liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
Dreamwidth officially came into public beta on 1st May 2009, and I started using it as my primary journalling space then. So today approximately marks the day that I've been on DW for as long as I was on LJ (I actually joined at the end of May in 2003). Twelve years of blogging, six there, six here.

anniversary thinky-thoughts )

People are doing [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw again this year, and I've slightly missed the boat as we're already a week into the three week fest. But I might try to repeat what I suggested a couple of years back and follow [livejournal.com profile] siderea's community building recipe. In the remaining two weeks, I can probably manage three diary entries or surveys and one long thinky post; I am not sure about ten pointers, as that will require me to post nearly every day, but I'll have a go.

In honour of the fest, [personal profile] nanila has created [community profile] bitesizedreading, which I think is a really good idea. And another way to make sure that supposedly little, unimportant things end up here rather than just forgotten about or posted to more ephemeral places like Twitter or FB.

And [personal profile] oursin is posting dear little original fiction snippets which I highly recommend if you don't already follow her.

Political

Apr. 30th, 2015 11:50 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
So I have received my ballot for postal voting. I'm going to put in the first post tomorrow morning, so you have approximately 20 hours to convince me to vote for an outcome that you favour, if you like that kind of thing.

UK political nargery )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison ([livejournal.com profile] truepenny). (c)2014 Katherine Addison, Pub 2014 Tor, ISBN 978-1-4299-4640-7

read more )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Someone in my circle asked me if I know of any material about Kabbalah by / for women. And I really really don't, but I bet I know people who do; any offers?

why I'm not much help )

People who have no idea what I'm babbling on about, or indeed people who happen to be knowledgeable about two widely contrasting areas: can anyone help bring me up to speed on My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic? I'm making friends with two small children who are hugely into the series and I could do with a primer, enough to be able to talk to them usefully or at least understand the stories they very earnestly tell me.

I may just have to sit and watch some episodes, but I'm not inclined to consume the whole thing; any eps you'd recommend to give me a good sense for how the 'verse works? I mean, these kids are better at abstract thought than my informants when I was trying to get a sense of Power Rangers fandom in the 90s (in order to include them in the script of the panto I was commissioned to write), but even they tend to get a little bogged down in detail when I ask for explanations. Apparently I'm a bit like Pinkie Pie, but that might just be the extrovert thing.

I do find it a little disturbing how the pastel coloured but still basically ponies of my childhood are a lot more like sexy young women in the reboot. The huge eyes, the very thin long-legged body types which seem to allude to conventionally attractive post-pubescent women. And the way they so often stand on hind legs and use their forelegs as hands, in many of the glimpses I've seen of the animation, kind of grosses me out a little. However being prudish about this kind of thing isn't going to help, I'd much rather be positive about getting a sense of other people's fandom.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read Tea with the black dragon by RA MacAvoy. (c) 1983 by RA MacAvoy, published Bantam Books 1983, ISBN 0-553-23205-3. read more )
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
This comes from an access-locked post, a set of five quite interesting questions, so I thought I'd pass it on as the questions themselves are not original to the OP, and I'm not betraying any secrets by propagating the meme.

Apparently some newspaper claimed these are five questions people regret not asking their loved ones before they die. I'm not convinced by this, a lot of these deathbed regret things are just glurge and a way to make something sound profound, but anyway, they are interesting questions regardless of that. So, here we go:

yet more excuses to talk about myself )

Anyway, I'm staying with [personal profile] angelofthenorth currently, and we had a lovely weekend of visiting beautiful places and eating tasty food, as we often do when we manage to overcome geography and spend time together. And I'm procrastinating from a big pile of marking by answering memes and navel-gazing.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Reasons for watching it Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, basically. And I'm kind of a sucker for rom-coms about older characters and accessible to European things set in India.

Circumstances of watching it [personal profile] jack and had to wait up late for friends arriving from the airport, so we wanted to do something relaxing and companionable when it was too late in the evening to do anything thinky. So we bought it from a streaming service and snuggled on our little futon in our little TV room / guest bedroom, which is one of the reasons we have that room.

