graphic novel book group

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:10 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
I went to Graphic Novel book group once before, to discuss Bitch Planet, when the group leader, Cameron, happened not to be there. He was there today. I don't think I'll be going back.

Maybe he would be diluted in a larger group? There were only four of us. And neither I nor the other two guys, whom I know from SF book group, are very good at grabbing the talking stick. Still Cameron seemed weirdly controlling. I think more than half the time was just Cameron talking, and he didn't leave spaces where other people could start talking if they wanted to; he'd call on us, like, "What did you think of it? Was there anything else that you liked?" And whenever anyone spoke up without being called on he'd say something like, "Yes, go ahead." He'd actually interrupt a person who was speaking in order to give them permission to speak. When he said he was a history teacher I thought, that explains it.

Oh dearie me, this guy's got form

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:41 pm
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Back in 2008, Gandhian pilgrimage that ended at Calais.

And his present (surely it is the same guy) simple life agenda has crossed my horizon heretofore.

My dearios, I give you I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.

O, lucky old you, a healthy bloke with sufficient resources to undertake this project and pontificate about it. You are not just lucky to be 'born without any serious long-term health issues' - this is due to various factors including maternal nutrition and antenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases (even if he didn't get these, and I bet he did, he would have benefitted from herd immunity), i.e. the benefits of modern medicine and sanitation.

Also, I have no time whatsoever for anyone who dismisses other people's experiences of pain: there is a man who, we must suppose, never sat an exam while doubled over with period pain, or suffered a migraine. Not at all rare conditions. Your body is not 'always aiming for balance and health'.

And we observe that he has had a vasectomy... because one of my questions (among the many stimulated by the thought of all the technological advances that have made women's lives so much less arduous, which I remarked on when his bogosity first impinged upon my aghast gaze), wot abaht contraception?

Perhaps we might introduce him to the notion that being regularly flogged with a large codfish is a cure for pretentious woowoo?

(And do we think that his simple austere life is 'more work for other people', like the process that gets his handwritten ms - written on tree bark in berry juice, we wonder? - from his simple cabin in the woods to the Guardian website?)

quick meme

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:07 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
from Facebook, albeit via a DW friend, because I'm sick:

Read more... )

Wednesday went underground*

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:19 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Boys will be Boys, which was still very familiar although it is many years since I last read it. Wonder if Turner would really have liked to be writing something a bit more serious about matters of popular culture; and would have liked to be nerdish in the archives of the publishing companies, because there are sometimes wistful asides about the mysteries that might be solved thereby. Pretty sure this is where the very youthful [personal profile] oursin first acquired that apprehension that each generation disses upon what the young of next are consuming (whether print or radio or more latterly other media) as A Road to Ruin (I wish I could locate my copy of his Roads to Ruin).

Also finished The Witch of Syracuse: worked well, did not have that sense one so oft has when scattered short stories on a character/s are brought together of 'fix-up', but that it worked as a narrative arc. Also thought it worked well on the historical contingencies, nature of the deities, etc. (Very unfluffy Hellenic/Punic goddesses.)

Being somewhat smitten with travel angst, read various short things, comfort re-reads, etc.

Did read the novella Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow (2016): very good, even though I couldn't remember why or when I'd downloaded it.

On the go

Finally began Victoria Bates, Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts (2015) - very good so far.

Also currently in medias res, Patricia McKillip, Kingfisher (2017) - very good, but my bar for riffing on/mashing up Arthuriana is set very high with Naomi Mitchison's To the Chapel Perilous.

Up Next

Dunno.

*Among other sights seen today, Rynek Underground.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthdsy, [personal profile] sharpiefan!

river ganseys

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:34 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Penelope Lister Hemingway, River Ganseys: Strikin' t'loop, Swaving, and Other Yorkshire Knitting Curiosities Revived from the Archives (2015): the thesis that winds through it is that ganseys (a set of ways for making pullovers) are an emanation of the Industrial Age, late C18 into the English Regency. It needed better editing than its tiny indie press could offer. Half is heavily personalized historical overview---whenever we meet her ancestors in the historical record, she points it out even if there's no family account to add to what records indicate; half is howto.

On p. 70, near the end of a chapter on nineteenth-century knitting in Yorkshire schools, prisons, and homes, Hemingway implies that being taught to knit in school according to a curriculum is what led to holding the needles "British" style (I've always heard "English" and have no idea how Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, or indeed Manx knitters may have tended to position their hands). At home, she says, they'd probably continued the older manner of "holding needles under fists" and throwing the yarn "continental" style. Interesting, though because there aren't enough trappings of scholarly approach, I have no idea whether Hemingway was able/interested in scholarly due diligence....

