Time Sink...

May. 23rd, 2017 11:03 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
The last couple of days have mostly involved carpentry that has turned out to be much more labour-intensive than I'd planned. It is more-or-less coming together at last, but it's taken way longer than I'd expected, so the workshop is still a disaster area from the tidiness perspective, and my bin seems to be about half-full of sawdust....

I did manage to get to a radio club meeting yesterday evening. It was an informal one, and I didn't stay to the bitter end, but did have some good chats.

I have just managed to maintain Duolingo and Ingress streaks, but my Duolingo tree is woefully colourful. I find it takes a steady five or six website-version exercises a day to keep the tree mostly gilded. The mobile-version exercises don't have the same gilding power, and probably take at least twice that. I've not been managing to give it that level of attention.

Dinner Comes Around Every Day

May. 23rd, 2017 05:18 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
And some days, I just don't want to cook it.

Unfortunately, given the current state of the household exchequer, saying the hell with it and ordering take-out isn't an option. (Not that this town's take-out options are anything to write home about, anyway.) I've got tonight's dinner planned and shopped for and scheduled, so there it is. At least it's a minimal-ingredient, minimal-fuss kind of recipe -- but the mood I'm in, even the small fiddliness of removing a half-dozen uncooked Italian sausages from their casings feels like an imposition.

I can tell that Himself's cold has started moving into my system and settling in, because lethargy and a lack of initiative are how these things always take me.
mummimamma: Mummimamma with snowball (Simple joys (Life is fun!))
[personal profile] mummimamma
So my stay here in Athens is coming to an end, which has me making plans on how I could stay on here. I even spent an hour or two browsing flats for sale. The house prices in Athens are down currently, so buying a flat could be a good investment. Sadly staying on in Greece would mean not working at my fairly decently paid job home in Norway, so I has contemplated my options in supplanting this income.
So far the list is as follows.

  • Marry a rich Greek. Okay. There are several problems with this. Marrying for money isn't really my thing. I like my own money. Rich: Where do people find rich people? Also I don't think I'm particularly good golddigger-material, although one never knows! Also so far I haven't actually found any Greeks (of any gender) I'd like to marry. And I've even been trying! See Tinder-update below.

  • Write a cool blog and lots of cool articles about life in Athens I'm not quite sure where the money for this should come. Weekly columns aren't that well paid, and how on earth does one get sponsors for blogs?

  • Become a guide at the Acropolis This is an old joke from when I studied here. I do actually have the formal skills to guide, but I do not have a licence, and I bet that is difficult to get. And probably expensive. Also I find Acropolis rather boring.

  • Start a guiding company for modern Athens (and the old stuff when money gets tight). This is actually my favourite. I'd love both to research modern Athens and to guide. Also I think that tourists here deserve getting to know modern Athens as well, not just the old stones, but for some reasons there doesn't seem to be many offering this option, so clearly there is a hole in the market. How to actually to it is another thing.

  • Write a bestselling book about my life here a la "A year in Provence" I have a friend who lives in a village here with her Greek husband, his family and their child. I've been telling her that she really could sell that story. If it was well written enough, it would probably sell decently. Exotic. Fun. So if she's not writing it, I can. Not sure how I will live before it becomes a success though.

  • Start my cafe "I vasilissa" (The Queen) I've always had starting a cafe (serving melomakarona all year long!) as plan B, and start-up cafes seem popular here just now. Unfortunately there is probably an enormous amount of red tape in starting it.

  • Get a grant to write that text book I've wanted to write. Sadly most grants are given for the second/ third book, when you have shown you can actually write.

  • Start a company that helps political parties and other organisations to write short and to the point flyers and leaflets. Introduce the bullet point into Greek . Greek leaflets tends to be walls of text, particularly the political ones, so clearly they need some guidance in writing accessible material. There's probably need for me in the public (and private) sector as well. In general accessible language is not common here. Unfortunately I doubt my Greek is up to snuff. On the other hand if I understand it, it should be easy for others as well.

