Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 02:13 pm
I went running this morning! And Monday! And Saturday! Okay, that's not very many times yet, but it's twice more than I usually manage when I decide that I'm going to take up running, so my hopes are up. This morning I did the first episode of Zombies! Run!, which was pretty good fun, and I think will make it easier to keep it going. I've also ordered some gloves and warmer running gear, as it's been bloody cold when I first get started, and it's probably going to get a fair bit colder before the spring.

I think I could probably also do with getting some new trainers, as the ones I have now are about seven years old, and were pretty cheap and cheerful back then, but that strikes me as something that requires a bit more thought than gloves and leggings. People who run - any pointers on where I should get them, anything I should look out for, and how much should I be expecting to spend? FWIW, I expect to be running about 2-3 times/week, and usually no more than about 5km. Maybe with the occasional 10k run on weekends once I'm a lot fitter than I am now.

Also, in between vignettes about zombies I have music playing, and am really really bad/lazy about picking songs, so if anyone has any good exercise Spotify playlists to share/recommend, that would be fab.
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 08:12 am
Humuhumu, the bloke and I are at the table, finishing off breakfast. Humuhumu slips off to the sitting room. Suspicious noises are heard.

Me: "Baby, what are you doing?"
More noises
Bloke: "Pops, on a scale of one to ten, how naughty are you being?"
Brief silence
Humuhumu: "Six!"


Phone conversation, early morning of the second of my work days in London.

Me: "Oh, you're off early!"
Bloke: "Of course. We run a tighter ship when the Mama is away."
Me: "Oh really. What did you two have for breakfast this morning?"
Bloke: "....crumpets and mince pies."
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 09:51 pm
They stuck real-time translators into fMRI machines to try to figure out how they can do such a complex task. They found out a little but not as much as they hoped. Meanwhile, translators talk about some of the more difficult aspects of the job.
Word order is a particular problem in fish meetings, which Miles said she dreads. In a long sentence about a particular variety of fish, and in a language where the noun – the name of the fish – comes towards the end, the interpreter is left guessing about the subject of the sentence until it's completed.

I've heard of most of these words but not all, and I had no idea in some cases that they were considered native to one side of the pond or the other (e.g. "jaywalk" is American, "dodgy" is British).

Kelli Dunham writes brilliantly about Heather McAllister, Brittany Maynard, and assisted suicide

Here is a comic that seems to do a pretty good job of explaining asexual orientation.

Jonah Soolman is a nutritional counseling practitioner who works in the Health at Every Size paradigm. He attended the Cardiometabolic Health Conference, at which various procedures and products aimed at "weight loss" were much discussed. He writes: "Following this paragraph is my list of key moments from the conference. By default, I was going to group them by disease state, but given the circumstances perhaps it is more appropriate to categorize them by the emotional state they created." The headers for the article are "Interesting," "Startling," "Disappointing," "Frustrating," "Horrifying," "Infuriating," and "Made Me Want To Throw Something."

Paintings of migraines by artists who experience them.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 09:22 pm
I've been vaguely trying to learn the ukulele, and I discovered this guy Alistair Wood, a musician and writer who maintains a web site called Ukulele Hunt. Here he performs his beautiful adaptation of Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" for the ukulele.

DapperQ calls itself "GQ for the 'unconventionally masculine.'" This post discusses masculine fashion for people whose bodies don't conform to the tall, thin stereotype of androgyny (which just so happens to match the tall, thin stereotype of every kind of fashion).

Proof that political sensibilities and entertainment can mix with hilarious results: Unused audio commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky for The Fellowship of the Ring DVD. Excerpt:
Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?
Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

By the Racialicious Team: Voices: The Michael Brown protests you didn't see (because the media were too busy showing violent protests instead).

By Janee Woods: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson

A fat guy who is an employee of a Sam's Club in Mexico dances with great enthusiasm in front of a display of stereo equipment (the song is "El Serrucho" by Mr Black).

Yudkowsky does a great job of explaining a way to approach the hateful voices that people sometimes have in their heads. (I call them my brain trolls.)
"when you have a thought, you write it down
like, say
'You are different from the others. You will never know their innocence… and that is why you should hate your own existence. Die. Die. Die.'
then you figure out whether, if your life were a fantasy novel, these words would be spoken by figures wearing black robes, and speaking in a dry, whispering voice, and they are actually withered beings who touched the Stone of Evil
and if so then you don’t listen"
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 01:22 pm
Scene: 8am today, nagging C to get dressed because we are already behind schedule for getting out to school. "Remember Mummy, I have to dress up as someone out of history!"

