June 23rd, 2017
the_future_modernes: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] the_future_modernes at 10:52am on 23/06/2017
falling down in anime all the time?  Also I am SICK of the dead woman love interest trope in all of media. I would honestly like to ban that shit for the next 540 years.

Also, was trying to watch Star Trek Beyond and why is Kirk so fucking TERRIBLE at negotiation? Is he or is he not supposed to have been tops in all his subjects? So why was he so sarcastic and impatient and lacking in empathy? Why was the entire negotiation scene played for jokes? Star Trek is SUPPOSED to be about diplomacy  as well as fighting, these motherfuckers can only focus on action? Frankly I wouldn't want to live anywhere near the Federation, they are clearly the same shitheads that militaries today are. Which was not quite the intention of the original. This medicore ass, fratboy ass white imperialistic ass fuckwittery tho. Its so frustrating when the fanfic IS SO MUCH BETTER than the shit these so called professionals GET PAID FOR.

Finally watching Cowboy Bebop. SO GOOD. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the architecture of the world, the gates are BADASS and the diversity of the characters?! There are darskinned folk up in there! And I love the fact that they are having adventures but it aint about war. I am so SICK of war. I feel like describing war as action adventure is erasure. War isn't adventure. Not by a long shot.
One thing about it that I didnt like was the story line about terrorist environmentalists. Made me annoyed because I feel like I keep seeing movies in which environmentalists are set up as cuckoo terrorists who go too far. Considering teh fact that coporations and their captive govts are responsible for the current destruction of the planet for human habitation ... says a lot about the ideologies of the ruling class. More environmentalists as heroes I say. And more corporations as the destructive moneygrubbing villians that they are. Speaking of, I need several articles that look into the specifics of corporate welfare.  The drumbeat of lazy mooching poor continues unabated while corporations make billions more than in tax dollars the poor ever manage to but have their misdeeds cozily hidden by our fourth estate. Then again corporations own the fourth estate.  Apparently folk are going to have to learn up close and personal AGAIN that monopolies are bad for us. Hoo-fucking-ray. 

I would like to seee a movie in which a James Bond type or platoon of them come in to fuck up a government in a POC majority country and the heroes are the security forces of said countries  who repel the invaders and embarass the shit out of the colonizing country.  Actually I would like to see several movies about this.

I need to write more. I am brimming with ideas but the resilency to sit down and write is lacking. Because I keep getting hung up on the fact that what sounds great in my head doesnt come out as such on paper. *sigh*
June 22nd, 2017
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
posted by [syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed at 09:33am on 22/06/2017

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

Justice-love-scalesEarlier this week, David and I studied a fabulous text from the Hasidic rabbi known as the Kedushat Levi (R' Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev), to whom I was first introduced by R' Elliot Ginsburg, my teacher of Hasidut in rabbinical school. It's a short commentary on this week's Torah portion, Korach, and it packs a powerful punch. (Read it in the original Hebrew at Sefaria.)

The text riffs off of a short phrase in Numbers 18:19, "It is an eternal covenant of salt." Levi Yitzchak explains that this was said after the deeds of Korach. (For a reminder of what those were, see my post at My Jewish Learning, A Failed Rebellion.) Korach wanted everyone, including himself, to be priests. He didn't want to be a Levite, which was his own ancestral tribe -- he wanted to be a Kohen (a higher-level priest), and he wanted everyone to be kohanim.

Here's where Levi Yitzchak makes an interpretive leap: he says the kohanim / priests represent the divine attribute of חסד / chesed (lovingkindness), whereas the levi'im / Levites represent the divine attribute of דין / din (justice) -- sometimes called gevurah, the quality of boundaries and strength. Here's the problem with the Korachite rebellion: in wanting everyone to represent chesed, Korach leaves no room for din. He wanted everyone to be pure chesed, but in truth (says Levi Yitzchak), the world needs judgment and justice too. The world needs gevurah: boundaries, strength, a strong container. 

