hawkwing_lb: (anyway)
I traveled to town, with the estuaries thick with fog. Followed up with the bank regarding some paperwork. Made a few rounds for family presents - Carluccio's seems to be the best place for edible presents, although it's a little pricier than I'd wish.

Now am unable to concentrate on all the notes I should be taking. And so on.
hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
For the log:

Stayed up all night. Spent too much money on ebooks and read them all. Went for a run at 1130, pathetic wind and stamina, managed maybe 1.5 miles out intervalling, 1.5 miles back mostly walking. Showered, slept in the afternoon 1315-1830. Am now reading and taking notes for thesis: have progressed through 50 pages of research book while taking notes.

During my stagger-run, I took my shoes off and paddled in the sea. Because why the hell not? It was a fine morning with a high tide, and the sea was ice on my ankles, and I swear it was only modesty and the lack of a towel that kept me from diving all the way in. That'd fix what ailed me, right enough.


Dec. 13th, 2012 01:32 am
hawkwing_lb: (In Vain)
Anxiety continues. The mere mention of fitness gives me tightness of the throat and diaphragm, which is nice when one's parent is asking if one is thinking of going back to the gym with relative lack of judgemental-ness. And by nice I mean unpleasant.

Made it to town today. Library. Collected a book. Went to see supervisor and help set up for an evening of Music and Culture in association with an embassy. Faked normal, and even enjoyed self during music. Succeeded in not puking from anxiety. Came home. Answered email. Succeeded in not puking from anxiety. Ate two scones with jam and cream. Succeeded in not puking from self-disgust at own lack of self-restraint, and also anxiety.

Am now become excessively anxious over interacting with other humans as a result of faking normal levels of confidence earlier. Second-guessing self.

Equilibrium: definitely not achieved.
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
After a night in which anxiety keep me awake late and twitchy until 0500, I woke to a UPS deliveryperson ringing the doorbell.

(I suspect people delivery to this address quickly grow traumatised by how often I have to hide behind the door or fail-wrap a blanket around my waist to - poorly - conceal the fact I'm only wearing t-shirt and underwear. But hey, I'm only creepy when I'm awake. Half-asleep streamy-eyed me is more just odd.)

So, deliveryperson. They had a box! For me!

The box came from Tor.com. (Have I mentioned how much I like writing for them? Friendly and supportive/receptive editor, decent rates, and being asked to write a column really flattered my ego.) The box has a baker's dozen of books in it. A couple for review, yeah, a few that I'd said would be useful for the aforementioned column, but some of them JUST BECAUSE.

Every time I get a book it feels like a gift. Even when I've bought it with my own money. Books that come for free? That's a festival. A feast. A celebration. It lightens my heart and gladdens my liver.

So that's a thing of joy.

(Wrote this last night, then the internet cut out before I could post.)


Dec. 6th, 2012 01:38 am
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I am failing to be a perfect competent human. Need exercise, have no motivations to get some: need to get on with thesis, completely distractible today.

The thought of getting on the train and going to town is giving me shortness of breath. I suspect some lurking anxiety interferes. I suspect anxiety is understandable, given... circumstances relating to family health.

The mechanisms I developed to manage my mental health are not are present in functioning train. So. In conclusion.

hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
Books 2012: 125-128

125. Ilona Andrews, Gunmetal Magic. Ace, 2012.

Review forthcoming from Tor.com. It is much like previous instalments, entertainly full of amusing violence.

126. Gwenda Bond, Blackwood. Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot Books), 2012.

Review also forthcoming from Tor.com. Debut novel, with flaws. In general, entertaining YA modern fantasy.


127. Wendy Moore, The Knife Man. Bantam Press, London, 2005.

An excellent biography of pioneering 18th-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter, younger brother of anatomist and man-midwife William Hunter. Vivid, detailed, and comprehensive, Moore makes good use of her sources to draw a picture of John Hunter's life.

