(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 02:14 pm
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
We made it safely home yesterday, to be welcomed by oppressive and (to me at least) debilitating heat. Of course I'm also tired because of a short night last night, so I can't blame all of my tiredness on the heat. Our flight wasn't until 1 pm (and didn't actually take off until 2 pm) so we didn't arrive in DC until about 9:30 pm. The flight was uneventful apart from the guy in the aisle seat next to me, who kept his elbow fairly aggressively on the arm rest for much of the flight and also glared at us when we got up to go to the bathroom. (If you're sitting in the aisle seat you can expect to have people asking to get past you to go to the bathroom. I like aisle seats and I consider having to stand up to let people out to be part of the cost of doing business. One of the reasons I like aisle seats is because I tend to need to go to the bathroom more than many younger people.) I think he was also annoyed that I moved into the empty seat beside him so I could sit with S (where he had already put his computer before I moved), but as he did not tell us he had booked and paid for that seat, I had as much right to it as he did. (Because we didn't book at the same time S and I had window seats one in front of the other, but although the middle seat beside S wasn't available when I booked it was empty on the flight so I was able to move into it.)

After we landed there was a long delay while we waited for our checked bag to come through. I'm puzzled as to why it took so long as there weren't that many people waiting for bags (because so many people just take huge carry on bags?), but eventually it arrived. Not being fans of paying to do laundry (because it's free at home) we both took enough clothes with us to get through two weeks without wearing dirty clothes for too long. Therefore when we packed to come home, the bottom half of our shared suitcase was stuffed full of dirty clothes, including underwear. When we opened the bag there was a little note from TSA on top of the dirty clothes saying our bag had been randomly chosen for inspection. I hope they enjoyed looking through all our dirty laundry.

As we didn't get home until about 11:30 pm it was of course dark and I couldn't see the state of the yard. However, this morning I discovered that the protective black mesh around a couple of my fledgling trees had been either dislodged or in one case completely removed, I suppose blown off during a thunderstorm, and the leaves of the little trees had been fairly thoroughly eaten. I think there are enough leaves left that the trees will be fine, and today I've done repairs to discourage any further browsing by deer, but I was very sad to see what had happened.

I sorta wanna blame facebook.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:30 am
fflo: (Default)
[personal profile] fflo
I don't get on facebook much any more, but I was on there yesterday, and here in the mammogram harem waiting lounge I ran out of phone game interest, and I looked again.  And there were a coupla nice things to see, but ugh to others.  The worst was the obit for a man made out to be a hero who was ongoingly raping his daughter for years, and had his hooks in her ever after, in multiple debilitating ways I don't know the half of.  So much of her difficulty in life seems tied to that soul-terrorizing monster-gaslight crap that he did.  And she has had tremendous difficulty.  It makes me nauseous, reading about---thinking of---his lauding, now that he's dead, like his lauding while he was alive.  She isn't the only victim of his I know about, either, and there were probably still others, gotta figure.  A charming and vile man who enjoyed himself and life and his self-importance and what he could take from others, regardless of the consequences for them, to the hilt.  Makes ya wish there were a hell for him.  Makes ya wish there had been a hell for him here.  His daughter is still in the hell he sent her to, built for her, consigned her to.

As I typed that last bit, the tech came to tell me I'm good to go, no need for biopsy, come back in a year (not even 6 months).  This is good.  I am grateful for this.

And that man was bad.  It's not facebook's fault.  But seeing him praised there came to me through that app/messenger, and isn't helping my sense of the bullshit and hostility and brutality and callous selfishness of humanity.

My new brown roof is on, and the gutters were about to be installed when I left for this appt.  My pets and I are basically well.  I got a good night's sleep.  My job is super-cool about me taking time off.  There may be a thunderstorm this afternoon.  Maybe I'll get a good night's sleep tonight, too.

This is me talking me down.

a doozy of a dream, and roof day

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:50 pm
fflo: (Lu face)
[personal profile] fflo
Why it was my folks, I dunno, but in my dream they were in a room with a beloved one who was lying on the bed and saying just terrible stuff, about them, about I don't even remember what.  Thing after thing.  Bullshit things.  And then later, I was saying something to her, still there, about how shitty that was.  Felt like the way I knew it wouldn't necessarily come across, but was clearly going to sort of do-her-the-courtesy-of explaining, or trying to, what was not okay about that, had something to say to me.  Woke up during that heavy sigh moment, or soon after. 

I had been so deeply asleep.

