* * *

Jun. 24th, 2016 09:18 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
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)

* * *

Jun. 10th, 2016 09:04 pm
taelle: (cosy)
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.

* * *

Oct. 17th, 2015 10:32 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
... 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)

* * *

May. 22nd, 2015 02:56 pm
taelle: (Default)
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)

* * *

Nov. 19th, 2014 02:11 pm
taelle: (Default)
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bullypulpitgames/night-witches - this company makes a computer game about the Night Witches regiment. I don't play computer games, but it's Night Witches - I went to read. ... and now I am thinking. Specifically, thinking about the sexism and feminism angle in their description.

My first instinctive reaction was "no-no-no, stupid Americans pushing their contemporary political concerns into our history". But. WWII here is this huge lump of unprocessed and unreflected history with only the clean and heroic bits - and I don't know when it will be processed. I have this plan going on the backburner, to read English-language books on Russian history just to have outside POV to help me think.

There is a book in Russian (I've no idea whether it was translated into English) about women at war, which I always mean to read but am afraid to - it's mostly accounts of women who went to war, and I have read _some_ real-life accounts so I have an idea about how depressing it would be; and I have met a lot of people who say that it's a tendentious and biased book to make our heroic history look dirty, and it was NOT LIKE THAT and better read Soviet-published memoirs of heroic women who volunteered and everyone in their regiments treated them as a little sister.

And, of course, once I started thinking I remembered reading memories of sexual harassment of women on the frontlines (and, one of the bits from the aforementioned book I did read - and it struck me very much - how women returning from war to their towns and villages were often shunned, because everyone believed they were whores - what else they could have been doing among so many men?)

I still don't believe in _sabotage_ which is mentioned in the game description, though: that would have been a shooting offense.


Also, hello to the new people!  All this is kind of inspiring me to write more.

* * *

Sep. 27th, 2014 08:55 pm
taelle: (diary)
Reading blogs - including blogs of people you don't know but read regularly - is a weird experience because it lets you get to know people's mental and emotional state much better than it would happen in real life. And also because it often makes me want to comment asking "But whyyyyy? Why do you think this/react like this to that?" except that this is a kind of question you don't ask someone you don't know (or, often, someone you know either).

(I never grew out of the desire to ask 'Why?' - and for things like 'why do you like the thing you like', too: I was told again and again this is not a question to ask, and it doesn't have any answer, but that just made me want to find an answer. And made me get better at self-analysis, because no one else would try and tease out why).

(By now I am fairly sure I would not really understand the answer - but it would expand my mental base of "people react like this to that - weird but true")

... about the weird things that make me want to ask 'why' - too many people around seem to believe their life has two modes, "I am totally adjusted, have good plans and follow them all the time" and "I am a hopeless failure and my life is a mess". But whyyy... or better, how?

* * *

Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:41 am
taelle: (Default)
I am reading a discussion about how Steve and Bucky in Avengers (or Marvel? I am shaky on the differences, I am not into comics) would not be into pop psychology and would not find going to a psychologist/therapist natural and helpful, and thinking "Oh yes".

I mean, I was born in the 1970s, not 1920s, but in a very different culture where the pop psychology is just coming in. And I have been reading fanfics for years but sometimes the seeming omnipresence of therapy drives me batty. I have no idea whether it's like this in real-life USA, but. People talking about things. "Do you want to talk about this?" Everyone seemingly being obligated to go to a therapist. I mean, if I had a traumatic experience and was made to go to a therapist, I'd probably grit my teeth and checked how do I get rid of this fastest, and would have considered this a part of traumatic experience.

And in fanfic it reads a bit like the way slashy sex scenes used to explain 1-2-3 fingers and obligatory condoms.

* * *

Aug. 1st, 2014 02:38 pm
taelle: (sad)
I am always wary about claiming a national identity. I never claim to be Jewish - I used to introduce myself as 'fake-Jewish', - I never felt comfortable with 'Russian' as a nationality, I feel it's more of a ... citizenship (damn, I lack words, in English nationality seems to be a bit of a different thing); then again, I am uncomfortable stating I love this country (see, saying 'this country' is considered to be an insult for too many people), it's just mine.

I was thinking about various emigration possibilities and some of them apparently involve claiming other national identities. I sort of feel it to be cheating. Not 'cheating on my country with this other one' but cheating as in stating something which is not true in order to reach my goals.

