kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
[personal profile] kaberett
I have been meaning to write this up for a while and have just had cause to do so elsenet; ergo, have a copy of Alex's Algorithm For Choosing A New GP. It has served me pretty well thus far.

Comments and additions welcome, as ever. :-)

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Reading: Every Heart A Doorway

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:40 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Seanan McGuire's Hugo-nominated novella Every Heart a Doorway is a school story with a twist: it's set in a boarding school specifically catering to young people who have visited the kind of other worlds familiar to readers of portal fantasy novels and who are struggling to adapt to real life on their return (most of the students at the school in this book long to return to their fantasy worlds, though we are told that there is a sister institution catering for those who need help to forget their more traumatic travels). Disbelieving parents send their children to the school hoping that they will receive therapy and recover from their breakdowns, but instead the school supports its students in understanding and integrating their experiences while still allowing them to hope that they will find their doors again one day.

The story mainly follows Nancy, who has returned from a sojourn in the Halls of the Dead with a preternaturally developed ability to stand still and a penchant for dressing in gauzy black and white clothing, to the distress of her parents who want their old daughter back. Shortly after Nancy's arrival at the school the first in a series of gruesome murders occurs; suspicion falls on Nancy, as a new girl and one whose world was a underworld, and she and a small group of other students have to work together to discover who the real murderer is. The murder mystery plot is really only a Macguffin, though (and I thought it was quite obvious from very early on who the murderer was); the book is really an exploration of identity and belonging, as the students try to deal with having found and lost worlds where they felt that they belonged much more than they ever had at home (each student went to a different world, uniquely suited to that individual). It's easy to see Nancy's parents' rejection of the changes in their daughter as parallelling more conventional rejections by parents' of their children's developing tastes and views. Identity politics writ larger also feature; Nancy explicitly identifies as asexual, while one of the friends she makes is a trans boy who was expelled from the fairyland he travelled to when he was discovered to be a prince and not the princess they thought he was.

Some of the reviews I'd read online had made me worry that this was going to be preachy, or at least a bit cringily identity-politics-by-numbers, but in fact I didn't find it that way at all; it was interesting, sensitive and thoughtful. I wasn't completely convinced by the way the murder plot was resolved, which seemed to owe rather more to the conventions of the students' fantasy worlds than to the real world in which the story takes place, but generally I really enjoyed the book and can absolutely see why it has won and been nominated for so many awards.

Reading: The Saltmarsh Murders

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:41 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I picked up Gladys Mitchell's The Saltmarsh Murders in the Oxfam bookshop, because I'm always interested to try new-to-me 1930s detective stories, and grabbed it off the top of my to-read pile last week when I was looking for an easy read to follow To Lie With Lions.

The Saltmarsh Murders is the fourth of 66 detective novels featuring Mrs Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, psychiatrist and amateur sleuth. In this novel, she turns her attention to the death of a young woman who has recently given birth to an illegitimate baby (and the disappearance of the baby) in the South Coast village of Saltmarsh, where she was paying a visit when the murder was discovered. She is aided in this by Noel Wells, the slightly dim curate of the village. Noel also narrates the novel in a first-person style which clearly owes a lot to Wodehouse, who he mentions being a fan of.

I wasn't sure the Bertie Wooster-esque narrative was a natural choice for a detective novel, and Noel is a very sloppy narrator, with events coming out of sequence in a way that made it quite hard to follow the plot at times. The book also features a black character and contains the kind of period-typical attitudes to and language about race that are pretty hard for a modern reader to stomach, as well as some period-typical attitudes to class and a couple of incidences of painfully rendered yokel accents. Most of the characters felt very two-dimensional, with the only one who really took on any life at all being the village madwoman, Mrs Gatty, and I didn't actually find the mystery plot particularly compelling. I don't think I'll be seeking out any more of Mitchell's books (although I think I might have at least one more that I bought as a Kindle bargain years ago...).

an amusing confluence

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:03 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. Mr Men In London (press release); official merch; Londonist.

2. The Tube is dropping "ladies and gentlemen" as a passenger greeting.

Ergo: 3. Who do I gotta hassle to make e.g. "Mx Cool" and "Little Mx Stubborn" etc happen?


Jul. 18th, 2017 03:00 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

This is the Xen remaining in my mind.
These are the memories we mourn today:
they know no bounds, and cannot be confined.
These are the fingerprints you left behind;
These are the shadows that you cast away.

