chaiya: (books)
Discussion of race has been going around a lot, lately. I think it's partly related to Obama's election, and I think it's important to talk about. However, I rarely know what to say. I'm absorbing a lot, and I'm thinking a lot, and I'm hopefully using enough sources of information that no one mis-reading will lead me astray. Not that there's a clear path to travel, of course.

I just this week finished reading Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. I had previously read (during the election cycle) his book The Audacity of Hope. I recommend both highly. Obama has an amazing voice, as a writer, and I feel like I learned a lot about him as a person through both books. I enjoyed reading Hope because it inspired me and made me think about politics in the US today. I loved reading Dreams because I felt like I understood at least a little of what Obama is like as a person, if that's not too audacious a claim, and because I heard from his perspective a lot about what his racial heritage means to him. Dreams was an actual page-turner, which rarely happens between me and non-fiction. (I am a somewhat slow reader, and took both books in chunks, but stayed up reading later than I should have, which is the definition of page-turner to me. Also, I cried at some points of both books.)

My Harvard Bookstore book of the month is The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. It's got great reviews. We'll see when the next time I have time to read a book is!

I will say this: I hope to have discussion of race, slavery, and culture at our Passover seder next month.
chaiya: (thoughtful)
The statement was recently made to me that "People prefer being right to being happy." Do you agree or disagree in general? Do you personally prefer to be right or happy?

A poll, therefore. I will discuss my thoughts in comments, so as to create less bias in the sample. Yes, I know it's not well-designed. But I'm not a scientist right now, I'm just curious.

[Poll #1064844]
chaiya: (set list)

Madeleine L'Engle, Children's Writer, Is Dead

Published: September 8, 2007Read more... )
chaiya: (thoughtful)
I devoured Howl's Moving Castle (much better than the movie). It was fantabulous, a sheer delight, and utter happiness to anyone who opens the covers. I moved a bit more slowly through The Castle in the Air, a retelling of Aladdin, mixing in Howl and Sophie and more creative plot at the end (sort of, maybe a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle). And I found that I automatically paced myself with Fire and Hemlock, of which I'm not sure yet that I understand the ending.

She's a great author. The new ideas she presents are fascinating, and intricate, and incredibly believable (except the ending of F&H, and bits of Castle where the retelling wore a bit thin). I've read over 1000 pages of her writing in the past week, and I'm an incredibly slow reader, myself.

Howl and Castle would be great for any child to read, say, over the age of 10. If they can handle Harry Potter (book 1 or 2, even), they can handle these.

Fire and Hemlock, though, I'd reserve for a kid 15 or older. It's more haunting, and makes less immediate sense. It's still magical, but not in the fairy-magic sort of way. And it has the potential for giving nightmares.

So that's what I've got to say about that. She's definitely a nifty writer, though. Thanks, [ profile] lyonesse, for the pointer. I'll be on the lookout for more of her stuff. :)
chaiya: (meeting of the minds)
I've been thinking a lot about what kind of home I want to have, to be a part of. This weekend went a long way to solidifying in my head what I like most about my home, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

We had [ profile] rosefox and [ profile] sinboy over for the weekend, essentially. They wanted to go to the beginning of the summer party ("Lefcon," as [ profile] ringel so aptly put it), and needed accomodations, and I love having a guest room that gets used from time to time. I love having folks in my own setting, where I'm comfortable, and making sure that they're comfortable too. I am either becoming a Jewish Mother, or a Homebody. Or both. :P

Socialization, home-building, and my brain. Yum. )

But mostly? I love my husband, I love my house, I love my housemates (including my imminent housemate [ profile] clara_girl), and I'm pretty fond of my life in general. I'm looking forward to improving the house, despite its impending doominess of construction dust, etc. In general, life is good. :)
chaiya: (hippie)
Just when you think you can't handle people because they're complicated, difficult, and unhelpful ... you get to take a ride on an LED-lit merry-go-round. Well, if you're me, and you're lucky, you do. It was made by [ profile] sensesurfer, with help from lots of Susboids, and it was fucking fabulous. I look forward to another ride next weekend. :)

Thank you so much, [ profile] lyonesse and [ profile] iabervon. That was just what I needed. :)
chaiya: (thoughtful)
We talked today about the history of oralism, particularly in Europe & America. I've also been reading When the Mind Hears by Harlan Lane, which is a sort of history of the Deaf. (I am a slow reader, but this is a very worthwhile book, thus far.)

Did folks know that, up until the 1960s or 1970s, manual language was legally prohibited to be used in schools to educate the deaf? This decree was made in the 1880s or therabouts, and it took nearly 100 years to reverse. The Deaf children who went to school were supposed to muddle along by lip reading. Because oral speech was the only acceptable, civilized, Human method of communication.

This blows my mind. In the Dark Ages, folks thought that those who couldn't speak were comparable to "dumb animals," because speech was supposedly what separates man from beast. But in my lifetime this was still a prevalent idea? Hell's bells!

I began taking this class because I thought it would be neat, because I wanted to know signs to teach to small children as I coo over them, etc. I also thought it would be fun to take with [ profile] hakamadare, because now we have our own nonsequitur ASL jokes, and we can use it as a shorthand or as a private language when the need arises.

I want to continue taking the next levels of this class, however, because I want to support Deaf culture, because I want to be able to communicate with those who are Deaf and therefore would likely have more difficulty learning my language than I learning theirs. I want to go see Deaf poetry performances. I want to encourage folks to sign with me. I want to promote ASL as a nifty and useful language for those who have a hard time learning foreign tongues (which definitely describes me).

Mostly, I think I want to not be a Stupid American who can't conceive of any way but her own.

And I fear that having this desire actually does mean that I'm a Stupid American, after all.
chaiya: (fancy)
I keep meaning to blog this before it escapes me.

While working on the Twelve Goddesses show, I was cast as the goddess Vesta. As in, vestal virgins. As in, ohmygodmylinesareaboutchastity!

[ profile] herooftheage (the director) said he was relieved to have me in the show because I would be willing to play this part. I am astonished he didn't burst out with an evil laugh as he said this to me. ;)

The actual lines I was supposed to deliver were, "Next Vesta, with her flames of zeal, presents herself clad in white purity. Her book the soul's sweet comfort doth reveal by the ever-burning lamp of piety." Show the audience the book (actually a copy of Dante from props mistresses [ profile] dreda and [ profile] rising_moon), get back into the line, go on with the show.

See, the scripted version of my lines was kinda a mouthful. And so I found myself tripping over it in rehearsal, the first couple of times. So it became "Next Vesta, with her flames of steel ..."

Which later became "Next Vesta, with her buns of steel .."

Thank God, I was able to deliver the actual intended lines during the performance. But [ profile] hakamadare and I had a lot of laughter (uncomfortable, on my part) over the idea that I would recite the wrong version in front of those 130 people at the event ...
chaiya: (Default)
1. Grab the nearest book. (Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.)
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

"He says I mustn't -- not yet -- see his face or know his name. I'm forbidden to bring any light into his -- our -- chamber."

Then she looked up, and as our eyes met for a moment I saw in hers unspeakable joy.

This is from one of my all-time favorite books, Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. It's a retelling of the Psyche-Eros myth, from the evil stepsister's perspective. It breaks my heart every time, and I love it well. Steve and I recently started reading it aloud to one another.

This book, like much of Lewis' writing, lives and breathes for me. Unlike Narnia, however, it has none of that pesky Xtian moralizing and theme. If anything, it's a pagan-oriented book. Not as good for children, though, as Narnia.


chaiya: (Default)

January 2015

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