HPMOR chapter 87

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:44 pm
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Today's outburst of reading laughter was brought to me by this passage:

"That is not okay! You can’t do science with two people at once!"
"I mean, you can’t do science with two different people and not tell them about each other!"


(which of course won't make much sense unless you've read the 86 chapters before that part.)

And then I reflected that I could relate a lot more to that statement taken literally, than to that for which it might be interpreted as a metaphor.
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Back in high school, we had to choose a scene from Macbeth, memorize it, and later recite it to the class. I chose one of the shortest scenes I could find, because, while I was good at remembering things, I wasn't particularly good at memorizing long strings of words.

I'm not sure if I ever recited it to the class; as much as I dreaded having to speak in front of the class, I usually ended up not having to do so. I never volunteered to go first (or 2nd or 3rd, or ever), and so the class usually ran out of time before getting to me. (Though in retrospect it would have been good to have more practice at public speaking. And it probably was a tiny bit of a let-down, getting all worked up at having to speak, and then not having to speak after all.)

As with the few other things I've memorized, I remembered it for a long time, because every so often I would recite it to myself. I didn't remember it perfectly - over time, I may have swapped in some wrong words here and there - but could still recite most of it.

Lately I had noticed that I could hardly remember any of it, except the first line. But this week at work, while standing at my desk, for some reason I started reciting it in my mind, and I remembered the whole thing again! The words flowed without a break.


It's the part with the witches talking, Act 3 Scene 5, that starts with "How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth in riddles and affairs of death..."

But actually, reading that link, it turns out that in the intervening years, I had completely forgotten the 2nd half of it. I thought it ended with "thither he will come to [meet] his destiny". But I used to have the rest memorized too. "I am for the air" ... "my little spirit, see, Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me." Yep, I liked those parts!

Heh. And now I learn that the scene I memorized probably wasn't even written by Shakespeare. The above link describes the scene as "un-Shakespearean". This page says: "Some literary critics believe that these [sic] scene is way too hokey to be Shakespeare's work..."

Heh, hokey! You stick your left foot in, you stick your left foot out, you do the hokey-pokey and you shake it all about!

And that's another example of me remembering something, but not remembering it quite right.

*It's like how sometimes people's names are easy to recall, and sometimes not.


Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 11:36 pm
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An uncle* of mine has written a book/memoir of his life:
The Kraut: On Being German after 1940

He was born in Germany, grew up in the U.K., and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17.

I've been reading it during my lunch times, in between walking** and eating. Some of it is rather dark, topic-wise, and some of it is hard to follow. But it's quite interesting.

It's available on Kindle or as a paperback, if anyone is curious about it.

* My mom's half-sister's cousin's husband's first wife's son.

** I've increased my walking circuit by about 10 minutes. My pedometer indicates I'm now getting up to about 8000 steps per day doing so.
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I'm half-way through reading a PDF book, The Authoritarians. It's about the mindset of "right-wing authoritarian followers", the people who allow right-wing authoritarian leaders to gain and keep power. It's educational in that it puts into words many incomprehensible things that I've observed of some people, and tries to explain them.

I have a weird feeling like I'll get to the end of the book, and it will say "Now that you've read all this, if you believed it, that shows how gullible you are. This was all a psychological test.".

I was curious whether I myself would be pegged as an authoritarian follower or not. I am very rules-conscious. I dislike breaking rules. As a child, I recall breaking rules not feeling fun and exciting, but rather anxiety-inducing. In many cases I agree with the rules, such as vehicular speed limits, or with voluntarily declaring and paying use taxes on items I buy over the internet.

Yet if I disagree with a rule, I probably would break it. I don't consider myself likely to stand up to authority, yet I did in my own way when my company ordered everyone to work mandatory overtime.

The book mentions that children may end up different from their parents based on experiences during adolescence. If they broke rules and found it fun and exciting, that could reduce their respect for authority. If they broke rules and experienced trauma, that could increase their respect for authority. If their parents said certain groups of people were bad, but they became friends with people in those groups, that could reduce their respect for authority.

Based on the first survey in the book, my authoritarianism score is very low (24 out of 180). My religious fundamentalism score is the lowest possible (no surprise, considering that I'm agnostic).

