white_hart: (Default)
([personal profile] white_hart Feb. 22nd, 2019 07:25 pm)
I've been following Tansy Rayner Roberts on Twitter for a while now, and when she posted last year that she was launching a Kickstarter to republish her Creature Court trilogy, "a dark fantasy series of books about a city of flappers, cabaret and ancient festivals", I thought that sounded very much like something I'd enjoy and signed up to back it.

Cabaret of Monsters is a prequel novella to the main trilogy. It's set in the city of Aufleur, a heady mix of ancient Rome, fin-de-siècle Paris and the Roaring Twenties, among the artists of a commedia-del-arte style theatre and the mysterious shapeshifters who spend their nights protecting the city from attack by the sky. It's an absolute delight, packing in plot twist after plot twist as well as love, friendship and a kind of default queerness that made my heart sing. I loved it and am really looking forward to reading the trilogy as well.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Feb. 22nd, 2019 02:10 pm)
well, more of a sketch really, because I'm not patient or talented enough to do a nart properly. Still, [community profile] drawesome's current challenge is one that sparked a synapse, so:

Title: Jeremy Clarkson Test Rides the BGD 2000
Artist: miss_s_b
Rating: G
Fandom: Top Gear/The Grand Tour
Characters/Pairings: Jeremy Clarkson, a bloody great dragon
Content Notes: media: random lump of card I found lying about, Yard-o-led Viceroy Victorian fountain pen, Diamine saddle brown ink, Caran D'ache water brush, water.

image under cut )

If I had the artistic talent I might have gone with [personal profile] magister's suggestion of Saruman patiently trying to explain to a DWP employee that his universal credit has been cocked up, and that his address is no longer Isengard...
I was in bed with Beloved yesterday, both of us on laptops, he doing Important Actual Writer Stuff and me selecting fic challenges for next month and looking at Tweetdeck. He glanced over at my Tweetdeck and commented:

Him: You follow a lot of dogs.
Me: It leavens the stress of politics twitter if every third tweet is a doggy tweet.
Him: You could make a doggy list, then when it gets really stressful you could look at a feed that's entirely dogs?
Me, sotto voce: Why the hell didn't I think of that?

Anyway, as a result of that conversation I hereby present:

Jennie's list of wholesome doggy twitter accounts.

It is quite sighthound-heavy right now because that's kind of my jam, but do feel free to suggest additions to it :)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
([personal profile] hollymath Feb. 21st, 2019 11:06 pm)
I really didn't want to go to the swing dance class tonight. I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted by 5pm, after a busy and sometimes stressful day where a sinus infection continues to lurk just under the level where I can't function.

But [personal profile] diffrentcolours and Em J were expecting me. Em J and I did that thing where maybe neither of us would've gone on our own but we both managed it together. We make a good team.

And of course I'm glad I went. I came home sweaty as anything and with a twisted ankle that's still really sore, but I still loved it.

The dances today were new to everybody, so I didn't have to feel self-conscious about not ever having been to such a class before, and the first was a solo jazz dance anyway so I could fuck up to my heart's content (which is apparently a lot!) without having to worry about ruining anything for another person.

That dance was called the shim-sham, and it was a highly choreographed thing where it was as difficult to keep the steps in my head as it was to do them with my feet. All except the first one, the drag, which happened to have exactly the pattern I knew from paradiddles, the one drum thing I know (one time, about nine years ago, when I had been crying about something, Stuart gave me a drum lesson to cheer me up and it was the best thing...so that's how I know about paradiddles). It's maybe not the absolute best hobby for a visually impaired person -- it was tough to see what I was supposed to do some of the time -- but I mostly got by.

The second dance was "boogie woogie," a bouncier version of the lindy it seemed. I liked the bounce but I was so tired by this time that my lack of fitness was really a problem: my brain picked up the steps really easily here, but the messages it sent to my legs just were not getting through. This is where I twisted my ankle, and I think it was partly due to lack of coordination from being so tired. So I sat out the rest of that dance, which was totally fine too. I felt a bit sheepish for being so out of shape and I was sad I didn't learn the fancy break that everyone else did, but I liked that it was totally okay to just sit and watch too.

Tomorrow I've got to get up very early and go to a seminar for homework I didn't even look at this week, but no regrets!
el_staplador: River Song (river)
([personal profile] el_staplador Feb. 21st, 2019 12:36 pm)
I finally broke my Doctor Who fic dry spell and wrote this. Which will probably surprise nobody.

