Jun. 20th, 2014 10:45 am
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
It seems like almost everybody I know is talking about Worldcon, so I'm getting to the point of looking forward to a gigantic party with loads of people I am excited to see in person. 7000 people in a huge convention space is going to be extrovert heaven, omg.

I actually really wanted to get properly involved, not just attend as a visitor. So I signed up for the science track and put my name down for volunteering and panels and stuff. And then I got lots of emails and didn't really have time to deal with any of them. I have to conclude that getting properly into the con scene is just not going to fit into my life, sadly. However, the good news is that someone with influence has put me on a couple of panels anyway, I suspect maybe [ profile] purplecthulhu or [personal profile] emperorzombie, so many thanks if it was you!

Namely, on Friday afternoon I'm on a panel called Scientists without borders which says:
Science may strive for objectivity, but all scientific communities are grounded in their host cultures. The panellists talk about working in different scientific cultures, working in multinational teams or transporting a team or project elsewhere.
I really like the sound of that and I think it's going to make for some cool discussion, yay. And on Sunday afternoon I'm playing giant Pandemic live in front of an audience. I've also submitted a poster for the science poster exhibit, actually one made by my excellent PhD student, but I'm waiting to hear whether that has been accepted.

So, first of all, who's coming to Worldcon and would you like to hang out? This applies equally much if I already know you in person as if we've only met online, if you're ok with connecting your DW identity to a physical body and possibly offline identity. It would be really awesome to use the event as a chance to spend time with some of you in person. If you want to show up and support and / or heckle my panels, that would be lovely too; I have plenty of experience doing this kind of thing professionally, but almost none of doing it fannishly.

Relatedly, is there anyone who can arrange to be in the same geographical location as me and has a copy of Pandemic that I could practise on? I am really bad at Pandemic, even though I am actually a scientist IRL! Board-gaming friends, if we can get a game together before August so I'm a bit more in the swing of things by the time I'm playing in public, that'd be cool, and also a good way to socialize. Generally I can be in Cambridge or London or anywhere else within a couple of hours of there or Stoke most weekends. And I'm totally happy to try several games if there are multiple groups volunteering to help out.

I am contemplating doing a DW meetup, what do people think? It would simply be advertising and time and showing up in a central area of the con. I'm not up for organizing an actual official Party, especially given that you have to order catering through the hotel and I can't be doing with that. I am also going to want to escape from the con at some points, because from past experience one thing I don't handle well is being trapped in a hotel miles from anywhere else over several days. So there will be at least a couple of expeditions into London to eat real food somewhere a bit quieter and without having to pay hotel prices for crap. If you'd like to get together in a smaller gathering of that sort, ping me and we can make plans.

oooh, I'm so excited! )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
So, I haven't abandoned DW altogether, I'm just in the process of moving my life to Cambridge and one aspect of The Plan that I haven't worked out is how to fit blogging into my life. I mean, partly it will be better when I'm not actively in the middle of selling and buying houses. And partly my life since Easter has just been unusually complicated.

diary )

So yes, that's me. I am going to be pretty busy for the coming month because of being course lead, and quite possibly completing the sale of my house here and the purchase of our future house in Cambridge. But on the other hand I'm likely to be spending enough consecutive days in one place to have a bit more time for DW.


Apr. 17th, 2014 12:22 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
Term has ended, and I was able to wrangle things so I could take my marking to Cambridge and live at home for a week, leading up to the beginning of Passover this Monday.

diary stuff )

Thank you to everybody who was friendly and comforting this week, it really does mean a lot, and I'm feeling extremely blessed to know you all. I still have a lot of things I need to deal with, both workwise and in terms of selling my house here and hopefully buying another one in Cambridge. But basically I'll be ok, and at least I don't have all that on my to-do list plus Passover prep.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Last week I moved house, and it was a bit stressful, as these things are, but honestly a lot less stressful than I expected, because I'm rich in both money and friends. And I'd saved up a treat for the weekend, which was to have a ridiculous mini-break in London with [personal profile] jack, celebrating the fact that we've been married for two years. And just this evening I was the Jewish speaker for an inter-faith panel discussion run by the Islamic society about religion and law. And now I'm at home in my new tiny flat with tea, so I shall talk about what a week I've had since I last posted.

memorable in several ways )

OK, I'm up ridiculously past my bedtime, I will post about the panel discussion another day.

