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.

Alone in love

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:33 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“I used to say that the only thing better than being alone was to be seriously in love.”

—Jack Gilbert, The Paris Review, Fall/Winter 2005, No. 175

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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.

Little big things

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:55 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Little things are big.”

—Yogi Berra, What Time Is It? You Mean Now? by Yogi Berra and Dave Kaplan

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

(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!

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.

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...

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:23 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] copperwise and [personal profile] noveldevice!

Down Portalville Way – Vacation

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:16 am
pjthompson: (bigfoot)
[personal profile] pjthompson

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-17)
  2. Portalville has been on summer vacation. Yep, that’s right, the whole danged town. We needed a break from our day-to-day reality.
  3. So we hired us a whole mess of buses and drove them through the portal after which Portalville is named.
  4. We came out in another plain of existence, somewhere folks could all agree about things and where no one felt better than anyone else.
  5. Clearly, not any place on this earth.
  6. Now, Portalville is a pretty friendly place under normal circumstances and we mostly get along with each other right nice.
  7. But sometimes it all gets a bit much, especially when outside agitators come to town and demand we take sides in their outside arguments.
  8. It gets wearying, and if you add into that the tendency of most folks in town towards summer seasonal affective disorder…
  9. Well, like I said, time for a break. So, Mayor Begay ordered up those buses. We had the dire wolves manning the barricades on Route 40,
  10. let the Rock tribe seal up the passes through the Imogen Mountains, and told Dennis the Toll Troll to shut down the Wynotte Bridge—
  11. although the mayor told him he still wasn’t allowed to eat anyone who tried to cross. We sure hope he kept his word there.
  12. With the town sealed off from the world and our minds at ease about invasion, we took to the portal and had us a fine time.
  13. ‘Course, vacation always has to end sometime. The kids had to get back to school, the maintenance crews had to get back to work.
  14. And running away from problems never does any good in the long run. Not while you’re a living, breathing human being.
  15. Ain’t none of us dead yet, and while you’re drawing air into your lungs you need to be part of the world. Or you ain’t really living.
  16. So yep, we’re back. We’re still breathing. For now, anyway. All I can truly say for sure is that we’re back for today.
  17. But then, today is all you ever have, ain’t it?

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Dancing sense

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:55 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Common sense and a sense of humour are the same things, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing.”

—Clive James, “Exploring the Medium,” The Observer, 4 February 1979

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Friday five or so

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:06 pm
oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
[personal profile] oursin

Should probably say that my part of London is pretty distant from Parson's Green.

***

Dept of Fortuity: when you see news of a book that you would be really interested in reading, at eye-watering academic press prices, even for the ebook: and in a day or so having a request from the very same press to referee a book proposal for them, in return for BOOKS to a value that would cover this and a bit more.

***

Dept of O tempora o mores: The Tatler guide to threesomes. If Sir Charles Dilke did do as alleged during a divorce trial, and suggest a 3some with a lady and her maid, perhaps had he read this he would not have got into the hot water he did.

***

Dept of, is this a portent? Rare white giraffes sighted in Kenya conservation area. Are there local tales of the dire consequences of hunting a white giraffe? In this video clip the mamma has a rather 'I'm ready for my close-up now Mr de Mille' expression.

***

Dept of, is this not the return of the prefab: Home sweet micro home: sleep-testing a pod for the homeless.

***

Dept of, so out of touch he's floating in the void: Jacob Rees-Mogg seems to think that the poor are put into the world in order to allow people to acquire merit through charitable activity. O that Simon Raven were around to excoriate him as a fictional character as he did his father.

(no subject)

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:10 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] desert_dragon!

All this scratching is making me itch

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:20 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.”

—David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Did she even like his piano-playing?

Sep. 14th, 2017 05:38 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

I was mystified, and going 'what's your motivation here, luvvie?' by that guy who said he was playing the piano in a Bristol park to win back his ex and would not stop until he had.

Which seemed to me, along a spectrum from 'aw, romantic gesture' to 'equivalent of holding breath until turns blue', a lot closer to the latter.

Do we not think when he said

"The social media reaction turned it very quickly into something that would cause the one person I didn’t want to hurt embarrassment and pain.
"That was the last thing in the world I had wanted to happen, so I left.”
that that person was himself and not 'Rapunzel' (TWFU)?

