oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.

Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.

Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.

Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.

Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.

And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.

aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Chapter 32: Cynara
by Lyn Thorne-Alder


Sunday, December 10, 2000

“I need to go to the library for a couple hours.  I’ll be home by bedtime.”  Cynara held up her bookbag by way of illustration.  “Homework.”

“All right.”  Dysmas had the lazy, sated look he had after he’d fed.  “Be careful.”

“I always am.”  

She slipped out the door before he could give her any more orders that pulled and tugged at her mind like imperfect stitches, leaving little rows of discomfort she’d re-position herself to avoid.  She left before she had to look at Leo, or at Eriko, and remember to hide everything she was feeling.  

read on...

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

Poem of the week

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:09 am
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 Sometimes a poem is just so bad that it is absolutely wonderful.

This is other half's favourite McGonagall poem :o)



The Funeral of the German Emperor

YE sons of Germany, your noble Emperor William now is dead.
Who oft great armies to battle hath led;
He was a man beloved by his subjects all,
Because he never tried them to enthral.

The people of Germany have cause now to mourn,
The loss of their hero, who to them will ne’er return;
But his soul I hope to Heaven has fled away,
To the realms of endless bliss for ever and aye.

He was much respected throughout Europe by the high and the low,
And all over Germany people’s hearts are full of woe;
For in the battlefield he was a hero bold,
Nevertheless, a lover of peace, to his credit be it told.

’Twas in the year of 1888, and on March the 16th day,
That the peaceful William’s remains were conveyed away
To the royal mausoleum of Charlottenburg, their last resting-place,
The God-fearing man that never did his country disgrace.

The funeral service was conducted in the cathedral by the court chaplain, Dr. Kogel,
Which touched the hearts of his hearers, as from his lips it fell,
And in conclusion he recited the Lord’s Prayer
In the presence of kings, princes, dukes, and counts assembled there.

And at the end of the service the infantry outside fired volley after volley,
While the people inside the cathedral felt melancholy,
As the sound of the musketry smote upon the ear,
In honour of the illustrous William. whom they loved most dear.

Then there was a solemn pause as the kings and princes took their places,
Whilst the hot tears are trickling down their faces,
And the mourners from shedding tears couldn’t refrain;
And in respect of the good man, above the gateway glared a bituminous flame.

Then the coffin was placed on the funeral car,
By the kings and princes that came from afar;
And the Crown Prince William heads the procession alone,
While behind him are the four heirs-apparent to the throne.

Then followed the three Kings of Saxony, and the King of the Belgians also,
Together with the Prince of Wales, with their hearts full of woe,
Besides the Prince of Naples and Prince Rudolph of Austria were there,
Also the Czarevitch, and other princes in their order I do declare.

And as the procession passes the palace the blinds are drawn completely,
And every house is half hidden with the sable drapery;
And along the line of march expansive arches were erected,
While the spectators standing by seemed very dejected.

And through the Central Avenue, to make the decorations complete,
There were pedestals erected, rising fourteen to fifteen feet,
And at the foot and top of each pedestal were hung decorations of green bay,
Also beautiful wreaths and evergreen festoons all in grand array.

And there were torches fastened on pieces of wood stuck in the ground;
And as the people gazed on the weird-like scene, their silence was profound;
And the shopkeepers closed their shops, and hotel-keepers closed in the doorways,
And with torchlight and gaslight, Berlin for once was all ablaze.

The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin,
To decorate with crape the beautiful city of Berlin;
Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crape,
Because few buildings crape decoration did escape.

First in the procession was the Emperor’s bodyguard,
And his great love for them nothing could it retard;
Then followed a squadron of the hussars with their band,
Playing “Jesus, Thou my Comfort,” most solemn and grand.

And to see the procession passing the sightseers tried their best,
Especially when the cavalry hove in sight, riding four abreast;
Men and officers with their swords drawn, a magnificent sight to see
In the dim sun’s rays, their burnished swords glinting dimly.

Then followed the footguards with slow and solemn tread,
Playing the “Dead March in Saul,” most appropriate for the dead;
And behind them followed the artillery, with four guns abreast,
Also the ministers and court officials dressed in their best.

The whole distance to the grave was covered over with laurel and bay,
So that the body should be borne along smoothly all the way;
And the thousands of banners in the procession were beautiful to view,
Because they were composed of cream-coloured silk and light blue.

There were thousands of thousands of men and women gathered there,
And standing ankle deep in snow, and seemingly didn’t care
So as they got a glimpse of the funeral car,
Especially the poor souls that came from afar.

And when the funeral car appeared there was a general hush,
And the spectators in their anxiety to see began to crush;
And when they saw the funeral car by the Emperor’s charger led,
Every hat and cap was lifted reverently from off each head.

And as the procession moved on to the royal mausoleum,
The spectators remained bareheaded and seemingly quite dumb;
And as the coffin was borne into its last resting-place,
Sorrow seemed depicted in each one’s face.

