sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
Erev Rosh Hashanah: I misplace the keys to my parents' house and cannot help with the cooking as early in the afternoon as planned, but my brother and his family turn out to have been laid low by some opportunistic bug (the preschool year has started) and don't make it for dinner after all; my father drives their roast chicken and their challah and their honeycake out to them in the evening. We eat ours after I light orange taper candles that technically belong to Halloween because that's what's in the house. The chicken is brined and stuffed with lemon halves and fresh rosemary; the huge round challah with honey drizzled lightly over its egg-washed crust is from Mamaleh's; the honeycakes are homemade and the twice-baked potatoes were introduced by [personal profile] spatch and me. I know it is not precisely the customary use of the Shechecheyanu, but I find it useful to have a prayer thank you, God, that we've made it this far. The year starts anyway, ready or not. I'd rather recognize it as it goes by. L'shanah tovah, all.

tomorrow is apples and honey!

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:46 pm
tsuki_no_bara: (Default)
[personal profile] tsuki_no_bara
i'shanah tovah, my fellow hebs! may you be inscribed in the book of life for a good year. :D

in sort of the same vein, you can get kosher pot products from a canadian medical marijuana company. i love that there's such a thing as kosher pot buds.

in sort of other news, my meringues came out well except they are VERY SWEET. O.O (not surprising considering they have a cup of sugar and almost nothing else in them.) they're easy to make: first, preheat the oven to 350º. then beat three egg whites (i used four but i was told three) until stiff, then slowly add a cup of sugar and a tsp of vanilla extract while still beating. when that's all mixed, fold in 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and drop by spoonfuls onto a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet. stick the cookie sheet in the oven, turn the oven off, and leave it there at least overnight. don't open the oven. don't peek. i made the meringues last night and took them out of the oven after i got home tonight, so they were in there almost twenty-four hours. and now they're nice and crisp on the outside and light on the inside and did i mention they're REALLY SWEET? but also full of mini chocolate chips. next time i'm going to use peppermint extract instead of vanilla.

i have to get up early tomorrow because my sister and i are going to the early service for rosh hashanah, and i'm not looking forward to it. well, i'm looking forward to the holiday, just not getting up early.

Recent books

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:20 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky. Pretty engaging tome on the history of salt's use and extraction, and its legal or military entanglements. Trying to fund a government off of salt tax or monopoly has been common, and commonly hated, from Legalist China to British abuses in India. The US Civil War can partially be told as a history of fights over saltworks. The Chinese were drilling for brine and using by-product natural gas by 100 AD, and doing percussion drilling around 1100 AD, down below 3000 feet by 1835.

Eye of Cat, Roger Zelazny. Time-dilated alien-hunter Navajo, teleport booths, assassins, psi, Navajo shamanism... a weird book, I don't anticipate re-reading.

The Sharing Knife: [Beguilement and Legacy], Lois Bujold. I'd read this series in 2009, and am enjoying it again. Lakewalker powers and their fight against malices gives me RPG ideas, interacting with inspiration from Martin and Hobb and what I think of as "Wraiths and Rangers". Like much of Bujold, has many laugh-out-loud moments in an otherwise serious story.

Penric's Demon & Penric and the Shaman, Lois Bujold. Novellas set in her Five Gods universe, which I finally got paper copies of from the library. (Released as DRM ebooks, which I refuse to support.) Good, and funny, and I'd happily read more.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Patricia McKillip. My first McKillip after all these years. Enjoyable, with a fairy-tale quality to the story and and writing.

The Chronicles of Nambia

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:31 pm
angerona: (Default)
[personal profile] angerona
I don't know what it says about today's world when it no longer's even major news when the US President speaks to African leaders and talks about a non-existing "African Country" that's doing "very well" -- Nambia.


You take your guess.  

[5778] reparations

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:45 pm
hermionesviolin: a closeup of a glossy apple (shining yellow close to the viewer, red along the edges) against a tan background (apples and honey)
[personal profile] hermionesviolin
As has become my custom, reposting this from Amy:
One of the big pieces of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that you reflect over the past year, and you attempt to (A) accept and forgive anything that has been done to you, and (B) apologize and ask forgiveness for anything you have done to others.


