kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
I have just finished this series, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, and goodness but it does a lot of things with change and motion and theology that speak to me on a very deep level.

I find it very difficult to believe in the writing style -- I... have yet to knowingly meet a teenage girl who writes like that in her diary, okay -- but provided I ignore the conceit of diaries (and my exasperation with implausible world-building -- if food's so hard to come by where in hell are they getting enough cotton to make new jeans from) I am incredibly invested, and I want more, because of course I do, and perhaps I'm going to go and find a bunch of fic (I feel a little ashamed that the fic I want in the first instance is fix-it fic, as though that somehow erodes or elides nuance and complexity; in fact, as we perfectly well know your blue-eyed boys [MCU] is fix-it fic and in no way overlooks struggle and sacrifice and heartbreak).

And it is also sociologically fascinating to have read these books for the first time now, in 2017, when they were written in the 1990s and set in a near-future 2020s-2030s dystopia, in the context of current US politics and racism. Mild spoilers? )

Recommended, I think, but with the caveat that it has every single content note, to first approximation. If you'd like more details, please ask.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Hello UK folk I would still like to post you Anuja Chauhan books, pls holler if you're interested in either of them. One is a romantic comedy about cricket.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
I am grumpily insomniac; I have given up on sleep for the time being and have curled up in a blanket with some hot chocolate and a book; and probably this would be working better if The Fifth Season (which I am belatedly reading for Hugo purposes) wasn't Wrong about both geology and horses.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
I have just finished it, rather late to the party (I was stuck, for several months, partway through Kalpa Imperial, which I found rather a slog, and suspect I didn't understand). I have a lot of inchoate thoughts about the ethics/mechanics/pragmatics of the ending, which I would like to sort of flap at people about, and in general I enjoyed it a lot and am really looking forward to subsequent books.

Links to discussion posts I avoided around release due to Spoilers v welcome.

(The author, Yoon Ha Lee, is on DW as [personal profile] yhlee and I greatly enjoy reading the short fiction including crackfic AUs of this series that he posts, along with everything else.)
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
... because I have just made P read it, and then we stayed up til 1am talking about it, and I haven't talked about it here yet because Too Many Feelings, which I will now attempt to sketch.

(Spoilers within!)

Read more... )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
The Entropy of Bones (2015; Ayize Jama-Everett) is terrible. It is abysmal. It is appalling. I am about 60% of the way through (and at this point am probably going to finish it, because that's about 80 pages left) and it is so bad on so many topics. I assume that The Liminal People, by the same author and in the same universe and apparently published first (so perhaps I should have read it first but Oh Well, Never Mind), is not any better.

Honestly largely irrelevant snark about the quality of the writing, presented mostly as a framing device. )

Which is all fine as far as it goes, like, whatever, I read a lot of pulpy speculative fiction, but then there are the fucking trigger warnings. And oh dear me are there a lot of them. (At some point I will try to usefully articulate the distinction I make between "content note" and "trigger warning", but that time is not now; just... bear in mind that I'm using the latter not the former.)

The overview. )

The detailed trigger warnings. )

Just... if you decide to read this, you might wanna be prepared going in.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Anyone interested in doing Kew the Movies with me? I've booked tickets for myself and a friend for the Star Wars showing already, but I'm happy to have others join us and I am 100% up for seeing any of the other showings (Jurassic Park, Mean Girls, and Labyrinth). I am similarly up for potluck picnic dinners.

On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books:
After all, the romance of minimalism relies on invisible abundance. The elegantly empty apartment speaks not to genteel poverty, but to the kind of hoarded wealth that makes anything and everything replaceable and available at the click of a mouse. Things and the freedom from things, and then things again if you desire. If you miss a book after getting rid of it, Kondo consoles, you can always buy it again. Dispose and replace, repeat and repeat.

What should student doctors learn about sexual healthcare? This survey is being run by the University of Oxford:
We are redesigning courses for medical students to teach them what they need to know about sexual and genital health. If you have experience of going to the doctor for these issues, including asking about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, screening, or any concerns about your genital or sexual health, we would like to hear from you.

