Reading notes

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:22 am
wildeabandon: (books)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Gosh, I've not done one of these for a while...

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.

Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.

2017 books: 17-22

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:24 pm
the_siobhan: (book skeleton)
[personal profile] the_siobhan
I have some catching up to do. I'm still reading on the bus every day, I'm just behind in listing them.

fantasy / sf / spooky )

Slightly outdated buttons

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:06 pm
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
Before Balticon, I cleared out a lot of button slogans that I didn't think were selling well enough.*

So I've got about a thousand buttons that I have no obvious use for. They're generally in good condition and they're sorted by slogan.

I could just throw them out, but does anyone have any better ideas?

Would anyone like to pick up the buttons? I'm in South Philadelphia. Or I could mail them. I'm estimating the postage at $50 to $100, paid in advance. I'll come up with something more exact if anyone is interested.

*Removing "Free Hugs" was an error. I'll be putting it back in the trays.

Is there anybody out there

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:46 pm
flaviomatani: (the wall teacher)
[personal profile] flaviomatani
Friends from Wales visiting in London took me to the V&A to see the Pink Floyd exhibition. It was very much worth the £20something admission, especially as I didn't have to pay it!

El Prado

Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:23 pm
morbidfrog: (Gothcentric flyer)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Tuesday 13 June: Madrid El Prado

Museums cost in Madrid, luckily many do a special last 2 hours free entry for EU citizens on certain days (although they did not check just queued for a bit) , so it is perfect to see a glimpse of the big museums for short trips also work in the palace).
The Prado is pretty amazing so could easily spend a few more hours there but this was a short trip so it worked perfectly for us, especially as I had prepared a short list of my must see: Goya Saturn, Witches Sabbath, El Coloso, Third of May and discovered a few more from his black series. The Bosch collection , especially Garden of Delights was just extraordinary and lovely to finally see some of those iconic Velasquez.

Afterwards we went on search for food, that is the most complicated bit in Madrid, finding food, Spanish people never seem to eat, bars are full but apart from the odd tapas it sometimes seems quite hard work to find proper menus, also very pricey for a few croquettes. Lunchtime much easier  but evening. We were trying to be on Spanish time..looking for food around 9.30pm but i guess till way too the end we had to accept defeat and go for big jug of sangria and a few tapas before being back to hotel and collapse as everyone only start to head into town.

Photos )

Madrid El Retiro Park

Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:01 pm
morbidfrog: (Sleepy)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Tuesday 13 June: Madrid El Retiro Park

That morning we caught the first tune to Heathrow to catch our mid morning flight to Madrid ( we both been to the airport a few times but never to Madrid so it was time to remedy it). then more tube to get to our little hotel in the Anton Martin area. Hard work with a big suitcase, 40+ degree and 3rd floor room with no stairs.
Finally started being tourist mid afternoon.
we went straight to visit El Retiro Park, beautiful with lake, sculptures alleys, palaces and gardens.
Beautiful Crystal Palace in the park , which is also an exhibition space and its pond is full of turtles and black swans <3
We also went to see the fountain of the Fallen angel, claimed to be the only known public monument of Satan.

Photos )
morbidfrog: (Make up)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Saturday 10 June: Shirley Bassey Meet Daleks Iain 50 Birthday Party

Great party at Jake and Ian, what a marvellous multi levels gardens they created. The theme welcomed time travelling divas, cosmic beings, space captains and aliens as well as of course , Shirley Bassey and Daleks. Fittingly the basement was turned into a spaceworld dancing room (made from paper and cake plates and its own tardis) , an Egyptian cocktail room (sadly I had decided to drive back and what a full on drive it was crossing all London) . Lots of fun & fab outfits.

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Photos )

Life, the Universe, etc

Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:07 am
inulro: (Default)
[personal profile] inulro
Still here. Getting into more of a routine with the new job and it is kicking my ass less.

As some of you will know from Facebook, the fireplace was installed yesterday. I'd got all worried that it was too big (not in a "it won't physically fit" way but in that it would look wrong). That was the anxiety speaking - it looks perfect!

Sunlight is good for me. Even though it's been too hot even for me the last couple of days, I still feel better than I have in about two years. Today has cooled off but it's also overcast and sticky, so I hope I stay feeling well. In order to avoid over-thinking and stressing over packing for the Newfoundland trip (6 days away!!!) all weekend, I have decided to go to London for the weekend to catch up with some people. This was mainly made possible by the new super off peak train fare - it's not as cheap as, say, booking the coach a month in advance, but it's faster than the coach and I can catch any train on the weekend, so I can come and go when I am ready rather than either rushing or having to hang around.

