aaaaaaaah ;________________;

Oct. 2nd, 2014 12:38 am
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
thank you all so, so much; I cannot even; I-- thank you. Thank you. Poems & individual thanks to come (though I am struggling to match up some of your names-as-reported-to-me with names-I-know-you-as).

I do not the words, at least not right now. <333

FIC: One Day I'll Come Back

Oct. 1st, 2014 11:49 pm
such_heights: clara oswald walking towards the tardis (who: clara [tardis])
[personal profile] such_heights
One Day I'll Come Back
Doctor Who ; Twelve, Clara, Ian, Barbara ; no content notes ; 1000 words
“Did you think you could just waltz in and out of our school with one of our teachers and we wouldn’t know?”

Episode coda to 8x06, The Caretaker. Had to be done!

Read at the AO3

'You haven't changed a bit.' )
gerald_duck: (duck and computer)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I wrote that my coppy of PTerry's new book was "presumably currently somewhere in the bowels of Royal Mail".

Scratch that.

It is presumably currently sitting in the previous office of my former employer.

Amazon may peddle Prime so much people contemplate buying it just so they don't have to keep clicking "no", but by and large they have this e-commerce thing licked. Their ordering process is simple, reliable and painless.

So… why, when I pre-order a book in April 2013 which is released in September 2014, and I asked for delivery to an address I've deleted from my Amazon address book in the intervening 17 months, does it not realise I might want it sent somewhere different? Isn't the obvious time to ask when I delete the address?

To add insult to injury, I was killing a bit of time this afternoon in Cambridge. Did I think to make the trek to darkest Cherry Hinton and retrieve it? I did not. Did I only have the spare time because two separate things I'd intended to do then fell through? I did. Did I then finish that up with an evening which was somewhat dispiriting for reasons it would — in the words of Dirk Gently — be otiose to rehearse? I did.

I may not have my book, but at least I have a chocolate-sponge cranberry jaffa cake that's almost as good as I'd hoped. Go me.
gerald_duck: (choccyduck)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
The Meaning of Liff ought to contain a word for something that, though extremely good, is nonetheless not quite as good as it ought to be.

(And here things go meta, because the lack of such a word means there's also no word to describe The Meaning Of Liff itself in this respect. Or my current mood.)

One such thing is Bahlsen Messino Dark Temptation. It ought to be four kinds of amazing:
  • It's a Jaffa Cake
  • …only made by Bahlsen
  • …and with chocolate sponge
  • …and with cranberry instead of orange.
Alas, it is only 3.8 kinds of amazing. 3.9, tops.

Ah well.
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
[personal profile] kaberett
I have just received a quotation of £500 for repairs to and return shipping of one of my wheels. This is particularly frustrating because the problem started when I was wheeling on a level, even indoor surface (rather than being obviously related to any of the kerb-hopping I do), and consequently is being treated as a mechanical/electrical fault not covered by my insurance. Plus the wretched thing is out of warranty.

This is something I can do out of my savings, with a great deal of stress and a trip to Cambridge and eroding my buffer. Or it's a term's worth of teaching, but I'm not certain I'm going to even get teaching (pay rates increased by a whole 30p/hr, which means that the number of graduate demonstrators has been dramatically reduced, with undergrad TAs taking up some but not all of the slack). And, yeah, I feel pretty dreadful asking for help given that I could cover it, but--

-- if you like my art & essays, and only if you have anything to spare without making things harder for yourself, I would be enormously grateful if you could chuck some money my way. My paypal is; if you don't like Paypal (entirely understandable!) I can also provide my details for bank transfer (or, you know, work something else out). Currently at approximately £500 - thank you so, so much <3

Regardless of whether you want or are able to chip in on this (really, I mean it <3), comments are open for prompts for poems. They'll likely be shortish and a kissing cousin to flash fiction, but this is true of most of the stuff I write, so.

eta aaaaaaaaaaaah ;____; <333


Sep. 30th, 2014 12:49 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I've just agreed with my head of department that I can work from home one day a week. The commute (90 minutes each way) is really the only downside to my current contract, so hoorah for sensible managers :)


Sep. 30th, 2014 09:19 am
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
[personal profile] kaberett
Today is a departmental away day, at which I would actually like to be.

Last night was insomnia.

