A few days ago, Mum found out that she may have a close blood relative she didn’t know about, who was the product of an affair and put up for adoption after he was born. Details are sketchy but we worked out from his birth year that it’s possible his birth parents met at a party my mother’s parents threw. 

I only know all this because she asked me to look into him and make sure it wasn’t a scam, and while it’s not a scam it’s also fucking uncanny how similar he and I are – not just physical appearance but hobbies and personality (as much as you can get personality from a facebook and a blog). He’s ten years older than me, but otherwise we’re pretty similar. 

I emailed her like “I think this guy’s on the level, he’s just looking for a missing piece of his family” and had to stifle a strong urge to be like “Also I want to hang out with him, so be nice.” 

I hope Mum likes him, I want to be his Facebook Friend. 

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copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
([personal profile] copperbadge Jun. 26th, 2017 08:25 am)
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[personal profile] dreamwaffles linked to a fundraiser for Kaye, who has been researching Rat Lungworm, a disease that almost killed her son Graham, who is now disabled and uses a service dog for everyday life. Kaye was a crucial part of the University of Hawai'i's RLWD research team and also the team trying to get legislative support and grant funding, but she's fighting medical debt for Graham's treatment and ongoing needs. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and is now dealing with an eye infection they need to get treatment for before their roommate and her toddler come back from vacation, so they don't infect the baby. They're raising $50-$60 in the short term for medical treatment; they also have a long-term fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] anna-guth is a student from Germany who was recently accepted to Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in England, but her parents can't afford the full GBP24K tuition. She is raising E6.5K for tuition and school fees; you can read more and reblog here, or give directly to the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] echosiriusrumme is a student trying to buy her own clarinet; at present she doesn't have her own instrument to practice with but has a pressing need to practice before auditions and recitals for a Performance track next fall at her university. She has a few options lined up for between $800 and $1.3K, but needs to raise the funds to cover the cost; she is offering to repay over time any funds contributed to the purchase. You can read more and reblog here (plus find a ko-fi link) or give to her paypal here.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Pursuing political ladies, continued: with shoutout to [profile] gothickess

Another day nose-down in the Wallace papers, surrounded by that typical local record office buzz of family historians, clattering microfilm readers, etc. How very different from the rather sinister solitary sepulchral hush of the Mulcaster Muniments and its soft-footed and decrepit curator, straight out of a gothic novel (I was in constant anxiety that the strain of fetching files would do for him, probably on the wrong side of the door, leaving me locked in: no wifi, no phone signal).

Today’s box turned out to be pure gold: those copies of The Intelligencer in which Susannah Wallace’s political journalism appeared – marked up and annotated in Sir Barton’s hand with comments about his ‘clever wife’: Awwwwww, ded of kewt or what?

Furiously snapped away at these for future perusal in detail, but got distracted by the other contents of the paper: surely there must be historians who would be fascinated by ‘Sheba’s’ fashion tips? And, the fiction!

Particular shout-out here to [profile] gothickess: There is a serial ‘The Silent Simulacrum’ by ‘the author of The Gypsy’s Curse’ that I’m pretty sure you’ll be interested in for your project: intriguing conflation of the gothic, social comedy and feminist critique.

Alas, the final episode must have appeared in an issue to which Susannah did not contribute, so I can’t tell you how it ends, but, the story so far:

Our heroine is a lovely young widow so widely accepted in Society that she finds herself overwhelmed with invitations to the extent that she is in considerable concern that her inability to be in two places at once will give offence to those holding social occasions that she is physically unable to attend.

Enter her brother-in-law, a mad scientist and inventor. She unburdens herself to him, and he proposes to make a simulacrum of her that she can send to those events that she herself cannot attend. But, says he, the problem is that although he confides that he can construct a simulacrum that will move, and even dance, he cannot see any way in which it might be made to speak.

Our heroine responds with a laugh that so long as it can look very intent at any that addresses it, she doubts any will notice.

