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wordweaverlynn on Dreamwidth asked for my top five favourite foods.

I'm going to answer this in two ways - as top five individual foods or ingredients, and as top five prepared foods.

First, the individual food items.

Cheese (Just about any kind), mushrooms, chocolate, strawberries, freshly baked bread

Now, the prepared foods.

1. Chocolate peanut butter ice cream

2. Thai basil fried rice (with chilis, tofu, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, onions, bok choi, etc.)

3. Lasagne with three cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta), spicy tomato and mushroom sauce, spinach and lots of pasta. And herbed garlic bread on the side

4. Curried chicken - I'll take various styles of curry as long as it's nice and hot, with rice, yogourt and a sweet chutney on the side.

5. Any kind of heavy, sweet chocolate torte-like dessert, with a rich buttery cream filling, if it has almonds and strawberries so much the better.

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Carmilla on Dreamwidth asked me: "Top ​five ​most ​memorable ​TV ​episodes?"

I'm going to limit this to continuing series, and not include anthology shows, because I could fill this list twice over just with Twilight Zone episodes and then what would I do with the episodes from The Outer Limits and Masters of Horror and Black Mirror and Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" - the series finale of M.A.S.H, because I will never forget Hawkeye and the woman on the bus with the crying baby.

"Darmok" - Star Trek: The Next Generation, because it does interesting things with the idea of language, and Patrick Stewart as Picard works it perfectly.

"A Late Delivery from Avalon" - Babylon 5, because Arthurian legends are my thing and this did it oh so very well.

"Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow" - Orphan Black, because Helena is Helena in all her glory "Did you threaten bebes? You should not threaten bebes." "I got refund."

"Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" - Doctor Who, because River Song is dying and the man she loves has no idea who she is.

Bonus TV episode:

"Once More with Feeling" - the musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because music and dancing and stuff.

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My friend evil_macaroni from Livejournal asked me to list my "Top ​5 ​non-speaking ​animal ​characters ​in ​movies, ​TV ​or ​books?"

And my answers are:

White Fang and Buck. I mention these two characters in the same breath because they are mirror twins. White Fang, the title character of Jack London's classic novel, travels from the feral circumstance of his birth in the Far North to an old age lived in placid domesticity in the gentle south. Buck, the main character in Call of the Wild by the same author, is stolen from his owner's home in California to become first an Alaskan sled dog and then a wild dog among wolves.

Pixel, the Cat Who Walks through Walls. He does say "blert" a lot, but that doesn't count as talking, does it?

Because they belong together, I'm naming them together - Tao, Luath and Bodger, aka Ch. Boroughcastle Brigadier of Doune, the three animals in The Incredible Journey. I refer of course only to their depictions in the book or the first movie, as I understand some idiot made them talk in the remake.

Shadowfax, the silver horse companion of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Chief of the Mearas, the fastest horse in Middle Earth.

And, because you didn't specify fictional characters, Elsa the Lioness, from the book Born Free, written by Joy Adamson.
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This is a meme going around on Tumblr, where I have a few friends. If it hasn't made it to Dreamwidth yet, it's here now. :)

Ask me for my top five of anything, and I will try to answer. Those who know me well will expect that you might get more than five. Or an essay rather than a list, but that's how I sometimes roll.

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I learn via [personal profile] oursin that today is World Book day, and that there is a meme questionnaire going around as a celebration of the day.

The books I'm reading: Alison Weir, Innocent Traitor; Suzie Bright, Big Sex, Little Death: A Memoir; Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life; Charles R. Saunders, Imaro: The Naama War; Helen Merrick, The Secret Feminist Cabal: A cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms; Gwyneth Jones, Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality; and I'm re-reading Emma by Jane Austen.

The book I love the most. This is a silly question. There are hundreds of books I love the most, depending on my mood and circumstance.

The last book I received as a gift: My beloved partner gave me a package of out-of-print (and one very expensive when new) books I have wanted to own that he found on various used book hunting sites. These included: Gwyneth Jones, North Wind; Gwyneth Jones, Phoenix Cafe; Eleanor Arnason, To the Resurrection Station; Diana Paxson, Brisingamen; Maureen McHugh, Mission Child; Jody Scott, I. Vampire; John M. Ford, The Dragon Waiting ; Patrick McCormack, The Last Companion; Patrick McCormack, The White Phantom; Ellen Galford, Queendom Come; and Joanne Findon, A Woman's Words: Emer and Female Speech in the Ulster Cycle.