Anonymous is enabled, and all comments are screened. If I've done anything to hurt you this year, let me know. If there's anything you think I might still be upset over, let me know that too. I won't unscreen unless you specifically request I do [...] The goal isn't to start fresh- that's often not possible- but to acknowledge what has happened over this year (or any previous time, if you so choose) as an attempt to not have it happen again.

I promise to treat anything you say seriously and respectfully, and I will seriously be considering it over the next ten days.

I was telling bff recently that I want to resolve All The Things -- that the part that I'm most attracted to in Amy's post is not the forgiveness per se as the opportunity to get to tell people how they've hurt you and the opportunity to get to hear from people how you have hurt them. Okay, this is more than I want to Know All The Things, but I do want to get to fix things where possible (though yes, in my own life, the people I've hurt are unlikely to be reading this, and it's mostly stuff that's not really able to be ~fixed by being brought up. hashtag: #redacted).

In recent months, I've been thinking about reparations and direct cash transfers generally (Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic article "The Case for Reparations" and Lauren Chief Elk-Young Bear et al.'s #GiveYourMoneyToWomen, plus critiques of the non-profit industrial complex from e.g. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence's The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex).

When giving online, I've started giving $18 'cause of the symbolic import in Judaism (see e.g., this Tumblr post -- tl;dr 18 symbolizes "life").
tsuki_no_bara: (Default)
[personal profile] tsuki_no_bara
the honey cake is slightly overbaked. >.< i think i'm going to cut off the ends and sides and (if i can) the top, so at least it doesn't have the tough bits still on when i slice it for company. the recipe says you can bake it in a loaf pan but i'm not sure. at least i know for next time not to bake it so long. but! it doesn't taste like coffee. :D

now i have meringues in the oven, and can i just say, egg whites+sugar+vanilla tastes a lot like marshmallow fluff. i put tiny chocolate chips in the batter and am now wondering if i should have used peppermint extract instead of vanilla. minty!

at work i'm learning how to organize the weekly "how many hours do you have scheduled for clients" emails, which entails figuring out who exactly gets the aforementioned emails and then, you know, sending them out. the application we use to track which team is working on which client (and which returns have gone out/been extended and which haven't) is not totally forthcoming with the names i need. it's a tch frustrating. just a tch. on the other hand, i'm learning how to do something new and i've gotten a new responsibility, and i'm certainly not going to complain about that. i'm not 100% sure what i'm doing, tho.

i'm watching lawless (the perks of suddenly getting a bunch of starz channels plus the sundance channel) and i can't get over tom hardy's nose. it's a nice nose.

the business of fandom - an interesting article about how teenage girls' fannish pursuits can be predictors of the next big thing, and how girls use fandom as a way to socialize with other girls. (that second part is not going to be a surprise to anyone who's spent any time in a fandom. i mean, of course girls use fandom to socialize with people. "i love this thing! who else loves it?" that seems pretty obvious.)

(posted this to lj last night and totally forgot to copy it over. >.< )

Yom Hazikaron

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:30 am
angerona: (Default)
[personal profile] angerona
Даже когда я еще не отмечала еврейский новый год -- да и даже не знала про него (много ли мы знали про иудаизм в Советском Союзе?  Не то, чтоб я сейчас отличалась особыми знаниями) -- и тогда сентябрь был для меня значительным месяцем в году -- временем вспоминать, что случилось за прошедший год и задумывать про год грядущий.    Связано это, конечно, не столько с моей внутренним еврейским летоисчислением, сколько тем, что мой день рождения как раз в сентябре -- как правило где-то между Рош Ашаной и Йом Киппуром (ну или прямо в один из этих дней). 

Раньше я мысленно перечисляла признаки своего роста (даже просто физического) -- что основное и новое я узнала?  
Чему научилась?    Что попробовала из того, чего раньше боялась?  (например -- подойти к группе детей на детской площадке и заговорить с ними). 

Потом, с переездом в Америку -- то есть с планируемым переездом в Америку, -- когда я впервые побывала в синагоге на services -- в Харьковской старинной синагоге, в 1992м году все еще больше напоминающей большой спортзал, стоя за непонятной ширмочкой, которой женщины были отделены от мужчин и от раввина -- я думала о приблежающихся изменениях и даже не могла загадать, как я буду отмечать через год. 

