Cheltenham Guides

Oct. 23rd, 2017 08:40 pm
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
I meant to mention that last Monday I went to Cheltenham on the train - only half an hour (in theory) from Bristol Parkway, although I ended up on the stopping service that waited in a siding in Gloucester to be overtaken by the express. Apart from that, there were only two stops: one in Yate, where a large group of young people with backpacks got off (were they going to pay homage at J. K. Rowling's birthplace, I wondered idly?), and then again in Dursley (where no young people got off at all, thanks no doubt to the slanders of the same JKR).

I was going to meet the owner of a Cotswold company that specialises in private tours for Japanese visitors, as I was hoping to get an inkling of what brings Japanese people to the area. We met in a café and talked for an hour, and a very interesting conversation it was too, though I'm still digesting it so I won't go into it now - but in lieu of that let me share with you the title page of the book I gave him as a thank you (though only a print-on-demand reprint, alas), my great-great-great-great grandfather Weeden Butler's Cheltenham Guide (1781), which as far as I know is his earliest publication. It's a handy description of Cheltenham at the time, including an account of the origins of the famous spa a couple of generations earlier. Apparently a Mr Mason noticed the pigeons pecking at the soil around a pond fed by a spring - for the salts, it seems - and that inspired him to buy the land and set up a little hut from which he sold the water, after which his son-in-law built a dome, a colonnade, and all the amenities that polite society could demand. Thus was born, of a pigeon, the pump room, the literary festival, the Gold Cup and Agamemnon dead. (Actually that last one might have been a different bird.) The little blighters are still commemorated on the town's crest.

The water tastes pretty vile, though; worse, if possible, than those of Sulis.


Cheltenham guide weeden butler 1781

(no subject)

Oct. 23rd, 2017 02:11 pm
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[personal profile] the_rck
I need to set some sort of alarm to remind me to take regular breaks to lie on the floor on my back. It hurts to do it, but it's the only thing that eases my shoulders at all, and when I don't do it, they just get tighter and tighter and tighter which also hurts. I'm pretty sure that the things that hurt when I lie on the floor aren't going to be harmed by it. The shoulder thing hurts and exhausts me. I'm pretty sure it's contributing to me not sleeping at night.

Cordelia and her friends were sufficiently bored by Saturday night's dance that they left after about an hour (considering it was a bit more than $25 per ticket, that seems like a terrible return on our money). They walked to one of Cordelia's friend's houses. Cordelia says she really wished for a jacket or sweatshirt because her dress is sleeveless.

Scott got really pretty cranky about not getting around to mowing the lawn on Saturday. The front lawn looks okay even when it doesn't get mowed for weeks, but the backyard actually gets sun for a lot of the day, and it gets pretty shaggy. I don't care because we don't do anything out there and because no one can see it but our neighbors who don't much care. Scott, however, was brought up with the idea that lawn care is Important as a sign of competent adulthood.

Seriously, when we were house hunting, we looked for the smallest lawn we could get. (Condos weren't an option because, in our price range, they were all either too small for our bed (or our books) or very, very vertical; most were both. We were more concerned about limiting stairs than about lawns.)

We got sandwiches while we were doing our library run yesterday because I was running out of time to eat. Scott got a sandwich with pesto, and the basil was so strong that I really wanted to get up and move because my mind associates the smell with getting sick after eating it. I hadn't expected to have that reaction, and I'll need to mention it to Scott so that he knows for next time. I don't mind him eating it, but it would be much better if we sat at separate tables for it.

We have no idea if we'll be able to go to the celebration for Scott's sister's birthday on Saturday. Her family needs to be done and gone before we can possibly get there if Scott's working that day. Sunday wasn't an option because of a choir fundraiser that will keep Cordelia most of the afternoon combined with me not being able to eat anything at all after 6 p.m. on school nights.

I think I'm in spitting distance of the end of the first draft of the story I'm currently working on. I hope so, anyway. I know the main thing I need to address when I edit. I just keep cat waxing, though. I can write a couple hundred words, and then I need to stop for a while. Mostly, right now, I'm looking over saved prompts to see which ones I really, really want to write. I think I need to delete any that don't give me immediate plot bunnies. Well, I'll keep the ones from people I know, too, with a generous definition of 'know.'

