If I were a rich man

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:41 pm
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
I would have paid a chauffeur to drive me the hundred miles to Chichester to see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday*. As I'm not, I had to do it myself. Fortunately the strong reviews of the production didn't let me down and it was excellent. Omid Djalili was terrific as Tevye, Tracy-Ann Oberman moved Golde beyond cliché, and the younger generation could all sing, act, and dance, the first of which is regrettably not always guaranteed in musicals. The production/direction did an excellent job of conveying not only entertaining song and dance, but a story of some weight, and I ended up finding it very moving. I have seen it before, but about 25 years ago so I couldn't say which I thought was better. But I remember scenes from that West Yorkshire Playhouse that struck me then, and I'm sure I'll continue to remember this. I'm tempted to read the original stories it's based on for a comparison.

Have the trailer:



*I am aware that there are countries, indeed parts of the UK, where I'd be lucky to drive only 100 miles to the theatre, but this involved the M3 on a summer school holiday Saturday.
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- My local online news feed has had two big breaking stories this weekend so far: a van crashed into wall but nobody was injured, and a photo of a cuddly toy lost at a local event.

- Funko Four and his 2D Tardis.

The Fourth Doctor and the Tardis

- Reading, books 2017: 84.

79. Calling Major Tom, by David M Barnett, 2017, very soft science fiction novel, and I mean soft in every sense of the word. The point of view characters are Thomas Major the first astronaut travelling one-way to Mars, Gladys Ormerod a 70 year old grandmother with dementia, Ellie Ormerod a 15 year old granddaughter trying to keep her parentless poverty-line family together, and James Ormerod a 10 year old grandson who might want to be a scientist. Other characters abound and are decently fleshed out, including a Black teenager from Ellie's class at school who is called Delil (I don't think I've ever met a Delisle who spells his name Delil but anything's possible in Wigan, I suppose). The plot is ridiculous and sentimental, and pays tributes to It's A Wonderful Life as well as Space Oddity, although it also reminded me of an Ealing comedy by managing to be funny while telling uncomfortable truths about society but without being realism. Warning: contains a brief incident of mild racism from one of the pov characters, although not portrayed from her pov, but written skillfully, and frankly actually painfully amusing in the way that socially embarrassing older relatives sometimes are when they're -ist from decades old habit but with no current malice and one doesn't know whether to flinch or laugh at them. (4/5, goodreads = 140 ratings / 62 reviews 4/5)

• Unrepresentative quote: When BriSpA's Chief of Multi-Platform Safeguarding, Craig, was in the Royal Navy he was generally known as Hammerhead due to his habit of smashing his head against doors, walls and other heads after too much drink. Those days are in Craig's past, as is the nickname, though he sometimes uses a variation of it when he frequents certain online forums that require a certain level of anonymity. At least until an assignation is organised in a dark nightclub, or sometimes on a moonlit heath, where for the purposes of identification he carries a dog lead though, of course, he owns no dog. Craig does own two cats, named Ethel and Frank. He will know he has found true love when he meets someone who knows that those are the names of the parents of Judy Garland. He is still waiting.

• Another unrepresentative quote: And that but hangs there in the still air between them, buoyed on the heady scent of flowers in Laura's garden, threaded with the lazy flight path of droning bees, suspended from the brittle, drifting spiderwebs.

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:28 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gmh and [personal profile] ravurian!

The Defenders (Review)

Aug. 20th, 2017 10:41 am
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
[personal profile] selenak
Reader, I marathoned it. It being shorter than any previous Marvel Netflix series, this didn’t take that long. (No filler episodes.) Above cut judgment: overall plot meh, worth watching for the character interaction, with my particular highlights being Jessica & Matt, Luke & Jessica, Luke & Danny (I haven’t watched Iron Fist, nor do I intend to watch it now, but the scenes with Luke were the occasions when Danny shook off blandness and became an entertaining character), and all four spending an entire episode stuck in a Chinese Restaurant. Also Matt & Spoilery character, Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver’s character) & Madame Gao, Alexandra & Spoilery character.

heavy spoilers beneath the cut )
[personal profile] goodbyebird posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo


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For icon makers, this makes coding posts way easier. Plus, there's the bonus of getting to share icons more often, hot off the press.

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Non-Cornish pasties

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...
[personal profile] oursin

- just on reading the the cover of the Guardian Saturday Review, which promised its readers a letter from Karl Ove Knausgaard to his unborn baby.

And when Tonstant Weader had finished fwowing up, she wondered how much nappy-changing KOK (fnarr, fnaar: am 13 at the back of the class) signs up for, rather than providing Deep Existential Insights?

