Actually read this week:
- Smile by Emilee Martell (DSF)
- Farewell, Amanda by Buzz Dixon (DSF)
- Planet of the five rings by Marissa Lingen (Nature Futures)
- An Averted Tragedy by Brian Gene Olson
- Contractual Obligations by Jessica M. Kormos
- Nothing Between the Stars by R.W.W. Greene
What I've read: long fiction
Banishment by M.C. Beaton, which is the first of six apparently-fluffy Regency romances about six beautiful sisters and a malevolent stately home, recommended as a Yuletide fandom (thanks ceb for the pointer!) This one was indeed the promised fast, lighthearted read, in which the family lose their beautiful stately home and much of their wealth, and (some of them) begin to learn Important Lessons About Not Being Awful To Other People. And the first of the beautiful daughters finds true love, etc. The remaining five in the series are now on their way so I can find out just how malevolent the house gets ...
But autumn is upon us and I am feeling better enough that I've caught up to my Goodreads challenge of the year (which is just the same as last year rounded up, and I was a couple of books behind, having got loads ahead in the spring).
I also noticed that two years ago, I read a lot of dross that I picked up in the library, and last year I read mostly recommendations and it went a lot better, and this year I've read almost entirely recommendations and presents, and have enjoyed a lot more. I think I've been too busy reading random stuff that wasn't very enjoyable to listen to you lot.
So, here's my question - what's a book that 'everyone's read' that you would recommend? Imagine I've been living under a rock for the last ten years.
My contribution is 'The Bray House' by Eilís Ní Dhuibhne . It's Irish post apocalyptic fiction, and it's super popular in Ireland, the sort of book you find in guesthouses &c throughout the land. It's also brilliant.
So there are several sets of lib dems who avoid going to The Leader's Speech. Many just go get on the train before the big rush. I know of one group who have a rather sweet tradition of going to get ice cream while the Leader speaks. The Awkward Squad goes to the pub.
It started when Cleggy was Our Glorious Leader. You may recall that I had one or two policy differences with Cleggy**. One conf, and I can't remember which one, I attended the leader's speech, like a good lib dem, and walked out about half way through utterly furious with something or other he had said, thinking "sod this, I'm off to the pub". When I got there I discovered a dear friend was already there. He explained that as he knew Cleggy was bound to say something really annoying, what he did was go to the pub, download the text of the speech, and work out which point he would have walked out anyway. I thought this was an excellent idea, and have been doing it ever since***, and the group of likeminded curmudgeons doing the same has gradually grown over the years.
Fast forward to yesterday.
There's a bunch of us in the pub. One or two would have walked out at the "single market is ok" bits of the speech. I'd have made it past that, but only a couple of paragraphs, the bit about having achieved equal marriage would have been my breaking point****. Anyway, we were all happily chatting away and discussing things and it was all good.
... The problem was when Vince turned up. Yep, that's right, The Leader turned up to Not The Leader's Speech. Apparently it was some photo call to do with a motion we'd passed earlier in the conference.
I wouldn't have minded, but he didn't even get a round in. Bloody Yorkshirefolk, they're all the same*****.
So, I am now carefully researching pubs in Southport for Spring Conference to find one that's 1, good and 2, less likely to be crashed by the sodding leader. It doesn't half put a crimp in avoiding the leader when he turns up all smiles and handshakes.
ETA: Caron has posted about this on lib dem voice now. Countdown to po-faced condemnation in five... four... three...
*and even to stand and ovate. People who don;t stand and ovate in the "right" places often get glared at, or even tutted at.
**although as a human being I find him perfectly personable and likeable.
***Except for Tim Farron's first speech. Tim knows/knew all about Not The Leader's Speech, and made me promise him that I would go to his first one. I warned him that this would mean actually walking out if he said something walkout-worthy... Thankfully he didn't. But none-the-less I didn't go to any of his others. I'm just not a keynote speech type person.
****See here for the big rant about that one. There was a big chorus of groans about this in the pub - "Oh FFS we have to train ANOTHER leader and his staff not to do this..."
*****I am allowed to say this being Yorkshire myself
So faced with that finding, how to communicate it without either causing the denialist community to go "THE MODELS ARE WRONG! WE TOLD YOU SO! IT'S ALL A HOAX!", or causing the more moderate politicians to go "Phew. We have time. We can ignore this and let the next government deal"? And at the same time not being perceived as hiding less alarmist news? The first author made an excellent effort in this article, which IMHO is a really good example of giving an honest and straightforward lay explanation of a scientific study.
Did it help? Not really. It's escaped the front pages for now, perhaps due to the ongoing series of natural disasters in the Carribean and central America, but the usual suspects have still written what you'd expect. Scientific American has a reserved and balanced take. The Guardian is more optimistic, but warns us that "politics is still not easy". The BBC presents so many views that it's not clear what, if anything, they are concluding. Both of these note the possibility that the original article's conclusions about 1.5C being easier to hit may be wrong. Meanwhile Dellingpole, in The Sun, is spinning this story as "I WAS RIGHT!", saying "a tiny bunch of scientists got their sums wrong and scared the world silly with a story about catastrophic man-made global warming." Meanwhile an MP who is a member of the Commons Science and Technology Committee - and also a trustee of the denialist GWPF - complains in the Mail that "There has been no word of apology, no sign of humility. Remarkably, they carry on preaching their diehard gospel. With their habitual arrogance, they argue that the lower levels of global warming mean that we now have even more time to implement their radical policies."
