We're back

Jun. 26th, 2017 05:32 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Tomorrow)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
Two weeks of roses and playparks, museums and public art, wide open avenues, petunias and rolling hills. Two weeks of Tom and he has failed to notice that I am fundamentally unlikable. He, of course, is perfectly delightful.

We spent one week in Almaty and one week in Astana, with a day in Bishkek and a train journey across Kazakhstan. It was every bit as wonderful as I could have imagined, and we had an amazing time. The people are so lovely and the cities so beautiful.

I am a rose

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:02 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

This is the first of our rose plants to flower.
The plant's name is Sheila.


I've been growing roses all my life.
I wear a necklace of rosewood.
In many ways, I am a rose.

Roses aren't naturally climbing plants, like bindweed or grapevines. They must be cared for, and bound to a structure. And I've learned that I need to give myself a structure, or I can't naturally climb.

I am a rose.

Roses need work. They must be pruned. The pruning is painful, but without it they won't flower.

I am a rose.

Nobody cares about dog-roses, nobody notices them, but they grow wild wherever they please. The popular roses that everyone admires are sterile and can't spread: they survive because they're grafted onto a dog-rose root. The roses nobody cares about are the roses that keep the others alive.

I am a rose.

I grew up near one of the biggest rose nurseries in the country, so everywhere there was me, there were roses too. I fell into many a rosebush while I was learning to ride a bike. I carefully grew one up the side of the house, a yellow rose with a mind of its own: soon I had to leave it to its own devices because it had grown taller than my arms could reach.

I am a rose.

When I was about six I had a dream of a concentration camp. I had been imprisoned, along with many other humans, by gaseous aliens who lived on methane. The armed guards would float around our cabins and the parade ground, terrifying us as much as they intimidated us.

Of course when you're sent to the camps, they take everything away from you: all your property as well as your dreams and your name. But I'd smuggled in one memento: a small twig of rosewood. I kept it in the pocket of my grey uniform and squeezed it tight whenever I was homesick.

One day I realised that roses have thorns. And that was the day I used the rosewood to burst and kill the guards at the gate, and run free into the outside world. One small piece of reality had torn a hole in the nightmare.

I am a rose.

A curious thing I have noticed

Jun. 25th, 2017 04:04 pm
fluffymormegil: @ (Default)
[personal profile] fluffymormegil

Due to my job involving taking phone calls from people living in London, I have noticed a linguistic phenomenon that intrigues me: some people whose first language seems likely to not be English display a tendency to use /jespliːz/ (with timing as if it was a single word) as the affirmative rather than simply /jes/.

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Second (and last, I think) book in Hamilton's Chronicle of the Fallers sub-series of his Commonwealth books (now up to about N, maybe N log(N), sub-series).

We follow a few main viewpoint characters, some of which were present for the previous book. It's eminently readable and while there's some on-page sex, it's at least pretty much down to "sex happens" rather than stroke-by-stroke descriptions, which is better.

Would I recommend this? I am in two minds, if you've read a bunch of Commonwealth books, this is likely to evoke the same feeling. If you haven't this really is not where to start.

Events of note

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:04 am
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.

Last of the Scotland photos

Jun. 24th, 2017 04:50 pm
pm215: (Default)
[personal profile] pm215

I got distracted from sifting through holiday photos, but here finally are the last two albums from my Scotland holiday back in May:

The Orkney set includes photos of the Grain Earth-House, an iron age underground cellar that would have originally had a roundhouse on top of it, and also the Wideford Hill cairn. Both of these are "minor" as Orkney archaeology goes (the Earth-House is actually kept locked up and you have to get the key from a local cafe), which meant I was the only person there.

Landladies down the ages

Jun. 24th, 2017 07:55 am
chickenfeet: (Default)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
 I saw a performance of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Boatswain's Mate a couple of nights ago,  (Review).  I've been thinking about whether moving the setting from the early C20 to the 1980s(*) didn't rather undermine the unusualness of the strong and independent nature of Mrs. Waters, the pub owner and (ironically) the title character.  Then it occurred to me that inn keeper (with or without extra services) is the default role for the strong and independent woman in English drama down the ages.  Mistress Quickly and "Auntie" in Peter Grimes are probably but two examples.  Worth noting perhaps that the prim and feminist Dame Ethel does not even hint that Mrs. Waters' offerings extend beyond drinks.

