Bolbbalgan4 is a K-indie singer-songwriter duo that rose to fame through appearances on the Korean tv show Superstar K. I've never actually watched that show...they crossed my radar simply because their singles are always at the top of Korean streaming charts. When I finally hunted down their songs, I realized I'd heard some of them before while out and about.
Their overall sensibility reminds me a bit of Akdong Musician. Like AKMU's Play, Red Planet is remarkably solid as an album. It's very consistent in overall tone/mood, and there isn't a single track that makes me want to press the skip button. So instead of adding a couple of the best songs to my heavy rotation playlist, I'm putting the entire album on repeat, in order. It's a happy thing.
(Also, they're totally adorable. I kinda want to feed them and pat them on the head.)
( four embedded videos )
Whatchya listening to these days?
Today, I give you Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right, published 1909. There are gems on every page, but here are a few:
A for An. "A hotel." "A heroic man." Before an unaccented aspirate use an. The contrary usage in this country comes of too strongly stressing our aspirates.
Note that this means he thinks you should say "HOtel". Some people (*cough*fuddyduddies*cough* still agitate for "An heroic", but I've never seen anybody objecting to "A hotel".
Chivalrous. The word is popularly used in the Southern States only, and commonly has reference to men's manner toward women. Archaic, stilted and fantastic.
I kind of love this. Boy, would Bierce hate "kind of".
Every for Ever. "Every now and then." This is nonsense: there can be no such thing as a now and then, nor, of course, a number of now and thens. Now and then is itself bad enough, reversing as it does the sequence of things, but it is idiomatic and there is no quarreling with it. But "every" is here a corruption of ever, meaning repeatedly, continually.
Good old false etymology.
Some forgotten slang and dialect:
Avoirdupois for Weight. Mere slang.
Clever for Obliging. In this sense the word was once in general use in the United States, but is now seldom heard and life here is less insupportable.
Decidedly for Very, or Certainly. "It is decidedly cold."
Gent for Gentleman. Vulgar exceedingly.
So. Tell me your favorites!
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.
Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.
Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.
But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!
Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. Passing those bills may literally save the world.
See link for further details. Please signal-boost if you are so inclined.
Oh, apparently it ate Yuletide? Just fucking great.
(This is not even 'consistent.' I love Shirley Jackson and Philip K. Dick and other mindbending works about what is real and what isn't and how do we tell and how can we tell and so on. But every so often there's something that lines up too well with the cracks in my head, I guess is a way to put it, like the wolf sections of Kiernan's Drowning Girl or bits of Donnie Darko and my brain's like WHA HUNH NO WE'RE FREAKING OUT NOW PREPARE FOR PANIC PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR TRAY TABLES ARE IN THEIR FULL UPRIGHT POSITIONS RIGHT UP YOUR ASS. It's one of those things that is so idiosyncratic but also hits me so hard I don't really know what to do.)
†Yeah I have had actual paranoia. It is not funny. Mental illness is not quirky and cute. -- Also yeah, I tried to watch some clips of it to see if I was just being silly and the effect would lessen. SPOILER: IT GOT KIND OF BIGGER
"That is what he saw in the eyes of those wicked young men".
I thought this was by Stephen Crane. Does anybody recognize it?
STUNNING live version on Jools Holland:
Meet Rhiannon Giddens, Newly Minted MacArthur 'Genius' (NPR)
In her recordings and live performances, Giddens has mined the history of the African American string band tradition, introducing new audiences to the black banjoists and fiddlers whose influences have been left out of popular narratives of the lineage of folk and country music. Giddens is a native of the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and she trained as an opera singer before returning to North Carolina to immerse herself in traditional American roots music through study of archival recordings and the mentorship of the octogenarian fiddler Joe Thompson. Having honed her skills on the fiddle and 5-string banjo, she co-founded with two other bandmates the Carolina Chocolate Drops in order to share this tradition with a new generation of listeners. More recently, Giddens has released two solo albums. Tomorrow Is My Turn (2015) offers riveting interpretations of songs that were written or made famous by women, spanning folk, bluegrass, country, gospel, jazz, Celtic, and other genres. Freedom Highway (2017) consists mainly of original compositions by Giddens, and the album traverses the experience of African Americans from slavery to the present. Drawing inspiration from slave narratives, early twentieth-century songwriters such as Mississippi John Hurt, and even a rap about police violence written by her nephew, Freedom Highway is at once a recuperation of suppressed voices and a history lesson. - (MacArthur Foundation)
So the first thing is that every 'task' set is either really short and obvious ('reply to yesterday's email from J'), or has a specific time limit ('spend 20 minutes tidying up the bedroom). This means that I'm getting lots of positive reinforcement, as I've put the tasks in Habitica, and get to tick them off and get rewards frequently. Secondly, I'm putting the tasks in to the list as they come to me, and then making myself do them in order, so that I don't end up at the end of the day having done either the fun or the easy ones, and then hating on myself for having left lots of shit jobs for Saturday, which is already hell on wheels.
