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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016




Reading Wednesday 2/11
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 at 01:35 pm


Recently read: [personal profile] forestofglory is brilliant at recommending short SFF; via her post I found A good home by Karin Lowachee. I've had Lowachee on my radar for a while but haven't been able to find Warchild in a reasonable format, so I'm excited to read this short. It didn't perfectly work for me but I'm an easy sell on humans forming emotional bonds with androids (after all that Asimov and Star Trek in my childhood.)

Currently reading: Sisterhood by Penelope Friday. I am happy to enjoy the sex scenes, the miscommunication, and the external conflict that fit the genre, but with lesbian and wlw characters. I like that the miscommunication is realistic and doesn't rely on characters being gratuitously stupid, and that the conflict comes not from the fact that the relationships are between women, but that the heroine's gf is an abolitionist and her brother-in-law on whom she's financially dependent is involved in the slave trade.

Up next: I think I might ask to borrow back the copy of The secrets of enduring love by Meg-John Barker, which I gave to my partners collectively for Valentine's Day. Since today is two years since I got together with [personal profile] cjwatson and tomorrow will be two years with ghoti. I'm still head-over-heels in love and far too excited for two years in, but we are definitely starting to have more of the sort of conversations that people in long term relationships have. And I'm hoping this will be a long term relationship, so it feels the right time to read up on how to have strong long-lasting relationships from a guide that doesn't assume monogamous and heteronormative.

I've always said that my general happiness isn't about whether I have a partner or not, but these two years I've felt... I think the word is fulfilled, a sort of deeply contented that isn't exactly the emotion of happiness. I feel really rooted in this little network of relationships.

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Whereaboooots: 19th century London
Moooood: happyhappy
Tuuuuune: Sia: Academia
Discussion: Contribute something
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Monday, October 31st, 2016




Theatre: In the heights
Monday, 31 October 2016 at 01:03 pm
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[personal profile] rmc28's review inspired [personal profile] jack to ask me if I wanted to see In The Heights, the "other" Lin Manuel Miranda piece that's playing in the King's Cross Theatre currently. I said, in principle, sure, but when are we ever going to find time to go to the theatre? And then I remembered that we actually had a free evening this Saturday, so we were able to be much more spontaneous than we usually ever are, and booked tickets and turned up.

showCollapse )

We had a pretty quiet day most of yesterday, until OSOs joined us for tea and then a lovely group of our friends came over for a Halloween party. Andreas had lots of fun putting up Halloween decorations but ducked out of the actual socializing with lots of not very familiar adults part. And Judith persuaded several of us into a long game of Zendo, which she is getting very good at. It wasn't a huge party but it was a great mix of poly friends and geek friends, very congenial and with some really great Halloween costumes. I dressed up as Candela, the Pokémon Go Team Valor leader, to match the children's Pikachu and Dawn-from-the-animé costumes. And Jack was Aang from Avatar: the last Airbender, and Ghoti was, aaargh, Nanowrimo is about to start! Really good to be able to have a fairly low-key party on a Sunday evening.

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Whereaboooots: New York
Moooood: impressedimpressed
Tuuuuune: Blackout from In The Heights
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Thursday, October 27th, 2016




Aesthetic judgement
Thursday, 27 October 2016 at 07:58 pm
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So my link to Ann Leckie's piece on liking things that are in some sense not "good" has lead to a really interesting discussion. I'd like to pull up some of my thoughts here, and separate the abstract underpinnings out from discussing the Hugo slates, which was one of the examples given.

amateur philosophyCollapse )

I slightly have the feeling that I'm rehashing Plato here, but there are worse things.

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: okayokay
Tuuuuune: The Weepies: All good things
Discussion: 1 contribution | Contribute something
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Wednesday, October 26th, 2016




Reading Wednesday 26/10
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 at 03:20 pm


Recently read: Very misc collection of essays and such
Currently reading: Still In a time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He's in Austria atm and I have a weird second-hand nostalgia for 1930s Austria, since many people in the community I grew up with were refugees from there. It's a little too poignant to read Fermor looking back on the way of life that, writing in the 70s, he knew was about to be destroyed with the massive swing to the right and eventually the Anschluß.

