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Sun Sep 25th, 2016

05:47 pm - Now put your hands up, hands up, hands up...
All the sulky lions (all the sulky lions)
All the sulky lions (all the sulky lions)

Bref, ladyofastolat went to Venice and reveals that the Renaissance was as bad at depicting lions as they were at depicting babies.
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Sat Sep 24th, 2016

08:51 pm - Mercury falling
A truth universally acknowledged, that the first cool spell always feels excessively cold. It might dip below 10 tonight; is currently 15, less than the 6 a.m. lows of the past week; and I freeze until I remember the bit about hoodies and long-sleeved shirts. This when I was just getting used to the idea of t-shirts as rational garb and jackets as occasional necessities (and both in today's sun weren't.) No matter. Now I can put incandescens's quilts back on the side room bed and make a cozy reading nest again.
Peregrinations, with elevatorsCollapse )

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Fri Sep 23rd, 2016

09:53 pm - Say I'm weary (because I am)
...say I'm sad (because I'm that too)
Say that health and wealth have missed me (true, for certain values of health and wealth)
Say I'm growing old (oh yes am I not) but add-

It's Friday and it's cool and I will be grateful for those.

Also that there's a Japanologist called Timon Screech. I suppose it was such a Gormenghast name he couldn't bear to change it.

But when he starts talking about manga- oh dear. Clearly confuses Hikaru Nakamura the chess master (a guy) with Hikaru Nakamura the mangaka (a woman), and says straight-facedly, 'It’s interesting to see how the work is very Japanese but the characters are given mixed-race features.' You think?
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Wed Sep 21st, 2016

09:27 pm
Even if tonight is a leetle too warm, this tail-end of summer is still pleasant: mornings are cool, days are for walking out in clothes, no sweating or shivering. So unusual.

Finished this week?
Burgis- Kat Incorrigible
- my Saturday stay-at-home (rain and headache) fluff read, very satisfying in being well-paced, feel-good, rewarding, and fast. Worth reading and easy to read.

Still with Pandemonium and Parade and The Pound Era, also satisfying in their won't-be-rushed fashion.

Parker, The Convict's Sword
- to date, less annoying than some Akitadas. At least he's back in the capital, not freezing up north with rustics and corrupt officials. I was congratulating me on having finished the series ie the six paperbacks bought Back When, but random googling revealed there's not only another seven, it spoilered me for the action of the present book. Argh.

I have a loose-end depressive tendency to spend my autumns reading detective series, usually with little pleasure and less profit. I do not want to slide into a compulsive Akitada read.

Another Burgis at some point, probably on the next rainy day. Odd when I bounced so hard off Masks and Shadows- but then, probably I had the wrong expectations of that one.

Find myself jonesing again for Sherlock pastiche, which is good because I have another volume of it on the shelf and bad because my other volume is all by one author whose first story did not impress. Jonesing may also vanish with the warmth, because it's a warm-weather thing that started back in warm 2011.

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Tue Sep 20th, 2016

10:00 pm - Gli enigmi sono tre, la morte è una!
This post, on my DW reading page, makes me feel a lot happier about the state of Brexit- rather as Vice-Fearless Leader, when Lehman Brothers was going under, wandered around happily indulging in investment bank slash. "Lehman, the icy empress uke, had long scorned advances by all his suitors, but is now forced by reduced circumstance to entertain indecent proposals from the lecherous seme Bank of America, and the urbane playboy Barclay." A useful lens through which to view a world-shaking clusterfuck.

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09:26 pm - You painted the leaves in July
That's when you had a reason
Now you watch as they fall from the sky
They're touching down for the season

Never knew that The Boys of Autumn was Canadian, *or* a one-hit wonder. (The sound on that clip is pretty bad as well.) But it's such a September song, perfect for these last (maybe) splendid warm days. Like much of this summer, the heat is a disconcertingly pleasant one, soft against one's skin, energizing. September warmth in tandem with fall allergies usually makes me a zombie.

Ah well, they say, as they've said for the last eight weeks, that it will be much much cooler in a few days.

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Sat Sep 17th, 2016

08:37 pm - Deep diving
Reading The Pound Era which is... quite indescribable. Fun, but not at all what one expects of either an exegesis of a poet's works or a literary history of his times. Am glad it's not about someone I like, because Kenner's grasshopper approach and linguistic games would probably make me gnash my teeth if it were. As it is, if he wants to blather on about Henry James and James Joyce and Bernart de Ventadorn and Wyndham Lewis while dissecting Pound's Cantos, that's great, because Pound's polyglot Cantos never did anything except annoy me. (And the rest of those guys are pretty annoying too.)
HoweverCollapse )

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Fri Sep 16th, 2016

09:57 pm
Mornings this week- until tomorrow, when it will rain- have been the sun of Florence in September, seen by me for maybe five days when I was thirty and never again. But this, I think, is the reason for all those Renaissance books I've been reading all year.

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Thu Sep 15th, 2016

10:28 pm - My eyes grow dim
Am at the point where every evening I think that tomorrow is Saturday. This is either age or alcohol or both together, because two ounces of vodka never used to make me come unstuck in time.

Also some small person's soother disappeared into a black hole this afternoon and she is- not inconsolable, but only to be consoled if sitting on me. This is a problem.

