Certain Companions

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:22 am
arontius: (Default)
[personal profile] arontius
.....Sometimes, an inspiration will just appear seemingly out of nowhere. Sort of like a dream sequence. I don't actually remember my dreams very often, and still worse forget them rapidly when I do wake up with them. Much to my regret. Although the below is awkward, and still needs a lot of help in rhyme, meter, and sequencing, I'm scribbling it down here in Live Journal so I remember it. The vision was especially vivid, even if the words recorded are not expressively so.

.....Language is an absolutely amazing thing. It is magical. And it takes skill, and practice, to use with any sort of artistic output. I will master this some day. :-)

A constant companion besides me strides
The figure brooding with encroaching night
His silence ponderous as Earthly tides
That extol passage with sonorous plight

His siblings often in greeting will shout
Their own devices in prominent view
One holds a glass, sand flowing with no doubt
And one holds threads strong, bright shining with dew

I ran on pathways filled always with fear
For I would not speak nor their purpose seek
If I let go, allowing Courage near
New friends would not allow me to be weak.

Let go of fear and embrace your real life
The journey is love removing all strife

.....The sonnet is such a tight medium. It is difficult to distill an expansive thought to such a short verse. But well worth the exercise. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.

More Disaster Relief Links

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:38 am
wendelah1: words: Always be a little kinder than necessary (Always be a little kinder than necessary)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Because the hits just keep coming. Give what you can, if you can.

Fundraiser by St. John's Rescue: St. John Victims of Hurricane Irma. This is an island-based charity and rescue group.

Harvey HELP is a fundraiser started by educators for their college students who've affected by Hurricane Harvey in order to provide grants to help keep them in school. It hasn't attracted much attention, sadly.

21 US Virgin Island's Relief Fund is the fundraiser organized by former San Antonio Spurs star, Tim Duncan.

Hurricane Irma and Maria Relief for the Caribbean:

Catholic Charities USA

Global Giving

Save the Children

UNICEF.

Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico was mentioned in an interview on MSNBC by a government official, name unremembered.

This made me remember that Habitat for Humanity helps low income people build houses all over the world, including the USA.

Habit for Humanity of Florida. This site has info for victims, too.

Huston Habitat for Humanity.

From Fortune.com, here is a long list of places to donate for Mexico.
Here’s How You Can Help Mexico Earthquake Victims. It includes the usual suspects as well as some local organizations.

And since I'm an Episcopalian and a "socialist," here is a link for Episcopal Relief and Development.

DON'T GIVE UP

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:27 am
wendelah1: quote: Ezra 10:4 (resistance)
[personal profile] wendelah1
There is so much going on in the news but we can't allow ourselves to forget that the Republican-controlled Senate is poised to take healthcare away from tens of millions of Americans.

Sign up, make calls, attend protests if you are able. Post the INDIVISIBLE website on Facebook. If you live in one of the key states, beg your friends and family to call up their Senators. Make a contribution to INDIVISIBLE or to the resistance group of your choice. DON'T GIVE UP.

Calls to Kill Trumpcare.

We can't let the Senate get away with this. Healthcare represents one sixth of the U.S. economy. If they do this terrible thing, it will only embolden them. They'll keep on doing it, crafting their incoherent, evil legislation in secret, with the end goal being to transfer more and more money into the hands of their donor class: the big multinational corporations--because thanks to our Supreme Court, corporations are people too--and the mega-wealthy one percenters. We must understand this: the Republicans in Congress won't stop until ordinary Americans are completely at the mercy of the ruling class.

We do not live in a democracy. I know, it's hard to accept. It goes against everything I was taught, everything I want to believe about my country. But the very fact that the Republicans in Congress are going ahead with their nefarious plans despite knowing full well that the overwhelming majority of Americans want the Affordable Care Act fixed, not repealed, confirms that. These senators want to serve their rich masters, not their constituents, and if we don't stop them somehow, they will.