Up next: I am not sure, I'm leaning towards Two serpents rise by Max Gladstone.

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Whereaboooots: 1930s Austria
Moooood: contentcontent
Tuuuuune: Bangles: Walk like an Egyptian
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Tuesday, October 25th, 2016




Mishaps
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 at 06:31 pm
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[personal profile] cjwatson is working in The Hague for a bit, and since it overlaps with half term Ghoti was able to take all their children to join him. And fivemack and I came out for just the weekend in the middle. In a trip lasting less than two days, I managed to trip over a kerb and fall flat on my face, bending my glasses out of shape and cutting my cheek. There was a probably expensive (unless it can be sorted out) muddle over paying for the hotel. I had a really bad coughing fit in the middle of the night which triggered me back to childhood when my asthma wasn't well medicated. The food court where we were eating caught on fire and we had to evacuate. Plus lots of the usual tribulations of travelling with a large group and trying to keep everybody fed and hydrated enough to be functional.

I had a totally wonderful time even so, and I'm extremely glad I went. what I did on the weekendCollapse )

Yesterday I left after a late and leisurely breakfast and had a very easy journey to get in in good time to run the Simchat Torah service at shul for a scant minyan, and nobody younger than my about to be bar mitzvah student. Even though travelling out on Shabbat and returning on the festival day is not how I want to be, it was really good for me to get a proper break after the intensity of the festival season. And a weekend away, even if it was a bit rushed, will help renewing my enthusiasm for work now we're a month into the term. But mostly it was wonderful to be able to join in with part of my loves' adventure.

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Whereaboooots: The Hague, Netherlands
Moooood: refreshedrefreshed
Tuuuuune: The Verve: Bittersweet symphony
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Wednesday, October 19th, 2016




Merfriends
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 at 01:30 pm


So the Captain Awkward community like to make up terms for stuff, which serves multiple purposes, one of which is of course helping the in-group to bond. Anyway, recently I came across a term that might fill a lexical gap in my life: The Awe Ritual says:
The Cap is my “mermaid.” On a face level, we’re ferociously compatible and mates for life and frequently go off to make brainbabies, but below the waist, we’re just different species and not equipped to handle each others’ affections
I think I need a term like that; I'm more inclined to make it gender neutral by saying merfriend, but yes, there are people that I not only love very much, but am committed to and prioritize in way people expect for partners while we are not even slightly romantically involved.

thoughts about relationshipsCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: 19th century London
Moooood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Tuuuuune: Apoptygma Berzerk: Burning heretics
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Monday, October 17th, 2016




New (to me) games
Monday, 17 October 2016 at 10:19 pm
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In the little breathing space between Yom Kippur and Succot, I managed to squeeze in some time with my loves, and we used some of it to play games.

reviewsCollapse )

So yay, happy gamer.

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Whereaboooots: Cambridge, England, UK
Moooood: cheerfulcheerful
Tuuuuune: All About Eve: Melting
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2016




Happy new year
Tuesday, 04 October 2016 at 10:16 pm
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So I've made it to 5777, and successfully led the Rosh haShana services. Attendance was quite low; we had I think 8 people for the evening and just barely enough for a minyan on the day. Several of our regulars are away and we didn't get any visitors; I hope there's no particular reason for that like not letting people know about the service who needed to. Best compliment to receive as shlicha tzibbur (service leader): I can't believe it's half past one already, the time went really quickly and that didn't drag at all.

I learned from [twitter.com profile] GWillowWilson on Twitter that the thing of RH coinciding with the Islamic new year happens every 33 years, which explains why I don't remember it happening before. Also it's pretty cool to learn new religion facts from the author of Ms Marvel. Does anyone want to explain to me how we get from a 19-year lunisolar cycle to synching with the Muslims' solely lunar [sic] calendar every 33 years?