No, it did not reach 10C last night, but close. I slept on top of the summer duvet and under the down duvet and didn't want to leave my bed this morning because it was so cooold out there and so cooozy in here. Also I'm still not wearing hoodies or socks on account of tomorrow's low will be 20. Autumn never come.

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Wed Sep 14th, 2016

10:24 pm - Pleasures
What a nice day! I woke from a dream of 'Japan' that happened on that non-existent highway by Heiwadai Station, involving a sort of bookstore plus community centre plus bakery, to silver sun and no rain at all. (A sprinkling later while I was having a hot turkey sandwich at Fran's, one of the few places that does that greasy spoon classic; Fran's does not provide the usual flour-thickened gravy, but does give you cranberry sauce.) Took heavy-duty cough medicine against my dentist appointment and floated through the rest of the morning in a pleasant druggy high. My crown did not require freezing and cost $200 less than I'd expected. (A quarter of that was discount, but since I always pay by debit rather than credit card, I think she can give me a discount from time to time.) A very apropos quote about dragons and librarians showed up on my FB feed. My elbow behaved for most of the day, though two babies who love me gave it a workout. And it's reached the level of 'almost cool enough to need a jacket', after I slept with the window AC on last night.
MemeCollapse )

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Tue Sep 13th, 2016

09:44 pm - Distant grumbles
It is warm and humid and my elbows are stiff-swollen and twinging at me. Physio and ice and vodka have quietened them a bit but not completely.

Tomorrow will rain and I'm having yet another crown put in.

However. It is tomorrow where incandescens is and tomorrow is her birthday, so happy birthday incandescens!

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Sun Sep 11th, 2016

08:30 pm - Minor reflections
On the whole I would rather have house flies than fruit flies. The former can be persuaded to leave, or if not, whapped with a towel. The latter are uncatchable and breed from air.

It being cool, I cooked my chicken liver recipe and for lack of mushrooms, added walnuts instead. Any nut or fruit added to chicken livers automatically makes it feel Persian.

Never mind yellow leaves and dark at 8, I will believe fall is here when the temperature gets below 10 at night. They've often promised this but never delivered. I don't believe it will happen this week whatever they say. Not when Tuesday is supposed to be 28.
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Sat Sep 10th, 2016

07:57 pm - Try to remember the kind of September
No surprise that after a hot dry summer like this one the trees should start turning early. Though it's not a turn exactly- more the Japanese 'lose saturation and go yellow.' I recall with apprehension similar hot dry summers and the unwillingness of their dingy leaves to fall afterwards. Fortunately they've called off the La Nina, or rather, said it may or may not happen ie it will not be '07-08 again. Hope this is true. Be cold, just don't be snowy.

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Fri Sep 9th, 2016

09:23 pm - Monks, the infant section is burning
A virus has been decimating our Baby section, (in the large rather than narrow sense of the verb: four or five out of ten), inducing persistent high fevers. Today it skipped to the toddlers. I've been feeling grungy all day, and since I never have fevers it may be the virus laying waste to other parts of me.

Or it may be the effect of saying 'Ah, the heat warning is off, I'll sleep with fans!' last night, leading to the muggy discomfort of air blowing on me. Too warm to be covered, too chill-feeling to be un. Wish I could simply damn the expense and run the cooling central AC rather than even the window one: which blows air inefficiently. Next Hydro bill will be worse than June-July's anyway, so why not? Since all the weather pages say that fall will never arrive.

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Thu Sep 8th, 2016

08:10 pm - Vexation
After a series of breathless emails from eBay, my wordtank arrives. Put batteries in. It doesn't work. I go online to contact the seller. Bought as a guest so eBay wants an access code for the order. "Check your confirmation email for your access code." I check the confirmation email. There is no access code. The packing list gives me the guy's name and snail address, which is not a huge help.

My mobile company was swallowed by the godless empire of Rogers. They keep sending me emails to select a new plan. I go to the webpage and as requested, give them my number and PIN. The webpage tells me my PIN is wrong. I change my PIN. The webpage tells me my PIN is still wrong. I call support. "We are experiencing higher than average volumes of calls." I just bet you are. "Wait times estimated as half an hour." Estimate is wrong.

And it's still hot.

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Wed Sep 7th, 2016

08:33 pm - Monks, all is burning
Though it burns less since that deluge this evening. So now it merely steams.
Usual memeageCollapse )

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Tue Sep 6th, 2016

10:32 pm - Another Country
Threw out my old Women's Almanacs from the early and mid-80s yesterday. It was a wrench. They have details of my life I'd forgotten, addresses of people I can't recall, mentions of places that have vanished completely. If I throw them out, that chunk of my life is gone forever. Well yes, it's gone anyway, isn't it? It's not like I'm throwing out the ticket to another country...

...and there's the thing. I've always confused time and space: the past feels like a place I can go back to with the right talismans in my hand. Those daybooks were passports of a sort. The only consolation is that I don't *really* want to go back to the 80s, when I was far more naive and clueless than someone in their thirties ought to be, hanging out with people I didn't much like because there was no one else to hang out with. So yes, farewell all those transient coworkers and roommates and friends. My social life is now much emptier than it was, but quality has replaced quantity, for which I must be grateful.

