audiences (often negatively), and discussed some of them in my code4lib keynote "User Experience is a Social Justice Issue" a few years ago. I'm certainly not alone; Simply Secure, Open Source Design, Cris Beasley, The Land, Clar, and Risker are just a few of the thinkers and practitioners who have shared useful thoughts on these problems.
In 2014, I wrote a few things about this issue, mostly in public, like the code4lib keynote and this April Fool's joke:
It turns out you can go into yourWikimedia and pushback: But I also wrote a private email that year that I'll reproduce below. I wrote it about design change friction in Wikimedia communities, so it shorthands some references to, for instance, a proposed opt-in Wikimedia feature to help users hide some controversial images. But I hope it still provides some use even if you don't know that history.
init.cfgfile and change the usability flag from 0 to 1, and that improves user experience tremendously. I wonder why distributions ship it turned off by default?
I wanted to quickly summarize some thoughts and expand on the conversation you and I had several days ago, on reasons Wikimedia community members have a tough time with even opt-in or opt-out design changes like the image filter or VisualEditor or Media Viewer.
- ideology of a free market of ideas -- the cure for bad speech is more speech, if you can't take the heat then you should not be here, aversion to American prudishness etc., etc. (more relevant for image filter)
- relatedly "if you can't deal with the way things are then you are too stupid to be here" (more applicable to design simplifications like Media Viewer and VisualEditor)
- people are bad at seeing that the situation that has incrementally changed around them is now a bad one (frog in pot of boiling water); see checkbox proliferation and baroque wikitext/template metastasis
- most non-designers are bad at design thinking (at assessing a design, imagining it as a changeable prototype, thinking beyond their initial personal and aesthetic reaction, sussing out workflows and needs and assessing whether a proposed design would suit them, thinking from other people's points of view, thinking from the POV of a newcomer, etc.)
- relatedly, we do not share a design vocabulary of concepts, nor principles that we aim to uphold or judge our work against (in contrast see our vocabulary of concepts and principles for Wikipedia content, e.g. NPOV, deletionism/inclusionism)
- so people can only speak from their own personal aesthetics and initial reactions, which are often negative because in general people are averse to surprise novelty in environments they consider home, and the discourse can't rise beyond "I don't like it, therefore it sucks"
- past history of difficult conversations, sometimes badly managed (e.g. image filter) and too-early rollout of buggy feature as a default (e.g. VisualEditor), causes once-burned-twice-shy wariness about new WMF features
- Wikimedians' core ethos: "It's a wiki" (if you see a problem, e.g. an error in a Wikipedia article, try to fix it); everyone is responsible for maintaining and improving the project, preventing harm
- ergo people who feel responsible for the quality of the project are like William F. Buckley's "National Review" in terms of their conservatism, standing athwart history yelling "stop"
I haven't answered some questions: what are the common patterns in our success stories (governance, funding, community size, maintainership history, etc.)? How do we address or prevent problems like the ones I mentioned seeing within Wikimedia? But it's great to see progress on those questions from organizations like Wikimedia and Simply Secure and Open Tech Strategies (disclosure: I often do work with the latter), and I do see hope for plausible ways forward.
But I need to tell it again anyways.
You see I realized something.
We parked at the grocery store and I got out. Joe was gathering bags and lists and stuff and I headed off to the store myself. I got to the curb in front of the store, paused, and began to push up. It's difficult for the first few seconds because of the steepness of the grade and because of the bumps that need getting over. But I was doing it. He came at me from straight behind me. I didn't see him. There were lots of people going into the store, lots of people around. Then I felt him. My chair was grabbed, he started pushing. Not a word had been said. I screamed, I don't usually scream, "Stop." Now everyone was watching. "LEAVE ME ALONE, DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" He started to stammer about helping, "LEAVE ME ALONE!" People looked at me as if I was rabid, people looked at him with a 'poor you' look. I pushed myself into the store.