I'm moderately proud of this year's sermon, so I'll include it behind a cut. Basically I decided to talk about Ibn Gabirol's piyyut (religious poem) The crown of glory, because ghoti went to Malaga recently and sent me a postcard of a statue of him. And because I miss the poetry from the Reform liturgy I grew up with. (My community use the Birnbaum which I believe is a fairly standard American Orthodox Machzor, and it has a lot of Elazar haKallir's stuff, much of which I find obscure. I don't know how standard the selection of poetry is in the Orthodox liturgy.)

Ibn Gabirol on self-examinationCollapse )

I haven't worked out yet what I'm going to talk about on Yom Kippur. I think maybe something about dealing with difficult texts and the possibility of arguing with God, when that's coming from a place of faith and not just rejection. Partly I'm thinking of it because last year several people asked me why we read Leviticus 18 (including the notorious abomination verse) on Yom Kippur, and I didn't have a very good answer.

Also for my own future reference and possible interest of people who are interested in this kind of thing, I read a couple of good articles about shofar in the run up to the festivals, so if I save them here I might have material for next year's RH sermon:

There was a thing going round on Twitter to the effect that maybe the Jews have the right idea, ending the year now, since 2016 / 5776 has been pretty tough in some ways. One thing I found helpful as I was looking back over the year and feeling discouraged was this sermon from R' Neil Janes, who's another youth movement contemporary of mine; he writes the kind of sermons I aspire to only he's much much better at it than me! I very much share R' Janes' view of what it was like to grow up in the optimistic time of the 90s and to feel that our world has become a worse place since then. And I like his advice: We must find a rejoinder to the pessimism of our global climate. We must hoist our flag in opposition to this and do it now.

Anyway. I was pretty shattered after the service; I had a fairly mediocre Italian meal since I wanted a treat but didn't have much energy to decide on anything more than the nearest and most convenient restaurant. And then I came home and was basically wiped out for the afternoon. Today, the second day of Rosh haShana, I was back at work and I'm enjoying the optimism of looking forward, my first session with the new first years right at the start of their medical training. And I'm wearing a lovely pendant that ghoti gave me so I would be able to make the blessing for new things today. Yes, I still have a lot of prep to do for YK but I feel as if I'm setting out and looking forward.

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Whereaboooots: Stoke synagogue, Newcastle-under-lyme
Moooood: hopefulhopeful
Discussion: 1 contribution | Contribute something
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Wednesday, September 28th, 2016




Changing my mind
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 at 06:04 pm
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I aspire to be the kind of person who thinks for myself and most importantly changes my views when I learn new information. And that means I spend some amount of time worrying about whether I'm actually living up to that. where I'm coming fromCollapse )

So those are the two extremes. I'm unpersuaded by an article espousing a view I think is not just wrong, but ridiculous, and more so because it's written in a style and associated with a group I disapprove of. I'm persuaded by a peer-reviewed meta-analysis to change a view I was only mildly committed to anyway to one which is more aligned with my social group. What I'd like from my readers, if you'd like to play along, is for you to persuade me of some new ideas. Please send me links to arguments you find persuasive on issues you expect me to disagree with. (I'm also quite interested to discover what you think I might find objectionable; I think I've been pretty open about my opinions here over the years, but of course everybody will have their own impressions and assumptions about me.)

I've turned off screening for anon comments, so if you think your views might be met with social opprobium please feel free to offer arguments without saying who you are.

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: curiouscurious
Tuuuuune: Qntal: Noit e dia
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Sunday, September 25th, 2016




Adventures in Jewish leadership
Sunday, 25 September 2016 at 04:18 pm
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Over the course of this weekend: So, um, I definitely feel appreciated, even if some expressions of appreciation are more welcome than others...

