freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
My gosh-darned microwave oven is making weird noises. Not, may I add, the kind of weird popping noises you often get from (just as a random example, nothing at all to do with my non-best-practice) reheating rice uncovered. Nope, this is, somewhat alarmingly, a weird noise it makes to itself quietly in the corner of the kitchen when there's nothing in it, no-one has pressed "go" and in fact I haven't used it for days. It's a staticky sort of crackle that sounds like a miniature and slightly meditative geiger counter. It is, I have to say, enormously disconcerting when it happens spontaneously in the silent kitchen next to my bedroom at 4am, particularly when I've been playing a lot of Fallout.

I noodled around on the internet and found a Youtube clip of someone else's oven doing exactly the same thing:



Gawsh, I thought vaguely. Gawsh, that microwave looks exactly like mine. Which it is. The same model. The one you can find by googling for "Russell Hobbs microwave oven fault", which turns up the Daily Mail article about that model being recalled for its potential to spontaneously combust. Gawsh.

Fortunately the noise has always sounded suspiciously like a mini Tesla coil to me, which says electrical short and arcing; I have been following a simple principle of unplugging it at the wall when I'm not actually using it, and that usually settles its hash within a few seconds. (Also a bit disconcerting that it continues crackling for a bit after current is removed, which is very like that weird electrical car problem you sometimes get in older models, when the car continues to idle for a few seconds after you've cut the ignition. Because demon possession, apparently.) But I should probably really stop using it on strict principles of self-preservation and not accidentally electrocuting the cat. It is, of course, out of warranty by now, and the model was clearly never actually recalled in this country. I see a new microwave in my immediate future, sigh. Probably not by Russell Hobbs.

The Dire Straits ear-worm, incidentally, comes free with my subject line at no extra cost. You're welcome.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am slightly saddened that the Great Year Of Subject Line Bowie Mourning is still in force, as really this post should be entitled "Into each life some rain must fall". On the upside, the actual subject line I chose does come from possibly my favorite track on Blackstar, "Girl Loves Me", which is bouncy and catchy and written in a sort of frangled Clockwork-Orangesque mad post-apocalyptic vernacular1, which is not unapposite to my week.

The Cosmic Wossnames are gonna mess with me, is who. I am on leave. It's lovely. I'm catching up on sleep, and apparently all I need to do is to leave work for my dream-life to swing back into nightly focus with an audible click. And in my personal value system, shaped as it is by a drought-scarred Zimbabwean childhood, actual rain falling into my life, as it has done for the last few days, is cause for rejoicing. It's been bucketing, and cold, and the cats and I have been congregated around the contented purr of the gas heater for large swathes of time. I would prefer, however, if the otherwise much-enjoyed precipitation could refrain from precipitating actually inside the house.

So the bathroom sprang a leak on Tuesday. A little one, in the corner, where it rained gently on the towels. My nice landlord came round on Thursday and spent several hours tromping around on the roof, doing mystic passes with sealant and cloth coverings and what have you. This appears to have been something of a catastrophic fail in the DIY department, one of those epic fumbles that made everything worse, because Saturday's heavy rain revealed that the original leak had multiplied its output by a factor of ten, the bathroom had sprung two additional leaks in solidarity, and there were another series of sinister plopping noises in the living-room ceiling. Plus one small, diffident leak from the skylight contributing intermittently and with mathematical accuracy to the center of the carpet. I have no idea what the hell he did up there, but the roof really didn't like it. I await, somewhat damply, his no doubt shamefaced return to make good.

In retrospect possibly the leaking roof was inevitable, because I've been playing Fallout 4, which is littered with destroyed houses and makeshift shacks all with gaping holes in their roofs. But I can't even retreat from the deluge into more literal, if abstracted, postapocalyptic ruination, because the Cosmic Wossnames' two-punch sabotage followed its own inexorable logic: if I take ten days of leave and download Fallout 4 as the gaming project for said time, two days into the leave my computer will awake bright and early to an existential crisis in which it has convinced itself that it doesn't have a graphics card. Crawling in emo denial under its metaphorical bed, it will paralyse its own functions to the point where it not only wholesalely refuses to admit the existence of the graphics card on which it has been happily playing Fallout for two days, it will also reduce its screen resolution to a lowly 800x600 and refuse to change it at any price.

I dunno. It's distinctly possible that my computer is hallucinating it's Kylo Ren; if this is the case, hopefully the nice geeky types at my local computer shop will apply sufficient therapy to disabuse it of this misapprehension. If it's not, in fact, hallucinating and the (brand new, circa two days after the Inquisition release date) graphics card has in fact died, I apologize for the Kylo Ren slur and reflect, with some satisfaction, that at least the damned card is still under warranty. Either way, hopefully my computer returns to my bosom today, and I can stop this ridiculous half-existence where I experience the world through an IPad and my phone. Blarg. Any errors in this post are entirely attributable to the IPad's over-zealous and unduly American auto-correct. The verbosity is, however, absolutely my own. It's been over-watered.

1 Actually, subsequent research suggests it's half Nadsat and half Polari, which is something of an enchanting mix.

spiders from Mars

Monday, 13 June 2016 12:36 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
When I left to do some shopping early on Saturday there was a small flock of hadeda ibises (ibi?) posed dramatically along the roof-tree of my house, against the morning sky. Rather like a boy-band album cover, in fact: studied poses, all carefully differentiated, positions and distances calculated to hint at relationships. A deliberate construction of unity and individuality. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't take a photo, if only as documentary evidence so I can pick the right bird out of the line-up for punitive purposes. Because in retrospect that was a sinister little flock loitering with intent.

During the course of Saturday, while I was in my study innocently ambling through the Shivering Isles1 one or more nameless hadedaean perpetrators spent several hours wreaking wanton destruction in the back courtyard2. My container garden has a terribly tendency to cutworm, who drowned in droves in the heavy rain last week, and the Hadeda Boy Band obviously had a field day noshing the little surface-floated squishy corpses. Which is fine, and would cause me fist-pumps of vindictive satisfaction, except that hadedas are large birds who (a) trampled several plants nearly to death, and (b) half dug up others - the soil in the pots is basically harrowed and drilled by the multiple stabbings of hadeda beaks. Have you seen the beaks on those things? like bloody ice-picks. And, crowning insult, they crapped (c) all over the back courtyard, with that excessive bowel enthusiasm characteristic of their kind, and (d) all over the kitchen, because I leave the courtyard door open for ventilation during the day, and they clearly wandered in like they owned the place. I basically had to hose down and disinfect the whole room. I'm not sure the cutworm decimation is worth it. Seriously, One Direction would definitely do less damage, or at least damage that was somewhat less scatological. Probably.

