umadoshi: (walking in water)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I'll work backwards (chronologically) in this post.

I just finished registering and paying for the Friday evening class (for which [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear and [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh were already registered), so I guess it's now a definite Thing That Will Be Happening. Time to spend the next week and a half trying to get back in the habit of stretching regularly. >.>

There was some uncertainty before I successfully got registered. The online registration process was straightforward for the trial class, but two things happened almost simultaneously re: the actual class. 1) I got a follow-up email from the studio saying they hoped I'd enjoyed the trial class and listing the beginner timeslots that still had openings...a list which did not include the one I wanted (AKA the one my friends were already registered for, not to mention being the only one that could conceivably work with Casual Job going on), and 2) the online class schedule/registration form showed "(3 Reserved, 5 Open)", but didn't have a "sign up now" button (which some others did). TBH, I still have NO clue what's going on there, but after exchanging some emails with the studio, we established that the class did have openings, and now I've given them money, so I should be good to go.

As for the actual trial class on Friday, it could get long, and involves fitness talk, so I'll put it under a cut )
umadoshi: text: "Witch! Get over here!" + "Hey! That's DOCTOR Witch to you!" (AGAHF - doctor witch)
[personal profile] umadoshi
[dreamwidth.org profile] sovay went to a vampire movie marathon earlier this month and wrote about the movies. (If you read and enjoy the post, remember that [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay has a Patreon for film reviews!)

"Tag Yourself, I Am the Irish Bat Dad". "The video was filmed by Tadhg Fleming, and went viral when reposted by @jonnohopkins, and if you haven't seen it then I would describe it as 'the Citizen Kane of portrait-mode Snapchat stories about a bat getting in'. But I would like you to now avert your gaze away from the video and instead turn it deep inwards. Who are you? What are you? What is the very spirit of you? Your essence? You know it. But sometimes it's hard to express. Who, exactly, are you: are you a mood, a note on a piano, a taste, a feeling? Are you light, colour, heat, sound? Whatever you are, I think you can find yourself in this video. I think you can tag yourself in amongst the chaos. Here are some suggested tags – feel free to add your own:"

"This is How Canada Talks".

"BPD and the Pace of Friendship". [author Mishell Baker]

"10+ Adorable Comics That Hilariously Sum Up What It’s Like Living With A Dog".

"Meet the man fighting to save our country's rarest chickens".

Genevieve Valentine posted her red-carpet rundown for the Emmys.

"Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] calissa, "A Digression About Storytelling, Narratives, and Diversity by Bárbara Morais". [The Book Smugglers]



Several links via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne:

--"100 Common Myths & Misconceptions: The world's most widespread falsehoods - debunked!"

--"What Happens When People Are Bored At Work (10+ Pics)".

--"Celebrities Re-Created 1940s Hollywood Glamour Shots And They're Gorgeous". [Buzzfeed]

--"10+ Dogs Who Don’t Understand How BIG They Are And Think They’re Lap Dogs".

--"Spite Houses: 12 Homes Created With Anger and Angst". [2015]

--"Amateur Vs. Pro: How Differently The Same ‘Ugly’ Location Looks When You Become A Professional Photographer".

--"10 Badass Trees That Refuse To Die".

--"28 Precious Vintage Photos of Children With Their Pets".

--"This Russian Photographer Captures Stunning Photos Of Kids And Their Pets".
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! at play 1 (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I have good intentions about reporting back on the trial aerial silks class, but for now: I survived, I am nowhere near as bendy as I used to (SHOCKING, I know), and I'm almost definitely going to sign up for the actual class but haven't done so yet. (I did check and make sure it's not right on the verge of being full. Right now the registration site says five out of eight slots are still free, and one of the three claimed slots is [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh.)

I already mentioned the key bit of this on Twitter ([twitter.com profile] MermaidLure, not [twitter.com profile] ysabet_m), but I went from that studio's website to the one of the place where I took nearly all of my dance classes, long and long ago. exercise classes and my dance history (such as it is) and whatnot )

Garden stuff!