And if wanting my fellow Americans to have decent healthcare makes me a socialist, Senator Lindsey Graham, well, fine then. I'M A SOCIALIST.

Please note that under Senator Graham's bill, his state will actually gain funding. Could this plan be more cynical, more devious, or more venal?

~/~/~

I know I'm sounding like a broken record (wow, there's a metaphor about to lose its relevance) but September is National Disaster Preparedness Month for a reason. I beg of you--if you don't have your supplies laid in and your plan in place, it is never too soon--or too late--to start working on it.

If it seems like I'm obsessed with disaster planning, well, you're right. I am. Maybe it's because unlike hurricanes, which give people time to panic, sit in lines at the gas station, and debate whether or not to evacuate, California's earthquakes give us no warning. Waiting for the storm of the century to hit makes people feel helpless because by the time they get home from work, the bottled water is gone from the grocery shelves, and so are the flashlights, and the kind of baby formula that doesn't need refrigeration.

Earthquakes. Just. Happen. We never know when or where the next one will hit. People who live in earthquake country should all be making preparations well in advance. If we don't, we're taking a huge risk. (And dammit I hate risk.) And we're due, FUCK IT, we're overdue for a bad one in California. Or two. Look at what just happened in Mexico: two catastrophic quakes in two weeks! Hundreds of dead, dozens of collapsed buildings, including two schools full of children, thousands upon thousands of homes lying in rubble.

The Mexico City quake struck on the 32th anniversary of the 1985 quake that destroyed the city, mere hours after their yearly commemorative earthquake drill. I have no words.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico just took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

~/~/~

It's overwhelming, I know it is. But we have to keep making those calls.

Yeah. I'm not panicked at all.

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:54 am
wendelah1: Letter H is for Holy Crap (H is for Holy Crap)
[personal profile] wendelah1
From USA TODAY: UNITED NATIONS – In a bracing speech to the United Nations, President Trump threatened Tuesday to "destroy" North Korea if it does not give up its nuclear weapons program.

Is he trying to start a war? For real?

A "bracing speech"? WTF, USA TODAY.

We cannot let ourselves get derailed by the shitstorm the Trump administration calls their foreign policy. We still have to make those phone calls to stop Trumpcare.

We Won't Betrumped Again

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:42 am
wendelah1: (Repeal and Replace)
[personal profile] wendelah1
INDIVISIBLE just unveiled a new calling tool for folks in Blue States who want to help stop Trumpcare: Calls to Kill TrumpCare. We can't call our Senators--well, we can but mine are both Democrats and they are not the problem here. But we can make calls to our counterparts in key Red States and ask them to call their Senators.

How California — yes, California — could make a Trump reelection more difficult. YES!

Atlas Obscura: Found: 30 Lost English Words That May Deserve a Comeback.

Well, well, well. I think "betrump" deserves a comeback. Betrump: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from. Examples: I think our entire country is getting betrumped on a daily basis. Don't let yourselves get betrumped! Curses! Betrumped again! See what I mean? So useful. So accurate.

During Irma’s Power Outages, Some Houses Kept The Lights On With Solar And Batteries. Of course, if the roof has blown off or the living room has been flooded, having solar power doesn't mean all that much. Also, we're paying to help folks rebuild in the same flood zones over and over again. Maybe that needs to change?

USA TODAY: Dear Texas, how many times do we have to rebuild the same house? (You're next Florida). It's a reasonable question, imho.

Two years before NFIP was created, the 1966 Presidential Task Force on Federal Flood Control Policy warned that a badly run program 'could exacerbate the whole problem of flood losses. For the federal government to subsidize low premium disaster insurance ... would be to invite economic waste of great magnitude.' That sage advice was ignored.

The Atlantic: Has Climate Change Intensified 2017’s Western Wildfires? Long story, short: Yes. It has.

VOX: The brilliant, infuriating, boring, hypnotic Ken Burns documentary on The Vietnam War. The documentarian’s latest miniseries for PBS is a staggering achievement — and maybe his best work. I watched the first episode. It was good. I learned new things about Vietnam and its history. We keep making the same mistakes, over and over again. This has to stop.

