oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted via [personal profile] firecat recently, this list: The 100 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time -

(And no, contrary to my usual habit, I'm not going to go through marking read/unread/hated/dnf/read something else by author.)

- which is, is it not, a claim that can be thrown out of the window if a book is published the very next day which bumps one of the books already on that list off the list, no?

'There can be only [X]'

Or can there?

I really, really liked this apercu spotted the other day, in fact I think the very same day, on Twitter:
Rant: Our culture is far too obsessed with “the best” instead of “the excellent.”

I am so there for that. The idea that there are lots of things that are excellent/great/worthy of attention and that it is not necessary, and may be counter-productive, to try and limit them to a selection that is determined to be the [restricted number of] The Very Bestest Evah. Or to set up competitions as to which is the Ultimate In Its Class.

oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
[personal profile] oursin

I depose that the week in which it was revealed that Charles Dickens tried to get his (sane but inconvenient) wife committed to a lunatic asylum is not the week to hymn 'family life [as] the most successful form of social security the world has ever known'.

The guy is getting his head handed to him fairly comprehensively on Twitter, but really. The ignorance.

Quite apart from the whole noxious gender aspect - I think the response would have been rather different had it been a middle-aged son as carer for an elderly mother, which is not unknown, in fact the situation of one of my cousins, who had his own health problems at the time.

Social welfare systems are not some mimsy-whimsy snowflakey thing that we've only just discovered and put in place, some form of social welfare has been around in this country since the early modern period at least.

And people weren't necessarily cherishing their Olds in the family home: they were going to the parish authorities and asking to have them put in the workhouse. In particular, I may add, if the Olds were fathers/fathers-in-law, because I recall from Book I Reviewed Some Considerable While Ago (I think it was Wally Seccombe, Weathering the Storm: Working-Class Families from the Industrial Revolution to the Fertility Decline, 1995, but wouldn't entirely swear to it) because aged women could still be useful around the house, doing a little light childminding or domestic tasks, whereas the men were pretty much just a burden.

Plus all the various philanthropic provisions that were put in place, so that people weren't entirely dependent on their families, supposing they had a family. E.g., I remark, the Foundling Hospital, set up by Jonas Hanway after seeing so many infants abandoned by unwed mothers cast out by their families (such successful. so social welfare. much security.).

nanila: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with (star wars: k-2so)
[personal profile] nanila
Poll #21430 Chatham House Rules
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 50

If I say "Chatham House rules", you say

But of course.
29 (58.0%)

Er, gesundheit?
21 (42.0%)

What are they? )

(no subject)

Feb. 22nd, 2019 09:33 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] laura_anne!

Ah, My Town

Feb. 21st, 2019 10:10 pm
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
My friends, allow me to illustrate for you how posh my village is.

The bloke and I went out to the theatre tonight to watch some live comedy (Rob Newman; yes yes we are so Radio 4 and also old). We got there a bit early so I could have a glass of wine - my turn for the booze as I'm driving home from the rugby tomorrow night - and it was very quiet.

As we sat enjoying our drinks, a lad entered and uncovered the keyboard on the piano. He started playing, badly. Two of his friends followed. One of them pushed him out of the way and started playing, reasonably well. A few more friends trickled in, teasing him, as he continued to play, much to our amusement.

The theatre manager came over and politely asked to see their tickets to the show, which, being under the age of 35 (and that's me being generous; most of the audience were at least a decade older), they did not have. They left without a fuss.

And that, my friends, is an illustration of a Night Out interrupted by the Yoot in My Town. #cryingwithlaughter
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin

My dr rdrz will recollect that two weeks ago I went for my free routine NHS checkup, and was praised for the very lovely state of my blood pressure, my BMI was also found in fine order (though I know this is a metric about which doubts have been expressed...)

And last week I went to have my blood samples taken in connection with this.

And this week I had a letter saying that they had found from this that my cholesterol level was somewhat high, not inordinately so, but I might think about dietary changes or more exercise and I am welcome to make an appointment with the practice nurse to discuss lifestyle changes.