И уже через год -- в переполненной реформисткой синагоге, снаружи напоминающей почти прилегающие к ней строения Mira Costa Community College (где я тогда брала дополнительные классы) -- я думала о том, как же все изменилось, и опять с волнением загадывала, что и как будет меняться дальше: что через год в это время я буду уже подавать заявки в колледжи, а потом через год уже буду, если повезет, студенткой колледжа, а потом...  -- "а потом, наверное, когда-нибудь все перестанет меняться за год так радикально."

Но и потом были свои изменения: новые работы, новые отношения, новые дома и новые дети.  И трудности и радости, и подведение итогов и планы о том, как продолжать меняться и расти.

В последние годы изменения, к сожалению, далеко не такие радостные.    Два года назад в Йом Киппур умер мой сотрудник Фил.  Я его здесь в записях называла "Федей", но на самом деле его звали Фил, и сейчас, когда его нет, кажется неправильным не использовать его настоящее имя.  Вот такая у меня была нехитрая конспирация.  Мне вчера позвонил один из контракторов, который работал тогда с нами с Федей вместе -- вспомнить и поговорить и пожелать Шана Това у Метука.

Год назад в Рош Хашану делали операцию моему любимому дедушке Мише.   Утром, перед тем как идти на services с детьми, я позвонила дедушке.  Он как раз ехал в госпиталь -- его везла моя мама -- и оба они были в отличном настроении, с надеждой и настроем на лучшее.  Мы очень хорошо поговорили и посмеялись о чем-то, хоть я и не помню о чем. 

А потом, после services, пока мы шли к озеру на церемонию Ташлих, мне позвонила мама (кажется, мама.  Но может брат?) сказать, что операция прошла неплохо, только либо сразу после операции, либо еще во время нее, у него случился массивный инсульт, и прогнозы на будущее как-то не очень хороши.  И я помню, как стояла растерянная возле озера, пока дети бросали сухарики в воду, и рассказывала про это своему свекру, который как раз был тогда у нас в гостях. 

А детям пока не говорила, надеясь, что каким-то невообразимым образом все  обойдется, и можно будет рассказать "потом, когда все будет уже хорошо."

И как потом, на следующий день, придя на services опять уже сама, рассказала об этом раввину.

В день Йом Киппура в прошлом году я постилась, молилась за здоровье дедушки и других родственников, и летела в Калифорнию, побыть с ним в больнице.  Его уже перевели в обычную палату из ICU, но он был парализован с левой стороны, и анализы крови каждый день ухудшались.  Дедушка иногда спал, а иногда просыпался и просил встать или дать ему кусачки -- он всю жизнь был мастером-ремонтником абсолютно всего -- чтоб он мог перекусить провода, мешавшие ему и приносившие ему боль.  Иногда он разговаривал, но немного -- ему было тяжело говорить и тяжело дышать.  Он нас всех узнавал и многое помнил, но в то же время он уже был не совсем с нами и не совсем он. 

И даже в этом своем "не совсем уже он", дедушка все же оставался собой в самых своих невыразимо прекрасных чертах:  он заботился о других, он иногда даже старался шутить, он говорил мне спасибо и целовал мне руку, он старался не жаловаться несмотря на постоянную боль.  Уже совсем в последние дни, когда ему отключили питание и оставили только на кислороде, чтоб помогать дышать, и на морфии, чтоб снимать хоть немного боль -- когда уже не так важно было его постоянно переворачивать в предосторожности от пролежней -- одна из медсестер спросила, хочет ли дедушка, чтоб его повернули на другой бок опять или чтоб оставили как есть.   Пусть делают "как им легче" -- ответил дедушка.  Как им легче!  Не ему.

Через неделю после моего приезда, дедушка Миша умер.  Мир ему и память ему навсегда и любовь нас всех.