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Mon Sep 5th, 2016

09:39 pm - The Idea of the House
Rolled down to the AGO on a honey-warm afternoon quite prepared to be cooled down by Lawren Harris' chilly abstract mountains. Harris' landscapes are Canadian iconic but not a patch on Sohlberg's by me. Besides, I'm not one for pure landscape. Almost all the paintings I own have houses in them, which is what I prefer.

Thus I was pleased and surprised to be greeted by two rooms of Toronto streetscapes and houses: Harris' paintings of the rundown, downtown, area once called The Ward. Much of the area is now occupied by the new City Hall and the Eaton Centre: parts of it used to be an adjunct of the old Eaton's, and a lot of manufacturing went on amid its one-storey listing shacks. Once a largely black community, just before WW1 it became home to a wave of immigrants from East Europe (mostly Jewish) and China, who established the first Chinatown on Dundas.

The exhibit contains photographs of the Ward's houses, or shacks, most of them taken in winter with the snow piled high and grey by the back doors,* next to Harris' paintings of same. I can't seem to find any of these online, but it suggests that Albert Franck got the idea of painting the backs of Toronto houses from Harris. (You can see an example here if you scroll down far enough. At least I *think* it's the back of the house. This is also a later painting when he'd started to clean up his snow, under the influence of the non-urban snow found north of Superior.) Online Harris houses are all of the fronts, and a little googling suggests that the 'absence of human beings' thing seriously doesn't apply to his city works.

* Goss' photographs are very Skin of a Lion and thus yuck; but I observe that Kendal and Walmer, 1920, looks exactly the same today.
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Sun Sep 4th, 2016

08:25 pm - The cicadas have fallen silent
The fruit flies and ants OTOH are very much in evidence.

Maybe it's true that days shorten and lengthen faster the farther you get away from the winter and summer solstices. Time was the stats read 'tomorrow will be 1 min 10 seconds shorter than today.' Now it's '2 minutes 53 seconds.' So yeah, if it gets darker twenty minutes earlier than a week ago, you're gonna notice it. Thus the suddenly earlier evenings of late August that everyone remarks on.

Full Fathom Five reads much clearer for having read Four Roads Cross. I can actually follow the skullduggery and conspiracies this time.

Be content with what you have? So I suppose I'm contented with the mid-20s and mid-teens of this unrainy weekend. Shall not think about the mid-30s to come. Do not quote me next January, but I'm almost longing for the cold bitter winter the Farmer's Almanac is forecasting.
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Sat Sep 3rd, 2016

10:09 pm - ...immo etiam taedet, taedet obestque magis*
(*I gather this crux in Catullus has been resolved by removing one of the taedets, but this is how I learned it and have repeated it in my head for nigh on half a century)

Either dry eye or age, but I can no longer read comfortably with my naked eye, which is a pain, especially in allergy season. Must wear lens and use reading glasses. Chiz curses sa molesworth.

There was a martial arts demonstration at Dufferin Grove Park with lotsa young boys in flounced gold trousers and red jackets waving poles and swords to drum usic. Could not see clearly who and what because of previous paragraph.
Slightly betterCollapse )

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Fri Sep 2nd, 2016

08:38 pm
Could today have been more of a personal disaster? Not unless I broke a body part instead of other things. I suppose the body part will come next.

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Thu Sep 1st, 2016

09:27 pm - So glad August is over
It cools. My stats say this is not in fact the first time since mid-July that the lows have dipped below 16C but I have no memory of those occasions, which were one-offs in a string of air-conditioned nights. Also the cool is not set to survive into next week. But for the moment, I fancy an extra comforter on the bed against the air blowing in with the fan.

Should go back to reading heavy-duty Buddhism. Life is being-- well, that which requires heavy-duty Buddhism. And a slew of three-year olds are leaving for the incorrectly designated All-day Kindergarten, who were howling babies just a while ago. The fall of 2013 was the first time we had this mass exodus/ mass influx; it seems... long enough ago to feel historical but nothing like 'ages and ages back.' When kids left at 5 or 6 to start grade 1, yes, *that* was saying good-bye to people one had known in another life. This lot- oh yes, I remember them as inconsolable infants only too well.
Cut for meagre August readingCollapse )

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Wed Aug 31st, 2016

09:17 pm - Reading Wednesday is a zombie
Oh central AC and ativan, how delicious the sleep you bring, how sweet the dreams, how gentle the wakening into a civil dry world that smells of nothing at all. One feels like a human being- one registers the way it 'sposed to be- for a half hour or so, before one leaves the house at Fartooearly.am and goes into the hazy sun and muggy polluted air, bound for a 90 minute dentist appointment.

But all things pass, and the evening wind blows, and it's currently cooler than it was last night (is why the AC was on.)
Cut for book and RL natterCollapse )

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Mon Aug 29th, 2016

09:16 pm - The minor trials of summer, possibly TMI version
Yes, it's been a long time since we had a consistently warm summer. So yes, I'd forgotten little things like the necessity of rinsing out the camisoles I wear instead of a bra, and how they make you sweat, and how sweat trickles down your back between you and the spandex. Oh, how I want some cool days for a change.

