Music meme and gaming

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:00 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Day 9 of the (in my case very slow-running) music meme asks for a song that makes you happy. And I have quite a lot of those, making me happy is a big reason I have a music collection at all. I think I'm going to go for Complex person by The Pretenders. The lyrics are not all that cheerful in some ways, but I love the bouncy tune and I always hear this as a song about determination and not letting things get you down.

video embed, actually audio only )

Also I've had a good week for playing games: mostly list with short comments )
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.

Reading 2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:29 am
jo: (Default)
[personal profile] jo
I hadn't realized just how behind I am in updating this. My last Reading 2017 post was May 9!! If it weren't for my Kobo, I doubt I'd even remember what books I've read since then.

In alphabetical order by author:

Until the Night by Giles Blunt
Crime Machine by Giles Blunt
Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell
The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell
The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Currently reading: No Second Chance by Harlan Coben.

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 )

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 05:41 pm
marina: (scifi janelle)
[personal profile] marina
Life is good right now, and I want to record that, before I probably lose my apartment in the next few months, as I do every year for the past 5 years. Probably in some spectacular last minute clusterfuck, as has happened in 2 out of those 5 years.

Anyway, I'm still reading Ninefox Gambit and enjoying it a lot. My health is better. Not "healthy person" better, but definitely better than it's been in say, two years. I'm going to London soon, which is so, so exciting.

The thesis has been... awful, but awful in the usual academic-grind sort of way.

This morning my maternal grandmother's youngest sister died. I couldn't make it to the funeral, but weekend plans (mostly thesis plans) will have to be altered to go grieve with family. Her granddaughter just got married a few weeks ago.

I'm sad, even though I didn't spend a lot of time with her in recent years, since my grandparents died and we stopped celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries as big family events.

My grandmother was 12 when she and her sisters and her mom and her grandma and two of her female cousins were all living in a Nazi concentration camp. This sister, the youngest, remembers that time the least, but she was old enough then to help with the missions, where their mom would send them out in pairs to try and escape the camp illegally and get food and supplies in the nearby village.

Every outing meant risk of capture and death, so the girls always went in pairs with a cousin, not a sister. My great-grandmother wanted to ensure that she could never be blamed for putting her own children ahead of her nieces.

Anyway, it's a sad day. My own grandmother in New York just got out of a 3 month stay at the hospital, and I'm grappling with the fact that it's very likely I'll never see her again.

The sun is shining, and there are flowers outside, and I still have a bed and a kitchen and a closet that are entirely my own. I suppose that's something.

Notebook - Practicality

Jun. 21st, 2017 09:52 pm
carisma_sensei: (Twin Peaks→Dale Cooper)
[personal profile] carisma_sensei posting in [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts
Title: Notebook
Credit to: [community profile] inconformista
Base style: Practicality
Type: full layout in CSS
Best resolution: 1024x768 or above
Tested in: Firefox, Google Chrome, IE



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

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.

my political sentimentality

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:50 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
From "An Excerpt From My Definitely Not a Presidential Campaign Book" by Alexandra Petri, Washington Post, June 5, 2017:


People always ask me what I'm passionate about, and I tell them the following story: When I was a little kid, my grandmother took me to see an injustice. I got so mad! I threw my red white and blue popsicle down on the ground. My grandmother picked it up and said, "Winner, these colors are sacred. Never let them drop." And I said, "I know, Grandma, but I don't like to see injustice!" and she said, "That's just the world we live in. Unless you grow up and devise common-sense policy solutions to do something about it. And don't forget the men who died to give that right to you, and proudly stand up to defend her still today."

....

I think sex is bad unless it falls into one of the five categories below that also conveniently align with my policy proposals:

-- you are thinking about tax reform during it
-- other people are having it and you are vocally disapproving of it
-- at least one of the people involved is committed to being a great dad
-- it involves one willing participant who is a male celebrity
-- it is binding Americans together and serving to restore our common values


So one way I know that I am hopelessly sentimental about civic virtue and so on, and that part of me is an utter sucker for "common-sense policy solutions"/"binding Americans together"-type rhetoric, is that even this parody makes me mist up a little bit. Also I have literally cried (albeit on an airplane) at a Doritos ad that championed bipartisanship.

(As a young'un I came across a copy of Art Buchwald's I Never Danced at the White House and read it and thus learned about Watergate. Art Buchwald was a political humor columnist for the Washington Post. I am imagining some twelve-year-old girl in 2039 reading a Petri collection, getting about 30% of the jokes and enjoying it a lot.)

