tetsab: (MehBounce)
I'm getting more and more convinced I'm some degree of solar-powered (which, having grown up in the UK and also having spent the last 20 years very purposefully hiding from the sun is an interesting notion).

That said, I still don't want to get out in the sun (much... I did purposefully sit in it for about an hour the weekend before last) but I do want it to be lighting up my house as it seems to be the most reliable battery up my butt for actually getting things done. For example, I've had Loads Of Shit To Do all day but have I done it? Mostly not! But now that the sun is peeking out I've managed to get a load of dishes done, dinner for the week into the crockpot, and a load of (3 needed!) laundry on.

The only productive things I'd done all day up to about an hour ago when I got that lot going was write 2 paragraphs of fiction and sign myself up to be reimbursed for purchasing refreshments for an non-profit user group meeting I'm helping out with tomorrow. Which, hey, was a good thing to do but it wasn't all the other things or that meeting prep I have to do for the meeting moronically booked for tomorrow morning (lesson here is to get better at clearly marking stats in my work calendar in order to say "NO! NO! HECK NO!" to any heavy-ass meeting invites the day back after a long weekend).

Alright, tea and a DW post. I'll count that toward productivity too. :)
tetsab: (@)
Ahahaha. It's taken this long to get to 2. Wow. Here's the frame of two:

"Fossil fuels, and the deeper extractivist mind-set that they represent, built the modern world. If we are part of industrial or postindustrial societies, we are still living inside the story written by coal. Ever since the French Revolution, there have been pitched ideological battles within the confines of this story: communists, socialists, and trade unions have fought for more equal distribution of the spoils of extraction, winning major victories for the poor and working classes." (184)

(And here's 1 and 1a and 1b).

Oh, crap, reviewing this quote I can already see this is going to end up as a 2a / 2b already! 2a for ""Fossil fuels, and the deeper extractivist mind-set that they represent, built the modern world. If we are part of industrial or postindustrial societies, we are still living inside the story written by coal" and 2b for "Ever since the French Revolution, there have been pitched ideological battles within the confines of this story: communists, socialists, and trade unions have fought for more equal distribution of the spoils of extraction, winning major victories for the poor and working classes."

Why? Because in 2a I'd want to focus on this framing of story and also (mercifully!) jump ahead to another piece from the quote skeleton:

"The strongest challenges to this worldview have always come from outside its logic, in those historical junctures when the extractivist project clashes directly with a different, older way of relating to the earth--and that older way fights back. This has been true from the earliest days of industrialization, when English and Irish peasants, for instance, revolted against the first attempts to enclose communal lands, and it has continued in clashes between colonizers and Indigenous peoples throughout the centuries, right up to--as we will see--the Indigenous led resistance to extreme fossil fuel extraction gaining power today. But for those of us born and raised inside this system, though we may well see the dead-end flaw of its central logic, it can remain intensely difficult to see a way out." (185)

Critically: "But for those of us born and raised inside this system, though we may well see the dead-end flaw of its central logic, it can remain intensely difficult to see a way out."

This is actually the central problem with the experience of reading This Changes Everything: Klein herself clearly does really see the way out. She skirts around and points at things (in the quote above 'models' that are framed as alternate historical ['that older way'] or alternate cultural ['Indigenous'] or fuzzily political [the conservatives v. leftists of Part 1].It is, of course, not just Klein's problem. No one ever said future-visioning was easy! And yet, in a book which notes: "If opposition movements are to do more than burn bright and then burn out, they will need a comprehensive vision for what should emerge in the place of our failing system, as well as serious political strategies for how to achieve these goals." (18-9) the absence of where to really even begin building that 'comprehensive vision' is extremely frustrating.

No vision on offer here of course, maybe a little more when we get to 2b but in the meantime a related thought I like just to get this wrapped:

"Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words."

tetsab: (MehBounce)
(Which should at least be the end of both '1' and this subtopic as I can't help but feel like I'm missing something and there's no point going on without finding it).

I never did remember with any confidence what 'Key Sum-up #2' is but let's pretend it had something to do with 'is there a way to work with anyone whose starting point is Fuck The System from within that system or is the thing to do, if you don't want the system to be fucked in the way they want, to try and crush them with the system as is instead?' (A bit of a challenging prospect if you are an 'inherent system questioner', but on the other side of the spectrum).

* * *

Excuse me while I purposefully go and read some "alt-right" ranting on FB I've been purposefully avoiding until this moment.