Varnished weeds in window jars

Sep. 18th, 2017 06:15 pm
hannah: (Pruning shears - fooish_icons)
[personal profile] hannah
A new computer, a new keyboard, and an undetermined period of adjustment. But mostly, a new computer. It's arrived, it's booted up, and I'm blogging on it. Everything moves so fast, but I don't quite know where everything is, like a nighttime taxi ride through a new city. Which isn't entirely the worst feeling to have. My old computer is still working fine, for the most part, and as soon as I find a safe space to keep it, I'll have it as a backup.

The "most part" being that the first part of my old computer that started to show any age or depredation was its internal CD drive. Remembering the days when not everything was built in and thinking how they'd come again, I was able to get around that problem with a USB-powered one. My new computer doesn't have a CD drive to begin with, so in a weird way that was sort of forward-thinking of me to get one.

Even so, even without a sleek internal CD drive, that computer got me through grad school and the last few years safely. Seven years, six months, one week - Eureka to Silver Lake.
newredshoes: it's good to feel things you want (<3 | lust lust lust)
[personal profile] newredshoes
A rough decision: This afternoon, I saw an apartment in my dream location. It's literally exactly where I would want an apartment to be, right down to equidistance to my favorite things in the neighborhood. It's within my budget, it's pretty light-filled, it's in the back of the building (a brownstone!), so it should be quiet. I feel like I should be ecstatic.

But the more apartments I see (so many of them utter, utter stinkers!), the more I realize 1) how important having a non-miniscule kitchen is to me, and 2) how little I want to live in the exact same apartment I've lived in since college. This is a steep fourth-floor walkup with no particular amenities, a sloping (and unpretty) floor, bad caulking and a bizarre kitchen (there's a ledge acting as an island that divides it from the living-room area). Plus, no pets. I just have Betta Barnes right now, but I'm really sad any time I think of not having the opportunity to get a dog without moving.

I pretty much have a week to find a place I really like if (and this is still an "if") I plan on going to North Carolina to dogsit Gus while Dad and J are in Thailand. I have to give my management company 30 days' notice that I'm leaving, and honestly, my broker explained today that the most danger I'm in (if that ) is losing my security deposit (which obviously I don't want to lose, but it's also kind of ceased being real money in my head, since it's been out of my hands for three years???).

So, this is my big stress right now. Presumably any place I could sign on for would ask for an Oct. 1 move-in date, which will mean 1) paying rent on two places at once, but 2) the opportunity for a staggered, gradual move. I'm trying to focus on this for the moment, because more immediately, some condensation from a glass of iced tea dripped into my trackpad on Friday, and my laptop has been almost unusably haunted since. (Please let it go away, I don't want to have to buy a new computer too, especially since I don't like any of the new Macs and I'm locked into the dumb system.)

Okay, going to hit post. Hi, friends. I would love to be someplace new already!!!!

In the mist

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:06 pm
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
The weekend has been a good mix of social and hermity stuff, and I think I managed to strike exactly the right balance between the two. On Saturday we had four of our friends over -- [tumblr.com profile] ienthuse, her husband E, and our friends V and P. Last year, another friend had given Matthias and me a jeroboam of champagne as an engagement gift. Now, as much as we'd like to, the two of us are incapable of drinking three litres of champagne in one sitting, so the bottle had sat undrunk in our house for a year and a half. We finally decided that we'd have an afternoon party with champagne and snacks to celebrate various successes in our friendship group: Matthias has just started a new job, E recently got a new job (actually working as a library assistant in the library where Matthias is now working), as did [tumblr.com profile] ienthuse, V recently won a very prestigious translation award in Iceland (she translates Icelandic books into English), and I'd recently started a new and challenging secondment.

