Fall by Edward Hirsch

Mar. 5th, 2015 02:21 pm
substructure: (structure :: winged)
[personal profile] substructure posting in [community profile] poetry
Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences— a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer's
Sprawling past and winter's hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

Poem: "Some of the Answers"

Mar. 5th, 2015 10:30 am
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
the sky is blue because
the blue light has gone awry
we see it in its scatterings

the grass is green because
their green mouths ate the blue and red
we see the light they threw back

our blood is red because
iron red with oxygen isn't blue
we see breath in the blood

my eyes are white because
my white skin grows over my eyes
it is translucent not transparent

I see masked with my whiteness
illusion, 'white doesn't color things'
what color shame grants is fleeting

do you see me when you see my skin?
do you skin me with your eyes?
my skin is too thick to see well through
my skin, my skin

---
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Thursday 5 March 2015

Mar. 5th, 2015 11:19 pm
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

Andrew and I took some time off work this week to declutter our house in a very serious way: we emptied piles of boxes remaining from our last house move (3 years ago), we donated about ⅔ of our books and nearly all our computer games to the Lifeline book fairs, we assembled the Ikea wardrobe that’s been in flat packs for over a year since I impulse purchased it.

It’s an exercise in saying goodbye to some of the dreams and beliefs of the Mary of 15 or so years ago. Or not. For example, I’ve well and truly accepted that I won’t ever play judo again (my right shoulder would need a reconstruction first) and so giving away the gi was fine. I was sort of surprised we still had it. But apparently I am not willing to accept that just because it’s been 15 years since I took a recorder lesson that I will never seriously play again, and couldn’t bear to throw out the instruments or the sheet music. Perhaps next time. Giving away our games was somewhere in the middle: I’ve wanted to be the kind of person who finishes Dragon’s Age (or Baldur’s Gate back in the day) for most of my life, and I just never quite do. I can finish games in the Diablo franchise and that’s it. That said, it’s hard to know long term; the big problem with hobbies is, why would I have them and squeeze the very little time I feel I have with my family even harder? Once the children have hobbies of their own, it may be different.

Right now we’re in a bit of a maelstrom of change as it is. Still getting used to V being in school, which is further away than his daycare was and so the commute is longer. Still getting used to packing lunches, finding uniforms, managing his schedule for after school care, drama lessons, sports day (Tuesday), news day (Thursday). Work is churning a bit, I’ve spent my holiday flipping in and out of work tasks surrounded by seas of books and broken baby equipment on their way out of our house.

I think I may have started on a nostalgia kick going to see The Grand Budapest Hotel with Andrew at the Moonlight Cinema. Not because of the movie, but the venue. It’s an open air cinema in Centennial Park; I first went there in 2001 to see Lantana with Sandra. Andrew and I saw Secretary there, Yo Mama Tambien, Casablanca, Gosford Park, Priscilla Queen of the Desert… But all many years ago, mostly lugging one of my ludicrously over-catered picnics there from a Bondi Junction supermarket. (It’s not a picnic unless there’s cheese and dips and a few varieties of fruit and some cold meats and at least two breads, am I right?) It was always a good reunion for the university crowd who weren’t as naturally in touch over summer.

But when we moved to Hornsby we were about two hours on public transport away from it, and by the time we moved closer again, we had kids. Our kids are not the out-after-dark type: A in particular sleeps extremely well, but if and only if she’s in her own bed. And the last thing I want to do with my supposed free time is spending it interviewing babysitters and negotiating their availability with them so we haven’t gone out at night much at all in the last five years. But, I was under the gun over summer with V’s daycare shutting down for a break, and finally connected with a babysitter agency, and so now, as a side-effect, we can go out at night and the agency worries about finding a sitter.

And so, back to the Moonlight Cinema. It was a bit spooky, not least because the park has now been altered to suit the cinema rather than the other way round. I’m pretty sure they’ve removed an awkwardly placed tree, and very sure they’ve flattened the ground and laid new turf so that it’s not a game of claim-your-own-dusty-rut before the movie begins. It was already true the last time I was there that there was catering and so there was no burden of cheese-and-dips-and-fruit-and-all to lug in and to feel around for awkwardly in the dark. But it was still odd.

