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Today Kira went with me, but I could as easily have gone on my own. It's been bright and not too cold all day so far. We've somehow missed the patches of rain, seeing only damp pavements where rain has been.

This was the second lesson on Secretary Hand, which is ane bastarde to reade. 'e' is backwards. There's a sort of t which is actually 'c'. There's a 3-shaped capital E, except it's not an E, it's a lower case 'h'. There's a w which is actually an 'r'. There's a flourished O which is a 'G' and some weird scrolled thing which is a 'J', except when it is 'I'. There's a b which is a 'v'. And there are |||| marks, loosely joined together, which can be 'm', 'i', 'u', 'v', 'n' or any combination thereof.

And then, to save time writing, they have contractions. So #tE with a line above is actually 'Wch' with a line above, which is actually 'Which', the line indicating the missing 'hi'.

Oh, and this was before dictionaries, so spelling is more or less arbitrary. That said, the words read surprisingly modern. There's 'wee' for 'we', and 'soe' for 'so', and 'discrecon' for 'discretion', but most words are as you'd expect.

So yes, by the end of that, we were all quite thoroughly brainstretched and I was backsore too. I managed lunch, which had home-grown things in - baby pak choi (thinnings basically), baby spinach, rocket salad, baby celery stalks (thinnings again) and swiss chard, chives and nasturtiums. Some plants were salad, some went in with the beef meatballs and the carrots and the (dried, soaked) wild mushrooms in beef gravy. There were cubed boiled potatoes and butter with, and a little pancake (leftover batter from breakfast) to soak up the gravy afterwards. People are Fed.

Having shown willing as a host, I've now retired and left Kira and Small to entertain themselves while I sit hugging coffee Kira made and probably playing Minecraft all afternoon. It is 1.4.2, the Very Scary Update with carrots, potatoes, witches (and their huts), corner stairs, cobblestone walls, picture frames (you can put items in), flower pots and goodness knows what else in. Lots to do.
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Today's offering from the world_of_wol Dreamwidth community: Popo-chan, the amazing transforming owl which has to be seen to be disbelieved. I've seen it before, but it was great to go there again.

I learned today about Missing Black Woman syndrome - where the main character is a white male and his two sidekicks are a) a white female and b) a male who is either socially inept or black. The post I linked to illustrated the phenomenon in an amusing way.

I've read lots of recommendations for books by non-white authors where the protagonist, the main character, is not white. I am looking forward to buying some. What are your favourite chromatic books? (I like 'chromatic' as a term). I already recommended Returning My Sister's Face, but I have to also mention having been charmed by The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, an Indian take on the Jane Austen milieu. The link is to a review of the book. I did get the feeling it was written very much with non-Indians in mind, but what the heck. If there's a sequel, I will read it.

I also went out in the very much pouring rain, only to be greeted very quickly by bright sunshine and a large rainbow over the hills. It was well worth getting wet for, as was my eventual tea of a white poppyseed-topped plaited bun, boursin, on-the-vine tomatoes (bought days ago) and a chocolate eclair. *Nom*.
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I haven't posted, mostly because by evening, when my Daily Posts would be made, I am so tired and headachey I can't face making the post. Anyway, I am over the flu and embedded in yet another RaceFail, now with added mammoths.

Positive things do actually come out of these heated online discussions. For example,here is a list of recommendations for Indigenous/Anti-colonialist science fiction books and stories which is chock-full of new things for me to read.

I did just read Nameless by Sam Starbuck, which is a M-M romance (no porn at all) I found enchanting. It's warm and generous and has a strong sense of mythology. Equally enchanting, for different reasons, read a few weeks ago, is Returning My Sister's Face, a collection of Far Eastern based tales by Eugie Foster. I thought every story was as pretty and well-crafted as a Fabergé egg, with much the same jewel-like shiny qualities. Both books are ideal to curl up with on a rainy day.

Anyone who can tell me new things about Gaddi culture(s) is welcome to. I've been google-searching where I can, but what I can't find is stories by Gaddi people, Gaddi myths and legends, and how Gaddi people live day-to-day, either at home or while on pasture. I can get Gaddi Weddings, because they're exciting and easy to film, but not much else. Gaddi people raise sheep in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, the Indian state that creeps up the sides of the Himalaya Mountains. That's a very simplistic overview, by the way - Himachal Pradesh is large and I get a strong impression that the Gaddi are not a monoculture.
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I am looking forward to going to see Waiting for Godot, a play the script of which I really enjoyed reading as a kid. Not as much as Animal Farm, but nearly. The lines flowed effortlessly one to the next, so I never put it down and read right through to the end. Now I want to see how it is to watch, and ruthi has made it happen.

The Pagan Moot went well! Or I thought so. Four people there, all nice, in a real ale pub that also serves food during the day. All four have an interest in permaculture, the first permaculturalists I've found in Bolton so far. I also learned there's a Frog Parade at Moss Park where they dunk a Frog King dressed as a frog, to help promote conservation and breeding of frogs. Not pagan at *all*, no. Oh, and they're handing my number on to geographically closer pagans, which would be cool.

Geographical boundaries and paganism is something I think about. Another post came up, on bipolypagangeeks, about cultural appropriation and mix-and-match paganism, a subject which is thorny at best, given the whole 'individual self-sought paths' aspect to a lot of the faith. New Agers are the quintessential stealer-of-parts but there's a really, really fuzzy line between New Age and Pagan. I'm uneasy about yoga these days, having not realised before that it was originally part of religious expression, rather than, say, a useful set of keep-fit exercises. The closest I'd come was to wondering why Sun Salutation was so called. Pilates does the same thing, but without ripping off a colonised people's religion to do it. The use of 'chakras' also makes me uncomfortable, for the same reason. (Speaking of which, Norse runes: they're not random pretty marks. And Thor's hammer is *not* a healing symbol. It's a hammer. Thor uses it to hit things. I do not think He has ever used it to give CPR.)

The Nethernet. There's a class there called Benefactors, who spend their whole time giving away the DP points that the site gives as prizes. Where other people are searching out crates and loot, Benefactors are quietly giving away said crates and loot. You have to get those DP from somewhere, and the way to do it is missions. So... one of the Benefactors has put up a mission, of all the sites where you click and real people get freebies. Things like Free Rice and the like. I thought this was an awesome use of a game ethic to help real people and to still be within the spirit of the game. I just... it's neat, somehow.

Mafia. My head is fuzzy. Bah. I am not giving good value as a player.

I got complimented yesterday on a poem I wrote as a riff off Litany by Billy Collins, a poet who does good things.
This is my riff. It's about being a special snowflake:

You are the pen and the strife
the crystal teardrops and the whine.
You are the slump in the morning bed
and the burning pain of the heart.
You are the wide yearning of the acher

and the harsh words suddenly in fight.

However, you are not the mind in torment
the words in the poem
or the house of hearts.
And you are certainly not the pine-wasted love.

There is just no way that you are the pine-wasted love.

It is possible that you are the waters under the bridge
maybe even the worries in the general head,
but you are not even close

to being the yield of nostalgia at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the slave in the corner

or the waif asleep in its poorhouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the sound of pain on the hoof.

I also happen to be the special star
and the evening pauper cowering down an alley,

and the basket-case of madness on the surgeon's table.

I am also the loon in the trees,
and the mind woman's crackpot.
But don't worry, I am not the pen and the strife.
You are still the pen and the strife.
You will always be the pen and the strife,
not to mention the crystal teardrops and - somehow - the whine.


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May 2014

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