In my case, I don't think I broke many rules as a kid*. But I grew up in a low-authoritarian and non-church-going family, so perhaps that influenced how I turned out. I don't view my dad as having been the "head of the family"; my parents seemed to have an equal relationship. But they separated early on, and I don't really remember much from when they were together. Neither of them seemed very strict or domineering.

*Maybe I did, but it was so early on that I don't remember well. Maybe I ignored rules that I felt were silly or which inhibited what I wanted to do. Did my parents ever tell me not to climb on the kitchen counters, or not to play in the woods? My mom made me wear dresses against my will; I suppose that may have reduced my respect for her authority.


Saturday, August 30th, 2014 01:49 am
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by [personal profile] andrewducker. List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the "right" books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.

Impossible for me to do without taking more than a few minutes*, but still, I didn't think too hard about it. So it could be that I forgot ones which were more significant to me than these.

*As in me thinking, "umm, oh, what about that book with that guy and the talking horses**. What was the name of those books?" and "oh, that book with the girl in the boat***. Was that Riddlemaster of Hed? Was that Le Guin?..."

1. DragonLance series by Weis & Hickman
2. Shadow Man by Melissa Scott
3. Bone Dance by Emma Bull
4. The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
5. **The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
6. ***Duel of Sorcery trilogy by Jo Clayton
7. The Gate of Ivory trilogy by Doris Egan
8. The Chanur books by C.J. Cherryh
9. Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster
10. The Return of the Jedi novelization by James Kahn

Now, if any of you want to list ten books, consider yourself tagged!
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Raistlin (DragonLance)
Rumpelstiltskin (OUaT)

Dark magic. Golden skin. Physically weak, magically strong. hero/villain; good/evil.

This occurred to me out of nowhere yesterday evening. I hadn't been reading the books nor watching the show anytime recently.
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I've started reading Regenesis, the sequel to Cyteen. This morning, I read the plot synopsis of Cyteen on Wikipedia, as I wasn't sure how much of the background story being mentioned in Regenesis was a part of the prior book. All I remember about Cyteen, besides it being a very large book, was that it was about a cloned girl, and her interactions with a few other characters. It was probably about 20 years ago that I read Cyteen. ::wow, twenty years!:: I didn't enjoy Cyteen as much as I did some of CJ Cherryh's other books.

Yet the Cyteen plot mentioned on Wikipedia doesn't seem at all familiar to me. Did I really read that story? According to Wikipedia, one edition of Cyteen was released as 3 separate books. I remember the book I read being very large, so I think I did read the whole big thing, not only one of the smaller books.

This kind of thing happens a lot with me lately. So many books, movies and TV shows are reruns or sequels, for which I only vaguely remember the plot of the original series. I feel that to get the most of the current story, I'd need to go back and re-read or re-watch the original story to refresh my memory. Yet I don't have time for doing that, and it doesn't seem like it would be worthwhile. If I already read/watched the old story once, and it didn't leave me with enough of an impression to keep me from forgetting about it, what's the point of reading or watching it again? It's not likely to have more of an impact on me the second time around than it did the first time. Even if I enjoyed the story a lot the first time, re-watching or re-reading something is never as exciting and enjoyable as the first time.

Warcraft art book

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 09:30 pm
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Is anyone interested in a soft-cover book "The Art of Warcraft" from the Warcraft III collector's edition (2002)? It's in very good condition. It might get thrown away, otherwise.

tim book two

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 01:21 am
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An article from 2003 which provides more info on the Timbuktu manuscripts:

Secrets of the Sahara
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Comparing YouTube's automatic captioning/transcriptions to what I hear spoken in the videos impresses upon me how intelligent our brains are - to be able to decipher spoken words and phrases, even when the speech is not clear.


moon big
moon round


Still reading the 2nd book in the dragon tattoo girl series. It is engrossing.


EarthFare had black garlic for sale. This particular brand is a product of the U.S.A; $5 for a packet of 2 bulbs. I tossed a packet into my shopping cart, thinking, "I've been wanting to try that!" (remembering being intrigued by what I had read about it). I haven't yet opened the packet.


Why people eat tofu when they get out of prison in Korea.
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I used Google Translate to check what the Swedish title (Män som hatar kvinnor) of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" means. As I typed the words, I seemed to recall that kvinnor means "women". But the translation displayed as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". In fact, even "hatar kvinnor" by itself was translated as "Dragon Tattoo". Not-Very-Helpful, oh ye translating tool! I quite doubt that is how one says Dragon Tattoo in Swedish. Only by entering each word separately did it give me the presumably correct translation "Men who hate women".