This morning the dog and I went around in the world a while, but I finally dropped her off at doggy daycare for a stretch, while I came in to the office.  It's hard not to want to watch the stream of her from the webcam there on my phone all day.  But I've been managing to do some relatively tedious author summary stuff.  And look in on her every once in a while.

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:25 pm
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
Yesterday was another day when I was extremely tired, which was unfortunate as we ended up having to babysit William all day. We had expected to have a quieter day at our motel with some meal prep over at the apartment in the afternoon, with the daughter and son in law back at work and William in daycare, but daughter rang us at about 7:30 am to say William was running a slight temperature and it would be better if he didn't go to daycare, so would we be able to spend the day with him? So we arrived over here at 9 am to take over.

William was clingy with his father when he tried to leave for work, but settled down after a few minutes and then seemed fine all day, although a bit quieter and less active than usual. During his nap he woke up crying a couple of times (as he had the day before as well) but went back to sleep fairly easily. When he woke up for the final time he was perfectly happy.

We thought he might be back at daycare today, but no, he had had a slightly unsettled night and was still running a temperature during the night, so he is home with us again today. However, his temperature was down this morning and he was barely clingy at all when his father left for work. We took him out to walk around the apartment complex and then to a small nearby park, and he was very active and happy, much improved over yesterday. I didn't go out with them yesterday but S said he was happy to sit quietly on her knee at the park for much of their time there yesterday whereas today he was investigating everything and climbing on everything climable. His day was made when a woman walking a couple of dogs came into the park. William absolutely loves dogs! And these were quite docile and strokable, although when they moved towards William he got a bit nervous (which is a good thing). Yesterday when S put him down for his nap he cried briefly before falling asleep, but today there was no crying, just sleep.
fflo: (tongue)
[personal profile] fflo
That's probably true whatever kind of boobs are in the second half, given how much worse roofies already are than roof + boobies.

Seems my new roof may suddenly be going on tomorrow.  And the day after that I have a 2-hour re-screening and ultrasound appt for my right breast, which has a nodule that merits further investigation.

These two things are enough for this week, I think, and here declare.

I have a dinner invitation for tomorrow that I still hope to make it to, and plan to sing at Art Fair on Saturday, but let others take the personning of the info booth.

Just had that whole it's-not-cancer thing about my skin, and still healing there.  Oy.

Right now I'm gonna get some ice and then I'm gonna have fuzzy water with my afternoon galleys.  One thing at a time.  E.g., attend to the gutters and any tumors later.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:48 pm
chayarose: (Default)
[personal profile] chayarose
Yesterday Matt and I went to our first Glimmerglass Opera. The american premiere showing of The Siege of Calais.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:00 pm
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome

M Morgan aka Milda Marjama; 9796
© Bill Pusztai 2011

M Morgan aka Milda Marjama; 9968
© Bill Pusztai 2011

M Morgan aka Milda Marjama; 9727
© Bill Pusztai 2011

words )
heresluck: (book)
[personal profile] heresluck
Tracy K. Smith is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite poets. Finding two new poems in this month's Nation was a gift.

The United States Welcomes You

Why and by whose power were you sent?
What do you see that you may wish to steal?
Why all this dancing? Why do your dark bodies
Drink up the light? What are you demanding
That we feel? Have you stolen something? Then
What is that leaping in your chest? What is
The nature of your mission? Do you seek
To offer a confession? Have you anything to do
With others brought by us to harm? Then
Why are you afraid? And why do you invade
Our night, hands raised, eyes wide, and mute
As ghosts? Is there something you wish to confess?
Is this some enigmatic type of test? What if we
Fail? How and to whom do we address our appeal?

— Tracy K. Smith
in The Nation, July 17/24 2017

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:54 pm
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
I was exhausted yesterday after our two busy days, but yesterday was also quite busy. In the morning we came over to daughter's at about 8:30 am because we were going berry picking at a nearby pick your own place. It was pretty hot at the farm with not much shade, but after I'd picked a couple of punnets I retired to the shade of the small tent over a minimal picnic area at the check in to watch the passing parade while everyone else kept picking for a while.

While William had his nap his parents went out for lunch and a movie, leaving us in charge for the afternoon. William slept for about three hours after his exciting morning. When he woke up we fed and entertained him for a while. After a while he went outside onto the balcony where his pool floater thing is kept and dragged it inside and over to the front door, obviously telling us he wanted to go to the pool. Luckily S had brought her bathers, so she and William got ready to swim and we all went out to the pool. However, when we tried to put William into the float he clung on to S, so she just held him in her arms for the whole time we were there.