OK, back. Annnnd, I kinda wish I didn't do that 'cause I got absolutely nothing useful from it. What I got was a guy glorying that Trump will shut out Mexicans with his wall while periodically using language like "muzzies" and "wogs", which kind of returns me to 1a where I noted that "I am becoming increasingly sympathetic to the position that the 'alt-right' cannot be apprehended through rationality and questioning". (And I'm not just saying this to be condescending; I'm saying his approach is one hell of a response to a blog post concerned, in part, that Trump voters are inclined toward racism).

* * *

So, uh, yeah. I think in the short term I'm going to skip attempts at engaging folks like this and instead keep looking for concrete things I can do that help to build up the type of world I'd rather see. Not much but it's what I'm sticking to for now!
tetsab: (@)
Glass 1 of Jameson well gone (finally, my 1st ever Irish whiskey, glass 3 of wine in effect (no longer a mystery: it's Gin Place brew, 'cause that was already open in contrast to the Cheap Ass White Wine that was brought).

(I think the title here is largely, but not completely, a lie; since rather than speaking to This Changes Everything this is going to continue this consideration of the Left/Right framing in light in Recent Developments).

[PPS. If you've been wondering what the hell I've been doing rather than writing this the answer is chattering, petting cats, eating things, letting a Dalek melt in my hand, watching an octopus in a parking lot, watching salmon crossing a road, etc. etc. yadda yadda].

Right, so:

"If conservatives are inherent system justifiers, and therefore bridle before facts that call the dominant economic system into question, then most leftists are inherent system questioners, and therefore prone to skepticism about facts that come from corporations and government" (45)

This sort of think (uh, thing) haunts me when it comes to an analysis like this.

(And the words "like this" is extremely important in this case as I don't actually like that article almost [but not quite!] in 'the least' [the least parts at the very least includes the framing image, which I think works very well for what [I think] I'm about to say]).

The first thing I have to say, which I think is very important, is that in relation to many other people that I'm sure exist I have a harder (but by no means insurmountable) time dealng with the so-called 'Left/Right' split. This centrally has to do with the "trade agreements" piece in the wake of "Brexit" and the turn in the U.S. (the 'by no means insurmpountable' has to do with the part where the so-called 'ruling left' is actually the neo-liberal left which is still all very into that whole "trade relationships" thing while being presented as the Actual Left by folks like, uhhhhhhh, The Economist).

So what I'm mostly going to speak to here is that image of the "leftist" who wants to "fight fair" vs. the "rightest" (yike) who doesn't RE: "conservatives are inherent system justifiers, and therefore bridle before facts that call the dominant economic system into question, then most leftists are inherent system questioners" because there seems to be here the (extremely unfortunate!) ascendance of the so-called "alt-right" who, in point of fact is so deeply uninterested in being a "system justifer" that they'll smear about the term "cuck" for others perceived to be on the right (But Not Quite Right Enough -- the 'System Justifiers').

So I have an Extra Layer of Problem Here where the "system justifiers" I can anticipate ways to work with. The "fuck the system-ers" (be they right or left) are harder.

And the fuck the system-ers are so much harder for me to deal with on the right than on the left because I at least understand where the left tends to be coming from.

The, uh, "alt-right' though... I struggle to make sense of and this is my central weakness (in the frame of that article and possibly in the frame of reality): if you accept the left hand side, the so-called "system questioner" side, the biggest problem with being into that is that you question something to make sense of it and I am becoming increasingly sympathetic to the position that the "alt-right" cannot be apprehended through rationality and questioning (though it does open up interesting avenues to aligning with the, uh, "system justifier" right [that you may well hope won't go the same direction as the anti-porn feminist "left" working with the Christian right]).

Two key sum-ups on this:

1. If there are 'system questioners' and 'system justifiers' you can work with that 'cause there is a commonality. When that commonality is broken (the cucks and the libtards) then you need to find a new way of working. The most immediate alternative is the "getting the bastards" model but if you are so throughly committed to your so-called "rational" model then even that isn't a (current) option (and you stay at risk of uselessly spinning your brain wheels on the issue or the end of self with extreme prejustice more of an immediate issue without resolution it becomes).

2. I clearly shouldn't actually do this on NaDruWriNi as I've already forgotten #2.

Anything profound or useful here? Nope! But I struggle and I struggle and I struggle and I don't forget or overwrite why this is currently an issue).


