July 28th, 2017
oursin: (lolyeats)

Or, things falling apart, Dept of.

Nothing (so far) major, but this last couple of days has seen my iPod keel over and refuse to charge, and my printer decide that it doesn't like printing from the bottom tray, it will tell me there is a paper-jam and grind to a halt, even if there is not, actually, a paper-jam. This first manifested itself when I was trying to print out a paper to referee, which I finally achieved, but at an input of time and annoyance that made me feel that I had better put the thing aside for judgement until I was in a more equanimitous mood.

So I have at least replaced the iPod, which I could do by ordering online and collecting from the local Argos, a trip I was able to combine with a trip to Financial Institution of which I have heretofore complained extensively, where I was actually able to close the account and walk away. Also, since I was going to Argos, bought a proper file box to replace the cardboard box that I have been keeping documentation in.

Usual faff of setting up the iPod - downloading latest software, my playlists having to be reconstructed, etc etc, but is done, more or less.

And, in order not to be entirely negative, one of the other things I had on my schedule for today was finding a book in the maelstrom for editorial revision purposes, and I did, in fact, find it.

Also, have been asked to go and be a meedja consultant on a historical drama.

Plus, TV doco I am in (apparently) has a preview to which I have been invited next month.

July 27th, 2017
oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)

No, really, if you return to me a copy-edited article for my attention, and mention that you have made changes to the text (as well as changing the title to one that I think is misleading), please to be sending it to me with your changes tracked and marked up.

For if you are going to insult my ability to write English prose, I think I should be able to see how you have 'improved' my text without having to compare it line by line with the text I sent you.

I may possibly have dumped my bibliography on this editor's head...

oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)

While I was away I noticed on, I think, Twitter, which I was scrolling through while waiting at a bus stop/train station/whatever, somebody getting into a froth over somebody deleting their tweets upon mature reflection, and how this was The Death of History.

To which my own reactions were:

a) Archivists have been thinking about the problems posed by the fragility of the digital record for a good couple of decades plus, this is not something no-one has noticed before. (Wasn't the Library of Congress archiving Twitter, and presumably there are some measures against tampering, if so? - hah, I see that there have been problems of processing and it's not actually accessible, or wasn't as at last year.)

b) Quite apart from the dangers of fire, flood and insect or animal depredation to which records in the more traditional forms have been exposed, there has been a fair amount of deliberate curating of the record over the centuries, by deliberate destruction or just careful concealment (whether it's the Foreign Office secret archive or the concealment of Turner's erotic drawings under a misleading file title).

c) While you can delete or destroy a particular record, you cannot always get rid of the information that it did exist - presumably it was other people commenting on the now-deleted tweets or retweeting them that led to the decision to delete them, but that doesn't eradicate the fact of their existence. This may even draw attention to the deleted record: this is why when I was still being an archivist we used to persuade donors not to ask for closures apart from those mandated by Data Protection, because the idea that something is *CLOSED* causes some people's ears to prick up in a supposition that there will be *HIDDEN SECRETS* (this was very, very, seldom the case).

I might also invoke the case that came up in Prince of Tricksters, where Netley Lucas under one of his identities was communicating with different officials and departments, possibly, it is suggested, as a means to confuse his trail: but, due to the growth of bureaucracy, as well as the social networks they belonged to, could also communicate among one another to discover that this was all the same guy.

There is also the phenomenon that I have mentioned to researchers, that yes [organisations of a certain ideological bent] have been very coy about placing their archives anywhere where people might do research in them; BUT the organisations and people they were against kept tabs on their activities, collected their literature, etc.

Also that if person/organisation's own papers do not survive, you can find out a good deal from the surviving records of those they interacted with.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:23am on 27/07/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] fjm and [personal profile] wildroot!
July 26th, 2017
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)

What I read

Finished Moonbreaker.

A novella by Heather Rose Jones, Three Nights at the Opera (2014), prequel to Daughter of Mystery.

There was indeed a new Catherine Fox, Realms of Glory, delivered to my Kobo well in time to beguile my journeyings. Very good.

Alex Hall, Glitterland (2013): m/m contemporary romance, which was an absolute page-turner and I will even give it a degree of pass on the phonetic rendering of Estuarine speech, on the grounds that this might be down to the first-person narrator's attempt to depict Difference.

Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky (2016): I had a bit of a problem with the rather gender-stereotypical allocation of science vs magic, and also with the way that both of them, in particular Patricia, are shown as coming to their powers as a result of familial dysfunction and school bullying (are US high schools really quite so generally toxic as literature would have me believe?), which is not that dissimilar in its rather Spartan overtones to the ethos of the military school to which Laurence is briefly sent. But I read on.

Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Djinni (2013) - there were parts where I thought this was a bit slow, and possibly about showing off the author's research, but then it all came together with all the threads meshing at the end.

On the go

The end is almost in sight with Prince of Tricksters. Also continuing with Rejected Essays and Buried Thoughts, as and when.

Up next

Well, I have lately had delivered to my Kobo Kate Elliott's Buried Heart (2017), conclusion (?) to the Court of Fives series. But I've also, finally, received Monica Ferris's cozy mystery, Knit Your Own Murder (2016), at last a) out in paperback and b) actually in the mailer received from the seller.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 08:59am on 26/07/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] el_staplador and [personal profile] mrissa!
July 25th, 2017
oursin: Photograph of Rebecca West as a young woman, overwritten with  'I am Dame Rebecca's BITCH' (Rebecca's bitch)

I noticed - flitting past me on Twitter the other day - somebody eyerolling at, if not codfishing, some bloke's plaint that watching Dunkirk had made him realise that The Modern Man does not have these Manly Challenges To Rise To -

And being a historian, I thought that, actually, there have been long generations, at least in my country, where most men were not being called upon to take arms and fight, and the general attitude to the soldiery was summed up by Kipling in Tommy.

And that thing about Challenges to Rise To always tends to be seen in a context which leads to e.g. the Battle of the Somme, rather than to being a despised Conscientious Objector, a decision which history may read entirely differently -

Which possibly links on to that thing I also saw flit past me on Twitter apropos of alt-history narratives which allow the viewer to believe that they would be The Resistance, which reminded me of that nasty piece of work Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger going 'where are the good brave causes?', and really, one can think of a few relevant to the 1950s, not to mention, we do not, ourselves, envisage J Porter going off to Spain in the 30s.

And the whole notion of Heroic Actions and somehow, not here, not now.

And I thought, did not my beloved Dame Rebecca say somewhat to this point in Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and while this has the rhetorical universalisation and generalisation to which she was (alas) prone, it does seem relevant to this notion of some kind of masculine Rite de Passage:

All men believe that some day they will do something supremely disagreeable, and that afterwards life will move on so exalted a plane that all considerations of the agreeable and disagreeable will prove petty and superfluous.

As opposed to, persistently beavering away at the moderately disagreeable in the hopes that it might become a little more agreeable.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:27am on 25/07/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adair and [personal profile] owlfish!

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been wanting to talk about Agile software development methodologies and how they relate to permaculture – Agile permaculture for short – for yearsandyearsandyears, and it finally seems like time to do so. Over on Making Permaculture Stronger, Dan is making an inquiry into permaculture design processes, and how much design […]

July 24th, 2017
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)

This involved a certain amount of faff and hassle about making sure we were buying the right kind of ticket for the train which would also give us free rides on public transport, ascertaining which platform the train in the right direction left from, etc etc. And then when we arrived a) finding the right stop for the tram b) missing the stop we wanted and being carried on to a point we didn't want.

Except it turned out to be right around the corner from Hundertwasser's Waldspirale apartment block, which was on the list of things to see.

After which we wandered down in the direction of the Schloss (which can only be seen by way of guided tours, we passed) and had what was a rather more leisurely lunch than we had intended at the Altes Rathaus before going to the Hessische Landesmuseum, based on the collections of the Grand Dukes, which has some nice stuff.

We then went out to Mathildenhöhe, which was where the artists of the Jugendstil Art Nouveau movement hung out. This includes a Russian Orthodox Church (not particularly Art Nouveau) and the Hochzeitsturm, Marriage Tower, which looks as if it might be the HQ of one of those somewhat spooky early C20th New Agey cults that crop up in mysteries of the period, and a rather small museum (but I think part of it was closed) of furniture and objects created by the artists of the colony.

And then back to Frankfurt, whence we flew home today.

