highlyeccentric: Leia/Carrie Fisher with C3PO (Leia and Threepio)
Went on retreat with UNIL english lot again. Saw much snow. Borked ankle. (This was... 1.5.16, I think?)


Behold: more snow than I've seen in one place at a time!

More below )
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Mary Renault, 'Fire from Heaven'

Recently Read:

The Demon's CovenantThe Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked this book a *lot* better on second reading and with a few more years' age difference between me and Mae! I still like the version of her you see through Nick or Sin's eyes better than her as POV narrator, but being sigifnicantly older, old enough not to *need* to identify with her, goes along way to dissipating my aggravation with her. (I know, I was one of those people SRB objects to who disliked Mae and particularly disliked her kissing-many-boys coping mechanisms. It wasn't that I thought no one should kiss many boys: it's that I'd hyper-invested in Mae's little speech in book one about not getting caught in Nick and Alan's weird powerplay, and then she got caught in it anyway! Anyway that annoyed me less this time.)

Jamie is fab. Witty repartee is fab. On the other hand, Nick and Mae's relationship has not got less fucked-up with time. I know from experience that SRB and I both love dubious bonding magic stories but I pretty consistently dislike at least one major aspect of how she handles them, so yeah, that's a thing.



ProofProof by David Auburn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well. This was a hell of a ride.



Firstly the production I was working on was *magnificent* - a couple of people who'd seen professional productions and disliked the play said they liked GEDS' handling of it. It concerns a recently deceased genius mathematician who had an unspecified mental illness that looks a lot like paranoid schizophrenia; his youngest daughter, who gave up school to care for him; his elder daughter, who is not a genius but does think she knows best when it comes to caring for impractical geniuses; and Hal, a former grad student of the deceased who believes there might be genius maths work among his papers, despite his illness. The script is *difficult*: pitch it just wrong and you get something dismal, or too far the other way and you're callously laughing at mental illnesses.

It was tough going in places: the opening scene, where father and daughter argue about their respective mental illnesses, hit hard the first time I saw it. But then it was full of amusing academic jokes. And at the end of act 1 it abruptly turns from amusing family drama with some heavy themes to Joanna Russ's 'How To Suppress Women's Writing' in dialogue form and applied to pure maths.



I got irrationally angry at audiences for LAUGHING at "I didn't find it, I wrote it". I had to sit on my aggravation with my lighting tech tutor, who didn't think it was outrageous that the young prof disbelieved the twenty-something girl because "things like that happen all the time, people plagiarise things". Yeah, dude, and you're way more likely to suspect women regardless of whether or not they actually have plagiarised things! Aaargh.

My only quibble with the play is that Hal, the young prof, is kind of an entitled well-meaning white dude dick. In order for the play to resolve properly it has to allow him to *prove* to himself (and thus the audience) that Catherine has in fact written this ground-breaking mathematical proof. Which gives him a credibility I'm not sure he deserved. Cathy did get to smack him down, telling him none of his logic counts and he should have trusted her. But, because Cathy is also struggling to assert herself against her overbearing sister, Hal gets enlisted on team "there's nothing wrong with Cathy!" and instead of going to New York to be taken care of, she stays to talk maths with Hal. BUT. Cathy *had* been having hallucinations of her recently deceased father! (or were they dreams? Open to interpretation). Cathy took to her bed for a week and is clearly very depressed! She might be a maths genius, but she *is* ill, and while her sister's overbearing control would be a very bad solution to leave her with, I'm not sure Hal's "omg let me adopt the hot baby genius" is any better.

The ending holds together on a Doylist level: you get what you want, Cathy not going to New York and showing confidence in her mathematical skills. On a Watsonian level, I forsee either Hal sliding into controlling her, or total meltdown.



The Demon's Surrender (The Demon's Lexicon, #3)The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Now this, this I wholeheartedly loved. Sin is fantastic and I adore her, and this book gave so much to Mae's character through Sin's eyes. Plus, SIBLING LOYALTIES yes good. Sin's dad is pretty awesome. I like Sin's grandma, too.



The Last of the Wine: A Virago Modern ClassicThe Last of the Wine: A Virago Modern Classic by Mary Renault

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I read most of this on the plane from Geneva to Melbourne via Abu Dhabi, and it kept me pretty much enthralled the whole way. A+ ten points, Mary Renault.

THIS BOOK IS REALLY GOOD. It's slow to start, and starting from early childhood gives the first part a distinctly different pace to everything after Alexis first rides out with Lysis. But it's good! Alexis is complicated and interesting - my only complaint would be that Lysis is a little less so, perhaps because of Alexis' narrow perspective. The historical narrative of the last days of the Pellopenesian War is gripping, and I loved how much it made me look up: Renault simply refers to things as if everyone knows them, and you have to just go with it. She's even better at that than Hilary Mantel, actually, who can be a little ponderous in giving explanations via character introspection.

grumbling about the romance narrative )

In short, I loved the book, but the m/m plot did not live up to the "tell gay stories in a setting where there is no stigma!" hype.