Educational Visit (2057 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Thirteenth Doctor/River Song
Characters: Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan, Graham O'Brien, River Song
Additional Tags: School Trip, Handwavium, Sonic Screwdriver, Reference to Vomit, Alien Planet, date, Timey-Wimey

A message encoded in the blinking of a pulsar can come from only person that the Doctor knows... but why is she summoning her to the visitor centre at Drewett's Nebula Falls?

white_hart: (Default)
([personal profile] white_hart Feb. 20th, 2019 09:34 pm)
In something of a turn-up for the Year of Biopics, tonight we went to see Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the novel of the same name by James Baldwin. Set in New York in the early 1970s, If Beale Street Could Talk is the story of nineteen-year-old Tish, her romance with her childhood friend Fonny and her efforts to clear his name when he is falsely accused of rape by a cop he previously antagonised.

In a week when my social media continues to be full of discussion about racism in the knitting community it felt important to be watching a film about African-American life and the everyday discrimination suffered by black people in the US. It's also a really good film; surprisingly funny in parts, hard-hitting but not grim. Kiki Layne's Tish is a compelling lead, and I loved both Regina King as Tish's mother and Teyonah Parris as her protective elder sister Ernestine. It made me sorry to have missed Jenkins's first film, Moonlight, due to having been off work ill the day we were supposed to see it, and will look out for his future work. (I have also now managed to get it firmly into my head that Barry Jenkins is a talented young African-American filmmaker and not a middle-aged Welshman, only slightly after I worked out that the Steve McQueen from The Great Escape and the Steve McQueen who directed Twelve Years A Slave are different people.)

Next week it's back on track with the Year of Biopics and On the Basis of Sex, with Emma Grundy from The Archers as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
([personal profile] hollymath Feb. 20th, 2019 09:22 pm)
I get an Audible book credit every month. Last month I got a book called Starlight Detectives, which is about nineteenth and early twentieth century development of photography and better telescopes and other technology. It hugely increased astronomical knowledge, like figuring out what stars are made of and that galaxies are moving away from each other. Because professional astronomers weren't interested in more than naked-eye stuff for a long time (like their job was just to catalog stars so they could be used for maritime navigation), it was left to amateurs to develop and work on this stuff. So you hear about a lot of "inventors and eccentrics," as the subtitle puts it, or white men as I think of them. Mostly they kinda blurred together for me, but it was still an interesting book.

With one flaw: I am very picky about audiobook narrators, and this one seemed okay in the sample you can get before you buy it, but that hid his habit of putting on terrible accents when reading quotes. This is a non-fiction book; it's not like voices had to be distinguished from each other! And since the narrator was American (he was very good at Boston accents!) and a lot of the people were British, they came out sounding vaguely Australian. It was not good.

And this month I picked a book about NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto (and beyond!). I am hoping for less white men in a modern astronomical story.

I'm not too far into this one yet, but I have detected a flaw with this narrator as well! He's one of the writers, he's definitely American, but he's trying hard not to say "Pluto" like an American. He is saying "plu-toe," really hitting that t because I think he doesn't want to say it the normal American way with that alveolar tap I love so much. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind how anybody says "Pluto," I just don't like the emphasis he seems to be putting on it in order to say it a way that seems unnatural to him. I think it's unnatural because not only does it sound weird but he doesn't always do it. Whenever he says /ˈpluːroʊ/ I want to applaud and cheer a little to encourage him to do it more.

But since it's a book about Pluto I expect to hear /pluːˈtoʊ/ about fifteen million more times.
purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
([personal profile] purplecat Feb. 20th, 2019 07:22 pm)
Reading: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew recommended a long time ago on [community profile] primeval_denial as a source for Victorian details. It's an odd assortment of "stuff about Britain for Americans", random rather list-y facts, and some stuff I find genuinely interesting. I think I've warmed to it as its gone on, but I can't help a niggling doubt that its not really written by an expert and so some of its facts may be suspect.

Listening: I've quite enjoyed the first two of David Tennant's podcasts (with Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Whittaker respectively). Twitter tells me that Jodie is wrong to refer to Doctor Who fans as Whovians. I admit it's not my favourite word but I had somehow thought it had nevertheless entered the lexicon. Apparently not. Or at least not if you are a Doctor Who fan on Twitter.

