I will never be this brilliant

Sep. 29th, 2016 11:10 am
jadelennox: Noser from the Middleman, playing the guitar (middleman: noser)
[personal profile] jadelennox
Many of you have probably already seen this, but I urge you to read this completely straight-faced review of Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939, by Volker Ullrich in the New York Times, by my new hero, [twitter.com profile] michikokakutani.

Obvious content note is obvious.

(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2016 11:01 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I gave myself a bit of an RSI yesterday because of how I was sitting while using my laptop. I got my right shoulder and the right side of my neck hurting pretty badly. I’m trying to do everything left handed today, but my trackpad doesn’t seem to like my left hand.

I didn’t make it out to the school yesterday because of rain. It’s raining even harder today and is still supposed to be raining tomorrow, so I don’t know. I did manage a bit of a walk during a lull in the rain, but it was an hour after the school day ended, so the office wasn’t likely to be open any longer.

I’m having mixed feelings about Agents of SHIELD. Scott and Cordelia adore it, so it’s something that we watch as a family, but I keep wanting to leave while it’s on and just generally feeling cranky and trapped. I’m not even sure why I want not to watch.

I need to go into the basement today to make sure I can find two books that I want to offer for Yuletide. I know I own them, but I want to be absolutely sure that I know where they are so that I’m not scrambling to find used copies after matching on one of them. For one of them, I want to reread to make sure I’m willing to offer all the nominated characters because, while I recognize the names, I don’t remember who is who. It’s a very short book, so rereading it shouldn’t take even an hour.

I’ve figured out what I’m requesting for Yuletide and more or less what I’ll be offering. For the three fandoms I nominated, I’m only going to offer them if someone else also requests them. I don’t actually expect that anyone else will, but who knows?

UK people

Sep. 29th, 2016 09:56 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
Anyone in the UK reading this who would like a Thermapen? (i.e. the fancy thermometers they use on Bake Off) I ordered one from the UK outlet via a mail-forwarding service but didn't realise they won't forward goods with lithium batteries, and because I am disorganised it is now too late to get a refund even if they did one on sale items. I can, however, forward it to another UK address.. (I have written off the cost and will be getting my own local one as a Christmas present, I'd just like it to go somewhere it can be appreciated!)

reading wednesday

Sep. 29th, 2016 01:30 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
On Wednesday! But not from this Wednesday. I opened the post window to write about something else and found this.

• What are you reading?

This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. I love the art; everyone has their own face, so real and individual that if I met these people on the street I would recognize them. What it focuses on and what it looks away from feel appropriate to that one summer when you are coming to grips with the fact that boobs apply to you -- not some future you, who will have become a woman and understood all those things that you will understand when you're older, but the real you, the you that you are.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Audiobook of Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Stanley Tucci. I just wanted Stanley Tucci to read me a bedtime story. I was delighted to find Breakfast of Champions still good! Still sexist, yeah, but 70% less annoying than Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Maybe because Vonnegut isn't kidding himself that he understands women? The biggest change it has undergone is that thirty years ago, "asshole" and the n-word were about equally shocking.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee, for SF book group.


Checked out from the library:

This one summer / Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Six-gun Snow White / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Charlie Bowater.
The eyes of the dragon : a story / by Stephen King ; with illustrations by David Palladini.
A man called Ove : a novel / Fredrik Backman.
The grand Sophy / Georgette Heyer.

The hunger games [videorecording]
Man up [videorecording] /
Far from the madding crowd [videorecording] /
Fortitude [videorecording] /
Deadpool [videorecording] /
Orphan black. Season three /

Dogs : a startling new understanding of canine origin, behavior, and evolution / Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger.
Dog tricks : fun and games for your clever canine / Mary Ray, Justine Harding.
Detroit City is the place to be : the afterlife of an American metropolis / Mark Binelli.
Zombie spaceship wasteland : a book / by Patton Oswalt.
Second reading : notable and neglected books revisited / Jonathan Yardley
Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed.
When breath becomes air / Paul Kalanithi ; foreword by Abraham Verghese.
Being mortal : medicine and what matters in the end / Atul Gawande.

Eyes bigger than my... eyes, I guess?

