Apr. 25th, 2019 08:12 pm
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Turns out my alternator was fucked.

The other weekend, Belovedest had made paired appointments for us at their mechanic. The car had become inoperative after the last battery replacement and attempt at emissions testing (which failed due to a sudden check engine light).

The symptoms were similar, and indicated that this new battery was not serving up enough electrons to turn on the "door open" light, let alone turn over the engine.

Adventur, ending in mechanic. )

The car was ready the next morning. I paid for the fix and started it with some trepidation.

It started. It ran.

It shifted into gear without a flicker.

I drove home on surface streets, carefully but with increasing confidence.

Next, we're looking for a day when my brain, health, and sleep cycle will allow me to venture forth to start on the paperwork to allow me to move it in order to get the next emissions test.

oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

I got to see the particular texts I wanted to see, and one of them was actually the originally typescript with ms corrections and emendations of the Play That Was Banned By The Censor in 1907 unless the author agreed to remove all references to something that was, in fact, fairly key a) to the overall action and b) to the symbolism.

Also the published version of the 1920s updated revised version (finally passed for production in the 1930s).

Also a critical study of the playwright in question which had a few useful things to say.

However, I also wanted to look at a couple of volumes of Time and Tide to see if it had anything to say about questions relating to the issues on which I am giving a paper of which all this is part, and I did not want to look at the microfilm, and there were two sets of the printed version which were on 48-hr+ retrieval (on reflection, this would have worked for today, but I was planning on going in yesterday) and there was what appeared to be the hard copy with a rather odd reference and produceable only in Rare Books and Manuscripts, but it was something I could order in reasonable expectation that it would be there on my arrival -

Except this was one of those maddening things when a catalogue or a cataloguer has picked up something - in this case, I am presuming a few odd issues of T&T forming part of some person's papers - and catalogued them as if they were the whole journal: the description certainly did not indicate to the contrary.

This is exactly the sort of thing that made me dubious during former job about the proposition to put everything into one huge searchable catalogue... which can work if you're really clear if something is a manuscript or a file in an archive, etc, in the description. (And even then people get confused.) (People were always getting confused and thinking one file about person or organisation in somebody's else's papers/some institution's archives was the papers/archives of person or organisation, sigh.)

What a charming idea!

Apr. 25th, 2019 10:41 am
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[personal profile] brithistorian
In a new Korean reality show, K-pop idols help teach the elderly how to read (under the supervision of an expert teacher).
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Three great new songs out today.

Chanyeol's "SSFW" is just a beautiful song that totally knocked me out.  If you only listen to one of today's songs of the day, make it this one.

Yoon Jisung's "I'll Be There" is a great song with kind of a quirky video.  Watch for the moon.  Also, the candies he's eating throughout the video are Sakuma's Drops, a classic Japanese candy; you can order them here.

K-pop boy bands are by definition filled with good-looking guys.  But - and maybe this is just my taste - I think the guys in Newkidd are particularly pretty.  I don't know that I would have paid too much attention to this song without the video - it's good, but not quite in the same league as today's other two SOTDs.

(no subject)

Apr. 25th, 2019 02:23 am
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
Mungo and I went to Florida to help my mom sell her house there. She talked a bit about how her brother Jerry had bought the lot for $5 a month, when he was a young man, before any of them had ever been to Florida; her brother Jim had also started buying a lot, but he didn't keep up the payments. I could see she was having some feelings about outliving Jim and Jerry, and her baby brother Tom, and being too frail to winter in Florida anymore, but I'm not good with feelings. I encouraged her to let go of stuff, and Mungo and I did mighty work packing up the things she couldn't let go of, and I made sure she understood everything she was signing.

Yesterday we went to Gasparilla Island State Park to wade in the ocean. It's full of fish! I saw many ospreys catching fish, and people with fishing rods under the ospreys, and white ibises and brown pelicans. I got a little sunburn on my arms and sanded a lot of callus off my feet. Mungo swum in the ocean for the first time. We went along Banyan Street, which has a lot of banyans, and houseplants, crotons and sansevierias and monsteras and such, growing outside in the dirt like lilacs. I saw an osprey using a nesting platform that the power company had put up.

I remembered a story from when I was a little kid, though I think it must have happened at Lake Michigan, not in Florida. My grandma had blue-green flip-flops with white daisies on the toe straps. She went wading and lost one of them, and was very upset. All us cousins went looking for it, but fairly soon our parents gave up, saying that the tide had taken it and it was gone. But I kept looking. And kept looking. I was a very stubborn child. So I kept looking, until it got dark and I found it -- no! I found a rock. A flat oblong rock, just the size of the lost flip-flop, and weirdly shaped very much like a flip-flop.

