raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
I've been asked by a couple of people what I think about the death of Diana Wynne Jones. The funny thing is, the last time I wrote about her, I was in a snit because I thought she was rubbish on race. I still do think she's rubbish on race. But, then, I say this a lot - I only get angry with people who are worth it. The reason I was personally offended by this was because in every other respect her books are lovely: so original and interesting and fluidly imaginative. I'm not in the same boat as those who are remembering her as a beloved childhood author - I read only a couple of her novels as a child, and actually read most of them for the first time at the end of last year - but the world is a sorrier and sadder place for not having her in it.

This lovely tribute to her by Neil Gaiman has the unexpected note that Nick Mallory, from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, was based on the young Gaiman! How delightful. I adore Deep Secret, as you all know; that makes it even more real to me.

[personal profile] musesfool is doing a meme where you talk about five some fictional characters beginning with a given letter and offered me the letter K, so I am going to cheat slightly and point out that Nick's and Maree's real names are spoiler for Deep Secret ) so I can write about them.

-Nick and Maree Mallory (Diana Wynne Jones' Magids series). I love them both, but especially Maree, who is so brilliantly, teenagedly ridiculous - she's carelessly self-obsessed, she's mooning idiotically after her ex-boyfriend - but at the same time she's passionate, she cares about books, she adores her dad, and whether at a given moment she hates or loves Rupert, she does it with all the intensity possible. That's one thing I love about DWJ - her ability to write a whole, fleshed-out character as replete with contradictions as all the real people you meet.

-Keiko O'Brien (Deep Space Nine). I always liked the way DS9 handles Keiko, especially the way it portrays her unhappiness at having to give up her career because of living on Deep Space Nine. It feels real to me. I love her especially in "Accession" (thank you, [personal profile] gavagai, for stepping up with Memory Alpha didn't), when she's returned from Bajor and Miles is overcompensating by spending every waking hour with her - so she engineers him and Bashir into going off to the holodeck together and enjoys the peace and quiet. That's what DS9 does best, I think - its small domestic dramas are as carefully handled as its space battles.

-Kingsley Shacklebolt (HP) - I do love Kingsley Shacklebolt. I love that he calms everyone the fuck down when they need it, and that he's the bodyguard of the Muggle Prime Minister. I didn't really like the purple-robe thing, in the films, but then [personal profile] forthwritten and I fixed that.

-James T. Kirk - is actually not my favourite of the TOS characters by a long shot. But in the reboot, I do think Chris Pine does a fabulous job with him, strikes just the right balance between cocky and annoying, and I adore how fandom writes his relationship with just about everyone - with Spock, with McCoy, but specially with Uhura.

For music, she gave me the letter E:

Natalie Merchant - Everyday Is Like Sunday

One of the few instances of a cover I like much better than the original. This is a song about growing up in a northern English seaside town. Shockingly, I relate to it.

Placebo - Every You Every Me

I have immensely fond memories of this song. In the summer of 2005, [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col had just passed her driving test and was driving a white Skoda with holes in the floor. Nothing deterred, we drove around West Lancs with this song turned up to eleven, and grinned at each other on something borrowed something blue / every me every you. Yes, now everyone's vidding this song to clips from "The Big Bang", but we thought of it first.

Dar Williams - Empire

Gorgeous voice, beautiful imagery and scathing post-colonial critique. I love her so.

Regina Spektor - Eet

I have no earthly idea what this song is about, but I like it.


I should go to bed. Have made progress on Remix, if you define progress as reading everything your remixee has ever written, and failing to find a hook upon lots of agonising, and then having a strange 3am-in-the-bathtub thought that is a great idea and will totally work and has only the minor drawback of probably making the remixee totally livid. I mean, it would me, if I were the remixee. Bah.

Interlude

Aug. 16th, 2010 05:57 pm
raven: black and white photograph of Asian woman smiling and clasping her hands (misc - me)
In another life I would be in Edinburgh tonight, probably weaving gently down the Royal Mile after Lashings of Ginger Beer.

But it's early evening here, still hot, and, well, I'm not. I'm sitting in my apartment at the end of a very busy weekend cleaning, tidying, unpacking, sorting and looking the wrong way when crossing the street, and I have nothing to do until nine o'clock tomorrow morning.

What to even say, then? My apartment is teeny tiny, but lovely. It's a ground floor one-bedroom apartment, and I'm waiting for the catch - it's nice, quiet, and cheaper than the cheapest studio on-campus graduate place - and it has a little bedroom with a little bed and desk and a little kitchen with a teeny stovetop and a teeny living-space with a big ugly sofa. I have my postcards and pictures and calendar up, and it looks homely for all there are only eight books in it.

I'm doing okay, too. On Saturday I went food shopping. It was... a little overhelming. It was very large. It had a LOT of stuff I have never heard of. Oh, it was very large. Can I even encompass how large it was without flapping my hands about and saying "oh, it was large!" I have never thought of Cowley Road Tesco with fondness before. Anyway, so, I went to what I am told is a perfectly ordinary grocery store, and looked for things like cherry tomatoes and bread and cheese and honey and cereal and tins of soup, and it was all going, if not fine, then bearably, until I tried to buy milk. I only put milk in my coffee; otherwise I don't drink it. Even when I was de facto living with Shim, we only got through one pint a week.

...one pint. Given that I didn't want soy milk, rice milk, lactose-free milk or vitamin-D-enriched milk, or organic milk, or milk from local farms, and I wanted it to be full-fat or whole or blue milk, depending on what you call it, I couldn't find a bottle with less than six pints.

I took a very deep breath and got over it and picked up two pints of organic milk instead, and tossed it into the trolley and headed to the checkout. Where a chirpy woman chirpily said, "I think you'll find this is the ten items or less line!"

Because I am well-balanced, and not at all rattled by my new surroundings, I shrieked, "Ten items or FEWER!" and ran metaphorically into the night.