And, just so I don't end this free of so-called climate-content there is this (where I cannot help but let my "the map in not the territory" self seep in), which I am nonetheless happy to see someone attempt.


And, for the record, this is indeed all you'll be getting this Drunk WriNi 'cause at this point I need to get on 2 bleedin' buses and get home!
tetsab: (Default)

Drinking: Mystery White Wine 1.

Right then! It only took me over a year but since I can't recall any recent memes to do I'm going to skip straight to the review of some Nice Life-y things I've done over the last year... except I already caught those up at New Years which seems like a better time for it so let's go with actually continuing my extremely occasional series on This Changes Everything.

(Now drinking mystery white wine #2, BTW, there was a brief non-writing interlude to beat an ancient laptop into submission, toss it, and be creeped out by Windows 10 instead).
tetsab: (@)
As per the previous post where I thought I'd probably not do most of the tasks on the whiteboard I did indeed not do most of the tasks on the whiteboard (and by "most" I mean "all" since I hadn't even bothered to put "make soup" on it). However! Since I overworked so much during wacky week last week it meant I'd accrued more than enough time for a day off today and today was an ideal day for it both 'cause it was pretty darn nice out but also 'cause all of our management is at a management retreat which greatly reduces the chance of my being asked for Urgent Stuff.

One of the tasks was "garden" (by which I mean 'turn over dirt') and boy was I glad that I took the day off to, in part, "garden" 'cause when I went out to do this I discovered a perfectly contented looking dead raccoon beside a clump of hostas. If it weren't for all the flies I'd have assumed it was a sleeping raccoon as there was no sign of injury and the eyes were closed as if resting. Even though I was 99% sure I was looking at a dead raccoon I still gave an experimental poke with my shovel with the end result of, "yup, dead raccoon."

So there was nothing to be done for it but stick the shovel in the ground and see if there's anything I'm supposed to do with a dead raccoon other than use my shovel for something other than poking. Turns out I'm supposed to call the city and ask for a pick-up so that's what I did. On the one hand this was pretty good because I didn't have to dig a raccoon sized hole somewhere in my yard but on the other it was not so good as I was required to finagle this adult dead raccoon into a bin bag where it will hang out at the foot of my drive for up to 2 days depending on how busy the animal pick-up people are.

Oh, and it will be picked up at night as animal pick-up people only do nightshifts so I sure hope they notice my black bin bag on my black driveway. I considered myself excessively lucky (this is the 1st day I have ever taken off just to muck around in my yard!) to not have to be around rotting raccoon but it seems like there's still time for that. :)
tetsab: (@)
Sitting in bed with a snoring cat drinking hot chocolate made with frangelico as I listen to broadcast 60 of Mick Mercer radio. In a couple of hours I'll get up and make some carrot and sweet potato soup for dinner. I'll probably not do most of the chores I marked up on my kitchen whiteboard for the day but will do a bit more work for work (certainly not the best use of a holiday Monday but eases some of the stress of the coming wacky week and right now stress relief > washing floors). :)

21:12 )
tetsab: (morning)
So I've been home sick today with a cold (that is maybe a bit more than a cold at this point since it also feels like someone is standing on my chest). This means I've done very little all day and so feel a bit more up than usual to capturing a recipe for Posterity in LJ. I think this is the first time I've done this but I should plan to do it more 'cause multiple times I've made something great and then not been able to re-find the recipe. In this case I think I have a better shot than most 'cause I could probably remember that I first got it from [personal profile] sabotabby.

However, I tend to be super lazy both about following instructions and about buying anything outside of my usual range so here is what I actually did: )

This was one of the tastiest things I've ever made and I consider fate to be Bloody Cruel to give me a cold for the last half of eating it where I can still kinda taste it but nowhere near as well as when I was not sick.

You know what else dried coconut milk is good for: bread! )

If vegan korma / bread recipes are not your bag here is a picture of a cat stealing my sick bed when I went to the bathroom instead:

tetsab: (morning)
So this is what the weather from Environment Canada said 2 hours before I left work to bike home:


I'd switched it over to Fahrenheit to confirm that I wasn't crazy when I told that women from Florida that it can get up to the mid-90s in the summer here (because boy did she ever look at me like I was crazy, causing this little niggling twinge of doubt that I'd carried since) before we were about to go on a boat ride around some glacier chunks in Iceland.