Grandma was tickled. I painted the rock blue, with white daisies where the toe straps would be, and she took it home and used it as a door stop.

I thought I was magic. I believed that I had called that rock into being, by keeping the image of the flip-flop fixed in my mind, and searching for it so persistently.

• What are you reading?

I had to return Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and get back on the waitlist. Jesse, I think you can read the first two parts, "Becoming Me" and "Becoming Us", unless you are avoiding not just current political events but all political subjects. I haven't got to "Becoming More" yet.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The True Queen, by Zen Cho.

• What are you watching?

A Private War.

A long, long time ago

Apr. 24th, 2019 11:46 am
wcg: (Default)
[personal profile] wcg
It was 1968, and I was in the 8th grade. When I was a teen heartthrob. )
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Amnesty, and I think that was a good ending: not descending into grimdark but not fluffy-bunnies either, in keeping with the general tenor and a small note of hope.

Also finally finished The Strange Case of Harriet Hall and really, this is yet another 'neglected Golden Age detective novelist' that one can see why, really.

Catherine Dain, Dead Man's Hand (1997), which is the one where our protag has reached a place where the reader can see that perhaps the author did not quite know where to go next, which is the problem when you have a protag who changes and grows and is affected by the things that happen... I also started Dain's Angel in the Dark (A New Age Mystery #1) (1999), which failed to grab me and went into the donation bag. (Apparently there was a #2 in this series which I shall not be seeking out.)

And then I fell down an Amanda Cross rabbit hole, no, I don't know why, it just happened, they were on the shelf and I succumbed, I'm not even reading them in any particular order: Honest Doubt (2000), The Edge of Doom (2002), An Imperfect Spy (1995), The Puzzled Heart (1998), A Trap for Fools (1989), The Players Come Again (1990). And my sense is that Cross/Carolyn Heilbrun was having fun with these and being playful and not caring if they adhered to the Detective Club rules or even had a murder in them and was using that strategy of writing in genre so that she could do the late C20th version of 'o, it is only a novel' while having plots in which noxious professors get defenestrated, women bond &/or find life after unsatisfactory marriage, etc.

On the go

Amanda Cross, Poetic Justice (1970) - this must be one, I think, I bought somewhere like Sisterwrite or Compendium Books, way back in the day.

Charlotte Lennox still on the go.

Up next

Apart from more Amanda Cross, I have, I think, somewhere, a couple of collections of Heilbrun's essays.

Easter weekend

Apr. 24th, 2019 09:44 am
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[personal profile] clawfoot
My Easter weekend was tiring, but not for the usual reasons.

We'd moved our regular Sunday game to Friday, which was fun. Friday night, Fedoriarty and I went to see Hellboy, which I'm glad I used Scene points on instead of actual money because it wasn't all that great. Main dude did a good job with what he was given, but the story...? Needed a machete. They tried to do WAY too much, and tried to cram in visually interesting elements that served no purpose.

Saturday was both tiring and restful; my sisters came with their two dogs, Casey and Clover. We took all three dogs to the golf course for an hour so they could run themselves stupid, which they obligingly did. We returned to the house for lunch, and then my sisters left. Mum, Luna, and I napped in front of the fire for the rest of the afternoon, until it was time to leave for the LARP.

Fedoriarty and I watched the Snatch Game episode of the current Drag Race run, and then went to the LARP, which was fun, but draining. I should really know better than to make an outgoing, extroverted character. I can do it, but it takes SO MUCH out of me. Ugh. I'm glad we had our weekly game on Friday, because I would have been FRIED on Sunday after that LARP.

Sunday I headed home in the morning with the puppernutter, after Mum had taken her for another run. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and watching television. In the evening, Luna got sprayed by a skunk. I'd put her outside soon after dark, and was chatting with Maize in his den. I asked, "Why does your den smell like skunk?" He said it didn't, and came over to where I was standing (in the door). He said, "It smells like skunk over here, though."

And then the penny dropped, and I ran to the back door to let Luna in. She was unhappy. Dirty, gross, smelling like burned rubber, and trying to rub her head on everything (me, the furniture, the cats, etc.). I got her downstairs and into the tub. Thankfully, we had some hydrogen peroxide on hand (along with baking soda and dish soap), so I made up the magic formula and washed her down with it, then shampooed her.

It was difficult to tell if it worked, because the entire house stank. Ground zero appeared to be just by the back door, I suspect the skunk was lurking under our back porch. Between the proximity of Ground Zero and Luna's attmpt to rub off on everything around her, the smell was pretty much solidly in the house.

