Norður

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
It's that time in the summer when I start to dream about being somewhere far to the north, with a view of the sea. To be fair, I also dream about the north in the depths of winter. To be even fairer, the weather here has been cool and rainy, so maybe that's made me think about northern climes.

If I were for some reason forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, I would go to the Fogo Island Inn, off the northern coast of Newfoundland.

Or maybe a less ridiculously posh place with bonus icebergs, the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland.

I remind myself that I've already got a weekend booked in Iceland on my way home to the States in December. And I can sit and enjoy views of the cold sea from a lovely steaming hotpot at any number of municipal pools. And my room probably has a view of the harbor!

But that's a long ways off. I'm pondering whether to plan an August long weekend somewhere in the UK, and whether it would be worth the faff to travel somewhere more northerly, as opposed to just going to Brighton or something. I'm very fond of Scarborough. I also have this weird desire to see the Isle of Man after watching the national road race championships a few weeks ago.

Also worth pointing out that I'm going to Saint Petersburg at the end of August, and perhaps that counts as northerly if not quite with an unobstructed ocean view? I'm rather tempted by Kronstadt...

WEDDING QUILT OMG SO HAPPY

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:11 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
A few years ago, I watched my BFF, [twitter.com profile] amymariemason, spend a year making a beautiful wedding quilt for a friend of hers. I’m not saying my jealousy was the only reason I married [personal profile] such_heights, but I coveted that quilt, oh my goodness I coveted it so hard.

So when [personal profile] such_heights and I got engaged in August 2014, I asked my BFF if she would, maybe, perhaps, make us a wedding quilt, too?

It’s now July 2017, the wedding quilt is finally finished, and OH MY FUCKING GOD IT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING IN ALL EXISTENCE COME LOOK HOW TALENTED MY BFF IS SHE’S THE GREATEST THIS IS THE GREATEST COME LOOK COME LOOK COME LOOK OMG!

Many photos of the world's greatest quilt )

Going back to Garching

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:09 pm
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[personal profile] purplecthulhu
I'm currently at a conference at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, near Munich. I lived and worked here for 2 years in the mid-90s and the last time I visited was in 2012.

It's nice to be back. I'm pleasantly reminded what a quiet, sleepy little town Garching is, and this makes a great contrast to London. ESO itself has also bloomed with 3 huge new buildings, a lovely new auditorium that we're using, and a new outreach centre, Supernova, currently being constructed.

The sun and the beer also help!

Planet of the Spiders revisited

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:12 am
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[personal profile] sir_guinglain
Dialogue for the old and new fans...

From Planet of the Spiders part one, as it might be re-edited:

LUPTON: Not only a Doctor, but a woman Doctor. We do not want her here.
CHO-JE: We cannot shut out the world entirely, my brother.
LUPTON: Why not? You used to, in Tibet.
CHO-JE: All things pass away, as you will learn in your meditation. This world of samsara, the world of appearance, is the world of change.
LUPTON: Yes, but I came here to get away from the world. So did the others. We came here to find solitude.
CHO-JE: One day you will learn to walk in solitude amidst the traffic of the world.
LUPTON: It's still not too late to stop her coming.
CHO-JE: But it is. Mister Chibnall has already gone to the station to fetch her.

**

CHO-JE: We can but point a finger along the way. A man must go inside and face his fears and hopes, his hates and his loves, and watch them wither away. Then he will find his true self, which is no self. He will see his true mind, which is no mind.
SARAH: And that's what meditation's all about?
CHO-JE: Yes! The old man must die and the new woman will discover to her inexpressible joy that he has never existed.
SARAH: Well, good luck, mate.

From Chrissie's Transcripts Site, with alterations.
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
I watched A Very British Sex Scandal last night — it’s a great docu-drama made in 2007 about the Wolfenden Report and the Montagu Affair, largely following Peter Wildeblood. The Montagu Affair was a very high profile case in the 1950s in which three men were tried for “homosexual acts” — it’s credited with helping to change public opinion and, eventually, the law. Wildeblood was one of the men tried.

I strongly recommend the film. The docu bit is fascinating — the contributors are queer men born in the 20s and 30s who watched this all play out, including, rather amazingly, Lord Montagu himself.

The drama bit is sweet, compelling, understated, and doesn’t take too many liberties. I was also particularly touched by the context-setting voiceover, which provided us with such gems as, “In 1952 The Daily Mail was a serious establishment newspaper. Its opinions were highly respectable.”

After watching the film, I immediately bought Peter Wildeblood’s Against the Law, first published in 1959, which is largely about Wildeblood’s experiences of being gay, the Montagu Affair, and Wildeblood’s subsequent time in prison. In it he argues equally hard for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and for penal reform in general. It’s reckoned to be the first sympathetic book about male homosexuality to reach a wide audience in Britain.

It’s hard to overstate how brilliant and brave this book is, and I would have loved it for that no matter how it was written — but it’s also such a clear, spare, honest, witty, engaging piece of writing, one that leaves me feeling both in breathless awe of this hero of a man and, at the same time, like it’s only an accident of space and time that we aren’t friends. When I finished it, I missed him.

