Critical Role continues to be a delight. I'm watching Episode 52 now. ( Plot! )
Housemate and I are almost up to The Coming of Shadows in B5. We took a detour to watch some more Season 1, and watched the A Voice in the Wilderness two-parter. You know, every time I watch the show during a Republican administration, Seasons 3 and 4 seem relevant, but right now I feel like the Mars stuff even in Season 1 is super timely. I keep forgetting how much of the Mars plotline is brought up in Season 1, especially in that two-parter.
WARNING: This poem contains topics that many readers may find disturbing. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Patches and Rampart help Buraq find Haboob to use miracles to make him stop being a supervillain. This includes a manhunt, terrorist activity, Buraq getting shot, messy medical details of a serious bullet wound, flashback to prior injury, the bad guys fragging their own sniper for violating medical neutrality, taking items from a corpse as a point of positive etiquette, teleporting while injured is no fun for anyone, kidnapping Haboob and fixing him by force, when you apply miracles to a terrorist it kind of sounds like you're torturing him, and not everyone is comfortable with this, dubious consent once Haboob starts to regain some sanity, distressing inability to pray in the customary manner, but Buraq is creative with solutions and it works fine in the end, another overwhelming prayer experience ending in a faint that scares the team healer, traumatic guilt, renaming, radical forgiveness of a divinely repaired terrorist, miracles have a blest radius of extra healing, loss of homeland, austere living conditions, feeling unclean, but fortunately Buraq knows how to fix that, uncertainty, and other challenges. On the whole, however, everyone is better off in the end. Because this poem contains a major plot development in world politics, skipping it would leave a gap, even though it doesn't fall into main storylines. Please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you wish to read.
( Read more... )
In some of the Midwest, the problem is too many jobs and not enough workers.
In NYC, fighting for the immigrants of Little Pakistan.
Liberals in strange places... like Montana.
There may be a way to kill the Trumpcare bill.
Natives on the Hill -- an antidote to homesickness for Native Americans at the Capitol.
A superhero power for our time -- handling the truth.
This turns out to be purely decorative, and not after all a way of communicating with extra-terrestials
There's also a rather grand main building, with the Latin motto "QUAECUNQUE SUNT VERA" inscribed on the front. For this is a Christian foundation, as its English name (Tokyo Woman's Christian University) makes clear, even though the "Christian" bit is dropped in Japanese translation.
There are trees (木), groves (林) and woods (森) (who said that kanji were hard to learn?), and although these come with matching mosquitoes I think it's well worth it. It certainly doesn't feel like the middle of one of the world's great metropoles. In some ways it resembles my idea of an American liberal arts college, although before you use this as a reliable reference you should remember that my ideas of American liberal arts colleges derive entirely from having read The Secret History and Tam Lin. Unlike a typical liberal arts college, this university appears (as far as I can tell) not to be a hub for ritual murder, whether inspired by Dionysian frenzy or the need to pay a tithe to hell, and as far as I'm concerned this is a plus. On the contrary, they take rather paternalistic care of their students, locking the gates at 11pm each evening (though nothing as extreme as the broken glass and razor wire I saw surrounding the female dorms in a Christian university in Taiwan a few years ago). Even I, when I leave the campus, have to hand my key over the guards (there are usually at least two) and pick it up again on my return - perhaps five minutes later, after a dash to the combini. I'm not sure what purpose is served by this requirement, but the guards are always very cheerful and polite, so I can't resent it.
The area is neither central Tokyo nor the suburbs, but a sweet spot somewhere in between. Turning left from the main gate the streets are quiet, with houses, family restaurants, antique and bookshops. There are people milling about, but no sense of city hustle, and more bicycles than cars. Here it is at about 7pm on my first evening, with dusk already falling in the abrupt Asian manner:
In the other direction is fashionable Kichijouji, a far more bustling place, for shopping by day or eating by night. Here's where you need to go if you want to eat a curry doughnut, which I intend to do as soon as may be:
On my first full day in Japan, though, I contented myself with buying a yukata and all the trimmings - something I've wanted for a long time. I placed myself in the hands of a very friendly department store assistant, and luckily it was one of those days when my Japanese was flowing pretty well (it varies greatly). She walked me through the process of putting on the underdress, the yukata itself, the obi, the geta (alas! my feet are so large that I had to get men's ones), and then set me up with accessories - a flower for the hair, and of course one of those terribly useful baskets.
I hesitate to say how much all that cost, but suffice it to say that it sated my desire to shop for at least a day.
"They order these things better in Japan" Dept. A useful feature of Japanese supermarkets is that, rather than put the food into your shopping bags at the checkout, potentially holding up other customers as you do so, they provide tables where you can take your shopping basket/trolley after you've paid, and put things in bags at your leisure - rather like the tables in airport security where you can sort out your possessions after they've been through the scanner. A simple idea, but a good one - which I noticed only having held everyone up at the checkout putting things in bags, of course.
