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this that I carry like a butterfly
25 April 2016 @ 04:15 pm
I tramp the perpetual journey
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the
woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public
road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten
forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.

—Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
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this that I carry like a butterfly
17 February 2016 @ 12:12 pm
I still keep a book log! I went to post it for 2015 and just realized I never posted the one for 2014... so here are both.

2014:

  1. Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

  2. Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama

  3. Cheryl Strayed, Wild

  4. Robin McKinley, The Blue Sword

  5. Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown

  6. Tina Fey, Bossypants

  7. Sloane Crosley, Best American Travel Writing 2011

  8. Joe Samuel and Heather Urquhart, Sing It!

  9. Joanna Russ, The Female Man

  10. Jon Ronson, Lost at Sea

  11. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

  12. Patrick Wyse Jackson, The Building Stones of Dublin

  13. Geoff Ryman, Was

  14. Philip K. Dick, Time Out Of Joint

  15. Roman Krznaric, The Wonder Box

  16. Gerald Durrell, My Family And Other Animals

  17. NAS/NAE/IOM, Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience

  18. Isaac Asimov, On Numbers

  19. Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist

  20. Greg Dean, Step By Step to Standup Comedy

  21. Jose Saramago, Small Memories

  22. Greg Bear, Blood Music

  23. Amy Poehler, Yes Please

  24. Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

  25. Ian Banks, The Wasp Factory

  26. Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things


2015:

  1. Arthur Miller, After the Fall

  2. Ruth Patel, 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem

  3. Alan Watts, Taoism: Way Beyond Seeking

  4. Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

  5. Peter McGraw and Joel Warner, The Humor Code

  6. Caryl Churchill, The Skriker

  7. Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen

  8. Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

  9. Alan Watts, The Tao of Philosophy

  10. Marie Norman, Marsha Lovett, Michael Bridges, Michele DiPietro, and Susan Ambrose, How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching

  11. Zadie Smith, On Beauty

  12. The British Museum Haiku

  13. Eric Berne, Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships

  14. Anne Bogart, And Then, You Act

  15. Lao Tzu, Tao Teh Ching

  16. Pascal Baudry, French and Americans: The Other Shore

  17. Oliver Burkeman, The Antidote

  18. Stephen Pinker, The Language Instinct

  19. Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad

  20. Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

  21. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived In The Castle

  22. Jon Mooallem, Wild Ones

  23. China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
05 February 2016 @ 09:46 am
"I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen,
And accrue what I hear into myself.... and let sounds contribute toward me."

—Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
09 January 2014 @ 06:10 pm
Amazingly, I have now been keeping a book log for 10 years. Last year's is here, and these are the books I read this year:

1. Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others
2. Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds
3. Ted Chiang, The Lifecycles of Software Objects
4. Sarah Ruhl, The Clean House
5. Neal Stephenson, Anathem
6. Ursula Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest
7. Geoff Ryman, Lust
8. Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata
9. John Vonhof, Fixing Your Feet
10. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars
11. Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender
12. Mick Napier, Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out
13. Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
14. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
15. Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves
16. Mark Henderson, The Geek Manifesto
17. Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth
18. Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth
19. William Glasser, Choice Theory
20. George Gamow, Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland
21. Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
22. Alan Watts, Still The Mind
23. James Merrill, The Changing Light At Sandover
24. Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test
25. Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
26. Alice Munro, Dear Life
27. David Sedaris, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls
28. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
29. Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself
30. Anne Dickson, The Mirror Within
31. Geoff Ryman, The Child Garden
32. Brian Jacques, Mariel of Redwall
33. Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed

If I had to choose, I'd say my favorites were the two Geoff Ryman books.
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
02 August 2013 @ 09:53 pm
I had to share this photo I took last weekend in the ballet practice room in the Lyon Opera:

lyon opera ballet room
 
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
24 July 2013 @ 10:58 pm
This weekend was the first weekend I had been at home in a month, and as a result it was NUTS with things going on.

It started off amazing, getting together with friends for drinks after work on Friday and then going with my improv troupe to do karaoke. Not everyone was completely comfortable with the idea of karaoke, but everyone got so into it; we started with all group songs, then duets, then solos, and I got to go out with Oh Darling which is one of my absolute favorites songs to belt out melodramatically. And then after singing for three hours, we went to a loud pub and shouted over background noise for three hours, so it was extremely fun even though my voice was a bit messed up on Saturday.