I am spending a lot of time at the moment watching two eaglets grow up.
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
I am currently having the problem with Duolingo French, you see, that it is trying to teach me the word for wallet, and the word it thinks means wallet is "le portefeuille". Which is all fine and good, as far as it goes, except that the French word I know meaning wallet is, er, "das Portemonnaie". Because German, you see, or at least my flavour of German, went through a phase (as did much of the rest of Europe) that can summarised, somewhat crudely, as You Know What's Really Sexy? French. French Is Really Sexy.

I have no idea whether Duolingo thinks le portemonnaie is an acceptable translation, and I suppose I will find out next time I find myself learning how to talk about clothes in French. (I am dubious. Duolingo persists in not believing in potatoes, you see, even if it has condescended to believe in priests.)

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, meanwhile, have an attempt at Engaging Their Younger Visitors, as best I can tell, that consists of sticking a bunch of laminated Shakespeare quotes near plants mentioned in said quotes, which series is entitled Bill's Blooms.

I was delighted to realise that one of these was taken from Much Ado About Nothing (II.i):
The count is neither sad nor sick, nor merry nor well; but civil count, civil as an Orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

... except, to my slight consternation, it was attached to an example of Citrus madurensis, the Calamondin orange.

I perambulated the remainder of the Conservatory, which contained a goodly set of Citrus. (A fact of which I had not previously been aware: nobody knows what the fuck lemons are. Citrus medica x Citrus aurantifolia, suggest Oxford, with which Wikipedia does not agree.) Not represented, alas, was Citrus aurantium, the bitter - or Seville - orange. Well, fair enough, thinks I; if they have no Seville, it is reasonable that the quotation not be attached to a Seville.

... they do so have a bloody Seville -- it's just over in the Palm House.

I have sent them an e-mail thanking them profusely for my lovely afternoon, and inquiring as to whether they just... don't think that joke's as funny as I do, then.

(It's okay! I was actually more polite than that, I promise.)

"Excuse me," I said to the woman in the charity shop, bent to peer at the bookcase, "could I trouble you to reach me down a book from the top shelf...? Oh, thank you so much -- second from the left, Americanah..."

"Oh, good find," she said, "I'm trying desperately to quickly find something to read, that looks like the only good thing on that shelf. But--" and here she brandished some Orhan Pamuk at me.

... and having thus Bonded over Literature, we went our separate ways, which at least in my case involved being briefly deeply embarrassed about What It Is I Have Become, as a result of which I knocked a shoe onto my head; it thonked pleasingly as it bounced, somewhat sadly, to the floor.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(Announcement of its availability, and list of sources; DRM-free epub from Smashwords.)

This book is my new best friend.

It's about botany and the dreams of plants. It's about language and words, words that are like fish, and you catch them and you get to keep them. And it's about, elliptically, how girls are taught to accept shitty behaviour from men as profound and meaningful and worth it, and about some of the ways one might be able to go about unlearning it.

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Just about all of you have pointed me at Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages, for which I am grateful! But having told [personal profile] jedusaur I'd liked it give or take disagreeing with a couple of the approaches taken, I completely failed to actually elaborate on what those points of disagreement were.

Read more... )


Nov. 10th, 2015 12:30 am
kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
If you're interested in some fairly accessible accounts of the kind of work I do, I strongly recommend Geochemical Perspectives as a series - I'm currently reading my way through White's (2015; Probing The Earth's Deep Interior Through Geochemistry) and have grabbed a couple of the others (Arndt on continental crust formation; Moreira on noble gases in the mantle). The White is written colloquially, clearly and accessibly, assuming very little background: it's very readable, and is an excellent introduction to my PhD's topic area.

