cheesecake for a sonnet

Apr. 23rd, 2019 01:02 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
On my way home from the library today, I stopped for soup dumplings and to see if I could win a free mini-cheesecake:

To celebrate Shakespeare Day, 7Ate9 bakery is giving away mini-cheesecakes if you can recite "your favorite sonnet"; the sign outside the bakery on Saturday warned "a soliloquy is not a sonnet." They also have cheesecakes decorated with a drawing of Shakespeare; for Pi Day last month, the decoration was π to as many decimal digits as would fit on a four-inch cheesecake.

I went to the bakery on Saturday to buy a chocolate cheesecake, saw the sign about a free cheesecake, and decided to try reciting a sonnet from memory. I got about four lines into the one that begins "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun," with a bit of friendly prompting, before giving up. The chef encouraged me to come back and try again later; when I walked into the store today, she asked if I was there to try again. I said yes, but a different sonnet, which once again I knew by first line rather than number. I recited Sonnet 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," and the chef invited me to choose a mini-cheesecake.

The offer is good through today, in case anyone reading this is going to be in that part of Somerville (Highland Avenue, near the Armory) this afternoon.

Harlequin book

Apr. 22nd, 2019 09:20 pm
[personal profile] cinderella91 posting in [community profile] findthatbook
Hello everyone, so I am trying to find this Harlequin romance novel but I can't for the life of me remember the name or author! It was about a couple who dated as teenagers they saw this ship I think that's only supposed to be seen by lovers. The girl gets pregnant her parents confront the boys parents but the parents are rich snobs and don't want them dating she miscarries and the boy's parents lie that she got an abortion. Years later as adults she come back to town(she moved away after the incident) to purchase some historic manor to cheer up her mom who is grieving her dad. She meets the hero again who is an historian or something and he still thinks she got an abortion but they end up falling for each other again and the snobby parents try again to break them up and get him to marry some high society girl. They find out about parents lie. She gets pregnant again they live happily ever after. Does anyone know the name of this book please? I've tried keyword searching in every search engine I can think of and nothing.
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
When I feel like "why in the world am I trying to put on an arts festival" I need to reread this piece.

Apollo 11

Apr. 21st, 2019 07:52 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
I saw the movie Apollo 11 this afternoon, at the Somerville Theatre, and enjoyed it. This film is very much what it says on the tin, a documentary of the Apollo 11 flight put together entirely from archival footage, and works well.

I recommend seeing this on a large screen (in a movie theatre, or maybe on a large flat-screen television, rather than something like an iPad).

I had meant to go sooner, but I've been dealing with a lingering cough; there were a few days when I wasn't exactly sick, but was still coughing enough that it seemed unkind to go to the movies. By this afternoon, I sat for more than an hour and a half without coughing at all, aided only by a single medicated cough drop.

violent tween zone

Apr. 21st, 2019 11:35 am
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[personal profile] graydon2

If children survived to age seven, their recognized life began, more or less as miniature adults. Childhood was already over. The childishness noticeable in medieval behaviour, with its marked inability to restrain any kind of impulse, may have been simply due to the fact that so large a proportion of active society was actually very young in years. About half the population, it has been estimated, was under twenty-one, and about one third under fourteen.

Barbara Tuchman - A Distant Mirror, The Calamitous 14th Century

Books read in March 2019

Apr. 20th, 2019 11:37 am
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou

As discussed last month, I’m redirecting the energy I previously used for providing content warnings into writing a little bit about what I thought about the books.

(This isn’t why this post is late. There was minor Medical Drama involving unexpectedly low iron levels and some rather unpleasant tests to try to find out why — short version is my internal organs are fine, we still don’t know where all my iron went, but iron tablets are magic, and that’s good enough for me.)

Definitely recommend

Swordheart, T Kingfisher. I somehow wasn't expecting this to be a romance. But it is! As well as fantasy. I’d read it again.

The True Queen, Zen Cho. I loved the first book in this series (The Sorcerer to the Crown) and I love this one even more. Dragons! Powerful older women! Wit and banter that are actually funny! And other reasons to love it that would be SPOILERS.

