To Aphrodite

And he cast desire – sweet to the taste – for Anchises into her heart,
Anchises who then in the high hills of many-fountained Ida
Was grazing his cattle, his living body like the immortals.
When she saw him, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Passionately desired him, and terrible yearning seized her in her guts.
And thereupon she went to Kypros, to Paphos, she plunged into her incense-fragrant temple:
There where her sacred precinct and her incense-fragrant altar are.
And going in there, she shut the shining doors,
And there the Graces bathed her and anointed her with ambrosial oil,
Such [oil] as dews the gods, who exist eternally, sweet immortal [oil],
Filled with sweet smells, it belonged to her.
And when she had clothed her skin well with all her fine garments,
And adorned herself with gold, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Forsook fragrant Kypros and made haste to Troy,
Swiftly passing along a road aloft among the clouds.
She came to many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts,
And she went straight to the farmstead across the hill. And after her, paying court,
Went grizzled wolves and fierce lions,
Nimble bears and leopards that deer cannot sate.
When she saw them her spirit delighted within her,
And she put desire into their breasts, and at once
They all lay down in pairs upon shady dens.
And she arrived at the well-wrought dwellings,
And she found him, after he’d remained behind alone at farmsteads far from other [people],
The hero Anchises, who had beauty from the gods.
The [others] were all following cattle across the grassy pastures,
And since he was left alone in the lodgings far from others,
He rambled here and there, playing loudly on the kithara.
She stood before him, Aphrodite daughter of Zeus,
With her shape and form like an unmarried [mortal] girl,
Lest he, when he beheld her with his eyes, be afraid.
And Anchises when he saw her, observed and admired
Her form and shape and her glittering garments,
For she wore a most radiant robe like fiery sunlight,
Fine and golden and embroidered all over: and as the moon
Shone on her breasts – soft to the touch – [she was] a wonder to behold.
And she had winding twisted ornaments, shining ones,
And very fine chains wound around her tender throat.
Eros seized Anchises, and facing her he gave voice to speech:


“Hail, Queen, whichever you may be of the blessed ones who’s come to these houses,
Artemis or Leto or golden Aphrodite,
Or noble-minded Themis, or gleaming-eyed Athena,
Or maybe you come here as one of the Graces, those who
Are companions to all the gods, and who are called deathless,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell in fair groves,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell about this fine hill
And its river-streams and grassy meadows.
I’ll make you an altar on the highest place,
Visible in the country for miles around,
And I’ll perform fine sacrifices in every season.
Since you have a gracious spirit,
Grant [that I may] be a very distinguished man among the Trojans,
And grant [that I may] make hereafter strong seed,
And that [I may] myself live long and well to see the light of the sun,
And [to be] blessed with riches among people, and [that I may] come to the threshold of old age.”

Then Aphrodite daughter of Zeus answered him:

“Anchises, noblest of earth-born mortals,
Mark you I’m no god: why do you compare me to the deathless ones?
I’m mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore me.
Otreus of famous name is my father – perhaps you know him by repute –
Who’s lord over all well-walled Phrygia,
And I know well your tongue and ours,
For a nurse from Troy’s halls reared me:
She tended me right from when I was a small child,
Taking me by the hand with a mother’s love.
So indeed I know your tongue well.
But now the Argus-slayer, golden-wanded, carried me off
From the dance of golden-distaffed loud-sounding Artemis,
And the many maidens and girls – whose parents are courted with oxen –
I danced with, and the boundless crowd [that was] all around:
From there the gold-wanded slayer of Argus carried me off:
And he carried me over many fields of death-doomed mortals,
And much [that was] ownerless and untilled, where creatures
That eat raw flesh roam about down shaded streambeds,
And I did not expect to touch the life-giving earth with my feet [again].
He promised that I would be called a lawful spouse
In Anchises’ marriage-bed, and that I would bear you splendid children,
And when he told [me this] and pointed [you] out, the mighty Argus-slayer
Went away again in search of the tribe of the undying ones,
But I came to you as a suppliant, for it is a strong compulsion for me.
I implore you, by Zeus and by [your] noble ancestors –
For no ignoble ones would bring forth any one like you –
When you take me, an unwedded girl with no experience of [the act of love],
Show me to your mother who has known [you] well,
And to your kindred brothers, full-brothers of the same parents.
I won’t be a shameful marriage-relative to them, but a befitting one.
Send a messenger quickly into Phrygia of swift steeds,
To tell my father and my grieving mother:
They’ll send [back] an abundance of gold and woven cloth,
And you’ll receive many and splendid ransoms.
And after you do these things, give a feast for a passionate wedding,
Paying honour to mortals and to the deathless gods.”

