Reading: Autumn

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:19 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
I bought a copy of Ali Smith's Autumn in the Oxfam bookshop in York last week, because they were playing Leonard Cohen and I ended up browsing the contemporary fiction section much more closely than I often do because I wanted to keep listening to it. It was the day the Booker shortlist had been announced so someone had been talking about the book on the radio as I was driving up; it sounded interesting so I thought I might as well buy it when I saw a copy there.

It's a strange book. Essentially, it's the story of a friendship between an elderly man and little girl, growing and developing across the space of years, but it's also a complicated web of allusions through which Smith considers questions of time, memory, love and art; key influences are Dickens (the opening sentence is "It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times") and Ovid's Metamorphoses although there are many others. Its time-hopping, non-linear format jumps between the aftermath of the Brexit vote (the novel was published last October and it was clearly written, fast, after the referendum), the 1990s, the Profumo scandal of the 1960s and World War 2 and the years immediately preceding it. It's funny and thought-provoking, melancholy and angry and also somehow hopeful. And the prose is beautiful and poetic. It's a short book, and a quick read, but I think it will stay with me.

Just One Thing (24 September 2017)

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:07 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:34 am
laundrybaskets: laundry (Default)
[personal profile] laundrybaskets in [community profile] exercise_every_day
You know the drill. If you exercised today, please comment and inspire the rest of us to get moving.

Have a great day!

Sunday Sweets: Stained Glass

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

"Color is to the eye what music is to the ear."

- Louis Comfort Tiffany

What does "stained glass" make you think of? Church windows? Fancy light fixtures?

How about gorgeous cakes?

(By Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Ooh la la! So soft and pretty; I love the watercolor feel to those colors.

 

(By Paige Fong)

This cake practically glows, it's so vivid. And I like how the flowers are mirrored in the artwork.

 

(By Maggie Austin Cake)

I can't imagine the time it took to pipe and paint even one of these layers, much less four.

 

(By Corrie Cakes)

These cookies look like sun catchers! Doesn't the blue background look like a cloudy sky showing through?

 

(By Melissa Alt Cakes)

One of my personal favorites today! There's a great little Tiffany museum here in Florida, and this one reminds me the most of some of his windows there. Something about all those glowing greens and rich orangey-browns... Just lovely.

 

(also by Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Both are amazing, but that blue! WOW.

 

(By Bittersweet Pastry)

Perhaps more of a mosaic than stained glass, but I'm blown away by the 3D flowers! Such a great design.

 

And another tile mosaic:

(By Passionate Cakes)

So much detail! Can you imagine how long it would take to place all those tiny pieces?!

 

These flowers look like they're bursting out of the glass design:

(Also by Maggie Austin Cake)

So. Cool.

 

And finally:

(By Vinism Sugar Art)

I take it back; I think this is my favorite. The balance of dark and light, the perfectly blended colors, that butterfly...! It belongs in the Tiffany Museum! Or my belly. One of the two, anyway. ;)

 

Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Sunday!

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Reading: St Mungo's Robin

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:23 am
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[personal profile] white_hart
I wasn't quite ready to get my head out of fifteenth-century Scotland after finishing Gemini, so I thought I'd read the fourth of Pat McIntosh's Gil Cunningham mysteries. Set in Glasgow, about ten years after the end of Gemini, these books feel a bit like a extension of the world of the Niccolò series; some of the same historical characters appear in both and I like to imagine Dunnett's characters living their lives just off-screen. (Accidentally or on purpose, there are also a couple of cases where character names and nicknames end up being minor spoilers for points in Dunnett where knowing a character's full name rather than just their nickname would have given too much away, so if you're reading your way through Dunnett and care about remaining unspoilered I'd recommend leaving McIntosh until afterwards; I also enjoy McIntosh more for having read all of the Niccolò books now and understanding the historical background.)

In this book, Gil (now officially charged with investigating murders, after his earlier successes on an amateur basis) is called to a Glasgow almshouse where the unpopular Deacon has been found stabbed with no shortage of people who might have had a motive to kill him. He's also due to be married in a week's time and his investigations are both helped and hindered by family and friends arriving in town for the wedding, while he and his fiancée, Alys, are both suffering from pre-wedding nerves.

I enjoyed this a lot - the series really seems to be hitting its stride by this stage, with the core characters established enough to feel like old friends now; Gil's investigations manage not to feel out of place in the historical setting while still allowing him to do things like estimate times of death from the condition of a corpse. I did spot a couple of clues well ahead of Gil, and had worked out the identity of the murderer by about two-thirds of the way through the book, but then it's always nice to feel cleverer than the detective!

Five things make a post

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:13 pm
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[personal profile] rmc28
1. I was just saying to my boss this week that I was quite proud of keeping my migraines under control more lately; guess what I got yesterday? So annoying, especially as I'd been looking forward to a friend's party that I ended up missing.