We had been intending to have the party outside in our courtyard, but it ended up pouring with rain, so instead we sat in the living room, eating, drinking the champagne, and generally having a good time. Given that most of my Cambridge friends are people I met while we were all MPhil/PhD students together, people tend to move on once they've finished their degrees, so I'm glad that at least these four are still around. Afternoon snacks turned into dinner, and we ended up getting really delicious takeaway from the south Indian restaurant down the road, which I hadn't eaten at for ages and really enjoyed.

Today I woke up good and early and made my usual trip to the markets in central Cambridge. It was a really beautiful misty morning, and everything looked gorgeous. I love this kind of weather, so cold and stark and still. Once I'd got back from the market, Matthias and I went out for brunch, and then stopped by the food fair (which happens about four times a year in one of the parks in the centre of town) to pick up stuff like olive oil, vinegar and other sauces.

I've spent the afternoon finishing off Ruin of Angels, the sixth book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, which was absolutely wonderful, as all the books in the series are. I realised about midway through that about 95 per cent of the characters with speaking roles were female, whiich pleased me immmensely. The world of the series is just so clever and inventive, and has this unbelievably lived-in feel, and a sense of place that's stronger than pretty much any other fantasy series I've read.

I'm now just hanging around online while tonight's roast dinner bakes in the oven. It's proper autumn here in Cambridge now, which is my favourite time of the year. There's an icy undertone to the air, the trees are at their most beautiful, and my nesting tendencies go into complete overdrive. This weekend's been a good start!

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm
skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
[personal profile] skygiants
If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
- former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
- Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
- Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.

A one in a million chance.

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:56 pm
hannah: (OMFG - favyan)
[personal profile] hannah
Last night my mother offered to buy me and my brother tickets to a matinée showing of Groundhog Day at two o'clock. I wanted to see it, so I said yes.

There was a library book sale today my brother and I both wanted to go to that opened at noon, so I said yes to that.

There was a meetup group for nerds and board games that started at one o'clock, and I said yes to that as well.

Somehow between hustling out the door to get to the book sale early, and moseying out of that to arrive in time to get a few games in, and skipping the almost-to-the-door line at the coffee shop, and going down to wait almost 15 minutes for the next subway train...somehow I arrived at the subway platform just in time to see a friend of mine who happened to come down to NYC this weekend. On a whim.

She had a friend with her who was also in fandom that I'd never met before. But I knew her fics and got to gush in person.

Oh, and besides that, the subway was running express, not local, so we got out to walk up nine blocks. I said we ought to walk up the next street over, not the one we were on - and my brother and I walked right into a big open air market, and got to walk right up the middle of the street.

So today was definitely something.
wendelah1: My team (Stargate SG-1)
[personal profile] wendelah1
This is a signal boost of a post on Livejournal. Read here about efforts to contact authors who posted fanfiction on the Alpha Gate, a wonderful and long-established archive for Stargate SG-1 which is moving to the Archive Of Our Own.

Please take a gander at the list of authors and see if you know how to contact any of them about the archive's move.

Thanks to [personal profile] princessofgeeks for the heads up. Please spread the word if you can.

The Zombie Bill

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:11 am
wendelah1: (OH NO NOT YOU AGAIN)
[personal profile] wendelah1
ARGH.

From Slate: Republicans Are Seriously Getting Optimistic About Passing Obamacare Repeal Again.

That's bad enough but that's not the worst part.

My colleague Jordan Weissmann has written about how the Graham-Cassidy bill is not the moderate compromise its backers make it out to be. The bill would essentially collapse Obamacare’s market subsidies and Medicaid expansion by replacing them with block grants allotted to each state to design their own health systems, with few strings attached. Those grants would be determined by a complex formula that, relative to current law, punishes large blue states or those that expanded Medicaid while rewarding red states that didn’t. Like previous GOP bills, Graham-Cassidy would also set slow-growing per-capita caps on traditional Medicaid, and allow states to waive out of core Obamacare insurance regulations. It would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.


