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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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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:
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 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


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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

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.

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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7th December 2016


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November 21th, Monday: ikea )

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Saturnday19th November: Read more... )

Sunday 20th november :Read more... )

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14th November 2016

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Friday 4th November, went to Museum of Last Parties with Derek, had a fantastic night. There was dancing and cocktails - 20's pseudo-speakeasy style, and then a singalong with a piano and songs from "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" through Beatles to Abba, it was silly and fun, and then moar dancing elsewhere in a more contemporary style, with Derek showering glitter everywhere, and then a pause for Morris Dancing in the middle of the dancefloor, with a Morris side with sticks and hankies. And people were dressed up magnificently, in all sorts of eras and styles, one was dressed as a Chanel Bag, one had shiny pyramid breasts, There was a lot.

October 22nd, went to the Welcome to Night Vale show, met a crow from twitter, left seat for worse seat to sit near Abi, had a burger at new-to-me fast-food chain.

Saturday 12th November, drinks with Derek, then dancing at Duckie's , where I unexpectedly ran into the crow again. Hi crow.

Sunday 13th November: Life Begins at Party, by Kirsty Newton, musical comedy solo show , with Johnny and the Baptists as special guests.

Not actually entirely hibernating! So proud.

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8th November 2016

Hunterian Museum , Evening Visit

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On the oneth of November I had a ticket to the late-opening at the Hunterian Museum. I met Derek and Holly and Emma there, and Fiona joined us later.

There were many preserved dead things, behind glass. Some in jars. Some dried. Derek pointed me at a skeleton of a giant - Charles Byrne. He paid to be buried at sea, but then Hunter bought his corpse to be museumed anyway. for £130 , said the story on the board next to the skeleton. Which is more money than he saw in his life, I suspect.

There was an open workshop - preserve a thing in a jar - but I was too worried, because I did not know what would be available or demanded for preservation, nor what liquid they'd offer to preserve it in.
Then Derek came out of the workshop with a plasticine penis in water in a jar, and it was all much safer than I'd feared.

There was a lecture about the hanging and how people died of it, by a volunteer retired surgeon. He explained about hanging by the neck until dead, and about the newer method of breaking the neck by hanging, and demonstrated on a member of the audience. Who had volunteered. Also he told about beheading, and about {hanging, drawing, and quartering} (which I first read described in 'A Dragonfly in Amber', I mean 'Outlander', by Diana Gabaldon. She wrote it more bloody and distressing.)
(This talk about executions was a nice companion piece - in my head - to the talk by a yeoman warder at the Tower of London.)

There were dried wasps preserved in jars, one was with a bit of its paper hive. The label said: Unspecified social wasp. Bzz.

There were pin badges to buy to support the museum - I nearly bought the skull one, but it was a picture of a child's skull, with double rows of teeth. I find that too creepy. So I bought one with a skeleton hand on it, instead.

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11th October 2016

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Sunday: went to meet Derek to watch a film, War on Everyone. It's about bad cops. They're bad. It seemed like fun with characters I could enjoy hating.
The film (or the projector?) failed ~15 minutes in. The cinema (Crouch End Picturehouse) was brilliant and gave the viewers a free cup of tea (when it seemed like it could be fixed soon) and a refund (when it turned out that it couldn't.)

We went to have dinner in a Japanese restaurant.
Read more... )


met Derek for continuing tour of London cafés.The Attendant café )

Read more... )

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3rd October 2016

I went to visit a friend outside london!

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I went and visited [personal profile] ailbhe in Reading. It was good.

I had not seen her - except on the internet - since the Convention in August.

I traveled out to Paddington with the beloved, who was going to visit a friend in Oxford, and then we got different trains.

I like my Citymapper app so much: when I missed the train (I got distracted buying myself a soft drink) it showed me the next several trains going to Reading. Then, when I got to Reading it told me where Eclectic Games was, so I could walk there and say hi to Becky and wait for Ailbhe.

Eclectic Games is fantastic, it is a beautiful board-games and card-games shop. It is bright, well-lit, has nice wide aisles. And it has upstairs large gaming rooms, with tables and chairs, and vending machines for snacks, tea and coffee, and soft drinks. Also there are booths to sit at which are not *in* the gaming rooms, so I sat at one with Ailbhe, and Becky joined us, and we had a hot drink and a chat. We also discovered that we actually do believe in weather magic: The rain the previous day was because one of us had hung out washing.