The last book I gave as a gift: Christmas presents for my partner: Modesty Blaise: Death In Slow Motion, Modesty Blaise: The Double Agent, Modesty Blaise: Million Dollar Game, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, The History of Hell, Delusions Of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, The Crowded Universe: The Race to Find Life Beyond Earth, Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche and The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease.

The nearest book: My e-reader is right beside me, and it contains approximately 100 ebooks I am reading or want to read. The nearest physical books are Charles R. Saunders, Imaro: The Naama War and Helen Merrick, The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms.
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I've seen variations on this meme mocking Sarah Palin's lack of knowledge about key U.S. Supreme Court decisions in a few places. This one I swiped from [personal profile] xochiquetzl:

Sarah Palin managed to get Roe v. Wade, but was stumped when asked to name any other Supreme Court decisions. In the spirit of remembering that there is more to law than that one case, I am participating in this meme.

The Rules: Post info about ONE Supreme Court decision, modern or historic to your lj. (Any decision, as long as it's not Roe v. Wade.) For those who see this on your f-list, take the meme to your OWN lj to spread the fun.

I'll pick Griswold v. Connecticut. This 1965 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned a law that made the distribution of contraceptive devices to married couples illegal, and by arguing that privacy is protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, established the concept of right to privacy.

Griswold v. Connecticut was later used as a precedent in such cases as Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), which extended the right to possess contraception to unmarried couples, Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision that decriminalised sodomy between consenting adults in private.


Apr. 6th, 2008 06:04 pm
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Found on [profile] goodlookinout's journal:

Empire Magazine has revealed its list of the "50 Greatest TV Shows" ever. Below is the list and here be the rules.

1. Bold the shows you've watched every episode of
2. Italicize the shows you've seen at least one episode of
3. Post your answers

Perusing the list, I would think that this was drawn up by people who have only seen the last 20-odd years of mostly American television. Even if we exclude all news, talk, sketch comedy and variety shows (The Ed Sullivan Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Laugh-In, That Was the Week That Was? - were these not great?) where is All in the Family? M*A*S*H? The Honeymooners? I Love Lucy? The Dick Van Dyke Show? The Twilight Zone? The Prisoner? The Fugitive? Have Gun Will Travel? Perry Mason? Hill Street Blues? Cheers? The Avengers? The Waltons? St. Elsewhere? Prime Suspect?

Anyway, here are my responses to this particular, and particularly flawed, list.

50. Quantum Leap
49. Prison Break
48. Veronica Mars
47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
46. Sex & The City

45. Farscape
44. Cracker (This is, I assume, the British series)
43. Star Trek
42. Only Fools and Horses
41. Band of Brothers

40. Life on Mars
39. Monty Python's Flying Circus
38. Curb Your Enthusiasm
37. Star Trek: The Next Generation
36. Father Ted

35. Alias
34. Frasier
33. CSI: Las Vegas
32. Babylon 5
31. Deadwood

30. Dexter
29. ER
28. Fawlty Towers
27. Six Feet Under
26. Red Dwarf

25. Futurama
24. Twin Peaks
23. The Office UK
22. The Shield
21. Angel

20. Blackadder
19. Scrubs
18. Arrested Development
17. South Park
16. Doctor Who (Ok, I might have missed a couple of Patrick Troughton episodes on original airing that are now lost forever, but otherwise, yes I've seen them all)

15. Heroes
14. Firefly
13. Battlestar Galactica (same goes for both series)
12. Family Guy
11. Seinfeld

10. Spaced
09. The X-Files
08. The Wire
07. Friends
06. 24

05. Lost
04. The West Wing
03. The Sopranos
02. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
01. The Simpsons

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Yes, I did this meme, but in the comments to a friends-locked journal entry.

Here are my answers, if anyone is interested. )

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There's this meme going around about that matches your opinions on policy issues with those of the Democratic and Republican candidates.

