A Word About Tat Shops

May. 26th, 2017 02:04 pm
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[personal profile] lydy
Tat, in this context, to mean cheap souvenirs. The portions of London that we spent the most time in were, unsurprisingly, full of tat shops. And I discovered a weird passion for tat shops. I do not wish to own most of the tat being sold. It is generally cheaply made, and of limited utility. But I truly love tat shops.

Here's the thing about tat shops. They are unapologetic, exuberant, and emotionally accessible. They are also cheap, cynical, and emotionally manipulative, but in such a brazen, cheerful way that I didn't mind the manipulation. I almost bought a Bobby Bear, because seriously, a teddy bear in a uniform? So fucking cute. I wish I had thought to take a picture of one tat shop window near the Houses of Parliament. The entire window was full of shiny gold and silver replicas of Big Ben, in descending sizes, from about a foot high, down to about two inches high. Each had a working clock face. And the sheer glory of a Big Ben of any size to meet your space and budget was dizzying. And funny. And just fucking weird.

The least successful tat shop, for me, was the one in the British Museum. Something about just having seen the Elgin Marbles and the actual fucking Rosetta Stone made me less charitable towards cheap knock-offs. I think it was just me, they were doing a really brisk business. I regret, a little, the lovely cards with William Morris prints on them, but I don't send cards, so well, then.

While we were in York (we did a day trip to York) we were wandering around the Shambles. There was a store there called The Cat Gallery. "Look," I cried with glee, "it is a cat tat shop!" And so it was. Cat mugs, cat tea cozies, cat posters, cat cards, cat stickers, cat rugs. In the end, I came away with a very fine cat apron, and a reusable shopping bag with cats. While nothing about my cat tat says "York" I will always remember where I got it, and will always be pleased with it. So, Cat Tat for the win.

The Tower of London also, of course, has a tat shop. Much of it is the standard stuff you can get anywhere. Snow globes with the Houses of Parliament, or the Tower, other random items. The very weird plastic dome, about one and a half inches high, with a crown inside it. I mean, what? Why? It's a really generic crown, too, bearing no particular resemblance to the crown jewels, or anything else. It is not large enough nor heavy enough to use as a paper weight, it does not fit on a key chain, has no function that I could discern, and cost a couple of pounds. Ok. There were lots of toy swords, and pencils with odd things on the end, like Big Ben, toy crowns, and so on. But this was also my weirdest experience in a tat shop.

When we did the Tower, we walked along the wall, mostly, which took us into various towers. The towers had their interesting displays, and so on. And, of course, a lot of centuries old graffiti from people who were probably going to die, soon. At one point, Patrick walked out of one of the rooms muttering, "I'm just enough of a partisan to be uncomfortable with the amount of Catholic blood in that room." I walked into Beauchamp Tower, and turned right around and walked out again to regain my composure. It was the tower where Elizabeth the First was held, and for atmospherics they had echoing footsteps on the sound system, and some other things. I didn't consciously process this, I just suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. We'd just walked by the green upon which many people had been beheaded, and the close grim tower was too much. I did go back in, and was glad to have done so. The next place on the path was the Bloody Tower. Patrick walked in, saw an instrument of torture, and turned right around and walked out. I didn't even venture in. It had been, by then, a long day. We were both tired and very overwhelmed emotionally by the vast history literally surrounding us. Neither of us felt like torture-porn was going to be a good experience.

So, the tat shop. I think it was called the Raven Shop. As I said, most of it was pretty normal, standard tat. There were some very pretty chess sets (extremely expensive) and some interesting books, but mostly, it was very standard. There was, however, in a glass box, some paper figures, one kneeling, and one with an ax held high. I barely glanced at it, not quite long enough to register exactly what it was, just long enough to know I didn't wish to look further. When you remember that one of my passions is pop-up books, my sudden aversion without processing strikes me as interesting. A shop girl said, "Oh, you have to see this. It's so neat!" I turned around. She pushed a button on the box containing the paper figures, and the paper figure with the ax lowered his arms, the ax landed on the paper figure kneeling, and the head fell off. I said, very loudly, "EEEK!" and started to walk quickly away. "That's horrible," I added, feeling badly about being mean to the shop girl, but at the same time really weirded out. She called after me, "It's not horrible, it's cute!"