The title of the 2nd book "Flickan Som Lekte Med Elden", does literally translate to "The Girl Who Played with Fire".

The title of the 3rd book "Luftslottet Som Sprängdes" (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) seems to mean "The Air Castle that was Blown (Up?)". No weirdness with that translation.

I finished reading the first book today. I'm not planning to watch any of the movies until I finish the books.

Spoilers... )


Sunday, July 10th, 2011 11:42 pm
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Qiao is sweet. He buys me vegan cookbooks.

Just recently, he got me "the get healthy, go vegan cookbook", and "Vegan Planet".
Then on another day, he got me "Ani's Raw Food Essentials".

Qiao isn't vegan himself, but he eats the things I cook.

Some of the recipes I tried lately were "Chilled Ginger-Peach Soup with Cashew Cream" and "Cool Cucumber Soup with Cilantro and Lime". Those were from the Vegan Planet book.

database of books

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 10:56 pm
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In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture

Google has made a mammoth database culled from nearly 5.2 million digitized books available to the public for free downloads and online searches, opening a new landscape of possibilities for research and education in the humanities.

The digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as well as a year-by-year count of how often they appear, represents the first time a data set of this magnitude and searching tools are at the disposal of Ph.D.’s, middle school students and anyone else who likes to spend time in front of a small screen. It consists of the 500 billion words contained in books published between 1500 and 2008 in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.

The intended audience is scholarly, but a simple online tool allows anyone with a computer to plug in a string of up to five words and see a graph that charts the phrase’s use over time.
Google says the culturomics project raises no copyright issue because the books themselves, or even sections of them, cannot be read.

So far, Google has scanned more than 11 percent of the entire corpus of published books, about two trillion words.

(no subject)

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 02:31 pm
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Success: Both dogs have been microchipped.
Fail: Serena's new "break-away" collar didn't even last 2 days on her. I found it chewed up into little pieces in the yard. I'll need to make her a metal chain collar like Zorro's, with an elastic strip for safety. Unless Zorro takes to pulling that off her too, in which case I guess she can't have a safety collar.

I attended, with Qiao, the funeral of one of his family friends. They are Episcopalian. Qiao kneels and prays in church. It seems bizarre to me how I can be in a relationship with someone so different from me. The first time the congregation was asked to kneel, I stayed sitting. The 2nd time, I thought that it might feel good to stretch my back, so I kneeled too. Boy was I wrong; kneeling in the pews was not at all comfortable for my back. Had I not been able to lean my arms over the edge of the pew, I might not have been able to maintain that position.

I'm using my new kneeling chair; I'm quite pleased with it. Nevertheless, my back is still very achy. It is still possible to slouch in this chair, so I'm not sure whether it will help much.

I wish I knew the cause of my back aches. I feel like I have to wait until the pain eventually becomes excruciating, before I can seek medical diagnostics and treatment. After all, the chiropractor already performed x-rays and said that my spine looked fine. So whatever is wrong must not be wrong enough yet to be detectable.

It seems that I made the crotch a bit too short on the pair of jeans which I altered. The pants are wearable, but it was a disappointing result after having put all that effort into it.

I read some more of the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" book yesterday. It's interesting, and it makes me want to know the answer to the mysteries, but there's nothing to the story that makes me enjoy it. It's rather grim, actually.

I had also been reading "The Dog from Hell". That story was neither interesting nor enjoyable for me, so I decided to discontinue it.

This New Year's Eve, I went to bed before midnight. I had been feeling down, possibly due to insufficient sleep. The prior night I had likewise gone to bed early, and it felt so good to get a good night's sleep that I wanted to repeat it. But it wasn't repeated. I heard fireworks, so I don't think I got any sleep until after midnight anyway. But still, that may have been the first New Year's Eve for which I didn't stay up.

jingle bells

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 12:40 am
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13 days into my 16-day vacation, and I still haven't read a single page of the book I'm "reading". Perhaps it doesn't interest me much after all.

Instead, I've been shopping, cleaning, cooking, putting together gifts, decorating, sewing, visiting with people, as well as the other usual things. I don't feel like I've done anything particularly fun so far. (What would be fun to do?)

