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Oh, my!  It's shaping up as a jumbled, and wonderful Christmas, here.  We went for the first swim of the day at seven, and there were dolphins!  Two, forty metres/yards away, looping past us and under the jetty and away northerly.  I love it when we see them (which is not often, but not so very rarely either, especially in this season).  And there were crabs, too - one had a tiny go at me, but didn't manage to actually nip, and one I nearly stood on, and his raised claw just brushed the sole of my foot as I passed.  I was so happy with having seen the dolphins - having been in the water with the dolphins - that I just radiated benevolence at him.  (And - bonus!  I detectived the double track they left when they buried themselves, and will know to be alert for such from now on.  :)  )

Then after the swim was breakfast - or breakfast/brunch by the time we got to it - raspberries, strawberries, cherries, pancakes, cream, coffee, maple syrup, Cointreau, ice-cream, in various combinations as desired, which will be about it for Christmassy-special food, because we accidentally left the pudding that we were given at the house we were in last weekend in the house we were in two nights back, and we didn't ever manage to think of anything else - but we were given a present of glorious many-coloured home-grown heritage (I think) tomatoes yesterday, and I have some capsicum and some haloumi and garlic and olive oil, and foody magic will happen!

Not just now though... we've had the second swim of the day; there were still crabs, but no dolphins, and lots more people, and all very cheerful and calm and enjoying life.  As we are ourselves - just relaxing now to the strains of ABC Classic FM - foody magic can wait till late afternoon. 

Meanwhile to all of you here reading I send all good wishes - may joy and peace be yours, and your lives be wonderful, even if occasionally jumbled, and goodwill and love be with all of us.

Meme in F

Dec. 21st, 2016 03:24 pm
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Recently I saw on tielan's journal a meme, which involved asking for a letter, and, being given it, thinking of five fiction characters for that letter, and offering comments and ideas about each one.  I liked the idea, so I asked her for a letter - she gave me... F

Fanny Price (Mansfield Park):  I love how her strengths shine in adversity - the Portsmouth scenes are just brilliant, showing her coping wonderfully with a shamingly (and deeply disappointingly) rowdy, quarrelsome, slovenly family.  And I like her steadiness when she's the more-or-less downtrodden nobody, too, and her clarity of vision.  Oh, and I really like the genuine affection between her and her brother.  I guess constancy and a kind of gallantry could be the words that come to mind.  But in prosperity she loses some of her virtues, I think - she is never guilty of any charity to her cousin-sisters that I can see - and she and Edmund end up, after all, replicating the pettily smug life once led by the Norrises  - safely ensconced in a family-held living, close to the big house - and profiting from plural benefices as well, despite the earlier high-minded talk about how only an on-the-spot clergyman can hope to do his duty adequately.

Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women series): Awfully worthy, of course, and I take the author's word for it about their long and happy marriage, but as a matter of fact, I can't really come at him, for Jo.  I try hard to explain it as the lure of a great mind - I could see that all right, easily!  Jo is just the sort of person whose mind could be set ablaze by great new ideas, brilliant intellectual debate, new worlds opening... except he doesn't ever actually show it.  (He gets argued to a standstill in the one philosophical debate we see him undertake.)   I wish the author had written him more compellingly intellectual, actually.  I wish she'd written him as revolutionary, as political refugee.  Ah well - he is what he is - lumbering, inelegant, beery, good-hearted, Jo's perpetual moral leader and guide (bleugh - I would like her to straighten him out, for once!)  .

Falstaff (Shakespeare): The most terrifically multi-sided supporting character in the whole of Shakespeare.  We see him roistering, cunning, cowardly, despicable, pitiable, using, used, rejected, despised, resilient - he's Blackadder and Baldrick both - and like them, suddenly inside-outs the comedy to end in grim death.  Liking him, not liking him - doesn't apply.  He blasts past like a windstorm.

Fantine (Les Miserables): I hate how much she loses and loses and loses, to the extent that it starts to seem wilful.  She seems to go out of her way to have the most horrible time she can.  Yes, devoted mother, but (sorry about this) stupid.  I mean - when her looks are her one great asset, to sell her teeth?!  So not bright, Fantine!  The first betrayal is pretty intolerable, though - I mean that rich men's stunt at the restaurant.  But come on, Fantine!  Take a bit of control for a change!