So I took the quiz, answering as if I were an American citizen. My scores:

95% Dennis Kucinich
93% Mike Gravel
80% Chris Dodd
80% Barack Obama
78% John Edwards
76% Joe Biden
76% Bill Richardson
75% Hillary Clinton
34% Rudy Giuliani
32% Ron Paul
25% John McCain
19% Mike Huckabee
19% Mitt Romney
11% Tom Tancredo
10% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

I couldn't quite place Gravel, so I Googled him. I was not really surprised when the first hit was a news story which stated that the top two candidates on my list, Kucinich and Gravel, had been eliminated from the ABC presidential debates because they haven't a hope in hell of winning.

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I am aware that this was developed for use in a university setting, but it seems to me that the list is very questionable as more than a very blunt instriment indeed, and does not do very well at anything other than, perhaps, differentiating the traditional American middle class nuclear family from anything that is not that.

I illustrate by doing... there's hardly a single question I can respond to without questions and qualifications. The instructions are to bold that which is true, but it doesn't tell me which part of my childhood or youth I'm to consider. Since I went through several changes of class before hitting 18 and/or finishing college, both of which events are mentioned in this list, I'm going to have to discuss what was true for me when.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. (If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.)

1. Father went to college. (That is, my most likely biological father, whom I have never met and who hasn't had any effect on my life experience, and who did not at any time, to my knowledge, contribute to my financial support. My mother's husband, who had a profound effect on my class status for the first few years of my life, did not attend university, but did, I think, attend some community or vocational college. In Canada, in the 1950s, this is a huge difference in class.)

2. Father finished college. (See above. My putative biological father not only finished university, he taught university, which is what he was doing when he got his student, my mother, pregnant. She had to leave school, of course. This was the 50s.)

3. Mother went to college. (See above.)

4. Mother finished college. (Much later, when I was around nine or ten, she completed her BA and her MA. She got her PhD when I was about 16, and got her law degree when I was in my early 20s.)

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. (See above. On the part of my biological father, this would have had zero effect on my own class or access to professional class privileges or values while growing up. My mother taught constitutional law later in life after retiring from a long career in the civil service which started when I was 10, after she finished her MA - but that had no effect on my class or access to professional class privileges either, as it happened after we'd pretty much stopped speaking altogether. I have other relatives, but I had little to no contact with most of them, ever, and most of them, I have no idea what their profession or occupation might have been. I was raised for a time by my maternal grandmother, who was completely estranged from her own family. My biological maternal grandfather was an engineer - definitely professional class in the 1920s and 30s, but since my grandparents divorced when my mother was two, he's not a class influence. My grandmother ran a whorehouse during the war - what class would that make her - do you know? I certainly don't. The only one of her husbands I even knew was her last, a farmer who did not complete grade 6. He helped raise me at some points in my life.)

All of these questions assume a stable nuclear family, or at least a family in which one's relatives are ongoing influences. It assumes that you know who your parents are and stayed with them throughout your childhood, that changes in family structure such as divorce or death of a parent did not affect your family's circumstances.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers. (By the time I was 11 or 12 and my mother was fully established in the professional class and out from under the debts her husband had dumped on her, yes, I was the same economic class as my teachers.)

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home. (Yes, even if many of them were second-hand or my mother's textbooks when I was very young. Having a very strong aspiration to complete her own education and move up in class, my mother went to some lengths to provide me with access to the cultural advantages of the class she wanted us to become accustomed to. She did without so that I could have books, when we were poor. She gave me as much money as I wanted to acquire books once we were middle class.)

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. (See above. By the time I left home, the walls were covered with books, hers and mine.)

9. Were read children’s books by a parent. (My mother read a lot to me when I was very young, but as I began reading spontaneously when I was about three, she didn't continue this once I could read on my own. She did, however, encourage me to write.)

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18. (Yes. But (there's always a but)... I had free gym lessons for a while when my mother worked for the YMHC in Montreal. Later, I had more free sports and gym lessons for a while when my mother's husband worked for the YMCA in Saskatoon. I had some free piano lessons courtesy of a friend of mt mother's who was paying for a Conservatory student to come and teach her two daughters - she let me sit in and use their piano for practice. I had some free art lessons when I was young becasue many of my mother's friends were struggling artists and she'd let them come to dinner sometimes. I had free swimming lessons through a community pool. And later, in high school, I had a whole year's worth of private art lessons that I arranged for myself by doing housework and shopping for an artist I'd met through some school program.)