This morning it became rapidly apparent that I was moving slowly enough that I'd be late unless I didn't take the wheelchair, but that that would mean using the provided seating all day which in my current state would wreck me even worse for the rest of the week.

It was also pretty clear that I wasn't up to getting the chair out of the house by myself, and definitely not up to negotiating the underground or buses with it.

So I am still in bed, feeling guilty and also angry at my limitations.

todo )

tada )

Religion sucks

Sep. 30th, 2014 01:19 am
gerald_duck: (unimpressed)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I've written here about the perils of religious doctrine othering various groups. I've talked about M. Scott Peck's take on the important differences between being in love, purporting to love, aspiring to love and actually loving. I've touched upon the difficulty of placing the Bible in its proper context and understanding it properly.

In the past year I've spent a lot of time talking to people who are in favour of wifely submission, perceive having lots of children as a duty, and so on. I've tried to explain the trouble their attitudes lead to.

This is the trouble their attitudes lead to.

The whole sorry tale is pretty distressing.

What struck me as most relevant to my own life was the paragraph: "The reason you can find Quiverfull families in nearly every type of Christian congregation is because Quiverfull beliefs are not actually a radical departure from traditional Christian teachings regarding marriage and family. It is my contention that Quiverfull IS regular Christianity writ large … lived out to its logical conclusion."

Now, I don't feel that's absolutely true. It certainly seems to be Fundamentalist Christianity writ large, and that's the only kind large parts of America come into contact with. And her selection of scriptural passages certainly strikes a chord — I've encountered many of them being used in much the same way, albeit not to quite so disastrous effect. If it's not regular Christianity, it's not especially irregular either.

Perhaps the most dangerous fallacy, the one underlying many of the others exhibited in that article, is the "we're Christians so we're good" mindset. Not so. Religion can provide the insight, the impetus and the courage to make changes for the better, but it's not magical. The insights, impetus and courage must be sought and striven for, and then comes the work of making the change itself.

[poem] Still

Sep. 29th, 2014 11:37 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
I turn to you. When
my voice falls silent, when
I find I cannot speak, when
my tiredness stretches taut
and every sliver of awareness
hums distantly with pain, monotone and dull:
still, I turn to you.

You absent yourself from any map
I'd care to draw - and in so doing
create for me this space,
let radiate a sense
that nonetheless there irgendwo exists
a solitary wellspring, pouring quiet
out onto my landscape of debris.
Is it a kindness that this
patient sort of strength
rubs grit into my wounds and smooths
them out? Perhaps. I live in hope -
should I freeze over - I will find
my feet (at last) and teach myself to skate;
to dance unmoving with reflections of my skies.

for J.J.

Introductions meme is up to date!

Sep. 29th, 2014 10:02 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
Yep (189 comments!). But I'm afraid I'm closing it to new requests for introductions, because it has been nearly a month and I'm still being super slow about writing them. HOWEVER, I am intending to run a love meme in November, so more chances for nice things then. ♥
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
The other weekend I was killing time at KGX/St Pancras with D; our wanderings took us through an expensive chocolate shop, several book shops, and a branch of Jo Malone, where I picked up four sample strips and tried two perfumes on the skin.
  • Lime, Basil & Mandarin was Your Citrus Friend in ways that weren't sufficiently exciting to me for me to want to try it on the skin. (I have many citrus friends.)
  • Earl Grey & Cucumber was fascinating, in a very... cucumberish sort of a way. This is something I am contemplating trying on the skin next time I hang around, precisely because it's not a flavour combination I'd really considered before and... yeah. Wow, etc. Out of cowardice that this would go weird on me, it's again not something I actually tried. (Well, that and I was running out of skin by this point.)
  • Blackberry & Bay is one I tried on. Sadly it wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped and went through a prolonged bubble-bath stage in dry-down; it ends up somewhere in the vicinity of BPAL's Glasgow, of which I already own a bottle, so I definitely won't be acquiring any of that.
  • Wood, Sage & Sea Salt I adored. Ended up mostly as slightly tangy woods, but I was completely sold - it is a very "me" sort of scent. Which means I've got a lot that's quite like it and I therefore need to think very carefully before considering an actual purchase, and on the other hand I'm fairly sure the thing I was wanting to wear yesterday was, er, this, so... heh.

