Funny, I had assumed no one would be interested in this one. Should have known better.

contains talk of negative body image, weight and fitness )

Is this weird to post about? It feels weird to post about in a mainly fannish/media space. And this is only the summary version of things.

I'd better do it before I think twice. Or ten times, heh.

Orthodoxy in Oxford

  • Oct. 22nd, 2017 at 8:55 AM
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.

Poem: “Unsheathe”

  • Oct. 20th, 2017 at 5:45 PM
take your hands out of your pockets
touch the world
let your edges tingle
awake
primed to be

_
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Current poll leader: What I have been up to

  • Oct. 18th, 2017 at 8:20 PM
Hi, friends. Thanks for voting in the poll! Indecisiveness combined with a general suspicion that everything I say and write these days is stupid banal can lead to extra-long periods of not posting.

I have been all right. Going to the gym 4+ days a week is not my natural inclination, and I still hurt in many places, but it is clear the activity is keeping my mood afloat, helping me sleep better and, yes, building strength and stamina. I took tonight off to browse the local library book sale -- $2 for Neil Clarke's Best Science Fiction of the Year vol. 1 and Whale Rider on DVD, yay -- and write a post.

My sister came to visit over Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day weekend. (Wow, it looks even worse to put those side by side than to use one alone. Wish we could just say Indigenous Peoples Day now, but it hasn't permeated the culture yet.) We went to a book event featuring chef Jacques Pépin, daughter Claudine and granddaughter Shorey. Having grown up watching Pépin, Julia Child and the Frugal Gourmet on PBS, it was a real treat -- especially since he came out twenty minutes early, plastic cup of wine in hand, to do photo ops with anyone who wanted.

The discussion itself was quite funny. Claudine, the moderator, got teased by her dad, but she dished it right back. "Never work with family," she quipped at one point. They told stories about things like how PBS timed its filmings so if Claudine wasn't a fast enough learner at rolling out dough or whatever, Jacques would elbow her out of the way and do it himself. Whereas when he partnered with Julia Child, she just told the film crew, "We're going to make this dish and we'll tell you when we're done," meaning some poor editor had to trim 110 minutes down to 20-something. Nor did they work from recipes, so airings were delayed because the producers had to reverse engineer them.

We also went to the county fair in the rain, figuring the crowds would thin out. Incorrect! Nonetheless, we enjoyed many animals, vegetables and minerals crafts. A pair of goats tried to eat our plastic ponchos, and once again the rabbit and cavy tent drove me to look into how feasible it would be to get a couple of guinea pigs to cuddle at home. (Space, climate control and frequency of cage cleaning & feeding are the main concerns, i.e. I could not be away for more than about a day without arranging for care. And I don't know if I trust my ability to maintain the energy levels to do what's needed. This was easier growing up when we had four family members to share tasks.) LOOK AT ITS LITTLE TRIBBLE TUFTS.

Work has been work-y. We were urged to apply for some awards in our field, which took up most of the last three days. I've won a few in this job, so I'm a bit hopeful. Otherwise just trying to keep my head down and enjoy the aspects of this career that I enjoy while our office's overall stress rises and morale dips. Pretty sure [coworker] is about to quit.

Good news is we still get financial support for professional development. Next week I'm flying to San Francisco for a conference. If any of you have food recommendations in the Union Square/SoMa area, especially for breakfast and lunch, share away. I'm already set on returning to a couple of takeout places in Chinatown for tasty tasty dim sum. Still dreaming of the shrimp and leek dumplings from my first visit there a year and a half ago.

A post about posting

  • Oct. 18th, 2017 at 1:23 PM
As anticipated, gym requirements, travel and guest hosting have eaten into the (already diminished) time and energies that would normally go into writing more DW/LJ posts. But I've got some long plane trips coming up and am optimistic about contributing more.

Would you like to help me prioritize topics?

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 42


You should post about:

View Answers

Recent read: All Systems Red - Martha Wells
16 (38.1%)

Recent read: Provenance - Ann Leckie
17 (40.5%)

Recent read: Stories of Your Life - Ted Chiang
14 (33.3%)

Recent read: Mash Up - ed. Gardner Dozois
4 (9.5%)

Recent read: From a Certain POV (Star Wars stories)
12 (28.6%)

TV: The Good Place
20 (47.6%)

TV: Star Trek: Discovery
18 (42.9%)

Vid notes for "When I Go"
13 (31.0%)

What I've been up to
26 (61.9%)

Thoughts on personal training and touch
19 (45.2%)

Thoughts on body image
21 (50.0%)



Or something else that you are welcome to suggest in comments. :)

ETA: Whoops, forgot "Movies: Blade Runner 2049." ETA 2: and Festivids. Note to self.

All this beauty passing by me.

  • Oct. 15th, 2017 at 9:18 PM
It's not that I didn't think there were any photos of me on Facebook so much that - okay, I need to back up a bit. Last week - no, more than that. This is a big thing that only tangentially relates to me, so let me just start off with the biggest piece of news.

My younger brother's going to be on television.

