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11th August 2017

Enhanced eyes

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I booked an eye-test. (Online, at Specsavers). Then I realised I wanted to have it on another day, so I moved it, twice, via the email booking notice they had sent me and their webpage. It was easy.

I finally had the eye test done today, this morning.
And it was fine. Much looking at bright lights!
Many: which is better, this one or this one? I felt so free to know that 'they're the same' is a valid answer.

The conclusion was basically that my prescription has changed a tiny little bit but not really that much. So I do not need new glasses.

I told everyone I had an eye test last year, but actually now I have looked it up it was two years ago. Mostly I am writing this post to have a record of when this eye test was.

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July was a month with much theatre. Two theatre:

Derek had booked us tickets to see Angels in America: Millennium Approaches ,Read more... )

Friend Hunter mentioned a musical - Yank! - because a friend of his, Sarah-Louise Young stars in it. So I looked it up, and it is set in WW2 and has men soldiers in love in it. Read more... )

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7th August 2017

I hope you're keeping some kind of record

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Went to the Pride in London™ Parade™ on July 8th.
Read more... )

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6th July 2017

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Washed myself, got out and realised all the towels were in the washing-machine. Stood in front of the air-conditioner and set it to dehumidify.
(The towels are now hanging out to dry).

*

Went out and saw a Tom of Finland film: Daddy and the Muscle Academy, 1991. There was talking before it, with an artist doing Tom of Finland inspired art, and people doing talky bits and a woman from the Finnish embassy (I think) who said she was married with 4 kids and a dog , and Tom of Finland tea-towels.

Anyway the talking was interesting and amusing, and the film was full of the art and men talking about how important the art was to them, and Tom of Finland talking about making the art, and inspirations. Just the way art and representation matters, and gives permission to be yourself. (even when it's kitschy porn, sometimes especially because it is kitschy porn).

Also there was a video greeting from Jean-Paul Gaultier, and he was funny and charming and talked of the art of Tom of Finland as inspiration.

After, there was a party at Ku bar, mostly to promote the Tom-of-Finland brand vodka. Everyone who came got a ticket that could be exchanged at the bar for a vodka-and-ginger, which tasted very much of the ginger-beer (Fever-tree, I think) and not at all of vodka, to me.

There was also a raffle. Derek won a set of coasters and a tray with Tom of Finland illustrations on them.

*

I went to Distraction Club this week, it was good. There was Pippa Evans, with some older stuff and some newer stuff,
Mr Mannish as Richard Carpenter, doing very slight variations on Carpenters songs, honestly, you could hardly tell the difference .
Kirsty Doody was back and it was good to see her, she's so great.
There was an allegedly impromptu performance of the beginning of Enter Sandman by Mitch Benn and the Distractions, because Ivan Shepherd was going to play the first two minutes of it with some people sometime soon.
Er. There was Matt Blair, who did a Wolverine song to celebrate the forthcoming release of Logan on blu-ray, and Ben Norris, and Rob abandoman Broderick, who did freestyle rap about random things people had in their bags. I was very impressed, I handed him a fidget-toy of colourful blocks onna string and he sang about it *while* trying to figure out what it is.
There was Ben Norris, and he was funny.

*

The other day my brain told me Mr Brightside by the Killers would work well as bossa-nova. This seemed like a fine idea that I have not the skills to execute, and I was worried I would be ear-wormed with the first two lines of the song, bossa-nova style, forever.
But then I searched for it on the internet, (using duck-duck-go, so I can't even say I googled)
And it had already been done! Mr. Brightside Bossa Nova style cover on youtube.
So that saved me :)

I also found this cover, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxg4a6on_y8 , which is not bossa nova, but is pretty.

*

I just finished reading Concourse, by Santino Hassell, which is a M/M romance about a boxer and a socialite. I liked it a lot, even though at one or two points I was yelling at the book, 'Just talk to him!' 'just *tell* him, he'll understand!' He did tell him in the end and he did understand. I read romance because it works out in the end, that is the point. But also I enjoy the sad longing before it works out.