Figure to yourselves my bogglement

Oct. 23rd, 2017 06:09 pm
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

A booklist which includes Tropic of Cancer and Little Women:

Goodreads' 200 Most Difficult Novels. "Novels that made you work the hardest. Let's assume that you actually finished the book and felt that it was worth the effort."

And some of those are Very Long Important Novels but some of them are quite short, and not even short in the sense of 'compressed and elliptical and dense'.

And some of them are challenging reads on account of subject matter but others, really, not so much I would have thought.

And, generically, quite a mishmash.

But a list that includes Clarissa and Coraline?

Okay, some of those books look like set texts that people had to struggle through and then found worth the journey, but others, presumably, are not the kind of books that feature in lit courses.

And some are even in the category I would have considered rattling airport reads...

unprecedented

Oct. 23rd, 2017 01:31 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
We're off to India shortly, and for the first time ever we have booked a taxi to take us to the airport. Usually we drive to off airport parking, and have been using the same reliable, reasonably priced service for years. Last December they charged £85 for a 4-week stay. This month they quoted me £158 for just 2 weeks. The taxi is £85 each way, so it's about the same overall cost, plus abrinsky doesn't have to worry about staying awake on the way back. Hopefully this is going to work out well and be a new tradition.

Public transport to Heathrow Terminal 4 isn't an option from here. Not without a taxi to/from the railway station and multiple changes of train.

Normally we're flying round the house getting tetchy with each other at this stage, and knowing we're not going to be ready quite on time, but that our planned departure time was so far in advance that all will be well. Today? Today we were ready 90 minutes before the time the taxi is due. And I booked the taxi stupidly early because we'd rather hang around endlessly at the airport than be stuck, stressed in a traffic jam on the way.

*drums fingers*

Anyway, we'll be in Delhi by tomorrow morning, relaxing with the family. At the weekend we're off on a trip to interesting places in Rajasthan. Next week, I think the only thing we have booked is a cricket match - India v Australia - so there will be time for chilling, massages, and movies. I am so ready for this!

*drums fingers*

I expect I'll be hanging around the internets, but unless a miracle occurs and I figure out the technology, there won't be photos here until I return home. Maybe I'll be too relaxed to update...who knows :)

Interesting Links for 23-10-2017

Oct. 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker

Interesting Links for 22-10-2017

Oct. 23rd, 2017 10:30 am
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[personal profile] andrewducker

(no subject)

Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:48 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] chalcedony_cat, [personal profile] diony, and [personal profile] em_h!
kshandra: The stylized 7 sigil that featured in the "New Moon On Monday" video (Duran Duran)
[personal profile] kshandra
But I can tell you, without question, that this is the Istanbul we went to.

The cats and dogs of Istanbul are its best rebels. Cats wander freely through the fences of military installations, eating and shitting and pissing where they like in between long suspicious stares at passersby. Just behind the military museum behind the big scary military apartment building you definitely should not take a picture of, a ring of statues rolls clockwise through Turkish history. There is a statue of Attila the Hun, and Timur the Lame, and then Ataturk, huge and bronze and gesturing in the general direction of a blood-red Turkish flag.

A dog sprinted across the park, circling and setting down in the grass to gnaw a bone he'd found somewhere. Two other dogs followed in tow, waiting with all the intensity of a thousand suns for the hound to drop it. He ignored the soldiers and the signs and the other dogs and everyone else, gnawing on a meal at the feet of the father of the nation.


The Istanbul Derby: Soccer, Fire, and a Game at the World's Crossroads

Fitbit goal check

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:56 pm

Not much cooking

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
[personal profile] oursin

I made a Psomi loaf during the week, and brown grated apple rolls with molasses and mixed spice for Saturday breakfast.

And then last night my innards were in upheaval, a situation that continued for a substantial part of today, and I was not feeling like food or cooking it.

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 02:41 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I slept really, really badly last night. We went to bed a little after 11, and at 3, I was still awake. I think I slept through Scott getting up to go to work. At least, I don't remember him going. During the not sleeping part of things, I was in that state where my body was almost relaxed and my mind was too unfocused for getting up to do something else (I couldn't have kept my eyes open), but I couldn't get either mind or body to let go and actually sleep. If sleeping were falling, this would be the equivalent of getting snagged on something three quarters of the way down. I couldn't go back up, and I couldn't make it to the bottom either. (I know-- The analogy's not great since falling is painful and undesirable and sleep is beneficial. Just go with me. I can't think of anything better.)