Miss Flite (Bleak House): She's a most unsettling character.  Her sudden, stabbing insights, and fluttering ways make her seem one of her own birds - her name's not accidental, I guess - and of course she's as caged as they are, fluttering against the bars, and will be freed, like them, when Judgement is delivered (ha!).  A caged bird, or a captive blind prophetess, maybe - a Sibyl, who spells out dark truths in riddles, or Cassandra, dismissed as mad by those around her who cannot hear what she believes she is saying plainly.  All of which makes her a tragic figure as well as an unsettling one.  (But then I find the whole of Bleak House unsettling.)

If anyone would like to play, I'll gladly give them a letter!

(I'm abashed to see, on reviewing what I've written, that I'm not wholeheartedly admiring about any of them.  Oops.)

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We're only now facing the terrible damage done by deception decades ago; when no-one can tell any more who to trust, any source of information is as good as any other, which leads to to either erratic knee-jerk responses, or bewildered passivity. 
I can feel both of these in myself, at different times, and I can feel in myself how trust in authorities has eroded
- I don't trust any government and scarcely any politician to tell the truth at any point (note for Australians:  I was fooled by the children overboard story, because I couldn't imagine that the then Prime Minister would flatly lie). 
- I don't trust news sources, other than for the broadest outlines of stories (yes,  Aleppo's being bombed - that's the broad outline; after that, it's murky).   There's moves in Germany to make the deliberate publication of false news a crime - which is not an idea without precedent or problems. 

All of which is hideously dangerous, and not just for any one political system. 

Meanwhile, there are still people trying in good conscience to analyse what's going on (politically, environmentally, economically, socially) and to put their analyses out there - ie sharing what is as close as they can get to the truth.  I was hanging about in a hospital waiting room this week, and read an old article in the Guardian weekly.  It's a long article, but very impressive.  In fact the Guardian is one of several news sources which has seemed to me to nosedive over the last few years, but I was impressed enough by that article - not least because the writer (Kathryn Viner) was honest about how her own paper had colluded gleefully in spreading a not-exactly-true story earlier in the year - that I took out a subscription to it.  Oh, and I've been trying to get my head around writings by the economist Wolfgang Streek
Does anyone have any other suggestions, for news sources or particular analysts?

Here - something not at all angsty!  Isn't this a terrific picture?  A guess at what it is )

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...and a lot of travelling, and flights getting tighter as Christmas nears.  Still, everywhere I go is beautiful - at least, the sky is always beautiful, and there's often so much else.  Today was glorious; I do love the sharpness of the light here, and the clear, clear air - trees and the sea and animals are an added bonus, when they turn up.  (A horse! lots of seagulls, pigeons and cockatoos! Rabbits! A strange, striped caterpillar unlike any I had seen before!)

I have finished Sock One.  :)  I had no actual trouble until I got to the decreasing for the toes part, when I lost track of my stitches, and didn't see where the decreasing was meant to be happening anyway.  Still, I bashed ahead, and got there in the end, even if the sock in question looks a bit boofy (ie boofheady).  I hope Sock Two, now on the needles, is a more polished production.

I have watched the whole of Class, and especially like Miss Quill, and the Quill-centric seventh episode.  I deplore the spoiler ).  I have also watched several episodes of Rosehaven, and while it's a bit mixture-as-usual in its Small Town with Characters set-up, still, I liked the relationships, and how they developed, and did once actually laugh out loud at a scene.  And the language is good - recognisable, which is more than can be said for the appalling Upper Middle Bogan.

Finally, a word from Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin.

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I wish I had the energy to write the post you all deserve.  But since I haven't, here's the last few days in point form:
- I have turned a heel, and done the next bit as well, and am nearly down to the toe of Sock One.
- I saw a motor-bike which was 1800cc, which was bigger than any motorbike I have ever seen.
- I walked along a nearly deserted and nearly, nearly plastic-free beach (just one bit of pen, and one bit of ice-cream container in more than a kilometre), which ended in mangroves.  Oh, and the sea was unutterably beautiful - or if not unutterably, beyond me right now to describe.
- I've travelled many miles, but not over hedges and stiles.
- I've cleaned up after a bee invasion (down the chimney) but not yet blocked the bees.  Tomorrow.  :)

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I know I promised Shakespeare, but... ah well.  Life's too glum right now to write much of that light-hearted sort of thing.  I did have fun, though, two-three months back, drifting through the plays and through the byways of mildly associated history as I got ready to write, and in particular enjoyed learning about the Carey family, two of whom were patrons of Shakespeare's company over several years.  The story I wrote featured them, tangentially, as footnotes to supposed missing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream - scenes in which I tried to address the whole disquieting plot point of two very powerful* figures quarrelling (ruinously) over possession of a child - a stolen child - that neither of them seem in fact to care very much about, in himself.
Bonus points for anyone who spots the reference to a Steeleye Span song.