Joe, who had heard the commotion, came and started to apologize for not being able to stop him. I was left feeling like an asshole, someone who made a scene, primarily because people were glaring at me. Glaring. And then it hit me.
Assaulting disabled people is acceptable.
Disabled people reacting to assault is not.
Now that I've calmed down and looked at my reaction. I think any other person who had someone sneak up from behind and grab them would have reacted fairly similarly. The only difference being that no one would dare to do this is broad daylight. I believe that if it had happened to someone else, the police would have been called, and people would have offered some kind of comfort.
Assaulting disabled people is acceptable.
Disabled people reacting to assault is not.
Under the guise of helping we can be grabbed, pushed, forced; we can be stripped, force fed, confined; we can have our bodies touched, we can have our voices put in restraint, we can have our protests met with punishment.
Assaulting disable people is acceptable.
Disabled people reacting to assault is not.
Topic of the week
What's your favourite holiday? (Been thinking about this because of a thing I'll put in a comment.)
What I've been up to
A short work week, and a quiet one, and trying to line up ducks for various other projects (including a "Wow, my June is busy.")
( Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
( House rules )
"Creepy is my business, and it looks like business is good." Surely you mean evil, John?
For a time travel show they have a terrible linear approach to time. It's Jane Austen, she's still going to be in her own time in a few hours.
Well. I don't think most Georgian weddings turned into orgies.
Mona missed the part where all Austen's heroines marry for love, certainly, but also sensibly.
Well, that's not a terrible magical fugitive. Probably not well placed in Austen's time and place, but, well...
Why would an actual god identify the religion he's part of? Surely, to him, he's just the god of love?
So, god of
Question: how the hell did Ray get married the first time?
Why do I think Jane Austen is about to invent horror instead of romance novels?
Mick and John seem to have forgotten to bicker entirely since the episodes started up again.
Now, now, Mona, that's unkind. Rebecca Silver is your favourite author.
That's what I was thinking, Sanjay! Thank you.
Between the unicorn and the divine god of sex pollen/ashes, this season has a lot of non-consensual drugs.
Why not, Zari? What's good for the goose, after all - you can have yourself multiple spouses as well.
Ah, a bit of hostility back.
Monsterland? Well, that's a turn of pace. Still not an appropriate way to treat dangerous, sentient beings, but still.
It's a very short book - only just over 100 pages, with a lot of those given up to illustrations which were presumably included on the slides accompanying Beard's original talks - but it's well-written and doesn't pull its punches, and while I already had at least a passing familiarity with most of the classical examples Beard cites the connections to contemporary Western culture were interesting and thought-provoking.
...but as noted in the thread I only had Absolut, so. Yeah, that's the most action that bottle of Absolut has seen in years.
Besides those, Livvy minded that some pretty pieces of chaney would make excellent presents for her fellow-servants upon her return.
But that put her into the thought that she should find some gift for Sophy, that was such a fine friend and guide in the ways of Town and great households. It was a puzzle.
It came to her that she might ask Maurice, that was Sophy’s cousin and might have some knowledge of her tastes. So while she was about helping him tidy after what she must suppose was nigh on the final fittings, making sure there was no fallen pins on the floor &C, while he went about the task of folding the garments – that seemed quite an art – she looked up from her labours and asked him what he thought Sophy might appreciate.
Maurice straightened up. Hmmmm. He looked thoughtful. I have heard her say, he said, that she has seen ladies that had plants growing in pots in their drawing-rooms, and she thought it a very pretty thing. Better than cut flowers that will go wither very soon.
Why, I fancy there are nurserymen sell such things – and sure, you might ask one or other of the gardeners here whether they might advize. He gave her a sidelong glance. I am like to think they would be entire happy to do so.
Livvy blushed. Why, mayhap I will do so, she said. For indeed, that would be a fine out of the common thing to give Sophy.
So a day or so later, when she found herself at liberty with no pressing tasks, she went down to the fine hothouses of Offgrange House – sure, she might be going pick out some flowers for Lady Fairleigh’s sitting-room, or a button-hole bloom for Sir Charles – and peeped about to see might she find a gardener.