New this year, though, is having to go back to panty-liners. In past hot years I wore those bunchy cotton scrubs with the problematic ties at the waist, which always slipped down my hips so that I'd tie and retie the cords to keep them up and usually end up pulling the spandex camisole over them. But they certainly kept the fork area cool and breezy. Now I have proper trousers, even if made of thin cotton, that have an elastic waist. I am no longer cool and breezy but every bit as sweaty as everywhere else. And since I do not, in fact, want to rinse out my trousers every day as well, I've gone back to panty liners. At *my* age, she humpfs.

(My mother and aunt wore lingerie boxers, is all I can call them, which would drive me batty under pants, but which I suppose were cool and breezy in their way.)

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Sat Aug 27th, 2016

09:28 pm - The Haunted Landscape
The Old Straight Track to date is about as rivetting as an information sheet. So there's this tumulus that lines up with that hill that lines up with this standing stone that lines up with that other tumulus over there, as seen in the tiny chart with the illegible labels. If you were in situ- as possibly you're meant to be- it would be very useful. As it stands, erm well, not so much. Like that recent xkcd comic about the linear regressions and finding new constellations in the scatter plots.

But it does make me wonder why these neolithic burial sites that dot the English landscape all seem to be (to me at least) more resonant and unheimlich than other remains in other lands. Because the Japanese, say, have no Grendel and his Mum equivalents, no barrow wights, no things that come out of dark meres and tarns? Yes, they have pools haunted by kappa, but they also use kappa to advertise sake. No one cutesies up Grendel, had you noticed? The French have their menhirs and standing stones but the iron hand of rationality has squeezed any possibility of fantods out of them. They're what Obelix carries around. The Scandinavians- yeah, they do have haunted landscapes, I seem to recall, sunny and rational as they are the rest of the time.

But it's the English landscape that gives me the impression of deep time, of past piling up in an unpleasant way, and that so easily seems imbued an air of unplaceable menace. Cf Robert Holdstock, John Gordon, and Alan Garner (though oddly, I think he does it less subtly than the others.)

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Fri Aug 26th, 2016

09:29 pm - Useless Day
I had the morning off, aside from an ill-timed chiropractor appointment. Intended to go down to the Art Gallery and take in the Lawren Harris exhibit, or maybe go to Old Navy and buy what I'm assured are the only large-sized tank tops that last. But the day was muggy stinky, the sun was hot, and I had a touch of summer stomach from, well, eating when it's hot. So I bought a waterpic instead, as I've long intended to do, and may some day get around to using it.

Then did my charitable shift (for a worker who'd already put in a full day) after which my back hurt as it does when I stand for any period of time. I did at least go out for the 8:30 showing of Mononoke Hime for which I had a ticket, was assured that the doors would open at 7:30 or a little later, stood in line till nearly 8; and then asked myself, did I want to sit in a narrow chair in a full house (ticket holder line went around one corner, rush ticket line went around the opposite one) on an aching hip for two hours while watching a film I wasn't crazy about to begin with? No, I would rather go and have coffee and read my book. Which did. Tomorrow I know I can come later and still get a balcony seat for Howl, and I will be armed with muscle relaxants and cough syrup to combat the two present seasonal evils. Also, possibly, the world and its brother won't want to see Howl's Moving Castle, though I bet they do.

But it was nice, actually, to be out of an evening, watching the light fade behind the patio trees at Aroma. Last time I did that the sun was still shining when I left at 8 p.m. June does have its uses.
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Thu Aug 25th, 2016

09:13 pm - Steaming Thursday
Today was the kind of marathon I'm no longer up for, a mere six hours with a two hour break in between that saw me ordering a Manhattan when what I wanted was a Cosmopolitan. Whatever. Alcohol is alcohol.

But the return of a p/t body meant I had the first three days of this week off, and I profited by it to go see the wakashu exhibit at the ROM. What it says on the tin: "Four hundred years ago in Japan, male youths, called wakashu, were the objects of sexual desire for women and men. Creating a third gender, wakashu looked different from both women and adult men and played distinct social and sexual roles." So now I know how to tell the men from the women in woodblock prints. Fun enough, but they had a two minute clip from Gohatto on rerun and the voices kept interfering with my reading of the exhibit labels.

I'm also appalled to learn that our museum's collection of woodblock prints was given to the museum in 1926, but were largely left underexplored. "There were boxes that nobody had opened for years," (the curator) said. "It was very challenging because not much was on the museum database, so we had to record all of the information."
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Wed Aug 24th, 2016

05:19 pm - Reading Wednesday cannot resist a list
Oh look- One hundred lesser known classics. Via [personal profile] oursin
Cut for sameCollapse )

And in Wednesday memeing, have finished only The Midnight Court, which is probably great fun in Erse and dull in English; continue to plough through The Decameron, Holmes-pastiche, The Prince, and the latest 100 Demons; and will possibly start The Old Straight Track one of these years, having read the introduction which says the ideas stated therein are All Wrong. Which, fine.
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Tue Aug 23rd, 2016

08:34 pm
Two days of dry cool- not that 25C is actually *cool*- just to remind us that it exists, and then back to a thankfully rare-this-year phenomenon, the muggy sunny day. Have had to close cellar door against the mold fumes, and must hang laundry I stupidly left down there for two days out on the line in the sun to get the sneezy smell out of that as well. 'At least there's a bit of a breeze,' an utter stranger remarked to me as I was pushing my bicycle up one of Brunswick's one-way stretches in a fit of unusual law-abidingness. There was, and it was well under 30C, but I was Tokyo-sopping nonetheless.