This is the Xen remaining in my mind
who fights to heal, to hope, and to unbind,
who helps the homeless build a place to stay,
who knows no bounds, and cannot be confined,
whose voice supports the hated and maligned,
who builds a happy home where children play:
this is the Xen remaining in my mind.

You taught me that the hope of humankind
is in community that, come what may,
will know no bounds and cannot be confined:
the colours of your rainbow are combined,
reflected here, for ever and a day;
this is the Xen remaining in my mind
who knows no bounds and cannot be confined.

[in memoriam Xen Hasan, obiit 2017]


You. You are the problem.

Jul. 16th, 2017 05:58 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

I just got thrown out of a restaurant for shouting at another diner.

She’d been insulting her child loudly for about ten minutes. The kid didn’t do anything in response: she just kept eating.

“You can’t eat properly.”

“You’re gross.”

I don’t know what she thought the kid was doing– maybe not using a fork properly?

Twice the woman did that thing people do to mock disabled folk. “Dur-nur-nur-nur,” you know?

And this was all loud enough that nobody could ignore it. All the other diners were turning round to glare at her. I was wondering how to intervene. There was too much anger in my mind.

Then her partner said something quietly about how she was spoiling everyone’s lunch. She snapped back, “It’s your fault for not restraining the kid.”

At this point I lost it.

I jumped up, pointed at her, and shouted, “YOU. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.”

And I told her that children should be encouraged and praised. That she was setting the kid up for a lifetime of feeling worthless. And: how dare she treat a child that way? I don’t remember what else I said. I was full berserker angry by this point.

“Excuse me,” said the staff. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Of course. I’m sorry,” I said to the staff. “I’m sorry,” I said to the other diners, and then: “But I’m not fucking sorry to you.”

I don’t think the woman will change.

I expect she’ll punish the child when they get home.

But the child will never forget this day.
The child will know that someone opposes her mother.
That someone can fight her corner.

That was a thousand times worth getting thrown out of the restaurant.

[Picture by Sailko, cc-by-sa; detail from Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence]

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:41 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I am assuming, from the amount of anxiety I'm currently feeling about who the new Doctor will be, that I am generally not as OK as I would like to think I am.

Wibbleage )


Jul. 16th, 2017 10:13 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
So far today I have spontaneously woken up before 9am, un/loaded the dishwasher, and made myself pancakes (using batter from the freezer; thank you, past Alex). I do not feel a pressing need to immediately go back to sleep.

Yesterday, I swapped over which brand of fexofenadine I was taking (Chanelle Medical to Dr Reddy's, self), had an afternoon nap, and woke up feeling actually refreshed.

I don't care if this is entirely placebo effect, I'll take it.

(I'm pretty sure it's not, though -- I think my post-nasal drip is also reducing again. So.)

CW Islamophobia

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:20 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
[CW Islamophobia]

I just stopped for a chat with a couple of guys handing out Islamic literature in Market Street. An agitated man ran up to us. "That man grabbed the Qur'an you gave me and threw it in the bin!" "Who was that?" said one of the others. "That Christian preacher over there! And you know what he told me? He said the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim." I said something unprintable. The other man merely said, "Oh, it's him again," went over to the bin, and fished the book out again. Then they both went over and had a conversation with the preacher, which appeared from a distance to be civil at least on one side.

It was time for us to go, so we carried on up Market Street. The preacher was clearly homing in on us. We kept on veering left. He kept adjusting his course. Eventually we reached the wall. "It's all about Jesus," he said. "Indeed it is," I said. "You have to accept Jesus into your heart," he said. I glanced down at the tract he was holding out. In capitals in the Parchment font it read, "THREE STAGES OF JIHAD." "I have, thank you. I'm a Christian..." I kept pushing Kit's chair on past him. "Oh." "...and I have to say I think you're behaving abominably. You took someone's book out of their hands and threw it in the bin. You realise that constitutes theft? ..." But he'd gone.

If anyone was walking down Market Street wondering which faith to convert to, I think Islam would have been the unquestionable winner.

I am not happy with this shit happening in the name of Jesus. I am not happy with it happening in the name of the Church. I don't know what I can do to help. Ideas welcome.