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Whereaboooots: Stoke synagogue, Newcastle-under-lyme
Moooood: touchedtouched
Tuuuuune: Oasis: Wonderwall
Discussion: 1 contribution | Contribute something
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Friday, September 23rd, 2016




Three fictional characters
Friday, 23 September 2016 at 12:12 pm
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I'm really enjoying the meme that's going round mostly short-form social media where people pick three fictional characters that represent them, or describe themselves using three fictional characters. who I'm notCollapse )

So in the end I went with the following:

And it's Bi Visibility day but I've basically given up on trying to find any bi characters to pick. Certainly not anyone who's poly in anything like the way I am. Christie is alllllmost bi in that she has a strong romantic friendship with an alien who is mostly female (though the aliens do gender differently from humans, that's a big plot point), and sexual-romantic relationships with men and male-ish aliens.

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: okayokay
Tuuuuune: Melissa Ferrick: Drive
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Wednesday, September 21st, 2016




Reading (links) Wednesday, 21/09
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 at 12:29 pm


Recently read: Lots of good stuff! linkspamCollapse )
Currently reading: still A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor and Sisterhood by Penelope Friday, but in practice I haven't been reading much this week, I've been spending time with [personal profile] doseybat and pyrokaren.

Up next: I've got to the stage where it's halfway through Elul and I haven't written any High Holy Days sermons or learned any Torah readings yet, so most probably material for that.

I'm considering picking up Hilary Mantel's contemporary Beyond Black as my book with a color in the title for my reading challenge, since it's been waiting on my shelves for ages.

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: rushedrushed
Tuuuuune: Solas: A sailor's life
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Friday, September 16th, 2016




Anatomy
Friday, 16 September 2016 at 01:23 pm
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So I've seen a couple of articles recently lamenting ignorance of the anatomy of female-typical sexual systems. And generally I'm on board with whatever click-baity editorial you can come up with complaining about ignorance. Ignorance bad, education good! But I have something of a quibble with these articles, which I shall now discuss:

anatomical detail, references to cancer, sexual assault and medical abuseCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: annoyedannoyed
Tuuuuune: Camera Obscura: Books written for girls
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2016




Reading Wednesday 14/09
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 at 05:02 pm


Recently read: this was just bullet points but it grewCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Vienna, 1933
Moooood: contentcontent
Tuuuuune: Heidi Talbot: The shepherd lad
Discussion: 2 contributions | Contribute something
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Friday, September 9th, 2016




Conflict styles
Friday, 09 September 2016 at 03:51 pm
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Tangentially to this Captain Awkward letter, where the answer mentions that the writer's half-sister may have a different conflict style from hers, I started thinking about classifying conflict styles. It feels something like the Ask / Offer distinction in styles of communication (sometimes called Ask / Guess). It's useful to know that there is more than one way of doing it, and people whose style is different from yours are not necessarily terrible awful people who can't communicate respectfully.

The problem is I'm not sure there are two distinct approaches to conflict, or even what elements should be considered in defining conflict style. noodling about thisCollapse )

So help me refine my ideas? What variations in conflict style have I not thought of? What approaches to conflict and argument do you find most productive? I mean, assuming that the arguers are already upset and you can't just magically all get along. Are there any ways of arguing that you think are just bad and should always be avoided?

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: calmcalm
Tuuuuune: VNV Nation: Precipice
Discussion: Contribute something
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016




Jesus and Jews
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 at 11:30 am


So my extremely brilliant friend Jen has written a fantastic popular article about her research: Why it's absurd for a pastor to give Donald Trump a Jewish prayer shawl. You should read it, it's only tangentially about Trump, it's about the history of Jewish ritual objects and about Jewish-Christian relations.

Also, I have thinky thoughtsCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Tuuuuune: Skinny Puppy: Assimilate
Discussion: 2 contributions | Contribute something
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Friday, September 2nd, 2016




Simple pleasures meme
Friday, 02 September 2016 at 11:31 am
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From a locked post:
Name ten of life's simple pleasures that you like most. Try to be original and creative and not to use things that someone else has already used
I'm not sure I'm capable of writing a list of pleasures that are both original and simple, so you might get slightly complicated pleasures, but then one of my greatest pleasures in life is exploring complexity in good company, so.

listicleCollapse )
I'm following the example of the person I got this meme from and not tagging anyone, so you're welcome to propagate the meme or not, whatever suits you.

