Oct. 9th, 2016 12:14 am
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
Well, I haven't posted for awhile and this time I have a legitimate reason - my computer crashed really badly and I have just agreed to pay a horrible sum of money to have it fixed. (A comparable new one would be three or four times more expensive D:) It auto updated to the anniversary edition of Windows 10. I don't regret updating to 10 - security, far more efficient space use - I think it was just really bad luck. I've never actually had a hard drive crash on me before.

Also the timing was rather bad -it was RuneScape's double xp weekend! I played only a little on the Saturday evening. Figures, hmph.

I read some O R Melling (don't remember it being so YA but I was actually in that age bracket then), finally Heidi again, though my friend has left Switzerland and is doing a thing in London, and am reading The Secret Country by Pamela Dean. Pretty good but the general bickering, constant simmering of unhappiness of like all the children is preventing me from simply eating it up. I also read The Gilded Age, wick is about Anita Hemmings, the first African-American woman to go to Vassar, and she did it by passing for white. I enjoyed it a lot (maybe I should read more boarding school stories), but I also feel like Anita was never angry. Kind of like how I feel I was sooo angry at her treatment compared to Fanny's own feelings in Mansfield Park.

Carmen at the opera - omg. I enjoyed it a lot, A+ would attend again. Sadly another modern update....as a young person who has not seen a ton of opera, I wish I could see more with original settings. This one was very gritty and the stage very minimalistic. I also was slightly disappointed with the habenera, which should really ooze sex appeal; it was all just sorta restrained. And it's not like the rest of the opera was restrained, which was weird. Maybe the Carmen just wanted a very different interpretation? Also, there was a lot of male nudity for a change! In addition to all the female nudity, more forgivable in this opera... It opened with a man in only his underwear running endless laps around the stage - at least thirty or forty, as punishment I think. The other characters just acted like he wasn't even there. Escamillo was amazing and wore the brightest yellow suit imaginable, and pulled it off. The children had clearly been told to sing at the tops of their lungs for Avec la garde montante and were pretty adorable.

I've also been doing a lot of Ingress and letterboxing. There's a very active ingress group locally and I made level 8 a bit ago, which isn't the highest level but the one where you get access to the best gear available. I like the urban exploration thing a lot (thus also letterboxing).

I did calligraphy with my log and decided to look at all my nibs:



I use all them except the Hunt globe and 102 and the speedball b nibs. OK, the 102 I use for touch up because the top is so fine it catches on everything and then ink splatter, the globe is inflexible and gives me no line variation, and the b ditto - the b all give really thick lines too and no line thickness variation. I used the c-2 for the cover page. I'm not sure I can even write consistently with the c-0, which is even broader - you need so much ink on it you practically have to redip after every stroke. And the line gets thinner as you go down!

I also carved my own stamp! I bought a few cheap pink erasers, scoured the internet for inspiration and guides, and used an exacto knife. Worked out pretty well but I'm not so good at stamping while outside without a table! It's been fairly addicting. I found 3 stamps today (failed to find 2) and really want to go tomorrow too. I have an ingress farm to go to tomorrow morning (almost completely cleaned out of gear - been destroying enemy portals a lot. Lots of fun. What's building compared to getting to smash my nemesis's portal?) But afterwards, more stamp collecting.

Fall is coming in slowly and I want the weather to hold so we get a nice pretty leaf show.


Jul. 30th, 2016 08:46 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
I got my chef's knife sharpened today, and it is the best seven dollars I have spent in my life. I was at the point where I couldn't cut tomato or pepper skin anymore, but now, now the knife goes through stuff like butter. I mean, it's so sharp I'll probably take a finger off one of these days, but I love it. I love it soooo much. This is gonna make cooking so much easier.


Aug. 23rd, 2014 11:50 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Contacts! I've had glasses since I was about seven/eight, and have worn them daily since then.