(no subject)

Sep. 28th, 2016 12:49 pm
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I had trouble falling asleep last night. I think I got up four times in two hours at the start of the night. I didn’t wake up this morning until after 10:00, and at that point, I had a very hard time waking up. I’m still kind of groggy now, hours later.

I need to go out to deliver some stuff to Cordelia’s school this afternoon. The teachers rely on parent donations for tissues, soap, hand sanitizer, etc. Scott picked up a package of six boxes of tissues and some sanitizing wipes on his way home last night. Cordelia couldn’t have carried those to school because of the other stuff she needed to carry.

I wore myself out yesterday by cleaning out the spoiled food in the fridge. That meant that I didn’t go for the walk I had hoped for in the afternoon. I did walk at about 9:00 p.m., but it was much harder than it should have been, physically, because of how much I had done earlier in the day.

Hulu is giving me problems when I try to watch it via our AppleTV. Basically, I can’t stream anything there and get sound (I can get sound there with Netflix, so it’s a problem with Hulu). I can stream and get sound if I do it on my laptop. I just don’t like doing that because I can’t easily write while watching things that way. Basically, I can write on Gdocs on my phone while watching, but I need to look at my phone more than I need to look at my laptop because I can’t touch type on the phone.
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)
[personal profile] neotoma
I've been finding it harder and harder to go for the morning walk. Maybe I should take [profile] hollimichele's advice about getting a smartphone and downloading Pokemon Go. It would give me a daily incentive to go outside every day.

On the other hand, maybe if it would just stop being overcast and rainy I'd have more interest in talking a walk.

Reading Wednesday

Sep. 28th, 2016 08:45 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
This is probably the last month or so.

Finished reading:

Tana French, Broken Harbour. A family living on a post-boom half-finished housing estate start to fall apart when the father becomes obsessed with animal noises in the attic; the view point in this, “Scorcher” Kennedy, has bitter family ties to the location (called Broken Harbour in his childhood, it now rejoices in the name of Brianstown). The bit where the lead detective has a family connection that they don’t disclose is growing thin here with repetition here,, as is the moment where the detective tells the reader that this is the moment when they could have stopped everything from falling apart but didn't. Kennedy is less likeable than Rob but more principled in the end, and the relationship with his rookie partner Richie slightly less dysfunctional than Rob and Cassie, and it’s all very readable and has a great sense of place, but I do want something a bit different. I am third out of ten holds for The Likeness and somewhere in the 30s for The Trespasser, and looking forward to both.

Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom. A black hustler, Charles Thomas Tester, takes a job playing music for a white man who turns out to be summoning the Elder Gods; this is inspired by and criticising Lovecraft, specifically his Horror at Red Hook story and LaValle dedicates the book to him with all his complicated feelings. The scene setting and Tom and his father are all great, and I would have happily read more of it, but the book switches to Malone's (he's the investigating detective who is the protagonist of Lovecraft's piece) pov and although I can see why LaValle did it it lost me as a reader. There are a number of revisionist Lovecraft pieces out or coming out at the moment, and I would particularly recommend Ruthanna Emry's The Litany of Earth.

Jilly Cooper, Jump! I started reading Mount!, which is just out, and realised less than a chapter in that I never finished Jump, which I think ran into earthquakes or something similar, as I stalled less than a hundred pages before the end. It’s still not up there with Appassionata and Polo, but I do admire Cooper having her romantic lead be a grandmother in her late 60s, with a secondary character being a Pakistani stable lad who is suspected of terrorism. I remember the flood as being more significant than it was on this re-read but I think mostly that was because that was where I stalled last time so it felt as if it went on for ever. I do find the way spoiling animals is totally approved of and done by all the best characters while spoiling children is terribly wrong a bit irritating. Some of this is due to having read Jilly Cooper’s The Common Years, a sort of personal diary of nature via dog-walking, in which not one but two of her dogs have to be put down (I think for both killing cats or else a child's small dog is the final offence) despite her doing everything possible to control their terrible behaviour except a) training them or b) having them neutered. I did cry at the end, because there's a bit that reminds me of my favourite moment in Riders and even though I have massive, massive issues with all the human characters involved I still love the horse.

