Log in

the I, she, or it that thinks
01 January 2021 @ 12:47 pm
This journal is now Friends Mostly

That means that more than half my entries are 'friends locked'.

But don't feel too left out, the locked entries are mostly just reporting stuff I did, health related stuff, and occasionally self indulgent, whiny, angsty, venting.

I can't imagine why anyone who doesn't already know me to some degree would want to read those, but if you have a burning desire to do so, this would probably be the place to let me know. That doesn't mean if you comment you will automatically be added to my list. Sorry, I don't work like that, I value my privacy and sense of security far too much. It does mean that if you comment, I will know you exist, and this may greatly increase the chance of reciprocal adding.

Anyone and everyone are free to add this journal, read the public entries, and comment on them.

At some point, all this gibbering may be replaced with a pretty banner.

UPDATE 2007-11-30: This journal contains adult themes.

That's because I am an adult. I discuss topics such as contraception, abortion, mental illness, feminism, sexuality, porn, politics, literature, film, and, occasionally, philosophy. I also swear whenever I feel so inclined. If this sounds too grown up for you, you should stop scrolling now, and click away from this page. Kthnxbai.

UPDATE: I mostly use Dreamwidth these days. You can find my account here. You can comment on either site, but I do import comments from LJ to DW every few months, so be aware that your comments here will show up there, eventually, and may be read and replied to by people on DW.

I will continue to read people on my f'list who post on lj, but I doubt I'll be adding new people over here.
the I, she, or it that thinks
13 March 2015 @ 01:30 am
"Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12 March 2015."

Terry Pratchett has died. His family and friends announced it on his twitter and facebook pages.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld books were one of the few things I could read during major depressive episodes. I'm so thankful for them, and for Sam Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Susan Sto Helit, Tiffany Aching, and many more wonderfully written characters. I have an ache in my chest, but I know Pratchett wouldn't have wanted to stick around.

There is a memorial donations page, with funds going to The Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE), an Alzheimers support and research group.

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/691376.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
13 December 2013 @ 12:55 pm
In the December Ask Me Stuff Meme, sabotabby said "Tell me about Angela Carter!"

This is part personal history, how I discovered the works of Angela Carter, and part overview.

I was 21 when I first started reading Angela Carter. At that time, I hadn't started university, and I was working in a campus bookshop. I had been reading Freud and Nietzsche and de Sade and de Beauvoir in my spare time, as well as, I am slightly ashamed to admit, Camille Paglia. It was 1993 and I was reading novels by Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Will Self, Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, A.S. Byatt, and Umberto Eco. Possession and Foucault's Pendulum were two of my favourite novels, partly because they made me think and want to learn more, in ways that other novels did not.

As a child and teen I had read a lot of sff, and I had read and re-read my books of fairy tales and folklore. I had Paul Hamlyn editions of the Grimms, Hans Christian Anderson, one called "The Enchanted Castle and other tales and legends" which was mostly Eastern European, one called Chinese Fairy Tales, and one with a name like "Tales from other lands" which was divided into different European countries and included Scottish and Irish myths. When I first moved out of home, I took those books with me, and my housemates occasionally teased me about them, saying it was a way of avoiding growing up. When I moved to New South Wales, I left my books in storage with my mum, and she gave away a lot of the children's books, including those collections to friends with young children.

Anyway, when I moved back to Fremantle in 1993, it was one of those original housemates who actually recommended that I read Angela Carter, and that I might like the way she rewrote classic fairy tales from a feminist and Freudian perspective. He was right.

the short storiesCollapse )

Carter's work is always political, in some cases this is more overt than in others. She read Marx and she spent time with anarchist groups as a student in Bristol. She was at once part of the second wave feminism of the 70s and 80s, while often being at odds with some of the dominant ideas. In the re-tellings of fairy tales, women save each other, or save themselves, or embrace their own animality rather than being mere victims of predatory men. In her novels, particularly those written from the mid 70s on, Carter weaves different political ideas through her stories to create modern parables or perhaps to test the validity of political ideas by playing out them out in exaggerated scenarios.

Now for the novelsCollapse )

The non-fictionCollapse )

Further ReadingCollapse )

TL;DR: In general I like Angela Carter's books a lot, but they aren't perfect, and I would recommend steering clear of her early novels. I highly recommend her short fiction, especially The Bloody Chamber and Black Venus, while Nights at the Circus is a glorious novel.

notesCollapse )

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/655468.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
I ranted on Tumblr. It's been a while since I had a good rant, so I'm going to share it here as well. (Also because comments = validation and love, and tumblr is not a place for comments.)

Apparently there is nothing that sets me off nearly as much as when people talk about bodies as meatsuits, or otherwise imply that the body is there to service the brain and the thinking thoughts that enable us to have a concept of self.

Someone posted a photo of the brain and nervous system laid out on a table and wrote:
This is you. This is where all your thoughts are kept. Every other part of your body is used to protect and sustain this.

