Referring to my previous post about DDC: the movie, I had someone of an epiphany this afternoon. On my way out at going home time, I was followed down the stairs by Professor Snape. Being a polite sort, I held the door for him at the bottom of the stairs and asked if he had any plans for the weekend. He said that he was taking his daughters to Cadbury World and they were really excited. He, on the other hand, doesn't like chocolate.
So there you have it. Poor old Severus was scarred by being picked on by the popular kids and spurned by his one true love. This guy is just a pillock  because he doesn't like chocolate. I can think of no other explanation!
 Always assuming that I actually *get* to retire without them moving my state pension age *again*!
 My boss was expounding  today about how he was a PITA at one of the senior manager meetings this week.
 Closed door, strictly IA ears only!
The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.
This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.
( opinions )
I'm really excited that I'll be attending the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Chicago from Friday June 23 through Sunday June 25, 2017. I'll be working at the IBPA Booth (#3529) helping the IBPA Indie-Publisher and Author-Publisher members with their Author signings.
If you'll be there at #ALAAC17, too, please swing by and say "Hi!"
The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.
Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.
Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.
The weather has finally cooled down a little and it's a much more bearable 22C in my bedroom with all the windows open, instead of the 28C it's been for the last few nights. I'm sufficiently sleep deprived that I haven't trained this week and only went swimming on Monday lunchtime. I
I've booked an induction at the gym next week to find out how to use the equipment, then I can start rowing or cycling after work. Apparently my leisure centre membership allows me to use a vast number of locations around the UK. Not bad for less than £240 for the year.
Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.
Currently reading: Nearly finished: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I'm really enjoying the resolution of the political intrigue plot, but I'm a bit annoyed by the sophomoric speculation on the philosophical implications of sadism.
Up next: All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders.
Music meme day 8 of 30
A song about drugs or alcohol
Two from opposite ends of the spectrum: my ex-gf used to sing me this ridiculously soppy song, Kisses sweeter than wine by Jimmie Rogers. Which is really only tangentially about alcohol but it's connected to happy memories for me. And I couldn't leave out the most explicitly druggy song in my collection, Heroin, she said by WOLFSHEIM.
( two videos )
Unicorn Hunting by A.R. Hellbender
Caught between her family's expectations and her own conscience, a reluctant unicorn hunter, Caoilinn "Cal" Valderan, questions the morals of slaying these mystical creatures, and finds herself in a position where she must choose between them and humanity... In this coming of age story, Cal must not only defend her principles and values, as she finds herself caught in a battle between light and darkness, but she must find answers to what others dare not even to question...What's queer about it? The author explains:
Cal spends the entirety of the book in love with her next-door neighbor and fellow unicorn hunter, Adryan. But in a medieval society in which women are not the first pick when it comes to jobs, she hardly has a chance. Adryan's engagement to Cal's brother changes everything for Cal and makes her abandon life as she knows it and live in the forest with the unicorns.
Add your review of the author-published "Unicorn Hunting" in comments!
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June 21st, 2017: Awesome Con was a great time! Thank you to everyone who came by to say hello: I'd never done a show in Washington DC before and it was really terrific to meet everyone! YOUR CITY HAS AMAZING STUFF IN IT TOO, NOW YOU KNOW.
I am Kickstarting a new book! It's called WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PUNCHES A FRIGGIN' SHARK and/or other stories and it's gonna be great, in my not-at-all-biased opinion!!
I'm particularly cross about the office. It's lovely in some ways. It's very energy efficient. It has only passive cooling (except in the server room), which is just about OK when the temperature only goes up to 25 degrees. It then gets progressively less efficient, until at around 28 degrees it stops doing anything much at all. There's no dehumidifier. This means that my lungs crap out, and I start not being able to breathe very well, and my heart rate goes up even when I'm sitting still.
We have fans in the office, which keeps the temperature down to 'only' a couple of degrees above the outside temperature. It does fuck all about the humidity. Mysteriously, I can't really work when it's that hot - I have basically constant headaches, and have to mainline cool liquids (not too much water - hyponatraemia is no fun). This would be fine if there was such a thing as 'so hot they send you all home'. I *can* work from home; however, it's not much better there. It's only better at all because I can wear far fewer clothes than is acceptable even in my office.
