liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I went to the Pride parade yesterday. I had planned to go to the pre-parade events directly from shul, and when I mentioned this at kiddush, someone I've been getting to know in the past few weeks decided to join me. I was glad of the company and she's someone I like anyway, so I mostly wasn't too annoyed at not being able to do completely my own thing.

The parade was great fun; I will put a few photos up when I get round to it, but I have very few because my camera ran out of batteries about 10 minutes in. Anyway there was such a huge range of people, some in various states of over- and under-dress who were fun to watch, but the vast majority were just people having fun with their partners and friends. I was particularly glad to see a huge group who appeared to be about the equivalent of PFLAG; they were all wearing T-shirts proclaiming that they were proud mothers or proud aunties or proud grandfathers or proud cousins, with the implication being "of LGB young people". That group had a lot of kids with them, as did the crowd marching with a poly banner and the gay adoptive parents group. But in general it was a great mix of people of all ages just being people, with flamboyant over-the-top drag queens and other show-offs being outrageous because they could.

My friend knew her way around better than I did (which wouldn't be hard!), and found us a very cool vegetarian restaurant in Hornsgatan and was generally good fun. We didn't end up going into the Pride party, primarily because they were asking for 300 SEK on the door (about £25) and partly because by the time we got there it was after 8 pm and we were getting tired from wandering around all day in the heat. Anyway it was great fun in general!
I posted a few months back complaining that I couldn't find anywhere to buy mp3s without breaking the law and depriving the artists of revenue. I've been following up people's suggestions way after the event and I want to report that so far, I've been pretty impressed with emusic. It's selling (not hiring) actual mp3s so you don't need to be a member of the site to play what you buy and you can move the files around without hassle. The range is a lot less bad than I expected; it has a fair mix of actual popular stuff you might have heard on the radio, with artists I like but aren't absolutely vanilla Top40 commercial pop outfits. Which is not to say they have absolutely all the music I could possibly want, but I've found quite a few things that I have not been able to find elsewhere even at five times the price and with DRM (details behind the cut). It's pretty easy to navigate and use and pretty easy to browse and find new cool stuff, the way that happens by default in a bricks and mortar shop but you don't always get with online stores. Oh, and they don't absolutely force you to download their widget, which is another plus in my view.

The downsides: you have to give them your card details even for the free trial (which I am currently taking advantage of). The pricing structure is not ideal; instead of paying so much per track, you pay a monthly subscription fee of $10 for 40 tracks per 30 days. Which is pretty good value if you're actually remotely likely to buy as many as 40 tracks in a month (if you expect to buy vastly more than that you can pay a higher subscription which still works out at about 25¢ per track; unlike a lot of these sites the price they quote actually relates to reality). I may pay for a couple of months but after that I doubt I'll justify the subscription. I'm waiting to see whether they will in fact let me unsubscribe painlessly, whether at the end of my free trial period or after I've paid for a couple of months. Because that's the real test with any of these too good to be true free offers!

Anyway, worth checking out by virtue of being less evil and less useless than a lot of sites out there. If you feel like joining, we can both get goodies if I "refer" you, so send a relevant email address to me @lj if you like. I've read the small print pretty carefully and I'm moderately impressed, assuming that they don't drag their heels over unsubscribing, of course.

why yes, my musical tastes are somewhat eclectic )
Addendum 6 Aug: Yeah, I've run out of things that I passionately want and I still have half of my 50 free downloads left. Looking like it's not worth paying for more beyond the first 50. Anyone have any recommendations of artists or songs I should know about?

A day off

Apr. 18th, 2006 12:37 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I decided to schedule some time with [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas yesterday. I don't see him enough because I tend to take him for granted, assuming that since he lives in the same city, I can see him any time... and then never make arrangements. But anyway, he had bank holiday Monday off, so we had a very pleasant day together.

It started off annoyingly due to train stupidity, but we met up in the end. I found a very cool patchwork padded jacket in the market for £1 (I love that jumble stall, I really do). And we had a picnic on Jesus Green; it was a lovely spring day for most of the time we were outdoors, which is really pleasing.

Then to the Fitzwilliam to see thir Blake exhibition. This turned out to be a small thing, mainly a couple of dozen plates from Jerusalem, The Emanation of the Giant Albion. So the rest of the afternoon was for quality time with the ceramics.