And now the blue hour is before 8:30 and it's nautical twilight* before 9, in spite of the authorities saying it doesn't happen till quarter past. I know dark when I see it, guys.

Thus am at a summer dead end, wanting a nice cozy British mystery and not finding it. Thought I'd got one for a loonie last night- The Death Pit- but failed to read the blurb about the book being 'charged with erotic energy.' Do Not Want, thank you very much. Probably should just settle on an Ian Rankin, but I Do Not Want coppers of the old school either, who hang around with criminals and beat up suspects and ignore rules. Thus I chug along with one of the Mammoth Books of Holmes pastiches, purely so I can remove the badly-edited beast from the shelves.

*Nautical Twilight: The time period when the sun is between 6 and 12 degrees below the horizon at either sunrise or sunset. The horizon is well defined and the outline of objects might be visible without artificial light. Ordinary outdoor activities are not possible at this time without extra illumination.

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Sun Aug 21st, 2016

08:26 pm - The End of August at the Hotel Ozone
There's an end of August topos, sometimes: a sense of sun and large skies and happiness and freedom. It may owe, distantly, to the going-back-to-school of my adolescence; to early 80s trips to Europe or mid-80s Japanese film festivals and opera for the masses, down at Harbourfront when Harbourfront was bike-friendly and non-condo'd. But mostly I associate it with the brave new fannish worlds of Papuwa and Saiyuki and dragons, long ago as those were as well. Whatever, yesterday was one of those days--

--until the evening when it clouded over and I remembered the other end of August topos, one much more recent and pervasive: peevish, undistinguished, unsatisfying. Maybe it *is* all in the weather.

Whatever, Nora's Hugo has cheered me up immensely. Also abandoned Boccaccio for Holmes pastiche, which at least made a break from all those wives seduced by monks. Though I've now reached the original source of All's Well That Ends Well, which doubtless reads better in Shakespeare's version than Boccaccio's
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Fri Aug 19th, 2016

09:17 pm - Friday thank god
Slept in to 11 again in order to enjoy a dream which I have now forgotten. The previous dream that I was hoping to continue was a convoluted thing about living in a residence with various girl students, some nice and some mean and all more complex than I can now recall. It was winter and dark, and the rooms owed something to Drearcliff Grange, but beyond that deponent knoweth not.
ContinuingCollapse )

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Thu Aug 18th, 2016

09:27 pm - Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
Boccaccio needs to work on his summaries. "Ludolfo Rufolo is ruined and turns to piracy; he is captured by the Genoese and shipwrecked, but survives by clinging to a chest, full of precious jewels; finally, having been succoured by a woman on Corfu, he returns home rich." Exactly what it says on the tin, so why did I bother reading it?

Insomnia last night, so whiled away a few hours with Boccaccio, who goes down well enough. Am not sure I'm up for another 700 pages of these undistinguished stories, though.

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Wed Aug 17th, 2016

09:29 pm - Wednesday's child is all thumbs
Opened a new ziplock bag of frozen raspberries this morning. Put quantum sufficit on my cereal. Took bag to freezer, bag tipped, unzipped-lock let 2/3 of the contents fall to the floor. This was only the first of a Day of Klutz that makes me think I need to retire to bed and stay there for the rest of my days.

Otherwise, memeage:
Cut for sameCollapse )

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Tue Aug 16th, 2016

08:44 pm - Much reading is a weariness of the flesh
Rebuked, my copy of The Midnight Court emerges from the poetry shelf where I so thoughtlessly placed it. Would that the other two might appear as well.

Age or the example of my sister leads me to a divesting mindset. It's true that I never know when I'll want a book again: I was pleased to discover that I didn't trun my copies of Ciardi's Dante all those years ago. But now I can't see me really wanting to read Anne of Green Gables ever again; Montgomery cloys whenever I try her. I should drop this in a wee free and let someone else gloat.

Or those 'may want to read this' purchases. Fifteen pages into Soseki's neglected work, The Miner, Jay Rubin's colloquial translation, which makes Soseki sound like Murakami Haruki, begins to pall, as Soseki starts sounding like Soseki again. Go on with it or give it up? I'd rather be reading Dante. Hell, I'd rather be reading Boccaccio. This is because I'm a naive reader, and the Italians wrote to instruct or amuse in an age of WYSIWYG. Dante's version of Hell I know to be more interesting than Soseki's, having better company in it.

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09:27 am - And this is why I don't swim during 'lengths' times
Originally posted by jabberworks at my pool
I ought to do more pool comics, there's so much material.
cut for largenessCollapse )


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Mon Aug 15th, 2016

09:00 pm - The house that ate books and other sadnesses
1. My copy of The Prince is gone, though I had it last spring. My copy of The Midnight Court is gone, though I had it last winter. And now my copy of Full Fathom Five is hiding I know not where. I mean, I trust I really *did* buy the thing and not just get it from the library?

Gladstone does do happi endo, at least for the time being; but all the latest book's hints of what went on in the first (chronological) makes me still drag my feet about reading it ever. As does all the financial wheeler-dealery.