The simulacrum is constructed, and indeed, no-one notices that it is not very conversational when it goes into society.

Our heroine sends it particularly to those occasions where her very unwanted, most objectionable, suitor will be present –

I suspect that there will be some horrid outcome involving him (castrated perhaps by the inner mechanism of the simulacrum when he endeavours a rape?), but this would need following up – have a nasty feeling that this would involve microfilm, don’t think The Intelligencer is yet available in any online databases. (Which was why I was massively chuffed to find these copies, even if they hadn’t been so usefully marked up.)

But, anyway, back to the correspondence files (Y O Y did they not date letters properly? ‘Tuesday’ is really not very helpful.)

esteven: (Default)
([personal profile] esteven posting in [community profile] mandc_read Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:21 am)
This is it. We have read the Aubreyad twice, we have read Insidian's wonderful take on the books twice, so now it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Read and to all of you who have supported us over the years.

Thank you. I shall certainly continue to look in as I am sure there are still comments I have not been able to reply to.

Also: one should never say never

Also: YaY Jack!



The plot summary of Blue at the Mizzen curtesy of wikipedia

The Surprise sails out of Gibraltar but collides in the dark with a Nordic timber ship and returns for repairs. Back ashore, Aubrey hears a reliable description of the last day of the battle at Waterloo; he thanks Lord Keith for moving the prize court along briskly to share out the huge prize, more than 382 pounds a share. Aubrey has clandestine visits with his cousin Isobel, Lord Barmouth's wife. Admiral Lord Barmouth hastens the repair work, realizing he helps himself that way. Many Surprises desert. The frigate sails to Madeira for more serious repairs but arrives just in time to see Coelho's famous shipyard at Funchal in flames. Maturin receives a coded report from Dr Amos Jacob regarding the Chilean situation and takes the Ringle to England, where Sir Joseph Blaine updates him. The Chileans have split into two factions: northern still interested in British help, and southern retaining the services of Sir David Lindsay to command the Chilean navy. Whilst Maturin stays with Sophie Aubrey at Woolcombe, Aubrey returns the Surprise to Seppings' yard in England for a thorough re-fit and recruits a strong, competent crew out of Shelmerston for the long voyage ahead. In London, the Duke of Clarence asks Aubrey to accept Horatio Hanson as a midshipman. Initially reluctant, Aubrey finds that the boy has the mathematical skills essential for a navigator and he becomes a competent sailor. Fully fitted, the Surprise stops at Funchal, picking up Jacob, and then heads for Freetown, where Maturin proposes marriage to a young attractive widow. Christine Wood shares his tastes for natural philosophy. Her view of marriage suffered from her first marriage, as her husband was impotent. She turns him down. She agrees on her upcoming trip to England to visit the Aubreys at their home in Dorset and to meet Maturin's daughter Brigid there. Surprise then sails to the coast of Brazil, where Dr Amos Jacob parts to cross the mountains overland.

After a difficult rounding of Cape Horn, the expedition reaches San Patricio in Chile. Ringle goes for repairs following a grounding in the Pillón passage. After a meeting between Aubrey, Maturin and Sir David Lindsay, in which the two sides agree to mutually support each other, Maturin writes to Blaine describing the different juntas and the training of three republican sloops by the crew of the Surprise, who assist in capturing a moderate privateer. After meeting Dr Jacob with the intelligence he gathered, Aubrey heads to Valparaiso, while Maturin and Jacob ride there by mule. Here they meet General Bernardo O'Higgins, the Supreme Director, and Colonel Eduardo Valdes. Learning that the viceroy of Peru, under the Spanish king, plans to invade Chile, the group determine to confront the Royalist forces at Valdivia, where the viceroy will need to seek stores. The Surprise and Ringle make sail and Aubrey elaborates a plan to drop Chilean troops at Concepción while the ships destroy the gun-emplacements at Cala Alta and then bombard the fort at Valdivia.