Well, my dearios, I have looked up the dietary recommendations and frankly they do not differ greatly from what I am already eating WOT. The oats, the nuts and seeds, the fruit and veg, the pulses, the healthy oils, etc.

Okay, I have cream in my coffee, but on reflection, I am not consuming vast amounts of dairy products or other saturated fats in the course of the week.

I'd really like to do more exercise, but it's quite hard to find something that doesn't have an adverse impact on the arthritis, because a lot of things that one wouldn't think had a direct effect nonetheless do have some. And I am already doing some exercise, possibly statistically a bit more than the norm for my age-group?

So really, maybe I shouldn't be doing anything, more than what I am already doing?

(no subject)

Feb. 21st, 2019 09:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lokifan!
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished the Pauline Kael biography: not sure if it's just that somebody whose career was basically sitting in darkened cinemas watching movies and then writing about them is not going to be wildly exciting, and it's by its nature going to be mostly about her critical opinions and spats with other critics, directors she dissed, etc, or whether it's down to Kellow not having got a lot of cooperation from relevant individuals, e.g. Kael's daughter (there does seem to have been a certain amount of drama in her earlier life, resulting in single motherhood). I am not sure I wouldn't have done better to dig out the volumes of her criticism and read those.

Re-read all Martha Wells' Murderbot novellas and the prequel short story: The Future of Work: Compulsory.

Stephanie Burgis, Snowspelled (2017), which I think I saw recommended somewhere and the ebook of which was on offer, and which was very good. It may have the 'not like other girls' going for the protag, but that is just because the other women are differently badass rather than simpering Mean Girls, and the being different is not posited as necessarily at odds with. Have preordered the sequel.

On the go

Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent (eds), The Underwater Ballroom Society (2018), as the prequel to Snowspelled was in this (and it was only slightly dearer than buying it separately, and anyway this had been vaguely on my radar).

Up next

Nothing immediate after that, but next week promises not only the Stephanie Burgis sequel above mentioned, but Amanda Downum's The Poison Court.

(no subject)

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:21 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] dsgood and [personal profile] elekdragon!

The Friday Five on a Tuesday

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:47 pm
nanila: Will not be surviving the zombie apocalypse (me: braaains)
[personal profile] nanila
As I was away all weekend, I didn’t get a chance to post this on Friday, or indeed, Sunday, as I normally do. It is in fact closer to next week’s FF than it was to last week’s. Taking lateness to new and dizzying heights, wahey!

  1. Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?
    Sometimes. It depends on how busy we are. We usually do a shop at the weekend to prep for the week but more often than we’d like, it involves at least one pizza night, one “yes, you can eat PB&Js in front of the television” night and one “cannot be arsed to cook, TO THE CHIPPY!” night.

  2. Do you make up a shopping list and stick to it when shopping?
    Yes. I have problems concentrating in supermarkets. I’m not sure why. I’ve tried to do the “once up and down every aisle” technique that works for the bloke, but it does not work for me, and I end up getting distracted trying to work out whether a “deal” is actually a savings on a per-unit basis or not, or deciding if I would like to try a new flavour of herb tea, or mourning the out-of-stock status of the kriek lambic, or just pondering my shoes because it is all too much. Lists help me to focus.

  3. What is one thing that you always buy, but never put down on a list?
    If it’s not on the list, it does not get bought. Even if it’s milk or bread or something I literally buy every week.

  4. Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?
    The 17 tins of tomatoes in our pantry speak for themselves.

  5. Do you get your groceries delivered?
    The occasions on which I have groceries delivered are (1) When the bloke is going to be away for at least five days and (2) Special occasions, like the bloke’s birthday last weekend when I ordered a vast quantity of cheese and wine for our trip to Wales. Otherwise, not on a regular basis, no.

And about time, some of us say...

Feb. 19th, 2019 03:08 pm
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

Apparently solo dining is becoming A Thing? (scroll down, it's the last thing)

In New York, there’s a rising trend for eating alone and some restaurants have amended their menus and tables to cater for this. The restaurant booking site OpenTable has also reported a rise in solo dining.
That thing that that is that I have been doing, lo, these many years. And I am sure I am by no means the only one, because I still remember with great affection the great Katharine Whitehorn's suggestion of a restaurant, or maybe an entire chain, set up entirely for solo diners, with reading lights and bookstands on the tables. Sign me up with a loyalty card! (and I am so not a loyalty card person.)

