Jul. 15th, 2013 03:37 pm
perlmonger: (Default)
Self-inflicted, of course; I started easy with wall-mounting a half-Billy on Saturday, but on Sunday morning, our friend Samantha rang to tell us that the ex-pub-redevelopment fenceposts she'd mentioned to us were ready to deliver, and when could John bring them round? Over a dozen 4x4 posts, then, wheelbarrowed from John's van to the yard and, so the yard didn't end up littered with unchopped wood once again, cut into woodburner-sized chunks. 

I started with the table saw, which doesn't quite cut deep enough to go through the posts cut from all four sides, so finally broken apart using our woodsplitter. After a few posts, I thought bugger this, and switched to using the power saw, with the posts in the log clamp. Split into five, and (two blades later) all done, without having to squat on the ground, but with added vibration. Those posts aren't exactly tropical hardwood, but they're hard enough. In retrospect, the chainsaw might have been easier. Oh, and I emptied half the logstore, so I could put this stuff at the bottom. And chopped a good few of the overlong real logs while I had the tools out. Thankfully, all done before the weather got really hot later in the afternoon.

Then, in the evening, I went to the Hull Record Label Day gig at the Adelphi. And danced. Danced to Streaming Lights, then to HotMIM, and to Mammal Hum at the end of the evening. Between times, I may even have jiggled about a bit to the single Holy Order who did an emergency stand in for absent Tennents with a borrowed guitar, and to the Glass Delusion. It was a good night.

Today, I can feel it all in my bones and muscles.


Apr. 28th, 2013 08:43 pm
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 There's a word I'm looking for; the best I can describe its meaning is as the cake that underlies the icing of sex. Icing on its own is lovely, but it's transformed by a good grounding (especially if chocolate is involved), and cake without icing is just fine too. That, cake-not-necessarily-with-icing, is what I'm trying to name.

Intimacy is a word, but it's harsh, hard; for all its literal meaning, it feels like it separates, not joins. Roget offers me nothing, and descriptives like "cuddling" or "snuggling" are both too specific and too superficial, and implicitly hijacked as mealy-mouthed euphemisms for shagging. Love is, I think, a necessary prerequisite, but as a word covers a vastly wider area. "Physical love?" We're back to shagging again :)

"Sharing touch" is maybe the best I've come up with, but a mite awkward; a
m I missing something obvious here, or is this a genuine lexical gap?
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I've got this bloody DW; might as well use it, I guess.

Back home after what should have been a fine weekend in Sheffield, a city I've always had a fondness for - like Hull, it's always somehow felt welcoming, like home, to me. Not visited for years; decades in fact, but it's still there :)

Should have been fine? It was, would have been, if some smegma-encrusted prime shit hadn't lifted [personal profile] ramtops's phone in Henry's at lunchtime on Saturday. Still, we had what were very fine slabs of dead cow in 23 Bar on Friday night. On Saturday morning, a pleasant wander in beautiful early spring sun witnessing Sheffield's Morris infestation, and in a somewhat subdued way in the afternoon too, before heading down to the Old House to meet up with Tim (who we hadn't seem for years) and Ali (who we'd never met at all) Biller before the night's Richard Thompson gig at City Hall. The man confirmed, as if it were needed, that he's one of the greatest guitarists this country has ever spawned, along with a splendidly tight rhythm section featuring Michael Jerome Moore, one of the finest drummers I've ever seen. A truly excellent night.

Today, we wandered down to [personal profile] frandowdsofa' gaff to meet the Pillowcase Gang in all their needle-sharp horror, along with [personal profile] dougs and Julia, and Carrie and Jim. A good few hours eating food and talking high class bollocks, before strolling back the station, train, and Hull.

