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[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Review copy provided by Haikasoru Books.

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time. The Bamboo, the creatures in it, are described as vampires, but they’re really more grass monsters who eat human carrion. They’re described as scary, but I’m not particularly scared by them so much as baffled by their strange, secretive, hierarchical laws. (For me, this is a feature, not a bug.) And on basically every other page, I’m left saying, “What? What?” (Again, a feature, not a bug.)

There are three sections varying widely in time, with different protagonists. Even within the sections, the timeline swings wildly, spending pages on a conversation translated lovingly to attempt to show what level of formality the Japanese conversation used (oh, a losing battle) and then going over forty years in a single line. I would say that it’s full of plot twists, but that sounds very linear, very straightforward, as though things are following one upon another with logic–it is full of plot twists the way the dream you are trying to remember from two nights ago is full of plot twists. “And then you what? Why? Okay.”

And then the grass monster reached the end of their life and exploded into flowers. What? Okay. No, different section, they ate someone who they thought was abusing a prostitute. What? Okay. If that’s not okay with you, you should probably move along, because that’s what there is here, a whole lot of angst and monsters and randomness, and some of you are saying, gosh, no thanks, and some of you are saying, sign me on up.

Please consider using our link to buy A Small Charred Face from Amazon.

Books read, early September

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:45 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Alex Alice, Castle in the Stars Book One: The Space Race of 1869. Discussed elsewhere.

Hassan Blasim, ed., Iraq+100 Discussed elsewhere.

Chaz Brenchley, Dust-Up at the Crater School Chapter 7. Kindle. Plotty, moving forward, full of dust storms and schoolgirl antics, as one would expect for this project.

Marie Brennan, Maps to Nowhere. Discussed elsewhere.

George Eliot, Middlemarch. Kindle. And this is what happened to my early September. Middlemarch is surprising; it is delightful. It is one of the longest classics of English literature, and it is a joy to read. I kept thinking that I would want to leaven it with bits of something else, go off and take a break and read something in the middle of it. I didn’t. (I mean, I always have a book of short pieces going. But other than that.) While I was reading Middlemarch, I kept wanting to read Middlemarch, and when I was done reading it I wanted more of it. The only thing of its size that’s at all comparable in my attachment to it is John Sayles’s A Moment in the Sun, and that does not have the passionate following Middlemarch has–wherever I mentioned it I found that friends and strangers were ready to share my delight in this wandering intense chatty behemoth of a book. I’m discussing it with a friend who’s reading it with me. I’m not sure I have a lot to add for the general audience except to say, it’s funny, it’s intense, it’s gigantic emotionally as well as literally, it makes me want to read more George Eliot, it makes me want to read its giant self all over again. It is in some ways exactly what you would expect and in other ways nothing like what you’d expect. It is thoroughly itself. And oh, I love her, I love George Eliot so very much. I’m glad I read such a quotable thing when I was past the age of needing to strip-mine books for epigraphs. I can do that later. I’m glad I could just relax in and read this first time.

Masha Gessen, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. I enjoyed another of Gessen’s books and picked this up because the library had it, more or less on a whim. And it gave me a perspective on modern Russia that nothing else has, particularly on its criminal justice system. What the prison system is doing there, what trials are like, what sorts of things are prioritized, what and who counts, what and who does not. Enraging, illuminating. There are some things Gessen just takes for granted you will know about feminist art theory and punk, but I think it may still be interesting if you don’t? but even better if you do. Also, if you have a very strong high culture/low culture divide, read this book and have that nonsense knocked out of you. Not that I have an opinion about that.

Ben Hatke, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Discussed elsewhere.