Ramban (also known as Nachmanides) understands salt as a combination of fire and water, which is to say, justice and lovingkindness. He says it's the combination of those two, the appropriate balance of those two, which sustains all the worlds. 

Levi Yitzchak teaches that the covenant of salt (representing the balance of chesed and din) came as a response to Korach's actions, in order to remind us of what's wrong with Korach's imbalanced view that everyone should embody only chesed. What the world needs is the appropriate balance of chesed and din, lovingkindness and justice.

Reading this passage, I marvel at how contemporary and real it feels. I've been in contexts where people want everyone and everything to be all-chesed-all-the-time, and they are not healthy contexts by any stretch of the imagination.  Love that flows without boundaries is a flood, destructive and damaging. When we over-privilege chesed at the expense of gevurah, there are no appropriate roles or boundaries... and a community in which roles and boundaries are not honored, in which gevurah is not honored, is a community that will inevitably be rife with ethical violations and abuse. 

Levi Yitzchak skewers the Korachite perspective that says everyone should express only lovingkindness. John Lennon may have written a catchy tune with the refrain "all you need is love," but on a spiritual level, he was wrong. The world needs judgment, discernment, and justice every bit as much as it needs unbridled or unbounded love -- indeed, as Ramban notes, a world that has only one half of that critical binary cannot endure. 

This is true not only on a macro level but also a micro level. Every human being is a world. Every one of us contains both of these qualities and more. Maybe you recognize chesed and gevurah as the first two qualities we remind ourselves to cultivate as we count the Omer each year. Every human being needs a healthy balance of all of the qualities that we share with our Creator: lovingkindness and boundaried-strength and balance and endurance and all the rest. A person who seeks to be only chesed will inevitably be imbalanced, and will wind up doing damage not only to himself but to their whole community -- as Korach did. 

A person who insists that chesed is the goal in and of itself (rather than as part of a healthy and balanced palette of qualities) will be naturally inclined toward spiritual bypassing, using feel-good spiritual language to mask deep-rooted avoidance of life's complexities. The same will be true in a community that privileges chesed over a healthy balance of qualities. Such a community will inevitably be not ethical, not healthy, and not safe.

The wisdom offered this week by Levi Yitzchak and Ramban is still relevant in our day: what we need, as individuals and communities, is the right balance of chesed and gevurah. The right balance of love and boundaries, in which loving flow is guided and guarded by ethics and justice. The right balance of all of the sefirot, all of the qualities that we and God share. 

May it be so in all of our communities, and in all of our hearts, speedily and soon.

 

marina: (scifi janelle)
posted by [personal profile] marina at 05:41pm on 22/06/2017 under
Life is good right now, and I want to record that, before I probably lose my apartment in the next few months, as I do every year for the past 5 years. Probably in some spectacular last minute clusterfuck, as has happened in 2 out of those 5 years.

Anyway, I'm still reading Ninefox Gambit and enjoying it a lot. My health is better. Not "healthy person" better, but definitely better than it's been in say, two years. I'm going to London soon, which is so, so exciting.

The thesis has been... awful, but awful in the usual academic-grind sort of way.

This morning my maternal grandmother's youngest sister died. I couldn't make it to the funeral, but weekend plans (mostly thesis plans) will have to be altered to go grieve with family. Her granddaughter just got married a few weeks ago.

I'm sad, even though I didn't spend a lot of time with her in recent years, since my grandparents died and we stopped celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries as big family events.

My grandmother was 12 when she and her sisters and her mom and her grandma and two of her female cousins were all living in a Nazi concentration camp. This sister, the youngest, remembers that time the least, but she was old enough then to help with the missions, where their mom would send them out in pairs to try and escape the camp illegally and get food and supplies in the nearby village.

Every outing meant risk of capture and death, so the girls always went in pairs with a cousin, not a sister. My great-grandmother wanted to ensure that she could never be blamed for putting her own children ahead of her nieces.

Anyway, it's a sad day. My own grandmother in New York just got out of a 3 month stay at the hospital, and I'm grappling with the fact that it's very likely I'll never see her again.

