Jun. 24th, 2017

  • 5:08 PM
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
Our adventures with Star Wars: The Clone Wars continue! Though, alas, those of many of our clone buddies do not.

Episodes 11-20 of Season 1 under the cut )

Jun. 21st, 2017

  • 7:36 PM
skygiants: Drosselmeyer's old pages from Princess Tutu, with text 'rocks fall, everyone dies, the end' (endings are heartless)
I recently reread Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death. It remains an onslaught of a book, although being somewhat braced for the barrage of ANGER INJUSTICE GENOCIDE GONNA DESTROY A WHOLE CITY NOW does allow a little more time to, uh, stop and appreciate the occasional non-fraught thing that happens along the way? Onyesonwu makes friends with a camel at one point! That's nice!

(...for the record, my review from 2010 seems to indicate that at the time I understood and appreciated what happened at the end. Well, good job, past self, because my present self has no idea. Spoilers ))

Anyway! Rereading Who Fears Death got me thinking about the kind of books that are constructed around an ancient lore or a knowledge of the world that turns out to be fundamentally wrong, cultures constructed around poisoned lies. The Fifth Season is the other immediate example that springs to mind of a book like this -- not that there aren't other parallels between The Fifth Season and Who Fears Death. It seems to me that I ought to be able to think of more, but since I can't I'm sure you guys can.

When I mentioned this to [personal profile] genarti, she immediately said "YA dystopia! Fallout!" and that's true, a lot of dystopias are built around a Fundamentally Flawed Premise that has been imposed upon the innocent population by a dictatorial government. Those feel a little different to me, though, maybe just because that sort of dystopia very clearly grows out of our own world. We know from the beginning how to judge truth and lies, we're WAY AHEAD of our naive heroine who believes the color blue is evil because the government put an inexplicable ban on it. But Who Fears Death, while it may be set in our future, is in a future so distant from our own that there's no particular tracing back from it, and The Fifth Season is another world altogether, and we don't have any home court advantage over the protagonists as they figure out where the lies are except a belief that something that poisonous has to be wrong; maybe that's the difference.
newredshoes: Art by <user name="kellyvivanco" site="tumblr.com"> (<3 | girl with her hair in knots)
Do you ever re-read something you wrote ages ago and just -- want it back? want to be doing more? I mean, obviously I feel this a lot, but today I saw that the [livejournal.com profile] thisengland Shakespeare Histories Ficathon is starting up soon for its 10th year, and then I became overwhelmed with Percys feelings, and then I reread my sole contribution to the challenge, "A Mouth-Filling Oath," which takes place on the docks of 1950s London and everyone (but Hal, of course) is working class. I so love that narrative voice I found, even if I'm fairly certain it bears no resemblance to any English spoken every day. Strong narrative voices make writing so much easier, incredibly so, and I want to seize or discover one for other projects, but I never really set aside the time to try, which frustrates me about myself. There also seems to be a popular idea going around now that you shouldn't talk about your projects or you'll just talk them to death, and I get that, but it seems at odds with having a writing community, in some ways?

So yeah, that's a thing I've got to push myself on more. (Meanwhile, I'm going to not spend my time rolling around in old [personal profile] valiantrebel logs. Not for long, anyway.) The notes came back from my WW/WWI story and THEY ARE GOOD AND VERY MINIMAL, WHAT, so I need to get those turned around and also work on my second story and also work on a third and fourth story for the month. There's been this gigantic weird storm this afternoon, and right now the sunset is doing weird things with the light, but I see a full rainbow outside my window with gray clouds and peach light lighting up all the windows and bricks. The storm is also probably responsible for the hard nap I took earlier, with, again, extremely vivid dreams (partly about being some kind of shapeshifter with the ability to stop something VERY BAD from happening, but being kept from it somehow; partly about being back in Athens with both parents at a huge gala event for us, and I was being given snakes and I was delighted). I rewatched the S1 finale of The Magicians, which I hadn't seen in quite some time, and I had forgotten many things, chief among them how fucking hot Eliot Waugh's everything is. Goddammit, Hale Appleman, tall, beaky, elegant Jews who can do a courtly bow past their own knees is MY SEXUALITY, APPARENTLY. I just spent like 20 minutes trying to find a GIF on Tumblr and now I'm like, this shit is not going to get me back on Tumblr. Okay. Anyway. Phew. Hello.