The Martian, Andy Weir (re-read). I keep confusing [personal profile] bob by referring to this as “the potato book”, but honestly the POTATOES are the thing I love about it. There’s at least one potato reference that made me laugh out loud simply because of its precision and dryness (which may or may not have been intended by the author). Some of the book is a bit clumsy (the stereotypical German, the insistence that humanity never leaves anyone behind when it’s set in the near-future with no indication that the problems of poverty, famine, institutional racism, etc have been fixed) but overall I like it and may well read it again.

Maybe recommend

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie (re-read). Hercule Poirot mystery with an unreliable narrator. I'd read this before many years ago so knew the twist, but enjoyed trying to figure out where the gaps in the story were and how it was all managed. The thing with Agatha Christie is that you can be reading along quite smoothly and then suddenly there's half a sentence of casual and entirely unnecessary racism, anti-semitism, ablism, etc, and then it goes back to being an interesting detective story. (Some of her books are worse than this, with the racism or rape-apologism embedded in the plot — I will never read Nemesis again.)

Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, T Kingfisher (re-read). I decided to read these again after enjoying Swordheart, as they’re all set in the same universe and although I didn’t enjoy these two all that much the first time round, many other people seem to have loved them so I thought I’d give them another go. Still not my favourite: too much sexual longing, plot very slow. There are individual lines that are hilarious, though.

The King Must Die, Mary Renault (re-read). I read this when I was a kid and was absolutely astonished by it. It's still very readable, but although I'm aware of how pioneering it was in terms of retelling the Greek classics, I much prefer the more recent and less male-oriented works like Circe.

Wouldn’t recommend

The Valley At The Centre Of The World, Mallachy Tallack (DNF). This was just kind of boring. Also, there were too many short, choppy sentences that kept pushing me out of the story. I tried to work out if there was some pattern to these, some reason for them, but either there wasn't or it was too subtle for me. I got 27% of the way through and kept finding myself wishing I was reading something else, so I stopped.

The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman (DNF). This was kind of the opposite of The Valley in that it's all action and very little scenery. I again got fed up of it around the 27% mark and stopped reading.

Hot Money, Dick Francis (DNF). Not enough horses, too many unpleasant rich people. I stopped reading at the point where one of the main characters stated that a disabled person would have been better off dead.

Infomocracy, Malka Older (DNF). It's the future! Everyone has Wikipedia installed on their Google Glasses, police push their way through crowds by poking people with plastic triangles, and global elections are conducted with wards of exactly 100,000 people each. I decided not to buy this after reading the Kindle sample, so I don't know if the author ever explains what happens when someone dies or reaches voting age.

City Of Lies, Sam Hawke (DNF). I tried really hard to finish this! I should have liked it! It describes food and plants and technology, and has disabled protagonists! But I found it very boring and a little sanctimonious, and I kept forgetting which of the two POV protagonists was the current one, since aside from their disabilities and jobs they were fairly indistinguishable.

The Shipping News, Annie Proulx (re-read) (DNF). I read this years ago and remember liking it, so I thought I'd give it a re-read, but unfortunately I've also seen the film so was unable to get Kevin Spacey out of my head.

Flying Finish, Dick Francis. I appreciate that he included reproductive justice activists, but also hormonal contraception doesn't work like that. I liked all the detail about how you transport horses by air. But generally this isn't great. Too much about the perils of communism.

A Is For Alibi, Sue Grafton. This book is really weird about people's bodies, especially fat bodies. Aside from that, it's a fairly generic detective story with added tedious heterosexualling.

(no subject)

Apr. 19th, 2019 09:14 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I was stuck in a car for six hours today, since I'm joining Pat on his monthly trip to see his kids. I spent most of that time writing up a post on history and culture explaining why white people smile awkwardly and say nothing when someone commits a social faux pas. I've gotten some pushback on how I'm only describing the behaviour of a small subset of all white people, whose experiences get generalized to everyone in the same ethnic group, but that's... kind of a feature, IMO, not a bug. The sooner we can demonstrate that racial constructs are artificial bullshit, the better.