Basic vegan cream cheese pie recipe, from old PETA magazine clippings I had:
2 8-oz containers of vegan cream cheese
1 cup sugar
juice of a whole lemon (or 4 Tbsp, depending on the recipe)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cornstarch (one recipe includes this, another doesn't)
Blend together ingredients until smooth. Pour into a graham pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Taking the dogs to (hopefully) get micro-chipped tomorrow. Serena has an appointment to get neutered in 2 weeks. On Friday I'm going to a funeral for one of Qiao's family friends.

It snowed, and I didn't even get excited about it this time. I mean, I was a little bit excited before it snowed, but then I realized that it would be easier all around if it didn't, and then it snowed, but I was busy shopping online and sewing, and didn't really care.


I got nice xmas presents.

My dad and his wife almost visited me... they are driving cross-country to California, and forecasts of bad weather up north made them consider a southerly route which would have let them stop by my place. But then the blizzard started threatening the whole east coast, so they reconsidered and took a different route after all.

I bought a pair of fleece-lined jeans, and then decided that they would be much more comfortable with a shorter crotch. So I took off the waistband, cut off an inch or two all around, took in the sides a bit, and then sewed the waistband back on. I'm still sewing the belt loops back on.

Oh joy joy joy to the world. Hope you're having a good one.
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Heat did not used to bother me. I had an extreme dislike of air-conditioning. (My experiences with AC were overwhelmingly of feeling imprisoned in a freezing building with stale recirculated air, feeling cold to the bone, while knowing that it was pleasantly warm outside.)
But something must have changed in my body / my head in recent years. Now when it gets over 86 degrees or so inside the house, I start getting a headache, and I have to turn on the AC to make the headache go away. I wonder why.


I have the opportunity to customize my credit card with either one of many stock images, or with an image of my own (with various rules about what kind of images that are not allowed). At first, it seemed neat to be able to customize the card, and I certainly don't want the boring default image. But it's hard to decide what image I do want.

When I was a kid, I had posters of cats and kittens in my bedroom. When I got older, the idea of decorating my surroundings with images of animals whom I had never personally met, and who were possibly dead by now, seemed purposeless and disturbing. In my teens, I had some posters of movie characters on my walls... the posters served to remind me of the fantasy and excitement of the movies. But later on, the idea of having images of people on my walls began to seem pointless and disturbing.

Similarly now, the idea of putting an image of friends, family, or pets on my credit card seems disturbing to me. What if something were to happen to them, and/or they were to die? Then I'd be stuck with their image on the card, and I'd be reminded of them or of whatever had happened, every time I saw the card. It feels wrong.

For the credit card, I'm still debating whether to choose a stock image of the Statue of Liberty, or of palm-trees, or whether to find some image of my own.


I resorted to putting out a borax-containing ant bait trap to kill the ants.

I had also tried vinegar, hot-sauce, and lemon oil air spray. As with the other things, the ants avoided those areas while they were wet, but crawled right over them once they were dry.

It even looked like they chewed a couple small holes through the areas I had caulked.


I'm very nearly finished reading the thousand-page book "Atlas Shrugged". I started reading it about 16 months ago. There are just a few more pages left, which I plan to read this weekend.

In the last part of the book, one of the characters does a monologue which goes on for 56 whole pages! I had to skim some of that section; it got tedious.

While the book was interesting, I still feel that the underlying premise of the book and the mental state of its characters (except for the heroes/heroines), was not believable.


Today's 3-D movies are pretty neat. I've seen 2 such movies, Alice in Wonderland and The Last Airbender. The 3-D effects are really good. Until seeing them, I hadn't realized the technology had advanced that much.
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Do you have memories that you consider "good"? Memories of times when you felt great, or happy, or when the world seemed exciting and colorful? Memories of times when the future seemed to offer further fun and excitement? How many memories like that do you have? Does thinking of those memories make you feel good now too?


Memories that at some point seemed good to me.

On Mallorca, walking and climbing out on the rocky lava-like outcropping towards the ocean. Hearing the ocean all around, roaring and rising and falling. With the sun shining and wind blowing. (Magic... stories... accompanying me in my mind) 2 distinct memories like that, different locations and trips, but otherwise similar. One time Forestfen was with me, the other time either Forestfen or my aunt was, I don't remember who... in both cases, they were distractions to me, pulling me away from the magical and back into the mundane. I preferred to be alone with my fantasies.