D -1.5

Feb. 24th, 2014 11:41 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
You probably don't want to read this; the tl;dr is that I am moving from my house to the tiny flat on Wednesday, and I'm in the throes of sorting through everything I own and it's temporarily miserable.

gruesome details )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Right, I have a convenient gap in my January journal posting, so I'll sneak in a review of 2013.

that was the year that was )


Aug. 17th, 2013 03:38 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I've been much less present on DW than I'd like the last few weeks. I've abandoned several really good comment discussions in mid-flow, which I hate doing. And I've been reading lots of really important personal or thinky posts from various people and bookmarking them to comment later but not getting round to it. And I have several big posts queued up in my head:
  • intersectionality and the causes you're not an activist for
  • the post I promised [personal profile] pretty_panther about antisemitism
  • mmmaybe religion and homophobia, but I'm not sure if this is actually a post yet
  • introduction to epigenetics (I've been meaning to write this for years but it floated to the top again because I found myself explaining X-inactivation in #dreamwidth recently)
  • a proper discussion about alternative medicine, to follow up my rather flip comments from when I was being deliberately controversial
Much as I dislike withdrawing from DW, which is really an aspect of withdrawing from my connections with people I care about, the reason is almost entirely work, and it makes entire sense to prioritize urgent job-related stuff.

catching up )

Anyway, I have one day to myself (today) which I'm trying to use to catch up with DW a bit as well as doing some of the looming stack of abandoned chores. Inconveniently I'm working the Open Day tomorrow; we all have to do two weekend days a year and I signed up for this weekend months ago, before I realized it would be the day before I go away on holiday. Which brings me to the other point of this post: I'm away for two weeks from Monday, visiting [personal profile] hatam_soferet and [ profile] rysmiel yay! I am really really looking forward to a holiday as well as seeing two of my favourite people who usually have far too much geography. And when I get back I go straight in to running High Holy Day services, so I might not get to continuing those conversations or writing those posts for a while yet. I'll probably have at least some limited internet access via borrowing my hosts' connections, but I likely won't be online much because I want to spend time with my people in physical reality.


Jul. 9th, 2013 11:02 am
liv: methane on Mars, labelled "squeeee!!!" (squee)
The sun came out. I can not believe it's taken until July for me to feel like switching off my electric blanket at night. But anyway, I was lucky enough to spend the two sunniest days so far this year celebrating things.

Sunday, my dear friend [ profile] RabbiHugenholtz was ordained as a rabbi, and yesterday, my first cohort of doctors whom I've taught personally graduated, and are now qualified to practise medicine on real human beings. There's something almost mystical about a ceremony that takes an ordinary person and transforms them into Somebody whose role commands respect. Well, in the end, not really an ordinary person, both the new rabbis and the new doctors have undergone five years of rigorous and taxing training, and even before that had to be pretty special already to be accepted onto their vocational courses. But there's still a moment when they cross the threshold from being someone who happens to have completed lots of education, to being a Professional with real power over people's lives. The fact that one of the transitions was explicitly religious and the other wasn't is almost irrelevant here; in many ways, a Doctor is a more hallowed role than a Rabbi. It's not symbolic power that was conferred on them, it's literally life and death, it's the right to do things to members of the public that would be serious crimes if anyone who hadn't passed through that transition did them.