Speaking of Iceland, the pictures are up from that here, for anyone interested.

I spent last weekend and a bit hiking on Manitoulin Island (something I've wanted to do for about 5 years). Maybe the next time I update I'll have the pictures for that. I should really try to go to Newfoundland next to make this an island travel hat-trick but the way things are going it will probably either be another visit to Giant Tea Cup girl who is now in NY (well, that still works a bit for the island theme) or to the Saskatchewan desert and beyond.

I like how I can use the bottom bit of this post to compare what I'd hoped for with how things are going travelwise. :)
tetsab: (Default)
I have spoken all the while of 'the nation', 'England', 'Britain', as though forty-five million souls could somehow be treated as a unit. But is not England notoriously two nations, the rich and the poor? Dare one pretend that there is anything in common between people with £100,000 a year and people with £1 a week? And even Welsh and Scottish readers are likely to have been offended because I have used the word 'England' oftener than 'Britain', as though the whole population dwelt in London and the Home Counties and neither north nor west possessed a culture of its own.

One gets a better view of this question if one considers the minor point first. It is quite true that the so-called races of Britain feel themselves to be very different from one another. A Scotsman, for instance, does not thank you if you call him an Englishman. You can see the hesitation we feel on this point by the fact that we call our islands by no less than six different names, England, Britain, Great Britain, the British Isles, the United Kingdom and, in very exalted moments, Albion. Even the differences between north and south England loom large in our own eyes. But somehow these differences fade away the moment that any two Britons are confronted by a European. It is very rare to meet a foreigner, other than an American, who can distinguish between English and Scots or even English and Irish. To a Frenchman, the Breton and the Auvergnat seem very different beings, and the accent of Marseilles is a stock joke in Paris. Yet we speak of 'France' and 'the French', recognizing France as an entity, a single civilization, which in fact it is. So also with ourselves. Looked at from the outsider even the cockney and the Yorkshireman have a strong family resemblance.

And even the distinction between rich and poor dwindles somewhat when one regards the nation from the outside. There is no question about the inequality of wealth in England. It is grosser than in any European country, and you have only to look down the nearest street to see it. Economically, England is certainly two nations, if not three or four. But at the same time the vast majority of the people FEEL themselves to be a single nation and are conscious of resembling one another more than they resemble foreigners. Patriotism is usually stronger than class-hatred, and always stronger than any kind of internationalism. Except for a brief moment in 1920 (the 'Hands off Russia' movement) the British working class have never thought or acted internationally. For two and a half years they watched their comrades in Spain slowly strangled, and never aided them by even a single strike[1]. But when their own country (the country of Lord Nuffield and Mr Montagu Norman) was in danger, their attitude was very different. At the moment when it seemed likely that England might be invaded, Anthony Eden appealed over the radio for Local Defence Volunteers. He got a quarter of a million men in the first twenty-four hours, and another million in the subsequent month. One has only to compare these figures with, for instance, the number of conscientious objectors to see how vast is the strength of traditional loyalties compared with new ones.

In England patriotism takes different forms in different classes, but it runs like a connecting thread through nearly all of them. Only the Europeanized intelligentsia are really immune to it. As a positive emotion it is stronger in the middle class than in the upper class—the cheap public schools, for instance, are more given to patriotic demonstrations than the expensive ones—but the number of definitely treacherous rich men, the Laval-Quisling type, is probably very small. In the working class patriotism is profound, but it is unconscious. The working man's heart does not leap when he sees a Union Jack. But the famous 'insularity' and 'xenophobia' of the English is far stronger in the working class than in the bourgeoisie. In all countries the poor are more national than the rich, but the English working class are outstanding in their abhorrence of foreign habits. Even when they are obliged to live abroad for years they refuse either to accustom themselves to foreign food or to learn foreign languages. Nearly every Englishman of working-class origin considers it effeminate to pronounce a foreign word correctly. During the war of 1914-18 the English working class were in contact with foreigners to an extent that is rarely possible. The sole result was that they brought back a hatred of all Europeans, except the Germans, whose courage they admired. In four years on French soil they did not even acquire a liking for wine. The insularity of the English, their refusal to take foreigners seriously, is a folly that has to be paid for very heavily from time to time. But it plays its part in the English mystique, and the intellectuals who have tried to break it down have generally done more harm than good. At bottom it is the same quality in the English character that repels the tourist and keeps out the invader.