2. I am very slowly beginning to tackle the backlog of Stuff I Kept Putting Off While Studying; this week has been all about the clothes / fabric. I have assorted piles of worn-out clothes and out-grown clothes accumulating around my room. I pulled out all the actually worn-out stuff, and bagged that up to go to recycling. I bagged up two sets of bedding we never use for the charity shop. I bought myself some underwear that doesn't have holes in, and added all the ones that did to the recycling bags, along with my oldest & least useful bras. I sorted through my socks, and chucked a good few pairs in the recycling bags, and a few others into the charity bag. Finally I ended up sorting through my stash of pretty scarves and wraps and kept only the ones that I really love and may actually wear more than once a year. (I sort of aspire to be someone who routinely wears pretty scarves etc but in practice I am never that put-together very often.)

3. I took the charity bag to the EACH shop, and came back with a very shiny pair of not!DMs and a metallic blue stripey hat. (Amusingly, I had been whinging this week about needing new shoes for winter, and hating shoe shopping, so that was very well timed.)

4. Last Saturday I watched Robocop with [personal profile] fanf . He was inspired by this post (linked by [personal profile] andrewducker ), and I'd never previously watched it - not on purpose, just never got round to it. It's very very Paul Verhoeven isn't it? Gratuitious mixed-sex shower scene, gory violence, horrible-future-media & horrible-future-adverts. Although my reaction to the project manager with the huge glasses was a. love those glasses b. you are really enjoying imagining watsisface having his hand broken c. please tell me watsisface dies horribly after forcing a kiss on you and taking credit for your work (spoiler - he does). Watsisface really is a walking example of the unwarranted confidence of the mediocre white man.

5. Nicholas saw Trolls at holiday/after school clubs and asked for his own copy. It's not awful, and I like the music, but after sitting through it with him three times in less than a week, I think I have had enough of it for now. The trailers on it include Home (based on The True Meaning of Smekday) which I've been meaning to watch, and Nicholas is keen to do so too, so hopefully I'll enjoy that more.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: pre-print proofs for a book I need for my thesis, that the author has kindly sent me; Alex Beecroft 'Blue Eyed Stranger'. I've got a few more things ostensibly currently-reading that I need to get back to, including 'Medievalism: Key Critical Terms', Mary Webb's 'Gone to Earth', and a book of Joyce Carol Oates' poetry.

I'm a chapter and a bit into the second Gentleman Bastards book, and having trouble getting into it - not because it's not interesting, but it keeps filling me with nebulous dread. The prologue scene is set later in the timeline than the first few chapters so I KNOW things are going to go QUITE WRONG. Or maybe the apparent wrongness is a cunning trick and our hero-bros will be fine! But first, long detailed scenes involving gambling scams! It's very good writing, and it's giving me anxiety.

Recently Finished: This is the third weekly post in a row (normally I aim for every 2-3 weeks) and STILL these reviews are four books behind my actual recently-finished list. Welp.

Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home CookingVegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a delight to read, and a logistical pain in the ass to cook from, unless you live somewhere with access to really good Indian grocers. Asfoetida, where do you even BUY that?

Still, I'm getting there. My cupboard is now home to four different kinds of daal. I've even put my coffee grinder to work grinding spices, because that's the kind of person I have become.

Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European LiteratureBrothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature by Carolyne Larrington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


YES GOOD VERY USEFUL MUCH WOW


The Course of HonourThe Course of Honour by Avoliot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Well this was an absolute delight of trope-tastic proportions. I particularly enjoyed the unexpected detour into 'plot devices we loved in Inception fandom circa 2011' toward the end.

It's also very skillful writing, esp in terms of examining without over-explaining one character's experience of relationship abuse. And it doesn't fall into lazy racist tropes, either! In this it leaves Captive Prince dead in the water.

Trowchester Blues (Trowchester Blues, #1)Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed the set-up to this and massively side-eyed the, like, six week transition from 'why hi i have never come out to anyone but you're hot' to 'picket fence cohabitation'. Excellent cast of side characters, though, and if I'm going to be reading sickly HEA it's nice not to have it set in the US, for once.


Also finished: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland; a book about the American founding fathers and their female friends; Ben Law's Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools; Griffith Review 56.

DNF: Clare Hemmings, 'Bisexual Spaces'. The ILL was overdue and I skimmed the intro and decided it was *too dense* for me right now, and despite the title, not actually about space (I was hoping it would be about gender/sexuality and architecture or geography some how - useful for thesis purposes). I've put it back on the to-read list though. Another day.

A recommendation I forgot this when I reviewed the last Meanjin, but Jock Given's essay Enterprise in the Forest weaves together the story of the early development of QLD state parks and the story of the wreck of a Stinson aircraft in the south queensland highlands. I sent the essay to my Dad and he tells me he learned the story very young, because my grandfather knew someone who knew someone who knew the guy who found the aircraft (via the Army, or boxing, or Pop's brothers, Dad isn't sure).

[Site note: my computer just turned itself off and on again without warning. That's... less than ideal]

Up Next: I have a stack of books about semiotics, for work, and Rita Felski's 'The Uses of Literature'. I think my next fun book in hard copy might be The Essex Serpent.