Most interestingly, it appears he used himself as a guinea-pig for experiments involving venereal disease, deliberately infecting himself with matter from gonorrhoeal sores to investigate whether or not gonorrhoea and syphilis were the same disease. (He came to the erroneous but understandable, and in medical opinion of the time, common conclusion that they were.)

Highly recommended, as long as you are moderately strong of stomach.

128. Rachel Holmes, The Secret Life of Dr. James Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon. Tempus, Gloucs., 2007. (First edition 2002.)

After the death of Dr. James Barry in 1865, the rumour began that during his laying-out, it had been discovered he was possessed of a woman's body. Holmes writes an interesting (if on the lightweight side) account of the life of Dr. Barry, and concludes persuasively that Barry was probably christened Margaret Bulkeley, who could well have been an intersex person who changed hir presentation after puberty.

It is an engaging biography, though Holmes is annoyingly prone to speculating on her subject's inner emotional state in excess of what the evidence supports - a flaw in many biographers, to be certain. And it could have used more examination of the people around Dr. Barry, and the social conditions of his medical service as an army surgeon in the colonies. But it remains interesting for what it does do, which is provide an argument against historical gender binary-ism.

Today I food-shopped and brought my book catalogue up to date. It turns out that I have exceeded the 2,000 item mark in books, all things considered. I don't suppose this counts as a vast collection, but it certainly impresses me. (And yes, more than three quarters thereof is SFF or related. Most of the rest being history.)

Next up, trying to do something else Useful. (It is beginning to annoy me, how sometimes I must interrupt things to act as Pair Of Hands for the household invalid. Suck it up, girl. Next time it might be you.)
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
And last night the parent took me to The Phantom of the Opera at the new(ish) theatre down by Grand Canal Dock. The dock space is gorgeous, even with all the redevelopment, and the theatre is a lovely space that still has that new car smell, all glass frontage and clean toilets.

It wasn't just me, it was the parent's friend and [livejournal.com profile] whitewaveraven as well. We were up the back of the theatre, in the vertiginous Upper Circle, practically as high as you could be and not be on the roof. Staring down into the stalls and the forced-perspective aspect of watching the action on stage was weird and slightly queasy-making: I have never before been in a theatre so large that the actors' faces were indistinct even with my glasses on.

It was, however, an excellent performance, vibrant and energetic, and I had one of the best nights of my life. (It's right up there with visiting Toronto, going gothing with Bear and Amanda - when I was too jetlagged to really appreciate it - wandering around Thessaloniki in the dark with all the craziest lovely Serbian and Russian and English girls on the language course, and at-home dinner parties in Athens with the best mad archaeologists.)

Then, on the way home, the parent slipped in the rain and fell on her wrist. (Today the hospital diagnosed Colles' fracture. Tomorrow, MRIs and bloodtests to check suitability for a general anaesthetic and manipulation of fiddling bones. All taxpayer-funded. Dear American friends: I hate to say this, but I am so glad we don't live in your country, today.) So that put a damper on the evening.

While Mum was getting her man to keep her company in hospital waiting rooms ("No, no," she says to me, when I offer to go with. "It's bad enough I need someone to drive me to the plague house. You go away and have fun."), I went to town and met two of my favourite people for lunch.

...And they gave me presents.

I may have been unnaturally delighted when a copy of Beyond Binary was pressed into my hands. And brownies! And a book voucher!

So the birthday haul, this year (she said, gleefully) (thanks to the best friends and the Aunt Formerly Known As The Wicked Godmother) is:

Beyond Binary, edited by Brit Mandelo (Yay!)
Mechanique, by Genevieve Valentine
The Killing Moon, by N.K. Jemison

([livejournal.com profile] whitewaveraven immediately said, "Echo and the Bunnymen!" when we were browsing the bookshop, all three of us geeks together. The killing moon! It comes too soon!)


Mark Hodder's Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, which I did not exactly realise was number three in a series. So now I need to acquire copies of the first two. Someday. Eventually. (The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clokcwork Man will be mine, along with Many Other Books. Someday.)