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18. (See above.)

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like you are portrayed positively. Often people who talk like me are (but more often than not their voices are baritone or tenor or even bass rather than contralto or soprano), but never people who dress and look like me.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. (This really didn't happen in the 60s, unless you were really upper class.)

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.([Edit] I neglected to discuss the whole issue of paying for university. I first went to university when I was 16. When I started university, I was still living with my mother, who paid my tuition. The universtiy I attended was located in the city I lived in, so I lived at home and my mother continued to pay all my living costs. However, I dropped out at mid-term, left home and hitchhiked around the continent for a while, having many adventures on little to no money at all before deciding to go live with my grandmother and go back to school. Still estranged from my mother, with my grandmother unable to help me financially, I managed to win a scholarship that covered tuition and room and board (in residence). I got a job working nights in a pizza joint to cover all my other expenses.)

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs. (See above)

16. Went to a private high school. (For one year. On partial scholarship. My mother's husband lost the money that was supposed to cover the rest of it gambling, so I wasn't welcome back the next year, and they withheld my prize for best student in Form I becasue the bill wasn't paid. I should be glad that they didn't kick me out at half-term.)

17. Went to summer camp. (For one summer. When my mother's husband had a job with a summer camp and staff kids were allowed to attend free.)

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18. (When I was going to high school, Greek was still taught in some schools. I loved Greek. But after my first year, it was phased out at my school. The Greek teacher, out of the goodness of his heart and for no pay, allowed those of us who wanted to continue to drop in on him to ask questions, run drills with him, do assignments and have them marked, on our own schedules. Does that count?)

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. (After my mother joined the professional class, all the time. Before then, in summer, we camped. In winter, we stayed in cheap motels.)

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18. (The older I was, the more likely this was to be true, but as an only child without any relatives living nearby, during the entire childhood, most of my clothes were either bought new or, more likely, made by my mother.)

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. (When I was around 25, my mother gave me her older car when she got a new one. I've never owned a new car in my life. Note how this assumes that one's parents were able to maintain a car.)

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. (As I mmentioned, many of my mother's friends were struggling artists. Plus, both my mother and I painted. After mother pulled us up into the middle class, she sometimes bought original art from unknown artists whose work she liked.)

23. You and your family lived in a single family house. (Once, for a couple of years, we rented a small house in Saskatoon. Also, my grandmother and her husband lived in a farmhouse in rural Nova Scotia during the times I lived with them. The rest was apartments and flats.)

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home. (My grandmother's husband owned that farmhouse. My mother has never owned any houses to the best of my knowledge, except for the farmhouse which she inherited and sold when my grandmother died. At 52, I've just bought my first house.)

25. You had your own room as a child. (I was an only child, so this was mostly true. But even so, for a while, I shared a bedroom with my mother, after she divorced but before she paid off the debts. And for a time, when I was quite young, we all lived in a bedsit, my mother, her husband, and me.)

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18. (Once my mother was well estabvlished as a professional, yes.)

27. Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course. (This was, again, something only for the very upper crust when I was young.)

28. Had your own TV in your room in High School (Yes. A very small, portable, black and white TV.)

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College. (Hah! I have only just this year, at the age of 52, been able to begin an RRSP, which is the Canadian version of an IRA.)

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. (My mother used to fly me home to my grandmother's whenever, for whatever reason, it wasn't possible for her to have me with her. Once I was into my teens and we were middle class, we flew often when vacationing.)

31. Went on a cruise with your family.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. (When I was young, yes, on free admittance days. When I was older, often, particularly when we travelled.)

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (Since we usually rented, there were for the most part no heating bills, it was included in the rent. I did have a basic idea of how much rent my mother paid and how it compared to rents in other kinds of housing. And of course I knew how much it took to buy a cord of wood for the wood stove at my grandmother's farmhouse.)