I'm feeling a little besieged, is all. The neighbourhood tomcat who beats up Hobbit is still prone to coming into the house at night to beat up Hobbit, play with his cat-toys, steal the catfood and spray all over the passage. (Where the hadedas crapped. I'm sensing a theme.) I'm sleeping with the bathroom window closed, which means my cats trying to get out or the tomcat trying to get in have to go through my bedroom window and over my recumbent form. This does seem to be excluding the tomcat quite usefully, hooray, even if it does necessitate 2am wake-ups as Hobbit launches heavily from my midriff. But clearly any open window is an invitation. Last night I was lying in bed playing Avengers Academy on my phone3, and I happened to look up at the curtain because my eye caught a slight movement of something dark against the dark green. And a massive spider, must have been 8-10cm across, came moseying out from behind it and across it like the hot contender in the World's Most Nonchalant Arachnoid heats.

This is, quite frankly, rude. Because one's body does that complete muscular lock-down thing, frozen in horror and with faint echoes of Dragon Age dialogue drifting across one's cerebellum4. During this involuntary play-dead manoeuvre the spider ambled unhurriedly on a dead level path across the curtain, and disappeared behind it. Then I lay there for the next hour, staring into the dark with eyes like the third dog from the tinderbox fairy tale, every fibre of my being tense, while scenarios play out endlessly: spider has fallen on the floor and is climbing up the bed leg and under the blankets. Spider has fallen on the floor and is climbing up the mosquito net to drop on me. Spider is climbing up the wall so it can fall on me from the ceiling. It's lurking on the curtain so it can fall on me when I forget about it and open the curtain in the morning. It's fallen on the floor and will run up my leg when I get out of bed. It's moseyed on out into the courtyard and I can go to sleep now. Really. Really. I can sleep now. Any time.

I eventually did, and it didn't leap out at me at any point during the night, but I find the fact of its complete disappearance suspicious. With any luck the nice cleaning lady will find it and chase it out into the courtyard, where a hadeda will eat it. Because apparently I have an ecosystem.



1 Oblivion re-play while waiting for Fallout 4 to download. The Shivering Isles are perfectly demented, but I'd forgotten how pretty they are.

2 Which in retrospect does explain why the cats spent the day attached to my ankles, lily-livered beasts.

3 This is a deliberate attempt to try and connect me more with my phone, which I forget to check or charge or bring half the time, and which would be long since dead if it were a tamagotchi. Judicious experimentation suggests that being able to make teen superheroes dance or fly or take selfies does indeed foster attachment. Go figure.

4 Cole: "Too many legs!". Dorian: "Just once, we should see normal-sized spiders!"

arrrrrrrrrrrrgh

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 09:30 am
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Today is one of South Africa's myriad public holidays, which is fortuitous, as this year-end process has been extra special sparkly hell because of the exam delays from the student protests, and that, in combination with having dropped the anti-depressants, means that I am exhausted beyond belief. I shuffled into the undergrad admin office yesterday to wave a form at someone, provoking an announcement of "Jessica's a zombie today!" by another member of the office staff whose existence simply hadn't registered on account of my only possessing the energy for singular focus. I am doing that annoying thing where I'm waking up after eight hours of sleep feeling as though I've just staggered into bed after a hard day's ferret-juggling while simultaneously doing Irish dance. In lead-weighted boots. Through knee-high treacle.

So while today's public holiday is fortuitous, it has not been a morning characterised by unrelieved serenity and peace. The cats woke me up at 6.30 via Hobbit's patented "stick both front paws and all his considerable weight into the tender area just above my hip, in a marked manner because he wants breakfast", causing me to erupt upright in bed, swearing. This flung my left calf muscle into a particularly vicious cramp, necessitating screaming, writhing and strange contortions, during which the cats left the bed in disgust. For additional Feline Overlord points, one of them had thrown up next to my bed overnight. Having subdued the recalcitrant calf muscle, I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and, given that I wasn't yet wearing my glasses, placed my right foot firmly into the catsick. We draw a tactful veil over the expressive commentary of the next few minutes. The cats came out of hiding only about half an hour later, when the blue haze to the air had subsided and I'd filled their food bowls and promised faithfully not to kill anyone.

It is, however, probably a good thing that I was awake already, as that circumvented further homicidal rage when various neighbours simultaneously decided to take advantage of the public holiday with a spot of home and garden improvement. At 8 sharp they started variously (a) sawing down trees in their front garden (outside in the road, to the right, with added negative points because I don't hold with cutting down trees), (b) trimming the hedge with something petrol-driven (over the back wall, accompanied by domestic argument as to who should be cutting what where) and (c) embarking on major DIY projects with electric saws, drills and cheerful whistling (over the back wall to the right). At eight am on a public holiday, mark you. The whole thing is forming a sort of modern contrapuntal soundscape, question and answer, the snarling mechanical equivalent of a spirited debate. As one dies down, another starts up. (The tree-fellers are winning, mostly out of an almost internet-troll level of sheer vocal persistence). The noise is simply indescribable, and so far above outrageous that all I can do is giggle helplessly as yet another bit of heavy machinery cuts in with "and another thing...!" in tenor or baritone whirring.

I shall turn the sound up high and play Fallout 3 at them. It's been the kind of morning where pinpoint accuracy in shooting the heads off evil mutants with a sniper rifle is beyond cathartic. Also, two more days of work and then I'm on leave for two and a half weeks, and there is neither sufficient calloo nor callay in the world to adequately respond to that.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Lo these many aeons ago, back in the mists of time, one of the multitudes of DM-ing Andrews of my immediate acquaintance (the polar-explorer namesake one) ran a Rolemaster game. Standardish medieval framework, featuring the usual quotient of ridiculous semi-British humour, puns and insane party antics. I think it may have been that one where Dylan's character critically fumbled a riding skill, fell off, and rolled a 66 crit on the dismount, coming really absurdly close to death. But it also featured the party mind-controlling a peasant, for reasons lost to history, no wait, now I come to think of it it was in order to force him to dig a grave for the messenger we accidentally killed because he came galloping past us in a Suspicious Manner and we critted fatally on an attempt to stop him somewhat less lethally. (He had nothing whatsoever to do with us or our quest and was a mere item of local colour. Andrew being Andrew, his messenger's badge was a small red fish).