The sun is shining, and there are flowers outside, and I still have a bed and a kitchen and a closet that are entirely my own. I suppose that's something.
posted by [syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed at 04:00am on 22/06/2017

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

"Not all women, trees, or ovens are identical." -- Mishna Pesachim 3:4, in the name of R' Akiva

 

Some women like winter. Some incubate babies
and some have no uterus. Some wear eyeliner.

Some are happiest in Israeli sandals
flaunting our pedicured toes.

Some are stronger than the steel cables
that hold up a suspension bridge.

Some of us are notorious.
Some of us write love poems.

Some of us have roots that go deep
into the earth and will not be shaken.

Some give our fruit and branches
and trunk until we are nothing but stumps.

Some grow thorns to protect ourselves
even if we're vilified for it.

Some women are more like trees
than like ovens: constantly changing.

Some women are nourishing and warm.
Some women burn with holy fire.

Some of us are irreducible, incomparable
like the Holy One of Blessing Herself.

Some women balance justice and mercy.
Some are mirrors: we'll give kindness

as we receive, but injustice causes
our eyes to blaze the world into ash.

 


This poem arose out of a wonderful line from mishna that I encountered in Heschel's book Torah from Heaven, which I've been slowly reading on Wednesday mornings with my coffee shop hevruta group for well over a year.

Some give our fruit and branches / and trunk until we are nothing but stumps. See Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. (Wow, is that one messed-up parable about the damage of boundary-less love.)

[I]njustice causes / our eyes to blaze the world into ash. See the Talmudic story of R' Shimon bar Yochai, who spent twelve years in a cave, and when he emerged, was so outraged by what he saw as people's poor priorities and choices that his very gaze set the world on fire.

June 20th, 2017
recessional: green background, a sketch of a chair and the words "i made him say COMFY CHAIRS" (personal; totes taking this srsly)
June 18th, 2017
recessional: a woman with blood on her hands, wearing a helm (writing; blood of her enemies)
posted by [syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed at 09:55am on 16/06/2017

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

Dear One, you love me so much
you give me your Torah
for argument and play
waltzing and conversation
from one life to the next.



Your Torah nourishes me,
familiar as the womb.
Wrap me tight in your Torah
like a newborn. Laugh in delight
when I learn to break free.



Your Torah lights up my eyes,
fuses my heart with my choices.
Give me just one letter
to suck like candy, like manna
changing flavor on my tongue.



Tell me a true story again
about who I used to be
or who I might yet be
-- like you, always becoming
who you are becoming.



Beloved, draw me close.
I've been scattered:
melt me until we mingle.
I want to come home in you.
Choose me again. Don't stop.



 


This poem arises out of the Ahavah Rabbah prayer that is part of the traditional morning liturgy. Those who are familiar with that prayer (especially in its original Hebrew) will see many riffs on and references to its language here.

Like the poem Good (Yotzer Or), which I posted recently, this is intended to be daven-able alongside or instead of the classical prayer. 

(There are also some poems in the forthcoming Texts to the Holy that I've used at services as a stand-in for Ahavat Olam, the evening version of this prayer -- most notably the title poem of that collection. But none of those poems is specifically rooted in the language of this prayer the way that this one is.)

 

recessional: a line drawing of a monster-hand reaching out to grab a small foot from under the bed (writing; the dark stories)
marina: (amused Godric)
posted by [personal profile] marina at 10:58am on 18/06/2017 under , ,
Life has been... nice, in the last few days. Productive.

deets )

I also spent Saturday, when I wasn't doing thesis stuff, reading Ninefox Gambit by [personal profile] yhlee.

Someone on twitter told me the book's first 100 pages were very difficult to get through, but after that it was worth it. I'd say that the first 50 pages are the exposition/introduction, and if I hadn't been prepared for them I might have indeed quit at that point because it just felt very dense in details and low on stakes, but after those 50 pages the story actually starts, and maaaaan.