ETA WAIT, I FOUND THE MOMENT.

FMK: Fantasy by Women

  • Jun. 19th, 2017 at 1:57 PM
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
Please feel free to comment! I have not read anything by any of these writers but Johnson.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 60


The Sword of Winter, by Marta Randall. In the cold and dangerous land of Cherek, emerging from an era of magic and confronted by technological advancements, Lord Gambin of Jentesi lies dying and chaos reigns.

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Fling
20 (55.6%)

Marry
6 (16.7%)

Kill
10 (27.8%)

A Rumor of Gems, by Ellen Steiber. Enter the port city of Arcato: an old and magical town set somewhere in our modern world, a town where gemstones have begun to mysteriously appear . . . gemstones whose mystical powers aren't mere myth or legend but frighteningly real, casting their spells for good and ill.

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Fling
15 (40.5%)

Marry
7 (18.9%)

Kill
15 (40.5%)

Travel Light, by Naomi Mitchison. The story of Halla, a girl born to a king but cast out onto the hills to die. She lives among bears; she lives among dragons. But the time of dragons is passing, and Odin All-Father offers Halla a choice: Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?

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Fling
21 (40.4%)

Marry
24 (46.2%)

Kill
7 (13.5%)

Nemesis, by Louise Cooper. Princess Anghara had no place in the Forbidden Tower, and no business tampering with its secrets. But she did, and now the seven demons are loose and her world is cursed, prey to the wrath of the Earth Goddess.

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Fling
16 (40.0%)

Marry
6 (15.0%)

Kill
18 (45.0%)

Racing the Dark, by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch.

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Fling
34 (73.9%)

Marry
11 (23.9%)

Kill
1 (2.2%)

My Soul to Keep, by Tananarive Due. When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami.

View Answers

Fling
23 (53.5%)

Marry
10 (23.3%)

Kill
10 (23.3%)

rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
I’m afraid I did not like this at all. In fact, it was the first FMK book that I didn’t finish—I ditched it at about the halfway mark. And it’s a very short book, too: 133 pages.

Gabriel is a mason’s apprentice in medieval England. The mason is cruel, so when a troupe of traveling Mystery players comes to town, Gabriel is delighted to briefly escape his wretched life by watching the play. Then, when the mason sadistically tries to chop off his giant mop of beautiful blonde curls that Gabriel’s lost mother told him to never cut, Gabriel flees and is taken in by the players, who whisk him away and cast him as an angel.

Gabriel assumes the man playing God is wonderful and the man playing Lucifer is terrible. But no! Garvey, who plays God, uses Gabriel to create fake, exploitative “healing” miracles which he convinces Gabriel are real. Lucie (Lucifer) is unhappy about this, but that only makes Gabriel think he must be bad.

I have no idea how old Gabriel was supposed to be. At the beginning I assumed he was around twelve, but later I decided he must be closer to ten because he was so stupid and naïve. Then he got even stupider and I wondered if he could possibly be seven or eight, or if that was way too young to be an apprentice mason. Not that young children are stupid, but the less you know about the world, the more likely you are to take everything at 100% face value, as Gabriel does.

In a totally unsurprising turn of events, Gabriel is eventually shocked to learn that people are different from the roles they play. This is exactly as anvillicious as it sounds. And while I often love books in which the reader knows more than the characters, I like it when the reason is that the characters are not privy to information or context that the reader knows, not because the characters are too stupid to pick up on incredibly obvious stuff. I don’t mean to call characters with cognitive disabilities stupid, as “intellectually disabled character fails to understand what’s going on” is a well-populated subgenre. (Which I also dislike.) I’m referring to non-disabled characters who are oblivious because they just are.