She suggests that the cables aren't mirrored in ganseys because of an old fear of mirrored reflection; she describes green as the forbidden color on account of "creation/god" (p. 92), though I know it as fairy-color from medieval texts. (Or any number of other things, including Buchan's Witch Wood.) In any case, vanishingly few bird motifs on ganseys, either.

ObContemporaryRetake: Seascale and Ardmore fall into one basket; Rocquaine and Guernsey make another.

Krakow is chilly and rather wet

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:08 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

This morning it was overcast and a bit cool, by this evening via mildly drizzly has become colder and wetter.

Nontheless, we have managed some flaneurserie around the Old Town, a visit to St Mary's Cathedral with its massive gothic altar, and several museums:

The Gallery of C19th Polish Art at Suikiennice

The Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius

The temporary exhibition of 350 items from the The Princes Czartoryski Museum

Pharmacy Museum, Jagiellonian University Medical College

All of which leaves me rather too overwhelmed to say much beyond: that's a hell of a lot of old scientific instruments/apothecary paraphernalia, and dealers across Europe must has seen the Czartoryskis coming, with their interest in associational historical items (I would guess scamsters moved into this after the decline in fake relics?).

There was also (v expensive) coffee taken in a very plush place with numerous historical associations.

Place is generally heaving with tourists and tour groups.

lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
The Underground Railroad

5/5. Cora escapes enslavement and flees to the underground railroad. Which is an actual railroad, actually underground. That takes her on a strange, terrifying trip through several faces of American racism as it deposits her in different eras and different not-quite-true-to-history moments.

This is extraordinary. And brutal. And mesmerizing. And so complex and rewarding that I’ve been thinking about it for a month, and yet seem to have nothing of great weight to say here. Some bullet points:
• The bent history of this is doing something brilliant, but I can’t articulate all of it. Cora goes from antebellum Georgia to South Carolina during an event like the Tuskeegee experiments (which actually happened in Alabama, in a different century), to North Carolina in the grip of extreme racial violence that never quite occurred on that scale. Time doesn’t work right in this book, and the details don’t line up, and I can’t explain it, but that makes this recount of not history more potent a recounting of our real history. How? I don’t know. It does.
• This book is only genre by courtesy. There is a genre conceit to it – the railroad – but the book is generally uninterested in the bend of reality at its heart. Cora thinks once, in passing, that the railroad is a secret so profound she never wants to speak of it. The whole book keeps that silence. It’s metafiction more than genre, is what I think I’m saying.
• Cora had to be a woman. There’s something in her furious, scared, scarred survival that just . . . required it.
• The first fith of this book is set on the plantation before Cora flees, and it shocked me in that I’d never read anything like it before. To be fair, I don’t read historical fiction much at all, but. Somehow I was culturally aware of plantations as organized white supremacy concentration camps where torture and terror ruled – what else could they be – but had never actually been presented with that in fiction. Ever. How is that possible?
• * I also don’t know how this is possible, but this book is not utterly and nihilistically horrid. Racial violence is at Cora’s heels from beginning to end, and it intrudes, eventually, into every space where she thinks she might at last be a little bit safe. The book is a recounting of modes of racism and modes of living with it, and all of them . . . end badly. And yet. And yet. It’s not that it retains a grain of hope. This isn’t quite a pandora’s box book. It’s just . . . she survives. She keeps moving.

Travel/travail

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:11 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Today has been mostly airports and planes - both flight AND connecting flight were delayed, so even more hanging about airports than anticipated.

Now fed and in hotel - serious lack of/unhelpful positioning of power sockets. But at least free wifi and brekkers inc.

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:01 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] auguris and [personal profile] fitzcamel!

fiber monday

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:59 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
___Sand is shelved until my mother's cardigan has been finished. Having put myself more or less on deadline for my mother's cardigan and the pi shawl (how is the weather fall-like already?), I found the next day that I needed something more portable than a cardigan and less fussy than the pi shawl. (I worry that carrying the shawl around would fuzz up its yarn.) For back-to-school night I've cast on my sage/off-white Herbarium, and its one small ear will sit in a bag until the next time I need something easy. For back-to-school night I've also written a sentence about something I did in first grade (visit the local library once a week, every week) and drawn a quick picture to accompany it: minus ten potential knitting minutes. :P

(Who knows whether she'll even wear her cardigan---she hasn't worn the poncho that she requested and I knitted two years ago---but this pattern is loose enough to fit me, too, though the sleeves would be short. We currently wear the same storebought shirt size but with different proportions at each point. Anyway, Reason wants like burning to inherit this cardigan despite being too small for it now, and I've been bidden not to rip it back.)