And after the burial service the mourners took a last farewell
Of the noble-hearted William they loved so well;
Then rich and poor dispersed quietly that were assembled there,
While two batteries of field-guns fired a salute which did rend the air
In honour of the immortal hero they loved so dear,
The founder of the Fatherland Germany, that he did revere.












very merry

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:15 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I worked hard but well today. After work. I walked in Glendover Park. I read the sad news that Senator John McCain contracted brain cancer. I read someone's semi-snarky tweet about his condition. I nearly responded with my disapproval, but refrained. I wish people had a little more heart sometimes.  I learned a better new thing this week--an old friend's cancer went into remission. I re-watched the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie on television.  I listened to the "Ask Noah" podcast. I read a journal entry from Christmas Eve 2014.  I thought yesterday how much I love Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Recuerdo".


breakfast: instant oatmeal
lunch: BBQ chicken breast, green beans and a roll
dinner: baked salmon, roast potatoes, and green beans

aldersprig: (Side Quest)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Eight: A Kiss

Raizel took breakfast in the inn’s bar the next morning, feeling well-rested, content, and ready to face the rest of her journey.  Perhaps she’d even hire a coach.

The barmaid leaned over the table while she was refilling Raizel’s mug.  “There are opportunities around here, you know, for someone as clever as Esterzon Gorenz says you might be.  And if you really destroyed that Black Missive he’s been going on about for years-”

Something about the barmaid, or maybe something about the pixie dust still brushed across Raizel’s eyelashes, was a little strange.  She looked closer - closer at the clever decolletage, that looked lower-cut and more dangerous than it was - and realized she could see a spark of divinity hiding in the woman’s chest.

Until then, she hadn’t know she could see such things.  Perhaps it was just the dust.

“I destroyed the Missive and the, ah, the multi-hued falcon, ma’am.”

read on…

Wednesday looks about to rain

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:07 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Melisande Byrd His Lordship Takes a Bride: Regency Menage Romance (2015), very short, did what it says on the tin, pretty low stakes, even the nasty suitor who molests the female protag in a carriage (the Regency version of Not Safe In Taxis) just disappears. The style was not egregiously anachronistic (apart from one or two American spellings) but a bit bland.

Janet Malcolm, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers (2013) - charity shop find. Some of the essays were of more interest to me than others, but all very well-written.

On the go

Matt Houlbrook, Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (2016). I depose that somebody whose scams got rumbled and who was banged up in various institutions for his crimes is not exactly trickster royalty. He then went allegedly straight and got into journalism, partly writing up the inside stories of the crime world, but these are very much complicated by the author as to their authenticity and did he actually write them. While he was more of a career criminal than the opportunistic upperclass louts in the McLaren book mentioned last week, he did have claims to gentility, but again, so not Raffles The Amateur Cracksman.

I'm currently a bit bogged down in it, which may be a reflection of the author's own experiences in trying to write about somebody who lived by lying, had numerous false identities, etc etc (which are very much foregrounded).

Simon R Green, Moonbreaker (2017) - came out this week, I succumbed.

Also started one of the books for review.

Up next

There's a new Catherine Fox out tomorrow (allegedly)...

sippin' cuervo with no chaser

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016): usually I have trouble finding a title for a book post. This time, three came to mind: the one I've used, "the tactics of mistake," and "experimental procedures." Anyway. Kel Cheris begins as captain of a unit that gains strength and combat benefits from keeping rigorously in formation. After she attempts to solve a losing scenario creatively---and heretically---she's disgraced, but a bit more creative thinking makes her abruptly into a brevet general, the host-body to a dead mass murderer, Shuos Jedao. (Consider that many heads of units in wartime are mass murderers; though it isn't glorified here, it is ...quite present.) Kel command wants Cheris to subdue a heretical outbreak and retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles. Sort of. Well, the hexarchate, of which the Kel are one-sixth, doesn't like heretics because it messes with their calendar, but everyone (except Cheris, at first) is playing an extremely long game. Pass the metaphorical popcorn.
a bit more--not destructively spoilery (I think one cannot discuss this book at all without being *slightly* spoilery) )

As for this subject line, you know, don't you?

If you'd prefer an actualfax review to my untidy noodlings, try James Nicoll's, and if you don't mind implied spoilers for how Gambit wraps, here's his review of book two.

non-fearsome but feared

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:26 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I like work now. It's a bit busy. After work I walked on the Celebration Trail in Allen. When I walked in the underpass beneath Angel Parkway, a small non-poisonous snake crawled into the shade. I worried that the little snake would be harmed by a panicked hiker, runner or bicyclist. I steeled myself for the worst. People get so carried away about snakes.

When I walked back, I got passed by a dad and daughter on their bicycles (Dad had a son in a pull cart) rode. The daughter, perhaps  5 or 6, said "this will take forever, daddy!". He tried to show her on a map on his phone that they had nearly finished the ride. She looked at the map but was unimpressed.

When I got back to the pedestrian underpass the snake was in good and unobtrusive shape.  But the little girl was afraid. The Dad pointed out out it was only a rat snake. They bicycled by the snake without incident. But the little girl cried once she had ridden past. 

breakfast: brown rice crisp cereal
lunch: turkey sandwich, baked chips, vegetable soup
dinner: turkey sandwiches on sandwich slims with chips

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

Desmond's Climb - Collar Rapport?