And, while there is a folkloric tradition of women setting their suitors arduous tasks - as it might be, go to the Mountains of the Moon and bring me back a phoenix feather, and not just any manky feather, a nice large pinion in mint condition' - do we not wonder, my dearios, whether that was to get them out from under their feet and hanging about in stalkery fashion? (Obvs, is different when it is possessive father setting ordeal.)

I see I remarked some while since about the poem The Glove, that fair Cunegonde was probably hoping the tigers would eat Sir Delorges - but at least she did get him off her back.

I was also reminded of a couple of advice-column things I read somewhere, sometime: one of which was a woman complaining that her husband was always Making Things about the house and their friends would comment and be envious; but that she never got any kudos for the non-performative things she did in the household and would have been grateful for some less showy manifestations of activity on his part.

The other one was similarly about a guy who showed his devotion through DIY, rather than in a more usual and carnal fashion, and she would have preferred a spot of Ye Conjugales.

I suppose this may relate to that trope of 'men have no idea what presents to buy for their wives' and therefore buy things that are trite, inappropriate and unwanted.

This article that I just encountered seems apposite:

I remember, when I was breaking up with one of my exes years ago, he listed all the ways I made his life better when trying to convince me not to go. And I asked him, “but how do you think you make my life better?” and he was taken aback. “I don’t know,” he said. He’d never thought about it.

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] ann1962 and [personal profile] brewsternorth!

Planet of the Five Rings

Sep. 13th, 2017 02:20 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

New story out today! Nature Futures is giving you Planet of the Five Rings. This was a Christmas present to my father, who is a deeply serious person, so you know that it will be a grim and somber read. If that’s not enough, there’s a story behind the story blog post where you can read more about it. Hope you enjoy!

Wise

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:55 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“There is absolutely zero correlation between intelligence and wisdom.”

—Junot Diaz, interview, National Public Radio, September 11, 2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Citadel of Weeping Pearls, which is indeed very good, just required a little more intellectual energy (and possibly, more concentrated reading time) than available to me during and in the aftermath of an academic conference.

Also finished Mitchison's Ghosts, which was very good, got I thought at Mitchison's own rather Schrodinger position on the supernatural. (Is there, has there been, a book to be written on the literary legacy of Margaret Murray's - exploded but in their day highly influential - theories about witchcraft and The Old Religion? I seem to have seen echoes of this, and Graves' White Goddess, over a range of writers and genres.)

Aliette de Bodard, Ships in Exile: Stories of Xuya - three novellas situated in de Bodard's longer future history, very good, just possibly needing a bit more context, but hey, this was a giveaway, wottahell.

Daphne du Maurier, My Cousin Rachel (1951) - spotted in booksale, and have been wanting to read since seeing the movie as is decades since I first read it. Confirmed that there is a honking great, plot-undermining, misunderstanding of testamentary law (I think there were ways this could have been got round in the narrative, but, really, a will made ten years previously would be voided by marriage. Even the lawyer does not remark on this). Also, up codfish and at 'em for Philip Ashley, no? (I will concede that the only du Maurier I have actually reread multiple times is Frenchman's Creek, it is absolutely a go-to work when convalescing from flu.)

Nicholas Blake, There's Trouble Brewing (1937). I was well pissed off when Georgina, having featured in the first few pages, is despatched to do some strenuous outdoor activity in the wilds of Scotland while Nigel Strangeways goes to, as he thinks, give a talk to a provincial literary society and hijinx nefarious deeds ensue. Quite good, i.e. readable, up to the final pages where we have a detailed reconstruction of how the crime must have been done (we have already come to, surprise whodunnit twist).

Sarah Gailey, Taste of Marrow (2017). Enjoyable.

Oh yes, and finally dragged myself through to the end of the book I was reading for review: very dry.

On the go

(I see that I have things listed as 'currently reading' on GoodReads that I should either mark gave up or on hiatus.)

Dorothy Heydt, The Witch of Syracuse (2017, but actually collecting together short stories published in anthologies during the 80s and 90s: free to download). Enjoying these: partly for the flashback to those days when there seemed more of this sort of thing around - women protags with agency but not necessarily ass-kicking ninjas.

Up next

I'm currently in a havering mood on various things as to whether I read them now or save them up for travel purposes.

Water music

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:46 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

—Berthold Auerbach, On the Heights (tr. Fanny Elizabeth Bunnett)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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