2. To balance the gas bill, the electricity bill arrives, more than double what I used for the same period last year. Yeah well, last year was a rainy June and cool July and I didn't turn the central AC on till September.

3. Living on muscle relaxants is fine, but throw an anti-histamine into the mix and one sleeps deep and unmovingly, resulting in concrete neck headache this morning. Fortunately I just took more relaxants for the back, which cured the head as well. Physio didn't hurt either, except in the wallet.

4. I pick up my Japanese copy of Kafka on the Shore, only to have an 1Q84 bilious reaction to it. Oh yeah, strange stuff happening once again for no apparent reason. Why bother? (Then again, cruising goodreads' opinions on 1Q84, I come across an amazing deconstruction of the thing- that the whole Aomame section of the book is the novel that Shingo is writing about this girl he knew back in grade school, whome he makes into a male-idealized woman who will wait for him twenty years, certain that Fate will bring them together.)

5. At the cafe yesterday I wondered why they had last weekend's sign on the counter, saying they'd be closed the 15th to 19th. As I discovered today, it's because that's this week's dates, not last week's, and we're still only the middle of August. But where shall I get my lattes now?!

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Sat Aug 13th, 2016

06:30 pm - Pleasures
1. The coffee shop is back open again. Sometimes I get jaded by it being the only game in my neighbourhood, but after a mere five days of making do with Starbucks and Second Cup, ohh that lovely smooth latte goes down so well.

2. The wind blows and it's not as hot as before. Rain comes in and yes, it steams, but hey, rain!

3. Because it rains and I'm stuck inside (not by the rain but by the severe thunderstorm warning) I embroider a little at the spotty tank top's spots and sew some more of the ragged tank top's ragged hems. Sewing is not good for people with neck problems but does give satisfaction.

4. OTOH the problem with the Craft series is that I know nothing about the upper echelons of banking and finance and stocks. Never could understand leverage and buying on margin and short-selling; I think it's a form of math dyslexia because I've always had it. Possibly I shouldn't worry about the details and just pretend these are people attacking divine players. Just, old-fashioned gods usually had more power than mortals, and their not having it confuses something basic in me.

5. Gas bill comes. Less than $50, more than half of which is the rental for the water heater. I've missed the comfort of hot water to my neck on sore days, but once I've washed off the day's sweat in the shower I don't feel like easing my creaking self into a bath. This inadvertent economy is at least good for the finances.

5. Environment Canada has somehow mislaid their stats for summer 2005, but I seem to remember something similar then, in the 'ever-receding approaching cold front'. Two weeks ago they said it would be here last week; now it's supposed to arrive week after next. As long as it comes... But I must say, I've been rather enjoying having the AC on to keep the house bearable. No miserable sweaty nights with fans too hot or too cold and never Baby Bear just right.

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Fri Aug 12th, 2016

09:03 pm - Welcome weekend
Mid-back has been stiff for a while; left hip has been spasmy for about a week; left leg's IT band has been increasingly tight. Last night the whole shebang blew up. Couldn't lie on my side as I usually do; couldn't lie on my back either; couldn't sleep sitting up; couldn't take muscle relaxant because I had to be up early this morning. At last went to side room where the futon was somehow more accommodating to my aching everything and copped a few hours. Makes me wonder if the mattress, usually too soft by my definitions, isn't in fact soft enough, and if I should put the mattress cover back on, or rather under, even though the mattress slips off it as I thrash about at night.

Whatever, trotted back to my physiotherapist who told me to stop doing ITB stretches for the nonce and spend the weekend with my feet up. Which I shall do, doped out of my gourd on muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories.

Discover BTW that the small water cooking method works on vegetables, or rather, asparagus. Can't believe it works on carrots, because nothing does.
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Thu Aug 11th, 2016

08:51 pm - Summer cooking tip
In my wanderings, discovered an unheard of way of cooking pasta. Instead of using twice as much water as pasta and boiling it until done and the kitchen is steamed up and the temperature rises 10 degreesC and and and, you bring to a boil just enough water that it will cover the pasta, add salt, throw in pasta and stir so it doesn't stick, bring back to a *simmer*, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 10-15 minutes and it's done perfectly al dente. And if, like me, you don't care for al dente? Bring to simmer again, turn off heat, let stand ten minutes, and it's floppy soft.

Note this only works for short pasta like rigatoni and tortellini. Spaghetti and fettucini must be done the old way, or pre-broken. But this let me have rotini for dinner, which was exactly what I was craving on this 35C day.

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Wed Aug 10th, 2016

08:28 pm - Reading Wednesday as ever
Finished in the last week?
A string of slim volumes from the boulevard, the shelves, and Honto:

Brucker, Giovanni and Lusanna- Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence
- a history, disentangled from a notary's dry records, of a widow suing the man who married her in secret and then denied it to marry someone richer.

Carrison & Chhean, Cambodian Folk Stories from the Gatiloke
- Cambodian Buddhist tales with occasional very unmoral endings. 'Oh but in Buddhism you never get away with anything, it all comes back to you in your next life'. Small consolation for defrauded relatives and shopkeepers.

Lin, Famous Chinese Short Stories
- retold for westerners with happi endo where I suspect there was none. Not sure if traditional Chinese thought agrees with Lin Yutang's dismissal of the hero of The Western Chamber as 'in American terms, a heel' but they should. Just as Giovanni up there is a heel too. And finally I have a Chinese mainland book for the book challenge.