And so saying, the goddess cast sweet yearning into his spirit,
And Eros seized Anchises, and he spoke speech and uttered words:

“If you are a mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore you,
And Otreus is your father – of famous name – as you proclaim,
And you have come to this place here by the aid of Hermes, undying minister,
You will be called my bedfellow for all days:
And in that case no god nor any death-doomed mortal
Will hold me back in this place until I’m united with you in desire
Right away now: not if the far-darter Apollo himself
Were to let loose a dreadful arrow from his silver bow.
I would wish then, woman befitting a goddess,
After I mounted your marriage bed, that I’d sink into Hades’ house.”

And so saying, he took her hand: and laughter-loving Aphrodite
Stirred, and turning around under [his] fair eyes,
Cast [herself] on the bed well-spread with cloths,
Where she was helpless for the lord in soft mantles, being spread out.
There in the upper parts the skins of bears and loud-roaring lions were laid,
The ones he’d slain in the lofty hills.
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 27th, 2016 04:12 pm)
I enjoy reading writing how-to books, and was curious about the specifics of writing for YA [1], so I read Deborah Halverson's Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. Despite the titles, I've had reasonably good luck with the "For Dummies" series, and this one had good reviews. In fact, despite the "For Dummies" moniker, Halverson covers a fair amount of material that is less 101 and more advanced (sentence structure and rhythm, for instance).

[1] As you may have figured out, I have never written YA.

The material is well-organized (usually true of books in this series) and clearly presented. I especially appreciated all the examples. A lot of writing how-to books have examples that are lackluster, which always makes me wonder if the writer purporting to show you how to write knows what they're talking about, but here they were actively well-written.

The parts I found most interesting were not the general pointers on writing craft and technique but the ones that discussed how writing for young adults/middle grade readers is different from writing for an adult audience, everything from sentence structure (shorter sentences) to the nature of the protagonists (more self-centered and less reflective, to be in tune with the emerging maturity of the target audience). Also practical marketing considerations like being sure that you avoid doing anything hinky (e.g. sending marketing emails directly to minors, which is a no-no for obvious reasons).

Halverson refers to many examples from YA/MG, and includes excerpts from her own as well as brief spotlights from other YA/MG writers. I really liked this and found that I wanted to read a lot of the books mentioned! I regret so much that Party Girl Goes A.W.O.L. appears to be a made-up example for the purposes of illustrating how to write a cover letter, BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY READ THAT NOVEL. Former party girl sent to military prep school by her grandfather and leading a rebellion against the school authorities? Someone please write this!

I will own that I skimmed several sections as being not immediately relevant to me. For example, Halverson talks about finding an agent. This is useful stuff to know about, but I already have an agent, so I moved on because I am impatient and there are more boooooooks calling my name.

Thanks to the generous person who donated this book to the cause!

[cross-post: Patreon]
mildred_of_midgard: my great-grandmother (mildred)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Aug. 27th, 2016 01:03 pm)
1) I got new glasses yesterday. They're gigantic. My prescription is like a -5, so I need as much of my peripheral vision to be corrected as possible, particularly when I look down (being able to see where you're stepping is v. important). I also went away from thin wire frames to giant colored plastic frames for the first time in decades. I've never been a big fan of the look, but they stay in place on my face and don't slide down my nose nearly as much. I'm all about the comfort.

New glasses are always disorienting, and I've had these for less than 24 hours, but so far I quite like them. I'm even getting used to the rather startling sight of myself in the mirror. My partner and I both think I look like an owl.

2) I finally managed to replace my pants, which I had either outgrown or worn out. I dislike buying clothes, and all the more so after last time, when the store I went to managed not to have a medium in any of the pants I liked. They repeatedly had like one small, and several L-XXXL. It was ridiculous. The men's section is more reasonable, as I discovered when I went to replace my worn out green shirt, but I'm too small to wear men's pants.

Anyway, I am all clothed up again. Now let's hope I don't have to do that again for another few years.