Reading: To Lie With Lions

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:09 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The sixth of Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò books brings to a conclusion the phase of Nicholas's life sparked by the devastating events of the ending of Scales of Gold. In many ways it felt as though this and The Unicorn Hunt were two halves of one very long book rather than two separate instalments of the series, which I think probably partly explains why I felt that The Unicorn Hunt's plot seemed to meander rather if it was mainly setup for the next book. I feel similarly about The Disorderly Knights and Pawn in Frankincense in the Lymond series, and although the ending of To Lie With Lions isn't quite as cataclysmic as the end of Pawn in Frankincense, or indeed Scales of Gold, it leaves Nicholas in a similar place to Lymond at the end of that book; isolated, friendless and being taken to an unknown destination.

The centrepiece of this book is Nicholas's voyage to Iceland, culminating in a haunting, nightmarish winter journey across country in the face of an imminent volcanic eruption, and a subsequent description of the eruption itself, which are definitely up with the Sahara journey in Scales of Gold and the winter journey in Russia in The Ringed Castle among the most amazing of Dunnett's descriptive passages. The novel then gathers pace and ramps up the tension towards the dénouement, which does the typical Dunnett thing of shining a new light on so many things and radically changing the reader's understanding of both Nicholas's and other characters' natures and motivations, and even if I had guessed the identity of "Egidius", the third Vatachino partner (mostly because Pat McIntosh's Gilbert Cunningham mysteries include a character with the same first name and nickname as the "Egidius" in Dunnett's books, almost certainly as a tribute to Dunnett) there were still plenty of surprises among the revelations.

Only two more to go, although then I'm sure that both the Lymond and Niccolò books would benefit from a re-read; there's so much in them that only makes sense once you have got to the end. Also, I have just bought a secondhand copy of King Hereafter, as it isn't available for Kindle. Though right now I think I need to read something a lot less emotionally demanding for a while.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
This week I finally got around to seeing what happened if I tried making Kardemummebullar, seeing as I tend to want to eat them more often than I'm in Sweden. Recipe taken from BBC Good Food, and archived against that august institution's eventual demise.

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The state of the tooth

Jul. 10th, 2017 04:37 pm
aunty_marion: (Ai Cthulhu!)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
It's a goner. Well, that was what I expected. Sat in the dentist's waiting room for over an hour, with my word games book and my knitting. Called in, sat down, she took a look and said there was nothing there to have anything done to. Also, the one behind it, which has been root-canalled, has a cavity appearing, which will need to be fixed. She's arranging me a referral to somewhere that does extractions under sedation (which they don't, and which I need), which will be some time in the next 6-8 weeks. Also, I have an appointment in August to have the cavity re-filled, which I hope will not lead to *that* tooth also collapsing.

I spoke to her about ... *whisper it* dentures. Apparently I'll need to give the extraction between 3-6 MONTHS to heal, and then (assuming no other teeth have collapsed in the meantime) I'll be due for a checkup anyway, and we can discuss the possibility of filling a gap or two. It would be nice to have molars again.

So I went into Iceland on the way home, and bought more eggs (easy to eat), a pack each of sandwich thins and sourdough crumpets (soft bready stuff, sigh), and some half-price triple-choc-chip cookies. And then because I only had a cup-a-soup for 'lunch', I've had 2.5 frankfurters and a fried egg for Fud, and am following that with a cookie.

I tell you, teeth are one of the worst-designed parts of the human body. Why can't we just grow extra teeth like sharks do?
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
[Content notes: living with trauma, basically]

A thread that keeps coming up in speculative fiction I'm reading at the moment (which is probably more indicative of what I'm seeking out than any publishing trends?) is the necessity for artificial intelligences to have emotions, in order to facilitate making arbitrary choices (the Imperial Radch; the Wayfarers; ...). Logic alone isn't adequate for a complex responsive intelligence: they'd stall out agonising over minutiae.

I've also been having a fair few (they say, wryly) conversations around emotional reactions and responses to contexts and events. I've known for a long time that going "okay, but that's not what's going on, here's a coherent model for my actions and behaviour and motivations that demonstrates that the thing you're scared of isn't actually happening" doesn't actually seem to have as much effect on most people's decision-making and behaviour as I'd (naively) expect. And then yesterday my interlocutor said: doesn't impact how I feel about the thing ;-) just what I logically conclude

... and -- oh. oh. Between the BPD or c-PTSD or whatever and the depression, I've in fact had to spend a lot of time working on... precisely that, right? I have to spend a lot of time and energy directing myself away from reacting based on compelling emotional "truths" and toward responding based on logical frameworks. I don't have to act as though people I'm close to want me to vanish absolutely from their lives unless they directly tell me that in fact they have changed their mind and they do*. For me, having a logical framework that contradicts my emotional understanding of the world doesn't stop me having feelings. It just -- informs what I do with them? I can free up a lot of processing power because I stop "having to" worry about how accurate they are, how much I should be taking them into account, whether I should be acting based on them. The solution to the feelings then becomes self-validation ("wow yep feeling like this is pretty rubbish, have some hot chocolate and do some stretches"), rather than their being an additional constraint I have to try to solve for, that's usually mutually exclusive with what other people are actually telling me they want.

