An evening of nesting

Jul. 7th, 2015 06:43 pm
samskeyti: (coffeecat)
[personal profile] samskeyti
1. Caught the earlier bus home, so I’m in my felted slippers (from Iceland of course) and the oversized, extra-long mohair cardi I call my hand-knitted dressing gown. There’s a cat sitting on my shoulder.

2. On arriving home, I made a “healthy donut” — a small, brown dinner roll (squishy, not crusty) with a teaspoon of jam in the centre (blueberry tonight), then heat in the sandwich press until the outside is crisp and the innards are warm. Om nom nom.

3. The downside of the Sydney Film Festival is that there’s next to nothing I want to see at the local cinema that I haven’t already seen. I hope the cat will allow me to get up to select a dvd and knit but for now I’m stranded with the laptop. *purr*
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Gentle Readers
a newsletter made for sharing
volume 4, number 2
6th July 2015: boil it to a brilliant blue
What I’ve been up to

Surprisingly little, actually, though I did go to a rather interesting conference, about the meaning of love, at a housing co-op in Manchester.

A picture

Mar. Thou'rt a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
Hor. Well, who knew... I mean, what are the chances you'd ask me that just after my college's "Speaking To Ghosts 101" course was oversubscribed? I mean I tried to get a place on it, but it's, like, the most popular course in the whole university, isn't it? Duh.

A poem of mine
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said...
I couldn't comprehend his speech;
he spoke a tongue I didn't understand.
It might have meant “a statue's on a beach”...
at least, he let me see vacation snaps
and there was quite a lot of sand about
and one old statue, African perhaps,
or Indian, I'm in a bit of doubt.)
   So anyway, I saw the statue's face:
   its nose was crinkled, like a lord who sniffs.
   And then there was some writing on the base;
   I couldn't read it. It was hieroglyphs.
It all seems kind of strange, and far away,
but must have had some meaning in its day.
Something wonderful

The end of the rainbow-- it was in Salford all along

I'm pretty sure you were taught the order of the colours of the rainbow-- maybe with "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain", or perhaps with someone named "Roy G. Biv". Either way, the standard colour sequence is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. The obvious question is: what on earth is indigo?

The sequence we all learned is taken from a book called Opticks, written by Isaac Newton in 1704. In this book he sets out his discoveries about the way light breaks up as it passes through a prism. Newton was a rather superstitious person, and he believed that the number seven is really important, so it seemed good to have seven colours. Here's the diagram he drew.

The colour Newton calls "blue" comes immediately after green. So it's a greenish blue-- what we might now call cyan, or turquoise. Indigo, then, must be blue-- and in fact it's the name of a dye with a deep and brilliant blue colour.

Blue has always been a difficult colour to produce. The Ancient Egyptians knew the art of making things blue, but with the fall of the Roman Empire their technology was lost. In the Middle Ages blue was so rare that it was worn only by the very rich. One of a very few places you could get blue dye was from the indigo plant, Indigofera tinctoria, a kind of bean. You take the plant's leaves, soak them in water, and wait for them to ferment. Then you drain off the water and mix the residue with a strong alkali, such as lye. Heaven knows how they discovered this.

The indigo plant comes from India, as you may have guessed from the name. By the eighteenth century it was also grown in other hot parts of the world, such as Mexico and the southern United States. Predictably those who farmed the plants and extracted the dye were soon slaves; there was a major non-violent revolt in Bengal in March 1859, which was severely suppressed.

Must indigo be grown? Can it be produced in a lab instead? Yes, it can: Adolf von Baeyer discovered how, which won him the 1905 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These days almost all indigo dye produced is artificial, and most of it goes on dyeing denim jeans.

The indigo plant can only grow in hot climates. But there's another plant with similar properties, which grows even in Britain: a kind of cabbage called woad (Isatis tinctoria). There is a story that the Picts used to dye their bodies with woad, and strip naked to scare invaders. It's probably untrue, and based on a misreading of Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Which is a shame, because there aren't many things more likely to make you run away than naked blue people smelling of rotten leaves.

Something from someone else

WOAD SONG (to the tune of "Men of Harlech")
by William Hope-Jones

What's the good of wearing braces,
Vests, and pants, and boots with laces?
Spats, or hats you buy in places
Down the Brompton Road?
What's the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten?
Such affairs are simply rotten:
Better far is woad.