Up Next: For once, I know exactly because I plan my plane reading in advance. I have the Shepherd's Crown (hard-copy), and two more Kerry Greenwood e-books, for the plane after I've finished Fire From Heaven.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Henry James, Portrait of a Lady (re-read); Susan Cooper, 'Silver on the Tree'; Kazuo Ishiguro, 'The Buried Giant', loan from a friend.



Recently Finished:

Land of the Seal PeopleLand of the Seal People by Duncan Williamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a really interesting little collection - mostly selkie stories, with a number of 'Jack' stories thrown in (Jack being the folklore character found in Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Horner, etc, but in these stories he's Scottish or Irish). Duncan Williamson was a noted storyteller amongst the Scottish Travellers (not Romani - Highland travellers are an indigenous Scots group, who tend to be closely affiliated with the Gaelic speaking towns), and this is a posthumous expanded collection of one of his earlier publications. He attributes some tales to his own family, and many more to the crofters and fisherpeople he worked with and for during his years as a roving odd-job man. The source notes on some of the stories are fascinating, and the tales themselves are diverse - what struck me as most common to all of them is that all are set in small communities where most people get by on subsistence living, and you can tell that this is Williamson's own community, because there's no fuss made of it. I like that - the books must be intended for a wider audience, but the stories are told as if the audience is part of his community.



De la petite taupe qui voulait savoir qui lui avait fait sur la têteDe la petite taupe qui voulait savoir qui lui avait fait sur la tête by Werner Holzwarth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I did not immediately realise, when I picked up this book and started to read it to a small person, that it was a book about poop. It is a very good book about poop, though! Plus it's good pronunciation practice - my reading comprehension is far ahead of my ability to articulate words, so I keep falling over my own tongue.


Flight BehaviourFlight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hmm. I really enjoyed this book, after a slow start, and a few times where I had to put it down and cringe in fear of expected embarrassments. I was terribly afraid Dellarobia was going to make a fool of herself over Dr Byron, but that was handled *beautifully*.

I ended up loving it for the sensitivity to class, opportunity, and rural mindsets. The confrontation between Dellarobia and the environmental activist whose recommendations were either beyond her means (buying hybrid cars, say) or something she and everyone she knew already did *because they were poor* (eg, buying second-hand) - that was glorious. And I loved the passage where Dellarobia starts thinking in technical terms, because... well, that's why my phone can spell heteronormativity. I am a big fan of 'plain english', and yet.





Structurally, the ending of the book was rushed - there were threads left hanging, especially re: Hester, and questions unanswered, and I ended with a dismal presentiment that Dellarobia's new life as a community college student would probably be unsustainable, given the realities of single parenting, poverty, etc.



Up Next: IDEK
highlyeccentric: Sign: Be aware of invisibility! (Be aware of invisibility)


This is me, with baby Gremlin's teddy. (Or possibly GremlinMother's teddy, Gremlin's not that interested in large teddies yet.) I babysat for a few hours on friday, which he spent asleep, so I spent a few hours napping in front of a fan and it was *glorious*.

I would like to state that babies continue to be excellent academic therapy. Gremlin can be a difficult little human (although I've not had him at his most... explosive. Just shouty. I have yet to meet the 'crapocalypse' mode). But he doesn't care about my thesis. He is extremely demanding but these demands do not include 'think complex thoughts'. Ergo, he is good for me.

Moar photo )

Mnrrr

Feb. 18th, 2015 09:19 pm
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
I'm kind of exhausted from the torrent of introspection over the weekend / earlier this week. Here, have a picture of a heron:

highlyeccentric: Image of a black rooster with a skeptical look (gallus gallus domestics)
Please enjoy this icon of a chicken. I met this chicken on [personal profile] kayloulee's parents' neighbours' property.
highlyeccentric: (Sydney Bridge)
In 2015 I'll be posting a poem on fridays on [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this photo of fushcias:

highlyeccentric: Ariadne drawing mazes (Inception - Ariadne drawing)
[profile] kabarett wanted an update about the historic trams excursion day, Nov 2nd. The problem with this is that my modus operandi for transport history has been to enjoy the pretty and rely on a certain gentleman to have the relevant geeky information. If I am going to keep up this hobby I may need to actually learn and remember details of engines and so on. Hm.

Here is a tram from, I think, the 50s-80s:

I think it is this motorcar with an orange paint on, but I am not certain. I did not ride on it.

I did ride on this tram:

I believe it was in use from 1902 until the early 1970s.
More photos, minimal commentary )
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
I am really pleased with what I'm putting up on [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum these days. I had a bit of a hiatus after the breakup, but I've taken tons of great photos lately.