(*)Don't get me going on productions set in the 60s/70s/80s by directors who are too young to remember them.  I am still laughing about an Albert Herring set in 1960s rural Suffolk that had white table cloths at the pub and a range of whole salamis at the grocer.

Religion and sexuality

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:12 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.


This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )

REWE Marktplatz

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:06 pm
lethargic_man: (computer geekery)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
For anyone who's asked me in the last year what I'm doing at work, and I've tapped my nose and said, "I could tell you, but then I'd have to employ you," here's the answer.

Summary for anglophones: The supermarket chain I work for is launching something like Amazon Marketplace for products which are just outside the scope of what it sells in its supermarkets (e.g. pet food, specialist wines, kitchen equipment), to allow external vendors to sell through its online shop.

nieseln

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm
lethargic_man: The awful German language (Mark Twain's words, not mine) (Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
German:
lachen = to laugh; lächeln = to smile
niesen = to sneeze; nieseln = to drizzle

Draw your own conclusions about what the ancient Germans thought God was doing when it drizzled.

Reading Wednesday and music meme

Jun. 21st, 2017 06:06 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: Not reading much or posting much at the moment because [personal profile] cjwatson is visiting and I'm mainly paying attention to him. I'll update here later in the week, probably.

Currently reading: Nearly finished: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I'm really enjoying the resolution of the political intrigue plot, but I'm a bit annoyed by the sophomoric speculation on the philosophical implications of sadism.

Up next: All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders.


Music meme day 8 of 30

A song about drugs or alcohol

Two from opposite ends of the spectrum: my ex-gf used to sing me this ridiculously soppy song, Kisses sweeter than wine by Jimmie Rogers. Which is really only tangentially about alcohol but it's connected to happy memories for me. And I couldn't leave out the most explicitly druggy song in my collection, Heroin, she said by WOLFSHEIM.

two videos )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

First book by Daniels that I've read. On the whole, a pleasant surprise. I suspect this is in the "YA" bucket, not because of the content, but based on the formatting. Wider line-spacing, for one. Also a very quick read, based purely on the ebook-reader's page number function, 300 pages, or within 1%-2% error margin, started on the morning commute, finished during the evening commute. Clear YA sign, that. 250 pages, I could've believed it was just the quality of the book (the better, the faster I read, or something like that). Where was I?

Ah, yes. We follow Danny Tozer, who, when the book starts, is a teen with one set of problems, which quickly change for whole other set of problems, which slowly transmute to a third, somewhat related, set of problems. The rapid change at the start have something to do with "a dying superhero just gifted his powers to you", and the slow transmutation is definitely related to the same thing (and various other reactions of the book's world to this).

This is not the bookmeme post I was planning, but this one is better, even though (until now) it didn't mention lesbians, nor trans-phobic feminists. But you can't have it all, people.

It's too darn hot

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:55 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Especially in my house (1970s greenhouse) and my office (2013 'green' building).

I'm particularly cross about the office. It's lovely in some ways. It's very energy efficient. It has only passive cooling (except in the server room), which is just about OK when the temperature only goes up to 25 degrees. It then gets progressively less efficient, until at around 28 degrees it stops doing anything much at all. There's no dehumidifier. This means that my lungs crap out, and I start not being able to breathe very well, and my heart rate goes up even when I'm sitting still.
We have fans in the office, which keeps the temperature down to 'only' a couple of degrees above the outside temperature. It does fuck all about the humidity. Mysteriously, I can't really work when it's that hot - I have basically constant headaches, and have to mainline cool liquids (not too much water - hyponatraemia is no fun). This would be fine if there was such a thing as 'so hot they send you all home'. I *can* work from home; however, it's not much better there. It's only better at all because I can wear far fewer clothes than is acceptable even in my office.
I wouldn't mind taking a day off work from time to time. However, there are usually (well, OK, since I started working in this building) at least 5 days at around 30 degrees, plus another couple of weeks at 25+. That's too much time to take off work. I love the environment, and generally approve of not fucking it over egregiously, for the sake of all the people in the world who will be deeply affected by climate change. But trying to kill me off for 3 weeks a year (a total that's only likely to increase) isn't great either.
I'd like to have some air con, or at least some dehumidifiers. I don't want it American Cold (i.e. so bloody cold you need a jumper on) - I just want it kept to around 25-26 degrees, so I can at least not risk having a stroke.