It's not that I think a child has to be stupid to be tricked by adults. Even a very bright child (or adult) could be fooled into thinking they're a miracle-worker by a clever con man. It's that the way it's written, from Gabriel's POV, makes him seem like a total idiot.

However, that’s not why I gave up on the book. The reason was the incredibly unpleasant emotional atmosphere: Gabriel smugly stupid, Garvey and the mason smugly awful, Lucie and his daughter sadly suffering (with a side of smugness, because they know the real deal.) I disliked the lot of them and did not want to be around any of them. Which is too bad, because I liked the backdrop of medieval Mystery players a lot.

The prose was good, but not good enough to make me keep reading. However, it won the Whitbread award, so my opinion may be very much in the minority.

A Little Lower Than the Angels

Jun. 19th, 2017

  • 9:12 AM
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
I knew I probably should have written up A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet before I read the sequel, because I loved A Closed and Common Orbit SO MUCH that now there is no way I can do justice to the first book.

I mean, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is certainly a lot of fun! It feels a bit more like a season of television than a novel -- very much out of that genre of beloved, relatively lighthearted crew-is-family space TV, full of aliens and semi-incidental interstellar politics, with approximately one episode dedicated to each crew member's interesting alien culture or surprise dramatic backstory as well as episodes where Everyone Just Goes On A Shopping Trip. There is a Noble Captain, a Friendly Polyamorous Lizard Alien Second-in-Command, an Earnest Financial Assistant, a Manic Mechanic, a Caring Chef Who Feeds Other Species To Compensate For The Embarrassing Genocidal Tendencies Of His Own -- ok, some of the archetypes are more archetypal than others. In the dramatic season finale, our plucky band of space truckers reaches their long-haul destination at last and becomes involved in a major diplomatic incident, the outcome of which is the one thing in the book that rubbed me slightly the wrong way ) Anyway, if you like this sort of thing, you will almost certainly like this particular thing.

I like this sort of thing all right but the things A Closed and Common Orbit is doing appeal to my id MUCH more. A Closed and Common Orbit focuses on two characters who appear relatively briefly in A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: Sidra, an AI who, due to compelling personal circumstances but counter to interstellar law, has been installed in a designed-to-be-instinguishable-from-human artificial body; and Pepper, the mechanic who has volunteered to take on responsibility for her.

The main present-day thread of the story involves Sidra's attempts to figure out whether she can comfortably inhabit a body that she was never designed to inhabit - not just whether she can live permanently as something like an independent intelligent biological life-form without giving herself away, but whether she wants to do so. The plot is mostly comprised of small slice-of-life events like Sidra Makes A New Friend or Sidra Considers Getting A Tattoo, all interwoven into a really compelling and thoughtful examination of artificial intelligence, self-determination, and free will.

The other half the book delves into Pepper's backstory as an artificially created human being, designed to be cheap disposable labor. As a child, "Jane 23" mostly-accidentally escapes the factory where she labors, and is subsequently raised by an abandoned ship's AI in a junkyard. The backstory plot does a couple of things: a.) serves as an excellent example of the always-compellingly-readable 'half-feral child must make home in dangerous environment, survives with ingenuity and a box of scraps' genre; b.) works in dialogue with Sidra's main plotline to complicate ideas of 'human' and 'artificial' and 'purpose' and 'free will'; c.) gives me FIVE MILLION FEELINGS ABOUT AI MOMS WHO LOVE YOU. Sometimes a family is an AI mom, her genetically engineered daughter, the daughter's boyfriend, their AI roommate, and the roommate's alien friend who honestly didn't even particularly want to be there that day! AND THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.

I need a good skateboarding tag.

