oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport on Earth.... what does this bloody spectacle say about the world we live in?

I don't know what, if anything, it says about the world we live in, but that article suggests to me someone who does not know a great deal about the history of sport/popular entertainment - I am like, o tempora, o mores, what are these days when somebody can write an article on fighting as spectacle and not name-check gladiators in the Coliseum? Infamy, infamy, etc.

I am totally given to wonder what a person knows about the history of sport if they can write this:

Victorian rules of football and rugby codified an attitude towards team play that made sense in the factory and on the battlefield.
Victorian rules were the imposition of a disciplinary structure (where is Michel Foucault when you need him?) on the rather more freeform sports constituting various kinds of football: which pretty much combined the football and the hooliganism in one package.

See also, boxing before Queensbury: not that boxing in its present form doesn't have significant risks, even if they're long term ones about brain damage rather than blood on the floor.

I suspect that there is a significant history of sports starting as something close to a brawl and gradually developing rules, rather than the rules coming first.

On a somewhat less extreme level, beach volleyball has that pattern of informality to codification.

I am also, why is he not, if not doing historical analogies, linking this woezery to a loooong tradition of dystopian fiction? - because the concept was not a new one in The Hunger Games.

Sustain, persist, ascend.

Mar. 26th, 2017 02:17 pm
azurelunatic: "catch me if I fall", shooting star (R.E.M.)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
One brave green shoot pushes through the muck;
more will soon follow.
There will still be storytime at the library next week.
The librarian will still be found wearing a plush ladybug.
Somewhere, a child will move from baby to toddler
in pursuit of that bubble, just out of reach.


(Mostly written in early February.)

Culinary

Mar. 26th, 2017 07:21 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Friday night supper: Gujerati khicchari.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls: 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flour, maple sugar, sour cherries.

Today's lunch: the gratin provencale thing, with sweet potatoes (I grossly overestimated the quantity of sweet potato I would need) and tapenade: with okra roasted in pumpkin seed oil and splashed with raspberry vinegar, cos lettuce dressed with lime juice, avocado oil, salt and pepper, and padron peppers.

Bread: Len Deighton's Mixed Wholemeal loaf from the Sunday Times Book of Bread: 3:1:1 wholemeal/strong white flour/mixture of medium oatmeal, medium cornmeal and bran, a little molasses, a dash of oil - v tasty.

(no subject)

Mar. 26th, 2017 12:30 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] robling_t!

snippets

Mar. 25th, 2017 10:03 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
  1. The English sofa is a loan from Turkish. The Turkish for the English sofa, however, is kanape, as a loan from the French canapé, which has the original meaning of English sofa and, by figurative extension, the meaning of English canapé, because you've got a little piece of bread or pastry or something that looks like a sofa with the topping perched on top of it. ([personal profile] sebastienne conjectured this etymology when I was grumbling about the Turkish last week; they were surprised and delighted to be correct.)
  2. Fox/vixen is the solitary surviving example in modern English of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in: Fuchs/Füchsin.
  3. The English/French foyer is rendered, in Swedish orthography, foajé. It is pronounced the way one might reasonably expect foyer to be pronounced. See also: restaurang.

My baby loves a bunch of authors!

Mar. 25th, 2017 03:06 pm
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
Big week coming up on the reading front.
  • Tomorrow, Sunday, March 26th from 1-$PM, I'll be reading at the Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota for the annual Quatrefoil Library/Tretter Collection joint event, Women Who Read. Also reading are Jessie Chandler, Rachel Gold, Stephani Maari Booker and a host of other talented queer female-identified writers. Just as a general observation about the kind of talent that reads at this event, Pat Schmatz won a Tiptree Award 3 days after our reading last year. So come by and check it out! The beauty of group readings is that there's always enough variety to find something you like.
  • Which is why I'm doing 2 readings this week. On Tuesday, March 28th, I'll be reading at Intermedia Arts for Queer Voices, an ongoing series featuring local LGBTQIA_ authors and creators. 7:30-9:30PM, sliding scale admission.
  • My latest Patreon posts on Comfort Reading and Comfort Television are out - check out some new stuff for only $1! Pledge $6 and get my essay on Irene Adler too. This month's proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood.
It's also my birthday this week and I'm neck deep in projects so it's going to be a wild ride! Send good thoughts and virtual chocolate!
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

Scarlett Thomas: Why I was wrong about children’s fiction.