Anyway, we forced said peasant to prepare a grave, causing him to shamble up to the party once finished, spade in hand in the approved American Gothic pose, and utter the immortal line, with all the delivery of a medieval Eccles, "I dugged an hole." This became a catchphrase, not just in its original form, but in its somewhat idiosyncratic grammatical franglement, in a manner not unrelated to LOLcats or doge. I wroted an blog post. I wented to an work. Our students hadded an protest. Our protesters also flunged an things at our VC, in a manner which did its damnedest to undermine the otherwise praiseworthily conducted protests and which has been ruthlessly suppressed, hopefully in the Carrollian sense1. But I digress.

All of this is a vague and pointless preamble to the observation that The Jo had another outbreak of mad l33t carpentry skillz, and maded me an TV cabinet2. Thus:



It is a thing composed of equal parts beauty and utility. It is precisely measured to the dimensions of the various bits of my home theatre system and ever-expanding DVD collection, and has wheels and handles and dinky brass clasps on its cunning back compartment to store acres of electrical spaghetti, and it is bringing me much joy not of only of the utilitarian and organisational variety, but of the warm glow of Nice Friends Made Stuff For Me!

I have Nice Friends. But you knew that, since a lot of them are you.



1 "Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.)
"`I'm glad I've seen that done,' thought Alice. `I've so often read in the newspapers, at the end of trials, "There was some attempts at applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court," and I never understood what it meant till now.'"


2 Which seems, in fact, to be a Theme of a certain cosmic inevitability. The Evil Landlord did something similar when I was living with him, constructing me a giant TV cabinet which stored not only the home theatre system, but my entire DVD collection, at least for about a week and a half until my hopeless addiction to media acquisition overran the space almost instantly. It is a source of great sorrow to me that my current living room is no way in hell large enough for the original TV cabinet, and I had to leave it behind, thus necessitating the Joannular carpentry outbreak.

freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am at home today with 'flu, as I am phlegmy and disgusting and shouldn't breathe on anyone, and moreover have a head full of cement. Also, I need to hold Hobbit's hand a bit, he got beaten up by the neighbourhood tom again this morning, and is wandering around all subdued, with matted fur and covered with leaves. I think the bastard must have rolled him in a flower bed.

So, being at home, it's vaguely synchronous that Tumblr is currently doing a meme about how many houses you've lived in over your whole life. I like the mental exercise this offers, and am doing it just because. Answer, as far as I can remember: 13.

  1. I was born in Bulawayo, so the first house I lived in must have been the one on the research station up in the Matopos hills. (My dad was in agricultural research so we moved around a lot between research stations). I remember the red cement floors and the terraced garden and the view across the valley.
  2. The hardboard cottage in Harare my parents lived in briefly. I think I have a memory of this, it entails a darkish living room with rough walls inset with stone, and an arch.
  3. The first house on the research station outside Fort Victoria, which is now Masvingo. It had a huge kopjie behind the house, where we used to find glass beads in the sand, and a rather twisty, dark forest with a narrow path through it to the house next door where we went to play with a girl called Kate.
  4. The second house on the same research station, during the Rhodesian War so with security fencing around it. There was a giant mulberry tree in the back garden, we used to play under it. We had bantam chickens which were pets, and my dad's pointer had nine puppies who used to seethe around in a pen at the back. There was a "swimming pool", actually an old reservoir with no pump or filter, it used to go absolutely green and fill up with leaves and frogs.
  5. The house in suburban Harare where we lived for a year while my dad was finishing the biometrics for his PhD. It was very weird to me, being very ordinary suburban in style; we had a TV for the first time in my life, there had never been reception on any of the research stations.
  6. The house on the research station outside Marondera, with the lovely trees in the garden, and owls hooting at night. We had rabbits and tortoises, and that's where we acquired the rescued baby owls we raised to adulthood, thus starting a lifelong fixation which makes giving me presents ridiculously easy. The garden had this weird stage area at one end, a bit raised with a bamboo hedge for wings, we used to do amateur theatrical thingies with the friends from next door.
  7. The house my parents bought in Harare when my dad left research - it was the first house they'd actually owned. It was an ex farmhouse, long and rambling, and had been done up by the previous owners, who had the unfortunate shared characteristics of being DIY fiends and rather slap-dash, so it leaked and bits fell down. Huge garden, we grew popcorn and kept goats. If you stood on the front patio and looked down the garden to the fields, you could draw a line with a ruler at goat head height under which no green thing grew.
  8. I'm not counting the couple of stints in digs rooms during undergrad, variously in my aunt's house in Newlands (tense), and Tom's mad mother's garage in Bergvliet (very dirty). The first house I rented myself in postgrad was the digs in Twickenham Rd I shared with Michael, who was a roleplaying crowd friend. It was my Honours year; I was broke, breaking up with The Bastard Ex-Boyfriend From Hell, and on the whole rather broken, and I really can't blame Michael from moving out in a marked manner. The house had absolutely no furniture bar a bed, stove, desk and kitchen table, and was consequently rather good for gothy parties with lots of dancing.
  9. After a disastrous year in a flat with an anal-retentive semi-friend, the next house was the Osborne Rd digs of legend and song, variously with Michelle, Dylan and a different Mike. Those were slightly insane and very enjoyable years. Highlights included that legendary party with both gluhwein and cheese fondue, and, possibly not unrelated, ripping up the ancient and horrible carpets in favour of the lovely pine floors. We had a parade of cats who mostly expired or moved out mysteriously, including Pixie and Polonius (black siblings), the dreaded Widget, her five kittens, and finally the legendary Fish.
  10. After Dylan's mother reclaimed the house, I spent a couple of months in a different house with Michelle and Michael, who were by that point a couple; it was white and clinical and in Harfield Village.
  11. Then Mowbray, three years in an old Victorian on the railway line with Donald, who was a bit laissez faire as home owners go and declined to upgrade the security in any way. After about the fifth burglary was actually an armed robbery, I moved out. Donald is a psychologist and saw clients in the front room; it wasn't particularly compatible with my tendency to run about three different societies (roleplaying, SCA, tai chi) from the house simultaneously.
  12. The domicile of the Evil Landlord, for fifteen years. Good lord. I don't need to tell you anything about that if you've read my blog at all...
  13. My current house, which is unlike all of the above in being mine, mine, mine and never leaving. Which is a catchphrase from the Michelle/Dylan days.