Barbara Hambly, Fever Season. I started reading this and then everyone else in the household got sick (although not with yellow fever or cholera) so it ended up on hold for a bit. I think having not one but two mysteries running during an epidemic is a great idea, but the relentless death scenes as backdrop did make this a rather depressing read. I was also spoiled by history for a fairly key event. The characters are great, though, and even when bleak it’s still fascinating. The next two are available on Overdrive *if* I can actually work out how to use my library's digital subscription (my last attempt got me files readable on a laptop but I couldn't get them onto the ereader).

Matthew Reilly, The Great Zoo of China. A selected group of interested parties are invited to tour a not-yet-open top-secret zoo that turns out to be inhabited by DRAGONS! Much to everyone’s surprise things go horribly wrong. The usual Reilly fast pace and cinematic scenes, with a change to a female protagonist (CJ Cameron, an alligator expert), and there are some nice moments in here but it’s very, very obvious who is going to survive and how. The Four Legendary Kingdoms, the next one in his Indiana Jones-style world-ending conspiracy series, is out next month, and I think he’s probably better in series. I did pick up an ex-library copy of his The Tournament, which is historical and features a young QEI - must give that a go and see what on earth he's done with it.

Jan Mark, Trouble Half-way. Amy is a cautious child who is not wild about her new stepfather; when her mother has to take Amy's toddler sister and look after her suddenly unwell father, Amy ends up having to go on her stepdad's lorry delivery round. You are probably envisioning all sorts of Problem Novel occurrences, but this is Jan Mark and the mid 80s, and so it is a well-drawn believable story in which Amy learns that she can be a little more independent and people are not always threatening just because you don't know them. Mark as an author will always mean The Ennead to me, a stunningly brilliant YA one-volume fantasy that I am enthralled by and argued (in my head) with in equal measure since I first read it as a teenager.

I also skimmed through the Narnia series – the beginning of Prince Caspian, beginning and end of The Dawn Treader, most of The Silver Chair and The Last Battle for writing And All Points North. I am still never going to like The Last Battle, and I can still remember how betrayed and irritated I felt at reading the opening Shift & Puzzle section for the first time as a child. Reread a bit of Mike and Psmith and (mostly) resisted getting sucked into Josephine Tey's Miss Pym Disposes, all conveniently on Project Gutenberg.

In progress:

Jilly Cooper, Mount! Jump! was at least trying to extend the bounds of romantic protagonists. This has Gala, who is employed as a carer for Rupert's increasingly demented father and is a widow from a violence-riven country in Africa whose husband was murdered by possibly state-sanctioned agents of organised crime, and I would like her much more if she were a Sudanese refugee and not a white Zimbabewan who was putting off having children due to a court case over her farm and whose husband ("a true Rhodi") died in a hail of bullets while hugging a baby rhino to save it from poachers. I would also like her more if the description of the revenge attacks on her husband and her farm spent less time going on about how all the dogs were killed and clarified whether the farm workers were also all killed. So far this was mentioned only briefly in the second of three (so far) retellings, and I am unsure if this is the author's or Gala's oversight. It is also heavily about Rupert Campbell-Black, of whom I am not fond, and I am reading it rather grumpily.

Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile. The Peter Ustinov movie of this was one of the first films I remember seeing, but it’s been a long time since I read it. I can remember vividly how the murder was done, which means I know who, but it’s still fun watching it all fall into place.

Tim Powers, Medusa’s Web. I bought this on my last-but-one trip to Kinokuniya in Sydney and found it still in the suitcase on the most recent trip. I am about 60 pages in but was getting wistful fondness for what I consider to be Powers’ best books, so:

Tim Powers, Last Call. I actually borrowed this from the library despite owning it, because my copy is, like most of my other books with authors starting with “N” and after, in one of a large number of inaccurately labelled boxes either in an attic or jammed into a wardrobe somewhere. I can never decide which one of a handful of Powers I like best, but this is up there – it’s so believable and completely bizarre at the same time. I am possibly being unfair to Medusa's Web as I'm not that far in, but it does feel thin by comparison.

Rose Lerner, Sweet Disorder. Widow Phoebe Sparks can, by marrying again, generate a vote in the hotly contested district election and so, despite her lack of keenness, both the Whigs and Tories attempt to provide her with suitable candidates. Nick Dymond, crippled war veteran and brother of the Whig candidate, gets involved a little bit more than he should with Phoebe’s decision. This is holding my attention more than the last Lerner I tried, which I gave up on; it’s enjoyable and there’s enough history there to work for me, even while a fair bit of contemporary creeps in. It hasn’t really got me as involved as I would like, though, and it may be that I’m just not all that into contemporary het romances at the moment, unless they're also re-enacting National Velvet in the background.