Have not done any book blogging for several months now. I could start, or I could continue to prevaricate over whether to continue doing it here or to start a "proper" blog. Guess which I've opted for?

Hobbyish revival

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:51 am
wildeabandon: musical notes on a stave (music)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Apparently it's the time of year for reviving old hobbies. I recently got to the top of the waiting list to join the London Gay Men's Chorus, so I'm going to be starting rehearsals with them in September. I'm a bit nervous about this, because singing in public is scary, but also really excited. I'm switching my piano lessons to singing ones for the time being, which should help with the nerves, and having external things to practice for will hopefully mean that I'm a more assiduous student than the last time.

Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with [personal profile] emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.

"In over my head"

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:15 am
rosefox: Steven's three guardians all ruffle his hair together as he grins (parenting)
[personal profile] rosefox
Dear fellow caregivers for toddlers: I would love advice on two distinct things.

1) What makes a good potty? The number of variations is overwhelming. We want something pretty simple, I think: looks like a toilet, no branded characters, doesn't play music, sits on the floor, is basically a bucket with a seat. In the more distant future we'll need one that folds up or goes over the toilet seat or something, for when we're on the road, but right now this is just for Kit to examine and contemplate and get used to the idea of.

2) Like most 18-month-olds, Kit is full of energy. Unlike most 18-month-olds, Kit can barely walk unassisted and can't run or jump. They've only just started climbing around on the most low-level playground equipment and are very uncertain; they can get up five steps to the top of the baby slide but haven't yet sorted out how to slide down it. When they can't burn off all that energy, they get very agitated and fussy. How do we help them get something like vigorous exercise on the weekends? So far my only idea is to take their walker wagon to the park so they can toddle along at a fairly fast clip for longer distances than our apartment allows—there's a good smoothly paved straightaway there—but that's a pain because the sidewalk between here and there is very uneven and narrow, so I'd have to figure out some way to carry the (heavy, bulky, non-folding) wagon while pushing Kit in the stroller, and that may surpass my own physical limitations. Maybe a lightweight folding medical-style walker? Is that a ridiculous expense for a kid who probably won't need it anymore by the end of the summer? And what do we do when it's not park weather? The nearest real play space for kids is the Brooklyn Children's Museum and it's kind of a haul from here—two buses, and you have to fold the stroller on the bus. They can only crawl around our apartment for so long.

EDIT: We did have a great dance party to the B-52s on Sunday—their pure sincerity is a perfect match for toddler sincerity, plus a good beat—so I should remember that's an option for indoor days. Friends on Twitter and elsewhere also suggested walking while holding Kit's hands/arms; playing follow-the-leader movement games ("Stretch WAAAAAY up high! Now bend WAAAAAY down low!") or doing movement to songs; setting up a tumbling mat and big foam blocks to climb on if we can get some that fit Kit's room (need to measure the open floor space); getting a cheap flimsy lightweight doll stroller to use as a walker in the park.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on either or both fronts!
flaviomatani: (sun flare)
[personal profile] flaviomatani
35º (according to the car), stuck in traffic for two hours, trying to get to a triple lesson that I had to cancel in the end when the car overheated and I had to pull over and just wait (at least the car held long enough to make it to the big Tesco's near Ikea before dying. There's air con in that Tesco. And cake.) . It's not the worst day I've had, by a long way, but it wasn't the best. Shower now.

sore feet

Jun. 21st, 2017 12:58 pm
silentq: (post via email)
[personal profile] silentq
According to Fitocracy's summary emails, over the last two weeks I've travelled 22 + 23 miles. Only 6 of that is biking, and I did a 3 mile run on Monday that's not included. Longer runs + a long hiking trip = sore feet. I stepped wrong on a cobble during a 6ish mile walk to look at the tall ships for Sail Boston on Saturday and had to rest a bit to let my big toe joint calm down, but it was fine for a run two days later, but I'm happy to be in my ramping down/rest period before Tough Mudder on Saturday, that will add 10+ miles to this week, but on grass and mud, so no more concrete for a while. Coincidentally, talked to a colleague today who's in a boot since she just had bunion surgery. She hadn't been able to run because of it. I'm not looking forward to that possible surgery in my future, but I'll give up running if I can still walk. I did find a nervy part on my foot when I was stretching the other night - sitting legs straight, toes pointed, the top of my foot is often tight, but this sparked.