[ edited to restore the whole middle paragraph that DW in their wisdom vaped on posting ]


perlmonger: (Default)
There are radical arguments against marriage equality, chiefly that legitimising some gay relationships allows some (nice, presentable) gay folks their place in a leafy suburban semi, removing what solidarity they might otherwise have offered to their less cis, more stridently, terrifyingly genderqueer, more polyamorous fellow humans. It's an argument I have sympathy with. Reactionary arguments are another matter. These seem to fall into two main (and overlapping categories):

1. It's *wrong*, because God says it's wrong. End of. It's extraordinary how flexible and pragmatic God would have to be if He existed, to decree Laws that match the prejudices of His followers so well. Declaring a New Covenant was a master stroke, allowing pick'n'mix from the Old while, of course, the actual provisions of the New can be quietly ignored as the naïve, leftist claptrap they are. Marriage-is-for-reproduction comes up too, of course, but hardly worthy of serious attention given child-free het marriages on one side, and surrogacy, adoption and (coming soon to a future near here) actual, if technologically aided, conception for Lesbian couples.

2. More worrying is the slippery slope argument: if chaps can marry chaps, what's to prevent them marrying their horses, eh? The obvious and essentially irrefutable argument that horses, like children or chameleons, can't give informed consent doesn't seem to have any impact. The only conclusion I can come to is that people making this argument don't believe in equal partnership and consent in cis/het marriages either: if a man can take a woman as his chattel with no right of appeal from her, I guess there's nothing but a non-existent God between a man and the sheep he would wed. May they be very happy together.
perlmonger: (books)

Fewer than usual last year, possibly as a side effect of having developed something not totally dissimilar to a life.

  1. Watch - Robert J. Sawyer
  2. When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson
  3. City at the End of Time - Greg Bear
  4. The Restoration Game - Ken MacLeod
  5. The Dervish House - Ian McDonald
  6. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
  7. The Four-dimensional Nightmare - J. G. Ballard
  8. The Atrocity Archives - Charles Stross
  9. The Falling Woman - Pat Murphy
  10. The Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross
  11. The Fuller Memorandum - Charles Stross
  12. House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds
  13. The Adventures of Alyx - Joanna Russ
  14. Extra(Ordinary) People - Joanna Russ
  15. The Course of the Heart - M. John Harrison
  16. Dancing at the Edge of the World - Ursula K. Le Guin
  17. The Luck in the Head - M.John Harrison
  18. Transition - Iain Banks
  19. Patternmaster - Octavia E. Butler
  20. A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller
  21. Tales of Neveryon - Samuel R. Delany
  22. Neveryona - Samuel R. Delany
  23. Flight from Neveryon - Samuel R. Delany
  24. Return to Neveryon - Samuel R. Delany
  25. The Reproductive System - John Thomas Sladek
  26. The Difference Engine - William Gibson
  27. Zoo City - Lauren Beukes
  28. Saturn's Children - Charles Stross
  29. Terminal World - Alastair Reynolds
  30. Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa - Pauline Butcher
  31. Luka and the Fire of Life - Salman Rushdie
  32. Embassytown - China Mieville
perlmonger: (Default)
Well, that was a fine night at the Adelphi, if crowned by regret.

Dan Mawer opened with a solo acoustic spot that was entirely unreasonably good for that point in an evening, a damned fine musician and performer I'll be looking out for again, tying his songs and others into a patchwork far greater than the sum of its parts. Second up were The Deep State Collective who I'll attempt not to damn too much with faint praise - they were workmanlike and competent, enjoyable even, but failed to inspire, Sorry guys.

Then there was Where's Hollywood? Extraordinary. Brilliant. MX80 Sound meets Faust at the grass roots of Canterbury might start to hint a vector at three guitars, one drummer, no vocals, no lights. Throbbing cross-rhythm magical noise somehow in perfect balance with quiet, pastoral melody lines, all played with a tight, electrifying energy. This was their first gig outside York; it was also their penultimate gig before an indefinite hiatus. Bastards. Final performance will be at Stereo in York on 17th October: I don't know if I'll be able to drag myself out there on a Monday night, but it's going to be bloody tempting. Bit of a trek for [ profile] hirez and the Brissle nasty racket contingent who might otherwise be interested, but [ profile] burkesworks might want to drag himself along.