I went to bed. I'm not sure what happened, maybe it was something I ate or maybe it was the closeness of the extremely potent skunk smell, but seriously gross TMI )

So I called in sick Monday morning, and spent the day feeling sorry for myself, bathing the dog, and being afraid to eat.

After her morning double-washing (hydrogen peroxide mix, then shampoo) I took Luna to the dog park in the mid morning, and met up with a bunch of dog park friends. One of them suggested I wash Luna with chlorine to get the smell out. I didn't have any, but he has a hot tub in his backyard, and he's the sort of guy who really enjoys being useful, so at his invitation, I followed him back to his place. We got a bucket of hot tub water, put extra chlorine in it (not enough to burn, but definitely more than is normally in a hot tub), and washed Luna down. Then we rinsed her off with clean water. I thanked him, headed home, and gave her yet another shampooing.

This dog has never been so clean.

Fortunately, it seems to have done the trick. I'm not sure if it's the hydrogen peroxide mix or the chlorine, but she seems to be mostly shampoo-scented now.

I wish I could say the same for our back porch.

Higher education is broken

Apr. 24th, 2019 07:16 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
If you want to see what I mean when I say higher education is broken, go read "Death of an Adjunct" from The Atlantic.

If I hadn't met A. and then married and had kids young, that could have been me.  Having set myself upon a course, I would have done anything, sacrificed anything, to get there.  But once I had other people depending on me, it forced me to have some sort of work-life balance.  A lot of things that I might have done if it was just me were off the table once there were other people involved.
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[personal profile] brithistorian
Remember I told you how K-pop was more into seasonal songs than American pop?  Well, it's still spring, so we're still getting spring songs.  As far as I'm concerned, this is the spring song of this year.

An update and a confession

Apr. 24th, 2019 06:45 am
clawfoot: (Default)
[personal profile] clawfoot
For the vast majority of the time, I am fine. I have adjusted quite well to things, and my body can do everything I need it to. Mostly, I see my missing breast and the acompanying scar as a badge of honour, marking the fact that something terrifying tried and failed to kill me.

But I would be lying if I said I didn't also sometimes feel like I now belong in the factory seconds scratch-n-dent sale. The feeling is rare and fleeting. It never lasts long, and I'm quickly back to my fuck-you-cancer-I-spit-in-your-face self, but it does happen. I'm having such a moment now.

I'll be fine again soon, probably within the hour. But right at this moment, I'm feeling... defective.

Dept. of Dreamwidth

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:11 pm
kaffyr: A Dreamwidth Sheep w/Canadian flag (Canadian Dream Sheep)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Hello, Folks, Here Writes Fandom, Maybe. 

So the redoubtable 
[personal profile] minnehaha  posted an excellent social media manifesto that makes the argument that Dreamwidth is an excellent platform for fannish communication. Here it is

It starts with the assumption that the LJ/Dreamwidth format is perfect for long-form communication - something that was as much a building block of traditional SF fandom as in-jokes, nicknames, letters of comment in zines and horrendously long fan feuds nourished over months and years by some of those LOCs. 

It makes the reluctant declaration that LJ itself could now be considered problematic, then says that LJ's fannish community could successfully make the leap to Dreamwidth by making the conscious decision to do so, thus reclaiming itself from whatever LJ's current operators might do.

(It also notes that Facebook and Twitter don't meet fannish needs for numerous reasons. Although it doesn't mention Tumblr, much of what it says about FB and Twitter obtains to that platform as well.) 

People still love LJ; their memories of its rich existence, history and shared experiences strongly tie them to it. What I like about 
[personal profile] minnehaha 's manifesto is that it doesn't denigrate Live Journal. Instead, it acknowledges it, especially the concepts that fueled the best of it - once again, long-form communication being a major part of that.

In short, it's not "LJ is bad and Dreamwidth is better, so abandon the former for the latter." It's "Our community - our communities - can move here, can be reborn here, as a natural evolution of modern fandoms. We aren't abandoning anything; we're helping our communities and fandoms survive by finding them a new home."

I like that. I hope others like it too, at least enough to consider. Moving to a new house always means walking into empty rooms, and remembering the comfortable rooms one left behind. That's not unrelievedly pleasant. It's bittersweet at best.

But then you fill the new and empty rooms with all the memories of the old ones, and begin the joyous journey of finding new memories as well. 

cheesecake for a sonnet

Apr. 23rd, 2019 01:02 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
On my way home from the library today, I stopped for soup dumplings and to see if I could win a free mini-cheesecake:

To celebrate Shakespeare Day, 7Ate9 bakery is giving away mini-cheesecakes if you can recite "your favorite sonnet"; the sign outside the bakery on Saturday warned "a soliloquy is not a sonnet." They also have cheesecakes decorated with a drawing of Shakespeare; for Pi Day last month, the decoration was π to as many decimal digits as would fit on a four-inch cheesecake.