That's right. This bill punishes states like California and New York for expanding Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act while rewarding the states that didn't. It takes money away from my state because we provided healthcare benefits for our residents and gives it to the likes of TEXAS, which didn't. TEXAS!

Ending the Affordable Care Act while at the same time rewarding people in the states that did vote for Trump and punishing people who live in the states that didn't vote him. Wow. Now that's a WIN-WIN.

Those FUCKERS.

More angry ranting )

The INDIVISIBLE website has everything you need to know to help stop this travesty. AGAIN.

You won this before. Now it's time to win it again. Let's #KillTheBill.

Yuletide nominations are ending soon

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:19 pm
wendelah1: (I signed up to write what?!?)
[personal profile] wendelah1
VERY soon. My Yuletide nominations are as follows:

1. Deviations: The X-Files
Dana Scully (Deviations)
Samantha Mulder (Deviations)
Fox Mulder (Deviations)
Cigarette Smoking Man (Deviations)

2. The Expanse (TV)
Jim Holden (The Expanse TV) - I had to add The Expanse TV to get the nomination accepted because someone else had nominated the same character for the book series. Ditto for Joe Miller.
Joe Miller (The Expanse TV)
Julie Mao
Octavia Muss

3. Interstellar (2013)
Amelia Brand
Joseph Cooper
Murphy Cooper
Tom Cooper

Here's a fantastic one-minute fandom: Has anyone heard of Dixit? I suggested to the nominator that someone should create a Dixit Bingo community. These pictures are more surreal than the average fic Bingo card but I like that about them. I will offer it for sure. Heck, I might even ask for the game for my birthday.

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:16 pm
skygiants: Hikaru from Ouran walking straight into Tamaki's hand (talk to the hand)
[personal profile] skygiants
At first I expected to write a rather scathing post about Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink, and then I got like 2/3 of the way through and realized that there were in fact some things I really liked about the book to counteract the things that made me stare into the camera like I was on the office, and THEN I got to the end and -

-- ok let me backtrack. The Weight of Ink is a serious literary novel about a pair of academics (the favorite protagonists of serious literary novels) who have discovered a treasure trove of 17th-century documents in a staircase written by Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jewish woman who Confounded All Tradition by acting as scribe for a London rabbi. The book proceeds to interweave Ester's story and POV with that of the academics as they discover various bits of evidence pointing to the things that Rachel Kadish will then later explain to us in Ester's narrative sections.

Ester's story is .... it's mostly good? I think I have come around to largely thinking it's good. It starts to pick up around the middle of the book, when Ester starts writing letters to various famous philosophers under fake male names so that she can Engage in the Discourse.

[ACADEMIC A: [Ester's fake name] did not get much attention during his career or make any important allies -
ACADEMIC B: Oh, why is that?
ACADEMIC A: Well, basically, he was very rude to everyone he wrote to.

I will admit I was charmed.]

Ester's most important relationships are with the rabbi -- a good and wise man who respects her intellect and cannot support the ways in which she chooses to use it -- and with Rivka, the rabbi's housekeeper, a Polish Jew who acts as Ester's foil in a number of significant ways, not all of them obvious or expected. Both of these dynamics have an interesting and complicated tension to them that goes well beyond the standard 'I, A Misunderstood Woman Ahead Of My Time.'

Also there is another young upper-class Jewish woman who is rebellious in wildly different ways than Ester is; a pair of brothers who are both interested in marrying Ester for profoundly different reasons, neither of which is true love; and, for a brief period of time, a love interest. The love interest is hilariously lacking in personality and equally hilariously irrelevant to Ester's life on the whole, and mostly exists to trigger a series of philosophical musings related to desire about which Ester can fight with Spinoza. I guess The Distant Shadow Of Spinoza is also one of Ester's most significant relationships.

Anyway, I appreciate the weighting of these relationships, and the way in which the narrative emphasis shifted from what I expected, and especially all the relationships that were not grounded in romance, but in other forms of love and duty and resentment and complicated emotional bonds.