Here one comes back to two English characteristics that I pointed out, seemingly at random, at the beginning of the last chapter. One is the lack of artistic ability. This is perhaps another way of saying that the English are outside the European culture. For there is one art in which they have shown plenty of talent, namely literature. But this is also the only art that cannot cross frontiers. Literature, especially poetry, and lyric poetry most of all, is a kind of family joke, with little or no value outside its own language-group. Except for Shakespeare, the best English poets are barely known in Europe, even as names. The only poets who are widely read are Byron, who is admired for the wrong reasons, and Oscar Wilde, who is pitied as a victim of English hypocrisy. And linked up with this, though not very obviously, is the lack of philosophical faculty, the absence in nearly all Englishmen of any need for an ordered system of thought or even for the use of logic.

Up to a point, the sense of national unity is a substitute for a 'world-view'. Just because patriotism is all but universal and not even the rich are uninfluenced by it, there can be moments when the whole nation suddenly swings together and does the same thing, like a herd of cattle facing a wolf. There was such a moment, unmistakably, at the time of the disaster in France. After eight months of vaguely wondering what the war was about, the people suddenly knew what they had got to do: first, to get the army away from Dunkirk, and secondly to prevent invasion. It was like the awakening of a giant. Quick! Danger! The Philistines be upon thee, Samson! And then the swift unanimous action— and, then, alas, the prompt relapse into sleep. In a divided nation that would have been exactly the moment for a big peace movement to arise. But does this mean that the instinct of the English will always tell them to do the right thing? Not at all, merely that it will tell them to do the same thing. In the 1931 General Election, for instance, we all did the wrong thing in perfect unison. We were as single-minded as the Gadarene swine. But I honestly doubt whether we can say that we were shoved down the slope against our will.

It follows that British democracy is less of a fraud than it sometimes appears. A foreign observer sees only the huge inequality of wealth, the unfair electoral system, the governing-class control over the press, the radio and education, and concludes that democracy is simply a polite name for dictatorship. But this ignores the considerable agreement that does unfortunately exist between the leaders and the led. However much one may hate to admit it, it is almost certain that between 1931 and 1940 the National Government represented the will of the mass of the people. It tolerated slums, unemployment and a cowardly foreign policy. Yes, but so did public opinion. It was a stagnant period, and its natural leaders were mediocrities.


[1] It is true that they aided them to a certain extent with money. Still, the sums raised for the various aid-Spain funds would not equal five per cent of the turnover of the football pools during the same period.
tetsab: (@)
Just got back from what seems to be my Annual Major Trip (around this time last year I was in England), spending almost 2 weeks going 'round the Ring Road of Iceland in this:

I'd link to pictures for the interested but on my bargain basement DSL it's gonna take half a day to upload them so instead I'll just paint a little mental picture:

* * *

Most folks have a sense of what the Highlands are like thanks to pop culture. A significant chunk of Iceland is like the Highlands except with lupine instead of heather and the fascinatingly bizarre sound of snipe overhead... other than all the many parts that aren't at all like the Highlands and are more like the moon or Mars or an as yet undiscovered hairy green and black planet. It is simultaneously stark and remote and teaming with people (mostly the Miniature Cities of Tourists that now occupy the south west). It is deeply friendly in the cities and town camps and very mildly hostile in the (deserted) village & farms camps (irrespective of the welcoming flags).

* * *

Being the perfect mix of The Outside and The Weird (on multiple levels: culturally and naturally) it really was just about one of the most perfect places in the world I could visit.

I both really liked it and have no idea if I'd ever go back (RE: multiple levels of weird). No matter what, I'm really glad I went.
tetsab: (Default)
Does she love you, you suppose
With somebody who would know
Who believes in what you are
You're my favorite thing by far

There's a fire in your eyes
I see it all sometimes
In the darkness of the night
I see it many times
Yes I'm sure it shines in you

There's no warm place left to go
When I'm feeling kind of slow
Do you like the way you are
Yes it is, 'cause you're the star

There's a brightness in your eyes
I see it all tonight
In the darkness of my light
Shining on the chosen few

Right then

Jan. 3rd, 2016 12:29 am
tetsab: (owl)
Well since I didn't get to that review of 'Nice Life-y things I've done over the last year just so that they're captured for Posterity' at NaDruWriNi time this seems like a pretty good time to get that done. They'll probably be a bunch of things missing since I'm going to do it as a calendar review and I don't capture everything I do there.

