2013 — 30 March: Saturday

Having spent all day yesterday1 thinking how much like a Saturday it felt, what am I to make of the Real Thing? Need a cuppa for that conundrum. And the musical choices of Brian Matthew, of course.

Yesterday's little experiment in video streaming and its effect on my (pretty minimal, and not-too-expensive) data download monthly cap is not quite as straightforward as I'd assumed, though I won't clutter my ¬blog with all the detail. It's here if you wish to read it.

I hear the siren call of the Breakfast Fairy... [Pause] In the ongoing voyage of discovery that is my Life I've just realised that my encounter with Phaedra (in Robert Persig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) back in 1976 was actually not my first encounter. Brian has just played the rather eerie "Some Velvet Morning" 1967 duet by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood and I was suddenly utterly paralysed by the lyrics. Here's one "interesting" set of notes. (Link.)

So that "Nancy and Lee" album has now done its little bit to nibble away at my download cap.

Trolls? On the Internet? Surely not!

This — doubtless experience-derived and necessitated — 'apology' to people wishing to post comments on a blog sums things up pretty neatly:

Flying under the gaydar

It's also one of the reasons I prefer my whimsical ¬blog approach to my miniscule web presence.

Grief, recollected...

... in tranquility, or something like that. I am not, today, the chap I was in (and for some [considerable] time after) November 2007. Nonetheless, I can fully relate to this, from Julian Barnes2 considering the aftermath of the death of his wife. Source and snippet:

"What is taken away is greater than the sum of what was there," he writes. "This may not be mathematically possible; but it is emotionally possible."...
The best response [to his bereavement] was in a letter from a friend: "The thing is," she wrote, "nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain. If it didn't matter, it wouldn't matter." It is a line he himself now uses, "whenever, as I seem to have to do a lot nowadays, I write letters of condolence. It's not overtly a consoling line; but it is true. A truth like that is more consoling than 'I'm sure she's looking down on us from above' or whatever."

Julian Barnes, quoted in Grauniad

I note, not entirely...

... happily, that Google Mail's latest "new, improved" reply and compose email facility now (AFAICT) seems to suck in the entire prior set of entries in a chain of email. Something I rarely, if ever, wish to do as it just adds to the clutter and disk space (theirs, not mine) while detracting from the S/N ratio. But, of course, it gives the benevolent fiends more text to scan for their advert-related monetising. I expect there's some tediously well-buried switch or tick box I can select or unselect to tailor this.

Not before lunch, though. It's 14:03 and I'm hungry.

Having just enjoyed...

... her latest Vorkosigan novel (it was excellent, by the way) in old-fashioned dead tree format three weeks ago, I've now just (low)-risked a fiver on this Kindle download edition of a collection of her non-fiction essays that's only been out for a week or so:


More nourishing than an Easter egg. Quite classy cover typography, too... in my opinion. [Pause] I just got seriously (it's now 18:01) detoured (is that a verb?) by the excellent Reader's Companion to her book "A Civil Campaign" (find the Companion here) before returning to my bit of Kindling.

These are from her notes that set out the context of her "Ohioana Library Career Award Acceptance Speech":

This was my first experience with any kind of a career award, which seems to me, recursively and perhaps redundantly, to be an award for winning awards. But the Ohioana's memento that year was the most beautiful I've ever received, a heavy disk of art lead glass containing an inclusion looking like a cross between a translucent blue flower and a jellyfish, its intensity shifting with every angle of view. Other awards of mine are stowed in a glass cabinet; this one sits on my dresser.

Lead glass, it turns out, looks very strange on airport security x-ray scanners. I could write a whole other essay on the special challenges faced by writers getting their honors home on airplanes. "It's a trophy," I have learned, is the shortest and most easily understood explanation to assuage alarm before taking the weird object in question out of one's bag for inspection. With the ordnance-shaped Hugo award, I don't think I'd even try anymore; package delivery services are quite reliable these days.

Date: 27 October 2007

She has, of course, won five Hugo awards :-)

It can't be...

... autumn already, can it?


I just managed to snatch this from my patio doorway before the sun disappeared.



1  Well, in between shopping, reading, listening to music, contemplating the growing pile of dear-Mama-related paperwork that I really (really) ought to sort into a few smaller sorted piles, snaffling a cuppa and a chat over with Roger & Eileen, trying about five minutes of the first episode of "Game of Thrones"...
2  I mentioned a reference to his memoir "Nothing to be frightened of" in the TLS some months before I tackled it. Joseph Epstein described it as "a book that would make a fine gift for someone one doesn't really like." Be that as it may, when I eventually summoned the courage to buy a copy and make it my bedtime reading, I found it excellent.