* Especially Titania - Shakespeare filched the name Titania from Ovid, who used it to name one of Titanic power and heritage, as for example, Circe, who says "behold! I am a goddess, and I am the daughter also, of the radiant Sun."

In other news:
I'm trying to be productive - and in pursuit of that objective have actually started knitting a pair of socks!  That is, I've got as far as casting on the first of them, and am finding knitting on multiple needles very very very tricky.  :)

Something pleasant in the animal world - puggles!

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I'll get back to Shakespeare, and vaguely Shakespeare-related notes, sometime this coming week, but in the meantime:

It's been strange and unseasonable weather here - mid-November, and cold!  Even stranger, a few days back, we had a hailstorm, with largeish hailstones - some rounded, but others just irregular chunks of ice - falling from a clear, dry sky.  The rain came before too long, but at the beginning it was strange.

This one's left me with mixed feelings - how grim to live in a society where domestic violence is so common that unions are working on a special leave provision for those affected - on the other hand, how heartening to see the employer group concerned, the National Retail Association, backing the claim.  Their Chief Executive said "As the largest employer of young people in this country, and one of the most gendered industries, we simply cannot ignore the fact that the highest proportion of victims - women aged between 18 and 24 - are also the most likely to be working in retail."  This support doesn't make it a settled matter - but the support is good to hear about.

Old news, but here it is anyway:  As if the year hasn't been long enough and hard enough - there'll be an extra second added in, a leap-second.

Do you recall the noble dogs protecting fairy penguins from predators?  Well, hot news!  The same dogs - well, the same breed, Maremmas - are now putting their watchfulness and valour to work protecting bandicoots!  Go, Maremmas!  \o/

This last isn't Australia, but New Zealand.  Friends in New Zealand, I hope you're all all right - psychologically as well as physically.  I don't think anyone likely to read this is at Kaikoura, but I know that survivors of earthquakes can be really stirred up by even slight or quite distant shocks later, so this is for all New Zealanders affected.
(Relatedly:  earthquake lights captured on video.)

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Reading Shakespeare for the stageoffools fest was terrific fun - of course I'd read most of the plays before, one way or another, but reading for a story exchange gave a different perspective. 
For starters, there was reading to decide which plays I'd ask (or offer) stories for.  For both, I felt I had to stick to plays I knew fairly well  - though I was very tempted by The Merry Wives of Windsor (one of those I hadn't read before) and may yet return to it one day.  And the fest rules precluded the history plays and the Roman plays, so in the end it came down to Macbeth, Hamlet, Tempest, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream - I think that's all I offered   And then I had to read those even more intensively, to be ready for whatever might be asked - and my, but I found Hamlet  an interesting read! full of new (to me) directions and possibilities.

Read more, if you like! :) )
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November already.  It's shaping to be a busy month, but less stressful than October, anyway.  (Sympathy and support, by the way, to those of you anxiously waiting to vote, or to hear the results, in the US elections.)

This month is my last chance to make a dash for completion - even beginning! - of my New Year's resolutions.  One resolution was to knit (for the first time ever) a pair of socks; it's not begun - not even the wool bought, or the pattern sorted.  I'll try for those essential beginnings this week, at least. 
And there was also Chinese character-learning... well, eight weeks to go!

Shakespeare!  The stageoffools Shakespeare fest has happened, and gone public.  To my delight I was given a terrific reworking of Hamlet: I am to do a good turn for them, by days_of_storm.  It's a great story, reworking Hamlet's canonical account of kidnap by a pirate ship to reveal very different underlying realities - I won't spoil anything, but I will say that days_of_storm gave us a wonderfully Macchiavellian Hamlet, quick, intelligent and hard as nails.  As Horatio nearly says - what a king he might have been!  (I always thought the pirate story sounded suss.  :D )

More on Hamlet - and other Shakespeare-related matters - tomorrow.  :)

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Exhausted, but eager to see what's new with you all.

Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup Day.  If I were in Melbourne I'd be picking a winner - that is, picking a horse that I'd think might be a winner.  But I've just looked at the ABC website, and there is a most unappealing presentation of what the jockeys' silks are going to be, so I don't really have anything to go on.  And the horses' names are very odd, too, and the ABC hasn't given the sires and dams, which takes half the fun out of it.  So without elegant silks or excellent names, I'm unable to offer a tip.  Next year, next year.
(They really are strange names: Whoshotthebarman, Heartbreak City, Oceanographer, Excess Knowledge...  How could I pick a winner with names like those?)
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Well, DW just lost another draft post, but this was was very underdeveloped, so no crankiness ensues.

The busy month of October is almost on me, and is casting its busyness before.  I don't expect to be posting much in the next few weeks, and my responses might be slow, and less loquacious than usual, as well, which is probably not a bad thing.  :)

But October busyness doesn't fret me, because I've got my Shakespeare story done and ready to post!  and am very much looking forward to the opening of the collection, because that'll mean I can finally talk about all the things I found while thinking about what story to write, and can ask other people what they think about the plots and characters Shakespeare wrote, and hear about productions people have been to, or what's coming up that I might be able to see.  (There's an Othello I could maybe get to, later this year - but that's one tough night in the theatre.  :( )

I've only just seen that art can be entered as prompts for Yuletide - a revelation!  Because there's no huge amount of backstory which has to be known with a painting (err... generally); you can just take the image and go!.    I don't imagine I'll be in Yuletide - see above about incipient time-stress - but it's a way that would make it more possible for me. 

There's too much sadness and madness going on in the world in the world for me to even want to think about political things at the moment, but I did bestir myself up to asking my local representatives (Senate and House of Reps) to take action about the very dangerous (and depressing) Clause 42D of the Border Security Act in my country.  I'm not in the swim of what's happening on those lines currently - if any other Australians can fill me in, I'd be grateful.
On the more positive side, several very small Pacific nations have spoken out about human rights abuses in West Papua.    Human rights abuses, and also the long-standing trampling over self-determination.  I'm very grateful to them for raising the issues.

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Starting with the NFE stories - they were great to read through (a stretch, though - I only just got through them all before the Reveal, and didn't get to the Madness) and all good in different ways.  Two that were standout for me were:

revisionist history, by underscored - terrifically full-on, powerful AU Last Battle story, with action galore - physical, moral, psychological, emotional and theological, as the Friends work through a lot, and achieve a lot as well.  Susan-focussed, but starring everybody (though the aged Polly and Digory heroically elected not to slow down the rescue mission). 

Stick In the Mud, by [personal profile] transposable_element  - wonderful story of the great hearts in the Marsh peoples, and how they respond to the coming of Jadis's Winter - utterly Marshwiggle!  (Can't say higher than that!)

And to round out the post - some good stories from round the internet.  (some of them good news stories, some of them just good stories as stories.)

1.  The steep road down from the Bao Loc pass, and truck driver Phan Văn Bắc glanced behind to the passenger coach coming down behind him - travelling far too fast he thought, and looked again into the rear vision mirror - and saw the driver struggling desperately, and the passengers waving, gesturing for help - the brakes had failed!  and..
here's the story, but to be brief - he manoeuvred to let the back of his truck take the crashing weight of the coach, and rode them both together, jammed together, down the pass, holding both heavy vehicles on his own screamingly stretched-to-the-limit brakes.  And saved the lives of everybody.  Phew!