One of the assumptions in this list that hits me the hardest when I try to answer, aside from the whole issue of assumptions about family structures, is the assumption that one either gets access to intellectual experience (books, classes, private schools, art, museums, etc.) as a privilege or not at all. What about all the people who managed access, but it wasn't through privilege but through a combination of luck and planning and getting in through the side or even the back door, or even just looking very intently through a window, for some. I wasn't privileged to have access to cultural knowlege, my mother, during my childhood, fought hard and found unconventional ways to get me access. But I always knew I didn't always arrive through the front door, and so, while I have the knowledge, and I now have many of the privileges that knowlege has enabled me to access, I feel differently about it than someone who got those initial experiences as entitlements. I imagine there are a lot of people that got their intellectual privilege the same way.

For more discussion of the unexamined assumptions in this list, check out Elizabeth Bear's journal ([personal profile] matociquala)

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Odd, I keep hearing funny sounds out there, as if someone was kind of just walking around bumping into things.

And there's been an odd smell out there tonight, too. I think some poor animal must have crawled under our porch and died. Probably a squirrel.

Other than that's it's really quiet. Hardly any cars at all.

I'll have to ask [personal profile] glaurung_quena if he saw anything unusual once he gets back from the corner store. Except... he's been gone a long time for just a trip to the corner store.

Edit: June 14. Everything seems fine today. The Night of the Living Zombie Blogs is over.

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So there’s this meme going around, in which someone posts a list like the one I’m posting here, of 10 things you love that all begin with a specific letter, and if you want to play, you comment on their post and they give you a letter that you’re supposed to use to make your own list of 10 things you love that start with that one specific letter. I read a list created by [ profile] chlaal, and asked her for a letter, and she gave me the letter V.

So here are 10 things I love that begin with the letter V.

Vampires. I have a great fetishy love for vampires. The myth fascinates me, the idea of the undead who needs the living to survive. It’s all about lusts and dark desires and bitter bargains. I’m particularly attracted to the current cultural project to redeem the vampire – which to my mind heightens the struggle. It’s one thing to have this wonderful villain (at least from the perspective of a human being) that walks the night killing people for their blood in order to survive, this unrepentant clot of cold and dark and hunger and need that stalks the living, but… placing the struggle between need and empathy, light and darkness, living and dying within the mind (and maybe the soul) of one creature makes for fascinating reading.

Vulvas. And what lovely, rich, warm, soft, beautiful, delicious, earthy, lusty, playful, expressive things they are, too.

Vulcans. Well, one Vulcan in particular (yes, I was a Trekkie and I was a Mr. Spock fangirl from day one, and by day one, I mean September of 1966). And all the imagined versions of an alien culture based on logic and reason, which (in these days of scorn toward the “reality-based community” from worshipers of the Thing from the Outer Darkness that Sits in the House and his Canadian acolyte, the Thing that Rules on the Hill) somehow seems ever more attractive, at least in public life.

Vacations. I love vacations. They are times when I can sleep all I want and read books all day and night if it pleases me with no thought to mundane demands.

Vonarburg, Elisabeth. Amazing writer of stunningly thoughtful and lyrical science fiction. If you don’t know who she is, go read something by her today, in French or English. May I recommend Chroniques du pays des mères, published in English as In the Mothers' Land (and in English in Canada as The Maerlande Chronicles.

Violins. There is something about the sound that a violin makes – whether it’s being handled by Isaac Stern or Ashley MacIsaac or anyone in between) that strikes right into my soul and moves it to sing, to pray, to dance, to cry…

Volcanos. One of the great and dramatic reminders we have that no matter how powerful we think ourselves to be, the Earth can destroy us. As perhaps she should, considering what we’ve been doing to her and her other children.

Viridian. There are many shades of the colour green that I like, but viridian is one of my favourites. I love it because it’s the colour of the dark forest, with hints of earth and dark blue waters and all sorts of wonderful things. It has weight and depth and the kind of abiding strength to it that you find in the earth itself.

Vanagas. As in Povilas Vanagas and his spouse and skating partner Margarita Drobiazko. One of the best, most graceful, most expressive, most powerful ice dancing teams I’ve ever seen. Perhaps they weren’t always technically perfect – although at times in their amateur career they came very close – but there was always a sense of both thought and passion in their skating, and they could be wild and blazing, or soft and gentle, and always straight from the soul.

Vangelis. Specifically his score for the movie Chariots of Fire. I could listen to that music all day. In fact, sometimes I have.

Ok. Your turn. If you want one. Ask me for a letter.
Or just comment on the things I listed, if that's more your style.