I was so tired during the afternoon that I had a real struggle to stay awake while William was sleeping, but I perked up a bit later in the afternoon. Last night I slept very soundly in spite of being briefly woken up by people talking very loudly outside our room at around 2:30 am and again at 4:30 am, and although it's just as brutally hot today (close to 100F both days) I feel somewhat more energetic than yesterday.

This morning we got ourselves together and went for a walk at 6 am as breakfast isn't until 7 am on weekends. It was pleasantly cool when we set out but by the time we got back around 7 we could feel that it was starting to warm up. After breakfast we lazed around in our room for a while as we didn't have definite plans with the family. They had talked about taking us to San Francisco zoo, but as we had been berry picking yesterday I think they decided today should be quieter. We eventually set out to catch the bus over to their place about 9 am, but we didn't get there until after 10 as the bus we thought we were going to catch completely failed to arrive. Luckily the buses run every 20 minutes even on Sundays, so we didn't have to wait too horribly long.

We didn't do anything much apart from play with William before lunch. While he was napping after lunch his mother went out grocery shopping while we babysat the sleeping toddler, then when she came back she decided we should all go to a nearby shopping centre to get William a haircut and spend some time going in and out of air conditioned shops (as their apartment isn't airconditioned). William hated the haircutting experience (clippers are scary to a 15 month old) but he recovered with some icecream afterwards.

I've been used to enclosed shopping malls for so long that I really dislike the trend of demolishing them and putting in "town centre" style shopping areas instead. Going in and out of airconditioned shops sounds all very well, but the shops don't usually turn out to be very cool what with people going in and out all the time, you have to go out into the heat to go between shops, and unless the parking is shaded by trees your car is most likely out in the hot sun while you're there. (Ours was today.) So really our expedition today wasn't exactly cooling, although it was a diversion from being in the apartment.

Just as we walked in the door at 5:30 pm my daughter Skyped me from Perth. Unfortunately we and she both had noisy babies on hand so it was hard to hear each other, but it's always good to see River (and my daughter) on Skype. River is now starting to stand, and is a very mobile crawler. It's fun to see William and River notice each other on Skype. (This is the second time she's called while we've been at the apartment.)

Now we're back in our airconditioned room. Actually returning to our room at the end of the day is always an adventure because we never know what temperature it's going to be. We try to set the a/c to run at a moderate temperature while we're gone, but every day when we come back it's at a different temperature. One day it was 23C (75F) and another day it was only 15C (60F), while other days it's been around either 17C or 19C. It's obviously an old system and doesn't have a thermostat - we have to set it by turning dials - but my alarm clock has a thermometer so we always know what the temperature is.

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:22 am
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome

Hemerocallis 'Kachina Dancer'; 0220
© Bill Pusztai 2017

Unexpectedly Good Media

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:53 am
heron61: (Emphasis and strong feeling)
[personal profile] heron61
A truly excellent webcomic just finished 17776, which is ostensibly about the future of football, but is more truly about the meaning of life, immortality, and the nature of play. It's exceedingly well done SF, and I highly recommend it (despite my knowledge of and interest in football being quite low indeed). I'm told it has similarities with the web comic Homestuck, but I bounced off that hard, and I love this, in part because instead of going really slowly, it's fast paced and encompassed only 2 weeks or so of daily updates, rather than multiple years.

Here's IO9's discussion of it, which is very good, but I think diving right in is better.

Also, Here's a link to both an article about and the trailer for the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, coming out next March (2018). It looks exceedingly good, and much different from all previous versions I've heard of, but actively avoided.

The 2004 ABC movie (which I heard was impressively dreadful) is responsible for one of the best quotes I've ever heard from an author about an adaptation of their book:
When (L'Engle was) asked if the recent ABC movie of A Wrinkle in Time met her expectations: “Oh, yes. I expected it to be bad, and it is."
Watch the trailer, this one looks to be very different indeed, and unless I hear very much otherwise, I'll be seeing it.