I am not sure I feel Russian, but I am not sure I am anything. Well, not on that level. I do feel loyalty and attachment to places, and to sociocultural groups (I am becoming more and more attached to identifying myself as part of intelligentsia as it is once again becoming something to deride). But nations are too big and too alien.

* * *

Jul. 31st, 2014 07:17 pm
taelle: (Leningrad)
I have been reading and rereading the latest poem by Dmitry Bykov (and reading it out loud to myself). The one about the Malaysian airliner, except that it's not. I kinda regret that it's an English-language blog that I am having here and I can't post it here too.

Because it's important to me. Especially the way it ends. You see, the way things are going here, at least 80% of the population support Putin's policy or are even more rabid than that. I am an alien here. I always knew my political and social position isn't that popular, but in the last several months it turned out that I am an alien even to a lot of ordinary 'neutral' people who keep turning out to be rabid nationalists (I am still reading Klemperer and not liking that feeling).

And on top of that, out of the remaining 20%, the ones on my side, keep saying that we are doomed to this. To madness. That my country will never ever be an ordinary country among others; that nothing will ever be right, that the country, the people, will be nothing more than a bad example to humanity: see this? Don't do things like this.

And Bykov is saying: no, that's not Russia, I don't know what it is and I am not sure how to deal with this, but there's no proof that this is actually Russia as it is.

... meanwhile I missed Wednesday again, so belated reading report:

I finished Emperor's Agent, and it was rather cool. I really grew to like those people towards the end (I had a problem with 'I remember my past lives, I was this and that great person' initially, since I have met people who said this and they were tiresome and unpleasant, but I guess you are allowed to remember being Hephaistion and Robert Dudley in past lives if you're Michel Ney in this one). I wonder whether I should now go read the first book, or whether it would be unpleasant - Elza's relationship with Moreau doesn't seem to have been a nice one.

I also finished the Robin Hood time-hopping book I mentioned last time: a lot of fun. Pity there's no sequel. And the hero's modern views are a lot of fun in contrast with those that surround him ("Robin also believes in God? Damn!")

I have read the first October Daye book and found it very good, reminding me of the first Anita Blake books (and the bit about the fish is really scary: a horror you _really_ can imagine in your life).

I have started the second one... and then, reading the blurbs for the following books on Amazon, was kind of spoiled, so I paused. But I definitely will finish this one, and probably go on reading them, so that's for my reading plans.

Meanwhile I also started a book called 'Poland: a neighbor for thousand years', which is kind of a historical guidebook. The author is confusing at times (I am not sure what he wanted to say about Polish pronunciation, for example), but less confusing in history and respectful and interested, which is good since Poland was always a touchy subject here.
taelle: (Rylance Prospero)
I have this - possibly silly, possibly productive - habit. I do not really argue with people about tastes - if you don't like X or Y, fine, who am I to argue with you, even if you give the weirdest reasons for not liking it. But: I keep arguing with an unseen opponent, formulating for myself what I wouldn't say to an actual person.

So someone once said something about strongly disliking the Tsukigumi Hamlet, and citing as the reasong that Masao played 'an hysterical woman in a leather coat' instead of Hamlet, a role that requires a strength of spirit. Well, I never quite know what people mean by strength of spirit, and Masao is a woman and wears leather coat onstage, but. Dismissing someone's Hamlet as hysterical (not even touching on whether hers _is_) struck me as weird. I mean, Hamlet is so much interpreted that it seems to me that it will hold almost any interpretation as long as it's internally consistent - most certainly including the 'he's hysterical' one.

Which led me to thinking about various Hamlets I have seen (not that I have seen that many). I don't know much about the modern Japanese theater, and the only Japanese Hamlet I have seen besides Masao's is Nomura Mansai's - and compared to his Hamlet, Masao's a fount of serenity by any measure. Might it be a common tradition of dramatizing and overdramatizing? I never can analyze anything properly, because any analysis of mine turns into 'I know too little, and I need context'.

Also, I need to rewatch the Tsukigumi version, but instead I am watching the BBC one with Derek Jacobi (I tend to use the BBC late 70s-early 80s set of Shakespeares as a control group for anything). And dimly thinking a lot of things including how Hamlet really felt about his father when he was alive, and how much the meeting with the ghost looks like a dream.