Of course these are all flights of fancy, and most of them include a fair amount of butting heads with the Greek bureaucracy which is Byzantine, to say the least.

So I've been very busy left-swiping (aka no) people on Tinder, but I have talked to a couple who bear mentioning.
There has been a couple who have deleted me when I've asked whether we should meet up. Whether it's because I insulted their machismo by asking, or they just wanted to sext (which I do badly) I don't know.
And then there has been the guy I actually me up with. He was nice and funny, but not my type. He has a foot fetish, which he was upfront about, and who am I to turn down a brilliant foot massage? And this is the first time my size 41s have been appreciated in Greece.
The finally this evening's scoop, a guy who was one of those "I'm married, so I'm only looking to hook up", we chatted a bit last night, and he told me, not asked - told, to come to his hotel at 2200 tonight. Which was up in Kifissia, about an hour from my place. I asked whether we could meet up somewhere else, but he just said: We can have a drink in my room, and then I can have you. This evening he messaged me again, telling me to come to his hotel. I think not. Meet on neutral ground first. Even though he's staying in a five star hotel.
If nothing else I have material enough to entertain my friends for months!

Bond. James Bond.

May. 23rd, 2017 04:05 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Farewell, Roger Moore, my favorite James Bond because he played the role with charm and humor and humanity. And here, answering the Proust questionnaire for Vanity Fair a few years ago.

Tuesday floral report

May. 23rd, 2017 03:40 pm
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Rhodora blooming, chokecherries, and honeysuckle. Actual visible needles on the tamaracks. Also the tent caterpillars are blooming. They love cherry blossoms. Or cherry leaves . . .

One each squashed red squirrel and gray squirrel, plus some warbler-sized bird with an olive back. That is not particularly distinctive.

World warmed up, dried off, I got out on the bike. Did not die.

15.28 miles, 1:15:02

(no subject)

May. 23rd, 2017 11:04 am
neonhummingbird: (Default)
[personal profile] neonhummingbird
So, the Animal Planet thing with Chloe has expanded in scope -- now they want to do an interview with me at the shelter (I have the questions so I can hopefully prep a little and not babble incoherently), and also to come to my condo the next day to do a shoot of her in her new home. I assume all of this will basically be one, maybe two, people with a GoPro shooting for the AP web site, but still! I must CLEAN! It's all a little surreal, given how much time I've spent watching Animal Planet and seeing "follow-up" stories of adopted animals in their new homes. And now, my Chloe will be the star of one of those follow-up bits. So yeah. Surreal.

Still getting back into the swing after a week in Dallas -- great weather, some fun shopping (I adore antique malls so very, very much; it's my second favorite shopping next to thrifting), movies with Dad (The Fifth Element was GREAT on the big screen, and GotG2 of course rocked), gardening with Mom, taking Katee for walks, and just general low-key hanging out, which was awesome. I am SO behind in posting Flickr pictures (the Dallas Arboretum was in full bloom and had a gorgeous exhibit of Zimbabwean sculpture, and we were literally finished and back in the car 15 seconds before the skies opened up) and I might try and get to that over Memorial Day weekend.

I also went up into the attic and sorted through all of my childhood books, and found some very old and dear friends: The Mole Family Christmas, the kids book about the hippo in the garden in Dar Es Salaam, some YAs that I read over and over, my ENTIRE stash of YA romances, wow. Some of them came home with me, some have been transferred to bins (still in my parents' attic) because the boxes they were in were literally dissolving. I'm on a crusade at home to weed out a lot of my books (already been through the sf and fantasy, moving on to the romances) -- the ones available in ebooks if I want them, that I will never read again in dead tree edition, and that I don't have a sentimental attachment to. I expect to still have a considerable collection, but hopefully I will also have bookshelf room for the precious young reader and YA books, and to display other stuff. The culls are going to Friends of Bezazian Library this round, because Chicago doesn't fund its public libraries for anything. :P