3) Ordered a 10" Amazon Fire tablet today. I wanted an 8", but Amazon seems to have discontinued anything over 8 GB. So I ended up getting 32 GB. I'm not a big 10" tablet fan, but maybe it'll be good for watching videos while lying on the couch recovering from surgery.

And yes, all of the above is stuff I'm getting done before the surgery. I almost decided to get my teeth cleaned--have procrastinated on finding a new dentist since I moved--but then I decided the risk of my reproductive system deciding to torture me while in the dentist's chair was too great. It can wait. Bad enough I did my eye exam with a mild 48-hour headache and nausea, and got motion sickness from testing frames for something ridiculous like half an hour. Testing your peripheral vision coverage by swiveling your eyes a lot and trying to focus without any eye correction is very nauseating, let me tell you.

Also, lol, no sooner did I head out of the house for Best Buy after making the health update post than I got summoned back by a text message with a work emergency. I guess that proves the point about one half hour of my time being valuable!

4) The house continues to be a disaster. The side gate is hanging on by a hinge, the backyard fence is toppling over and disconnecting, there are birds nesting in a gap in a rotting window frame...at least we're making progress. Right now, the landlord is here clearing out the disastrous basement that the neighbor refuses to go in, contractors are reluctant to go in, and is getting dangerously close to my threshold for dirt and adventure. And the neighbor is supposed to be getting a quote for chopping down the squirrel trees and hopefully also weekly or biweekly yard maintenance.

5) Fic fic fic fic fic fic fic. Haven't done any writing due to being sick, but thanks to [personal profile] lorataprose, I managed to sort out a major tricky plot point during my one brief break in feeling terrible.

Onward and upward!
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mildred_of_midgard: (uhura)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Aug. 27th, 2016 12:46 pm)
I forgot to post this last month! I think I put it up on Facebook and Tumblr but not here.



I have a new recumbent bike plus laptop stand! It took me a ridiculously long time to get a setup that works, but I finally have one! I have biked 500 miles in the month since I got the laptop stand, and that's taking into account the fact that 1) I'm not using it on weekends, and 2) it's hard (read: impossible) to bike when you're having a migraine or delivering an imaginary baby. I'm hoping for better results once I've recovered from the surgery. So, like, next year.

It's great, because biking for 2+ hours at maximum intensity is too boring unless you have something to distract you, so it's a perfect setup for work. Lol, though I can't exercise during meetings, because I get out of breath, and also because it's summer, so I need a fan blasting full speed at me at all times (I ended up setting up a floor fan after this picture was taken).

The laptop stand will probably also come in handy right after surgery, because I can put my laptop in my usual spot, directly on my abdomen, except an inch above so that it's not putting pressure on anything sensitive (has already come in handy for working through cramps).
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oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
([personal profile] oursin Aug. 27th, 2016 05:40 pm)

Intriguing article about Barbara Skelton, of whom I was vaguely aware.

And yet again am given to wonder about the fates of women who become muses or supporting characters in the stories of better-known men in their circles who they married or shagged or didn't shag but led a dance...

And what is the difference between someone like Jean Rhys (a 'lost girl' if anybody was) who gained literary cred, and the ones whose works are mined for their acquaintance, but not considered in so serious a light as writing.

And whether however Ford Maddox Ford may seem creepy, he did do a certain amount of mentoring and promoting, that perhaps was not standard?

Also considering that Powell's Pamela Fitton is an absolutely no redeeming features bitch and if a portrait, a particularly malign one.

And in possible irrelevant trivia note, one of her husbands was a Mitford girl ex.

mildred_of_midgard: Johanna Mason head shot (Johanna)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Aug. 27th, 2016 12:21 pm)
Just had 8 days of hell from my reproductive system. On a related note, my pre-op appointment is scheduled for September 6th, then we'll schedule the surgery. Lol at my doctor saying, "It'll be be back to normal next month" every month. Nope, this month was worse than last. I will be doing no off-pill experiments to see if the migraines go away.

Also, she said 2 months off the pill would be enough to see if the migraines go away, but the internet says it can take several. She also said the depo would wear off after one month on the pill, but the internet says it can take up to a year for cycles to get back to normal. In conclusion: surgery asap.

Fucking hell, I had one day where I was unable to work, three days where I forced myself to work through the application of large amounts of willpower, two weekend days that were pretty unhappy, one day where I was mildly symptomatic, and one day, the eighth, on which I was no longer symptomatic but somehow needed 13 hours of sleep to recover from the previous week.

