oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I.e., this week has been mostly getting the new computer to do those things which it ought to do, and leave undone those things which it ought not do -

Among which the most disturbing was the discovery this morning that Thunderbird was marking ALL, yes ALL, incoming mail as Junk and also as Read, fortunately I did discover that this was happening.

There has also been wrestling with getting to be able to talk to the MyCloud as part of my home network rather than via a remote interface connection.

There was the oops, I needed to do a backup of This Thing, That Thing and The Other Thing from the old computer, and having to sort that out.

There is all the finding the passwords and activation codes for things for which I entered a password when I first activated the thing, and never since.

There is also the loss of some things - don't seem to be able to have the little slide-show widget thing of photos on my desktop, chiz - and finding that the new versions of things are Not What We Expect - the new Kobo Desktop App is quite horrid.

But on the whole, we are reasonably satisfied with the New System - its speed in particular is commendable.

However, I am annoyed with Opera, which I was intending using as my secondary browser to avoid Microsoft and Google, but the main thing I wanted a secondary browser for was so that I can log into The Other DW Journal without logging out of this one, but Opera, for some reason I wot not of, insists on autofilling the login screen with the details for this account rather than the other - la, 'tis tedious vexatious.

(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2017 05:37 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] negothick and [personal profile] quiara!

Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
[personal profile] oursin

London garden bridge project collapses in acrimony after £37m spent.

And I can't help wanting to say to Boris J that in Ye Bygone Days when people built follies they did so on their own estates and with their own money (though on reflection this was probably ill-gottens from the Triangle Trade and dodgy dealings in India) and didn't ask the nation to pay for them.

(And aren't there already memorials to Princess Di? How many do we need?)

And, you know, it's a pretty idea and in theory I am there with Thomas Heatherwick that 'London needs new bridges and unexpected new public places': except that that is not a part of London that required Yet Another Bridge, there are so many that taking the boat journey along that stretch of river is more like going into a tunnel.

Also, it was not properly a public space:

a link that would be privately run, would be able set its own rules for access, and would close at night and be available to hire for private events.
Not dissimilar from those gardens in London squares to which access is by residents' key. I do not think that is a definition of 'public' that would have been assented to by those urban planners and reformers creating parks and spaces for the benefit of the inhabitants of the metropolis.

I am also boggled by the suggestion that the river is not already pretty much 'centre-stage' in our great city.

I think Mad William would have had things to say along the lines of

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
and whether if crowds flowed over the bridge, so many, common and routine usage would have meant that
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

I might go along on the line suggested by this to comment that what good is a garden bridge if the land lies waste?

(no subject)

Aug. 15th, 2017 09:25 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] jcalanthe and [personal profile] muckefuck!
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

So, farewell then, printer which has been with me some dozen or so years, also previous computer.

Take it away Bessie Smith:

The usual sturm und drang over setting up the new All In One Computer and the printer which purports to be wireless, but refuses to connect thusly: however it will connect by cable.

Though alas, all the USB ports are on one side of the computer, the one away from where the printer has to go (unless I do some major rearranging), but I think I have contrived.

And of course, various other things still to get sorted.

But, getting there, sorta.

Culinary

Aug. 13th, 2017 08:58 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread during the week: a Standen loaf, v tasty.

Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple with molasses and ginger: using up two bags of flour probably a) rather more wholemeal than strong white b) probably quantities a bit more than usual; also using up ginger so these were quite gingery.

Today's lunch: small whole sea-bream baked in foil with ginger and lime; served with purple crinkle-cut sweet potato fries, garlic roasted sweet-stem cauliflower and bellaverde broccoli, steamed samphire tossed in butter, and padron peppters.

oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

The Long Read in today's Guardian is on 'clean eating' and how problematic, not to say, entirely woo-woo, it is.