I've realized that for the paired indigo-cochineal shawls, the two colorways are too similar to make the bicolor mosaic motif "pop" properly. There's a US source that sells both Hespa---though not in the colorways my mother has bought---and conventionally dyed Ístex. I've made my best guess at one skein for just the mosaic rows; the stripes that frame them can use the gifted yarn and be a bit patchy. My stash included a bit of Ístex einband already, so it was clear upon meeting the Hespa skeins that they use the same yarn base.

some things

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:26 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* I may not have finished watching Damo, but parts of its soundtrack (and the Tearliner contributions to Coffee Prince's OST, esp. "Go Go Chan") have been great for lulling an overextended child to sleep. In infancy, the title track in its oboe-solo iteration; now, as long as I don't use it often, the semi-power ballad "Bi ga." heh. If the fingers slip in choosing a track, just catch "Fate" before it gets going---not so restful.

* A week after Irma had passed him, my father declared that all was well except for how much the media had lied to everyone to let supermarkets drive prices up for water and supplies. I informed him that he was lucky and changed the subject. His electrical power is still out, but somehow that has nothing to do with whether the radio's weather announcer lied.

#notalloctogenarians but they sure sound like five-year-olds sometimes. No doubt the contrast would be less inviting if I weren't able to compare numerous six- and seven-year-olds of my acquaintance favorably to my father, eh? I'm aware that sometimes people just never "grow up." He did; I remember. It's a blessing that he doesn't remember what he's lost and losing---that would be harder all around.

Meanwhile, the same phone chat made it clear that he's become able to sympathize with his incomplete picture of my health issues/concerns because partner has talked with him about them. Doesn't matter what I say. But I understand a bit better now how he failed to comprehend my mother's illness with Bell's palsy for two years, longer than most people suffer it, since she had no rest or help. Then they divorced, which should've happened sooner, and her life improved. That part is years and years ago, during my early twenties.
Crawl back under your rock of self-estrangement

* It is difficult to use the internet to research specific remedies and palliative measures (for me) without swimming forever amidst groundless hearsay. Bring back 1997. (Not really.)

Culinary

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:36 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread during week: a loaf of the Khorasan (kamut) flour, made as per instructions on the packet.

Friday supper, Gujerati khichchari, very nice, even if yet again I put in ground cumin instead of cumin seeds.

No Saturday breakfast rolls, as we were using up bread before going away, so had toast.

Today's lunch: lemon sole fillets, seasoned and panfried in butter, served with Ruby Gem potatoes roasted in goosefat, garlic roasted sweet sprouting cauliflower and tenderstem broccoli, and padron peppers.

oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (Boggled hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

A pregnant woman working at a Queenstown ski field found a colleague had left a condom filled with mayonnaise and a crude note on her desk during a staff morale boosting event.

And okay, perhaps this is me being Very British Problems, but I'm fairly creeped out by the concept of

an event dubbed "woo week" where staff were encouraged to boost each other's morale using notes and gifts.

An event poster from NZ Ski encouraged staff to "Let those romantic and creative juices flow, to show your affections and/or appreciation for your woo'ee. "Whether you're single, married, defacto or other, woo week is fun for everyone. "You are assigned at random one person to woo in secret from 23-29th July," the poster read.

The ughfulness is terrific. I feel thar even short of the reported crudity, this has enormous potential for problems.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:33 pm
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
Heroine Complex

3/5. A cute entry in the flourishing subgenre of reimagined superhero stories, this one featuring the lady sidekick to San Francisco’s lady superhero who is her boss and her childhood best friend, and there are demon cupcakes and bloggers and Asian-American cultural issues and karaoke and lesbians and a lot of fashion.

By “cute” up there I met aggressively cute. Take no prisoners cute. So cute it verges on over-engineered.

This is good if you like this sort of thing, but want more women in your superheroes. I like that sort of thing . . . ish, but wasn’t wholly taken in by this. It has that sprint pacing of a story that is prose but really a comic at heart, and like a lot of comics it has that . . . this is going to offend people, but here goes. It has that comics sort of character work where everyone’s feelings go to 11 at all times over all things and everyone is fundamentally irrational. I find that exhausting, and not particularly interesting, so.

Who are 'we', here, exactly?

Sep. 16th, 2017 05:39 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

Why can’t we read anymore?.

When the author complains that he barely reads four books a year, I think we should be told how many he was wont to read before he got addicted to the distracting dopamine rush. (I write here as someone who considers that her number of books read per annum has almost certainly declined: to something in the region of 200-300. But held fairly steady even when I was being an Award Judge.)

I also think that perhaps we should be told what kind of books he's trying to read: in which case, perhaps it's the particular what that he's bouncing off.

(Because honestly, there are times when I find myself bouncing off particular kinds of things, or just not finding whatever it is that will tickle my reading taste-buds. And maybe this is about general mood-factors, and not just the siren song of the digital universe.)

And, of course, I will never not be somewhat amused by the way in which Reading Books has become this culturally worthy activity, because I can remember when it was otherwise...

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