I’m still a young enough adult to be continually surprised how long ago some of my adulthood was.

Tomorrow we are having a post-clutter day, and going to the beach together in the morning followed by lunch at The Boathuse. Andrew and I have almost never gone to the beach alone together. Less nostalgia and more creation.

Happy purim

Mar. 5th, 2015 11:35 am
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
So a couple of weeks ago I helped run a bar mitzvah in our synagogue. And we ended up getting a write-up in the Jewish Chronicle, a newspaper that exists primarily so that British Jews can call eachother to point out that someone they know is in the JC. Anyway I somehow get referred to as Professor, which is very embarrassing indeed. (In the UK Professor is a title of merit, not a job title, it's very bad to be called that when you haven't earned it.) But it's also the case that here a picture in a national newspaper, showing me, who most people will correctly presume to be female, [pretending to] read the Torah in an Orthodox synagogue. Where up to now we have been small enough and provincial enough to be pretty much under the radar with our shockingly egalitarian ways.

This has led to the Chabad rabbi from Manchester phoning everybody he has contact details for, railing about how terrible it is to let a woman read the Megillah, the ceremonial scroll of the book of Esther for Purim. I don't know where he's coming from halachically, considering that reading Megillah is the one thing that even most gender-essentialist sources say that women can do, but there you go. He's been threatening that the community will be cursed if they do this very important mitzvah wrong, and also trying to bribe people by offering to hold a break-away service in the pub and buy everybody drinks if they come and listen to his reading instead of my gender-inappropriate one.

My lovely community were unanimously loyal to me, partly because we don't like random Chabadniks showing up and trying to cozen the community away from our synagogue. And at least in part because everybody prefers my fun dramatic reading where I do all the dialogue in silly voices and give snarky summaries in English and make Haman talk like Nigel Farage, over the rabbi's very fast mumbly chant in a thick Yiddish accent. I am so tempted to dress up as the Chabad rabbi next year, with a false beard, and offer people cheap vodka and sawdusty excessively parve cakes, but maybe that wouldn't be in good taste. But this is another chapter in an ongoing saga.

In fact I dressed up as a backwards person, wearing a mask on the back of my head and a jacket and shirt buttoned at the back, plus my hair in a ponytail over my forehead, which caused much amusement. It was a smaller purim than we sometimes have, as several of our regulars are away and most parents didn't want to bring children to a weekday evening event. We did have an Elsa and a mummy, who both found presents they wanted in my bag of kids' presents, so that was something. Reverend Malcom Weisman turned up, not particularly in his capacity as minister for small communities but just because he was on the way home from Lancaster and wanted to drop by and hear Megillah, and he was very supportive.

And then I went out for meal at the local Italian that was offering a mid-week deal, and on to Hector Garcia's for a cocktail instead of dessert. Their special was a tiramisu drink, made of kahlua and vodka and cream and flavoured with vanilla and chocolate. I like cream-based cocktails, and I liked sitting in this somewhat chain-ish but pleasant tapas bar drinking my dessert and drunk-texting people to say I love them. Some of my friends were especially lovely and said they'd have a cocktail that evening, so I was sort of virtually drinking with friends instead of by myself. And I do love all the people I said it to, and I don't have to be drunk to say so, just I was in a particularly sentimental mood, having successfully run an event and settled down to relax with alcohol.

Also thanks to [personal profile] kass for pointing to Purimgifts and explaining how to navigate the AO3 page for it. I've been having a lot of fun browsing through stories that are either midrash, or are in fandoms I'm familiar with. I particularly enjoyed In the citadel of Susa, a Vashti POV take on Esther.