I'm also finally getting around to my latest BPALs (Metamorphoses and a Neil Gaiman decant circle).
  • Red-Spotted Purple wants to be your overenthusiastic citrus-scented cleaning-product friend. It is described as "white thyme, yuzu fruit, hinoki wood, blue cedar, white carnation, plum rind, white mandarin, and lime-tinted white musk." On wet, it is yuzu fruit all over, and then the thyme starts coming through. I tend to amp BPAL's white musk and indeed that shows up pretty early in drydown (within 5 minutes or so), but the yuzu is holding its own here in a way that impresses me. On me it is sharper and less juicy-mandarin than it is in the bottle: it ends up at your overenthusiastic citrus-scented cleaning-product friend that wants to cut people on your behalf. I am glad I got a half-bottle. ;)
  • The Other Hot Chocolate I wore a few days ago; "even though she knew she would like it she could not bring herself to taste the hot chocolate." It is rich and smooth and velvety and exactly what I wanted. Comforting in a slightly sinister way, though the lurking sense of threat might just be the name.

Don't quite the energy to tackle the rest of them (I've also got Lacus Solitudinis and Goatweed Leafwing from Metamorphosis; The Cat from NG; and sniffies of prototypes of two iterations of Butterscotch Balls & Black Beetles; two iterations of Silas; The Other Hot Chocolate; and The Beldam. If I'm feeling really competent, I'll write up comparisons of TOHCs and BB&BBs...)
gerald_duck: (devil duck)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
People seem very reluctant to talk about Satan. Even people who talk about God don't talk much about Satan.

Helped by People of the Lie, I've been thinking about Satan. And I've remembered something.

While recording the Christmas Special for the second series of QI there was an exchange between Alan and Stephen. It wasn't broadcast, but it ended up in the outtakes. There's a transcript here and video here.

The section I was actually reminded of was:

Alan: Why do people believe it?!
Stephen: Because they are foolish and ignorant and scared.

Provocative stuff to a theist, of course! Yet many a true word is spoken in jest, still more in antipathy.

We are foolish and ignorant and scared. All of us. We do stupid things. There are things we don't know. And we're scared.

The mistake is thinking we're scared of God. Some people are, of course, but the temptation is to think of the phrase "God-fearing" and that's not what "God-fearing" means. We shouldn't be scared of God.

We should be scared of Satan. Satan is scary.

This is a new realisation for me. A week ago, I'd have shrugged and said I was entirely agnostic about the issue of Satan. Now, as well as recognising that God exists, in the sense that prayer works, I also recognise that we are constantly tempted into all sorts of sins, wrongs, misdemeanours, lazinesses, deceits, and self-delusions and we may as well give that phenomenon a label.

In particular, elevating the phenomenon in our mind's eye to the level of some supernatural malign force that is greater than any of us have strength to withstand gives an important insight into just how powerful and subtle Satan can be.

I used to think that I could steer clear of most of the common kinds of mischief and wrongdoing through my superior intellect and my superior capacity for introspection. I was wrong. Anybody, anybody can get caught out. There is no such thing as clever enough not to fall for Satan's snares. To think that is the essence of the deadly sin of pride, and I have been prideful.

This is the flip-side of the power of prayer. Through prayer, God has several times revealed to me things I was doing deeply wrong that I could never have worked out for myself. Either you turn to God and see these things or you do not and you remain oblivious.

There is a tendency in our society for many people, even if they don't acknowledge God, to be wary and respectful in talking about Him. There's a desire not to cause offence to theists. There is no such tendency in relation to Satan. I can make a movie in which Satan is depicted as being caught in an abusive gay relationship with Saddam Hussein and people will guffaw mightily. (Or, of course, object to some of the… other parts of the film.) I can use a devil duck as a userpic, create an operating system where background processes are called daemons. Let "devilish" pass into the watered-down vernacular without batting an eyelid.

As a result, people don't take Satan seriously. Which is, of course, part of the subtlety of the whole situation.

I know a lot of people reading this will now be boggling and thinking I'm straying into some esoteric religious extremism. I'm not.

If you prefer, talk about the conscious and subconsious mind: how, no matter how careful we are, how self-possessed, how disciplined, how mindful, the subconscious can always sneak something past us. How we often need other people to point out to us when we're screwing up. How it sometimes takes psychotherapy, or special contemplative processes, or at the very least a deep and incisive honesty to see who we really are and what we're really doing, shorn of any artifice.

