...Well then.
I have just returned to campus after Snowpocalypse 2011, Mark II. I call it "Mark II" because there was already a pretty massive snowstorm here in January; the only result was a snow day, but there was still a lot of snow.

This storm started on Saturday. A's mother was visiting, and in the morning we all went grocery shopping. I dropped off a coat I had purchased at a thrift store this summer, so it could be clean before I start hacking into it. (I'm just planning to make a belt out of the hood and change the fastenings a bit.) While at the grocery store, we all said "oh, this'll be okay, we don't need that much stuff, right?"

Oh how wrong we were...Collapse )
So... that was Snowpocalypse. It's been a really exhausting few days, and it seems like ages since I was here. One thing that really struck me about the whole experience was just how reliant upon technology, and even electricity, we really are. None of us had flashlights, which is just plain stupid, but we all felt cut-off and isolated from the administration without email and the internet. I'm so glad that we were able to get out of here last night. A friend of mine at Hampshire College also went back east, which is really good because Hampshire had to be evacuated. Apparently there are about 130 kids camped out in our fieldhouse, more at Smith, and still more at UMass. Mother Nature still has us at her whim, apparently.

(Whence the origins of the word "meme", anyway?)

aamcnamara recently answered this, so I asked her to pick questions for me! Comment if you want five questions too.

1. What is the first fanfic you remember reading?

Um. Probably something in the Harry Potter fandom, because I was thirteen and in a big Harry Potter fandom phase. The first title that I remember reading is A Tale of Two Matchmakers, by Kerichi, I think. (I found it on Mugglenet's fanfiction section.)

2. If you won a free trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Anywhere or anywhen? Anywhere in the world... this is hard! Hmm. Probably the United Kingdom, just because there's so much to see there. Italy would be nice too. Or maybe New Zealand.

3. If you got to choose one crackpot conspiracy theory to be proven true, which would you choose?

Oooh. That's a good one. Maybe... well, the whole Watsonian/Doyleist debate is pretty cool ridiculous, and it would be nifty it the Watsonian side was true.  (If I'm not mistaken, that Watson was actually writing down the exploits, and consequently that Sherlock Holmes was a real person.)

4. Punctuation inside or outside of the quotation marks?

If the quotation you are using ends with a certain piece of punctuation and that piece fits grammatically within the sentence you are constructing, the punctuation can remain inside the quotation marks. If the quotation does not end with a period, for example, that period has no business being inside the quotation marks and therefore should be firmly excorted from the premises.

5. What's your favorite fairy tale/folktale/myth?

The Tale of Mr Fox, because I first heard it orally and can tell it, and it reminds me of the Old Manse, because that's where I heard it first.

I finished Busman's Honeymoon on my way home tonight, and so figured I should write up my impressions of it. (And Gaudy Night.) GN first, though.

I kind of adored it. It's more about Harriet than Peter, and she is awesome and I want to be her when I grow up. It was also really interesting to read a novel set in a womens' college in the 1920s, and more than that a novel set in an English university in the 20s. My senior year of high school, I wrote a paper about education for young women during the Victorian period, so it was interesting to see how the womens' college developed. Also, can we all start wearing academic dress to formal college occasions? Please? (Okay, perhaps not. A friend of my mother's teaches at the University of Exeter, and says that the gowns are really uncomfortable, but...)

And, of course, Gaudy Night is when Peter and Harriet FINALLY get together. I can't find any of the bits now, but there were passages I adored about them. The fact that he proposes to her in Latin? I love them. I think this one is A's favorite Wimsey novel, so that admittedly prepared me to like it too.

Busman's Honeymoon starts out adorably and wonderfully and I (again) adore Peter and Harriet and Bunter. Oh, Bunter. He is my favorite. Harriet and Peter as newlyweds are magnificent and have quite a lot of sex, but then they go and find a body, drat them. I really liked the way that Harriet and Bunter's relationship evolved, and that by the end they could take care of Peter together, in different ways. A says OT3, and I kind of want to agree. I also found This story, wherein... Um. Kind of totally canon in my head.

Just a quick update
Murder Must Advertise, Sayers: I liked the setting--hooray for 20s advertising agencies! I also liked the way this one showed a little bit more about Charles Parker, and that he -finally- married Mary Wimsey. The cricket match at the end was fun to read about, though I understood about one word in twenty. And, of course, Mr. Death Bredon is wonderful.

 It is summer! This means that I have time to read for fun. Borrowing the idea from Officer Hugh on Facebook, and A here on LiveJournal, I'm going to post the titles of all of the books I have read or re-read over the summer. This may end up on Facebook as well. 

--Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner. Fencing! Swashbuckling! Queerness as a matter-of-fact! Win. 
--The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner. More of the same, plus an awesome kickass female swashbuckler. Even more win. I want to be Katherine (even though she spells her name wrong), and I agree with A in shipping Katherine/Artemisia like whoa. Also I had one of those moments of "I know who this character is!" before the author tells you who it is, and it was awesome. 
--Clouds of  Witness, Dorothy L Sayers. A started making me read Sayers back in March, and I am ever so glad she did. I adore Lord Peter Wimsey, and want a Bunter of my own to organise my life for me. The trouble with reading Sayers, though, is that it creeps into my sentence structure and makes me talk like a 1920s British dandy, which I (alas) am not. 
--Fingersmith, Sarah Waters. Good, but kind of haunting. This one is a lot more like her novel Affinity than it is like Tipping the Velvet. While I liked Affinity, I think TtV is my favorite of her books. Fingersmith has a really interesting look at mistaken identity, and not in the "ha ha, there are two of them and they look the same, but everything gets worked out in the end" Shakespearean comedy way. Also has an utterly terrifying section set in a Victorian madhouse, where the narrator starts to go slightly mad even though she was sane when she was sent there. Most of the book is set in a really well-described old dark damp country mansion, and carries those shadows with it; also the thieving underworld of Victorian London.
--Linnet, Sally Watson. I read Jade (by the same author) over and over again when I was little, and so it was wonderful to finally read another of her books. I enjoyed it, but some faults that I also noticed muzzily in Jade were much louder here. The main character, Linnet, has a sense of social equality that feels incredibly anachronistic for a fourteen-year-old country-gentry girl from Elizabethan England. Jade had something of that same sense, but at least then it was explained that she spent a lot of time with her grandparents and a friend of theirs, who were  quite worldly and considered eccentric. With Linnet, it was like... where are you getting these ideas, girl? Also Linnet seemed like a complete ninny compared to Jade. Admittedly, this might be my nostalgic childhood speaking about Jade, but even so. I did greatly enjoy her prose, though, and the way in which Watson described the kitten. (Persephone, often written as pronounced by the London street-urchin "Purse-Effony.)
--Unnatural Death, Sayers. Wimsey+lesbians=WIN. One character had Views on the lesbians, and one of them was kind of evil and manipulative, but still. Lesbians! There were actually two pairs. One pair were sort of peripheral characters (in part because one of the women was the victim of the murder that sparked the entire plot), but they seemed like badass old ladies, and I wanted to be them when I grow up. The method of murder was kind of ingenious.
--The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Sayers. First off, I adore this title. It's just so British and Twenties! Second, I think I read this one too soon after Unnatural Death, because in the first chapter I had a hazy thought of "well, it's probably this character", and I was right. Even so, Sayers is lovely and I adore Bunter and Wimsey.
--Strong Poison, ditto. Wimsey is kind of adorkable when he is in love, and boy howdy does he fall hard for Harriet Vane. I wish we as readers could have gotten to know her a bit better in this book, but ah well. The passage when Wimsey is telling Parker to propose to his (Wimsey's) sister already is adorabel and hilarious and contains the phrase "my dear old mangle-wurzel" and it made me want to snuggle Wimsey forever.
--In The Wake of the Lorelai Lee, Meyer. It's the latest in the Bloody Jack Adventure series, the first of which came out in... goodness, middle school? I haven't reread through the entire series in a while, but it's always nice to get a fresh Bloody Jack adventure. Crossdressing! Swashbuckling in the Royal Navy! Adventures and misadventures in love across the high seas! They're delightful. Attention is paid to historical detail, and the books are chock full of old ballads, some of which I actually recognise! ("The Parting Glass" and "High Barbary".) Jacky can be a touch Mary-Sue-ish at times, but there are also points where she fights so hard against The Black Cloud, as she calls it, and it balances it out for me. Also there is a section when Jacky is essentially made concubine to a Chinese pirate. A female Chinese pirate. It's never explicitly stated how far they go, but the idea of femslash is there.... of course, then Jacky's long-suffering One True Love (who is in his own right awesome) shows up and gets all huffy at the idea, but he's an early-nineteenth-century upper-class British lieutenant in the Royal Navy. I cut him slack.

--Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters. Cross-dressing Victorian lesbians in a music hall; what more can one want from a book? It was actually really interesting re-reading this after I'd seen the BBC miniseries with A over March break. I first read the novel sometime my senior year in high school, so I was a little rusty on the plot when I watched it. I don't think I'll say much about it because some people (A) still need to read it, but the ending is better in the book. 
--All-of-a-Kind Family, More All-of-a-Kind Family, and All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, by Sydney Taylor. It was really interesting reading these again after I've taken Yiddish (for three weeks), because there were Yiddish words sprinkled here and there in the text, with an English translation in parentheses. I didn't grow up going to church, but I am of a Protestant extraction. It was interesting reading these books about an entirely Jewish family in an entirely Jewish world, especially because my mother presented them to me as books to be read, not "these are books about Jewish people, small K! You must read them to understand this other culture!" 
--Jade, Sally Watson. So after reading Linnet, I reread Jade, and I think now I understand more of why Linnet rubbed me the wrong way. Jade understood that her opinions and feelings about the world were not normal and in line with the way her family thought, and she was upset about that. Jade, I think, is just a deeper, richer character. The stakes are higher as well--there is the sense that certain actions will have consequences (like a flogging, or hanging), and Jade gets flogged. She is punished for her convictions, and sticks to them anyway. Also, because A has gotten me into the mindset of seeing femslash everywhere, I now ship Anne Bonney/Jade. Or Anne/Mary Read.

I think that's it for now. This list will definitely be updated throughout the summer.


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