tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/23: City of Stairs -- Robert Jackson Bennett
while no Saypuri can go a day without thinking of how their ancestors lived in abysmal slavery, neither can they go an hour without wondering – Why? Why were they denied a god? Why was the Continent blessed with protectors, with power, with tools and privileges that were never extended to Saypur? How could such a tremendous inequality be allowed?


The Continent used to be powerful, magical, and blessed by the Divinities. Now it's occupied by the Saypuri, who used to be the Continentals' slaves. City of Stairs is set a generation or so after the Blink -- a moment in which, after a Divinity was killed by a Saypuri rebel (the Kaj), the works of all six Divinities were ... unmade, causing devastation across the Continent as the things that they built and maintained crumble away. non-spoilery )
spiralsheep: Woman blowing heart-shaped bubbles (Bubble Rainbow)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
My thoughts are with everyone around the world who have recently lost loved ones from any cause but especially the many unnecessary deaths that happen every day.

Latest news of the injured and dead from the terrorist attack in central London: twelve Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one person each from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy, and the United States. Three police officers were also hurt, two of them seriously.

London remains one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, currently with a democratically elected English Muslim mayor, and that's why extremists who believe human beings should be segregated by religion, or "racial" appearance, or place of origin, hate London and target Londoners (whether they're residents or visitors). The same is true of Birmingham.

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

2017/22: Occupy Me -- Tricia Sullivan

Mar. 23rd, 2017 11:21 am
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/22: Occupy Me -- Tricia Sullivan
With clever beaks and wingtips the beings who made me compile masks made of human skin, made of feathers, made of biological circuits: mitochondrial turbine engines and electron pumps. Their masks are made of darkness pregnant with radio, the slow deep turning of long wavelength light. They wear these masks and they hop around a ragged fire that drinks up the foreign atmosphere.


Pearl is a flight attendant: also, an angelnon-spoilery )
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... Because of various travails within LGBT+LDs we lost our chair.

This evening I was elected Acting Chair, and will be so until the AGM at autumn conference in Bournemouth.

No flowers ;)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
You may have noticed that the previous two posts were somewhat light on my usual "we debated this motion, and I voted this way on it" details. That's mostly because after I had done the reporting-back-from-FCC bits (which I pledged to do upon my candidacy for FCC - I keep my promises, me. Mostly...) the posts were already stupidly long, but also in part because my lovely friend Andrew has done an excellent summary of the salient points here, and given that I am his evil twin (or he is mine - honestly, basically the only difference between us is that I really like beards and he merely has one) I don't feel the need to reiterate his points.

For the avoidance of doubt, though, here is how I voted:
  • Emergency Motions Ballot: can't actually remember, except that I put the second Scottish referendum motion bottom (we can't mandate our MPs how to vote so it was utterly pointless, AND it's not up to English MPs to tell Scotland what to do anyway IMHO) and the Trump one next to bottom (he's not coming till October. Put a (better drafted) motion in for Autumn conference, when it will be a live and salient issue). The others I was happy to see a debate on.

  • A Rational Approach to Harm Reduction (aka the Sex Work Motion): I voted against the (mildly wrecking) amendment and for the unamended motion

  • Tackling Overcrowding in the Prison System: I voted for the amendment and the motion.

  • Britain in the EU: I went for lunch during this motion as hell would freeze over before anyone voted against it, and during the scheduled lunch break I would be prepping to aide in the health and social care debate.

  • Crisis in health and social care: I voted for the amendment, and then for the motion as amended, from my shiny shiny "seat reserved for FCC Hall Aide" seat.

  • The Biennial Trident Fudge: I Paired with Alisdair and went to the pub since we would have voted exactly oppositely on both the motion and amendment and thus cancelled each other out. The England/Ireland match was nailbiting.

  • Emergency motion: Unaccompanied Child Asylum Seekers: I voted in favour of us taking in more of them.

  • Faith Schools: We had to vote between three options, then for the amendment, then for the motion as amended or not with whichever option we voted for. I'm going to use Andrew's characterisations here: I voted against "YAY faith schools" & for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them". Then I voted for "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" and against the horrible and nonsensical fudge which tried to split the difference between the first two. Then I voted for the "ban all faith schools" amendment, but not enough other people did, so it fell. Then I voted for the motion unamended with the option "Faith schools should be restricted as much as humanly possible without actually banning them" being the winning option. And I am not ashamed to admit to shedding a tear during Sarah Brown (Cambridge)'s very moving speech. I am glad Julian and Zoe were there to give her hugs when she had finished.

