taelle: (Leningrad)
2017-01-11 10:38 pm
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(no subject)

One of the most surprising misunderstandings in my life was when guests from another city were sure that our bridges lift in winter, too.

See, they thought it was just a touristy attraction.

... I personally find ships going through the river much more of a fascinating sight than just bridges lifting. The bridges do not all lift in the same way, and the river has a bit of a turn within the city, so at one point the ships cross the river at almost a diagonal so as to be able to pass through the next bridge.

(I still regret a bit about not being able to see the Aurora go back to her place. It was night, and it was cold, and they weren't sure till the last moment that there would be enough water for a cruiser to go up, but still.)
taelle: (Leningrad)
2016-06-24 09:18 pm

(no subject)

Reading all the discussions about Brexit, what I kinda miss is the opinion of those who voted to leave. Are they satisfied? Did the falling pound rate alarm them or do they think "We don't need no stinking foreign currency anyway"?

... because that's what pro-government people in Russia say. "Who cares ruble is falling? I don't need dollars!", "Who cares if other countries don't want to deal with us? We have everything we need in Russia".

I kind of trained my psyche to deal with our local politics, but when the rest of the world follows in the madness, it's troubling. Are we having Weimar era revival? Russia-wise, I keep thinking that the era most similar to ours is Nicholas I's times, pre-Crimea war and the war itself. Similar brand of nationalism and blindness.

(Of course any historical similarities are at best imprecise, but. This is a soothing mental exercise of the "we survived that, then we probably will survive this" variety)

(the existence of Israel is also very soothing, history-wise. Even though I don't particularly want to move there)
taelle: (cosy)
2016-06-10 09:04 pm

(no subject)

I've been on Tumblr for ages and I am still bewildered by the use of the emotional-disaster language when talking about fandom and fannishness. Everyone always has fits of ugly crying and having their life ruined. *shrug* I don't know if anyone does sociology and psychology of Tumblr or something - I'd read an article on this.

... then, I'd read an article on everything. Normal people deal with politics, for example, by having a discussion on FB. I deal with politics by finding a suitable monograph to read.

Language learning still occupies a lot of my time. But. I have two goals in learning languages: (1) How does this work anyway, I am curious; and (2) More books available to read, cool! Duolingo is sort of decent for the first stage, but not quite enough - I guess I have to spend less time there and more time reading grammar books.

Also, this doesn't work with Spanish. I kind of revived my Spanish through Duolingo, but now I need reading to not let it get rusty, and I don't know what I want to read in Spanish. I did not choose it consciously, I sort of fell into it when I was ten. So I read a lot of classics and worthy moderns, which I mostly did not like. And I can't practice a language by reading what I do not like, I just won't read it. And it's stupid to lose a language. What on earth do I want to read in Spanish?

... maybe I should finish watching Ministerio del Tiempo at least, though TV series are usually not my thing.
taelle: (Default)
2016-06-03 12:28 am

(no subject)

I don't really believe in poetry translations.
No, that sounds wrong. I mean, I enjoy them, but as sort-of-fanfics - a bit like screen adaptations of novels. maybe. They are interesting in what they are doing, and they have value in themselves, but do they let you know the original poet? I love Marshak's Shakespeare sonnets, but they are not much like Shakespeare's Shakespeare sonnets in both tone and intent.
So, then, if you (if I) read poetry, this has to be done in its original language.
Only poetry is probably most difficult form of reading in a foreign language. I mean, I'm more or less fluent in English, but I know myself to have dubious pronunciation, so am I sure the English poetry sounds right in my head? (thank gods for online audios of poetry readings)
And that's English, probably my best current language. Do I dare to read in any other language? ... I do, but am I right? This post is actually brought to you by me trying Ukrainian poetry and probably being in over my head.

Here's a Polish poem so that I wouldn't be too appalled to reread this post. I am worse at reading Polish than Ukrainian, but this one has inner simplicity (and I've read three different translations).

Kamyk jest stworzeniem

równy samemu sobie
pilnujący swych granic

wypełniony dokładnie
kamiennym sensem

o zapachu który niczego nie przypomina
niczego nie płoszy nie budzi pożądania

jego zapał i chód
są słuszne i pełne godności

czuję ciężki wyrzut
kiedy go trzymam w dłoni
i ciało jego szlachetne
przenika fałszywe ciepło

- Kamyki nie dają się oswoić
do końca będą na nas patrzeć
okiem spokojnym bardzo jasnym

(Zbigniew Herbert)
taelle: (Default)
2015-11-06 11:11 am
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(no subject)

For now I listened to three songs from Hamilton (I was too enthused by an opportunity to catch with something everyone talks about. I mean, by the time I manage to watch five eps of some TV series fandom talks about, fandom will go through two more popular crazes. But musical... that I can deal with. Maybe)

You'll Be Back I loved.
Wait for It was quite nice.
And then I went to listen to the opening and while clever, it was so headache-inducing that I had to take a breather.