Uuuupdates

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:35 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
(1) I am a bit groggy and out of it post Minor Medical Procedure for Mystery Menstrual Symptoms; A was v good about shunting me around the hospital when I was too sore to particularly want to push myself/bringing me things/etc. Everything looked healthy; I was a Model Patient; biopsy results are unlikely to show anything concerning, so ??????????

(2) House viewing this morning was VERY CONFUSING. It has a garden! That contains a well-tended hydrangea, and rose bushes, and fruiting apple and plum and probably-cherry (there's definitely a cherry, I'm just not sure whether it's ornamental), and maybe a crabapple, and a vegetable patch, and a patio. And a nice kitchen. And the conservatory would be dining room/games room/music room and would be lovely esp. in the rain. So now I'm just trying to convince us (... myself) that we'd actually be able to fit the furniture into it, which is currently proving Difficult; I am intending to ask to have another viewing and actually take a tape measure this time. (Wider wheelchair just about fits in the front door. It's rampable. I should be able to get a powerchair in. There's an airing cupboard for letting dough rise in. Etc etc etc...)

A week in a life - temp title

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:46 am
gailsedotes: (Default)
[personal profile] gailsedotes
Day one:
Woke at 3 am. It was too hot. Turned on the air con that I spent yesterday clearing a path from my ex-office through to my bedroom window so that I could hook it up. It's a big MF and takes a lot of space. Although it is on wheels it is heavy and difficult to move.

Thought 1: Do I really need all this stuff and why do I have to get rid of it? Haven't I done enough sacrificing for other people? Or am I just kidding myself?

4 am and it finally cools down enough to try to get back to sleep. But I am still tossing and turning at 5 am so I turn on a movie I know by heart with the sound off so I don't disturb other people in the house.

Finally wake groggy at 8:30. My hips hurt. So far my knees and hands are ok but my head feels full of snot from the heat and I have a headache. Got a lot of brain fog this morning and when my son leaves for work an hour later he asks what am I doing today - I honestly can't remember. I look at my calendar. I can't function now without one. Used to be I would know what my plans were and what I promised people I'd do - now it's all just a blank page. It's in writing that I am supposed to go into town to close a bank account, but it's too hot and I work out a way to start the process from home today. Will probably need to make an appointment with the bank manager anyway. (excellent diversion tactic.)

It's now 11:45 and I have chased a writer about this week's article. Done the mail and checked all the social media accounts. Well half of them anyway. There's more violence on the news and I have a two-second rant on how I wish people would stop shoving coconut oil in my face as the thing that will fix me/everything. My knees now hurt as do my hands and my spine is on fire. Medium heat. Still not dressed yet. I've had this idea to write out what a week feels like for a fibromyalgia sufferer for a while. Even though my kids are now adults, I don't think I want them reading this. Going to find some clothes and possibly wear/wash them. Possibly in that order.

13:46 Only managed to get one task done. My eyes are burning and the brain fog isn't clearing. I am partially dressed; shorts and a sports bra. It's too damned hot for a top until absolutely necessary - like answering the door to the postie. Mind you he is used to me in pjs so even partial dressing is a cause for celebration. Have decided the best use of me time is to clear my office as it is now too hot to have the computer on lest I melt the motherboard.
That time of day when the pain really sets in 15:00 - on holiday I would be hitting the sangria but I am trying to work so one 500 paracetamol table. Hoping it will knock the pain back enough to concentrate.
16:20 out of nowhere I am crying. Fuck this shit.

I worked until 17:30 when the heat hit my office and the fan would not cope. Getting up from my chair was a slow process.
Its 22:00 now an struggleing for the past two hours to stay awake for the dog. She goes to bed now but it is finally cool and she just wants to play. Can't make her sad by putting her to bed this early and if i go to sleep now I will wake at some ungoddesly hour of the predawn and not be able to get back to sleep.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Fourth in chronology, fifth in publication order. Gladstone's Craft Sequence goes from strength to strength. In this volume, we meet several characters we've met in previous volumes, with some twists and/or new information occasionally revealed.