Other than that I'm doing fine. I have a sunflower in a pot on my desk and some idea of what I'm doing tomorrow, and I want to take a quiet moment to tell you all how much I adore you and am grateful for you; I wouldn't have been so sad to leave if I had had nothing to leave behind. Thank you for sending me playlists and stories and good-luck messages, thank you for putting me up on your sofas and taking me around your cities and not minding when I cry all over you; thank you for being you and wanting me to be me. If I return from this year with half the numer of new friends and experiences that I had at Oxford, then it will be more than a success.

Have some music, for a thank-you. )

Tomorrow, orientation; now, dinner.
raven: stock shot of a wall with "I love you" graffiti (stock - i love you)
I suppose I should begin by saying that I passed all the rest of the bits of the LPC, and got a distinction in every paper. I'm pleased; that's a note to leave on.

As for what else I did this week, I should say, well, cried, mostly. Oxford )

Cambridge )

I had another two days in Oxford. [personal profile] brightlywoven said, over dinner and late-night ice-cream, that if we were going to say goodbye at the station, then I needed to book a train. "It's okay," I said blithely, "I'm meeting people at five, I've got to get the four o'clock train."

"Yes," she said, "but there's another train twenty minutes after. And another twenty minutes after that."

In the event, Shim and I left on Monday afternoon and got a bus to the station, and all the way we talked about nothing, and had a brief argument about OS X and Linux, and when we walked over the canal he threatened to throw me into it, and all was ordinary and well. And we got to the station with eight minutes to spare before the four o'clock train, and we were doing so well, and then we were standing there in the station like any other two people waiting for the Paddington train and I started crying in that horrible, wounded way where you're never going to stop except with gravity and the passage of time.

I got the four o'clock train. I cried all the way to Reading and sniffled into Slough, and pulled myself together when the train pulled into Paddington; and after that I cheered up to see [personal profile] gavagai, and [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios met us for dinner and I was positively cheerful over dinner, more ice-cream and an utterly delightful interlude spent climbing the lions in Trafalgar Square.

Okay, yes, about that. I'm apparently more afraid of heights than I recall, so we got to a point where I could get on the back of a lion and no further, because of the, oh, six feet between me and the ground, and Laura had not much better luck. After we had made utter idiots of ourselves, to the delight of all the children and American tourists in the vicinity, we persuaded [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios to lay down his dignity for the occasion and hoist us onto the lion. There are happy pictures of us triumphant. We went home and got drunk and watched First Contact. It was an antidote to misery. Data gets greener with age, and Picard is surprisingly buff, and Worf never does crack an expression. There are constants in my life, apparently; strange and wonderful.

We also went, on a whim, to see the corpse of Jeremy Bentham. I was there at UCL five years ago to be interviewed, but he had been taken away for cleaning and I was bitterly disappointed, so we went there to satisfy one of my minor heart's desires, and took pictures of his handsome waxy dead face, and the passers-by smiled at us indulgently and took pictures of us when we asked. One nice chap thought we were starting in September before we put him right. It's a little perturbing to be mistaken for seventeen when I am supposed to be on the verge of grown-up things, but. But, we went to a cafe I like, and got soaked in the rain, and had lemon cake and chocolate shortbread, and so what if people think I'm seventeen. I suppose they always will; I'm about to be the youngest person on my course. I'm not even grown-up in my head.

Vienna Teng )

I am still a wreck, really. I said goodbye to Laura this morning - how can all of this be the same day, I can't even - and cried all the way to Stafford, and came home and slept and went out for dinner with my family and cried some more. It's not even proper crying, any more; now it's certainly drunken, for one thing, but it's because things aren't sinking in quite and I can't help it.

Now, I really must sleep.
raven: Kira wearing a green tunic against a blue background (ds9 - kira in green)
Things that are making me happy today:

1. Sunshine. Oh, sunshine and spring! Is it only me who forgets it comes every year? Over the weekend, [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong wandered through parks and by the river and under lush clouds of cherry-blossom. It was such a long winter; everything is so bright.

2. The Indelicates' new album, "Songs For Swinging Lovers". After a few days of not really listening to it, I gave it the fair shot this afternoon and have spent a little while dancing around my room. I particularly like "Ill" and "Jerusalem", and this is where I would upload them as tasters, but! But, I don't have to! You can download the album legally here! Get thee downloaded and dance.

3. Related to the above - the dancing around the room, that is - I have written 1200 words of my remix, and I know what the rest will be about! Ditto [livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest - I'm really looking forward to it, and my wee story is nearly finished, hurrah.

4. [livejournal.com profile] shimgray returns tonight, with gin-shaped boozes for me. I missed him but mostly I like boozes.

5. Deep Space Nine! I finished watching it last night, and oh, oh, I have some thinky thoughts and a lot of flail and oh, Odo, and Kira, and Jake, I love them all so much. Why do I lose my heart to Star Trek, why. (There is a long and teeeedious post detailing my love in the works, I am so sorry.) [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I spent much of the weekend shouting "Gul Dukat and Kai Winn ewwwww!" at each other. (Ewwww!)

We also spent a lot of time declaring everything in the world to be Nick Clegg's fault - Laura's lack of feather boa, my surfeit of employment law, the failure of my glow-in-the-dark nail varnish to glow in the dark, etc., which brings us to:

6. ...I have been invited, unexpectedly, to a question and answer session with Nick Clegg on Wednesday. I am going to go, but I have no idea what I want to ask him. Hmmm.
raven: Kira wearing a green tunic against a blue background (ds9 - kira in green)
This is going to be a long post. Have some music first. Karine Polwart, whom I discovered recently via [livejournal.com profile] icepixie, has a very lovely voice, and occasionally quite unsettling lyrics: Resolution Road, What Are You Waiting For?.

The good:

-Life continues apace. I am coming up on a strange time; during March, I have no classes Monday to Friday, but exams every Saturday, and a few in the middle - skills-based whatnot, advocacy and other things - which is not at all what I'm used to but perversely I'm sort of looking forward to it. I'm having trouble getting up in the morning these days, so study leave when I can work at 2am if I want to will go down well, and, well, I got my mocks back, most of them, and I'm pleased. They are a scraped commendation (59.5 - civil lit), a proper commendation (business law) and, surprise of all surprises, the exam I didn't prepare for at all - snow and going-to-India conspiring between them - the property exam, I got a highly unexpected high distinction. I feel good about it - like I might do well, not only in my exams, but in practice.