И сейчас, когда опять пришло время вспоминать и подводить итоги, я вспоминаю дедушку, и я вспоминаю все, что произошло за прошлый год.  Наверное, это был трудный год.  Год перемен (не всегда к лучшему).  Год выборов и политики -- когда мой личный мир во многом сильно изменился из-за мира внешнего.  Год пересмотра и переоценок людей и отношений -- тоже из-за политики и мира внешнего.  Год разачарований.  Год идей и начинаний, которые растворились, не успев начаться.  Год попыток, которые пошли в никуда.  Год волнений за близких (операция на сердце у папы, здоровье мамы, настроение бабушки и т.д.). 

Но и год для себя: понимания того, что мне важно, что я хочу в жизни и для чего.  Год семейных туристических поездок с друзьями и родителями (аж три!  Для нас это много: в Вашингтон D.C., Францию и Сан Франциско)И год продвижений и успехов у детей.  Теперь их очередь расти, узнавать новое и учить новому меня.

И пусть новый год... пусть новый год будет не хуже, а лучше.  Здоровья всем и счастья.  Шана това у метука.

И простите меня все, кого я обидела. 

Three sentences about 2017-09-14

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
A sleepy day after the long one yesterday, but I made good progress at work nonetheless. I think that not eating during the day helps a lot; I've noticed that I'm often very tired, and also often somewhat more grouchy and impatient, right after dinner for an hour or two. The school's annual "ice cream social" was tonight, which basically involves Richardson's ice cream, some chocolate and caramel sauce, and lots of running around on the playground. :^) It started to rain partway through, but not for long, and stopped and started fitfully after that. Junie headed out with a friend who lived partway between school and home after one drizzle, though, and she then walked the rest of the way home by herself, because she is Big. :^) Q and I stayed basically until the very end, and had a good time.

Three sentences about 2017-09-13

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:31 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Up at 05:30 for some off-hours work; my only other note is that there was frisbee. :^) It was ok; we were playing against an "indie" team, of people who had signed up as individuals, and they were a pretty mixed bag of skill levels, and pretty uncoordinated as a team, which I suppose is how the indie team I played on last fall must have seemed to everyone, but there wasn't an indie team in the spring league, so I'd gotten used to playing against folks who'd been playing together a lot. Anyway, it was ok; we scored the first six or eight points, and then started to slack off somewhat, and offered to mix up the teams and play just for fun, but they wanted to practice playing together, which seems legit. I didn't play very well, but was pretty tired after the early start to the day, so didn't beat myself up about it too much. I stayed up a little too late, but more like midnight than like 02:00, so not disastrously bad on that front.

Dreams 09/20/2017

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:46 am
kalibex: (Default)
[personal profile] kalibex
Seemed to be in the kitchen of my childhood home; some guy patted my parent's siamese cat, but in that ruffle the fur way, too hard...and upset, she jumped off the kitchen counter, then jumped way up onto a little ledge or shelf in the bathroom next to the kitchen (that didn't exist in Real Life)...whereupon I kind of scolded him for patting her too hard.

*   *   *

I was outside, moving around a landscape reminiscent of my hometown's downtown area, where there was snow and icy slush - except I didn't seem to have the right winter shoes on.  But I was carefully moving around in it.  I was giving some large truck (tractor trailer?) a wide berth, then realized there was a cop car coming slowly behind me, so got out of its way after indicating that I was going over *this* way...

Three sentences about 2017-09-12

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:53 pm
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Heh, I guess the last time I posted was me saying "I feel reluctant to post things". I didn't mean that to apply to Three Sentences. :^p Time to catch up!

...but I have no recollection of Tuesday, and no notes. Probably there was work! Q had his first day of basketball at ABGC -- I'm never sure what to call this, it doesn't feel like a "class", it's not a "league", there's not a "season", he's not on a "team", he's not "practicing" for anything, who knows; anyway -- and seemed to like it. (I wasn't there, but based on his reports, and Amy's.) Junie's LEGO robotics class (see, that one feels like a class! shrug) is a week shorter, so it starts next week but ends the same week as Q's basketball. That's all I got.
sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
[personal profile] sorcyress
At GenCon, I was summing up the job search thusly:

18 applications
4 interviews
1 second interview

This summer was way more frustrating about teaching jobs than it has been in the past, in no small part because I really truly was doing an awesome job of applying places. I thought I was doing relatively well at interviewing. Maybe my references weren't as good as they could be, but in general, I was really putting myself out there and trying...and still getting nothing.