Our tomato harvest is a bit awkwardly sized: we're bringing in enough fruit that [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose is having a bit of trouble keeping up with eating them, but not enough that we think (at useful times) of foisting some off on people because we're ~drowning in tomatoes~ or anything. There also aren't enough at one time to make it obvious that we can/should just cook up a big batch of sauce or something. It's a little weird.

Anyway, it being fall means that our thoughts have turned to planting bulbs! A couple of days ago we placed an order with Vesey's, in which [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I ordered 30 Prince Claus snow crocuses, 40 Tricolor snow crocuses, 30 of the Snow Crocus Mix bulbs, 20 of the Jessie starflowers, and 20 of the Mixed Daffodils mix.

...I didn't fully process until just now, typing that all up, that this means we bought 100 crocus bulbs. I mean, I knew, but...it just didn't seem like that many, somehow. La!

I was seriously tempted by some irises, but we opted against them. The German and Bearded varieties are beautiful but expensive, and we didn't really have an idea of where to put them, and this lovely Dutch Iris Mix starts at a package of 75 bulbs. O_o

We also ordered another set of three tomato halos, but not another set of the stackable tomato ladders, as we discovered this year that Canadian Tire offers very similarly-shaped tomato cages that can be stacked on top of the Vesey's ones. This'll bring us up to six each of the halos and the Vessey's ladder segments, which are meant to slot together, and then we can use the Canadian Tire ones for height. (You can see our current arrangement fairly well in the third picture here, where the red components are from Vessey's and the green ones--which aren't meant to be stackable, but do come in a longer version if we ever want still more height--are from Canadian Tire. This year, with our ten tomato plants, some of the green ones got pressed into service in as single-segment supports, but at the far left you can see a plant with a base Vesey's ladder plus a Canadian Tire one for height.)

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:23 pm
gramarye1971: Fakir looking up from a library book (Princess Tutu: Fakir)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Still around and reading, just a bit quiet. Finishing my Remix Revival fic tapped out quite a bit of my creativity. And I keep starting and deleting entire screeds about the current state of North Korean politics and nuclear brinksmanship because I am a rank amateur when compared with the good folks in the disarmament business who can look at a missile for five seconds and say things like ah, yes, that's a second-generation Iranian-produced Scud-D model, only painted black and with extra fins added to it for no good reason that we can determine. I hate feeling only half-informed, if that.

At this point I am crossing off days until my folks swing down from the Frigid North to visit in mid-October, and to my planned Japan trip in mid-November. If anything else creative or similarly productive gets done during the interim, I'm not sure whether it'll be in spite of or because of my own efforts.

But still around and reading, as mentioned.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm
skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
[personal profile] skygiants
If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
- former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
- Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
- Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.
yifu: (sakamoto maaya)
[personal profile] yifu

Light years after everyone else, I installed Spotify on my netbook and phone. The netbook version is easier to browse songs with c/f the Android one. My main purpose is to keep up with popular Western artists that are less talked about than e.g Taylor Swift or One Direction (whose members seem to have gone solo). But since Spotify also has Jpop and Kpop, watch me fall down the same holes, when not bingeing on Ariana Grande and Zedd.

The president inaugurated Indonesia's national library building [news], all 24 floors and three basements of it. I... can't wait to see everything it has to offer.

Linkspam: fannish/geeky, cute, misc.

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:40 pm
umadoshi: (Tori "feel the word" (gold_dust))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"Q&A: Guillermo del Toro's highly personal monster film 'The Shape of Water' speaks to 'what I feel as an immigrant'".

"Nintendo Is Resurrecting The NES Classic Mini And Increasing SNES Classic Inventory". (I'm trying to carefully balance skepticism and renewed hope that I might be able to lay hands on a classic mini.)

"Check Out Super Cute Character Visuals from Sanrio x 'Fullmetal Alchemist' Collaboration Project".

