So, Colbert has become POTUS. Ehm, I mean... Volodymyr Zelensky has kicked mighty Petro Poroshenko in the arse and knocked him outta his high chair. Sayonara, Choco Boss!

That was a fucking landslide, folks. 73% to 25%. Even the most corrupt clique can't rig that into a win, sorry.

Not a surprise, tho'. Zelensky was smart enough to tap into folks' anger and bitterness after years of Poroshenko rule. He reached deep into various segments of the electorate, thanks to populism skillfully narrated. Now the tough part is at hand: will he keep his high approval ratings, now that he's about to enter the dirty muddy world of real politics? Hmmm.

Alright he won, ha ha. Now what. )
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Darn it, I was nearly caught up, and then life did its "getting too busy for me to write about it" thing, and now I'm three weeks behind again...

The Tuesday after getting back from Thronescamp I had the fourth and final session of the Mirfield Lent Course. This one was called "Making a Rule for Life", and was loosely based around the Rule of St Benedict. Of the four speakers, I thought this was the strongest, and I also found the content easiest to engage with, although I think that's partly because it was more practical than theoretical rather than because it was better per se. I was chatting to the speaker afterwards, and he became the third person at the course to ask if I was an ordinand, which, yeah, complicated feels. Once again, singing compline afterwards was a great blessing, and although the course is now over I'm going to look for other opportunities to worship there whilst I'm living nearby.

On the Thursday of that week I had been supposed to be singing with the University Choir, but slightly annoyingly I ended up having to go for a training day in Oxford. Even more annoyingly, a course that was supposed to be a full day ended up only taking the morning (it was their first time running this version, and they'd obviously not done a practice run), so I could in theory have made it back in time. Ah well. It was nice to see Oxford, and staying in a college was pleasantly nostalgic. The chapel was open in the morning, so I found a copy of the BCP and said morning prayer before breakfast.

It was good to be back in London for the weekend, after a fortnight away with rather a lot of travelling to and fro. Saturday started with parkrun, and a quick catch up with my sister afterwards, and was then a fairly quiet day spent with [personal profile] obandsoller.

Sunday was back to being very busy again. We had a rehearsal for St John's Singers before church, and although it was a bit quiet, with only two other people turning up, that meant that we could spend it with [personal profile] smhwpf & I concentrating on helping one of our least confident singers work on her part really intensively, and it was really wonderful to see how much progress she made, both in knowledge, but more importantly, in blossoming confidence, over the course of the rehearsal. After Mass we had the ACPM, which went pretty smoothly, and with a great sigh of relief I handed over the treasurer mantle to Sam.

My friend Seph (WINODW) was in London that weekend for a Games Expo, and came over for dinner that evening. It was my first time cooking for him, which actually makes me surprisingly nervous, because I talk a lot about how much I enjoy cooking, which I then sometimes worry gives people an overinflated sense of my actual skill level. Still, it went quite well in the end - I did red onion and goat's cheese crostini, followed by roast pork belly, and both the potatoes and the crackling came out pretty damn good :) We had a good catch up natter into the evening, before I turned into a pumpkin ahead of the usual horrifically early start back to Huddersfield the next day.
1. Got a day of meetings again tomorrow, but they did announce that there would be no Tuesday meeting next week, so that's good.

2. I had some nice Jasper snuggles this morning.

3. I ended up having to do a lot of work-related stuff today but still got everything else on my to-do list done and had an overall relaxing day off.

4. We got Chinese food for dinner.

5. Chloe loves to lie with her arms stretched out in front of her and I always think it looks so cute, but I never usually see Molly or Jasper doing it, so I'm glad I was able to get a shot of Jasper with his arms stretched out tonight.

I really want to see a movie villain who abhors killing people or putting them in physical pain.

Like – a villain, definitely. But restricted by his own moral code to outsmarting you, or misleading you, or tying you up in a dungeon and keeping you well fed, or framing you for a crime and getting you arrested...
This is now the third time I've been to the Staples Center and while I hate their seating (smaller than even most other small arena seats), I love the fact that the train lets off right in front of it. Now that I've discovered that, it will definitely be a preferred venue for me.

I got there in time to see most of the opening act, Julia Michaels. I had never heard of her but watched a couple videos on youtube ahead of time and she seemed okay, but not "gotta get there in time to watch her whole show" appealing, which turned out to be the case. Not unpleasant but not super exciting.