Steve Inskeep, Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab. This is very much in the popular history category: short chapters, many things explained on a fairly straightforward level. Not a lot of delving deep into the obscure corners. However, Inskeep does a fairly good job of switching back and forth between the lens of the European settlers turned recent Americans and the lens of the cultures of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, and especially Cherokee people in the region he was discussing. One of the things that this particularly underscored for me is how quickly the European/American settlers viewed the land as traditionally theirs in that part of the south: the beginning of the Cherokee Trail of Tears was twenty-three years before the US Civil War. Even the earliest of the resettlements was only thirty years before. So in some parts of the Deep South, there were indeed plantations that had been going for generations–but in large, large swaths of it, the land they were fighting so hard for was land they had just taken from its previous owners basically five minutes ago. References to traditional way of life in that context are basically like talking about GameBoys and other hand-held gaming devices as our traditional way of life: they are bullshit. I think the way we are taught this period of history in American schooling encourages us not to think of that. I will want to read much deeper works on Andrew Jackson’s presidency. In this case I will say: Inskeep is not trying to paint him as a great guy or not a racist…and I still think he ends up going too easy on him. But it’s a good starter work for this period, I think.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Language of the Night. Reread. The last time I read this was before I was keeping a book log, which means also before I was selling short stories regularly. I was a lot less prone to argue with assertions about fantasy not needing to compromise then. (Oh nonsense, of course it does.) But one of the things that makes Ursula LeGuin a great writer is that she argues with her past self, too. She evolves. She evolves in the course of this collection. And I think she’d be far happier with people thinking and arguing than uncritically absorbing anyway.

Rebecca Mead, My Life in Middlemarch. So…I didn’t mean to go straight from Middlemarch to a book about it, but the other thing I had from the library, I bounced off, and…I wasn’t ready to be done. This is Mead’s memoir entangled with a bit of biography of Eliot. There are places where Mead is bafflingly obtuse (some areas of gender politics and the writing of sexuality, notably, but also the difference between a character who is fully human and a character who is generally sympathetic), but in general it is short and rattles along satisfyingly and tells me things I want to know about George Eliot without telling me too many things I actively didn’t want to know about Rebecca Mead.

A. Merc Rustad, So You Want to Be a Robot. This is a solid and heart-wrenching collection. It’s impossible to pick one true favorite because there are so many good choices. Definitely highly recommended, Merc hits it out of the park here. And they’re just getting started.

Gerald Vizenor, Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles. This is when Vizenor was just getting started, and gosh I’m glad I didn’t get started with his early work, because…why, oh why, did so many men of the seventies–particularly men who wanted to claim they were ecologically minded without doing much about it–pick the same direction for their demonstrations of their own sexual daring? Well, Vizenor grew out of it. But it’s a one of those. The person who wrote the afterword was sure that objections to it would be because people thought Indians couldn’t be like that! and no, it’s that it’s trite, it’s exactly the kind of trite sexual objectification of women–especially Indian women–that you’d expect from “seventies dude trying to be sexually shocking.” He got better. I’m glad.

Lunches

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
On Wednesdays we are out all day, so I make packed lunches. Except tomorrow, because this evening I put a bunch of stuff on the table (including a roast chicken and a bowl of boiled eggs) and the children made their own.

Judith has chicken, carrot sticks, dried mango, rice cakes, crisps, mini cinnamon rolls and jelly. Andreas has eggs, carrot sticks, dried mango, bread (plain), fruit winder, crisps and jelly. It'll do. (I've got sushi rice, eggs, chicken, mixed chopped veg and hummous, some mixed dried fruit and jelly.) We'll all drink water.


In other news we watched Toast, the autobiography of Nigel Slater, yesterday. It actually just covers the first half of the book, his childhood, and I was touched by how sympathetically it portrayed even the people he didn't really like, I'd recommend it whether or not you read the book.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
[personal profile] sorcyress
At GenCon, I was summing up the job search thusly:

18 applications
4 interviews
1 second interview
Bupkiss.

This summer was way more frustrating about teaching jobs than it has been in the past, in no small part because I really truly was doing an awesome job of applying places. I thought I was doing relatively well at interviewing. Maybe my references weren't as good as they could be, but in general, I was really putting myself out there and trying...and still getting nothing.