Receiving books for review is like getting birthday presents without a birthday. Strangely - oddly! - an unsolicited review copy of Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer ("Japanese steampunk") from Tor UK arrived in my door yesterday morning. (I am sure either through some kind of mistake or because every book reviewer Tor UK ever heard of is getting a copy.)

But it is like an extra present, because books are shiny. Very shiny!

(Boooooooooooks. My precious!)
hawkwing_lb: (Bear CM beyond limit the of their bond a)
Links of interest:

Dr. James Barry, 1792/5-1865: "Barry was a successful British Army surgeon who served in India and Cape Town, South Africa, and eventually rose to the rank of Inspector General in charge of military hospitals... So it may come as a surprise to learn that he started life as Margaret Ann Bulkley."

Syriza and the Greek Left: "As new elections loom, obviously one possible outcome is the return of voters to ND and PASOK. But the latest polls do not signal this. They signal a growth in support for SYRIZA, which is seen as a consistent opponent of austerity on the left, and which has narrative and momentum among the traditional base of all other leftist parties."

Glenda Larke responds to the idea that "girls don't read fantasy" with mirth.

Paul S Kemp attempts a taxonomy of book reviewers in a manner perhaps a touch disrespectful: "[B]eware The Pseudo-Intellectual Smartypants, who’s not so much interested in reviewing a book as making damned sure that you know he/she has a Ph.d in something and that he/she is one smart cookie... Worse still is the -ism Hater. The -ism Hater views the world through the lens of that one undergrad class they took that one time at that one mediocre college, which class “opened their eyes” to the injustice of the world as reflected in their pet -ism. Now the -ism Hater hates every book everywhere for failing to adequately rectify the evil of that -ism."
hawkwing_lb: (In Vain)
I am still unpleasantly sick. The worst now, however, is the fact that the skin of my nose and upper lip is chapped and abraded from the constant nose-blowing of the last two days. Since I forgot to get either Vaseline or chapstick in my run to the chemist earlier this morning (and am extraordinary reluctant to go out again today), I am raiding my small knowledge of ancient medicine what is alleged to work, and applying a mixture of honey and oil to decrease the dry flakiness.

This is doubtless more information than you ever wanted concerning my nose.

In other news: I watched Immortals today. Plot aside, it is a beautiful film, visually striking, very stylish. Well-acted, with dialogue that did not often descend to cliché. The plot is utter nonsense, although the progression thereof actually manages a tense arc. It's worth watching for the pretty, though.

I also watched Underworld for the first time in years, and remembered why I loved it: it is tailor-made to hit a great many of my narrative kinks in the shortest possible space of time.

And since I'm out of things to say, go read Jim Hines being smart and funny again.
hawkwing_lb: (DA 2 scaring the piss)
In case you're wondering, I'm still sniffling, Whitechapel is a decent little BBC miniseries, and my ears itch. Also, my shorts have ripped through the crotch. Life, so much fun.

Tomorrow I will stagger to the chemist and see if anti-histamines stop the evil sniffly itching any better than cold meds. In the meantime, I will be here, writing and dozing by turns.
hawkwing_lb: (Bear CM weep for the entire world)
Contrary to expectations, today has not, so far, involved college work. Instead, I spent the vast majority of the afternoon attempting to turn my bedroom (where more than half of the books live) into a slightly more respectable and significantly less dusty sanctum sanctorum.

I still haven't quite been able to manage shelving by subject. But there is much less shit scattered everywhere. And most things are, in fact, on shelves.

Tired now. But still have college work to do. Perhaps I will be able to do it. But on the whole, I think perhaps not.
hawkwing_lb: (dreamed and are dead)
Today I accomplished many things in the domestic line.

Food shopping. Sowing of runner beans and swedes in tiny patches in the back garden. Preparation of a maple-apple-walnut boiled pudding. Construction of a blanket box. Filling of a blanket box with potentially-in-future-useful folders of notes. Hanging of pictures.

The maple-apple-walnut pudding is, if I say so myself, a very worthy variant on treacle pudding. (Replace treacle with maple syrup, add one slice apple and a handful of walnuts. I use the treacle pudding recipe here.) It's lighter than plain treacle, and the mix of flavours is an improvement - treacle can be a little thick.