RIP Jeff Rusch

Mar. 5th, 2015 07:50 pm
puzzlement: Two candles against a dark background (candle)
[personal profile] puzzlement
People may remember that I was buying copies of Zoë Keating's music last year for folks to support her and her family during her husband's cancer treatment. Sadly, he died last month.

She wrote to her newsletter list today that she's trying to figure out what her music career will look like as a single parent with limited touring. You should still, or maybe especially, check out her music today!

(Note: I'm not acquainted with Zoë, nor Jeff, I'm just a fan. No need for condolences.)
[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed




Fulvous Whistling Duck looking bedraggled. A tropical duck like this doesn’t seem to be enjoying Geneva in winter. 22.2.15

[poem] Directions for care

Mar. 5th, 2015 12:43 am
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
It's all too easy to dismiss, diminish
your sharp-edged individual brilliance
as untidiness, as more work than
you're worth. Try this:
Needs direct sun with good support,
for preference, south-facing walls;
and well-drained soil and fleece in frosts
and water when the weather's hot.
Slow to flower, rarely fruits;
give the thing at least five years.
Mind the thorns, the strangling vines;
mind the poison the sap bears.
Grant me leave instead to make this promise:
yes, you're brash and loud and take up space;
perhaps you're snide, opinionated, lacking grace;
but darling, what you don't quite seem to grasp
is that your weaponry can be defence
and ornament at once; can, in point of fact,
be precisely why it is that you're beloved.

daily gratitudes

Mar. 4th, 2015 11:42 am
watersword: A closed patriarchy tag (Feminism: </patriarchy>)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. antihistamines
  2. cross-browser testing tools
  3. shortbread cookies
  4. Ta-Nehisi Coates being smart all over the internet
  5. I am hoping the Russian bakery on my way home will have hamentaschen

RPGs

Mar. 4th, 2015 07:30 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
TW suicide

I posted recently about why I had to give up HabitRPG-- a combination of playing on my anxiety, guilt trips, not being able to think of appropriate rewards, and so on. I said at the time that this is a problem I have with games in general. But Debbie mentioned a computer RPG earlier and it made me think about why Habit is one of the RPGs in particular I have great problems with.

I don't mind AD&D-type things where you're a collaborative part of a team and you can fade into the background as necessary-- it's not much different from roleplay irl. And I don't mind single-player games where they're a large directed puzzle to solve-- it's not far different from a crossword. But competitive roleplaying makes me want to cause my character's suicide early on to save trouble. Even worse are large open-ended games with no particular goal, the sort of thing where you can say, "Oh, lovely! A whole new universe for me to fail in!"

I think if Elite were released today I probably wouldn't enjoy it much.

(no subject)

Mar. 4th, 2015 04:59 pm
liseuse: (queer as in fuck you)
[personal profile] liseuse
What Are You Reading (Actually On A!) Wednesday, the Yeeeeesh It's Been A Long Time Since I Did One Of These edition, #2:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Barcelona by Robert Hughes. I will finish this eventually. I will. I did make good progress with it today.

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. My ereader ran out of charge and I put it on the chair, thinking 'I need to charge that' and then covered it with wool. So, it is now charging! And I will get back to it!

Autumn Term by Antonia Forest. I am a sucker for a school story, and picked this up in the charity shop the other day.

What did you recently finish reading?

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. As is usual with these books I had to go back and re-read the conclusion - everything tends to happen all at once, and I find myself going "hang on, what?" A+ use of trains, author, A+.

London Bridge in America: The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing by Travis Elborough. Elborough managed to make a quite fascinating story a fairly dull reading experience. I am all in favour of learning about priests building bridges and terribly puritanical architects, but it all felt like a very very long prologue for the actual story of the bridge's sale.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I rarely know the answer to this.

The Year So Far

Mar. 3rd, 2015 07:34 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (science flower)
[personal profile] jjhunter
JANUARY: moonlight; cold; busy.

FEBRUARY: snow; winter piled on winter.

