Yesterday I took osprey_archer there (and we read aloud to each other--so much fun), and lo and behold, the buttonbush was in bloom! I didn't have a camera, so she obliged me with a photo:
Buttonbush in flower, by osprey_archer
The flowers look like how pollen looks under a scanning electron microscope:
Pollen, much magnified:
Or, um... like an influenza virus...
It smells nice, though, and bees and butterflies love it. AS DO I.
And all I can focus on is this story that Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from junior White House staffers.
This was a hard one, because most mecha anime qualifies as drama. While I don't know all the questions on this meme, I know there are a couple of mecha ones coming up. A lot of what I thought of that is very dramatic is also more romance or mecha or action or... whatever. So a straight-up 'first thought for this is drama' was really hard.
So here are two:
Planetes, which is a wonderful story about space-debris collectors. Both it and the manga made me cry so many times.
Starship Operators, about a warship of trainees basically financing their battles by being broadcast 24/7. As soon as anyone gets a name and any sort of subplot, expect them to die.
Both shows play space incredibly straight and while Planetes is the harder sci-fi, Starship Operators is the more brutal.
They are both very, very good.
With that in mind, an interesting piece in the WSJ and Trieste Tourist Office. Best coffee in Italy, allegedly.
J didn't come empty handed. She brought me a blue shirt, passed on to her by F., and not quite right (there was a reason, but I've forgotten it): it is a shade of blue which always makes me think of GirlBear, so it may not have reached its destination yet - we shall see. Also the last remains of a putizza, a characteristic cake from Trieste and Slovenia which combines innocuous looking panettone with nodules of concentrated essence of Christmas cake, to which chocolate has been added. And half a panettone, which we didn't touch last night, and divided up this morning. I shall make bread-and-butter pudding tonight (without the butter).
Spiderman: Homecoming has good enough reviews that I might actually watch it (sometime), and I will be there to watch Black Panther with BELLS ON. But I might pass Thor: Ragnarok in much the same way that I passed on Thor:
I haven't even looked at the trailer for Stargate: Origins, although if it's Catherine Langford's story, I will almost certainly give a looksee.
My grandfather's father was born in Lodz. He was the eldest of six siblings, three sisters, three brothers; the family owned a textile mill in the city and the father was a Talmudic scholar of some repute. My great-grandfather was expected to continue in his father's religious footsteps; instead, after a stint in the Imperial Russian Army (from which he must have deserted, because he sure didn't serve twenty-five years), he became what my grandfather once memorably described as a "Zolaesque freethinker" and emigrated to America in 1912. One of his brothers followed him; though we're no longer in contact with them (a little thing about declaring my mother ritually dead when she married my father), his descendants live in Florida. Another brother is buried in Israel, though I'm not sure how or when he got there—his older children were born in Lodz, his later ones in Tel Aviv. None of the sisters made it out of Poland alive. The middle one I have almost no information about, except that Lodz is listed as her place of death. (Her children survived: they too turn up later in Israel.) The eldest and the youngest died—as far as I know, with their families—in Chełmno and Auschwitz. These are the cousins who feel like closer ghosts than they should, dying in 1942 and 1945, because their descendants would have been no farther from me in blood than gaudior. They are loose ends, like other family stories. I don't know what there is to be known of them anymore.