The plan succeeds and the revolutionaries capture four chests of silver and one of gold, conveyed by the Surprise to Valparaiso and then overland to Santiago. Sir David Lindsay fights a duel with one of his officers and dies. Popular local sentiment gradually turns against the British, and Aubrey receives news that the junta plans to impound his frigate. He decides to pre-empt action against Surprise by cutting out the Peruvian fifty-gun frigate Esmeralda at Callao in Peru to strengthen the Chilean navy. Surprise conducts a hard-fought broadside action and eventually the British-Chilean force takes the ship. Aubrey suffers wounds in the thigh and shoulder. Maturin and Jacob compose a coded message of the successful cutting-out to Sir Joseph Blaine which the schooner takes to the Isaac Newton, as Dobson's friends agree to carry the message across Panama to meet a returning merchantman. Ringle carries the news to Valparaiso.

The President of the Valparaiso junta, Don Miguel Carrera, gives Aubrey and his officers a lavish dinner, after which Aubrey insists on his sailors receiving their share of the prize-money and Esmeralda's value by the end of the month. The next day Don Miguel authorizes five thousand pieces of eight and use of any naval stores the Surprise requires. With a fully repaired ship, Aubrey sets about training the young Chilean naval officers as the Surprise continues her survey of the Chilean coast, for several weeks. Jacob arrives from Valparaiso on a private brig, with coded messages from Sir Joseph Blaine. The Duke of Clarence requests Horatio Hanson's return to sit his lieutenant's examination. Second, the Admiralty requires Aubrey to take command of the South African squadron, hoisting his broad pennant as Rear Admiral of the Blue at the River Plate, blue at the mizzen, aboard HMS Implacable. Carrera arrives with a message saying it will take three more months to complete the payments, releasing Aubrey from his responsibility to the Chileans. He accepts his promotion, sets course for the Strait of Magellan.
I was reading this one at the same time as I was reading Sorting The Beef From The Bull, which was like a natural sciences one-two punch; I would read Sorting while commuting, and Remarkable Creatures in bed at night. 

Remarkable Creatures is the fictionalized story of two real-life people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who were fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in England back when we were just starting to like, figure dinosaurs out. It follows their relationship, and their struggles to be seen as legitimate contributors to the scientific record, for several years.

I didn’t actually know the account was based in real life until after I’d finished reading, which did ameliorate some of my disappointment with the book, because it’s hard to make a climactic narrative out of peoples’ real lives – reality just doesn’t flow as smoothly as fiction. But I won’t lie: I am still pretty disappointed that Elizabeth and Mary didn’t end up together. I thought that was totally where we were heading.

Mind you, the story of their friendship is compelling, and Chevalier did find a way to create rising action within the story, even though as she put it in the afterword, Mary Anning basically did the same thing every day for years, in terms of hunting fossils. 

As an account of fossil hunting, of the religious wrestling that people had to do with the concept of extinction, and of the way women were treated in the era, it’s a really great book. And it’s also a fast read, which I’ve come to expect from Chevalier. And honestly, this is the first book of hers I’ve read where the female leads don’t get married, though this is in part because the real-life Mary and Elizabeth didn’t either. 

But it still feels like Chevalier’s books are always about women settling. It’s the same problem – I know that’s what women have had to do, and I’m sure she does it intentionally at least in part to remind us of that fact. I just want more for these heroines. 

But if you’re interested in paleontology, Do Recommend, it’s a good book. Less frustrating than The Last Runaway, certainly, and the characters feel more compelling, more three-dimensional, than some of those in Girl With A Pearl Earring. 

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esteven: (Default)
([personal profile] esteven posting in [community profile] mandc_read Jun. 21st, 2017 10:18 am)
We had to say good-bye to several characters, and we will come to the end of our trip through the Aubreayad.