I've not looked into it at all but I'm amused by a leaflet I received with one of my charitable wossnames advertising Book Aid International as a reverse book club: you buy three books and you never receive them because they get donated to people who would otherwise struggle to afford them (e.g. medical textbooks and the like).
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Caffeine: still, as it turns out, a bad idea. Probably. (Semi-accidentally had caffeine yesterday evening; was up ridiculously late in quiet tears about largely-disconnected-from-reality anxieties.)

I have just received an unambiguously helpful response from the Yellow Card folk, on two counts: first, they've added Mx as a title and updated my report to use it; and second, they've asked me for some more details and have passed on my specific query ("can you look into whether this side effect is associated with weird lung shit to do with connective tissue disorders as well as COPD, because that was an unpleasant surprise") to the scientific assessment team, who will apparently be getting in touch with me sometime in the next fortnight. So: huh.

Rivers of London: really enjoyed book one, was seriously hacked off with the gratuitous cissexism in book two, am still mildly grumpy halfway through book three -- but I am still reading, so.

Here is an essay: On Conflicting Emotional Needs In Relationships.

Here is a recipe I haven't yet tried: mulled wine plum crumble.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Recipe in fact by John Meecham, one of his chefs; features in the book Jerusalem, which actually made me cry a bit when I read through it at [personal profile] aella_irene's earlier this week (because homefood, and because unity, and because all sorts of things).

I in fact had been craving rice pudding for a little while, long enough at least that I bought some pudding rice a few weeks ago and hadn't got around to doing anything with it; and we had some double cream in the fridge from my profiterfails a week or so ago, and a four-pint flagon of milk that needed using up. Ergo.

Read more... )
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Overview of my emotional response to the book; no spoilers, I don't think.

Read more... )
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Feminasty; Megan Ford. Stand-up, and definitely the show I liked best of the ones I saw (if one treats Hearts of Folk as distinct from one- or two-person stand-up). We were clearly not quite the target audience (in that we know what an intersectionality is and it was clearly an outreach-and-education show); HOWEVER it came with badges and a ZINE and wigs and a song and a willingness to engage thoughtfully with "are you aware that this specific thing you did is a little ideologically unsound". So! I grinned a lot and enjoyed it, and this is not an unmitigated recommendation but it is a recommendation.

Ulysses Dies at Dawn; the Mechanisms. Fantastic as ever, made me very happy because I have Feelings about this album, and I got to exit-flyer for Elevator Music. :-)

Lying, Cheating Scoundrels; Morgan & West. I had not seen this show before! Gambling-focussed sleight of hand, for a very small audience (it will happen until the end of the Fringe run, after which they are apparently getting rid of the specific table because they no longer have storage space for it); I got called Isembard a lot, which very predictably made me very happy. Statistics, how to cheat at cards, ridiculous topological and physics-related tricks, and a very warm room that made the cards exceedingly sticky. Not one of their shows I had previously got to see, and I was delighted by it :-)

And then as we were leaving to catch a cab to the station (I write this on the Caledonian Sleeper), I finally caught (instead of just hearing) evening fireworks at the castle. Lovely lovely end to trip.

  • lunch @ David Bann, which gets its own write-up (to follow)
  • Frisky Froyo kind of epic (mango popping boba on froyo = best idea) in that we went there twice for mid-afternoon snacks between shows (yes I'm sorry I'm awful)
  • Transreal is a speculative fiction bookshop on Candlemaker's Row with a pretty excellent and clearly carefully-curated stock; f'rex one of the items on the shelves was a Subterranean Press edition (1241/1500) of Unlocked, and it was beautiful and also the first time I'd seen a SP edition in person, so that was very exciting; and he'd also got misc Nnedi Okorafor, HURRAH.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
1. Today I was introduced to a roomful of professionals and musicians at a dress rehearsal as "Alex, who did research and translation". It was weird. It was even weirder to hear translations I'd done forming part of an opera. I... actually helped make a thing. And it sold out. And has resulted in a creative collaboration with a charity. ???? etc.

2. So yesterday I decided that the correct approach to dinner was cold couscous salad, with parsley and mint and very finely diced raw fennel and pomegranate seeds. I made a lot. Tonight I decided the correct approach to dinner was to dump a spoonful of that plus eggs scrambled with cheese & smoked paprika plus hot sauce on a wrap. I was completely right and I'm doing it again for breakfast.