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Moooood: pleasedpleased
Tuuuuune: Tori Amos: Icicle
Discussion: 1 contribution | Contribute something
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Thursday, September 1st, 2016




I have awesome people
Thursday, 01 September 2016 at 03:35 pm
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So I have ended up with a bit of extra leave for the end of the academic year, so I took a couple of days at the beginning of the week to extend the bank holiday weekend.

diaryCollapse )

So anyway, that did me a lot of good, and required very little planning beyond putting in a request at work for a couple of days off.

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Moooood: relaxedrelaxed
Tuuuuune: Was (Not Was): How the heart behaves
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Thursday, August 25th, 2016




Film: Lilo & Stitch
Thursday, 25 August 2016 at 02:43 pm
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Reasons for watching it: I had managed not to see this, I think because it came out when I was just at the age of feeling I needed to avoid media marketed at children, and it's somewhat of a classic and the sort of story I love.

Circumstances of watching it: We watched the DVD while we were relaxing after some intense touristing in Budapest.

Verdict: Lilo & Stitch is intensely sentimental about things I'm inclined to care about personally.

detailed reviewCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Hawaii
Moooood: touchedtouched
Tuuuuune: The Real Tuesday Weld: Real Tuesday Weld
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Friday, August 19th, 2016




Love
Friday, 19 August 2016 at 01:08 pm
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It's 15 Av today, which is a Jewish love festival with a rather tenuous Rabbinic origin. And here I am very happy and in love, so I shall talk about that a bit.

contains much soppyCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, UK
Moooood: lovedin love
Tuuuuune: Hem: Half acre
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Thursday, August 18th, 2016




Imzy
Thursday, 18 August 2016 at 07:53 pm
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So Imzy is the new cool social network, apparently. It's in closed beta and you need an invite from an existing user to create an account. [personal profile] melannen kindly offered one, and I'm happy to pay it forward by inviting the first five people to comment.

impressionsCollapse )
ETA: I created a community for DW peeps. Which magically increased my number of invitations from five to 200, so if anyone is possibly interested in an invite, you can request at the community link. And if anyone's already there, feel free to join it or not.


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Whereaboooots: Internet
Moooood: pessimisticpessimistic
Tuuuuune: Rasputina: 1816, the year without a summer
Discussion: 1 contribution | Contribute something
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Wednesday, August 17th, 2016




Reading Wednesday 17/08
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 12:10 pm


Recently read: A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami, trans Alfred Birnbaum. (c) Haruki Murakami 1982, pub Vintage 2003, ISBN 978-0-099-44877-8. This was a present from ghoti, since it's a book she likes and it contains cute ears and I have very little exposure to Japanese lit. I found the book very mind-expanding and different from most of what I normally read, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

detailed reviewCollapse )

Currently reading: A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, as recommended to me by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. Basically it's an account of how the author got kicked out of school and decided to walk across Europe to Constantinople, in 1933. I don't normally read travelogues, but I agree with the intro by Jan Morris, that Fermor is just an outstandingly good writer, and his descriptions are evocative enough to be exciting even though nothing really happens except that he walks around and visits places. He has the kind of assumption typical of a certain class of white English young men, that everybody will basically like him and want to help him out. He's also genuinely interested in the people he meets working on this assumption. In some ways the narrative style is reminding me of my uncle who at a similar sort of age drove a van to Australia.