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:47 am
aldersprig: (lock and key)
[personal profile] aldersprig
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Portals


Kayay appeared as they were leaving Portals and heading for their next class. There was a tall, broad, rad-uniformed student on either side of Kayay, making Kayay look very small and very pitiful indeed.
Desmond knew anything he said would be taken wrong, but Jefshan and Wesley handled it, stepping forward and making fussing noises over Kayay, completely ignoring the goons of Physical Team that were clearly there to escort Kayay.

Once they were gone, possibly believing that the rest of Kayay’s dorm-mates would stop any future escape attempts, Kayay’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I found something.”

Desmond looked at Kayay and from there to the rest of their group. It was Jefshan that asked, carefully, “So… ‘something’? Like, an exit, a dragon, and room full of collars?”

“I found another stairway,” Kayay hissed. “LIke the first one. It was…”
Read more... )

Want More?
oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

What if all students spent a year working the land before university?

How about, not?

Do we not get the impression that he has a very halcyon vision of what working on the land might involve? I suspect that there are not enough lovely organic farms practising biodynamic agricultural methods to take up anything like the numbers of intending students there are each year and a lot of them would end up working in agribusiness enterprises (which I suppose might be a salutory awakening, or not).

Also, would not much of the work be seasonal? What would they do the rest of the time?

Might there not be objections from the local communities?

I also think of the lack of amenities in many rural parts, e.g. no or inadequate public transport: in the evenings, not in the least worn-out from hours of back-breaking toil for poverty wages, maybe they'll gather round and sing folk songs and dance traditional folk dances and practice folk crafts?

And actually, I don't think this is true:

We also know that without contact with nature we will not form an attachment, we will not learn to love it.

See the rise of the notion of the healing powers of nature and the pastoral way of life in Britain as the society became increasingly urbanised, and therefore romanticised the supposedly more simple and harmonious existence of country life.

I have a feeling that people who live close to nature know exactly how dreadful nature can be. Tetanus! Anthrax! entirely natural.

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] sciarra!

busy bee

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:24 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I woke up early and began working. After a time, I got ready and drove to work, after reading some pages of a novel.  I watched American Kestrels in Timber Nature Preserve at lunch.

I walked after work in Bob Woodruff Park.  At home, I had to work some more.  Now I am watching Star Trek: Voyager.

Breakfast: toasted o's cereal and skim milk
Lunch: turkey sandwich and baked BBQ chips
Dinner: two wonderful chicken tacos

And more book-related...

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:43 pm
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

The end: Yorkshire Dales 'bookseller from hell' quits his shop

Doesn't say how long this charmer has been running a business, if you can call it that, but what I should have liked to have seen would have been a face-off between him and Driff Field, author of successive editions (last in 1995) of the idiosyncratic Driff's Guide to All The Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in Britain (these are probably still worth reading if you ever come across copies, even though the information on actual bookshops is presumably waaaay out of date):

Hugely successful for its wit and wide coverage of the field, the guide was nonetheless chaotic, idiosyncratic and often sarcastic, with entries such as: "the b[oo]ks are slowly transforming themselves back into rags"; "judging by body temp, shop seems to have expired in 1930"; "I could smell a bargain, pity was I had a cold that day"; "owner has been unwell recently with bad back (possibly caused by turning on the customers once too often)".
or at least how Driff would have written him up.

oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

Yet another paean to the 'return' of the physical book and the allure of the bookshelves: My bookshelf says who I am – and a Kindle cannot do that.

Well, that depends whether your bookshelves do say who you are - mine, I depose, say 'I am large, I contain multitudes' - and whether you want this revealed to any casual observer - though I daresay anyone wishing to decode [personal profile] oursin from her bookshelves would have to be in and out of several rooms and up and down staircases.

(Also, of course, we may not have physical shelves to browse but we have our virtual ones, no?)

Today’s unlimited information makes the boundedness of bookcases profoundly comforting. My inner librarian is also soothed by arranging books. When my young children go to bed and I’m confronted by their daunting mess, my favourite activity is tidying their bookcase.
*looks around at piles on floor* And not even the excuse of having small children.

Me, myself, today, I was actually doing something that might be considered my inner archivist at work - going through what I cannot even with any accuracy describe as my files, to bring some order into various matters of life admin, accumulated over a considerable period. The cobblers' children...

aldersprig: (AylaWorried)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Chapter 31: Abednego
by Lyn Thorne-Alder


Friday, December 8, 2000

“I keep saying that wasn’t me, it wasn’t him!  It’s not how these things work!” Rafe had been arguing with Joff on and off since the - the thing.  The demon, Abednego called it in his mind, even though he’d been through enough history classes here to know that demon was usually another word for faerie.  Close enough, in his estimation.

“Look, it might not have been you, but - things have to change, Rafe.  What are you doing to the kid?”

No, not this again.  The last time they’d had this argument, the demon had come.  

read on...
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