Abandoned:

Louise Doughty, Black Water. I liked the idea of a book dealing with the Indonesian genocide, but this wasn’t working for me; as with Apple Tree Yard, there’s an early immediate sexual connection that didn’t feel believable, and flipping through to see if things picked up got me then not one but two past child deaths told in that particular literary styling where you know they’re going to die and it’s just being dragged out in nicely turned prose, so I bailed.

Mark Haddon, The Red House. I could probably have handled all the dialogue being in italics without quote marks if I could have been bothered remembering who any of the characters were.

Up next:

Finishing all this lot and then probably alternating Benjamin January with the My Friends series.

(no subject)

Sep. 27th, 2016 12:35 pm
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I ended up taking a longish walk (by my standards) last night when I went out to hack the church portal. It was nice and cool out, so I felt like I could walk further without sweating to death. I was in shorts and a t-shirt. I had a windbreaker, but I ended up taking it off on my way home. Of course, when I got home, I looked at the weather online and discovered that it was in the mid-40s F. The only part of my body that thought things out there were cold last night was my lungs, and it wasn’t cold enough to set off my asthma.

It’s in the 50s F right now, so I might go out for a walk before lunch if I can get myself out the door. I need to walk more. It’s just so damned hard to open the door and walk out. I don’t know. I have to take out the trash some time today. Maybe I can use that to get myself outside and then just not come back inside for a while?

We chose not to watch the debate last night. We agreed that there wasn’t going to be anything there that would make either of us change our minds about how we’re going to vote. Of course, Scott’s father watched and emailed Scott to encourage him to turn it on and see how presidential Trump was. I am not at all sure what Scott’s father might have been smoking. I suppose it may have been some form of vast wishful thinking because Scott’s parents are really terrified that socialists, brown people, non-Christians, and queer people are going to come and kill them and take all of their stuff.

They’re in their mid-70s. I don’t think that anything anyone could say to them would help at all. I know that all three of their children disagree with them and that everybody tends to go out of their way not to talk about politics/social justice in their vicinity. I remember Scott’s father giving us all on-your-heads-be-it warnings about voting for Obama, but mostly he doesn’t talk about such things with us, especially not in front of his grandchildren.

I have four library DVDs I want to watch this week if I can manage it. I just have a hard time starting and then end up pausing the dratted things repeatedly. I also have six library CDs that I want to listen to and a lot of audiobooks on my laptop.

Scott wants to transition to using our bread machine for bread for sandwiches now that it’s getting cooler. I’m hesitant because I really don’t like slicing bread. I’m the one making all the sandwiches right now, so I’d be the one slicing the bread. I’m also the one who would make the bread and clean the pan and all of that. It seems a pity to have the bread machine and not use it, and it would be less expensive, but… It’s a lot more work. With sliced bread, I can make both sandwiches in under five minutes. Needing to slice the bread might well turn the sandwich making into a two step process that requires a rest in the middle. Maybe it would help if I slice the entire loaf all at once?

Scott’s work called at 10:30 last night to ask him to come in early this morning. He said no, and they didn’t insist. He’d have been trying to work twelve hours on three hours of sleep.
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)
[personal profile] neotoma
I made kimchi stew following the recipe from Robin Ha's Cook Korean! and had it for lunch. The only variation I made to it was I used kimchi from No 1 Sons instead of making it myself, I had to use some of the kimchi juice from the kkakdugi kimchi I also bought because I didn't have enough juice from the regular kimchi, and I used extra-firm tofu instead of firm tofu. Next time I might try it with white kimchi, and add onions or scallions.

It's really good, but it will clear your sinuses.

(no subject)

Sep. 26th, 2016 10:04 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
We finished that last episode of Star Wars: Rebels around noon yesterday. I really want to see season three now, but we don’t have Disney XD and can’t afford to get it.