Argh. Flail. "Robin Hood isn't historical Mummy" (which cheered me). So we went for "wedding suit and top hat, you can be Brunel" except he decided he wanted to be a Victorian magician. So I made a top hat and a wand out of thick black paper and sellotape in about 10 minutes, and he got breakfast and cleaned his teeth and got to school on time. I was only a little late to work.

Charles, in outfit and brandishing his wand, on the stairs
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 10:20 am
Hello all! We've got a full update this week, as we're catching up with various changes to pubs from London Drinker magazine.

Old Tom's Bar, Leadenhall Market, London EC3

The featured article this week is a little dive bar under the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market, namely Old Tom's Bar, EC3V 1LR. They have ales from the Young's range and a short list of food options. Get away from the bustle.

One new article is The Star at Night, a coffee house by day in Soho but at night a gin bar. Many gins! Drink gin! (It's not a candidate for a good photo of the establishment until they finish the Crossrail works though.)

There's a temporary closure to mark for The Railway in West Hampstead, until March next year.

The following pubs have all closed since we last visited:
* The Newton Arms out back of Covent Garden, near Holborn;
* The Old Loyal Britons in Greenwich;
* The Elephant on Fenchurch Street;
* The Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village (though this is due to reopen in 2016);
* The Oakhill in Beckenham;
* Glow Lounge in Clapham;
* The Gate bar on Newington Green; and
* The Florence off Upper Street in Islington.

Finally a few renamings:
* Finch's in Moorgate (was The Master Gunner);
* The Pleasure Boat in Alperton (now The Boat);
* The Express Tavern by Kew Bridge (now The Express Ale and Cider House); and
* The Thatched House by Ravenscourt Park station in Hammersmith (now The Butcher's Hook).
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 04:41 am
No indictment in Ferguson. A speech from the prosecutor that was pretty plainly incitement to riot. A barely comprehensible statement from the president, who looked like he was in shock. Not shocked in the sense of surprise, but in shock in the medical sense: the thousand-yard stare, the bone-deep exhaustion of the body, the mind trying desperately to grapple with trauma.

Or maybe I'm projecting.

The thought of going to a protest is nearly enough to send me into a panic attack. I think I'm carrying a lot of fear around right now, somewhere very deep where I mostly don't see it until I contemplate anything that's even slightly scary and find myself overreacting by orders of magnitude.

(If you feel differently, here's a list of protest events.)

My biggest fear is that nothing will change. There will be no revolution, no sea change, no way to close or cross the chasms in American culture. We will just keep on like this, murders and protests and murders and protests, on forever.

I don't know how to deal with any of this. I've been listening to Brian Eno's remarkably soothing Kite Stories on endless loop because I don't know what else to do for my brain. It kept me from completely flipping out tonight, so that's good.

Beyond figuring out what the hell self-care looks like right now, my plan is to love people who are hurting, to clear space for people who are angry, and to think about how to raise a kid who won't kill anyone else's kids. That seems like the very fucking least I can do.

Dear white friends: if you can, please put some money or time toward actively making any community or space safer for people of color, and for black people in particular. This is on us.

Dear non-white friends: if there's anything I can do to help or support you, please let me know.

Comments off.
Monday, November 24th, 2014 07:48 pm
I don't read any more - and don't write - and I don't even make poems, I haven't since all that nastiness in the Loos years ago. I have painted a little for the last two days, so that's something.

It's all part and parcel of being so exhausted and feeble all the time. But I don't really know myself.

I was reading today, and reached and realised I MISS it. I'm not sure how to restart though.
Monday, November 24th, 2014 12:27 pm
i'd like to write here more so i'm joining the bandwagon and asking for suggestions on what you'd like me to write about. But i don't promise to do one a day - i just don't have the spoons (and to be honest i'm not anticipating getting that many suggestions!)

Comments are screened here but i'll compile a master-list of suggestions below (without saying who asked for them) so you can see what has and hasn't already been asked

Smalls and Fibre-crafts
Monday, November 24th, 2014 11:52 am
Atos today unless it get cancelled again.

I've been poorly since last weekend - swollen glands, fatigue and dizziness (well not exactly dizziness - it feels like a wave washing across the inside of my skull). I'm hoping it's a bug but the symptoms are worryingly like chronic fatigue (which could be associated with endo). The ill is obviously interacting with my mental health but i'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg ...