Can I deal with a show's worth of stuff like this? Well, I learned to like beer which was counter-intuitive, so maybe. We'll see.

I am hopeless at being fandom-ish.
taelle: (Leningrad)
2015-10-17 10:32 pm

(no subject)

... and maybe one of the reasons it's so hard for me to take in a lot of forms of the current social justice culture is because I am who I am - a part of the Russian intelligentsia culture which spent all of the late 19th century and early 20th century feeling guilty about social injustice and about its privileges, and then about 70 years having this internalized guilt approved and supported by the state. By now there's not much guilt to add to all that.

(I probably do have internalized prejudice, too. Almost everyone does)
taelle: (Default)
2015-09-30 10:46 pm

Wednesday reading - actually on a Wednesday

Reading: Twelve Drummers Drumming by C. C. Dennison, looks like a readable mystery, though the protagonist priest's background seems a bit too much - twice orphaned! mother a Eurovision winner! former stage magician! with last name Christmas!

Also: Autobiography of Aleksandra Berezina. A very strange person, a wannabe artist and author of Greek-style epigrams; a notable scholar of Ancient Greek liked her epigrams so much that he took it upon himself to edit and publish her memoir after her death. Early 20th century in Saint Petersburg, extremely vivid and picturesque description, weird and a bit off-putting personality - I was not surprised to learn that she ended up almost a vagrant.

Finished: Moscow and Moscovites by V. Gilyarovsky - Moscow about 150 years ago by a then-famous reporter who knew everything and everybody. Very readable.

To-read: who knows? I think I have another Dennison...
taelle: (Default)
2015-05-22 02:56 pm

(no subject)

Funny how bad I am sometimes at knowing myself. Used to be, I believed I was interested in medieval history, when it is becoming more and more evident that the 20th century is the most interesting - because my brain works at history from the 'why people are as they are', and the troubles of the latest century have, of course, contributed the most.

(but not _just_ 20th century. And when have I ever been able to stick to one topic? Maybe that was why I sucked a proto-academic researcher)
taelle: (Leningrad)
2015-03-14 09:44 pm
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(no subject)

I wonder what's happening with our political power. But only sort of dimly wondering, not believing in much good.

Though they let Svetlana Davydova go; that's good.

But it feels like some sort of spring madness. Nothing is real.
taelle: (Default)
2015-03-03 01:14 am

(no subject)

I've known it for a long time, but it's still unsettling that the word for 'Jew' in Western Slavic languages is one that exists in Russian but is offensive...
taelle: (Default)
2015-03-01 12:30 pm

(no subject)

Watched the "I am a Russian occupant" video (with English subtitles here): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T65SwzHAbes

... lovely. Someone caught up with 'white man's burden' just as the whole world was discarding it.

And people are buying into it.

(I am not sure I even have a tag for it. I am going to the memorial rally for Nemtsov now, and then I am going to think whether I want to keep blogging about this or to delete everything)
taelle: (Default)
2015-02-21 12:36 pm

Reading and travelling

So I went to Israel for a week and it was pretty awesome (and I have 700+ photos to deal with). I want to come again, with a route more tailored to my particular touristic tastes. I am not sure I'd want to _live_ there, though (summer weather!), even though I may end having to.

Also, once again I feel annoyed at myself for not knowing all the languages. Oh well, my slots for language-learning all taken for now.

Also want to read more about current culture/social situation there. We ended up watching a strange program we first thought was a reality show and then I am not sure (just because it had Russian subtitles), and we ended up researching what was a freha and what problems are connected to this.

Reading-wise (this started as a belated Wednesday reading post, after all) I mostly read Rivers of London fanfics. I started reading a Petit Fute guide book but haven't finished it yet; also started a memoir by an Israeli officer of the pre-Independence/ Independence War era, very fascinating.

I did finish Lia Silver's Prisoner, which was interesting - I somehow loved the life at the secret base being actually life - but did not feel like a whole book.
taelle: (cosy)
2015-02-05 09:29 pm

That reading thing

So I finished Broken Homes and read Foxglove Summer in the last week. In fact, I finished Foxglove Summer like ten minutes ago... The ending feels kind of abrupt and makes me impatient for the next book, but I was glad to see Peter out of London and more or less on his own.

The magic in those books is more or less traditional 'Renaissance' magic (unlike HP magic) which anyone can learn having worked enough - and Peter did say in this last book; but what about Lesley? Didn't Zach once say that she got magic after dealing with Punch and all that stuff?

... so I don't really know yet what I'll be reading next. I mean, I have some non-fiction lined up, but nonfiction-wise I still haven't finished the Companion to Modern Japan (it's funny about the different authors - I finished the article about school culture very quickly, and now there's one about work culture which is so dense, I have difficulty with it. A lot of difficulty). I am also reading Jan Morris's Oxford a little. But I do want to start some fiction too, not sure what yet. Maybe I shall go look at Rivers of London fic at AO3.