-Property law, yes. I have sudden fears, these days, that I might be a land lawyer when I grow up. I haven't met anyone else who likes it as much as I do, but people must, surely, because there are land lawyers in the world? It's so... I don't know, I don't think any law is tangible but English land law is as close as you can get to it; there's so much history in it, so much tradition, so many things you say, as though reciting chants to hold back your gods - say, "bona fide purchaser for value"[1] twice fast before breakfast; say "freehold interest subject to compulsory first registration", and something happens by magic. But nevertheless it's elegant, internally consistent, intellectually satisfying, and I was worried my liking for land law wouldn't translate to a liking for property practice, but so far so decidedly hoopy.

Anyway. Land law, a good thing in my life. Everyone should have hobbies.

-Deep Space Nine s5 and s6 )

-Something different. There's a man in my class at school, whose initial is not F. Yesterday morning I had a great deal of trouble getting out of bed, and I was cranky when I turned up for criminal litigation, and while I was crankily working through my stack of witness statements, F. was at the next table and he was talking about gay and lesbian people. F. is a devout Christian, which is one thing, and a literalist when it comes to Leviticus, which is quite another; after about ten minutes of listening to him talking about homosexuality being evil, wrong, and a sickness (and, to their credit, the people around him not arguing, but basically trying to shush him), I spoke up and, you know how you have an image of yourself in your head? Someone who is a proud liberal and a proud activist, who says what she thinks and gets her points across with elegant, economical sang-froid?

Yeah, it wasn't like that. I tried not to get upset and told him that I came to my class for purposes of criminal litigation, and there, then, should not have to listen to those things, quite apart from any discussion we might have outside of class. He said he'd got a right to state his opinion, I said not if it upset me in my crim lit class, the tutor returned at that point, case closed for the moment.

Today, I was checking my email during the break when F. came and asked for a word. Okay, I said, warily, what is it.

He said he was sorry. That he'd had no right to speak like that, and he was sorry if what he had said had upset me, and that his views were one thing but he didn't have any right to impose them on me, especially as it was something I found upsetting. He hoped I would forgive him but if not at least I'd know he was sorry.

Bless the man, really.

The bad:

-I am finding it very hard to get up in the mornings, lately. I note this merely for the record at the moment, with the additional note that it's February, I have had two bursts of culture shock in the recent past, and I have exams and academic stress at a greater than normal degree for the time of year. I am going to buy myself a wake-up lamp, and sleep in a little more than I strictly ought.

The ugly indifferent different:

-One of Shim's stranger talents is being able to declaim Kipling to suit all occasions. I have read him, not to the same degree, and while I like his writing, a lot, my thoughts are partly complicated and partly tread the usual aesthetic path of whether I ought to find value in his work, when I know what his views were. The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories aren't, shall we say, entirely representative.

I've started reading him again recently, because I was in India, and it seemed appropriate, and on the whole, I think I would rather read him than not, even if his flashes of racism and his glorification of empire are occasional bad tastes among the good. This is nowhere more evident than in O Beloved Kids, a collection of his letters to his young children, which are full of joys and wordplay and little pen-and-ink drawings and the word "nigger". But I keep reading it, and finding joy in it. I don't know. It was an old moral problem a long time ago, and one of the things I find joy in is how much he loved India, how much that love suffuses every line he wrote about the place, and should you take joy in that, or worry that the India he loved rightfully ceased to exist sixty years ago? I don't know, I don't know. I wish there was at least a starting place with these things - if, for example, the introduction to the letters had not been half-heartedly apologist, but had said outright, Kipling was a racist of his time and a little in his own special way, and this was bad, this was wrong and hurtful, and he was also a Nobel laureate for literature and his writing is full of joy and beauty, and this is good, and the mixture is uneasy but here it is.

I stun myself with my lack of profundity. I shall go and tackle leasehold interests.



[1] Who is also known, in quite formal settings, as "equity's darling", a phrase which delights me unduly.

things

Dec. 29th, 2009 01:11 am
raven: (hp - remus at the window)
Had dinner tonight with a couple of very old friends indeed. It was sort of supposed to be an evening of new things - they're brothers, whom I'll call V and P (which aren't actually their initials, because I'm crafty like that), and their mum has just moved to a pretty new apartment by the water. So off we went this evening, with a box of chocolates and a poinsettia, and oohed and aahed at the new place, which has, among other things, a coffee grinder, a kitchen floor with actual, honest-to-god sparkles (it made me want to dance; my kitchen floor doesn't make me want to dance!), a large tank of tropical fish and a wee tortoiseshell kitty, who is very shy and lives in a cupboard.

But my point was, we got to reminiscing about long ago and far away, which reminded me of all sorts of things I'd forgotten about living in hospitals. I mostly did until I was twelve-going-on-thirteen, and V and P and I used to spent quite a bit of our time - basically, all of our time - running around getting in trouble. See, this was the late nineties when most of the small infirmaries became big district generals, and ours was no exception - it moved out of town to an enormous greenfield site complete with duckpond, and left behind eyes, gynae and geriatric psychiatry, to the amusement of all. And in the mess of the move no one really paid attention to the kids running around the place, and no one was exactly supervising - the logic was, doctors' children in hospitals are sort of supervised by osmosis, and besides if they break a leg, accident and emergency is right there - but even so, until V reminded me tonight, I'd forgotten we built a go-kart out of scrap wood and raced it around the hospital car park.

Seriously. Out of a three-legged table, some wheels taken off a trolley the porters had thrown out, some string and some enthusiastic pushers, including my dog, a fairly excitable Alsatian. Funny how you can forget brushes with certain death. We also built a treehouse at one point, and tried to spend the night in it; I think we lit a fire in a dustbin before giving up because it was cold. And went trick-or-treating through the hospital wards at Hallowe'en, and got songs played on the radio station, and walked out to the beach and tried to push toboggans down the dunes. It was all a bit Swallows and Amazons, only with less water and more sharps bins.