If you prefer, worry about the effect this has on your conscience, or how the subconscious mind can torment the conscious once such thinking has a hold.

If you prefer, leave Satan and sin and God and judgment out of the picture entirely. If they're genuinely labels that are unhelpful to you, set them aside.

But please don't treat them as labelling an imaginary phenomenon.


Sep. 29th, 2014 06:07 pm
kaberett: Lin Beifong crying (lin-tear)
[personal profile] kaberett
Today is not a happy day brainwise.

tada )

[picspam] Kew!

Sep. 28th, 2014 10:34 pm
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
[personal profile] kaberett
Today houseguests & I bimbled off to Kew, which is all of 20 minutes away on the tube (plus some deeply irritating faff to do with crossing the tracks - no sensible step-free route immediately apparent, so I will examine harder for next time). CONSEQUENTLY I have bought myself a membership to Kew, so like, if you are ever in this neck of the woods and feel like having me drag you around some botanical gardens and going "LOOK THE PLANTS ARE MY FRIENDS"... :-)

As you may or may not recall, back in July I was very confused about trees. Well, I found a candidate:

See, what Q. ellipsoidalis looks like is this:

More! )

Not pictured: the treetop walk is actually accessible, in that it has a lift up to it! It contains truly baffling sculptural poetry and to my intense irritation does not label the trees you can see at useful height. The autumn crocuses are out in force and are fantastic; the dahlias likewise; the sweet chestnuts are doing their thing, and the gingko are turning.

I thought the weather was pretty much perfect, and all in all am looking forward to spending lots more time there. :-)

I didn't know which way to turn

Sep. 27th, 2014 08:30 pm
gerald_duck: (frontal)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I intend to post about choice and free will.

To understate somewhat, I'm not the first to have written on the subject. Before I attempt to say something of my own, however, I'd like to quote five fairly long passages in their entirety.

Notes from Underground — Fyodor Dostoevsky )
Carpe Jugulam — Terry Pratchett )
Evangelii Gaudium — Pope Francis )
Hostage to the Devil — Malachi Martin )
Toward a Psychology of Evil — M. Scott Peck )

The quick and the dead

Sep. 27th, 2014 08:11 pm
gerald_duck: (Oh really?)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
Proverbially, things sometimes cut one to the quick. I thought Shakespeare coined the phrase, but Google isn't confirming this. In any case, I've known the expression for decades.

I knew that the "quick" in that context was part of the fingernail. I'd always assumed it was some bit down by the root of the nail. But no: it turns out to be the hyponychium, the margin along which the nail stops having the skin of the nail bed below it, where the nail goes from fleshtone to grey.

So now I'm wondering what on earth is so bad about being cut to the quick? Cutting fingernails is a boring chore so, when I do, it turns out I voluntarily cut them to the quick anyway!

Gaiman on Pratchett

Sep. 27th, 2014 07:43 pm
gerald_duck: (sunset)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
A Slip of the Keyboard, Terry Pratchett's compilation of non-fiction writings, has just been released. My copy is presumably currently somewhere in the bowels of Royal Mail.

It has a foreword by Neil Gaiman. Even by Neil's high standards it's beautiful. The Guardian has published an abridged version, which for me loses a bit of pace and pathos. If you're going to read the "proper" version, my advice would be to skip the abridged one, but better the abridged version than nothing.

Last month, I was at the Discworld Convention. Terry Pratchett, sadly, is now too ill and couldn't make it, but his assistant Rob Wilkins did. Rob's rôle has expanded considerably as Terry's illness has advanced, so fans know him well from previous conventions — both Vimes's amanuensis Willikins and Rob Anybody Feegle are based on him.

On the Friday evening, Rob read out Neil's foreword to a humbled, awestruck silence. So many people were so affected by it that, as an unscheduled change, on the Saturday he read it to us again. Only the second time, he could barely finish, so overcome was he by Neil's wonderful words.

He had, he explained to us, read it before. And loved it. And had somehow failed to find the words of his own to explain to Neil how much it meant to him. In front of all of us he resolved he was going to try to put that right.

I hope he did. And I hope he also conveyed the admiration and thanks of everyone else there present. If I ever meet Neil again, I'll certainly try to make it the first thing I say to him.