Woad's the stuff to show men.
Woad to scare your foemen:
Boil it to a brilliant hue
And rub it on your back and your ab-do-men.
Ancient Briton never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck, or knees, or where you sit on!
Tailors, you be blowed.

Romans came across the Channel
All wrapped up in tin and flannel:
Half a pint of woad per man'll
Dress us more than these.
Saxons, you can waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in breeches:
We have woad to clothe us, which is
Not a nest for fleas.

Romans, keep your armours!
Saxons, your pyjamas!
Hairy coats were meant for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs, and llamas.
Tramp up Snowdon with your woad on,
Never mind if you get rained or snowed on.
Never want a button sewed on.
Go, the Ancient B's.


Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at, and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. ISSN 2057-052X. Love and peace to you all.

Introductions meme!

Jul. 6th, 2015 04:15 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
[personal profile] me_and, also referred to herein as facesfriend, is tentatively stepping back into using DW as a social network, on the grounds that having committed enough patches to make a [site community profile] dw_news post he might want to shake the dust off his account. He's techy (to nobody's surprise, um), he reads spec fic (I'm hoping to persuade him to post about the various books I just foisted onto him), he is into systems and logistics in a way that I find utterly captivating but leads D to describe him as My Boring Dudefriend With Whom I Boring, and he's kind and thoughtful and generous with his time. He does LARP (about which I know nothing), can be very entertainingly snide and deadpan if encouraged but is careful to keep it away from people who don't like it, and is a singlet who picked his handle lo these many years ago for entirely unrelated reasons unaware of what the naming convention implies (if this clause is opaque to you then the meaning's largely irrelevant).

Or, to put it another way, I think it's time for an introductions meme.
If you would like to, please comment to this post, and I'll introduce you to everybody else by giving a reason why I think you're great. Some people I know better than others, so I can't promise all my introductions will exactly encapsulate why someone might want to get to know you. You're also welcome to comment to someone else's thread and ask for a specific introduction to that person; I know some people are more confident than others about just jumping in and introducing themselves to a stranger. I am also happy to matchmake if you would like that; ask me for a recommendation of a personal journal and/or community from my circles.

And of course, feel free to repost this game in your own journal, if you think it would be a good way to make connections between some of your people. I think this could go quite well if it spreads a few hops away from here, but also worth doing even if no-one picks it up.

Please do play if you'd like to; if you want to PM me to ask permission and encouragement I will gladly dispense same. <3

Baaaaby moorhens

Jul. 6th, 2015 02:40 pm
nanila: (kusanagi: aww)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
I think these little moorhens must be pretty new! They were cheeping incessantly at their parents as we strolled along the towpath on the opposite side of the canal.

"Mum, I'm huuuuungry, Mum."

+1 )
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've been browsing the alexandrian blog with various roleplaying reviews and advice. He periodically reposts reviews he made 15 years ago for A couple are funny.

A parody game, including cards such as "Wizards of the Coast. The publishers of a hot new card game. Though they have money, they aren't exactly in the same league as TSR. If they survive Magic The Gathering, look out!"

Which was a bit of a lame joke at the time, but after WotC became a fantasy roleplaying juggernaut buying most other related companies, is funny in retrospect.

Settlers of Catan: "hex-based maps from every wargame you’ve ever seen; combinations of resource cards are basically a mechanic from Risk; maintaining diplomatic relations from Diplomacy; variable board set-up from Chess variants; and trading resources from many variants of Monopoly), but the true aficionado will recognize a whole which is greater than the parts."

It's strange to read a review where Settles of Catan is new and no-one knew if it would be as promising as it seemed yet :)

And from rpg exchange:

A question it hadn't occurred to me to ask, why does the rust monster look the way it does? Why the owlbear? Because the designer had a cereal-packet-style bag of mythical plastic monsters from japan that were supposed to be dinosaurs, but took their distinctive appearance for the new monsters :)

Mondayitis antidotes

Jul. 6th, 2015 10:40 pm
samskeyti: (coffeecat)
[personal profile] samskeyti
1. Finished knitting my golden/yellow alpaca arm warmers, sewing in progress.

