Music meme: day 21 of 30

Aug. 21st, 2017 12:50 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[personal profile] liv
A favourite song with a person's name in the title: Several options for this one, but I'm going with Hey there Delilah by Plain White T's. I generally really like songs that tell a bit of a story, and I can imagine the characters in this one so vividly. I like the balance of emotions; it's a sad song about missing a lover, but it's also optimistic and the music is at least somewhat catchy. And I like that they're apart because they're both pursuing their careers, it's not some passive muse waiting for her artist boyfriend to come home. It's not my usual musical style; indeed I discovered it simply by listening to chart radio like some young person who's in touch with the recent music scene.

Besides, I've been in long-distance relationships pretty much my entire adult life, so I can really relate. But no longer; I haven't posted about this in public yet, but in a couple of weeks I'm properly moving to Cambridge. So I'll be living full time in the same house as my husband and the same town as my Other Significant Others. And I won't be spending every Friday and Sunday evening commuting. I'm really really looking forward to this next phase in my life, but also at the moment up to my ears in arranging the move, and quite emotional about leaving the situation I've been settled in for 8 years.

This weekend I lead my last Shabbat morning service with my lovely community. They are understandably nervous about the future without me, and I will miss them absolutely terribly. I talked a bit about Re'eh, making sure that there's no comparison between Moses saying farewell to the Israelites and me saying farewell now. I discussed keeping sanctity while you're living in an imperfect situation, far away from Jewish centres. What compromises can you make (eating meat without making a Temple sacrifice) and what lines can't be crossed (worshipping in Pagan sites)? Then it will go well for you and your children after you, for all of time, because you will do what is good and right in the eyes of the Eternal your God. And we ate cakes made by my sister and the community gave me some really nice silver Shabbat candlesticks with engraved stands.

[personal profile] jack came up to help me sort the flat out. In lots of ways the decision making is the harder part of packing than the physical labour, so having my husband with me was an amazing help. I am really looking forward to living with him and properly sharing the work of running a household, because we're such a great team. Not just one day in the distant future when our dreams come true, but next month:
We'll have it good
We'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good

video embed )

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 03:19 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
Productivity is a distant dream today. So instead, I'm going to start documenting my London trip, which was amazing (A-M-A-Z-I-N-G).

3 days )

Linkspam

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:13 am
jo: (Default)
[personal profile] jo
I had hoped to do semi-regular linkspam-type posts, but that's worked out even worse than my reading update posts! It's not deliberate neglect on my part, it's just that I realized that most of the articles I find appearing on my Twitter feed related to various aspects of parliamentary-type stuff, so while one such link in a linkspam might be interesting to others, only links of that nature probably would not. What can I say? I have a rather fine-tuned Twitter feed.

However, I have found a few links in recent days that aren't (all) about parliaments, so here goes.

Here's a nice little history of the relationship between Big Ben and the British (following news this week that BB will fall silent for 4 years for repairs starting Aug. 21).

Class-A dickwad Julian Assange and Wikileaks turned down leads on the Russian Government during the US Presidential Campaign. Colour me not at all shocked or surprised.

Yesterday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, in a speech to her party caucus, revealed that a third of the caucus were born outside of Canada. This made me smile given the political chaos currently hitting Australia over revelations that a bunch of MPs and Senators there are dual citizens. Australia's constitution forbids anyone holding citizenship of another country from running for parliament.. Here's a nice overview from the BBC.

This one is just kind of cute and funny: What Game of Thrones characters would look like if they were Chinese street vendors.

This piece was written over a year ago, but only came to my attention recently. The author, who has a PhD in Mythology, explores the archetypal significance of TV epics and ridiculously embarrassing celebrity crushes. It's specifically about Outlander, and comes closest to how I feel about the show (because, like the author, this is the first show that I've ever come close to being "fannish" about). It's a long read, but very interesting.

Helsinki, Worldcon

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
That was not the Worldcon I would have liked; I'd hoped to do as several of my friends did, and travel overland and explore some of the region. Or at least to really get immersed in the con itself. And I'd have liked a proper holiday with my partners and their children, which hasn't really happened this year though we've had a few short breaks.

In reality I was only able to go for the long weekend. I spent an eye-watering amount of money on a trip that didn't quite work for me, between flights, accommodation, Worldcon membership (when I actually only ended up attending for half a day), and just general living expenses in a not very well planned trip to an expensive city. It feels churlish to complain about being in a position to spend a bit too much on a less than perfect trip, and in many ways it was good, just not quite what I'd hoped for.

more details )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the nth book in McGuire's Toby Daye series. Can't say I recall the exact ordinal, but it's definitely early. Stats with a party, but quickly switches to a quest of sorts, as Sylvester, Duke Torquill, tasks Toby with checking up on the county of Tamed Lightning, headed by his niece, January. Mostly because it's a small place, nested between two domains not quite at war. And nothing had been heard from there for quite a while.