I went to the bakery on Saturday to buy a chocolate cheesecake, saw the sign about a free cheesecake, and decided to try reciting a sonnet from memory. I got about four lines into the one that begins "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun," with a bit of friendly prompting, before giving up. The chef encouraged me to come back and try again later; when I walked into the store today, she asked if I was there to try again. I said yes, but a different sonnet, which once again I knew by first line rather than number. I recited Sonnet 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," and the chef invited me to choose a mini-cheesecake.

The offer is good through today, in case anyone reading this is going to be in that part of Somerville (Highland Avenue, near the Armory) this afternoon.

Weki Meki to have a May comeback!

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:32 am
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[personal profile] brithistorian

Yay!  Weki Meki, one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) K-pop groups, will be having a comeback in May!  I can't wait to see and hear what they come up with this time!  (I'd been thinking recently that they were due for a comeback soon, and apparently I was right on track.)  Expect to see further updates on this here, as the agency teases us with photos and video clips to build up expectation before the big day.
oursin: Picture of Fotherington-Tomas skipping, with words subversive male added (Subversive male)
[personal profile] oursin

Because usually when people are talking about the problem of BOYZ in the educational system and under-achievement, it is all about defeminising the curriculum and catering to their masculine needs and so on.

Well this guy, 'who shaves his head and has an East End accent' is, I suspect, secretly Basil Fotherington-Tomas: Boys will be boys? How schools can be guilty of gender bias. Too many teachers think boys can’t do as well as girls, says the teacher on a mission to change attitudes.

There’s a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude that plays into a narrative that says boys produce more testosterone, and that’s why they fight and punch, that’s why they don’t sit quietly in lessons, that’s why they’re harder to control, that’s why we have different expectations about what they can do.” But the hormone system is much more complex than such a binary reading reveals; and for every study that links bad behaviour and testosterone, there’s another, says Pinkett, that suggests it’s more about environment than biology. “The ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ philosophy neglects two key facts: firstly, that there are more similarities than differences between the sexes, and, secondly, that our brains are plastic and changeable, especially during the early years.” What teachers have to get past, he says, is the belief that if a boy doesn’t comply, doesn’t hand in homework or is misbehaving, that it’s because he’s male. “We need to stop ourselves: because maybe whatever is going on isn’t, after all, because he’s a boy. And it’s that realisation that can free pupils from stereotypes, and give them the chance to do what everyone wants, which is truly fulfil their potential.”
There’s a danger of treating boys differently and patronising them, says Roberts. “So, for example, you’ve got a boy you think doesn’t like reading, so you decide to pander to his love of football and give him a book about that to read. But in narrowing your expectations, you’re narrowing his. It’s the same with, for example, teaching boys about Shakespeare by concentrating on the sword fights or the fighting: it’s like we’re hoodwinking them into learning, and it doesn’t work. What we need is a big shift in ethos: too many teachers believe boys can do less, they don’t think boys can succeed as well as girls at school. I don’t think it’s about watering it down: it’s about having high expectations for boys as well as for girls.”

The content being taught is also relevant, and connected, of course, to everything else. “The English curriculum is unfairly and disproportionately dominated by men, and many of them are deplorable men like Macbeth and Dr Jekyll. And Dickens: a lot of his writing is unsavoury. So we need to challenge that in school, and we need to think about issues around sexist male behaviour and violence in the texts they’re reading.”

Go, guy!

brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
I've got to confess to being rather surprised by this one.  BabySoul is a member of Lovelyz, and if you had asked me I wouldn't have guessed that any of the members of the group had a voice capable of pulling off a song like this.  Don't get me know - they all have decent voices, but they all seemed better suited for group work than for soloing.  At any rate. I'm pleased to have been mistaken.

The video is kind of unusual for K-pop videos, in that BabySoul doesn't appear in it at all.  Usually the opposite is true - the videos are so performer-centric that no other people appear.  It suited the song, though - I found myself wondering what the guy was waiting for.  Did he know she was coming back, or was he just hoping?  For that matter, is she coming back?  Once the English subtitles are available, I'll probably have a better idea, but for now all I've got is questions.

Also, if the comments to the video are accurate, BabySoul also wrote the song herself, so hats off to her for that.  (It could be my imagination, but K-pop idols writing their own songs seems to be becoming more common, particularly in solo and subgroup releases.)

(As for Lovelyz, their last comeback at "Lost N Found" on November 26 of last year, so they're due for a comeback but not overdue.)

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] damnmagpie!


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