My first reaction when I got them in, blinked, and the world became clear (aside from bawling copiously because I was poking myself in both eyes) was that I AM ROBOT, THIS IS THE FUTURE. Intellectually I know contacts have been around for many years, but just I never thought about them on me. With them in I felt like I could run up to any old machine repair shop and trade in my old eyes for new ones. Like a parts store for your body. I felt like I was getting an upgrade :D

Everything is so much bigger too. After every new prescription I noticed everything looked a little smaller than before, but this basically undid years' worth of strengthening prescriptions in one go and I actually got confused about pennies. They looked so big I thought they were toy money! Oops. (I have a really strong prescription--it's leveled out to about -8.75 diopters, but I used to go up about one diopter a year.)

There are definitely disadvantages (so dizzy after the first set, sometimes not clear) but the other really cool thing is that now I know what my face looks like without glasses! That was a bit of a shock. It's weird to say, because who doesn't know what their face looks like? I know what mine looked like with my frames, but without them, not at all.I have to be really close to the mirror for my face to be in focus and it's really hard to see when you're so close. So that's been cool. I used to adjust to having a new face every time I had new frames (plus a lot of the changes were while I was a teenager, so my face was also changing.)

Oh! and yesterday I talked to a friend who'd done something similar (laser eye surgery) and she brought up the point of winter fogginess. omg that means I can wear scarves properly in the winter! Oh my god. You know if you have glasses and the scarf goes over you nose, it fogs up the lenses and often it freezes into frost? I just realized that if you have contacts there isn't this problem! Oh god, this may make up for everythingggg.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)

I really like the way lj_r and news has been going. And I don't mind at all that comments at news have been closed and lj_r open, because news has always been a bit of a disaster in the commenting area.

Around the time of the site redesign I think they got rid of Frank the Goat in the 404/access denied page. Unlike I feel 99% of the population, I didn't mind Frank, but it does look nice. Except for the colour-contrast problems, I really do like the re-design; a lot of the columns got reshuffled so there are fewer (so you don't have to check all them) and a lot more logical, at least for me. And the design is a lot nicer than the previous one. I find myself missing the old headers though. I remember the fun old designs, the burst of colours!

Mostly, though, I'm very encouraged with the way that feedback has been opened up. I think the userbase has always been vocal, and that immediate customer-facing staff has always been aware of the requests/desires of the userbase, but it seems that the requests are propagating up and that's awesome.

Also, I'm still alive, I'm just abroad at the moment and travelling for 3-4 days every weekend (and then busy Mon/Tues/Weds) and consequently very, very tired of packing and unpacking and also regretful that I never attempted to learn ALL THE LANGUAGES. Also, I've learned that 7am flights are really not worth it because one pays ridiculous cab fares in order to get to the airport because the metro system doesn't start early enough...So I'm a bit exhausted. And ready to go somewhere I can read the signage.

ETA/PS: I have been mostly following my flist on both lists in bursts of "read everything" (also, how fast is meme moving it leaps two posts every time I look) but if there's something big/exciting/fun/scary/insertadjective happened I'd love to hear it if you want to talk!
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Eurovision finals are tomorrow! I am going to watch and if anyone wants to join me I have made a chatroom on mibbit (an IRC channel). If you have never used IRC before this should take you directly in--just enter a name to chat with where it says "nick".


If you have a client:
server: irc.mibbit.net
channel: #eurovision
No password required.

The first time I watched Eurovision it was with #lj_s and it was so much fun. IRC's not hard to use once you're in--it's just like any other chat interface--so come in to chat if you like!

I will be in there starting at around 2:50pm my time (and if I understand time zones correctly, which I may in fact totally misunderstand, it will be about 8:50pm in Denmark i.e. CEST.) So like 6:50 UTC. I THINK. On second thought, don't trust my attempts at converting timezones because they mess me up, I'll just be in about ten minutes before the show starts at 21:00 Copenhagen's time. Eurovision.tv informs me this is 21:00 CET.


