I decided to make use of being up early to do a chore that I've been putting off for months. I pulled all of the books I've already read off the shelves in bedroom (two shopping bags filled to the top) and consolidated the other books as much as I could. I've dusted some of the shelves. I don't know that the dust quite made it to the dust bunny stage, but I at least had dust mice.
I want to clear enough space that I can have one shelf for library books. Having them in six different places isn't conducive to remembering to read them. I also want space for my thumb splints and some place level to land my laptop over night when I've been using it in there before bed.
I need to figure out what to do with the jigsaw puzzles. I like puzzles, but we don't really have a place for me to do them. Setting up a card table isn't really feasible for space reasons, not unless I'm going to finish the puzzle in a single afternoon while I'm home alone.
Scott scheduled today as a vacation day so that he could deal with two medical appointments. The way work schedules things, that means he has tonight off. Their book keeping considers third shift to be on the day that it starts rather than on the day it ends. This is partly so they can say that third shift works M-F instead of Tu-Sa. At any rate, his first appointment is at 11 and the second at either 2 or 3. Right now, the plan is for him to shower and then try to nap for an hour before the first appointment.
We need to wash Scott's work clothes today, and I'd like to change the sheets and run a load of laundry for us and maybe for Cordelia. I need to shower, too, and I'd like to nap if I can. Oh, and it's trash day. Great fun.
Tomorrow, my parents will be in town briefly because my step-father has an appointment about that growth in his eye. They suggested that we go to lunch. I'm pretty sure that they were hoping to see Cordelia, but they never did much to build a relationship with her, so she's got zero interest. She'd go along if she had nothing else going on, but she's not going to skip part of her volunteering in order to see them.
Scott gave me a ride to and from my appointment yesterday. I wouldn't have asked, but I was feeling really miserable due to cramping. He took the opportunity to pick up an interlibrary loan book that had come in for Cordelia.
My psychiatrist suggested that I try to find some sort of online, at home work to earn money to help while we're financially strapped. I'm looking at that as a huge can of worms. There's not a lot I'm able to do because of not being able to commit to regular hours or even to a set number in a week. Also, most of the online work options aren't things I'd be good at or aren't things that my anxiety would permit.
I'm also concerned about the possibility that earning money, even sporadically, might affect my disability status with either Social Security or my long term disability insurance through my former employer. The LTD insurer is always looking for any hint that I might not be disabled. I might be able to work for a while before I wrecked myself, and that might well be long enough to lose the LTD insurance payments and the medical insurance that goes along with the money.
My writing might be marketable, but I think that would wreck me, too, because there'd need to be a lot of it, and I'd need to figure out how to sell it and work at making sure that people saw it and... I'd stay awake all night worrying that I had or hadn't done something that would just wreck everything. Also, the sort of writing that might bring in money within any sort of helpful time frame would likely be some sort of ebook porn short stories. I can write porn. Sometimes. I can even write it quickly. Sometimes. I just... I write dark and complicated, and sometimes, I can't write at all for days or even weeks.
My psychiatrist also said that, if I'm still exhausted the next time I see her, we can talk about stimulants because insurers will cover them for people with sleep apnea who have been using a c-PAP for at least two months. I'm not entirely optimistic. Provigil (modafinil) didn't help me at all, and I suspect that caffeine has more of a psychological effect for me than a physiological one. Well, if I've recently had caffeine, sleeping is harder because I have to get up to pee every twenty minutes, but I'm not sure that counts.
It's frustrating that she's the only medical professional I'm dealing with who understands that the things that the other doctors are worried about all derive at least in part from fatigue/exhaustion and from anxiety and pain making sleep difficult. And each of those things makes all of the others worse.
I did some edits on my second Pod Together fic yesterday, all things that my partner requested. I'm hoping that the changed text will be easier to read. I still need to do one check on the pronunciation of the name of a minor character. I think I remember how it was pronounced, but I don't want to rely on that.
I also wrote about four hundred words on chapter 7 of Auguries of Innocence. I need to go back to the early part of the chapter to lay some groundwork for the things that just occurred to me as necessary. It's all about a character who hasn't been in any of the previous chapters, so I don't need to tweak anything earlier in the story. (This is an advantage of using point of view characters who don't think the way that most people do, Draco because he's unmoored in time, and Luna because she never did.)