A lot of people (93,665 and counting) seem to agree with this sentiment. One of them added:
it’s weirdly comforting to know that all of the meaningless bullshit society judges me on is just a meatsuit made to support the terrifying tentacle beast that is my true form

My reply:

As much as I love the idea of a tentacle beast inside us all, it makes me sort of sad to see mind body dualism alive and well. Even if the mind is perhaps considered to consist of the brain and nervous system, rather than being merely attached to it somehow by unclear metaphysics.

I am not just my brain, I am not just my thoughts. I am my fingers and toes and my stomach and spleen. I am the blood in my veins, I am lymph in my ducts. I am the beating of my heart, and the breathing of my lungs.

If I am in the habit of thinking of myself as that which is thinking, well, that’s because I have to think to have a thought.

If I am in the habit of thinking of myself as a verbal and visual creature, well, that’s because I have a mouth and ears and eyes. The thoughts that I articulate to myself, I sub-vocalize using my vocal chords and I hear them with my ears. The pictures I imagine, I visualize using the nerves that join my eyes and my brain.

If I sometimes feel I live in my head, that’s because my eyes and my ears and vocal chords are all in my head and neck.

If I can conceptually differentiate between my self as a body and my self as a mind, that’s because my mind specializes in making conceptual distinctions.

The concept of a mind is the thought I give to the part of me that does the thinking, and is aware of the passing of time.

The concept of the body is the thought I give to the part of me which occupies space, and which moves and eats and breathes and shits and LIVES.

If it seems like the concept of a mind is more immediate than that of a body, that’s because the mind is the part I use to form concepts.

But the body is just as immediate. I don’t just have a thought about pain, I feel pain. I don’t just have a thought about arousal, I feel aroused. I don’t just think about eating, I feel hungry. I don’t just think about scratching, I have an itch.

My hands, my feet. My hopes, my dreams.

All of this is me.

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/652722.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
08 November 2013 @ 11:13 am
Last year, the book I kept talking to people about (and occasionally forcing upon them) was Sensation, by Nick Mamatas.

It looks like his latest novel, Love is the Law, is that book for 2013.

It's 1989, and the Berlin Wall has just fallen. On Long Island, Dawn, the teenage punk narrator and protagonist, is convinced that while it may look like her mentor and lover has killed himself due to the fall of communism, it is a set up, and she is determined to find his killer(s) and get revenge.

Dawn is a punk, a communist, and an occultist, and Mamatas weaves these three aspects together to create a character who is a rebel with a cause, but who is currently lacking anyone to rebel against. Firstly, because the people who make up her suburban community are too self-absorbed to notice her, and secondly because her family are too dysfunctional to care. But after Bernstein's death, Dawn finds herself in the center of some sort of conspiracy, where it seems that everyone is more connected than she knew, and the more she tries to untangle the web, the more tightly she draws the knots together.

This is a short and fast paced story. I read it in two sittings, and didn't want to put it down at all. In Dawn, Mamatas brilliantly captures the sense of teenage alienation, and how appealing rule governed systems of thought (like Aleister Crowley's Order of Thelema, or the ever-splintering leftist factions) can be to someone who is desperately trying to make sense of the world.

There are also moments of pure hilarity. Mamatas has fun using the benefit of hindsight, having his characters make seemingly prophetic pronouncements about the future (which is of course their future, but our past). Dawn's narrative voice is acerbic and sharp, even if she somehow fails to turn the critical lens, to which she subjects everyone who crosses her path, upon herself.

Everyone I know who has read this book has raved about it, therefore I declare that this is a book for everyone, and which everyone must read.1


Love is the Law is published by Dark Horse Books. For those outside the US, I got a good deal on book depository and it shipped within a week.

footnoteCollapse )

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/649829.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
Tags: ,
the I, she, or it that thinks
13 October 2013 @ 06:59 pm
10 years ago I signed up for a livejournal account.

Some of the first people to comment on my journal were apperception, solri/[personal profile] robinturner, and [personal profile] nanila. Others who commented in the first month or so were canonfire, easwaran, and [profile] ousin. At least four of these are people with whom I've interacted in the last week, although some are no longer active on either livejournal or dreamwidth.

Before LJ I did most of my online socializing on IRC, but I almost immediately preferred the format of someone writing an entry and having conversations in the comment threads. To my style of thinking, threaded comment systems make a lot more sense, and are easier to follow than the flat style comments used on some other platforms.

I know it's traditional these days to deplore the exodus from lj/dw to sites like facebook, but I am still here and I am glad that all of you and also you are still here. Even if some of us do interact more on fb and similar these days.

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/646345.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
08 October 2013 @ 10:31 pm
I signed up for Yuletide. This is a bit new, but I think (hope) it will be fun.

letter goes hereCollapse )

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/645531.html. You may want to check the security settings there, or click to see a content related icon. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
Feeling : anticipation
the I, she, or it that thinks
04 May 2013 @ 06:39 pm
I brought the kittens home today and I have photos to prove it.

2 phone photos of kittensCollapse )

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/630755.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
Feeling : KITTIES
the I, she, or it that thinks
25 April 2013 @ 04:00 pm
Went to the Cat Haven and adopted two kittens today. They both need to get sterilized and chipped, so I'm picking them up Friday week.

