liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: The examined life: how we lose and find ourselves by Stephen Grosz. (c) Stephen Grosz 2013; Pub Random House Vintage 2014; ISBN 978-0-099-54903-1. This is a book of vignettes from Grosz' practice as a psychoanalyst, lent to me by [personal profile] angelofthenorth.

reviews, including glancing mentions of genocide )

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster, I've had loads of fun including a couple of long weekend breaks, and also quite a lot of stress both work and personal, and all that adds up to never getting time for DW. I feel a bit deprived that I'm only managing to talk about books here, I have lots of thoughts and lots of articles I want to link to and I miss all of you. But anyway, talking about books is a start.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: The Fresco by Sheri S Tepper. review has minor spoilers and some abortion politics )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read:
  • Lady of mazes by Karl Schroeder. (c) 2005 Karl Schroeder, Pub Tor 2006, ISBN 0-765-35078-5.

    long reviews with political commentary )

    OK, wrote this on the train yesterday, it's actually Thursday by the time I've got online to post it.
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I'm waiting for an email which is looming so large it blots out most other useful thought, so have a fairly mindless "British" meme. Via [personal profile] strangecharm, who is much wittier than I am, and everybody else.

50 questions about my relationship with some aspects of Brit culture )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Several people commented to my emotional labour thoughts by bringing up the issue of unwanted emotional labour. People who kind of martyr themselves doing EL that they hate, when the person they're doing it for doesn't want it anyway.

some people are already exhausted by this discussion, so feel free to skip )

Life

Aug. 9th, 2015 07:46 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Last weekend I spent Saturday at the beach with [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and family, which was completely wonderful. I didn't realize it's relatively easy to get to the north coast of Norfolk by public transport; I want to do that more often! But we did proper traditional English beach things, building sandcastles and eating chips and icecream and paddling in the sea.

I had to run back to Stoke for a stone-setting on Sunday. Which was annoying travel-wise but it's important to be available for these things, and the community made a big effort to scrape together a minyan. And the good thing was that [personal profile] angelofthenorth was able to adjust her plans and come up Sunday evening instead of Monday, so I got more time with her, yay. Mostly spent being quiet and domestic, I managed to do a fair amount of working from home so we could just quietly share space while we got on with things. And [personal profile] angelofthenorth was a wonderful guest, she brought me food and made me tea and generally looked after me.

And in a continuation of the theme, [personal profile] cjwatson came up to visit for the weekend. When I moved out of my old house and into the tiny flat on campus I was expecting to give up hosting, but actually I have a few really dear friends who don't mind sharing a very cramped space, and quite a few have visited me since I moved.

Saturday I led a service at synagogue. I was quite pleased with it, I talked about the idea of reward and punishment – this week's Torah reading contains the middle bit of the Shema which says that good things will happen if you keep God's commandments and agricultural disasters if you don't. And I talked about the consolation reading from Isaiah and the idea of exile as punishment for sin, and how that squares with the expression of God's love and Covenant faithfulness in both the Torah reading and the Haftarah. And I was glad to be able to invite [personal profile] cjwatson to a full Torah service given he was curious after coming for Friday night a few weeks ago.

It was a gloriously sunny day, one of the warmest this year. We had lunch at Peaches, who have stopped doing their all-you-can-eat menu for Saturday lunchtimes but had a very sensible prix-fixe menu instead, including their exciting garlic mushrooms. And we went for a bit of a walk in the woods behind campus, enjoying the shade and the hot still air and almost nobody around on a summer weekend.

Today we got up late and didn't do much beyond going out for lunch at the lovely Hand and trumpet country pub. Food was not as good as I've sometimes had there, but that's a high bar, and it was still very good indeed.

Basically I have wonderful friends, and spending time with them makes me extremely happy. Being at home Sunday evening, since [personal profile] cjwatson took on all the travelling that I would normally be doing, I even had time to call my parents, which I haven't done in too long.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
Reason for watching it Several people, notably [personal profile] khalinche, had mentioned to me the existence of an arty Hungarian film about lesbian kink, and I was definitely intrigued by the concept.

Circumstances of watching it [personal profile] angelofthenorth had seen it in the cinema and wanted me to see it as well. We live in the future so we could buy and download the film from the internet and that was our evening's entertainment with basically no effort.