Perhaps I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope who has had one or two too many group meals which have involved going, finally, to some place that is nobody's first choice but will fit everybody in and accommodate everybody's dietary requirements/a person turning up late and keeping everyone else from ordering/that person who either takes for ever deciding what to order or is too busy chatting to address the matter/person who takes an inordinate time longer than everybody else to finish a course/ - yes, I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope.

Also, I have my book/e-reader/phone/laptop for company: I do not want a giant teddy-bear vis-a-vis. I should not have to come over all Greta Garbo 'Vant to be alone' at a teddy-bear. At least, one may hope, the bear will not attempt to engage one in lively conversation ('What are you reading/is that a good book?').

(no subject)

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:22 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lilliburlero!

This goes beyond what I can fathom

Feb. 18th, 2019 02:46 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Or, being home IT support...

Partner's computer has been connected to the home network via a TP Powerline, i.e. an ethernet connection.

There have lately been problems and in fact, the connection has defaulted to the (weak and fluctuating) wifi that reaches the back room.

We have therefore replaced the existing TP Powerline (which was of some antiquity, as I recall), but this does not seem to have fixed the problem. The computer recognises that there is an ethernet connection to the home network there, but says there is No Internet.

This is getting beyond my competence to deal with.

O, all knowledge which is on Dreamwidth, can you help me?

ETANow seems to have sorted itself! Boggle.


Feb. 17th, 2019 08:25 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread made during week: Greenstein's Psomi Loaf, with toasted sesame seeds - mmmmmm.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/buckwheat flour, + dried cranberries.

Today's lunch: a fillet of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, wrapped over a stuffing of breadcrumbs tossed in melted butter and lemon juice with zest of lemon, salt, pepper and dill, and baked under foil in a moderate oven, served with baby rainbow carrots roasted in goosefat (I am not sure this really adds much to them), garlic roasted kalettes (I fear their season must nearly be over, wah-wah-woh-woh), and padron peppers.

My rather idiosyncratic opinion...

Feb. 16th, 2019 03:27 pm
oursin: Photograph of James Miranda Barry, c. 1850 (James M Barry)
[personal profile] oursin

That Dr James Miranda Barry would have wished to be remembered for outstanding achievement in the fields of medicine, surgery, and sanitary and hygienic reform.

That if, by some miracle, Barry were to be transported into the present day, I think the things that would be arousing the famed incandescent fury would be things like anti-vaxxers ('they've eradicated smallpox and people are wilfully refusing to prevent measles??!!') and advanced societies unable to guarantee a clean water supply to all citizens, that sort of thing.

And that Wakefield would find himself in receipt of challenges, if not Barry, with a sword, on his doorstep.

We doubt, however, that however remarkable, without some additional cause of interest, a pioneering doctor and sanitary reformer would have generated over a period of several decades a number of novels and biographies (going back at least to 1932).

oursin: Animate icon of hedgehog and rubber tortoise and words 'O Tempora O Mores' (o tempora o mores)
[personal profile] oursin

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction.


Puts on her orl moar komplik8d hat.

I have been thinking lately of the idea that is there in that piece that in the past books were revered and people were engaged in deep and reverent and serious reading -

And wondering a bit to what extent some of that is an artefact of survival, because what survives is mostly the more serious literature in the form of bound books -

And I am very like to think that far more people were reading or having read to them broadsheet ballads and so on which were produced in great number and survive very sparsely, because they fell into the category of the ephemeral. Rather than the Bible or Paradise Lost or The Pilgrim's Progress -

I choose those examples on account of much of our knowledge of broadsheet ballads comes, I understand, from the collection of Samuel Pepys (who, however, threw into the fire certain other kinds of literature he consumed, hem-hem).

Plus, almanacks, and Aristotle's Masterpiece, and a whole range of things that are not considered litry textz.