It makes me a little sad that now the infirmary really is closed, the buildings are going to be turned into flats, and the whole place is going to be different. The funny thing was, there were a lot of kids running around at the time, and I've forgotten most of them - but many years later I was at a party in Oxford when a girl came up to me and said, "The old infirmary...?" - and it sort of came flooding back.

Anyway, a lovely evening, surprisingly. In other news entirely, the week's [livejournal.com profile] lunatunes theme is "top five at the moment":

1. Florence and the Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) (with thanks to [livejournal.com profile] musesfool; she said she'd had it on repeat for a few days, and I nabbed it off her and now I've had it on repeat for days, too - it's so great, so full of energy);

2. Sarah Brightman - Nessun Dorma (so lovely, this, and usually thematically appropriate);

3. Amy Ray - Laramie (for Matthew Shephard, and I like it a lot, especially the first couple of lines: we hit snow on the road to Laramie / we all heard about that mess)

4. Regina Spektor - Eet ([livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong pointed me at this, and I don't understand it at all but it's really gorgeous)

5. Melissa Etheridge - Bring Me Some Water (I am not at all a fan of hers, but I really do like this song).


...tell me if you like 'em. Alas and alack, I return to writing my statement of purpose for Cornell.
raven: (misc - winter)
1.[livejournal.com profile] yuletide is OFF TO BETA. About 5000 words, quite different from what I expected, and I had last minute oh-god-this-is-awful angst which was ameliorated a bit by an ending that I quite like, but never mind all of that, it is DONE.

(Flist who are wise, how are the treats working this year? Am I right in thinking I'm too early to pick any up? Where are they going to be posted?)

2. Snow! I am safely in Edinburgh and feeling a lot better about life than I did yesterday, by virtue of my first full night's sleep in weeks, layers of snow on the ground and nowhere I have to be and nothing I have to do. Oh, god, sleep is so great, I'd forgotten what the world through the non-sleep-deprived lens even looks like. And the snow is just stupidly, epically beautiful, reflecting back all the slim daylight so everything looks a little crystalline, a little transcendescent - I saw a Border collie earlier, playing in the snow, and its fur looked positively drab and yellow against all that white - and the hills are blurred out like smeared paint. It's lovely.

3. I am enjoying AO3. I am just now trying to upload my very first (non-yuletide) story to the archive, and have picked, somewhat arbitrarily, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, a Remus/Tonks story from a few years ago that I'm still rather fond of, and so far I like the interface, it makes sense. We shall see what I think of it when I've actually uploaded everything I want up there.

(It made me sad that "Raven", as a username, was taken. That is, however, entirely my own fault for writing under Baby's First, Not At All Mary-Sueish Pseud for at least eight years longer than I ought.)

4. I am very definitely on holiday now, at least for the next couple of days, so I hold out some hope for getting them done this time: if you want a quick ficlet, comment with fandom and characters and some sort of prompt. (Drabbles and five-things-that-never-happened a speciality. Reasonable rates.)

5. And finally, one last bit of Christmas music that I uploaded for [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma: Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24). I really like it - and if you've seen "Noel", that episode of The West Wing, it's that bit of music.

And that is all.
raven: quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, under snow (stock - oxford)
Basically: [livejournal.com profile] yuletide fail (4500 words! none of them ANY GOOD); Christmas shopping fail (four presents! Have I got them? Guess); birthday present fail ([livejournal.com profile] shimgray's birthday is November 17th); work fail (mock civil advocacy assessment tomorrow - need to read case, write submissions, IRON MY SHIRT, which of these have I done, hmmm); cool temperate maritime fail (cold, wet, cold, wet, no heating, cold, wet); daylight savings fail (sunset in Oxford, December 15th, 2009 - 3.52pm); and getting-out-of-bed fail (er - I didn't).

Also I am nearly out of filter coffee. But I am going to survive to the end of this week, I am going to go home for Christmas, all will be fine, in the words of [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay's soothing and affirmative mantra for the time of year, ALL IS CALM AND ALL IS FUCKING BRIGHT, GODDAMMIT.

Have some Christmas carols and winter-themed whatnots:

-Sixpence None The Richer - Carol of the Bells;
-Stars - Fairytale of New York;
-Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson - Winter Song (m4a);
-Sarah McLachlan - The First Noel (m4a);
-Vienna Teng - The Atheist Christmas Carol.


The holiday love meme - I'm here. I have dropped across and posted love on the people I know (and love, obv). The world needs love today.

And now, back to sorting my life out.

Exeunt, reciting "all is calm all is bright all is calm all is FUCKING BRIGHT GODDAMMIT..."
raven: red tulips in a vase on a balcony, against a background of a city (stock - tulips)
Things we ought to know by now, children: in the grand scheme of things one does before one leaves the house in the morning, "breakfast" comes before "favourite purple lipstick". Otherwise coffee mugs end up looking like decorative arthouse props.

Anyway. Things and stuff, and all of that. Last week [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and I went to London one dark evening to see Dar Williams play in a little underground bar on Charing Cross Road. And, oh, it was so lovely; we had a very nice dinner beforehand, and then the support was... interesting. (Basically, Canadian singer-songwriter with lovely, lovely voice and vilely anodyne lyrics; she ought to have a successful career doing covers.) And then there was a break, and I was just beginning to realise what a fabulous venue it was - low ceilings, mellifluous lighting, and the stage was just a raised platform and we could stand, happily, a metre from it without getting squashed. There were middle-aged women twittering in front of us and leaving their shopping on the stage.

And then she came on, and oh my god I love her. I mean... obviously I love her music, which is thoughtful and delicate and beautiful, but there are so few musicians I just love for themselves. She came on and sang "Easy Way Out" off her latest album, twisted the pegs on her guitar, looked up and said, "Oh, hey, guys, I didn't mean to, like, tune in your faces, there", and grinned this amazing grin and I have a crush thiiiiiiiiis big. Yeah, big as that. Oh, I love her. She played "Mercy of the Fallen" and made fun of the inhabitants of the Wirral, and she played "The Hudson" and talked about being interested in renewable energy ("And one day that's going to bleed into my music, and you're all never coming back!"), and she made lots of fun of the US Department of Homeland Security, and then she talked a bit about the background of "Spring Street" and "Are You Out There", and played them and made me so happy.