The other day I walked into the kitchen and saw that there were about twenty bananas in bunches along the window. It's been overcast and rainy all day and the light fell just like an painting. It reminds me of a National Geographic (I think) photograph I saw once, of pears lined up on a windowsill. ETA: FOUND it! It's so cool how far Google and the internet has come--I put in "pears along windowsill" and the first result to come up was it. http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/wallpaper/ngm/50-best/moscow-pears-abell/ It's an amazing photo--I think I saw it in their 50 years of photography book. Hm, in retrospect, the photos aren't very similar. And unlike that picture, I am not taking a lovely picture of Moscow in the distance. Instead, it is the house next door, and also the pine tree I consult every morning for the weather (like this.)

Anyway, I took a picture. Actually, nineteen, but this is the best one:

bananas on windowsill )

One of the things that photography has taught me is that if you see something that you think is interesting--light, texture, anything--you have to take the picture then. Don't wait. Especially light, because it changes so fast; I feel like I'm always chasing after one sunbeam or another. Come back in a minute and it's gone, wahh.

When I went to make dinner, all the bananas were gone and the kitchen smelled like a banana massacre. I think the girl who lives down the hall bought them and then made a gigantic smoothie or banana mash to freeze or something.


It was rainy today but the cherry trees are blooming and I had my camera (I'd been walking home from visiting the art gallery) and so I took many pictures. I know exactly what I'm doing with my weekend. Oh my god. Finally! STAY TUNED.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I went to see Mahler's 9th Symphony yesterday and I still have mixed feelings about it. I went with M, who sings with me in the choir. She loves Mahler, so it was perfect.

Symphony 9 is all about death. He had lost his daughter Maria a few years before, and it's just perfectly on point in so many ways. It's programmatic, I suppose--it tries to depict a storyline/emotion through music. And there are parts where the music is frenzied and furious, and other parts yearning: apply your the X stages of grief and thoughts about death here. It's not atonal, it hangs onto some semblance of harmony, but it's very dissonant sometimes. And there is no resolution ever, except at the very end of the entire symphony. The whole orchestra--and it was a huge orchestra, there must have been a hundred players, there were seven double-bass players (!!), an uncountable army of violins and violas--would sometimes start rushing into a huge loud frenzied passage, and then the cymbals would crash from the back and that was it, there was never any resolution. Tease the fifth, and never go back to the tonic. It was really hard to tell when movements ended, because of this; even near-silence occurred in the middle of movements.

The second movement was my favourite; it was a parody of several dance forms. It started out good-natured, soured, and after another crazy build-up of sound the orchestra went quiet, and then back into the genial original form.

The final movement is Adagio (slow), and is considerably less dissonant. It's the 'peace at the end of the struggle', I suppose. Mahler's a rather morbid composer; he quoted at the end a passage from his older piece Kindertotenlieder (ie songs about dead children, what on earth) about sunlight on the hill (where it's implied basically where his daughter Maria was resting, sjdkljf).

The problems I had with it was mostly repetition. Oh god, Mahler, we get it. We got it the first time, and the second time, and the third and the fourth and fifth and sixth time. When the resolution finally came, he repeated it again and again and again. It was an 8pm concert and both M and I had worked a full shift that day, so I was nodding off in the first movement and in the midst of the clapping after the first movement M said she was falling asleep too. The fourth movement just dragged on; the strings were excellent but it was slow and just went on and on. I like the theme of peace at last, but peace is not very interesting when it's extended like that.

Other thoughts about the concert: someone should write a symphony where the only point of the movements is so that the audience has a break to cough. There was no intermission (two hour concert) so after the first movement there was a huge outbreak of coughing and hacking. Also, someone decided to unwrap a lozenge or candy right in a quiet part. Good job. Seriously, do that sometime else, you can control that. Also the Adagio happened, and someone had an extended coughing fit which they obviously tried to muffle, and I realize that it's involuntary and they can't help it, but the Adagio is so quiet and meant to be peaceful and is sometimes literally only a violin and a viola playing and therefore very quiet and ARGH! Also, there was a part where the strings did not move together and the thought that crossed my mind was "look at the conductor!" and yes, I have been in choirs for way too long.