2. Got home long after dark but with sleek, freshly cut hair.

3. Latest Thing For My Holiday: a ticket to Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre (the candlelit indoor wing of Shakespeare’s Globe) in October.
ETA 3b. Also, I really like the look of the NT season they've just announced: Joe Armstrong and Anne-Marie Duff in Husbands and Sons! If the dates don't work out (NT being the masters of odd gaps in runs), it should be on NT Live. :D


Jul. 6th, 2015 11:40 am
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
...To [personal profile] nou on turning 40! [personal profile] nou organized a most excellent celebration, including walking under the Thames through Woolwich foot tunnel. I did not know there was a tunnel under the Thames, but [personal profile] nou is really good at paying attention to things like that.

And then we spent the afternoon in the Greyhound pub, a proper trad drinking hole sort of pub, not ye olde, not hipster, just a place where you can sit and talk and drink lager. It was basically too hot to move, though a few people did manage some walks and visits to the local artillery museum. Me, I just had fun talking to [personal profile] nou's excellent crowd of friends. Walking people, geeks, local history people, and a bunch of people from Oxford who all have second-degree connections to me. I was in extrovert heaven, in spite of the heat.

We moved on to a Chinese restaurant in Surrey Quays, Noodle Family. It wasn't in fact the restaurant that [personal profile] nou was expecting in that location, though they confirmed it was the same place when she made the booking. But it served very very tasty food, including things like thousand year eggs and sea-spiced aubergines and Chinese style potato salad made out of raw lightly cooked grated potato in vinaigrette.

I headed to [personal profile] nanaya and [personal profile] alextiefling's after the meal. And in that part of south London it's often easier to get around by bus rather than train or Tube, so I ended up with a change that involved walking past the restored Cutty Sark at sunset. So I got an evening and morning of chatting and catching up with good friends I don't see often enough, as well as being enchanted by their two young kids, the older of whom is just about learning to talk.

...And to [personal profile] adam_in_rabbinical_school whose username is no longer accurate, as he is now Rabbi Adam. The ordination service at Southgate Progressive was amazingly moving; the focus was on the wonderful friendship between our two newest rabbis. And R' Mark Solomon was leading the singing, which is always a treat.

I met up with [personal profile] jack before the service for lunch at a very good Lebanese place, Warda, and for a chance to chat as we haven't seen eachother in three weeks, for various reasons. And the service was, as these things are, full of old friends, including [personal profile] pseudomonas's parents. We stayed on for a reception and dinner, and by about 7 pm I'd just got to the point where I couldn't deal with being out and about for one moment longer. So [personal profile] jack drove us home, and being in my husband's car on the way home is enough like being in my own space that I started to unwind. And we had a couple of hours before bedtime to sit on our new sofa and drink tea and chat (mostly ranting about Princess Celestia and about Git). It is so, so good to be home.

Kitchen Recipe Log: Pasta With Yum

Jul. 5th, 2015 06:27 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor purple ruffled monster with mouthful of raw vegetables looks exceedingly self-pleased (veggie monster)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Adaptation of Pasta With Goat Cheese and Basil Oil.

On top of leftover wheat penne reheated with goat cheese: diced onion sauteed with bacon bits, with sliced yellow squash and chunks of sugar snap peas added in at a delay; ~ 1 cup of fresh minced basil; black pepper.

3 Random things

Jul. 5th, 2015 09:59 pm
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
1) Squeaky cat has not got the hang of being a killer predator.
He comes home with live mice and then promptly loses them, or just drops them and promptly loses interest. This past month I've deported eight mice and one frog.

Really, cat. Where did you find that frog?

2) Happiness, mood-boost, mental health
The bestest easiest thing I can do for myself and general well-being is go for a short walk. It doesn't need to be a long walk, but it needs to be frequent. If I can walk myself twice daily, as if I were walking a dog, it makes such a difference.

3) Hot hot hot day on Wednesday and I skived off and went swimming in the river Leam.
Beautiful, wonderful, but ... there was a problem. I couldn't get out.

The place where I slid down into the water was very steep, and I was up to my shoulders in water with nothing to pull myself up by (except nettles) and nothing to push up from (lots of sloppy clay and mud).  Eventually found a place about half a mile upstream which was manageable, but ended up rather scraped and considerably nettle-stung. Next time - think before going in the water.
tree: a girl in bed on her side, under a pink sheet ([else] you me lack)
[personal profile] tree
we used to bonk each other on the head with empty soda bottles.

i miss that.

(not just that)


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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