Because the exhibit is closing in a week, my mother and I went to the MFA this afternoon to see Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross. If you live in the Boston area, I don't say it's a light day out, but it's worth your time. Ross was one of the few survivors of the Lodz Ghetto, a staff photographer employed by the Judenrat. He was supposed to take the nice pictures of the ghetto, to document how productively and well the Jews were getting along under Nazi supervision; he used his license to take the ones that were not so nice, dead-carts instead of bread-carts, chain-link and barbed wire, the sick and the starving, the broken walls of a synagogue. He documented the resistance of living, which sometimes looked like defiance and sometimes like collaboration: the slight, quietly smiling man who rescued the Torah scroll from the smashed-brick ruins of the synagogue, the young wife and plump child of a Jewish policeman like the ones seen—perhaps he's among them—assisting a crowd of Jewish deportees aboard the boxcars that will take them to Auschwitz. Pale Jude stars are so omnipresent in this black-and-white world that even a scarecrow wears one, as if to remind it to confine its trade to non-Aryan fields. Ross took about six thousand photographs total; in the fall of 1944, as the ghetto was being liquidated, he buried the negatives as a kind of time capsule, not expecting to survive himself to recover them. He was still alive and still taking pictures of the depopulated ghost town the ghetto had become when the Red Army liberated it in January 1945. His face cannot be seen in the photograph of him reclaiming his archive because he's the figure at the center of the grinning group, the one bending to lift a crusted box from the dug-up earth. Groundwater had rendered about half the negatives unsalvageable, but rest could be developed, warped, nicked, bubbled, and sometimes perfectly clear, their damaged emulsion showing scars and survival. He published some in his lifetime. He never arranged the complete series to his satisfaction. My mother would have seen him on television in 1961 when he testified against Eichmann. The MFA has a clip of an interview with him and his wife Stefania née Schoenberg—his collaborator and another of the ghetto's 877 Jewish survivors—eighteen years later in Israel, describing how he took his covert photographs hiding his camera inside his long coat, how just once he snuck into the railway station at Radogoszcz to record the last stages of a deportation, the freight train to the "frying pan" of Auschwitz itself. He died in 1991. It is said that he never took a picture again.
(I know there are philosophical questions about photographs of atrocity: how they should be looked at, what emotions they may have been intended to evoke, to what degree it is or is not appropriate to judge them as art. I'm not very abstract here. They were taken to remember. You look at them to make sure you do. What you feel is your own business; what you do with the knowledge of the history had damn well better concern other people.)
My great-grandfather's sisters would have been deported from the Lodz Ghetto. Their death dates even match the major waves of deportation to their respective camps. I have no idea what either of them looked like. I have seen maybe two photos each of my grandfather's parents: aunts and uncles, nothing. I'm not saying the photos don't exist. My grandfather had a sister; she may have inherited a better pictorial record. But I haven't seen it. And looking for people who look like my grandfather is no help; Henry Kissinger went through a period of looking like my grandfather and that was awkward for everybody. Any older woman might have been either one of them, any older man one of their husbands, any young people their children, any children their grandchildren. None of them might have been my family. Maybe theirs were among the images destroyed by the winter of 1944, as unrecoverable as their bodies. Maybe they were never captured on film at all. I wouldn't know. I don't know. I pored over faces and thought how beautiful so many of these people were (not beautiful because of their suffering: bone and expression, the kinds of faces that are beautiful to me), how many of them looked like both sides of my mother's family. Almost no one was identified by name. Maybe no one knows these people by name anymore. I hope that's not true.
You can look through the contents of Henryk Ross' archive yourself. They are, like most photographs, historical and modern prints both, better in person. We left the museum and had dinner at Bronwyn both because we lucked out parking two blocks from the restaurant in the middle of a street fair and because it was Eastern European food and it felt symbolic that we were here to eat it, even if I am pretty sure that a Hungarian-inflected chorizo dog is food of my people only in the sense that I personally would order it again because it tasted great. I did some badly overdue grocery shopping and caught the closing performance of the PMRP's Murders and Scandals: Poe and Doyle and spent nearly the entire cast party upstairs reading the scripts for the second through the fourth seasons of Babylon 5 (1993–98) and as much of the fifth season as doesn't suck. Autolycus fell asleep on my lap almost as soon as I sat down at my computer and I haven't been able to move from this chair for hours. I can't imagine what the world looks like in which I have so many more cousins of the degree of Gaudior, although I know that I am tired of fictional versions in which neither of us would even be here (the same goes for other atrocities, imagined worse for purposes of entertainment). Maybe in that other world, we have more family photographs. Maybe we're not in contact with them, either. Maybe I still don't have faces to go with the names. It doesn't matter if they were all strangers, though, the people from this afternoon and more than seventy years ago: they were alive. They are worth remembering. Especially now, they are worth remembering why.