I dunno. If this was my history, if I got taught it repeatedly in school, if it was part of my heritage, maybe my emotional responses to it would be a lot more like the shop girl than the ones I had. But honestly, how is a beheading cute? Ok, then. Tat shop 1, Lydy 0.

The last full day in London, I went into several tat shops, looking for a thing to take home that wasn't embarrassingly daft. I finally settled on a black t-shirt with the Tube map on it. It was only twelve pounds, and I am inordinately pleased with it. I vaguely regret the Bobby Bear, but well. I would have been embarrassed later.

Why you deserve it

May. 26th, 2017 01:24 pm
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[personal profile] mrissa

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

I have just finished watching season 1 of Skin Wars on a friend’s recommendation. It is very very far from my usual sort of thing: it’s a reality show that’s a competition in body painting. My friend promised that it was very low on the interpersonal cattiness/drama, with lots of very skilled work and a certain amount of people learning stuff about their art, learning from each other. New art and learning? Hey, I’m there for that. And I was immediately hooked, and I will definitely watch the other two seasons, especially since my friend is a person who would have warned me if there was a lot of body-shaming weirdness in store.

One of the things that fascinates me is that the artists involved in this were often financially struggling–it’s not a fast route to fame and fortune–and they had pretty well-entrenched justifications for why they deserved success that were not always easy to dislodge by circumstances that really should have dislodged them. Examples:

I have put in the time. I have worked long hours. This is a competition with firmly set time limits, around each piece and around the competition as a whole. Each artist gets literally exactly the same amount of time. There are no examples of artists putting their feet up and being done early, and beyond that here is absolutely no way for anyone to put in more time than anyone else. Eventually this got clarified to:

I have put in the time. I spent my whole life learning this. Finally someone turned to the person who kept repeating this and said, how old are you? and determined that they were very close to the same age. And that they had both spent their whole life learning it, so…yeah. Not a distinguishing feature. I’ve seen both of these at conventions, though: I have devoted more time to science fiction than the other people at my day job! And I’ve seen a certain amount of it in various factions in the field who are convinced that they are the ones who are truly, deeply devoted–and that that kind of devotion has to be what matters. (Spoiler: it does not have to be. Sorry.)

I need it the most. My living conditions are worse than other people’s without recognition. There are indeed need-based scholarships for various types of study, and I’m very glad. But they’re usually clearly labeled, and “I like your art a lot” and “I think you need money” are not actually the same thing–and “you should like my art a lot because I need money” doesn’t actually work very well.

I need it the most. I poured my heart into this piece. “You should like my art a lot because I need validation” does not turn out to work better than “you should like my art a lot because I need money.” It is often a great idea to pour your heart into art. I recommend it. Then make more art and pour your heart into that. Also technique at the same time.

I have the most technical skills. Ever heard a pianist play Hanon? They are finger exercises. They are finger exercises, they are to make you a technically better pianist, and nobody plays them in concert because they are no fun to listen to. (Or play. Freakin’ Hanon.) Okay, okay, they have a certain hypnotic power, they can be impressive, but…at the end of the day if you are showing up and playing Hanon, nobody is buying your book, your painting, or in the most literal sense, tickets to your piano concert. (Freakin’ Hanon.)

It is apparently really, really hard to say, “Mine is good. Here is what I did well. Look at this part. I deserve this because mine is really good art. I combined the technical and the creative, this has thought and feeling and everything it’s supposed to have, and who cares whether I picked up those skills in two minutes or ten million hours, who cares whether someone else thinks that they are overall better than me and paid their dues more than me, here is the thing I made, it doesn’t come with dues, it comes with awesome.”