I wouldn't mind taking a day off work from time to time. However, there are usually (well, OK, since I started working in this building) at least 5 days at around 30 degrees, plus another couple of weeks at 25+. That's too much time to take off work. I love the environment, and generally approve of not fucking it over egregiously, for the sake of all the people in the world who will be deeply affected by climate change. But trying to kill me off for 3 weeks a year (a total that's only likely to increase) isn't great either.
I'd like to have some air con, or at least some dehumidifiers. I don't want it American Cold (i.e. so bloody cold you need a jumper on) - I just want it kept to around 25-26 degrees, so I can at least not risk having a stroke.
(2) House viewing this morning was VERY CONFUSING. It has a garden! That contains a well-tended hydrangea, and rose bushes, and fruiting apple and plum and probably-cherry (there's definitely a cherry, I'm just not sure whether it's ornamental), and maybe a crabapple, and a vegetable patch, and a patio. And a nice kitchen. And the conservatory would be dining room/games room/music room and would be lovely esp. in the rain. So now I'm just trying to convince us (... myself) that we'd actually be able to fit the furniture into it, which is currently proving Difficult; I am intending to ask to have another viewing and actually take a tape measure this time. (Wider wheelchair just about fits in the front door. It's rampable. I should be able to get a powerchair in. There's an airing cupboard for letting dough rise in. Etc etc etc...)
In West Wing episode 1, Josh insults some evangelical christian leaders. In a meeting trying to resolve this, the following happens.
* One of them proposes a radio address (presumably by the president) on a topic important to them, including public morals, school prayer or pornography. Apparently meaning "people in school should not have access to condoms", "people in school should be forced to perform christian prayer" and "we don't quite know what we want you to do but we're very upset about pornography".
* There is a muddle of people speaking at once, and he cuts in again, saying, "I'd like to discuss why we hear so much talk about the First Amendment coming out of this building, but no talk at all about the First Commandment."
* He says, "The First Commandment says 'Honor thy Father'."
* Toby breaks in, and says that's wrong, that's the third commandment. He is very long-suffering.
* He says, what is the first then?
* The president enters the room and quotes: "I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me."
I'm fairly sure the intended impression is, talk show guy spoke without thinking and screwed up something basic, Toby and the president correct him.
But firstly, the first commandment seems SO basic, it's hard to see how he could get it wrong. Whether or not he's a good Christian overall, quoting the commandments, especially the first one, seems like the sort of thing he'd do all the time.
Secondly, when I first heard it, I assumed this was "honor your father and mother", but now I wonder if it's supposed to be honoring *God* thy father. Although that doesn't quite fit any of the specific sentences either.
I'm not sure if the commandment he was quoting was supposed to be directly related to the previous discussion or not. Either of the possibilities doesn't seem directly relevant to the school stuff, but it's possible it is in a way that's only familiar if you know the usual arguments people make.
Several people point out that all the people involved have *different* traditional commandment numbering. Toby is Jewish. The christian leaders are protestant. And the president is catholic. I assume in America the protestant version is widely known and often considered canonical? I spent some time on wikipedia checking the different traditions for how to break up the commandments into ten.
But that doesn't seem to fit much better. The president could be quoting the protestant version (or possibly a slightly abbreviated catholic version?)
There's no way to make "honor thy father and mother" into 1 or 3, it's 5 for both protestants and jews (and 4 for catholics).
It could instead be "have no other god" or "don't take God's name in vain" but that doesn't quite fit, either the numbers or the quote.
My best guess is that someone wrote an exchange that worked, probably based on the traditional protestant numbering. And then it got edited for various reasons, and ended up in a version which sounded good but didn't actually make sense.
The best alternate explanation is (a) Christian leader guy genuinely didn't know what the first commandment was (or forgot in the heat of the moment) (b) Toby was trolling by deliberately making something up, knowing no-one could call him on it as he had a different numbering anyway (c) the president (an intellectual catholic) knew the confusion of the numbering, but quoted a first commandment that would be expected to protestants and wasn't exactly wrong by his own tradition.
But to me that seems too complicated, if all that was supposed to be there, there'd be more indication. The mistake would have been one where it's more clear how he came to make a mistake. Toby would have sounded different if he was blowing smoke than if he was correcting people. There'd be some acknowledgement that SOMEONE would have known the first commandment, that this isn't exactly an obscure piece of theological trivia the president researched.
 West Wing does much better at research than most shows, but they seem to research a particular topic, it still seems like minor things not the main theme of an episode get overlooked sometimes.
( The Rules of Tesseri )