    I have lived in lots of houses, she says with exemplary obviousness. Can anyone top that total? On mature reflection, while I have lived with lovely people on the whole, I really like being on my own.

    (My subject line is from the Brian Eno/David Byrne album, which offers pretty much the definite anthem on this theme unless you count Madness).
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Term being over and all (except for those of us toiling in the marking-and-marks-processing salt-mines), there are outbreaks of workpeople all over campus, enthusiastically digging up things with presumable intent to improve them. (One of the major projects is the utter demolishment of a small, archaic cottage at the end of the avenue in order to build a new lecture theatre, in a faint, futile stab at keeping up with our ever-expanding student population. Currently a rather ridiculous proportion of our pedagogical efforts are defined by the Lecture Venue Crisis, which is... critical.)

This morning, however, some over-enthusiastic child of the concrete slab stuck a shovel or suchlike through a vital electrical cable, causing instant lights-out in four or five buildings, including mine. (History does not relate if he was thereby electrocuted, although one hopes not.) These days pretty much all of our projects and daily tasks are impossible without a computer. I filed everything in my office that wasn't actually nailed down, gave some desultory student advice severely hamstrung by my inability to access any student records, proofread the orientation manual, read several chapters of The Italian, because Gothic gloom felt appropriate, and then gave up and buggered off home, where I've been happily catching up on email and repulsing the cat for several hours. (He will try to sit on my wrists while I'm typing).

On the upside, I did the usual wander out into my courtyard when I got back, because green things and vaguely druidic impulses, and was reminded about my pomegranate. I have a small pomegranate tree in a pot. Thusly:

Photo0122

(the slightly demented beadwork hoopoe in the lemon tree pot is courtesy of Claire, following a wistful conversation we had about our common nostalgia for the highveld, specifically its thunderstorms and hoopoes on the lawn).

I grew this pomegranate myself, from seed. More accurately, about five years ago I bought a pack of pomegranate seeds to put on salad, and forgot about them, and they Went Feral in the back of the 'fridge. (I do this really rather a lot more than I should, and really miss having a composter in my new place to absorb the resulting ... compost). As I was throwing them out (imagine me cowing feral pomegranate seeds with a chair and whip and the sheer power of my gaze), I thought vaguely, hmmm, wonder if those'll grow? And in a spirit of scientific enquiry, dumped them into the vegetable box in a conveniently bare corner where the green pepper died (I can't grow peppers), covered them over with nice rich compost, and promptly forgot about them. Some undefined length of time later, I suddenly had a tiny forest of baby pomegranates under the tomatoes, growing promiscuously cheek by jowl and being shiny and glossy and bizarrely happy in a miniature sort of way. I thinned them, and planted them out into multitudinous pots as they grew, and gave them away to pretty much anyone I could think of, and ended up with one, growing like gangbusters. It's now approximately at shoulder height to me and is still green and glossy and weirdly happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was patting the pomegranate in a vaguely encouraging fashion and suddenly realised that our current summer temperatures are having their inevitable effect, and it was fruiting. It has three or four little tiny mini pomegranate babies, all red and cheerful.

Photo0127

I did that, my very own self. I made that tree, or at least encouraged it, and now it's making babies. I feel like a grandmother.

My car music system has emerged from the thickets of Davids (Bowie and Byrne) and is now meandering amiably through Death Cab For Cutie, for whose wistful alt effusions I cherish something of an affection. My subject line is from "No Sunlight", which is an indecently catchy thing given how bleak its lyrics are. It's apparently a Wistful Indie Thing about sunlight: you have some, and then you don't. (If you're Belle & Sebastian you have rain instead).
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Home update: still happy, drifting vaguely around the house chatting to the cat and luxuriating in my very own space. It's slowly filling up with furniture to a rather pleasing extent. The nature of my impecunious grad-student existence for the first six or seven years of my residence Chez Evil Landlord meant that almost all of the large furniture purchases were his. Fortunately I have lovely friends with extraneous furniture, an amazing mother, and had managed to save a bit. I still only have one sofa in the living room, rendering it a little difficult to entertain anything other than one other person sitting side by side and staring straight ahead, but my nice new armchairs arrive tomorrow. I also scored a Welsh dresser, at least in principle and potentia, courtesy of said amazing mother, who stood me the price of it as a birthday present. I have acquired a rather friendly little specimen of same, filling the slightly limited space very neatly and just containing my cookbook collection. Viz.:

Photo0102 Photo0107

Also visible in the right-hand picture: dining room table, courtesy Claire; chairs courtesy jo&stv and reupholstered by mother; living room carpet courtesy Viola. (Tapestry also done by mother lo these many years ago, a favourite thing of mine). Visible in distance: front door, designated as "friendly" by someone visiting, I forget who. I concur. Still to arrive: armchairs, see above; tv stand, jo is making me one; bookcase for study (because several acres of bookcase are clearly insufficient); side tables for living room (we're going flea marketing this weekend). Bedroom curtain in process of construction. Comfort levels definitely in excess of acceptable.

I include for posterity and because of the Law of the Internet, a random Hobbit picture in a fetching pose. I like the crossed feet. Earthbound entrechat. Appropriately enough.

Photo0100

Life generally good, except that I'm being driven slowly demented by the latest post-viral afflication, which appears to be hallucinatory cigarette smoke. I can smell smoke. Almost continually. Regardless of where I am, but including closed rooms with no actual smoke in them, and spaces in which no other person can smell a thing. Apparently it's a fairly recognised post-viral symptom and is also associated with damaged sinuses, both of which apply rather too aptly, but it's surprisingly annoying.

I should also report that my copy of Parade's End arrived, and I'm several chapters in and to my barely-concealed horror am enjoying it really rather a lot, Modernism notwithstanding. I am confident that the aliens who have abducted me and replaced me with a slightly malfunctioning replica will restore the original any day now. I hope she likes her furniture. The cat won't notice.