If I had to summarise these books, I'd say they fall in that narrow overlap between theology and jurisprudence. Or possibly gaping void. It probably makes sense if you've red them, though.

But, basically magic, fantasy, epic, thingie, wossname. Go, read, pretty good.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:36 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
hello everybody I know I owe a lot of you replies various and am working on it, my life should get a little less hectic for a while as of tomorrow morning unless we do make a snap decision to move house (~250m, positive reasons) once we've viewed a thing tomorrow morning, thank you for bearing with me, love meme is still open and is still getting a trickle of comments and I am working on responding to y'all, especially the folk I want to say thank you to for making me cry in a good way <3

West wing, ep 1, first commandment

Jun. 19th, 2017 05:23 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've bashed my head on this before but not got a specific answer. Now I read through it in some more detail.

Summary

In West Wing episode 1, Josh insults some evangelical christian leaders. In a meeting trying to resolve this, the following happens.

* One of them proposes a radio address (presumably by the president) on a topic important to them, including public morals, school prayer or pornography. Apparently meaning "people in school should not have access to condoms", "people in school should be forced to perform christian prayer" and "we don't quite know what we want you to do but we're very upset about pornography".

* There is a muddle of people speaking at once, and he cuts in again, saying, "I'd like to discuss why we hear so much talk about the First Amendment coming out of this building, but no talk at all about the First Commandment."

* He says, "The First Commandment says 'Honor thy Father'."

* Toby breaks in, and says that's wrong, that's the third commandment. He is very long-suffering.

* He says, what is the first then?

* The president enters the room and quotes: "I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me."

Analysis

I'm fairly sure the intended impression is, talk show guy spoke without thinking and screwed up something basic, Toby and the president correct him.

But firstly, the first commandment seems SO basic, it's hard to see how he could get it wrong. Whether or not he's a good Christian overall, quoting the commandments, especially the first one, seems like the sort of thing he'd do all the time.

Secondly, when I first heard it, I assumed this was "honor your father and mother", but now I wonder if it's supposed to be honoring *God* thy father. Although that doesn't quite fit any of the specific sentences either.

I'm not sure if the commandment he was quoting was supposed to be directly related to the previous discussion or not. Either of the possibilities doesn't seem directly relevant to the school stuff, but it's possible it is in a way that's only familiar if you know the usual arguments people make.

Several people point out that all the people involved have *different* traditional commandment numbering. Toby is Jewish. The christian leaders are protestant. And the president is catholic. I assume in America the protestant version is widely known and often considered canonical? I spent some time on wikipedia checking the different traditions for how to break up the commandments into ten.

But that doesn't seem to fit much better. The president could be quoting the protestant version (or possibly a slightly abbreviated catholic version?)

There's no way to make "honor thy father and mother" into 1 or 3, it's 5 for both protestants and jews (and 4 for catholics).

It could instead be "have no other god" or "don't take God's name in vain" but that doesn't quite fit, either the numbers or the quote.

My best guess is that someone wrote an exchange that worked, probably based on the traditional protestant numbering[1]. And then it got edited for various reasons, and ended up in a version which sounded good but didn't actually make sense.

The best alternate explanation is (a) Christian leader guy genuinely didn't know what the first commandment was (or forgot in the heat of the moment) (b) Toby was trolling by deliberately making something up, knowing no-one could call him on it as he had a different numbering anyway (c) the president (an intellectual catholic) knew the confusion of the numbering, but quoted a first commandment that would be expected to protestants and wasn't exactly wrong by his own tradition.

But to me that seems too complicated, if all that was supposed to be there, there'd be more indication. The mistake would have been one where it's more clear how he came to make a mistake. Toby would have sounded different if he was blowing smoke than if he was correcting people. There'd be some acknowledgement that SOMEONE would have known the first commandment, that this isn't exactly an obscure piece of theological trivia the president researched.

[1] West Wing does much better at research than most shows, but they seem to research a particular topic, it still seems like minor things not the main theme of an episode get overlooked sometimes.

Transcript: http://www.westwingtranscripts.com/search.php?flag=getTranscript&id=1

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