And actually, Ben had tons of plans for us on Saturday: brewing, having friends over, going to a barbecue with his coworkers and then a screening of Macbeth. I was initially kind of zonked, but managed to pull through the day, and had fun seeing everyone. The Macbeth screening was cool; it was a simulcast of a production at this festival in Manchester, starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston, and it was just so well done.

On Sunday I managed to squeeze in a short run before heading to brunch, tea, and then an improv jam for Dublin area improvisers. These were all pretty good though in general on Sunday I just felt low-energy, so actually the best part was probably after the improv jam, heading to my friend Nancy's house to help her re-dye her hair purple, watch Father Ted, and mess around on an accordion.
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
18 July 2013 @ 11:55 am
I tried not to take too many canal photos in Amsterdam, but it was a struggle.

canal boats

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this that I carry like a butterfly
17 July 2013 @ 11:59 am
I had one last trip, to cap off a month in which I visited five other countries and filled two pages of my passport: to Amsterdam! This actually got planned further back than all those other trips, before I realized that I wouldn't be able to travel much in late July and August. But I really wanted to see the newly renovated and reopened Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum, so I recruited some like-minded friends from Dublin, and we headed over just for the weekend.

The museums were great, just so good. We went early to both and pre-booked tickets, because I had heard some horror stories about lines, but we had no lines at all! I loved all the Dutch golden age stuff--Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, Steen, Ruisdael--and actually there was a lot of historical context that was really helpful. And the Van Gogh museum was great; I loved a lot of what I saw, but was especially surprised and pleased to find that Van Gogh had actually painted versions of two Hiroshige woodblock prints that we have up in our house. And I loved lots of the pieces they had, and the context, though I found the omission of any discussion of Van Gogh's mental state kind of weird in the areas that focused on his later life. And we went to this concert in the Royal Concertgebouw, which is apparently famed for its acoustics. They did some Brahms variations I didn't care much about, and then the Ravel orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition which is always enjoyable, but the really amazing part of it for me was Isabelle Faust playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. I saw the piece in the program and thought, Mendelssohn, cool, violin concerto, yes! But I didn't realize until the opening notes that, oh, I know this piece, when I was a kid we had a recording of Jascha Heifetz playing this and the Bruch violin concerto and we listened to it a lot on weekends. Hearing it performed in person was rapturous.



We also had a lot of fun poking around Amsterdam, going to little shops or outdoor markets, having nice food and beer, and just wandering up and down canals. I think I was a bit prejudiced against Amsterdam, which is part of why it took me this long to get there; it's often the favorite European city for people who are really into partying, who will enthuse about the open availability of drugs and prostitutes. And okay, fine, but that's not my thing so I kind of assumed I would not click with Amsterdam. But actually, there's so much culture and history there, and it's such a lovely place, that I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed being there! I would totally go back, though in the near future I will just be sticking around Dublin, where I can enjoy lovely summer weather and have ice creams and go swimming and spot urban foxes.
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
11 July 2013 @ 11:20 pm
I took a lot of photos! In Scandinavia!

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sibelius monument 3
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
09 July 2013 @ 01:16 pm
I'm back in Dublin! My weeklong foray to Scandinavia was pretty fun, though it did leave me with the suspicion that my favorite place up there is still Norway.

Ben and I started out in Copenhagen, which had some rough weather but the added ambience of truckloads of teenagers, newly graduated and kind of trashed, roaming the streets. I literally mean truckloads, like these open-backed farm vehicles driving along, honking, filled with kids cheering and mooning. We went up a stone tower to see the view, went to Tivoli Gardens which is sort of like Disneyland but with Hans Christian Anderson, and had tea in the design center while watching the rain. We also met up with some people Ben knew through work, in an Irish pub, to talk about the travails of being a game development programmer.

Then we took a train up to Stockholm, through myriad lakes and forests. I loved Stockholm, which seemed to have a lot to do, a diverse population, and lots of water winding through the city. We spent a good chunk of time at Skansen, which is like an outdoor museum with historical houses from all over Sweden, plus arctic animals like reindeer, bears, owls, and moose. Well, and peacocks, which are less arctic. And we went to the Nordiska Museum which has a lot of cultural stuff, including a great exhibition about the Sami (indigenous people of Lapland), and the Vasa Museum which has a truly spectacular 17th century ship. Stockholm also seemed to have a lot of great food, and much cheaper than the other places.