Before I start, though, I will note that I've had a night and day difference on New Years this year and New Years the last. Last year was so unpleasant I still remember it: like being sunk up to my chin in muck and knowing it was still rising. This year I think I only had some muck on my shoes (the sad impact of the happy experience of seeing folks you haven't seen in a while is that you have to walk them through this a bit if you want to get them to the today that is better than the before). Yeesh, even walking through this little paragraph is dragging me down so let's leap off into better things )
tetsab: (@)
Alright, meme-ing while drinking (glass of sangria #2) is new to me but rather like how [profile] whatifoundthere Rather Enjoyed the responses of other folks she read I Rather Enjoyed her answers so here we go. I leave the first 3 questions hangin' out of the cut tag for flavour 'cause if you find the first 3 aren't exactly scintillating the rest (all 63 of them!) aren't going to get any more compelling.

01. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?

If I recall correctly (you'd think I'd recall correctly but I find soap so un-compelling I really can't be sure) there's exactly 2 kinds of soap in my bathtub right now (except it's actually hanging in a little shower hang-y thing): a spearmint soap in a tube which is my Day To Day soap (and has a matching bubble bath which I use once every couple of months but that's not technically in the bathtub right now) and a cranberry one, which is also a liquid soap. That one I use in December just for The Hell Of It (a rare attentiveness to seasons on my part).

The bit I'm not sure about is that there may be an old standard bar of soap which I wholly ignore but I'm really not sure on that count. :)

02. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?

Um. This is a strange question. Nope. I'm not sure there's ever been a watermelon in my current refrigerator. Not that I have anything against watermelon per say: it's just a little hard to handle for one person (with questionable nutritional value to boot).

03. Is there anything moldy in your refrigerator?

I'm a little concerned about opening an old tub of tahini but that's the only real threat of mold currently.

The next question is about dirty dishes, as is the one after that! )
tetsab: (@)
Yup, here I am again. Last year it was gimlets and the wrong day but this year it's the right day and The Old Classic of sangria (of which I currently have about 1 inch left of my first Substantial glass). If you really need to remind yourself of the rules you can check out [personal profile] the_siobhan but, unlike me, she's be doing the wrong day again this year (I'm not 'cause I'm already booked in to visit my parents next weekend).

Not totally shure what tonight's theme is going to be but I think I"m going to start with a meme and then possibly do a review of something of Nice Life-y things I've done over the last year just so that they're captured for Posterity.
tetsab: (morning)
Right, so back in May I was in the UK staying with my aunt and uncle and now my aunt and uncle are over here (we went out in celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary, just after they arrived, 2 weeks ago). One of the things I did then was return their "Wee Book of Calvin", which I'd borrowed to enjoy a bit more (and which I did enjoy 'cause Christ Knows I grew up being told the sorts of thing in it a la "stop that greetin' or I'll give ye somethin' tae greet about!"). It's the sort of book that goes perfectly with a solid breakfast on a gloomy Sunday (and none of you will recall that this was the name of my last post about that UK trip).

That line is Orwell from the Lion and the Unicorn and it goes like this:

"But talk to foreigners, read foreign books or newspapers, and you are brought back to the same thought. Yes, there is something distinctive and recognizable in English civilization. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain. It is somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes. It has a flavour of its own. Moreover it is continuous, it stretches into the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature. What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece?"

And what does the Britain (he really is talking about Britain here even if he doggedly and very specifically and insistently says England while insisting it's a synonym for the whole) of 1980 have in common with the one of 2015? A shocking great deal in my experience and not just in impressions (like seeing the child in the man) but in the actuals. As I said in the last paragraph of that post:

"The last thing I've accidentally been consuming a lot of is pop culture but that I'll save for its own post since it'll be a big enough thing on its own. The indicator of how that's going to go is easily illustrated by what my Uncle and Mum are currently watching on the TV (I have headphones on): a variety show in honour of VE Day taped earlier this month. If being here I feel like I'm retreating back to the green, back to the flavours of childhood, it's also easy to feel like I'm going back in time culturally as well with ridiculous ease."