* * *

Nov. 18th, 2012 03:36 am
taelle: (crafty)
It's a funny thing that makes us enjoy it when book/film characters like the same things we do (I assume I am not the only one in this). Like, books about people who like to read (and read the same kind of books). ... I have yet to see a book where someone cross-stitched, though - except for Monica Ferris's mysteries, but that's just cheating for my purposes, of course in cosy mysteries set in specific settings you can find people doing _anything_...

* * *

Oct. 10th, 2012 01:26 am
taelle: (sad)
I keep thinking about why people do therapy and related stuff. Mind you, I don't know much about that - I mean, I took psychology courses since I trained as a teacher, but that's about it. And here traditionally people just did not do it, because it's like admitting you're not normal - except that this changes, but in strange ways - like I know someone who said that he wouldn't date a person who did not have therapy.

The way I see it, there can be two things that therapy is for: one, to analyze what's going on with you/why you are the way you are, and two, to help you deal with the things in life you find problematic. And I know that for myself I absolutely do not want the first - some things I know already, and some things I think are better left alone. And I am not sure that most therapy-like things are set up for the second. But probably they wouldn't be meant to - people are different enough that any repair kit should be assembled by a person concerned, from many places.

Also, I know that I react badly to probing questions/being pushed on issues I haven't thought through by myself - it feels like an assault, and I start defending myself, and end up pushing myself in quite a different corner.

(this is all brought up by various occasions that made me think about what people consider psychological problems and how they deal with it)

* * *

Sep. 28th, 2012 10:16 am
taelle: (sad)
There's a certain type of story plot... no, even story moral lesson that upsets me - and it's so prevalent.

It's about breaking pride.

Like, a story about someone who dealt with all her problems by herself and managed and kept working at her goals, and at the end she gets a big "Bammmm! You were wrong! You needed to ask for help!" whap. Even though 'I can do this myself' is a big motivation for doing it at all.

Or, someone who is the best at something almost never is allowed to _stay_ the best - the story just needs to teach her that everyone fucks up sooner or later.

But sometimes people _are_ the best at something, aren't they?

(and yes, it's personal in some ways. I still remember a discussion at a Russian blog where we were talking about the importance of correct grammar and spelling even in fannish/online things, and a nice and friendly person told me in a friendly way 'But everyone slips in their spelling sooner or later - you do, I do, everyone does'. I don't think she ever answered to my indignant 'I do? Where?')

* * *

Aug. 8th, 2012 12:09 am
taelle: (eek)
I like people writing reviews of books, films and plays (well, review here meaning 'read/saw stuff and wrote a long-ish post'), and I am rather inclined to this myself - only, apparently, I find it easier to write about books. Mostly because I feel incompetent in expressing my opinion about an actor's/director's work (also an artist's, but there are no reviews of paintings. I think), and I am the kind of person who never believes her own opinion to be the only possible and absolutely true one. So, I write 'I liked this, especially I liked how actor X was portraying trait/behaviour/emotional state A', and someone comes and tells me 'actually, X was portraying B in this scene', and I never know what to answer. 'Okay'? 'I felt it was about A, sorry'? 'Did X tell you that?'? I always feel like I don't know enough about film and especially about theater and that maybe X doing B is actually common knowledge...

* * *

Aug. 6th, 2012 08:23 pm
taelle: (Default)
I think I am getting tired of people's ignorance. I can understand not knowing things, but not _wanting_ to know? I've seen a post in my other blog by someone reading about Chinese 'cultural revolution' and its horrors... and a commenter in that post saying that she finds all this hard to believe. I'd tell her to go and google it up, but I don't particularly want to talk to her.

This is a complicated issue for me - a bookish child and a google-happy Internet user, I was always well-informed in peculiar areas of general knowledge and also picked up a lot of stuff as general knowledge, without studying it specifically, merely because I find it easy to pick up knowledge. And I always felt apologetic when someone I talked to did not know what I was talking about... and I also felt kinda guilty and rushed to google stuff when _I_ did not know what people were talking about. Maybe I should stop feeling guilty both ways, especially in case of Internet communications - Google is but a click away; I may know more about a thing, but if you have _no foggiest idea_ what I talk about, then you don't want to know.

* * *

Apr. 10th, 2012 11:49 pm
taelle: (Default)
Dear world: I could really do with having _one_ health problem at a time. I'm just sayin'.