I'm so proud of my people )


Apr. 1st, 2013 10:17 pm
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
My two main aims for this year's Eastercon were networking with the 2014 Worldcon crowd, and meeting lots of interesting people to have mind-expanding conversations with. I didn't entirely achieve these aims; I ended up spending most of the time chatting to people I already know, but I had some really good conversations and a lot of fun. It just wasn't quite as thrilling as Eastercon two years ago. I don't think that's really a reflection on the con, so much as the fact that I was already kind of tired when I arrived, and although I did manage to be sensible about getting reasonable amounts of sleep, I just didn't quite have the physical energy to match getting really excited about lots of people to talk to.

just to get some notes down before I forget )

The other thing that generated a lot of discussion was the BSFA sociology lecture, which was given by Dr Louise Livesey who talked about the media response to the Savile affair and to sexual abuse of children more broadly. She was good, and contentious in the way the best academic stuff can be. I will talk about the discussions she provoked in a separate post I think, cos I don't want to suddenly segue from rambly con report into a topic like that.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
People have started putting up year in review posts, and that reminded me that I should try to get to mine while it's still actually 2012! It's been quite a year, mostly dominated by getting married, and also by stepping up to new responsibilities at work.

that was the year that was )


Oct. 25th, 2012 09:33 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I have a really ambivalent relationship with Cambridge and the Cambridge scene. In one sense, I was already bored of Cambridge by the time I moved there aged 15. My social life had been Cambridge-based since I joined a school there a little before my 9th birthday. And it was limited and limiting and small-town-ish and I couldn't wait to get away. In another sense, though, I always feel rooted and at home there; the university means it's just not like any other small town.

This past weekend was, well, very Cambridge. diary stuff )

In lots of ways, Cambridge people are my people, the Jews and the geeks both, and I'm really enjoying being back in England and having enough money to spend lots of weekends in that very comfortable environment.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[ profile] mobbsy and [ profile] sonicdrift got married on Saturday. Many congratulations to both of you!

Now that [personal profile] jack and I have attended somebody else's wedding as a married couple, I think that marks the end of the newly-wed phase of our lives, and feels like a little mini-milestone after all the big milestones. Though it's surprisingly hard to turn off the part of my brain that has spent the last couple of years using other people's weddings as a source of ideas (to incorporate or reject) for our wedding. I don't want to let that turn into obsessively comparing everything either; I think the most useful conclusion is that [ profile] mobbsy and [ profile] sonicdrift made different decisions from us, and came up with a wedding that was as right for them as ours was for us.

yay weddings )


Jun. 11th, 2012 10:23 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Wow, the past three weeks have been quite the roller-coaster! what I've been up to )

So yay, I'm feeling very satisfied with a few weeks of very varied but very positive and social experiences.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I took a couple of days off work at the end of last week in order to make sure of getting to see my aunt during her visit from Australia. This led to getting soaked almost every time I went outside, but hey.

sociable )

Students are back for that squeezed little three weeks of teaching before their end of year exams. At the end of which period I'm coming back to Cambridge to get married!
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I could have had a really really bad day on Thursday. I woke up and hit my head painfully on the corner of my bedside table trying to turn off the alarm. While wandering around with a really tender bruise on my temple, bad enough to give me a constant headache, I got a phonecall to tell me my bank card had been cloned and the card would have to be cancelled (happily it was caught before I lost any money, so it's annoying rather than a disaster, but still). And lots of other little annoying things happened, but it was all completely eclipsed by some awesome good news, which I've talked about in a locked post because it's to do with work. So on balance that was a very very good day.

Friday was annoying because I was having to organize stuff without having access to the money in my bank account, and because various people at work were being demanding, and because my train to Brighton was late and full of irritating fellow-passengers. But I made it to Screwy's birthday party in the end, and had a really lovely evening. People were excited about my imminent marriage and my good work news, and there were some really clever takes on the theme of "pictures and ideas". I just used the excuse to wear a really over the top dress (big foofy skirt and shiny purple and silver bodice), because it's hard to be overdressed at Screwy's parties. P'tite Soeur offered crash space so I didn't have to stay to the bitter end of the party, and actually managed to get 6 hours of decent sleep.

You see, I had really foolishly planned to go straight back to Stoke on an early train on Saturday morning, which meant 9 hours of travelling for the sake of three hours of party, but no weekend hanging out with the sibs afterwards. But I did this for a good reason, which was [personal profile] angelofthenorth was visiting for the weekend. We were both pretty exhausted after a long and stressful week, not to mention the travelling, so we spent most of the time in various states of flop, but it was really restorative. We drank lots and lots of tea, and ate food that I'd cooked and ventured out a couple of times for Thai dinner and tasty desserts and a little stroll through the park, and watched Revolutionary girl Utena which doesn't make any more sense after several viewings than it did the first time.