After that Ailbhe took me to Nibsy's, which is a Gluten-free cafe. I had a delicious scone with clotted cream and raspberry jam, and Ailbhe had a vegan cupcake with no allergens (that means none of the allergens on some official list. People can be allergic to many different things and some allergies are less known.) I think those cupcakes are made with sugar and good wishes. I mean, I have no idea what's in them. I also had a coffee and walnut cake, it was delicious, and the icing was sweet, gooey, and generous.

After Nibsy's we went to Tiger - it is a very pleasing shop of random things - they have Halloween things in now. I like it and it is only the second time I have been in one. I bought myself a small pencil-case (among many other things). Today I found I have many many pens and could use a larger pencil-case, which I had not expected. I might have to go to Tiger again, to find a bigger pencil-case. It is a chain, there are Tiger shops in London too.

We finished the town-visit and continued (by taxi) to Ailbhe's. Once we got there I gave her the eraseable pen and re-fills I got for her at Muji. I am so proud and glad I remembered both to bring them, and to hand them over. (Of course when I got home I realised I'd meant to bring some comics I have for the comics-interested children, and I forgot those. Oh well.)

There was also some drawing for inktober - I tried to draw one of the cats, it was sitting conveniently close, but it kept changing pose.
Also I mentioned non-newtonian thixotropic fluids, in the context of a silver-ink pen that would not flow. It did flow much better after it was shook. (That also works for shampoo and for ketchup).

We watched Strictly Come Dancing, and that was fun.

I was fed salmon-less salmon risotto, and it was good. The salmon was left out for me, and added for the other people. Because of thoughtful asking by Ailbhe before food. And thoughtful cooking and serving by R.

Then I went home - updating Ailbhe per her request at every stage of the journey, until I was safely home.

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14th September 2016

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Recently read stories:
It is in Nightmare magazine and categorised as horror. I liked it.
Which is fun. Remember to click the button [display entire story] to read the whole story.

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26th August 2016

Short visit by Derry to London. No Casualties.

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Saturday I had a visiting [personal profile] derryderrydown . She brought chocolates, I recommend her as a guest.

We got out to town and ate at a new place - Tombo - that does Matcha drinks and deserts, and Poke food.

Then I took her to Gelupo, because: Gelupo! I had my favourite of theirs, which is fresh mint stratciatella, and it is entirely unlike mint choc-chip, which is why I love it. She had white chocolate and lavender, and it tasted like I thought it should.

We went to see the Doug Anthony All Stars.
And it was fun and funny and Tim heckled my laugh with "Fly, my pretties, fly!"

And afterewards I used my superpower of asking questions, and got told they'd be coming out in a bit and people were waiting to say hello - so we waited and Derry got to say hello, and I took a photo of Derry with Paul, (and almost tripped over Tim's chair.)

So that was fun.

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9th August 2016

The Next Big One by Derek Des Anges

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One of My favourite new books this year is The Next Big One, by Derek Des Anges.

It's about Ben Martin and how he finds things he wasn't looking for, like a maybe? conspiracy! with the new deadly virus.
And maybe other things, like new friends.

It's set in London, which functions quietly as a background. It's a very clear place, where people have to travel to get to places and background characters interact. It is solid, not vanishing at the edges. I feel like the author knows where every thing is, but I don't need a map to understand what's going on.

It features our main character, Ben Martin, who is young - but not that young, he's really a grownup, shut up, dad -

Wait, I'll come in again.
Ben Martin is our anxious bisexual hero!
He sorta stumbles into heroing, it's not really what he meant to do. But he heros anyway. I love him.

He goes to a Further Education college to study Journalism. The tutors we meet are Sherazi and Victoria, and they are sharp and witty and sarcastic. And slightly scary, to their students. I like them a lot.

Then Ben gets an assignment that leads him to meet and befriend more interesting people, like Tasneen, hijabi geek girl of awesome and joy. I love her.

And Dr. Natalya Yagoda, transwoman, science-heroine, cooler than anyone ever. She's amazing.

And Dr. Bill who is a wheelchair user and enjoys arguing with people about SCIENCE (and is pretty obviously based on Dr. Ben Goldacre so if you like him, you're likely to like Dr. Bill)

And the abrasive but attractive Dr. Daniel Khoo
who led me to do research and find Hao Yun Xiang looking like
But he also looks like: this

Here are links to buying the book:
The Next Big One in paperback
The Next Big One for kindle UK
The Next Big One for kindle US]

Also Kieron Gillen liked it: I have failed to find the tweet where he said so, but he did tweet a recommendation for it.

So I liked it so much I wrote it fanfic, which is set before the book, and is spoilery, and contains non-con. It is here: The Invention of Loneliness.
It made the author hate a hated character even more. People who liked the book seemed to like it, but it is not a happy story.

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