borusa: (Taren)
( Jan. 7th, 2013 12:19 pm)
I like quizzes, OK? First lines from things... google is cheating, natch.

1) Many times I've tried to tell you. Many times I've cried alone. Always I'm surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone.
2) There's cold wind in the city. There's a darkness on the land. There's rust upon the slipways where the great ships used to stand.
3) You think I've got an evil mind. I tell you honey, I don't know why. Cum On Feel The Noize - Slade/Imagined Village. [ profile] strongtrousers
4) I do not like thee [Redacted], you made me fall in love with you. Dr. Fell - Juliet Turner. [ profile] phlebas
5) I don't care what the weatherman says, when the weatherman says it's raining, you'll never hear me complaining. Jeepers Creepers - [ profile] bluesbell
6) Where in hell can you go far from the things that you know?
7) Looking down on empty streets all she can see are the dreams all made solid, the dreams all made real.
8) I've had relations with women of many nations. Sexuality - Billy Bragg. [ profile] braisedbywolves
9) You are the hole in my head. You are the space in my bed. No Light, No Light - Florence And The Machine [ profile] blane_firewing
10) R-O-C-K Mafia! Creation shows me what to do, I'm dancing on the floor with you.

Anyone who gets (10) should hang their head in shame.
borusa: (Default)
( Nov. 1st, 2012 05:27 pm)

First of all: Here's last year's DYA letter. Different fandoms, same general guidelines.

The Magicians: I wrote a review of it here, that talks about my reaction to it.

Smugglers (The Song): I've loved this song for years, particularly the Men They Couldn't Hang version. Just write some fun stuff around it and I'll be happy. The song made me want to be a smuggler before I realised that wasn't quite as romantic as it used to be. For some reason, Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman seems to occupy the same space in my head.

Space Girl: I first saw Liza play when I was about 19 and she was about 18. So, you know, longterm celebrity crush there. There's a weird sexiness about this song that I really like, even if it doesn't fit onto the album amazingly.

Have fun, and thank you
[ profile] borusa
I read this on a recommendation. It made me sad, but not entirely in a bad way.

The Magicians is usually described as "Harry Potter for grownups", or "a Narnia ripoff". Neither seems very accurate to me, or rather, they're only accurate if you focus on details rather than theme. There is a magic school, Brakebills, which is clearly a version of Hogwarts. There is a magic land, Fillory, which is Narnia with the serial numbers filed off. But Grossman is interested in analysing those other works, not in lifting them, and this isn't a pastiche. It is, perhaps, critical of a particular sort of escapist fantasy, but the nastiness in the book isn't aimed at them.

I suspect that whether or not you find reading The Magicians rewarding is likely to be linked to your tolerance for Quentin Coldwater, the viewpoint character. Quentin is 18 at the start of the book, and miserable for no really obvious (i.e. easily solvable) reason. He stays miserable and disconnected, to a large extent, for the whole novel. Reviews I've seen have found this off-putting, found themselves disliking him because with all of his undoubted privilege (he gets to go to magical worlds! His parents are well off! He can do magic! He's white, male etc), he doesn't seem to enjoy himself.

The trouble with that view is that it isn't the way the world works. Quentin knows he should be happy, but he just isn't. I don't think that's a crime, particularly. One of the major themes of The Magicians is about growing up, in the sense of coming to terms with who you are, at least acknowledging your limitations, and it makes the statement powerfully that 1) you have to do this and 2) it hurts. A lot. Quentin amasses successes and failures, and his mistakes (and he makes some big ones) hurt him more than his successes buoy him. Oddly enough, I found quite a lot of empathy for Quentin, even if his whining can get grating, the fact that he knows it saves him. At heart, Quentin is a long way from Thomas Covenant, which I think is a blessing.

The second major theme of the book is an uncertain grappling with fantasy. Grossman meditates over whether fantasy can be a cure, or whether it's only a palliative. When Quentin and associates finally visit Fillory, they don't find a magical land that cures their problems. Instead they find the problems that they brought with them, and that things are never as simple as they appear in books.