I'm also very happy to finally have my Hokusai print hung up. (And a trio of prints from Ursula Vernon: I'm not sure how well they go with the parent's amateur oils, but it makes me positively gleeful to finally have them on the walls. Even if they're all badly framed in cheap poundshop pine.)

The next thing to do is to get the newer family pictures framed, and hang great-great-auntie and great-gran, great-grandad, grandparent's wedding, and the subsequent generations (yet to be framed) over the sideboard. We've been living here for a dozen years, and they're still not hung.

If I can persuade the parent and the grandparent to the expense, it would be nice to get a picture of the grandparent from the sixties, and the parent and siblings from her own youth, and get them blown up and properly framed. I don't hold out vast hopes of this. (It would also be nice to be able to put a name to great-great-auntie, the grandparent's maternal relative. This might require more documentary archaeology than I'm presently prepared for, though.)

That's not likely to happen soon.

Anyway. Tomorrow I have to do three short pieces of work, and get my workspace squared away - a job I've been putting off since before the year turned. Still, if I don't get to it soon, it won't get done. (Note to self: buy new folders, preferably clear plastic.)
hawkwing_lb: (Bear CM beyond limit the of their bond a)
My bibliography is 35 items long just on ancient sources, so far.

I'm very slow at typing it up, mostly due to typographical error. Ofxord Uinverstiy Press, Oxfrog requires fixing. It seems my fingers go a little too hastily, and the more haste, the less speed, as all know.

When I have the bibliography done, I can hand the whole mess over and go back to trying to do the work I want to do. I hope.

hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I hate writing overviews. Statements of intent, bah.

The process looks a lot like this:

The intention of this thesis

The aim of this thesis is to stun everyone with its brilliance.

Well, obviously. Can't put that in, though.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate

The aim of this thesis is to explore Asklepieian healing cult between the fourth century BC and the second century CE, paying particular attention to

The aim of this thesis is to explore Asklepieian healing cult between the fourth century BC and the second century CE, with particular reference to the experience of the suppliants who came to the sanctuaries of the god journeyed to the sanctuaries of the god Asklepios in search of cures.

The aim of this thesis is to explore Asklepieian healing cult between the fourth century BC and the second century CE, with particular reference to the experience of the suppliants who journeyed to the sanctuaries of the god Asklepios at Epidauros, Pergamon, Kos, and elsewhere in search of a cure for their sickness.

One sentence down. Asklepios Soter alone knows how long the rest of this will take.
hawkwing_lb: (Helen Mirren Tempest)
Books 32-40

32. Elizabeth Bear, The White City.

Don Sebastian in Moscow. A beautiful little book, fascinating and painful.

33. Barbara Hambly, Dead and Buried.

The ninth Benjamin January book. An accident reveals that the Faubourg Tremé Free Coloured Militia and Burial Society are about to bury the body of an unknown white man - unknown, that is, except to Hannibal Sefton, fiddle player and January's friend. Blackmail, family secrets, and lies abound. Hambly's 1830s New Orleans has a very dark and at times almost claustrophobic atmosphere, and as usual is brilliantly described.

34. Elizabeth Moon, Kings of the North.

Dorrin Verrakai has successfully become Duke Verrakai in Tsaia. In neighbouring Lyonya, King Kieri Phelan must deal with matters of his succession and the apparently arbitrary caprice of his mysterious co-ruler, the Lady of the Ladysforrest. Meanwhile, Captain Arcolin encounters a brutal warlord claiming descent from ancient kings. All this is complicated by the reapparence of provenance-less royal regalia. Which talks.

Meh. Pick a point of view and stick with it, dear author. The leaping around leaves the resulting narrative with a strange feeling akin to aimlessness.

35. Laura Anne Gilman, Hard Magic.

CSI with magic. Fluff.

