Survey

Jun. 12th, 2012 05:20 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I have about an equal mixture of old friends and people who subscribed to me because I'm vaguely prominent in some DW circles reading this. So probably at least some people will find it interesting if I fill in the friendly survey with some general GTKY detail. Plus, I like talking about myself, and I'm procrastinating.

some questions )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ghoti (NB that's a different person from [personal profile] ghoti) posted the meme where someone picks a letter for you, and you post ten things that you love beginning with that letter. And if anyone else wants to play, you can comment and ask for a letter, and I will happily suggest one.

I'm going to alter the meme and post ten things I love at the moment, rather than ten things I love in general, cos that gives me a chance to post some of the stuff I've been too busy to talk about since the end of summer. H is for happiness )
Anyway, yes, just one more festival to go and then I can relax until Chanukah. So I'm hoping to be around online more than I have been for the past several weeks!
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Various people are playing the interview / questions game, and [personal profile] khalinche gave me a great set.

what a great excuse to talk about myself! )I'm happy to provide questions for anyone who'd like some; obviously the quality will depend a bit on how well I know you. I think the optimum for this game is people I know a bit but not really well, because then I can think of something interesting that I don't already know the answer to. But even if you're a total stranger or a close friend of many years, I'll see what I can do.

Census

Mar. 9th, 2011 01:15 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I received my census form today! we love to count )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
One confession... I really can't think of anything for this one. I talk about most aspects of my life, and if there's anything I don't talk about I'm not suddenly going to say it just because a meme told me to! Either the whole eight years of this journal is a confession, or nothing is.

So, here's a recap of the complete meme (plenty of confessions in there, if you know where to look):
  1. Day 1: 10 things you want to say to ten different people right now
  2. Day 2: 9 things about yourself
  3. Day 3: 8 ways to win your heart
  4. Day 4: 7 things that cross your mind a lot
  5. Day 5: 6 things you wish you'd never done
  6. Day 6: 5 people who mean a lot
  7. Day 7: 4 turn-offs
  8. Day 8: 3 turn-ons
  9. Day 9: 2 images that describe your life right now

And for the confession: feel free to ask me any question you like, even if you're concerned it might seem intrusive. I'll answer if I can without compromising anyone else's privacy.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
Day 9 is Two images that describe your life right now. I find this tough, since I really don't have a visual mind! I poked around in Flickr and came up with the following two:

thumbnails link to larger images on Flickr )

Aren't you glad I didn't choose any soppy images? Cos the other big thing that's going on in my life right now is planning both the wedding and more seriously, our future together. As an antidote to all that nonsense, have some anti-valentines.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
I'm a little surprised that me babbling on about my personal tastes generated so much interesting discussion. So let's try another one: three turn-ons

again, sexual but not explicit )
Anyway, I'm writing this on a train with nice wifi. There's an amazingly earnest young student across the aisle from me who is holding forth about all the cool stuff she's been learning at uni, interspersed with why society is going to the dogs. Ever so endearing!
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
Yeah, I know it's been over a month since I started this meme, but I've been blocked on day 7 for a while; I keep composing the list, and then deleting it because it's surely far too navel-gazing even for a blog meme! Anyway, feel entirely free to skip this if you don't care or find this kind of information embarrassing. But hereunder find Four turn-offs:
personal, but not explicit, sexual content )
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I don't love Five people who mean a lot, because I'm lucky to have considerably more than five people in my life who mean the world to me. For a start, I have to leave out half these people! And I generally don't like creating hierarchies of friends. So my take on it is going to be writing about why five people mean a lot, rather than describing in detail who they are or how I know them.
Five people who mean a lot )
ION I started back at the gym today, and yes, it was crowded, and yes, there were body-hating conversations in the changing room, but since I was continuing rather than starting, this was bearable. I also had a sudden brainwave: I started thinking that this whole exercising thing would be improved if I could get XP and achievements and level-ups and such, and then I realized that Chore Wars is exactly the perfect system for giving out imaginary awards for real life actions! So I've set up an account there to record my training sessions; this has the additional bonus that I can keep geeky track of exact numbers, notice when I beat my "highscores" etc. I think that will nicely complement having someone to go to the gym with for keeping me motivated.
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Day five is six things you wish you'd never done. I feel a bit squirmy about answering this publicly, since things I wish I'd never done are also things I don't want people to know I've done. But hey, blogging is all about over-sharing, isn't it? My grandmother has reached the age of 90 and claims that she doesn't regret anything she's ever done, only things she should have done but didn't dare. I think it's pretty impressive to be able to look back over your life with that view. I don't have a lot of regrets and guilt, but I do have some (and I'm only a third her age!)