It is even harder to say, “I don’t know what’s missing. I did everything right. It’s just not happening for me. Can you help me see what’s going wrong in my piece?” And sometimes there are ten million answers, and sometimes there’s one answer, and sometimes there…isn’t. And sometimes the artificial contest structure of a reality show has made something happen that reality doesn’t support, it has made a thing where there is a winner and a loser where actually in a group of ten there might be three pieces that really work and four that don’t and three that meh, or ten that meh, or any other combination of numbers.

But the attachment to previous explanations of why you deserve it, the strength of that: that really got fascinating for me, and I will be riveted to see whether that continues for future seasons.

(no subject)

May. 26th, 2017 01:00 pm
batyatoon: (golden teeth and golden tones)
[personal profile] batyatoon
"Iiiit's that time again!"

"Time to wear the lilac?"

"Time to steal the Death Star plans?"

"Nooooo. It's time for another New York / New Jersey area housefilk!"

Next Sunday afternoon, June 4, from 12 to 4 pm.
Aaron Davies will be our host.

The address is: 100 Christopher Columbus Dr., Jersey City, NJ 07302 (right next to the Grove St. PATH Station; exit from the middle of the platform and go up the escalator).

Once in the building, take the elevator to the seventh floor and go through the door between the two pairs of elevators; turn right and the room is on your right, just past the kitchen.

RSVP by emailing adavies42(at)me(dot)com. Feel free to boost the signal!

Lydy Nickerson, World Traveler

May. 26th, 2017 07:11 am
lydy: (Default)
[personal profile] lydy
To be clear, "World Traveler" is British Airways polite term for coach.

Last Worldcon, for reasons that totes made sense (you'll have to trust me on this), Ctein persuaded Patrick to take me to London. I have wanted to go to London for longer than I can remember. If I had a bucket list, which I don't, London would be at the top. (And suddenly, it seems odd to me that a bucket would have a top, but well, I do not understand the ways of buckets.)

We went for eight days, leaving Friday 5 May at 10:00 p.m. from New York, arriving 10:00 a.m. at Gatwick, and left again at 4:30 p.m. on 14 May, arriving at 8:00 p.m., which totally felt like 1:00 a.m. And then there were customs...I am getting ahead of myself.

I am going to do a series of posts about the trip, mostly so that I will remember it in years to come. If you find other people's travels boring, do please skip. I will not be including many pictures. Patrick was totally in charge of pictures because I don't particularly do visual stuff, and trying to fuss with a camera or cell phone camera would have significantly interfered with my enjoyment. Nor do my memories tie to visual media all that well.

London. There is...a lot of London. Lots and lots of London. Way more than we could have seen in 8 days. We had an A, B, and C list, and got to most of the things on the A list, a couple of things on the B list, and nothing on the C list. Which is as it should be. It was amazing and wonderful and I regret nothing. Ok, I regret that Hyde Park tried to kill me. Other than that, I regret nothing. I would love to go back again, and try to get to the other bits. And then again, and again. Did I mention that there is a lot of London?

London is exciting, beautiful, engaging, fascinating, old, and odd. I did not find it overwhelming, frightening, or strange. It was not familiar, either. It was like...ok, really bad analogy. It was like putting on a brand new pair of shoes that fit perfectly. They aren't familiar, but they do feel utterly right, and they tempt you to walk way more than you really should. (According to the world's worst pedometer, Pokemon Go, we were clocking about 10 kilometers a day. Oh, my poor feet.)

So, London. It's lovely.
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
[personal profile] sovay
Today was cold and grey and generally sucked and the first three restaurants I thought to check for borscht didn't have it on the menu at the moment (and the fourth was two states away), but we walked out to Inman despite the drizzling rain and I had a bowl of borscht with sour cream at the S&S and it was extremely satisfying.