And then to work on a specific to do list. I’m using a single piece of A4 paper for the work week, and only allowing myself as many tasks in a day as can be fit in a column. So, today’s list included the above pharmacy run, making a skin check appointment, and a bunch of paperwork. By 10:30am, I'd done half the columne (yes, the easy to get done stuff, but not necessarily the *fast* stuff).
By dinnertime,I'd done most of the rest. Some of it required more computer time than I had during the day, but I’m pretty happy with what I got done. The idea of not trying to fit more in to the week than I can fit on an A4 piece of paper — has potential (although I have to remember to make each thing doable in a small time, or a specific part of a larger task).
and I'm writing this at not quite 9:30pm, and I have a book or two picked out to read some more of. Last night I managed to finish up two near finished ones, so feeling pretty happy about that...
I managed to use the c-pap all night, though.
I'm a little cranky that, although he stayed up past when it was done drying, he didn't bring up the laundry. I really don't want to face the stairs right now, but that is my only source of clean clothing unless I'm willing to wake Scott.
My month to date word count is 21752. That's the highest for any month so far this year, even if I write nothing else whatsoever. Yesterday, I added about 1300 words to my Captive Audience fic and then realized I may need to make a major alteration in the setting. I'm hoping not, though. Today's writing will mostly be tweaks to the second of my Pod Together stories to try to make the rhythm of certain passages work better for the person doing the podfic.
We were surprised when we went downtown to the library yesterday afternoon-- Apparently Art Fair now includes Sunday. For as long as I can remember, Sunday was tear down and clean up, but one of the employees at the library told me that Sunday's been part of actual Art Fair for a couple of years now.
We stopped by the science and nature center to do some Ingress, and we took back the portals that someone from the other side had captured. We had planned to go into the woods to reinforce the two portals there, but we decided against it because of the risk of ticks. The other portals are all accessible from places that should be much lower risk for ticks (close cropped grass or asphalt). We'll hope no one knocks out those two portals for a while. It can be done from the street because high level bursters have a pretty extensive reach. The portals just can't be captured from there because one has to be much closer in order to place resonators and mods.
I told Scott that we should hope for the other side coming by frequently. He's close to leveling up, and recapturing a portal is worth a fair number of points.
Saturday was also a regular CheeseQuest day with hathhalla and ser_pounce. Given the cool weather, our lunch feast consisted of a pumpkin gnocchi and Nova Scotia brown bread. The cheese feast included fried saganaki and halloumi, havarti, maasdam, gorgonzola, Dutch smoked, and two not-cheeses, a faux cheddar and "tree nut" cheese, which are quite tolerable. I was rather taken by the Devil's Corner pinot noir that our guests brought over, light but tasty and with a brilliant ruby colour. After lunch was the second session of our historical-fantasy Dungeons & Dragons game, using the very different 4th edition rules in the setting of Charlemagne's rule. The game went very well, everyone plays up their character ethno-religious background and character class, as they cleared out a old Roman-Germanic temple in Freisland haunted by Wiedergänger.
Sunday was also a gaming day, this time with my own game of Eclipse Phase. This session involved the PCs engaging in a short-case to an autonomist morph resleever on one of Neptune Trojans, then taking a stealth craft to intercept an Ultimate scout ship en-route to Eris. There was an almighty gun-battle that followed which eventually saw the PCs successful, and partially courtesy due an inside agent providing assistance at the last moment. After that was the challenging process of psychosurgery and the literal merging of minds. More on that for the next session. Appropriately I've started reading the two books entitled Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy (one published by Open Court, 2012 and the other by Wiley Blackwell, 2014)
I haven't heard from either of the people I'm working with for Pod Together. I'd mainly like to know if what I wrote works for them and if there are things I could do to make it work better.
I really ought to be asleep, but I can't seem to relax. The fact that Scott has to stay up to try to shift his sleep schedule isn't helping.
Published: July 2017
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Venom and Vampires collection, Graced #2.2
Genres: Paranormal romance
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available:Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble~ Kobo
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Aria Ash shouldn’t exist
Born to a were mother and vampire father, Aria Ash is the perfect blend of two races, and in their world, that’s a death sentence. Hunted for as long as she can remember, she now hides in plain sight in the city of Skarva, and will do anything to keep her secret safe.