She saw a dim figure inside one, and stepped inside.
To her extreme confusion, 'twas no gardener but the Marquess himself, holding little Lady Di and showing off some flower to her – indeed, had been give out that His Lordship was very well reputed for his studies upon plants and flowers and his learning in the matter.
Livvy, exceeding flustered, made a dip.
How now, Bracewell! What do you here? Perchance a flower for your hair when you go promenade?
Livvy blushed, but found herself explaining her mission, at which Lord Offgrange looked exceeding interested. Somewhat that would withstand a living-room – would not require cossetting in a hothouse – would not bloom and die but flower again – do you leave this pretty conundrum with me, I fancy I have some notions –
O, Your Lordship, I would not be presuming –
No, indeed, 'tis just the kind of problem I like to set my mind to – Lady Di, seeing his attention a little distracted, patted his face – Come along, my pet, let us go consider over this together.
Some few days later the Marquess came into the dressing-room as Livvy was putting her various lotions &C into the fine pots she had acquired, and placing them in the very elegant polished wooden box with brass corners that Sophy’s interest had put her into the way of.
She stood up and bobbed.
Why, Bracewell, I think I have the plant for you: might you provide me with a suitable pretty pot I will be about transplanting it, writing up a few little notes on care and watering –
O, said Livvy, somewhat overcome. O, Your Lordship, I did not expect –
Tush. Did I not say, entirely the kind of puzzle I like? Are we not entire grateful for your excellent care of Lady Fairleigh?
Why, 'tis a lady is a pleasure to serve, said Livvy.
The Marquess smiled at her. A pretty pot, he said, about – gesturing with his hands – such a size.
She could not ask Sophy to escort her about this errand, but she had discovered that Jerome was entire willing to squire her about Town did she require it. 'Twas a gratification. She did not think she was about taking any romantic notion towards him, but it was pleasing to a young woman to have such a fine fellow give her his arm, protect her in crowds, show attentive.
At last it came to the time almost to depart. 'Twas considered entire in order that she invited Sophy to a tea-drinking. Sophy came in looking a little sadly – La, Livvy, shall miss you. But, here is a little gift, for a remembrance –
She handed over a fine cambric kerchief, edged with exquisite lace and embroidered with Livvy’s initials.
O, such lace!
Sophy gave a little smile. 'Tis Lady Trembourne’s own making. She was being painted by Sir Zoffany wearing the Trembourne Tiara, that is a quaint old-fashioned thing, and desired me to dress her hair for the purpose, and presented me with the lace.
And, said Livvy, bringing out the bowl with the flowering plant, I have this for you.
Sophy’s eyes grew very wide. O, she said, o, that quite exceeds.
A maid came in with tea.
They exchanged a little gossip, and vows of friendship, and considered over the possibilities that they might meet during the summer as Lady Bexbury went about her visits. They embraced and kissed, and Livvy sent her very best regards to Sam and to all in the Bexbury household and to all of Sophy’s connexion that she had had the pleasure of meeting –
La, I fancy Jerome will be somewhat disappointed that you go leave Town!
Livvy gave a little shrug: why, he is a pretty enough fellow, but very fine –
Sophy giggled and said, there was a piece she collected in a play, when a fellow goes mention marriage to a lady, and she replies that she would only have him might she have another suited to working days.
Livvy laughed. Why, 'tis so, and I fancy Sam is a fellow of that kind.
Sophy smiled very doating, and said, that he is.
They made somewhat tearful farewells.
And here they were, seated at the back of the church, Sir Toby and his groomsman already a-waiting at the altar.
O, said Hettie, such a pity that Lady Fairleigh might not come (for Sir Toby’s parish church was so situated that 'twould be a very difficult task to attain to it with the wheelchair). They sighed a little.
But, squeaked Maria, here she comes. O, is that our Miss Millick?