Scott did the grocery shopping at about 2:00. We went to the library about 4:30 then finished cleaning up the portals at the science center. After that, Scott mowed the lawn and grilled some fish. I cooked some potatoes in the pressure cooker.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that I’m not going to be able to keep taking Zoloft. I’m getting bruises on my legs that I can’t remember sources for. I’m not absolutely sure that it’s connected as it’s only three so far, but bruising is one of those side effects that can be serious, so I’m going to pay attention and see if other bruises turn up.

I went into the bedroom at 8:00 because Scott and Cordelia wanted to watch Once Upon a Time. I gave up on that midway through season one, and, while I don’t mind it, I didn’t want to deal with Cordelia hassling me about how I shouldn’t watch until I catch up. I’m not likely to get around to it. I hit a point where I couldn’t deal with the things I could see were obviously coming in the flashbacks.

We have a mattress with adjustable pressure air bladders. I’m finding that the comfortable pressure for me to sleep on is absolutely not comfortable for sitting on. Basically, I need my mattress very soft for sleeping, but that leaves it so flabby that, when all of my weight is concentrated by sitting, my behind sinks far enough to hit the hard platform under the mattress. If I’m going to go in there regularly and sit, I think I’ll want to pump up the air bladder and then take it back down at bedtime.

I ended up not sleeping all that well last night. I slept okay up until about 4:00. After that, I think I had a few minutes here and there. I was awake from when Scott got up until Cordelia got up then drowsed while she got ready for school and then again after she left for about forty-five minutes. Most of this is related to needing the bathroom. Needing to pee every two to three hours makes for disrupted sleep, especially when the timing for my bladder doesn’t map onto the timing of other things that will wake me.

I’ve narrowed down my probable Yuletide offers to about fifteen things that I’d actually be thrilled to write. Three are things I’ve written before. I wouldn’t mind writing them again, but maybe I should just offer things I haven’t written? If I match on, say, the Chronicles of Amber, I might choke on having too much of that fandom since I’ve completed two fics in it this year and have two more I’m working on (plus, there’s the UCon game to write).

I also have two longish lists of things that I’d be interested in writing but that I’m not sure I can write well, either because of the voice of canon or because of the nominated characters, or that I don’t have ready access to or that are too long to review in the time I’ll have. At least one is something for which I’d love to write one of the nominated characters but don’t think I could offer any of the others. I always dither at this stage because I can see that it’s possible, in theory, that one of the fandoms I don’t offer might have a request that I’d adore writing. Experience tells me that I can’t/won’t write treats or NYR fics. I have old Yuletide requests from five or six years ago that pinged me enough for me to save them but not enough to actually, you know, write them.

More writing!

Sep. 26th, 2016 09:34 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
I pounced on a pinch hit for [personal profile] lirin_lirilla in the [community profile] genex fic exchange because it had so many fabulous prompts that I could do (Oxford Time Travel! Mara Jade in the Star Wars EU! Psmith) and ended up writing for Narnia, a series which was probably my gateway into reading past picture book level, and certainly my gateway into fantasy. I have loved all of the books except The Last Battle (which I will never love) for different reasons at different times, but never thought of writing fic for them, so it was both a challenge and a process of discovery at working out what I wanted to say.

Which was about Edmund and trains.

And All Points North (2631 words) by Cyphomandra
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Edmund Pevensie, Susan Pevensie, Lucy Pevensie, Peter Pevensie, Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole
Additional Tags: England - Freeform, Trains, Stealth Crossover, Public Transportation
Summary:


"And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?"

W.H. Auden, Night Mail.




Brief story notes. )

[personal profile] sovay had posted recently about seeing the film of The Night Mail as part of a train film marathon, so that was still in my head when I was looking for titles/epigraphs, and she very kindly provided beta, along with [personal profile] china_shop and Orannia. [personal profile] sovay has also written a fabulously evocative piece of Calormene history and archeology off the back of my mention of the Assyrian lion hunt sculpted reliefs at the British Museum, and I strongly recommend it; Not a Tame Lion.

At Her Beck and Call

Sep. 25th, 2016 05:55 pm
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
[personal profile] lokifan
Title: At Her Beck And Call
Author: [personal profile] lokifan
Word count: ~2200
Characters/pairings: Bill/Fleur/Draco
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Fleur’s having a long day at work. Bill decides she deserves some entertainment.
Content: Erotic humiliation, dom/sub dynamics; phone/Floo sex
Disclaimer: The boys and girls belong to JKR, even though I’m often much nicer to them than she is.
Author’s Notes: I finished and posted this for August’s amnesty over at [insanejournal.com profile] daily_deviant; it was originally started for a “phone/Floo sex” theme.