Yes, so, I fucking love this book and I recommend it even more strongly than the docu-drama. (I think there’s a new docu-drama coming out pretty soon, actually, called Against the Law? AVBSS was made for the 40th anniversary of decriminalisation, and AtL is for the 50th anniversary. So if you’re only going to watch the one docu-drama, you’ll soon have a choice.)

My version has an intro written by Matthew Parris which I liked a lot and found very interesting but at the same time ended up disagreeing with quite strongly in places. (Which is, tbf, my normal reaction to Matthew Parris.) If you get the same version, I’d suggest not reading the intro until after you’ve read the book itself.

I also wanted to share with you the absolute gut punch I got when reading the very opening paragraph of the book.

Sometimes, when a man is dying, he directs that his body shall be given to the doctors, so that the causes of his suffering and death may be investigated, and the knowledge used to help others. I cannot give my body yet; only my heart and my mind, and trust that by this gift I can give some hope and courage to other men like myself, and to the rest of the world some understanding.


It’s. I don’t know. I read that, and I was struck by how very different it was from David Wojnarowicz’s If I die of AIDS - forget burial - just drop my body on the steps of the FDA — but at the same time, by how strong the thread is that connects them.

random non-spoilery TdF observations

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:51 pm
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I've been feeling inexplicably unwell so I finished work early this afternoon and spent it lying on the couch watching the Tour de France...

• One of Britain's top cyclists from the 80s, Philippa York, has just publicly come out as trans during the Tour. Apparently she had been avoiding public life for some years, but people in the know were aware that she'd transitioned. What's heartening is that the reception from the cycling world has, as far as I can tell, been extremely supportive. She's been guest commentating on ITV for a few stages now, and I haven't heard a single stumble over name or pronouns. Chapeau, Philippa. It must have taken a lot of courage.

• David Millar gets so into the tactics. You get the feeling that he doesn't care so much who wins (or does a good job of covering it up, unlike Carlton Kirby, who has his crushes), but he gets passionately angry if he disagrees with a team's choices: "why are they doing that??!? It's ridiculous! What are they trying to achieve???"

Yet when Ned Boulting asked, he heartily and believably denied having any desire to be out on the mountain himself: "no, no, a thousand times no."

• I've managed to get my parents into watching the Tour. They're both backing Froome. What did I do to deserve this?

• As always, a special thanks is due to whoever at ITV does the end-of-show montages. They are always superbly on point and they almost always choose great music. Today I owe them particular thanks for introducing me to the music of Jacqueline Taïeb, a French singer of Tunisian origin from the 60s.

Apart from being a great song, Bravo just makes me think of the "Carlien Daten?" saga. (Spoiler: after the date they "decided to just be friends.")

I don't get the feeling that Taïeb pities (or particularly respects) the hero, though perhaps I'm reading too much into it...

(French lyrics)



• ETA: What have I learned from the Orica Backstage Pass so far? That Esteban Chaves is reading a Danielle Steele novel and that (unrelatedly) Matt Hayman has had to explain to him what a "bromance" is.

Thwump!

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:14 pm
purplecthulhu: (Default)
[personal profile] purplecthulhu
Io story submitted to Apex.

God war story submitted to Deep Magic (after rewording of one profanity).

Cycling Diary: Day 138

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:00 pm
purplecthulhu: (Default)
[personal profile] purplecthulhu
Time in 52:30 (35:30 cycling), time back 53:00 (36:30 cycling), 679 Calories.

Hard work being back in the saddle - definitely some condition lost over the long period off. Some changes on the route - there's a hole where a building used to be - but mostly not so bad. The junction at the top of Exhibition Road is still a mystery for cyclists. Whoever thought that was a good idea must have never ridden a bike in London.

A little sore now.
naraht: Chris Froome and Peter Sagan chatting (other-HelloFroomey)
[personal profile] naraht
I did actually laugh out loud at this one. I love these guys. Can they be a Yuletide fandom?

sir_guinglain: (MummyIcon)
[personal profile] sir_guinglain
I found myself double-booked for The Doctor Falls, and so over a week after broadcast have returned with a follow-up review for Time Lines, John Connors's blog which continues the ancient traditions of his earlier fanzines Top, Faze, This Way Up, Antenna and others. As I write, it's not quite a review...

Steven Moffat at his best is very good at treating characters and events as symbols whose interaction as principles not only shapes but often overtakes conventional narrative. Looking back after over a week of rewatches and reviews, the success of The Doctor Falls lies largely in how this coded writing works, laying emphasis on specific aspects of character and setting which sometimes confound expectations which World Enough and Time might have encouraged. What follows isn’t quite another review but a set of reactions considering some of the opinions I’ve come across since The Doctor Falls was broadcast. In case anyone is in any doubt, I greatly enjoyed the episode; there was a tense fatalism throughout, leavened by statements of optimistic principle. I realised while watching it that kindness was probably the factor that kept me watching Doctor Who in the first place. The Doctor has not always been kind, but he tries to be kind to the greatest possible conceivable number of people, all the time. This is his virtue and periodically, in limited ways, his downfall.

Read more...
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