On Wednesday the 23rd of August, I got a call --would you be willing to come in?
On Thursday the 24th of August, I had an interview.
On Friday the 25th of August, I got a call.

On Monday the 28th of August, my perfect birthday, I woke up unbearably early and biked to school. Monday and Tuesday were teacher days, Wednesday was the first day with students. It's now partway through the fourth week of school, and I have finally gotten the HR bullshit sorted out and a paycheck into my bank account and that means it's really truly officially real.

I am a professional high school mathematics teacher.

For the whole year, from the beginning. At a public high school, with all the diversity and benefits that implies. With five classes and about eighty students (a frankly amazing average ratio) and oh my _dear sweet weeping gods_.

I am fully, blessedly, employed, in a place I love, doing exactly the thing I want to be doing with my life. Yes, it's frustrating that all my work searching this summer was for naught, but I can forgive the universe its machinations.

I've been sitting tight on announcing this until it was real, and it's been killing me. No matter how much I will complain over the next ten months about the early mornings and endless prep work, I am so so unbelievably very happy.

On Monday, August 28th, I celebrated my perfect birthday by starting at my perfect job.


FAQs: No I won't tell you where specifically online. Algebra 1, Discrete Math, and Calculus. Some 9th graders, mostly 12th graders. Yes the commute sucks less than the private school one. Yes the pay is better --I'm making a bit over $50k this year. Yes, I am so so so so happy.

Dreams 09/19/2017

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:08 am
kalibex: (Default)
[personal profile] kalibex
Two periods of dreaming, with a slight biphasic period of having trouble getting right back to sleep in between.

Recall has faded for the one sequence, but the other one included being in a interior, and getting the impression it was a restaurant, as there seemed to be a 'host/hostess' station, from whence one person would lead people who had arrived to eat, to their table.  Bizarrely, though, it also seemed to have a hand-drying station built into the lower front.  I had used the bathroom, then went to dry my hands here...
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
[personal profile] psocoptera
First, the funerals: the Inexplicable Logic of my Life is a contemporary YA by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Three friends and one of their dads compare paths to the dead moms club. Definitely a crying book, I kept being reading this in public places and regretting it. I liked this less than Aristotle&Dante, probably because it's not a romance, and also Sáenz' teen voices worked a little better for me when they were set in the 80s than set now. The texting in this never sounded quite right, in particular. But Sáenz writes some powerful moments, and captures some subtle and complicated feelings. He's at his most interesting to me when he's exploring identity issues like what it means to be born Anglo but adopted and raised by a Mexican-American family, interesting stuff there. The main character chooses something at the end that bothered me, but I can see what Sáenz was getting at and it made sense for the character, just, eegh.

And then, the dinner parties. A Civil Contract (1961 Georgette Heyer Regency novel) and Home Again (2017 Reese Witherspoon film) might seem like an odd pair of works to want to pair up for reviewing, but actually they're perfect, because Civil Contract is a difficult novel because it refuses to give in to the pull of wish fulfillment, while Home Again is an enjoyable movie because it's wish fulfillment all the way down, and they both involve the male romantic lead standing up the female romantic lead for an important dinner party.

Civil Contract's dude hoped to be career military, but dad/untimely death/aristocratic responsibilities, you've heard this before if you read Regencies at all. He's in love with someone, but he's broke, so he has to marry her friend, the daughter of a rich businessman, instead, to save his estate. If Courtney Milan is writing this plot, he would discover that she had some kind of awesome interest or compelling backstory, he would fall in love with her, yay. Heyer, however, doesn't let us have that fantasy - while he does come to *appreciate* his wife's comparative lack of drama, and the comfort that he gets from her catering to him, there's no real indication that he finds her attractive, or is interested in her as a person. (She's been in love with him all along, which is why she's so willing to completely shape her life around his comfort, and do all the emotional labor of managing her feelings without ever bothering him with them.) In theory, I like the idea of a romance novel pairing that focuses more on in-jokes and child raising than bodice-ripping sex, but in practice, it doesn't even really feel like a romance. I am interested in the decentering of *desire* from the narrative, but what I really read romance for is the mutual passionate admiration! That's the stuff! It doesn't feel like a happy ending to me if she's in limerence with him and he's not with her. (There is a long and excellent discussion thread here with, among others, Courtney Milan herself basically making this argument.)