Final Retromancy

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:19 pm
morbidfrog: (brighton mirroir)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Friday 9 June : Final Retromancy

Read more... )
A few photos from the last Retromancy :) Lovely to have my Cornish house guests travelling all this way for a night <3

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Felix article

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:01 pm
morbidfrog: (Kensal Green)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
 not sure about the title but i did a little interview fr a friend that work for the magazine ages ago and it has just come out.


Felix Magazine is profiling some of the fascinating personalities who add style and panache to London’s thriving cultural scene. These are people who feel free to define themselves as they see fit. What is their story and how has London helped shape it?

Post on our Facebook wall to suggest the person you know who would complement this series of diverse, individual Londoners.



Cecile’s understated style is the product of decades spent enjoying London’s open-minded attitude and wealth of subcultures where people feel free to express their inner identities.

Describe your current style as you see it.

A Goth with a penchant for Fairy, Steampunk, Victorian, Rococo, Kitsch, Occult, Tribal and colourful clothing.

Where do you come from? Answer as you believe best.

Originally from a little town called Pierrelatte in the south of France but I have been living in London for the past 23 years so really I see myself as a Londoner.

When, how and where did your current style begin to emerge?

I have always been attracted to fashion and into a variety of alternative styles. I always loved putting outfits together, wearing hats, drawing ideas and generally being artistic. I was more into the New Age/ Hippy/ Grungy look as a teenager as I wanted to be Janis Joplin but then moving to London at the age of 19 led me to explore many different styles for a few years.

It was so exciting. One night you could express your inner Britpop in a 60’s dress, the other you could dress head to toes in tie-dyes or put on your army boots to bounce around in some basement metal club. I started to get into Goth music more and more around 1998 and I have been developing my own style ever since.

How has London changed you and your style?


London changed everything. Most importantly here I was exposed to new music and bands all the time. I went from living in the middle of nowhere to a city where every night I could go to gig or a club. On top of that London allows you the freedom to express yourself. Seeing so many styles in the street and being able to get a job despite having piercings and coloured hair was wonderful, especially many years ago when you had vibrant places like Camden or Kensington markets on your doorstep. When I head back to rural France I realise how lucky I am living in such an open-minded and bohemian environment.

Many criticise London as expensive, crowded and polluted. What is your view?

I fell in love with London during my first ever visit when I was 15 and came here to stay with a family and learnt English then kept returning as often as I could until I was old enough to permanently move here. Yes it can be pricey and busy but it also never stops and there are always so many interesting things going on. Also not all events and venues are costly. Many are free if you know where to look.

I am a massive explorer and I adore visiting and discovering new places around the city. My favorite weekend of the year is London Open House (which is free). We are lucky we have the Tube and buses, so we can pretty much get anywhere at any time. Like all big cities there is something for all budgets. I am lucky I was a student before the rent and fees went ridiculous and I used to cycle everywhere.

I do not mind crowds as like everyone I can grumble during rush hours but then in the evening I go to some quirky and unusual events and I forget about the inconvenience.  Sadly, like many, I do not really like the way it is changing and I do find having less and less music venues and clubs, independent shops and areas being replaced by bland chain stores quite heart-breaking.

Where would you recommend for going out?

There are still quite a few Goth nights and clubs like Reptile and Slimelight but just not as many as before. Now they are mostly on weekends and in smaller venues. We still have a few rock/metal pubs but we no longer have any specific Goth one, which is a shame as it used to be great to be able to go to the Devonshire Arms In Camden at anytime and always know someone inside (also I used to live around the corner from it).

One thing that has really become popular in the last 10 years are costume balls. Although the music may not be specifically “alternative” or Goth they are very Goth-friendly and a perfect occasion to really dress up and wear more elaborate creations. I particularly like the Goblin Ball, A Curious Invitation and the Last Tuesday Society events. Outside London, there are also lots of great events to titillate the fantasy romantic in you, from faery balls to Gothic balls.

My favorite season is Halloween for going out as we are spoiled for places to go to, especially in the last few years with the rise of The Month of the Dead events, which feature everything from ossuary visits, to candlelit gigs in cemetery chapels, to taxidermy classes and lots of fascinating talks.

Do you think there’s a difference between simply being tolerated and accepted or actually welcomed?