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18th June 2017

Musical: Come From Away

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This weekend [tumblr.com profile] fahye mentioned Come From Away, which is a musical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_from_Away

It's about the town of Gander in Newfoundland, and about how the people there welcomed the nearly 7000 people who were stranded there in the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks. "It's not a 9/11 musical, it's a 9/12 musical" the writers have said in an interview. There is a big airport near the town, and 38 planes were diverted to land there after USA closed its airspace.

The cast performed the opening number at this year's Tony awards, and it is on youtube: Welcome to the Rock.

The other song it was easy to find - and stands well on its own - is about a woman who was piloting an American Airlines Boeing 777 and landed in Gander on 9/11. She was the first female Captain in America.
Me and the Sky.
And it's based on a real woman, and she has attended the musical a lot, and brought tens of women pilots with her to see it, too.

So I listened to the entire soundtrack on Spotify, and it's about people coming together and being kind to strangers, and people being stressed and getting through this stressful situation. And I got so much catharsis and I cried a lot, in a really satisfying way.

So now you know about it, and if you like musicals and people doing the work of being kind, you might want to seek it out.

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12th June 2017

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When I was a child, I wanted to be Vincent Van Gogh.

Oh, you wanted to be a revolutionary artist, whose paintings sold for millions?

No, I wanted to be supported by my hard-working sibling while I engaged in my useless hobby.

I mean, yes, the previous one is great, but I didn't believe it was possible for me, as it wasn't even possible for Van Gogh while he was alive.

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9th June 2017

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I thought I had longer until the next election to finally sort out being able to vote, but then sudden new election, and not enough time.

Friend M had trouble registering to vote after a recent house-move, but went to extra effort and got it done. I am proud of her.

On election day (8th June 2017), she posted to facebook that she had a migraine, and couldn't face going anywhere.
I had the spoons, so I offered to come around, and she said yes please, and bring ibuprofen.

It turned out she'd ran out of painkillers and had none in her home at all.

I came over, and she was in great pain and hiding from light. She took a painkiller and we discussed getting an emergency proxy vote, so I could go vote for her. But he painkillers seemed to start working and she felt better - enough to want a cup of tea, then enough to want a second cup of tea, and tolerate more light, and then - like a miracle - she was better enough to get up, sit in the light from the open window, and chat. And then she realised she was feeling up to going to the polling station to vote, and I walked there with her, and she did vote. \o/

I felt better about myself for helping.
(the Labour MP where we are got 81% of the vote).

**

I made plans to go out dancing with friend Derek on election night, we thought it was a better idea than sitting watching the news and being on social media all night. And it WAS.

We met at the Montagu Pyke.

Tracy Chapman's 'Revolution' was playing in the background, and he said that the JD Wetherspoons was a good place for a revolution to start, with it underpaid staff and the people who come to drink there probably underpaid as well, because people come to drink there because it's cheap.

Anyway.

We went to G-A-Y Late, because gay, cheap entry, cheap cocktail jugs, also there is space to dance and some aircon.

And it was mostly empty around eleven when we got there, but it did fill up. It felt friendlier than usual, I think.

There are screens all around the walls, usually showing the music video of whatever song is playing. That evening that was most of the screens, but a few screens were showing the bbc election night broadcast, and showing the results.

There were people in LABOUR shirts and people were checking out the screens and enthusiastically cheering for labour gains :) Or for Tory losses.

People danced with both of us and with each of us, enthusiastically, happily.

They played 'Survivor' by Destiny's Child *and* 'I will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor, I think those were going to be played for election night whatever happened.

I took a nightbus home, it arrived at 3:19, and at 3:30 dawn started, the sky got lighter and lighter from then.

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26th May 2017

Fanfiction

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I want to write Harry Potter and the Sleepover of Plausible Deniability, but what seems to e happening is that I am turning into Pierre Menard, author of chapter four of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


"We are here to persuade an old colleague of mine to come out of retirement and return to Hogwarts.”

“How can I help with that, sir?”

“Oh, I think we’ll find a use for you,” said Dumbledore vaguely.


and:
“This,” said Dumbledore, moving forward to make the introduction, “is Harry Potter. Harry, this is an old friend and colleague of mine, Horace Slughorn.”

Slughorn turned on Dumbledore, his expression shrewd. “So that’s how you thought you’d persuade me, is it? Well, the answer’s no, Albus.”