Ima Ichiko, Phantom Moon Tower 4.
- old friends from far away. Obscure as ever, but perversely satisfying. Chewy summer reading.

Shall continue on with Four Roads Cross, also satisfying and not to be rushed.

And next?
Latest 100 Demons finally showed up today, so I don't have to reorder it.

And maybe will get to Last First Snow and reread Full Fathom Five now I have the in-between parts filled in.

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12:59 pm - Language
I suppose I must join 1word1day. I know some of the words, including yesterday's one, apogee. We have a kid who says something very close to that all the time. His dad actually called us once to ask what K was asking for when he kept saying abogee and pointing to the fridge. We still don't know. It's not apple juice because he never gets apple juice. It's now distinguished from milk and water and cracker. I think it means 'that thing I want that might appear if I ask for it enough.' (This is a common and frustrating phenomenon. Kids will point to a shelf, and even though we offer them everything on the shelf, they reject it all and continue to point with increasing insistence and wails, hoping that we will make the phantom Whatever magically appear, since we make everything else magically appear. Tell you, sometimes it's hard being God.)

But I actually wanted to link to Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day. Uhtcearu - n., (obs.) lying awake worrying before dawn.

"...to break that down to its Old English components, uht(a) is the last hour of the night, just before dawn, and caeru is the ancestor of care in the sense of concern, which at the time had added meanings of anxiety/sorrow. This is used (in surviving records) only once in Old English, which makes it a hapax legomenon, but has been reappearing in word lists of interesting forgotten words in its nominative plural form, uhtceare."

Old English poetry likes to stick words together to express lovely ideas. Like its descendent German, but not nearly as thumpingly.
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Tue Aug 9th, 2016

09:42 pm - Nous n'irons plus au bois
The Indian Gardener's house is being done over by his son- a complete gutting of that actually rather small detached. This has been going on for months. A dumpster has occupied the jungle lawn but now has been removed, and the gardeners have come in. When the Indian Gardener was alive his lawn was indeed a jungle- well tended and orderly, but full of head-high rose bushes and sunflowers and flowering whatsits and all. Then the milkweed came in. And now all is flat and turned over brown soil. Remains one ilex, or what we call an ilex, which google doesn't recognize. It's a garbage tree, easily uprooted, which smells vile on your hands. And one flowering bush, which at last looks pretty.

The bees, however, will have to go next door.
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Sun Aug 7th, 2016

10:37 pm - Domesticities
1. When I was little I thought it was called Sunday because the sun always shone that day. Clearly I had a selective memory. But today was the kind of Sun Day I was thinking of then. Fresh breeze, good for drying clothes; summer-green trees and grass all about the house (fewer/ less of both here than at my childhood home, but them's the breaks.) For a brief spell (three days) it's cool enough to leave windows open at night and have the house cool down. Heat, as ever, returns next week.

2. The one thing that makes me want to wash dishes is lavender detergent. Fortunately I have some, and it's organic as well.

3. Broke in my crockpot. Clearly this needs thought, because four hours on high does a nice job on the chicken but barely renders the carrots chewable. This one has a twelve hour option and then goes automatically to 'warm', which they don't recommend leaving on for longer than an additional four hours. I am not one to cook in the morning, so clearly I need to start the thing at 9 pm, let it go all night, and turn it off whenever I get up. This lets out the 'warm meal' feature but that's what microwaves are for.
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Sat Aug 6th, 2016

09:39 pm - Gakkari
Had a perfectly ripping idea how to break the chronic depressive playing of Addiction Solitaire: I would use Duolingo to start learning Dutch. This worked for two days. Then I disabled the annoying remind-you app, and I no longer wish to learn Dutch via Duolingo.

A parmesan cheese sauce is the hardest thing to get off of pans and spatulas. It forms a silly putty (who here has heard of silly putty?) coating that you can soak in boiling water and scrape with a knife and scrub with a plastic brillo, which gets it off the utensils, but then it sticks to the brillo. For something that's only butter and cheese, its adamant refusal to melt is amazing.

The Country Style, last east European restaurant on the Bloor strip, has closed its doors for good. Sic transit gloria annorum 50s&60s, when schnitzel was an exotic dish and pierogies were labelled dumplings. Next to it, Inticrafts, the hodgepodge bazaar that had beads and boxes and dragon sealing wax, has moved to smaller premises further west that was once, briefly, an upscale barber shop. The Futon Store next to Inticraft, run by turban-wearing white guys, vanished a while back, purportedly to become a restaurant. .Eastwest Futons down the block from them is now also boarded up. There goes the neighbourhood...

On the upside, I discover I can buy a real Japanese futon here, for only $500 and change.

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Fri Aug 5th, 2016

11:07 pm - The Daily Ramble
1. Come into my house after work. Ah how cool and dark! Oh how my house retains the coolness from last night's AC! ...and today's all-day AC, because I turned up the thermostat and left it on, a detail that disappeared in the heat outside. The heat alert is now lifted, and they say it's 24C out there, but it's a humid unmoving 24C. I shan't be happy until we get lows of 15 again, unseen since the middle of June.

