damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Man, what a weekend.

Friday afternoon was lovely. The day was so beautiful that I took a walk down to the waterfront, which was spiced up somewhat by a small dog - hir owner complimented me on my skirt, which was very kind, and I guess the dog must've liked it, too, because zie tried to take a bite out of it. Fortunately, there was no damage to the skirt, so it all ended well (although the dog was sadly thwarted, I suppose). Then I sat on the rocks for nearly two hours, listening to music and enjoying the breeze and the view. Amusingly, when I was on my way back up, I ran into a woman who had been inside the salon right next to where the Dog Incident occurred, and she stopped me to tell me it had made her laugh - in a very friendly way, not, like, a mean way.

Unfortunately, Friday evening was somewhat less shiny. ) :P

Saturday, likewise, was shaping up to be a lovely day, as AT came by and we ended up going on another walk to the waterfront and talking for a while, and then walking back up, getting lunch and ice cream, and eating both while we watched more Burn Notice. (I've gotten her halfway through the second season, so far. \o/) And then I came back to the room, only for Bailey to turn to me, teary-eyed, and tell me that her mother had called to let her know that her cat had died.

Clearly, me taking walks to the waterfront is just a bad idea.

It looks like today's going to turn out all right, though. Easter mass this morning, and it was definitely more cheerful than Palm Sunday, which was nice; as a bonus, I actually knew one of the songs we were singing, which has never happened to me before. We sang much more than I was expecting, including some parts that are usually spoken, and I was also taken somewhat by surprise by the part where the priest came around and flicked water on everybody. :D Oh, Catholicism. Just when I think I've got the whole routine almost figured out, you throw me a curveball.

I'm still waffling over whether or not to sign up for [community profile] ladiesbigbang - I'm leaning toward not, because that way I won't have to feel disappointed in myself if I don't finish the fic, but if I do get it done on time, I can still turn it in. Plus I don't need to make anybody produce a complement - I have my sister for that, we've already started trading chunks of story for art. :D I kind of can't believe how quickly Avatar: TLA has taken me over. I mean, I'm still chugging away at the HP AU, albeit a little more slowly because there's some background work I have to wrangle; but the Dead Moms are now edging toward forty things, and I've already got over 2,000 words of the fic I'm considering doing for [community profile] ladiesbigbang. The concerns I have about being able to complete it for the 'bang are in terms of story completeness - somehow I don't think writing 15,000 words is going to be much of a strain. /o\ And yet I can't say, in the end, that I really feel all that faily for wallowing so gratuitously in awesome ladies.

... A little guilty, maybe, for the (ridiculous) amount of effort I'm willing to invest in it versus the (miniscule) amount I find myself caring about, say, Biology; granted. :D
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Man, today was a long day - not a bad day, just a long one. Rain all day, which, I do not hate rain, but walking all the way down to Dewey Hall in it is not very much fun. And then Cog-Lang was cancelled, which was obviously good, but meant more walking in the rain than I would've had to do if class had been on. Hearing Rehabilitation was pretty soul-killing; I used to be vaguely interested in audiology, once upon a time, but spending this much time on how assistive devices all have microphones, and infrared waves are light but we can't see them, is just. **hands**

However, we did have kind of an interesting class the other week, where by "interesting" I mean it made me kind of uneasy and angry. tl;dr: deafness, Deafness, and cochlear implants. )

And then, of course, this weekend happened; AT's boyfriend, D, was up, so we watched a bunch of movies together, including The Princess and the Frog. Rife with spoilers. ) Overall, though, I liked it reasonably well. It's not a favorite, but I'd watch it again.

And Sunday afternoon, of course, was Palm Sunday. I did not realize this until I actually got to the Catholic Center, and saw the palm leaves on the table in the lobby, waiting to be blessed. It was very interesting - I was totally clueless about the reading of the Passion, I almost had a heart attack when people started passing missals around because I had no idea what they were doing. I have to admit that I cried a little; the concept of crucifixion is so awful that I can make myself cry just by imagining it a little too vividly, and reading it combined with singing the really lovely responsorial psalm, my God, my God, why have you abandoned me - well. I'm a soft touch. Watching the GoF movie makes me cry, too, and I've seen it at least four times.

Fortunately for my dignity, we had a visiting ... uh, official of some kind - he did the blessing of the palms, and the sermon. And - I know this is awful, but there was something a bit unusual about the way he said things, and he had the hat, and all I could think of the whole time he was talking was the Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride. /o\ I am so ashamed. (There was also a moment where he presented political correctness as in opposition to the truth, which was frustrating.)

Anyway. Easter next week - with mass in the morning, instead of the evening. Presumably that one will be a little more cheerful. Plus, I finally get to eat the box of Peeps I've been saving since spring break. :D
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
I am tired of being terrible at titling my posts, and so have decided to go the pretentious route: moderately appropriate song lyrics with no capital letters. \o/ I see no way in which this can fail me.