Headliners were Hull band BIRI, who whilst more mainstream in approach than the previous, made a very fine, loose-limbed, lolloping noise indeed. Dead tight while treating anything that could resemble C&W 4/4 with the contempt it so richly deserves, and stretching the envelope of harmony right to the teetering edge of tune, but not, quite, beyond. Fine stuff, and I'll certainly be going to hear them again soon. Also big respect due for introducing Hull and me to Where's Hollywood? even if very nearly too late. Yes.
perlmonger: (books)
I don't often bounce off books, but over my life there have been a few that have defeated me, or that I have just discarded with contempt or incomprehension.

Over the last few years, I've made a conscious effort to retry and, thus far, have been rewarded by loving the damned things second time round. Whether this is down to greater maturity or age-related reduced higher brain function I leave as an exercise for the reader.

This post is prompted by having just … read, not re-read! … The Difference Engine. When it was first published, I think I got about a half dozen pages into it and no further; couldn't see the point, or engage with it at all. This time, I've romped through it with pleasure: a fine read with some surprising resonances to contemporary society and politics, only let down a little for me by the final lines of the coda.

Other books?

I couldn't finish Shame when I first tried; just got bogged down and ground to a halt. Now, it's (perhaps) my favourite of all of Rushdie's books that I've read, right up there with Midnight's Children.

Doris Piserchia's Star Rider, that I tried whilst working through the first few chunks of Women's Press SF releases back in the early 80s? Unreadable. I was astonished that something written that badly could ever have been published at all, let alone re-published as an exemplar of women's SF. It's been sitting on my shelves ever since, until 2007 when I finally gathered the courage to try it again before disposal: either somebody slipped in and did a substitution without me seeing, or my perceptions have changed fundamentally; I loved it. In fact, it's about time I read it again.

The Glass Bead Game is probably next to retry, another early failure that I reckon I could at least evaluate now.

There are exceptions of course, books I feel no need to pollute my mind with. I tried Dianetics once in my youth, picking it off the library shelf in the mistaken impression it was science fiction. I suppose it is, by some definitions, but the clam-worshippers are welcome to that one. I don't think I'll bother with the Narnia books I hurled away in disgust as child either; my suspicion there is that my spleen wouldnae take it Capt'n. Not a problem with Lewis or his faith (I can read and enjoy the interplantary trilogy and Screwtape, with all their goddishness), just the vomit-inducing patronising Anne Atkinsness of his attempts at chidrens' writing will never again pollute my optic nerves.

Sun Return

Aug. 20th, 2011 01:52 pm
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Happy birthdays to [personal profile] bugshaw and [ profile] fluffcthulhu; may the next Earthly rotation be a good one for both, and may the latter eat me first, when the Stars are Right.


Aug. 7th, 2011 07:56 pm
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Having spent all of yesterday working, as the rain rained like rainy rain outside (or inside, in the case of the kitchen: we have a flat not-entirely-still-a roof situation there), we decided to go Out today. To the sea, and to the aquarium shop just outside Skirlaugh to buy more turbo snails¹, whatever inclemency the sky might hurl us.

As chance would have it, friends Piers and Gill in Donnie got in touch in the morning; they were going to Brid, and would we like to meet? So that's what we did, at The Best Fish and Chip Shop in England, which just happens to be at 149 Marton Road in Brid. Very, very good it is too, as we all found scoffing the food in the German Barge - it was a rare moment of sunshine, but dry seats were hard to come by outside where it had precipitated while we waited for our fish, and we didn't fancy eating standing up. Mac and I had had half an hour walking on the beach before: north in the sun with the wind behind us, then back south battling the gale into the gathering storm, so appetite was a given.