    As you can tell, this was quite a complicated vote. Small FCC note: I am glad Geoff Payne was chairing it. Although I have had my disagreements with him, he has just the right sort of forensic, nitpicky, legal mind for this kind of thing, and is a very clear and non-waffly chair. He's one of only about four people I would trust with such a contentious debate with so many options, and two of them are no longer on FCC.

  • Associated Membership of the EU: I voted in favour.
I think that covers everything. So... after three long posts... Any questions?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Following on from my previous post on York conference, I thought people might be interested in how we plan the debates and how cards get chosen and things like that.

I also recognise that many of you will NOT be interested in this in the slightest, so am putting it behind a cut )



And then of course, we had Not The Leader's Speech. The tradition of Not The Leader's Speech started when Cleggy was Our Glorious Leader. I went to a couple of his leader's speeches and found them excruciating. In the pub after, a Bad Influence who must perforce remain nameless asked me why I hadn't just walked out and gone to the pub, because that's what he had done. The next conference, I walked out (after 7 minutes, as I recall) and found this same person in the pub. The conference after that... well, we just cut out the middle man and went straight to the pub, downloaded the text of the speech, and worked out at which point we would have walked out had we bothered to go in. At the height of coalition the record occurred: we both agreed we would have walked out in the second sentence of the speech. By that point, though, word had got around somewhat and there were a reasonable number of us in the pub for Not The Leader's Speech.

When Farron was first elected Glorious Leader he was fully aware that this had become a tradition. I made him a personal promise that I'd go to his first leader's speech, but with the proviso that if there was anything I didn't like I would walk out. There wasn't, and I didn't. In fact it was a really really good speech. The thing is, I still don't like leader's speeches (or for that matter, The Rally, which I always feel has a silent Nuremburg in between The and Rally). I don't like sitting there being spoonfed and not participating. I don't like the enforced conformity of the expectation to applaud in the right places (and in some cases standingly ovate). IMHO it's Just Not Liberal. So the only one of Farron's leader's speeches I have been to, and probably ever will go to, remains his first. I no longer feel the need to read the text and work out at which point I would have walked out, because I don't have that sort of fractious relationship with his leadership, but it's still nice to find a good pub, claim a room in it, and have beer and food instead of listening and clapping.

The problem this time was that the group of people going to Not The Leader's Speech has grown to more than 30. And we hadn't booked. Admittedly there were only six of us queueing outside the door waiting for the pub to open, but the rest had DMed or texted me asking for a venue and turned up in short order after. As a former barmaid, I felt really bad about doing this to the pub. I think that next time I will have to at least warn the selected pub in advance... And as Zoe said in the comments to the previous entry, now I am on FCC this is in danger of becoming an officially unofficial event... If it gets any bigger it may have to be in the Fringe guide... You can tell how uncomfortable I am with that idea by the number of ellipsis LOL.

This conference we were biefly joined by a not-Lib-Dem friend and segued off into a discussion about cricket for a while, which was lovely I don't think we terrified her too much.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my officially unofficial reports from conference: next FCC news will probably be from the Shadowy General Purposes And Resources Sub Committee, which I suspect will be quite vague and heavily redacted, so I apologise for that in advance. I will, obviously, explain exactly why I'm having to be vauge and heavily redacted if and when I am.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The short version of What I Did At Lib Dem Conference is:

Attended lots of FCC meetings and training; co-hosted Glee for the second time; hall-aided my first debate as a member of FCC; "organised" Not The Leader's Speech.

click here for more detail on the first three )

Coming soon: What I Did At Lib Dem Conference part two: structuring an actual debate: this time it's personal PLUS Not The Leader's Speech.
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/21: An Unseen Attraction --KJ Charles
Clem had listened with fascination the other week as Gregory and Polish Mark and the journalist Nathaniel had discussed how “you could just tell” about men’s tastes, or their guilt, or if they were hiding something that could make a good story. Clem didn’t seem to have whatever ability it was that let other people “just tell,” and it felt as if there was an entire world of communication going on at a pitch he couldn’t hear.