I've missed just ENJOYING a science fiction book. Not reading for research, or an article, or a review, but just... reading. Purely for my own pleasure. And this book is so, so much fun. Usually when I wake up on weekdays I watch something on my ipad in bed for a few minutes, like a buzzfeed video or a daily show clip or whatever. I do it in between checking my email and whatever.

This morning I woke up, reached for Ninefox Gambit, read it for the 5-10 minutes I have for that stuff in the morning, and was SO SAD to put it down to go to work. I didn't even touch my ipad or my phone.

In a way this book deserves to be read in increments, and I wouldn't actually recommend binging it, because it's so thick in details and nuance and worldbuilding, the details take time to settle, at least for me.

*

In other news, today is a special day in novella land. Instead of a chapter, there's bonus material! Specifically, a map that goes with the story.
recessional: a woman with blood on her hands, wearing a helm (writing; blood of her enemies)
starlady: (bibliophile)
source: Yuri!!! on Ice
audio: CHVRCHES, "Clearest Blue"
length: 3:54
stream: on Vimeo
download: 229MB on Dropbox
summary: "While you were being heterosexual, I studied the blades on ice." -- @viktorbottom

Premiered at [community profile] vidukon_cardiff 2017.

tumblrAO3


Password: katsudon

Vidding TV shows is so much work. I was cutting this one until about two hours before the deadline, exacerbated by the fact that the Blu-Ray of the last volume came out literally the day before the deadline. I initially used a low quality rip of the creditless ending and was resigned to a different version online than on the con DVD, but then due to some serendipitous technical difficulties, resolved at length by the very patient and excellent con staff, I actually was able to get a file with a high quality rip of the ending into the con--of course it came out less than 24 hours after said deadline. (If I ever get access to Blu-Ray rips, I may remaster it, just because they changed so much for the disc releases.)

As for the vid itself…I had this song in mind since about January. Yuuri and Victor love each other a lot, okay, and they meet each other in the middle, eventually, every time.

Lyrics
lizbee: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lizbee at 10:05am on 18/06/2017 under
I watched last week's episode at Continuum, while hiding from people in the committee room, and made a terrible discovery: iView streaming quality is much, much better over 4G on an iPad than over the NBN on a new desktop.

Guys.

That was pretty much the highlight of Gatiss's episode, so let's move on to the triumphant return of Rona Munro.

You never hear the spoilers. )
Mood:: 'excited' excited
June 16th, 2017
recessional: an orange tabby kitten (writing; things get better)
glinda: just trying to read (books/reading)
posted by [personal profile] glinda at 11:26pm on 15/06/2017 under ,
Mood:: 'recumbent' recumbent
Music:: LCD Sound System - All My Friends
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
posted by [syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed at 05:55am on 16/06/2017

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

Beloved, You are good
and you wield goodness
in shaping creation

and every single day
in Your goodness
and with Your goodness

You make us new
with all created things.
You make me new.

I cling to yesterday
(who would I be
without the sorrows

that have worn grooves
into my back?) but
that's my own smallness.

You've made me new
formed me for this new day
a sapling unbowed.

The knot in my stomach
the knot in my throat --
You untie them.

Can I sit with You
for even a few minutes
before I tangle myself again?

 


In the yotzer or prayer, the blessing for God Who creates light that is part of our daily liturgy, we find the line "המחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית/ ha'm'chadesh b'tuvo b'chol yom ma'aseh bereshit," which describes God as the One Who daily renews, with God's goodness, the work of creation. This poem arose out of that line, and could be read or davened as part of shacharit (morning prayer), perhaps with the first and last lines of the Hebrew prayer as bookends. If you use this poem in this way, let me know if it works for you!

June 14th, 2017
green: (leverage: ot3)
posted by [personal profile] green at 10:41am on 14/06/2017 under ,
I finally had an appointment with the ortho clinic! I was three minutes late for it, but I made it!

...and then I was informed my provider had a family emergency and so I'd need to make a new appointment.