2. Probably most of you have heard this story?  But I hadn't and I loved it.  Of an eighty-year-old UK man with Alzheimer's - to the extent that he was getting physically and emotionally abusive to his loved wife, and not recognising his son.  But his son found (I think he had advice from the local support group) that his father, a former not-terribly-successful singer and entertainer, was a hundred times more relaxed and better cognitively and everything when he drove him round in the car and encouraged him to sing all the old songs he knew.  And viral video, and record deal, and all followed, but what I really, really liked was the stunning and very moving obvious love between the son and his father captured in this in-the-car video.  Strenuously recommended, even if you don't like that kind of music - Quando, quando, quando - video about three minutes. :)

3.  A little while ago, I posted wondering if Sir Nigel Loring had been a model for Reepicheep (no, I decided).  Now I've stumbled across another possible.  This isn't a good news story, because war and battles are never good, and it's definitely not news, but it's certainly a story, though I only know the slightest scrap of it. 
In 1569 the north of England was ablaze with the Northern Rebellion (anti-Elizabeth, pro-Mary Stuart) and 22-year-old George Carey was part of the force fighting for Elizabeth.  The fight of course went into Scotland as well (which was in other turmoil for its own reasons at the time) and Dunbar Castle ended up besieged by the English forces, including reckless, gallant (clever?) George Carey , who challenged Lord Fleming , t he commander of the castle to single combat, and won!  (and was knighted for it, and it's a great way to get yourself noticed in a war, which is why I said maybe he was being clever, not being Reepicheep, but there you go.) 
One of these days, when life's not so busy, I'll look up the full story - I know he won the duel, but I'm afraid I don't know if Lord Fleming then said sportingly "All right, you can have the castle."

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I hope I manage to see it rising tonight - of course (of course!) I'm double-booked with a lecture, but still, one can hope.  It's Mid-autumn Festival, which has (I'm told) different meanings in different places, but here is for children, with lanterns, masks, presents and parties.  For the last few days there's been a buzz of the excitement approaching, and little children seen unexpectedly in party dresses, or carrying boxes of mooncakes home, or selecting with great care their masks at shops or stalls, and this morning there were signs in the community space - one long paper chain strung all across the yard, and slightly squashy rained-on balloons hanging from it at intervals - that there'd been a party there last night (tonight is more for families). 

This is
also Narnia Fic Exchange time - twenty-three brand-new stories, all beautifully crafted to fit recipients' prompts, and being eagerly devoured as I write. as always, there's a terrific range of stories-wildly cracky, intricate histories, domestic vignettes,full-blown erotica... is there a detective story in there?  I bet there is,somewhere!  They range right through the Narnia canon, too, from pre-TMN to well post TLB. I've started reading, and will be having lots of fun catching up with all the stories in scattered bursts over the next few days. Recommended!

Otherwise, life for me is plunging into seasonal busy-ness.The rest of this month, and the two following will probably be pretty flat-out. (Shakespeare still to be shoe-horned in there somehow.)   But pretty flat-out doesn't mean only work!  Expect reports on concerts, - oh, and travel planned for next full moon!   Which I've already arranged to be free for, to see rising! How's that for forethoughtfulness! :D

Late addition:  I did see the moon, though not rising, and it was looking like the squashy balloons left after the party.  The full moon we were celebrating was a calendar full moon, not an astronomical full moon!  Real full moon, any day now!

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Dreamwidth just lost an entire draft post.  :(  Bother.  To be fair, it may be related to the internet being out of commission for half the day, and not DW's fault at all.  (Is anyone on Dreamwidth reading this, by the way?) 

As best I can remember it included talk of:

Doctor Who, Season 18, State of Decay.  I thought the plot was too much of a rehash of the old Sevateem idea (which was a good idea in itself), the acting was particularly bad, especially in the main cast (K9 excepted), and the Doctor's strategy for overcoming the resident evil (whose very name I've forgotten) looked awfully haphazard - the writers missed an opportunity for Adric to do ultra-high maths with K9, to ensure accuracy of execution.  As it was, Adric was looking more like a liability than an alert and useful companion.  I'd feel sorry for the  Doctor, except he was a bit annoying, too.

Shakespeare.  I'm gradually dragging the words out of my brain for the Stageoffools exchange, though with (of course) many qualms that this isn't what my recipient wants.  But I'll finish a first draft and then think again.

Tam Cam, the Untold Story - which was a movie based on a Vietnamese fairy-tale with lots of similarities to Cinderella.  (Tam is the "Cinderella"; Cam is the "Ugly Stepsister").  The untold part of the story included lots of fighting - the one-on-one martial arts kind, and the big CGI battles kind - and not one, but two CGI monsters - the bad scorpionesque one and the good leonine one.  What startled me most was the final, mid-credits scene of Tam and her wicked stepmother - Tam bringing to the stepmother a brimming bowl of some mixed stew, and saying "Eat, mother."  I thought - "oh - noble Tam - even after all the cruelty and wrong she's suffered, she displays filial piety to her father's wife."  But it wasn't that at all.   Oh dear.