Thank god for an understanding boss? He has spent the last four weeks working with HR to get me a good deal for surgery recovery, since my doctor said to plan for up to 6 weeks off. And that meant either using up all of my sick and vacation time (I have slightly less than 6 weeks saved up--7 is the max at this company), or getting paid 60%, and my boss took a look at the initial HR offer and said, "Well, that's not a very good deal!"

In the end, I'm getting to use up sick/vacation time if I'm fully out and not working at all, and I get full pay for any days that I'm working part time, even if that's only half an hour a day, as long as it's looking like I'll be back within 5-6 weeks. So if I'm out for 2 weeks and back part time for 4 weeks, I only have to use 2 weeks of sick/vacation time. If there are complications and it looks like I'll be out for much longer than 6 weeks, we can fall back on a combination of sick/vacation time plus 60% pay at my discretion. The same "full time pay for part time work" applies to any time I have to miss before the surgery due to symptoms or appointments--otherwise I'd probably run out of sick time before I even got to the surgery.

This part about getting paid to check my email and work half an hour is due to the fact that I would be extremely expensive to replace with a consultant, and most of my value to the company lies not in the tasks I perform, but the knowledge I have. Knowing that I'm around to work an hour in case of an emergency is worth full pay to my boss. It would be a different story if I were doing, say, data entry or customer service, where the performance of tasks is the most important part and value is measured in hours worked.

In other words, I've finally reached a stage in my career where one of my favorite engineer jokes applies to me!

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail.

In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. Finally, at the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and said, "This is where your problem is." The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1; Knowing where to put it $49,999.

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.


That said, this is a courtesy to a top performing employee because my boss wants to reward my years of good service and be supportive of me at a difficult time, not a long-term arrangement. I do have to go back to working full time as soon as it wouldn't be detrimental to my health to do so--and I'm glad. I drove my wife crazy whining all day about how bored I was on Monday when I was too sick to work, and I'd only been out for one day!

In related news, I have given up on a sleep schedule until after the surgery, because any time I try to be responsible and set my alarm at a regular time, my reproductive system fucks me up every few days and throws my rhythm off. Ditto on regular exercise. That reminds me, I should make an exercise post.
mildred_of_midgard: (Doc)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Aug. 27th, 2016 12:06 pm)
I fixed my laptop! It broke back in January, and I tried fixing it but didn't have the leisure to research it, because it was the middle of a workday and emergencies were happening and my boss was going "I NEED YOU" and I was stuck typing out "my computer broke; bear with me" on my phone. So I bought a new laptop pronto and was back in business an hour or two later. I swapped out my hard drive into the new laptop, so I didn't lose any data or have to re-configure anything.

But I knew what happened: I set it down a little roughly--dropped it maybe an inch onto carpet--and the screen went dark. I'd been noticing symptoms of screen disappearing and reappearing a second later for the last few days, and it looked exactly like when you have a desktop and the cable to the monitor is slightly loose and being jostled.

I took apart the screen and poked at things in January before buying a new laptop, but I didn't see anything obvious, and it continued not working. It's also hard to search for DIY tutorials when your laptop is dead and your boss is prodding you.

However, I knew if I could just find the loose connection, I could fix it.

Fast forward to last night, when I was bored and finally decided to poke it. It took a couple minutes of googling to turn up the site of the screen cable: underneath the "DO NOT TOUCH!!!" tape I had noticed last time and lacked the confidence to touch.

So I peeled off the tape, unplugged the cable, plugged it back in very securely, re-applied the tape, and put the screen back together.

Now, I should have stopped at this point. But I was only giving it a 50% chance of working, because the last time my screen died (man, I wish I'd known how to swap hard drives back then), I replaced the inverter, and the screen started up, but then after a minute or two it faded to black again.

So I was on a roll, figured I had a non-working machine as it was and would never have a better opportunity to take apart a laptop, so I disassembled the bottom. Wow, that's a lot of screws. And a lot of parts that are snapped together so tight you're looking for a screw and eventually realize you just need to pry it apart.

In the end, I snapped off some non-essential pieces of the chassis, which is annoying. But I got everything put back together, turned it on, and voila, I have a screen! Now I just need to take the hard drive out of the new laptop and put it back in the old laptop, whose keyboard and touchpad configuration I like slightly better (also the lack of a touch screen). But I'm thinking of ordering a new hard drive/memory cover first, since I snapped off part of mine and it no longer aligns properly.