Home Again, in contrast, delivers passionate admiration in spades. Our 40-year-old recently-separated mom heroine has *three* nice young men fall for her; she's only ever romantic with one, but she gets to bask in attention (and emotional and household labor!) from all three of them. It's not just a fantasy of still being desirable, although that's obviously part of it, it's a fantasy of getting to enjoy the excitement and fun of a new romance even after already having had one good marriage. (Although her ex as we see him onscreen is awful, I think we're supposed to have the impression that it was a good relationship for a long time, until it wasn't anymore.) She eventually decides that the life-stage gap between her and her young man is too big for a relationship, but they all three will still be around as part of a found family with her and her kids and her mom, yay - she may have given up the sex, but she gets to keep the admiration.

Oh, and the dinner parties? I had curiously opposite reactions to them. In Home Again, the missed dinner party is the precipitating event for the end of the relationship - it's supposed to be their first "real date" beyond their fling at her house, he's going to meet her friends, but he stands her up rather than risk offending the guy he's hoping will help them get their movie made. She decides that this means their priorities are just too different, but I found myself more sympathetic to the dude than she was - the movie pushes how these guys are these aspiring filmmakers who Really Believe In Films, and he's young and new to navigating Hollywood, and believes this is an important chance. And unfortunately it falls into her ex's pattern of blowing her off for flimsy work reasons, so it makes sense that *she's* just like "I'm not doing this again", but it didn't make *me* think they wouldn't work. Civil Contract dude on the other hand has promised to be home for his sister's engagement party but instead borrows a ton of money to gamble wildly on a military outcome so that he can have money of "his own" instead of his wife's money - it turns out he's right but, ugh, he takes this enormous risk for no real important benefit, I lost so much sympathy for the character and of course his wife is just like "that's all right honey you know best, nice work honey". It's the climax of the book and I guess the idea is that now that he doesn't "owe" her he's more able to realize that he's fond of her and doesn't resent her for having had to marry her. In a way, these stories end the same - with a friendship rather than a romance - but what a difference, coming to it from opposite directions.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
On the one hand, A Matter of Life and Death (1946) is my least favorite Powell and Pressburger. It's a superlative afterlife fantasy in the tradition of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which is the problem: it's the Archers doing, excellently, a kind of story other people do. I don't hate it. I like the premise, which flips the opening glitch of Jordan so that instead of snatching a man untimely into the afterlife, a psychopomp lets his assigned soul slip away into the world; I love its filming of Earth in color and the "Other World" in black and white, whence Wim Wenders and his Berlin angels; I really love its double-tracking of the plot in both mystical and medical registers and the way it refuses to resolve one over the other, eventually, rightly merging the two. I have always suspected that after the credits roll, somewhere among the stars Marius Goring's Conductor 71 and Edward Everett Horton's Messenger 7013 are gloomily comparing notes on their respective balls-ups and wondering if Alan Rickman's Metatron was right that angels can't get drunk. It has one of the great escalators of cinema. It's objectively good and I know it's widely loved. But it's easily the least weird thing the Archers ever committed to celluloid. I can't tell if its otherworld is deliberately dry or if my ideas of the numinous just for once parted ways with the filmmakers', but I found more resonance in the real-world scenes with their odd touches like a naked goatherd piping on an English beach, the camera obscura through which Roger Livesey's Dr. Reeves watches the town around him, or the mechanicals within mechanicals of an amateur rehearsal of A Midsummer Night's Dream, than I did in the monumental administration of heaven and the courts of the assembled dead. I watched it in the first rush of discovery following A Canterbury Tale (1944) and as many other films by Powell and Pressburger as I could lay my hands on; I was disappointed. It didn't work for me even as well as Black Narcissus (1948), which I want to see again now that I'm not expecting real India. On the same hand, the Brattle is showing a 4K DCP rather than a print, which means that I'd be settling for an approximation of the pearly Technicolor monochrome of the Other World, which is still astonishing enough in digital transfer that I really want to know what it looked like on the original 35 mm, and the same goes for the rest of Jack Cardiff's cinematography.