However, I think the author misses a trick because, even though she cites to a mid-Victorian food reformer:

In the 1850s, a British chemist called Arthur Hill Hassall became convinced that the whole food supply of London was riddled with toxins and fakery. What’s more, he was right. Hassall had done a series of investigations for the medical journal the Lancet, and found that much of what was for sale as food and drink was not what it seemed: “coffee” made from burnt sugar and chicory; pickles dyed green with poisonous copper colourings
it is claimed:
He started to see poison everywhere, and decided that the answer was to create a set of totally uncontaminated food products. In 1881, he set up his own firm, The Pure Food Company.
He was pretty much right to do so, rather than, as suggested, paranoid. An examination of the annual reports of Medical Officers of Health across London for the period, handily available digitised and searchable online at London's Pulse indicates how extremely yucky food practices in the metropolis could be at the period: food hygiene and contamination was a major concern for MOsH.

I also wonder how many people, and of what demographic, are actually into 'clean eating', given that most people don't even manage their 5 a day (I'm not honestly sure I achieve this every day myself). Well, presumably people with time and resources enough to worry over what they put into their mouths, rather than where the next meal is coming from.

***

And apparently some German politician has been complaining about the decline of the good old German nudist tradition. I remember some years ago at a conference when someone who works on sexuality in the former GDR was talking about the perception among its former citizens of the loss of body positivity of that kind when the Wall fell and exposure to consumerist capitalism happened.

(no subject)

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] cynthia1960!
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (boggled)
[personal profile] oursin

- because that's where I've gone to.

No, really, I am boggled.

So I bit the bullet and ordered a new desktop computer, a new notebook, and a new printer: because I realised that my existing printer, the one that is acting affectingly consumptive, was one that has been doing service for 12+ years and thus I think putting out to grass is the sensible thing to do. And if I'm getting a new printer, and I already had it in mind to get a new desktop, rather than having to faff twice over to get computer and printer to make nice to one another, I might as well combine getting these things and just have a massive getting up to speed with new electronics session.

And My Favoured Retailer did not have the desktop model I wanted so I had to go Elsewhere, but they did have the Yogabook and printer model I wanted: but then it turned out that these come from separate places, and there was some suggestion that the printer might take up to a week to arrive.

But, lo and behold, mirabile dictu: the desktop and the Yogabook arrived pretty much within 5 minutes of one another at a civilised time of day, and the printer at mid-afternoon.

What're the odds, eh?

MY COMPUTER IS BACK

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:41 pm
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Like my last PC, I burned out the motherboard in a heatwave. So far so normal, then. My files all seem to be here.

This makes up for the fact that the marriage equality Discourse is hell.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Today's ODNB Life of the Day: Marje Proops by Katharine Whitehorn.

I daresay that many of my dr rdrs were in the wrong country to know of or born just a bit too late to recall Dear Marje, so I will copy a few choice bits here, as those links do not last:

[T]he editor of Good Taste magazine asked her to write an article on the problems of mothers coping on their own in wartime. A pamphlet on venereal disease for female servicewomen and other commissions followed.
My kinda gal! Sid sez HAI!
[A]t the end of the war she joined the Daily Herald as fashion editor, later graduating to woman's editor. And when the existing advice columnist, writing as May Marshall, left, Proops, unable to find a replacement, started answering the letters herself.

So began her career as an ‘agony aunt’, which gave her ‘Dear Marje’ column iconic status in journalism and the country, a role she continued when she moved back to the Woman's Mirror under Hugh Cudlipp in 1954. He had been impressed by the witty, forthright replies of American columnists Abigail van Buren and Ann Landers, and reckoned Marje could emulate them, and more. At first she was alarmed by how little she knew, but her friend the psychiatrist Dr Eustace Chesser let her bring round the letters in his lunch hour and gradually schooled her in their interpretation. She built up over the years not only increasing experience but a vast knowledge of the organizations and agencies where her troubled readers could go for help. She answered, or caused to be answered by her team of trained helpers, every one of the 50,000 letters she received each year; other readers telephoned her, and occasionally she was compelled to take practical action, for example when one girl rang from a call box to say she had taken suicide pills; Marje kept her in conversation for long enough for her staff and the police to locate and rescue her.