Now of course the problem with this post is that so many of those actuals have slipped off in my memory and become impressions but to quickly summarize some of the ones that have stuck:

- As indicated in that quote they're still singing the war songs of the 1940s (just like they were in the 1980s when I was made to stick a cloth on my head and sing the lot; I know piles of them from memory to this day)
- Casualty still hasn't been freakin' cancelled (someone made a joke & I just assumed they were ridiculously dating themselves but noooo)
- They're still showing that guy with his performing budgies on variety shows (to that point: there's still an abundance of variety shows!)
- They're still showing stuff like 'Allo 'Allo (and not on their equivalent of the TV Classics channel but right up there on BBC2... and I see they're now showing Bergerac!)
- Countdown also lives on!

It was so bizarre. It actually became disorienting to me. I really felt like I was occupying some weird timewarp.

One last thing that stuck out for me that I wish, wish I could remember the last element of was actually from an ad. It said something to the effect that unlike the rest of the world which has typical motivating emotions like sadness, happiness, anger Brits have embarrassment, nostalgia and X.

(How embarrassing to not remember X). ;P

*Annnnnd* best of all a couple of days before I encountered that ad I was gifted a 50p coupon for herbal tea which I then couldn't bare to part with as it featured the line that it must not be used for anything other than the stated product as it 'may cause embarrassment and delay at the checkout' which I could not stop being amused by.

Incidentally, I did try to find what the heck that ad said more than once and failed on all occasions. This time I found an article (which will immediately drive one of you absolutely insane) which pointed out that the problem with Britain is something somewhat embarrassing for what it then turns out to be and that the one with Canada is that it's boring (and I, personally, have always very much liked that about the place). ;)

There! Finally freed of all my owed posts (assuming the occasional series I intend to post for the rest of my life over This Changes Everything doesn't count). Next up I'll either tell you about how Nuit Blanche went this year or what kind of soap is in my bath (or something else entirely since that's how it usually works).
tetsab: (morning)
Well, now at over a month late here are my answer's to silentq's Qs. :)

1. What's been the hardest thing about switching up your accent? The easiest?

Well technically the easiest thing is the switching itself now that it's switchable (more on that in the hardest bit). It takes barely any effort (I pretty much think the word, "right..." like "right then, here we go....") to move from my now standard Canadian accent to the Scots one and sometimes it takes negative effort. It's still very consistent that I'll naturally flip when drinking (but I think I've lost half my joke on saying it would come out when I was angry too. Then again, when I'm angry I'm not exactly focused on what the heck I sound like and don't expect the person on the receiving end to be thinking much of it either). The worst bit of effort I have to apply is to not fall into it when talking to someone else was a Glaswegian accent. That is usually a real concious struggle as I'll sometimes notice a slip and then concentrate to keep the Canadian as I don't want to give the other person the sense that I'm mocking them. The weirdest thing about that? My parent's accents don't prompt such "slips".

Both my sister and I can flip with complete ease and we'd both purposefully do it whenever we talked to our gran on the phone as she really struggled to understand us otherwise but my sister (who is 2 years younger) never slips -- if she goes Scots she only goes Scots on purpose.

I would merrily characterize myself as the "bi-accented" person of this blog post insofar as no Canadian ever doubts I am one and no Brit that I'm Scots (and I agree that Anderson sounds strange as heck in that "English" clip -- neither English nor American to my ears but some sort of unique oddness with Commonwealth edges). That said, I got a weird comment this year in England near the end of the trip that I had a mash-up accent over there. That just well could have been the person assuming I'd have such a thing and so "hearing" it but it also could have been a weird side-effect of pretty much being around 4 people with Scots accents in the bottom of England for 2 weeks with no "Canadian" counterbalance.

The hardest thing about it is the really quite severe angst it gives me around issues of identity and authenticity (especially the latter). Things were always going to be fraught there from the beginning 'cause the way I "got" my "Canadian" accent was to purposefully try and kill off the Scots one after finding myself seriously alienated by my peers (many of whom would dismissively note that they can't understand a damn word I say). This was a bit of a misapprehension of my part: yes part of the problem would have been my weird accent but it turned out that was not the most significant problem since I discovered once I had "their" accent that I was still alienated from them!

So through so-called middle school and high school I used The Canadian Accent since that had become the "expected accent" and I still had no wish to be any more weird by having anything else but dumped it again when I went to University feeling like I was wrong to murder it off in the first place.... but then as I did that I found I wasn't any more comfortable with that choice either! I started to feel like I chose the murder (even for bad reason) and so should just live with it. But, on the other I felt like living with that murder was intolerable (a la "no one should ever accept things done for Bad Reasons") as it showed up a weakness in myself. It undermined from within this image of myself I'd since adopted as someone who'd become disinterested in fitting, betrayed in this within themselves in their very voice. The problem here was that neither was "natural" (they were both closely internally observed and rarely allowed to "be") as both were choices. So then I thought, having since moved in with a Canadian and seeing it more frequently slip in that direction, that I'd just let it die a natural death and be at peace with it... but when you're this self-conscious about the whole thing there'd be no such thing as a natural and peaceful death.