Those of you who are also scatty will have looked at my twenty minutes, and laughed at me, because focusing that long? Yeah, I know. I've made iTunes give me an ~20 minute play list, and each time the songs change, it triggers me to think about what the next sub-task is, or whether I'm still on the task I started on. So far, that is working well. It also means that I know what the last song in the list is, and so when it gets to that, I look at the room and work out what the most urgent thing is that I want to finish.
But before that, I'm doing lots of talking out loud, lots of specifying what's next, and lots of counting. So, for example, in the bedroom, there was a pile of wash that needed folding and putting away, and I watched myself shy away from it several times, because it was Too Big (about half a wash basket). So I made myself count each item (15) as I put it away, and that kept me from losing track.
And reminding myself of the rule that I only have two hands, so I should only be looking at at most two things to deal with at any given time, and that the goal is to have done Something, rather than specific things in each room is helping as well.
And my break times are at the computer, but I've moved everything so I have to stand up, and that means that I don't want to linger there, which means that I'm actually getting back on task, because I look at the list on the computer, and then start the music, and then go to the next thing (I've finished three so far, and typing this has been my third 'on the computer' break, having got one of my email accounts read for the last two days)
A digression. When I was a little cho, I loved books with main characters like Dido Twite in Joan Aiken's Wolves series and Goth in James Schmitz' The Witches of Karres: wiry, adventurous girls who could almost be mistaken for boys. I knew I would never be any of those girls, because I was chunky and unathletic and bookish and shy and near-sighted.
Last night I finished Provenance by Ann Leckie. People who wanted more hardcore space opera (and yes, I think it's OK to call it that) like the Ancillary trilogy have been grumpily posting their displeasure with the book around the Intarwebs. Because although Provenance is set in the same universe, and people in the story are talking about the events that occurred in that series, the star of Provenance is not an unstoppable corpse soldier turned engine of vengeance, like Breq. The protagonist is, instead, a chunky, self-deprecating, messy, naive young woman named Ingray Aughskold. And whether you enjoy Provenance, I suspect, will have a lot to do with whether you sympathize with Ingray or think she's a fool.
Ingray has Mommy issues. Mom is a powerful politician who adopted three children, intending to eventually make the most suitable one her heir. This is not an uncommon practice on the world of Hwae. One child made herself scarce as soon as she could legally do so, leaving Ingray to complete with their confident and obnoxious brother Danach. Both Ingray and Danach are certain that Danach will be the heir; nevertheless, Ingray would like to secure some of their mother's regard for herself. So she invests all her own money in a scheme that starts with breaking a famous thief out of the smarmily named prison world Compassionate Removal and goes on from there. As james_davis_nicoll puts it, it is "a very bold scheme, a scheme so well planned that it does not go off the rails until shortly before the book begins."
If the book sounds like a caper novel, that is indeed one part of what it is. It is also a coming-of-age story, a story that addresses the idea of symbols and what part they play in our personal and national stories, a novel that explores families and what parents can do to children, and a science fiction story full of aliens and robots and stolen starships. I enjoyed it quite a lot.
Next, I've started a non-fiction book that is not much like anything I would have picked on my own, but a book club has started at work, and it involves some colleagues that I should get to know better, so. It's called The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. The blurb describes it as "How a Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality." I'm about 5% of the way into it, and so far author Michael Lewis has been discussing the idea of using statistics to help make better choices in selecting athletes for pro sports teams. I suppose this is a topic of great interest to many, but not to me, so I hope the book gets into something else quickly.
I also have waiting for me the first volumes of two new-to-me manga series, Golden Kamuy and Complex Age, and also the first collected volume of the comic The Wicked and the Divine.
So what's it going to be for you? Big or small, easy or hard, tell us all about it. Let us cheer you along, and bolster up that motivation, because while we may not be physically there with you we're out here waving pompoms and believing that you can do it!
