kaberett: Trans symbol 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... )
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
One of the things that Brits seem to find surprising or weird about how I go about managing a kitchen (other examples include vanilla sugar) is the Jar Of Breadcrumbs.

If you're baking your own bread, or buying non-sliced stuff, you'll be generating a lot of breadcrumbs. Let them go stale (sweep them onto a tray and leave them out for a day or so if you're that way inclined), then pop them in a jar.

Or ends of bread that are going stale before you can finish them: stick them through a food processor, or grate them, or let them go proper hard then put them in a bag and whack it with a rolling pin, and then pop them in a jar.

Or if you find you have bread that goes mouldy before it goes stale (this is more likely if you're keeping it in plastic, or in metal breadbins, or if it's longer-life stuff generally), before the point at which it goes mouldy, slice it up and toast it very lightly or bake it in an oven gently similarly, then apply the steps previous and stick it in a jar.

Okay, Alex, you may at this point very well be saying, but why? So! Herewith the list of things I use breadcrumbs for, probably to be added to as I remember:
  • Apfelstrudel
  • topping pasta bakes
  • crumbing thing to fry in general (coat with flour, coat with beaten egg, coat with breadcrumbs, drop in hot oil; or in the case of sweet dumplings, fry them with butter and sugar then roll the cooked dumplings in the breadcrumbs)
  • thickener in sauces/stews/dumplings

& you? & so on!
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
There are some terms I don't have good English for, either because I don't know the word or I don't think the English is as good as the German so I don't bother remembering it. Here are some of the things I am most likely to say:

Basta, fertig. Enough, finished, sufficient, done.

Biomull. Green waste/compost/recycling. Usually used when I am helping with cooking and therefore asking what to do with vegetable odds and ends.

Egal. Yes, French via German; lit "equal"; used as the shortest way available to me of communicating "I have no preference between the options you have offered me".

Falsch! Lit wrong/incorrect; muttered at myself when I've made a mistake.

Erstens braucht es immer länger zweitens als man denkt. First: it will always take twice as long as you think. Only with a nicer play on the numbers.

Spatzen. Lit sparrows; more helpfully, this appears to be a local dialect term that probably wasn't only used by my grandmother in the 50s, which seems as of late to be called "delayed onset muscle soreness" in some varieties of English.

Ein/der Teufel sitzt darauf. There's a devil sitting on it, or the Devil is sitting on it: of something that is lost or mislaid, causing strife and frustration and anxiety.

Unterlag. Lit "underlay"; specifically, the thing you put hot pans etc on top of to protect the table/worksurface.

Was man nicht in Kopf hat, muß man in den Füßen haben. Lit "what one does not have in one's head, one must have in one's feet"; more helpfully to Anglophones, expanded as "if you don't remember to bring it with you, you have to go back and fetch it", usually muttered to myself in exasperation as I disappear into another room to fetch something I failed to bring with last time I was there. When directed at other people it is done with affection and sympathy. (I have the regional variant that uses "feet"; other variants use "legs".)

Ich bin ganz satt, ich mag' kein Blatt me-e-e-ehr. I'm stuffed - I couldn't eat another leaf. (It's funny because you say the last word like a goat bleating.)

Immer aufhören wenn's am Besten schmeckt. Always stop eating when it tastes the best.

Wer nicht kommt zur rechten Zeit musst essen wass da Übrig bleibt. If you don't arrive on time for dinner, you get to eat the leftovers.

(There are others, of course, but these are the most common.)
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. I got home to find a Terrifying Letter From The DWP... letting me know that my DLA's been autorenewed through to 2016 without me needing to do anything about it. :-)

2. I am now down to two half-written poems in the stack - one's a villanelle and will be hard; one might grow up to be a sonnet but is probably going to just be my usual style of thing.

3. Domestic bliss: doing the washing up while P curled up on the sofa with my complete works of Donaghy (he of Machines and Midriver), dipping in and out and reading me bits.

4. Swedennn. Snow and sunsets and AMINALS and RIDICULOUS FOOD (the ridiculous round thing with the whole in the middle, of which I have eaten approx my own bodyweight with butter and cloudberry jam over the past few days; ditto pepparkakor; ditto ajvar; I am a predictable human with predictable tastes) and exciting new food! Semla were not a thing I had previously consumed. (hahahahaha yes I win "simnel" is indeed finest wheat flour, semolina, which means semla is too, surprise)

5. Poking around etymonline.com after triangulating through all our mutual language; the -lic of garlic is in fact the same word as leek, and the Swedish for onion and (with modifiers) misc allium, and the German for misc allium. (Spem in allium, etc etc.) We were pleased.