There's a Kickstarter happening for a Miss Fisher movie.


Cute Stuff

"Kitten Livestreams: Get Your Daily Dose of Cute". [Front Page Meews] "You read that right – there are kitten livestreams on the Internet, and you could be watching them right now! I’m highlighting three of my favorites that I think you’d enjoy too, so read on to discover the next best thing to live kitten cuddle time."

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] jimhines, photos of hens adopting other animals and "The 100 Greatest Owl Pictures You’ll Ever See".

"All This 5-Year-Old Wants To Do Is Help Save Street Cats: “He said it makes him feel like a superhero for animals.”".

"This Maine Coon Is About To Break A World Record For The Longest Fluffiest Tail".

"I Take My Wolfdog On Epic Adventures Because I Hate To See Dogs Locked Away".

[dreamwidth.org profile] naye posted a heap of adorable LaPerm kitty photos from July!

"These Photos of Celebs with Puppies at TIFF are Doggone Adorable: Celebs took a break during the Toronto International Film Festival to hang out with some adorable pups from Finding Them Homes".


Miscellaneous

"Tori Amos’ lost hair metal album ‘Y Kant Tori Read’ gets a digital release (listen)".

I think this is the first interview I've read where Tori talks about the inspiration behind her new album: "Tori Amos: 'Menopause is the hardest teacher I've met. Harder than fame': A walk in the Smoky Mountains in the footsteps of her late Cherokee grandfather helped the musician rediscover her muse – and write an album that confronts the US’s rapacious violence".

Via a few people, "Delta flight beats Hurricane Irma: A tense series of events as a Delta flight from New York attempts to land in San Juan, Puerto Rico and leave before Hurricane Irma hits". [Twitter "Moment"]

Have you all read the story of the time Seanan McGuire's Alice!kitty stowed away on a plane?

"36 Websites That Will Change Your Entire Fucking Life". [Buzzfeed, offering a range of actually useful and/or quite quirky]

"Identity Theft, Credit Reports, and You". [US-focused]

"Why I Will Never Stop Being Glad That Hillary Clinton Refuses to “Go Away”".

Via several people: "The last surviving sea silk seamstress". [BBC]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay, "Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries". [Smithsonian]
umadoshi: (Tori blindfolded - Spark vid (snuddles))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Updates re: my last post:

--Bathroom window installation is not happening tomorrow, but we're still hoping it'll get done next week. (This entails putting the window in front scratch, not simply replacing an existing one. And once it's done, we'll have to figure out details of what else we want to do, in terms of the extent/specifics of renovating the room. More on that some other time, I imagine.)


--[dreamwidth.org profile] seolh is up for taking the trial class for beginner aerial silks with me tomorrow, despite having already done it once with [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear. It'll be good to see her, and also, I didn't realize just how anxious I'd gotten over the thought of going alone until she said she'd come too and it lifted. I'm still anxious about other things relating to going to the class, but this feels much, much better. (Now to figure out what I'm going to wear. o_o I have options, but are any of them good options?)

It's amazing how soon Yuletide is. As usual, despite not having any intentions of participating, I find myself keeping an eye on the unofficial nominations spreadsheets and people's fandom-rec posts/comments, partly to just see what's catching people's attention this year and partly (shocking no one) to see if there are any folks out there who I don't already know who're enough into the Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire canons to be nominating any. (Which, yes, we can fine-tune down to "is anyone nominating/will anyone be requesting Newsflesh?", but that's not the only reason.)

(There's a "Praise! Your! Fandoms! Get others interested!" post on [dreamwidth.org profile] yuletide, if anyone's interested/inspired.)

Meanwhile, In Other Lands (née The Turn of the Story) is still new enough that I keep seeing people discussing or reviewing it, and it makes me grin every time.