And ... then there's our modern academics.

Helen Watt is a stiff-necked elderly British specialist in Jewish history, who is on the verge of retirement due to Parkinson's disease. Helen has a Tragic Backstory: in her youth, she spent a month as a volunteer in Israel in the 1950s and had a summer fling. Sorry, let me rephrase: she met an Israeli soldier who was the love! of her life!! (For a month.)

The pivotal scene in their romance occurs when Helen shows up for one of their few actual shared off days to have a date, and he hands her a copy of The History of the Jewish People and then LEAVES and REFUSES TO COME BACK until she's READ IT COVER TO COVER. This is the only way she can understand our endless, endless oppression!

(Meanwhile, he lurks outside, and periodically brings her snacks. THIS SCENE IS SOMEHOW NOT MEANT TO BE COMIC.)

Alas, Young Helen in her frailty decides it's all a LITTLE too much for her, and subsequently regrets her lost love until the end of her days. But, inspired by the world's weirdest date, she decides to dedicate her life to the study of Jewish history, so I guess ... that's all right .....?

She is assisted in her endeavors by Aaron, the third POV character. Aaron is an insufferable American Jewish Ph.D. student. He is working on a dissertation about Shakespeare and the Jews, for which he has no evidence, so instead he spends the entire book obsessing over an unattainable Cool Girl. (And she is so textbook Cool Girl! The coolest girl of all! A girl who poses nude for artists who capture a certain something about her, a girl who's just realer than other girls, THE MAGICAL IDEAL.) He sends her incredibly long, pompous emails after a one-night stand which took place on an evening in which "he waited until Marisa was on her second beer -- he kept track from a distance, biding his time. When he approached at last, his own untouched beer dangling casually in his hand --" OKAY AARON, THANKS AND GOODBYE, YOU AND I ARE DONE.

But alas, we are not done with Aaron, we are not done with Aaron at all. Eventually Aaron does come to realize that he's insufferable! A significant part of this realization comes when he visits an archive and meets a shy, demure archivist who's bad at flirting, and is suddenly struck by how desperately sad it is that people like her may never find love because they're all overlooked by assholes like him. If only people like him paid attention to people like her, their lives might be fulfilling and the world would be better! ALAS.

(There are two other archivists in the book, The Interchangeable Patricias. They have a few moments of heroically rising to Helen's aid but mostly their role is to stand as icily competent, largely humorless glowering gate-guards over the sacred text, because of course.)

So basically everything about the modern sections was nonsense to me. (Also, I got mad every time they found a document that explained to them a Piece of the Mystery in a way that was way too narratively convenient. 'Oh, look, Ester doodled out her real name and her fake name next to each other and added a note that said 'HEY IT'S ALL MY NAMES!' Isn't that handy!')

Still, Ester's story in and of itself was good and compelling and interesting, and grudgingly I became invested in it despite myself...

And then spoilers! )
newredshoes: sign: what's stopping you (<3 | what's stopping you?)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Nothing clarifies one's determination to move out, even if the space and the neighborhood are nice (well, certainly the neighborhood), like spotting Violent Neighbor's husband lingering on the sidewalk in front of the building, talking in a hangdog way with someone clearly blocking the main entrance. I spent 45 minutes sitting on a park bench rather than chance running that particular gauntlet. And weirdly, no one should have to live being scared of that, even if nothing was happening!!! So this evening I've been on the phone and corresponding with varying brokers and agents about no-fee one-bedrooms that are vastly out of my comfort zone financially but which score well on RentLogic, look nice on the inside, have some amenities (a dishwasher!!! A FEW IN-UNIT W/Ds!!!!) and seem to be in interesting neighborhoods. My weekend is quickly getting silly, but shoot, it will definitely be worth it.

In other news, I finally remembered today that when one has an ongoing low-grade cold that doesn't go away with sleep or soup, you can actually just buy cold medicine and it will help a lot.

Luxurious inconveniences.