Also: am looking at someone presenting themselves as an expert in their particular hobby area when in actuality they maybe know a lot in one corner of it, but mix it up with being careless about facts - and know nothing at all in another corner of it, but still judging and trying to look all-knowing.

And thinking about how I am totally the reverse which is not always good - avoiding sounding authoritative 'cause what if I make a mistake, and being tentative even about things I know about. And also believing that other people's interests are cool and interesting and worthy, and mine are 'everybody knows that' or 'no one wants to know anyway'.

* * *

Mar. 29th, 2012 12:44 am
taelle: (Default)
I think I last followed figure skating seriously in the 1990s, but I went to the kitchen to make some tea, and EuroSport was on, and World Championship was on, and the strongest group of ice skaters was just going on ice.

I've missed that. And I like Davis and White lots. And also Pechalat and Bourzat. Even though this time - with samba - Vertue and Moire were the best, figure skating - especially ice dancing - is so subjective to me. (but then again, subjectivity is subjectivity, but the strongest skaters, no matter whether your favourite ones or not, have this quality of catching your eye much more than the youngsters)

... sometimes I feel like it's shameful/not serious to acknowledge subjective likes and dislikes. But I do choose people to like based on instinct, be it in skating, or in Takarazuka, or maybe even in politics.

* * *

Mar. 26th, 2012 08:40 pm
taelle: (rain)
It's surprising how some people seem to believe that if they start their speech with 'It's not that I blame So-and-so', nobody will then notice their blaming So-and-so.

... also, I start thinking that the main difference between English- and Russian-language fandom blogging is that in Russian fandom you aren't quite supposed to be interested in social issues. You're sort of supposed to say, if you blog about a case currently in the news, that you're aware that everyone's sick of this; and there's people explaining that bloggers involved, say, in LGBT campaigns, are harming actual gay people because they raise such a fuss that everyone's sick of the issue...
taelle: (crafty)
I've been noticing that some books for me are like a test: I can handle people saying that they don't like/don't understand them, but when people start making _judgements_ on them, it makes me want to move back. Austen is a clearest example. "Austen? Oh, I am not interested in romance novels/chicklit/one more book about girls looking for husband'. Uhhhuh, and I am probably not interested in _you_.

Also, I've been reading an interesting blog, and its author had a post about bringing out and analyzing her internal convictions. And, well, she used crafts as an example - that for her paper crafts is stuff you do with kids, sewing and knitting is normal but still it's more economical to buy stuff... well, the basic conviction she discovered is kinda evident. And it threw me into thinking about me and crafts. Because my first instinct was 'She's right, and what I do is useless' - I do have some periods of thinking like that, usually stopped by 'and what _isn't_ useless?'

But. I know I am not interested in paper crafts, and sometimes I think it's because I find them useless, but. I know some people don't do cross-stitch because is useless... and maybe it is. I often find cross-stitching quoted as this ultimate example of useless fiddling, stuff old-fashioned spinsters/housewives do. And I certainly have a bit of inferiority complex because I use patterns created by others - not creative at all, basically a version of painting-by-numbers. (then again, I mostly consider myself not a creative person anyway).

So, am I trying knitting because it's useful? Because it's more creative? I certainly knit much worse than I cross-stitch (though it's difficult to cross-stitch badly) Even in fandom, knitting is kinda cool, and the only 'cool' cross-stitching is that book that offers patterns for cross-stitching the word 'fuck' and stuff like this.

... actually, no, I don't - I mean, I am also trying sewing, but that _is_ kind of practical, while knitting feels somewhat similar to cross-stitching for me, this process of doing things stitch by stitch, slowly, without trying to get this all at once (I am a slow person rather tired from the world that keeps wanting me to embrace whole processes at once and to be spontaneous and creative).

As for paper crafts, the simple truth is that I don't enjoy handling paper and cardboard the way I enjoy floss and yarn and fabrics.

I tend to forget this at times, though.

And I would love to knit better. And to not be afraid to sew and knit for myself (well, knit not-scarves for myself). And possibly to quilt.

* * *

Feb. 18th, 2012 02:50 am
taelle: (Default)
I keep thinking about what is depression. I mean, I've known some people who don't believe in it at all - well, I do believe, but the words 'I feel so depressed' are bandied about so much, I feel like they've lost their meaning. I mean, you wouldn't go to a doctor just because you feel bad and can't sleep, would you? I wonder where's the border between just feeling bad and actually being depressed.


taelle: (Default)

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