On Wednesday the 23rd of August, I got a call --would you be willing to come in?
On Thursday the 24th of August, I had an interview.
On Friday the 25th of August, I got a call.

On Monday the 28th of August, my perfect birthday, I woke up unbearably early and biked to school. Monday and Tuesday were teacher days, Wednesday was the first day with students. It's now partway through the fourth week of school, and I have finally gotten the HR bullshit sorted out and a paycheck into my bank account and that means it's really truly officially real.

I am a professional high school mathematics teacher.

For the whole year, from the beginning. At a public high school, with all the diversity and benefits that implies. With five classes and about eighty students (a frankly amazing average ratio) and oh my _dear sweet weeping gods_.

I am fully, blessedly, employed, in a place I love, doing exactly the thing I want to be doing with my life. Yes, it's frustrating that all my work searching this summer was for naught, but I can forgive the universe its machinations.

I've been sitting tight on announcing this until it was real, and it's been killing me. No matter how much I will complain over the next ten months about the early mornings and endless prep work, I am so so unbelievably very happy.

On Monday, August 28th, I celebrated my perfect birthday by starting at my perfect job.

~Sor
MOOP!

FAQs: No I won't tell you where specifically online. Algebra 1, Discrete Math, and Calculus. Some 9th graders, mostly 12th graders. Yes the commute sucks less than the private school one. Yes the pay is better --I'm making a bit over $50k this year. Yes, I am so so so so happy.

Humblebundle: Shadows of Mordor

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:56 pm
green_knight: (Skyrim)
[personal profile] green_knight
This remains one of my favourite games. I am nowhere near finishing it, and it's not an _easy_ game to play, but I love sneaking up on Uruk-hai and stabbing them in the back...

(The trick for this game is that you have to think in three dimensions: climbing up and jumping down are very much a part of it.)

It's the 'pay-what-you-want' bundle, so currently at $6.11 as I speak, and if you've been wanting to pick it up, now might be a good time.

Me? I'm bitter and twisted that the next offering will be Windows-only. (I seem to recall that Shadows of Mordor also took some time to be ported, so I still have hopes.)

And no, I would not pay $80 for a preorder - I have too many games to play - but still - I'd like to play Shadow of War eventually.

Krakow is chilly and rather wet

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:08 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

This morning it was overcast and a bit cool, by this evening via mildly drizzly has become colder and wetter.

Nontheless, we have managed some flaneurserie around the Old Town, a visit to St Mary's Cathedral with its massive gothic altar, and several museums:

The Gallery of C19th Polish Art at Suikiennice

The Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius

The temporary exhibition of 350 items from the The Princes Czartoryski Museum

Pharmacy Museum, Jagiellonian University Medical College

All of which leaves me rather too overwhelmed to say much beyond: that's a hell of a lot of old scientific instruments/apothecary paraphernalia, and dealers across Europe must has seen the Czartoryskis coming, with their interest in associational historical items (I would guess scamsters moved into this after the decline in fake relics?).

There was also (v expensive) coffee taken in a very plush place with numerous historical associations.

Place is generally heaving with tourists and tour groups.

sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia
For September, I donated to Shift Stigma Relief Fund, which is helping to fund abortions for people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. This includes travel and lodging assistance, since Texas has a 24 hour waiting period and few clinics for its huge area.

Here's more about the program. Women's Health Clinic Provides Free Abortion Care to Texas-based Hurricane Survivors

I've been continuing to pull back from engaging with daily news. I read whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, as well as skimming the Shakesville news summaries, but don't delve into a lot of articles.

A friend's grandparents were bystanders to the Holocaust in Austria. Her parents taught her a strong anti-bystander ethic. My grandparents fled the Holocaust in Germany, and my parents taught me to stay alert to similar patterns. I don't want to be a bystander as others are harmed either.