***

And in other news, spotted this in today's Guardian: the strange world of book thefts:

“We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere.... As we showed him the door he told us: ‘I hope you’ll consider this in the Žižekian spirit, as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.’”
As an anarchist friend of a friend remarked when his car was nicked, 'Property is theft: but so is theft theft'.

tcpip: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tcpip at 10:09pm on 24/07/2017 under ,
Apart from dealing with multiple medical issues that I've raised in previous posts, I have had the opportunity to engage in my favourite hobby othe weekend - traditional roleplaying games. On Friday evening I participated in what I call Eclipse Phase Mars, on the basis of its standard location (although most recently this has involved extrasolar gatecrashing etc). This particular group meets primarily on Google Hangouts with players in Western Australia, Vietnam, Victoria, and New Zealand. I've missed a couple of sessions of this game, partially due to technology issues (my computer screen was completey destroyed on my last trip to NZ, so I've been trying to work with a dinky Asus Aspire One), and partially because of international trips. Both of these have affected my ability to complete Papers & Paychecks; although I did release an update on Saturday morning following completing the bestiary section, and integration a number of significant changes, even this late in the publication process.

Saturday was also a regular CheeseQuest day with [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce. Given the cool weather, our lunch feast consisted of a pumpkin gnocchi and Nova Scotia brown bread. The cheese feast included fried saganaki and halloumi, havarti, maasdam, gorgonzola, Dutch smoked, and two not-cheeses, a faux cheddar and "tree nut" cheese, which are quite tolerable. I was rather taken by the Devil's Corner pinot noir that our guests brought over, light but tasty and with a brilliant ruby colour. After lunch was the second session of our historical-fantasy Dungeons & Dragons game, using the very different 4th edition rules in the setting of Charlemagne's rule. The game went very well, everyone plays up their character ethno-religious background and character class, as they cleared out a old Roman-Germanic temple in Freisland haunted by Wiedergänger.

Sunday was also a gaming day, this time with my own game of Eclipse Phase. This session involved the PCs engaging in a short-case to an autonomist morph resleever on one of Neptune Trojans, then taking a stealth craft to intercept an Ultimate scout ship en-route to Eris. There was an almighty gun-battle that followed which eventually saw the PCs successful, and partially courtesy due an inside agent providing assistance at the last moment. After that was the challenging process of psychosurgery and the literal merging of minds. More on that for the next session. Appropriately I've started reading the two books entitled Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy (one published by Open Court, 2012 and the other by Wiley Blackwell, 2014)
Mood:: 'energetic' energetic
Music:: Master of the Universe, Hawkwind
location: Willsmere
kerravonsen: Crafty: a medly of beads (craft)
posted by [personal profile] kerravonsen at 07:39pm on 24/07/2017 under

Yes, YOU. Not the invisible person over your left shoulder.

Do you like subtlety, secret messages, and geekiness?

Read more... )

Do you like unique works which are impossible to replicate?

Read more... )

Do you like being able to interact with the artisan?

Read more... )

So have I convinced you yet?

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 07:42am on 24/07/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] heyokish!
July 23rd, 2017
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:50pm on 23/07/2017 under ,

Today, in spite of various travel muddles and confusions, we went to Darmstadt. However, possibly more detail when I am less tired and it's not so late in a long day.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:03am on 23/07/2017
Happy birthday [personal profile] oyceter!
July 22nd, 2017
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)

Having a weekend with partner in Frankfurt.

Hotel perhaps overdoing the stylish minimalism: why does this always mean, nowhere to put stuff in the bathroom? However, good marks for the breakfast buffet.

On matters of modern design, am I the only person who finds themself waving their hands at a tap that turns on some other way, and vice versa?

Today to the Stadel- art gallery, very good stuff and lots of it. Among works observed, one C16th courtesan as Flora, with obligatory symbolickal bubbie displayed.

Also to the Arts and Crafts Museum, which has gone full-on poncey and eschews labeling in favour of composing curatorial 'constellations'. Though I could have spent more time with the shiny pillow-like balloons that one was permitted even exhorted to touch. (Sometimes I am shallow and frivolous.)

Some general flaneurserie, looking into churches, etc.

tcpip: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tcpip at 11:52pm on 22/07/2017 under ,
"Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores; burning with the fires of Orc"

Yesterday I was informed that an old friend and former housemate in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Erica W., had died of a stroke. For those that knew her, this has been a terrible shock. She was relatively young, and seemed so alive, and seemed to have so much to contribute to this world. It is a harsh reminder that friends can be lost at any time with the randomness of life.