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 01:14 pm
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome
Crow and the Birds
When the eagle soared clear through a dawn distilling of emerald
When the curlew trawled in seadusk through a chime of wineglasses
When the swallow swooped through a woman's song in a cavern
And the swift flicked through the breath of a violet
When the owl sailed clear of tomorrow's conscience
And the sparrow preened himself of yesterday's promise
And the heron laboured clear of the Bessemer upglare
And the bluetit zipped clear of lace panties
And the woodpecker drummed clear of the rotovator and the rose-farm
And the peewit tumbled clear of the laundromat
While the bullfinch plumped in the apple bud
And the goldfinch bulbed in the sun
And the wryneck crooked in the moon
And the dipper peered from the dewball
Crow spraddled head-down in the beach-garbage, guzzling a dropped ice-cream.
Ted Hughes, 1971

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:18 am
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
We've had a couple of fairly full days, with another coming up. On Thursday we set off not long after 7:30 am to walk all the way over to daughter's place, about 9.8 km/6 miles. We'd walked almost half the distance several times, but always needed to come back to the motel because the car was here and we had to take groceries to daughter's later in the day. On Thursday we didn't have the car as that was the day daughter drove over to Oakland to take her exam, so it was the perfect day to walk the whole way. Much of the route was along a very pleasant shared path, and the final third of the route was through the Stanford campus, also very pleasant. We arrived at about 9:45 am.

S was on a mission to find a good icecream place and had discovered a place called Creamistry not too far away in the Palo Alto shopping area (also tourist area). It wasn't open until midday, so we had an earlyish lunch (we'd had breakfast at 6 at the motel so eating lunch early wasn't hard), then left about 11:45 to walk to the icecream shop. By this time it was pretty warm so we were glad that at least some of the walk was through partly shaded areas. Creamistry serves icecream made by the liquid nitrogen method, so it's extra smooth and creamy. Last year when we were here in March for William's birth we had discovered this type of icecream in a shop beside Wholefoods and were hoping to go back there this time, but they aren't there any more so we were happy to find another source.

We sat in the front of the shop savouring our icecream very slowly while watching the passing parade (lots of geeky looking types), then wandered further up through the main shopping area before walking back to daughter's apartment to while away the afternoon and do food prep until the family came home. Daughter seemed reasonably happy with her exam efforts but will have to wait four weeks for her results.

Yesterday we went into San Francisco to meet up with S's two cousins (brother and sister) who live in Oakland. We caught a Caltrain train to 4th & King St station and they picked us up outside and proceeded to give us an extensive guided tour to several places I had been wanting to see. First we stopped off at a place called Rainbow Grocery which is a large organic grocery store, then we drove through the Haight Ashbury area (along Haight St), the Castro, and past Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle, then around past a house a few blocks from Golden Gate Park where one of the cousins used to live, with a stop at a Chinese shop to buy some coconut tarts recommended by one of the cousins. (They were very good.)

We went to the ocean to have lunch, then drove back with a loop through the museum area of Golden Gate Park and over to the Golden Gate Bridge through the Presidio. It was quite foggy at the beach, but we passed through some clear sunny areas between Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge. However, the bridge itself was shrouded in heavy mist so we could barely see it. One of the cousins had told us about micro climates in San Francisco, and yesterday we saw them first hand. Apparently it was around 90F here yesterday, while at the beach and at Golden Gate Bridge it was about 65F and in the parts of the city where it wasn't foggy it was maybe 75F.

While we were admiring what we could see of the bridge we saw some whales surfacing under the bridge. Apparently they come up to the bridge, turn around there, and return to the ocean. There was also a seal moving around close to where we were standing.

By this time it was late in the afternoon, so the cousins drove us via Lombard St and Fisherman's Wharf back to the Caltrain station for our trip back to the motel. We stopped off at Wholefoods for a quick dinner and arrived back here around 7:45 pm. I felt very privileged to have been given such a comprehensive tour of parts of San Francisco I hadn't seen before but had known about for years.
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

Hans Rott (1858-1884) is one of the great what-ifs in music history. Gustav Mahler wrote of his Vienna Conservatory roommate: "It is completely impossible to estimate what music has lost in him. His genius soars to such heights even in his first symphony, written at the age of twenty, and which makes him - without exaggeration - the founder of the new symphony as I understand it."

Rott was, in a sense, a victim of Brahms's rivalries with Wagner and Bruckner. He studied under Bruckner at the Vienna Conservatory from 1874 through 1877, and he was influenced by Wagner's work, having attended the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876. He composed the first movement of his 1st Symphony as a graduation piece in 1878 -- hence Mahler's reference to him writing it "at the age of twenty" -- and it received high praise from his teacher Bruckner. But in 1880, when Rott completed the entire symphony, he was no longer a student, he presented the piece to two of Vienna's leading conductors, Johannes Brahms and Hans Richter, in an effort to get the symphony played. It was rejected almost out of hand. Brahms, knowing Rott was his rival's student, even told the young composer he had no talent whatsoever and should give up music.

