Print Story Taking the Fifth
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Aug 14, 2017 at 12:14:54 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching, Me, Museums, Theatre (all tags)
Reading: "Cabin Fever", "The Obelisk Gate". Watching. Museums. Me. Theatre. Links.

What I'm Reading
Cabin Fever by Mandy Smith. Autobiography of a former Virgin Airlines flight attendant. Tries very hard to be raunchy: that's more entertaining in the second half when she's single than the first when she's basically just in a normal relationship with a long-term boyfriend.

Basically they did a lot of partying, sometimes with other staff, sometimes with celebrities as a group of Virgin stewardesses was always in demand at parties. Overall, mildly entertaining but doesn't have any really astonishing revelations.

What I'm Reading
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. Sequel to the fantastic "The Fifth Season", the next volume is out in a few days.

The trilogy has a continuing plot and doesn't make any concessions to not remembering the first volume. Definitely don't start here. It's hard to describe the plot without spoilers, but the tantalizing mysteries of the first book are explained here in a way I thought was satisfying.

As with the first there's some fairly traumatic stuff going on: a big theme of the book is dysfunctional and abusive families with the overall plot mirroring the characters' stories. It's a bit of a tough read for a parent.

I thought it was well up to the standards of the first. Even though the characters are in one place rather than travelling, I thought the politics of the city kept it interesting.

On the basis of the first two books, this is one of the best SF/fantasy series I've read in years.

Author interview.

What I'm Watching
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Science fiction epic by "The Fifth Element" director Luc Besson; light, fast and visually imaginative in the same way. I thought it was a lot of fun. Definitely worth seeing in 3D if you can.

Had a week's holiday in Germany, staying with my wife's mother. Was OK. Did a bit of walking in the countryside, as far as the toddler could go. Had a few day trips, to Heidelberg, a nearby castle, Frankfurt Zoo. Weather was good. Bit stressful trying to stop the toddler destroying or hurting himself in a non-child-safe house. I don't speak German and my mother-in-law doesn't speak english, which probably makes things more harmonious than otherwise.

Weight loss is going OK, kept up the same rate during the holiday. Another couple of weeks and I should be able to go back to maintenance.

Took a day off and actually went to some exhibitions, just like in the old days.

Giacometti at Tate Modern was fantastic. He's best known for his tall knobbly sculptures of walking people: they look a lot more impressive in real life, some of them taller than life. But there's also a lot of diversity: some semi-realistic portrait heads, experiments in tiny sculptures, a kind of very simple black bas-relief landscape of a woman and a river. Liked this a lot.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern also had some intriguing stuff, like the brightly coloured landscapes, also a lot of energetic protest art.

Also saw Places of the mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850–1950 at the British Museum. As usual with their selections from their vast watercolour collection there's some good stuff, especially the wartime landscapes. A few big names in there too.

There's a puppet theatre barge moored not too far away from us along the river, so took the toddler there to see The Hare and the Tortoise and other stories, some stories from Aesop.

It was an "open" performamance for three years plus, with some house lights up and talking allowed, which was useful since though the toddler loved it he did like to give a running commentary. "The spider's making a web. Well done spider!", "The monkey is standing on his head! Now he's back to normal".

I liked it too, the quality of the puppetry seemed good as far as I can tell, the dialogue wasn't dumbed down with for kids with a large vocabulary, and it's an interesting experience. The seats are about four abreast and slightly raked, they seat kids behind kids and adults behind adults, so even though it's a river barge you get a better view than I've hand in some land theatres.

Definitely worth a trip, the barge is open all year but it's moored in Little Venice outside summer.

Socioeconomics. The First World War was partly paid for with quantitative easing (After a bond issue failed they printed money to buy the bonds and lied about it for years!)

Random. Defending Indiana Jones' archaeology, Raiders of the Lost Arc story conference. Partial geographica tube map showing tunnel paths. 1986: The scariest Test England ever played.

Sci/Tech. The four hour working day Google memo and quality control statistics.

Politics. What are the obstacles to a softer Brexit?

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Taking the Fifth | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
Obelisk Gate by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Aug 14, 2017 at 03:54:48 AM EST
Won the Best Novel Hugo over the weekend.

Can't believe I missed that! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Aug 14, 2017 at 05:25:34 AM EST
Maybe because rveryone on Twitter is talking about Nazis...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Obstacles for a softer Brexit by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Aug 14, 2017 at 09:57:15 AM EST
Something like 300 backbenchers all with an effective veto? Not sure how the Euro side works, but I suspect each EU nation can depand its pound of flesh for a softer brexit. I doubt it is so much a "WTO brexit or not" so much as a "will England annoy the EU enough for them to accept Scotland".

While I understand that MPs are typically always party creatures who vote the party line, I can't help but think that the Tories might have a few factions who will simply demand a hard brexit. They paid dearly for the Orange vote, I doubt there is a real way to appease the "hard brexit" vote without everybody demanding thier share. If they thought that any deal was on the table, they pretty have to be already talking.

Great War and quantitive easing. I have to wonder how much of that money was sucked out by J.P.Morgan and partners and how much such a boom-bust wave would contribute to the [US] Great Depression.


The First World War was partly paid for with … by bobdole (4.00 / 2) #5 Wed Aug 16, 2017 at 10:40:31 AM EST
…the link leads to PDFs of the BoE history which contains several interesting stories of the practical problems of banking in the 1910s/1920s. The sheer size of the 3.5% drive (350m) had the staff working flat out for weeks just dealing with the paperwork.

Never thought about it, but dealing with loans in a purely paper-based ledger of that size must have been a nightmare (the pain offset by free drinks to the evening staff).
-- The revolution will not be televised.

Scariest test by Herring (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Aug 19, 2017 at 06:47:57 PM EST
Watching the Windies over the last 3 days, it's really sad what they've become. It's going back a few years, but bowlers like Holding, Masrshall, Ambrose, Walsh etc. and batsmen like Lara, Richards, Gayle ... others

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

+1 by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #7 Sun Aug 20, 2017 at 01:31:35 PM EST
Sad and frustrating - I found myself unreasonably pissed off this afternoon with no kids around... and no TMS to enjoy in the background. What a waste.

Really couldn't quite enjoy this test match, it was a painful affair.

[ Parent ]
Taking the Fifth | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)