To get from Stockholm to Helsinki, we took this overnight cruise, which is cost effective but also just very beautiful. You go through forested archipelagos, and in the summer the sun doesn't go down until late. Dinner was great, and then we were up on the deck having a drink when the sun did finally set, eventually watching the ship dock in Åland before it continued on and we went to bed. And then in the morning you wake up and are nearly to Helsinki! This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Helsinki was small but really nice and quite sunny. I loved seeing the Sibelius Monument there, and the big food market at the harbor, and the design and architecture museums. Actually in general I felt that we saw a lot of museums that asked deep and probing questions (like in the design museum, things were organized thematically and there was a lot to chew on). We also went to a great pub, and took a boat out to this fort island, Suomenlinna, which was really nice to walk around. Our last act in Helsinki was to get some treats to take home: I got brunost, which is a Norwegian cheese I really like, and Ben got surströmming, this Swedish fermented fish which has an intense putrid aroma. So I got something sweet and slightly odd, and Ben got something famed for its difficult to acquire taste. I feel like that says something about us.

So it was a pretty nice trip, though we had some difficulty on agreeing on what to do, and I missed the outdoorsiness and mountains that I experienced so much of in Norway. I do have photos, of course, coming soon!
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this that I carry like a butterfly
28 June 2013 @ 09:34 am
Ever since I went to Norway last summer and completely loved it, I've really wanted to see more of Scandinavia. So today Ben and I are off on a weeklong vacation through Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki! I'm super excited; it'll be a bit different from my Norway trip since we're staying in cities rather than hiking through the backcountry, but it should be a great change of scenery.

sphere
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
18 June 2013 @ 10:56 pm
I went to Belgium with Ben over the weekend, to hang out with some friends from grad school. If this sounds familiar, it's because we did the exact same thing last summer, just with different friends. What can I say, Belgium is a nice place to hang.

sunny high five


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this that I carry like a butterfly
14 June 2013 @ 04:56 pm
If Comedy Has No Lady Problem, Why Am I Getting So Many Rape Threats?: "I don't believe that previously non-raping audience members are going to take to the streets in a rape mob after hearing one rape joke. That's an absurd and insulting mischaracterization. But I do believe that comedy's current permissiveness around cavalier, cruel, victim-targeting rape jokes contributes to (that's contributes—not causes) a culture of young men who don't understand what it means to take this stuff seriously. And how did they try and prove me wrong? How did they try to demonstrate that comedy, in general, doesn't have issues with women?"

Anita Sarkeesian and the Trouble with Magic Bullets: "Anita Sarkeesian in particular has endured surprisingly well given the pressure on her to be the Most Perfect Feminist Games Critic. Of course, she has not been perfect; she has not managed to transform every single misogynist into a humanitarian soul, after all. But rather than lambaste her for that alleged shortcoming, I would rather emphasize that the public scrutiny of female videogame critics (and pro female gamers, and female game developers) creates a system that sets us up for failure."

Quote of the Day: "That has been the sacred covenant between the Republican Party and its straight, white, patriarchal, Christian supremacist base for a generation: Vote for us, and we'll protect you. And so they voted. And, in the process, they gave away their standard of living, their children's education, their jobs, their civil liberties, their national security, their environment, and their economy—all in exchange for the gossamer promise of a return to a time that never happened in a country that never really existed."

Number of the Day: "45%: The percentage of US respondents to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll who 'believe affirmative action programs are still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities, while an equal 45 percent feel the programs have gone too far and should be ended because they unfairly discriminate against whites.' That is so fucking depressing... Among the allegedly multiple "reasons for the trend" is the reason that will not be meaningfully included in any public discussion: The incredibly common practice of treating exceptions to marginalization as evidence there is no more need for affirmative action programs, while casually ignoring that often people who appear to be exceptions are only so because they benefited from affirmative action programs."