Oh, and the stupid P-trap under the kitchen sink gave out again, and I suppose I should be grateful it didn't happen while I was out of town, but it's just such a hassle to deal with first thing on a Monday morning: "Oops, the kitchen throw rug is wet, crap!" Hit the hardware store last night for a new seal/washer/rubber flange thingie which is much sturdier than the old one and successfully installed it last night. Also weeded out the weird little plants that were choking my basil seedlings and got my little lavender bush put into a pot outside, hoping it thrives. So I was quite the domestic person last night. I hate plumbing.
sovay: (Claude Rains)
[personal profile] sovay
I knew I would have trouble with Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Quiet American (1958). I had known about it for years: it was the bad movie version of a book my parents liked. When a more faithful adaptation was released in 2002, directed by Philip Noyce and starring Michael Caine, it was received with such relief by my mother that I got her the DVD as soon as it came out. When a Mankiewicz retrospective came through the HFA a few years ago, we saw People Will Talk (1951) and Escape (1948) and 5 Fingers (1952) instead. I had already guessed there was no way that a close version of Graham Greene's 1955 novel—a prescient indictment of American involvement in Vietnam—could have made it unscathed through the Hollywood machine in the days of the Red Scare, not to mention imminent U.S. escalation in Vietnam. But it came around a few nights ago on TCM and I thought, all right, let's see how bad this gets.

In its favor, the film is beautifully photographed and cleverly cast. Otherwise it is a deliberate and insulting inversion of Greene's novel and a criminal fucking waste of Michael Redgrave. Spoilers everywhere because otherwise I'll just keep on swearing where the cats can hear me.

I'm a reporter. I'm not involved. )

But of course what Mankiewicz didn't have was the cultural or political permission to film a definitive adaptation of The Quiet American in the late 1950's. Trying to find out what the hell besides McCarthyism had happened to a director I had always considered basically lefty, I ran into the stranger-than-fiction fact that Lansdale—you know, the guy who ran General Thế for the CIA, so popularly if incorrectly associated with the character of Alden Pyle that his authorized biography was titled The Unquiet American (1988)—actually consulted on the film, where by "consulted" I mean "among other input sent Mankiewicz a three-page letter detailing the true history of the bombings at the Place Garnier and encouraging the writer-director to disregard it completely and blame the Communists." Okay, then. The end credits are dedicated "To the people of the Republic of Vietnam—to their chosen President and administrators—our appreciation for their help and kindness," which I doubt Mankiewicz as producer would have been able to secure without assurance of a positive spin on the present state of South Vietnam, five years in the film's future. Both Greene and his novel were banned by Diệm's government. Allen Dulles signed off on the script treatment. I have no idea if I can or should recommend this film to anyone. Certainly it is historically significant, attractive to look at, and it is a truth at least semi-universally acknowledged that Michael Redgrave distraught and disheveled is pretty hot, but as I shouted to [personal profile] spatch, "No amount of hot Michael Redgrave is worth intellectual dishonesty!" Your mileage, I guess. This betrayal brought to you by my engagé backers at Patreon.


1. Murphy had starred as himself in the 1955 screen adaptation of his 1949 autobiography, To Hell and Back.

2. I'd love to be able read her gesture postcolonially, as independent Vietnam rejecting both naïve America and paternal Empire, but I am pretty sure it's just your standard Code-mandated reminder that only heroes get the girl in the end. Either way, casting Phuong's relationship with the American in the light of tragically lost true love romanticizes and retroactively legitimizes his complete failure to see her as a person rather than a symbolic object to be saved.