Pulses:  this weekend just gone - the good old standby Chilli Beans, with red kidney beans, tomato and chilli and much else.

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I had hoped to spend some time tonight quietly knitting on a project inspired partly by todayiamadaisy on LJ and partly by having lost a beret somewhere or other, and partly by there being seven small balls of wool and a large one kicking around making an nuisance of themselves in the spare room.  For a non-knitter - that is, I can, but I hardly ever do - I'd made a promising start, I thought, but I've just come to the dispiriting realisation that I've misunderstood the instructions and have cast on too few stitches and will have to start all over again - and I loathe casting on.  Botherbotherbother.

On the slightly more cheerful side, it's New Moon today - so it's a new lunar month as well as a new solar-calendar one - two new months in one!

Neutral news is that  the Year of Pulses continues, but isn't doing so well this week - all I have to show is a mixed vegie curry with chickpeas.  Maybe I should get ambitious and try making tempeh.

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I've been work-travelling!  which involved another hotel, another swimming pool, and the chance to swim at six in the morning, as well as in the afternoon, and then again between the last session and catching the bus back home.  Bliss!  Because summer's ebbing, but hasn't gone yet.

So what can I post about, before the month finishes, and another two months begin?  Well, in the comments on a post by asakiyume, the book Harding's Luck was mentioned, so here's a bit of a ramble about it, and its fellow-travelling book, The House of Arden. 

Read more, if the inclination strikes you. :) )
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There's been more listening than reading happening for me lately.  Music, for starters - a terrific Bach concert, and another of unthemed scraps from all over, which began with Octet for Eight Strings (Prelude and Scherzo) by Shostakovich which was new to me, and brilliant.

But I've been listening to literature, too, courtesy of Librivox - to Arthur Conan Doyle's The White Company , with Sir Nigel Loring, the most chivalrous of all literary knights - at first I wondered if he was a model for Reepicheep. Cut because it rambles, rather. )

I've started reading The Edge of the World, by Michael Pye, about the influence of the North Sea traders in European history, but haven't got far yet, just to Frisians in the Dark Ages.  More in a later post.  (Has anyone else read it?  Or know the period? - roughly 700-1350, I think.)

I've dipped into Maria Edgeworth, thanks to a post by blueinkedpalm on LJ, and found her much more fun than I'd expected - previously I'd only read Castle Rackrent, and hadn't much enjoyed it - they were such very unappealing characters, and I couldn't see or couldn't enjoy the social comedy.  But blueinkedpalm gave a link to some easy-going didactic stories, intended as hints for parents on how to raise children - it included the Good Governess who took her charges to the Rational Toyshop (not nearly as horrible as it sounds).  There was bucketloads of Lessons to be drawn throughout, but also wry and amusing social observation.  Here's a basically decent young man, but vastly full of himself, mansplaining to a polite young woman:
"After he had told her all that he knew concerning the fossils, as they were produced from the cabinet — and he was far from ignorant — he at length perceived that she knew full as much of natural history as he did, and he was surprised that a young lady should know so much, and should not be conceited."

Pow!  Take that, all bumptious young men who have ever tediously and instructively wasted Maria Edgeworth's time when she could have been having fun at a party!  

(What great days we're living in! Where so much is freely available on the internet.)

And then there was Shakespeare.  I'd been playing with the idea of entering the StageofFools fic exchange - but when I came to consider which plays I knew anything like well enough to offer to write from... oh, then I had to scurry to the invaluable internet and find the plays and read them all again.  Not them all, no, but to skim from one to another, (reading one for the first time; it was better than I'd thought - good work, Shakespeare!  Keep it up.) until I thought I'd read enough to be able to get to the stage of offering some, and prompting some, and hoping for the best - which I now have, recklessly.  
So that's the thinking about writing part - just thinking idly at this stage, because the prompts have yet to descend. 

(Consumption of pulses, in honour of the Year, continues.  Recently: falafel with hummous, and at another meal tofu with peanut sauce - quadruple score!)