6. Being helpful at my mother. :-) I mean, it is deeply weird to be grown-up enough to be helpful when it comes to casting an eye over CVs etc, but pleasant! Also she e-mailed me about pirates (and did not give me any updates on the rugby).

7. ... Elementary, though, okay. ELEMENTARY. SHOW.

8. Useful work done! Retweaked abstract (hopefully I'll be able to submit it tomorrow) for baby's first talk; did a quick blitz on an area I wasn't terribly clear on the specifics of and needed to be, wrote myself a summary, and have some questions for discussion with my supervisor; did an extremely sketchy first pass on the thesis outline I'm required to submit for my 21-month assessment, and slightly to my astonishment realised that it... continues to approximately make sense?

9. Mush. (SUCH TEENAGE.)

10. I am really really enjoying hair-adornment in the shape of tulmas courtesy of [personal profile] khalinche - they're beaded, and I reckon they're kind of like blue roses and P reckons they're kind of like a peacock and either way they make managing my hair marginally easier when it's hanging down in a braid, and are very very pleasing when I manage to arrange them either side of a bun. Sensory misc. Yes. :-)


Jan. 30th, 2015 12:57 am
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(An aside: I sent my mother one of the bits of Rilke and the translation I massively disliked; she e-mailed back agreeing it was terrible and had a much better stab at it herself. We were duly scathing about the bit of the introduction that claimed that the Robert Frost quote - about poetry being the thing that is lost when a poem is translated - did not apply in this case. I can think of instances where it definitely doesn't, but...)

todo )

tada )

bonus tada for today because wow )
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Okay, this one is actually really easy: I pretty much don't have any thoughts on German cinema. Sorry!

The reason for this is that I find watching film of any description very intense, in terms of concentration and ability to perform audio-visual processing go. It's less bad for things where I'm familiar with the format and actors, which is how I manage to remain current with TV shows once I've got into them; it's less bad if I'm sat down to watch with someone who actively enjoys the material in question and is willing to sit down with me and be enthusiastic at me and tell me why they like it so much and be patient when I pause and go "wait, is this brown-haired white dude #72 or number #56?"

Which is to say: my knowledge of German cinema is only slightly worse than my (nearly non-existent) knowledge of Anglophone cinema. So, for context, I am pretty sure the last general-release Anglophone film I saw was Kill Your Darlings, okay, because queer poets + Daniel Radcliffe = Relevant To My Interests, and even that I only went to because I had company. (On which point, I would like to note again how impressed I am by the shot in KYD in which DR is on the opposite side of a stairwell from the camera, his torso's cut off the top of the image, his lower body's partially obscured by the railings, and he's fully clothed - and he manages, by means of wiggling one knee, to unambiguously communicate overwhelming mind-consuming lust. It is pretty impressive, okay.)

In this context: the last general-release German film I saw was Das Leben Der Anderen, and I adore it. I adore it sufficient that I have it on DVD; the only reason I don't show it to more friends is that my mum observed that it was cheaper from amazon.de including shipping than it would've been from amazon.co.uk, and failed to realise that this was because the .de version didn't have English subs. (Why haven't I seen more? Because it's harder, in this country, for me to find people who are willing to enthusiastically rec me German-language media and then watch it with me.) (The other difficulty is of course that the majority of spoken German is nothing like my home dialect or any of the varieties of German I get most exposure to, which means I'm also always contending with an unfamiliar accent, which means the audio-visual processing budget goes overdrawn more easily.)

Much more recently than that I have seen some indie shorts, a mix of English-origin and German-origin focussing on queer subcultures; I was less-than-impressed, but that was content- rather than language-specific.

