Book of G-Quan, Soldier of Darkness, B5

[ Books ] 'The Girl with Seven Names' by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's StoryThe Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We discussed this book on the June meeting of Bibliogoth (these days of plague, of course, online). For me it was an easy read, which may be paradoxical given the many horrendous things she describes. It is not perhaps a great work of literature but it is not, I think, meant to be. It is the account of an incredible odyssey by a young woman -almost a child, at the time she leaves North Korea-, her courage, extraordinarily good luck against all odds and also the mistakes and bad choices she made along the way. It has a happy ending, she's in the end reunited with her family out of Korea (is this a spoiler?) but of course she survived to tell the tale. It is easy to imagine that many, perhaps thousands, do not. It is a very good read.

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Last Friday I think it was...

(I had started to write this a couple of days ago and never posted it, so some references are anachronic -I was writing at the end of the day).

I had many plans for that day after finishing my lessons. Instead, I collapsed on the bed (oh, let’s call it the sofa? mine's a tiny studio flat) and spent an inordinate amount of times playing cards on the iPad and then fell aslee-hm, gave my eyes some rest. There goes the day.

I’ll manage twenty minutes of scales on the guitar if that, now (writing on Sunday: I don't think I did). I have another video to edit… I’ve been putting those little electric guitar doodle videos on Instagram and FB. Even the simplest ones take perhaps fifteen minutes to record, a couple of hours to edit to put the two (or more, on the last one) parts together so flavio and flavio are playing in sync. I’d do it anyway, but it is strange to put those things up on Insta and Facebook and get five or at the most ten likes. Worse on FB: I get more likes there but when I check how many times it’s been seen I find it’s far fewer than the number of likes. So people put a ‘like’ because it’s me and they know me but they don’t bother to actually see it. I suspect that is quite a general phenomenon with FB -many people will like, or dislike, or pass opinion, without having examined whatever is at hand. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.

photos, lock-down, image hosting and other stories

I used to have lots of photos in Livejournal -they're still there, but even at the time it didn't seem like the best platform for that sort of thing. Then I had lots of photo albums in Photopic (I think it was called) which folded. Then I had lots at the Apple iWeb pages. Which Apple closed. Moved to Flickr but that never worked very well for the way I do those things. Facebook is convenient for social event pictures but not for other things. SmugMug is overkill and a bit expensive for me. And it is a subscription, which I'm trying to avoid more of just as everybody in the software world is trying to sell you subscriptions instead of selling you the product outright.

During lockdown I decided to scan the thousands of pictures lying around in shoeboxes. If those pictures had even been in order that was long gone, they're all mixed up and it would take forever to sort them out -this would be much easier with their digital versions and I'm trying to do that. Also, looking for a place out there where to put it. In the meantime, I've been setting up albums in One thing that concerns me is precisely one of the attractive things about it: it's free. How do they make their money? In any event, they do seem to have privacy settings and their T&C don't seem to tell you they're going to make money out of your pics or publish your private photos, so... in the meantime, my pictures are slowly making their way there. Some albums are restricted or private, so you just would see a few of them.

The address: I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
Book of G-Quan, Soldier of Darkness, B5

[ Books ] Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good story but perhaps not one that you would want to read during a pandemic... much more science-fiction-y than pretty much anything else by Margaret Atwood I've read (Handmaid's Tale is not really science-fiction, rather politics-fiction). Or, rather, apocalyptic fiction. It is, as one would expect from Atwood, very well threaded and it takes you some weird places. I enjoyed it a lot and will very very likely read the rest of the series.

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roller-coasters while stuck in the same place

Raining outside. It does make a change. It is a very strange situation we're living in but it kind of is even stranger if the weather outside is warm, bright and inviting.

Not enough private lessons, still trying to find a way to effectively promote this but, precisely, I ended up a musician and not a salesman; I'm rubbish at 'selling the product'. In the meantime, as I probably have mentioned before (how many times? really?), none of the help offered by the gov't. is available to me. Things not looking quite as bleak as they did in the beginning of this, though; one of my schools furloughed me but that's ok, the alternative would have been to be paid in relation to the few online lessons that would have taken place. The other school, after trying (somewhat unsuccessfully at least as far as music was concerned) to implement deferred lessons on Google Classroom, are going to start doing real time (zoom or similar) online lessons.

In the middle of this, with reduced income and the immediate future looking quite precarious, I received notification from the housing association that owns the other 60% of my flat, that they were putting up rent+ service charge by £300 more per month. Aargh. In these weird and already scary circumstances. So I sent them an alarmed email asking what was going on but also put it all out on Twitter, etc. Which.. at least thus far, seems to have worked: they sent me an email apologising and explaining it'd been a 'computer error' (hadn't heard that phrase used like that since the '80s), then a second email saying the service charge had been recalculated downwards -so my direct debit still is going up but not by £300. A small sigh of relief. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.

(no subject)

What was that cat meme? "Day 3763 of my captivity..."

Life outside of this seems like a distant dream, like something that happened to somebody else, like a parallel life in one of the many worlds far, far away.

My exciting outing today was to take the rubbish to the bin store room. Then Bibliogoth on Zoom, then a lesson on Zoom, then I was going to call my guitar teacher in Venezuela to say happy birthday but ... my Skype and all microsoft accounts are blocked as somebody got into them and made £20 worth of calls to Albania -and reset the security details. Many hours of joyful webchat and phone calls with Microsoft staff tying to sort that out. Yay.

I don't need anything from outside, got food, coffee (important) guitar, internet. But I do get itchy feet. I always thought I would be quite happy to just stay in and that if I won the lottery I would do a lot of that -but it is not true, or at least not when it is imposed, be it as it is the better option rather than catching that thing that could easily, at this age, kill me.

My sleeping patterns have gone to pot. I sleep four hours one night then ten the night after. And so it goes. How are you doing in that respect? I get reports of vivid dreams and I seem to have them but even though I think I remember them clearly when I wake up they quickly wash away. They all seem to involve a lot of getting lost in cities I am not familiar with or leaving important stuff behind and spend the rest of the night in various dream plots trying to retrieve it. Do you get the vivid dreams?

I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
anathem, analemma

A couple of quick notes on my lock-down...

The future is a bit uncertain, although at least I'll have _some_ income from the schools I teach guitar at in the next three months. Beyond that, who knows. This situation could last longer, perhaps quite a bit longer, than that. In the meantime, my 36m² flat keeps shrinking, getting a bit smaller each day. I have enough 'virtual' social interaction, last night there was the usual Gothsluts pub meeting, only now virtual, happening on Zoom (comment by andyravensable : 'the drinks are cheaper and the music is better...'), also Bibliogoth, various friends' virtual parties and my own private guitar lessons, although I need quite a bit more of the latter.

A lot of people report inexplicable tiredness and sleep trouble -I've had both. it is just the stress of being in this situation without a clear end in sight, I s'pose. 

Pity that I just cannot get on with the book for the next Bibliogoth meeting: 'Our Lady of the Flowers' by André Gide. I knew of him, I'd read something by him when I was younger and I don't find his salaciousness shocking (as I did then) but his writing style makes it hard work for me and I find myself not caring for his characters or what happens to them. Will look into the new Hugo Awards list that [personal profile] sfred  posted, there might be something better for me there (we already had 'This is how you lose the Time Wars' last month in Bibliogoth). Have been watching 'Picard' and 'The Expanse' and a documentary on Robert Johnson the bluesman. Ran out of all three now... also, I've been practising guitar a lot! Which is good and necessary and does do quite a bit to help preserve (what's left of) my sanity.

The future is uncertain. But then it always was. In the meantime, we move on forward... I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.