Between the opening act and the main act instead of just playing random music over the speakers there was actually a DJ, a guy called KidCutUp, and it was really cool. He had a good selection of songs (surprisingly a lot of '80s and '90s stuff) and it was a lot more fun than just whatever random music the venue would have put on.

As for P!nk's show, I have to say, in a word it was amazing. Pretty much all of the concerts I've been too have been of the sort where there might be some stuff going on behind the act on a screen, or some lights and fireworks type stuff, maybe the singer goes around here and there and does some stuff, but for the most part you're not missing much if you just hear the music and don't actually see what's happening on stage.

This, though, was a full on show, with some really impressive aerial acrobatics, not just by backup dancers, but by P!nk herself. There was a full-on harness that took her out over the audience, at times 50+ feet in the air, but the most impressive stuff was done over the stage itself. Not quite as high, but more reliant on skill rather than just being strapped into a harness. At one point a guy was twirling with her in the air while they were both attached to something, and then she got out of her strap and he was holding her himself, which he did both with his hands, and even more impressively, at one point holding her by the ankles just with the force of his clenched thighs.

I also really liked the way she incorporated other artists when she sang songs that were originally duets. For example, on Just Give Me a Reason, there was a TV on stage that played footage of that guy from Fun singing, and for Revenge, there was a ~30 foot high inflatable Eminem (in both cases their parts were played over a speaker). I thought it was a neat way of doing things.

There were a lot of songs that I wish she'd sung, but overall I liked the set list. I am definitely keen to see her again.

set list )
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It's Tuesday and despite the ridiculously early hour, I figure now is as good a time as any to make a post to encourage us all to stop procrastinating and get stuff done.

For those who set goals for April, the end of month check in post will appear (all being well) this weekend, so now might be a really good time to take a quick look at your goals for the month and see if you could deal with any of the targets beforehand - a chance to refocus your efforts and hit those targets before month end.

My challenge to you is to spend a spoon appropriate amount of time over the next couple of days working on your monthly targets. If you didn't set a goal this month, I encourage to find a work surface in need of cleaning and to spend 5 - 10 minutes working on the clutter there.

Good luck everyone, have a great week.
Content notes: We're going to discuss a couple of media portrayals of suicide, as well as the suicidal ideation I'm seeing out there in fandom, and similar thoughts I have experienced in the course of my own bipolar depression. I'm not used to discussing anything this raw, so, here's hoping we do okay with this. Please take care of yourselves.

Oh, and spoilers for The Magicians.

I'm going to try to write this out of love as well as anger.

Read more... )
I've had a few spectacularly unproductive days. Today, for example, I spent almost the entire day reading ASoIaF fic – I only ever read the first book and didn't like it much, and I never watched the series and don't intend to, but there's some good fic. And by "some" I mean "quite a lot," and a lot of it very long, which is dangerous for people with poor self-control like me.
(I'm currently working on my D&D character for our next campaign. It's wish-fulfilment, so the first thing I put under "strengths" was "self-discipline.")
I did manage to eat something and do a little bit more than nothing, which is, well, better than nothing. Generally it feels like it's getting worse again -.- Tomorrow I'm at work again, which usually helps. (No classes last week and this one, which is never good for my productivity.)

Apart from this, Easter was great! We painted beautiful eggs (my favorites of the ones I painted were the bouquet of daffodils and the Very Hungry Caterpillar eating cherries, an apple, and a pineapple), and then on Sunday we had a great family breakfast, then an outing in a beautiful garden/park, and then more good food. Not religious at all for me this year (I also still have leftovers from the two (!) cakes we had at the D&D session on Good Friday) but I didn't miss it. The spring weather is beautiful.
When I feel like "why in the world am I trying to put on an arts festival" I need to reread this piece.
Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday! I managed to get it done today!

Ways To Give

[ profile] merpancake is raising funds to help keep her family in their rental; they are struggling on one income while trying to get disability help for her husband, and they are unexpectedly pregnant. Currently they are trying to make a month's rent and get current on bills; you can read more and help out here.

[ profile] iamshadow21 linked to a fundraiser for Bill Mantlo, a comic book writer and co-creator of Rocket Raccoon and Cloak and Dagger, who has been in care since a hit and run left him with a permanent brain injury nearly thirty years ago. His younger brother, who has been the primary supporter of his care, is retired and would like to bring Bill home from the institution he has been in for a decade; unfortunately he is in nearly $100K of debt and needs funding to help out. You can read more and help out here.