He pushed past Harry, his face turned resolutely away with the air of a man trying to resist temptation.


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Monday I went and posted back a couple of dresses that I thought I'd buy from the internet. I ordered three, sent back two. The one I kept I have already worn several times. (I also kept a pair of multicoloured palazzo trousers - a skirt for each leg! Yess!- but I need to get them taken up because they are too long).

Tuesday I was outdoors because I went to visit [personal profile] morwen, in her new flat. It was good to see her again, it had been a while.

Wednesday was the first time the air-conditioner was on this year. It was a hot and humid day.

Thursday I went out to King's Cross to meet Derek and Muffy, and there were food stalls outside, so I bought myself a Crosstown™ gin-and-lemon doughnut. We sat in the sun and talked, then took ourselves indoors, away from evil daystar, and talked more. It was good.

Later Derek and I went to a delayed NT Live screening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the Old Vic production, with Daniel Radcliffe at a cinema inside King's College. I enjoyed it, I laughed, and then I was sad. Because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die. Hamlet in it was very cool. There was David Haig as The Player, and he was good. Funny and attention-capturing and that.

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16th May 2017

Book Quotes

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Poor Harry has a very uncomfortable first time:

Harry felt Dumbledore’s arm twist away from him and redoubled his grip; the next thing he knew, everything went black; he was being pressed very hard from all directions; he could not breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his eardrums were being pushed deeper into his skull and then —”

He gulped great lungfuls of cold night air and opened his streaming eyes. He felt as though he had just been forced through a very tight rubber tube.

[...]His comprehension catching up with his senses, Harry realized that he had just Apparated for the first time in his life.

J.K. Rowling , Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4



And here's Dumbledore offering Harry up to Slughorn:
“This,” said Dumbledore, moving forward to make the introduction, “is Harry Potter. Harry, this is an old friend and colleague of mine, Horace Slughorn.”

Slughorn turned on Dumbledore, his expression shrewd. “So that’s how you thought you’d persuade me, is it? Well, the answer’s no, Albus.”

He pushed past Harry, his face turned resolutely away with the air of a man trying to resist temptation.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4
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3rd May 2017

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http://painesplough.com/play/every-brilliant-thing

How does one tell people about a play with a child with a suicidal mother without automatically turning them off the idea and making them never want to see it?

I read about it via the man who stars in it, who I know of because he's Johnny from Johnny and the Baptists, and they do musical comedy , and I saw them perform multiple times at Mitch Benn's Distraction Club.

And he has a very warm and friendly persona, and I've seen little video trailers and it looks like it's actually sweet and possibly hopeful.

The reviews quoted also say it is funny.

Welp. I bought tickets for Wednesday evening. Possibly someone will want to come with me and make use of the second ticket. Possibly not. Either is okay.

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1st April 2017

birb music

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Today I went to the Wellcome Collection with [personal profile] apiphile. we saw two free exhibitions:

one about animals and how we see them: Making Nature: How we see animals

and one about electricity: Electricity: The spark of life


I learnt a new thing! the animals exhibition had a section about songbirds, with old records of birdsong.
Used to be, songbirds were trained when they were young to sing specific songs, and they provided entertainment by repeating the song. So the song would be recorded into the bird. They used to use a specific kind of wooden flute to play the songs to the birds, and that's why it's called a recorder.

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30th March 2017

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Here is a link to a page with a video on it: Turning over a sheep that has fallen on its back.



A couple of weeks ago a man on the internet went all 'real names, that's what would make social media a better place!' I considered arguing with him, and saw that a)people already were, and 2) he was not taking it in. But one of the people arguing gave a link to information I had not been aware of before: https://blog.coralproject.net/the-real-name-fallacy/
Why the thought was that anonymity was the problem.
(Anonymity isn't the problem, and I, and probably you, have seen enough pictures from facebook of people not being their best selves under their own name, where their friends and relations can see them)

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28th March 2017

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Today I was awake and focused enough to take in culture.

I watched, via Netflix, the film Robot and Frank. It has an old man whose memory is failing, his dutiful son, and a robot-carer that the son provides.

more about Robot and Frank )
It was fun and I liked it, and it's also a bit sadder than I was expecting.