Pink/Blue: "I want to think more. I want to think harder. I want to be vexed by the children in my life because they are human beings, with all the glorious messy frustrating complexity that implies. I want them to defy simple patterns, because doing so means embracing potential and possibility. I want them to make their own scripts out of patches and shreds. I want them comfortable in a world where “boy” and “girl” aren’t narrow paths; in fact, a world where other paths, transgender or asexual or whatever, are also simply part of the landscape. I want them to surprise me. I want them to surprise themselves."

Brushes With Civility: "I question the line of thinking that posits that truth is the enemy of civility. Form and content are, I think, often inseparable. If we think of the tone of a statement as its form, and the the meaning of the message as its content, oftentimes, for instance, a comment that is racist is called racist not only because it is hurtful (form) but because it is also inaccurate (content). It is the inaccuracy of prejudiced statements is what causes the sting, not the truth of them. And, the hurtful nature of such statements is amplified precisely because they are inaccurate yet also marketed by its utterer as a 'politically incorrect truth that needs to be said.' Labels and the words we use can, and often do, actually distract from reality rather than describe it.

4 links about sexual assault in the militaryCollapse )
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this that I carry like a butterfly
10 June 2013 @ 11:11 pm
I'm back from my weekend in Northern Ireland! This was supposed to be my race weekend, but shin injuries (shinjuries!) and illness took me out of the running, so instead I relaxed with friends. We had amazing weather and went on a hike up Slieve Donard, the highest mountain in Northern Ireland. And then we were tired and had a barbeque and relaxed and played card games. And I took photos!

cottage field


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this that I carry like a butterfly
07 June 2013 @ 11:49 am
My improv show was amazing!

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this that I carry like a butterfly
04 June 2013 @ 12:21 pm
So, heh, I am not going to run that 50 mile race in the Mourne Mountains this weekend.

My shins are still bruised but okay for walking, so I tried a short run! It felt like someone was poking my bruises with every single step, and I only did a mile. I guess the harder impact of running compared to walking just jostles my legs more, and right now I can still feel it and it is painful, and there is just no way I am going to do that for 10+ hours. Plus there was the weather fail in what was supposed to be my 40 mile practice race, and on top of that I have a cold right now! Running an epically long race on bruised legs, without having run much in the last month, while getting over a cold, just does not sound fun. I'm sad to miss out on this race, which was so gorgeous last year, but I can go back next year, and I'm still going up with friends for the weekend. So it's fine, really; again I am surprised by how not guilty I feel about backing out of this. It is just so obviously not a good idea! Oh well!

And if you are extra attentive, yes, I am getting over a cold right before my improv show! Great timing, that! Four days of a very sore throat, which probably would have been fewer days if there hadn't been a six-hour improv practice at my house in the middle of that. But I think I'm to the point now where decongestants are all I'll need to get through the show Thursday. Decongestants and COURAGE.
 
 
this that I carry like a butterfly
31 May 2013 @ 03:42 pm
Some women want to stay home with children and feminism needs to make peace with that: "We will know we’re living in a world of equality not when just as many men as women are staying home making jam and looking after babies but when women can talk about their life making jam and looking after babies without everyone freaking the fuck out."

It’s Not Just About Delaying Gratification: "So in fact, the marshmallow task isn’t necessarily a measure of willpower, but also a measure of environmental stability, which ties into socioeconomical status, parenting type, and many other things, and it may be these variables that are contributing to success later in life."

Monáe And Badu, Legendary Rebels: "What I like most about the song are the questions that Monáe, who says she knows what it’s like to feel like the other, asks throughout the song; often starting with “Am I a freak?”"

Boilerplates 101: The Edgy Comic Response: "Comedians are social commentators—their job is to remark upon culture and its various absurdities and failures, and just because their objective is to make people laugh doesn't absolve them of the responsibility that any professional social commentator or critic with any integrity has, which is to expose, not entrench, the cultural narratives that are damaging to the marginalized, voiceless, and dispossessed."

Discussion Thread: Touching/Not Touching As Control: "One of the things I noted is how, as a fat woman, I get this from both angles: I am frequently touched without my consent as a woman because women's bodies are treated like public property. And as a fat person, I am frequently not touched—or it is made plain to me that touching me is HORRIBLE—by people whose job it is to touch me—healthcare providers, hairdressers, tailors, etc."