The reason this line applies is because on Friday, I had my first meeting of Music in Live Performance, a one-credit class I'm taking because AT asked me to and I am a doormat. :D It's not really much of a class: we go to the space where one of the five concerts we'll be attending is being held, and talk to the performer(s) for half an hour, and then stay for the concert. And at the end, we have to turn in some kind of journal thing, so that they can actually have something to grade.

Anyway, Friday's concert was performed by this man, who is pretty fabulous. The people in the course came early, and we ended up climbing up onto the stage and singing a piece of shape-note music with him, which was lovely. I cannot read music, but fortunately we went through it a few times, and that's generally all I need to be able to sing something reasonably well. (If we operationalize "well" as a measure of right notes hit, not quality of voice, that is.) He tended to favor a style of music that I rather like, although my favorites were the more up-tempo ones.

The reasoning behind the title is that one of the songs he sang during the concert was a version of the same story that is told in the song "The Cruel Sister", of which the title is the first line. His version was a bit abbreviated, in addition to differing in the details: the minstrel made a fiddle out of the dead sister's bones and hair, not a harp, and when he played it, it would only make the sound of wind and rain; the song ended without the minstrel going back to the family's house and playing the instrument at the cruel sister's wedding, and so the crime was never revealed. He also sang a version of another song that I know best because the Old Blind Dogs sang it, this one being "Edward", except in this one, the brother was killed, not the father, and, again, it ended early - the narrator settled for exiling himself, and didn't go into how he was going to let his castle fall into disrepair, leave his family to beg for a living, and curse his mother to Hell.

... Oh, traditional music. How so bloodthirsty?

I also got reintroduced to my own subconscious Eurocentrism; I experienced a brief and damning moment of surprise when AT revealed that she was not acquainted with Ichabod Crane or the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, despite being well aware that AT's cultural background is Viet, and she would have no reason to know either. Which reminds me of yet another time B has nearly made me blow my stack. ) Argh.

Still, it was not nearly as bad as the flag conversation. )

... it's only until May, it's only until May, it's only until May ...

In less infuriating news, I had two Harry Potter dreams that I only vaguely remember, and a third about spiders that was truly awful (one of them was huge and black and shiny and under my bed, and the other was smaller and kind of like a daddy longlegs but then it grew and grew and its body was all fat and squishy when I kicked it out the door except then I was trapped inside with the big black one-), all on the same night. I must have been sleeping pretty badly, to wake up three times, but fortunately I could nap the day after.

Also, despite having to study for a Hearing exam that was moved up, and slogging dutifully away through my thesis, I've still managed to get to the fourth chapter of the second book of the HP AU. Which may be due to the fact that I spent all of my classes on Tuesday writing in my fic notebook, and managed to get down a very pleasing ~2,000 words. I am such a terrible student. /o\ I also watched the first Narnia movie today, because it came through my Netflix, and, man, if you're looking for it at all, the Peter/Edmund just leaps off the screen and slaps you in the face. (Then again, I may be biased; most of what I remember about the second one consists of Peter and Caspian smoldering at each other and Susan's battle eyeliner.)

That was ... maybe a smaller wall o' text than usual? I'm trying to cut down a little. :D
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
The night before last, I had a dream about which I remember nothing except that it included a whole lot of Sarah Shahi and her perfect face (undoubtedly a consequence of too much Life); last night, I dreamed that I was trying to show somebody that Holmes Tik-Tok vid, except I couldn't find it without playing all this other stuff I had first. I was just about to get to it ... and then I woke up. It was weirdly frustrating. Oh, subconscious. Sometimes you vex me.

Also, randomly: in a certain sense, I think it's a good thing Burn Notice didn't start until after I got back to school - and thus lost my control of the TV. If I had been able to watch a few eps and then had the TV bent to B's whims, I might have cried a little. (At least the internet here is good; maybe I can catch up online, if USA leaves the eps up long enough.)

There was mass yesterday, which was interesting; the sermon was structured around a box metaphor where the box stood for two totally different things at different times, and the transition between the two was not especially graceful, so that was a little confusing. It was also interesting because it held certain tinges of "omg oppression!" that got my back up a little. Christianity is not exactly an oppressed or marginalized faith, although I grant that Catholicism possibly gets a little more shit in the US than it does elsewhere. I remember being incredibly pleased when Obama mentioned non-believers in his inauguration speech, because it was the first time I could remember hearing anyone include atheism in a list of religious alignments that needed to learn to work together. I don't think Christianity is under attack in the ways the sermon sometimes implied.

