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Wed Oct 18th, 2017

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09:43 pm - Gnagh
It's been a decade since I used amazon Japan, so I'd forgotten the sad lesson I learned there: if a company uses Fedex, run away as fast as possible. $30 US shipping for a $48 order, plus Fedex fee for border paperwork, and Customs or HST on top of that. And then Clear the Air sends me an email telling me how to use their bags, with this helpful addition, which in a spirit of spite I will share with everyone here:
If you do not want to wait for bags to be shipped to you, it is possible to make your own bags:

Go to PETCO and buy Clear the Air Cat Urine Odor Eliminator. It is in the cat section near the cat liter (sic). It is in a pink canister with a white cat on the front. Most PETCO stores carry this product. Buy at least three or four canisters. PETCO SKU # 1564420

Pour the contents of one canister into an old nylon or sock and tie it off. One 14 oz canister will make one bag that will cover approximately 75 square feet.
Hang bag in room to be deodorized and, they claim, odours will vanish within a few hours. This I very much doubt. Vanish for others; not for me.

P.D. James, The Black Tower
-- Dalgleish's quivering moral sensibilities about his fastidious physical sensibilities ('I feel so bad that cripples disgust me') do not make me like him. There are more sympathetic faults you can give your main character, and quivering moral sensibilities make me dislike fictional characters automatically. (Well, unless balanced with a large dose of charity or a generosity of spirit. For examples where they're not, see Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, or Renault's The Charioteer.)

Aaronovitch, The Furthest Station
-- Peter *Grant* OTOH manages to have moral scruples that don't quiver at all. By far the best kind.

Reading now?
Having a reread of Station, to be followed by a reread of Foxglove Summer, and possibly of Broken Homes just to check up on Abigail and her foxes. I begin to suspect that either I'm not really on Aaronovitch's wavelength (decidedly possible) or Aaronovitch is not at all as clear about things as he thinks he is, because the books I read and the books he talks about never seem to be quite the same thing. So Nightingale can't teach for beans? Coulda fooled me.

When I can turn on my central heat and not fear stinks in the house, I may get far enough out of the current funk that I'll start something new. But I suspect that the next month, when four staff out of nine have decided to go off on vacation-- not completely simultaneously, but close-- will leave me too exhausted to do anything but play solitaire in the evenings.

(7 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2017 01:14 am (UTC)
I'm not sure it's so much that Nightingale can't teach, as that he hasn't got a particular gift for teaching, so he has to actually work hard to do an adequate job of teaching Peter (and Leslie, and possibly Abigail). He's certainly conscientious about wanting to do a good job of it, now that he's accepted the responsibility.

It could be seen as commentary on how often in fiction the hero's teacher is a gifted teacher, rather than someone who's going "I completely forgot the theoretical basis on this one, let me go and look it up before next lesson"...
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2017 12:16 am (UTC)
Well you know- naive reader me takes Peter's word for everything, and if he doesn't say anything about Nightingale's teaching, I'll just assume Nightingale can teach-- until Aaronovitch says otherwise. This is partly because Peter's routine of 'practise, practise, and practise some more' makes perfect sense in an Asian learning context. That's how it's done.

Are heroes' teachers often gifted? White's Merlin apart, mostly the hero seems so kewl that he astounds and delights his teacher by his innate brilliance.
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2017 12:21 am (UTC)
Maybe I've just read too much tacky fantasy in the past, where the poor misunderstood hero/heroine has a bad teacher at first who Just Does Not Understand or Fails To Grasp The Best Way Of Teaching, and then gets a better one later who helps them jump into Full Mastery Of Their Powers, etc...
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2017 12:24 am (UTC)
Tacky fantasy or girls' school books?
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2017 12:30 am (UTC)
Both. (shuffles feet, embarrassed)
[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
Ugh, yes! about the quivering moral sensibilities. "Shut up about it and go away and make yourself a better person, Dalgleish!"
Re: Wimsey and Vane (I haven't read The Charioteer) I think there was a lot of it about in the thirties? At least, I think I catch a whiff of it in D H Lawrence - who wouldn't like to be put in any category with D L Sayers, but there you go, DH, if that cap fits...
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2017 12:22 am (UTC)
I should try being charitable myself and say that the first realization of some unpleasant aspect of one's own character can and should give rise to a creeping sense of shame. But then- I dunno- *do* something about it, yes. Then again, 70s' Englishmen don't have people telling them how to do something about it, so they're left flopping about in their Anglican guilt.

I think there's a lot of it in Anglicanism period. An odd incursion from Presbyterianism or possibly Methodism, by the look of it. We prove we are elect by having a delicate moral sensitivity-- which IME earlier Anglicans didn't do at all, the jolly heathens.

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