Also, this is like… the third or fourth threesome I’ve written Bill in. And I hardly ever write him. I guess I think the oldest Weasley would be really good about sharing?

On AO3 here

At Her Beck and Call )

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2016 11:30 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I’ve been looking at the current Yuletide tag list. I think there are a lot fewer fandoms I’m comfortable offering this year than there usually are. Many of those I’m willing to offer are things I’ve written before and/or things that always get more offers than requests. I’m trying to decide whether or not I’m willing to put in the work to sample the various nominated songs, videos, and commercials.

Cordelia went out for several hours yesterday. Scott and I didn’t end up doing anything because he was exhausted, and I was groggy. We kept bringing up things we needed to do and then not moving from where we were sitting.

I wrote a few words yesterday but not many. I also started watching about three different DVDs but didn’t get far into any of them. I just couldn’t focus.

After Cordelia got home, we watched most of what we had left of Star Wars: Rebels season 2. We have one episode left because Cordelia suddenly announced that she was done for the evening. One episode should be more than doable today.

The tamoxifen really has changed how I respond to temperatures that I would have found unpleasantly cold. It was in the 50s last night, and I thought it was beautiful for walking around in shorts and a t-shirt. Before the tamoxifen, that would never have happened. Of course, the downside is that we’re spending a lot on electricity to run our AC this summer because I can’t handle heat.

A group from the other Ingress faction came through and knocked everything over after I’d already done my usual walk. Scott and I ended up going and taking back a few portals, mostly at the science center. Coming back up the hill for a second time was a lot harder than I expected it to be. I had to stop a couple of times.

Mary Berry, Recipe for Life (bio)

Sep. 25th, 2016 09:48 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
Television I've watched this year - about an hour all-up, of free-to-air Olympics, none of which coincided with anything I was especially interested in (I caught up with NZ performances on liveblogs), eight episodes of Kirsty and Phil's Love It or List It (I started watching their Location Location Location when I was living in England and something about them stuck with me, even though they are both appallingly smug embodiments of class privilege and capitalism, also I like to pretend their younger selves are Pip and Posy in the titular series of children's books), and six and a bit series of The Great British Bake-off, which is by far the best of the lot. I realise everyone else is probably already on the bandwagon, but it is deserved, and the news that this will be the last series in its current format (or with all but one of its current presenters/judges) is sad but somehow feels inevitable.

Anyway. I picked up Mary Berry's autobiography, which came out in 2012, and it's an interesting look at someone who on the one hand has had a pretty privileged life, but on the other has also been a career woman and started this in a time where it was not at all expected or encouraged (she married late for her era - born in 1935, married at 31 - and only took a few weeks off with each of her babies). She refers to herself as a home baker on the show, but that's very much an understatement - what she does do well is show how she combined her work with the expected duties of running a household and taught plenty of others as well. There's a great bit in Bake-Off where they're making pastry, and Paul Hollywood is going on about using your hands, something like the following:

Mary: I use a food processor. That way I can do something else at the same time.
Paul: Ahh, you're not in control doing it like that -
Mary: I feel very in control.

and you can tell exactly what she means by her steely glare.

She doesn't really examine any of the politics of food and its preparation, and when she touches on it you can see a lot of unexamined assumptions - "If we all just walked a little more we wouldn't have so many problems with obesity in this country", for example, but if you run Aga cooking courses your clientele is going to have a definite bias. And her recipes sound good. I wish we were getting more of her and Bake-Off.

Not an elf name

Sep. 24th, 2016 12:44 pm
katherine: You have been chosen to ride the Kingdom Chums' Love Light text against blurry rainbow colours (love light)
[personal profile] katherine
I've started reading Enchanted Paradise, a 1985 book I picked up a while back very likely solely because the cover is ridiculous.

There are elves with beards, which I object to. I said to Graham "Gleb is a bad name for an elf." He said that's a bad name for anyone. However, I've been re-reading The Clan of the Cave Bear lately and it's a name that would fit right in.

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