Livvy smiled. Had had some notion of how she would look thus arrayed, most exceeding fine: on Sir Charles’ arm, that would give her away, there being no father or brother to do so, attended by Lady Emily (Em, said Lady Fairleigh, for all her naughtiness, was ever Milly’s favourite, and 'tis very kind of her to offer); o, indeed she had consequence.
Miss Millick had said, looking about with tears in her eyes the fine presents that had been given her, sure she felt like the Queen of Sheba, only lacking the camels to carry 'em over to Sir Toby’s mansion.
And the pianoforte, had said Lady Emily, is already there. (For that was the gift from Lady Offgrange and her sisters.)
LIvvy sat back and hearkened to the words of the service, and Miss Millick’s clear and Sir Toby’s rather muttered responses, and thought that although had been very agreeable to go to Lunnon, and sample its pleasures, and see dear Sophy, was also very pleasant to be at home and in her rightful place once more.
If you're in or near an area with an active measles outbreak, or if you happen to be seeing your doctor for some other reason, I encourage you to get your immunity checked, especially if you're too young to have had measles and too old to have gotten a second dose of the vaccine when that recommendation was added in 1989. For all the talk of unvaccinated kids, it's non-immune adults who can do the most harm, because they're the most mobile. The guy who started the Michigan outbreak assumed he was immune, and thought he had bronchitis; then he infected 40 people. So please get checked out, and get your MMR if you need it, and do your part for herd immunity to counteract those who won't or can't.
My pediatrician was on the ball and I got an MMR in 1991. I'm almost certainly immune. But we live on the edge of one of the neighborhoods that's had reported cases*, and we frequently shop in that neighborhood, and Kit plays on the local playground with kids from that neighborhood... so we're all getting blood tests just in case.
* I've been thinking about how easy it is for this to turn into "I don't want my child to play with those dirty children from that segregated community" and the like. I have been reading some Orthodox Jewish news sites—all of which are pro-vax, bless them—and one published an op-ed that bluntly said, "Letting your kids get measles instead of getting them vaccinated plays right into 'dirty Jew' stereotypes and harms the whole community." So I am being conscious with my wording, and glad that that discussion is happening within Orthodox communities, and keeping my very non-Orthodox self the hell out of it.
Kit's pediatrician says the dose Kit got at 12 months will protect them until they turn four and get the second dose, and there's no need to give it early (which he does do for children traveling to epidemic areas). But he's keeping an eye out for reports of measles on our end of the neighborhood, and giving babies their first doses as early as it's safe to do.
I hate this. I hate every part of this. I hate how easily anti-vaxers prey on vulnerable people. I hate that this is still, still, based on fear of autism (and don't get me started on autism and Jewishness, because whoo boy there's a lot to talk about there). I just want everyone to be safe and healthy, especially the little babies who get no say in any of this.
ETA This Twitter thread is also really good: https://twitter.com/nataliefisher/
The audience is not your combatant. You can and should play chess with them. You should not be playing Russian Roulette. Your story is always for people. This story is for pretty specific people. The power it gave is not in line with the attitude surrounding this turn of events.
And frankly if the episode had been left to stand alone people may have found more value and solace in it - their own interpretation. The deluge of behind the scenes comments made in the press, and the attitude present, broke the contract of why anyone should trust your story.
They took a hard story which could have had beautiful value even as it stood on screen and gleefully made it unforgivable by the way they've spoken about what they think they achieved. It's in bad faith, incredibly misguided and irresponsible.
I've spent the last couple of days talking about this with many people from many walks of life, including other TV writers, and while thoughts vary in terms of the plot itself, it's a universal, horrified Nope at the comments being made by the EPs & the reveal of that gag order.
It's sort of a shockingly bad way to do business. Making entertainment is not a wargame where your audience - especially a very marginalized audience are your enemy. Upsetting them in a controversial real life way is not a success. It is a fail. Big fail.
6:30 PM - 19 Apr 2019