After a good while deconstructing the state of the world, we drove down in tandem to the aquarium shop, where turbo snails there were none. Woe. We compensated in slight excess by buying two red shrimp, a Royal Gramma (that'll be a fish, m'lud), and three diverse little frags of coral instead.

After that, back in tandem to Hull, where, sitting on the frosted glass walls of a well-furnished room, we drank mint tea and grew in static mindpower. Sorry. What I meant was that we sat at the dining table drinking Earl Gray or Assam, and had a good natter, while the new aquatic arrivals compensated with their new environment before final entry.

Royal Gramma George (all our tanklife are called George) wasn't having any aclimatisation nonsense though, and slipped out of the plastic bag into the tank without so much as a by your leave, and vanished to our eyes, causing consternation and worry. Se² emerged for a visible swim some quarter of an hour later unworried, before vanishing once more. Turns out that hir species likes to grub around to find a safe rock retreat to defend, so that's what se's been doing.

Piers and Gill have returned home to Donnie now, and we're about to consume the bubble'n'squeak with a fried egg Mac's constructing for us tea. Which will be nice, and a good start to the tail end of a good day.

ETA And now we're about to drive to Selby to collect an unexpected 4" Yellow Tang. This is not sensible. We're doing it anyhow.

ETA2 Home again, with Yellow Tang George getting used to a new home thanks to judicious use of a turkey baster. As are a starfish and another coral. Oops.

¹ We had a spate of turbo snail losses (they're there to help clean the tank); they chose in succession to dive down the water return pipe into the sump below, before I tied a washing tablet bag over the pipe mouth to stop such adventure. Some survived to be rescued (as did Clown Fish George when they did the same), some didn't.

² Apologies if gender neutral pronouns upset; how do you sex a Royal Gramma?
perlmonger: (Default)
I'm aching in bits I didn't realise I had.

I blame the flies.

We've been infested with fruitflies for days now, and part of one causal chain is that our compost bin (modo redux) was in the back yard just a couple of metres away from the French windows. Didn't matter much last year, as the French windows weren't, and the back door that isn't any more didn't get left open, but now the little fuckers swarmed outside and straight inside whenever the doors were opened.

Something had to be done, and logistically that could only be modo relocation to the back of the yard by the bike tent.

This position is right in front of the (ancient, disintegrating) back fence, and our back neighbour, who put up a nice new fence behind ours last year, is happy to share theirs with us; seemed sensible, then, to tear down that part at least of our old fence before shifting the compost. However, between the yard proper and the line of our old fence was a remnant of the old stepped border: whoever slabbed the yard, decades ago, didn't want to split slabs and filled in the gap round one side and the back with slabs embedded deep in the ground but standing maybe 15cm proud, with their outside gap filled with hardcore topped with concrete. Most of that's gone, opened up and filled with soil at the side, and opened right up by a slab width (the bordering slabs moved out) for ¾ of the back. That last job was done, poorly, by my tenant while we were down Brissle way, with the side border slabs extending into the new back bed, and the slabs closing the bed on the other side being too short.

So, my plan was to take up the redundant back slabs, concrete cap, and hardcore; reassign vertical slabbing so everything actually fits; use the remaining bits of vertical slab horizontally to fill in the gap opened between our yard and our neighbour's fence; and (finally) move the compost bin and its throbbing contents to their new location on the newly laid slabbing.

It's all done now, and I've used muscles in the process that haven't been fired up, probably, since I dug the pnod in our old back garden 6 or 7 years ago. Extracting concrete slabs embedded 20cm in the ground armed only with a crowbar and a trowel, and with no real possibility to dig down beside, took a deal of doing. A fair deal. Particularly the one with a BFO rose bush growing right over it.

Tearing down the remainder of the old fence can await another day.
perlmonger: (Default)
In March 2011 I live and work in this house on Belvoir Street in Hull with [personal profile] ramtops and five cats.