If I could, I would ban all applause ever after performances. I hate curtain calls, I hate applauding for minutes at a time, I hate being a performer getting applause for so long. And after a movement like that Adagio, which is so quiet, so slow, so peaceful, the applause breaks in and completely shatters the peace.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I think I passed Lucius Malfoy by the subway station the other day. Long white-blond hair, tall man, black coat; I turned to look and it's definitely Azkaban-era Malfoy, with stubble. It was great. I'm going to pretend that he's wandering round my unglamorous Canadian city just because.

I saw the very first flower of the year--the hothouse daffodils that have been planted out from indoors don't count--a small clump of purple crocus. Unfortunately I think the weather report says snow tomorrow (??) so bye bye, little white flowers that haven't bloomed yet :(


Mar. 27th, 2014 12:56 am
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Someone linked "Addicted to Hate" by Jon Michael Bell on [community profile] ebooks the other day, which is a manuscript written by a journalist looking at Fred Phelps (of Westboro Baptist). The manuscript was never published because Bell's employer refused and tried to essentially destroy all traces of the project, so Bell filed a lawsuit with the entire thing as a court document (therefore public). Here is the link to it on ebooks: http://ebooks.dreamwidth.org/87903.html

This sickened me to read.

abuse, not explicit )

In much happier news, I made an entire cheesecake tonight! I had the ingredients from forever, and today I finally made it. The lumps from the cream cheese would not come out no matter how long I kept stirring, but it came out beautifully.

Also now I have a 9' pie pan's worth of cheesecake, and I live by myself. I realized upon taking out the cheesecake that wow, that's a lot of cheesecake! I'm going to try to transport some of it to a meeting I have tomorrow, so someone can help me eat it. I really need to think these things through! And someone needs to figure out how to send cake through the internet.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
It's been so busy. Here are the interesting highlights:

*Choir had concert. It went good. Tour is this weekend. I really want to talk about the Poulenc and the Gounod and the Duruflé motets but time. I had three rehearsals in a row, Saturday-Sunday-Monday.
*Archery is having its Christmas shoot, which I think I may have to miss :( I have graduated from 10 meters (yay) to the indoor range's longest, which is 18m. Still working on form.
*I'm tired today and I felt grumpy all day and snapped at a team member. I feel bad, because ugh, not deserved (though really, you're older than me and you're still confused about [redacted]?)
*Seriously, why do people do laundry on Monday evenings? I avoid Sundays, but...it's negative something outdoors (you have to go in and out of the building to get to the basement), it's a Monday, but this is the second time I've gone downstairs and found it occupied.

For the first time ever I think I'm not going to make this Nanowrimo :( I have almost 12K, I've got a boatload of things I need to do which take precedence (by a huge margin), and my general strategy--"write like the wind on the 30th"--is not viable this year because I'm going to be on tour and well, I'm going to spend my time singing, socializing and running around the city being a tourist. I've never lost before. I really don't want to, but the prospect of trying to put in 38K in the remaining four or five days, on top of everything else, is unfeasible.

So in short, I'm kind of midway between "too tired to really hope" and "D:"

ETA: I forgot. I found a tattoo on tumblr which is what I envisioned the marques would look like, if they were off to the side (I really hate the huge blooming ones on the covers, sorry). It's a picture of a bare back, so sort of NSFW? http://guindas-dulces.tumblr.com/post/40842690638 It looks like apple blossoms to me.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Keeping in mind that I read the book while in mild pain, in a overwarm room, and sleepily:

let the spoilers commence! )


