chani: (Default)
I am hardly a geek. I like my Internet but my use of it would probably look boring for many people who are up to date with all sort of shiny and fancy web tools. After years of resisting, I finally got a cell phone but I mostly use only when I'm travelling or for emergency, and it's an old mobile phone, with buttons to press, not the touch kind. Tumblr, Instagram are just words for me...

Sometimes I heard people mentioning an app for this or that, and I don't always understand what they are talking about (I guess app is short for application?), but I figure it's some sort of tech gadget allowing to do "more stuff" with either their computer or their phone.

But I've just read this, and I don't understand. What the heck is this app? I mean, what does it do exactly? Why would anyone need a app to masturbate? A sex toy? Of course, they are very effective; some pornographic pictures or films?, I get it, even if women are supposed to be less visually oriented than men. But an app????

Is it just some sort of user instructions?

I guess there are already many web pages providing such instructions for masturbation -- the idea that some girls/women wouldn't know how to masturbate kinda puzzles me since even a foetus in the womb can do it but let's imagine that some are indeed clueless -- so what does this app provide that those do not?

And I agree with the journalist, the design is VERY infantilising.

Anyway, if our species now needs app to do something as natural as masturbation, we are really doomed.

chani: (Tom)
Yesterday evening was a Bowie evening. I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth on French cable, and the documentary that followed, that was mostly a film on the last show of the Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars tour.

I wish I have seen him on stage in the 70's, but I was a little bit too young back then. Last time I saw David Bowie perform live it was in Bercy stadium, in 2003, for the Reality tour and it was great. It was one of his last gigs before he had heart problems and surgery. I do hope he will tour for the release of the new album.

So far no dates, even though his wife kinda leaked infos about a possible world tour, including France...

His twitter account lately mentioned this article from Open Culture in which there's a recording of David and Freddie Mercury doing an a capella vocal gymnastic for "Under Pressure". It's worth listening!

The article quotes extracts from Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. Apparently, according to Brian May, Bowie "insisted that he and Mercury shouldn’t hear what the other had sung, swapping verses blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel."

David obviously imposed his views and ruled everyone (the ego clash with Freddie must have been something!). He didn't have Mercury's amazing voice but was still a good vocalist, and, above all, a true artist.

“‘Under Pressure’ is a significant song for us,” May said in 2008, “and that is because of David and its lyrical content. I would have found that hard to admit in the old days, but I can admit it now…."

chani: (Default)

Yesterday I found the above picture via twitter and then this article:

"Everyone who has ever owned a cat will be familiar with their unmannerly feline habit of walking across your keyboard while you are typing. One of the manuscript pictures tweeted by @erik_kwakkel ( ) revealed that this is nothing new."

The marks of cat paws were neat but my favourite mention of cat on manuscript is:

"A Deventer scribe, writing around 1420, found his manuscript ruined by a urine stain left there by a cat the night before. He was forced to leave the rest of the page empty, drew a picture of a cat and cursed the creature with the following words:

Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum ostum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem uni cattie venire possunt."

Paws, Pee and Mice

You can also check this article:

Cats on keyboards? It's a long ancient tradition.

chani: (Default)
First off, a very happy birthday to [personal profile] gillo !

Also, it's getting cold, although we're still above 0° C in Paris and haven't had snow yet. I'm better than last week. Antibiocs seem to have worked, triggering something that looks a little bit like an exorcism actually, as I've had a running nose since Sunday. The devil sickness is leaving my body.

Work is hectic and when I have a couple of spare hours I try to catch up on my thesis so my Internet life suffers.

I still managed to squeeze some streaming time, here and there in Marking Hell, to watch my tv shows:

TWD mid season's finale was okay (flawed yet "entertaining" enough to turn a blind eye on the plot holes) but really frustrating when it comes to a certain character who reminds me of The First Slayer!

Dexter is awful again, writing wise, with no redeeming qualities anymore...Read more... )

I think that The Good Wife has jumped the shark and Homeland is very close to do so. *sigh*

But Boardwalk Empire remains. The show provided a satisfying season's finale, both for the mind and the heart. Nothing really surprising but everything really well done. By the way, there's an excellent review by Noel Murray on the AV Club.

Read more... )
I now have read the chapters about OZ, The Wire and Deadwood in Sepinwall's book (I skipped the one about The Sopranos which I have never watched!).

chani: (Tom)
Tom McRae is playing in Dublin. This interview was published here on

"What’s on your rider? I always ask for the finest single malt whiskey as befits my status. But cooking sherry will do at a push.

How do you get to the gig – limo, taxi, walking? If the helicopter can’t land close, I’ll walk.