Because of all of the above (processing issues leading to very low consumption rates) I don't actually have much by way of opinions on the technical aspects; I will notice if someone is acting particularly well (Orphan Black!) or particularly lovely things being done with camera and lighting work; but in general this is an area in which I know really very little.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Mulled apple juice. I mostly don't consume alcohol, largely because I'm chronically depressed and adding a systemic depressant to the mix is just plain a bad idea never mind the fact that it makes my doctors cry inside, and first came across mulled apple juice when I was organising a winter concert in a Methodist church and trying to work out what we could serve with the mince pies in lieu of wine and suddenly it occurred to me that there was probably prior art on this topic. Because I am a bit awful (i.e. I resent paying that much of a mark-up when I already own all the possible constituent ingredients, plus I want to have a personal mix) I tend to make up mulling spices myself and stick 'em in a teaball; one of my vast collection of bay leaves (from my mother's tree, which did rather better in food mile terms when I was still living in Cambridge but whatever), plus whatever of star anise + cinnamon sticks + nutmeg chunks (I have some whole) + cloves + allspice + black pepper I feel like. Because I am snobby if I am doing this for myself I will get Slightly Nice Apple Juice, whereas if I'm doing it for a crowd I will tend to up the spices a bit and get cheap stuff (sorry, folk).

2. Hot chocolate. I have been ever-so-slowly working my way through a tin of Hotel Chocolat gingerbread hot chocolate I picked up in a sale a couple of years ago, and finished it a few weeks ago. And then smitten kitchen encouraged me to make my own hot chocolate blend, and I haven't quite got my act together to do so yet but you better believe I am going to. I will pretty much drink any hot chocolate going, but the darker & more viscous the better; I default to whole-fat dairy milk, keep meaning to try with hazelnut milk, and for bonus points have been known to whip cream with a bit of vanilla sugar and a splash of plum brandy and dump it on top. I've got very strong location-associations with this, too: the February week I visited the Black Forest near Freiburg with family friends, and was astonished by snowdrifts as tall as I was, and sat outside eating Apfelstrudel and drinking hot chocolate; and, a few years later, the German exchange to Heidelberg where a Starbucks was giving out samples; and cocoa at Guides; and Supper at the mouldering ancestral pile, where to this day at bedtime Papa will creak to his feet and make cocoa in the front kitchen for everyone present, and will offer you just a snifter of some liqueur or other to go with. Every time I make hot chocolate (I do it in a pan; I've never got the hang of microwaves on this one) I end up half-smiling, half-wincing about the time I heard Papa berating Mama for leaving the pan to soak instead of getting the milk fat out straight away; and I remember that I am perpetually baffled at people apparently not liking the taste of scalded milk, because to me it tastes like home and comfort and love and a house creaking gently in the sea wind and the sound of waves breaking down on the beach.
kaberett: On May the 3rd 2013, an Adelie penguin looks REALLY UNPLEASANTLY SURPRISED and slightly flaily with its flippers. (HOLY SHIT)
Okay, so this one is (~surprise~) a bit fraught for me, because a lot of my culture-of-origin identity is very bound up with Mitteleuropäischer expressions of Catholicism, so I end up feeling a lot more adrift with the whole atheist thing than is wholly comfortable.

All of which said, my traditional stuff is:
  • you make a wreath from misc evergreen from your garden (or, in the more specific sense, misc evergreen you've nicked from a Cambridge college's gardens); you place your Advent candle in the middle of it, and add a candle round the edge for each Sunday of Advent in the appropriate colors as they happen. Advent is very much a time of preparation & reflection: to think about what one has done and what one has failed to do, and all that.
  • the 6th of December, Heiliger Nikolaus: on the evening of the 5th, you polish your shoes and leave them lined up neatly beneath a window, and awake to find (if you've been good!) that Nikolaus has been by in the night and filled them with goodies, traditionally nuts & clementines & chocolate coins. (My mother normally manages to source chocolate Schilling - when that was relevant - and these days usually gets her hands on chocolate Euro. Me, I noticed that M&S were selling chocolate brussels sprouts and thought it would be worth it for the laugh). If you have not then instead the Krampus chases you with switches...
  • on the other side of the family, my father gets Very Definite about making mince pies in the week running up to Christmas; he normally makes a round twelve dozen, as I recall, glazed with water+sugar (because my baby brother is lactose intolerant). He makes the pastry - standard unsweetened shortcrust - but usually buys in the mincemeat; I am still working through the batch I made a couple of years ago, during The Winter Of My Discontent.
  • (My mother makes fruitcake and steamed puddings a little while in advance; she makes the marzipan and royal icing, and in deference to my tastes leaves the glacé cherries out.)
  • Otherwise, preparation waits until Christmas Eve: present wrapping and bringing in (and decorating) the tree (which lives in the garden), and setting up the crib, and so on. (The Wise Men then advance from the far side of the tableau to the stable over the course of the twelve days.) We listen to the King's Carol Service because my father, bizarrely, insists; my mother staples the Christmas cards to lengths of ribbon and hangs them from the walls; we get out the Strohsterne etc.