Verdict The Duke of Burgundy is a thoughtful character piece, and visually pretty.

review plus some personal thoughts related to kink )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read

Currently reading: Lady of mazes by Karl Schroeder. I'm enjoying it really a lot. It's sort of doing that slightly clichéd thing of whether it's better to have safety or freedom, but it's also got some really interesting world-building exploring post-human civilizations, with some very nice characterization and plenty of exciting plot.

Up next: I don't know. I think I should maybe stop answering this question as I'm pretty rarely right about what I'll pick up next; I often don't decide until I find out where I physically am and what's available when I finish what I'm currently reading. I'm thinking of trying out the Your Blue-eyed Boys Captain America fanfic that people have been raving about, even though I'm not terribly into the canon; does anyone have a reading guide?
liv: Composite image of Han Solo and Princess Leia, labelled Hen Solo (gender)
I really like seeing everybody's responses to the emotional labour thread. And I've been having a few good conversations about it IRL too. I like the fact that some people have found it a revelation, some have found it confirms or gives a name to stuff they already knew, and some people have found it unsurprising or irrelevant to their lives. Having found the initial article, well written but not terribly novel, I've been reading responses and thinking it over, and now I think perhaps I do have some opinions on the topic after all.

navel-gazing )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read
  • The girl with all the gifts by MR Carey. read more )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Which is the kind of thing I not only don't do, but never have done. Only [livejournal.com profile] ghoti wanted me to go to a Blue Öyster Cult gig with her and although they claim they're always on tour they are not so very young any more and their only UK gig was Ramblin' Man Fair. So we decided to attend the fair, and in fact had a great time.

not very successfully pretending to be cool )

So yes, I'm really too boring for rock festivals, but it was fun to pretend for a few days that I'm the kind of person who travels across country and sleeps in a tent (albeit a posh tent) and stands around in muddy fields in the rain to hear bands I like.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I took Monday and Tuesday off work, mainly because my friend SA was visiting from Sweden, but it was actually really good to have a decent break.

diary stuff )

I do in fact have some opinions I'll post about soon, but I'm off on another adventure this weekend, going to a music festival. Which is really not the kind of thing I do, but I am pretending to be a much cooler person than I really am...
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read:
  • Finished the draft of my friend's unpublished novel that I've been reading for some weeks now.

  • In a blue velvet dress by Catherine Sefton. read more )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
I was really excited to hear the book had been made into a TV series, although in practice I don't actually have time to watch TV series. But anyway, we had a couple of hours between social events on Saturday, so I sat down with [personal profile] jack to watch an episode. Which in fact ended up being the second episode as we'd somehow failed to record The friends of English Magic, but having read the book, watching the title sequence was enough to make How is Lady Pole? comprehensible.

Basically the episode was pretty much what I wanted from an adaptation of the book. Pretty BBC costume drama, well acted, telling Clarke's story without being slavish about it. It's ten years since I read the novel and I don't remember the details that well, though the emotional impressions have stayed with me; this probably makes me a good audience for the show since I'm not going to be offended by what they've abridged to fit the very long novel into seven hour-long episodes.

Some people have complained that the colour palette is too dark, but I didn't find that bothered me. I found the fairy magic really impressively spooky and other-worldly, and Marc Warren is particularly good as the Gentleman. I don't know if I'll ever get round to watching the rest, but in theory I'd like to. And perhaps I should take this as a cue to reread the book, it has a lot going on and the fact I don't really remember it well means I might enjoy a reread.

Clever

Jul. 15th, 2015 06:41 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
[livejournal.com profile] woodpijn is having a discussion about IQ. She says she doesn't want to debate the sociological criticisms of IQ, so I'm following up the discussion here. Personally I am pretty much anti IQ, I am doubtful whether the thing it measures is meaningful and I am very conscious that more often than not it gets used to add quasi-scientific respectability to oppression.

mixture of personal anecdote and the beginnings of political commentary )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I had a really lovely weekend. diary stuff )
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
So I thought some people might not know and might be interested in what my job actually looks like. So here's a summary of how today has gone. It's not a typical day as such; one thing I really like about being a university academic is the variety, but it's also not wildly atypical either, it's a non-special day of the summer season.

so how was your day? )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Recently read
  • I don't believe in God, but I believe in lithium by Jaime Lowe. It's a really gorgeously written ode to the element lithium, centred around Lowe's experiences taking lithium to control her bipolar illness. She's not taking an ideological pro- or anti- meds stance, but is really clear-eyed about the compromises involved in medicating mental illness with blunt-tool drugs.