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are talking about improving our financial habits, in terms of both a more informative spreadsheet for tracking income/expenditures and an attempt at more actual budgeting. just a few lines (mostly) about how I buy books, but cut 'cause finances )

The good news for my wallet is that I somehow entirely missed when Tori Amos' North American tour dates were announced in...July? Anyway, a few days ago I suddenly clued in and looked and realized she's playing Massey Hall in Toronto on October 30th. For most of the year I've been telling myself firmly that 2017 is a ONE-Toronto-trip year, but for a day or so I wavered a lot while checking the price range, noticing that Air Canada had a relevant sale, verifying that crash-space arrangements would be good...all while reminding myself that Casual Job will definitely (insofar as anything can be definite there) still be happening then and it'd have to be a super-short visit...and then I finally checked actual ticket availability, not just the price range, and that was the nail in the coffin. (It's not that there aren't any tickets at all, but [reasons].)

It's not that I'm desperate to see this tour, anyway (which I guess is obvious from my failure to try harder to make it work out), but that I always think, what if it's her last tour??? You never know. She's not old, by any stretch, but a few years ago she talked about maybe wrapping up her touring days. Clearly she opted against it then, or even soon after, since she's still at it, but what if, what if, what if... (I actually haven't listened to the new album right through yet, and I have no expectation of loving it--I haven't truly loved an album of hers since Scarlet's Walk in 2002 or so--but damn, she still does an incredible live show, and draws on her entire back catalogue.)

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:16 pm
skygiants: Hikaru from Ouran walking straight into Tamaki's hand (talk to the hand)
[personal profile] skygiants
At first I expected to write a rather scathing post about Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink, and then I got like 2/3 of the way through and realized that there were in fact some things I really liked about the book to counteract the things that made me stare into the camera like I was on the office, and THEN I got to the end and -

-- ok let me backtrack. The Weight of Ink is a serious literary novel about a pair of academics (the favorite protagonists of serious literary novels) who have discovered a treasure trove of 17th-century documents in a staircase written by Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jewish woman who Confounded All Tradition by acting as scribe for a London rabbi. The book proceeds to interweave Ester's story and POV with that of the academics as they discover various bits of evidence pointing to the things that Rachel Kadish will then later explain to us in Ester's narrative sections.

Ester's story is .... it's mostly good? I think I have come around to largely thinking it's good. It starts to pick up around the middle of the book, when Ester starts writing letters to various famous philosophers under fake male names so that she can Engage in the Discourse.

[ACADEMIC A: [Ester's fake name] did not get much attention during his career or make any important allies -
ACADEMIC B: Oh, why is that?
ACADEMIC A: Well, basically, he was very rude to everyone he wrote to.

I will admit I was charmed.]

Ester's most important relationships are with the rabbi -- a good and wise man who respects her intellect and cannot support the ways in which she chooses to use it -- and with Rivka, the rabbi's housekeeper, a Polish Jew who acts as Ester's foil in a number of significant ways, not all of them obvious or expected. Both of these dynamics have an interesting and complicated tension to them that goes well beyond the standard 'I, A Misunderstood Woman Ahead Of My Time.'

Also there is another young upper-class Jewish woman who is rebellious in wildly different ways than Ester is; a pair of brothers who are both interested in marrying Ester for profoundly different reasons, neither of which is true love; and, for a brief period of time, a love interest. The love interest is hilariously lacking in personality and equally hilariously irrelevant to Ester's life on the whole, and mostly exists to trigger a series of philosophical musings related to desire about which Ester can fight with Spinoza. I guess The Distant Shadow Of Spinoza is also one of Ester's most significant relationships.

Anyway, I appreciate the weighting of these relationships, and the way in which the narrative emphasis shifted from what I expected, and especially all the relationships that were not grounded in romance, but in other forms of love and duty and resentment and complicated emotional bonds.

And ... then there's our modern academics.

Helen Watt is a stiff-necked elderly British specialist in Jewish history, who is on the verge of retirement due to Parkinson's disease. Helen has a Tragic Backstory: in her youth, she spent a month as a volunteer in Israel in the 1950s and had a summer fling. Sorry, let me rephrase: she met an Israeli soldier who was the love! of her life!! (For a month.)

