Almost Friday

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:47 pm
nightdog_barks: (Sun)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
Ugh, so tired and cranky. Have not been sleeping well at all and every day now it is hot and still outside. :-P

Reading Jack Cheng's See You in the Cosmos. It's a YA/middle school/middle grade book, a class I read very occasionally (I loved Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, but hated Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity.)

Watching Grantchester and The Great British Baking Show on PBS, and Forged in Fire on the Hitler History Channel. Also watched The Accountant on one of the movie channels -- thought it was very silly but fairly fun.

President Potatohead is still an utter moron.

link salad

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:01 pm
fred_mouse: line drawing of mouse sitting on its butt reading a large blue book (reading)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I'm sitting in a coffee shop in beautiful downtown Mandurah, drinking a cup of coffee, and waiting for it to be 1:30pm. Which means that briefly, I have free wifi access, to go with the coffee nearly as big as my head (I was offered options of small, medium, and large, and as I'm not sure whether there is more coffee in my future today, and there hasn't been any in my past today, large it was).

While there are any number of things I *could* be doing, what I'm choosing to do is work my way through tabs that I have open. So:

Your car has just been crushed by hagfish: Frequently Asked Questions

...and apparently everything else I have open in this window is fic. So, off to read fic for the next half hour instead :}

Fic rec (WIP) -- Check Please fandom

Jul. 16th, 2017 05:07 pm
fred_mouse: line drawing of mouse sitting on its butt reading a large blue book (reading)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I don't normally read WIP fics, let alone rec them, but on days when I'm looking for something new to read, I frequently have a look at just about anything that turns up in the Check Please! fandom, and this one is just too fabulous to wait and see if it ever gets finished.

The story is self reflection by sinspiration, and it is currently at 12 chapters/25K words.

slightly spoilery description

This is an AU where Bitty isn't on the hockey team, because he hadn't had to give up figure skating. At least, not until he started transitioning -- he's a women's champion at the point the story starts (although the details about the figure skating takes a little while to show up, details that indicate his transition turn up in the first scene, almost the first paragraph). He's already friends with most of the hockey team at the point the story opens, but not with Jack. This is the meet-cute of the story, one seat left in the coffee shop, Bitty practicing for his French class, Jack horrified at his pronunciation and offering to help. Eventually they work out who their friends in common are, and the story mooches on from there.

Story says 'no archive warnings apply', but there are canon-compliant references to past abuse, and either past or current transphobia. Bitty's parents aren't great, but his figure skating coach is a delight (and absolutely the kind of old bat that one finds in well established coaches in many many places/sports).

Cloudy Saturday

Jul. 15th, 2017 02:55 pm
nightdog_barks: Red Mobil Pegasus flying over an open book (Pegasus and book)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
It actually rained a bit this morning and is still overcast, giving us a temp of 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius), which is amazing for mid-July. Unfortunately, the humidity is 70%, making it feel as though it's 95 (35 Celsius). I'll still take the cloud cover.

Was very sad to see this news -- Maryam Mirzakhani passes away, aged 40. First (and so far, only) woman to win the Fields Medal, genius mathematician. Wife and mom. And just 40. JUST FORTY. What else might she have accomplished? Seriously, cancer can go DIAF.

Sigh. Still curious to see who the 13th Doctor will be, even though I fell out of love with the show this season and I'm really not sure why.

Here, have a somewhat blurry pic of Layla (taken this afternoon) --



Oh! Editing to add that I forgot to mention I saw a bat last evening, flitting around our backyard at just dusk when the sun was going down! I think Layla was barking at it. :D

Hugo Novellas

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:08 pm
fred_mouse: line drawing of mouse sitting on its butt reading a large blue book (reading)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
In the order that I would vote for them:
  1. Penric and the Shaman (Lois McMaster Bujold) -- it probably helps that I already know the world in which this is set, and I loved it both in the previous stories, and this one. The complexity of the plot, the development of the story, the world building, the solution to the issue -- I loved everything about it. And I love the way that 'author's requirements for coincidence' is hand-waved as 'interference by the gods'.
  2. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (Kij Johnson) -- I went in to this one unsure. The title felt off (although it was obvious later where it had come from) and the early sections felt like the aspects of Dorothy Sayers 'Gaudy Night' that I had disliked. The idea of reading a story about how hard women have to fight not to end up further behind felt like more than I had the energy for. And then I realised where it was going. This is a transformative work, and is a fabulous reimaging of the source work (very spoilery). The understated horrors slowly collect together to be quite the horror story, without ever being gruesome.
  3. Every Heart a Doorway (Seanan McGuire) -- Beautiful creepy mix of horror and fantasy. I loved the way that the idea of going through a door into a different world was codified, that those doors lead different places. The story itself was an interesting exploration of the way that people cope with coming back from those worlds where they fit, and how it can go so wrong. There are aspects of the plot that I was spoiled for, and I'm not sure whether I think that made it easier to deal with -- had I not gone in expecting it to be horror, I might have struggled more.
  4. A Taste of Homey (Kai Ashante Wilson) -- I read this one a while ago, and failed to make notes on it that I can find. Enjoyable, but not particularly memorable, what I liked most was the male/male romance plot line, and the interesting playing with time that was done.
  5. The Ballad of Black Tom (Victor LaVelle) -- I wanted to like this one more than I did. Gritty and gruesome and gory. And plain nasty, in the way that so much Cthulu mythos is. I get that the racism was so necessary to the story, and that it was probably understated in many ways, but it was heart breaking to read. Towards the middle, I struggled a bit to keep going — I was a bit on the bored side, but in the end it was worth it.
  6. The census taker (China Mievelle) -- As a general rule, I don't like Mievelle's work, so it was no real surprise that I didn't like this one either. I had no idea what is going on here and in the end, I don’t really care. There is too much elided by literary wankery, and not real story or idea of what is going on. I’m not interesting in deducing whether the unnamed woman was murdered or ran away.
fred_mouse: ceramic mouse-on-mushroom, viewed from behind (clay)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I've been having a couple (three? four) days of being a bit unwell, a bit busy, a bit unmotivated. And so I've completely failed to remember to write anything. However, I've managed to finish two of the things on my started by not finished list - the second pussy hat (for friend S) and the reading of the Hugo novellas. I'll do a review post on that shortly.