1. I am very glad to read that the revised travel ban continues to be ruled unconstitutional.

2. This is a very sweetly drawn comic about bisexuality.

3. Courtesy of [personal profile] gaudior: an appreciation of the Mahler's 6th mallet. I feel someone should point Hurra Torpedo at this symphony.

In conclusion: borscht.

Here!

May. 25th, 2017 04:48 pm
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[personal profile] oracne
At WisCon. Have napped. Napping is great.

[psych] Define Empathy?

May. 25th, 2017 04:31 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
I am thinking about writing a thing, or several things, about empathy. I come from a perspective of generally being appalled about how the concept is bandied about, not just in the popular press, but pretty much everywhere, including among the pros.

Part of my appall is how there seem to be a vast profusion of definitions, many mutually exclusive, loose out there. Like, I'm pretty sure two of my grad school classes promulgated precisely opposite empathy vs sympathy distinctions.

So, for kicks and giggles, what's your personal definition of empathy? Assuming, of course, you have one. (If you don't, you can say that too.)

All comments will be screened, and I may or may not be unscreening some or all of them at my personal discretion. If you don't want your definition of empathy being tied to you, comment anonymously.

Safe Haven

May. 25th, 2017 11:55 am
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[personal profile] swan_tower

Over the past few months I worked my way through the five seasons of the TV show Haven. In its core structure, it’s basically Yet Another Procedural: each week there’s a mystery, the heroes investigate, the mystery is solved by the end of the episode. But the premise of this one is speculative — an FBI agent discovers weird things going on in a small Maine town — and spec-fic shows usually pair their procedural-ness with at least some degree of metaplot, which I find myself really craving these days. So I figured I would give it a shot.

And for the most part, the structure is indeed conventional. Weird Thing Happens. Audrey Parker (the FBI agent) and Nathan Wuornos (the local cop) investigate. The problem is inevitably being caused by the Troubles, a set of supernatural afflictions that plague many residents of Haven. Our heroes find the Troubled person responsible —

— and then they help that person.

I mean, every so often they do have to arrest somebody or it even ends in death. But overwhelmingly, the focus is on solving the Troubles, not punishing them. In many cases, the person responsible doesn’t realize they’re the source of that week’s weird thing; when they do know, they’re often terrified and unable to stop their Trouble from hurting people. These supernatural abilities trigger because of emotional stimuli, so week after week, you watch Audrey untangle the threads of someone’s psychology until she figures out that they need to accept the fact that a loved one is gone or reconcile with an estranged friend or admit the secret that’s eating away at them, and when they do, their Trouble lets go.

It is amazingly refreshing, after all the procedural shows I’ve seen that involve people with guns using those guns to solve their problems. (There’s a key moment late in the series when the entire Haven PD gets sent out to manage a big outburst of Troubles, and they literally get a speech from the police chief about how the people causing problems aren’t the enemy and need to be helped, not beaten down.) In fact, it’s so refreshing that I was willing to forgive the show’s other flaws. The scripts are often no better than okay, and for the first four seasons the characters are remarkably incurious about the metaplot: they accept that the Troubles show up every twenty-seven years, Audrey is somehow connected to them, etc, but it takes them forever to get around to asking why, much less making a serious effort to find the answers. (In the fifth season the show dives headfirst into the metaplot, and the results are less than satisfying.) Furthermore, if you’re looking for characters of color, you basically won’t find them here. Haven does a pretty poor job in general with secondary characters, often getting rid of them after one season; I can only think of two people who get added to the cast after the first episode that stick around instead of getting booted out of the plot.

But the character dynamics are pretty engaging, some of the episodes have a pretty clever premise . . . and it’s a show about helping people. About resolving problems through addressing their underlying causes. About how, if somebody has a Trouble but they’ve figured out ways to manage it without hurting anybody, you clap them on the back and move on to someone who’s having more difficulty. There’s a good-hearted quality to the show’s basic concept that kept me interested even when I could have been watching something with better dialogue but less compassion.