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:15 pm
hannah: (Sam and Dean - soaked)
[personal profile] hannah
I've got wireless set up in my apartment, and I'm slowly working through the process of getting my new computer set up for everything I need to transfer my regular activity over there. I figure another few days, maybe even as early as next Tuesday, and I can move my frustrations from wireless tech support to typing on a new keyboard.

I think a lot of the issues will smooth out when I manage to get inside stuff. If that makes sense.

Oddly enough, I spent most of the morning wringing myself out over a learning module that itself was less intuitive and streamlined than the program it was ostensibly trying to teach me how to use. It seems the "poke around and try to learn things" style is that deeply embedded in the human brain.

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:38 pm
skygiants: Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist with her head on a pile of books (ded from book)
[personal profile] skygiants
Juliet Takes a Breath was our book club book for the month of August. I am glad for the existence of this book in the world and I am glad I read it, and with that said my experience of reading it was largely one of OVERWHELMING CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

Juliet Takes a Breath is the coming-of-age story of Juliet Milagros Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who's spending the summer of 2002 interning in Portland, Oregon! with international feminist sensation Harlowe Brisbane! author of "Raging Flower," a book about VAGINA POWER!

Unsurprisingly, pretty much every time Harlowe Brisbane spoke a sentence I wanted to retract my head all the way back inside my nonexistent turtle shell until a million years had passed and womyn power white lady feminism was a thing that could be discussed with distant scholarly complacency, like galvanism or the Cathar heresy. This is completely expected and indeed clearly intended by the book, but nonetheless, OH LORD.

Anyway, not everything is Harlowe Brisbane being exactly the way you'd expect; a great deal of the book is Juliet dealing with a wide range of family reactions to her coming-out (the width of the range in particular is really good!), and Learning New Vocabularies, and finding comfortable queer POC spaces, and attending lectures about intersectional solidarity in the wake of 9/11, and making romantic gay teen mixtapes full of Ani DiFranco songs! But oh, lord. At least one book club member said it rang extremely true to their experience and memories of Portland in 2002. Myself, in 2002 I was nowhere near Portland nor any of the Cool Yet Problematique gay spaces that Rivera is writing about here and it's PROBABLY just as well, but it does seem quite likely to me that walking around Portland in 2002 was a lot like walking around a physical manifestation of certain bits of tumblr, and that is indeed the sense I got of it from this book.

[a sidenote: the acknowledgments in the back include pointed thanks and reference to the time that the author spent with Inga Muscio, author of 'Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.' I'm not necessarily saying this book was a callout post, but .... anyway Inga Muscio also cheerfully blurbed the book on the front so it seems there were no hard feelings on her part and all is well.]

Ongoing wording.

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:15 pm
hannah: (Dar Williams - skadi)
[personal profile] hannah
Three projects at once is two more than I usually handle. I think I can about manage it this time, since they're all doing different things. The fantasy was printed out on Monday, and I got my hands on a pair of red pens for marking up the physical pages. The science fiction is just at the very beginning of the initial composition phase, currently saved as "Czech 1.2." And the Buffy fic needs to be rewritten from the beginning, pulling in allusions here, references there, doing up scenes from scratch.

I don't quite know what I'm doing, but I know I can't let myself stop.

Quite possibly I'll get to Buffy again soon, which would be nice. The "Hellmouthy" podcast is more grating than I'd expected, but every so often there's a shining gold nugget of a character observation sifted out of the silt that is all the nasal fry and incoherent tangents. As Buffy-based podcasts go, "Buffering the Vampire Slayer" is far less mean-spirited and more light-hearted and genuinely enthusiastic, so it gets my primary endorsement. And I'm still searching for additional fandom icons. Stupid homework keeping me from fandom pursuits.

Also, I began reading Gone Girl. Having been spoiled thanks to the internet, it's an exercise in trying to see how everything is presented and put together. Which, for me, is a more compelling read than two horrifically tragic individuals. I get enough of that just going to work.

Cities built on water.