Trying to work out what I've done in the meantime. I did some sewing on the 365 day quilt project (I'm now up to sewing the block for the 9th of February, and I have that through to the 13th cut out already). I'm not counting that in this, because it is a whole day project, not something I've picked up with the belief that I'll finish it in a day. However, I've been working on reconciling the team accounts for June, and it isn't going well (every time I find something I've missed, I make things worse. And I found something that may or may not mess up for June, but I *think* it is just how much someone owes, so that is okay). So that has been added to the list. And I've started cataloguing some of the set of books that have arrived, so that is another thing on the list. I'm feeling reasonably pleased that said list is still at six active items though, so I'm at least making progress on the things that I've started. At the point, I have two craft, two reading, and two paper work tasks.

Oh, and tables. Grouchiegrrl and family have moved house, and their new place doesn't have enough space for their lovely table. This is a much nicer table than the one that we have had for a while (also inherited from someone moving house). So, our table has gone with chaosmanor, to replace a rickety table that they have (along with one of the three tablecloths that were made specially to go with that table - one is in the wash, and the other is missing), grouchiegrrl's table has come to live with us (in theory long term loan, but we'll see how that pans out), and I'm pretty happy all up. The new one shrinks down to about the space that the old one did with the extra leaf in, so it isn't taking any extra space, but it also expands to a 1300mm square, allowing for three people on a side, when there are people visiting.

...ariaflame, their friend M, youngest, middlest, and their friend T are watching 'Mystery Men'. I lasted about 20 minutes before the sitting still and focusing was too much, but I'm at least listening to it (it is reminding me of things that I didn't enjoy - Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog, for one). Friend S was using the new table as a sewing cutting table, but has wandered off to do something else. And I'm about to a) write the novellas reviews, then b) read the novelettes, and then c) attempt to finish up the book cataloguing. Hopefully, this isn't too optimistic a list!

Bastille Friday

Jul. 14th, 2017 05:47 pm
nightdog_barks: (Dry Farmhouse)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
Roofers are done, THANK GOD. We've lived in this house for thirty years and in that time we've had three (now four) new roofs put on, and every time I forget how INCREDIBLY NOISY IT IS. Good lord. Layla was mostly okay with it all -- she was more concerned at the end when one of the guys walked around the deck using a leaf blower (leaf blowers are her Mortal Enemy).

Reading Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts' Deaths of the Poets and liking it greatly.

Here is a very cool little clip of some kind of little white shorebirds making fantastic flashing patterns in flight. :D

The Nail Guns Next Door

Jul. 11th, 2017 06:07 pm
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
Because we had a huge hailstorm in the spring with golfball-sized hail, lots of folks in our area had to have their roofs replaced. Yesterday and today it was our next-door neighbor's turn. Tomorrow it will be OUR turn. :-P

I finished Lev Grossman's The Magicians, and, unlike so many of the people on Goodreads, I ... well, I loved it. I thought the story was engaging and I stayed up until almost 3 in the morning reading two nights in a row. I know the publisher apparently marketed it as "Harry Potter for grown-ups," but I'm one of the seven people on the planet who never read Harry Potter so I don't think I was coming to it with any real baggage. To me, there were echoes of Bret Easton Ellis (some people behave very badly in the book) and Ursula LeGuin, René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. (Not to mention our old friend, Donna Tartt.) There was a point in the book when I thought, "Oh my god these people are HORRIBLE and I hope something bad happens to them!", and another point when I breathed, "Oh, shit!" when something very bad did begin to happen. Yes, there are a couple of missteps by the author, including a moment when a minor Native American character is described as having a "hooked nose." It's perfectly plausible that someone who IS Native American could have the facial characteristic of a hooked nose, but ... um. Not a comfortable moment. I winced and shook my head, and kept reading. And now I'm ordering Grossman's next book in the trilogy.

So. Two thumbs up, a strong recommendation for a gritty, lyrical story with some deeply flawed characters struggling to figure out life, love, and the whole nine yards.
fred_mouse: blurry image of cast metal mouse shape in a fruit bowl (pear)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
... after posting yesterday, when I thought it was completely unlikely that I would find a new thing to start, I did indeed do so, because one of the people at the dinner requested a pussy hat. Thus, I'm *still* knitting pussy hats. Which puts me back at 6 things - three craft, and three reading.

I've made progress on the novellas today, and I've done a bit of knitting, so at least I'm progressing some of the tasks on the list.

I've also done some things that haven't made it to the list - swept under the washing line, dealt with washing, spent some time trying to get the house under control. I've also cut more pieces for the 365 quilt blocks, but as that is ongoing, and isn't a thing that I've started during this collection time, I'm not adding that (I'm hoping to have the motivation to sew some tomorrow. I cut pieces for 9 3.5" squares, and I've already got the pieces for one more. A couple of them are down right trivial in execution).

However, every single on of the things I've done has wiped me out for quite some time after, so not as good a day as it might have been.

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anysia

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