(Subject line is Velvet Underground, "All Tomorrow's Parties", doubly relevant because now that I nearly have furniture I absolutely have to organise an actual housewarming.)
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I have just put my mother onto the plane back to the UK, and my house is curiously empty. Save for elevated levels of both Earl Grey and Bombay Sapphire, because she knows me well and had laid in both for when I visited her at her house-sit. In retaliation I sent her back to the UK with the jar of Milo, of which she is fond, and which otherwise will sit in its jar and solidify until she's back next year, necessitating her chipping it out in chunks with a butter knife. I note for posterity and with considerable pleasure that my mother is of the ilk with whom I can cheerfully participate in a restrained and genteel fangirl session about Benedict Cumberbatch. She also during her visit made a new loose cover for my sofa and re-upholstered six dining room chairs. I like my mother. She can stay any time. Is it ridiculous that at my advanced stage of adulthood, or at least "adulthood", I still miss her when she's gone?

I have been navigating an extended session of post-'flu exhaustion, which caused my doctor to put me off work for all of last week, which was rather pleasant. It's usually a good indicator that I need the rest when she gives me that stern look and an injunction to book myself off regardless of my work commitments, and my desperate sense of "oh god yes please" completely outweighs the randomised guilt. She also gave me an antibiotic to hit the sinus infection, which was less successful: (a) I still have the bloody sinus headache, I wake up with it every morning and have done now for about ten days, and (b) the antibiotic gave me the most ungodly side effects, namely nausea, sleepiness and the general affect of one who lives on another planet entirely and is only reluctantly visiting this one in partially-manifested physical form. Has anyone else had a run-in with Moxibay, or am I entirely idiosyncratic in my response?

I am, however, definitely on an upward trajectory in terms of energy and the ability to, you know, actually achieve anything useful, which means, calloo callay, the depression cloud is lifting. And next week is the mid-term vac and I'm off work for two days of it, so yay! I propose to celebrate the leave by buying a Welsh dresser and planting tomatoes. (Not in the Welsh dresser).

(The nice psychologist on campus, incidentally, has confirmed that my spirit-possessed student is indeed psychotic. It's probably fortuitous, under the circumstances, that he spent the trip down to the health centre lying peaceably on my back seat mumbling to himself rather than giving vent to any violent directions from the voices in his head.)

and went on in sunlight

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 04:45 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
It is fortunate, in fact, that fanfic doesn't occupy actual physical space, because if it did the amount of it that I read would not improve the bookshelf crisis at all, in any way. Today's fanfic rec (still Sherlock) is for something that has at least partially satisfied my loathing of His Last Vow, which I still think was a terrible, scattered, ill-thought-out cobbling together of psychological inconsistency and gaping plot holes only partially redeemed by its, as always, brilliant acting and production. PlaidAdder's Sherlock fic is bloody marvellous, but particularly Law Like Love, because it explicitly sets out to fix some of the more egregious inconsistencies of that horribly-scripted episode. It also has a kick-butt Harry Watson, a fascinating reversed-time narrative frame, and an obsession with W H Auden. Highly, highly recommended. As is anything in that series, actually, but especially The Young Men Carbuncular, which is an extremely entertaining Doyle/TS Eliot pastiche which should groove the ploons of any fans of "The Waste Land". And she does a similar rescue of the Donna Noble problem in her Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover. PlaidAdder doesn't have much truck with Moffat's horrible scripting. We like her.

Because I happened to snap him perched precariously in the front window, celebrating his newly-developed ability to both exit and re-enter via it, have a random Hobbit. I cannot acquit him of being Self-Consciously Posed.

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I am quoting "The Waste Land" in my subject line, because several literature degrees have to be good for something and besides, I've always cherished a certain baffled affection for the fractured suggestiveness of its images.

We Can Do It!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 05:44 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
It may have come to the attention of my more alert and observant readers that I am a happy, geeky bookworm and have quite a lot of books. Really, rather a lot. Enough that, despite the fact that I moved into this house with eight tall bookshelves courtesy of a munificent Evil Landlord and subsequently imported another courtesy of Pam, I still had seven boxes of unshelved books piled in my study. This, too, after a relatively ruthless weeding process chronicled in these very pages. As far as books go, I am unashamed to admit that I have a Problem.

Fortunately, for such problems there are benevolent friends like Jo, who enjoys, by her own admission, a Project, and who possesses not only power tools and the will to use them, but considerably above basic cabinet-making expertise, an actuary's numerical precision, and more organisational skill and energy than is strictly fair or necessary in this imperfect world. As a result of which there has been, of an evening over the last few weeks, a sort of blur of activity in my living room, resulting in piles of planks, a small cloud of sawdust, and a satisfying and slightly bewildering tendency for bookshelves to arise, phoenix-like, from the whirlwind at a rate a smidgen in excess of half a bookshelf per hour. It has also revealed my own predilection for Handmaidening, if there is such a word: I derive an unholy kick out of facilitating efficient systems, and if Jo behind a power drill is anything, it's an efficient system. By the end of the process the balletic precision of our movements would bring a tear to the eye of efficiency experts. It really makes things go a lot faster if there's someone anticipating the process to hand the cabinet-maker tools, nails, planks, pencils, screws, gin-and-tonic, and that vital bit of stuck-together wood she was using to space shelves, so that she doesn't have to stand up or climb down ladders every two minutes.

It made, I have to say, my feminist wossnames incredibly happy. Not just the self-determination of bookshelf building - and I will look at those shelves for ever after with nostalgic joy because Jo built them and I helped - but something about efficient women with power tools. All Rosie the Riveter. Definitely speaking to that bit of me that's only mostly heterosexual, possibly because the patriarchy.

So I have five spanky new bookshelves, and my books are Housed, dammit, and all we have to do now is work through the mutual and perfectly symmetrical guilt feelings that have arisen because Jo feels bad about me paying for the materials for her Project, and I feel bad about all the time she's spent building me bookshelves. We freely admit that these are entirely irrational feelings that have nothing whatsoever to do with the considerable pleasures and achievements of the process, and that the two impulses do cancel each other out. The gin definitely helps.

And, look! Bookshelves! All full of books! (or, to be perfectly accurate, books and DVDs. I have a DVD problem too. Memo to self: Go digital. But not too digital. Because some things need to be tangible, and you can't help friends make furniture for your Kindle files.)

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freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am in the sweary stage of paper writing. It's fighting me; I'm wrestling it, it's largely winning. I hate it, and myself, and my writing, and African fairy-tale film, about equally. I am horribly bored by the need to finish the damned thing (it's now nearly a week after deadline) and the fact that I can't permit myself much in the way of socialising or happy domestic fuffling until it's bloody well done. Alarmingly enough, this is all familiar and status quo: never underestimate the extent to which the relationship academics have with academia is basically abusive. I'll finish it. This too will pass. Until then, swearing, and loathing, and hedgehoggy hermitting. But especially the swearing.