This getting stuck at the almost asleep stage is really pretty common for me. It's why I always boggle at the folks who say that, if I can't sleep, I should get up and do something else and go back to bed when I can sleep. I have no idea how getting up to do something else would be possible when the only part of my brain that's functioning is the tense, anxious bit that says that letting go is dangerous and/or wasteful.

I end up spinning a lot of stories when I'm in that state. I can't tell, though, if the stories prolong the difficulty or just fill the time. Or, maybe, even are a beneficial side effect since my plausibility editors tend to be offline just then which can lead to me having ideas that I actually can turn into stories later.

Scott and I mostly just relaxed at home last night. We took a walk out around 7 p.m. because someone from the other side in Ingress hit the science and nature center. I was confused by the rhythm of how the attacks went and by what was attacked when, but all was explained when we got there and found the place full of people. There was a Halloween event for families, and pretty much all of the timing weirdness makes sense if the other player had a kid or kids and was following them and only playing when they stopped for long enough to be safe.

Scott made level 10 as a result, so it was all good. He sent a thank you to the other player over the game comms which we hope was taken as sincerely as it was meant. He doesn't get much chance to play, especially this time of year, unless something happens at the science and nature center.

I need to go back through my journal and check against the other records I've been keeping, but last night gave me a strong indication that the breakthrough menstrual bleeding I've been having for months might actually correlate with when I take long walks. I think that will be a project for tomorrow while Cordelia's at school. I'll be seeing the gynecologist on the 9th, and I don't think I need to have that checking done any sooner than that.

LJ-Archaeology

Dec. 31st, 2030 11:59 pm
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[personal profile] hairyears
I've been reviewing and correcting broken links in the old LJ-Imported posts of my 'home' journal*.

I've interacted, briefly, with an awful lot of people over the last decade-and-a-bit. Most have stopped posting and many have deleted their old LJs; a few are now active on Dreamwidth and if I've recently granted you access, it's a throwback to some long-forgotten comment or a longer conversation that we never got around to restarting.

It's interesting reading my older posts: some of them are "Wow! Was I ever that good as a writer?"; most are dull, and many of them are toe-curlingly self-centred and best left unread. But I wrote them and hit 'Post' and they can stay there: Facebook's the place for the polished and redacted picture; here is where you get the warts and all.

Interesting, too, that my best writing and the most interesting things that I've found to say are in the comments I have posted on your journals: I might sometimes be a passably skilful writer (or an appalling Limericist) but I am not a particularly original one and I am at my best with ideas and the inspiration other people offer me.

And that is all ephemeral, for comments elsewhere do not get imported by the Dreamwidth import engine: and they were never mine to 'own' for they are in other peoples' spaces, and insired by their ideas.

So: Hi. Remember me? I'm posting a bit more, and trying to keep up with the reading list. And that, alas, has become much easier to do, even if I only catch up at weekends.

If there's a comment of mine that you actually remember, post a link to it - or copy-and-paste the entire thing here, into a comment about a comment.





* (footnote) )

a day of two halves

Oct. 22nd, 2017 06:07 pm
lamentables: (Default)
[personal profile] lamentables
On Friday we set off quite early to catch some of the art on show as part of the first ever Coventry Biennial. We started (and finished) with the old Coventry Evening Telegraph building, since we are obsessed with the building itself and that's where the interest new artists were being displayed.

CVB 02

mostly I didn't photograph the art )

CVB 09

mostly I tried to work with the building to create art )

It's the fourth (or fifth?) time we've been to CET and, because the building is being developed, it's been incredibly different each time. And we find new things each time. The rest of my biennial pics are here and abrinsky's are here.

After we'd dined on noodles, we headed home and I spent the rest of the day sprawled on the bed reading and recharging.

gone-away world

Oct. 22nd, 2017 05:51 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
Thursday was another day on Percy-duty. Neither of us was keen to go outside where, although it wasn't actually raining, the moisture content was so high much of the world was obscured and we seemed to be breathing soup.

Gone-away world #oftheday #reluctantwalkers #somedragginginvolved

Abrinsky has long claimed that sheep lurk in the trees at night, waiting to drop on the unwary, and I have always dismissed this. On Thursday I was a little disturbed to notice quite a bit of sheep wool in the trees. Can abrinsky be telling the truth?