Let us hope that the book's title brings the rewards it hints at. We will find this out at the weekend when we read

Blue at the Mizzen, Insidian Style

I will certainly revisit some of the posts to see if I missed comments.

CU then
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
([personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan Jun. 20th, 2017 06:54 pm)

The collated version of Volume the Twelfth is now available to those who care to download it, thanks as ever to the good offices of [personal profile] clanwilliam.

Any expression of appreciation may be made here: PayPal, tho' 'tis ever possible that you may wish to save your pennies against the appearance of the edited and revised version.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
([personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan Jun. 20th, 2017 10:24 am)

Returning to the business of self-publishing these memoirs both in pretty bound volumes and as ebooks -

- yr amanuensis was looking over the Smashwords and Lulu sites yestere'en.

And thinking that there would be a fair amount of faff involved, and then noticing that Lulu (I may not have got that far with Smashwords) offers a package deal for doing the formatting &C, and that I am coming into a little legacy shortly -

But then thought, surely there are talented and competent people among my readers or their associates who would be prepared to undertake this for a fair price?

(It is the business of the wealthy man/To give employment to the artisan.)

I still have some final editorial touches to make to the Word documents, but if anyone is interested in this, or can recommend someone, please speak comment or DM me now.

I also revisit the matter of covers and whether there are any among the readership of artistick ability, or knows of any such, who would be interested in undertaking cover design for appropriate remuneration?

My latest thoughts on titles and covers )

benicek: (Default)
([personal profile] benicek Jun. 20th, 2017 09:18 am)
Anonymous woman and child.


I've been so busy with other things that I'd almost forgotten how, for years, I was totally consumed by old photos from flea markets. I would spend hours online collaborating with other enthusiasts to identify places and sometimes even individuals in them. I became so familiar with the vanished townscapes, fashions and social habits they revealed that I began to feel as if I'd visited the minds of those dead people. I have most of them, still, stuffed into a shoebox. Have a look at the Tumblr I made out of them if you fancy.

This one remains a firm favourite. It is the one photo I will never sell. An unnamed mother and child in the 1890s. There is something profound and hopeful in their smudged expressions. Such a vivid image and, because the glass negatives were so large, great detail is revealed under computerised magnification. For some reason I always loved that hat on the grass most of all.

See enlarged sections here.... )
I don’t know why it surprises me, my summers are always bananas, but July looks especially bonkers this year. Of the 20 possible workdays in July, I’m out for conferences, vacation, or workshops for a full half of them. I’m properly working only ten days in the entire month of July. 

I mean, I’m not unhappy about it. And thank god for a great paid leave package. I’m going to be traveling to cool places and doing neat things. It’s just kind of surreal. Like how last year I was only in the office for one week in all of June. 

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Taking a little break from Tracy Chevalier (we’ll be back to her soon)...

So, [tumblr.com profile] terrie01 recommended this book to me during a discussion on food fraud, and it’s been a really...interesting experience. On the one hand it’s a very informative book, packed full of detail and data, but on the other oh man is it dry. I didn’t realize what a struggle it was to get through until I started reading Extra Virginity this morning, which is about the same general topic (focused on olive oil) but is much more engagingly written.

Sorting the Beef From The Bull focuses on food fraud from a legislative and economic angle; I can imagine for people working in the industry it’s a little more accessible, and I don’t think it’s a badly written book. It’s just jammed with a combination of dense law and complex biochemistry, when what I (a non-lawyer, non-scientist) wanted was like...war stories about food fraud.

text )
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
([personal profile] copperbadge Jun. 19th, 2017 08:24 am)
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we begin, a quick reminder: when you submit a link and a blurb, you guys are your own best advocates. Try to look at the sites you're submitting and think, If I knew nothing about this situation, would what I'm seeing be helpful? And if not, try to include more context. You can give me more than one link, and it's often helpful to do so.