And today, I had to deal with something that has gone quite horribly wrong in a part of work that's somewhat under my jurisdiction (bad enough that I'm not going to discuss the details even under lock). After a really vexing meeting about that issue this morning, I had been hoping to get away from the Med School to work on stuff related to last week's really really good news, but people kept needing me for a series of small things, so that I didn't actually leave until after half past seven. Most of these things were enjoyable and productive and worthwhile, but still, I'm in a phase where I can't settle down and work on anything in a sustained way, because lots of people need lots of pieces of me.

[personal profile] mathcathy discovered, almost entirely by accident, that the gym we're members of has just randomly closed from one day to the next. It's obviously worse for the people who are suddenly out of work, but it's annoying on a personal level too. There's no other gym that's convenient for both of us to get to (the one near [personal profile] mathcathy's work is two buses away from anywhere I'm likely to be starting from, and the one that's on my commute has no parking available). So I think we're going to end up going to separate gyms, which is going to make it a whole lot harder to keep up my good habits.

I'm very happy with my life, because the wonderfulness of lovely friends and the exciting news far outweigh all the irritations of geography and work stress and stuff. Oh, and I'm getting married in two months. After some wibbles along the way, I now feel emotionally prepared, but at this point I'm starting to panic about being practically prepared. Lots and lots of stuff to do in the next few weeks, and I kind of need to spend the time on urgent and important work things...
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I seem to have started a bad habit of getting most of the way through January before I get round to these. Anyway, this is my 8th consecutive year of summing up the events and consumption of the previous year, so that counts for something, right? Like 2010, 2011 involved a lot of awesome teaching and a depressing series of failures to attract funding. A lot of delightful weekends with friends but few big memorable events. My love-life continued happy and there was a fair amount of wedding planning.

that was the year that was )


Dec. 22nd, 2011 04:57 pm
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
The end of the academic year has been really lovely, for several reasons.

celebrations and excursions )

Anyway, I had a completely fantastic time and feel very well recuperated from a long term. Productive and generally successful, but long.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Thank you so much to everyone who made plans with me for what ended up being an incredibly hectic but very enjoyable few days' break. I think I sent about 80 emails to organize everything, but it was more than worth it, and worth the ridiculous amount of travelling back and forth across London to see so many lovely people.

feeding and sleeping )

So yes, that was completely awesome. Expensive, and exhausting, and somewhat boozy, and my feet are pretty much cut to ribbons, but awesome. It's certainly given me enough of a boost to get me through the last three weeks of term.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[ 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: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I've had a relaxing and reviving couple of weeks: spending time with the wonderful [personal profile] hatam_soferet and a brief appearance by [personal profile] hadassah. Taking advantage of the last week of the long summer vac to set up some major projects that are going to keep me seriously busy once term starts. Then a week's real proper holiday, starting out with seeing [personal profile] angelofthenorth and [ profile] gwyddno married, and continuing with introducing [personal profile] jack to the far side of Pembrokeshire where I spent many magical summers as a child. Staying in a cottage with no phone or internet or even mobile coverage, existing in the moment and in the space in a way that's not really been my experience since I found the internet in 1997.

I got back at about 7 this evening. I have one day to recover and sort everything out, and then chaos descends in the form of a new intake of students (140, plus 7 in year zero for whom I have especial responsibility). And a further 140 second years for whom I am running the opening 8 weeks of their year. And the other work major projects. And it's Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, on Wednesday evening, which means a month of some of the biggest services in the year. I'm pretty much leading all of them, though with a bit more support than I've had in some previous years. (Spiritual prep – forget it! I've barely started on the practical and liturgical preparation!)

So, yeah. I'll make some attempt to skim the past couple of weeks of DW, and declare bankruptcy (or BANKRUPTMYPANTS) on all the other social streams I follow in quieter times. I don't expect to produce much content or even extensive comments until, well, some time in mid-November, honestly.


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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