  • Jun. 18th, 2017 at 10:28 PM
newredshoes: Woman in religious ecstasy, surrounded by art implements (<3 | patron saint)
So my friend H. and I had A Day in Manhattan, which was delightful. We didn't end up finding a skateboard, but we did luck out tremendously in the makeup department! The hits at Sephora were nothing weird or unexpected: I got a tub of the only moisturizer that doesn't seem to instantly clog up every pore on my face, plus a full-sized version of my favorite eyebrow gel stuff, and in a better color for me at that. We also discovered this new shop that does everything cruelty-free, all-natural &c, and after a day of talking about how neither of us could find the perfect '20s darkest red for people with warm undertones, holy shit did this place deliver! (It's called "Written in Blood" by Rituel De Fille, and everything is SO GLORIOUSLY WITCHY for that brand!) Credo Beauty, you were not terrifyingly expensive after all, and I am so yea mightily pleased.

The goal was to hit up three skate shops, but we only really made it to one, which was friendly but not really my style, while the second closed right as we got there (but it looked really douchey, so I'm not all that sad to miss it). There are two other shops in Manhattan that I want to hit up, one called Labor, which is on the Lower East Side (and thus a possibility before my small claims hearing on Tuesday?), and the other called Uncle Funky's, which I appreciate; it's in the West Village, almost to the Hudson River, not too far from the Stonewall Inn. Then there's KCDC in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), which could be helpful for meeting up with my friend in Greenpoint who has my nice phone charger and biking shades. So. I'm plotting, is what I'm saying.

What I should be doing is finishing up that article for Pacific Standard, which my editor expects... by tomorrow morning, more or less. Instead, I'm going to let time zones help me out a little and share some neat decks that I found this evening.

More skateboards, including one that might be pulling ahead, design-wise )

Skateboard aesthete

  • Jun. 17th, 2017 at 4:14 PM
newredshoes: (<3 | fancy)
I have an excellent new problem! I've definitely decided to keep taking the skateboarding lessons, and I now want my own board to practice on in between classes. (We learned how to flip the boards upright and hop onto them in the same motion! It's the precursor to learning ollies!) After class today, I did a tour of three shops near-ish to Prospect Park -- one in Park Slope, one in Gowanus and one in Crown Heights (which was also a florist and clothing store!). Naturally I got three pretty different answers from three pretty different dudes. One of them yelled at me for caring about what goes on the bottom of the deck, and I'd otherwise write his shop off, except somehow the board he was showing me was definitely the most beautiful-as-sports-construction one of all. Apparently there's no real online catalog you can depend on for any of the brands -- you just have to keep coming back to the skate shops and see what comes in.

Thing is, I... just don't love most of the designs? I don't care about pot, or late '80s/early '90s cartoon styles, or edgy altered candy wrappers. I feel like I want something either colorful or really nicely monochrome.

Wait, hang on, as I was trying to pick out examples, I discovered Skateboard Instagram and now I have a whole bunch of good tabs open. To Photobucket, to nab them!

So much nicer than my last photo post! )

So, okay, skateboards that please me aesthetically certainly do exist. Now to deal with my other big problem: this sourdough bread recipe, which I'm trying with two different flours, but both of which have come out so runny they're basically both batter. That was the same result for my first stab at this recipe, which came out delicious but more flatbread-like than anything. Any of you have a preferred sourdough recipe that begins with starter? I know it's supposed to be a wet dough, but I suspect this recipe would work better with a bread pan, which I do not have.

Tragic side note: I have, for the third year in a row, missed the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. In my defense, it was POURING rain from noon onward, and the thing started at 1, and I figured since I was already beyond soaking, I might as well do my skate shop tour instead. Not too sorry; riding your bike in the rain, especially through a deserted Prospect Park, with all its singing trees, is glorious every time.

Proof of hilarious wetness )

I'm not going to Canada

  • Jun. 15th, 2017 at 3:51 PM
thewickedlady: (Default)
I'm super sad to say this, but I'm deferring a year at UNB.