Music notes: I got nowhere near my habit targets for this week, so no new purchases. I have, however, organised a bunch of tango and flamenco music into a spotify playlist for which I blame the entire sport of figure skating.

I also unearthed an old link I'd saved to Sara Bareilles' King of Anything, and from there the soundtrack to the musical Waitress and that's pretty awesome right now.

(I also reached the point in Postal Survey Coping Mechanisms that involved loop-listening to 'Epiphany' from bare: a pop opera, because words alone cannot express the furious feelingswamp this whole bullshit thing induces.)

The Blood is the Life for 24-09-2017

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
archersangel: (jedi sheep)
[personal profile] archersangel in [community profile] books
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

Hummingbird Grooming

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:05 pm
yourlibrarian: BeautifulDay-no_apologies_86 (SPN-BeautifulDay-no_apologies_86)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian in [community profile] common_nature
Yes, some more hummingbird pics. Do you wonder how this hummingbird achieves its bedhead look? Why with a rather long (for a hummingbird) grooming session!

Read more... )

I thought it was September

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:14 pm
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[personal profile] chickenfeet
So the Humidex is heading towards 40 tomorrow. It was almost as hot today. After a week of Scottish 10C and on and off rain this is a bit hard to take but better than an early winter I guess.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:21 pm
laundrybaskets: laundry (Default)
[personal profile] laundrybaskets in [community profile] exercise_every_day
You know the drill. If you exercised today, please comment and inspire the rest of us to get moving.

Have a great day!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
[personal profile] wyld_dandelyon in [community profile] crowdfunding
Want inspiration for your life or for a creative project?  Need to find a better balance? I can do a reading for you, for a character, as a writing prompt, draw a card to meditate on, etc.

Free one-card readings are still available, as are longer readings.  Tips are always welcome!  So are signal boosts.

I'm doing the readings over here on Dreamwidth. 

Thanks!

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:45 pm
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[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
Belated happy birthday, [personal profile] nanila!

So......Siena

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:24 pm
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 We went back to the hotel we have used to many times before- the Arcobaleno (rainbow).

We were on the other side of the 'L' this time so got a view of the rather nice 19th century yellow villa across the road:





More pics! )

The Blood is the Life for 23-09-2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Just One Thing (23 September 2017)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:34 am
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[personal profile] nanila in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:47 am
ysabetwordsmith: (Crowdfunding butterfly ship)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith in [community profile] crowdfunding
Welcome to the sixty-fifth Crowdfunding Creative Jam! This session will run Saturday, September 23-Sunday, September 24. The theme is "Black Swans."


Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Everyone is eligible to post prompts, which may be words or phrases, titles, images, etc. Prompters may request a specific creator, but everyone else may still use that prompt if they wish. Prompts may specify a particular character/world/etc. but creators may use the prompt for something else anyway and post the results. Prompters are still encouraged to post mostly prompts that anyone could use anywhere, as this maximizes the chance of having creators make something based on your prompt. Please title your comment "Prompt" or "Prompts" when providing inspiration so these are easy to find.

Prompt responses may also be treated as prompts and used for further inspiration. For example, a prompt may lead to a sketch which leads to a story, and so on. This kind of cascading inspiration is one of the most fun things about a collective jam session.

Everyone is eligible to use prompts, and everyone who wants to use a given prompt may do so, for maximum flexibility of creator choice in inspiration. You do not have to post a "Claim" reply when you decide to use a prompt, but this does help indicate what is going on so that other prompters can spread out their choice of prompts if they wish.

Creators are encouraged, but not required, to post at least one item free. Likewise, sharing a private copy of material with the prompter is encouraged but not required. Creative material resulting from prompts should be indicated in a reply to the prompt, with a link to the full content elsewhere on the creator's site (if desired); a brief excerpt and/or description of the material may be included in the reply (if desired). It helps to title your comment "Prompt Filled" or something like that so these are easy to identify. There is no time limit on responding to prompts. However, creators are encouraged to post replies sooner rather than later, as the attention of prompters will be highest during and shortly after the session.

Some items created from prompts may become available for sponsorship. Some creators may offer perks for donations, linkbacks, or other activity relating to this project. Check creator comments and links for their respective offerings.

Prompters, creators, and bystanders are expected to behave in a responsible and civil manner. If the moderators have to drag someone out of the sandbox for improper behavior, we will not be amused. Please respect other people's territory and intellectual property rights, and only play with someone else's characters/setting/etc. if you have permission. (Fanfic/fanart freebies are okay.) If you want to invite folks to play with something of yours, title the comment something like "Open Playground" so it's easy to spot. This can be a good way to attract new people to a shared world or open-source project, or just have some good non-canon fun.

Boost the signal! The more people who participate, the more fun this will be. Hopefully we'll see activity from a lot of folks who regularly mention their projects in this community, but new people are always welcome. You can link to this session post or to individual items created from prompts, whatever you think is awesome enough to recommend to your friends.
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