36. Mercedes Lackey, Trio of Sorcery.

A short novel and two novellas. The short novel features Di Tregard and is set in the early 1970s, the two novellas feature characters I haven't encountered before and are set in the mid-90s and approximately now, respectively. Engaging, and significantly better than anything else I've read by Lackey recently - this is far closer to Phoenix and Ashes or Black Swan than Foundation or Reserved for the Cat.

37. Steven Brust, Tiassa.

A distinctly bizarre book, stylistically, even by the standard of previous Vlad Taltos novels. I... Well. Hmm. I'll need to read it again to come to any verdict on it (which I will, because I'm supposed to be reviewing it properly for Ideomancer), but I'm far from sure, right now, if it's being perfectly clever apropos to its purpose, or whether its cleverness is the authorial equivalent of singing an opera while standing on one's head, juggling knives, in the rain, for the pure hell of it.

Either way, relies on one's previously familiarity with and affection for the characters in greater degree than previous offerings. I doubt it stands alone very well.

38. Douglas Hulick, Among Thieves.

Are we sure this is a debut novel? I mean, seriously? Because it's damn good. Thieves, imperial relics, gang warfare and politics and friendships made and broken apart - Not to mention some really tight writing.

I recommend it.


39. Plato, Defence of Socrates, Euthyphro, and Crito. Oxford World's Classics, OUP, Oxford, 1997. Translated with an introduction and notes by David Gallop.

Justly famous dialogues concerned law and justice, worth reading even if one disagrees with them completely.

This translation is lucid and readable, and the introduction (unlike Waterfield's to Plato's Timaeus, for a contrary example) is not only helpful for contextualising the dialogues, it's short.

40. Sandra R. Joshel, Slavery in the Roman World. Cambridge Introductions to Roman Civilisation, CUP, Cambridge, 2010.

Intended as an introductory treatment of slavery in Roman society, Joshel's work here is lively, accessible, and illuminating in useful ways. The high quality of the numerous illustrations - which are helpful without being intrusive - is an added plus.

The book is a short one, only a little over 200 pages long. It is divided into five chapters, with a glossary of commonly used terms at the back. The first chapter, "An Introduction to Roman Slavery" sets Rome and slavery in their broad historical contexts. The second chapter, "The Roman Social Order and a History of Slavery" attempts to trace the development and social role of slavery within Roman society over time. The third chapter, "The Sale of Slaves" discusses the legalities and the potential experiences involved in the sale and purchase of slaves. The fourth chapter, "The Practices of Slaveholders and the Lives of Slaves" attempts to use the available evidence to cast light on what the Roman slave, urban, elite, or rural, would actually have experienced during slavery. The fifth and final chapter, "Slaves at Work: In the Fields, the Household and the Marketplace," discusses pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, slavery and work.

As an introductory book, some of the discussion is necessarily basic, and due to the nature of the available evidence, areas of Roman social life including life as relates to slavery remain understood only sketchily. Nonetheless, I feel that this is a very solid, very readable introduction to the topic.

At the moment, in between my stressful, panicked moments*, I'm reading Beckwith's Empires of the Silk Road - and [livejournal.com profile] matociquala? Thank you for mentioning this book: it's brilliant - and looking forward to reading Flanders' The Invention of Murder. Life could be worse.

*I confess, I've taken the last three days completely off. I need a clear head to think about this progress review, and relaxation appears to be the only way to get one. Caffeine certainly wasn't working.

hawkwing_lb: (Default)
This has probably been done in far more humorous ways. Still. I think I'll share.


Enter STRIFE, bearing the golden apple of the Hesperides.

STRIFE: Somebody drop this?

APHRODITE: What a lovely apple. It belongs to me, of course.

ATHENA: You're wrong, sister. It's mine.

HERA: Now, girls. As Queen of the Gods - need I say more? - it's obviously mine by right.

They commence to squabble and recriminate.

ZEUS (wearily): Hermes, dear boy. Isn't it about time we set the doom of Troy in motion? Go find Paris, and let him judge which of these scheming harridans ought to have the immortal apple. He'll annoy at least two of them. That should be moderately entertaining. And at least Thetis won't come complaining to me that I let the family ruin her wedding.