Her columns were distinguished from the more conventional and moralistic work of previous advice columnists by their frankness about forbidden areas such as homosexuality, impotence, divorce, and incest; she claimed to be the first person to mention masturbation in a family newspaper. She was compassionate but could be tough with her correspondents: her journalist colleague Felicity Green described her answers as being ‘brutally frank, sexually aware, liberal to the point of illegality’ (private information). Her writing bridged in its fifty years a change in public attitudes from that in which wives wrote about ‘submitting’ to their husbands to one in which, in her own words, ‘questions about orgasms are as common as questions about mothers-in-law’. She and those who followed her were even reproached for having accelerated the process, though she saw herself as struggling against hypocrisy and repression and cruelty.



The influence of a woman working in one of those derided womanly spheres of activity, eh? not just women's magazines, but the advice column.

And thinking about the spreading and diffusive effect of that sphere - well beyond the individuals actually presenting their problems - I was reminded of this which I came across linked from somewhere or other: I Was A Hardcore Conservative: What Changed My Mind and that thing about having arguments not to convince the person you're arguing with but the bystanders. Even if the advisees themselves did not take the very excellent advice offered by Ms Proops, I am sure I am not the only person who has picked up valuable life-lessons from reading those responses.

And, with a bit of a sigh - one of the areas that Marje was very active in getting the word out was contraception, still a bit of a no-no in many women's mags in the 50s and 60s, partly because of not wishing to publish an entirely separate Irish editions - I noted this article, The Swedish physicist revolutionising birth control, which is something of a reprise of 'no duckie, I don't think anything that requires 'complex mathematics and data analysis' to create an algorithm counts as 'natural'.

I also boggle at someone who presents the data that 'I discovered that you can see when you're fertile by your temperature' as, 'for me that was really a revelation.'. Nearly 90 years since the findings of Ogino and Knaus and the development of the rhythm method sez, WOT.

[ETA] And just came across this about the agony column in Just 17: 'Where has this fantastic, empowering advice gone?'.

(no subject)

Aug. 10th, 2017 09:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] loligo!
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Buried Heart - well, I won't say, that went in directions I didn't expect, because I'm not sure it was ever that predictable that I thought I knew where it was headed.

KJ Charles, Spectred Isle (2017) - m/m occult thriller, v good.

Gail Godwin, Grief Cottage (2017): unexpected, but very good. At first I thought, this is too sophisticated for a young boy's viewpoint, but it turns out to be a retrospect from rather later in life.

Rose Lerner, All or Nothing (2016): Regency romance novella, was doing some unusual things but perhaps a bit slight (previously part of a themed anthology).

Dana Stabenow, Less Than A Treason (2017) - well, the end of the last one was a bit of a cliffhanger. Pretty much up to usual standard.

On the go

Marcia Muller, The Color of Fear (2017) - latest outing of Sharon McCone.

Up next

And in, Dept of Series that have been going on for quite some time and I have been following for decades, the latest PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth

oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

Or maybe, I am well-acquainted with the 'white slavery' trope that first flowered in the early C20th and went on being resorted to by journalists looking for a sensational story into, I think, at least the 1950s -

An ordinary young woman going about her business, though this was usually about pleasure such as shopping or going to the movies, was surreptitiously injected with a narcotic and borne off by a 'helpful' older lady, and ended up in a Buenos Aires bordello.

People who were actually working in social purity/moral welfare organisations hated this narrative - after wasting time chasing up similar stories - and were wont to point out the implausibilities, e.g. it's not actually easy to inject somebody in outdoor clothing with morphine.

So I did feel some resonances with this current thing in the news: Chloe Ayling told Italian police she was attacked by two men as she attended a photoshoot last month, drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin. The 20-year-old’s captor allegedly wanted to auction her as a sex slave online but released her after six days and took her to the British consulate in Milan.

I was also particularly 'HUH?' when I read that 'because she was a mother of two, which was against the group’s rules.' Because international gangs involved in kidnapping sex slaves totes revere Motherhood, right?