Still, the music was lovely; and again, I found myself enjoying the readings from the Bible more than I expected to. I just have such a thing for antiquated text, archaic word choice and phrasing - it gets me every time.

ETA, for future reference: vid post with download link.
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Looks like it's storydump time once again; my classes have picked up ever so slightly, possibly because the professors can all sense Thanksgiving inching closer, and combined with all the proofing of other people's papers I've somehow ended up doing (AT asks me to check over her Spanish papers! I don't even know Spanish!), some of my copious free time has started slipping out of my grasp.

Which is ironic, considering that I was bored in September, and now NaNo is coming up. Oh, life.

Anyway. In the category of Offensive Things B Has Said/Done, there are a couple new gems, including rape is funny! This movie might have a rape scene in it, but it's a comedy! ) Needless to say, I was not at all amused.

B laughed.

As has recently become my SOP, I let her know what I thought, although not with the kind of language or at the kind of volume I might have liked. Br came down very firmly on my side later, which was a relief, but B still insists the movie was funny, which kind of makes me want to cry.

The other one was the somewhat less distressing he sounds gay! ) I did not know it was possible to be "too PC" for Vermont, of all states.

The interesting thing is that I wasn't being PC. Perhaps this is just me, but that term tends to connote more calculation than anything else, when I hear it - you are being PC if you are careful or are telling other people to be careful what you/they say because you are worried that a member of some kind of minority will one day overhear and be offended by it. And I'm pretty sure that used to be what I was doing, at least in some cases. But somewhere in the last few years, I've managed to grow a brain, and now it's more about stopping things because they are actively offending me, not because they have the potential to offend somebody else. I mean, I still want to make sure that I speak up when I see something that might bother somebody who isn't me, because it's better than nothing even if it speaks to an enormous lack of empathy on my part, but most of the time, now, I am offended. That attitude toward rape bothers me immensely; and, yes, partly it bothers me kind of on behalf of anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted, but mostly it just bothers me, even though I am not a member of that group (... yet, I suppose I should say, considering the odds). That attitude toward gay men, likewise, bothers me, even though the odds are very long that I will ever be a gay man, and I am terribly lacking in gay male friends.

... And now I need to stop talking about this, because I'm getting progressively less able to communicate my point, and also if I don't stop I am going to be hugely grouchy and sharp with B when she comes back.

On the more amusing end of the spectrum of stupid I've encountered recently, there was a boy in my World Literature class who ended up taking control of the class discussion, and moved it kind of abruptly away from the Aeneid and toward the value of war. ... In a sense where he said, "I'm okay with America becoming a violent empire that takes over the world if it means I'm going to be wealthy and happy," almost verbatim. He quoted Sean Hannity on the matter of America being the greatest nation God ever put on the earth, unironically. He actually told the class that it was a good thing the French, the English, and the Germans had been such good "warriors" (yes, that is the word he used), because otherwise America wouldn't be here - they wouldn't have been able to clear out all those Amerindians who were in their way, after all.

It pretty much went like this:

CRAZY BOY: **talks a boatload of ridiculousness**
REST OF THE CLASS: ... there is not enough D: in the WORLD.
ONE AWESOME KID IN THE CORNER WHOM I NOW ♥: Well, he did quote Sean Hannity. I mean, what were we expecting, after that?

Basically, the AKitC (Awesome Kid in the Corner) saved the whole incident from being something that it would make me sad inside to remember, and turned it into a reasonably amusing anecdote to tell people. ♥, AKitC. ♥.

I'm still going to mass on Sunday afternoons - I really, really enjoy the singing, although I'm still a little nervous that somebody's going to get weird about me being in the choir, and it's interesting to listen to the sermons. Sometimes I almost feel like the sermon ruins the day's reading, because the passages from the Bible are so eloquent they pretty much speak for themselves. And there is always the occasional awkward moment - last Sunday, for example, the reading was from the end of Mark 10, the passage about the blind man named Bartimaeus asking to be healed. The ... priest? I am still not sure about my terminology - went a little overboard in imagining the awfulness of being blind; I was with him on it being something of a shame to never see the faces of your parents, but the look of love in somebody's eyes strikes me as kind of take-it-or-leave-it (wouldn't the sound of love in somebody's voice, or the feel of love in somebody's touch, be pretty amazing?), and he totally lost me on the blind missing out on the "fullness of being a human person" [sic]. I was expecting him to go on to something like never seeing the colors of a sunset, not, you know, somehow not being a complete person. o.O

Also, I still have trouble not laughing when the bells ring during the transubstantiation (and why do I know that word and not what the guy who talks is called?); I know this is awful of me, but it seriously does sound like the background sound effect for a moment of truly terrible SFX from an old episode of The Twilight Zone, or something.