In the hands of another writer, The Magicians could be mean-spirited and scathing. But Grossman loves fantasy, and instead of damning it, worries and considers.

I don't know that I loved the book. But it moved me, and made me sad, and made me mull my own limitations and failures. I read the sequel immediately after, and I'll buy the third one when it comes out.

But that was true of Thomas de Prima's "A Galaxy Unknown" and /that's/ unspeakable rubbish (but kind of fun, in an unspeakably rubbish way).
1. {redacted} the Lord has risen.
John Tavener - As One Who Has Slept.
4. Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we {redacted}
Bruce Cockburn - Iesus Ihatonnia (The Huron Carol) - this is in Huron, so not surprisingly hard to get.
6. You're a living walking dream, you're the best I've ever seen.
Harry Chapin - Poor Damn Fool
7. Oh the working man as you can see that is what he was born to be
Martin Carthy - Working Life Out To Keep Life In
8. Good morning heartache, you're an old friend.
Rancid - The Way I Feel
9. Bigger head, you've got no bread in our house
Mansun - Lemonade Secret Drinker
14. That nice easy mark at the edge of the park
Richard Shindell - State Of The Union
16. Oh my name is {redacted} in the Gallowgate I dwell.
The Unthanks - Betsy Bell
19. You thought you were invincible with your magic and your charms.
Julian Dawson - Brando's Perfect Girl
20. I don't want another heartbreak.
Faith Hill - This Kiss (Mildly surprised nobody got this, probably because of lyric fatigue)
borusa: (Default)
( Nov. 17th, 2011 11:47 pm)
...except where we they give it away, randomly selected from my MP3 vault, skipping only instrumental and spoken word tracks. I believe in an interactive way, you can try and guess song and artist (or composer).

1. {redacted} the Lord has risen
2. Is this the real life? Bo Rap, obv. [ profile] juliansinger
3. There was a lot of rocking going on that night. Rat Trap - Boomtown Rats. [ profile] klepsydra
4. Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we {redacted}
5. {redacted} all my troubles seemed so far away. Yesterday - The Beatles. [ profile] jacquic
6. You're a living walking dream, you're the best I've ever seen.
7. Oh the working man as you can see that is what he was born to be
8. Good morning heartache, you're an old friend.
9. Bigger head, you've got no bread in our house
10. Understand once he was a family man - What Is It Bout Men? - Amy Winehouse [ profile] friend_of_tofu
11. Some things in life are bad. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - Monty Python (though, actually, the version that came up is by Bruce Cockburn) [ profile] jacquic
12. In 1649 to St. George's Hill. World Turned Upside Down - in this case, Oysterband, the original is by Leon Rosselson and there's covers by other people including Billy Bragg. [ profile] ruudboy
13. Like a {redact} like a drunk in an old midnight choir Bird On A Wire - Leonard Cohen. [ profile] braisedbywolves
14. That nice easy mark at the edge of the park
15. It's wonderful, everywhere, so white. Under Ice- Kate Bush. [ profile] atreic
16. Oh my name is {redacted} in the Gallowgate I dwell.
17. I am thinking today of that beautiful land I shall reach when the sun goes down.Stars In My Crown - this version by Waterson/Carthy. [ profile] juliansinger
18. Well lookout mama, your little girl she has changed. Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own - Bruce Springsteen. [ profile] karohemd
19. You thought you were invincible with your magic and your charms.
20. I don't want another heartbreak.

Some of these are very very easy, some nearly impossible. Google is cheating, don't be mean.

Edit: Most of the really easy ones have gone. I think that 15, 20 are relatively well known. 16 should be gettable. 18 is by a well-known artist but an obscure track.
borusa: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2011 04:22 pm)
If this is the future, where is my personal communications device/organiser that sits in the palm of my hand and is connected to vast information networks so that I can find out near enough anything at the touch of a button? You know, the one I was promised?