Only a few months later, Rott had a psychotic break during a train journey: he reportedly threatened another passenger with a gun, shouting that Brahms had filled the train with dynamite and ordering his fellow passenger at gunpoint to extinguish his cigar. Rott was arrested and committed to a mental hospital. After a brief recovery in 1882 and 1883 in which he was able to begin work on a second symphony, he relapsed into psychosis in 1883 and was committed a second time. A year later, he died of tuberculosis, aged just 25. Where Rott's symphony greatly influenced his friend and one-time roommate Mahler, his untimely demise contributed to the theme of human mortality that pervades Mahler's work.

As for Rott's music, Mahler kept and catalogued it to ensure that it would not be lost to posterity. But despite Mahler's lengthy career as a conductor of major orchestras, he never performed Rott's symphony. The symphony would remain unheard until Gerhard Samuel conducted the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in its first-ever performance in 1989, more than a century after it was composed. Since then, it has been sometimes described by conductors and musicologists as "Mahler's Symphony No. 0" for the influence it had on Mahler. To be sure, it isn't a mature work; had it been rehearsed by an orchestra during his lifetime, Rott likely would have made revisions. Its orchestration is at times awkward, especially in the brass parts: modern performances generally divide its four horn parts among six players, for example. And to modern listeners, the resemblance to Mahler may be rather jarring -- but remember that Rott completed this symphony seven years before Mahler began to work on his first. Nonetheless, this is a brilliantly moving piece, full of imagination and emotional depth, and arguably one of the most important symphonies of the late Romantic era.

Spam, spam, spam everywhere...

Jul. 14th, 2017 11:17 am
pheloniusfriar: (Default)
[personal profile] pheloniusfriar
I just got the following email, which reads in part...

I am glad to reach you on behalf of Condensed Matter Physics 2017 Organizing Committee, after having a view at your vast expertise and eminent contribution in the research relevant to Theoretical and Condensed Matter Physics, we courteously welcome you as a speaker for the upcoming Condensed Matter Physics Conference from October 19-21, 2017 in New York, USA.

Hahahaha, ummm, no. Unless they are time travellers from the future and know something I don't about what I'm going to accomplish, I don't think they have anything on me other than my email address ;).

(no subject)

Jul. 13th, 2017 07:25 am
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
Yesterday, doing laundry for S's daughter, we had a very frustrating and annoying experience. The laundry requires you to use a credit card to pay; there's no cash option. S successfully paid for three loads of laundry with one of her cards, but when she went to pay for the same number of dryers, her card was declined after the first one. She tried her other card (we each have only two) and it was declined immediately. I went back to the apartment and got my cards; I successfully used one to pay for a second dryer, but it was declined when I came to the third. Luckily I was able to use my second card to pay for the third dryer, and also luckily, we didn't need to do any more laundry after that. However, we're puzzled about why this should have happened, as daughter says it's never happened to her. My first thought was that it might have been because S didn't notify her bank that she would be travelling in California, but she has been using the card all along to buy groceries with no problems and I *did* set a travel notice for my cards so why should one of mine have been declined?

(no subject)

Jul. 13th, 2017 07:07 am
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
As always, we discover again that it's a small world. Yesterday evening when we were coming back to the motel on the bus, an older man (around our age) had transferred from a train to our bus to get to his hotel and was asking people for some directions/help in knowing when to get off the bus. We recognised his accent as English and asked him if he was English. I told him I was Australian and he said oh, he'd lived in Australia for five years, in Perth, back in the 1970s, and in fact, his children were born there.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 05:24 pm
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
In other news: Eden learnt to crawl today, and Violet discovered she can undress herself. Daughter's life will never be the same again.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 05:06 pm
maju: Clean my kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] maju
Daughter's big exam is tomorrow so we won't be doing so much cooking and cleaning for the family after this. Today we came over around 2 pm to do some washing and prepare a "dump" meal that daughter can put into the slow cooker first thing tomorrow morning, then we will come over later to check on it. We had to bring tomorrow's supplies today because daughter needs her car tomorrow to get to her exam so we will be going back to our motel by bus tonight. We are planning to walk all the way over here tomorrow; the distance works out to be about half a mile further than the total we've been walking on our usual morning loop, so no problem as long as we start out at or before 8 so we can be here before it gets too warm.

We are probably going into San Francisco on Friday to meet up with S's two cousins who live over in Oakland. I've been working out Caltrain schedules and we've found the closest station to our motel - it's about a 15 minute walk, and the train takes about an hour to get all the way downtown.
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