Also today a friend linked to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/downloads Where there are episodes of In Our Time where Melvyn Bragg and guests talk about things

So I listened to The Fighting Temeraire , where they talked about Turner's painting, and about Temeraire the ship, the battle of Trafalgar, and mentioned things like Turner's cockney accent and the sun setting over the Thames. It was fun and interesting.

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26th March 2017

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Last Saturday I went to see taming of the shrew at the globe and I felt faint half-way through.
I sat down so as not to fall down, and a kind usher directed me outside to a bench. I sat for a while bt energy to get back up did not appear. Then I was taken to the first-aid room, where I had some water and a lie-down with feet up. So I had a nap, and some more water. I missed the rest of the play. Part of me was curious as to how they had done it and part of me was glad I'd missed the part after the wedding where it gets more abusive. I don't know why they still do this play.

As the play was about to end I got enough energy to stand up and go back to my friends and be active.
I realised I had failed at sleep - I stayed awake all night and fell asleep at seven in the morning, I had not eaten or drank anything before I left the house, and while I had meant to do the 'food as a substitute for sleep' thing, all I had actually eaten was about three bites of cheese at Neil's Yard Dairy in Borough Market on the way to the Globe.
I did have some fruit juice, but it was not enough.

So that was half a play. I liked the actors and I liked the blinged-up moblity scooter the old suitor was using.


After, I walked with friends across millennium bridge - it was v. windy and gulls were riding the wind, and pigeons were flap-flap-flapping about and not coping with the wind well. Friend G told how he had got a pigeon to the face earlier, delivered by that wind.

I went with friends to a pub, had a couple of soft drinks, sat down a bit, and then went home.

On the way home I bought a small bunch of narcissus flowers, and they smelled lovely, and they have lasted a full week. They are wilting now.

*

On wednesday and thursday and friday I celebrated my birthday. A robot reminded some friends it was my birthday, and they sent me greetings.

The beloved brought me a bouquet. I did not have a vase of a fitting size, so I put them in a Kwak glass instead.

Family sent greetings from afar (which is where I like to keep family).

I went out for an evening meal with the beloved and had delicious food, with chips. The chips were not as good as the best chips I have ever had, so I felt a little sorry for them.

I was brought delicious doughnuts from Crosstown Doughnuts,
descriptions from their website )
because I'd mis-ordered myself cake for next week by mistake.

Also friend D has bought us tickets for a cinema screening of the NT production of Angels in America - Millennium Approaches, which we both want to see, and it is a present and it is in the future.

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18th February 2017

On taste and scent

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Tolu balm has that unfortunate smell that I associate with the Sano™ Ylang-ylang air-freshener that has made me dislike Ylang-ylang.

Bloom Perfumery have a sample of Tolu balm with some perfumes that use it -
The one currently on me is PG10.1 Bouquet Massaï
And it goes on and is very floral and then dries down and does the thing that says 'ylang-ylang' to me, even though it does not list ylang-ylang in its notes. So maybe that is the Tolu balm. Which is handy to know. It's ... sort of warm and floral-ish?

...I like knowing I dislike some rare and expensive ingredients, because often on a list of things to buy/ on a menu / the thing that most appeals to me is the most expensive one.


I went out for a meal with the beloved.
We went to Tozi, which is an Italian restaurant near Victoria Station. We went there in December, mostly because we'd been to Shepherds to buy wrapping paper, and it is close. And Tozi was so lovely we decided to go again at some point.

We ordered almost entirely different things from what we had ordered before - some of it because they have a seasonally-changing menu, some of it because other things caught our eyes this time.
But the beloved still had the agnolotti in brodo, because it is a fantastic dish.

There was a dish of Buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle, that the beloved ordered. And the ravioli were good and the sauce was good, and I discovered that I do not like black truffle. It has a kind of metallic taste to me, and it feels a bit bitter and - off.
Hurray! another thing I can know I do not like.

*

I got around to trying Poudre de Riz in the perfume samples and it has tolu balm in it, but it's a gourmand, not a floral, so I do like it.