What’s the best gig you’ve been to? The best gig is probably more to do with my age and enthusiasm than anything else. When I was a teenager, The Waterboys at Norwich UEA made me want to be in a band. Radiohead at Brixton Academy made we want to give up, they were so good. Rickie Lee Jones in Copenhagen taught me grace and humour. The Bruce Springsteen solo on The Devils and Dust tour reminded me that live performance is worthless unless you’re prepared to take risks and ride the silence.

And the worst? There’s always something to take from a gig, even if it’s another band’s rider.

Who is the most famous person to show up at one of your gigs? Technically, David Bowie and John Cale, but I’m pretty sure they were there to see The Waterboys (I was opening for them in New York.) However, Scott Walker did choose me for his Meltdown Festival, and apparently watched from the shadows. For a moment I felt cool. The moment passed.

Most embarrassing on-stage moment? I once singled out a girl by saying “you, the pretty one”, and the girl next to her raised her hand and I said “no, not you, her”. I still have nightmares about it.

What’s your crowd-pleasing number? I like to think that in the absence of a genuine hit, each song is a least one person’s favourite. Even if that person is me. But probably The Boy with the Bubblegun.

Groupies. Would you? I had some groupies banging and yelling on my hotel door just the other day. Eventually I let them out.

How many roadies does it take to change your lightbulbs (ie, how big is your entourage)? 

In the glory days, we had a lighting director, tour manager, three technicians, front-of-house and monitor engineers, a merch person and two bus drivers. No wonder I still owe Sony a million pounds. Now, it’s me and my wife. She’s as strong as an ox with good teeth, so there’s nothing we can’t wrangle into position.

If you could be in any other band, which one? Any band that Frank Black is in, or Bob Mould or Neil Finn. But I’m still waiting for the call from AC/DC. That’s the job my whole career has been a warm-up for.

Who’s invited to your aftershow party? My idea of an aftershow party is to get back on the bus, put a West Wing on the TV, pour a whiskey and let the road unfurl. If you promise to be quiet, you can all come."

That's my Tom!
chani: (Default)
I'm officially one year older. Well, almost, since I was born at midday.

But this is just another day. Turning 41 isn't exactly something I want to celebrate. I haven't scheduled anything fancy. I will just have a drink later in the evening, with my pals.

Today, I'm thinking of my birthday buddy, [personal profile] caliente_uk . I know this is not a good birthday for you, sweetie. I couldn't look at the picture that you posted (my issues, not yours), but you are in my thoughts. Time is a killer, making us all older, but it also soothes the pain, eventually.

*sends heart-healing vibes*

Do you know who is my exact birthday twin? Alison Krauss. Same day, same year. Unfortunately, the similarity ends there. I wish I had her musical skills.

PS: Thank you [personal profile] fragrantwoods  for the virtual gift!

chani: (medieval demons)
Being a historian, I'm very picky when it comes to historical fictions, either in books or on screen. Usually, when a book is accurate history-wise, it is lacking in terms of literary qualities...and vice-versa. It's difficult to find historical novels that are actually great books so it is not a genre that I read much.

BTW this post was prompted by [personal profile] selenak 's last entry in which she mentioned an article from The Observer about a top ten historial novels.

So I wondered...what would be my top ten?

Here is the answer:

My favourite 10 historical novels )
chani: (medieval demons)
First off, here's an interesting read: Notes from A Unicorn is the "confession" of a bisexual man who explains how difficult it is to be "bi" in this world (well, in his case, in the U.S).

Me, well, I think that the world would be slightly better if people stopped identifying themselves, and others, through sexuality...among other things.

Anyway, identity has nothing to do with boxes and labels, it's complex, changing, personal and singular.  Picking one component to identify oneself is dangerous because it's a simplification. Reducing the mystery that is a person to any "marker" is the first step towards de-humanizing people. Identifying anyone according to the supposed group to which they belong is the way genocides begin.

Embracing the same "logic" and labelling oneself  to fight discriminations and find acceptance in society seems paradoxical, to say the least. It isn't a reversal, replacing shame by pride, as some would like to believe; it is the same pattern, the same trap, all over again.

I do believe that "I'm me" should be the only valid answer to questions on identity, the only way to achieve equality; and the real tolerance is to accept the others as singularities, not as part of some community. But it seems that very few are ready for such acceptance and openness.

On the other hand, wanting to fit in and expressing what is expected from you, reproducing old outlines, or wanting the others to confirm our narrow views, are also human features.

chani: (Default)
I don't know whether it's me being me, or me being French, but as I wander on this American-oriented web world, sometimes the cultural gap feels so huge and I feel so...on the outside.

