Stuff

Feb. 23rd, 2015 08:12 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[personal profile] liv
Various bitty things to record what I've been up to lately:

  • I actually took advantage of Cambridge being Cambridge and went with [personal profile] cjwatson to a lunchtime recital in John's, a young cellist called Ghislaine McMullin performing a Rachmaninov cello sonata. It was the kind of performance that held my attention for every note, really enjoyable. I didn't know the piece (Op 19 in G minor), and I rather fell in love with the transitions between movements, a sort of lovely anticipation, so I shall try to get hold of a sensible recording. There was a little bit of Ravel being silly and Orientalist for the encore, and it wasn't sublime like the Rachmaninov but even silly Orientalist Ravel is still a treat. Since we'd spent lunchtime listening to the concert we went for afternoon tea afterwards, choosing Brown's since it's central and easy even if a bit obvious. I got to point out that Cambridge contains surprisingly many gilded pineapples, which [personal profile] cjwatson hadn't noticed in spite of living there for many years.

  • You are welcome to kick me for it, but I did in fact end up celebrating Valentine's Day. [personal profile] jack and I decided to stay in being coupley rather than try to deal with the commercial version of VD on a Saturday night. We made this Mushroom stroganoff; I use tarragon instead of parsley, I think it matches the rest of the flavours better. Somebody, I can't remember who, linked to a rather breathless clickbaity article recently about how most people cook mushrooms "wrong", and personally I like sautéed mushrooms and the nice juice that they exude, but I thought it was worth a try searing the mushrooms on a high heat, separately from the onions and seasoning. That did work, though ideally I need a more interesting high temperature cooking oil than sunflower.

  • And we rented Fucking Åmål (its rather milquetoast English title is Show me love). I like this film a lot and wanted to show it to [personal profile] jack; it's a love story, but not a romantic comedy. It's that rare thing, a fairly realistic depiction of the sexuality of teenaged girls, not a just deniably short of soft-porn show for a presumed audience of 20-something men, but a character story where the girls are very much the subjects. Rebecka Liljeberg's acting is outstanding; she was only a year or so older than her 16-year-old character, in contrast to the Hollywood convention of having adult actresses play teenagers. But her utter devastation at social humiliation, her radiant joy when her love-life goes unexpectedly well, make this a much more romantic film than the kind that follow standard romantic tropes. Plus, you know, Agnes and Elin have a good reason for not talking to eachother about their feelings, given that they are teenaged lesbians in a homophobic school environment way out in the sticks in the 90s.

  • I was invited to a third birthday party. It was in a community hall and the children were more interested in playing with the toys, softplay including a ball pool, and playground outside than interacting with the adults, so I actually just sat around eating tasty food and chatting, which was easier than I'd expected it would be. Thank you for all your present suggestions; I ended up getting the Ahlbergs' Each peach pear plum, which was a childhood favourite. Reportedly the verdict is that it has really good letters in, which, yes it does, though I mainly chose it for the words and verses rather than the letters.

  • In other getting to know my friends' children news, this weekend I attempted to tell the story of Medusa to their six-year-old. I ended up reading the Nathaniel Hawthorne's Wonder Book version aloud to her. I remember my grandfather reading it to us when we were about that age; he had a beautifully illustrated edition we weren't allowed to touch, and I understood a fairly small proportion of what was going on. Hawthorne's a lovely story teller, but he tells selections from the myths and I couldn't find a good version of the rest of the story about what Perseus did with the Gorgon's head having acquired it. We also played a lot of OLO, which is, of all things, a smartphone app version of shove ha'penny. She's better than me at playing the game, and sort of interestingly picking up the meta-skill of playing in a sportsmanlike way, we've been experimenting with bits of friendly trash-talking without crossing the line into mean.

    OTOH I completely failed to answer the three-year-old's question of why a slinky climbs down the stairs. Mainly because I don't actually know the answer, and "because physics" is hardly satisfying. So I'll try to crowd-source this one, can anyone explain why the slinky does that thing? I welcome either simple or mathsy explanations; I reckon if I understand it properly myself I can probably figure out how to explain it to a kid who hasn't yet got to formal physics.

  • My latest student, by my count the fifteenth I've coached since I started with my brother in 1993, celebrated his bar mitzvah at the weekend. I'd let myself get a bit nervous about it, but actually it was perfect. The young man did brilliantly, he read well, and I know he's worked hard to bring his Hebrew reading up to scratch, cos I was guiding him through the process. He didn't take any shortcuts with rote learning or using a crib, he just put his head down and learned to read. And it was good for the community as well, the first time we've celebrated a bar mitzvah in 15 years, and the service I think meant something to the regulars as well as to the bar mitzvah boy's family and friends (most of whom aren't Jewish). Anyway people were enthusiastic, and I feel pretty good about the whole thing.

  • I got to talk to [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo! She says that the best possible contemporary children's book of Greek myth is D'aulaires' book of Greek myths, so I shall seek that out, cos stuff that's old enough to be in the public domain tends to be a little obscure in language and not exactly what I'd want in attitudes and values.

  • And [personal profile] hatam_soferet asked me to learn some midrash with her, chevruta-style, which is the most wonderful thing! I mean, she's ridiculously more advanced than me these days, but we have been learning together since the turn of the millennium, and it works. I miss my friend and I miss proper intense text learning, so getting both together is just wonderful

    Also, congratulations to [personal profile] randomling who correctly guessed that what I was thinking of in Pessimized Twenty Questions was Croatia. [personal profile] randomling, you're of course welcome to start a new round if you like, but perhaps a single game was enough, playing by comment discussion. Honourable mention goes to [personal profile] seekingferret who played with great cunning, coming up with informative guesses and not getting trapped in assumptions based on what had been discovered so far.
    ETA: [personal profile] randomling started another round, do go and join in!
  • From:
    Anonymous
    OpenID
    Identity URL: 
    User
    Account name:
    Password:
    If you don't have an account you can create one now.
    Subject:
    HTML doesn't work in the subject.

    Message:

     
    Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

    Soundbite

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

    Top topics

    July 2017

    S M T W T F S
          1
    2 3 45678
    9101112131415
    16 17 1819 20 2122
    23 242526272829
    3031     

    Expand Cut Tags

    No cut tags

    Subscription Filters