Starting on Wednesday, on Fusion TV at 8 PM, Car vs. America is going live with my younger brother as one of the co-hosts. He's the taller one. This has been in production for months now, with a backstory that reads like a classic British sitcom, what with the website where he works getting sold and bought with the new owners wanting to recruit TV talent from outside the company and then looking within the existing employment pool and a whole roundabout of their TV show pitch working its way to be pitched right back to them almost exactly the same. He's given me behind the scenes stories of fights with producers I don't care to recount and every so often he stumbles back to New York City for a few days before heading back out to Pennsylvania for a story on a 25-year wait on imports or a drive from LA to Seattle following the most amusing route possible.

And this Wednesday, it goes on TV.

Last Tuesday, I saw the first episode. I saw it at the premiere party at the downtown office where he goes on the days he goes into an office. It was a fun half-hour of TV, lots of laughs, and yes, it's basically my younger brother up there. The party was definitely a party, with people hanging around and chatting and having fun with drinks and snacks and toys, and I was the first person there to figure out how to make the RC cars - "analog drones," I joked - go backwards. Someone was going around taking pictures, from informal snaps to serious smiles.

I'm in three of them. Six, seven, and nine, the one in the striped high-low dress. Front and center, even, in seven. In the ninth one I'm way on the upper left corner, but that's me up there. I deactivated my account years ago and didn't know until I found out almost by accident, when I heard my father tell someone else about the dress I wore. So I could've gone on for ages not knowing instead of just being taken by surprise a few days after the fact.

(It's dark rum and pineapple juice on the rocks, if you're wondering, and it wasn't the only reason I was smiling.)

It was a deeply enjoyable party, even if twice someone first gave my older brother a handshake - he's in a few, most clearly in the second-to-last where he's holding up a promotional T-shirt - and then moved to give me a hug. People I'd never met or even heard of, moving in for a hug. I didn't hug back, just stayed standing still, and then put out my hand for a shake. If they'd hugged my brother first, I'd have hugged back, since that would've been a sign of how things were done. But, as they didn't, I myself didn't reciprocate.

Still, even for that happening twice, I had fun. I got a t-shirt and some banana pudding and a couple of drinks, and it turns out, there's new pictures of me on Facebook.

And my younger brother's going to be on TV in a few days. Which is, I gotta say, pretty darn cool of him.

And I think, in that one picture, that's a pretty good smile.

Tooting No Award's horn

  • Oct. 15th, 2017 at 9:02 AM
The proper grown-up blog I share with [personal profile] yiduiqie has been linked from some amazing places in the last month, and I just want to document it for posterity and ego boosting:
  • The New Yorker linked to our 2015 post about the sinister subtext of Thomas the Tank Engine. Yes, that New Yorker. Ain't no thang. *hairflip*
  • (That article was then shared at BoingBoing, where the comments were filled with nerds taking our silly post very seriously indeed.)
  • BookRiot's crime fiction podcast discussed our post on why we're not supporting the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries film Kickstarter, and our earlier post (linked in our recent one) about the racism in the books and TV series, and how it's something that non-Australians seem to overlook.
  • The podcast included a wonderful bit where the hosts were like, "Well, these Australian ladies say the books are problematic, but we wanted to make up our own mind, so we read one each." But they chose the books at random, and had the misfortune to end up with Blood and Circuses, The One With The Infamous Clown Sex. (If you watched the series -- which I really love, when it's not being incredibly racist -- you should take a moment to appreciate the lack of clown sex. Really.) Anyway, they concluded that, yes, the books are very bad in terms of exotifying and othering people of non-Anglo backgrounds, but they're also just not well-written and ... bad. Which is fair. 
  • And The Monthly, an Australian publication whose essays and articles appeal to flat white-sipping inner-city lefties (so, me), linked to our first Discovery post in an article about angry, racist nerds complaining that Trek is "suddenly" appealing to an "SJW" agenda.
  • (I am extremely proud to get the word "feelpinions" into The Monthly, BUT I also wonder if my use isn't a bit defensive, ie, no one can accuse me of being emotional, irrational or otherwise a silly lady fan if I say it first. Am I putting myself at a disadvantage by emphasising that my posts are reactions, not reviews, and that my opinions derive from my emotions? On the other hand, what is television for but to elicit an emotional reaction?)
Finally, here is this week's Discovery post, which I almost didn't share because it wasn't wholly positive and ... IDK, I guess I've become protective of this ridiculous show, and don't want to play into the narrative of it being The Worst. On the other hand, it made some Bad Choices this week, along with some better ones. (And I note that the dude reviewers who have decried it as being The Worst really liked this episode, which only reassures me that I'm on the right track.)

Assess the essence of the mess.

  • Oct. 12th, 2017 at 5:09 PM
If it all goes well, I'll have next Tuesday and Thursday completely free of any professional obligations. Anyone want to go out to lunch or take in a long museum afternoon?

As it is, unless I talk myself out of it, tomorrow I may well go shoe shopping. It's not that I need anything so much as I saw these were on sale at an almost affordable price. I've wanted new work shoes for a while now, even though I don't need any - these or these and even these have all caught my eye recently - but it's getting into boot weather, and those look ridiculously fun. So. Tomorrow I'll see if the Manhattan Fluevog store has them, and if not, check what size I need to buy online. Provided I don't talk myself out of it beforehand.

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