HERMES: Okay, Dad. Ladies, we're going to find Paris Priam's son, because this is Thetis's wedding, and Dad doesn't want another family war, k?

HERA: If we must.

APHRODITE: Is he handsome?

ATHENA: This is not wise, Father.

Exit HERMES, shepherding the goddesses.


Enter Hermes and goddesses.

HERMES: Paris, old man! Zeus needs you! Which of these lovely ladies should receive the golden apple of the Hesperides? Don't dally, now.

PARIS: Er. This is... unexpected?

HERA: You can see that the apple is obviously mine. Clearly. But if you should need to know more - well. You look like an upstanding young man. And a prince too, hmm? I can make you king over all Asia, you know.

ATHENA: That's what she always says.

HERA: I do not!

ATHENA: You always say that. And then Father gets huffy. And we all spend a week keeping our heads down until he tires of flinging thunderbolts, or until you take back whatever you promised without his consent. Listen to me, Paris. I am wisdom in war. With my favour, you'll lead armies and gain victories the like of which men have never before seen.

APHRODITE: Oh, like you know anything.

She undoes her robe.

No woman in Greece can match me, but you know what? Helen of Sparta comes close. I'll see to it that you marry her. Screw Menelaus - on second thought, don't. He never sacrifices to me properly.

PARIS (boggling): Er. Yes. Aphrodite. Yes. Her.

APHRODITE: Hah! (To Athena) Take that, you frigid hag! "I'm so great, I win big battles, I can wield a spear" - you're just like a man, with your ugly bronze - no, wait, I take that back. You don't know what you are. Loser.

ATHENA (tiredly): Put your clothes back on, you wanton Kuprian... thing. Father's not going to approve of this, you know. He likes Menelaus. So do I.

HERA (aside): Paris is going to meet a sticky end after this, I guarantee it. Hermes! Where are you? There you are! I need a lift back home. No, let your siblings make their own way back. It'll do them good, and if they miss the wedding party, at least we won't have to listen them sit in opposite corners and snipe at each other. It upsets that useless Hephaistos - not that I care, but he stomps so when he's annoyed.

Exit Hera and Hermes.

PARIS (dropping his shepherd's crook): Helen! I'm coming, Helen!

Exit Paris.

ATHENA & APHRODITE turn their backs on each other and exit in opposite directions.

APHRODITE: Frigid tank!

ATHENA: Don't make me ask Hephaistos if I can borrow that net!


hawkwing_lb: (Helen Mirren Tempest)
I have been to Belfast, where I encountered many fine people who are very much geeks like me. This is reassuring, in a disturbing sort of way. My paper appears to have been comprehensible, at least, which is rather comforting.

Queen's University Belfast has an interesting gingerbread gothic thing going on with its main hall. Sadly, I saw no other part of Belfast, but, well. There's always another year.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
To do, 27 Feb - 6 Mar edition.

Save yourselves. Run. )

Yeah. I think that's enough to be getting on with. At least for now.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
To do, 27 Feb - 6 Mar edition.

Save yourselves. Run. )

Yeah. I think that's enough to be getting on with. At least for now.

hawkwing_lb: (Default)

Thanks to jujutsu last night, today I'm walking - and thinking - rather more like a slow zombie than I'd prefer.

The prices we pay to have fun.

I have a paper to write for a conference - my first. With any luck, it will be a coherent treatment of entrances and the creation of ritual bodies at the Asklepieia Pergamon and Kos. We'll see. I have a lot more reading ahead of me.

I avoided phenomenology when I was a theology student. So why is it now, as a classics postgrad, it turns out to be actually rather necessary?

κακοφραδής εστιν ὁ θεός, is all I have to say.

It turns out that, contrary to my projections, I can't afford to get myself a copy of The White City this month. Hopefully there will still be copies around in April. If not, well, that's how the dice falls, I suppose.

And now I must go stare at my Greek translations with the utmost reluctance. Oh, Neaira. Apollodoros really didn't like your boyfriend, did he?


hawkwing_lb: (Default)

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