Lots of lovely conversation. I'm getting a bit stressed about the move to Sweden because I'm supposed to be going there next week and haven't really got the practical details sorted out yet. Nor have I written the grant application I'm supposed to be working on, and it would be starting on a really bad foot not to get that done before the deadline. But [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas was really reassuring. I am going to do this, I am going to just turn up in a foreign country with a couple of suitcases and just see what happens. It's just that it's going to happen awfully soon, rather than at some point in the distant future!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
On Friday I went out for coffee with [livejournal.com profile] daneres, whom I last saw in 1989 (!) We chatted for several hours over tea and gateau at the Victoria cafe (a new discovery on my part). It's very comforting that we get on well now, when our original connection was so long ago and when there was a huge age gap between us.

I was planning to make a post about how much I like living in the digital age, because being online allowed [livejournal.com profile] daneres to get back in touch with me, and LJ allows us to keep up with eachother's lives with almost no effort. And in the afternoon I wanted to get hold of some journal articles to read in preparation for starting work next month. So I showed up at the University Library, logged on to a computer there, downloaded a reading list from my email, and then downloaded pdfs of all the papers I wanted from online journals to my memory stick. Which is so incredibly easy and convenient even compared to how I would have gone about retrieving those papers five years ago. But when I got home the internet was full of interesting stuff which distracted me from writing a post about how much I love the internet...

Continuing the sociable theme into the weekend )

For this week, I'm going to the Carlton this evening, and Borders tomorrow, so do come along if you happen to be in the area and want to see me.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
Wednesday evening, I attended a talk by Michael Heppner on the Czech scrolls.

To a large extent, it was a discussion of Holocaust education. Heppner's thesis is that there is little point trying to tell people about the unfathomable horrors of the Holocaust, or trying to convey the scale of it, because people just switch off. Instead, educators should try to get people to empathize with individuals and small communities, particularly towards the beginning of the Nazi era . This is not entirely a new idea; Anne Frank's diary is very widely read, for example, and films like Schindler's List do just this sort of thing.

But Heppner wants to connect this to the Torah scrolls which were preserved in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and which now belong to Jewish communities around the world. He suggests that each community that has a scroll should make it their duty to find out everything they can about the community their scroll came from, and tell the world about it. People should adopt members of the destroyed communities who were their age, or share a name, or had the same occupation.

As an example of this, he talked about his own community's research into the town of Kolin, where their scroll came from. more notes from Heppner's talk )

Anyway, Heppner told us that our scroll comes from a town called Pardubice. We know that the Jewish community of Pardubice and the surrounding areas were deported to Terezin in two transports in December 1942. The Nazis' meticulous record keeping means that it would be a fairly trivial task to find out the names of everyone who was deported from Pardubice; the exact numbers are known, but not by me. Heppner exhorted us, the Cambridge Jewish community to take on a project to research and memorialize the Pardubice community, as his community have done with Kolin.

I suppose I'm contributing a little bit by promulgating the story he told on my blog.

Fun day

Sep. 25th, 2005 11:03 am
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Yesterday the shabbat service at synagogue was partly in celebration of three members of the community who have recently been promoted to professor. There probably are other places than Cambridge where this kind of thing happens, but I suspect there aren't very many! Anyway, one of the older members of the community wished me Please God by you!, which tickled me; goodness knows I've had to bite my tongue enough times when I get that comment in its more traditional context.

Then we met up with [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas to see the yummy illuminated manuscripts at the Fitzwilliam. Oh wow. So very, very gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] blackherring, it's on till 11th December; do you think you could get here a bit early for Limmud so you can see it? It's an absolutely amazing exhibition, and anyone who's already in the UK should certainly see it. (And if you happened to make that an excuse to come and visit me at the same time, so much the better.)

Incidentally, one thing we learned from the exhibition was that the Emperor Charlemagne's father was called Pippin III. This is cool.

And then I went to the cinema to see the new Pride and Prejudice, which was also fun.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
There's a meme going round where you have to quote Shakespeare. I don't know if it means actually quote from memory; if that's the case I'm rather at a loss, because although I know a fair amount of poetry by heart, very little of it is by Shakespeare. I could probably make a stab at Full fathom five... but I'd likely mess it up quite a lot.