London, 1874. Clem Tallyfer, son of an English father and an Indian mother, runs a lodging house in Clerkenwell: the role suits him, because he's not that good with crowds or noise or thinking in a straight line. His brother (well, half-brother) Edmund owns the house, and insists that Clem tolerate one particular drunken, ill-mannered lodger, Lugtrout by name.non-spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/20: Murder Must Advertise -- Dorothy L Sayers
Unlike the majority of clients who, though all tiresome in their degree, exercised their tiresomeness by post from a reasonable distance and at reasonable intervals, Messrs Toule & Jollop descended upon Pym’s every Tuesday for a weekly conference. While there, they reviewed the advertising for the coming week, rescinding any decisions taken at the previous week’s conference, springing new schemes unexpectedly upon Mr Pym and Mr Armstrong, keeping those two important men shut up in the Conference Room for hours on end, to the interruption of office-business, and generally making nuisances of themselves.


Ah, plus ça change ... First published in 1933, this novel depicts middle-class life in London -- work and play -- in familiar terms. Though Sayers' characters (most of them employed at an advertising agency, as was Sayers for seven years) live in a very different time, their concerns are eminently relatable. Work-life balance, the risks of falling into bad company, where to eat at lunchtime, the paradox of the poor spending money they can't afford on 'luxury' items ... Sayers' observations on the advertising industry are acute, witty and cynical.non-spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/19a: The Monarch of the Glen --Neil Gaiman
‘Well, I don’t think you’re a monster, Shadow. I think you’re a hero.’ No, thought Shadow. You think I’m a monster. But you think I’m your monster.

Another American Gods novella (it and Black Dog, both sold as standalone Kindle books, are so short that I am counting the two of them as one 'read', and that's pushing it, frankly.) Shadow Moon's wanderings take him to the Scottish Highlands, where he is asked to work as security for a rich man's annual party. The party is an institution: it's goes back 'almost a thousand years'. And it soon becomes apparent that Shadow's role is more than just that of a security guard.

The construction of this story -- Shadow's encounters with the people who will become significant, before he understands his part in the story; the constant questioning of whether he is a monster -- is like a jigsaw: Gaiman fits a great deal into The Monarch of the Glen, and also sets Shadow up for a return to the States and a greater understanding of his own nature and destiny. (I don't know whether Gaiman is still working on the sequel to American Gods. I do hope so.)

2017/19: Black Dog -- Neil Gaiman

Mar. 19th, 2017 05:51 pm
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/19: Black Dog -- Neil Gaiman
It’s daylight, said Shadow to the dog, with his mind, not with his voice. Run away. Whatever you are, run away. Run back to your gibbet, run back to your grave, little wish hound. All you can do is depress us, fill the world with shadows and illusions.


This novella is a sequel to American Gods: it's set in the Peak District, where Shadow Moon takes shelter in the village pub during a rainstorm. He encounters a cheerful couple, Moira and Oliver, who recount some jolly episodes from local folklore. There's also a woman, Cassie, who Shadow meets next morning on the hillside. She points out the Gateway to Hell. A number of cats arrive ...

This is a simple tale, with a sense of mythic -- or perhaps fairytale -- justice: kindness repaid, wrongs avenged, ancient stories coming full circle. Shadow's equanimity balances Moira and Ollie's brittle cheer, and makes the story less gloomy than it might have been.
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/18: Dark Matter: A Ghost Story -- Michelle Paver
I’ve also flicked through this journal, which was a mistake. I’m shocked at how my handwriting’s changed. I used to write a neat copperplate hand, but since I’ve been alone, it’s degenerated into a spidery scrawl. Without reading a word, you can see the fear.

The novel begins in London in 1937. Jack Miller has a chip on his shoulder, a physics degree from UCL, and a job he hates. When a group of wealthy young men advertise for a radio operator to form part of an expedition to the Arctic, Jack jumps at the chance: he has nobody to leave behind, nothing -- apparently -- to lose.
somewhat spoilery for middle of book )

Photobucket

Mar. 17th, 2017 02:41 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Thanks to everyone who let us know that Photobucket images were not loading properly on some pages. The problem seemed to be mostly limited to HTTPS requests; Dreamwidth maintains a list of known high-traffic image sites that support HTTPS, so that our secure content proxy service doesn't cache them unnecessarily. Unfortunately Photobucket seems to have recently changed their site configuration such that HTTPS requests aren't being served as expected, and we've now taken it out of our list of "proxy-exempt" sites.

If you continue to have issues, make sure you're not using HTTPS Photobucket links. It's a bit counterintuitive, but if you use HTTP instead, it will be automatically transformed on our end to an HTTPS link that uses p.dreamwidth.org.

Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/17: The Hanging Tree -- Ben Aaronovitch
We’d been reluctant to employ a forensic psychologist because of the well-founded fear that they might section us for believing in fairies.