(This isn't specific to this week, just starting to notice a trend over the last six months where not enough context is available for me to write the blurb, let alone for others to be informed about it. Just a gentle nudge in the right direction!)

Ways to Give:

Julie is raising funds to cover rent; she has a job lined up but won't have a paycheck in time for July's rent. (This is a link I'm sharing rather than one that was submitted to RFM, so while I wasn't sure I should post Julie's username, I'll vouch for her personally.) You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] charlietheskonk is fundraising for a new Montessori preschool with wrap-around care; the fundraiser is to support startup and licensing costs, and supports a queer-owned business. You can read more and reblog here, or check out the fundraiser and give here.

[tumblr.com profile] digitaldiscipline linked to Jenn Vs. Trevor, a charity deadlift battle to raise funds for the winner's local Humane Society branch. You can reblog the link here and read more and donate here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

Anon linked to the EPA, which is soliciting public comment about the Second Five-Year Review Report for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site. The report indicates that the levels of PCBs in the river are still too high, but the EPA is not planning any active measures to reduce them. You can read more here and find contact information here to tell the EPA the Hudson River deserves better.

RSF linked to public comments solicitation about a plan to "trim" the US National Monuments; activists are working to make it known how important they are, and that monuments like Bears Ears should be saved. You can learn more and comment here.

News to Know:

[tumblr.com profile] drgaellon linked to a linkslist for religious LGBTQ people who are struggling with their faith's attitudes towards their orientation; included are sites that validate queer orientations for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, including a site specifically for trans Jewish people. You can find the links and reblog here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] worldsonpaper is looking for a new flatmate in Sydney, 15 minutes by train from the CBD. She is LGBT+ friendly but requests no male applicants. Bedroom with a shared bath, $250/wk plus internet; electricity and water are covered in the rent. $900 bond. You can contact her via ask on tumblr or at wieldswords at gmail.com.

[tumblr.com profile] blackestglass is looking for a roommate in the greater DC/Northern VA area, to move in on August 1. She is in a 2br/2ba condo, Metro accesible, with free parking, gym access, and in-unit laundry. Master suite is available for $1290/mo plus utilities, or the smaller suite is available for $1190/mo, with lower rent if the parking space isn't needed and can be rented out. You can read more and get in touch here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
pinesandmaples: A rough half of a brown coconut on a green leaf. (theme: gaping maw)
([personal profile] pinesandmaples Jun. 18th, 2017 04:23 am)
There comes a point when flipping the script is actually pretty toxic.

I'm not talking about around issues of oppression, no. Flip away.
I'm talking about flipping our own mental scripts to say that surviving in a healthy way is somehow a failure. Because that is what my brain is up to these days, and my brain is full of shit.
esteven: (Default)
([personal profile] esteven posting in [community profile] mandc_read Jun. 16th, 2017 09:58 am)
Please permit me a personal note: I am sorry not to have been around much in the past two weeks for personal reasons. I intend to remedy that over this weekend. Again, my apologies.

Now for the book.

The plot summary of The Hundred Days curtesy of wikipedia

Commodore Aubrey's squadron arrives at Gibraltar, where Lord Keith updates him on Napoleon's escape and rearmament. He orders Aubrey first to defend a convoy of merchant ships from Moorish xebecs and galleys, and then to proceed to the Adriatic Sea to destroy any new ships being built to support Napoleon. Maturin, in a separate meeting, is informed of a plot to send sufficient gold through Algiers to fund Muslim mercenaries who would block the Russian forces from joining those of the other allies, so Napoleon's army can attack one army at a time. Aubrey's squadron is successful in defending the convoy. The captain of the Pomone is haunted by the faces of the slaves used to row the galleys split in half by his ship; Aubrey reports he died cleaning his guns, and a new captain is assigned to Pomone. The convoy proceeds toward the Adriatic, stopping in Mahón. Asea, they encounter Captain Christy-Palliere, of the Royalist Caroline and an old acquaintance, who informs Aubrey about the French situation in the Adriatic before parting. Amos Jacob is sent out on Ringle to Kutali and Spalato to gain more information. Surprise sails to Ragusa Vecchia where she sinks a French frigate under the command of an Imperialist. Jacob rejoins near Porte di Spalato where they meet another French frigate, whose captain, like so many, does not want to declare for Napoleon but fears he will win. Maturin and Jacob negotiate an agreement to fight a mock battle against both Surprise and Pomone; the Frenchman then accompanies Pomone to Malta. Following up the pressure already put on banks not to loan to the small shipyards, they lay out gold to push disgruntled, unpaid dockworkers to burn new French ships along the coast, which is effective.

