nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Location: my parents' house

Me: "Mom, where's Dad?"
Mom, without looking up from her crossword puzzle: "Oh, he's outside in the garden, making a note of all the things that need doing and deciding to do them tomorrow."
Me: *gales of laughter*

(no subject)

Mar. 23rd, 2017 12:13 pm
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
In 2003, it felt like I was screaming into a void: it was obvious, even to me at the time, and I was still in high school, that the Iraq war was bogus profiteering, but the "grown ups" at the NYT and in the world at large were infuriatingly resistant to seeing that reality. There was a hopelessness: nobody was listening.

Now, in 2017, 2 months after the inauguration of the Orange Man, people are starting to listen, and I am strangling on my own rage. I'd thought it would have felt vindicating -- but instead, I don't know how to speak civilly with people who are only now, when it is too late, becoming interested in looking toward the truth.

The absence of HRC from the conversation is a hole, a wound. Vladimir Putin attempted to destroy our republic because he was afraid of her, and wanted to punish her, and apparently enough of us shared those feelings that they were able to take her down.

Reading Wednesday 22/03

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:26 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Recently acquired:
  • Can neuroscience change our minds? by Hilary and Steven Rose. Steven Rose was a big influence on getting me into bioscience, so I excited to learn that he's written a new book about debunking neurobollocks, a subject close to my heart. And that he's written it in collaboration with his wife, a sociologist of science.

  • Three non-fiction books to give as belated bar mitzvah presents: I went with A history of God by Karen Armstrong, 1491 by Charles Mann, and The undercover economist by Tim Harford in the end. I reckon that gives a reasonable spread of perspectives, periods and cultures to get a curious teenager started.

  • A whole bunch of mostly novels for a not-very-sekrit plot.

Recently read:
  • This is a letter to my son by KJ Kabza, as recommended, and edited by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. It's a near-future story about a trans girl, which has minimal overt transphobia but quite a lot of cis people being clueless, and also it's about parent death among other themes.

  • Why Lemonade is for Black women by Dominique Matti, via [personal profile] sonia. Very powerful essay about intersectionality between gender and race. I've not actually seen Lemonade yet, because everything I've read about it suggests it's a large, complex work of art which I need to set aside time to concentrate on, I can't just listen to the songs in the background. And I'm a bit intimidated by the medium of a "visual album".
Currently reading: A Journey to the end of the Millennium by AB Yehoshua. Not much progress.

Up next: I am thinking to pick up How to be both by Ali Smith, which has been on my to-read pile for a while. We'll see.

Sacred and profane speech

Mar. 21st, 2017 07:12 pm
radiantfracture: (Obstacles)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
The things I do when I can do little else include doodling pictures on my phone; lately, pictures of monsters uttering wordless speech. They seem to belong.

Cut for vaguely disturbing rectangular images )

Full

Mar. 21st, 2017 09:48 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
So this weekend I went to two synagogue services (in two different cities) and one church service, and I had a quiet going out for lunch and talking date with [personal profile] cjwatson and a bouncy metal gig date with Ghoti. And went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast and just about managed to squeeze in a little bit of time talking to [personal profile] jack. Um, it is hypothetically possible that I may have over-scheduled myself a bit.

I had fun, though )
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I saw a book title this morning that I misread as “Sampire” (I think it was a really fancy “Empire”) and I thought, haha, yes I rise before dawn to prey on those still awake from the night before. I am the dark hipster, the sampire.

And then I thought, what would you call a hipster vampire, and it came to me, hot sauce dripping off its fangs: 

Sriracula.  

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
... presented as a series of e-mails, sent/received over the past week or so.

Read more... )

ANTHONY NOLAN. AREN'T THEY GOOD.

(no subject)

Mar. 20th, 2017 08:42 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

I had an unusually quiet RFM this week, which sometimes happens, but just in case -- if you submitted an item and don't see it below, please get in touch! I can do a second RFM post if it turns out that like, something ate all of this week's responses or something.

Ways to Give:

Ursula is an aide to a research chemistry professor with physical disabilities who uses a wheelchair. Her professor has been invited to present at a prestigious conference in April, but the University isn't willing to pay for disability accommodations (such as her aide traveling with her). They have a gofundme up to raise funds so that they can both attend; you can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They literally have no money left until their next worker's comp check comes, which means no gas money for their car, so they can't get anywhere to do odd jobs for bill money. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[tumblr.com profile] kitrona is in her last semester of college before graduation, and for her capstone is researching the hypothesis that social support can ease mental health issues that trans* and nonbinary people face. She has a survey up and would appreciate trans* and nonbinary people participating; the survey doesn't collect any identifying information and she is happy to share the resulting paper with people if they're interested. She's planning to specialize in trans* issues, so this is not simply a class project but a foundation for future work in the field. You can take the survey here and please feel free to pass it on to people who could help contribute!