The pivotal scene in their romance occurs when Helen shows up for one of their few actual shared off days to have a date, and he hands her a copy of The History of the Jewish People and then LEAVES and REFUSES TO COME BACK until she's READ IT COVER TO COVER. This is the only way she can understand our endless, endless oppression!

(Meanwhile, he lurks outside, and periodically brings her snacks. THIS SCENE IS SOMEHOW NOT MEANT TO BE COMIC.)

Alas, Young Helen in her frailty decides it's all a LITTLE too much for her, and subsequently regrets her lost love until the end of her days. But, inspired by the world's weirdest date, she decides to dedicate her life to the study of Jewish history, so I guess ... that's all right .....?

She is assisted in her endeavors by Aaron, the third POV character. Aaron is an insufferable American Jewish Ph.D. student. He is working on a dissertation about Shakespeare and the Jews, for which he has no evidence, so instead he spends the entire book obsessing over an unattainable Cool Girl. (And she is so textbook Cool Girl! The coolest girl of all! A girl who poses nude for artists who capture a certain something about her, a girl who's just realer than other girls, THE MAGICAL IDEAL.) He sends her incredibly long, pompous emails after a one-night stand which took place on an evening in which "he waited until Marisa was on her second beer -- he kept track from a distance, biding his time. When he approached at last, his own untouched beer dangling casually in his hand --" OKAY AARON, THANKS AND GOODBYE, YOU AND I ARE DONE.

But alas, we are not done with Aaron, we are not done with Aaron at all. Eventually Aaron does come to realize that he's insufferable! A significant part of this realization comes when he visits an archive and meets a shy, demure archivist who's bad at flirting, and is suddenly struck by how desperately sad it is that people like her may never find love because they're all overlooked by assholes like him. If only people like him paid attention to people like her, their lives might be fulfilling and the world would be better! ALAS.

(There are two other archivists in the book, The Interchangeable Patricias. They have a few moments of heroically rising to Helen's aid but mostly their role is to stand as icily competent, largely humorless glowering gate-guards over the sacred text, because of course.)

So basically everything about the modern sections was nonsense to me. (Also, I got mad every time they found a document that explained to them a Piece of the Mystery in a way that was way too narratively convenient. 'Oh, look, Ester doodled out her real name and her fake name next to each other and added a note that said 'HEY IT'S ALL MY NAMES!' Isn't that handy!')

Still, Ester's story in and of itself was good and compelling and interesting, and grudgingly I became invested in it despite myself...

And then spoilers! )

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:38 pm
skygiants: Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist with her head on a pile of books (ded from book)
[personal profile] skygiants
Juliet Takes a Breath was our book club book for the month of August. I am glad for the existence of this book in the world and I am glad I read it, and with that said my experience of reading it was largely one of OVERWHELMING CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

Juliet Takes a Breath is the coming-of-age story of Juliet Milagros Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who's spending the summer of 2002 interning in Portland, Oregon! with international feminist sensation Harlowe Brisbane! author of "Raging Flower," a book about VAGINA POWER!

Unsurprisingly, pretty much every time Harlowe Brisbane spoke a sentence I wanted to retract my head all the way back inside my nonexistent turtle shell until a million years had passed and womyn power white lady feminism was a thing that could be discussed with distant scholarly complacency, like galvanism or the Cathar heresy. This is completely expected and indeed clearly intended by the book, but nonetheless, OH LORD.

Anyway, not everything is Harlowe Brisbane being exactly the way you'd expect; a great deal of the book is Juliet dealing with a wide range of family reactions to her coming-out (the width of the range in particular is really good!), and Learning New Vocabularies, and finding comfortable queer POC spaces, and attending lectures about intersectional solidarity in the wake of 9/11, and making romantic gay teen mixtapes full of Ani DiFranco songs! But oh, lord. At least one book club member said it rang extremely true to their experience and memories of Portland in 2002. Myself, in 2002 I was nowhere near Portland nor any of the Cool Yet Problematique gay spaces that Rivera is writing about here and it's PROBABLY just as well, but it does seem quite likely to me that walking around Portland in 2002 was a lot like walking around a physical manifestation of certain bits of tumblr, and that is indeed the sense I got of it from this book.