It's quite baffling, for instance, that birth control can still be an issue and cause debates in USA but it's possible to buy sperm on American websites or pick features for your future baby in certain clinics -- something that calls eugneics to the mind -- while, over here, birth control has been settled for a while -- and nobody would even thought of bringing it on -- but we have bioethical laws that forbid many things or try to restrict what we can do with biological stuff (sperm donation has to be free, donor must be anonymous, etc.) and the potential debates precisely focus on that moral ground versus the economic side.

And there's all the religious talk (I don't mean preachy posts but general notes on personal faith, use of God word, or church going comments) that I can't avoid, and that I find sometimes so...overwhelming. What sounds, probably, so commonplace and normal for many people, looks weird to these French eyes.

I don't think it's because I'm an atheist, myself, it's just cultural. I'm sure there are several people around who aren't as godless as I am (I know for a fact that a few of my friends do believe in a higher being, and I'm even the godmother of one of my friends's daughter and I know that my friend send her kids to catechism), but we live, here , in a secular society, in which faith -- or religious practice -- is something very private, completely pushed into the inner world, so intimate that it has completely deserted public speeches or conversations, even between friends, and all the more with "strangers". It wouldn't occur to anyone I know in RL to express religious feelings or casual talk about going to church, unless it's an ad hoc conversation. I might shock some people if I said that it would be like sharing favourite sexual positions or telling about going to partner-swinging clubs, but the analogy would work because it's THAT private.

So sometimes, surfing the Internet is very exotic and feels a bit like watching an American tv show!

Most of the time, it feels like I'm...different.

But, of course the world is more interesting if it's filled with people who are not like me.

Speaking of American tv shows, I'm still rewatching BSG (but have been too lazy to write posts!)and enjoying it a lot. I was so right to be crazy in love with that show when it was on. The finales of s1 and s2 were terrific, the beginning of s3 was awesome. I adore Saul Tigh more than ever (he started breaking my heart at the beginning of season 2 and I have loved the old bastard since then); I have warmed up to Lee, whom I used to find dull and lacking in character until the end of season 3; I keep flipping sides between Roslin and Adama; I cried  a lot at the end of 'The Passage", and Helo is my hero (re-watched " A measure of Salvation" and "Rapture" yesterday, and "The Woman King" today). So good, so beautiful, so tall.

The show was so good at dealing with moral issues and at trying to define what being human meant and what it takes to remain "civilized" (something that The Walking Dead with its poor writing and idiotic characters fails to do). It was so good that it allowed the viewers to overlook some flaws, or plot holes, here and there.

Read more... )


Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:54 pm
chani: (medieval demons)
I usually try not to hurt people around me, but I know that my word can be very sharp sometimes.

Being a teacher facing about 35 students ready to pounce on you, day after day, makes you quick to act and good at saying repartees that put insolents in their places. My word is the whip that reinforces my position but it is also my role as an educator to chastise them verbally; it hardens the pupils and helps them to learn...and it's a cautionary tale for the others. It serves as an exemplum (as mediaeval preachers would say). But I usually do it in a way that is not mean but rather looks like a verbal joust that I won because I have to. The students get it, it's part of the game, it even amuses them.

But it's different when the other can't see your face and the smile in your eyes, and the teacher in me shouldn't bleed out on this virtual world. I can argue, make my point in an online discussion but I am not here to correct others or shows them the wrongness of their ways like La Statue du Commandeur.

Online there are only words that bite and the cold loneliness that surrounds them.

Art work

Sep. 8th, 2011 05:49 pm
chani: (Default)
Those movie stars mashup photos are really well done.
chani: (medieval demons)
Looks like American atheists have been subjected to death threats that overran the Fox News' Facebook page in the process...
chani: (Default)
The Internet gives us great opportunities to ponder the matter of identity. There are many fakes around but they work because they meet the expectations of many people...even journalists whose job should be to tell truth and lies apart. Basically we want to believe, we want to be fooled. It's something that magicians have always understand.

The affair of the false Gay Girl from Damascus provides a new instance of the magic of the world wide web...

chani: (Default)
It's always nice to see that people think like you. Suddenly you feel that you aren't alone anymore.

I just checked David Lavery's blog, as I regularly do, for he's the pope of all things tv and a grand priest in the Whedon church. And here's what he wrote on saturday evening:

Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad) just won the Best Support Actor Emmy. Although O'Quinn and Emerson (among others) also deserved it, how could anyone deny the justness of the award? He is astonishing.

And while I write, Bryan Cranston (Walter White in Breaking Bad) has just won for Best Actor!! His third in a row.

Now will you watch "Breaking Bad"? There is no better show on television.


chani: (Default)

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