ETA: I'd left it in the loo - all OK now.
borusa: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2011 03:26 pm)
Gosh, Andrew Orlowski is getting tiresome.
borusa: (Default)
( Jul. 13th, 2011 02:17 pm)
Matthew Engel, writing on the BBC News Site has managed to live up to the standards I'd expect of someone complaining about grammar and words. Here is his list of Americanisms he feels are creeping into good old British English:

  • Faze, as in "it doesn't faze me"
  • Hospitalize, which really is a vile word
  • Wrench for spanner
  • Elevator for lift
  • Rookies for newcomers, who seem to have flown here via the sports pages.
  • Guy, less and less the centrepiece of the ancient British festival of 5 November - or, as it will soon be known, 11/5. Now someone of either gender.
  • And, starting to creep in, such horrors as ouster, the process of firing someone, and outage, meaning a power cut. I always read that as outrage. And it is just that.

A sure list of horrors, I'm certain you'll agree.


Faze is just about an Americanism, though it's derived from a Kentish word "Fease", which is itself a version of a much older word of slightly different meaning.

Hospitalize isn't an Americanism, it's a UK word (though a constructed one) that dates back at least a hundred and ten years.

Elevator is an interesting word. Its usage for farm machinery - lifting grain to an upper floor, particularly, dates back (in the UK) to at least 1825. The usage for a thing that carries people is mainly American, but the root is a shared word.

Rookies isn't an Americanism at all, it's a word for new recruits and dates back to around 1870 or so. Kipling used it in 1891.

Guy for "man" is an American popularisation and widening of an existing word.

Ouster isn't an Americanism - it's a three-hundred year-old word first used in Parliamentary reports.

Outage probably is one, but it's hardly "just creeping in" - first British use in print is in 1951. Coincidentally, that's the year Matthew Engel was born. Perhaps he is an Americanism too?

Words come in and out of fashion. True neologisms (first usage, British, 1772) are rarer than people think. I have no idea what Matthew Engel thinks "British English" is, but I'm pretty convinced he's wrong about it. Language and usage changes with shifting power, with geographical and political movements and often for no reason that anyone can readily fathom.

And spending ten minutes with the OED is immensely rewarding. It's nice to see that Engel is maintaining the standards we've come to expect of journalists, and not bothering to do even basic research.
borusa: (Borusa)
( Nov. 8th, 2010 03:35 pm)
This worked amazingly* well, last time.

So: TV Theme.

Bom-ba-ba-bom, bom-ba-ba-bom, bom-ba-ba-bom bom-BOMMMMM... bom-bom.

*at all.
borusa: (Default)
( Sep. 3rd, 2010 11:04 am)
You can never have too many kettle leads.

*struggles to close drawer*
borusa: (Default)
( May. 7th, 2010 07:16 pm)
There's been quite a lot of talk about electoral reform of late, and there's the possibility of it actually happening in some way or another, with the indecisive result in the General Election.
Cut for length )
borusa: (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2009 10:57 am)
Moving in continues. Slowly. People who have assisted thus far have been fabulous (and will be thanked properly later). We could really do with some assistance today. If anyone can - we'd be so grateful.
borusa: (Default)
( Aug. 5th, 2009 12:07 pm)
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound,
When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;
And, in thy best consideration, cheque
This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
borusa: (Default)
( Jul. 29th, 2009 11:40 pm)
In an effort to avoid ranting about houses...

When I was about 14 (I use Grimble birthdays for the past) and was doing the GCSE deciding thing, there was a sort of careers computer program. (Because, obviously, 14 is the right time to start working towards your ideal career).

Essentially, you answered questions like "Do you like working outdoors?" and then it gave you your top five careers. Anyway, although I was fairly convinced that I wanted to be a biologist, I had to do it anyway, and was pleased when "Lab Scientist" was top choice.

A few weeks later, I was less certain. Maybe I wanted to work with books. I did the test again, and yes, my ideal career had changed. Now, librarian was top!

A couple of days later, having re-analysed the test results, I realised that maybe computing was a better place for me.

The centralised guidelines have been in place for more than 10 years... much like these RM 486 PCs.