When I first met her she and her partner at the time, James, were in their mid-teens. Intelligent, attractive, highly alternative, and very fashionable, they were already living together and regularly visiting local nightclubs, where they were very well-regarded for the characteristics mentioned. There was an especially amusing moment when a local newspaper printed her in a vox-pop what her preferred nightclub was - and mentioned her age in the credit.

"Morphology, longevity, incept dates"

Whilst in Perth we shared two households at different times - the first was the famous "accelerated house", a dilapidated duplex pair with questionable plumbing. Part of the duplex was the home of the Accelerated Men, a goth band of some repute. The place was wired up a local area network with a AlphaMicro AM-100, and came with its own stray cat (Velocity) which I adopted. Several years later, at the final place where I lived in Perth, we were in more normal accommodation. I could help but chuckle a little at my highly fashion-conscious housemates who could spend hours in preparation on going out. I also remember showing them the Internet at the time; a text-based interface to usenet groups. "This", I implored sagaciously, "is going to change everything". I don't think they quite believed me at the time, so it was with great fondness catching up with James just a couple of years ago, and recalling that moment, he said: "And you were right!".

At the time Erica was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, and despite being a witty conversationalist, was physically in the doldrums. A few years later however, and I suspect heavily because of the direction provided by our mutual friend Bruce T., there had been a complete change, as she had become quite a figure in the fashion industry and was running her own label and store, Alysian Empire. I still have some of their clothes to this day. Later she would go on to have another fashion label of even greater renown, ericaamerica.

In the post-Alysian Empire period we only caught up in person a couple of times, and more recently exchanged a few messages, courtesy of the 'borg of social media. Despite this we had the sort of friendship where years could literally go by and when we did get in contact our banter could continue as if no time had passed at all. It was a friendship built on mutual understanding and respect, of affirmation of each other, of strong and happy shared memories. The mention of her name in conversation would always brighten my day and bring me joy; but not this time.

"Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together. Who does?"
location: Willsmere
Mood:: 'sad' sad
Music:: Blade Runner 2002 Esper Edition, Vangelis
kerravonsen: Vila, worried, Avon, both looking off to the right: "We're lost, aren't we?" (lost)
posted by [personal profile] kerravonsen at 09:18pm on 22/07/2017 under ,

I have STUFF. It accumulates. Being a frugal, responsible person, I kept a lot of it because "it might be useful" or "somebody else might find it useful" or "I could give it away on Freecycle" or "I could sell it on Ebay". And I did none of the above. None.

The effort and stress of listing something on Ebay has obviously been too great for me to summon up the energy to do. Likewise for Freecycle. This gives me much guilt, because putting things into landfill when they could be recycled is BAD. BAD KA! BAD BAD BAD! I have thus been caught between feeling guilty if I threw it away, and feeling stressed if I didn't. Because Stuff Taking Up Space is getting to really stressful levels for me. I have all these craft materials! I need to put them somewhere! I'm running out of space!

I have finally said "enough!" (or "too much", really). Forget Ebay. Forget Freecycle. Forget them all. One phone call, and I have booked a Hard Rubbish collection. My hope is that people round about will take at least some things off the pile before it gets collected by the Local Council. Shove my guilt, the stress has just gotten TOO MUCH. Stuff it!

So. Hard rubbish. Today I've been going around the house gathering stuff and clearing away stuff. Hopefully my nephew will help me tomorrow to put heavy things outside on the kerb.

Read more... )

It will be good to get rid of it all.

July 21st, 2017
oursin: Illustration from medieval manuscript of the female physician Trotula of Salerno holding up a urine flask (trotula)

Re the current hoohah about Boots the chemist charging well over the odds for the morning after pill, I was going to comment - when posting the link on various bits of social media, to go 'and Edwin Brooks must be spinning in his grave!'

Brooks was the MP who put through the sometimes overlooked but significant 1966 Family Planning Act: as discussed in that post I did some while back on 'why birth control is free under the NHS'.

However, I discovered from googling that - as far as one can tell from The Usual Sources - Brooks is still alive, but moved to Australia. I am profoundly shocked that the Wikipedia entry, under his political achievements, doesn't include that act. We wonder if, in the long history of reproductive rights, it got overshadowed by the more controversial 1967 Abortion Act, or, by the final incorporation of contraception into the NHS in 1974. If I had time on my hands (which at this moment I don't) I would go and try and edit that entry.

*I think this is a quotation from someone? but I can't find a source.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:12am on 21/07/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kerkevik_2014 and [personal profile] coughingbear!

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