Six things you wish you'd never done )
OK, that was a bit of low note to end the year on, sorry! I don't think I'm going to be around online much until the first week in January, and therefore I won't complete the last few sections of this meme until then. I'm about to go out for work Christmas lunch, and [personal profile] jack is on his way here. If he makes it past the snow monster, we're going to his family for Christmas and then I'm at Limmud next week, then plan to spend New Year with my family. My trusty smartphone will let me read stuff, whether it's posts, emails, tweets or texts, but I doubt I'll have time for a lot of producing content. I hope you all have a good year-end, including Christmas if you're celebrating.
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Seven things that cross your mind a lot... the way my mind works, things don't so much cross it as invite themselves in, settle down, and stay right up to the point of "it's lovely to see you, but I really need to get on with something."

seven things that cross your mind a lot )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Day three: Eight ways to win your heart. Hm, can I think of eight separate things? I'm pretty easily pleased; simply being willing to pay attention to me and showing signs of enjoying my company goes a long way!

Eight ways to win your heart ) My heart is pretty easy to win and pretty hard to lose, really. I'm not always right, but very often in my life I've developed very intense feelings for a person very quickly after meeting them, if they fit several of these desiderata. In the vast majority of cases giving my heart to people like that has led to wonderful, precious relationships.
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Day 2 is Nine things about yourself. Some people have interpreted that as random quirky facts, but in 7 years of blogging I've done that meme too many times to have anything new to say. So instead I'm going to repeat an exercise I did at some workshop or teambuilding thing, where you had to write down the groups or identities you belong to, picking the first that come to mind and not over-thinking it.

Nine things about yourself )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I've been enjoying lots of people's answers to the 10 things in 10 days meme. I wasn't going to fill it in because the first item is "Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now," which doesn't appeal to me much. I mean, I often find it passive-aggressive, and I generally take the attitude that if I want to say something to someone, I'll just come right out and say it. But then it occurred to me that I owe way too many emails. There are lots of people I want to say thousands of words worth of stuff to, but I don't say it because of not getting round to it, not because I'm too embarrassed. So I'll try and see if I can summarize in a few lines.

Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now )I don't think I'll manage these on 10 consecutive days, especially not with Christmas in the middle. But I'll have a go at working down the rest of the list over the next few weeks!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I tried to keep this brief, since after all I have hundreds of thousands of words about the last 7 years of the decade in question already! Feel free to ask for details if you are in fact interested, though.

I really am amazingly lucky )

I've really enjoyed reading all of yours, both people I know quite well and people I've barely met.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[livejournal.com profile] mrissa posted a thought-provoking poll about memory and sense of self. I don't know [livejournal.com profile] mrissa well enough to post a long rambling comment to her poll when I just happened to find it by linksurfing, so I am bringing her questions here. And answering them in prose rather than with just numbers. Please do feel free to add your own answers or repost this.

how old were you when? )

Well, that was more interesting to think about than the average meme! Any responses?
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Seeing stuff on Dreamwidth that I actually want to propagate makes me feel the site has arrived, there are people here creating and not just parking their name.

So, you should read [personal profile] forthwritten's really thoughtful piece on Steampunk, with some great discussion.

Secondly, [personal profile] phoenix spread a meme from [personal profile] zarhooie, where instead of posting a picture of yourself, you post a physical description in words. There's been quite a bit of discussion about how people feel safer at DW talking about themselves as embodied people, whether that's because they're trans, or POC, or fat, or women who are not conventionally beautiful. It's easy to hide these things on the internet, but it's also much nicer when you don't feel you have to.

The other aspect of [personal profile] phoenix's comment was that it's very hard not to be self-deprecating when writing about your appearance. I think a lot of people end up with a degree of fear of being mocked for their appearance, so you sort of want to get in first and say you're ugly. And plenty of people really do believe they're a lot uglier than how they appear to others. I think this is particularly acute for girls / women between the ages of about 12 and mid-20s, but it's pretty pervasive.

my attempt )

I'd be very interested to see other people's takes on this meme, especially as my reading list here contains a bunch of people I've met through the DW project and I often don't know what you look like if you don't have a personal portrait for an icon. Go on, describe yourself in words without saying a word about how ugly you are!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
So [livejournal.com profile] rho suggested that we should combat the negativity that can sometimes predominate on LJ by making a list of five awesome things. That sounds like a fun meme, so here goes:

awesomecakes )
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
...making myself useful to the Jewish community. Bar Mitzvah teaching continues to go well, and my pupils enjoy challenging me with difficult questions. (How do you as an English Jew feel about the British Mandate in Palestine? Um, you may be mature enough to ask that question, but I don't think I can answer it at a level that would be meaningful to a 12-year-old...) I am quite pleased that I managed to convey the idea that there are conflicting just claims on the land. The kids from an American background tend to be gung-ho pro-Israel and think the Palestinians are evil fanatical terrorists etc etc, whereas the kids from a Swedish background have been brought up with the idea that Israel is an oppressive colonialist power. So I think everybody came away from class with a more nuanced view.