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I don't usually post about memes, even if I do them when I see them in someone else's journal. But this one amused me. I assume that it takes sections of text out of your LJ of the proper length to create a Haiku. The ones it has generated for me have been, well, rather appropriate.

As you all probably know, haiku do not always stand alone as complete poems, but are sometimes parts of a discussion, either within the writing of one individual or as a conversation between two. The several haiku below may be considered in that light.

in prisons and jail
cells and interrogation
rooms and detention

not to ignore the
contributions of all those
substances together

behind walls you that
never done nothin' but
build to destroy you

the leaders and law
makers of the so called
civilised west

suspect that torture
in prisons and jail cells and

might happen both in
terms of the content of their
bodies and is buried

you do let me ask
just one simple question what
the fuck seriously

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Actually, I think this has gone around before, but...

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of it and the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. 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.
6. Tag three people.

The book:
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, Rebecca Solnit

Page 123 is the end of a chapter and there are only four sentences on the page, so I am posting the concluding paragragh of the chapter, which is sentences 3 and 4. In this paragraph, Solnit is quoting from Jonathan Schell's The Unconconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People, which is another book that I highly recommend.

Schell continues, "Individual hearts and minds change; those who have been changed become aware of one another; still others are emboldened, in a contagion of boldness; the 'impossible' becomes possible; immediately it is done, surprising the actors almost as much as their opponents; and suddenly, almost with the swiftness of thought - whose transformation has in fact set the whole process in motion - the old regime, a moment ago so impressive, vanishes like a mirage." Cancun 2003, where the power of small-scale farmers and other activists proved supreme and the apparently inexorable advance of the WTO was halted and turned back, was one of those carnival moments of hope realized, one of the days of creation.

If you want to play too, consider yourself tagged.
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I've been tagged by [profile] goodlookinout. The meme is:

Explain your LiveJournal name and its meaning. When you're done, tag as many people as there are letters in your name.

Well, I'll do the explaining but not the tagging, although there are a goodly number of folks with usernames that I am curious about. Just my style, man. (Obscure Neil Young reference.)

Why the name Morgan Dhu? Lot of levels there. To begin with, Morgan is my chosen use name in real life as well. It was one of the names my mother considered as a middle name for me, along with Bronwen and a few other Celtic names. She didn't put any middle name on my birth certificate, but I did know the names she considered and ultimately chose Morgan, because it sounded like who I wanted to be, and hoped I was. My first name, which not many people know, is not and has never been me, and hasn't been used outside of official documentary purposes in about 25 years.

So, I am Morgan, everywhere I go. And yes, my ethnic background is, as far as anyone knows, Welsh, Scots, maybe a hint of Irish and nothing else. I am a Celt, Gael and Cymraig.

Dhu is a variation on the Gaelic word dubh, which means dark and foreboding, mysterious, secret or hidden; it can also mean evil, but I'm not using it in that sense.

In Gaelic culture (as in many others), people are given nicknames based on physical or personality characteristics. So Morgan Dhu is one way of saying Morgan the Black (I have hair that is so dark brown as to be indistinguishable from black except under a strong light), or Morgan the Mysterious (and there's a part of me that likes sounding mysterious, even if I'm not really).

More layers of meaning. There is a book that I love, possibly more than any other book, Margaret Laurence's The Diviners. Its central character is Morag Gunn, who is a Celt born and raised in Canada, who is given at one point the nickname of Morag Dhu. I have always in many ways identified with the character of Morag Gunn.

Still more layers of meaning. I used to do a lot of RPGing back in the days when it was mostly D&D and people used to sit around a kitchen table and figure out their character's attributes on a sheet of paper. One of my most successful and longest-running characters (through many linked campaigns until she grew so powerful I had to retire her) was a chaotic good warrior-cleric named Morgan Dhu.

So when I went onto the net, I wanted a name that was not exactly my real, in daily life name, but was nonetheless a name that was me, and not a persona, because I have chosen not to adopt a net persona that differs from my self in any way other than the absence of physicality. And on mailing lists, in Usenet, in Live Journal, and anywhere else I may have gone or may go in the future, I am either Morgan Dhu or my own full Highlander name.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Because the election is just too damned depressing to talk about.