  • On Tumblr, [tumblr.com profile] helloelloh wrote a very sweet thing about romantic relationships, specifically about established relationships where love is not a fire in your soul, but one in your hearth, keeping you warm and comfortable. I mean, I haven't been in a really long-term relationship, I'm looking forward to finding out what living as a couple is like after decades, but I have been with [personal profile] jack for 7½ years now. And it's nothing like the story in pop culture where you get a few months of happy sparkly being In Love and after that it all degenerates into bickering over chores and feeling vaguely resentful that you don't get to hang out with your friends any more. It's not exactly like Elo describes either, but much closer to that.

    Currently reading
  • Still reading my friend's long unpublished novel.

  • And we've got up to The shining wire in [personal profile] rmc28's Watership Down readthrough. It's an amazingly powerful, and terrifying, piece of writing, to the point that I keep trying to compose a comment and get completely blocked on how emotionally intense it is. I mean, there's a scene in my friend's novel which I read in an earlier draft 10 years ago, and it had a similarly powerful effect on me, but coming back to it my reaction is much more detached, cerebral. And that's not the case with The shining wire; rereading it now, probably closer to 30 years later than the first time I encountered it than ten, even knowing exactly how it turns out, I'm just as much caught up in the emotions.

    Up next I have a yen to read The girl with all the gifts by MR Carey, mostly based on [personal profile] rachelmanija's informative review. I have borrowed it from [personal profile] jack, partly because I couldn't find his copy of Ancillary Sword (has anyone reading this borrowed it, by any chance?)
  • liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
    ...To [personal profile] nou on turning 40! [personal profile] nou organized a most excellent celebration, including walking under the Thames through Woolwich foot tunnel. I did not know there was a tunnel under the Thames, but [personal profile] nou is really good at paying attention to things like that.

    And then we spent the afternoon in the Greyhound pub, a proper trad drinking hole sort of pub, not ye olde, not hipster, just a place where you can sit and talk and drink lager. It was basically too hot to move, though a few people did manage some walks and visits to the local artillery museum. Me, I just had fun talking to [personal profile] nou's excellent crowd of friends. Walking people, geeks, local history people, and a bunch of people from Oxford who all have second-degree connections to me. I was in extrovert heaven, in spite of the heat.

    We moved on to a Chinese restaurant in Surrey Quays, Noodle Family. It wasn't in fact the restaurant that [personal profile] nou was expecting in that location, though they confirmed it was the same place when she made the booking. But it served very very tasty food, including things like thousand year eggs and sea-spiced aubergines and Chinese style potato salad made out of raw lightly cooked grated potato in vinaigrette.

    I headed to [personal profile] nanaya and [personal profile] alextiefling's after the meal. And in that part of south London it's often easier to get around by bus rather than train or Tube, so I ended up with a change that involved walking past the restored Cutty Sark at sunset. So I got an evening and morning of chatting and catching up with good friends I don't see often enough, as well as being enchanted by their two young kids, the older of whom is just about learning to talk.

    ...And to [personal profile] adam_in_rabbinical_school whose username is no longer accurate, as he is now Rabbi Adam. The ordination service at Southgate Progressive was amazingly moving; the focus was on the wonderful friendship between our two newest rabbis. And R' Mark Solomon was leading the singing, which is always a treat.

    I met up with [personal profile] jack before the service for lunch at a very good Lebanese place, Warda, and for a chance to chat as we haven't seen eachother in three weeks, for various reasons. And the service was, as these things are, full of old friends, including [personal profile] pseudomonas's parents. We stayed on for a reception and dinner, and by about 7 pm I'd just got to the point where I couldn't deal with being out and about for one moment longer. So [personal profile] jack drove us home, and being in my husband's car on the way home is enough like being in my own space that I started to unwind. And we had a couple of hours before bedtime to sit on our new sofa and drink tea and chat (mostly ranting about Princess Celestia and about Git). It is so, so good to be home.
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
    I often worry about the filter bubble thing, that I surround myself with people who have similar opinions to mine. Equally I take pride in being open to changing my mind, but I'm not sure how much that's really true and how much I just like to tell myself that's who I am. And, well, I don't want to spend my time and energy re-examining everything that ever gets challenged by a crackpot or someone with an agenda other than establishing the truth about the world.

    noodling )

    Soundbite

    Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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