‘We Have Always Fought’: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative: "It’s easier to tell the same stories everyone else does. There’s no particular shame in it. It’s just that it’s lazy, which is just about the worst possible thing a spec fic writer can be. Oh, and it’s not true."
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this that I carry like a butterfly
27 May 2013 @ 10:13 am
My second improv class has come and gone, and was even more fun than the first, so now ten of us from the class are planning a showcase. The showcase is alarmingly soon, less than two weeks off, and what's more, the instructor's first choice of venue (which was an uncrowded pub in a back alley) was booked so instead we're in one of the main venues on Dame Street, high traffic and possibly a lot of tourists too. And I mean, I haven't been at all nervous doing improv in class for awhile now, but that's in front of my classmates and not random punters, so I bet that's going to be an experience. We've had one rehearsal since class ended, which went well, and we're supposed to have three more before the showcase. I'm really excited!

Part of being excited is reading resources my improv friends are sending on. There was a nice short book that had a lot of useful tips, kind of pointing out some crutches beginning improvisers tend to lean on (and I've noticed myself leaning on as well). For example, justifying action too much instead of being comfortable with it happening, by saying things like "this is my first day..." or "every time we..." or "I love/hate..." or "this is the best ever..." or "... is really fun". The focus of the book was all about being unafraid and decisive as an improviser, even while listening to your scene partner and supporting them a lot.

And, someone sent out this anthropology master's thesis on improv which I actually could not put down. It had a lot of history and culture of improv that was interesting, but then the coolest part was about improv as a constructed liminal space and why that makes people both less constrained and more likely to bond to each other through a shared creative process.

So yeah, I like this a lot, I'm hoping the showcase goes well enough that we keep doing it.
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this that I carry like a butterfly
21 May 2013 @ 03:50 pm
life  
My shins hurt less now. Unfortunately on Saturday night, I started having back spasms, presumably due to sitting so much. But after an unpleasant Sunday, I opted to go back to work Monday, and my back is now feeling a lot better. It still hurts to flex my shins at all (which is part of walking), but that's slowly getting better too. I'm really grateful to be healing this quickly.

I still have that race in the Mourne Mountains less than a month from now, and we'll see how my legs are by then; I might have to drop down to a shorter distance. It's hard to predict, but the area is beautiful and I've organized a big house and friends coming along, so the weekend should be fun regardless of the race itself. Plus we have a weekend in Belgium later in June, meeting up with some friends from grad school, which I am really looking forward to after how much we enjoyed Belgium last summer. And I'm going to Amsterdam to see the newly reopened Rijksmuseum in July, which should be awesome.

Also, ever since I went to Norway last summer I've wanted to go back and see more of Scandinavia. So now I'm thinking a weeklong trip later in the summer, through Copenhagen and Stockholm and Helsinki. I'm still ironing out details but it looks like there will be so much fun stuff to do, and I'm very excited.
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this that I carry like a butterfly
18 May 2013 @ 03:59 pm
As I was leaving work on Wednesday, I tripped on the stairs and managed to fall directly onto both my shins. And then I slid down a few steps, on my shins before eventually coming to a stop. Everyone knows that getting hit in the shins hurts, but let me tell you, landing on them on a staircase is excruciating. Since I was able to stand I figured they couldn't be that badly hurt, and surely the pain would subside, so I should just continue home. I nearly passed out on the train and the walk home was agonizing. And I was starting to have trouble putting weight on one leg, and the pain wasn't going away, so I ended up going to the emergency room for an x-ray. Except by that what I really mean is, waiting at the emergency room for a couple of hours and then eventually being told that with the length of the x-ray queue, I'd be better off going home and coming back in the morning. They gave me crutches, which was nice though since one leg was only marginally worse than the other I was sort of dubious about walking around at all. But then in the morning they found no breaks, just severe bruising and swelling, and so prescribed lots of anti-inflammatories, icing, and staying off my feet for awhile. I'm hoping to go back to work next week.

I fall a fair amount and get a lot of bruises, which is an aspect of the physicality I've written about before. But it's amazing how much more something hurts on your shins compared to a meatier part of the body. And, this is making me realize I have had several major falls on stairs over my lifetime; I tend to be very careful on them because I'm aware of that, but you get used to a set of stairs and then stop paying so much attention. Oh well, I feel better today than yesterday so hopefully that trend will continue.
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