I might also remark that people who read, read all kinds of different things and do not always read in the same mode. One may immerse, or one may skim. One is large and contains multitudes.

nanila: (kusanagi: aww)
[personal profile] nanila
As you may have gathered from yesterday's post, I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. However, as a regular donor to the Abortion Support Network, who help women to access safe, legal abortion from Ireland and Northern Ireland, I couldn't ignore their appeal to help establish branches in Malta and Gibraltar, where abortion is (functionally) totally illegal. I have donated to the campaign here; please consider doing so if you are able to as well. If you can't donate, please consider my donation to have been given on your behalf as well. ♥ ♥ ♥

I may have been drinking

Feb. 14th, 2019 10:33 pm
nanila: <user name=pearl_oquote site=livejournal.com> made this from something <user name=slodwick site=livejournal.com> said. (capslock)
[personal profile] nanila
A) Fuck Valentine's day

B) Donald Trump is a fucking racist wanker

C) Sense8 is awesome
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (Boggled hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin
Received via my Former Workplace Account, which has pretty strong spam traps in operation:

Dear Subscriber,

[Redacted] a scalar light researcher and healer, is able to significantly improve the health of your entire family with scalar light healing.  Scalar light is a remote healing modality that only requires your photograph in order to eradicate germs from your body and deliver the nutrients necessary for optimal physical and mental health.  The purpose of this communication is to offer you and your entire family scalar light healing without obligation. You may submit as many as 25 photographs of your family members and friends in order to experience the scalar light healing session.

 [Link redacted] to register for the 15 day scalar light healing session.  There is absolutely no obligation to receive this offer.

Why we are contacting you? We are contacting you today as part of our compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which came into force on 25th May 2018.

Tom assures that the best date protection and compliance data policies are in practice in order to assure your privacy. Our privacy policy explains how we collect and use personal data.

The data that we possess includes your name and email address. The GDPR classifies information such as your name and email address as personal data.

The lawful basis we use for this processing is "Legitimate Interest" for "direct marketing". It is recommended that companies using this basis conduct a "Legitimate Interests Assessment" (LIA), which we have done. You subscribed to our offer for a no-obligation scalar light healing session or heard about us and subsequently subscribed to our newsletter.

To register for the 15 day scalar light healing session please [link redacted].

You may submit as many as 25 photographs of family members and friends in order to receive our no-obligation scalar light healing session.

To confirm your acceptance to receive emails as well as the no obligation scalar light healing sessions, please [confirmation link redacted].


Colour me, my dearios, BOGGLED.

Three Icons meme

Feb. 13th, 2019 10:18 pm
nanila: Will not be surviving the zombie apocalypse (me: braaains)
[personal profile] nanila
[livejournal.com profile] hamsterwoman choose three of my icons for me to explain.

“OMG iz fulla stars.” The problem with responding to this meme is that the last time I added an icon which wasn’t a Pokémon commission was probably about five years ago. I saw this somewhere and asked if I could use it. It’s for me “I’m going to write about geeky (space) science things” posts.

“If an opinion is worth having, it is worth having in capslock in public.” Once again, I’m pretty sure I got this off the [community profile] capslock_dreamwidth community. Possibly from [personal profile] azurelunatic? I DON’T KNOW. But the sentiment stands. I don’t ALL CAPS often but when I do, I MEAN IT.

“Will not survive the zombie apocalypse.” Ooh, now this one I think is particularly cool, and I don’t use it enough. A few years ago when I went to San Diego, I visited with My Mate Josh. One of the things Josh does as part of his living is operate an MRI scanner. You know, for SCIENCE. He asked if I wanted to have my brain scanned. Which, HELL YES I want my brain scanned, tyvm. So he scanned my brain, and then he did some fun visualisation with the data, and voila: I now have an icon featuring a view through the top of my skull into my brain. My brain appears in all respects to be physically healthy, at least, so clearly I will make a delicious dinner when the zombie apocalypse does finally strike.

I know the tradition is to continue the cycle of icon explainery by asking if others want me to choose three of theirs. However, I am already behind on comment replies and I do not see that getting better until the middle of next week at the earliest, so I ask forgiveness for taking without giving back in this instance.


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