At this rate, my back is never getting fixed. :P

New appointment is for the 26th. If anyone's keeping track.

***

I'm writing so much lately! Monday I wrote 3k words. THREE THOUSAND. How awesome is that?
Mood:: 'anxious as usual' anxious as usual
posted by [syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed at 04:27am on 14/06/2017

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

1.

The CSA's first distribution week:
the flower gardent nascent, not yet formed.
The fields are all potential. No one knows
what plagues or pleasures yet will come to pass.
Who can say which plants will thrive this year?
This week the share's all leaves in shades of green:
tatsoi, arugula, yokatta na.
Atop my bag I nestle precious roots:
French radishes, like fingers, long and pink.
Pick up a pen to mark that I was here
on this first week in June, the season's cusp.
My name's listed alone, while his is paired.
The tears that come I blink away, and blame
upon the radishes' surprising bite.












 

2.

Clouds of pearly fluff float through the air
revealing hidden currents. Poplar seeds,
each with a silken parachute: they twirl,
make visible the breeze that strokes my neck.
I'm floating too, buoyed sometimes by forces
I can't see. Other times I feel
discarded by the tree that once was home.
Every breath I take's an act of trust
that in time I'll land, and root myself
in unfamiliar soil I can't yet know.
Can I learn to love being so light
I no longer insist I'm in control?
"God was not in the cloud: the still small voice..."
I wait, and drift, and listen for its sound.












 

3.

Skills that I've begun to learn this year:
How not to shrink. How not to defer.
How to claim the whole bed as my own.
How to shop and cook for every meal.
How to pull over and cry by the side of the road.
How to be triggered by Facebook. How to dress
to kill -- on New Year's Eve, in low-cut silk
chiffon bought secondhand -- without a date.
How to be alone, night after night
(after I put the kid to bed), and wake
likewise alone, and if not celebrate
my solitude, at least no longer mind.
When will I earn my merit badge in grief?
This course is long, and there's no syllabus.












 

4.

And then one day I wake and nothing hurts.
No ache behind my throat. Modah ani!
It isn't "closure," quite; that's just a myth.
Some things are linear, but never this:
growth doesn't come in measurable steps.
The music changes. So, too, does the dance.
I'll weep again, maybe by afternoon
but now hope rises in me like the tide.
I have no map: so what? I turn the dial
on my kaleidoscope. New pieces fall.
Each day a new blank page waits to be filled
and I can't skip ahead to see what comes.
I let my fingers hover on the keys.
Only one way to find out what I'll write.












 

5.

When Moses saw the bush that burned, he gaped.
The glowing heat did not consume the wood.
The branches sang with tongues of vibrant flame.
God said, "This place is holy ground: now go.
The One Who Is Becoming sends you forth."
How did it feel to be the sign, afire?
As Frankl said, "Those who give light must burn."
And in my burning, can I mark the way
for others on this labyrinthine path?
I'm unsure where I'm going, but I know
each character in Torah lives in us.
If I'm the bush, then I'm the prophet, too:
released from habit, tender and exposed.
Take off my shoes, and let myself be changed.












 


I haven't written sonnets in a while. There's something about the constraint of the form that matches well, for me, with writing about these emotionally complicated realities. 

"God was not in the cloud: the still small voice..." See I Kings, 1:19

Modah ani. The morning prayer for gratitude, about which I've written many times before.

It isn't "closure," quite; that's just a myth. See On divorce and ambiguous loss.

"Those who give light must burn." I massaged the quote a bit to make it fit the iambic pentameter; the original is "What is to give light must endure burning."

"This place is holy ground: now go. The One Who Is Becoming sends you forth." See Exodus 3, the story of the bush that burned but was not consumed.

Take off my shoes, and let myself be changed. That's a reference to a Hasidic commentary on Exodus 3:5; read more.

 

marina: (Marie ponders)
posted by [personal profile] marina at 01:41pm on 14/06/2017 under
Yesterday I went a networking event for ex-spies, which was... definitely an experience.

stuff and things )

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