It is a combination of real worry about financials for the full academic year and visa issues. I found when I went up last week and talked with immigration, there was a high probability that they would only approve my visa for a single year. There was no way I could come up with the required financial support Canada requires to have your visa approved a second time while a student. With the loonie going up and down so much, I was also really worried I would not be able to take care of myself for the whole academic year just in case I couldn't find a job.

After talking it out with several friends, I'm going to go live with Aspen for a while and hopefully go again next fall after saving up some more money. It's not what I prefer, but it is the better answer at the end of the day.

I want to say thank you to everyone that has been so supportive of me as I've slowly freaked out though this whole process.

To everyone that gave to the fundraiser, I can't give money directly back to you due to the way YouCares works. HOWEVER, I have all the money in my savings account, so I can give that back without a problem. Please just let me know how you want me to send it to you, if you see this: my email is wickedtrue [at] gmail. I'll go through and pick out the emails the fundraiser gave me and email everyone to let them know as well what is going on.

Maybe today is the day I get a manicure.

  • Jun. 14th, 2017 at 12:05 PM
newredshoes: possum, "How embarrassing!" (<3 | how embarrassing!)
First things first, I've got a new Things I'm Verbing up: Indiana Man, Alabama Man and Florida Man. Come for the King Lear jokes, stay for the oral histories, the Pence dis and the way Wonder Woman failed at disability rep.

Closer to home, I am in a tight spot about my walls. This apartment has been shitty in lots of ways pretty much since the beginning. The walls have been particularly fun, though. For instance, in July 2015, I nearly lost my pin-up portrait from SebStanCon because thanks to a nail I'd hung the frame on puncturing the wall (as nails do), something inside the wall caused mold to develop on the back of the picture. When I wrote to the management company about it, my rep told me it must have been because my air conditioner had been off, despite the fact that I'd had problems with that wall before I even got an a/c unit.

This happened in two days. I was out, by the way, because I had found bedbugs. )

This morning, I heard a tremendous and long-lasting crash coming from my kitchen, which turned out to be my large wall clock falling to the ground and spilling a bag full of recyclables all over. The clock is dented but otherwise okay, but I'm certainly less than pleased.

Y i k e s. )

This all kicked off around the original problem area, which failed to hold up an important framed poster not once but twice. I think if you look closely at the drywall behind the hole, it's got uneven black spots on it. Is that rot? Do I have to get all my drywall replaced? Should I just move?

The original suspect )

Jun. 13th, 2017

  • 10:32 PM
skygiants: the Phantom of the Opera, reaching out (creeper of the opera)
Catching a chunk of the Tony Awards the other night (bless Bette Midler, who WILL NOT BE SILENCED) reminded me that I never wrote up Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, a nonfiction account of (primarily) the Shubert Organization, Broadway's largest theater-owning company, with stopovers into the offices of other leading Broadway financiers along the way.

The book starts out with Broadway ticket-scalping scandals, jumps back to a overview of the lives of the original Shubert brothers, and lays out the drama of various generations of hard-partying Shuberts eventually being ousted by Responsible, Respectable Lawyers Jerry Schoenfeld and Bernie Jacobs.

Then Michael Bennett, legendary choreographer of A Chorus Line, enters the picture and the whole book gets sort of carried off by him for a while. A great deal of page space is devoted to the psychodramatic relationship between Bennett and Jacobs -- as recounted in this book, a wildly unhealthy pseudo-father-son dynamic in which Jacobs constantly attempted to ensure Bennett's emotional and financial dependence on Jacobs while Bennett was constantly attempting to break away and BE A PRODUCER ON HIS OWN, DAD. An excerpt featuring further Michael Bennett drama, including one of history's most melodramatic Tony Awards, is up in Vanity Fair for the curious.

And then it's Andrew Lloyd Webber and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Andrew Lloyd Webber, alongside an in-depth discussion of the various political and financial campaigns that eventually led to the Disneyfication of Broadway after its days of 1970s sleaze, and that brings us about up to the present day.

