liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
I said when I was looking ahead to 2015 I might try a new way of talking about books here, so I'm going to have a go at reading Wednesday, which seems a really nice tradition anyway.

read more )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
So I was chatting to my brother Screwy over Christmas, and he asserted that making ethical consumer choices is just a way to express your values, it doesn't really help to bring about change. Now, Screwy is a philosopher and fond of making provocatively sweeping statements, and he's also way to the left of me politically. But when we were chewing over this one, I realized I couldn't entirely refute it. So I'm bringing it to DW, to see what my thinky interesting readers think.

of course, I can never just make a statement without babbling about it )

Well, last time I talked about the philosophy behind my politics it went reasonably well, so let's see if this sets off some equally good discussion, even if I am not quite aligned with many of my readers in some ways.
ETA: My brother turned up to explain what he meant a bit more clearly than my summary: his clarification
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I hate leaving negative things at the top of my journal, but I'm a bit busy and haven't quite got time to post about happier topics. Thinking through what was at the root of my emotional state, and then getting lots of wonderful supportive comments, thank you all, has made me feel a lot better.

A few weeks ago, some people were posting a meme to the effect of, when you see this, post something on your DW. Which is a really nice idea, actually, because it's a totally low-pressure way to up the activity levels here, and that's a self-reinforcing system because the more active your local network is, the more fun it is to be on DW and the more you want to post yourself. And it gets over the barrier of: I haven't posted for ages, where do I start, or: I can't post here unless I have something important to say or something polished and well-written. But I found myself a little resentful because I'd just done the December daily posting meme, so I didn't see why I should have to be subject to a lot of complaints about how nobody ever posts here any more.

Anyway, in a similar spirit, I want to try reviving one of the first games I ever played on LJ, almost exactly ten years ago.

I'm going to list three things in order of how much I like them. If you see this, and if you feel like playing, repost the list in your own journal. You can change the order if you disagree with my judgement of how likeable the things are. The rule is that you need to add one new thing that's better than anything in the parent list, and one new thing that's worse than anything on the parent list, and one new thing somewhere in the middle (doesn't have to be the exact centre). Include a link back to where you got the meme from. And then we can follow the list around various journals, seeing how it mutates. I am still friends with some of the people I met playing this a decade ago; let's see how it works now.

  • Nessie Ladle
  • Twitter
  • gender essentialism
  • liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
    I have to admit that some of what's behind my generally low / anxious mood lately is the news. I normally don't react very emotionally to hearing about things like terrorist attacks. It's a tragedy, I feel sad for the bereaved, but it doesn't feel personal, and it doesn't affect me much more than knowing that people are dying in wars and road accidents every day and not making news headlines. But the events in Paris this month have really got to me, not so much the attacks themselves as the reactions to it.

    antisemitism, islamophobia, freeze peach )

    This is the kind of thing it's probably more foolish to put on the internet than talking openly about my sexuality. But never mind, I generally trust my readership to respond sensitively when I'm talking about really hard stuff.
    liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
    I feel like I'm turning into a terrible old fogey when it comes to music. I mean, not that I was ever at the cutting edge of fashion, but I used to at least recognize some current stuff. long-winded description of my problem )

    Recommendations of actual music always welcome, of course. I really appreciate people who do share music on their journals, like [personal profile] oursin and [personal profile] seekingferret and [personal profile] ceb. But what I'm really looking for is recommendations of how to music in 2015. How to discover new music, how to do music in a modern social media context, recommendations of places to go to look for recommendations. And how to buy music once I've discovered it. Any suggestions appreciated!
    liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
    I do very much love my friends. The minute I post even slightly meepy things to DW, lots of people get in touch. And if there's one thing that cheers me up it's getting to talk to my friends! Thank you so much to everybody who left helpful, supportive comments on my post. Now I have actual plans for meeting up with [personal profile] withagreatlove, and have made some progress towards plans with [personal profile] khalinche. I had some really cheering conversations with [personal profile] hatam_soferet and [ profile] rysmiel and [ profile] ghoti, and I've started talking to people a bit about means other than email to keep in touch.

    good weekend )

    And I met my new cohort of students, dear little first years, this morning, and to nobody's surprise teaching is a lot more fun and satisfying than marking.

    Also [ profile] ghoti made me some gloves for my birthday, and they are awesome because they have subtle owls knitted into them. So now I can go around with owls on my warm hands, this is very pleasing.
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
    I'm in a kind of weird emotional place when it comes to thinking about 2015. mostly navel-gazing )

    I want to talk about religious stuff too but I have run out of time because I have in fact a Hebrew lesson to go to now. So that can be for another post. Thanks for listening, DW, I feel better for writing that out.
    liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
    Some people are complaining that DW is dead and everybody's moved to Tumblr where you can't have decent conversations, but I'm personally really not seeing it. I mean, lots of people posted extra in December if not actually daily, and then there was loads of fannish activity around Yuletide, and recently people are looking back over 2014 and forward to the new year. And dozens of you had interesting things to say not only in response to my thinky post about compliments, but even to my random, hi I went to church post. And I keep meeting interesting new people just about all the time.