Watching: Comfort watched two episodes of Brooklyn 99 with G. who was stressed following teenage shenanigans. Given I'm not much of a fan of the sitcom as a genre, they were remarkable watchable.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
([personal profile] nineveh_uk Feb. 20th, 2019 06:47 pm)
In three and a half weeks I am going on holiday. I am ridiculously excited about this, of course. The day begins with checking the weather. I check webcams regularly while at work. I Google images of random mountains. My latest discovery is the website Bratte områder Norge*, which tells you how steep a mountainside is, and by implication its avalanche potential. I gaze at it like an archetypal 60s teenager and a poster of their pop idol. I order new clothes on the grounds that this is reasonable given the fact that it is 16 years since I first went skiing, and the things I bought then are getting a bit past it - namely my jacket has lost its waterproofing, my fleece doesn't fit under my lighter weight jacket, and my gaiters got been left behind at a hotel somewhere.

I am also supposed to be improving my fitness. Unfortunately, as I have a slight bug of the sort that isn't serious, but I don't want to encourage, I am avoiding the exercise bike and anything that might strain me much. Aha! I thought. I shall do strength exercises. Which is why yesterday I apparently did far too many squats, and my thighs are absolutely killing me. Forget about the cold hillside, I can scarcely walk downstairs!

*Norway: the steep bits.
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to make a post linking to something interesting, you might find this useful.

[personal profile] lj_writes posted: Signal Boost bookmarklet with user name tags for more sites
So this morning, awake too early (thanks for all the barking, Gary) and lying in bed pretending I'd fall back asleep, I saw a toot (yes that's what they're called on Mastodon):
everyone: herbs and spices
america: 'erbs and spices
???: herbs and 'ices

the search for the missing nation
I tried to let it go, to appreciate the shitpost for what it was, or even just to ponder how interesting it is that both consonants at the beginning of spices are understood to be part of the syllable onset even to people who don't use words like "onset" for that (I've been doing lots of phonology reading today; it probably shows).

But I couldn't. I just coulnd't get over how annoyed I was at one little thing.

I started a screed.

I know this is just a joke but I also just have to say that it's not only America who says "erbs"; the word was originally erb and didn't have an h at all.

Overcorrecting pedants added the h in the 1400s to make the English word look like the Latin word it derived from, but the h was silent for everyone until it changed in Britain in the 1800s (thus, after American English had diverged from British English) as the result of more pedantry (thanks to [personal profile] silveradept, I'd also just read this morning about how many grammar rules are bullshit). And they're a specific, infuriating (to me) kind of bullshit, which I'll get to in a minute.

But before that, I thought of Eddie Izzard's line from Dress to Kill where he says to an American audience "you say 'erbs' and we say 'herbs.' Because there's a fucking h in it."

And the audience laughed because Americans have what Lynne Murphy calls American Verbal Inferiority Complex (a fact that suits the British superiority complex just fine!).

But I'm like, no! I will not accept this from a country where they have to say an historian because they don't say that h at all! (Yes I know not ever Brit says this, but not every American drops the h in herbs either, so this is where generalization gets you.)

The more I think about this, the more it bugs me that a few random posh white dudes (a very few! specific people with names we know!) came up with all these stupid rules. To quote from the link above: some of these "grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin?"

The random posh white dudes decreed that English should be more like Latin because they'd been taught that Latin was "pure" and thus superior to English. And they got their own way. (Maybe all of English has an inferiority complex when it comes to things like Latin.)

This educational snobbery and classism went a long way to making English the inconsistent, baffling mess it is now. (It wouldn't have been in a fantastic state anyway, with the influx of French and Latin and then the Great Vowel Shift ensuring nothing was spelled like it sounded any more. But still, this

It didn't have to be this way. Around the same time as these Latin-lovers, there was a movement for another kind of "purity," to go back to the Germanic roots of the English language, as a backlash against the huge numbers of French and Latin words that'd entered the language in the Middle English period (up until 1500-ish). Wikipedia says "Some tried either to resurrect older English words, such as gleeman for musician, inwit for conscience, and yblent for confused, or to make new words from Germanic roots, e.g. endsay for conclusion, yeartide for anniversary, foresayer for prophet."

To read something like "Uncleftish Beholdings," which is an explanation of atomic theory written in Germanic words, feels very odd. The Germanic words English has retained are mostly very "ordinary," everyday things, whereas our scientific vocabulary is especially full of Latin and Greek, so we're not used to what feel like "base" words being used to express technical or intellectual concepts.