[a sidenote: the acknowledgments in the back include pointed thanks and reference to the time that the author spent with Inga Muscio, author of 'Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.' I'm not necessarily saying this book was a callout post, but .... anyway Inga Muscio also cheerfully blurbed the book on the front so it seems there were no hard feelings on her part and all is well.]
umadoshi: (purple hair)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I got an email today saying our application to foster kitties has been approved! ^_^ [personal profile] scruloose and I followed instructions and read the attached foster manual, and then I emailed to confirm that we'd done that, so now we'll be added to the "This critter needs fostering! Who'll take them?" mailing list.

The "manual" covers a lot of ground and is very reasonable. The only significant thing I'm unsure of--and will ask the shelter about--is the degree of deep cleaning/sterilization we'll have to do between fosterlings, presuming there aren't any health issues with the departing one(s). The manual specifies that one fosterling's cat toys aren't to be kept for the next one(s) to use unless they can be bleached, but said nothing about food/water dishes and the litter box and stuff. There's a lot of room between "scrub thoroughly" and "decontaminate absolutely every object and surface a fosterling touched".

My hair's purple-with-turquoise-streaks got brightened up today, and the undercut shaved almost right down to the skin (a #0 buzz cut, [personal profile] scruloose says; it was probably a #1 last time, and when I buzzed all of my hair a few years ago I think we did it at #3). My stylist and I set a longer appointment for late-ish November to lighten the shade of purple a bit.

I can feel the air on the lower back of my skull. It's very weird.

Just over a week before I head back to the office for the fall Casual Job stint. o_o What the hell, time? And somehow we have a lot packed in between now and then:

--I need to rewrite at least a volume's worth of manga (between two projects) and do some prose proofreading.

--In a burst of "wait, that kind of exercise class could actually be FUN", I signed up to take a trial beginner aerial silks class this Friday. [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear was talking about it because she and [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh just did a trial class and are gonna take the actual class, and it sounds neat, so I was kinda like "I wanna play too!!!" Which...I usually keep in my head, because OH, HI, ANXIETY! But here we are. (If I like the trial and sign up for the class, there's going to be the constant possibility of missing it due to work, but on Fridays I'm usually done by a reasonable time, so an evening class in walking distance of the office would be doable.)

--It sounds like there's actually a reasonable chance (!) that the bathroom window [personal profile] scruloose and I spent the summer waiting to have installed will actually get installed within the next week or so. Given the domino of things we want to do with that room, all of which rely on getting the damn window put in, that would be very nice indeed. (And also made of upheaval, which is a lot of strain on my nerves, but I will cope. Oh, and technically it's possible we could have a fosterling by then! Which'd mean putting Claudia and Jinksy into [personal profile] scruloose's office for the day, not the spare room.)

--We have a follow-up vet appointment next week to get the cats their feleuk updates (since we avoid having them get more than one vaccination in a sitting), and to talk to the vet in more detail about how Claudia's annual ultrasound went. (I mean, other than Claud's unbroken streak of being so cooperative that she didn't need to be sedated at all, despite having a patch of fur shaved and goo smeared on her, plus a blood draw. Our girl is such a trooper.)

--Then the weekend after this one--so the day after Casual Job starts up--is Hal-Con, and knowing that it's a month or so earlier than usual (and how odd to have a sense of the "usual", since last year was the first time we went) doesn't actually help much with the "BUT HOW IS IT HAPPENING ALREADY???" feeling.