    Anyway, my very dear friend [personal profile] withagreatlove has picked, I think, a great time to come back to DW, being fed up with being the product sold to advertisers elsewhere. If you know me well you might be able to figure out who she is based on whom I talk about, but anyway, she's come to DW because she wants to be able to have conversations in a relatively safe, private context. Which makes it hard to say much to convince you that she's someone interesting to know, but I can definitely tell you that she's an excellent writer and has an original perspective on a great many topics.

    She's also looking for photo hosting. Requirements are: free-as-in-beer, has reliable privacy settings, and isn't looking to sell her photos. Also somewhat more user-friendly than DW's half-written photo hosting where you have to email posts to your journal and then manage them from a page that isn't linked from anywhere. Any recs, anyone?
    liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
    I almost don't feel like looking back over 2014, it's been a bit of a blah year. Nothing bad, but little that really stands out. But I've been doing this for ten years now so I might as well carry on the tradition!

    that was the year that was )


    Jan. 7th, 2015 02:58 pm
    liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
    I had an interesting conversation about this sort of general topic, which reminded me: do you prefer compliments on your appearance and body, or compliments on your intellect and personality?

    mentions body image, assumptions about beauty and intelligence )
    liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
    So Little Saint Mary's is a bit of a Cambridge institution. I think of it, slightly irreverantly, as the goth church, which my friend expressed more appropriately as "liturgically conservative, socially progressive". What it actually is is Anglo-Catholic, and even within that tradition rather prides itself on how "high" its rituals are. My friend invited me to join her at an Evensong service yesterday, and it was a really interesting experience.

    touristing in other people's religion )

    So anyway, that was really interesting and educational, and I'm grateful to my friend for bringing me to that.
    liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
    Well, I managed to finish the December Days meme better than I'd expected! One day I posted late, and then I missed two days right at the end of the month, so I've been behind since then. But I've completed 29 of my 31 prompts. The 30th will be [personal profile] zhelana's request for your favorite moment of the month, which I'll cover today, and I think I'll skip [personal profile] jack's request for talking about board games because I already made a similar post about games and gaming.

    I love my friends )

    Anyway, happy new year to all of you! I went to the traditional north Cambridge NYE party, where I drank port and dessert wine with bubbles (that's one very Liv-friendly drink, oh my goodness) and talked to interesting people. We had a fit of productivity just before the party and unpacked my dresses that have been languishing in a case since we moved in, and I thought, why not, and put on a shiny OTT one. I had to make a minor repair to it first, very minor indeed but I had been blocked on it because I'm really intimidated by sewing. So I had a Dress with a tight, slightly rigid, shiny purple bodice that does interesting things for my cleavage, and a big foofy black skirt with several layers of petticoats. It's a bit long to walk in but it garnered me a lot of very pleasing compliments. I wasn't the only one who had dressed up so there were plenty of other pretty people to admire, notably [personal profile] khalinche in a marvellous corset and [ profile] atreic and [personal profile] emperor in reverse-matched purple and black.

    We did the midnight thing, a little half-heartedly in some ways, but there was holding hands in a circle and listening to the radio announcing midnight and playing the recording of Big Ben's bongs, and singing Auld Lang Syne, and drinking fizzy wine, and kissing, even if we did all of those somewhat in a random pile all at once instead of sequentially. I stayed a little while enjoying the party, but not until absurdly late, and walked home admiring the stars and being a little bit tipsily romantic.

    This morning I got up about noon, not especially hungover but slightly jetlagged from sleeping 3 am to noon instead of midnight to 8. My wonderful husband made me an elaborate and delicious cooked breakfast while I was still blearily caffeinating myself and browsing bits of Yuletide. So I reckon 2015 has started pretty well!
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    [personal profile] silveradept requested: around the end of the month: Things ending, things beginning. And I'm a couple of days behind on posts which means I'm writing this right at the end of the month, not just around it. And, well, I've just come back from [personal profile] blue_mai's mother's funeral, having started 2014 with joining [personal profile] lethargic_man at part of the shiva (memorial prayers in the week after a funeral) for his mother. So my head is very much in lives ending, not just things in general. Which means this post is working out a little melancholy, and I'm sorry this in the slot where I meant to answer [personal profile] zhelana's much more positive prompt for my favorite moment of the month. Might manage that before the day, the month and the year roll over into the new, we'll see.

    a time for every purpose under heaven )

    And in my personal life I find myself at the beginning of something which is too early to be comfortable talking about publicly, but I am ending the year brimming with joyful hope.