[ profile] typewrittenwolf is fundraising to save their house from code enforcement liens and possible issues with the bank; both they and their parents are disabled, making earning the money difficult. You can give through ko-fi here or purchase off their amazon wishlist here.

[ profile] ellie-elizabeth21 is a disabled, nonbinary person fundraising to leave an unsafe household where they are being harassed by their landlord and dealing with an abusive parent. You can read more, reblog, and find a link to donate here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for top surgery for Krysta, an agender person whose fundraiser has been stagnant for the last few months. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[ profile] ravenreyamidala linked to a fundraiser the Magicians fandom created after a controversial death of a character in the most recent season finale. They are raising awareness about harmful television tropes and also raising money for LGBTQ+ youth support foundation The Trevor Project, including holding an online auction. You can get more information and see all the latest updates at [ profile] thankqforthehope or give directly through their Trevor Project fundraising page.

[ profile] thewalrus-said's beloved cat was unexpectedly hospitalized recently with as-yet unidentified stomach problems, and they are fundraising to cover vet bills and fees. The upper end of the estimate is $3.4K, not counting whatever treatment she may need once the problem is diagnosed. You can read more and reblog here or give directly through paypal here.

Anon linked to fundraiser for [ profile] deadcatwithaflamethrower and [ profile] drougnor, who are fundraising for rent for their family after Droug lost his job. You can read and reblog fundraising links here, see and purchase jewelery for sale here, or give through her Ko-Fi or paypal. They also have a wishlist here, as a couple of family birthdays are coming up.

Katy linked to a fundraiser for [ profile] grrlcookery and her partner, who need help to keep their home as her partner's business hasn't had any orders or contracts in the past two months and they are currently facing eviction. They're raising $1500 for two months of rent and food, and also to set up a shed for soapmaking to help earn some extra cash. You can read more and reblog here or give through ko-fi 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.
Last night, the handle on my toilet stopped working, so this morning I called the super, and he just left after replacing the diaphragm (it's a tankless toilet - not my choice, it's what was here when I bought the place) so it all works again. Whew.

I know, it's an exciting life I lead. *hands*

Have today's poem:

Each From Different Heights

That time I thought I was in love
and calmly said so
was not much different from the time
I was truly in love
and slept poorly and spoke out loud
to the wall
and discovered the hidden genius
of my hands
And the times I felt less in love,
less than someone,
were, to be honest, not so different
Each was ridiculous in its own way
and each was tender, yes,
sometimes even the false is tender.
I am astonished
by the various kisses we're capable of.
Each from different heights
diminished, which is simply the law.
And the big bruise
from the long fall looked perfectly white
in a few years.
That astounded me most of all.

--Stephen Dunn

We went to my mom's house on Easter, per tradition. Instead of hiding eggs in her yard, this year she decided to do an indoor hunt with eggs containing a sequence of clues, which the kids tore through in less than five minutes. It was pretty funny to watch. We also played the kids' favorite Looney Labs game, Just Desserts, followed by a version of Monopoly my mom had that was based on the Muppet Show. The cheapest property on the board was the Swinetrek, so I chanted "PIGS! IN! SPAAAACE!" every time someone landed on it. Unfortunately Connor got upset when he couldn't get the properties he wanted and started running low on funds, so we probably won't play it again any time soon. He's very happy with Yoshi's Crafted World, though, and I told him I'd play along with him on that sometime. Meanwhile Will spent the day replaying the original Picross game on the DS.

I saw Shazam on Friday with the usual suspects. It was goofy and heartwarming, apart from the scenes between the villain and his father, which were gratuitously dark. Not sure where it fits in with the rest of the DC Universe, though, since it takes place in Philadelphia and not a fictional place like Gotham or Metropolis or Atlantis. Not that I really care all that much, since I'm not emotionally invested like I am with the MCU. Speaking of which, I have my Endgame ticket for Friday night, since I couldn't go Thursday. Hopefully I will find time to rewatch Infinity War before then.

Tonight is the final rehearsal for the spring handbell program, with concerts on Thursday, Sunday, and the following Monday. I really like the songs we're doing and I'm looking forward to getting them in front of an audience. After that, I will spend Mondays in May rehearsing for Beethoven's Ninth, and some other night of the week rehearsing the handbell pieces for the regional festival in New Orleans in mid-June.