(no subject)

Sep. 10th, 2017 06:37 pm
skygiants: Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender; text 'just kicked butt' (katara kicks butt)
[personal profile] skygiants
Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent is a compilation of oral history interviews with Pearl Witherington Cornioley, behind-the-lines SOE agent in France during WWII, packaged up into a YA nonfiction narrative.

Pearl's story is as fascinating as all the other stories about WWII female secret agents I've read, with the bonus that it's barely crushingly depressing at all! Pearl started out as a courier, posing as a traveling cosmetics saleswoman and working with an old school friend of hers who was running the SOE Stationer network -

(sidenote; she'd also been the one to recommend that her old school friend sign up for secret intelligence to begin with, and then was like 'yes now that I've set that up I'll pop on over to join his network now, thanks')

(sidenote 2; she'd also managed to somehow smuggle a secret message to her fiance Henri, a French soldier who had just escaped from German POW camp, and get him in contact with the Stationer network as well, so literally as soon as she parachuted in her boss was like "HEY WELCOME TO FRANCE HERE'S YOUR BOYFRIEND I'll just .... leave you two alone a bit")

- but eventually her boss was arrested by the Gestapo. Fortunately, Pearl had dragged several other members of the network out for a picnic that day, so they all escaped!

Then D-Day happened and Pearl was like "well, I guess it is now my job to be in charge of organizing all British supply drops and getting weapons and money to the French underground resistance, and no one else seems to be sabotaging the Germans around here, so ..... I guess that's what we're doing now?"

And that's how Pearl ended up being in charge of several thousand Maquis soldiers! With Henri playing support.

(There's a couple of Henri interviews in the back and they are mostly taken up with the story of how he rescued a baby bunny while retreating from the Germans and brought it along with him through numerous battles until they were about to be captured, at which point he was like 'FLY FREE, MY RABBIT FRIEND! SAVE YOURSELF!' "And that was the only life I saved during the war." BLESS.

There's also a very cute bit that the interviewers put in dialogue, because they also obviously found it super cute, where Pearl is like "ugh I get so mad when people say the men followed me because I was pretty" and Henri is like "BUT YOU WERE, YOU WERE SO PRETTY" and Pearl is like "I WAS NOT AND ALSO THAT'S NOT THE POINT.")

I have not yet managed to get my hands on Nancy Wake's autobiography, but I would love to compare/contrast -- they played very similar roles during the war in organizing Maquis during the liberation of France, but while Nancy Wake seems to have made no bones about being a very front-lines combatant (strangling soldiers with her bare hands, etc.) Pearl spends a lot of time in her account strongly disclaiming active heroism and emphasizing the logistics and support elements of her role. Could she have killed somebody herself if she had to? Well, gosh, she's so glad she never had to find out, that wasn't her job at all!

But I mean, Pearl also starts out early on in her narrative explaining that she is very conflict-averse and dislikes argument above all things, and then goes on to describe, in addition to extensive amounts of fighting with the Germans:

- fighting with the entire French government when it looked like they weren't going to give any of her Maquis any medals because they were technically working under the British rather than the French (ง'̀-'́)ง
- fighting with the entire English government when they tried to give her a civil Order of the British Empire rather than a military one because "there was nothing remotely 'civil' about what I did" (ง'̀-'́)ง
- fighting with the head of SOE after he accused a trusted French colleague of hers of being a double agent due to a misunderstanding and then failed to apologize -- "as Colonel Buckmaster is kind enough to visit me each time I come to Paris, can you ask him to alert me next time and I'll ask [the dude who was falsely accused] to come too?" (ง'̀-'́)ง (AND HER OLD BOSS NEVER VISITED HER AGAIN)
- fighting yet again with the English government when they wouldn't let her wear parachute wings, because she'd only jumped four times instead of five, "SO I JUST WORE THEM ANYWAY" (ง'̀-'́)ง (the editor is like 'we don't know where or how she got a pair to wear? but apparently she did?')

What I'm saying is I take Pearl's description of her own retiring conflict-averse shyness with a grain of salt.
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