It's an interesting, rather gossippy account of the money, organizational politics, and personal quirks that underlie the eventual decisions about what makes it onto a theater stage; I read the whole thing and then left it in the airbnb I was staying in when I finished it, because I felt I had taken what I wanted from it and couldn't really imagine wanting to read it again. It's certainly interesting to know how the sausage is made, but it's occasionally a bit depressing to look at Broadway largely from the perspective of the people for whom profit is the most important consideration.

Fidele Chapter 22

  • Jun. 13th, 2017 at 10:41 AM
misslucyjane: (plot bunny)
Fidele (100292 words) by misslucyjane
Chapters: 22/?
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: Romance Novel, Paranormal, PTSD, Hauntings, Kid Fic, Drug Use
Summary:

A house full of ghosts is no place to fall in love.

Malcolm Carmichael has been coping with his post-war trauma by taking lovers, teaching art to schoolboys, and trying to ignore the ghosts he sees everywhere. At the death of his mother, he realizes he wants more than just to coast on by, and leaves the exclusive school in search of something more.

Caleb Thibodeaux was so traumatized by the death of his parents in a fire that he hasn't spoken a word since. His uncle Noel hires Malcolm to be his tutor, and Malcolm discovers that Caleb is not the only Thibodeaux son with secrets. The plantation house Fidele is beautiful but haunted, and Noel is much the same.

Soon Malcolm is absorbed in protecting Caleb and Noel from threats both living and dead, and in uncovering the story of Fidele.



Read at Ao3 or at JennaLynnBrown.com.

Tags:

rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
Poll #18480 FMK: Mostly Award-Winning British children's books
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 38


Kit's Wilderness, by David Almond. Kit's family moves to an old mining town, where he and another boy search the mines for the ghosts of their ancestors. Might be fantasy? Won the Printz Award.

View Answers

Fling
15 (44.1%)

Marry
10 (29.4%)

Kill
9 (26.5%)

Bottle Boy, by Stephen Elboz. An amnesiac boy and his brother are trapped in a life of crime. Author won the Smarties Prize but not for this book.

View Answers

Fling
10 (32.3%)

Marry
5 (16.1%)

Kill
16 (51.6%)

River Boy, by Tim Bowler. Jess's probably-dying grandfather is trying to finish one last painting; Jess meets a boy who might be the one from the painting. Possibly fantasy? Won the Carnegie Award.

View Answers

Fling
11 (36.7%)

Marry
7 (23.3%)

Kill
12 (40.0%)

Ghost in the Water, by Edward Chitham. Teresa and David find a gravestone from 1860 labeled "Innocent of all Harm" and find that the dead girl's life is mysteriously linked with theirs. Filmed by BBC.

View Answers

Fling
18 (54.5%)

Marry
7 (21.2%)

Kill
8 (24.2%)

A Little Lower Than The Angels, by Geraldine McCaughrean. A medieval boy joins a theatre troupe. Whitbread Best Book of the Year.

View Answers

Fling
18 (52.9%)

Marry
13 (38.2%)

Kill
3 (8.8%)

Stone Cold, by Robert Swindells. A homeless boy in London gets caught up in a mystery of disappearing street kids. Carnegie Medal

View Answers

Fling
15 (46.9%)

Marry
8 (25.0%)

Kill
9 (28.1%)



I have never read anything by any of these authors, and in most cases have only heard of them in the sense that I own one of their books. Anyone familiar with any of them?
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
The memoir of a neurosurgeon, focusing on how dangerous it is for patients, how it's often a complete gamble whether surgery will cure them or kill them (or paralyze them, or leave them in a permanent coma, etc), and how much that gets to the author.

If a book which is largely about the doctor's feelings as opposed to those of his patients, when the catastrophe happened to them rather than to him, annoys you on principle, don't read this. Personally, I liked knowing that there is at least one more doctor in the world who cares what happens to his patients, even if the caring is composed in equal parts of compassion, professional pride, and fear of being publicly shamed.