I'm sitting with my limitations and privileges, my fragilities and strengths. I feel like my awareness, my donations, my support to others are not nearly enough. And, they are what I can do, what I am doing right now. As I reassure others, doing our own healing work reduces the harm in the world. Keeping our eyes open to the truth, and speaking it with others, reduces the effect of gaslighting in the world. It's going to have to be enough.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:56 am
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[personal profile] rachelmanija
I just spent several minutes trying to figure out where the hell the mysterious rustling noises were coming from.

One of my cats (Alex) was entirely hidden within the depths of a shoebox-size Priority Mail box. He has just now emerged, and his sister Erin has vanished inside.

No cat photos because I don't have an X-Ray camera.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:06 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] randy_byers !  Wishing you a magnificent day.

Interesting Links for 19-09-2017

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm

Well, I survived.

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:17 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I did GLEEEE and it felt like it was a good one and I got a whole four hours' sleep and I chaired the first debate of the morning (link here for those in the UK) and it didn't all go horribly wrong and nobody tried to suspend standing orders on me.

The next thing is Not The Leaders' Speech. Which, the way things are going, will be in the sodding directory by Spring.

Cooking Diary

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:01 pm
soon_lee: Image of yeast (Saccharomyces) cells (Default)
[personal profile] soon_lee
Week starting 4 September (I've been tardy so I'm going back to fish out the ones I didn't get round to posting)
Monday: Chicken curry laksa
https://flic.kr/p/YbvynR
DSC_0015
https://flic.kr/p/XMPxpQ
DSC_0014
More... )
soon_lee: Image of yeast (Saccharomyces) cells (Default)
[personal profile] soon_lee
The Pikachu cake was lemon flavoured. And it was delicious.
https://flic.kr/p/YBzRkR
20170917_165651
radiantfracture: (Default)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I was nearly welded today.

Our main building, containing cafeteria, store, offices, classrooms, is under construction. An enormous scaffold surrounds the front doors. Today, exiting with a sustaining bannana in one hand, I heard the burr of welding and then felt a sudden hot-cold shower on the left side of my head, just about the region of the parietal lobe. I put up my hand and plucked a speck of grit from my hair.

As I crossed the quad and mounted the stairs to my building, I began to work out that I'd been sprayed with tiny bits of metal -- little curled chips of aluminum were in my hair and speckled my sweater-vest like glittering lint.

It was not a great cascade of sparks or anything -- just a smattering and a peculiar sensation -- but Jesus. That could have gone into my eye. I spent the whole of my lesson on proper quotation partially convinced that a speckling of tiny holes might newly pepper my skull, like a thought-colander.

The Thought-Colander

After Ted Hughes

I imagine this midday moment's sensation-salad:
Something hot but lifeless
burrows into the occipital
makes a blank page of this field where
newly kindled hallucinations move

(etc.)

Sorry, Here's "The Thought-Fox" to Make Up for That

Actually by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox,
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


* * * * *

I feel like "midnight moment's forest" must have kinship with Hopkins' "morning's morning's minion" from "The Windhover." Discuss.

Fine, Here's "The Windhover" As Well

Gerard Manley Hopkins

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

* * * * *

Nobody alliterates like our Gerry.


Downdates (What an Update Isn't)

I skipped the monthly reading post for August because, well, there was so little to discuss. I have trouble directing sustained attention under conditions of anxiety (such as term prep). Combining with September will give the list a more respectable heft.

At least I'm transparent in my machinations.

Likewise I think if I'm writing a report on how the term is going -- which is an idea I like a lot as a way to chronicle the development of this course I love -- it'll have to be a biweekly report at best.

A propos of some (very positive) recent events -- I wish I didn't feel so terrible when happy things breathe themselves across the membrane.1

Something wonderful takes place and afterwards it feels like a crisis -- I can't be happy because I'm so convinced that it was secretly a disaster or I am about to make it one.

Too much jouissance. Not enough swimming laps and meditation.