I've nearly finished the section where he crosses Germany, noting the presence of the newly ascendant Nazi party but not dwelling on that to the exclusion of talking about the history and culture of the country and telling anecdotes about the various German people he meets on the way. The moment where he describes crossing the border from the Netherlands and seeing swastikas everywhere is a brilliant piece of writing, a paragraph of description of some Dutch St Vincent de Paul nuns, and then:
The officials at the Dutch frontier handed back my passport, duly stamped, and soon I was crossing the last furlongs of No Man's Land, with the German frontier post growing nearer through the turning snow. Black, white and red were painted in spirals round the road barrier and soon I could make out the scarlet flag charged with its white disc and its black swastika.

Up next: Not sure. I'm still looking out for A book with a color in the title for my very old Bringing up Burns challenge, or I may well read Novik's Uprooted.

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Whereaboooots: 1930s Munich
Moooood: contentcontent
Tuuuuune: Nirvana: Heart shaped box
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something
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Tuesday, August 16th, 2016




I went to Budapest
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at 02:22 pm
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ghoti planned us a group trip to Budapest, all of us, her three children and four partners. Which to me sounds like a terrifying amount of organization, but basically she booked budget flights and rented us a huge, cheap, centrally located apartment that normally trades on stag and hen parties. And then she got everybody to the airport in plenty of time, with some notion of how to get across the city from the airport, and after that we basically just turned up and improvised.

In almost all respects that worked better than the sorts of holidays I'm used to with detailed itinerary planning, and long complicated negotiations about sharing space with people who aren't normally housemates. We didn't have the slightest ambition to see "everything", we just wanted to have a good time together in a new city, and that was incredibly successful. I mean, it's easy to say that it was low effort considering that my gf put in most of the effort and I just tagged along, but I wouldn't have contemplated organizing a trip of that size and complexity, I would have just assumed it was beyond me, but partly because planning I'd have considered essential is actually entirely disposable.

ghoti was also much better at writing up the trip than I am, she did so promptly and concisely; my version is likely to be rambly and boring. tourist reportCollapse )

So basically, ghoti was an amazing genius at organizing a holiday that was fun and exciting and full of interesting new experiences without being exhausting. And at taking into account the wishes of such a large and mixed group and making sure that everybody had the best possible time.

Budapest is shadowed by genocideCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Budapest, Hungary
Moooood: lonelylonely
Tuuuuune: Burning Bush: Arvoles lloran por lluvias ('the trees weep for the rain')
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Thursday, August 11th, 2016




Dialect quiz
Thursday, 11 August 2016 at 10:50 am
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Because these are always fun, and because my quad keeps getting confused about the names of meals...

poll about eating habits and languageCollapse )

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, UK
Moooood: boredbored
Tuuuuune: Ladyhawke: I don't always know what you're saying
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2016




Reading Wednesday 10/08
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 at 03:14 pm


Recently read: Via [personal profile] sovay, an interesting if slightly odd article by one Amy Schwartz on Dorothy L Sayers' anti-semitism. I always knew Sayers was weird about Jews; I find it hard to articulate why I read her stuff anyway whereas I generally avoid other known anti-semitic writers like Chesterton. I did not know either that Sayers once had a Jewish boyfriend, or that she thought it appropriate to publish an article, in 1945, arguing that the reason people are so horrible to Jews is because we had rejected Jesus. I don't know anything about Schwartz, and I'm not sure I share her sympathy or justifications for her subject's prejudices, but it's an interesting piece anyway.

Currently reading: A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami. I didn't really get any holiday reading done, because it turned out that partners' children were very very excited about getting access to Liv for a whole week, so they didn't really want me to be spending even a few minutes reading rather than paying attention to them <3

Up next: Will probably still follow up on your recs for Hungary-related books, though so far the only one I've managed to get hold of is A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (thanks, [personal profile] rushthatspeaks.)

Also, [personal profile] alexseanchai made a love meme. I normally shy away from such things, but right now, I felt like hearing some nice things would be really good for me. And maybe some other people would also enjoy such a thing?

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Whereaboooots: Keele University, Staffordshire, UK
Moooood: okayokay
Tuuuuune: The Imagined Village: Tam Lyn retold
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