I started to wail somewhere in the middle of "When I Was a Boy". Seriously, if you have never heard it, do yourself a favour and take it and listen to it now. It, and "After All", are the two of hers that really get to me - the two that make me sit up and say, very quietly, yes, I was there, too. (She did not play "The Ocean", which is not a surprise - it seems to be an obscure song off a long-ago album that I love partly for its clear-eyed vision of sand and sky and partly because I grew up there, I had that in my bones from the beginning - but I indulged in a few moments of disappointment, nevertheless.)

She finished the set with "Iowa", which was also lovely, and then I took my slightly-make-up-streaked self outside into the night, and was happy. Shim and I made it to Oxford for about one in the morning and I spent the next day dead, but it was totally, totally worth it.

And then on Saturday I had an exam. The less said about that, the better. And also, it was Shim's birthday earlier in the week, and on Saturday evening we had a party, and that was very much marvellous. [livejournal.com profile] lizzip came up from Cambridge, and lots of other lovely lovely people were there, too, and we made pizzas and baked strudel. [livejournal.com profile] teh_elb and [livejournal.com profile] vampire_kitten told jokes, we ate lots of food and talked about feminism and law and language and also maybe, drank some whisky. Until it was two in the morning, which is my kind of party, when everyone slopes cheerily into the night and you look upon the debris with a happy satisfaction.

I really, really need to do some work right now. (Yes, all of my entries end like this, but it's always true.) And also, yay, I am Doing A Convention for the first time in years this weekend, with [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and maybe also [livejournal.com profile] emerald_embers and yay, it will be like (very) old times. Except maybe with less eleven-am drunkenness and accosting of strangers in fifteen-foot scarves.

Or... maybe not.
raven: Martha against washed-out background (doctor who - martha pwns everything)
Hello, internets. Have two songs that are making me cry:

Dar Williams & Joan Baez - You're Aging Well
I'm so glad that you finally made it here / you thought nobody cared, but I did

Dar Williams - After All (live)
I am the daughter of a great romance / and they are the children of the war

[livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma asked for five times Martha Jones was awesome )

[livejournal.com profile] deathbyshinies wanted the top five things that made you want to go to Hogwarts (or not) )

[livejournal.com profile] petronelle wanted top five Darren Nichols productions )

[livejournal.com profile] fahye wanted my top five Geoffrey moments in Slings & Arrows )

[livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay wanted my top five fannish characters )

[livejournal.com profile] brewsternorth wanted my top five fictional lawyers )
raven: stylised blue sailing ship and text: "Admiral Fail of the Fail Armada" (misc - FAIL)
Tired, tired, hate my baby-dissertation, tired, tired, hate applying for jobs, tired, hate revision, tired, tired some more. I'm too tired to sleep, to eat, to think, to do anything other than law. Last night I went out for dinner with lawyers. It was delightful, and I'm even grateful I've been admitted to a sorority of people that discusses battery over dinner. But mostly, I'm drinking more than usual and falling asleep on public transport.

Also, why do meetings with one's advisers always lead to feelings of profound personal inadequacy? My research project is on Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the extent to which I don't know anything about this is... epic, really. Nope. Don't know anything. And if they change the laws of succession before my public law exams, I am going to kill things. Possibly my elected officials. Seriously, universe, I am tired, I discuss sexual assault at the dinner table, I am very tired, step away from the constitutional settlement, I NO LONGER HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR ABOUT THESE THINGS.

I wanna paint my nails.

Oh, and now the cat has parked its considerable derriere on The Fortune of War.

...look, I have nothing to say that isn't about the law, about how tired I am, or about the Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin Undyin' Love Travellin' Show. Vienna Teng has a new album. Grandmother Song; No Gringo. The first one makes me laugh and the second one makes me cry.

Now I am going back to failing at my life. See y'all in, oh, 2012, maybe.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I just had a long and decadent bath, but now I can't stand up. Life, she is hard.

Some notes and queries, before I drag myself to bed:

1. Life lesson for the day. When you decide to use up about-to-go-off milk by making it into custard, using a measuring jug for the purpose, you know what you should do? You should wash out the measuring jug very thoroughly first. You should especially do this when the last thing the jug was used for was making vegetable stock. Mmm, delicately spiced custard.

2. Also, when you have less-than-stellar mental health, you should fill up every weekend so you're busy every calendar day for two months. Actually, yes, you should do this. I am currently too busy to draw breath, but, well, that's not so bad, I think. I need to get more sleep, though, or at least ride out the current bout of insomnia. One of these days I really must make a proper post about Life As An Insomniac, It Sucks, because, well, it does, and it continues to irritate me how people who do not have chronic sleep disorders seem to often think that Glasses of Warm Milk and A Regular Routine and, most nauseating, Maintaining Good Sleep Hygiene is all us deviants need before we're snoring in the rank and file.

(I mean, seriously. I've been sleeping badly for in excess of two decades now. If one of those things was going to work, it would've have worked by now. But I digress.)

3. [livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest is asking for prompts again! This time, I plan to participate. You guys should too, it's kind of awesome.

4. Regina Spektor - Braille. I can't stop listening to this right now.

5. And finally, and the real point of this post: tomorrow, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and I skip off to London and trespass on [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios' hospitality, and on Saturday morning, bright and early, we're going to Paris! For adventure and excitement and really wild things! Or maybe sitting in cafés drinking good coffee and watching the world drift by. It is cool. To all a good weekend, shall be around on the flipside.
raven: (misc - thine own self)
Ye gods, I am spammy these days. (No doubt I then won't post for two months or something, to make up for it.) Anyway! Two public service announcements:

-Firstly, I just got a nice little email from the admin-type people at the central admissions board, and it looks like, if I pass my exams this year, I will have a place at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXILP, usually; one day I'll get over my allergy to abbreviations) for the LPC, and so will be in Oxford for the academic year 2009-10, as well as this one. So that's nice. We all need a plan.