The HP AU is ever so slowly inching its way toward completion. I'm trying to get a decent chunk of it done before NaNo starts, but it is dawning on some part of my subconscious that when I finish it - well, when I finish it I'm going to edit it, natch, until it is less awful, but at some point after that, I'm going to ... post it. Probably on the Pit, first, although I'd like to have it here, too, just for the sake of having all my fannishness in one place (with tags!). Other people (besides M and my sister) will be able to see it. /o\ I ... I don't know about this whole "writing" thing.

And, of course, it doesn't help that NaNo is starting to take over my brain. The odds are on a sequel to last year: this time, instead of thwarting the massive evil plot of a clockwork company in AU!Britain, my dwarf airship pirate captain and her trusty crew will most likely be fighting demons in AU!India. And possibly borrowing a goddess's hammer to do a little smashing; we'll see.

Aaaaaaaand now that I'm done with this giant wall of text, I should go get dinner. \o/
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Somehow I have come to be in the Catholic Center choir. o.O

It's not even actually all that hugely convoluted a story; AT is Catholic, and I asked her if I might go to mass with her at some point, in pursuit of a ritual to write about for Human Cultures. She said yes, and added that I should come with her to choir, because they need people and I sing (not especially well, but reasonably on tune - and, bonus, audibly, as long as I am surrounded by other people who are also singing). So ... I did.

I was a little nervous about it, for several reasons ... )

The mass was really interesting to watch. I've only really been to two kinds of services: Unitarian Universalist, with my dad, which I mostly went to for the brownies that came after the actual service was over, and which was ... pretty much nothing like a Roman Catholic mass, and Quaker, which was even less like a mass. A Quaker meeting is, like, an anti-mass, as far as level of organization and ritual goes. And one of the most interesting parts was how much of it my mother remembered as I was telling her about it on the phone today (it's her birthday, so I made sure to call). She went to Catholic school when she was younger, but has kind of lapsed since.

In conclusion: I think I'm going to stick with it. I hadn't realized how much I missed singing in a group, learning new music and practicing it and being taught to sing it well. \o/

Hee.

May. 13th, 2009 10:09 pm
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Today was nerdy fun pretty much from start to finish. I got up early to feed the pets - two dogs, two cats - as promised, only to find that my mother was already awake, and had pretty much done everything. Turns out the loose dog and the more active of the cats had been waking her up intermittently for an hour or two.

So I ended up lounging around for a while reading back issues of ... Asimov's, I think it was, a little sci-fi short story magazine; there were a few disturbing stories, a few stories I'm not sure I totally understood, and a few stories I liked, which is pretty par for the course, as far as me and short stories go.

And then I got up and mixed up some sugar water for the hummingbird feeders, before putting them out. My mom put out some seedlings on the porch to get some sun before she left for work; I checked on them, and ended up putting a skirt - yes, when I say that, I actually mean a piece of clothing, this is not some kind of fancy horticultural terminology - over them, because they weren't quite used to full sun and they got a little wilty.

And then I proofread a hundred pages of text for Project Gutenberg. :D Aside from the obvious lure of proofreading in general - I got to fix typos! And formatting! It was like heaven! - the pieces of text themselves were actually really interesting. I did a few pages from a book about a young girl trying to become a dancer; another, a very sharp, dryly funny one, about cross-examination strategies in the courtroom; an old children's book about the life of Jesus, including a lavish description of the beauty of "Magdalen" and her "courtezan" lifestyle that made me think of Inara; and another one that seemed to be pretty much a collection of discussions and reviews of equipment for helping gamblers cheat at cards. And when I say reviews, I mean that some of the pages boiled down to "A+++++++++ WOULD CHEAT WITH AGAIN". That one was pretty awesome.

There was also some fail, natch - there was another relatively old children's book about some soldiers attached to an operation to lay railroad through the Rockies, and the part I proofread was the part where they get chased by those horrible savage murderous Indians, who are bloodthirstily persistent in their attempts to take the scalps of innocent white men. ... Yeah. I think it may have struck an especially unpleasant note with me because of MammothFail.

And then, after I decided that I should probably not do more than 100 pages a day, my recording thingy, the one I order because I'm going to need it for my thesis research, arrived! \o/ Whole new avenues of distraction were opened! I don't have much of a voice to speak of, but I do like to sing, so I took the opportunity and recorded some (rather terrible) renditions of songs that I know but do not actually have - ones I learned in chorus, stuff like that. Oh, and the Mingulay Boat Song; I learned that one in elementary school, and became very used to hearing it in soft, sweet, 4th-grade girls' voices, before discovering that most of the professional recordings of it are sung by big growly men. This is a very scarring situation to be in, so obviously I needed a nice high-pitched version to keep me sane.

All told, today was kind of awesome. Shiny.

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damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

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