At first, things seem fine, although a smidgen is. But as usual, in Faerie first impressions are not what they seem.

Eminently readable, but I would hesitantly say that this series grows better later. All that said, it is perhaps not a bad place to start, if you're curious. There will be things that have been explained earlier, but the general "the series has hidden mass accumulated" is not nearly as prominent as when you're 6-7 books in.

Meliora - Transmogrified

Aug. 17th, 2017 04:15 pm
carisma_sensei: (Papa Emeritus III)
[personal profile] carisma_sensei posting in [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts
Title: Meliora
Credit to: [community profile] inconformista
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Best resolution: 1024x768 or above
Tested in: Firefox, Google Chrome, IE



Click the thumbnail to preview the layout
Layout is here @ [community profile] inconformista

(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:53 am
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
So, I've had to tell local friends to stop sending me anti-fascist memes related to what's going on in the U.S. right now because I've just... reached the end of my cope? I've had to get off twitter for a while, because my mental health just can't keep up. But at the same time it feels like the world is burning and I desperately want to do something, and well.

I've decided what I'm going to do is just try to help people in whatever way I can, which always feels like a good course of action to me.

So, I have this Russian friend on twitter. She's fannish, her name is Sasha, her twitter account is locked. We met in Black Sails fandom earlier this year. She's very delightful and funny and lives in St. Petersburg.

This year she'd really like to get married. She and her girlfriend have been together for about 5 years. Needless to say, a marriage is not possible in Russia (or Ukraine, where her girlfriend is from). So, they've thought up a plan to travel to Denmark to get married later this year, and they've been raising money mostly through their Russian fandom friends, to make the trip possible. Russian fandom doesn't really do paypal (other money transfer methods are easier), so when I asked how I could help they basically opened an account with PP just for me.

There's no public post about this fundraiser, no kickstarter page. I honestly don't even want to link their account names on twitter to this public post, although I of course asked them what details I could share before writing about this on DW.

Anyway, if you're looking for the usual safeguards to make sure this isn't a scam - they're not really available in this case. I can only tell you that I know this person and trust them and I've helped their marriage fund and have no regrets.

So, if you'd like to throw some money their way, or signal boost this to your friends, their paypal address is: blindpilot at yandex dot ru

(Also, Sasha has pointed out that if you'd like more details about what the money is for, you're welcome to email her at that address.)

Reading 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:13 pm
jo: (Default)
[personal profile] jo
Here is what I have read since the last time I did one of these posts:

Just One Look -- Harlan Coben
The Flame Bearer -- Bernard Cornwell
The Innocent -- Harlan Coben
Station Eleven -- Emily St. John Mandel
Sharp Objects -- Gillian Flynn

I am currently reading Fall of Giants -- Ken Follett, which is book one of a trilogy. I haven't quite decided if I'm liking this one enough to read the other two in the trilogy, but I'm not that far in yet so that's a decision that can wait until I've finished it.

Reading Wednesday 16/08

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
  • vatine: books-related stuff (books)
    [personal profile] vatine
    Reread.

    Third and most probably final volume of Kress' Probability series. Starts about, oh, 2-3 years after Probability Sun. Again, features and ensemble cast. Again, I can't say jack without spoiling the previous volumes.

    And, possibly boringly, again eminently readable.

    On the up-side, I am now caught up to "now", having carefully rationed up the last week-and-a-half's write-ups over two days. Go me!
    vatine: books-related stuff (books)
    [personal profile] vatine
    Reread.

    The sequel of Probability Moon in what I have chosen to call (don't recall if there's a proper name) Kress' Probability series.

    We continue the multi-viewpoint narrative, as a group of intrepid scientists (and military) return to World, where they expect to be solidly classed as "unreal". Things happen, science is done, setting the scene for the third book of the series.

    I wish there was anything cogent I could say about this that would not simply be stomping all over the reading of #1 in the series, but that's pretty much it.

    Still, a rather pleasant read, all things considered.

    returning with a bang

    Aug. 15th, 2017 10:34 am
    marina: (murder is the answer)
    [personal profile] marina
    So, London was wonderful (WONDERFUL) but obviously pretty busy. On the days I wasn't at Nine Worlds, I walked about 11 kilometers a day, on average, according to my phone (there was a day when I walked 17,500 steps). Consider I have herniated disks in my back and am still recovering - it was A Lot.

    the last few days )
    vatine: books-related stuff (books)
    [personal profile] vatine
    Reread.