It never helped how much encouragement I got about how "lovely" my Scots accent is and how I should "keep" it as that just as frequently as not stirred up my sort of natural perversity where if someone seems like they might want to fetishize something about me I'm inclined to remove it (but other times I agree with them and think the world is a more interesting place for glorious variety and who am I to make it less various? *angst angst angst*).

So I have some ridiculous slide-y accents now. Except it's less like slide-y and more like walking over a tripwire into one or the other. I call the Canadian one the default now 'cause that's what I speak around my parents (unlike quite a few people in that blog post I never used Scots at home and Canadian out the door since that would have been incompatible with the murder). ;P

And, of course, I can't win there either: my parents mocked the hell out of me as I adopted a Canadian accent and they mock the hell out of me if the tripwire gets triggered around them (speaking of self-consciousness!). :)

2. What drew you to the top hat vs say the bowler? What's your second favourite type of hat to wear?

In a nutshell it's all about the social formalism without the air of Business (I will forever associate bowlers with English banking culture... Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin be damned) and limited Femininity. For similar reasons I've spent years idly interested in fedora's but also feel that ship has passed: too many images in my mind's eye of "sultry" women in fedoras: I, personally, don't do "sultry" and find my hat intrinsically doesn't do it either which is a big part of why I think it suits me!

My second favourite type is a velvet bucket hat that also hits on some of the second tier things I like in my top hat: it's kinda ridiculous and that ridiculousness is tied to its mild playfulness. Once again it also sits on the non-sultry side of the scale. I wouldn't actually be opposed to a bowler by any means but find it so formal in my head I'd feel pretty compelled to drag it up with formal menswear (which wouldn't bother me as I'm generally drawn to that look... except for the part when we start to steer back toward similar territory as "accent fetish" and then I get squirmy. I'll just wear it in my house with my suit and skip alla that outside eye stuff). ;P

3. What's your favourite style of travel? Is there anywhere in the world where you think it wouldn't work?

Low key!! One backpack, cheap, easy-going. For years my "vacations" were just going to conferences with Matthew and this kept me totally content. Actually, more than content: happy (especially happy as I didn't have to come up with the motivation to go Some Where: the place to go just presented itself). I'd just walk the streets and colour in with pencil where I went and this was just what I wanted: no fancy dinners, only a few select "sights" (pretty much all museums) and no feeling like I'm part of some herd of people looking and doing. I like to just exist "normally" in different places -- so far I've never done a destination for the destination's sake.

About the only place I can imagine this not working would be a highly formalized locales where such behaviour would stick out as strange and suspicious and attract attention (exactly the opposite of what I want: I just want to "be" in places and not have attention drawn).

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I think there's a funny consistency in all 3 of these: stick-in/stick-out angst is one of the themes in each. :)

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Leave me a comment saying "Interview me!"
* I'll respond by asking you three questions.
* Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
* Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

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And totally related insofar as it's both tied to #3 and a big part of the reason I've been so damn late with my responses (my work has been Bloody Nuts lately; I guess that happens when a river of people all quit within the one month who aren't you and your org throws A Major Event. Thanks to all of this I was also asked if I could defer my planned vacation for September to October which I agreed to knowing that if I didn't a whole other suite of people would be stuck with an even heavier load themselves) I'm trying to figure out Places To Go.

My original plan had involved Lots Of Sitting In Forests / On Islands but this doesn't seem as hot an idea for mid to late October as it did for early Sept so this means I am now soliciting ideas for "vacations". Things I have considered:

- Visit a fellow nerd in Providence RI (had considered popping by New York "on the way" ha ha)
- Rent a car and drive to Saskatchewan to look at sand (destination!)
- Do something on the west coast (the Seattle-ish area has always been a favourite but I've got an aunt in California that might help with the October thing)
- Only use a week of it and just stay home to save the other week for next year for Something Better
- Go south until I find warmer forests

It was always easier when the vacation came to me, but, well c'est la vie. :)

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