I feel so tired though. I worked the two days before this, and did other important stuff like decluttering my stuff in preparation for packing and applying to a job I really want.

The newspaper headlines in southern Alberta are all jubilant. The UCP won the election and the Flames are in playoffs; what more felicity could be demanded from the world, this early in the year?

Steve Reich

Apr. 19th, 2019 01:05 pm
gfish: (Default)
[personal profile] gfish
Over the last year I've been dabbling with orchestral/classical/ugh-I-hate-naming-genres music. For the most part it still doesn't do a whole lot for me, but there have been some successes. I've become quite fond of The Rite of Spring, for instance. And I've ended up absolutely enamored with the minimalist composer Steve Reich. The irony of setting out to explore symphonic music and ending up focusing on the most minimal and restricted version of this is not lost on me, but some things are beyond my control.



Clapping Music was my introduction. The elegance and precision of it blew me away. Like most of his work, it feels like a finely crafted watch without any ornament or complication. Everything absolutely has to be the way it is, a piece of art utterly lacking in the contingent. I'm working on a design for a mechanical device to perform it, with hand-cranked cams that advance every 8th rotation.



I don't even understand how these performances are humanly possible.



Music for 18 Musicians is downright magical in its effects on me. I genuinely enjoy listening to it on its own, but it can also serve and a particularly valuable form of whitenoise -- I can crank it on headphones to drown out boring lunchroom conversation or pre-movie ads, and still be able to read dense texts! I'm very easily distracted by sensory input, so this is a glorious feature. I wouldn't have even thought it was theoretically possible for anything more aesthetically advanced that pure white noise.

Salon post: April 19

Apr. 19th, 2019 08:13 am
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
Welcome to this week's salon post!

Topic of the week
What's your favourite holiday? (Been thinking about this because of a thing I'll put in a comment.)

What I've been up to
A short work week, and a quiet one, and trying to line up ducks for various other projects (including a "Wow, my June is busy.")

Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
House rules )
sasha_feather: Nux running (mad max) (nux running)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Friends I am so sorry about The Magicians. I haven't watched season 4, and probably won't now.

It feels like the 100 all over again and it sucks so much.

I want better for us.

Three things make a post!

Apr. 17th, 2019 08:15 pm
emceeaich: The Queen Mother Has a Plan. Be glad you do not figure in it. (hwa yong)
[personal profile] emceeaich

I've seen "Cheese Tea," the salty dairy topping, at more boba tea places, and even shops that specialize in it like Happylemon, and now I've learned what goes in the 'cheese' (it's milk and cream cheese whipped together). At 85°C Bakery, you can get iced coffee with the topping.

If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years. - User researcher Jan Chipchase

I got a PyPortal from AdaFruit and have been playing around with it. It's a micro-controller with an attached display. It runs a subset of python and defines a function for grabbing a chunk of data and putting it on the display. Great for dashboards, or Oblique Strategies.

the Nightstand Project

Apr. 17th, 2019 09:45 pm
sasha_feather: Person in old-time SCUBA gear on a suburban lawn (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Inspired by a post Jesse the K made about "the Nightstand Project"-- a gallery of photos of the nightstands of people with chronic illness-
(see https://jesse-the-k.dreamwidth.org/293658.html), I am sharing pictures of my nightstand and my "day stand" (the small table that sits by my recliner).

DSCF5866

Nightstand. Top drawer is open showing medications and a wrist brace. The top of the stand has a blue lamp, a bottle of lotion, a glass of water, a folded handkerchief, and some meds. My iPod sits on the edge; I use this for an alarm clock when needed, and for listening to "rain sounds" on youtube to help me fall asleep.