I thought it was BS when @abrinsky told me sheep lurk in trees at night, waiting to pounce on the unwary. But how else to explain this wool?

In the evening I lit candles against the darkness, looked forward to seeing my Indian family and wished we were celebrating Diwali with them.

Happy Diwali!
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[personal profile] skull_bearer
via http://ift.tt/2yFFuMb:
NANO is only a week or so away and I have an epic original story planned, and I’m wondering if I want to revisit a story 7 years dead just to finish it at last.
skull_bearer: (Default)
[personal profile] skull_bearer
via http://ift.tt/2zuphIV:
1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What's your favorite line of narration?
4: What's your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn't listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

Knitting and Stitching 2017

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:59 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)
[personal profile] muninnhuginn
Going backwards... I did get to Ally Pally for the Knitting and Stitching Show this year.
The regular lovely coachload. Reasonable journey down: especially the last bit through the back streets and red-brick houses near Ally Pally. We even passed this: Grand Designs: Haringey. Just a quick glimpse. I don't think from the TV I'd realised what a constricted site, on such a slope, but very fine.
The shopping at the show was mostly a disappointment: fewer small vendors, and some big ones missing, and my shopping list mainly unbought.
The exhibitions, and craftspeople on site, however, were glorious. So I spent more time looking. Hence I probably learned more and had a more useful experience.
The rest is image heavy )
green_knight: (Autumn)
[personal profile] green_knight
Rogues Ahoi )

Haven't discovered any new casual games if you discount the rogue-likes. Finding good casual games that are not mobile ports and crawling with monetisation and gamification is HARD.

Overall, I don't think rogue-likes work for me as a genre, even though I'm enjoying this one tremendously right now: I do not like losing everything I've worked for/fought for/found. I had a lot of fun right now with a weapon with knockback, - so very, very satisfying - and I would have loved to keep it.


Picoreviews )

Valley, with spoiler )

Cross of the Dutchman (with spoiler and youtube link; warning for advanced misogyny) )

Putting my cards on the table: the inherent sexism of Cross of the Dutchman means that while I may appreciate parts of it, I will never _like_ it. The game has burnt that bridge very thoroughly; but just because the game developers chose to build two sides - people for whom this game is meant to be (men) and people who are the butt of jokes (women) does not mean I cannot examine and learn from it. There are a lot of unusual choices in this game, which are worth studying, and worth considering how much they contribute to potential enjoyment (or not) of gameplay.

Gameplay Observations. With major story spoiler (or you could just read Wikipedia) )

Bonus reviewlet: Dinosaur Hunt

This is a first-person shooter I picked up for 57p on Steam. I don't like the genre as such - I WILL NOT shoot at people - but, well, dinosaurs... it was worth trying out.

You get dumped in the darkness. Something glows slightly, it's another weapon. You can pick it up. I then spent several minutes positioning myself and pressing keys and trying to pick it up until I eventually found the right angle.
'You had enough time, here comes the dinosaur'

Right. I look left, right centre, around me, up and down. I get killed. I repeated this several times - each time I was savaged by an invisible enemy - and deleted. Not worth my time.


Also not playing: VanHelsing. I have redownloaded the game in the very slim hope that it might have been fixed - I *LOVE* it, but I've given up complaining to the developers since their responses have been 'this error has been fixed, you cannot experience it' and 'so what' when I told them the game would no longer run. As a last resort, I can try to get it to run in emulation, and I might just get fed up enough to try that.


AM Playing: Civilisation 5. [personal profile] caper_est has been putting a fair few hours into this, and is currently playing a Middle-Earth mod which looks just *so* much fun.

I'll do another full post on this another time - this has gotten quite long, but I will say that I needed help to get into this, and have now logged 35 hours for my first proper game, and feel a lot more comfortable with it. In fact, I've made use of the MacGamestore $10 sale to grab all of the DLC (offer will also work on Windows, it's a Steam Code), so I can play some more, including - eventually - Middle Earth.

Err, expect fewer new games to be tried and rejected in November.

The power of grit

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:50 pm
green_knight: (Determination)
[personal profile] green_knight
(Videogames are just the example here. This is not a gaming post as such. It's more about language, and how having mainly negative terms for a concept makes it hard to view it positively.)