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] tzikeh is looking for a new roommate to share a 2br/2ba condo in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, available May 1. You can read more and reblog here or check out the Craigslist post here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I’m gonna write an updated comedy of manners about excel spreadsheets and webcomic artists in which Jack Worthington is a data analyst who has invented a fake free-spirited webcomic artist brother so he has an excuse to visit the city; his STEM mentee Cecily lives in the burbs and builds robots but dreams of going to the city to meet Jack’s romantic artist wastrel brother. Meanwhile Jack’s friend Algernon, who is a “startup entrepreneur” with no visible employment, has discovered Jack’s secret life and threatened to tell his girlfriend, hipster social justice activist Gwendolyn, who thinks Jack works for Algy’s startup because that’s way hipper than wrangling Excel spreadsheets all day. 

All is upset by Mrs. Bracknell, the imperious baby boomer who can never get the right coffee order or change from Dr. Frederica Chasuble, a barista who has an unmarketable PHD in feminist classical theology and a crush on Cecily’s college admissions coach Ms. Prism. Mrs. Bracknell doesn’t want Jack marrying Gwendolyn because due to a database error at the hospital when he was born, most institutions (banks, cellphone providers, insurance companies) think Jack is deceased. 

I will call it The Importance Of Saving Versions. 

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nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila
Last question on the college staff survey that I just filled out:

Q: What single thing should the College focus on to be a great place to work?

My answer: Minimising the negative impact of Brexit on our European colleagues.

Not-So-Polite Notice

Mar. 15th, 2017 10:24 pm
nanila: (kusanagi: amused)
[personal profile] nanila
20170315_094943
May I present the Physics Optics Workshop door sign, embedded amongst a lot of warning signs, which reads:

Optics Workshop Rates
If you watch - £60/hr
If you offer advice - £80/hr
If you help - £100/hr
If you reckon you are the expert, go away and do it yourself - Free
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
So my two former bar mitzvah students want to carry on with Hebrew now they've both completed their ceremonies. They've said they'd like to do a bit more conversational modern Hebrew as well as just practising prayerbook reading. Does anyone have any recommendations for textbooks?

The boys are 13 and 15, both reasonably academically able and reasonably committed. They can read fairly fluently, but have very little vocab or grammar at the moment. They're also extremely busy and probably won't have huge amounts of time for practice in between their fortnightly lessons. My options at the moment are:
The textbook recommended by the GCSE exam board. I'd generally like the boys to be thinking about GCSE sort of level, not that they hugely have to pass exams but as a streching, but attainable, target. The problem is that the book looks incredibly dated and dull and I don't feel inspired to teach from it!

Or Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew. I think this is basically aimed at beginners, but beginners who are university students or otherwise quite advanced in general language skills. It's really quite heavy on grammar, and might be overkill for a couple of years of informal lessons for teenagers.

I can't find anything I like better than these two options. I don't want a course that is primarily audio for self-learning, because I'm going to be there teaching and keeping up reading fluency is a big priority. And I don't want just a vocab list or beginners' dictionary. The younger boy suggested using a tourist phrasebook, which might work but ideally I'd like something more like a textbook and less like lists of phrases to rote learn.

Secondly, I still have not succeeded in giving the younger lad his bar mitzvah present, because everything I could think of is out of print and not for sale for reasonable money. I would like to give him a good work of popular non-fiction, something enjoyable to read but also informative. He's quite interested in politics and world affairs, which is a subject I know little about. And he's pretty bright but not especially precocious, I think he'd get more out of something accessible or even aimed at teenagers, than something hardcore academic.

I'm thinking something about the level of Jared Diamond's Guns, germs and steel, except not that because I'm now aware that Diamond not only plays fast and loose with scholarly accuracy, he conducted some rather unethical ethnographic research and published identifying stories about his subjects without their permission. And I have in mind that there used to be a journalist who did short programmes on Radio 4 about US politics and culture, and that he died a few years ago (?) and that prior to that he had written a book of anecdotes that this young man might enjoy, but that's not enough information to shake his name out of Google, does anyone have any clue whom I'm talking about?