"This information changes what I logically conclude about the situation" seems to be pretty powerful for me in a way that, as far as I can tell, it perhaps isn't for many folk? And I'm just... amused by having fitted together a model for why "no, that's not what's happening" doesn't do what I expect, that is superficially such a contradiction to the fiction.

I think it isn't, of course: this is how emotion interacts with making big decisions, not trivial ones. I'm simultaneously (still) exploring the potential of having unjustified or arbitrary preferences, particularly in the context of modern art. Just: goodness, but the inherently contradictory nature of existing. Think, two things on their own and both at once.

* Yes, we're aware that puts them in potentially awkward positions, but we've negotiated this very carefully in specific instances where I get the strongest compulsions to Just Vanish.

Trillium Park

Jul. 9th, 2017 10:48 am
chickenfeet: (canada)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
I like the new park that's been opened up on the Waterfront by Ontario Place. It manages to have a real lake country feel to it while obviously being in the city. It's just across from Island Airport after all. Also odd bits of derelict old Ontario Place are still weirdly visible.






Herewith, a list of sorts.

Jul. 9th, 2017 12:49 pm
aunty_marion: (Haddocks. Lithuanian. Or maybe Bulgarian)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
Item: A ST:TNG pin badge. No sound effects (or transporter function), alas. (Keep?)

Item: Two ST:TOS (?) trading cards - Sciences Insignia, and Vulcan Idic. (Keep?)

Item: A plastic pouch for, I assume, some sort of pills - blue, says Tenormin Atenolol Tablets 100mg Calendar Pack on it, two pockets inside. Never taken that, so I can only assume I acquired it when I was on The Pill, and used it as a carry case... (Bin.)

Item: (or rather, Items) Passbooks for my various Halifax accounts, starting with the earliest one, opened in 1974 where the entries are handwritten! I think there should have been one prior to that, as I had the account before then; it was opened by cashing in my National Savings Certificates, bought for me by (I think?) Granddad Beet when I was a baby. Most of what went in on the first page, at least, is interest - I was getting an insane amount by today's standards! e.g. Balance (as at 31 January 1975) £356.02, interest on July 31 1975 £13.04! I wonder why I had to withdraw £150 in July 1979? I assume that's the one that's become my Halifax current account; balance entirely transferred 'out' in July 1991. Three passbooks for that one, then another three starting in 1992 with the opening of an account into which the first deposit was my redundancy cheque from CA - started as a 90-day Extra account, then became a 'Solid Gold' (when Halifax and the Leeds combined, I think?). That seems to have been closed down (or transferred to another current account?) in April 2002; it looks as though I transferred quite a bit of money out of it into, I believe, the ISA I had around then. And one book for a 7-Day Extra account, from 1984 to 1989. No idea what happened with that one; again, it may have been transferred to another account or combined with one. I suppose I could dig out a bank statement or two and see if any of the numbers on any of these passbooks correspond... (Also a letter about opening a current account, but I can't tell which one easily.) ETA: And in looking for other passports, I found the ISA passbook too. I closed that down, I know.

Item: Old Blood Transfusion Service booklet, with certificates from 1973 to 1997. Might keep that.

Item: Letter from Blood Donor Service to confirm that if I had my ears pierced by my GP, I could carry on donating. Had them done (according to note by GP at the bottom!) in January 1997.

Item: MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE! Well, I should definitely hang on to that. And put it somewhere safe, preferably somewhere where I remember where it is... Short form? "I, {Morris Thomas Clark} (? handwritten in copperplate!!! Could be Church or Glunk, or something...) Registrar of Births and Deaths for the Sub-district of [stamped] LINCOLN do hereby certify that the above particulars have been compiled from an entry in a Register in my custody. Witness my hand this {27} day of {January} 19{54}." Also, apparently, "Sex" = {Girl}.

Item: Letter from Mum, postmarked 27 Sep 1982, written to me after Pat and I took rather impromptu leaves from work to go and look after Grandma Beet, after she was discharged from hospital following a fall or stroke (I forget...) and Aunty W refused to have anything to do with her, and Mum and Dad were on holiday abroad. Sentimental value.