In the woods behind my apartment house in Munich, walking or running carelessly along the path, and being startled by my older brother and a group of his friends, who seemed to step out of nowhere, surrounding me in a narrowing circle. They must have been playing a game of stealth, hiding behind the trees and waiting to surprise me. It gave me a shivery/tingly feeling, as if I was being hunted/chased, as if I was a hero or on some quest, and an enemy wanted to capture me. It was creepy too; I pushed through the circle of boys and escaped. I'm not quite sure if this really happened, or if I dreamt it when I was a kid and kept the memory ever since.

The Empire Strikes Back. I *was* Luke. I had powers. Darth Vader was *evil* and wanted me to join him. There was magic and light and the depths of space.

The school trip to Egypt and Israel in the 7th grade. I kept mementos from that trip for so long, that I must have associated good/poignant memories with it. I had a mild crush on our tour-guide. He was Israeli, foreign, and had sparkling eyes. He was the leader, and I was one of the followers. He told us what to do. At one point during the trip, he noted my interest in the Hebrew alphabet and words, and he swiftly wrote a short phrase in Hebrew on a piece of paper for me. I treasured it; that was his only personal interaction with me but it felt special. Other memories from the trip were ambivalent; I remember being sad and possibly even crying while alone in a hotel room, while the other kids were socializing together. I remember one boy talking to me... I don't remember what he said, but it was something about me being sad or staying to myself and how I shouldn't do that... The mere fact that he talked to me seemed special and unusual, although I didn't know how to respond to what he said. Overall, it was a good trip. There was magic in the air; life was magic back then. Egyptian mythology and history, and ancient ruins were part of the magic.

Walking on a trail through deep woods near some mountain lake with ForestFen and Bro. I found a smooth gray stone that was vaguely shaped like an arrow-head, which became one of my treasures. Walking through forests, I was a ranger/"Indian"/(or whatever the word may be for that feeling of skillful knowledgeable self). I was in an alternate reality.


Memories don't seem good or special anymore, because the feeling of magic is gone. I don't remember being happy; I can only think back and wonder if I felt happy in the past or not. But I do remember feeling magic, or at least being able to imagine a magical existence, and that made things seem exciting. Life had possibilities; the stories could come true for me some day; *I* would learn magic; I would be an apprentice to a wizard, or would somehow break through to an alternate reality were magic was real, and where someone like Darth Vader would interact with me.

Or maybe I was never happy with real life; maybe I escaped into fantasy. Books and fantasies were the real, exciting world. Maybe the only particularly good experiences I felt were ones where I was superimposing a fantasy onto the real world.

But the magic is gone. It is fiction. It does not seem real or believable anymore. Even if there were a Darth Vader wanting me to join the dark side, so what? And if I did, then what? Or if I didn't, then what? WHAT? Where is the magic? Where is the purpose, where is the reason for doing anything?


I think the interactions with Wododu, and that one other dom, and Qiao early on, were good because I was fantasizing then too. But I was doing it with a *real* person, and they were *interacting* with me, and I started hoping that real life could actually possibly be amazing like a fantasy could, or even better! Except it wasn't real. It was just in my head. Thinking back on those experiences makes me awfully sad now, if I let it. Awfully sad from the disappointment, or not bothering to feel any emotion over it.

(no subject)

Sunday, June 6th, 2010 07:11 pm
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I bought 2 fiction books yesterday, to read. I bought 2 books last year too. It's a year later, and I haven't yet read more than a chapter or so of either of them. But maybe these new ones will capture my interest more. Perhaps. I've got about 100 pages left in the Atlas Shrugged book. Now that I'm working from home more often, I read even less than before, as I usually only read during my lunch break at work, and even then only sometimes. Maybe I'll start reading on the weekends, if a book captures my interest. Maybe. I used to enjoy reading. It ought to still be enjoyable, if I can find the right books.


I feel like it isn't worth it to spend time researching who to vote for. I feel like I should just say to hell with it and not even vote. But I also feel it's a duty to do the research and to vote, even if I'm just guessing at who is the better candidate based on scant details, and even if the outcome makes no real difference to my life.

Trying to decide which candidate to vote for is slightly like being in a bookstore and trying to decide which book to buy, based on the cover, and what you see when skimming a few pages.


I bought some half-price baby arugula. I'll cook it with the collard greens. I ought to still cook it today, before it goes bad, even though I've still got a big pot of squash stew in the fridge.