On the other hand, the screening will be introduced by Thelma Schoonmaker and this is how Andrew Moor in Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (2012) writes about David Niven as Squadron Leader Peter David Carter, the pilot hero of A Matter of Life and Death (look out, textbrick, for once it's not me):

Never an actor of great range, Niven came instead to embody and to articulate a rather out-of-date ideal: gentlemanliness – or 'noblesse oblige'. His light tenor and gamin beauty are those of the nobility: he reveals, if provoked, the upright steeliness of a man with backbone, but this grit often shades over into a likeable, smiling insolence. Though we knew he could be naughty (and the actor was a noted practical joker), it was the forgivable naughtiness of a well-liked schoolboy It is usually his graceful amusement that impresses, rather than his physicality or intellect (to talk of 'grace' might seem antiquated, but old-fashioned words like that seem to fit). He could be the younger son of a minor aristocrat, at times silly but always charming, and in the last instance gallant, gazing upwards with a sparkle in his eyes, a light comedian who, through sensing the necessity of nonsense, is perfect as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days (Michael Anderson, 1956, US). He is fittingly dashing in The Elusive Pimpernel (Powell and Pressburger, 1950), where as Sir Percy Blakeney he embraces foppishness with gusto. His 'airy' quality is winning, and his poetic virtues shine in AMOLAD. He may be well-mannered and eloquent but, as charmers go, his 'classiness' sits easily . . . He is undoubtedly an affectionate figure. Unkindness is not in him, and he is important in our gallery of heroes. But he is never like John Mills, the democratic 1940s ' Everyman'. Mills is the boy next door to everybody and, while that is a nice neighborhood, we really aspire to live next door to Niven. Is it a question of class? We suppose Niven to be a good host of better parties. Mills is like us; Niven is exotic. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and during the war Niven stood for some of the most valued of principles, but his quality (or was it just his prettiness?) seemed the stuff of a previous, and probably mythical, time. Niven himself was a Sandhurst-trained army man, who joined the Highland Light Infantry in 1928 and served in Malta for two years before drifting towards America and into film acting. In 1939, when he left Hollywood for the army, he was a star, and managed to complete two propaganda films during the war while also serving in the Rifle Brigade . . . In the opening sequence of AMOLAD, it is hard to think of another actor who could mouth Powell and Pressburger's airborne script so convincingly. Bravely putting his house in order, saying his farewells and leaping from his burning plane, he is ridiculously, tearfully beautiful. Notably, it is his voice, travelling to Earth in radio waves, which first attracts the young American girl June, not his looks, and later it is his mind which is damaged, not his body. It is difficult, in fact, to think of the slender Niven in terms of his body at all. We remember the face, and a moustache even more precise and dapper than Anton Walbrook's (which was hiding something). Like Michael Redgrave in The Way to the Stars, he is the most celebrated man of war – the pilot who belongs in the clouds.

So I'm thinking about it.

When the screams rage, shake it off

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I have just learned that Stanislav Petrov died in May and I feel this is a bad year to lose a man who knew how not to blow up the world.

Dreams 09/18/2017

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:01 am
kalibex: (Default)
[personal profile] kalibex
Was at some place - some kind of business, apparently.  I had some repair issue, and I think I stopped in to inquire about it. (Something similar to this going on in real life.) I spoke to one woman, whose English was good, then was handed off to another, whose English and ability to communicate completely effectively was NOT as good.  The 2nd person tried two times to conclude the interaction correctly, but I realized she'd failed.  She initiated situations, including sending an object (that was NOT mine) out for repair, which made me realize that my repair issue had to been addressed correctly.  Each time, I made it clear that what she'd done was not what I needed, she indicated she could not halt or reverse the process.  At that point, I asked to speak to a manager.  I tried to tell her I wasn't doing this to get her in trouble, because she had, overall, been trying her best to be helpful.  But I needed this resolved; wasn't going to just accept the new situation (incorrect actions initiated, no way to know i I'd get what I needed out of it).  She was not happy, but went off. The initial woman (good English) showed up again (not sure if she was that 'Manager', or if she just dropped by to see how I was getting on).  I proceeded to explain what had happened, that the other woman gad tried, but had set things up incorrectly.  As I did so, the alarm woke me up.


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