Anyway i had an appointment with gynaecology on Tuesday - they agreed that my worsening symptoms are prolly endometriosis again (you can't be certain until you go in and have a look) and possibly another ovarian cyst so i'm going to have a scan and treatment depending on what that shows. The registrar, medical student and nurse where all lovely and seemed empathic and wanting me not to be in pain - but the system is very broken so they couldn't tell me how long the wait for the scan will be or when i'd be able to get either surgery or hormone treatment after that ...

[personal profile] oilrig came over this weekend which was lovely - it's been absolutely ages since we had proper time together because of various things and stuff. We were both pretty floomped - and the weather was vile - but we did some Christmas shopping and went to see the Imitation Game at the local cinema that does proper pop-corn, so that shiny.
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 01:05 pm
What it's about
This is a book based in an alternate universe: where the United Arab States were attacked on 9th November 2001 by Christian fundamentalists from the mountain regions of America; where an invasion followed and a Green Zone was set up in Washington D.C. and where the UAS Homeland Security works to prevent crusaders carrying out terrorist attacks in Baghdad.

In the summer of 2009, a captured suicide bomber claims during interrogation that this is all a mirage and that in the real world the USA is the single superpower.   The interrogation is cut short by orders from the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee - the war hero Osama bin Laden - but not before the investigating team become aware that this story has been said again and again by other captured terrorists, and are asked to investigate "the mirage story" by direct request from the President.

How I came to read it
I read this book for bookclub (and then was too tired for bookclub, so have no idea what the others made of it) and I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise, because the premise has the potential to be really good or really appalling.  Normally I'd give this book a wide berth and go read something else instead.

Read more... )

I'm very unlikely to reread this and will be taking it to the charity shop next week, unless one of my local friends would like it?
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 07:45 am
Dream. )
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 12:17 pm
I'm altering one of the posh dresses at Stirling to fit me, since the original wearer decided not to stay on when we all had to go freelance.

I work on it while in the palace and in character. My story for it is that it's a gift from one of the nobility to my niece so I'm altering it to fit her. Cue discussion about sumptuary laws, and also how expensive fabric is and that a second hand dress is a magnificent gift to receive.

Not sure what character to do. The original research notes on who was at the palace seem to have disappeared.
I think this one sounds interesting. I can talk about the Rough Wooing and also worry about having soldiers posted near the castle and being disruptive to the locals.
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 11:42 pm
Things that happen on Twitter:

[ profile] readandbreathe: Idea of the day: A Doctor Who/Proust mash-up.
[ profile] rosefox: Remembrance of Timey-Wimey Past, or Was It Future, I Forget
[ profile] ronhogan: I bit into a jelly baby and a flood of future memories overwhelmed my mind.
[ profile] readandbreathe: "For a long time I used to go to bed early. I'd dream of a box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside."
[ profile] ronhogan: OMG, that pretty much IS Amy Pond fic, right there.
[ profile] rosefox: "We are all of us obliged, if we are to make reality endurable, to nurse a few... follies in ourselves." (unchanged)
[ profile] a9ri: "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having a TARDIS"
[ profile] rosefox: "Every person is destroyed when we cease to see him; after which his next appearance is a new creation, different from that which immediately preceded it." Also unchanged. Maybe Proust WAS a Time Lord.
[ profile] readandbreathe: WHOA.
[ profile] ronhogan: WHOAx2.
[ profile] rosefox: "altogether he looked... as though he were the lifeless and wire-pulled puppet of his own happiness." < Matt Smith
[ profile] rosefox: (I am not a Matt Smith fan.)
[ profile] rosefox: "Often she had seen [servants] born. That's the only way to get really good ones." Yep, Amy Pond fic all the way.
[ profile] rosefox: This is making me want to read Proust, which I have never actually done. I'm just pulling quotes off Goodreads.
[ profile] readandbreathe: Ooo, you must. I just started the fifth volume.
[ profile] rosefox: Do let me know if it's better when read with the assumption that Proust was a Time Lord.
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 03:42 am
I just got round to setting up a DW feed for A Thing of Things, which is written by Ozy Frantz, who I first encountered as the partner of Scott Alexander, and who basically has all of his good points, but also (what I see as) a rather more balanced approach to social justice stuff. I suggest you all add them yesterday.