On the other hand, here at Toukyou Joshi Dai I seem to be a celebrity:
Let's hope I live up to the billing.
Almost to the point where I wanted to give up and just pretend.
But I can't. Too many people are being/will be treated horribly so I have to do what I can to combat the evil.
At work I've done a trial run of citizenship classes. We had a few people inquire and I'd been working on learning how to teach them because it was something I thought I might be able to do. I just contacted 4 people, only 2 have made it, but it's enough to give me an idea of how to teach this stuff and how to structure the class etc. So, this week will be the last 2 classes for them. I will then start up again in August. This gives us time to advertise and for me to get better prepared.
The last class though I was tempted to ask them why they wanted to do this, after the way this country is going, I myself was ready to run.
This weekend I pulled back a lot and only checked online briefly, just to get an idea of what's going on. I really needed the break. I needed to get back to some of the things I've let slide, and take care of myself which I really haven't been doing. Yesterday I had lunch with an old boss/friend. We hadn't seen each other in quite some time, spent 3 hours at lunch and then went to Barnes & Noble which was nearby and spent almost another hour. I ended up buying a few puzzles, it's a really good way for me to wind down. I started on one today and it has been fun.
I've caught up on some cleaning and what not that has fallen by the wayside, and this weekend I'm going to a bicycle shop to look at purchasing.
I put that off too long. I was trying to research a bit to find out what I was looking for, but didn't get too far before feeling lost. I found a couple of bicycle shops in the area so I'm going to go check them out.
I've been watching White Collar. I hadn't finished the series, so went back to the beginning since I couldn't remember where I left off.
I have done some reading.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. Mostly fun, but really it was reading a Midsomer Murders but with different detective, got a little bored/annoyed at times. Would recommend if you like cozy British mysteries. I wouldn't rave about it though, but it did kickstart my reading again.
Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. Interesting story. It's a past and present story, takes place in London of mid1600s and present. An academic woman near the end of her career discovering some documents (well a former student found them in his house during some remodeling and after having her look at them sells them to her university). They are documents written by a rabbi about trying to grow/teach the Jewish community in London of the mid1600s. Turns out though that the scribe is a Jewish woman, who ends up writing to various philosophers of the time, and so the story covers how all of that came about and the research into trying to find out exactly who this woman is and what happened. There were some dull moments for me but mostly I enjoyed the book. I liked the idea.
I have to read about half of the Count of Monte Cristo in 2 weeks for book discussion. I read it a while ago but details are gone so it will be almost like a new story.
My French is not too bad, apart from not having a full adult vocabulary, but I still have to stop and think when hearing or speaking French numbers.
This is especially fun in the context of telephone numbers, because the French don't say telephone numbers digit by digit like American English speakers do, they divide them into groups of two. So if somebody's telephone number includes the combination 97, they will say "quatre-vingt-dix-sept," and the unsuspecting English speaker will write down 4 (quatre) and only then realize they've got it wrong, and have to go back and correct while their French interlocutor is now several numbers ahead. You can guess how I know this.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand all this is probably interesting to no one but me, but I was happy to find a context in which German is simple and straightforward. Unlike its ten million billion pronoun forms.
This was an easy choice.
This version of the song, the best known one, is I think later than 1969 (my birth year), but I like it better so that's what you get. It's worth looking at the original 1969 video on YouTube, though, if only because both video and song version are so hilariously 1960s.
David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
( All the prompts )
The world's first waterpark for people with disabilies.
Facebook now provides resources for journalists' safety.
Trump has shut off the televised feed -- and all cameras present -- at press conferences (thus ensuring the only video record of what was said is in his hands), and journalists condemn this -- but they're not boycotting the conferences.
The Washington Post is using an AI to moderate comments to the paper.
Johnny Depp opened his mouth at the Glastonbury Festival and dropped a big one: When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? As if that weren't enough to catch the morning edition, his financial woes -- what is this, spending $2 million a month? -- may sink the Pirates franchise. I look at his spending habits and all I can think is, this is a guy who was a kid who was really poor at some point, and it has never left him.
Famous women have been denying the mores of fashion (and conservatives) and wearing menswear for years. Here are some photos.
Trump is being sued for intentionally destroying presidential records. And also, he's played upon the grief of people whose family members were killed by undocumented immigrants (whether in a car accident or otherwise) to get their support.
Canada is tired of dealing with Trump, so now it's doing business with individual states and cities.
Trump also has dropped a grant for a nonprofit that helps people leave violent right-wing groups. It's like he and his crew want us to be harassed by neoNazis, isn't it?
Sen. Warren blasts the blood-money cuts in the Republican anti-health bill.