Examples:

photos, yo )
highlyeccentric: (Swings)
Where we last left this this thread, I'd just got back from a whirlwind trip to London.

Since then I have done a number of things and NOT done a number of other things. I'm in the middle of moving house (currently nested in Friend L's place. Friend L is the best) and between housing instability and god knows what else it's been a vr stressed few months. I really don't want to rehash it all, even the good bits, so let's just call this a photo post.

Selected photos from selected places )

This has been Amy's life in summary. In summary: mostly ducks.
highlyeccentric: Prize winning moody cow (Moody Cow)
English gent is on his way back to his stomping grounds (new job seems to suit him - as he said, 'finite tasks! They're lowly paid, but you know what you have to do and when it's done!'). We went on espotitions, saw many ducks, and failed to aquire a library book from the most annoying library.

Proper update owing. Pictures queued up to deliver 2 per day at [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum/[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed.
highlyeccentric: (Sydney Bridge)
Hello hello it's time for another round-up post! Not sure that anyone reads them, but I having started I shall continue. As with previous such posts social media has probably given you some idea already...

Pictures, nattering, etc )
highlyeccentric: An underground street (Rue Obscure, Villefranche), mostly dark. Bright light at the entrance and my silhouette departing (Rue Obscure)
Wow. Two months has been a LONG TIME, this time. As with previous such posts, social media means you've probably got the idea, but here, a summary, with pictures!

Things I did and things I took pictures of, or, a post with ducks )
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
Heads up - as well as a stream of pics from Birmingham, am using / [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum for to post poems in april, as is customary on the intarwubz.

Have a photo of flowers:

highlyeccentric: Prize winning moody cow (Moody Cow)
As with previous such posts, social media means you've probably got the idea, but here, a summary, with pictures!

What I Did In 2014 (so far) )

And that, I think, is that. I'm getting along ever more awesomely with my immediate colleagues; I'm slightly less broke than I was; and I finally got my official residence permit. Whoo.

Ed: oh, and my life is regularly brightened by the Office Dog. The Office Dog is adorable and wears cute scarves, and sits patiently gnawing a bone in her owner's office one day a week. This is the best thing about Europe's dog-friendly culture. I don't even technically LIKE dogs much, but since I got here, all the puppies are so cute and well-behaved and sometimes I can pat them. Yes. Good.
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)


Ceiling and eastward windows of the Chapel of the Maccabees, within the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre, Geneva. Forget Dress Like A Crayon Day, I wanna dress like this chapel. ALL THE COLOURS.

Interior views of the cathedral, including people filming for Radio Television Suisse: Post 1, Post 2 - close ups, Post 3

Neo-classical Facade

Important questions at Geneva City Library

Chapel of the Maccabees: Post 1 Post 2, Post Tenebras Lux

And the first of a series of (belated) photos of Brixworth parish church (7th c)

Coming up this week ([syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed / [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum), more Brixworth; miscellaneous cameraphone; SINISTER DUCKS, aka, my incipient descent into birdwatching
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)


Holy Cross church, Sarratt, Hertfordshire (12c, with a 15c tower)

In link form, other things I have posted since setting up [profile] speculumannorum:

Interior features of Holy Cross, Sarratt

My first encounter with starlings

Holy Trinity, Bordesley, at sunset (including an exciting story about sacriligous legal use of communion wafers!)

Some socks which I knitted for [personal profile] leareth.

Some photos of Moseley, Birmingham, with which I am not entirely satisfied. It was oddly difficult to get photos of Moseley which weren't hideous.

The English coast from the air

A genevois intersection with distant mountain

6th century font from the mindblowing archaeological open-house under St Peter's Cathedral. Tons of stuff, from a pre-roman tomb right up to the 11c. crypt, all preserved for public viewing. I AM DED OF HISTORICAL OVERLOAD.

Ten or eleven days of posts queued up on Tumblr, featuring St Peters and the adjacent Chapel of the Maccabees, and some older photos of Brixworth, UK.
highlyeccentric: An underground street (Rue Obscure, Villefranche), mostly dark. Bright light at the entrance and my silhouette departing (Rue Obscure)
Hear ye, hear ye, in 2014 I take photos. 'Photo-a-day' is unlikely - I'm thinking 5-a-week, but like poems, will probably average out at 3-4 a week instead. I'd also LIKE to use this as motivation to get my fancy camera out more, but since it doesn't sync itself with my phone or allow instant uploading via social media, laziness may lead me back to phone-snaps more often than not.

Being as I am fed up with emailing photos to myself, downloading, and re-uploading to photobucket, I have opened a Tumblr photoblog for this purpose. You can follow at [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum or [syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed.

Likely content includes: medieval shinies, Geneva, and birdies. Birdies!

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