Mar. 15th, 2014
07:28 pm - Padlock keyhole
11/52 for the group 2014 Weekly Alphabet Challenge
This week's theme was: K is for Keyhole
To be honest, this keyhole in a padlock on an old barn looks pretty gunged up. I have no idea whether you'd actually be able to unlock it. It would certainly need a bit of a clean and a squirt of oil.
Also, I just thought I'd mention that a few minutes ago, when I came to post this photo from Flickr, I received this message.
"We are deprecating the support for sharing to LiveJournal on 3/25."
*Sigh!* I know that LiveJournal is no longer as popular as it once was and I know that I can copy and paste the HTML, but it was so convenient being able to post direct from Flickr.
I went to the relevant thread in the Flickr forum and left a message saying how sad I was that such a useful feature was being discontinued.
I also pointed out that "deprecate" doesn't mean what they seem to think it means. What the message should have said was "We are terminating the support for sharing to LiveJournal on 3/25." They've obviously been deprecating it for ages, ie (according to my dictionary) arguing or protesting against it.
09:44 pm - Keep Watching the Skies
So I had to go to Connecticut, reluctantly, and negothick (bless her heart) thought she 'd cheer me up with a show. There is actually a theatre in town—one man's impassioned vision, as it would be—and a Thursday night performance. So she and mamagavone and I set out for the Spirit of Broadway.
It's Plan 9 From 42nd Street!
Milwaukee, 1955. At the top-secret Space Center, square-jawed Major Malone and his too-perfect-to-be-true aide, Rick, are watching the skies. That is, they will be watching them, as soon as the Major's sweetie-pie daughter, white-gloved secret-geek Mary, fixes the monitor. (She turns out to be diffidently good at everything from physics to linguistics.) Enter shy über-geek, Trenton Corbett. Hearts go pit-a-pat. Secret weaponry ensues. The man-mad, dauntless secretary Charlie measures (uh-huh) Trent and Rick for spacesuits, brushing off her shiny-faced adoring Billy, the boy from the diner, who keeps wooing her with unwanted deliveries. "Adam and Eve on a raft!"
Then the time-honored cardboard flying saucer on a fishing line bounds in, and buzzes the Galaxy of Coiffures Beauty Salon.
Enter (dead-center) Zombina, the extraterrestrial Messalina, in a wig that would embarrass Dolly Parton. Her blaster is played by a curling wand. Her planet Wants Men.
After that, things get really silly. Straight-arrow Rick develops a Boris-Badenov accent and a glittery frenetic grin. (Only the villains are cartoonish; the good guys are B-movies.) Trent defends Truth and Justice, with one arm protecting his glasses. Zombina turns her devastating coloratura on these puny mortals. When she hits E-flat in alt, they zombify. You can tell when that happens: they don sproingy-eyes.
Can no one stop her?
Only Mary and Charlie, wielding Trent's secret machine, as played by an eviscerated Electrolux, dangling what look like ether masks. But even their valiant attack seems halted, teetering on the brink of failure, when tap-dancing Billy leaps in with his Atomic Feet. Zombina's voice soars higher, hyper-operatic—and breaks. It tumbles into baritone; she chokes and expires, wailing "What a world! I'm belting, beeeeeeeelting."
One terrific little show. A glorious melange of space-cadet optimism, satire, and silliness: it's like the PMRP Off-Broadway. Lyrics, script, and score by James Valcq, and why haven't I heard of this guy? One plucky little theatre, the Spirit of Broadway.
We all liked the score. No show-stopper, nothing we went out humming, but a solid pleasure throughout: flawlessly fifties, from "Rocket-Roll" to Tom Lehrer. Nothing in air quotes, either. Valcq clearly has the same affection for fifties music as for fifties pulp, untainted by irony.
Like the music, the actors played it absolutely straight, purely innocent. They were all terrific, all half-dozen of them: they sang, they shone, they danced, and everyone pitched in as Zombettes in beauty-shop turbans, or as diegetic doo-wop trios.
The three of us (front row, side) had hysterics. By the end of the interval, we were singing out loud: "Overture, hit the lights..."
And we came out wanting to bus all of you in. You'd adore it.
Are Jews a Dog People or a Cat People? Yet another difficult internal and ancient debate that modern Jews are unlikely to resolve.
I need to find new religion blogs to follow. I've had to weed out some of the current batch as they were beginning to annoy me. I'm fickle that way.
There's been a big fire in a multi-storey car-park in Derby, one attached to the city's main live venue. Plumes of black smoke, visible flames, the lot.
Derby Council really knows what's most important, though. Owners of cars trapped inside the blazing car-park will be reassured by the announcement:
The fire service has said anyone with a vehicle inside the car park would be reimbursed by the council for any extra charges they would face.
Note that this is only overdue charges. No mention of what happens if, for example, your bloody car blows up!
Mind you, it's not been a good week for Derbyshire Fire Service.
05:05 pm - Fundraiser for back royalties
A while back, Vera Nazarian started a one-woman publishing company. I was one of her first authors--I was glad to support her in this endeavor, as she had to figure out a way to earn money in order to be the stay-at-home caretaker for two sick, elderly parents.