Verdict The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is very sweet if more cringey than I was really hoping.

detailed review )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
After the rather frantic start of Passover, the second half of the festival was relaxing but still sociable. more social diary )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Recently read: Clive Barker: Imajica (c) 1991 Clive Barker, published Harper Collins Perennial 2002, ISBN 978-0-06-093726-3. read more )

BTW, I am completely loving all your comments on my Passover post. I have the best friends, and I am rather amused at how much of my Passover has ended up being devoted to discussion of whiksy and Trinitarian theology. Thank you all for being interesting and knowledgeable and explaining so patiently.

Passover

Apr. 8th, 2015 11:39 am
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
I'm having a really good Passover this year. I want to write it up so I can look back on this week, but it's mostly just boring to people who are not me diary stuff.

religion and social )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Reasons for watching it I'd seen trailers for it and thought I would probably enjoy it as the excerpts seemed funny and cute and well animated. Though I also thought it might be too annoying, not cos it's pitched at children but because it relies too heavily on cringe humour. And there was some amount of buzz on Twitter about a DreamWorks film with a POC as a protagonist and with Rihanna voicing the lead, which was another thing that encouraged me to see the film.

Circumstances of watching it We let the six-year-old pick the film this time :-) I had been ill all week and was just out of quarantine in time to come to the film as originally planned; I'd have been really disappointed to miss it. So I went back to the Light cinema yesterday afternoon with [personal profile] jack and [personal profile] cjwatson and [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and their younger two, and we watched the film and then went to the Indian buffet in the cineplex and it was generally a really nice way to celebrate being better.

Verdict Home II (Worlds Collide) is amazingly sweet and original and a whole lot more fun than I was expecting.

detailed review )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
My post bouncing off the Alderman article has generated various bits of interesting discussion. The thread I want to follow further at this point is about the bold claim of the article title that There's no morality in exercise. [personal profile] electricant challenged that claim in a really thoughtful and interesting way:
No one is morally better than anyone else because of the amount of exercise they do. However, I, personally, am a better person for working out. I'm not better than anyone else, but I'm better as me-working-out than I am as me-not-working out. And that better does include a moral dimension [...] I feel like working out is a habit that allows me to develop many positive traits in myself - some physical, some intellectual, and some moral [...] it is a moral imperative for me personally, according to my own value system
I've been turning ideas round in my mind for a while about the idea of "being healthy", and how exercise fits as part of that. I think the core of it is that being healthy is often used to refer not to a state of being, but rather to (believed to be) correct actions which people may or may not perform.

swirly unfinished thoughts )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Recently read
  • Via [twitter.com profile] nanayasleeps a very evocative description of a really terrible sex party. NSFW, obviously; the article is plain text and illustrated with a fairly vague modern art pic, but the site is a sex magazine and most of the links to related articles have more or less porny thumbnails.

  • The [twitter.com profile] embassthon account in its entirety. It's a charity stunt by [twitter.com profile] scattermoon, in which she dressed up as Carmen Sandiego and visited every single embassy in a single a weekend, and was sponsored to raise money for a refugee charity. I know a lot of my friends are into effective giving and are against fundraising stunts as a matter of principle, but [twitter.com profile] embassthon is just a lovely piece of performance Twitter in its own right. Worth reading from the bottom up; there are cryptic clues to which embassy is up next, snarky comments about the embassies and their countries, lovely stuff.

  • Network surfing led me to [personal profile] melannen's adorable Big Hero 6 / Pacific Rim crossover.

  • [livejournal.com profile] cavalorn is slightly locally famous for debunking lots of silly fluff Pagan stories. This year he's come up with a rather amazing piece about church history: On Bede, pagan kings, rival Churches, and the Great Anglo-British Miracle-Off, where he explains, with great humour how: Rather than a simplistic matter of The Christians versus The Pagans, we are dealing with multiple cultural groups and multiple iterations of Christianity.