{rf}

1. Isn't transpire a great word? All those spire words are a gift basket from Latin: conspire (to breathe together); inspire (to breathe in); aspire (to breathe on); expire (to breathe out) -- my library card is about to breathe its last -- what else? What others? I love them.

2. Actually, if I weren't so tired I might write though the whole of "The Thought-Fox" just for the exercise.

Tears

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:01 am
zhelana: (Marvel - Iron Man)
[personal profile] zhelana
Are you good at holding back your tears?

Nope

the rest )

A Friendzy

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:36 pm
zhelana: (Frozen - hug)
[personal profile] zhelana
My friend Ben is hosting a friendzy!

Click here

90F - 64F : Hot as hell

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:04 pm
zhelana: (Original - Forrest)
[personal profile] zhelana
Woke up at 8:30 this morning and read yesterday's LJ and DW entries. Then I had a chat with Frankie, Sarah, and Kali. That lasted until 1 when I went to golf. We had a different instructor today, and he paid some attention to me, although he still paid more attention to Lisa, even when it was just me and Lisa left (everyone better than us went to play a couple holes of golf, and the classroom dunces stayed behind on the driving range to practice). It was hot out. One of the hottest days of the year. Too hot to be September. It's only 4 days to fall. I demand hoodie weather. But instead it was 87F out. Bill and Kevin, the BlazeSports people, made sure everyone drank lots of water. I moved on to using the driver today, but still only hit the ball 25 yards or so. Although, it's hard to tell how far it went because there are no markers on this range. I have to say I prefer the range near my father's house, because it has markers to show how far you hit the ball. I'm assuming 25 yards because it was the same distance I managed with the sand wedge and that was measured at 25 yards at the range near my father's. Kevin said if I want the ball to go farther, I have to move faster, but when I try moving faster, I miss the ball altogether. At any rate, I'm beginning to doubt I'll ever be ready to go out and play golf. I am particularly downcast at being one of the two dunces left at the end of today's practice.

After practice, I went to meet Adie for bat mitzvah tutoring. She had printed out my Torah portion, and I read it through several times. Then we talked about different ways of learning the singing part - I can either try to learn it from her singing it, or through learning the cantillation marks. I think I'll probably try to learn from her singing because I remember songs I haven't heard in decades. I don't remember things I learned to read, like Cyrillic. We're not meeting next week because it's between the High Holy Days, so I have two weeks to learn to read my portion. Next week golf is going to be in Stone Mountain with some famous football player who is going to help teach us, and then take us out to dinner.

Came home and the trash people still hadn't come. I filled another bag of trash, and brought it up to the curb. Fed the dogs, and now I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself.

Travel/travail

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:11 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Today has been mostly airports and planes - both flight AND connecting flight were delayed, so even more hanging about airports than anticipated.

Now fed and in hotel - serious lack of/unhelpful positioning of power sockets. But at least free wifi and brekkers inc.

English usage

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
Note: food eaten between supper and breakfast is incorrectly referred to as a midnight snack. The correct term is "dark lunch".
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Running round like a blue arsed fly.
Have chaired first thing - health spokesperson Q&A with Liz Barker, Joan Walmsley, and Norman Lamb. I think it went quite well. Have also done MOAR aideing, HSLD AGM, and am now preparing for GLEEEEEEE.
I voted on some stuff, but none of it was controversial.

I have also undertaken to do a post (after conf) on How To Fill In a Speaker's Card, with examples. I am looking forward to doing this. Right, must dash...
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.

I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.

But I can tell you about it.

I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.

———————————–

So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.

Phil goes through several phases:

  • Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
  • Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
  • Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
  • Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
  • Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
  • And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.

Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.

Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.

Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.

And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.

Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.

We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.

Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.

Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them.  No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have  to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.

And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –

In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.

This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:

But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time

And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.

Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:

I’m here
And I’m fine

Phil knows his future is nothing.

Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.

Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?

Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.

Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.

Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)

When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.

This isn’t where he wanted to be.

Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.

He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.

And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.

Andy’s okay.

And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.