(Also I should look up whether there is critical scholarship discussing Alexandra Petri, Alexandra Erin, the Toast work of Mallory Ortberg, and whoever else is doing .... this kind of thing in this era. *handwave*)
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.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

First in internal chronology, fourth in publication (and presumably writing) order. Still an eminently readable series.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

The Art of Space Travel - Nina Allen
A fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers - Alyssa Wong

Neither felt exceedingly groundbreaking, but neither was a waste of time reading.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

You should probably read this and ponder the contents. Especially if you think you would be outraged by it.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This series pretty much goes from strength to strength.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

been a while since I read this. It's basically three novellas/long-shorts with a framing story wrapped around them. Works pretty well. One of these is heavily echoed in KKomarr.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Seems I've managed to not post as frequently as I should, so I am somewhat in a catch-up mode, which means the next few posts will all be quite short n waffling.

In short, pretty good reading.

the state of things

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:58 am
marina: (amused Godric)
[personal profile] marina
Life has been... nice, in the last few days. Productive.

deets )

I also spent Saturday, when I wasn't doing thesis stuff, reading Ninefox Gambit by [personal profile] yhlee.

Someone on twitter told me the book's first 100 pages were very difficult to get through, but after that it was worth it. I'd say that the first 50 pages are the exposition/introduction, and if I hadn't been prepared for them I might have indeed quit at that point because it just felt very dense in details and low on stakes, but after those 50 pages the story actually starts, and maaaaan.

I've missed just ENJOYING a science fiction book. Not reading for research, or an article, or a review, but just... reading. Purely for my own pleasure. And this book is so, so much fun. Usually when I wake up on weekdays I watch something on my ipad in bed for a few minutes, like a buzzfeed video or a daily show clip or whatever. I do it in between checking my email and whatever.

This morning I woke up, reached for Ninefox Gambit, read it for the 5-10 minutes I have for that stuff in the morning, and was SO SAD to put it down to go to work. I didn't even touch my ipad or my phone.

In a way this book deserves to be read in increments, and I wouldn't actually recommend binging it, because it's so thick in details and nuance and worldbuilding, the details take time to settle, at least for me.

*

In other news, today is a special day in novella land. Instead of a chapter, there's bonus material! Specifically, a map that goes with the story.

Past couple of days

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:27 pm
falcongrrl: (Default)
[personal profile] falcongrrl
So, I went to the U2 concert in Tampa with my cousin, through a series of events that involved her breaking up with a boyfriend and me leaving two teenage kids alone (it went better than you might expect). My mom and stepdad wanted us to make a little vacationlet of it, and graciously paid for a couple of nights at The Birchwood in St. Petersburg.

It was a lovely hotel, the decor and service absolutely amazing. There were chocolates and fancy bottled water and a clawfoot tub that proved to be very nice for soaking in.

My cousin and I marveled at it and thought we'd never stayed anywhere as nice. I remembered later that the hotel Dave and I stayed in for our honeymoon was arguably just as nice, especially with a view that overlooked the beach. But that was back in January of 1998, just shy of twenty years ago, and it might as well have been another lifetime.

But that was kind of the theme of the vacation. My cousin and I hadn't spent any extended time together since we both were teenagers. And The Joshua Tree tour is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the album.

***

The thing about the Joshua Tree album is that, as I recall, it wasn't even mine. My stepmom bought the CD. But I played the hell out of it, particularly cranked up on my parents' stereo at full volume when they weren't home.

There is a certain feeling that I associate when the guitar kicks in, with its haunting echoes, and it reminds me of what one friend calls Sehnsucht and another friend and I call (for reasons that have been lost in the mists of time) "sun dog", loosely after the atmospheric phenomenon, but for us it means a very wistful state of longing.

I didn't listen to the album before the concert at home or in my car, and it wasn't until I was in the car with my cousin headed to St. Pete that I heard it recently, though then it was mostly in the background while we chatted. We did belt out "Red Hill Mining Town," a favorite of both of ours.

I felt a little bit like a poser. While I'd loved the album, I hadn't listened to U2 in years. My last album in heavy rotation was Achtung Baby, which was the soundtrack for part of my college years. I felt like I'd lucked into getting to go through a series of events but that maybe I wasn't enough of a real fan. Still, the moment the concert started, I was mesmerized. Despite not having heard the album in probably close to the thirty years since it came out, I was able to sing along to every word.

There was something odd about it, like inhabiting my big, ungainly 45-year-old body with glasses and brown hair streaked with gray...at the same time as I was inhabiting, or imagining, my 15-year-old thin body with its contacts and makeup and long permed hair.

I wanted to do justice to that 15-year-old young woman, wanted to bring her forward in time to hear with me. I wished that she had been able to hear the concert back when the album came out. I wished so much for her, this being both me and not-me, the same age as my daughter. I sang my voice out for her, and I danced for her, and I closed my eyes and savored each note, each one of Bono's words, each guitar solo from The Edge, for her.

***

The next day my cousin and I took a trip to the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Pete. It was within walking distance of our hotel. Walking in the hot Florida sun - though there was a breeze - made me a little cranky, but the view of the marina and the bay was pretty.

