liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
I'm really enjoying the meme that's going round mostly short-form social media where people pick three fictional characters that represent them, or describe themselves using three fictional characters. who I'm not )

So in the end I went with the following:
  • Pippin from LotR, even though he's way more heroic than I am. I've always thought of him as like me, because he's curious and impulsive and loyal, and I do like that all the hobbits are basically ordinary grown-ups who fall into an adventure in order to support their friend Frodo, rather than the destined chosen heroes of many Tolkien imitators or the adolescents of a lot of pre-Tolkien quest stories.

  • Harriet Vane from the Dorothy L Sayers detective series. Perhaps too obvious or too wish fulfilment-y a pick, she's really such a great character and people like me always want to be her. Because she's intelligent and believably intelligent, and she's a middle-aged woman with a somewhat unconventional (for her society) love life. And she's intensely romantic but still retains her identity and independence when she falls in love.

  • Lynne de Lisle Christie from Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle. She's generally competent without being an amazing genius, and she gets into a position where she can use her intelligence through a mix of native ability, hard work and family connections. She's not quite a scientist but definitely intellectually curious. She is a bit naive and impulsive and loves easily and is deeply loyal to those she commits to.


And it's Bi Visibility day but I've basically given up on trying to find any bi characters to pick. Certainly not anyone who's poly in anything like the way I am. Christie is alllllmost bi in that she has a strong romantic friendship with an alien who is mostly female (though the aliens do gender differently from humans, that's a big plot point), and sexual-romantic relationships with men and male-ish aliens.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Recently read: Lots of good stuff! linkspam )
Currently reading: still A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor and Sisterhood by Penelope Friday, but in practice I haven't been reading much this week, I've been spending time with [personal profile] doseybat and [livejournal.com profile] pyrokaren.

Up next: I've got to the stage where it's halfway through Elul and I haven't written any High Holy Days sermons or learned any Torah readings yet, so most probably material for that.

I'm considering picking up Hilary Mantel's contemporary Beyond Black as my book with a color in the title for my reading challenge, since it's been waiting on my shelves for ages.

Anatomy

NSFW Sep. 16th, 2016 01:23 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: this was just bullet points but it grew )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Tangentially to this Captain Awkward letter, where the answer mentions that the writer's half-sister may have a different conflict style from hers, I started thinking about classifying conflict styles. It feels something like the Ask / Offer distinction in styles of communication (sometimes called Ask / Guess). It's useful to know that there is more than one way of doing it, and people whose style is different from yours are not necessarily terrible awful people who can't communicate respectfully.

The problem is I'm not sure there are two distinct approaches to conflict, or even what elements should be considered in defining conflict style. noodling about this )

So help me refine my ideas? What variations in conflict style have I not thought of? What approaches to conflict and argument do you find most productive? I mean, assuming that the arguers are already upset and you can't just magically all get along. Are there any ways of arguing that you think are just bad and should always be avoided?
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
So my extremely brilliant friend Jen has written a fantastic popular article about her research: Why it's absurd for a pastor to give Donald Trump a Jewish prayer shawl. You should read it, it's only tangentially about Trump, it's about the history of Jewish ritual objects and about Jewish-Christian relations.

Also, I have thinky thoughts )
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
From a locked post:
Name ten of life's simple pleasures that you like most. Try to be original and creative and not to use things that someone else has already used
I'm not sure I'm capable of writing a list of pleasures that are both original and simple, so you might get slightly complicated pleasures, but then one of my greatest pleasures in life is exploring complexity in good company, so.

listicle )
I'm following the example of the person I got this meme from and not tagging anyone, so you're welcome to propagate the meme or not, whatever suits you.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
So I have ended up with a bit of extra leave for the end of the academic year, so I took a couple of days at the beginning of the week to extend the bank holiday weekend.

diary )

So anyway, that did me a lot of good, and required very little planning beyond putting in a request at work for a couple of days off.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Reasons for watching it: I had managed not to see this, I think because it came out when I was just at the age of feeling I needed to avoid media marketed at children, and it's somewhat of a classic and the sort of story I love.

Circumstances of watching it: We watched the DVD while we were relaxing after some intense touristing in Budapest.