“It’s just work.

“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

“Each of us gets to choose.

“That’s our time.”

And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.

And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.

But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.

And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.

But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.

Maybe you can too.

—————————–

Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.

The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

88F - 64F : Sunny

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:30 am
zhelana: (Rent - Light)
[personal profile] zhelana
Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I slept literally until 5:45, woke up, went on a walk with Donna, came home, ate dinner, and was back in bed by 8:30 and just woke up. Although I did wake up for a little bit around midnight, I fell back asleep within an hour. So apparently I needed sleep.

Music Monday

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:09 am
zhelana: (Firefly - defying gravity)
[personal profile] zhelana
19. A song that makes you think about life:



the rest )

Even sillier than meerkats

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:49 pm
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
You have all seen this, haven't you? If not, then enjoy. My pleasure.


And some things get better - clause 28 gone the way of the dodo.

Cooking DIary

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
soon_lee: Image of yeast (Saccharomyces) cells (Default)
[personal profile] soon_lee
Monday: Spaghetti aglio e olio with prawn meat
https://flic.kr/p/YBBFHK
DSC_0034
https://flic.kr/p/Y1tV7E
DSC_0033
More... )

In which I play with the cool kids.

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:48 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
This summer I have spent a lot of time wandering around Europe with my family, and a small amount of time playing with exciting people, but they were particularly exciting people. [personal profile] forestofglory visited, for example, and we had Friday night dinner and talking.

Then there was Bärli's parent's 40th anniversary. Bärli's family are so lovely. At one point there was a bit of a clash of understanding between Bärli's mother and Andreas, and both of them said to me they were worried the other would think they didn't respect them. But it was OK. And the whole family is so lovely and welcomign to us.

This weekend was [profile] huskyteer's birthday. Huskyteer is one of those people who is just so cool I can't imagine why they'd want to talk to me, but of course, also cool enough that they don't even think like that. Anyway, I can't think of a better person to introduce me to my first complete James Bond film (which I greatly enjoyed).

Now it is back to term, and I am doing so much! Band twice a week and karate, and Wednesday home ed stuff, and playdates. Remember how a year ago I was grumbling about never having time for me? Well, my people arranged it so I could, and it's wonderful. Thank you my people! I get two whole hours of cycling by myself, plus band (it's 10 miles away and I get a lift to Friday band but cycle on Sunday).

Rest of life round up:
Eating: sausage ragu with rice, made by the lovely [personal profile] jack
Reading: Just finished 'In My Own Time' by Nina Bawden, her autobiography, which is rather lovely. Her respect and love for the people around her really shines through, and she seems like such a nice person.
Playing: Argo. Not my cup of tea. Littles were playing Stratego, which I also can't get my head around, so I'm glad they have each other to play with.
Watching: Pororo. Cute Korean penguin and friend.

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:01 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] auguris and [personal profile] fitzcamel!

Trust

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:23 am
zhelana: (Default)
[personal profile] zhelana
Do you have trust issues?

no

the rest )

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:08 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to daisydeadhead!  Hope you managed to stay dry!

V&A, tamara

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:00 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Today I went to the V&A,to see tamara, whom I had not seen in a while.


We took a tour that was especially for London Design Festival, so it took in several different installations, some of which are in conversation/reaction to pieces in the Museum. And because there were several different ones in different places and themes, the tour - and we - went over a wide range of the museum, from the Raphael galleries (where there were dancing robots!) to the glass galleries, the ceramics, furniture, via a gallery of paintings to see tapestries and a reaction to the tapestries, and to an opera display, and an installation of blue light and red light, so many things! It was about an hour and a half and had a lot of walking and climbing stairs and so on. "My fitbit will be happy", Tamara said.And so it was.
There were two guides, the one we got was called Dan Nuvo, (like the art, he said). He pinged gay (and then he made a skipping leg day joke and I was sure) and later in the Ceramics gallery he pointed out a display of a rainbow of glazes that was installed by a gay man, and said that he did the LGBT tour in the V&A, on the last Saturday of the Month at four, Derek do you want to go?