Hmm. Yeah. Whether or not this study proves to be correct in its conclusions, we'll be hearing about it from denialist groups for the next 5 years or more. But I don't think there's anything that one can do about that; keeping quiet about such results would be far worse.
 AIUI nobody disputes the paper's direct findings so far, but some are doubtful about its import - some say that there is a natural cycle which has had a cooling influence in recent years, but will have a warming influence in future ones. Superimposed on the overall warming trend, this could apparently explain the discrepancy without changing the urgency of the problem.
This evening i've ended up having to reinstall stuff on my computer so i'm about to go splat again.
Anyway on Friday i met up with skibbley and we went to the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain which was pretty cool. Other people have done proper write ups. My highlights were the surprising number of goats in the paintings, Gluck's amazingly textural flower painting (which i found even more compelling than their androgynous self portrait which is used as the main publicity image for the exhibition) and a 50's photograph of a dyke dressed up as a drag queen ...
Judith has chicken, carrot sticks, dried mango, rice cakes, crisps, mini cinnamon rolls and jelly. Andreas has eggs, carrot sticks, dried mango, bread (plain), fruit winder, crisps and jelly. It'll do. (I've got sushi rice, eggs, chicken, mixed chopped veg and hummous, some mixed dried fruit and jelly.) We'll all drink water.
In other news we watched Toast, the autobiography of Nigel Slater, yesterday. It actually just covers the first half of the book, his childhood, and I was touched by how sympathetically it portrayed even the people he didn't really like, I'd recommend it whether or not you read the book.
The next thing is Not The Leaders' Speech. Which, the way things are going, will be in the sodding directory by Spring.
Have chaired first thing - health spokesperson Q&A with Liz Barker, Joan Walmsley, and Norman Lamb. I think it went quite well. Have also done MOAR aideing, HSLD AGM, and am now preparing for GLEEEEEEE.
I voted on some stuff, but none of it was controversial.
I have also undertaken to do a post (after conf) on How To Fill In a Speaker's Card, with examples. I am looking forward to doing this. Right, must dash...
Then there was Bärli's parent's 40th anniversary. Bärli's family are so lovely. At one point there was a bit of a clash of understanding between Bärli's mother and Andreas, and both of them said to me they were worried the other would think they didn't respect them. But it was OK. And the whole family is so lovely and welcomign to us.
This weekend was huskyteer's birthday. Huskyteer is one of those people who is just so cool I can't imagine why they'd want to talk to me, but of course, also cool enough that they don't even think like that. Anyway, I can't think of a better person to introduce me to my first complete James Bond film (which I greatly enjoyed).
Now it is back to term, and I am doing so much! Band twice a week and karate, and Wednesday home ed stuff, and playdates. Remember how a year ago I was grumbling about never having time for me? Well, my people arranged it so I could, and it's wonderful. Thank you my people! I get two whole hours of cycling by myself, plus band (it's 10 miles away and I get a lift to Friday band but cycle on Sunday).
Rest of life round up:
Eating: sausage ragu with rice, made by the lovely jack
Reading: Just finished 'In My Own Time' by Nina Bawden, her autobiography, which is rather lovely. Her respect and love for the people around her really shines through, and she seems like such a nice person.
Playing: Argo. Not my cup of tea. Littles were playing Stratego, which I also can't get my head around, so I'm glad they have each other to play with.
Watching: Pororo. Cute Korean penguin and friend.
Coláiste Lurgan (Lurgan College) is an Irish-language summer school in Connemara; it has a musical project called TG Lurgan which does lots of brilliant translated covers. Here are a couple, worth watching even if you have little or no Irish 'cause they're obviously having such a good time with it!( videos )
(I'd run across them before, but eyebrowsofpower reminded me of them today.)
There's various reasons, cultural and perhaps biological, that make it harder to passionately love bands that you hear in your 30s and 40s as much as bands that you encountered in your teens and 20s. I do try to listen to new bands—and support them financially—as much as I can, but I often find that even when I fall in love with a new-to-me band, half the time it turns out they they've been around for 30 years and I'd just never heard of them. I just don't bond with new artists as much as I'd like to.
So when there is a band that's new and hits all of my musical buttons, I get evangelical. I'm gonna do that for a bit. About a year and a half ago, I clicked on a semi-random link (someone complaining about a thing) and accidentally heard a single from a Sudbury band called Murder Murder who described themselves as "bloodgrass" and played nothing but murder ballads.
How do I describe this band beyond that they're a phenomenally talented bluegrass band with a morbid streak as deep as a 19th gold vein on your rival's stake? If your favourite Nick Cave & the Bad Seed albums are Murder Ballads and Kicking Against the Pricks, you think Deadwood was criminally underrated, and you find goth-hipster-cowboy a compelling aesthetic, you will dig them.