For several years, all went well. Then all hell broke loose.
Vera Nazarian says:
"Within a very short period of time I was faced all at once with the cancer of my mother, death of my father, the loss of my home to foreclosure, bankruptcy, a cross-country move from California to Vermont, and having to start my life over on a severely reduced income, after having to undergo major life-saving surgery myself.
At the same time, the publishing industry started to change rapidly, with the advent of ebooks and ereaders, and paper print sales dropped considerably, so that my already inadequate income was reduced to about one third of what it had been."
It's true--I watched it happen, and no one could help. There was one fundraiser for Vera. She put all the money trying to save her home, but Bank of America ate it all up and still foreclosed on her.
So this fundraiser is to pay back royalties. It won't make her any money. But if it goes, some of us who could badly use the back royalties will get paid. So anything you can throw in, or just spread the word.
Thanks. Here's the link again.
12:00 am - Via curiouswombat
The original word was "revenges", of course. One of my favourite comedies.
Mar. 14th, 2014
01:49 pm - Sutcliff comment fest
A comment fest dedicated to all the non-human characters of Sutcliff's works (although other interpretations are possible, too). Works based on all of the Sutcliff canon, as well as the movie The Eagle are welcome. All types of media--fic, art, etc.--are allowed.
(hope it's okay to pimp this here, mods).
02:11 pm - why I'm somewhat radio silent
My dad's not well and I'm at his place looking after him. There's a computer, but everything about it is old, and the browser crashes if I have more than two windows open. So... that's why I'm not commenting or posting much. (That, and I'm trying to finish some work I owe people . . . )
Waving from a distance, and hoping to be back soon . . .
All those treasures that lie in the little bolted box whose tiny space is
Mightier than the room of the stars, being secret and filled with dreams:
All those treasures - I hold them in my hand - are straining continually
Against the sides and the lid and the two ends of the little box in which I guard them;
Crying that there is no sun come among them this great while and that they weary of shining;
Calling me to fold back the lid of the little box and to give them sleep finally.
But the night I am hiding from them, dear friend, is far more desperate than their night!
And so I take pity on them and pretend to have lost the key to the little house of my treasures;
For they would die of weariness were I to open it, and not be merely faint and sleepy
As they are now.
- Slow Movement by William Carlos Williams
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
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08:23 am - Fantasy Apostates
A few days ago, kalimac wrote an LJ post about Susan's absence from Narnia in The Last Battle (by way of a very pertinent quotation from Holly Black's Doll Bones) emphasizing that what really rankled wasn't her growing sexual maturity but her decision to think of Narnia as a fantasy that she'd outgrown. I agree that this aspect has been relatively neglected, especially post-Pullman; it certainly struck me as the most relevant aspect of her behaviour when I read the book. In fact - and I'm not sure I've seen this mentioned - it's an exact reprise of what Edmund does to Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when he pretends that Narnia was just a game that he and Lucy had invented. That is something that Lewis feels so strongly about that he has to forewarn his readers ("And now we come to one of the nastiest things in this story") - something he doesn't even do with the murder of Aslan.
I commented then, and have been thinking about it since, that the horror of this kind of betrayal is easier to understand if you have been a younger/st sibling, as Lewis was. I didn't co-create secondary worlds with my elder brother, but I certainly remember his outgrowing the kind of imaginative play that goes into them, and the bereft feeling that followed. When I read of Susan's denial, that was the string that vibrated. For those siblings who have lived together intensely in secondary worlds the abandonment must feel even keener. Did Warnie lose interest in Boxen before Jack was ready? Did Branwell go to the bad because Charlotte abandoned him in Angria?
I've been asking my students about it this week, and there was definitely more recognition of the pain of being left behind in this way amongst those who have experienced it - though that's hardly surprising. I do suspect, though, as I suggested the other day, that the whole psychodrama might have been been brought to wider attention earlier had Freud not been an eldest child. (Did that fact result in eldest child psychology being seen as normative? I don't know enough about the subject to say, but I suspect it may.) Afterwards, reading of Freud's daughter Anna's intense sibling rivalry with her elder sister Sophie and her subsequent specialization in child psychology, I wondered whether I might have better luck with her. Sure enough, her first paper, an account of her own analysis with her father, turns out to be entitled "Beating Fantasies and Daydreams" (1922).
I thought it an oddly Gradgrindian title, with perhaps more of a smack of the self-help book than I would have expected, but certainly intriguing given the subject of putting aside "childish" fantasies. Having read it I now know that it's actually about fantasies of beating. Cursed ambiguity of the English language! Nevertheless, although the Freuds (père et fille) see the fantasies as being about the father-daughter relationship rather than anything to do with siblings, I'm not so sure. And it's certainly intriguing that the fantasies themselves involve the elaboration of a mediaevalesque secondary world, which Anna goes on to turn into fiction. The final sentence is chilling, especially for fantasy authors:
By renouncing her private pleasure in favor of making an impression on others, the author has accomplished an important developmental step: the transformation of an autistic into a social activity. We could say: she has found the road that leads from her fantasy life back to reality.
Wo Anna war, soll Susan werden, indeed.
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