2017-10-07 12:52 pm

Swordspoint world

I'm reading the Swordspoint world books by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman (yes, including the prequel, season 3 is coming, can't wait). It's a set of sound, well-written politics stories with a very, very slight veering into magic, lots of social manipulation ("what does lady X's choice of dress tells us about lord Y's prospects in the Council?") and none of the dirt/realism. Only bad people die.

This series uses an unexpected device - at any moment any character might have sex with any other character, regardless of age, gender, pregnancy, marital status, social position, and relationship within the book. In moments when there's really no way to make it happen (e. g. at a ball where they must not speak and one of them is about to give birth and the other must charm a series of men, or in a dark alley when the appointed victim is about to round the corner) they at least take the time to stop and contemplate how wonderful it would be.
This really ratchets up the tension.

For example, remember the scene in Three Musketeers when D'Artagnan plays chess with Richelieu? Imagine what it would be like if D'Artagnan took some time to contemplate Richelieu's sensual lips and weigh the pros and cons of sweeping aside the chess board and leaning over to nibble on Richelieu's silky mustache. Will he or won't he? Does Richelieu feel the same? Would he go with it anyway to annoy de Treville? Edge of the seat stuff. And then, of course, there's that whole betraying one's friends for money and career opportunities thing.

The characters do this in every scene, and not just in relationship-heavy, intrigue-heavy, pivotal ones. They literally can't go out to buy potatoes without making the reader wonder whether they will sleep with the grocer.
2017-09-30 10:41 pm


Я пью за военные астры, за все, чем корили меня,
За барскую шубу, за астму, за желчь петербургского дня.

За музыку сосен савойских, полей eлисейских бензин,
За розу в кабине рольс-ройса и масло парижских картин.

Я пью за бискайские волны, за сливок альпийских кувшин,
За рыжую спесь англичанок и дальних колоний хинин.

Я пью, но еще не придумал — из двух выбираю одно:
Веселое асти-спуманте иль папского замка вино.
2017-09-16 12:21 pm

Naomi Kritzer

Comrade Grandmother just made me want to wash. I hate stories about exotic native girls experiencing noble yet savage love.
2017-09-07 09:36 am

I like middle class conformity

"“All happy families are alike"
Lev Tolstoy

Read more... )
2017-08-05 10:40 pm


This https://extranewsfeed.com/tolerance-is-not-a-moral-precept-1af7007d6376 is a very good essay, and I will link to it every time I feel like responding to people who say "liberals are stifling free speech" and "liberals are intolerant of other views".

I'm pleased to say that I haven't felt like responding to them with any frequency in the past couple of years.

"{P}rotections {of tolerance} extend only to those who would uphold it in turn. To withdraw those protections from those who would destroy it does not violate its moral principles; it is fundamental to them, because without this enforcement, the treaty would collapse. It is appropriate, even ethical, to answer force with proportional force, when that force is required to restore a just peace. We seek peace because on the whole it is far better than war; but as history has taught us, not every peace is better than the war it prevents."
2017-07-26 11:55 am


Это театр. Не знаю, хороший ли, но добрый, красивый, и круто, что они есть. Им нужны деньги. https://planeta.ru/campaigns/tormashki_v_evropu
2017-07-24 05:20 pm

The exclusion of inclusion

I decided to post this after reading http://lm644.livejournal.com/73784.html
A few of my neighbors have the "no matter where you're from we're glad you're our neighbor" sign up (https://www.welcomeyourneighbors.org/).

I like these signs. They tell me who is definitely not a Trump voter and I like knowing these things about my neighbors.

I agree with the message of these signs - I like multi-origin communities, and I like people who like them.

At the same time, I would never put this sign up myself. It would feel weird. In the heat of an argument I would (and have) insisted on my right as a citizen to welcome whomever I like into my country, but without the adrenaline rush I guess I just do not feel sufficiently American.
2017-05-15 05:52 pm


Responding to http://telophase.dreamwidth.org/2767059.html?thread=15974611#cmt15974611

1. I, myself, would much rather be raped than murdered (whether or not I was eaten afterward). Being selfish and having no way of finding out the truth I assume the same preference in animals.

2. As millions of vegetarians prove humans do not _need_ to kill animals for food. When I eat steak it's for pleasure, not for survival.

3. Therefore it would be inconsistent of me to say that I am against bestiality. Surely, raping a cow for pleasure must be a lesser evil than murdering one for pleasure.