One of the things about them is that after hearing all their stuff, I knew that they would be fantastic live. Of course, the main problem is that, in the short time I've been obsessed with them, they have played everywhere but Toronto. They have in the past, but they mainly seem to do folk festivals in towns I've never heard of. I mean, they're big in Sudbury, but that is a bit far to go for a gig.
They finally announced a Toronto show, the launch party for their third album. By the way, their publicity is terrible. It took some actual digging for me to find out things like "when" and "where" and "is this a thing that is happening for sure?" It appeared to only be advertised on FB, with no advance tickets, and some initial uncertainty as to where the venue was. But! Found all that out, dragged my mother, who does not like country music at all but enjoyed this almost as much as I did, and at last got to see them live.
I was nearly as excited for the opening act, based on the description alone. Manslaughter are an all-female collective outlaw band. I would love to link you to their stuff, but this was only their second gig. You can add them on Facebook, though, which has links to all the members' other projects.
They did not disappoint. They're a bit like Neko Case except that there are 4-6 of them (depending on the song/show) and I am in love. Their best song is called "Murder Murder" and is completely adorable and I just hope they release an album soon so that I can play it for you all.
Murder Murder, as predicted, were phenomenal. Intense, rowdy, punk as fuck, and just a joy to listen to. Their new album, which I am currently listening to, is as excellent as their last two. Beyond the novelty concept (which, don't get me wrong, I adore), they are just really, really musically talented. You should check them out so that I do not obsess alone.
Crappy cell pictures are a Sabs concert tradition.
Anyway here's their latest single: And have two more for the road, just because they're two of my favourites and they played both last night.
ETA: Why is formatting in DW such bullshit? Can I not just embed videos and move on with my life?
Seanan McGuire event in Silverdale. We brought tribute, and were briefly Seanan's favorite. (Diet Dr Pepper and candy corn. Seanan is a being of predictable tastes.)
Mini muffin tin quest!
Partner made a note they should chat with our mutual friend in London about stuff. Hooray, viable communities.
Dinner for the extended polycule, with many dishes thanks to Trader Joe's. (Rice, orange chicken with extra zesty sauce but no carrots since we ran out, BBQ pork buns, pot stickers, spring rolls, and green beans. The rice and green beans weren't pre-packaged, and I do a little customization to the chicken by adding orange peel and scallions. The gyoza and bao steam over the rice, and the spring rolls could bake with the chicken. The green beans start frozen and get gently fried with seasonings. Usually it's butter and Montreal steak seasoning, but Stray Puppy Girl is very lactose intolerant, and Leopard Girl dislikes red pepper. So I went for sesame oil, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, ginger, a packet of soy sauce that needed using, and the excess teriyaki sauce from the other night. It turned out well. To my immense gratification, my partner really likes all the iterations of the green beans that I have made so far. Generally they disappear immediately.)
Club night. Without going into excessive detail, one of the groups near the people I was with were having a hilarious time, and kept setting each other off giggling. That prompted our group to giggle. The glee was infectious.
Everyone is spending the night. We hauled the camping pads out of the alleged guest room (it is currently not in a state for guests as my textiles have exploded all over it) and they're set up next to the futon in case it turns from cozy to crowded in the middle of the night. Things are well set up for breakfast, and there should be cheesecake at some point (thus the mini muffin tins).
Then, because I was going to be stage aide on F6 The Paris Agreement, Zoe (who was chairing it) & I went to plan the session - deciding what order to call speakers, etc. When it came to The Paris Agreement debate itself, as I got on stage I suddenly realised I had parted my hair the wrong side, and every time I looked at the speaker I was presenting a curtain of hair to the audience. Also, if I needed further incentive to lose a little weight, I can only just fit my ample derriere into the chair provided...
I grabbed a (rather manky) toastie, and then lurked in the back of the First timers' Q&A session, mainly to check that the sort of answers I have been giving when newbies ask me stuff had some congruence with official answers. Then there was more debate planning, this time for F10 The Natural Environment. Apparently while I was doing this I missed some barnstorming speeches in the Impact of Brexit on Public Services debate. Still, as I was Hall Aide rather than Stage Aide for the Natural Environment motion, I actually got to vote in the debate - my first policy vote of the conference. I voted in favour of the amendment, then in favour of the motion as amended, as did pretty much everyone else.
Then, while everyone else was at the rally, I had Safeguarding Training - compulsory for FCC members - followed by a quick dash to the pub to obtain food. We dragged a journo along with us and talked to him about trains. I think he secretly quite liked being at conference. Then there was the First timers' Reception -this is another thing I have to do as a committee member. Go and wander round looking approachable and asking people how they are finding conference. I think I was actually helpful to some people - showing them a speaker's card and explaining how to fill it in and things.
Then, for the first time ever, I was inveigled into going to the lib dem Disco. It started with headbanging to rage against the machine and ended with a drunken impromtu rendition of Poisoning Pigeons In The Park on the street outside.
All in all a reasonably successful day. Today is a bit less full on, although I do have ALL THE LGBT+ THINGS tonight... Now have to dash to the venu to get to (you guessed it) an FCC meeting.