Reaching Algiers, they meet the Consul, Sir Peter Clifford, and his wife. Maturin and Jacob attend an interview with the Dey's Vizier at Kasbah, the Dey's palace. They travel onwards to meet the Dey, Omar Pasha, at his hunting-lodge at Shatt el Khadna. The Dey invites Maturin to hunt lions with him. The Dey kills a large lion while Maturin kills its lioness as it leaps to them, saving the Dey's life. For this deed, Omar Pasha swears that no gold will sail from Algiers, and gives Maturin one of his rifles as a parting gift. Jacob befriends Ahmed Ben Habdal, who reveals that Pasha sent a contrary message to the Sheikh of Azgar, to have the gold carried by a fast-sailing xebec from Arzila, near Tangiers, captained by an Algerian corsair via the Strait of Gibraltar straight to Durazzo. Maturin and Jacob go into Algiers, as Maturin needs to share this news with Aubrey. Maturin buys two Irish children in the slave market. Once he sees the Ringle windbound off shore, they engage a local vessel to put them aboard Ringle. Before leaving, they learn Pasha is killed, and replaced by Ali Bey, who says he prefers the British.

Reade updates them on the damage sustained by Surprise during the fierce storm. They join Aubrey in Port Mahon, and speak with Admiral Fanshawe. Aubrey agrees that he must pursue the xebec. They encounter Hamadryad under old friend Heneage Dundas, who tells them that Lord Barmouth is in place of Lord Keith. Aubrey fears Barmouth might stop him from completing Lord Keith's orders. In Gibraltar, Maturin tells Aubrey not to worry, because Peter Arden, colleague to Maturin, is Barmouth's political man. Barmouth does tell Aubrey to take his broad pennant down, as his squadron is dispersed. Later, Barmouth is joined by his new wife, who he learns is a cousin to Aubrey. On his return, Aubrey finds Barmouth friendly to him, as Barmouth wanted his wife with him. Before leaving for this battle, Maturin leaves the twin children with Lady Keith.
Dr Jacob learns the corsair has two galleys to act as decoys whilst he lies under Tarifa before running through the Strait. The Surprise, Ringle and the blue cutter lie in wait in the Strait. The galley sees three armed ships, and Murad Reis, her captain, fires on the frigate, destroying the second gun of her starboard broadside, and killing Bonden, the coxswain, as well as Hallam, a midshipman. After a long pursuit, the galley holes up at Cranc (Crab) island, where Surprise and Ringle, unable to follow the galley into the shallow lagoon, block the exit. A gun from the Surprise is hoisted up a cliff, where it can fire unopposed on the galley. The galley's men, seeing the situation is hopeless, behead Murad and surrender. Returning victorious to Gibraltar, the Surprise sees the town exploding fireworks, and learns that Napoleon has lost in Belgium, fully beaten. Ali Bey sends word he wants the gold; he is killed and the new Dey, Hassan, admits the xebec fired first, and asks for a loan to consolidate his position in Algiers. The xebec is cleaned up and sent to Algiers, while the gold is shared out in Gibraltar. Barmouth worries that his new wife is too friendly with Aubrey, so he sends him off to the venture in Chile.
.

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