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:42 pm
hannah: (On the pier - fooish_icons)
[personal profile] hannah
London is a city without a horizon, and London is a city that will never be satisfied. It's built out of liminal spaces and it grows unconstrained, encompassing, devouring, the last remains of empire. There are no mountains, deserts, or oceans to stop it - even the River Thames is only a brief pause. When I came in, tired but ready to keep going, I saw how much London as a city spreads out, how much space it takes up, much more than anywhere else I've ever been, and maybe if I'd climbed the highest towers in the city I'd have been able to see its end, but it's so very much a city without end. Everywhere I've lived has some sort of horizon, or at least some sense of a boundary. When I left, standing at the window of an underground train car to feel the tiniest bit of wind on my face and glimpse a little bit of sky before I'd go up inside, I saw how London as a city will never be finished.

But for all that, within London, people move calmly. There's periods during the day with more intense activity, but there's so much room for people to take a moment to stop. To fully stop. There's parks all over the place, some small, some grand, with plenty of old churches turned into little open-air resting spots replete with lawns and bees working at the flowers. It's not an intense pace but it's a consistent one. The city was here yesterday, and the city will be here tomorrow. And it's accepted that whatever the state of London, it's never going to be quite real, even when you're standing right there inside of it. It's liminal.

London's so liminal it's got palm trees. They're all over the place, including a mile-long park that's wild with birds and blackberries that's also got trains shaking the air right beside it and a wind turbine dropped in the middle and a pub with palm trees tucked in a corner.

There's an urban farm with open fields and an anti-aircraft gun because there wasn't anywhere else to put it. There's parks where foxes slink around after dark, and snails hoof it across the footpaths to beat the evening chill. Just an hour in London gave me new appreciation for so much of Terry Pratchett's work: so much of his genius came from exploring the edges and the corners and finding out for himself just what lived there.

Last Tuesday I stood at the River Thames on midnight and looked at the almost-full moon cast a path on the water, on a rare clear night with almost no clouds to speak of - enough to sometimes pass in front, with the moon more than bright enough to shine through. Except when there was one so thick that when it passed by, the path slowly disappeared, fading away and then vanishing until the cloud moved on and it returned, beginning at my side of the river and opening up the way across to another place entirely. The sky itself, aside from those few clouds, was remarkably dark for a city sky; it must have been the river itself and associated zoning codes keeping the light pollution away. Just a handful of the brightest stars, and the moon.

The next night, walking through a park, the full moon sat in the middle of the London Eye. A pupil in an eye that never winked, just went to sleep when all the clouds came in.

Compared to London, Copenhagen is a town. It's settled into itself, and the ocean is the ultimate horizon line. It's a town built as a city, and it's cozy and comfortable in a way that comes from people living out their lives there, happy to settle in. Though I will say, the Bastard Cafe was outstanding and Tivoli Gardens at night was like visiting a dream.

Oddly enough, the most Danish I heard spoken was during a Jewish religious service. It was a cousin's son's bar mitzvah, and his Danish mother stood up and gave a speech in her mother tongue, and hearing it next to English and Hebrew gave me a good sensation of the tonal differences between the language. Danish melts together, all the syllables and words running smoothly into each other. English has distinct syllables, but flowing words. And even when it's sung, Hebrew makes sure you hear every sound.

I'll also say it was delightful to joke about how Denmark shouldn't be ashamed of looting, it invented it - and then England stole looting, and went on to perfect it.

I saw family on Copenhagen and friends in London, and when I came back to New York, I rode in the front of the shuttle to get to the subway and got a gorgeous panorama of the Manhattan skyline. New York City is built on reality. There's almost nothing liminal inside it: everyone brings their own, and somehow, all the reality everyone has settles together into one unquestionable mosaic. People may try to reverse-engineer it, but the reality remains. Copenhagen has no real conflicts because it doesn't need them. And London, a unique beast, is never going to be as real as the rest of the world - which is what I guess comes from when you build a city without a horizon.

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