... and then we are into The Day Itself, which involves Church and arguments and I am kiiiiiind of intending to run back to London to spend the day with a bunch of heathens this year before heading back on Boxing Day.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(By which I mean: I own more button-up shirts than I do clothes hangers. I tend to wear button-up shirts to work if I have anything resembling a healthy amount of grip, so when I am making it to work regularly in clothes that aren't the ones I slept in, this isn't an issue - enough shirts are in the wash that I've always got a couple of spare hangers in the wardrobe. Currently I have two shirts sat in the bottom of the hanging-section of wardrobe, because insufficient hangers. I think I am probably going to ask my GP to a bloods workup checking - among other things - vitD levels, because I'm already at max dose of antidepressant and on a daily vitB supplement, and ruling out other easy fixes seems like a plan, sigh.)

In addition to crossing the housework items off my list (not therein discussed: emptied green bin, moved lots of things through to recycling, etc) and somehow managing to get all my chemistry done in an approximate 9-5 (... 8.30am to 5.15, okay), I have finished up responding to poem prompts:
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
The point of language is to communicate; if communication's been achieved, everything else is window-dressing and point-scoring. Who defines "accuracy" and "what (forms of) nuance matter)s(" is a case of privilege. Rich white folk not caring to understand Englishes (written or spoken) other than "Standard English" also means that communication loses accuracy and nuance, but oddly rich white folk (of which I am one!) don't seem, by and large, to be as worried about that. Taking the time to understand multiple Englishes (or multiple forms of any language) doesn't impoverish us - it makes our engagement with language richer.

See, e.g., linguistics blog Languagehat on the topic; I feel I should clarify that I'm Cambridge-educated and upper-middle class and I speak RP - but English is my second language and I speak a really weird hybrid of dialects in my first language, that combines the "standard" form of the language as legislated in the largest country in which it's spoken with forms of dialect that were definitely spoken in one very specific geographic area in the 1950s, but might well not have been since then. In my first language, spelling things the way I do is absolutely a political statement and will be interpreted as such, even though what it is in practice is "that's how my grandmother taught me to write". Just because the politicisation of Standard English is largely invisible to people for whom it is their first or primary language doesn't mean that the choice to use it (never mind attempts to enforce it) aren't political.

(Questions about the specifics I'm referring to re German etc welcome from you lot!)
kaberett: curled decorative end of curtain rail casts a heart-shaped shadow on a wall (heartfruit)
If the highest calling is utility
then show me I am useful
by using me.

Make of me a book,
vellum of my skin,
a vessel for your stories and your selves.

(art is good if it arises from necessity
ein Kunstwerk ist gut, wenn es aus Notwendigkeit entstand
I am good if I am necessary--
or at least I am sufficient)

(fill me with your breath your hope
your need
your dreams of being as sufficient
as beautiful as necessary as all
that we must be)

(o please gift me belief)
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
From my mum, just now:
Grausi used to call gooseberries 'ogrosln'. I'm working on a Slavic etymological dictionary at the moent and on the very first page I've spotted something interesting 'Stachelbeere' leapt out at me and then I looked at the Slavic words agrestu etc.:
It gives: medieval latin 'agresta', modern German Austrian 'agras' (this in 1886), Hungarian egres, Slovenian agres. FUN!

Now back to finding out whether this publication ever had such a thing as
a title page or preface/list of abbreviations. This copy doesn't!
("Grausi" is my maternal great-grandmother.)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Item the first: I turned Rilke's Briefe an einen jungen Dichter into an ebook. Here's the epub; if you'd like other formats let me know, because I can trivially do conversions (with calibre) and upload. (There's a free translation into English as HTML; if you want that ebooked too, get the translator's permission and let me know and I can do that for you.) A favour request: Rilke's letters aren't up on Gutenberg, hence making the conversion myself. I'd offer my ebook to them but, er, they appear to require signing up to a forum to go "here I made you a thing", and I absolutely cannot face that, so if any of you are already involved with them, I'd appreciate it if you'd pass this on? (And, you know, if they wanted to compile it into a volume with the rest of his letters, that'd be nice too, but I'm not going to bother doing that til I've decided whether I get enough value out of this set for it to be worth it.)