But I am super stoked that I managed to fix my laptop! Dang, if I hadn't been rushed in January, I could have saved myself $500.
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oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Aug. 27th, 2016 11:12 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] egret and [personal profile] hazelk!
Starring Cecilia Bartoli as Maria; I saw it on Thursday and with one important caveat loved it. If you've read/heard about the production, you'll probably be familiar with the central gimmick; the critic of the Süddeutsche Zeitung suspected it's the result of the director anticipating cruel remarks re: the age difference between Cecilia Bartoli and the rest of the youthful cast, and preventing it by using that very age difference: the production is Maria, decades after Tony's death, remembering the events of her youth.

This I knew in advance, but what I hadn't known was that there's also a young Maria on stage, which works out surprisingly well. Young Maria does all the speaking and interacting, and the fact that older Maria (I can't write "old" Maria, because La Bartoli is a youthful looking 50 something) can't touch any of the characters (until the very end) contributes to the poignancy, though she sometimes acts as a mirror/contrast to her younger self in movements. Young Maria wears the traditional white dress until the last scene, older Maria the black dress from the last scene throughout. This concepts also changes the context/subtext of several songs: "I feel pretty", for example, is now older Maria looking back with amusement and a mixture of joy and longing to her young self, and "Tonight", in addition to being young Tony and Maria being passionately in love, is also older Maria with Cecilia Bartoli's mature mezzo soprano voice longing for what she's lost. The arrangement for "Somewhere" in this production isn't a duet between Tony and Maria, it's older Maria, having just relived the deaths of her brother and Riff and knowing what's to come for Tony, grieving and protesting fate. And so forth.

Unfortunately, where this is all working towards is my one big nitpick/caveat/complaint/what have you, the very end of the production: Which is spoilery even if you're familiar with West Side Story. )

Other thoughts: the production was firmly set in the late 50s (as indicated by the boys' hair cuts and girls' dresses), with no attempt to update, but the blatant racism shown towards the Puerto Ricans and all the "who asked you to come here?" had very present day resonance for the audience; you could tell. Which is why I regret the production uses the original arrangement for "America" (i.e. Anita and her friends), not the revised arrangement and lyrics from the movie version (all the Sharks), because I heretically happen to consider the later one better, especially in the current day situation, see also this old entry as to the reasons, complete with quotes. Otoh the production swayed me a bit on my other movie-caused perference, i.e. the switch of places between "Cool" and "Gee, Officer Kruppke". In its original place, as in this production, "Cool" contributes to working up the tension among the Jets that's about to become lethal none too much later.

About that, though: seeing how skillfully Tony shames/manipulates the Jets and Sharks earlier into a one on one fist fight instead of the big rumble, it's frustrating to see him go about stopping the fight incredibly clumsily and with apparantly no plan beyond "I'll just say stop". Here, good old Shakespeare made the relevant plot point more plausible (i.e. Tybalt challenges Romeo, Romeo, newly wed to Juliet, has no intention of accepting, Mercutio is angry on his behalf and starts to fight Tybalt instead, Romeo tries to stop it, Mercutio's death happens, etc. On the other hand, I agreed, once again, with Arthur Laurents' boast that he bettered Shakespeare on the final tragic twist; Romeo simply not getting Friar Laurents' letter because the plague hits Mantua is an accident, the Jets assaulting Anita, thereby causing her not to deliver Maria's message to Tony, is directly related to the hatred and feuding that's been going on through the play. And that assault scene remains shoking and yet one of those instances where I consider it dramatically necessary and justified to have been written. (BTW, it's always interesting to see what the individual productions do with Anybodys during that scene. Most I've seen let her back off - but not intervene - when she realises where this is going; this one, taking its cue from the fact she's taunting Anita verbally early on, lets her be one of the pack assaulting Anita, the ultimate consequence of her desire to be one of the boys, and then caught up the shame when Doc puts an end to it.)

Bernstein's music remains glorious no matter how often I listen to it, and it occured to me that the lyrics for "Officer Kruppke" with their wordplay and sarcasm are classic Sondheim already. I wish these two would have collaborated more often. Then again, who's to say that more masterpieces would have resulted - maybe the uniqueness of the situation contributed to it.

In conclusion: despite my objection to the ending, a great experience in the theatre. Definitely worth a trip to Salzburg for.
maidenjedi: (Default)
([personal profile] maidenjedi Aug. 27th, 2016 12:29 am)
Well.  How about this.