I do see that she has come to realise that 'children's books: not the easy option',from trying to write one, because have we not, my dearios, seen an awful lot of celebs who think any fule can can write a kiddybook?

But, might we not also see in that article that she seems also to be coming round to the notion that fantasy is Not A Bad (or at least, a lesser, genre) Thing?

The two categories do seem to be somewhat assimilated, even conflated.

And I really don't think you get very far just by replacing one binary with another binary:

Instead of thinking there’s “literary fiction” and “everything else”, or even adult fiction and children’s fiction, I now believe that there are books with magic and without.

I don't think it's that simple, even if she's using 'magic' in its broader sense?

I think there are still some unexamined assumptions around canon and literary value going on there.

(no subject)

Mar. 25th, 2017 11:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] staranise!

(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:42 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Tomorrow is my 30th birthday and I’m going to go to a friend’s wedding shower and pick up a balloon bouquet I got for myself and flowers that my girlfriend sent me and have dinner with my family incl. all my in-town nephews and I’m going to tie a balloon to the youngest one and watch him run around trying to charm the cats. (I forget if I mentioned, this week my sister in law sent us a video where she asks him, “Where do you want to go?” and he says “GAW-LA-GER. GRAMMA. KITTY!”)

When i was a little kid I used to dream of being in my 30s. I always wanted to grow up. Being an adult was when you got to choose where you lived, what you ate, who you spent time with, what you got to do. Even when I was eight, I dreamed so hard of being settled in my career with a spouse and family, able to right some of the wrongs I saw in the world and make art that mattered.

Getting here has been so hard--and between mental illness and the economy, I’m not nearly as settled, married, or fecund as I’d like to be--but you know the fuck what, I’m happy to be here anyway.

Doesn't sound very close to me

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:16 pm
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (Boggled hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

While I have quite oft remarked that, if you want to exercise regularly, it really helps if where you do it is easy to get to, and something that may not be the absolutely ideal thing but close at hand is more likely to actually get done on a relatively regularly basis than something that might be optimum but a faff to get to. (This probably applies to other things as well.)

But while this article more or less substantiates The Wisdom of the Hedjog in principle, I was a bit beswozzled by the travel distance cited - 3.7 miles - which does not strike me as what I would consider a walkable distance, at least if one's combining it (there and back) with a workout.

It's a different world. And I would like to know, are we talking public transport? or driving? to get there.

Reiterates anecdote of walking from where I was staying in Austin TX to Zilker Park, through entirely deserted streets, and found when I got there hordes of people who had driven there to walk, jog, etc.

Drabble: A mere manner of speaking

Mar. 24th, 2017 10:02 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan
Eliza Ferraby looks where she has just written: ‘Sure I have nigh fallen in love with Lady Jane’. 'Tis a mere manner of speaking about a lady one finds entire after one’s own heart, with her fine herb-garden and well-equipped stillroom, her remarkable skill in dairy matters. Simply means one is greatly prepossessed by her. And yet, when Lady Jane talks of the late Miss Billston, there seems, Eliza frowns, she knows not what, but more than the affection due a cousin. But now she writes to Clorinda, and recalls those laughing blue eyes; and feels a curious inward flutter.

(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:22 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I just feel really discouraged with Tumblr this week.

Yes!!! I am aware that my viral post du jour does not adequately address the racial, class, and economic factors that make the concept inaccessible to other people!!! It also does not cite the geneaology of the concepts I used. I wrote it in half an hour before I collapsed with pain and fatigue. I don't actually find the concept accessible either; it's a vague sketch of "ideas I wish were not fundamentally poisoned for me." My apologies for failing to attain perfection in an endeavour that neither contributes to my livelihood nor furthers my career.