Tina who is going to be Georgia (George)* is a cocoa brown and grey short haired tabby about 6 4 months** who is a bit shy, but came over for sniffing and cuddles and has a loud continuous purr.

Murray who I am going to call Mason (full name Shaun Mason)* is male, nearly 12 6 months**, medium haired tabby, sort of golden brown tones and is super smoochy.

Both of them played when I was in there with them, but were curled up quietly when no humans were there to pay attention to them.

The shelter is going to put them in a pen together for the next week so they can socialize. They usually separate sexes, Tina George was in with two other females her age who were more playful and adventurous but who didn't purr as much when I paid attention to them.

I stupidly forgot to take photos and just looked on the website to see if I could find something to show you all, but neither have been there long enough to get their own pages***.

So excited.

* Readers of Mira Grant's Newsflesh books will get the references

**[ETA] I got conflicting information on their ages on the day I signed the papers, but I got their actual ages from the vet nurse on the day I picked them up.

*** If you want to look at some other sweet cats who need homes, this is the place

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/629195.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
05 January 2012 @ 11:29 am
Dear Lazy webs,

You know that thing where you use different and increasingly insulting adjectives to describe people depending on their distance from you and in a progression from first person, through second person to third person?

E.g. I am particular, you are eccentric, he is a nutcase.... yeah, that thing.

Does it have a name?

I used it some months ago to come up with the universal theory of why no one ever admits to being a hipster, it goes: I am an artist, you are creative, she is a hipster.

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/591084.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
16 October 2011 @ 02:34 pm
....and I've done my laundry and the kitchen is clean, so I'm going to curl up with the cat and some Terry Pratchett and an icy-pole* and relax.

*regional dialect word for frozen flavoured sugary water on a stick. See also "popsicle".

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/577597.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
11 September 2011 @ 02:22 pm
The City of Dreaming Books
A Novel from Zamonia by Optimus Yarnspinner.
Translated from the Zamonian and illustrated by Walter Moers
Whose German Text was translated into English by John Brownjohn.

I just finished and I don't even want to try to put down my thoughts, but I do want to say "You, and all of you, I think you will like this book."

Because it's one of those bookish books about books, think Eco and Borges, and it's funny, and silly, and fantastical, and lighthearted, and scary, and compelling.

This customer review at Amazon is very good without having spoilers:
After reading the first few pages, I fully intended to give this book a poor rating. The audacity, to write a book about excellent writing, without Moers writing also being of highest caliber. How presumptuous, how arrogant. The writing was merely poorly crafted children's fare, perhaps excusable only because the book is translated. It had an interesting, wonderful idea, of pursuing a world based on reading and books, but it would have been far more interesting and relatable if it had been about humans, rather than this silly dinosaur.

I repent. Most completely. I was wrong in every way. This is one of the finest fantasy novels I've ever read. Moers actually takes a talking dinosaur and makes him interesting and a complete character, to say nothing of the other species and humans in this world. Moers doesn't rely on creatures others have constructed, but in every step forms his own creations.

Yes, it's a book about a dinosaur, in a land called Zamonia where there are other strange creatures, all with their own forms of literature.

There's a city called Bookholm, which:
...reeks of old books. It's as if you've opened the door of a gigantic second-hand bookshop - as if you've stirred up a cloud of unadulterated book dust and blown the detritus from millions of mouldering volumes straight into your face. There are folk who dislike that smell and turn on their heel as soon as it assails their nostrils. It isn't an agreeable odour, granted. Hopelessly antiquated, it is eloquent of decay and dissolution, mildew and mortality. But it also has other associations: a hint of acidity reminiscent of lemon trees in flower; the stimulating scent of old leather; the acrid, intelligent tang of printer's ink; and, overlying all else, the reassuring aroma of wood.

Now, don't you want to read more about it?

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/574044.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
So, some background:

By now you will all have heard about the Orson Scott Card rewrite of Hamlet, with bonus homophobia.

Well, gileonnen has responded with the Big Gay Hamlet Ficathon, which is all sorts of fun, and pretty much what it says on the box.

And in the thread for AU prompts, gehayi suggested a chromatic casting, and I thought, "hey, that's a great idea".

About the chromatic casting meme.

Links to chromatic castings on LJ and DW via [community profile] linkspam

So after some time finding photos of some of my favourite actors on the intertubes, I came up with this cast for a modern day Hamlet, set in generic large city, USA.

many photos under the cutCollapse )

NotesCollapse )

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/573739.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.
the I, she, or it that thinks
22 March 2011 @ 11:22 am
Last night, I was singing to Jaz, and it occured to me that some people might sing quite different songs to their cats, and others might not sing to their cats at all.

So, in the interests of collecting scientific data, I have created the following poll.

Please fill it out if you live with cats, regardless of whether they belong to you.

LJ users can fill out the poll by logging into their open ID account.

Link: http://ironed-orchid.dreamwidth.org/550949.html. Read comment count unavailable:comments. Leave a comment using OpenID.