Before I praise myself for the incredible staying power that led me to finish a video game (which I shall review, in detail, in another post), I have to admit that it was a short one: other players managed in two hours, it took me three; the moment of sticking it out came after around one hour. So the amount of willpower I would need was always fairly limited; we're not talking about the person who spent 93 hours learning to play Dota 2 (a brief venture into message boards brings up people who have played 800-1200 h and who still don't feel they're very good... that's one time-intensive hobby!)

I have, in the spirit of my previous post, invested half an hour into watching a beginner's introduction to Dota 2 and... no. Good luck to people who love this, but I will not even start.


This is a post where I try to get my thoughts in order in regard to sticking things out, giving up, and the things we invest time and willpower in.


What I learnt from sticking it out, and why I won't do it again )

In my mind, at least, going back to a game I do not care about again and again just so I could beat it wasn't worth it. And rather than going 'see? I can overcome these hurdles and develop the skills necessary to do this thing' and going 'ok, I'm going to reinstall [games a, b, and c that I gave up on recently]' I'm going 'I'm grateful I didn't slip into that _super-determined, sticking-my-lower-jaw-out, must-do-this-or-die_ mode for any of the others; I totally give myself permission to bail from future games even earlier if I'm not feeling the love.'

Maybe we need a more nuanced vocabulary. Which we have, it's just all jumbled up inside my head, so maybe I should start by defining them, because 'in the future, I'm going to give up sooner' does not sound like a very positive statement, so the next thing I'm going to do in this post is look at how we talk about the cluster of things you invest a lot of time in, sticking with something, and walking out.

An attempt at taxonomy )

I think most people - at least in theory/retrospect/from a distance - can tell the difference between these perfectly well: when something takes over your life (or all of your mental/physical energy), it becomes a negative force, even if it's a fun thing. Even if it's a selfless thing that helps others.


Which brings us to staying power and its opposite.

I found that when writing this post almost all of the terms - direct or metaphorical - I could come up with for continuing to invest time and energy into a situation were positive. I say this as the owner of a 'determination' icon which I often use to signify 'I will push through this, I will not give up, I will not let this beat me'.

But let's bring the last one back to gaming, for a moment, because that's bringing out the issue so very, very clearly: there is a school of video game design that tries to set players puzzles they cannot solve easily. You're pitching your skills against the guys (usually guys) who _created the bloody playing field_. As I see it, failing - or deciding that you don't want to play - is not anything to be ashamed of: if someone wants to beat you with a deck of their own construction, in a game of their own making, of course they can.

Over on captainawkward.com there are regular discussions about how to recognise that a situation isn't working for you - whether friendship, partnership, workplace - and moving on. (I really wish more people would divorce _while they still kind of liked each other_.)

Pulling the plug on a bad situation is a positive action, yet we have mainly negative words for it. Staying in a bad situation is, by definition, a bad action, yet English has plenty of ways to praise staying and very few negative terms for it.

I have twice in my life stuck things out when I should have walked away. Both times mildly abusive situations. At the end of the first, I walked away with the knowledge that I'd stuck things out and a borderline nervous breakdown; at the end of the second I walked away with nothing after all and a severe crash and having to rebuild my life from scratch over a very, very long time. Both times, quitting would have done me immense good - I would have been able to seek a better situation much, much sooner. There are a number of other situations I've walked away from, and came out slightly bruised but in much better fighting spirit; because knowing when you cannot change a situation and extracting yourself from it IS a positive action.





And yet. The only negative persistence term I could come up with is 'banging your head against a brick wall'; I'm still looking for a positive way to say 'I quit'.

The fact remains that persistence is not always a good trait: if you're in a bad (or even just meh) relationship, a dysfunctional workplace, or something that should give you joy makes you feel more stressed and less competent, then you should get out, cast off your shackles (which is not always easy), and start again.

Sometimes relationships need work (but that's another rant for another day), sometimes you cannot simply walk out of your job (then again, I've left a dysfunctional job, which led to me having to move out of my home and it was STILL the best decision I could have made!), sometimes work is boring and learning is hard or frustrating, but if you're trying to learn a complex skill and not feeling moments of success, you are probably not using the best method for you. Taking control over my learning in both programming and art has been the best thing I could have done; I was getting nowhere with 'how one should learn' or 'how everyone learns' and it would have been far too easy to give up and feel that I just had no talent at all... but I had to stop what I was doing in order to reflect and find something better to pour my energy into.
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