3. All of [personal profile] recessional's fic; in particular I'm currently doing a partial reread of (even if i could) make a deal with god, for shorts associated with your blue-eyed boys, and... yes.

4. Strawberries. Got a punnet from the market; they are tasty. (And the pears I picked up at the same time will soon be ripe enough to eat!)

5. ... there's a new Frank Turner album, released yesterday, which I stumbled upon via YouTube recommendations; it appears to be the case that I actually like most of the stuff off this album that's been released there, which was a pleasant surprise. (Meanwhile I am facepalming about the fact that I apparently missed a 2013 release that is entirely about his ongoing massively self-absorbed self-pity about a breakup, and folk, this is me facepalming over that shit, okay. So I'm glad to have missed it at the time, and having pulled An Increasingly Incredulous Face while reading lyrics on his website... yeah, no, I'm good to not be completionist about this one. I can pick up the bonus track about tattoos somewhere else.)

6. I'm actually really appreciating currently having enough brain to (i) sort through a bunch of stuff via the medium of discursive posts and (ii) do DW work, both of which I am finding soothing and consequently Helpful.

7. You lot. Relatedly. <3

8. ... yeah I am actually getting more functional as the sertraline leaves my system, which is nice but also a bit horrifying. Start the new thing on Monday, it'll be exciting, etc, but in the meantime I'm really rather enjoying having something that more plausibly resembles a sleep cycle and significantly less insomnia.

9. I got to sit around in a cafe post-dress rehearsal Setting The World To Rights with one good friend and one person I keep wanting to Actually Friends With (as compared with the current situation of mutually sympathetic acquaintancish, and catching up with one another's Major Life Events largely via mutual friends).

10. Jesus & His Judgemental Father are gigging locally at the beginning of October and my useless ex has made there be tickets. <3 (I adore them. MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING for cissexism, violence, and murder on the track Kings & Queens, if you go looking, but it's brilliantly done.)

Oh, and bonus 11: [personal profile] ann_leckie has started posting Ancillary Mercy at a rate of a paragraph per day (with the entire first chapter due to be released by her publisher in a month's time).
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. Counselling is just around the corner from the V&A. [personal profile] aella_irene likes the V&A. Ergo we had lunch sat on the art installation You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well as by Reflection, having spent the morning hanging out in the ironwork collection. (My plan for next time involves making friends with the glass gallery; wrought iron is something I just... find incredibly soothing, for reasons I haven't quite articulated but that include the fact that it's very stark in terms of colours involved, and has lots of nice bold lines and repeating patterns.)

2. Relatedly, plants: the hydrangeas up the sides of the central courtyard are currently fantastic, as are the other plantings, and [personal profile] aella_irene very generously gave me a bag of her household's surplus raspberries, so that was a joy and a delight.

3. Our internet connection is unstable enough (and I'm undermedicated enough) that I don't particularly feel like coding; nonetheless I made lots of progress with my Dreamwidth todo list today.

4. Benefits-related discussion. )

5. Peak 90s Kid: my mum frantically facebook IMing me for tech support. I sort of provided it, ineffectually, and she actually sorted the problem out by herself, and that means there exist more photos on the internet of me & largest smallcousin.

6. We had tinned pineapple in the house; we now have pineapple upside-down cake.

7. Another batch of rosemary sourdough is rising on the side, to be breakfast-and-lunch food.

8. I have Steam installed on the new laptop and it was rapid and painless and completely unlike most of my other attempts to install Steam under Debian. This means that I now have a MOUNTAIN yes yes.

9. Every time I reread your blue-eyed boys I find more things in it, and they are comfort and they are in their fragmentary way moments of peace.

10. Externally-sourced self-worth: my comments on the MeFi thread are getting favourited by lots of people & positively engaged with. Hurrah for managing to say things that are useful to people.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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