In March 2001 I lived in Long Ashton, just outside Bristol, coming up to two years after [personal profile] ramtops and I got married, with IIRC fournine¹ cats, two of whom (Iggy and Mustrum) are here with us now. Complaining. The other two are living with Mac's daughter in Norwich now.

In March 1991 I lived in a house on Duesbery Street in Hull with my then partner Julia and our daughter Rhiannon.

In March 1981 I was living in a friend's flat in Ash Grove, Hull. We, along with our friend Chris, were filling in census forms under the influence of Albert Hoffman and on behalf of one Eric Pode of Croydon.

In March 1971 I was living with my parents in Worthing. The less said about that the better.

¹ Mac corrected me on this one - I lose track of time too easily! Sadly, the five I thought arrived after the 2001 census are all gone now: of the Yorkshire Three, Molly is (I hope) still alive and in total control of her current home, but Zool and Aliss are dead. As is Pepper and, we can only assume, PoD who vanished one day, never to return.
perlmonger: (books)
I'm not at all sure what happened to 2010. Or, indeed January 2011.

So, very belatedly, here's what I read last year 35 books ) and, likewise, watched 54 films or suchlike )
There, that was exciting wasn't it?
perlmonger: (Default)
StaithesA good day. We mooched up to Northallerton through the drizzle to pick up our new old ex-eBay Neff single oven, combi oven and cooker hood, stopping at a Little Thief for a grease infusion, then across the moors as the sky cleared and winter sun shone to Staithes. A lovely place, particularly if one chooses not to notice more than in passing its suffering from the sadly inevitable cancer of holiday homes. I might even have some photos worth uploading; will look later [ETA link to photos!]. Cup of tea and CAKE! (of a rather nice coconut, lime and ginger varietal) at the caff at the top the hill, before driving across to Malton for some veg and flowers, and bacon, pasties and a pair of late-Saturday-bogof pies from Overton's.

Home now, with a car still full of kitchen gear waiting for us to have a kitchen for it to live in. With the French windows in, all we need is the kitchen door bricking, the doorway into the house opening up, plastering, new ring and sockets, gas moving, fridge (finally) being plumbed in, oh and deciding who we're actually going to get the kitchen from, and having no kitchen at all while it's rebuilt. How hard can it be?

Still, after a fine quick dinner tonight (tub of coriander chicken from the freezer, cooked potatoes from the fridge fried in turmeric+ginger+paprika+allspice+crushed chili+asafœtida+pepper+salt, and basmati rice) and a packet of Bahlsen's choccie! bikkits that seems to have evaporated between us, with tea in front of the fire: my aspirations in life may be modest, but the upside is that I can and do achieve them. My life here in Hull with [personal profile] ramtops and the cats is actually pretty damned good.
perlmonger: (Default)

OK, it's a memepost, but [ profile] natalief inspired me to see if my responses have changed over time; I've run this test a couple of times before.

quality time101111
physical touch1099
words of affirmation345
acts of service643
receiving of gifts122

Leaving aside that the actual questions may well have been changed over the last six years, it's actually vaguely interesting (to me at least :) that while most parameters have stayed pretty much the same, I've had a steady increase in valuing verbal reassurance balanced by a corresponding dismissal of anything actually being done for me. Still don't need anything giving to me though :)



Nov. 3rd, 2010 04:05 pm
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This time last week, I was burying my mother.

five days in Finland )
perlmonger: (books)
25 years on, I've finally read Walking on Glass and found it actually very good indeed; people may complain about its lack of a linear narrative, but here we get three; Interleaved, intersecting and ultimately connected in as pleasingly ambiguous and open-ended a way as anyone could wish. A narrative structure that Trish Sullivan has used in several of her books (also to very fine results), allowing me to make here a suitably arbitrary connection to mention that she is giving away a copy of her latest novel, Lightborn to a randomly chosen commenter to this post. So get yourself there and post a comment; meet her half way, you might just win the draw.