    Currently reading Two thirds of the way through Imajica. Things are getting apocalyptic, which means it's not as slow to read as it was in the earlier sections. I think there's some very cool fantasy in this, but it's rather more padded than I prefer.

    Up next I'm going to be acquiring some of the stuff you recommended for medical students for myself, no question. Well worth having a look back at that thread if you're interested in books you can learn something from.

    Other than that I've come down with a very annoying digestive TMI bug. I'm not seriously ill, I was able to get on with giving feedback on student work yesterday, just uncomfortable and annoyed. And since I do have the kind of job where I can get away with doing this, I'm being good about staying away from public areas until I'm properly better. I'm especially grateful for technology, and thoughtful friends who use it, so that I haven't actually been stuck on my own with no company for the past two days.

    So, if anyone wants to send me links I would be most grateful. At this stage of being not exactly ill but still in quarantine, I'm more interested in distracting, interesting, meaty stuff than cute adorable stuff.
  • liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
    Reason for watching it: I went to the cinema with friends including a teenager, and it was his choice. It would probably have been quite low down in my own priorities, given it's the middle of a trilogy where I've neither seen the first nor read the books, and YA dystopias aren't terribly my thing anyway. But I was very glad to join my friends on their cinema trip.

    Circumstances of watching it: I'm working from home today, which meant for once I was in Cambridge Sunday evening, and was able to join the party going to the Light cinema in the complex behind the station, along with [personal profile] jack, [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and her oldest.

    Verdict: Insurgent is watchable even if it's not the kind of thing I'm usually into. I also agree with [personal profile] jack's review quite a lot.

    detailed review )

    Meme-ish

    Mar. 20th, 2015 03:40 pm
    liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
    I saw this meme chez [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ following links from elsewhere. And I can't quite be bothered to do the whole countdown, but they are some cute questions, so I'll do one of each.

    mememe )
    liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
    So the medical school is having a drive to encourage students to engage more with arts and humanities, so we don't end up with a lot of future doctors who haven't read a novel since they finished GCSE English. And they're asking for suggestions for books worth recommending to the students.

    This seems like an interesting question, so I'm throwing it open to you: if you could recommend one book you'd like your doctor to have read, what would it be? They specify that it doesn't have to be about a directly medical topic, but just something that could help very science-specialized people to understand more about being human. Non-fiction is ok but they want literary non-fiction, things like biographies, rather than textbooks.

    My thinking about this is that there's no point recommending the obvious nineteenth century Dead White Men classics, because even if the students were funnelled out of anything to do with literature in their mid teens they're all high achievers, they've almost certainly all "done" Dickens for GCSE and got As for their essays. And even the ones who don't read have read The man who mistook his wife for a hat because various how to get into medical school guides push it as something to mention at interview.

    So, suggestions?
    liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
    Not much this week, busy busy. But let's not leave horrible stuff at the top of my journal.

    read more )

    Enough

    Mar. 18th, 2015 09:21 am
    liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
    Stark, you are no longer welcome to comment here. You were never really welcome, because you almost always make the conversation worse rather than better, but doing anything about you was a hassle so I didn't bother. But really I should have done this ages ago.

    moderation )
    ETA: I know this isn't a good general principle for surviving in the internet jungle, but for this particular post, please don't feed the troll! I'm not surprised by Stark showing up to justify himself in a post that's about him, but the whole point is that he's not welcome to comment here, so I'd really appreciate it if people don't get into discussions with him. I'd also appreciate if we could keep speculation about his motivations, character etc to a minimum; he may be annoying but he's still a person and I don't want this to turn into a pile-on of everybody dissecting his flaws in a space where I've just said he can't reply. Ta!
    liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
    [personal profile] jimhines, all round good egg, is doing a second series of his Invisible guest blogs where he invites people from marginalized identities to talk about (lack of) representation in speculative fiction. I have to admit I had a bit of an emotional reaction to seeing a Jewish one. noodling about identity again )
    liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
    Recently read:
  • The shambling guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty. read more )

    Conclusion: Wednesday reading posts are definitely not quicker to write than my usual style of book reviews. But never mind!
  • 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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