Will concede that I am somewhat cynical about the entire genre of 'Bloke becomes father and has EPIPHANY' - in particular we may note that KOK already has two children. Also KOK has admitted that 'he has achieved huge success by sacrificing his relationships with friends and members of his family'.

And in other bloke news, maybe it's just me, but why is Rosa Bonheur 'less well-known' than other French C19th horse painters whose names ring no bell with me, Vernet and Fromentin? If someone has a massive great canvas in the NY Metropolitan Museum... I think this is a deplorable case of the reviewer not having heard of her.

And also in Dept of Unexamined Assumptions, What Internet Searches Reveal: as I am sure I have heretofore remarked, what interests people in porn, what their sexual fantasies are, doesn't necessarily map to what they like to do. So not entirely sure that Big Data on the topic is quite as revelatory as claimed here.

Reading: The Vor Game

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:12 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
In The Vor Game, Miles Vorkosigan has graduated from the the Imperial Military Academy and is taking - or trying to take - the first steps in his military career, steps which are seriously hampered by Miles's tendency to be the best strategic mind in the room and to know it. Instead of managing to fit in to life as a junior officer, Miles solves a mystery, joins a mutiny and ends up stopping an interstellar invasion fleet.

Having taken several tries to actually get into Bujold, I'm now very much enjoying working my way through the Vorkosigan saga; so far, they've all been enjoyable and entertaining and comforting without being fluffy. They may have many of the trappings of standard military SF, but they're really character-driven novels whose military setting is almost incidental. Bujold's characters are delightful and well-rounded, likeable but realistically flawed and sometimes exasperating; in this novel, Miles is continuing to grow and learn from his experience and his fairly frequent mistakes and misjudgements (despite an amazing talent for turning every situation to his advantage he is clearly very young, very inexperienced, and far from perfect), and I particularly loved Gregor, the young Emperor of Barrayar, resenting the weight of the crown he has worn since early childhood and trying to work out who he is and how to be his own person within the limitations of his role. The exploration of what makes a leader, and what it means to be Vor - a member of Barrayar's hereditary military/aristocratic class - is a big part of what makes these books not-fluff for me; they may be fun, but they're also interesting and thought-provoking.

I note that The Vor Game won the Best Novel Hugo*, which surprised me a little, as although I enjoyed it a lot the plotting isn't terribly tight and it doesn't have the "doing something new and interesting" feel I tend to expect from Hugo winners (even if "new and interesting" in 1990 was rather different from "new and interesting" now, it isn't doing anything very different from The Warrior's Apprentice). It's still great fun, though, and probably more enjoyable than many "new and interesting" but more serious books.

*"at the time when good writing and plot were more important than political leaning", says one Goodreaders reviewer, who has clearly failed to spot that the novel has a disabled protagonist, at least two prominent LGBT characters (to be fair, Aral's bisexuality is pretty much blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but Bel Thorne isn't) and more than one woman in typically male command roles.
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
It should be pretentious and snobbish to say: “Sure I eat hot dogs, I have homemade mustard and homemade lingonberry ketchup on it”. Then to take the DIY philosophy serious you have to make the hot dog yourself.

Context sounds delicious!
[personal profile] sovay
This is not even an interim con report, because I slept approximately an hour before my panel on lycanthropy at nine this morning and I have spent most of the afternoon either at other people's readings or mooching around the dealer's rooms (I have three beautiful postcards by Darrell Tutchton and a half-pack of Dwight Frye character cards that I bought from the aptly monikered Mike Hunchback) and in slightly less than an hour I have to moderate a panel on the Lovecraftian erotic, but as we were passing through the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel I spied a flatscreen TV with the sound off and the text crawl at the bottom of the screen confirmed that Bannon is out of the White House, so I'm sure all sorts of unpleasantness will spin off that with his Breitbart base—roll on the globalist conspiracies—but at the moment it feels like genuinely good news out of our government and it's been a long time since that happened. Oh, and earlier today I was handed a translucent lime-green plastic tentacle, so I have been carrying it around in my coat like a reasonable person: in other words, there is a tentacle in my pocket, but I'm still happy to see you. So far, NecronomiCon, so good.
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Sleeping tree, Paignton, Devon 05-17

- If your idea of ~love~ involves submitting me to violence then that's abuse not love. I'm not here for privileged people insisting that disprivileged people should ~love~ violent abusers such as racists and fascists.