3. In the 2002 film, she is played by the actually Vietnamese Đỗ Thị Hải Yến and, while she gets very little dialogue compared to her male co-stars, appears to possess an interior life in consonance with the novel, which several times suggests that she sees more than either of the men she lives with. Fowler likens her to a bird, to opium, to her namesake phoenix, to her own country, but he has at least the grace to recognize the existence of her independent self, of which she shares only so much with him: "But even while I made my speech and watched her turn the page . . . I knew I was inventing a character just as much as Pyle was. One never knows another human being; for all I could tell, she was as scared as the rest of us." Quite seriously, if anyone knows of literature or nonfiction revisiting the events of The Quiet American from Phuong's perspective à la Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) or Lauren Wilford's "Possessed: Vertigo Through Her Eyes" (2015), I'd be fascinated.

4. He filmed a similarly liminal Belfast for Reed's Odd Man Out (1947): he had a talent for showing cities as both their documentary selves and their expressionist reflections. I am charmed that his first solo credit as director of photography was Leslie Howard's The Gentle Sex (1943).

Hamilton-adjacent shows

May. 23rd, 2017 02:11 pm
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
There are two things coming up I want to see, and would like to encourage friends to come see with me. I'm not quite at "buy a ticket to something fun" today, but I'd like to get there.  Please comment / message / email me if you're interested in coming too, ideally by this weekend.

Show one:
The Southwark Playhouse is putting on Working, a musical with songs by "Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor". So obviously Lin-Manuel's contribution is among lots of other people's, but the musical blurb itself sounds interesting: based on a book of "interviews with the American workforce" and "a strikingly dynamic and contemporary look at what it is to work and what it is to be a musical".  Also I like the theatre's access information page which seems a better effort than most and would therefore like to Turn Up And Support This Kind Of Thing.

I'm looking at going to the 3pm show on Saturday 10th June.  This is both my least-busy Saturday during the run, and immediately after my exams.  Tickets £25 / £20.

Show two:
There is a touring professional production of Bring It On, the cheerleader musical, which I saw a local amateur production of recently. I am considering either:
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 23rd September, at the Milton Keynes Theatre
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 14th October, at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Both of them are do-able as a day trip from Cambridge by public transport.  I lean slightly toward the Wimbledon one because that's by train not coach, but I could be persuadable to either.  (Both is probably overambitious).  Tickets are between £43 and £57.50, plus a transaction fee (because of course there is).

Also, I'm looking longingly at an amateur production of In The Heights in Birmingham 14-15 July, but as I'm running a child's birthday party on 16th July I don't think it's going to happen.

(yes, I am mildly obsessive about Seeing All The Things related to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I also kind of like the idea of aspiring to a lifestyle of travelling the country seeing musicals ...)

(no subject)

May. 23rd, 2017 09:09 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley
Hello darkness my old friend . . .

Another gray morning

May. 23rd, 2017 08:20 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Air temperature 47 F, overcast, wind coming around to the WNW at about 5 mph. Light rain last night, but I was able to walk for the newspaper this morning.

Deeds to do and promises to keep. Maybe bike ride afternoon. If the sun ever shines.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Antimony Price, youngest sister, has to deal with the consequences of her elders actions, by going undercover, while already having an identity crisis. Layers of secrets unravel and the stakes are life and death on a large scale.

Read more... )

I stayed up until midnight trying to read this all in one go, despite my sleep cycle currently thinking 0500 is a luxurious lie in. And then I read it all morning. It's a good involving read.

If you liked the others in the series then Antimony's anger towards their point of view characters might be a bit of a speed bump to liking her, but she seems plenty logical to me.

I liked this.

(no subject)

May. 23rd, 2017 06:16 am
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
Good morning, and good luck.


May. 23rd, 2017 01:15 am
archangelbeth: Illustration of a white cat jumping up with its fur standing out and eyes bugged; character is Krosp, from Girl Genius (Krosp EEK!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Either that, or it had a friend. When I finally started getting ready for bed, at 4 in the morning (...kid had insomnia and is extrovert so stress = need a person), I took off my shirt and THERE WAS A TICK WITH ITS HEAD IN MY ARM. *SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM*

Except not screaming because not waking up kid.