As that suggests, it's a memoir dedicated to saying how he really feels, whether that's elevated or petty. He spends quite a bit of time on justifiable raging over his hospital's incredibly terrible computer system, which keeps locking up the password so no one can see the scans they need to operate (hilariously, at one point some equally angry person sets the password to fuckyou47 (and then no one can remember if it's 47, 46, 45...), the lack of beds that mean that patients are deprived of food and water all day pending surgery and then the surgery gets canceled, and all the other myriad ways in which health care in England now sucks. (It still sounds about a million times better than health care in America.)

He talks frankly about his mistakes as a surgeon, some of which killed people. This is really a taboo topic, and my hat is off to him for going there.

There's also a lot of fascinating anecdotes about individual patients, and some beautiful writing about surgery, the physical structure of the brain, and the constant paradox of how that one squishy organ is the source of everything that makes us human and able to do things like write books, all of which is a source of wonder to him and one which he conveys very well.

It's definitely worth reading if the subject interests you, but it doesn't quite rise to the level of medical writing that I'd recommend whether the subject interests you or not. (My nominees for the latter are Atul Gawande, Oliver Sacks, and James Herriot.)

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Ass over teacups

  • Jun. 10th, 2017 at 10:50 PM
newredshoes: Mae Mordabito sliding into a base (peaches | all the way mae)
So, if you haven't heard, THIS CHICK GOT ON A SKATEBOARD TODAY. I was the oldest person in the room (the teacher was 31 and super apologetic about it, which, dude, ain't no thing). I had frankly terrible luck getting some of the basics down. I really wish someone had been taping me, because I took basically every possible cartoonish pratfall, wipeout and spill. The skateboard would shoot out from under me at full speed! I overbalanced and landed on my (padded!) elbow! I flailed at something and could literally see my feet go up higher than my head! AND IT WAS GREAT.

Philosophical moment: There's something so great about learning that falling down is not nearly as bad as you think it's going to be, and also that it's inevitable and everyone will do it, especially as beginners. One big piece of advice was about leading with your shoulders; where your shoulders go, your body will follow, for good or ill. Your center of gravity is everything. Everything is physics. When something gels, it will feel like such a triumph. I was having a harder time than most just getting on the board and staying on it. I know about myself that when I try something new, I screw up a lot before I get it, something that frustrated me immensely about my overcrowded, non-feedback-giving improv experiences. By the end of the hour, though, I was able to rotate the board in a circle by popping (I think? it's about smacking one end of the board on the floor while rotating with your hips; there is so much terminology, holy cats). I went up a ramp! I went up two opposing ramps in a row! It was really fun! I think I may get the five-lesson package and just go every Saturday (or also Wednesday night; it really, really depends how messed-up my body feelings tomorrow morning — I know I've got some hilarious bruises and I definitely did something odd to my dominant hand's elbow).

After that, I lay beneath a tree in Prospect Park for an hour. It was great. I could have stayed right there a lot longer, except a dear friend from grad school (the one who drove my moving van through the night from Chicago to Brooklyn in the first place) has moved to Queens with his boyfriend, so I met up with them at the Astoria Bareburger and helped them... well, I cuddled their dog Flora and played tug-of-war with her, while they unpacked boxes, drank wine and sometimes stopped to watch The West Wing, which they'd never watched before.

Pretty much the only thing about today I think I didn't like was the spray-on sunscreen I thought I try in hopes of avoiding that one spot on your shoulderblade you can never reach yourself. Not yet convinced. But deeply, deeply happy about today.

Profile

thewickedlady: (Default)
[personal profile] thewickedlady
thewickedlady

Wicked Truth

I'm a southern girl making my way through Yankeeland with a history degree and an artist's soul. I'm a geek and a dork, and I'm okay with that.

Sometimes, I even wear pants when blogging.

[community profile] realistica



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