- Hell and High Water - I didn't always pay 100% attention to the story, switching between it and browsing DW on my phone, but I don't think I really needed to. Every time I looked up was another lovely vignette about a landscape and what poverty settling in has done to the inhabitants of it. Gorgeous cinematography by Giles Nuttgens; I loved the colours and framing of every shot. Great mise-en-scene. Simple, and largely unsentimental. That bit toward the end where the guy's bloody brain matter was left behind in the hat when his body was moved was especially striking.
Some really great acting, too; Ben Foster's character was thoroughly obnoxious, and Bridges' racist ranger was nearly as annoying, but they were capably done; Chris Pine was great and surprisingly sympathetic; I always enjoy seeing Gil Birmingham's work, even if a lot of the things he's been in make me cringe.
- Moonlight is uncomfortable and disorienting, and I am probably the last person on the planet to watch it. As beautifully done as everyone said. I'm impressed at how each actor playing Chiron at different stages of his life evoked that sense of striking awkwardness. Obviously, the whole cast is amazing. Suffused with melancholy. Excellent use of sound.
Anyway, I clearly can't turn any of that into coherent thoughts at the moment because my entire right side hurts right now, but I'm glad I watched both.
Well, today had some good bits, at least. One of the things that is pretty great about this apartment is the fact that there are feral blackberries all along the alley and the property edge next to the building. A lot of that is sloped or otherwise uneven, but there are some bits where I can walk without my ankle potentially doing terrible things. So I went out and was exposed to actual sunlight for a while (after which I fell over, because bright sun makes me very tired). While I was out there, I picked these: ( Is it still understood that a polite journaller puts pics under a cut, or is that now passe? )
Which I taught L to make a crisp/crumble with later on. (No corn starch makes them a bit damp, but otherwise, easiest possible dessert.)
Otherwise, today has been pretty lazy, and I am practicing not beating myself up about it. (I have also read enough UK text lately that I've lost the ability to spell practi(c/s)ing.)
Things without deadlines (fun):
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
Things without deadlines (productive):
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
I looked at the latter two and chose Wynonna Earp. Why? Guess I was feeling Western rather than Westeros, feeling like two sisters as the leads rather than two brothers.
Just three bulletpoints on ( Wynonna Earp, up to & including 2x07 ''Everybody Knows'' )
But okay; I do actually have a playlist of "early childhood" songs, so I can grab a few from there. Even though several of them are TV show theme songs.
...omg, there's a whole generation who doesn't understand how nerve-wracking it was to watch them never get off that damn island.
Tom Dooley | I Wish I Was a Teddy Bear | Ballad of Gilligan's Island | Seasons in the Sun | Welcome Back | Queen of the Silver Dollar | The Aba Daba Honeymoon | Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow
( Manah Manah was not my favorite back then. )
I'm not going to embarrass them in public because they do try so hard and are quick to fix broken things when I bring them to their attention.
It's just that, by now, I'd hope they'd just email me, "Hey, Siderea, we'll be fucking up your email at this future date and time. We'll be around on Twitter until this subsequent date and time. Please be available during this window to exercise your account and let us know what we've broken this time."
Instead, I email them in response to the planned outage announcement and say, "Hey, what can we do in advance to make this work?" and they're like "nothing, it's all going to go perfectly!" and I'm like, "ooookay, when exactly will you be flipping the switch, (so I know when to check on you, but I don't say this part)?" and they're like, "oh, sometime on that weekend." *throws hands in the air*
(I miss nyip.net so hard.)
Also if the traveller gets legally dead, or actually dead, then arms length finances for their younger or more alive versions would be super handy.
So somewhere to keep the money, password protected or otherwise slightly impersonal for plausible deniability, is much more useful than one persistent identity trying to check their balance every week.