Item: Documentation regarding entries into and closure of (I think?) my PO savings bank account (which at the time probably was National Savings? Certainly all the paperwork says National Savings on it. 1973 to 1994.

Item: Somewhat melodramatic letter from sister about husband's work situation, 1988. I think that can be shredded.

Item: (Oh, this is a good one...) Old passports. My first full one, issued in 1972 (British Passport, navy, occupation: Student); second full one, 1982-92 (British Passport, black, occupation: Typist); third full one, 1997-2007 (European Community, red, machine-readable). Did I not have a passport for five years, then (92-97)? Elsewhere I have the last full one, November 2005 to August 2016 (I overlapped to temporarily avoid biometrics, I think), and the current one. I might post photos of the pictures somewhere at some point... I don't seem to have the first temporary one I had while I was at school, though.

Also found in check for other passports:

Item: Premium Bonds. I know where those are, and I have a note of my holder's number so I can check them occasionally. (Just checked now, and no win. As usual.)

Item: Various Inland Revenue documents.

Item: 'Medicard' booklet, supposed to be kept to show hospital treatments, inoculations, medications, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Now hideously out of date, but it has got dates of my childhood vaccinations, so I might keep it.

Item: Various optical prescriptions going back ... years. To the 1980s, anyway. I should put those in an envelope. (I think the most current is in my handbag.)

Other odds and sods I don't think it's worth keeping - physiotherapy appointments at a hospital that no longer exists? NatWest folder for chequebooks without stubs?

Adventures in trouser-patching

Jul. 9th, 2017 11:37 am
aunty_marion: Thee is not required to attain perfection (IDIC-Kraith)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
My nice cotton summer trousers are mostly beginning to fall apart. (They're all coming apart at the top of the inside leg seams!) And I can't get any more, they don't seem to be being made; the last 2 pairs I got from the little clothes shop on Junction Road, where I got all the cotton ones, are more viscose than cotton. Adequate, but not as nice. Though they do have POCKETS.

Anyway. So I had a brainwave, and thought about patching them. The first pair I did was the dark brown ones; couldn't find a perfect match, but I did find some reasonably dark brown, rather poplin-y, fabric, which seems to have worked OK. So then I tackled one of the pairs of mid-blue trousers, and for that I found what seems to have been a strip cut off the bottom of a skirt or dress, back when I was making clothes, to shorten said garment to the right length. Again, a poly-cotton, slightly crisper than the trousers, but fine.

Now, this weekend I've been wearing one of my pairs of beige trousers. I think this is the pair I accidentally spilled wood dye (or something?) on, which mostly washed out, but I deemed them unfit to wear to work; of course, now I'm not working, they're just as good as the other pair... But they are beginning to disintegrate in the usual places.

I thought about sheeting - I do have some old sheets around, that were worn too thin in the middles but would do for patching/mending/costumes, one of which at least has already been cut up; and I think one that's a single sheet that's *just* too small to tuck nicely round my mattress topper (I have a four-foot bed, so a single sheet often fits OK round the mattress topper pad!). I dug those out, but none were the right colour. Bother, thought I.

...And then I had a brainwave. I pulled out the entire top drawer of my bedside cupboard, which houses HANKIES. (And a few other things, of which more later.) I have hankies of all colours and designs (and shapes, occasionally...), and at the back I discovered two old men's hankies (bought for when I had more frequent streaming colds). One is off-white (it may have *been* white originally, but certainly isn't now), the other has a brown stripey border and a beige centre, and is a very good match, colour-wise! It's perhaps not quite as firm fabric as the trousers, but it will certainly do to keep them going this summer, and maybe next. So that's something I can do this afternoon before they go in the wash.

Also, while drawer-excavating, I found: several old savings-account books (expired, I assume!), my old blood donor card, various sets of bookmarks of different styles (I like the clip-in ones), the ancient digital watch that I used to wear while mine was being cleaned/repaired, and my old electronic su-doku game - that, I've changed the batteries in, checked it worked, and put it (with the instruction booklet, which was also there!) on the pile for the charity shop. (I seem to recall it was a present, many years ago, but I don't really use it, so it might as well go to someone who can.)

And having been interrupted in the middle of typing the previous paragraph, by a phone call from ex-boss Suky about next week's Mum-sitting, I'd better go and look at that old paperwork stuff and maybe shred/throw out some of it. And then ... patch the trousers!


gwenynen: A flying bee (Default)

June 2011

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