Daily Happiness

Oct. 22nd, 2014 11:28 pm
torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
[personal profile] torachan
1. There is an amazing new live version of Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf.

2. We went down to the Promenade this afternoon to look at the new retina iMacs. The difference wasn't as immediately noticeable to me with a large screen as it is with a phone or tablet, but it definitely looks pretty spiffy.

3. We had Trader Joe's pumpkin ravioli tonight for dinner and it was so great! (Sadly, Irene didn't like it, but on the other hand, that means more for me!)

4. I went out to lunch with my mom today and went back to her house afterwards to help with her husband's computer, which turned out to be a much larger/more annoying job than I was expecting. BUT, since it ended up taking so long, she gave me $100 off next month's rent for helping out. (And I did get everything fixed, so yay.)

On the magic of cities

Oct. 23rd, 2014 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] terriwindling_feed

Posted by Terri Windling

The New Yorker, 1925

In response to a post last week, Raquel Somatra wrote:

"I lived on a mountain in North Carolina for six months with no car. The nearest grocery store was 1.5 miles away. Down the mountain, over several hills, through a dark tunnel, passed the old hotel that still has a sign that says 'now with color TV!'... People always think it must have been such a horrific time, to walk to the store once or twice a week and carry home groceries. But I loved it.....There is something about motion and pilgrimage that magically and deeply connects us to ourselves, to our insides, and to the earth. I think I got to know that landscape more in six months than locals who had lived their whole lives there. I knew where you could find pairs of bunnies in the spring, where the robins liked to feast along the ends of the roads, where wild roses grew, that tiny, wild pansies grew everywhere, fairy flowers hidden in the grasses. What else is there than connection to the land, ourselves, and each other? We must do this slowly -- I agree with Rebecca [Solnit]. Our minds move as slow as our feet, there can be no other way.

"p.s. I was thrilled to find that here in Brooklyn, I make a similar journey with groceries. There aren't mountains and pansies, but there are wondrous sights and people, a train, and much, much walking."

The post below comes out of thoughts prompted by Raquel's comment, and I want to begin by acknowledging that debt.

The New Yorker

Despite the bucolic nature of this blog, written as it is from the English countryside, I think the words of the various writers quoted in these pages -- attesting to the importance of "land" and "place" -- are useful reminders to all of us, no matter where we live, that our aim should be to fully live wherever it is we find ourselves. As Mary Oliver tell us in beautiful poems that repeatedly enjoin us to pay attention, living a creative life is not just about the novels or paintings we produce (let alone manage to publish or sell), it's about living in a state of openness and attention -- beginning  with the ground on which we stand: its flora, folklore, mythology, history, its weather patterns and daily rhythms, and the lives of those with whom we share with, human and nonhuman alike.  This is as true, I believe, for city, town, and suburb dwellers as it is for me here, in rural Devon.

The "Urban Fantasy" field, back when it began in the 1980s and '90s -- when the term referred to works by writers like Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Francesca Lia Block and Neil Gaiman, not paranormal romance and detective stories --  had at its heart a metaphorical search for wonder and natural (rather than supernatural) magic in city settings. These writers were asserting that one needn't travel to imaginary lands, the medieval past, or even to the countryside to find a magical (dare I say "spiritual"?) connection to place: it was available to all...yes, even at the heart of the beast: the big, noisy, crowded, diverse, dangerous, exciting modern city. (And remember that these writers began working in the '80s, when urban decline rendered many cities far less appealing than they are today.) Charles' Newford, Emma's Minneapolis, Francesca's Los Angeles, and Neil's London are cities in which the mythopoeic history of the land has re-asserted itself. The human protagonists of their books are those who hunger, in one way or another, to find that connection...and then to use it in concert with the unique gifts that cities alone can offer.

The New Yorker, 2014 & 2006

As Raquel says in her post script above, a city traversed on foot can be just as creatively inspiring as a woodland path or shoreline trail, at least for those open to its rhythms; for those who are paying attention. The following passage on urban walking comes from Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: A History of Walking, which devotes several chapters to the subject. To me, as a former New Yorker, this description of "city magic" rings absolutely true:

"There is a subtle state most urban walkers know, a sort of basking in solitude -- a dark solitude punctuated with encounters as the night sky is punctuated with stars -- one is altogether outside society, so solitude has a sensible geographical explanation, and there is a kind of communion with the nonhuman. In the city, one is alone because the world is made up of strangers, and to be a stranger surrounded by strangers, to walk along silently bearing one's secrets and imagining those of the people one passes, is among the starkest of luxuries. This uncharted identity with its illimitable possibilities is one of the distinctive qualities of urban living, a liberatory state for those who come to emancipate themselves from family and community expectation, to experiment with subculture and identity. It is an observer's state, cool, withdrawn, with senses sharpened, a good state for anybody who needs to reflect or create. In small doses, melancholy, alienation, and introspection are among life's most refined pleasures.