(no subject)

Mar. 23rd, 2017 11:44 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Just finished reading: Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

I read the first book in the series, Fair Game, not long after it came out in 2010. It's stuck in my head ever since then. The series is M/M romance and mystery thriller, and part of what amazed me is that the romance was written as intricately as the crime; I was amazed at how the entire tone of the novel shifted without anything being detectably different, and traced the shift back down to a single word in a sex scene that cause a cascading shift of perceptions of peoples' motives and reactions. It was impressive.

So this month Audible coughed up a recommendation for another Lanyon book and I checked it out, and behold! It was the further adventures of the two protagonists from Fair Game. Since romance novels almost always end just as the relationship gets truly underway, I was all up in that shit. After I finished Book 2, I immediately bought and began Book 3. I then took a break from Book 3 to make a cup of tea and play with my cat, and wanted to sit down and write this out while it was still fresh in my mind.

Fair Play is fascinating because it's all about CONFLICT in the relationship and it's glorious. (That is, there are a couple mystery plots, but while I'll read them I won't pretend they're important to me.) Elliot, the protagonist, left the FBI when he was injured in the line of duty; he now teaches university history. Tucker, his boyfriend, is still an active FBI agent. Elliot's an extremely logical guy doesn't understand his own emotions super well, who's used to the people in his life giving him a lot of autonomy and independence; Tucker's a former foster kid who's put a lot of work into understanding himself and is leaping aboard the emotional closeness train with alacrity, but he's very used to being either totally self-sufficient or taking care of other people--not to having a partner, much less someone who wants to take care of him. They love each other, but they start off not knowing very much about how to share their decision-making processes, how to argue productively, or how to show love and concern for each other without surrendering their autonomy or self-respect.

And you know what? They god-damn well figure it out. They love each other so much that rather than break up, they keep finding ways to introspect, express their feelings, advocate for their viewpoints, understand each other, and work it through. It's especially interesting to watch from Elliot's perspective. He's so very unlike me in a way that reminded me of my own special perspective and skills--when he's sitting there thinking, "Why am I angry? It doesn't make sense when you look at the logical situation" I'm screaming "ATTACHMENT THEORY!" but that's not how he operates. But at the same time, his emotional process was written in what felt like a very accurate and honest fashion--he does try, honestly and intelligently, and when he has an emotional breakthrough he faces it wholeheartedly and works it through with such dedication you can see why he tries not to have them too often.

There are occasional sour notes in the narration, especially around women or fat people, that make me a little uncomfortable because I can't quite tell whether it's Lanyon's opinion or just that Elliot is very like Dan Savage in that as a stoic fit white cis gay man from the Pacific Northwest, Elliot has internalized a set of prejudices he's never felt the need to question--he takes for granted that, for example, aging women who express alarm in response to others' misfortune and attempt to emotionally mother others are an alien, offputting, and unattractive species, from whom he would rather distance himself, and never thought more about the topic.

Still. I've finished my cup of tea, so I'm gonna go back to Book 3.

A day that started far too early

Mar. 23rd, 2017 06:57 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Meedja people wanted to film an interview with me in Former Place Of Work: this was supposed to happen next Monday, and ended up being today, this morning, before the facilities open to the public. (Greatly tempted to send The Famous Shirt on its own to do the job.) They did lay on a car to take me there. There was not a great deal of faffing about before we got to the, you know, actual interviewing.

This went fairly well, though I always suspect meedja luvvies to rave insincerely: this may be unfair.

I was fairly knackered after this, but yesterday I had an email from someone who wanted to discuss matters of mutual research interest, and was going to be visiting the Library today, so I said, could do coffee, or lunch, and we had a fairly intense and wide-ranging discussion of research over an extended lunch.

And when I got back to my desk, there was an enquiry from Another Meedja Person about a thing they're researching which is one that has (according to me) already been Done to Death, and they were very vague about what sort of angle they might be taking. But I thought I should at least get in a reply politely indicating that It's Been Done.

And then I came home, fully intending to rest for a bit and then go out again to the gym, but could not bring myself to leave the house again.

But at least I think I have done a fair amount of communicating Mi Learninz to people at various different levels today.

(no subject)

Mar. 23rd, 2017 10:57 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] robot_mel!

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