- My crisps claim they were cooked by Andre7. I'm now trying to work out if there are likely to be seven people called Andre working in a regional English crisp factory, or whether Andre7 is some sort of clone or android who needs rescuing. /Seven of Nine

- Reading, books 2017: 82. I've now reached all my unwritten reading goals for 2017 except my total goal which escalates, 26 to 52 to 104. Novels, adult: 26 (+2 short story collections). Poetry: 13. Books given away: 52.

78. Letters From Klara, by Tove Jansson (translated by Thomas Teal), 1991 (this translation 2017), short stories. Warning for an oblique reference to the Holocaust in the story My Friend Karin, while at least three other stories evoke mental health problems and/or suicidal thoughts. I personally found the stories in Letters From Klara generally life affirming, always insightful, and often wryly amusing, but I'm aware that many readers seem to find Ms Jansson's adult short stories bleak and disturbing: I suspect this depends on the mental state brought by the reader. (5/5, goodreads = 54 ratings / 8 reviews 3.5/5)

• Goodbye: They said their goodbyes in the front hall, with an affection that was perfectly genuine but that committed them to nothing.

• Weathering: By morning the storm had passed.
His jeans had dried. One day he'll find the boatbuilder's address in his back pocket.

• Something nasty in the woodshed... literally: Since the summer is over tomorrow, I've nailed shut the door to the woodshed. Sometimes it's good to make a decision. But I'm going to show the murals to my daughter.

• On returning from a sneaky smoke break while staying with one's overly religious and puritanical extended family, lol: When I got back, I stopped in the doorway and burst out, "How nice it smells here - just like home!"
Aunt Elsa said, "It's denatured alcohol. We're washing the windows."

• Hattitude: They began their trip by boat. Their friends stood on the quay and waved. Up on deck, Mama was clearly visible with her white hair and her large light grey hat, broad-brimmed, strict, with a low crown - the very epitome of hatness. She hadn't changed her headgear since 1912.

Helsinki, Worldcon

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
That was not the Worldcon I would have liked; I'd hoped to do as several of my friends did, and travel overland and explore some of the region. Or at least to really get immersed in the con itself. And I'd have liked a proper holiday with my partners and their children, which hasn't really happened this year though we've had a few short breaks.

In reality I was only able to go for the long weekend. I spent an eye-watering amount of money on a trip that didn't quite work for me, between flights, accommodation, Worldcon membership (when I actually only ended up attending for half a day), and just general living expenses in a not very well planned trip to an expensive city. It feels churlish to complain about being in a position to spend a bit too much on a less than perfect trip, and in many ways it was good, just not quite what I'd hoped for.

more details )
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[personal profile] oursin

Was lately reading something about (male) travellers and those Amazingly Beautiful Women they saw somewhere a long way away after arduous journeying, which might be partly about Exoticising the Other, but also, I think, about there being some place (or time) which is not boring old Here, where things are amazing.

On the, Not Like The Women I Have To Deal With Here And Now In The Present, a friend of mine has a piece somewhere or other (actually I think it's in a volume in which I too am represented) about certain late C19th French (male) intellectuals complaining that women of their day were by no means comparable to the HOTT witty libertine ladies of the Ancien Regime in their salons.

And this led me to the thought that maybe if you are living in it no time is Perfect and Ideal: some may be better than others, for more people, maybe. Just as there were people who found, for them, good lives in times/places that are not usually thought of as utopian eras and most time-travellers would not put on their bucket lists.

Anything close-up and quotidien is, I depose, something the flaws in which you are going to apprehend fairly acutely. Though possibly the upside of that is, that they are the flaws and hindrances that one has developed work-arounds for (see Katharine Whitehorn on the little niggles about one's house that one hardly notices any more but has to warn visitors about).

SSHG Giftfest

Aug. 18th, 2017 05:52 pm
kerravonsen: Snape, Hermione: "Believe" (Snape-Hermione)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
It has come around again.

2017 banner 1


I'm torn about whether I will sign up or not.

I made two works for the [livejournal.com profile] sshg_promptfest, and put them up on my Etsy store, thinking that at least somebody in the fest would give them a good home... and not a whisper. I think it was even more deeply discouraging because there were folks who commented on my fest entries (before the reveal) that they wanted them... but obviously didn't want them enough to buy them when I pointed out (after the reveal) that they could...

This is deeply frustrating, because I find it really fulfilling to make wearable art, but since I've run out of friends to give my SS/HG works to (they have said that they now have too much to wear...) then the only other way to give them a good home is to sell them; to sell them at a price that actually reflects what they are worth. But if nobody will buy them, then what is the point of making them, if they won't be worn by anybody?

(sigh)

Hence, I am torn.

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