I did, however, track down the volume on African folklore which I'd randomly packed at the bottom of a whole box of Pratchett and Moorcock. This has led me, as a knock-on effect, to throw out more books, as I had to unpack and repack a bunch of them. I'm still obscurely enjoying the catharsis of the clear-out.

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There should be an almost complete Elric in the Moorcock, and a couple of other series as well - Corum, and Dorian Hawkmoon? I have kept the Jerry Cornelius ones, because postmodernism, and the Dancers at the End of Time ones, because I don't do hallucinogenic drugs and a girl has to have some substitutes. I am forced to admit that I've pretty much outgrown Elric, I haven't read them since undergrad. The John C. Wright are buying it because the frothing homophobia of the writer's online presence is having the Orson Effect, namely an inability to read his fiction without a sort of Pavlovian response of annoyance and distaste. Also, he's a sexist sod, frankly; I really like some of what the Orphans series does, but its ideological irritations are now outweighing its enjoyments. Never trust a writer who feels impelled to spank almost all of his women.  I have retained only the remnants of my Heinlein collection which are (a) genre classics and (b) I am able to read without actually throwing the book across the room, which in the event turns out not to be many of them. I've turfed out the young adult stuff, because frankly there's better y.a. sf out there, but they're actually fun and comparatively inoffensive - Pam, you might like them for the young'uns? The Michael Scott Rohan are swashbucklery fun, but I've kept Scott Lynch for that.

If anyone wants to appropriate any of these, please let me know! So far only the Kay and the Aldiss have been bagsed from the previous group.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I let Hobbit out of the house over the weekend, after a full week of being incarcerated in what, according to his reaction, was a medieval torture chamber with frills on. Of course, I had started trying to encourage him to go outside a couple of days earlier, to which he returned, in the immortal words of Bertie Wooster, a polite nolle prosequi: apparently a week indoors had inculcated in him the fixed belief that the rest of the universe had ceased to exist, and he was somewhat alarmed at the revelation to the contrary. He certainly retired under the dining room table, alarmed, every time I opened the courtyard door. However, he has apparently come to terms with the continued existence of the world at large, and once I opened the bathroom window stopped badgering me all night, which means I've had a blissful few days of actually sleeping through the night. Honestly, it's like having babies.

It also took, though, approximately an hour and a half before the neighbourhood's Feline Reception Committee arrived to look over the latest immigrant, and there has been a fairly civilised refrain of growling issuing from the back garden at intervals over the last few days. There's an excessively beautiful Siamese in the posse, and a black-and-white thing who comes over all suave but whom I darkly suspect is a thug. Today I arrived home to the following joyous scene:

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That's clearly a game of Cat Chess. They sat like that, unmoving and possibly unblinking, for about ten minutes while I took multiple pictures and then pottered around the kitchen making tea. I suspect that they were engaged in a territorial and diplomatic discussion not unlike the Treaty of Versailles. Let's hope diplomacy is sufficient and it doesn't come to all-out war, I've just got used to sleeping through the night. But I have to say, Hobbit looks somewhat cornered. I don't think negotiations are going his way at all.

I am pretty much moved in now, except for the L-space explosion which represents my book collection: it's down to 11 unshelved boxes, but has temporarily halted there while I wrestle with this paper from behind the rampart of books on African folklore, books on African film, cups of tea and emergency chocolate supplies on my desk. Further unpacking of books may occur because I can't find my nice new Encyclopedia of African Folklore, which I really need to refer to. I could swear it was with the other tomes, but I must have stuck it into a box somewhere. One of the 11 boxes. Which I will now have to unpack and then repack. Aargh.

I am, book, paper and cat crises notwithstanding, finding myself extremely happy in this house.

The subject line is, of course, T. S. Eliot - more specifically, the slightly nasty racism of Growltiger.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
gault library

I do like Tom Gauld's cartoons, they have a sort of wry, self-deprecating literacy to them which strikes something of a chord. If you haven't read his collection You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack, you darned well should, if only because its titular cartoon exemplifies so neatly my own stance in an uncaring academic world. The above cartoon is particularly relevant to my current interests as, while I am generally ensconced in my very own house somewhat ecstatically, I am still confronting the problem of the Library, which is approximately three times the size of my available shelf space. Unpacking my books has forced me to revisit the process of self-interrogation which led to my earlier exercises in Shuffling Off or Throwing Out books, with particular reference to Gauld's categories of "Saving For When I Have More Time" and "Will Never Read", because the usual processes of self-deception lead to an over-easy conflation of these categories. I am thus embarked upon a secondary literary weeding, with particular reference to the above categories and my new, idiosyncratic one, which is not so much "Wish I Hadn't Read" as "Am Reluctantly Forced to Admit I Will Never Read Again Because Really It's Not That Good."

In short, I have more books to throw out, and the next few posts will probably give alert readers a faint sense of déja vu. As before, Capetonian witterers are please to tell me if you want any of these and I'll shunt them your way before hauling the leftovers to the charity shop.



Guy Gavriel Kay, alas, is buying it, because I am way too old and ornery an English academic to survive another dose of flights of portentous emotionality. I've kept the interesting Tanith Lee short stories, I'm mostly throwing out her young adult stuff and the more over-the-top erotic horror. Some of the classics - Anderson, Aldiss, Lieber - I was keeping out of a vague sense of academic completeness, in case I ever needed to refer to them, which I really won't. I've kept some MacAvoy, thrown out the ones I don't flat-out love. The Kurtz has only survived thus far out of a vague nostalgia for my neo-pagan phase.

My Book Discards: How I Grew Up. Have at them.


