What did you all think? I really enjoyed it, even if a good portion of it wasn't new to me.
What did you all think? I really enjoyed it, even if a good portion of it wasn't new to me.
Over two months ago, I emailed Virgin Trains East Coast with a query about facilities at one of their stations.
To which I received the following absolutely generic response:
Thanks for contacting the Virgin Trains East Coast Customer Relations team.
Rest assured, your enquiry is important to us and we aim to respond to all written correspondence within 10 working days. For frequently asked questions, pop over to our website here.
If your enquiry relates to lost property and your train terminated at one of the following stations, then please contact the lost property offices directly on the contact numbers supplied below:
In a hurry for an answer? Pick up the phone and give us a call on 03457 225333 (Option 3) we are here Monday to Sunday 07:00-22:00 and we will of course be happy to help!
Thanks again for contacting us, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Virgin_TrainsEC for all the latest updates.
Today I received the following from VTEC which is quite entirely WTF?
Thank you for your correspondence regarding your experience while using the services of Virgin Trains East Coast.
Firstly, I would like to offer you my sincere apologies for the delay in an appropriate resolution being sent to you. As you may be aware the East Coast Main Line network has experienced a high level of disruption over the last few weeks, which has resulted in a higher than normal level of correspondence being received. As a business we pride ourselves on the level of service we offer and on this occasion we have clearly not achieved this. Please accept my sincere apologies and I would like to assure you that we are addressing the issue to ensure appropriate processes and plans are put in place to prevent a similar issue occurring in the future.
That said, the points you raise are important to us and I would like to assure you that lessons will be learned and the appropriate teams made aware of your comments. This will help us to ensure that going forward, our customers receive the level of service they expect when travelling with a premier rail operator.
I do of course understand your frustrations when using our services and in order to bring your outstanding claim to a speedy resolution, I would like to offer you a complimentary return journey for each person travelling at the time of your journey, and in the same class of service. The ticket is valid for 24 months from the date of this letter, anywhere on the Virgin Trains East Coast Network. To book your tickets, you just need to email your journey details, including dates of travel, to email@example.com, and the necessary travel documentation will be forwarded to you. Please allow at least 14 days prior to your date of travel to request your tickets, and also include the address you wish the tickets to be sent to.
If you have not submitted your tickets or booking confirmation as yet, please do hold onto these as they may be requested when processing your complimentary travel request. Finally if you already have a reference number that begins with VTN, please do include this in your correspondence.
I trust that the above gesture is acceptable and brings your case to an amicable resolution. Thank you once again for taking the time to write to us, customer feedback is important and something we look at closely when reviewing the services we offer.
Well, okay, I felt pretty faffed about by the problems experienced in our attempts to leave Edinburgh over a month ago, but we weren't actually booked on a particular train, we did eventually get one going where we wanted to go, and we didn't submit a complaint.
What I read
Finished both Queer Domesticities and Words Are My Matter, both excellent, would recommend.
Episode 1 of season 2 of Tremontaine, which I though had a bit of the info-dumpy getting back up to speed after a hiatus thing going on, but I look forward with anticipation to where this all goes.
Aya de Leon, Uptown Thief (2016), which is a striking instance of 'book I saw someone write v enthusiatically of somewhere on line', went to check it out, read the sample, bought it. A really pacey heist-thriller: woman runs a free clinic for sex workers in NY, funds it - when more conventional sources don't cover it - by running an escort service on the side, and then moving on to Robin-Hood type robberies. Doesn't romanticise, sex-worker positive, diverse cast. The struggles to get funding get a fair amount of attention, too.
On the go
Looking up Rona Jaffe recently in connection with something or other, saw a title, The Road Taken (2000) that I did not recollect and thought I might not have read. Downloaded it from Kobo. Read about a third of the way through until I reached an episode I did actually remember having read before, but is still surrounded by story I do not recall at all. Not really one of her top works, is a saga of a family through the C20th, and does a lot of checking off of advances in medical science and long-gone medical terrors (Spanish flu, polio) and misguided medical interventions ('radium is a miracle!!!') and social changes. Lacks the immediacy of her earlier works, despatches from the front line of the changing lives of women.
Am persisting, however.
Probably the new Courtney Milan, and on the I R SRS RDR side, maybe Helen Smith's Masculinity, Class and Same-Sex Desire in Industrial England, 1857-1957 (2015).
- Via soon_lee: Ann Leckie on guilty pleasures. Leckie makes some fairly obvious points about how the concept of a "guilty" pleasure is often snobby and sexist, but expands on that with some interesting thoughts about criticizing tastes of those who don't belong to the group you want to identify with.