"Not long ago I heard the singer and poet Patti Smith answer a radio interviewer's questions about what she did to prepare for her performances onstage with, 'I would roam the streets for a few hours.' With that brief comment, she summoned up her own outlaw romanticism and the way such walking might toughen and sharpen the sensibility, wrap one in an isolation out of which might come songs fierce enough, words sharp enough, to break that musing silence. Probably roaming the streets didn't work so well in a lot of American cities, where the hotel was moated by a parking lot surrounded by six-lane roads without sidewalks, but she spoke as a New Yorker.

The New Yorker

"Speaking as a Londoner, Virginia Woolf described anonymity as a fine and desirable thing, in her 1930 essay 'Street Haunting.' Daughter of the great alpinist Leslie Stephen, she had once declared to a friend, 'How could I think mountains and climbing romantic? Wasn't I brought up with alpenstocks in my nursery and a raised map of the Alps, showing every peak my father had climbed? Of course, London and the marshes are the places I like best.' Woolf wrote of the confining oppression of one's own identity, of the way the objects in one's home 'enforce the memories of our experience.' And so she set out to buy a pencil in a city where safety and propriety were no longer considerations for a no-longer-young woman on a winter evening [as they had been previously], and in recounting -- or inventing -- her journey, wrote one of the great essays on urban walking."

You can read Woolf's brilliant essay here.

Georgia O'keeffe

Detail from New York Street With Moon by Georgia O'KeefeArt above: Covers from my favorite magazine, The New Yorker, 1925-2014 (I maintain a print subscription here in Devon), and the glorious New York paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986). I highly recommend Patti Smith's book Just Kids, a memoir of her youth in New York with Robert Mapplethorpe -- as well as works by all of the fine writers mentioned above. Previous posts related to this subject are here and here.

Wednesday Reading

Oct. 22nd, 2014 10:22 pm
torachan: karkat from homestuck headdesking (karkat headdesk)
[personal profile] torachan
What are you currently reading?
Still reading the Levi backstory, Kuinaki Sentaku. I'm about halfway through the second (and final? I don't think it's ongoing) volume. I'm...enjoying it less than I thought it would? I mean, it's okay, but I just feel like it's not really doing anything. I had planned to read Before the Fall as well, but I wonder if the reason it feels like there's not much there is that Isayama didn't write it and so they can't really dig into anything interesting. If that's the case, Before the Fall will probably be the same...

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading the main story of SnK up through the most recent chapter and DAMN THIS IS GETTING SO GOOD.

What do you think you'll read next?
As I mentioned the other day, Irene's rewatch of Akira had me wanting to check out the manga, so I might read that next! Although last time I checked, my phone was pretty full, so I'm not sure that I've read and deleted enough stuff that was on there to have space... ^_^;; I should probably read more of what's already on there.

No word for father

Oct. 22nd, 2014 11:35 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Last week I read this article about the Mosuo people of southwest China:   "The Ethnic Group in China That Doesn’t Have a Word for Father" (10/13/14).

The Mosuo are indeed famous for having a matrilineal society, and I had long been aware of their unusual marriage customs, but I was innately suspicious of this sensationalist claim that there was no word for father in their language.

Even in a matriarchy, if there are children, someone has to sire them, and it is likely that there would be a word for such an important person.

Tami Blumenfield, who speaks the language of the Mosuo, Naru, writes:

It's 'ada'. There is some village-to-village variation and some people will just use the term for uncle, which can refer to all men of the father's generation (or the mother's, for that matter). I'm sending a link to an article I co-authored with Siobhan Mattison and Brooke Scelza on paternal investment in Na communities. I am working on an article called "We Have Fathers and We Know Who They Are!" So in a word — all those website articles are not too accurate, and they repeat the inaccuracies so they spread and expand.

Here's the link to the article by Mattison, Scelza, and Blumenfield entitled "Paternal Investment and the Positive Effects of Fathers among the Matrilineal Mosuo of Southwest China", American Anthropologist, 116.3 (September, 2014), 591-610, first published online: 26 AUG 2014.

The Mosuo are closely related to the Nakhi / Naxi, who were studied for two decades by the Austrian-American explorer and botanist, Joseph Rock.  The language of the Nakhi can be written with the Geba syllabary, but also with the symbols referred to as Dongba.  Rock collected many texts in Dongba and also compiled a dictionary for the scriptDongba symbols are supposedly pictographic-ideographic, but I doubt that they are a full writing system.  Instead, I suspect that they are probably prompts for priests, but do not directly transcribe spoken Nakhi language.