Please go suggest themes! What topic do you really wish someone would tackle that never comes up? What genre, mood, symbol-set, or aesthetic pleases you?
I am very, VERY tempted by this. Because no one is making rose bitters right now, and I am almost out. HOW AM I TO MAINTAIN MY FANCY EXISTENCE WITHOUT ROSE BITTERS, I ASK YOU?
I know, I know, I don't need any more hobbies. But rose bitters! And it's not like I can enjoy rose syrup any more ...
* Help and Helpiness
* Pirates and Brigands
What other themes would you like to see me write about? Suggest them in a comment below this post.
Later on I'll collect the suggestions and do some polling. The most popular topics will be added to the schedule for future fishbowls. Previously, I have just dumped all the proposed themes into a big poll. The more themes people suggest, the less well this works. I have an idea for fixing that problem. This time, I'm going to run the first large poll with checkboxes so you can express interest in as many themes as you like. I will then either pick from the most popular ones, or use that information to pull out the favorite themes for a smaller poll to select the ones which will appear in upcoming fishbowls.
You can also help by linking to this post so that more people will see it. Everyone is welcome to suggest themes. Everyone will also be able to vote for them later; prompters and donors will get extra votes. If you link to the call for themes, you can reveal a verse in any open perk poem:
"Testing the Metal"
"The Marble and the Sculptor"
"The Golden Peaches of Peace"
"Leaves Upon the Water"
"The Quick Brown Fox"
"Lead Us in Peace"
"We Will Fade into You"
Warning: This poem contains some fractious content. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features crowds, frustration, floundering over cape identity, rude people, obnoxious language, sex/gender bigotry, bigot-baiting, questioning aspects of personal sexuality, and other challenges. But mostly it's fluff. It's also a humor-based choking hazard. Do not read with your mouth full! If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
( Read more... )
Watched Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle again, and I love it. Always leaves me feeling happy, and the dub is just perfect. Seriously, this is one of my favorite anime dubs.
Not all that much reading, either - I need to spend less time on the computer. Some cookbooks, part of A Mad Catastrophe by Geoffrey Wawro about the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the run-up to WWI. I suspect interesting comparisons could be made between Franz Joseph and Nicholas II. The library wanted it back; I'll have to keep a lookout for a used copy.
Tried to play the Blackwell games and ended up noping out: I didn't really enjoy the gameplay, and ... yeah, the lead really deserves the restraining orders she gets hit with. Then I spoiled myself for the plots of the later games. Ugh.
The Watcher in the Woods has been remade for Lifetime, premiering just before Halloween. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA-
I have been eating these Sungold/golden Kiwis (not the bird) like peaches. NOM NOM NOM. Skin's just more fiber, yay!
Kid might, might, might be recovering from stomach bug. Slowly. Let us hope.
I have complained about a VLACS test where -- and I checked -- none of the answers in the multiple-choice actually fit the material. Plus one of them wasn't in the text material at all and had to be googled up. I mean, it's nice to have research as part of a class, BUT. Y'know?
Online classes that require a separate account to view part of the material are Bad Planning. If they don't also have text, then they are inaccessible to the deaf and that's an ADA violation and I will make grouchy noises because I have developed, over the years, zero patience with hurdles to my kid being able to process required information.
Anyway. Got to bed at 4am last night. Oh, well. ...I need to repair the little holes in that houserobe. O:(
(Oh, hey, a relatively new 5-star review of Herb-Witch on Amazon! Yay!)
S••••• says, "Hah. Okay the way Athens financed things like warship upkeep is that rich citizens were simply ordered to finance it, something called a "liturgy". There were two ways to get an exemption -- prove you performed another liturgy last year or this one, or prove that someone richer hadn't done a liturgy last year or this one. But, of course, there were no public accountings of wealth, so how do you think they enforced the latter?"
S••••• says, "You offered to exchange everything you owned for everything the person you claimed was richer owned. If he refused, he was admitting he was richer, and thus had to perform the liturgy."
arcangel says, "Ha!"