Now to make a start on Ilario; I may be some time.


Sep. 13th, 2010 05:34 pm
perlmonger: (books)
We're making much use of the library these days: lack of space for more bookshelves; lack of money; increasing unlikelihood of re-reading before croaking. Mind, having just returned from the local branch and added Anathem to the current contents of my immediate to-read shelf (Ilario and Matter), there's a fair chance I'll be gone before finishing the current lot. Particularly if they fall on me.

That's not my point, though: I've been using the heap'o'shite that is the online library system hereabouts - "Powered by SirsiDynix" as though the perps are in some way proud of it; I could fart better code, but I digress again - searching occasionally for OOP old friends I've lost to other old friends along the way, with mixed success. The system covers all of what used to be called Humberside, so Hull, the East Riding and North Lincs now, and I would've expected a reasonable chance of finding anything not completely obscure.

Why is it then, that the entire region possesses not a single copy of anything written by John Brunner? And precisely two (a paper copy of Parable of the Talents, an audiobook of Parable of the Sower) by Octavia Butler? I'm tempted to put orders in for some of those (too few) from each still in print, but I guess that in these modern days of spiritual poverty and celebrated ignorance, the library service's straitened circumstances would just mean that other worthwhile books would be disposed of instead.
perlmonger: (skydancer)
Born 14th September 1921
Died 25th June 2010

A rare post, for a singular event.

My sister, Helena, has just let us know that our mother died this morning. She'd been in a nursing home for years, since her Alzheimer's reached the stage where, despite her desires and intentions, she could no longer live safely in the home she'd lived in just a few months longer than I'd been alive: I was conceived in Helsinki and reached these shores in her womb the summer before I was born.

She was a fiercely independent woman who, I think, never fully reconciled herself to moving from her teaching career (and working for Yleisradio in the Helsinki Olympics) in Finland to 50's housewifeness in England, a move engineered by my father's parents, with his acquiescence, to have their "little Billy" living in a newbuild suburban bungalow next door to their newbuild suburban bungalow (and not swanning off around the world on FO business). Still, she survived the transition, survived that first dreadful English winter in an uninsulated English house, and even survived my father (both him living, which to say the least wasn't easy, and his death in 1988).

She, more than anyone else, crafted who I grew up as, and the core of me that shapes who I am today. This was by no means unambiguously good, of course, and we came into much conflict once I started creating a sense of independence from her, an identity of my own, but still, even that conflict and pain was predicated on (yes, her desire to live vicariously through me) her love for me.

Good memories: Helping her make Christmas pulla, tortut, gingerbread; her teaching me to ride a bicycle; going on long walks together; her taking me to nestle by the kitchen fire in the night when I had a cough and giving me sugar cubes soaked in brandy to suck; New Year ritual of melting tin (kept safe round the year) on the fire, pouring ladlefuls into cold water, and trying to predict the future from the shapes formed and their shadows cast; singing Hoosianna, Daavidin poika and Hei! Tonttu-ukot hyppikää on Pikku Joulu, Little Christmas, on the first day of Advent; long political and social discussions in the kitchen; many, many more.

Go well, Äitini. Given a choice, you would have gone years ago, when you lost your autonomy; given a choice you would be buried at sea, an option not easily open to us. Still, we will say goodbye, and say thank you, and will remember you until we too end.
perlmonger: (Default)
Anybody else on as the thing ran last night notice how, maybe 10 minutes after the "best on the economy" poll appeared, Labour's %age started increasing, and at such a rate that the bar moved visibly on the screen, shifting from majority LD to majority Labour? Presuming the total number of votes was non-trivial, this would mean that an awful lot of people, who hadn't bothered to vote hitherto, suddenly decided they felt strongly enough to vote, simultaneously, and all for one party/leader.

Curious, really.


perlmonger: (Default)

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