Verdict: Lilo & Stitch is intensely sentimental about things I'm inclined to care about personally.

detailed review )

Love

Aug. 19th, 2016 01:08 pm
liv: bacterial conjugation (attached)
It's 15 Av today, which is a Jewish love festival with a rather tenuous Rabbinic origin. And here I am very happy and in love, so I shall talk about that a bit.

contains much soppy )

Imzy

Aug. 18th, 2016 07:53 pm
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
So Imzy is the new cool social network, apparently. It's in closed beta and you need an invite from an existing user to create an account. [personal profile] melannen kindly offered one, and I'm happy to pay it forward by inviting the first five people to comment.

impressions )
ETA: I created a community for DW peeps. Which magically increased my number of invitations from five to 200, so if anyone is possibly interested in an invite, you can request at the community link. And if anyone's already there, feel free to join it or not.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami, trans Alfred Birnbaum. (c) Haruki Murakami 1982, pub Vintage 2003, ISBN 978-0-099-44877-8. This was a present from [livejournal.com profile] ghoti, since it's a book she likes and it contains cute ears and I have very little exposure to Japanese lit. I found the book very mind-expanding and different from most of what I normally read, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

detailed review )

Currently reading: A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, as recommended to me by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. Basically it's an account of how the author got kicked out of school and decided to walk across Europe to Constantinople, in 1933. I don't normally read travelogues, but I agree with the intro by Jan Morris, that Fermor is just an outstandingly good writer, and his descriptions are evocative enough to be exciting even though nothing really happens except that he walks around and visits places. He has the kind of assumption typical of a certain class of white English young men, that everybody will basically like him and want to help him out. He's also genuinely interested in the people he meets working on this assumption. In some ways the narrative style is reminding me of my uncle who at a similar sort of age drove a van to Australia.

I've nearly finished the section where he crosses Germany, noting the presence of the newly ascendant Nazi party but not dwelling on that to the exclusion of talking about the history and culture of the country and telling anecdotes about the various German people he meets on the way. The moment where he describes crossing the border from the Netherlands and seeing swastikas everywhere is a brilliant piece of writing, a paragraph of description of some Dutch St Vincent de Paul nuns, and then:
The officials at the Dutch frontier handed back my passport, duly stamped, and soon I was crossing the last furlongs of No Man's Land, with the German frontier post growing nearer through the turning snow. Black, white and red were painted in spirals round the road barrier and soon I could make out the scarlet flag charged with its white disc and its black swastika.

Up next: Not sure. I'm still looking out for A book with a color in the title for my very old Bringing up Burns challenge, or I may well read Novik's Uprooted.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[livejournal.com profile] ghoti planned us a group trip to Budapest, all of us, her three children and four partners. Which to me sounds like a terrifying amount of organization, but basically she booked budget flights and rented us a huge, cheap, centrally located apartment that normally trades on stag and hen parties. And then she got everybody to the airport in plenty of time, with some notion of how to get across the city from the airport, and after that we basically just turned up and improvised.

In almost all respects that worked better than the sorts of holidays I'm used to with detailed itinerary planning, and long complicated negotiations about sharing space with people who aren't normally housemates. We didn't have the slightest ambition to see "everything", we just wanted to have a good time together in a new city, and that was incredibly successful. I mean, it's easy to say that it was low effort considering that my gf put in most of the effort and I just tagged along, but I wouldn't have contemplated organizing a trip of that size and complexity, I would have just assumed it was beyond me, but partly because planning I'd have considered essential is actually entirely disposable.

[livejournal.com profile] ghoti was also much better at writing up the trip than I am, she did so promptly and concisely; my version is likely to be rambly and boring. tourist report )

So basically, [livejournal.com profile] ghoti was an amazing genius at organizing a holiday that was fun and exciting and full of interesting new experiences without being exhausting. And at taking into account the wishes of such a large and mixed group and making sure that everybody had the best possible time.

Budapest is shadowed by genocide )
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Because these are always fun, and because my quad keeps getting confused about the names of meals...

poll about eating habits and language )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: Via [personal profile] sovay, an interesting if slightly odd article by one Amy Schwartz on Dorothy L Sayers' anti-semitism. I always knew Sayers was weird about Jews; I find it hard to articulate why I read her stuff anyway whereas I generally avoid other known anti-semitic writers like Chesterton. I did not know either that Sayers once had a Jewish boyfriend, or that she thought it appropriate to publish an article, in 1945, arguing that the reason people are so horrible to Jews is because we had rejected Jesus. I don't know anything about Schwartz, and I'm not sure I share her sympathy or justifications for her subject's prejudices, but it's an interesting piece anyway.