Give me a prompt for a fandom I've written in before, and I'll write a minimum of 500 words for it.  

The padawan goes back to school Wednesday and I don't have a job at present.  Prompt me.
thistleingrey: (Default)
([personal profile] thistleingrey Aug. 26th, 2016 08:57 pm)
* I started to type out the high-school meme (questions about the year that one finished HS). Too much boring information---typing it was enough; no one else needs those 900 words.

* Random bit of interest from the three-week online course on book history from Keio University, mentioned earlier:
The superior standing of the tetsuyōsō binding compared to the fukurotoji can also be seen from the so-called yomeiri-bon (trousseau books). In Edo times, when a woman from a prominent aristocratic or warrior family got married, she was given a complete set of personal accessories, including a set of beautifully bound classic books. The paper of these books was of the very finest quality, as were the lacquered cases that they came in.
Imagine the possibilities. Also, the course instructors discuss title placement per genre conventions, mostly pre-C17 (and thus pre-commercial publishing), but though they admit that many books were considered complete without titles, the very idea that some rules were observed sometimes makes me rather grabby-hands in contrast to what I've seen of scrolls and codices from England. Sec. fol. is as close as one gets. (I've done only 1.75 of the three weeks, but once you've registered, you're allowed to finish at your own pace, so far. I don't know what would happen if I waited six months or more.)

* Ep. 1 of Incarnation of Jealousy blends last decade's style with this one, insofar as my limited exposure has offered examples, plus some wit amidst its deliberately blunt juxtapositions. Second ep is better. It's ...fine? I'll watch Gong Hyo Jin in nearly anything, though I skipped Master's Sun and may not finish this one.

* Though I tend to loathe NYT aside from some obits, their pumpkin cornbread recipe is fine, largely because it's the only one I found in five click-throughs that lacks sugar. (One spoonful of honey barely signifies against, what, 150 liquid ml-equiv of sugar---about five US ounces.) It's only blandly all right, however. How may I improve upon it, given the necessity of replacing cow milk with coconut milk, butter with a smidge of coconut oil, and wheat flour with ___ (I had millet flour on hand)? I mean, given the subs, I'm pleased it was all right.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Aug. 26th, 2016 08:25 pm)

I asked for a year and [personal profile] nanila gave me 1984.

Age then Thirties/Age now Sixties.

Relationship then: the year that partner and I moved in together, having been together (with some hiccups) for 6 years.

Relationship now: still together with the same partner.

Where I lived then: this was the year of the fraught buying and selling of property: selling the flat I was living in and buying a (larger) one more suited to two introverts, a relatively short distance away within the same part of North London.

Where I live now: still in the flat I bought and which we moved into more or less around this time of year (I'm pretty sure the Bank Holiday weekend 1984 turned into a mad frenzy of packing things).

Was I happy then: the first half to a third of the year was taken up with flat buying and selling angst, including being gazumped once and being faffed around by the purchasers' solicitor, but at least there was no chain involved, the purchasers of my old flat were first time buyers and the flat I bought was empty. Also, the whole thing was a Big Change even if it seemed like the right thing to be doing. The thing that kept me more or less sane during those months was reading Remembrance of Things Past, for the first time straight through.

Am I happy now: on a personal level, yes, retirement is working out for me I think, although a few minor health issues that aren't exactly new. Not wildly impressed at the way things are in the world at large, but as I recall, I wasn't in 1984, either.

Ask for a year in comments if you'd like one. If I happen to pick one you're not comfortable writing about, please let me know and I'll choose a different one.

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
([personal profile] rmc28 Aug. 26th, 2016 08:25 pm)
When Lucy woke, the room was already light.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