2. Picked up a cookbook off the boulevard, One Pot Low-cal Wonders. Which is fine up to where nine recipes out of ten call for tinned tomatoes or tomato paste, two ingredients that kill the taste of everything else.

3. I need meat and veg reading to make the lighter fantasy and mystery feel substantial. Granted, Gladstone is pretty chewy all on his lonesome, and Retold Chinese Tales doesn't provide any sense of corrective balance. But Japanese works just as well as history or biography and rather better than both, especially when it's Ima Ichiko's impenetrable Phantom Moon manga. Very very chewy and still not quite making sense.

4. The local coffee shop is closed next week, which is sad, because the other coffee shop is now a Mexican restaurant, and there's nowhere else to get my 'familiar faces' barista fix.

5. Birks have been resoled for half the cost of a new pair, but resoled they are. I should simply toss my second pair, supposedly identical to the first. But they're not. They strain my legs and back, and make me feel wobbly-unsteady (even though *they've* been resoled recently too.) Had to take muscle relaxants last night for the spasms after wearing them two days, and today had recourse to the velcro ones I wear with orthotics.

6. Stopped wearing gauze bandage on rapidly uninfecting toe. Must start again, because the urge to pick at toenails- what got me into this mess to start with- is irresistible.

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Thu Aug 4th, 2016

09:43 pm - The run-on English sentence made the run-on English road
Picked a Bernard Cornwell mystery off the curbside, possibly thinking he was some other author. But the blurb sounded good- 'The Countess of Avebury, once an opera dancer, was killed while having her portrait painted. The artist was convicted of her murder and is due to hang. But influences in high places brought Rider Sandman on the scene as an investigator for the government.' So far so good, and hot weather is mystery reading weather. The opening scenes, of a public hanging, are harrowing, even if the unsympathetic characters are all presented as grotesques. And then Sandman appears, walking back to London because he's pissed off at a thrown cricket match.
He walked because he refused to share a carriage with men who had accepted bribes to lose a match. He loved cricket, he was good at it, he had once, famously, scored a hundred and fourteen runs for an England eleven playing against the Marquis of Canfield's picked men and lovers of the game would travel many miles to see Captain Rider Sandman, late of His Majesty's 52nd Regiment of Foot, perform at the batting crease... He could not afford the stagecoach fare, nor even a common carrier's fare, because in his anger he had thrown his match fee back into Sir John Hart's face and that, Sandman conceded, had been a stupid thing to do for he had earned that money honestly, yet even so it had felt dirty.
Does no one hire editors any more? Are the colon and semicolon dead? I'm a subvocalizer, and I truly can't be having with writing like this. Back on the boulevard it goes.
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Wed Aug 3rd, 2016

07:56 pm - In passing
My acupuncturist- thirty years younger and at least sixty pound lighter than I- makes me happy by saying she frequently puts on five pounds overnight, all of it water weight.

Remains classically classic summer- warm dry sun, puffy clouds, cicadas. Needs only to be 5C lower at night. But this is why God made central AC.

I have an infected toenail which has rendered my toe various shades of puffy red and purple. It's much less dramatic after a night's sleep with Polysporin, but back to Guignol after two hours of work, what with various babies stepping on my stockinged feet and me banging my toes on high chairs and what all. Shall go to walk-in clinic tomorrow, since my doctor is on vacation and Triple-strength Polysporin doesn't seem to be working.
Wednesday memeCollapse )

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Mon Aug 1st, 2016

12:11 pm
The tropic-dwelling will think I'm barking, but for this Canuck, a low of 20C is nowhere low enough for comfortable sleeping. Dry, I can manage, but give it a little mug and I want the AC on.

I ache in odd places after yesterday's cleaning, unless I just ache from the mug. Plans for trimming hedge and cutting up dead wood branches have been put on hold.
Cut for July statsCollapse )

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Sun Jul 31st, 2016

08:07 pm - Follow-up
Acceding to the truth of that age-worn dictum, 'The best cure for feeling futile is to clean something,' I attacked the side bedroom and its heavy furniture and rousted out the dust elephants. And I still feel futile, because

1. I was sure the cover of my cell phone had slipped behind the bed and it hadn't;

2. I was too tired at the end of it to heave the futon off the platform, remove the mattress, replace it with the Ikea mattress cover, replace the futon, and send the mattress into the outer darkness. Of course, next week isn't a mattress taking week, so there's still next weekend;

3. Dust balls kept turning up no matter how often I vacuumed, and I discovered at last that the Dirt Devil wasn't sucking them up, it was just blowing them around. So I need a new Dirt Devil. For $60, I got a good four years from it, but still...

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12:55 pm
Unusually a cool grey wet day, with puffy breezes and civil showers that still don't wet the ground under the trees. It feels like another year. I could be curled up reading the latest Gladstone, except I'd forgotten how foreboding Gladstone is. I want something cheerful right now, like The Armor of Light, but will probably just go back to Cellini getting religion in prison. Which would make a cat laugh except *he* believed it.

I'd feel less scratchy if my body would stop dropping a kilo plus of water weight so my clothes fit comfortably, and then putting it all back on plus overnight so they don't.

Bought a crockpot yesterday. Will make crock in it once the weather turns properly cool, not the present hot&dry / cool&humid / fans at all times Toronto summer.

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