Item the second: I've taken a small pile of not-terribly-good photos of entertaining/otherwise pleasing bits and bobs in my area. (I am... getting used to my point-and-shoot. The last one I owned took 35mm film, didn't have any ability to zoom, and I haven't used it in, er, A Very Long Time.) Seven photos below the cut. )
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Tonight: pasta (tagiatelle?) with lightly sauteed courgette strips + lemon zest&juice + cheese of some description. Also salad.

In The Future )


Mar. 31st, 2014 10:15 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Via Captain Awkward, an essay on essays; for myself, I wish to preserve:
In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke writes that “a work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity.”

This makes me (1) wish to read Letters to a Young Poet (ah, super, except what the fuck people still use iframes?!) and (2) have a lot of my ongoing feelings about the poetry I write because I can't but write it, versus the poetry I write as practice (and as performative), which in turn leads into (3) my current attempts to articulate the ways in which I learn in public performatively, and how much I admire people who pull it off without the self-consciousness I don't seem to be able to help but drag with me.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Potatoes boiling in milk with black pepper, nutmeg, and bay from my mother's tree; the burnt-dust smell you get off Kenwood mixer motors; yeast beginning to do its thing in the bread; and Dundee cake finishing up in the oven.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
Give me, please, the strike that shatters
statt die Gefährdung des Giftes:
poison creeping, slow and steady,
erodes, corrodes, til nothing's left.
Shards can be rebuilt, with patience,
steady hands, and gold or glue:
crafted into strength and beauty;
reconstituted; made anew.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
This delicate sugar-spun skeleton-
leaf butterfly-wing trembling
delights and comforts and confuses,
all at once. (There is no hopelessness
in loving you. Precision, yes, and care,
finesse, but not -- never -- despair.)

Over and over, I find myself
gloriously stumbling, again afresh anew,
on ways to say:
I love you.

Fourteen jars of Apfelmuss.
Your public key. My breath
against your skin, or twisting
through my tongues. My words.
My whole. My Sinn.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
+ my mother is home from a week hiking - I'd been really missing her - and she very nearly the first thing she did after getting in the door was go rummaging through her backpack to show me the rocks she'd brought back. And damn does she have good taste - in addition to a bunch of really pretty stuff, there were three that wouldn't be out of place in the reference specimens collection for second-years in my old department. (One garnet-bearing amphibolite - seriously, the whole bloody matrix was dark amphibole needles; one specimen of a unit boundary between calcareous deposits + mudstone, all heavily metamorphosed; and one staggeringly beautiful hand specimen-scale example of garnet pressure shadows - the garnet's fairly well developed, about two inches diameter, hosted in Glimmerschiefer [sorry, I've forgotten the English, it's one up from shale], with astonishing green chlorite in the pressure shadow to either side. I cannot even. Garnet pressure shadows happen because they're Really Bloody Hard and very difficult to deform, so you get little protected areas either side where the squooshier minerals have wrapped around 'em.)

+ my baby brother ran his half-marathon and finished in - I think I remember correctly - 1h52. Between them, they've raised very nearly £13.5k for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (and at least £250 of that has come in since they finished!). One of the team came in at 1h21, 19th (out of over 500 people entered)! This resulted in me giving him a foot massage at the dinner table, after dessert - he started out Deeply Sceptical, but ended up asking me to explain how I'd done it so that he could carry on with it himself...! (I get a lot out of physical contact, within certain parameters - hurrah autism, all else aside - and being able to make people feel better is a Really Big Deal to me, in this as in cooking.)

+ Papa - my maternal grandfather - phoned up specifically to ask if I knew about the big geological news this week, and to offer me the newspaper clipping on the topic. I jumped at the chance, and also at his offer to read the article to me - because he thought of me, and he phoned me, and he loves me for all that our last phone conversation degenerated into a monologue about The Awful Queers (no, I'm not out to him), and - I hadn't actually read any of the details yet, and the fact that I'd had the paper open in tabs since it went around the facebook geologists yesterday is really neither here nor there compared to the fact that he loves me. We've seventy years and a lot of life experiences and a good deal of politics between us, and yet-- and yet.

This got long. This is good. )


kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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