So I went and whined "wake up wake up wake up" to my spouse, while holding a paper towel over the TICK THAT WAS SUCKING MY BLOOD ON MY ARM, and told him what the problem was and that I needed it gone and I couldn't make it gone help help help. So he got the tick-removal scoop that we had downstairs (I did not know where it was, for one), and got the thing off and we put it in an empty pill bottle that I had and there was rubbing alcohol on it and peroxide for my arm and I finished having screamings and now there is so much screaming still in my head and I itch all over now because psychosomatic.

Oh, and waiting to see if it turns into a rash. It was probably a large common brown dog tick, and not likely to carry Lyme and it's the wrong area for Rocky Mountain Fever, and it was only on for a few hours, BUT STILL.


In other news: kid still sick, but getting better. We went to the library today for a wee bit, and kid got started on the Open Ended Question of Doom (compare and contrast characters X and Y from book Z; identities changed to prevent people from making cogent suggestions the kid might read), and then we came back home and did Long Drive.

I got some editing done, but I swear, I get halfway into things and then people come disrupt my train of thought and try to make me deal with things and I have to snarl at the other adult in the room. I AM ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO A THING DAMMIT.

Havva Quote
I've been reading up on the local soil and poring over historical maps. This sort of thing is weirdly fun for me, but it's a bit late to switch careers to agronomy and also my agent would nail my head to her wall as a warning to other authors.
-- http://tkingfisher.dreamwidth.org/1487134.html

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

All the words just drift away

May. 22nd, 2017 10:39 pm
all_strange_wonders: An illustration of Nita from the Young Wizards story "Uptown Local". (uptown local)
[personal profile] all_strange_wonders
I had this nice little post about Shetland, and the guy from Primeval... but then I quite Chrome, and it turns out that restoring from draft when you're using the rich text editor isn't quite as robust as a person might like... so now I don't. Oops. Maybe in another few days and another episode or so I'll be able to conjure something up about it again.

Anyway, this post is really just to say this:
Dear sweet baby Jesus, why am I reading about politics when I should be going to bed?

(Answer: "Because it's not like it's any better to ready about it right after you wake up in the morning. Sorry, lady." In my imagination, he is wrapped in the stereotypical blue blanket which graced many a nativity scene during my childhood, and takes that "Tough shit, them's the breaks" attitude about basically everything. I have a strange relationship with religion, for one that's so straightforward.)

Trump apparently doesn't realise that Israel is part of the Middle East. That's ok, though, because his supporters probably don't know it either.

(no subject)

May. 22nd, 2017 10:52 pm
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
Going back to work tomorrow and my lungs are still bugging me.


May. 22nd, 2017 08:21 pm
dewline: (Grief)
[personal profile] dewline
Just started seeing reports about Manchester, UK. Not going to post any links because you've all probably seen more than enough by now from other sources, and the news story is still very much "in progress".

If you lost anyone tonight, I'm sorry.

Newly local characters

May. 22nd, 2017 03:13 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Once I move at the beginning of June, there will be a new local set of people.

Me: y'all know me. Lunatic, infovore. Gender: no thank you. Pronoun set: plural-they.

Partner: a witty, kind geekfolk, fascinated by books and shows and links and sports and hardware and eking every last ounce of usefulness out of old gear. I have known them for about 10 years at this point. Infovore. Gender: has a lot of oppressive constructs which should be BURNED THE FUCK DOWN while not endangering the vulnerable folks who depend on some of its supportive ones. Pronoun set: anonymous-they.

Metamour: has been seeing my partner since February-ish. Met them over a game of CAH; knew they had to be friends when they had pretty much the same answer. Witty, beautiful. Likes baking. Gender: woman. Pronoun set: she/her.