Currently reading: A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami. I didn't really get any holiday reading done, because it turned out that partners' children were very very excited about getting access to Liv for a whole week, so they didn't really want me to be spending even a few minutes reading rather than paying attention to them <3

Up next: Will probably still follow up on your recs for Hungary-related books, though so far the only one I've managed to get hold of is A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (thanks, [personal profile] rushthatspeaks.)

Also, [personal profile] alexseanchai made a love meme. I normally shy away from such things, but right now, I felt like hearing some nice things would be really good for me. And maybe some other people would also enjoy such a thing?

Pokémon Go

Aug. 9th, 2016 01:36 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So Pokémon Go is basically a terrible game. It's opaque and annoying for beginners, and it ramps up the difficulty in a way that makes the game more annoying, not more challenging as you advance, presumably because it's somewhat clumsily balanced for monetization rather than fun. I liked Ingress better, and that's saying something, because I already found Ingress didn't have much actual gameplay beyond a cool concept.

But it doesn't need to be a good game, because it's an amazing phenomenon. It's just a perfect fit for the zeitgeist, unlike Ingress being launched at a time when smartphone coverage is extensive enough that people other than affluent tech-heads can play. It had a readymade userbase and fandom in the entire generation who loved Pokémon the first time round, which gives it enough of a network effect to make it appealing to old fogeys like me who weren't already fans. And it's the perfect gateway to augmented reality; you walk around in the real world and find cute things. It doesn't really matter what the scoring mechanism is, or that the most of the features and gameplay elements are promised rather than actual, or that that fighting side of the game is grindy and uninteresting. You walk around, you find cute things. Instant reward.

further detail )

So it's a terrible game, but it's giving me a lot of pleasure, and I hope its success will in fact encourage other developers to release better augmented reality games.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Next week I'm travelling to Hungary, a country I've never visited before. We (well, mostly [livejournal.com profile] ghoti) planned the essential bits, the travel and accommodation, months ago, but it's come up faster than I'd expected and I haven't had time to think about what we're actually going to do there. It doesn't really matter since we're a party of six adults and two children, so I'm sure other people will have ideas, but I thought I might ask for advice anyway.

I made you some ticky boxes )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: A couple of really great, thinky reviews:
I'm not always as enthusiastic about Laurie Penny as many people in my circle, but they hit it out of the park with Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless. It's a really nuanced and thoughtful piece about self-care and wellbeing, considering both the ways that these things are undervalued especially for women and marginalized people, and the ways that they are repackaged and exploited within the capitalist system. There's a bit of that irritating young lefty anxiety about whether one's life choices are sufficiently "radical", but still very well worth reading.

Currently reading: A wild sheep chase, by Haruki Murakami. This was a present from [livejournal.com profile] ghoti. It's very atmospheric, but the atmosphere it creates is somewhat bleak and miserable. It's sort of doing the litfic thing where the recently divorced narrator is sad because his comfortable but unexceptional life isn't as exciting as he might have hoped when he was younger, with the accompanying rather annoying attitude to women. But at about a third of the way through, this is looking like a frame for doing other things, a bit magic realist, a bit thriller, with the protag getting very politely kidnapped by the mafia boss. It's told in a somewhat non-linear way, so I'm not yet sure how all the different facets of the story fit together.

Up next: I'm travelling to Hungary next week, so I am not quite sure if I'll end up with loads of time for reading or very little. The next thing on my e-reader is Blindsight by Peter Watts. Unless someone wants to rec me a Hungarian book which is available in translation, in order to be thematically suitable?

Q&A

Jul. 25th, 2016 10:16 pm
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Nice thinky meme from a locked post a few weeks back, cos I feel like answering questions about myself. These suggest an attitude to media that isn't quite mine, but I'm rather interested in thinking about why the questions don't exactly fit as well as answering them.

30 questions with long rambly answers ) OK, that was a very long meme, I maybe should've broken it up a bit more. But definitely interesting to think about!
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So my brother was in town at the weekend and Dad suggested we could go to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival performance of The Tempest. fun weekend )

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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