-Secondly, I am changing meds again - from citalopram to fluoxetine - and as such, in the next few days, if I am teary, flaky and scary, it's probably just a consequence of my winning personality but there is at least a statistical chance that it isn't, and many thanks for patience.

(And, just to make up for continuous spam, the Mousehole is rocking to Amanda Palmer. Have these: Leeds United; Runs in the Family. The second one in particular is fucking awesome.)
raven: (misc - liberal)
For everything: Vienna Teng - Hope on Fire.

For Proposition 8: Vienna Teng - City Hall.

This is the part in democracy where we fall over in exhaustion with textbooks open on our heads. I am so tired I am almost horizontal and blurring through contract law, but I don't want to set it aside just yet, because, well, because of a silly, similarly blurry reason. This is what lawyers grow up to be, says my brain, this is what you can do, sit down and use your brain and your hands and your books and you will always be a part of your world. Well done, Senator Obama of Illinois: I have been looking behind sofa cushions and in cupboards and down the back of the fridge, to no avail, but last night, at 5.30am, you found my work ethic. Thank you.

What can I really say about last night? The Mousehole election party was subdued to begin with, then started to fill up with gin. We flicked on the BBC coverage the moment it started, left it on all night, eight of us piled around the living-room drinking gin and pink wine (before we even began drinking, we had established who in the room wouldn't throw Obama out of bed) and [livejournal.com profile] magic_doors, who has exactly the same sort of political sense of humour that I do, decided that, ideally, McCain would lose a lot of states, then lose Arizona, and then have to go out drinking, and fall over in an alley somewhere and be kidnapped by organ snatchers and wake up without his kidneys. We both, for some reason, thought this mini snuff-fantasy was hilarious and embroidered it throughout.

It wasn't a costume party, but there were thematic elements. I had a wee Obama pin, sent to me by [livejournal.com profile] heidi8, that I wore to school all day and felt oddly smug about (when I was actually at school, the wearing of political accoutrements was Strictly Frowned Upon), and we got the kitten a luxury kitty dinner so she'd remember the night fondly. And in the evening, [livejournal.com profile] subservient_son appeared and asked me to guess what his costume was. It consisted of paper flames attached to his jeans at waist height. "Fire," I said.

"What is the fire on?"

"Er..."

"No, not that!"

"Your trousers."

"And what do Americans call trousers?"

"Pants. Oh, liar."

The next intuitive leap was too hard for me, unfortunately. Nevertheless, he gets about million geek points for coming to my election night party dressed as the Bradley effect. [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong came with a sink plunger. I did slightly better at identifying this costume. I had meant to get a blue ribbon for the cat, but I failed at indoctrination. After going for a long walk down the Cowley Road to get Chinese food with [livejournal.com profile] me_ves_y_sufres, I poured myself a large gin and settled down for the night.

So, we drank. We ate. We made (mild) merry. We made fun of the plummy BBC voices talking to American voters. We complained about general statements made about people with vaginas. "Women are voting for Obama," said the television. Well, yes, I observed. I imagine, right now, there are women who are voting for Obama. Personally, said someone else, I always vote with my vagina. (Some of those women don't have vaginas, to be fair to the BBC, but, really.) All the vaginas in the room quivered with anticipation of the next states to be called.

By four thirty in the morning, I was almost asleep on the sofa. And then, within two minutes, they called California and Washington, and the little counter on the screen ticked over, unobstrusively, up to 270, and then more, and then all of a sudden we were screaming and hugging each other and dancing and scaring the cat and waking up [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, who wandered blearily in to be met with cheers and screeches and finally, quiet, happy clinging to each other while we listened to the speeches. I was impressed with John McCain. I really, really was. His speech was calm and gracious and classy - classier by far than his audience, who booed mentions of Obama and Palin and were generally embarrassing.

But... then, Obama's speech. It was five thirty in the morning. I had been awake for twenty-two hours, had been drinking for the last six of them, I was high and fragile as a kite, and he came on stage, with his family, and stood there with them in front of millions of people, and then he started to speak. When he spoke about all people, white and black and Asian and disabled and gay and straight, I could feel the people in the room around me starting to cry. He got up, the president-elect of the United States, and he spoke about people as if they were people, as though to be liberal was how to be, as though, for the first time in years, we should be proud to be liberal. He talked about his international spectators, and there was cheering from us, he talked about the new puppy his kids are getting, and there was more cheering. He spoke for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, and there was such quiet in the room. I don't know what happened last night, I don't know. But I went to sleep in the morning and the house had quietened down, and it was good.

I am not happy about Proposition 8. It breaks my heart that civil rights can be taken away, for bigots. I am happy that Al Franken may be a senator for Minnesota. I am happy that Indiana went Democratic for the first time since 1964, and that my young cousin, voting and campaigning and rallying for the first time, was a part of a 0.9% margin.

And I'm tiiiiiired. But something was done.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
One of those cold-calling marketing-type people rang up and wanted to talk about whether we had considered debt consolidation services. Mum told them to ring the US government.

In other news: It is one o'clock in the afternoon and I have run out of spoons. But I have been up since half seven and I have got stuff done. I went to the Apple store and waved my Macbook at them, I went to the bank and persuaded them to change thirty-two coins that are not legal tender, I went to News From Nowhere and lusted over feminist jurisprudence, I bought a dress for no reason except I liked it. Due to a combination of lack-of-spoons and the general failure of Liverpool-based washing-machine repair services, I did not get to see [livejournal.com profile] forthwritten.

In conclusion, still here. I am sorry for spamming you all, but I'm just doing that thing where it's one foot in front of the other, and my life isn't all that interesting.