I hadn't been to the Dalí Museum since I was in my twenties, and it was actually in a different location in St. Pete back then. I can't remember if Dave and I were married yet or still in college when we went there. I just remember being on a tour with the docent and having them say, step forward and you'll see this, step backward and you'll see that, and doing so and being mesmerized by the genius that is Dalí at his best. Before, the only thing I'd known about Salvador Dalí was that he was a Surrealist and had a funny mustache. But being at the museum made a whole world open up for me, and one of the best parts what that Dave was there with me and seeing all the same things too, feeling that same sense of wonder.

I was really hoping to expose my cousin to that, to see her face light up with that same feeling, but it wasn't the same. The docent we ended up with was more interested in telling us about all the places in Spain he'd visited than analyzing the paintings...either that, or we bailed before he quite got to that part. My cousin and I explored on our own. She liked his early, more impressionistic pieces...but she found the breasts and penises hidden and not-so-hidden in the larger body of his work pornographic and agitating.

And I realized - even as the twenty-something part of me was disappointed - that my cousin gets to have her own experience and perspective. That part of going to something like the Dalí museum is what it does to and for the individual, that people get to have their individual experiences of that.

We did both enjoy the food in the cafe, the view and the architecture from the building, and the garden with the Spanish guitar music playing.

***

My mom's family was very close, and my maternal grandparents were an integral part of my life growing up. I spent most of the time I wasn't with my parents with my grandparents, and so did my cousin. We practically grew up together; we were like sisters. I remember playing with her Barbie dreamhouse, swimming in my grandparents' above-ground pool, watching all the same reruns together after school, fighting with her over practically everything: including the way she would follow me around everywhere and try to boss me around, even though she was three years younger than me.

And then my parents got divorced when I was eight, and I became more like a visitor to my grandparents' house than an inhabitor of that world. It was still home...but not quite. I was feted and treated like the prodigal daughter when I went over there on my mom's weekends, because they weren't seeing me everyday anymore. All my favorite foods were served, chicken and green beans and macaroni and cheese. Lemon cake. My grandmother fussed over me and tried to fatten me up, because at the time I was painfully thin, all bones and arms and legs.

My grandparents were just so excited to see me.

And then when my cousin's parents got divorced when she was twelve, my cousin ended up living with my grandparents. She inhabited that world that I just visited, her home my home-but-not-quite-home. But we were still close as teenagers, still almost like sisters, and we talked a lot about boys and clothes and school.

Being together over these past couple of days, now in 2017, we laughed so hard that we cried, and in some ways it was like being that close again. And yet there were reminders, for me, of how the world I live in is much different. I like to think that despite being in a heterosexual marriage, my life isn't heteronormative. I don't identify as Christian anymore, and she's a Baptist. There are similarities in terms of how we raise our kids, but there are vast differences too. And we're on completely different sides of the political spectrum. I would be shocked to find out that she didn't vote for Trump. She fat-shames herself and doesn't seem to realize that I'm almost a hundred pounds heavier than she is. (Yes, really.)

There are things that my cousin knows about me that no one else knows quite so well. Even though I can describe it here, you won't quite get the way I could climb a guava tree to the very tiptop when I was eight, or my very intense longing to be able to inhabit the world of Battle of the Planets and be another member of G-Force, even if it was only in my mind. My cousin knows those means of escape from the dance that both sets of our parents did, that our grandparents did. Both of us can recite most of my grandmother's chronic illnesses and the drama that went with them, some of which I share (and some of which I'm just finding out about now.) Our childhood and adolescence is hopelessly intertwined.

But there are also so many things I can't share with her anymore: a love of Jesus, a love of new clothes; being thin, being excited over boys. I love my cousin deeply, but it's a love grounded in the past more than the present, and there are sides of myself that I don't know how to present to her now. Being around her is a little bit like squeezing into the too-tight clothes you used to wear everyday but haven't quite fit into in a while.

***

Last night my cousin and I had dinner together and we ordered alcohol with dinner and went to the rooftop bar after dinner and drank more alcohol and laughed until we cried.

For me, it was coming close to exceeding my limits with alcohol but being responsible enough not to, something I couldn't quite figure out in my teens and twenties. For her, it was the first time she'd ever been drunk. She said, "Wow! Now I know why people do this!" while I kept giggling.

She was responsible enough to know when to stop, and I plied her with advil and water to try to prevent a hangover, and we woke up in the middle of the night and started reliving all our experiences and laughed so hard again I couldn't catch my breath.

***

The past couple of days have been a combination of returning to my younger selves, seeing life both through my eyes and their eyes, and getting dizzy from the combined juxtaposition. (Or maybe just from the alcohol last night.)

***

I don't know quite how to end this. But here's a quote from a short story I read a long time ago, "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros.

What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are—underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.

You don’t feel eleven. Not right away. It takes a few days, weeks even, sometimes even months before you say Eleven when they ask you. And you don’t feel smart eleven, not until you’re almost twelve. That’s the way it is.


***

I'm forty-five. And I'm also eight, and fifteen, and eighteen, and twenty-something, and all the ages that make up the entire span of my life.

That's the way it is. And that's okay.

June 2017

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