- Changing back to Ativan = slightly lower dose = extra anxious today
+ Somewhat better executive function
- My car seems to maybe have thrown a wheel weight? It is kind of shuddering in high speeds but the tire pressure is fine
+ Had a really nice conversation with my dad while driving to school
* my dad was cutting her kibble in half with wire cutters while on the phone with me because she is old enough that she can now only chew a half piece of kibble at a time...my dad pretends to hate cats, then apparently cuts our cat's kibble up piece by piece for her at every meal like she's a little kid who can't cut up her own steak
* we also discussed why push reel mowers are currently so expensive
* doing house repair with parental figures (including a story about him and his dad repairing the roof of the lake house/shack that had caved in to the floor due to snow, and they were killing mosquitos by smacking them against the roof with hammers...my dad's dad was a severe alcoholic and sometimes domestically abusive asshole who died long before I was born, and while I knew my dad loved and missed his dad, I had literally never heard a positive story about my grandfather before
- I managed to be half an hour late to my first class of the semester (thankfully, a 4.5 hour block class, so that's only 1/9 of the class I missed) due to vaguely executive dysfunctiony stuff like "oh, I thought I would have enough gas, need to stop" and "oh, I thought the class was on the other side of the campus from where it was so I had to walk across campus after I got there 10 minutes late"
+ we just watched the cutest public health parody video on vaccinating your kids against cooties and also I am managing to mostly pay attention to lecture (obviously not this second) by knitting...I finally have the toe of this sock done, yay
- gender ickwiggles today because I only had the time to throw on a dress (which would have been fine last night?) and apparently my brain wanted butch clothes today and I didn't know until it was too late
+ plenty of water + sock knitting + my hair cut + my rainbow braces on my teeth + generally just feeling better than yesterday
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 26th, 2016 01:33 pm)
I picked up Timothy Rice's Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction because I needed a survey of the topic for Writing Purposes and it seemed to have reasonable reviews on Amazon. (I am aware that not all Amazon reviewers are created equal, so I do skim the reviews' content rather than just going by stars.) Ethnomusicology is one of those topics that is sufficiently specialized to be a pain to find sometimes in your local public library. I am also leery of asking for things via interlibrary loan. I once requested an article via ILL (I don't recall details but it was about pitch/tuning systems) and received a completely illegible scan. At least they didn't charge me for it. Also, the nice thing about the "A Very Short Introduction" series is that they're, well, short! I appreciate short books when I just need to get oriented. While I know a little about Western music (piano and viola education), I have no background in anthropology and related disciplines.

Rice's introduction packs in a lot of information in a surprisingly small space. He surveys the history of the field and its approaches, which have varied over time, as well as research methodologies and ethical problems, in clear prose. Here is the chapter list:

1. Defining ethnomusicology
2. A bit of history
3. Conducting research
4. The nature of music
5. Music as culture
6. Individual musicians
7. Writing music history
8. Ethnomusicology in the modern world
9. Ethnomusicologists at work

There are also references and lists for further reading/listening.

I also became interested in this field for personal reasons, when I took an online course on composing digital music using Reaper through Coursera. One of the instructor's emphases was on the democratization of music--making music production accessible to more people. Digital music is a really interesting case of this. Sampled instruments can allow people to orchestrate music and hear their compositions more affordably, without having to hire an orchestra--a prohibitive cost for many people. This is not to say that sampled instruments replace live musicians, but they serve a different role and open up access to music. Likewise, the less-expensive DAWs (digital audio workstations) you can get for an iPad or your smartphone allow people to experiment with music composition and production. This is just one tiny slice of the picture, but it's the one that I interact with personally.

In any case, recommended if you have an interest in the topic.

[cross-post: Patreon]
selenak: (Servalan by Snowgrouse)
([personal profile] selenak Aug. 26th, 2016 05:03 pm)
Discworld:

The BBC is currently broadcasting a radio version of Night Watch, available on iplayer for us non-British folks, and I'm listening, enthralled, to the first episode.

Blake's 7:

If you're a B7 fan, chances are you've already read this, but if you have not: a great new essay, on B7, Blake, Gareth Thomas and Chris Boucher. It's passionate and highly enjoyable to read. (Minus a few unneccessary swipes at non-B7 topics such as John Crichton, Clara Oswald and David Tennant's performance as Richard II. But it would be a boring internet life if we agreed on everything with the people we agree on some things. :)

Stephen King:

Handy and amusing flowchart showing how all the novels and characters are connected.

MCU

The Lingering Reminders: hands down one of the best, most even handed post-Civil War stories, in which Tony Stark runs across one of Peggy Carter's old mates. No, not that one. The author's take on old Jack Thompson feels extremely plausible, and there's a hilarious inside gag if you're familiar with the Spider-man mythology. (If you're not, you'll still be amused.) Great mixture of humor and angst all around.

Shakespeare:

Sons of York: Great take on Shakespeare's version of the York family, specifically the two Richards, father and son.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Aug. 26th, 2016 09:43 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] hivesofactivity!
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