Someone said something about Harry Potter the series being Calvinist, so I looked it up (usually there's an essay backing the argument somewhere) and I had an intense People are Wrong on the Internet moment while reading. Not with the theology, which I'm never gonna be qualified to argue. But on literary interpretations, well, I had objections. Here is the post for reference. While I agree that Snape isn't a nice guy, he's written as a godawful teacher, a jerk, spiteful, but also bullied, misguided, and held up as someone who did good in impossible situations--even if he personally was awful to be around. Harry names his child after him, for heavens' sake! Even if you want to argue that it's just Harry's inhuman ability to forgive (wrongly), Snape himself shows you don't have to be sorted into Gryffindor to be, as the essayist says, 'the Elect', the good guys. Lily...does not treat Snape as dirt. She's shown to stick up for Snape in that infamous scene by the lake, she tells Snape while they're in private--after years of being friends--her reasons why she feels uncomfortable with his associates. She doesn't just drop Snape for no reason; I think being uncomfortable with friends getting violent/holding ugly prejudices against you is certainly not unreasonable, and nor is it "treating Snape like dirt". I will not argue that James Potter was not "a bullying toerag", but one of the recurring themes in HP is that it's possible to be bad and still love people. I wish she had de-evilized Slytherin and carried the theme more consistently throughout, but that's an argument for another day. Nevertheless, look at the Malfoys--they really love their son (to the point where Narcissa quite clearly defies Voldemort, risking everything at the cusp of their supposed victory). James clearly loved both Lily and Harry a great deal. Dumbledore loved Ariana but not enough, as a teenager, to realize what he was doing or enough to stop being resentful. Love didn't make characters perfect, but imperfection elsewhere didn't (doesn't) mean that jerks couldn't love.

Nuance, please.

Some of the statements were perfectly wrong. "That deep down a person can't change. Deep down...Percy is officious"--but it's a major point that Percy comes back and says, giving up his pride, that he was wrong and he did wrong and he was a prat and he's sorry. This essay also ignores other characters sorted into different houses: what happened to Luna? The DA is populated with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Harry has a rather low opinion of some of them--he thinks Ernie McMillan is pompous, for example--but never does he, nor the text, argue that they have less of an impact fighting against Voldemort because they were sorted into the wrong house. I could go on refuting random sentences, and it's tempting, but I think I've made my main point.

I feel this argument was predicated on one assumption, namely "Harry Potter is Calvinist", and the facts got twisted to suit it. That's one way to construct an argument, but I don't see it as very valid. I'd rather you start with a reading of the text first, or at least play around with the idea.


In real life news, I went to dance class on Thursday! We started salsa, and it was a blast. I don't like dance as a performance very much--I did it as a child, and synchronized choreography, performance, and all that is not my cup of tea--but I do very much enjoy dance with a partner. Or with sequential partners, like square dance. I know some of my classmates thought it was hopelessly old and outdated, but I thought it was just so fun, and music was ridiculously catchy. OK, it's fun when the person you're partnered with wants to be there and wants to exert effort (not always a given in mandatory gym class!) but here, my partner, a random boy standing across from me, was good, or at least equally matched with me.

We went through the basic steps, and some turns and variations. It was really warm, even though the sun had gone down hours ago, but massively fun. My partner was good (and could hear the rhythm! Oh man, best) so we ended up practicing everything a million times while the teacher went among other dancers. I've done jive before, which I thought was kind of similar--at least some of the turns. The stop and go (leader does basic step, follower turns 180, twisting arms around, then unfolding) I'm pretty sure I did before. The music was fast--a lot of energy is involved! Definitely looking forward to learning more this week.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I'm tired, I spent all day running about with friends (fun but exhausting), I have to get up tomorrow at a reasonable hour, and I can't go to sleep, apparently.

What was going to be an hour of bowling turned into an hour of bowling, then a quick run to the mall (one friend is leaving for two months tomorrow, and needed to return something), then about four hours at karaoke. As a result, I've been earwormed terrifically with this song. I am going to link you to the video with lyrics, because the music video is an incredibly emotionally-manipulative, sad piece of...of...film. WHY are so many Chinese music videos so sad?


(Totally unrelated.)