Oh, and I also reread Hamlet for the FL course. It's weird how most of my thoughts about that are kind of fanfic-shaped - about the characters' background and reasoning; not all, though.
taelle: (Default)
2015-01-29 11:22 am


What I have read: I have finished rereading Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and Moon over Soho and read Whispers under Ground.

What I am reading: Broken Homes.

What I am planning to read: Foxglove Summer ... those are the kind of books I can't stop reading (well, I can, but. Life doesn't stop for books, more's the pity)

Strangely, I see a bit of myself in Peter Grant (I am not much for self-identifying with book characters, and usually not with men): this 'ability to get distracted' for which he is so often reproached by Lesley and Nightingale, and keen interest in _things_)

But actually I have been reading other things too - a little) Still browsing Polish Embroidery, a little of Jan Morris's Oxford, a little of Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture.
taelle: (cosy)
2015-01-21 09:44 pm

It's actually Wednesday

What I have read:

My most recent finish is Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese, by Anna Wierzbicka. Apparently Wierzbicka is a big proponent of the idea of the natural semantic meta-language, meaning that it is possible to distinguish semantic primes - basic concepts that can be understood innately (something like I, You, Big, Small, etc). And here she uses those primes to compare/analyze key words/ideas from different languages - words like friend, family or motherland. A lot of food for thought, that's for sure. There are also chapters on Australian words (like the Australian use of bastard) and on Japanese key words like on or giri - the Japanese one was the least interesting for me, maybe because I don't really know any Japanese, and I regretted her not going more into the Japanese versions of the words in first chapters (she does mention some stuff about 'friend' words in Japanese, and that's all.

What I'm reading:

I'm rereading Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London b/c I got the third book, so I am planning to reread the first two. These first two are now translated into Russian, but I am not sure I want to know what people are saying about it - a lot of Russians like England/are interested in it, but not only have their idea of it stuck at the Sherlock Holmes level but also actively reject any updating.

I am also looking through the "Polish Embroidery" album by Jadwiga Turska, which is, well, an album of folk embroidery. Seems a good one for now.

What I'm going to read:

Definitely two more of Aaronovitch, and we'll see after that.
taelle: (diary)
2015-01-11 05:09 am
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(no subject)

Things I like on Tumblr: pictures.
Things I dislike on Tumblr: the "if you don't reblog this you are a bad human being" reblogs, the "40 thousand users who reblogged this post wish to state that they spend their days lying on the floor and crying" reblogs and the "I have learned a historical fact and am going to tell it to you adding some "fuck" and "badass" as epithets and loudly condemning the ignorance of everyone else and the bad school system" reblogs.

... so currently Pinterest feels like the best place on the Internet.
taelle: (Default)
2015-01-06 03:08 pm
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(no subject)

When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost of something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.

Okay, so we finally went to see Hobbit yesterday. It was sort of ridiculous but entertaining. Remembering LotR (the film), I have now decided that Thranduil had two sons: he just liked the name Legolas so much that he named each of them Legolas. Also, the 'saving Gandalf' scene was WTF, but I don't care, I just ship Gandalf/Galadriel and like seeing the Big Guns out and about, however unreasonably.

I kind of want to reread LoTR now... and I agree with everyone who said that since PJ isn't allowed to film Silmarillion, he's sticking as much of it into Hobbit as he can.
taelle: (cosy)
2015-01-01 04:54 pm

Yuletide reveal

This Yule I wrote Family of Blood and Memories, an October Daye fanfic about... familial relationships around Toby, such as they are. This is a topic which probably deserves a longer fic - several longer fics, but at least about the Luidaeg I don't think I could have written more than I did - a drabble-sized bit was hard enough. I mean. It's the Luidaeg.

(I just wondered about a possibility of a HL crossover and her meeting with Methos. But among other things it would need careful work with mythologies: what are the Immortals in the world with fairies?)
taelle: (Default)
2014-12-19 04:06 am
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(no subject)

I was very right in choosing my main Tarot deck, the Robin Wood Tarot - it's a lot like me. Especially in sharing something which is both my strong and weak point - a foundation layer of incurable and almost childish optimistic belief that everything will somehow be all right.
taelle: (cosy)
2014-12-11 08:46 pm
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(no subject)

Saw a phrase describing a hypothetical book - "a book of miserable, shaky-eyed beauty, the sort of the book that makes you howl like a dog and gnaw on the covers".

Once again marvelled at the differences in people - I mean, some readers do actively search for books like this! Some recommend in this way - "this was wonderful! It exquisitely and painfully described the falling apart of a family/destruction of personality/whatever".

Also, in a slightly different vein (at least genre-wise different), apparently a lot of people love reading dystopias.

For me, books influence my moods way too much for me to lean in that direction.