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )
One of the things that has been making me furious about sexual harassment lately–secondary to all the other things that make me furious about it–is the attention tax it imposes on women. The time spent figuring out whether there’s enough evidence for us to be taken seriously this time, whether the people who were in the “surely you misinterpreted” and “that doesn’t mean what it blatantly means” camp last time will finally take us seriously, the time spent recovering from someone shouting in our faces and someone else grabbing our asses, the time sharing stories and pooling information and cleaning up messes and figuring out what to do, what we can do, what we have the power to do. That is time not spent on other things that are frankly a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
When it’s in convention terms, the time spent discussing who did what and what to do and letting the adrenaline settle and coping is time not spent on ideas for books and stories and where to go with them. It is very directly a tax on attention that could and should be going toward work. And it makes me exhausted and resentful, and then I try to corral my attention back to my work, because that is a far, far better place for it to be. I have directly observed that when I am at a con where people are dealing with an ongoing situation of this type, I come back with far, far less in the way of inspired notes for new projects–not just coming away drained instead of energized, but the specifics of what business are we doing here, where is our attention going.
I’m lucky. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of good straight, white men. One of the benefits of this is that when a straight, white dude is an asshole, I am clear that it is artisanal assholery that he is hand-crafting by choice, not a trait he can’t avoid by his demographics. And a lot of good straight, white men have been stepping up to share the work of dealing with sexual harassment on a community level. I appreciate it. I do. But that is a choice they are making. Statistically, on average, the nonconsensual part, the part where you have to cope with the fallout of being harassed again, the part where it happens several times in a row and then it’s on your mind and you go into the next professional situation having to have a plan for how to cope–that’s a drain on your time and attention that you cannot have back, that other people can help with structurally but not in the moment. They can donate their time but not hand you back yours, not give you back those hours and days of working on the situation and processing and coping. It can happen to men. It does happen to men. And as one woman I know never loses an opportunity to point out, it does not happen to every woman. But statistically, on average, it is an attention tax that falls much, much more heavily on women, for things that we did not ask for and cannot change.
It’s not just sexual harassment. This is not the only attention tax, and I don’t mean to talk as though it is. Racist bullshit and the people who visit it upon people of color? That is, among other worse things, an attention tax on those people of color. Having to cope with accessibility issues and prejudice against the disabled? Attention tax. Homophobia and other forms of anti-queer assholery? Attention tax. Navigating the world while neurodiverse, even in ways that do not feel like a disability internally, among people who are going to be utter jerks to any hint of non-neurotypicality? Attention tax. And while I’ve talked about men and women above, the amount of attention tax that falls on gender-nonconforming and non-binary people gets mind-bogglingly larger the more gender-policing the subculture they’re interacting with gets. One of the fundamental questions is: how much jerkitude are people going to blithely shovel on you for being you and then skip along with their day, and how much will that pull away from the focus you need to do your stuff that you do.
Do I imagine I’m the first to observe this? Hardly. But “show don’t tell” is hardly new advice, either, and writers get blog posts out of that several times a year. What I’m saying to you is: this is affecting the work of people you know and care about. All the time. It doesn’t have to. It is literally all entirely voluntary. The thing I said above about artisanal bullshit: last month I got very tired of people saying “so that’s a thing that happened” when they were describing a choice someone made. So let’s not do that. Let’s not ascribe to fundamental forces things that are actual bad choices people are making.
And also: people who are doing work through all these attention taxes, who are managing to push it aside and fight their way through to focusing on making something awesome: I see you. I appreciate you. I’m sorry it’s like this. I keep hoping that some of the draining work will gain us some ground and it will be long-term less necessary. But in the meantime, thanks for clawing back some of your own in the face of it. It’s so hard, and it matters so much.
( Here are some notes, cut for spoilers and lack of interest: )
There are various encore presentations going to be happening, if you missed this and are interested.
We're on our way home from Scott's parents' place now. If we weren't, I'd start the next story with a due date.