So I'm going to assume you're allowed to go and look up some Shakespeare. And what I'm going to quote is Juliet's solliloquy from the opening of III.ii. Because I don't think I've seen this particular piece quoted anywhere I read, and because I connected to the eroticism of the words when I was too young to understand what actual sex was about. (Yes, I was late in catching on to all that, especially compared to Juliet herself, but hey!)

Capulet's orchard. Enter Juliet )
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I've had a very fun couple of days, with good people.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] midnightmelody for organizing a really excellent evening discussing Laws of Nature with Prof Lipton. I am also grateful to LJ for making it possible to get together a group of 7 people, none of whom knew all six others, to attend cool events.

philosophy )

Generally, it was a really fun way to spend an evening, and in excellent company. Everybody present told me I need to come to [livejournal.com profile] karen2205's Coffee in Borders at some point, which seems like a good idea to me. Do any of the regular attendees want to suggest a particular date when they're likely to be there and / or offer me crash space in London?

On this occasion I stayed over with [livejournal.com profile] blue_mai; there are few people in the world I feel as comfortable around as her, so we had a lovely conversation. And she caught me up on gossip about mutual acquaintances and fed me tea and it was thoroughly lovely evening. *bounce*

Today )

Finally, I met up with NZ for lunch. She has been given leave to finish the rest of her PhD in London, and not have to go back to Dublin where she was pretty unhappy. And she was eager to hear news of [livejournal.com profile] blackherring and [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo. We had nice Italian meal in a fairly random restaurant near her flat in northwest London. Very good to see NZ again.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
The poetry meme has come round again. I missed it last time, but anyway.

This week I've been calling to mind a difficult time I went through, and how my friends looked after me at that time. PM sent me the poem I'm about to quote (and was otherwise comforting). And then NZ quoted it in a .sig when I was just thinking of it, so it obviously wants my attention.

It's not my favourite poem, and it's not an exceptionally good poem. But there's a reasonable chance people won't already know it, and it's a poem that is important to me:
A song of living

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young Love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Amelia Josephine Burr, c 1919

I can't find Burr's dates anywhere; she was born in 1878 and didn't publish anything after the 30s. So I'm not actually sure whether or not this poem is still in copyright.

It's only recently I've been able to read that without risking unreasonable grief, and I'm finding it hard to say whether that's an improvement. But anyway. I love I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend, never mind the associations it has for me, and never mind that it's in the context of rather sentimental Victorian Christianity.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've been overindulging in art museums this week, but there are probably worse things to do with a trip to New York.

Museum of Modern Art )

So yay MoMA. I'm most pleased with that trip. And I've run out of time to write up the rest of the arty stuff I've been doing, cos I need to go and catch a plane to the other side of the country to see [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo. *bouncewaves*
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
When I got back from Dundee my aunt R and cousin S were at home. They decided more or less on a whim to come and visit from Australia. They're both fun people and I haven't seen them in years (due to an excess of geography) so it's good to catch up.

At the weekend, we made a trip to Brighton to see my brothers. adventures )

Oh, and gradually catching up with book reviews:
- Poul Anderson: The broken sword
- Iris Murdoch: The sandcastle
- Mary Doria Russell: The sparrow
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Yay! I actually took a break from my thesis, and spoke to some Real People, and left not only flat but Dundee itself. I'm still scared by how much I need to get done in a very short time, but I have to say I feel a lot better for it.

in which livredor actually has a social life )

It was tiring in the way that staying up too late catching up with a friend and then doing a lot of walking through city streets at slow tourist pace interspersed with museuming are tiring. And tiring the way that relaxing after being really really wound up is tiring. But that's ok, it's a good sort of tired. And I love [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas very much.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)

Culture

Like good little tourists, J and I spent our first free day in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
detailed report )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I spent yesterday in Edinburgh with [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas, which was a lot of fun.

We managed to see two shows: a set by John Hegley, a standup / performance poet whom [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas knew from Radio 4; and a two-man comic play, Flamingo Flamingo Flamingo.

Details )

All in all, a very fun day out.

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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