MARCH: melting (i hope)
tree: witch from movie hocus pocus; text: excuse me? i don't understand this fuckery ([else] how do you say in your language?)
[personal profile] tree
i was in the chemist looking for riboflavin (which i now know is B2). pharmacy assistant helped me. my vast array of allergies and intolerances came up in the conversation and she mentioned the various powdered nutritional supplements available. i said, one they taste awful, and two they contain things i can't digest. she mentioned a new brand they were going to be stocking that was not milk-based that another customer had requested. i said it probably still tasted awful. she said he hadn't had any complaints. she went on to say that she supposed people who couldn't have a lot of foods probably couldn't complain about what they could get. because, i mean, people with specific dietary requirements don't deserve things that taste nice! we should just eat stuff we don't like and be grateful!

funny how this opinion is only held by people who have never had to read the ingredients label on every food item they consider buying to determine whether or not it's going to make them ill. and by funny i mean i want to punch them in the face. i won't, of course, because that would be wrong. but the urge is certainly present.

Slow progress

Mar. 3rd, 2015 10:44 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv posting in [community profile] c25k
I've been finding it really hard to run even twice a week lately, and it's hard to identify exactly why not, just one little thing and another. I did one run last week, 15 minutes at 8 kph, 5 minutes walking, 10 minutes at 8 kph, giving me another 3.8 km in 30 minutes. And then I was on my feet all day on my running day, so I decided to do exercise bike instead. I couldn't find a position to sit on the bike that was comfortable for my back, so I think I won't try that again.

This evening I ran a full 5K for the first time in a month, albeit still with walking breaks. I'm reasonably pleased with my time of 39'36'', since that was made up of 15 minutes at 8 kph, 5 minutes walking, and another 15 minutes at pace. Those felt easier than last week, and I felt up to a 2 minute sprint at the end to bring my time under 40 minutes. I think I'm getting back to a level where I can run at 8 kph sustainably, so I'll keep on working up to the full 5K.

(no subject)

Mar. 3rd, 2015 01:32 pm
monksandbones: A picture of the back of Sherlock's swoonworthily coat-clad shoulders (coatlust)
[personal profile] monksandbones
February was both far too long and far too short, and now it's March. I got some stuff done in February, but not enough! Hopefully March involves less shovelling historic amounts of snow, and more writing, because as always, I have a lot of writing to do:

Dissertation writing goals:

FINISH draft of priories chapter
Significant progress on aristocratic networks chapter

FINISH draft of priories chapter )
Significant progress on aristocratic networks chapter )

Other academic work:

Postdoc application
Robin's seminar stuff
Teaching stuff
Learning German
Translation job
Assorted academic communication and housekeeping

Postdoc application )
Robin's seminar stuff )
Teaching stuff )
Learning German )
Translation job )
Assorted academic communication and housekeeping )

Non-academic stuff to do:

Communication )
Chores )
Fun stuff )

False Dawn by Patrick Lane

Mar. 3rd, 2015 12:21 pm
substructure: (mary :: carefully carefully)
[personal profile] substructure posting in [community profile] poetry
We turn to words because there’s not much
more to turn to. I love you becomes what I used to call
the dark. I prayed this morning. It wasn’t much,
just me and the god I understand. The earliest birds
wake me now and I keep getting up into what
others call false dawn. I know it sweeter.
That’s the hard part, knowing darkness is there
and singing anyway. Becoming more
becomes less. It’s like an origami dove
chased by a flying child, a kind of solitude
so perfect you keep searching even as you know
there is no cure. I think misery is mostly
what we know. Yet there are days I overflow with love.
My friends are so fragile I’m afraid
to take their hands for fear I’ll break them.
This morning I set out the early sprinkler
and out of the darkness robins came
and varied thrushes I thought our cats had killed.
The water from our highest mountains turned
and turned above our earth
and all the birds went under that falling
with everything they had.
Maybe that’s the measure.
Maybe in the morning light we pray
and rain falls and we lift to its falling
as if we still had feathers, as if with words
we could scrape the sky clean of every kind of pain.

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highlyeccentric

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