(As compensation, (some of) my sitting-at-home-having-a-nervous-breakdown playlist:

Stars - Your Ex-Lover is Dead (live)

Dar Williams - I Had No Right

Dar Williams - Troubled Times

Dar Williams - You Are Everyone

Kimya Dawson - Loose Lips)
raven: (misc - liberal)
Oh hi, I'm still crazy. (Actually, no; much wailing and much being fed junk food by lovely boy has helped, and now I'm depressed and knackered but no longer actively considering throwing self in front of bus.)

Anyway, that's not the point. Via [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose, Sarah Palin apparently can't name any Supreme Court decision other than Roe v Wade. The meme: post any Supreme Court decision, modern or historic, to your LJ. After six straight hours of baby law school today, I feel honour-bound to respond to this.

So, I give you a classic: Brown v Topeka State Board of Education, which established that seperate does not mean equal and ended racial segregation in schools. I can't name many others - Loving v Virginia comes to mind - but I have to say, English law is much better for this sort of thing, in that the cases that are used every day to set binding precedents are astonishingly, delightfully old. Yesterday I looked up Payne v Cave (1789), which establishes that you may withdraw your bid in an auction at any time before the hammer falls; Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball (1893), wich establishes that you may, if you are sufficiently stupid, accidentally make a unilateral contract with the entire world; Donaghue v Stevenson (1929), of which the substance is immaterial: all you need to know is it involved decomposing slugs in beer.

Have I mentioned I really like the law? I really like the law. Other strange thing I have learned today: consent is not a defence to actual bodily harm. Also, a sin of ommission is not a crime. Which means I could have consensual kinky sex with someone, and be prosecuted, and watch a child drown, and not. Huh.

In other news, Dar Williams' new album is made of perfect. (Have two songs: Buzzer; Midnight Radio.)

Anyway. I return to land law and crazy. Hope you're all having a nice Thursday.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Ah, fuck it. The The Livejournal Darkroom Orgy v2.0, an excellent idea, and I am in the mood for late night propositioning.

To stop this being content-less post of contentlessness, have my sitting-at-home-like-it's-2002 playlist:

Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing

(I loved this. Played it and played it and played it. Was edged out marginally by "Pure Morning", because [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and I used to - and still do, occasionally! - drive around in Starbug to it, being happy.)

Goo Goo Dolls - Here Is Gone

(This is possibly the first song I ever, er, creatively acquired. I was proud.)

Jack off Jill - Fear of Dying

(Argh. Argh, argh, argh. Oh, to be fifteen.)

Hole - Celebrity Skin

(Whilst revising for Finals, [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I totally did not resurrect this album. Not at all.)

Nirvana - Dumb

(Sigh.)
raven: Alyson Hannigan as vampire Willow with her fangs out, face shadowed  (buffy - vamp willow)
Yesterday, mid-afternoon:

the world outside in focus, it is SYMBOLIC )

Thursday afternoon: Final Honours School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, paper 0103, Ethics, question 18: "Would your death be good for you?"

Thursday evening, 10.13pm:

I fall over a lot )

Over the course of the last few days:

Tori Amos - Taxi Ride (x51)
Indigo Girls - Let Me Go Easy (x36)
Vienna Teng - Recessional (x179, ohGOD)
The Indelicates - ...If Jeff Buckley Had Lived (x68)

Tomorrow: Theory of Politics, Saturday, History of Philosophy From Descartes to Kant, (Bank Holiday) Monday, Politics of South Asia. Tuesday, Wednesday, also.
raven: red tulips in a vase on a balcony, against a background of a city (stock - tulips)
Something about today - the humidity, a sort of soft closeness to the air - has meant I've been very aware of the scent of things: flowers, rain, and pizza. All different, all diffused. It's warm, and thick, and I am feeling distinctly lethargic, and urrrgh, work is not happening.

So, in lieu of content - seriously, my life is uninteresting right now; it mostly features work, more work, the occasional forage for food and/or books, and doing (all) the G2 crossword(s) with [livejournal.com profile] luminometrice - I am going to inflict my current playlist on you all instead.

Vienna Teng - Recessional
who are you, taking coffee no sugar? / who are you, echoing street signs?

I love this. I love it so much, I have listened to it a hundred times in ten days.

Vienna Teng - Love Turns 40
don't go, she says when he's sleeping / she says it to herself

The lyrics of this one, I think, make it for me. Actually, I don't think there's a single song by her without this lovely, sparse, astonishing lyricism.

Liz Phair - Divorce Song
and it's true I stole your lighter and it's also true I lost the map / but when you said I wasn't worth talking to I had to take your word on that

Angry Lesbian Feminist MusicTM.

The Indelicates - Our Daughters Will Never Be Free
we said it's okay on the day we said nothing

Via [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong, this is the version I described as "plinky-plonky-disturbing" and she described as a three-minute song about the failures of third wave feminism. Listen to it.

Indigo Girls - Starkville
I remember one occasion when you were drinking / you asked me to the coast

This is soft and a little strange, a little haunting. I (still) love the Indigo Girls, oh, yes. It dawned on me a few days ago, while I was trying to explain to someone why I love them so much, that it's partly the mood they evoke - so many of their songs are associated in my headwith specific times, specific people, times when I was stressed out and times I was stumbling towards change and times I was dizzily falling in love - and partly because they are that good, that subtle, and that occasionally downright strange. And I do love how they sing about, well, everything. Have a song about the importance of political history -

Indigo Girls - Become You
it took a long time to become the thing I am to you

- and one about reincarnation -

Indigo Girls - Galileo
at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation in my lifetime

and one about, and I swear I am not making this up, and possibly I wish I were, but. Have a song about putting down that degree in philosophy and stepping out into the real world.

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine
the less I seek my soul for some definitives / the closer I am to fine

And, finally. Before I attempt to go to bed, while I can still pretend it's not tomorow yet, a poem. I got this from [livejournal.com profile] musesfool for National Poetry Month, and I've been waiting for a slow lazy Sunday to repost it, because it's lovely and it stayed with me.

when you have forgotten Sunday )
raven: black and white; Tenth Doctor on a bed, looking up at Martha (doctor who - in bed together)
Finally, finally, after days and weeks and respectability and life out of a suitcase, I am on my way home. It's such a lovely feeling that I even managed to get out of bed this morning at nine - and, wow, nine was a lie-in, I really have been being respectable - and venture out into the grey warmth with scarcely a backwards look. There's a softness in the air again, a faint hint of springlike things to come. Of course, it felt like this last week, and well. It snowed. I love England, sometimes.