You know, when I used to live in a 4-person household, the milk never went bad. This is because other family members are much bigger fans of milk and obviously we'd drink it long before the expiry date. But on my own, I keep milk mostly for tea, and sometimes I'm unpleasantly surprised by curdled stuff. So I've gotten used to sniffing and tasting milk very carefully every time to make sure it's still okay.

Milk is such a ubiquitous thing that I used to drink it without ever thinking about taste. But now that I have to assess its freshness, I can taste so clearly the animalness of it. It's not milk, it's quite unavoidably liquid that came from an animal, and while it doesn't really gross me out, it's so weird. How does this even come through taste? I think I'd like to go back to my ignorance.


THERE ARE TOO MANY BOOKS IN MY ROOM. They're on my shelves and on the floor and under my desk and under my bed and on my night table and stacked on my table and desk and EVERYWHERE. It's starting to drive me a bit bonkers. Every time I tidy up, they just get sprawled everywhere again. I need to make another trip to the library, but I haven't reviewed them yet! Oh god.

While I was waiting for friends this morning--I love them, but J was a full hour late and generally they're never punctual--I sat in Chapters and read Karen Miller's Empress. I've read Karen Miller before--she wrote some really great stuff set in the Star Wars Prequel EU mostly focused on Kenobi and Skywalker (easy path to my heart). Empress is gritty fantasy instead. Somehow, considering the extensive torture sequence in Wild Space, in which iirc Kenobi touched a lightsaber to his wound in order to use the pain to connect with Coruscant (AUGH), I'm not terribly surprised by the darkness of Empress.

The interesting thing (to me, anyway) is that while I'm interested in continuing with Empress, which starts off with the protagonist (a girl) watching her mother be beaten and then raped and being subjected to regular beatings herself--as indeed all the women are in this tiny, desert-locked village--I couldn't get more than five pages past Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. Like Empress, Wolf Hall starts with a son getting beat by his father, but I think there's a vein of kindness running through Empress that I really didn't think was going to happen in Mantel's novel, and I immediately ditched. Hekat in Empress is definitely subjected to highly distilled misogyny, but she gets away, and starts exploring a new land. Mantel on the other hand--well, it's straight up historical fiction, and there's no getting away.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
So a couple of weeks ago Amazon announced that they are allowing the sale of fan-written fiction (fanfic, fanfiction, fic, ficcies1, etc) for select fandoms through their site. Here is the announcement: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001197421

A lot of people have talked about this. I found out on f_fa, thought that someone was pulling my leg, but nope, it's true. Here is Scalzi's thoughts on it, which come from the perspective of someone who has been published and knows a little about contracts for writing, more than fic writers probably do: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/05/22/amazons-kindle-worlds-instant-thoughts/

Right, so I'm not even going to touch the fan side of it, except to boggle: I can't believe it's happening! Just like I was surprised at the mainstream-ing of Fifty Shades of Grey, I can't believe that fic is getting out there like that. Holy cow!

No, my main thought is: who's buying2?

Like I said, I don't get where it's coming from )


1 *giggle*

2 In case you ever wanted to know, yes I do spend a lot of time learning/thinking/talking about economics.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
Unverified account from two people sitting next to me, as I was taking off my skates at the arena (paraphrase): "I saw someone in cross country skis today...[he was going so fast]..." On one hand, I totally buy someone being tempted, because holy snow drifts, but on the other hand, I wonder how he navigated turns and city streets. Would definitely have been tempted if I owned a pair.

Snow day was not declared.

I am intensely envious of the woman I saw going down the street in snowshoes. They were bright green and she did not sink through every drift.

Other highlight of the day was the girl at the rink who was dressed in the most 90's tracksuit I've ever seen. Black stretchy pants with pink lines. Similar sort of top, which in itself isn't unusual; the better skaters dress in stretchy tight clothing anyway. What caught my attention was that she was wearing a headband. In fuchsia. I complimented her headband and she confirmed that it was a genuine article from the 90's. :D


silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

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