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: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)


Mar. 25th, 2017 10:03 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
  1. The English sofa is a loan from Turkish. The Turkish for the English sofa, however, is kanape, as a loan from the French canapé, which has the original meaning of English sofa and, by figurative extension, the meaning of English canapé, because you've got a little piece of bread or pastry or something that looks like a sofa with the topping perched on top of it. ([personal profile] sebastienne conjectured this etymology when I was grumbling about the Turkish last week; they were surprised and delighted to be correct.)
  2. Fox/vixen is the solitary surviving example in modern English of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in: Fuchs/Füchsin.
  3. The English/French foyer is rendered, in Swedish orthography, foajé. It is pronounced the way one might reasonably expect foyer to be pronounced. See also: restaurang.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Words are the piecemeal sacrifice I make
upon the altar of humanity:
I'm half-convinced that if I merely take
sufficient care in choosing them, there'll be
some minor miracle. I'll burst awake
from dreaming myself lost and, lossless, free.
This could be all. What else is there to say?
Well, everything, of course -- unless I mean
to halt. A truth: I've learned the only way
to changelessness is death; to be unseen,
ignored, unmade. Fear craves silent decay
of self. Of hope. Of all we might have been.
So we'll know loneliness; we will know grief.
Now: here begins the hard work of belief.
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
First and always: Cambridge. Cambridge, which I've seen through enough different eyes -- town and gown, resident and caretaker, political and utterly independent of any given inhabitants -- Cambridge, which had me for two decades and change, and has me still. My parental home is a 1960s newbuild semi in Arbury; my college contains an archway that predates its foundation in 1350, that's had chunks carved out of the limestone by bicycle pedals over the last hundred-odd years. I've laughed, fondly and otherwise, at the new undergraduates with their shiny new college scarves and no idea how to cycle; I've dodged punt touts and helped my baby brother pass his hiring test to be a punt chauffeur; I've rummaged through the stacks in the University Library and put up and repainted street-signs. I know where the permanent graffiti is and I remember some that's been and gone; I've delivered leaflets at 6am on election morning and I've observed the counting of votes and I've walked across town at four in the morning from the Guildhall (where the outcome was known) to a common room (where people were glued to the news); I've walked across town at two in the morning (Homerton to Trinity Hall) very solemn and slightly wobbly with a viola; I've leaned my forehead against stone and felt where it's come from and been reassured by its solid indifferent presence; I've punted to Grantchester and back and eaten strawberries in the meadows in the sunshine. I've lost and found and found and lost religion and confidence and friends and trust and love. Cambridge is mine, or I am Cambridge's, and so it shall be forever, amen.

Zürich was next. I spent a summer soaking up sunshine, glancing up from my commuter paper to see the Alps crowned with glaciers as we crossed the river, looking out the window on my way to tearing down the stairs from the eighth floor to see the turtles and the fish in the pond way below. There are fields opposite the Spital Limattal -- apple orchards up the hill, but immediately opposite - by the bus stop - pick-your-own flowers and an honesty box. I found cafes and restaurants and friends and I learned a whole new language and I lived by myself absent a support network for the first time, and I explored and I fell in love with museums and was baffled by art and I swam in the lake and learned to like blue cheese on a Roman customs point in the rain overlooking a river with P. I miss pear bread most of all.

I didn't learn how to love LA. Mostly I got as far as baffled affection: for the sky that only ever got as dark as a glowing orange-purple, that turned opaque blanket of smog when you drove high enough into the mountains to see the stars, that left my lungs a wreck for six months; the fantastic street art and terrible public transport; the storm drains and dry river; the jacarandas and the humming birds. My experience of LA is less that, more a haze of heat & food & Caltech campus, with a dream-sequence weekend-long road trip up to the Bay Area somewhere in the middle.

And, of course, London. London, and its river-that-is-a-dragon. I would (as I thought) have hated moving here when I was 18; now I find myself delighting in how joyfully small it makes me, in exactly the same way I am small when I look at the stars or (closer to home) the Moon. I don't belong here but the river-dragon will let me stay a while, and so for now I will fling myself into proms and parks and concerts and gigs and museums and the poetry library; I will stand breathless with delight on the bridge at Embankment or at St Paul's; I will be a mirror for this city and the city shall be a mirror for me, and I will learn more about how people work and more about how I work and I will adore its trees and mysterious statuary and, most of all, I will learn.

(Honourable mentions go to Oxford and to Edinburgh, neither of which I understand, in part because of how intensely my experiences of them are bound up with how I relate to the people I love who relate to these cities; to my patchwork understanding of Heidelberg, all castle and computational linguistics and music and cheap beer by the river; to Rome; and to Paris, and in particular the sunrise walk between Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord, and a toast to fifth-floor balconies and wine, and croissants by the Seine at dawn.)
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
... on checking the work calendar to determine whether you can manage an overnight run on a Friday, you establish that in fact you can because nobody has the machine booked on the Saturday or Sunday and consequently you start seriously considering blowing off (1) a friend's housewarming and (2) your mum's birthday, because data.

(Relatedly: dear Wednesday!Alex, thank you heaps for making an enormous vat of leek-and-potato soup to be eaten straight from the fridge. Love, today!Alex, who has eaten about three portions of the stuff.)
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
If you've got a physical address for me with a postcode that begins CB2, it is now out of date.

I'm probably not going to update my contact details post (opt-in filter, linked from sticky post in DW, LMK if you'd like filter access) until I've got a new "permanent" address. Please let me know if you need an interim address; please also let me know if I've given you my address in a poll, so I can update it.



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

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