So. Anyone who's taught conversational Hebrew, any recs? And in a less specialist query, what's the most interesting popular non-fiction book you've read lately?

reading wednesday

Mar. 15th, 2017 11:08 am
watersword: Tori Higginson as Elizabeth Weir and the word "elizabeth" (Elizabeth: commander)
[personal profile] watersword
War of the Foxes / Richard Siken. Thrilled that NYPL finally has this! Hunh, did not love the poetic voice, it doesn't feel fresh and dangerous in the way that Crush did. But there are some gorgeous phrases in here.

The big book of exit strategies / Jamaal May. Great title, variable poems.

Miranda and Caliban / Jacqueline Carey. Did not finish because I couldn't care about anybody, and I love the source text; Shakespeare's Miranda is a lot more interesting than Carey's.

The world's wife / Carol Ann Duffy. Great premise, a little one-note in the actual poems, and I wish Duffy had written against the source texts more.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet / Becky Chambers. Super adorable; character-driven domestic SFF in space.

The wizard hunters : the fall of Ile-Rien / Martha Wells. This is not clicking for me. Anyone want to make an argument for why I should persist?

(no subject)

Mar. 15th, 2017 02:56 pm
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I have bought a breadmaker! (One of Lakeland's, for those interested).

I wonder if any of you have recipes you'd recommend, or useful do's and don't's? And are any of the ready made mixes any use?

Wednesday reading meme

Mar. 14th, 2017 09:05 pm
bedlamsbard: miscellaneous: cup of tea on a laptop (girlyb_icons) (tea and laptop (girlyb_icons))
[personal profile] bedlamsbard
...a day early, because I'm traveling tomorrow but don't want to get out of the habit of it.

What I'm currently reading

A reread of Martha Wells' The Cloud Roads, which is on the one hand comfort reading for me, because the series is one of my favorites, and on the other hand Wells' prose is similar enough to mine that it helps reset me when I'm feeling scattered, which I am at the moment.

What I've just finished reading

Star Wars (Legends): Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller -- a reread, but I think I've only read it once or twice before. JJM is one of my favorite Star Wars authors, but I don't like the Knight Errant book + comics as much as I like some of his other works. Kerra Holt is a little abrasive for me, though in a way that makes me second guess my feelings and go "is it the character herself or my expectations for what makes a female character likable?"

Also The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly, which I've been rereading on and off for a while but finally buckled down to finish the other day.

What I'm reading next

I'm in my usual pre-travel "oh god I need to get ALL the books I will read ALL the books" even though I know that I will not, in fact, read all the books. I pulled out Star Wars: Wraith Squadron to put in my handbag as hardcopy reading, and I've got my Kindle as well. We'll see.

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Mar. 14th, 2017 04:13 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor sketch of sneaky corvid pulling phoenix tail feather from behind, phoenix rearing back in affronted surprise (corvid pulls phoenix tail)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!

Interfaith

Mar. 13th, 2017 09:30 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
I think of myself very much as someone who does interfaith, but I haven't really had any opportunities for it for ages. And then two came along at once:

yay connections )

So basically I'm full of enthusiasm and really energized by getting a chance to do interfaith again. And I've been babbling at my partners about stuff that they're not very familiar with, so hopefully this post is a bit more coherent.
nanila: (kieth: crazy)
[personal profile] nanila
I have been thinking, off an on, about a comment I heard Jacob Rees-Mogg (UK Conservative politician, pro-Brexit) make on Have I Got News For You (topical BBC “comedy” panel show) a few weeks ago.

He remarked, in an off-hand smiling way, “Nannies are indestructible.”

This provoked little from his fellow panelists other than some raised eyebrows and swiftly moving on to the next topic. I would dearly have loved to have seen someone call him out on it, however, because to me, it tidily encapsulates the kind of thinking that informs our more privileged elected officials.

“Nannies are indestructible.” Let’s pick that apart a little, shall we? You’re saying that people who choose a certain career are all of such physical and mental endurance that they are unbreakable. A career that is traditionally underpaid and underappreciated. A career that, in the past, many would not have chosen freely, but would have been forced into purely by necessity. A career that has traditionally - and still is - predominantly taken by women. A career that often required* one to endure physical and mental abuse not only from one’s charges, but from one’s employers.

So what you’re saying, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is that you think these people, these often young, habitually oppressed and usually female people, can endure anything. Any sort of mistreatment you throw at them, whether it be verbal insults or piss-poor pay, they can be assured of accepting and carrying on with their lives. Never mind that the only alternative, for them, is probably “starve to death on little or no income”.

This throwaway remark, by someone who thought he was paying a compliment, says a lot about the entitled thinking of imperialists. It is this kind of thinking that enables slavery.

* I really hope this can be entirely put in the past tense, but the cynical side of me is willing to bet otherwise.

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