It is now suggested that the actual kidnapper, described as 'dangerous person with traces of mythomania', who keeps changing his story, is a fantasist and there is no international Black Death gang.

I'm not saying that the woman in question didn't have a very scary experience, I just think that the story she was given was drawn from the wells of urban myth.

Was also put in mind of this long-ago spam received from INTERNATIONAL ASSASSINS AND WORLD SECURITY ORGANIZATION [sic]

***

In other news, further to my Diva Strop at journal editor the other week, have been working on the copy-edited mss, and note with amusement that the icon that appears on my comments just happens to be My Shelfie of books what I wrote or contributed to. No, I don't think I will change it to Bamiyan Buddha, springtime in the Rockies or Nevelson sculpture.

Not taken on to Crewe

Aug. 7th, 2017 08:14 pm
oursin: Grumpy looking hedgehog (grumpy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

In fact the travel all worked out pretty expeditiously.

This was the day I was making a flying visit to A Midland City of Renown to be A Historical Advisor for some meedja people.

This actually went pretty well: more informal than I had been led to believe and a team that seems to have put in a fair amount of research already.

Only thing was, I had a really, really bad night last night - my lower back was playing up, no idea why, and even once it had finally calmed down I seemed to keep waking up and having very unrestful dreams.

Not in the mood - am I ever? - for train service person checking that we had the right tickets for the train we were about to board jovially suggesting that I was fraudulently deploying a senior railcard - not sure what the correct response to this is, beyond a disdainful sneer - nudge in the ribs crying 'Oooooo! you are awful! I bet you say that to all the decrepit old hags' or 'Dost thou not suspect my years?'

Am now pretty knackered, anyway.

(no subject)

Aug. 7th, 2017 09:10 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] glinda and [personal profile] wordweaverlynn!

Culinary

Aug. 6th, 2017 08:14 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Friday supper: sardegnera with Milanese salami.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the eclectic vanilla roll recipe.

Today's lunch: venison crumble, with buttered spinach, chicory quartered, healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with aged balsamic vinegar, and padron peppers.

I daresay I shall be making bread some time during the week.

Clash of paradigms?

Aug. 5th, 2017 03:00 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

We ask ourselves, do we not, my dearios, whether one can genuinely combine a 'social experiment' with a 'reality show': Bullying, cliques and fistfights: secrets from Eden, the reality show that nobody watched.

We feel that certain blokes involved may have been consuming the wrong sort of post-apocalyptic fiction?

Five new episodes document bullying, cliques, fistfights and even outright revolt as male boorishness descended into disturbing misogyny. Some women were picked on for their perceived physical weakness and advised to stick to basic chores while a few male hunter-gatherers did the manual labour. It was claimed that the men controlling access to food were threatening to “starve them out”.
....
What that group of boys had in common was insecurity, a need to prove themselves with a show of ego and arrogance to hide their emotions and nervousness. They didn’t have the emotional literacy of boys like Rob
....
“Some of us thought it might test how we could live closer to nature, others looked at it as a competition. People were trying to prove how tough they were rather than investing time in finding the usefulness of others and helping them through it.

“At the beginning, a lot of the men went for the macho jobs, chopping logs and building stuff, whereas the gardening was ‘women’s work’ – no glory but a daily trudge. They said we were lazy, and these weird words like ‘efficiency’ and ‘cull’ were used. Eventually, if the group thinks something’s OK, it becomes OK.”





***

Wow, festering matrimonial resentment: Prince Henrik, 83-year-old husband of Queen Margrethe, says he does not want grave beside hers as he is unhappy at never being made king; though, fair does, in order to marry the crown princess, he 'changed his name to Henrik, converted from Catholicism to Protestantism and renounced his French citizenship to become a Dane'. On another paw, women have been doing that sort of thing for centuries, have they not?

***

Wanking about ejaculation (further to stories and comments concerning the decline in quality of the male generative seed). We may point out that while some research supports the argument about 21 ejaculations per month preventing prostate cancer, there is at least one other bit of research that suggests the reverse...

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