Last night, I finished work at half five, ran through the city, took the world's quickest shower, was just about to run out again when I had one of those moments, where you're standing holding an eyeliner pencil thinking subtle, subtle, and then, clearly: actually, I don't fucking want to, and what the hell did I do with the glitter? Some rummaging revealed said glitter (Urban Decay heavy metal in Baked - it's sunshine and joy in a tube) and my own very favourite eyeliner, which is actually kajal, and the effect was not subtle at all. I was pleased. And I ran out to Hammersmith in a very cheery mood indeed.

None of this is to say that I haven't enjoyed this vacation scheme or that I'm not glad I did it. If I do go down this route, actually do become a lawyer, then I will have to deal with normality and respectability as part of the job. Respectable is a mantle you can put on and take off. I'm just not very good at it at the moment. As I was bemoaning to several people earlier in the week, I made it to Thursday lunchtime still passing as normal, and then came out accidentally. It was faintly ludicrous, at that; one of the other students started an anecdote with, "My ex once had a mishap with a breadmaker."

"Oh," sayeth I, "I had an ex who once had a mishap with a breadmaker. She put icing-sugar in it instead of flour."

And you could see it - you could see the clicking gears in all their brains, as they processed, first icing-sugar, and laghed, and then the pronoun clicked, and then there was a sort of quiet oh. I was a little vexed at the time, but ah, what the hell. What can you do? You can't watch your mouth all the time, you'd lose your mind. What the hell. And there are compensations to being me. I met [livejournal.com profile] anotherusedpage for coffee that night and we put fandom to rights, as usual - several hours of gesticulating wildly at each other and talking about fannish paradigms and OTW and atypicality and what it means to be a new type of person are very good for the soul.

So, on Friday night, I got on a Tube train to Hammersmith which was clearly being driven by one of the world's nicest humans - "And look at that!" she said, as the train emerged from below ground, "It's sunny! Watch you don't get dazzled and fall on the track! And by the way, Hammsrsmith station is closed!" - and I didn't actually mind. They re-opened the station just before I arrived at it, and some confusion later, I met [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata and there was much glee. We were going to the Apollo to see KT Tunstall and it was marvellous. We timed it well, missed the support entirely deliberately in favour of getting a very nice dinner at a small restaurant run by a pair of exuberantly delightful Italians, who fed us a ridiculous amount of baked pasta and we kept laughing and scaring the other patrons and it was joyous.

(On the way into the gig, we met one of the other people I'd been at the Vaguely Notable Law Firm with - she had warned me that she'd be there, taking her middle-aged mother to her first Rock Concert (awww) - and there was a moment or two of small talk and awkward introductions, and it didn't dawn on me until a few minutes later that she clearly thought that [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata and I were together. I'm surprised that this happened this time around, and no one assumed we were together when we went to see the Indigo Girls last year!)

Speaking of which, the gig itself was ahhh, lovely. KT Tunstall would be very entertaining even if she didn't sing. But she did, and most of her songs are cheering, wonderful things that made the venue bounce, and yes. It was just the right thing to have done, last night. Musically speaking, I think the high point was about halfway through; I'd been reading that very morning in one of the Tube newspaper review sections that she'd been trying out a different cover at every gig on the tour, and this one, she did a haunting, soft acoustic version of "Every Day Is Like Sunday", and I just... yes. I love that song with an unholy passion, and she did it so well, with such clean, sparse layering of instrumentals and voice, and it was... um. Yes. Wonderful.

Afterwards we hung around for coffee and made happy noises at each other before running down to catch the last trains. The journey back was a little surrealist, a little hallucinogenic in quality; I'd been up for eighteen hours and the tunnels and stations were a bit of a clean-lit contrast to the Apollo and the night outside. I saw a man carryig a surfboard onto the last Tube train of the day. It was a little bizarre. Opposite me there was an odd couple, a very pale man and his very drunk girlfriend, whose voice was clear as a bell; she kept saying, "Are you sure? Are you sure? I don't want to be an evil temptress. I'm not an evil temptress. Are you really sure?"

I guess he was; at any rate, they stumbled off into the night at Knightsbridge and I wended my way back. And now, I have had some sleep, I have had some breakfast, and this morning, I was back on a Tube platform looking at the curving adverts on the opposite wall, and I was reading something for Orange pay-as-you-go, with the small print at the bottom, and it talked about limited liability and terms and conditions apply, and, without a break, Thank you for reading this far, it makes our legal people feel valued.

Well, it made me laugh. In about forty-five minutes, I will be back in Oxford, and tonight there is new Doctor Who. I also have about 1200 words of remix to write in the next twenty-four hours, alas. Ah, well. Very nearly home, and the sun's at my back.

(Of course, I wrote all of the above, and it wouldn't post. Fail, internets, fail. So, what else can I regale you with?)

Oxford! Oxford is beautiful. I came back and it was all awash with sunlight and Morris dancers, and I came home and filled my room with my stuff - oh god, I hate unpacking, I still haven't done any - and I let the afternoon drift by in a shamelessly slow sprawl of sunlight and wandering. [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and I were supposed to be making pancakes and hosting the assembled masses watching Doctor Who. (Domestic? Very.) And it was lovely, lovely. Everyone turned up and was sweet and [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata provided a TARDIS cake that dyed my tongue blue and after some technical difficulties - including the procuring of a teatowel to gag [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios with, should he decide to be a classicist about proceedings or indeed harbour a secret desire to resemble Yasser Arafat - there was watching of Who.

Fires of Pompeii )

And then, pancakes - mostly shaped like the Flying Spaghetti Monster - and sugar, and joy, and tea, and sleep. I walked home this morning through showers and intermittent sunshine, and now I must unpack my room, take a shower and get to work. My life, she is hard.

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