Monday, 29 November 2010

Winter Baking

It’s the time for baking wintery cakes and smittenkitchen’s applesauce cake recipe is simply brilliant for using up the apples from my Mum’s tree. I’ve made the cake in cupcake form before, and now I’ve tried my new mini-guglhupf forms.
Aren’t they dainty and lovely? Sadly, there’s no possibility to convey their amazing spicy cinnamonny smell and taste via the internet. You’ll have to come round and try one!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Unite, despite.

Timberland Fold-Down Fleece Boots!


You will be mine, and winter and snow will not be able to hurt me!
Also, I will stop shopping incontrollably (I’ve also already bought a new power adaptor for a synthesizer today) as of NOW, because shopping incontrollably is not to be approved of, especially not in the holiday season when everybody else is susceptible to it and you’re supposed to lead by example and not join in. Incidentially, I hope you’ll all remember that it’s BUY NOTHING DAY on Friday/Saturday.

(Oh, the sad irony of this post. Now we know where the ‘post’ in postmodern comes from.)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It’s all downhill from here.

Yesterday, I took my diploma thesis to the bookbinder.
That’s a weight off my mind.
You cannot imagine.
Suddenly there’s room in my thoughts for questions like:
“Why doesn’t Voldemort sound more like he has a cold?”

And I’m reading fiction.
Not analysing fiction. Or reading theory.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Interrail, #4: Cinque Terre

Cue the sea, the sun, and the ligurian coast, in the midst of this damp November Monday.

Max on a boat: On the day we leave Florence for La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, the Italian rail are on strike ... We have to take a very early commuter train that is exempt from the strike, and then a ferry - which is more fun than Max’s facial expression gives away.

This is the sea, and the town you can see on the horizon is Portovenere.

Precariously perched. I like how the buildings are exactly the same grey colour as the rocks they are built on. Obviously, the rocks were used to build the buildings.

The rather more provincial version of Italian Gothic. But the stripes (see Siena) cannot miss.

Riomaggiore. It’s kind of breathtaking how these villages are nestled into the side of the cliffs and the vineyards above them, like colourful buildingblocks just tumbling down towards the sea.

More happiness.

Left Luggage options in Monterosso: The tourist office is not interested in keeping our luggage while we wait for the evening ferry to take us to the next village with a camp ground (Levanto). We unceremoniously decide to ‘hide’ our luggage in a fairly inaccessible spot between the huge boulders lining the bay.

We’re not in favour of public beaches. Most of the time you have to pay, and in either case you have no privacy or room, so we choose the ‘inhospitable’ rocky alternative, close to our bagpacks, exposed to the elements.

Levanto: Campground. Quite urban.


Riomaggiore, again. A postcard-y sort of place.


La Via D'Amore! It’s a clifftop path from Riomaggiore to Manarola (or the other way around), which is dedicated to romantic love, and it’s a tradition for lovers to leave signed padlocks in every place imaginable, or scrawl their names, hearts or messages, again, in every place imaginable. Even the plants are tatooed with love.

Do look down.
Sedimentary rock, flipped by the aeons.

Erm ... just say no, kids!


Disgusting graffiti all over the place ... something something ... your property ... something something? ... report this ... something.
 ((c) Angry Englishwoman)

In Flagranti! (He’s using a crayon!!)


The slantedness of the tracks keeps the train from tumbling into the sea.

Manarola. This is where we later had dinner. Seafood Pasta Vol. #2, to make up for the horrid Seafood Pasta Vol. #1 in Levanto the day before. (Don’t ever take dinner in a gelateria just because it’s cheap, in case you didn’t already know that.)


Sunday, 7 November 2010

They rape horses, don't they?

“The Riding Women are evolved women, different in kind from the Free Fems. They are initially the result of the creative opportunism of a group of women used in the genetic experiments of male scientists before the wasting. Following the experiments, these new women possess the complete genetic material to reproduce without men. They produce only girl children. All that is needed to set the process in motion is the fluid from a horse's ejaculation. Most of the women therefore mate with a young horse once or twice in a lifetime, to ensure the survival of the Riding Women. It is highly ritualised and highly pragmatic. The same horse is also slaughtered for its meat, hair and skin. The women are always in total control.” (Elaine Miller, “Zero Tolerance in Wonderland”)

Firstly: What the WHAT?
And also: This is the summary of a book called Motherlines by someone called Suzy McKee Charnas, from an article about lesbian utopian novels that I read today while researching for my diploma thesis. The article is called “Zero Tolerance in Wonderland”, and the ideology reflected in it is (in its detail) new and highly disturbing to me. As the title suggests, it is extremely intolerant – towards men, and just about everything else that is not a separatist lesbian. For example, transsexuals who sneakily ‘invade’ women-only groups are evil. And of course, men are evil. All of them. Because all men are absolutely identical: violent, dangerous, incorrigible. And this is not mainly a result of cultural and social influence, but it is simply fact. Rooted in the fact that they are men. Nothing you can do about that.
So ... the logical consequence of this impressive arguement is that the world is better of killing all men, and replacing them with horses. Because raping a horse is, in any case, highly preferable to having any sort of contact with a man. Aha.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not being homophobic here. I’m being intolerance-phobic, and I’m terribly disappointed, because I tend to live under the impression that people who are NOT part of the hegemonially privileged group (western, white, male, heterosexual, middle-class etc.) and therefore subject to some form of oppression, discrimination or marginalisation should actually know better than to advocate a zero tolerance policy in the face of difference and to endorse the violent enforcement of conformity at any cost. Do they not see that they adopting the same stance that currently effects their own oppression, discrimination and marginalisation? I understand anger against patriarchy. I understand anger against men. I understand the desire that some lesbians undoubtedly feel, to withdraw from the oppressive environment of patriarchy into an elitist all-woman society. Personally, I would also love to live in a world where I compile the guest list. But what shocks me in the novels and stories described in that article is the method by which they compile their guest list, and the way they treat the uninvited and the accidential gatecrasher. What disturbs me is the sweeping generalisation by which the behaviour of no doubt many men is taken for an unalterable and probably biologically inscribed fact (and therefore becomes an excuse for their indiscriminate destruction). This is not acceptable (and also simply not very intelligent), especially since this same essentialism is contested in the case of women. So it is possible and necessary to liberate women from their socially and culturally prescribed roles, but simultaneously the only way to liberate men from theirs is to anihilate them? Honestly?

Now, nothing speaks against depicting controversial scenarios and values in art, and I have no problem with that as such. What disconcerts me is the fact that this is called a utopia, in the face of all those very strange values it endorses. You see, I like my utopias to evoke images of harmony and balance, suggesting that we can, after all, all get along somehow, despite our differences. Indiscriminate hate for the other, enforced conformity and idealisation of genocide? Not so much. Sounds too much like reality.

Thursday, 4 November 2010