It really depends on what I am wearing. In general I would say everyone is accepted here but there are always the occasional nasty comments and weird looks if you are different from the norm. It always hurts and worries you when you are targeted for no other reason than not conforming. I often prefer to travel with friends or by cars if possible rather than public transport on certain occasions.

However, on the other hand, you can often be surprised when someone genuinely happy and curious about your fashion strikes up a conversation on a night bus. It’s hard to look discreet when you are in a ballgown and horns made out of doll parts on a Saturday rush-hour Tube to go to a ball at the Royal Academy. Still, I feel much more at ease to be myself here than anywhere else.

Is your style your own or a product of a prescribed formula and wanting to be different?


Over the years it has really become my own, I started investigating my “Goth styles” by shopping in the various Goth shops in Camden, and loved my long velvet dresses and pointy shoes. Many years down the line, I have a very different style but it has been a natural evolution. My taste, alongside my age or shape changes all the time. I am always getting new ideas and inspirations from everything around me. Especially when I go out, I usually return full of ideas.

The problem is time and money to act on it. I have always been quite creative. It used to be through the medium of painting and ceramics, then when I started to work full-time as a librarian, my creativity continued in a new medium: decorating hats, making accessories, wigs, and more and more outfits.  I like matching shop-bought stuff, second-hand finds and my own creations. I like to see myself as a bit of a chameleon, the same way I like to change hair colours/style (thanks to hairfalls and wigs) each time I go out and I also love to give the events or night I am going to a bit of a thematic in my head.

Are you narcissistic? Are you an attention seeker or can viewers not help but stare?

Yet again it depends as I can be both. One part of me loves to be extravagant with huge dresses, maximalist decoration and crazy headdresses. As my friends always say “discreet, subtle or minimal is not really my style.” Then most of the time, I am just a pretty boring day-to-day Goth going to work, with no make-up and a little skull-fabric dress. Of course I like compliments, especially if it is about something I have created or put together.

Interview by Stewart Vickers @VickHellfire


Jun. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm
morbidfrog: (Default)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Thursday 8th June:CyberCitizens 

A much needed escape from the computer was required this afternoon so we popped out to the see CyberCitizens art installation (an interactive sound and visual project telling the stories of London through the voices of people who have made it their home) in Waterstones. Part of the UCL Festival of Culture. 
Being interactive so photos do not really do it justice

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melted like Dali

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:36 pm
the_siobhan: (on fire)
[personal profile] the_siobhan

I am suffering from a chronic case of having nothing interesting to say.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

First book by Daniels that I've read. On the whole, a pleasant surprise. I suspect this is in the "YA" bucket, not because of the content, but based on the formatting. Wider line-spacing, for one. Also a very quick read, based purely on the ebook-reader's page number function, 300 pages, or within 1%-2% error margin, started on the morning commute, finished during the evening commute. Clear YA sign, that. 250 pages, I could've believed it was just the quality of the book (the better, the faster I read, or something like that). Where was I?

Ah, yes. We follow Danny Tozer, who, when the book starts, is a teen with one set of problems, which quickly change for whole other set of problems, which slowly transmute to a third, somewhat related, set of problems. The rapid change at the start have something to do with "a dying superhero just gifted his powers to you", and the slow transmutation is definitely related to the same thing (and various other reactions of the book's world to this).

This is not the bookmeme post I was planning, but this one is better, even though (until now) it didn't mention lesbians, nor trans-phobic feminists. But you can't have it all, people.

Shopping 2

Jun. 20th, 2017 09:33 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
Annoyingly, my Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip mp3 player is dying. I see I got it in 2013, when JA broke the clip that attaches them to your clothing on the Clip+ that she took to Switzerland. Getting the newer model meant getting a proper colour screen rather than the multi-monochrome one on the Clip+, but it still ran Rockbox, the very impressive third party firmware that lets you do all sorts of nice things. Including, if you're silly enough, play Doom on it.

More annoyingly, it's out of production and the successors to the Clip Zip, the Clip Jam and Clip Sport do not run Rockbox. If Sandisk had any sense, they'd have it as the official firmware, but no...

Even more annoyingly, the price for second-hand Clip Zips reflects the fact that they're the last ones that run Rockbox. It's silly money time. Even Clip+'s are over-priced for the hardware compared with the price of a new Jam or Sport: the Rockbox effect again.


At least my ten year old Sandisk e280 still works and it does.