The subject line is Pratchett, Rule 3 for Discworld librarians. In hanging onto books it's not so much causality that I've been trying to interfere with, as the nature of time.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
My goods and chattels resulted in rather a lot more than forty-two boxes, all carefully packed; there were the 25 large eco-boxes, and the 15 cardboard boxes the EL acquired from Merrypak, and the 10 from Tracy, plus another three or four random ones from jo&stv, and in the end all the food went into shopping bags because I had denuded the immediate social landscape of boxen of any kind. My more-than-42 boxes, all carefully packed, have their contents written clearly on each, or more accurately scribbled hurriedly in koki - the inscriptions read things like "BOOKS - SF", or "BOOKS - END OF PASSAGE", or "COOKBOOKS", or, more unhelpfully, just "BOOKS". Because the packing-up process was assisted by my standard array of slightly insane friends, several of these boxes have now taken additional inscriptions randomly to themselves. They read, variously:

  • DVD RAYS. BLU DISKS. PLEASURES, GUILTY.
  • BOOKS FROM END OF PASSAGE AT THE END OF THE OCEAN.
  • DVDs - SERIES - SHINY!
  • BOOKS - PASSAGE - VAMPIRE FANGS.
  • (That one possibly even relates to the contents).
  • BOOKS - PASSAGE - RABBI HATS. (I have no bloody idea).
  • BOOKS - PASSAGE - HOUSE/TECHNO/TRANCE. (That definitely doesn't relate to the contents).
  • BOOKS - PASSAGE - DRAGON SCALES. (Possibly also topical).
  • BOOKS - PASSAGE - CHRISTIAN BOOKS. (That's either wanton provocation, or contains Narnia).
  • BOOK'S, DVD's AND BLU-RAY's, O MY!
  • COOKBOOK'S.
  • (These last two are definitely wanton provocation. One of them has an additional inscription of APOSTROPHES on the opposite corner, just to underscore the point).

Even if he hadn't proudly drawn my attention to his efforts, my money would have been on Stv as the perpetrator. No innocent bit of paper is safe from his annotation.

The eco-boxes are now unpacked, leaving me with 20-odd cardboard boxes full of books, DVDs and CDs. I cannot unpack them because three of my bookshelves are not yet bolted to the wall. I cannot bolt them because the corner where I want to put them contains an alarm sensor, which they would block. ADT are proving a broken reed in the department of doing anything about installing a radio transmitter, so I haven't yet been able to ask them to move the sensor owing to their complete non-appearance and lack of communication. For want of an ADT response the whole thing snarls up. Telkom did actually arrive today to activate what turns out to be a normal phone line. They are still out of ADSL ports. They will install more in October. There are apparently 80 people waiting for ports in the area, so I'm very far down the list. In the interim I have scored a 3G dongle from a kindly Claire, and have home internet with minimal fuss beyond having to buy a data bundle for it via my cellphone because I didn't have internet. I have used my cellphone more in the last two weeks than I have in the last five years together.

The house is now properly furnished with a sofa and dining room table and chairs, and rejoices in a Hobbit, who is in a severe and querulous snit about being moved, and rendered last night hideous with a campaign of whinging throughout the small hours, interspersed with climbing on me in a marked manner. He does not find the accommodations to his taste, and wishes moreover to promenade in the garden, which he can't, because he'll infallibly make tracks for Rondebosch if I let him out.

The house also has a mountain just outside its front door.

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It's also mine, and mine alone (except for Hobbit, who admittedly takes up a certain amount of space). I'm liking this feeling.

The subject line is, of course, quoting "The Hunting of the Snark". For some reason the stanzas about poor Thingamajig have been the ones I've always remembered from the poem, going back to fairly early childhood. I miss teaching the Snark. Nonsense poetry is a weirdly good vehicle for unwrapping semiotic theory.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
ursula vernon axolotl

As the above enthusiastic axolotl suggests (it's an Ursula Vernon, of course), I have moved! The nice removals guys whisked me across to Claremont in three hours flat, and I am tootling around the new place cautiously unpacking boxes and putting down roots. Millyuns and millyuns of thanks to all the lovely people who helped me pack over the weekend and move stuff across on Sunday, and to Jo&Stv for additional endeavours with drilling and unpacking and producing champagne. (I'm not sure if it's a good sign that almost the first things I took across to the new place were (a) gin, (b) tonic and (c) new tumblers, to add to (d) the fridge that was delivered on Friday already.) It's actually a slightly scary place, to be a lone single person attempting a move, and wonderful friends are wonderful. Also, various nice neighbours have come to introduce themselves, it feels like a friendly street where everyone looks out for each other.

I still don't have internet, of course, and, rather than producing this post by sheer power of will, I am producing this post by sheer power of leaving the computer at the long-suffering Evil Landlord's, and diving in at intervals to subdue my Tumblr feed. Telkom have variously told me that (a) they have no ADSL ports free in the area, I'll have to wait until one is freed up, (b) they have no ADSL ports free in the area, I'll have to wait until they install new infrastructure in October, and (c) (via a phone call at 8am this morning as I was struggling awake) they're busy with installing my new line at the moment and will let me know by the end of the week. I am somewhat suspicious about (c), but prepared to be pleasantly surprised if necessary.

I am incredibly tired, bruised, aching in every muscle and joint, somewhat confounded by piles of boxes, and pining slightly for want of cat, as I haven't yet moved Hobbit across. But other than that I'm feeling quietly happy, enormously self-contained, and slightly new.

Subject line is Death Cab For Cutie, who are my current driving music, and who are probably the quintessential quirky, wistful alternative band. They're only very occasionally twee.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I'm on leave from tomorrow until Wednesday for purposes of house removals, so today was my last drive into work from Chez Evil Landlord, a curiously nostalgic process rendered particularly apposite by its entirely schizoid mix of elements. The usual weird Thursday traffic patterns meant I made it to campus blissfully quickly, in 10 minutes with hardly any stopping in the strangely deserted streets, only to have the last three decent parking places gazunked from under my nose by other, marginally more on-time people. This necessitated me, in something of a snit, parking at the unfashionable end of campus where it'll certainly rain on me on the way back to the car. On the upside, umbrella. I do like walking in the rain under an umbrella. It's a tiny but perfectly concentrated illustration of elegant tool-using. Besides, my current umbrella unfurls at the touch of a button with a sort of joyous snap which always makes me strangely happy.

The Great Trek Onwards has not started well, on account of how the nice Eco-Box people cavalierly neglected to deliver the boxes that were supposed to arrive yesterday afternoon. I dashed home from work to sit twiddling my thumbs for two hours, fuming gently. A pained phone call this morning reveals that the nice efficient administrator-lady who confirmed the delivery was in fact off work yesterday, causing, apparently, the whole place to gently grind to a halt without her. They're delivering this afternoon, with profuse apologies, but it's lost me an evening's packing. And the Evil Landlord can't find the Iburst modem, which means I'll probably have to do something expensive with 3G in order to survive a couple of months without internet while Telkom finds its arse with both hands. Sigh.