More compassion, please. We need it.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Lando and Cap and me

May. 25th, 2017 12:55 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

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

Look, I am only a casual superhero comics fan, but here’s my sideline/peripheral take:

When I was two years old, Lando Calrissian betrayed his friends to the Empire. And then he thought better of it and became a good guy again. Two years old. I don’t actually remember experiencing this story for the first time, it’s a thing that entered my brain through cultural osmosis and repetition. I am now almost thirty-nine.

Why do I bring this up?

Because “maybe someone you thought was good is actually bad! but wait, no, they’re actually good again!” is not a new story for anyone who is an adult now. We have all done this one. It is not daring and new, it is not a shocking twist, it is–in fact–kind of the default. Yes, yes, who can you trust, anyone might turn out to be blah blah whatev.

We have never experienced a Superman without a kind of kryptonite that can turn him evil. We have never had a hero without shades of gray. And I’m not suggesting that we should do a ton of that. I’m not suggesting that abandoning nuance is the way to go. I’m just suggesting that “the ground beneath your feet is shifting! who should you trust!” is yeah, yeah, yeah, pretty old hat to more than one generation in a row by now. So you really need something better than that if you’re going to try to convince readers that you have something great up your sleeve. As far as twists go, this is as twisty as “maybe they’re all dead we promise they’re not oh wait they are.” Other people have made the moral arguments already, the arguments based on character background/origins. I find them pretty compelling. I just wanted to say, also? it’s really sad when you go to shock people with things that have been standard templates for longer than they’ve been alive. It relies on one of us not paying attention, and buddy, it’s not me this time.

Nora update

May. 25th, 2017 01:28 pm
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[personal profile] xiphias
Our cat has cancer. Lymphoma + leukemia. Without treatment, she'll die in a couple weeks; with treatment, in about six months. We're going to go with "with treatment", because her quality of life for those six months will likely be better than it would be for those couple weeks.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The final seat count.

Liberals 43
NDP 41
Green 3

Seats needed for a majority: 44

(opens bag of popcorn)

Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal

May. 25th, 2017 09:03 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On my first day at Les Imaginales, a pair of librarians came up and invited me to visit the Epinal Library. What I didn’t realize — they may have mentioned it and I just missed it — was that they were giving us a private tour of the rare books room.

Epinal Library Rare Books Room

It was amazing. One of the true highlights of my trip to France. My interpreter Lionel, an author himself, was as awestruck as I was. Especially when they brought out the first book. If I’m remembering right, this was from the 8th century.

8th century religious text

The next one wasn’t quite as old…being from the 9th century. This Gospel of Saint Mark was a youthful 1200 years old.

Gospel of St. Mark: 9th Century

The cover is metal and ivory. I’m not sure what kind of jewels those are. The circular areas on the corners were for holding relics. Here’s a glimpse of the interior:

Gospel of St. Mark: Interior

You can see the full set of photos on Flickr. (Or you may have already seen them on Facebook.) It was such a wonderful experience. My thanks to everyone at Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal for their time and generosity.

I’ll end with a map of Michigan from one of the books that was “only” a few centuries old. Michigan sure looked different in the old days…

Map of Michigan

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
[personal profile] sovay
I want my country to figure out a way of being angry that its political system has been externally manipulated without becoming any more nationalistic than it already has, since that's being a disaster.

My mother showed me a one-panel comic with one of those hot dog carts on a sidewalk and two passers-by looking on. The cart's umbrella advertises it as "Vlad's Treats"; the menu is "Borscht—Caviar—Unchecked Power." One of the passers-by is saying to the other, "It's an acquired taste." It is very obviously a Putin reference, but it still rang off-key for me. I don't want to move back into an era where we have ideological purity food wars. It was embarrassing enough when French fries were briefly and xenophobically renamed in 2003. No one in my family has been Russian for more than a century (and Russia might have disputed whether they counted in the first place, being Jews), but my grandmother made borscht. I don't make it with anything like the frequency I make chicken soup with kneydlekh, but that's partly because kneydlekh will not make your kitchen look like you axe-murdered somebody in it. I order it every chance I get. For my mother's seventieth birthday, my father took her to a Russian restaurant especially for the caviar. It can't be much of an acquired taste if as a toddler I had to be stopped from happily eating the entire can my grandparents had been sent as a present.