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17th January 2017

Fanfiction

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I read two Harry Potter fanfic stories.
(Reparatio, and House Proud, both by Astolat)
It's nice to have people writing stories to share.
And places to share them.
I really like the Archive of Our Own,
the way it is searchable, the way that once I am logged in it remembers,so if I opened a story in a tab then it is in my History, and I can go find and read it.
The way I can bookmark stories. And download stories.

Last night I wished for cross-searchability by oh, relationship tag + bookmarked by user. Or fandom + bookmarked by user. Or more fine-grained searches than that. I wonder if that can already be done. I wonder if it's easy or hard or impossible.

I have two! bookmarks on my Harry Potter fanfic there. The story I wrote, I mean. It gives me a thrill every time someone leaves kudos it, but the bookmarks are an even bigger thrill.

There's a bit in House Proud, where Professor Slughorn is talking to a post-Hogwarts Harry Potter, and it felt creepy to me, because of my Professor Slughorn headcanon. I creeped myself out. Hee.

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10th January 2017

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today I was outside in daylight for the first time in a while. Maybe the first time in the new year. It was a little exciting - hello trees, hello sky, haven't seen you in a while - and a little shocking, the realisation that I just hadn't done that in a while.

The sky was bright and greyish, the trees were bare. It is January.

*

I just finished re-reading The Charioteer by Mary Renault. It is a queer book. I mean it has a gay man as the central character and it is about him, his life, his relationships with other gay men. It was published in 1953, it says here. It is good and it has what is to me a happy ending. (Or at least, what Romance books call happy for now, if not Happy Ever After). Also it does mention war and wounded soldiers and life-changing injuries and there is suicide mention and one on-page suicide attempt and more suicide and death mentioned. And period homophobia.
I like that book so much.

*

I am currently re-reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. That one has lots of torture and suicide in it, I had forgotten how much.

*

Cabin Pressure is being re-broadcast on BBC Radio4extra. I skipped listening to the first episode, Abu Dhabi, because that has a cat in peril, but merrily listened to episode 2, Boston, in which a man dies of a heart attack.

Speaking of Cabin Pressure: I have just read and enjoyed Wardrobe Pressure: Cabin Pressure/Narnia crossover fic by AJ Hall. Here is a link to the first chapter. The voices are spot-on, I enjoyed it so much.

Episode One: Archenland (4029 words) by AJHall
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Cabin Pressure, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Arthur Shappey, Martin Crieff, Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Douglas Richardson, Jadis, Mr Tumnus
Additional Tags: Crossover
Series: Part 1 of Wardrobe Pressure
Summary:

On a dull flight back from Nyíregyháza with a load of tractor spares, Martin confides in Douglas about certain worrying things Arthur's been doing lately.



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6th January 2017

reading books

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A bookening?

I feel shy about listing all the things I read but also I don't like to forget everything I have read.

so:
too many things behind a cut )

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5th January 2017

New Year's Eve

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Went to White Mischief for New Year's Eve. (Derek had a spare ticket)
It was at Bush Hall, I'd not been there before.
Met Maud and Fred and Suzy there.

Derek and I watched the cabaret from upstairs,

There was a woman who danced with fire and swallowed fire, and a woman who did acrobatics on ribbons hanging from the ceiling, and a juggler, and dancers, with fans, with a cape with colour-changing lights, and one with a balloon which swallowed him and then gave him birth in a new form, and also comedy musical performers, it was all beautiful
Also there was a puppet strip-tease, it was good and done well and creepy.


the woman who had danced with fire came and said hello to people and I told her she was fantastic (because she was) and she gave me a hug. I thought she'd just been hugging her friends, but no, she was giving out hugs in general.
Derek admired her necklace and then they found they knew people in common and so they had an actual friendly chat.

*

After the cabaret part of the evening was over we went near the stage and met up with Fred and Maud and Suzy and
there was sparkling wine (Maud even found glasses) and we went on to the stage, to count in the new year, and dance.

There was space to dance! I danced with people and alone. Derek sprinkled sparkles on people. I got a lot of gold sparkle on me. At one point I went to the loo and looking in the mirror I was surprised to find a star on me. I knew where the gold sparkles had come from, but I do not know who or where the star was from.

*

The next day my knees hurt, but it was worth it.

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