Following the events of Foxglove Summer, Peter Grant has returned to London. Lady Tyburn (one of the river goddesses of London) calls in a favour: her daughter Olivia was at a party where a young woman died in suspicious circumstances, and Lady Ty wants Peter to ensure that Olivia is not implicated in the investigation.non-spoilery review )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/16: Foxglove Summer -- Ben Aaronovitch
Nightingale calls them the fae but that's a catch-all term like the way the Greeks used the word 'barbarian' or the Daily Mail uses 'Europe'. [loc. 260]


Foxglove Summer is quite a departure from the previous novels in the series. After the traumatic events at the end of Broken Homes, Peter Grant is sent to rural Herefordshire to investigate whether a local wizard (retired) is involved in the disappearance of two young girls. Nightingale -- who barely appears in this novel, boo -- may also be giving Peter a break from 'the usual' for compassionate reasons; and there are new threats facing the Folly, which Peter may not be ready to deal with.slightly spoilery because of comparison to another novel )
spiralsheep: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society (Sewing Circle Terrorist Society)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
I went to the theatre to see Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale. The play is a frothy mix of Restoration It Girl biography, feminist history, discussion of playwriting, flamboyant musical numbers, and occasional outbreaks of 21st century political commentary*, which was well put together and performed so I enjoyed it. Middlebrow populist feminism FTW, obv.

Unfortunately my seat was next to a seat occupied by adolf the manspreader who seemed determined to annex my legroom for the fatherland (for sausage "fatherland" read hostage "patriarchy", clearly). You should visualise him as a middle-aged white man wearing jeans and a double-vented sports jacket. He also kept glancing towards me, which I ignored with the specific form of resting bitchface which communicates the message that I will not allow the ignoree any of my attention. After the interval I returned to my seat to find the side-flap of adolf the manspreader's jacket draped over my armrest AND MY SEAT. I don't know how mr manspreader expected me to react, probably with my attention and a request for him to remove his accoutrements from MY SPACE that I had paid for, but I suspect it hadn't occurred to him that I would regard the new depths of his uncouth social faux pas with GLEE and regard it as an opportunity for vengeance against his selfish manspreading. Trying to suppress any visible signs of my GLEEFULNESS I turned my resting bitchface up to 11 and sat firmly down on MY SEAT with my arm on the armrest so that adolf the manspreader had achieved for himself the opposite of annexing MY SPACE and instead was now pinioned in place by his own selfishness... and jacket. This left adolf with two likely options, (1) asking me to move for a moment so he could retrieve his manspreaded clothing, which would have involved him acknowledging that his jacket was in MY SPACE, or (2) performing an elaborate pantomime of foolishly dropping his programme on the floor so he could lean forwards to pick it up and try to surreptitiously free his trapped jacket at the same time. It probably goes without saying that adolf opted for foolish pantomime but alas for mr manspreader he failed to unspread his clothing from MY SPACE and so remained partially pinioned for the entire second half of the play, lol. Oh, and his jacket was the only part of him that attempted to invade my space during that time as he kept his legs entirely to himself, thus proving that he could do that easily and his manspreading was merely an expression of his arseholetude. VICTORY WAS MINE (and I dedicate this victory to everyone, of any sex or gender, who has ever suffered at the hands legs of manspreading arseholes). /an anecdote ttly worth breaking several months of radio silence, lolololol

* I saw a performance in traditionally Royalist, Conservative, xenophobic Worcestershire so the pro-Brexit joke that Swale transformed into an anti-Brexit joke with a flick of her pen was probably received rather differently from a London audience reaction, lol.
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/15: Broken Homes -- Ben Aaronovitch
Either Stromberg had discovered something in the locality – an ancient temple, a stone circle, site of a massacre or iron age industrial site – or he'd been planning to extract magical power out of the everyday lives of council flat tenants. No wonder he was waiting up on his roof with his telescope until the day he died. [loc. 3019]


A suspicious-looking suicide and a burnt body in an unburnt house: another case for Peter Grant and the Folly. Broken Homes is largely set in a fictional council estate, the Skygarden, in Elephant and Castle (modelled on the Heygate Estate), which was unaccountably listed even though the council would like to tear it down. slightly spoilery review )

The Blood is the Life for 14-03-2017

Mar. 14th, 2017 10:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/14: Whispers Under Ground -- Ben Aaronovitch
...just chalk it [magic] up to pixie dust or quantum entanglement, which was the same thing as pixie dust except with the word quantum in it. [loc. 203]

slightly spoilery )

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