And let's face it, if I get this twitchy (and vaguely sad that at four-thirty in the morning there's nowhere I can get borscht in Boston), I assume the dogwhistles are much louder for people for whom Russia is closer than their great-grandparents. Can we not do McCarthyism 2.0? Especially since we sort of have been for some years now and it's, see above, not so much working out?
sovay: (I Claudius)
[personal profile] sovay
Tonight in unexpected numismatics: identifying two kinds of coins in five different writing systems for my mother. The former had classical-looking pomegranates on the obverse and were obviously Israeli because they said so in Hebrew, English, and Arabic; they turned out to be Israeli pounds or lirot issued between 1967 and 1980 and the design of a triple branch of budding pomegranates looked familiar to me because it was patterned after the shekels issued in the first year of the First Jewish Revolt (66–67 CE). My grandparents almost certainly brought them home from their visit to Israel in the mid-1980's. The latter were very worn, thin copper or brass cash and I thought Chinese, which meant the latest they could have been issued was 1911; they turned out to have been struck in Guangdong in the reign of the Guangxu Emperor, specifically between 1890 and 1908, and the script I didn't recognize on the reverse was Manchu. We have no idea where they came from. I really appreciate the role the internet played in allowing me to stare at images of different kinds of cash until I recognized enough characters to narrow my search parameters, because I don't actually read either Chinese or Manchu. I mean, I know now that the Manchu for "coin" is boo and it looks like this and the Chinese inscription on the obverse of that issue is 光緒通寶 which simply means "Guangxu currency" (Guāngxù tōng bǎo) and the reason it took me forever to track down two of those characters turns out to be the difference between Traditional and Simplified Chinese, but seriously, without the internet, that would have just been a lot of interesting metal to me.

(Me to [personal profile] spatch: "This is ridiculous. If I can read cuneiform, I should be able to read Chinese. I feel incredibly stupid." Rob to me: "You can't call yourself stupid if you're teaching yourself Chinese!")

More chores

May. 24th, 2017 10:27 pm
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[personal profile] catsittingstill
A Carolina wren made a nest in the nose of my favorite canoe, Moxie. I thought I had caught it in time and I pulled the nest out--only to see three tiny white eggs with brown speckles in it. So I put it back in the nose of the canoe and patted it clumsily back into shape as much as I could, and tiptoed away, like a big giant that pulled someone's thatch roof off by mistake and now hopes she put it back well enough that nobody will notice.

I know I didn't kill the eggs because when I looked in very quietly a month later I saw baby birds. But if I wasn't quiet enough the birds would pull back in the nest and hide, so when I didn't see birds for a while I wasn't sure if they had fledged or not.

I have a FLIR IR camera that snaps onto my iPhone. I hadn't used it for a while; it's a bit bulky and clunky and while it's amusing to see the world in false color based on the temperatures of things (and window glass reflects IR like a mirror, which is kind of weird), it's not so fascinating that I want to do it all the time. But Kip pointed out that it would surely work to tell if the nest was really empty or if the baby birds were just hiding. So I pulled it out, charged it up, and snapped it on the phone, and verified that the nest was empty. I put on gloves, because birds nests can host some really bitey insect life, and removed the nest. Carolina wrens nests are lots of twigs and dry grass and dried out Spanish moss and the like--really loosely packed together with a rounded spot in the middle for the eggs.