Bibliography available upon request.

[Thanks to Stevan Harrell, Magnus Fiskesjö, Gene Buckley, and Mark Bender]

Savoury Tomato & Parmesan Crumble

Oct. 22nd, 2014 07:21 pm
[syndicated profile] greenkitchenstories_feed

Posted by Green Kitchen Stories

gks_tomato_crumble_1

Just needed to write this before we share today’s recipe: Damn! (or Holy F**k!, as TK probably would put it). We asked for some travel tips but never expected that you would be so incredibly helpful. We will compile all your recommendations into a document and it is going to be the perfect travel guide for us. Huge, huge thank you! After having read your comments we are now leaning towards dividing our time between Sydney and Melbourne. And do a month in NZ in between. We will keep you updated regarding our workshops as soon as we have more info.

gks_tomato_crumble_2

Okay, today’s recipe. If you’ve been cooking with us this summer, you probably know that we love crumbles. They are imprecise and easy improvised – try quinoa flakes instead of oats, coconut oil instead of butter, a little less of this or a little more of that.

Instead of doing yet another sweet crumble, this a savoury version. It’s a nice little autumn dinner that we recommend making with some heirloom tomatoes or flavourful cherry tomatoes. The sweet tanginess from the tomatoes goes perfectly with the rich and crunchy parmesan and oat topping. If you can’t find any good tomatoes, I imagine that diced eggplant/aubergine and zucchini would be great as well. Serve with a simple bean salad for some extra protein.

gks_tomato_crumble_03

gks_tomato_crumble_04

Savoury Tomato Crumble
Serves 4

You can read our thoughts on the use of rennet in cheese at the bottom of this post.

1,5 pounds / 700 g ripe tomatoes
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1,5 cups / 140 g rolled oats (cert. gluten free if you prefer)
6 tbsp almond meal/flour
1/2 cup / 25 g grated parmesan cheese (choose rennet-free cheese if you prefer)
4 sprigs oregano, leaves picked and chopped
1 pinch sea salt
100 g butter (or try coconut oil)

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. Grease a 22 cm / 9 inch baking dish or pie tin with butter (or coconut oil).
Rinse the tomatoes and cut in halves. Place in a baking dish and toss with sea salt and apple cider vinegar. Prepare the crumble in a separate bowl. Start by thoroughly mixing oats, almond meal/flour, grated parmesan, oregano and sea salt. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to the oat mixture. Use your hands to mix until large crumbs are formed. Pour the crumble filling evenly over the tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the tomato juices are bubbling around the edges and the crumble is firm and browned. We served it with lettuce, pear and chickpeas on the side.

Keeps for about a 5 days in the fridge. Freezes and reheats well.

gks_tomato_crumble_5

PS. Through these last weeks, some of our favourite food bloggers have cooked their own versions of recipes from Green Kitchen Travels. Their interpretations are honestly so beautiful so make sure to check them out:
Vegetarian Pho by Kelsey from Happyolks.
Crispy Eggplant Polenta Bites with Honey + Lime by Laura from The First Mess.
No Noodle Pad Thai by Anya from Golubka.
Lemongrass & Coconut Summer Rolls by Sara from Sprouted Kitchen.
Halloumi Veggie Burgers by Brian from A Thought for Food.
Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew) by A Couple Cooks.

Here are a few other press clips about the book: Red Online, British Vogue, Marie Claire, Epicurious.

If you already have our book we’d be super grateful if you wanted to write a short review of it on Amazon. Thank you, Thank you! Next week I think it’s time to share the recipe for these.

[syndicated profile] icanhascheezburger_feed
Warning: This GIF List of 10 Jobs For Wombats May Cause a Destabilizing Surge in The Amount of Wombats Employed

Wombats are cute, no one is arguing with that, but are they fit for the workforce? According to sources, yes. They are also incredibly cute and don't require much in terms of compensation. Perhaps this is a signal of new change in the economy, one that will include many more adorable wombats. What other jobs do wombats have a natural GIFt for?

Submitted by: Unknown (via Wakaleo)

Free Speech

Oct. 22nd, 2014 11:17 am
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner with seven circles and a megaphone in the fourth one, reading 'Seven Years, Seven Wonders, Organization for Transformative Works, October 19-26 2014 Membership Drive'

OTW’s sites are open to all your content-whether on Fanlore, AO3 or through OpenDoors. Donate to support them!

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