I am assuming, of course, that both are done with a minimum of pain, because my preferences on torture vs. murder depend on the likelihood of rescue and I assume that an animal would not likely be rescued, so it becomes not "torture vs. murder" but "torture forever vs a quick death", which is a completely different choice.
2017-05-08 04:41 am


Tokyo is warm, yummy and fascinating. Can't wait to explore more tomorrow. Looks like English suffices for shopping, food, and transportation (or, at least, English+pointing do). Which is good, because my Japanese is limited to "kawaii", "yaoi", and "arigato" and I'm never sure whether I'm using the right one.
2017-05-03 09:45 am

George Washington's teeth

I just read this awesome comic by Oatmeal: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe
And learned two things, one of which surprised me.
1. Either my amygdala is off, or my strongly-held beliefs are weird
2. George Washington _paid_ his slaves for teeth? WTF? Why would one pay slaves?
2017-04-22 01:13 pm

(no subject)

I do Taekwondo. Three times a week. Пепел фиванской сотни стучит в мое сердце.
2017-03-20 03:50 pm

(no subject)

И снова, блядь, интересный человек демонстрирует бытовой расизм и гомофобию. Перестать, что ли, вообще читать friendstimes?
2017-02-08 11:27 am

Excerpt from Debate between a Man and his Soul

To whom can I speak today?
Brothers are evil
And the friends of today unlovable.
To whom can I speak today?
Hearts are rapacious
And everyone takes his neighbour's goods. [To whom can I speak today?]
Gentleness has perished
And the violent man has come down on everyone.
To whom can I speak today?
Men are contented with evil
And goodness is neglected everywhere.
To whom can I speak today?
He who should enrage a man by his ill deeds,
he makes everyone laugh (by) his wicked wrongdoing.
To whom can I speak today?
Men plunder
And every man robs his neighbour.
To whom can I speak today?
The wrongdoer is an intimate friend
And the brother with whom one used to act is become an enemy.
To whom can I speak today?
None remember the past,
And no one now helps him who used to do (good).
To whom can I speak today?
Brothers are evil,
And men have recourse to strangers for affection.
To whom can I speak today?
Faces are averted,
And every man looks askance at his brethren.
To whom can I speak today?
Hearts are rapacious
And there is no man's heart in which one can trust.
To whom can I speak today?
There are no just persons
And the land is left over to the doers of wrong.
To whom can I speak today?
There is a lack of an intimate friend
And men have recourse to someone unknown in order to complain to him.
-the violent man has come down on everyone

To whom can I speak today?
There is no contented man,
And that person who once walked with him no longer exists.
To whom can I speak today?
I am heavy-laden with trouble
Through lack of an intimate friend.
To whom can I speak today?
The wrong which roams the earth,
There is no end to it
2017-01-03 09:44 pm

TIL - Sigognac

Сегодня я узнала, что
а) бароны Сигоньяки существуют
б) владеют арманьяковарильней
ц)находится по адресу улица Д'Артаньяна 8, Кастельно д'Озан

И да, конечно же их герб - три золотых аиста на голубом фоне.
2016-12-09 07:07 pm


TIL that the shopping center I visit most frequently (because of their awesome indoor playground) was an assembly center during the Japanese Internment.
2016-11-12 02:13 am

Купите это

Вот здесь http://in4ik.tilda.ws/ можно купить обалденно красивые штуки в поддержку очень хорошего человека.
2016-11-09 05:36 pm


Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
2016-11-09 05:28 pm

Giorgi Papashvili

I don't know what America was to Langston Hughes, but to Papashvili America was a joy and a festival, much like life. Today I am re-reading Anything Can Happen https://smile.amazon.com/Anything-Can-Happen-George-Papashvily/dp/B000NPNDHO and watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKZAfe00mds

Songs! Friends! Adventures! Honest judges! Naked Georgians! Food! Wine! Love!

Чего и вам, господамы, от чистого сердца!
2016-11-07 01:38 am

Why I haven't sought out the Legions of Darkness

Is this. Not sure how things work in other areas, but near me dressing up and running around is conditional on wanting to be
a) a vampire
b) a racist
c) a sword-fighting enthusiast
Or a combination of the above. And I just don't like vampires that much.
2016-10-26 12:01 pm

Язык vs Культура

Как вы думаете, господамы, возможно ли овладеть языком не влившись в культуру, не приняв каких-то ее ценностей, не ощутив себя в ней в какой-то мере своим? И если нет, то не вредно ли для родителей изучение детьми языков связанных с культурами резко отличающимися по ценностям от родительских? Например, стоит ли родителям, желающим передать детям строго патриархальные ценности, разрешать изучение английского языка?