Anyway, the museum is huge and it was nice to see so much of it. And it was good to see tamara and do an thing with her.
We exited through Exhibition Road, there is a new! Shiny! entrance there that I had not seen before . I came in through the Cromwell road entrance. Then made her come and find me under the Chihuli chandelier.

After, we travelled together to Liverpool Street station, and met Nicole (or possibly another name, I am bad at names). She's doing comms for the concom. She was friendly and polite. Apparently she had slightly alarmed some police officers earlier by being friendly and polite at them. People don't seem to understand that in a big crowded city, ignoring people is the best way one can give them space.
cjwatson: (Default)
[personal profile] cjwatson

is mise bó
tá mé an-caoin
léigh mé an dán
ar idirlíon
nuair is mian leat
canaim amhrán
fanaim rómhall
lím an t-arán

for the confused )

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:06 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
So here's a thing.

Back near the start of June, Captain Awkward1 posted a link to the Ingrid Michaelson video "Girls Chase Boys". I'd seen it before, but not in a while, so hell yeah it was time for a rewatch.

And somewhere in the thirty or fifty rewatches I've done this summer, I came to a really striking realization about my sexuality. I feel queer2 or straight entirely independent of the gender of the person I am being attracted towards.

Like, this is probably a pretty logical end result of not having a gender myself. I can't be a lesbian if I'm not a woman3, but I'm also not able to be het with a woman if I'm not a man. Bisexual has served me fine as a term for years now (and queer even moreso). I am content and secure in my attractions4.

But it was a weird moment of clarity when I realized that the attraction I feel for the men in that video is decidedly queer attraction. And weirder still to realize that I can, and often do, feel straight attraction towards men. And continually weird to realize that my attraction towards women can be either queer or straight as well. Like, these are two markedly different feelings for me, apparently. They both have the same root (I want to get romantic and-or sexual with this person because I am aesthetically or otherwise pleased by them) but they feel different.

After some soul-searching5, I determined that a big part of what makes me feel queer vs straight attraction is whether the person I am attracted to is giving out queer vs straight signals. These can be either gender-queer or sexuality-queer, but apparently I save my straight attraction for the hets.

I don't know what to do with all this information. Hell, I don't even know if it's useful information to have, or if the back of my brain has latent transphobia in this regard (many of the attractive trans women I know are some variation of enby, almost all of them are sexuality-queer --I don't tend to feel straight attraction to people who I don't perceive as relatively straight, but would I automatically feel queer attraction to any trans woman, even a straight one?)

But it's a thing my brain is doing, and I like paying attention to those.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Captain Awkward is probably the single best advice blog on the internet, and I highly recommend pawing through her archives occasionally. She is better at teaching people how to be adults than just about anyone else, and I try very very hard to behave as would make her happy.

2: "Gay" would also be accurate here, but I very much prefer queer.

3: TRANS LESBIANS ARE LESBIANS. TERFS CAN FUCK OFF.

4: This is absolutely not true, I'm into a lot of straight men for an enby. The fact that I'm demonstrably more androsexual than gynosexual freaks me out on the regular, because boy howdy, is it hard to actually be "bisexual". But for the sake of this post, let's pretend I feel not-weird about myself.

5: Translation: Looking at a lot of different attractive people for science.

Fitbit goal check

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:26 pm

Culinary

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:36 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread during week: a loaf of the Khorasan (kamut) flour, made as per instructions on the packet.

Friday supper, Gujerati khichchari, very nice, even if yet again I put in ground cumin instead of cumin seeds.

No Saturday breakfast rolls, as we were using up bread before going away, so had toast.

Today's lunch: lemon sole fillets, seasoned and panfried in butter, served with Ruby Gem potatoes roasted in goosefat, garlic roasted sweet sprouting cauliflower and tenderstem broccoli, and padron peppers.

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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