The most unreasonable question came from someone old enough to be my grandmother, though, when I was leading a discussion of last week's Torah portion. I was talking about the idea of shabbat and asking whether we could work out from textual evidence whether the Patriarchs were aware of shabbat, or whether it was a new idea introduced to the children of Israel as they came out of Egypt. And this woman took it into her head to ask me who told God to rest on the seventh day... I was all, look, the traditional idea of God is as the unique originator of everything, by definition there's nobody who tells God what to do. But she wasn't satisfied with that, she seemed philosophically unable to cope with the idea that God could exist if there was no other being that created God. So I tried a little elementary Kabbalah on her, which I don't think she found entirely satisfying (partly because it's a bit hard to explain mysticism off the cuff like that). It ended up with her getting into a tearful row with a younger (but still adult) woman, because the latter was personally upset by the idea of someone asking the question of where does God come from. *sigh*

I organized to have a meeting with the mother of my pupil whose ceremony is scheduled first, in order to plan the practical details. She told me to wait at a certain bus stop a short walk from her house (and incidentally absolutely miles away on the other side of town), and she would come and pick me up. But then she went and forgot that we were supposed to be having this meeting, and turned her mobile phone off. I waited for 40 minutes (and it was a pretty cold night), and then gave up and got back on the bus to return home, at which point the mother called me in a panic. Because I am too nice, and because I didn't want the faff of rearranging the meeting, I turned round again and had the meeting, by this time over an hour later than we originally planned. It was a good meeting. It can be quite awkward to be caught between a parent and an adolescent who have conflicting views about how a bar mitzvah should work, but in this case the boy in question was exceptionally mature about it and negotiation happened and the conclusion satisfied everybody.

There was also the secret Talmud study cabal, where we were talking about house leprosy and why bad things happen to good people (because if your wicked neighbour gets punished with house leprosy then your party wall is still going to have to be torn down even if you are a totally wonderful person). I made what I thought was a really obvious point about the irony of Miriam criticizing Moses for marrying a black woman and being punished by being turned snow white with leprosy, and everybody acted like this was the most amazing chiddush. And I got to give an intelligent answer to a question about why menstrual impurity still counts while other kinds of impurity don't and how it all relates to Torah scrolls. Because knowing [livejournal.com profile] hatam_soferet is very useful!

Then I went to a meeting of community educators, one that has been postponed several times since November. They want to do something about the sorry state of bar mitzvah education in the main part of the community, and were trying to get some advice from those who have experience of what does work. It was quite nice in a lot of ways. There were four Orthodox tutors and me, and I think they were expecting me to be flaky, whereas in fact we all had very similar ideas about how good BM education should work, not to mention that I have more experience and currently rather more pupils than any of them. So that was good propaganda for the Progressive group, and good for my Swedish besides. It was hard to stop the discussion from getting derailed into "why the Conservative community isn't working as it should", because of course this is at the root of the problem of why the education offered by this sector of the community isn't working as it should. There was an awkward moment where the only other woman started talking about how it's important to teach girls girl stuff like how to make challah and how to have a Jewish life outside the synagogue context, and she sort of wanted me on her side. But I had to tell her that by her definition I'm a man, I am much more use at teaching Torah than baking challah, and I contribute to the community by leading services and doing education, not by making a beautiful Jewish home.

And next week I have a ton of committee meetings and I seem to have been roped into helping out with day Limmud in the autumn, which is going to mean even more committee meetings. Hey ho.

the randomized album cover meme )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've seen this meme / game floating around in various journals, I think I got it from [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu. The plan is that you should comment and come up with a fictional character you associate with me. Can be any kind of fiction, not necessarily books, and I think the most interesting way to play is if you base it on personality rather than looks. If you're brave enough to play, I'll come up with a character for you in return.

misc stuff )

I really need to sort things out for the sibs' visit, not to mention catching up on email and LJ. But hopefully I'll have a bit more time next week.

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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