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The weekend was crammed full of things, so I didn't get around to reading or posting much - and the week is also looking pretty full-on - but yes! there's still time for self-indulgence and various cultural excitements.  Not the terrific free lecture with excerpts and explanations of the puppetry of Bao Ha village, though - it was crammed full by the time we got there.  But never mind, there was a very nice indeed new (to me) patisserie nearby (cue: tarte framboise and iced coffee) and I was also able to spend some time in a bookshop buying delayed birthday presents for a quasi-godchild plus bonus treat of a new big Vietnamese-English dictionary for me.

and later that night culture reigned! in that I continued the Season Eighteen Old Who project,and saw the story titled "Full Circle", with the introduction of the mysterious adric  Read more... )

There's a Shakespeare story exchange happening! on both LJ and DW - I'm pondering it as a possible way to help rejig my story-writing zest.  :)  I'd have to find four plays (excluding histories) that I'd feel capable of writing a thousand words on, to an unknown prompt, sometime in September.   Hhhmmm... 

and as mentioned previously, an ongoing salute to International Year of Pulses - this time, courtesy of [personal profile] asakiyume , Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, a pleasingly spicy snack, involving cayenne pepper and chickpeas. Thank you, [personal profile] asakiyume !  I snacked on them through the weekend, and ate them all up!

Of interest mostly to australians: about the census. )

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Something I read: I finished the book The Just City  - I've already tipped my main reactions to the book, but in sum, I do feel positively about it - I found myself putting off finishing it because I was enjoying the ride -  but not stunningly so.  I liked the idea of it more than the execution, I guess.  Minor point:  behind a cut, in case spoilery. )

Something I began to read: I saw on [personal profile] oursin 's blog a mention of The Last Man, a story by Mary Shelley set in 2073 (there's so much around that I've never heard of!) and dashed off to find it, because fascinating thought, the view of 2073, from1826.  Read more... )

Something I won't get to see:  I like the sound of this exhibition in Cambridge about illuminated manuscripts. 

Something I did actually see: I saw another episode in the eighteenth season of <i>Doctor Who</i>!  I'm seeing them in order, very slowly, as life permits.  This was the one about Meglos, Read more... )

On Sunday, there were signs of great weariness from my laptop - it's been just about two years since I was told it could go at any minuteNot exciting, really... ) So - a happy ending.  :)

heliopausa: (Default)
Literature!  Theatre!  Music!  and a swimming pool!!  It was a brilliant, brilliant weekend.  Oh, and on Friday night, a spectacular and silent lightning storm.  amazing!

The theatre wasn't really on the weekend - it was on Thursday night, but near enough, near enough - and it was terrific.  Sombre in places, and theatre-of-ideas in places (difficult, because I don't have enough language to follow the debates) and romance in places (pah, humbug!) and obligatory funny bits in places (ummm) but still - exciting production, and I loved the sets and the acting, and the ideas, very much.

The lightning storm - how far away does lightning have to be, to be completely silent?  It was amazing and beautiful, a huge storm around a whole quarter of the sky.

I started, and read most of, The Just City - which I'm enjoying, though not without niggles; it feels a bit two-bob-each-way between a novel and a fable, as if in all fairness (because it's a fable,a thought experiment) one shouldn't fret too much about characters or history or finicky pedantic points. (Not every number, Apollo!  You mean every number up to twelve!)  But it's fun watching the experiment work out (doomed to fail! - at least, it seems to me that it has been, but I see there's sequels, which suggests the experiment doesn't end in this volume, anyway) - and in general it's very enjoyable, and a huge step up from Hild. (I bought them both in the same bookshop swoop, last March.)  It reminds me of how Martin Gardner used to wrap up his mathematical/logic problems in very appealing and amusing mini-stories. 

The music was - still is - the Sydney Piano Competition, available via internet for a limited number of days - I think it's four weeks from when they were broadcast.  Here's the first set of three finalists, in the 19th/20th Century concerto section, playing Saint-Saens (an odd choice for competition playing), Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.   So there were swathes of music throughout the weekend.

and swimming for hours!  This is a rare treat, and the opportunity was not wasted, not for a minute, in this hot weather!  I say, swimming, but a good bit of the time - nearly all the time - was also just splashing about, or standing chatting in the watery shade.  ahhhhh...  :)

So, all up, a great weekend.  :)


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