While I was at it, I used the FLIR to check if there were any babies hiding in the robin's nest in the crook of the downspout by the bathroom window. I don't know why the robins like that particular downspout, but they've built a nest on it three years running. The nest was cold, so I got out my folding ladder, unfolded it to its fullest extension, and took the nest down. Then I took a bowl of water and a scrub brush up the ladder and cleaned the mud off the downspout and the side of the house. Robins nests are like green pottery, if potters also used a lot of grass. They are little horizontal bowls of dried mud with straw embedded in it.

I set the two nests side by side on the grass and took a picture.
Picture of 2 birds nests on the grass

With the rest of my day I finished making the shelf for Kip's weights. I put in some nice touches (if I do say so myself) like a cutting a low arch in each of the 2x4s holding up the middle and top shelves, so that there would be a bit more room for Kip to reach in and set his heavier weights in there. My workshop is pretty nicely set up now: the bandsaw was great for cutting the arches, the Shopsmith in Drill press configuration worked for drum sanding the arches and the cut edges of the plywood--I could use a few more of the good bar clamps, but aside from that I'm happy with it.

I have a picture of that also.
picture of a set of plywood shelves with dumbbells on them

I am tired and my back hurts but it is worth it to have all those weights off the rumpus room floor. I have been meaning to do this for at least two years, so it's good to finally have it dealt with.

Pompeii has nothing to teach us

May. 24th, 2017 05:44 pm
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
[personal profile] sovay
After not sleeping for more than a day and a half, I stayed asleep for nearly twelve hours last night. I dreamed of walking out in the rain to watch cartoons at a historic theater in New York that could be reached by walking into Harvard Square. I almost left my bathrobe at the theater. Sometimes you get complex, imagistic dreams full of narrative significance; sometimes this happens.

I saw the news of Manchester yesterday morning. I was in the process of posting about a nearly sixty-year-old movie in which a terrorist bombing figures prominently. It would have been nice for that aspect of the film to have dated as badly as its Cold War politics, but even the Cold War politics have become popular again these days. I don't want to speak for a city that isn't mine: I wish everyone strength and safety. Title of this post from H.D.'s Blitz poem The Walls Do Not Fall (1944).

(I am not pleased that just because the man in the White House does not understand security, privacy, or boundaries, apparently whole swathes of the U.S. intelligence community have decided to follow suit.)

Some things from the internet—

1. It is not true that I had no idea any of these events were actually photographed, which is my problem with clickbait titles in general (seriously, the one with Tesla has been making the rounds of the internet for a decade), but this is nonetheless an incredibly interesting collection of historical photos. The one of a beardless van Gogh is great. The records of the Armenian genocide, the Wounded Knee Massacre, and Hitler in full-color Nazi splendor are instructive. I am way more amused than I should be that thirty-one-year-old Edison really looks like a nineteenth-century tech bro.

2. Courtesy of [personal profile] moon_custafer: "ZEUS NO." I am reminded of one of my favorite pieces of Latin trivia, which I learned from Craig A. Williams' Roman Homosexuality (1999/2010): that Q. Fabius Maximus who was consul in 116 BCE got his cognomen Eburnus because of the ivory fairness of his complexion, but he got his nickname pullus Iovis—"Jupiter's chick," pullus being slang for the younger boyfriend of an older man—after he was hit by lightning in the ass.

3. Courtesy of [personal profile] drinkingcocoa: "James Ivory and the Making of a Historic Gay Love Story." I saw Maurice (1987) for the first time last fall, fifteen years after reading the novel, and loved it. I should write about it. I should write about a lot of movies. I need to sleep more.

4. All of the songs in this post are worth hearing, but I have Mohamed Karzo's "C'est La Vie" on repeat. You can hear him on another track from the same session—covering one of his uncle's songs, his uncle being the major Tuareg musician-activist Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou—here.

5. Well, I want to see all of this woman's movies now. Like, starting immediately: "Sister of the sword: Wu Tsang, the trans artist retelling history with lesbian kung fu."

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