DSCF5868

Day stand. Contains: My phone, a box of tissues, Icy Hot cream, Lidocaine cream, a glass of lemonade, and 3 little microfiber rags that I use to clean my glasses. Also a pencil. Stuff accumluates on this table and I have to clear it off regularly.

hello, the future

Apr. 17th, 2019 06:34 pm
[personal profile] hitchhiker
I try to keep political stuff off my dw, by and large, but this is just simple and beautiful and not at all acrimonious.

bcholmes: (trotsky)
[personal profile] bcholmes

On a pretty regular basis, I find myself thinking about this scene from The Trotsky, in which two of Leon’s colleagues are trying to convince the school’s students to back Leon’s (radical) course of action:

I particularly like the acknowledgement that Tony isn’t sure that he’s sold on the path forward, but is prepared to back it anyway.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

(no subject)

Apr. 17th, 2019 06:53 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I just watched this video on the basic task of costume designers in movies and am smiling kind of wryly. Those are all things I did not get when I was a teenager, making costumes for high school drama.

It's funny, to see the limits of my own perspective. Back then, I saw the goal of art as faithfully portraying an alternate reality. Someone didn't wear a red shirt because the movie needed a way to set them apart visually--they wore it because it's what they would have worn. When it came to costume, I felt it was the audience's job to adjust to the odd silhouettes and fashion quirks of the past, and learn to read them; altering historical fashions to be more easily read by a modern audience was heresy.

I remember how much my mind was blown when I took Psychology of Aesthetics in undergrad, when I learned to interpret abstract art and understand the concept of art purely as the means to evoke a certain reaction in its audience. It was like my entire world turned upside down. A whole lot of art I'd previously derided as being trashy or inaccurate or bad just made sense, suddenly.

I remember this was around the time [personal profile] sartorias was writing about the "silver fork" novel, things looking back on the English Regency as a time of extreme social refinement and politeness when that was not the way the era saw itself. Learning how to read novels as a product of their era, and not just an inaccurate lens onto a different one, felt like my third eye was being opened.

I'm 32 now, and my sense of how to perceive visual art, of what it's for, keeps developing in entirely new ways. I remember when I was in elementary school, I always wanted to draw, but art books made no sense to me. I remember the feeling of my brain bouncing off the diagrams, off the idea of creating an impression of a thing that bore no resemblance to the actual structure of the thing itself.

It's like... now I'd be ready to begin studying costume design. I just wasn't ready for it before. I've spent all these years focusing on the inner mechanisms of garment construction because that's what I understood, but after decades of a rusty machine stubbornly refusing to work, the gears have started to budge.

topical cryptic clue

Apr. 17th, 2019 05:03 pm
[personal profile] hitchhiker
Cathedral to be remade, not demolished (5, 4)

[explanation in comments]

All the Hornblowers

Apr. 17th, 2019 12:02 pm
gfish: (Default)
[personal profile] gfish
My reading group decided to try the Hornblower books in response to my nautical adventures. I read the first (the first written, not the first chronologically) while on the Lady, and while it proved great reading when I was dead tired and couldn't think, I wasn't entirely impressed with the writing style. Upon my return the reading group decided to watch the 1951 Gregory Peck movie, which covered the first three books. I really hate watching a movie version first, so I quickly listened to the next 2. (Most fiction is pretty quick at 2.5x!) By the time I was done with those I was hooked, so I continued listening in chronological order, then went back and listened to the first 5 covering the earlier parts of his career.

So, obviously, I enjoyed them enough to inhale 11 books over just a few weeks. And I'm enjoying the British TV version, though it's diverging more and more from the books in needlessly dramatic ways. I don't think it will be a lasting influence on me. Possibly because Hornblower himself is just a bit too human -- the internal narration gives you an intimate view of his insecurities and uncertainties. That's not a bad thing, but at some point it starts to feel a bit indulgent to once again have it spelled out that Hornblower, while participating quite actively in a horrendously cruel and inhuman system, is actually kind of uncertain about the morality of much of it, so it's totally okay, don't worry.

I totally get the comparisons to Vorkosigan now, though. That was definitely the best parts of the books, when Hornblower has to solve problems in unexpected and lateral ways.

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Tim Chevalier

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