If things come in threes, that should be it for the nonce: I've also discovered that I've been blithely and unnecessarily paying for two internet contracts for a year, on account of how the technician concerned neglected to tell me I needed to actually activate a new one which I'd thought was a data top-up rather than an entirely different contract. The accounts department refuses, apologetically, to refund me, and I can't even rant about it because the whole thing was at least partially my fault. Sigh. A refund would have been nice. I could have bought an even spankier kettle.

However, on the upside, the EL is evincing a disturbing and guilt-inducing tendency to insist that I migrate from his place taking with me a broad selection of the fitted bookshelves he's had installed over the years, which will at least partially solve the "explosion in a bookshop" problem which necessarily attends my perambulations. But it seems an excessive sort of housewarming gesture. I have habitually assuaged my conscience on his installation of bookshelves for my benefit by assuming that he's making improvements to his house rather than pandering to his housemate. My Lawful Good is kicking in, with a side order of Calvinist guilt. Which will not, in all likelihood, prevent me from taking the bookshelves, as he points out he's never going to have that many books or Lego models to display, but still. There is angst.

I have now neatly earwormed myself with "Little Boxes", which is a deceptively sing-song and highly political song I associate very strongly with my childhood, not only because the Pete Seeger version was still played on the radio, but because it was one of my dad's favourites, he used to sing snatches of it when being cynical about modern urban existence. My family was never big on the modern urban existence. Growing up in the bush will do that to you. In a good way.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Being a grown-up is complicated. The last week or so has been a bit of a blur, during which I've spent more time listening to the dismal help-line hold music of insurance companies, internet providers, security companies and Telkom (ritual ptooey) than I actually care to think about. The new place has a landline, but it's something weird called a pre-paid line and isn't upgradable to ADSL, so they'll have to install a new actual ADSL line. Which they can't do yet, because apparently that area has run out of ports. I have to wait until one frees up. This could take months. Things on the to-do list: gently prod the Evil Landlord to unearth from the depths of his study the IBurst modem which came with the original IBurst package which used to supply our internet, and for which he has been stoically paying for the last few years because he's never got around to cancelling it, despite the fact that we have ADSL and he never actually uses the IBurst. If he can find the modem, I can borrow it until Telkom knits new ports out of their nose-hairs, or whatever it is they need to do. Otherwise there will be internet withdrawal, and it's never pretty. I own my internet addiction with a complete absence of shame.

I suppose I shouldn't point fingers at my Evil Landlord about paying an IBurst subscription pointlessly for, ooh, five years now (I got the ADSL when my dad moved to CT, which was in 2009, so it's been a while...), because one of the more positive upshots of today's earful of hold music was that the insurance company noticed I'd been paying a minor bit of insurance on my old Citigolf for over a year after I sold the car, since they apparently didn't cancel it as I asked when I cancelled the main insurance. They are going to refund me. Possibly I can afford a kettle for my spanky new kitchen. Which is good, because tea withdrawal is possibly slightly more ugly than the internet withdrawal, all things considered.

In the Department of my Spanky New Kitchen, I now have a fridge and washing machine, both spanky. Jo came and hand-held me on Sunday while efficient little ladies in Tafelberg Furnishers steered me expertly to the maximum possible expenditure within my budget. (Salespeople are scary, have you noticed? But both appliances on special offer at around R2000 total off their value). They're delivered on Friday. Removals proper happen on Monday. The kitchen chez Evil Landlord is piled with tottering piles of kitchenware as I negotiate the tricky procedure of extricating my stuff from his. This is not assisted materially by my proverbial cheese-brain, which means any selection process is punctuated with treks down the passage to his study, clutching various items and knitted of brow as I try to remember who bought the damned thing in the first place. (His default is that I probably did. This is one of those generous divorces.) My boxes arrive tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to packing; anyone who wishes to come and assist is extremely welcome, I will feed them tea and/or gin as required.

Also, if you've bagsed books from the giveaway piles, please can we arrange for you to collect them or me to deliver them in the next few days? I'm going to need that floorspace...

Isn't it weird that you can hear a song over and over again until it's part of your general musical background and the lyrics are a pop-culture commonplace, and yet the identity of the singer can be a total shock? Who the hell is Jona Lewie? I always assumed the song was from Men Without Hats or Men At Work or some other early 80s all-male outfit not necessarily with "Men" in the title. But I suppose the 80s were also a bit of a blur.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Right, so, in a ridiculous whirl of activity, in between hand-holding angsty students, composing nitpicky faculty rules and placating my boss, I have during the course of today confirmed a possession date, signed a lease, paid a deposit on same, booked a removals company, booked a micro-herd of Eco-boxes to pack everything into, paid for both of above, cancelled a small pack of stop orders in order to replace them with a small pack of other, different stop orders, and given formal notice to my Evil Landlord, who is being signally non-evil about it all. I move on the 19th. I'm ... a bit breathless, actually. Apparently this is a real thing that's actually happening almost immediately. Heavens.

All this activity seems to have put the temporary kibosh on book-distribution processes, mostly because of the whiplash, so instead have this. It's a thing of beauty. Ridiculous animated balloon-animal bouncy giggly beauty.



The subject line is even more surreal than usual. Sorry. I wouldn't actually recognise "99 Luftballons" if it slithered up my leg, but it came immediately to mind when I was doing the usual subject-line trawl of the unconscious by virtue of the fact that it's the kind of song one sees quoted all over the show to the extent where actually experiencing it first hand is redundant.

world of wonders

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 05:34 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
On with the motley! As in, motley collection of tomes mostly not sf or fantasy. A slew of historical, including the Dorothy Dunnet Lymond ones, and Jeffery Farnol; I am chucking the George Macdonald Fraser on the realisation that actually Flashman annoys me more than I enjoy the novels' agreeably warped view of history. The Robertson Davies is courtesy of a Jung-fancying aunt in early undergrad, and Jung really doesn't groove my ploons any more. I have absolutely no recollection of acquiring the Julian Barnes, it seems uncharacteristically highbrow of me - mother, if it's actually your book and I'm cavalierly disposing of it, please scream! (My mother's taste in literature is way more highbrow than mine, a point which probably wouldn't surprise my English department any). It is also something of a satisfaction to realise, lowbrow tastes notwithstanding, that I actually have no desire whatsoever to re-read Bridget Jones's Diary at any point. And apparently I've overcome the completist urge at least to some extent, I've kept the Couplands I actually enjoyed, and tossed the rest. The Chocolate Conscience is a history of the Quakers in the early chocolate industry, weirdly enough. It's kinda cute.

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