- kalypso wrote Strange and Norrell fic. It's explicitly based on the TV series (which I've watched slightly under half of), not the book, and I think it really captures the atmosphere but not so much Susanna Clarke's distinctive voice. Massively spoilery for either the series or the books, though. And, uh, the fic is about gaslighting someone with memory loss, in case you don't know the books but want to read anyway.
- Following links from something else, I found this Q&A with a sleep scientist, which makes a nice accessible summary of recent evidence. There's also quite a lot of discussion about SIDS (cot death) risk, which might make it hard reading for some; I really pricked my ears up at:
But most people who want to ‘ban co-sleeping’ don’t think any of [the relevant evidence that the risk may be lower than thought] matters, because it isn’t an important or valued behaviour for them. It is valued by cultural minorities and breastfeeding mothers, not the people who (previously) made up the guidance.
- History of the song L'homme armé, with a long and fascinating diversion about the Crusades and the fall of Constantinople.
- siderea has a lovely piece Forward into light about the history of the US women's suffrage movement. Which reminds me, I am most grateful to all my American friends who are talking about voting, and especial kudos to people who've looked into ballot measures and elections for offices other than PotUSA where that's relevant in their locality. We don't do democracy quite like that but I'm alwyas impressed when people put serious effort into participating and citizenship.
Currently reading: Still In a time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He's in Austria atm and I have a weird second-hand nostalgia for 1930s Austria, since many people in the community I grew up with were refugees from there. It's a little too poignant to read Fermor looking back on the way of life that, writing in the 70s, he knew was about to be destroyed with the massive swing to the right and eventually the Anschluß.
Up next: I am not sure, I'm leaning towards Two serpents rise by Max Gladstone.
Check this out. Kudos, Ms. Kelly. Not that I agree with you on anything else, but, yeah.
Meanwhile, the Gingrich comedy hour included such gems as "“I’m sick and tired of people like you using language that’s inflammatory that’s not true!”. Spoken by Newt Gingrich. Supporting Donald Trump. I think this might rival Drumpf's own "nobody respects women more than I do", don't you?
Also, I'm having fond flashbacks to the last presidential election campaign, in 2012, when Gingrich suddenly discovered he'd always loved Bill Clinton and thought him a great president in an effort to divide the Clinton and Obama camps. I can't wait for what he'll come up next post elections. He's always known Drumpf was up to no good, and no one but he can save the Republican party?
2. New job continues to go really well. Still swamped, but pulling through the backlog I inherited is worth it (and satisfying to boot). It's a great fit for where I'm at right now, and it's such a damn relief to be settled.
2a. Weird, but generally good adjustments: more formal office dress code; being thoroughly engaged throughout my shift (I'm juggling lots of things I can get into a flow doing for hours, and I'm in a niche where proactively learning things + trying to improve them is not only a plus but expected); bigger scope; many more immediate colleagues.
2b. The paranoid part of me still waiting for some probationary shoe to drop / rocks to fall is finally starting to relax.
3. Apparently it's my birthday at the end of this week? It can't possibly be the end of the October yet; September just finished.
Then the Letting Go (3315 words) by Dira Sudis
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America (Movies)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes/Steve Rogers
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Omorashi, Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot, Dom/sub, Gentle Dom Steve, Kneeling, Cock Warming, Wetting
"I don't want this to hurt. But you're staying where I put you."
Thanks for making me a thing! I'm looking forward to your thing, and I'm very excited to think you are doing a thing for me. I hope you enjoy making me something (or, if like me, creation is a bitch but you dig the results, I hope you make something you're glad that you made.) I'm going to give you some technical tips that will help you make a thing that I will enjoy the most, but anything I tell you about genre or story is a suggestion so you can figure out what to make for someone who is probably a complete stranger. Story and genre stuff is not a checklist, it's a menu of inspirations for you as you create a thing for someone you probably don't know well.
The only thing I really, really do not want at all is breathplay or choking of any kind.
( technical stuff )
( story ideas ) Have fun and Thank You for making me a thing!
Chapter 3 is a fill for the following prompts from over at Tumblr: Threetoo bathing. Tony washing his hair. Lots of good touching. :) ; BUBBLE BATHSSssssssssssss ; seconding bathing! ; Threetoo getting a bath? Traumatic flashbacks optional.
The Pillow Box: Collected Slave-verse Tumblr Fics (7112 words) by Dira Sudis
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America (Movies), Iron Man (Movies)
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes & Tony Stark
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Tony Stark, Jarvis (Iron Man movies), Stark Robots (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Slavery, Alternate Universe - Dystopia, Master/Slave, Hurt/Comfort, Kneeling, Cuddling & Snuggling, Rewards, Bananas, Robots, Weight Issues, Food Issues, Bathing/Washing
Series: Part 3 of All These Burning Hearts in Hell
Collected ficlets from the All These Burning Hearts in Hell 'verse, starring Tony and Threetoo with Threetoo's pillow nest in a supporting role. Prompts for each ficlet in the chapter's summary.