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Taken from [ profile] hothead, [ profile] fancymcsnazsnaz, and [ profile] madamjolie, and modified to fit my own circumstances.

I'm pro-choice, and I would have an abortion. I have had an abortion in the past, and I do not regret my choice.

The meme:

If you agree with this statement, post it in your journal:

I'm pro-choice, and I would have an abortion.

*If pregnancy is not in the theoretical cards for you but you want to participate, feel free to substitute the statement "I am pro-choice" or "I'm pro choice and I would assist someone with having an abortion, no questions asked." Or whatever you're comfortable with. The implications are slightly different, but solidarity is just as important. The important thing is not having the BUT that everyone loves throw in there.

The background:

There are too many damned idiots in the world going around saying "I'm pro-choice, but..."

But what? But I'm so morally superior I'd never do such a nasty thing myself? But I'll never be in that position because I'm too smart, too privileged, too whatever I think will exempt me from the possibility of being pregnant and not wanting a child? But I think it's the less worse of two evils and I really feel uncomfortable about it? But I really don't want to admit that pro-choice means that some people will have abortions, no matter how perfect a world it is.

And if you are that person who accepts without judgment another's choice to have an abortion but would not have one yourself, guess what - you're just plain pro-choice. You choose not to abort. But it's a choice, and you acknowledge other people's rights to choose differently. So you don't need to say "I'm pro-choice, but..." Unless what you're really after is distancing yourself from those people who choose abortion, and if you are, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why you need to distance yourself.

So, no "Buts" allowed on this one. You either believe in reproductive and sexual choice or you don't.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Edit: For those who do not know, WOF stands for Women on Fire, which is the name of a series of very good and highly recommended (by me, at least) fantasy novels (five books to date, including a prequel) written by the amazingly multi-talented [ profile] plaidder. Information about the books, and the means of obtaining them (since the evil genre publishing world has not seen fit to print them) is available here.

These novels are set in a universe in which there are, well, beings who involve themselves to a greater or lesser extent in what people do. Two such beings are known as Idair and The Dark One. Both are able to invest people with paranormal abilities. Those invested by Idair are bright, those invested by the Dark One are, not surprisingly, dark. Both beings require their followers to adhere to certain rules of behaviour, or forfeit their special abilities. One of the things that Idair's followers cannot do and retain their allegence is lie. The Dark One's followers can lie whenever they choose but they cannot tell anyone that they love them.

[ profile] plaidder wrote:

One of those LJ-memes is going round about where you ask someone 5 questions, and they answer them in their LJ, and then people can leave comments in that person's LJ asking to be 'interviewed,' and on it goes.

I was pondering the niceties of netiquette in relation to this (how personal can you make the question without causing the interviewee grief?) and I came up with the following WOF-specific variation:

Instructions )

[ profile] plaidder's questions (and my answers):

1. Do you like your body?

I like my body, but that is not the only emotional response that I have to my body. I like my body for being the vehicle through/in/as which I live here and now, for giving me touch and sound and sight and taste, and sometimes smell, for all the physical acts and experiences I have known through its interface with the rest of the physical world, for the things I can do in interaction with other physicalities, living and not-living.

2. Do you actually call Glaurung Glaurung, or do you use his name?

When I refer to my partner online, I call him Glaurung in those fora where that is how he is known. When I speak or write of him to other people who know his name, I usually use that name. When I call him or speak to him, I rarely use Glaurung and sometimes use his name, but usually call him my dragon or my beloved.

3. If you could eliminate one very common noxious chemical from your enviornment, what would it be?

There is a chemical - or perhaps a family of related chemicals, although I do not know its/their name(s) - which is used specifically in many products with artificial scents to cause the actual molecules of artificial scent to adhere more strongly to the surfaces of objects. It is the chemical that makes your laundry smell "extra fresh, extra long," that makes the smell of the perfume and scented shampoo and soap and deoderant and skin lotion and makeup that you put on your body cling to your hair, skin, your clothes, and everything you touch until it is actively washed away. It is the chemical that makes your kitchen smell lemony-clean long after you've finished washing your dishes and countertops. It is the reason that when I buy a used book, or risk borrowing one from the library, I often have to bake it at low heat for days to drive out the perfume left there by the last reader. If scents dissipated naturally instead of clinging to everything for days, that would reduce the impact of many other different chemicals I cannot tolerate, so if I could eliminate just one common chemical, this would probably do me the most good - and do others the least inconvenience.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Another book meme. Oh well, I suppose that things in the "real" world are just so fucking insane that I'm finding more that I enjoy talking about in the world of books than the world of so-called reality. Not that I think what I'm reading in the newspapers is actually reality, but you all surely know more-or-less what I mean.