    Not entirely on topic, but [ profile] siderea has written an absolutely brilliant and inspiring reflection for the end of a year which has included so much awfulness, notably police forces in America going rogue and killing African-American children and young men. I strongly recommend: Long Night (Staying Woke).
    liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
    Still behind, will try to make some brief posts. [personal profile] angelofthenorth asked about Things that make you go hmmm? Which is a lovely question, but I can't quite articulate in general what it is that makes me look at something and feel dubious. I think it's a mixture of things smelling like conspiracy theory, and things where I think group affliation is probably a bigger factor than rigorous analysis. Oh, and any kind of simplistic answers to complex questions, whether medical, social, spiritual or whatever.

    hmmm )

    Any others from anyone else? What sorts of things are likely to elicit a skeptical response from you?

    [December Days masterpost]
    liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
    I was doing so well, managed to post every day up to Boxing Day, and then I fell off the wagon. It's for a good reason, though, cos I've been having the most amazing weekend celebrating my 36th birthday.

    Saturday we had a party and lots of people I really like showed up, in spite of really horrendous transport doom in London. My sister (who wasn't present) made me 36 square pieces of gingerbread to mark being a square number of years, and we had fun eating them in ways to keep them arranged in squares for as long as possible. We got to meet [personal profile] morwen's brother and [personal profile] kaberett's boything. However one friend had not quite registered that it was supposed to be an afternoon party rather than an evening party, and showed up at 11 pm. I was so pleased to see her and have a chance to catch up that I ended up talking to her instead of writing my post for that day.

    Then Sunday we celebrated the second half of Granny's 95th birthday. The first half had been on the day itself, Boxing Day, when we travelled up to Brighton for a roast dinner hosted by my brother Screwy. Whereas yesterday we had a tea-party at my parents', with my other brother, Thuggish Poet, present plus a few of Granny's local friends. It was especially nice to see both my brothers, albeit consecutively! [personal profile] cjwatson and [ profile] ghoti came over to ours for the evening, and I wanted to spend time with them more than I wanted to catch up with DW posts, so. It definitely felt like the whole weekend was my birthday this year!

    Anyway, on 27th if I hadn't been busy turning 36, I was going to write about owls, as requested by [personal profile] jack, and this is fairly short so I can squeeze it in now. owls )

    [December Days masterpost]
    liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
    [personal profile] ephemera asked about seasonal music. (And a bunch of other things, but unfortunately I'd filled all my December slots before getting round to those ones.) And I found it an interesting and thought-provoking question, so let's see.

    culture is complicated )

    And I suppose there's no reason why I shouldn't listen to carols at other times of year, since I'm not listening for religious reasons anyway. But somehow I like spending the dark days of the year listening to ths particular style of music when it's at least approximately seasonal.

    [December Days masterpost]
    liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
    [personal profile] silveradept prompted me with the commercialization of religious festivals (the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon could be used as a springboard, if you like.)

    praise ye the god of gold )

    Anyway, I hope everyone's had the Christmas they were hoping for. And if you didn't, I hope things improve for you in the coming year.

    [December Days masterpost]
    liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
    [personal profile] jack asked about Moar cool science (stuff that's obvious to you as well as stuff that's new to you). So for the old stuff I want to introduce the idea of apoptosis, because that's the thing so cool that it made up my mind I was actually going to study science to high level, when I was dithering about it in my late teens, and I do in fact work on it now. And because when I was babbling about transcription factors I clarified a few points in the comment discussion, and [personal profile] silveradept mentioned I had no idea there was a self-destruct button for cells, so maybe this is something other people also don't know.

    And for the new stuff, I know I've been babbling about it already to some people, especially if you were at our Christmas party at the weekend, but I came across a guy recently who is basically making a piece of kit which is very nearly a Star Trek medical tricorder.

    sciiiiiience )

    [December Days masterpost]
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
    [personal profile] angelofthenorth asked about Drama - where be llamas?. This is prompt I've been thinking about quite a lot in the intervening weeks, partly because I'm scared that writing a post could itself be a source of drama. But also partly because I think it's an interesting question.

    mentions intimate violence in passing )

    So I suppose I try not to act in ways that cause drama, and I try to avoid getting sucked in to drama, even though it can be emotionally rewarding in some ways. But I also try to take people seriously and not leap to the conclusion that a serious problem that needs help and support is "just" drama. It's a very difficult line to walk and I know I get it wrong more often than I'd like.

    [December Days masterpost]


    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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