I wrote all this (more or less, and without most of the links, though I included the Uncleftish Beholdings one because if you mention Germanic reconstructions for English, someone is bound to bring it up (and indeed someone did, who hadn't seen it mentioned just above the toot he was replying to)) before I went to work. I did work, I came home, had lunch, got ready to go to uni...and just before I left, I saw a screenshot of a startingly relevant tweet, from @paulcoxon: "Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a 'shiny crumb' in front of my colleagues."

Yes, you can have a physics Ph.D. and still forget a basic word like "photon." And when you do, what comes to your mind might be a Germanic construction like shiny crumb. (I knew "shine" came from Old English because I remembered seeing the verb; and I looked up "crumb" too which also comes from an OE word). I absolutely love "shiny crumb" and I wish to nominate it for the new Germanic alternative for our scientific vocabulary.

So yeah. I am so ill-suited to shitposts that I couldn't leave one alone. I had to take "herbs" and run with it until I ended up at shiny crumbs... via inkhorn terms, Anglish, snobbery and inferiority complexes. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

Or, as since journey's a nasty foreign word, maybe trip.
white_hart: (Default)
([personal profile] white_hart Feb. 19th, 2019 07:12 pm)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lilliburlero!
white_hart: (Default)
([personal profile] white_hart Feb. 19th, 2019 06:56 pm)
In the past I've occasionally found myself developing hayfever symptoms when in close proximity to cut daffodils (one year I couldn't even walk into M&S food hall between Janaury and March without my eyes watering), but for the last couple of years that hasn't seemed to be a problem, so it took me a while this afternoon, as I slumped in front of my computer after the fifth meeting of the day (five meetings is at least three too many for any one day, if you ask me, which clearly the people arranging these meetings didn't), to connect my growing headache and sore eyes with the increasingly strong scent of daffodil pollen in my office. Clearly this year I will have to be content with looking at the crocuses on the grass outside my window instead.
nostalgia: ten carries martha in a hospital (ten/martha carry)
([personal profile] nostalgia Feb. 19th, 2019 03:39 pm)
Some Reasons (TV) Human Nature is terrible:

1. The entire point of the book was the NA Doctor’s distance from normal “human” interactions and life, so doing it with Ten is utterly misguided and pointless to begin with. The Doctor/Joan love affair isn’t anything odd in Nu Who, for a start.

2. John Smith is an appalling piece of shit person that I’m somehow supposed to care about. If you don’t like him then it’s two episodes of waiting for him to die so the Doctor can come back.

3. It deliberately chooses to put Martha in an abusive situation and let’s not pretend that the only option was her being his servant. The Doctor does not think this needs an apology.

4. The punishment of the Family is very hard to justify. Apparently the Doctor stops being “kind” when you annoy him enough.

5. Tim is supposed to be a concientious objector, and they wore white poppies in the book. The TV version replaces pacifism with shallow patriotism and makes the futile war something you “have to” fight in because it’s a good cause suddenly.
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Feb. 19th, 2019 11:08 am)
- Linkspammer still broken, sorry about that.
- I kind of feel like I want to blog more than I have for ages, but I'm not really clear what about. It's like an itch. This is an attempt at scratching it. It's not really working. Maybe I ought to do another Liberalism 101 post.
- I've got to go to exercise class in a bit and I'm so wiped out after emotional roller coaster yesterday* and adrenaline rush of dentist terror** this morning that I really don't want to. I know it'll do me good though.
- Daughter is playing lots of Tetris99 since it came out and the music is properly embedding in my head.

* my brain decided that yesterday was a great time to press a whole bunch of self destruct buttons. Happily some of them didn't work.
** I really really hate going to the dentist. My actual dentist is lovely, but that doesn't, sadly, stop the soul-wrenching terror.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
([personal profile] hollymath Feb. 18th, 2019 08:17 pm)
Today I Skyped my parents to get the debrief of their dull old-white-person Florida vacation.

I spent last week thinking of the tragedy that is my dad who, when friends convinced my parents to join them on a trip to Fort Myers, could not get them to go any later than the second week of February.

A group of Minnesotans went to where Minnesota's baseball team spends its spring training. As long as I can remember, spring training has been a big deal: in the middle of a Minnesota winter, we cling onto any evidence that green grass and baseball exist somewhere in the world. For as long as I can remember, my dad has talked about wanting to go see the Twins spring training one year.

And now? Pitchers and catchers reported

But they did get to see the ballpark and he bought a souvenir hat ("it says '2019 spring training'," Dad said "And it's peach!" Mom said "Mango," Dad corrected her) so he's still happy.


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