    It's been a few years since I read this, I think. All in all, eminently readable.

    We're flipping between viewpoint characters, sometimes we're following Enli pek Brimmidin (I am now unsure if it's "pek" or "Pek"), a woman from World who's been declared temporarily unreal, for having done unreal things, thus violating Reality.

    Sometimes, we're following one of a few Earth scientists, on World, trying to figure out things like "how does shared Reality work" and "that mountain over there is mighty strange, I wonder why". And we also have a bunch of Earth military going "that is not a moon, it's an artefact!"[*].

    All in all, eminently readable, happy I decided it was the next to push into the queue.

    [*] That may look like, but isn't, a spoiler. You're told this in the first 15-20 pages, IIRC.
    marina: (Default)
    [personal profile] marina
    Out of the billion posts I want to make about London, let's start with a somewhat random topic. Accents. And the weirdness of my brain.

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

    This is an entry out of sequence, but there's too much to clean up to make it worth sorting numbers out, sorry.

    Where was I? Ah, yes, this is set in the same fictional universe as Seeing Red, but takes a completely different tack. We follow a young woman, who after a very mysterious aviation accident find herself not at ALL in her familiar Australia, but in a hilly, rain-foresty elsewhere. Adventure and perhaps a little romance happens, and so forth.

    I suspect it's one of those that grow with repetitions, but even so I found it quite readable with a sense of "OK, now what?" when over and a "just a few more pages..." when reading.

    Claims to be a first in the (sub?) series it's in, Return of the Aghyrians.
    vatine: books-related stuff (books)
    [personal profile] vatine
    Reread.

    Second book in Mckenna's Tales of Einarinn series. We continue the narrative style from installment #1, where we have a primary POV character using the first person and occasionally having other viewpoint characters, where the third person is used.

    I am in a little bit of "catch-up" mode at the moment, but essentially this was pretty good reading. Perhaps not surprising, as I'm re-reading it. I would hesitantly recommend starting with the first book, but I think this would work just fine as an entry-point.

    Music meme: day 20 of 30

    Aug. 11th, 2017 11:48 am
    liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
    [personal profile] liv
    A song that has many meanings for you. I think this has to be Some kind of stranger by Sisters of Mercy. Partly because it's lyrically complex; I have never been sure if it's about a positive relationship or a breakup, a long-term connection or a casual affair, and it may well not be about romantic love at all.

    This is another song that [personal profile] doseybat introduced me to when we were teenagers. So it's tied up with discovering alternative music and the goth scene, and forming my own tastes in music as well as more broadly. A period of my life when I think I did the most growing up.

    In some ways it's a song about keeping faith in spite of everything that might push you towards despair. And that's why I keep coming back to it, whether it's faith in a person or just more broadly:
    And I know the world is cold
    But if we hold on tight to what we find
    We might not mind so much
    That even this must pass away

    Then it's the soundtrack of my PhD. The bit where my brother had a bad accident and I was in an emotional mess, but the science was still inspiring and still needed doing. The bit where it wasn't inspiring any more, it was a slog, and I had to keep going. One more step, one more flask of cells, one more measurement. The long repetitive bit at the end Come here I think you're beautiful over and over again, when I was sitting in the cell culture room with my headphones a portable tape player, and just keeping my cells alive and nourished before I could actually do any experiments took about three hours three times a week. You can't miss a sesssion or the cells die or mutate and you lose months of work. You have to concentrate enough not to get anything contaminated, but it's not exactly intellectually stimulating. In fact, a lot of the point of my PhD was providing justification for replacing me with a robot, but grad students are cheaper than robots, and I was just sitting there screening through hundreds of potential new drugs.

    It's also a song about making friends with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel, towards the end of that PhD and the years just afterwards. [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel is also a Sisters fan and gave me a recording of one of their concerts, since it's nearly impossible to buy studio versions of most of their music since the 80s. The ambiguous words might be about a sudden, intense yet enduring friendship, maybe. Some kind of stranger / some kind of angel.

    And even though it's a pretty downbeat song, it's a very happy song for me now. It promised me that I could endure, and I have. My brother is fine now. I still love most of the people who sustained me in my late teens and early 20s. I've succeeded at some things that were hard and failed at others, but I have people who love me for myself, not my achievements. And nothing is permanent, but as long as I'm here and get to experience things and love people, I can cope with that.

    video embed, audio only )

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