In need of a challenge - in deference to my own fatigue levels at the moment - I'm going to say set a timer for an appropriate length of time (5/10/15 minutes) and go for it! What can you get done? Tackle a pile or a task, clean a floor or organising a drawer or just do a bit of washing up until that timer goes.
If your personal goals are higher or your energy is abounding *eyes you jealously* feel free to do multiple rounds of time setting.
Don't forget, every good deed done deserves a reward - so what's your reward going to be?
1½ lbs apples (to make a little applesauce)
1 pint cider (ditto, although the Mr. might also drink some)
red and yellow cherry tomatoes
2 heads garlic
½ lb. farmhouse cheddar cheese
I also pulled a package of CSA lamb stew meat out of the freezer when I got home: not to make stew, but kebabs instead. It's still too hot to make stew. Ditto winter squash, although one of the booths had some lovely Red Kuri.
So grocery store run should only be non-food items, skim milk, Siggi's yogurts for me, some breakfast cereals, long pasta (spag, linguine), Flackers flax seed crackers, and parmesan cheese. Maybe a few oranges too.
ETA: And berries! how can I forget those? They're in the icon ... .
2. Rewatched the musical sequences of La La Land, which are really great (Except the singing! Why?!). The opening number in particular is really impressive and all in one take too! There's something about lots of people dancing in unison that is extremely satisfying on a very deep level for me.
3. Went to CB's friend's place and had tasty prime rib and creme brulee mocha cake from 85°C and was social, which was nice.
(They could have given it to Italo Calvino, they could have given it to Leonard Cohen, they could have given it to Borges....they gave it to Faulkner ffs.)
-- Yeah yeah, the cover, the cover. I raved about it some at poor oursin's blog but really, I don't honestly care, except my honest and probably Terrible Feminist reaction is IT'S NOT A BIKINI FOR CHRIST'S SWEET SUFFERING SAKE. If someone's going to get something that wrong right out of the gate I don't pay attention to them. It's a character flaw, what can I say. But like I said over there I honestly don't give a damn because you open it up and the first letter goes:
Monday 19 February 1940
I am coming home soon. Are you as glad as I am?
Over in Frank's work room I got some ink on my fingers which never comes of! I had to rub them with a stone. And the stone took it of.
....My letter is not very long.
....Mummy likes me to wright in red. But nearly everybody likes me to wright in blue or black.
Written to her father -- she was sent away because of his fatal illness -- whose death nine months later, less than two weeks before her own eighth birthday, would haunt her until her own....about how a father-figure taught her to take indelible ink off her fingers "with a stone" and the incredible correspondences with her poetry, her work, her life-art already piling up -- The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue, "black fingers" of yew trees, the red of "Cut" and "Poppies in October" and "Poppies in July," her constant references to stones and skulls and the moon who was "my mother. She is not sweet like Mary" and Hughes's poem on how she "painted hearts" on everything -- even her posthumous reputation! with "everybody likes" either "blue or black" -- it was dizzying. Hand to god I had to put the book down for a second. And that was the FIRST letter. Talk about a telegrammatic precis of a life, right there, unfolding through all the rest of her years like a cup of flowering tea, but all right there from the start. It was like a punch.
So that made me happy. (too happy probably, but even hypomania is preferable to glum doom sometimes)
1. Go to http://translate.google.com.
2. Select English as the language in the left-hand field.
he is a doctor
5. Click translate.
o bir doktor
Driveby, b/c I suck tonight. I have been killing time on Tumblr while a messy kitchen awaits me.
Finished DWJ's Time of the Ghost. Limp ending: endings are DWJ's chief weakness. (That is part of why the ending of The Homeward Bounders is such a shock: she nailed that one.)
Read Seanan McGuire's Down Among the Sticks and Bones. She seems to be getting her Catherynne Valente on in this one: it's told in a slightly distant myth/fairytale voice. It's the backstory for two of the characters from Every Heart a Doorway: Jack and Jill, a pair of twins who ended up in a dark fantasy world. Jill's half of the story seems to me much weaker and less interesting than Jack's, and I think the novella is the poorer for that.
Then I re-read Peter Dickinson's mystery King and Joker, which used to be a bulletproof comfort read for me. And sadly, it didn't really work for me this time. I'm not sure what's up. :-(
ETA: Next up will likely be Ann Leckie's Provenance. I'm more in the mood for a comfort read, but given how flat the last one fell, I don't want to try one.