Unfortunately for us all, the Senate can't slow the progress of the GOP bill once it's written, so they're doing all they can now. And here's the Economic Policy Institute on what we have to lose.
And five Republicans refuse to support the bill -- one because it's too harsh, four because it's too liberal. I have some concerns about the mental health of those four. And McConnell may think he will win by losing if it goes down at a vote. Why? Then it's over for this year and they can go on to amending the tax code to reward the wealthy and steal from the rest of us. What a thoroughgoing scoundrel!
I don't want to say this, but there are strong rumors that Supreme Court Justice Kennedy may want to retire at the end of this term. That means either we go back to an 8-person court or we get another retroRepublian, for the next 30 years. But, in the meantime, the Court has agreed to hear a bill on gerrymandering that will affect Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland (and probably others as well.)
Bill Cosby, who will face another trial in the aftermath of his mistrial, plans to give speeches on how not to be arrested for sexual assault. No printable comment on this is possible.
More on Yellowstone grizzlies losing endangered-species listing. Thing is, they don't always stay in Yellowstone, and they can be hunted if they stray outside.
Here is a graphic from NARAL that you are free to share where you will.
We checked the firepit after yesterday's Litha bonfire. It had burned down almost completely, just a double handful of stubs to pick out. Then we shoveled up the loose ash and wheeled to dump in the prairie garden.
Round 2, I watered plants. Then I picked up sticks in the savanna.
Round 3, I sprayed weeds.
It's getting dark now, and the fireflies are coming out, so I'm done for the night.
During the week, baked a loaf of the Shipton Mill 3 Malts and Sunflower Organic Brown Flour.
Friday supper: Gujerati khichchari - absentmindedly used ground cumin rather than cumin seed but I don't think the effect was disastrous.
Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flours with maple sugar and sour cherries.
Today's lunch: redfish fillets rubbed with Cajun seasoning, brushed with milk and egg and coated in panko crumbs, panfried in olive oil, served with steamed samphire tossed in butter and baby leeks healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with gooseberry vinegar.
Dhalgren: Sunrise is comprised of bits of text from what I assume is Dhalgren the book, accompanied by dance, light, and music, almost all of it improvised. Also, some of the music was performed on imaginary instruments. "That must be a theremin!" I thought brightly to myself on seeing one of the instruments, mostly because I don't know what a theremin looks like and therefore I assume that any instrument I don't recognize is a theremin. But it turns out it was not a theremin, because there was a credit in the program for 'invented instruments,' though I don't know whether the one I saw was the Diddly Bow, the Bass Llamelophone, or the Autospring.
Anyway, so my new understanding of Dhalgren is that it is about a city in which Weird, Fraught and Inexplicable Things Are Happening. This is not a very thorough understanding, but it's still more of an understanding than I had before. The show is composed of seven scene-vignettes:
Prelude: A brief reading of [what I assume to be] the book's introduction.
Orchid: Three women dance on a bridge and a man acquires a prosthetic hand-weapon-implement. The director at the end gave special thanks to the dude who made it, understandably so, because it very effectively exuded Aura of Sinister!
Scorpions: Gang members dance and fight in front of a building? Alien gang members? Just aliens? Anyway, some entities wrapped in glowing lights have a dance fight in front of a building; the text is from the point of view of a worried inhabitant of the building who Has Concerns.
Moons: The moon has a new secondary moon friend named George. The dancing in this section was one of my favorite bits -- the Moon did some amazing things with her light-strung hula hoop. aamcnamara pointed out later that the narration in this bit, which featured a wry and dubious radio announcer, seemed like a perhaps-intentional echo of Welcome to Night Vale. I have never actually listened to Welcome to Night Vale, but from my cultural osmosis knowledge this seems about right.
Fire: The light show took front and center in this bit about everything being on fire and also, simultaneously, not on fire. The maintenance man doing the narration is very plaintive about all of this. There may also have been dancing in this bit but I don't remember what anyone was doing.
Sex: The guy with the sinister prosthesis has an intimate encounter with two other people inside a blanket fort. I always like the blanket-fort method of showing sex onstage, it hints appropriately while allowing actors not to have to do anything they're uncomfortable with. At some point in this process the sinister prosthesis is removed for the first time, which I expect symbolizes something about human connection.
Sunrise: The characters who have previously just had sex emerge from the building and now seem to have a difference of opinion about whether the sunrise is just normal, or whether the earth is actually falling into the sun. Eventually all the characters are onstage being distressed, along with the music and the lighting -- again, really cool light effects here, especially the final overwhelming projection of light followed by and darkness.
It's a one-hour show without intermission, which we all agreed afterwards was for the best; the deeply weird mood and atmosphere would have been difficult to slip back into if one could get up in the middle to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have actually read Dhalgren, I will leave you with aamcnamara's sum-up: "It was a strange experience, but honestly could have been stranger."