Taken from [profile] chlaal

1) How many books do you have?

[profile] chlaal said "I'm amazed by the concept of people actually knowing how many books they have," and I'm going to have to agree with her on that. What also makes this question somewhat difficult to answer is the fact that my partner and I are both omnivorous readers, but even though we both buy books, they’re really all pretty much "ours."

Based on average books per foot of shelving multiplied by approximate feet of shelving, I'd say we have between 2,250 and 2,500 books. And no, in most rooms we can't see very much of the walls, why do you ask?

2) What is the last book you bought?

Actually, the last book I have was bought for me by my partner, but it was from my "wish list" of science fiction and fantasy books (a 5-page list, and growing I might add - how dare these people write more books before I've finished reading the ones they've already written?) - Midnight Harvest, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, one in her very lengthy and entertaining Count Saint-Germain series.

The last books (shopping spree) I bought myself were mostly for my partner's birthday, but since I also intend to read them, I'll list them here.

Islam and Democracy, Fatima Mernissi
Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer, Nancy Mairs
A Troubled Guest: Life & Death Stories, Nancy Mairs
Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction & Beyond, Marleen S. Barr
Future: Tense, Gwynne Dyer
Gifts, Ursula K. LeGuin
The Economy of Cities, Jane Jacobs

3)What is the last book you read?

The last book I finished was Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer, by Nancy Mairs. I'm currently reading Corporation by Joel Bakan.

4) Five books that mean a lot to me.

Hmm. The last meme I did listed ten of my favourite books, all of which mean a lot to me. So I'm going to see if I can think of five books that mean a lot to me that weren’t on the previous list.

1. Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. I read this when I was quite young (not yet 10) and every few months I still find myself in a conversation and suddenly realise just how much it influenced me, on everything from my approach to language and poetry to my attitudes toward gender reassignment surgery.

2. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach. I've never denied I was a hippie. 'Nuff said.

3. The Glass Bead Game, by Herman Hesse. I gained a lot of insights about spirituality, epistemology, meditation, and the balance of life from thinking about this book.

4. The Dialectic of Sex: Case for Feminist Revolution, by Shulamith Firestone. For some people it was The Feminist Mystique, for some it was The Female Eunuch - and I'm not saying those books didn't affect me profoundly, because they did – but Firestone's book put feminism into a larger context and gave it a burning heart for me. I am the kind of feminist – and very likely the kind of socialist – that I am today because of the place she gave me to start my journey.

5. The Golden Bough, by James Frazier. I tend to see life, language, thought in terms of symbols, parallels, thematic connections. It's a deeply ingrained part of how I think, and I suspect I owe a great deal of that to an early and intensely thorough reading of this book.

So, interestingly enough, this turned out to be, not so much about my favourite books, as about some of the books that shaped who I am.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Just in case anyone is wondering, here are the authors and titles to go with the first lines posted a while back.

1. Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein

2. This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

3. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

4. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

5. The window of the bus was a dark square against the featureless night. Lea let her eyes focus slowly from their unthinking blur until her face materialized, faint and fragmentary, highlighted by the dim light of the bus interior. Pilgrimage: The Book of the People, Zenna Henderson

6. Chick with a harp. Her hair was the color of an angry sunset, and it fell to her waist in ripples of copper and red. Gossamer Axe, Gael Baudino

7. The river flowed both ways. The current moved from north to south, but the wind usually came from the south, rippling the bronze-green water in the opposite direction. The Diviners, Margaret Laurence

8. The Khadilh ban-harihn frowned at the disk he had in his hand, annoyed and apprehensive. At the Seventh Level, Suzette Haden Elgin

9. The people in this book might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California. Always Coming Home, Ursula K. LeGuin

10. I know I was all right on Friday when I got up; if anything I was feeling more stolid than usual. The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood

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