It's still possible to purchase a copy of the 1988 printing---though it's not for retail/distribution in Korea, interestingly, which leads me to wonder what has happened with the rights. There is a related book, Korea Old and New: A History (1991), which credits Lee and Wagner together with three others. Old and New condenses Lee/Wagner and adds a fuller twentieth-century treatment. Were you to surmise from this that many anglophone scholars split Korea's periodization into premodern and modern near the start of the twentieth century, you would not be wrong. Consider that England's history is considered to split circa Shakespeare (sixteenth century), with some scholars pushing modern subjectivity ever pastwards. What is modern or new, anyway?---rhetorical because one may as easily and uselessly ask, what is savage?
1. Well, except as a sparse handful of one-word mentions, which no longer convey to most Koreans or anglophone readers what Lee could assume his readers to catch sixty-odd years ago.
Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon took place on Sunday, Australian time. For those who have somehow managed to miss my incessant posting about it, the event is basically a chance for book geeks across the world to get together and read as much as possible. It is also held in honour of its founder, a book blogger who went by the name Dewey, who passed away several years ago. I participated in my very first read-a-thon in April 2011 and haven’t looked back since.( Cut for length )
I finished with two books read and one DNF knocked off Mt TBR. Not as much progress as I’d like, but nevertheless I’m satisfied.
Before I sign off, there’s one more important thing I need to do.
The winner is…
The winner of the Books and Beverages mini challenge is Jerrika H! I’ve contacted Jerrika regarding her prize.
Thank you again to everyone who participated.
Also, a big thank-you to Andi of Estella’s Revenge and Heather of Capricious Reader for all the hard work they put into organising and running the event. Truly, these ladies are amazing. Wrangling thousands of readers is a huge task. Yet, Andi and Heather kept everything going smoothly.
The next read-a-thon will be taking place on 29-30 April 2016. Don’t forget to mark it on your calendar. It has a great sense of community that keeps me coming back. I do hope you’ll join us next April.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Watched the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who spin-off, Class. ( Time has looked at your faces and time ... never forgets. )
ETA: Oh, but speaking of Doctor Who, this Stained Glass Dalek (designed for Big Finish) looks amazing!
From monsters and darkness to heartwarming: Elementary's third episode of the season was pretty aww-inducing. ( spoilers )
Customary Star Trek part of the post:
( TNG from 7x11 Parallels to 7x14 Sub Rosa )
( DS9 from 7x10 It's Only a Paper Moon to 7x15 Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang )
135. Greg Rucka, Stumptown Volume Two. Oni Press.
I forgot to include this in my last round-up. Excellent graphic novel about a Portland PI and a missing guitar. I would give at least a finger off my left hand to see Rucka's Stumptown adapted for the small screen, because that would be awesome.
40 things you can stop doing right now: A group of senior doctors has released a list of 40 procedures it considers to have little or no benefit. Could we apply similar thinking to everyday life?
The truth is that many aspects of life are simply uncontrollable. Ageing, infertility, death and disease – even broken bones – are most often out of our hands. And hearing this news now, post-Brexit, when unemployment, housing and the economy are looking so precarious is an added kick in the teeth. When things are this bad, we want the illusion of control at least.
Partly, I suppose, this is because people feel they need to be Doing Something - is it not well-documented that people expect to come away from a GP appointment with a prescription, which has led to the massive over-prescribing of antibiotics for conditions for which they are not even a treatment. Also, I guess, docs like to feel that they are Doing Something.
I suppose Doing Something may at least be something to occupy one while Nature's Healing Powers take effect...*
I also wonder how much this relates to a society that supposes that you can Fix Things and you should - I was absolutely horrified at that, I think it was Lemsip, ad, that claimed that if you took it you would be able to get into work even with the flu. How bad an idea is that?
I'm fairly sure that there are several things I do less because I see any positive benefit than because a) they are a habit and b) the 'always keep a hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse' mindset that maybe things would be worse without.
*Not that I am advising the kind of Extreme Rest that was involved in Weir Mitchell's Rest Cure rather than a more moderate regime of Taking Things Easy if one is not feeling quite the thing.
I had a totally wonderful time even so, and I'm extremely glad I went. ( what I did on the weekend )
Yesterday I left after a late and leisurely breakfast and had a very easy journey to get in in good time to run the Simchat Torah service at shul for a scant minyan, and nobody younger than my about to be bar mitzvah student. Even though travelling out on Shabbat and returning on the festival day is not how I want to be, it was really good for me to get a proper break after the intensity of the festival season. And a weekend away, even if it was a bit rushed, will help renewing my enthusiasm for work now we're a month into the term. But mostly it was wonderful to be able to join in with part of my loves' adventure.