Tay-Tay: my younger (biological) sister, and soon to be my roommate. I say she is my "baby" sister but she's actually a year older than my partner. Violinist and general ball of energy. Short and tiny; I can kind of lift her in one arm so she can be on eye level with my partner. Gender: probably woman-ish and she likes kicking over gender norms and dancing on top. Pronoun set: she/her.

The Kitten: a small, loud, grey indoor lap cat who loves my partner and will punch people who try to pet her without her permission. Previous owners declawed her. She is food-insecure, and cannot be left to free-feed. She's antisocial to other cats. She does not like Master Jerkface very much at all. She is most often found perched on the back of my partner's desk chair and getting hair on their jacket, on my partner's lap with her tail in their face demanding to be petted, or on top of them when they're asleep.

Master Jerkface (and other equally unflattering nicknames): the abusive ex of my beloved partner. I hope to not meet them. Gender: they have one. Pronoun set: as used here, anonymous-they.

The Man-Child: Tay's boyfriend, who I didn't hear about in the context of a Relationship until September 2016, literally as I was coming back from the Oakland radiation oncology department. Musician, outdoorsy hiker type. A few decades too old for man-childishness to be excused. Gender: man, probably. Pronoun set: he/him.

Team Partner: a bunch of people who came together to help my partner in their hour of need. They include:

an old internet friend of mine who reads the Vorkosigan books
their wife
a friend of theirs

The first hosts: one of my partner's former co-workers who went into tech and her husband

The second hosts: another co-worker-ish person and her husband

Assorted now-local friends of mine include:

Mr. Zune: a former co-worker from Virtual Hammer who is now at the SEA-TAC outpost as his career was portable
Mr. Zune's Girlfriend: got a dream job in the Seattle area

[livejournal.com profile] tygerr: an old friend and Listee
[livejournal.com profile] tygerr's wife: an excellent and fun geek lady

Carnelian: a friend of mine from the late 90s; we had various different paths in life but now we're talking again and comparing notes.
Terezi: Carnelian's daughter, who infamously needed two stacked baby gates to keep her contained as a toddler. Now a proud teenage tumblr bb. (I haven't seen her in Many Years, but I'm likely to run into her more often now.)

Various #dw, #dw_kvetch, and #lj_s folk!!!

Daily prayers

May. 22nd, 2017 01:33 pm
steorra: A cross that looks like a star, or vice versa. (christianity)
[personal profile] steorra
I'm not very good at maintaining regular daily prayers. I periodically start, and then fall out of the habit (or sometimes fall into doing a bare minimum), until I eventually start over again. (When I'm not maintaining regular daily prayers I still pray, but mostly sporadically as things come to mind, rather than having regular prayers worked into my daily routine.)

I've been out of the habit again. I'm trying to start over. I did morning prayers today (somewhat belatedly) for the first time in a while. And I was struck by how good it is to be praying. (I mean good like eating a satisfying meal is good, not like being a good person for doing it, or like it's morally good, or anything like that.[1]) I think I've had that same reaction some other times when I've picked up daily prayers again after falling out of the habit. I wish the knowledge of that goodness helped me stay in the habit instead of falling out again.

[1] A tangent, but this reminds me of a bit from The Princess and Curdie:
'But, please, ma'am—I don't mean to be rude or to contradict you,' said Curdie, 'but if a body was never to do anything but what he knew to be good, he would have to live half his time doing nothing.'

'There you are much mistaken,' said the old quavering voice. 'How little you must have thought! Why, you don't seem even to know the good of the things you are constantly doing. Now don't mistake me. I don't mean you are good for doing them. It is a good thing to eat your breakfast, but you don't fancy it's very good of you to do it. The thing is good, not you.'
(The Princess and Curdie, by George Macdonald. Chapter 3: The Mistress of the Silver Moon.

My analogy probably isn't quite the same as the example in the story, but the story bit was probably in the background of my mind shaping the analogy.

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