Sebastian Talien is an alpha were with a troubled past. Ever since his pack went rogue and tried to kill three innocent pups, he’s been dedicated to rescuing children in need. Now an invitation has him heading to Skarva, to help a child he thought he’d failed
Ashes is a novella set in the Graced universe, around the same time as Bitten. While I enjoyed reading it, I ultimately had the same issue with it as I did with Captive: I felt its ambition exceeded its scope.
Since Ashes is part of a collection, I assume it’s meant to appeal to new readers. I feel it’s only partially successful on that front. The beginning works quite well, introducing us to the characters and getting us invested in their relationship. However, the Graced universe is a complex one. Worldbuilding elements necessary for understanding the story were given in a kind of infodump in the guise of one character educating and warning another. The character doing the educating also functioned like a deus ex machina, there to make sure certain things happened. While there is context and an implied reason, it sat rather awkwardly and I’m not sure how it would sit for someone new to the series. It is also old information to returning readers, making it a little bit dull to sit through, even if I enjoyed the cameo from that particular character.
That said, I felt Ashes was a much stronger story than Captive. Aria is a wonderfully fiery character. She’s powerful and quick to protect what’s hers. I really enjoyed the way her strength is something that Sebastian finds attractive, rather than seeing it as a threat. Their relationship is likely to be a bit too insta-love for some readers, but it worked for me. The circumstances and the passion between these two dominant characters sold it. The pair are also able to spend more time together than Laney & Wolf did in Captive. This gives their relationship a more solid foundation before the rest of the action really kicks into gear.
I also really enjoyed the development of the city of Skarva. We got to see the Duke of Ravens in Bitten. In Ashes, we get to meet the Duke of Ashes and learn a little more about the other ruling dukes. I liked that each duke has their own motif, providing a distinctive counterpoint to the vampire nobility of Pinton featured in previous books.
There were also plenty of loose ends left and I’m looking forward to discovering which directions will be explored next.
All in all, Ashes was bumpy in places, but an enjoyable read.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
All of these are explicit.
( The fic descriptions and links )
My period finally started today after almost a month of off and on spotting. On the plus side, this makes having one on the 7th of August when I go in for the uterine ultrasound a lot less likely.
Scott's going to be working third shift this week and, probably, next. He originally thought that next week was his vacation, but I pointed out that that's actually another week further on. The only reason they didn't tell him to work third shift next week was that he told them he'd be on vacation. He emailed his boss to tell him of the error as soon as I told him (Scott didn't have access to his calendar right then). Third shift is down to four out of seven employees, and two of those left are supervisors who aren't supposed to run machines apart from covering for lunches and breaks. At other times, they move from machine to machine, making sure that everything's going okay and helping with whatever problem they judge most urgent.
Neither our nephew nor our niece were at the family gathering yesterday, so it was Cordelia and six adults. She retreated to the basement after dinner to read her book in isolation. I think she felt that four hours of being polite to adults was plenty.
I ended up sitting in the living room with Scott's father while Cordelia was in the basement and everyone else was out on the sun porch playing Ticket to Ride Europe. I didn't think it would be a good thing for us to sit in silence, so I initiated conversation, and we talked until the folks playing the game came back in. At that point, it was 9:00, and we were all ready to go home.
We're on our way home from Scott's parents' place now. If we weren't, I'd start the next story with a due date.
Author: Seanan McGuire
Published: Tor, 2017
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 190
Total Page Count: 222,575
Text Number: 708
Read Because: continuing the series, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: A pair of unhappy twins girls discover the Moors, a dangerous portal world which will redefine their characters. This follows their lives from birth and has a slow start: to spend 20% of a portal fantasy within a stifling parody of suburbia is distinctly unmagical. But the Moors are fantasticnot perfect: I wish there were more danger and more moral relativity (especially in Jack's life)but a Hammer Horror-style world is engaging and atmospheric. And the character growth of the protagonists is sincerely, inextricably tied to their world, which is what this book demands. I loved Every Heart a Doorway for its portal fantasy meta more than its plot, and didn't think I would enjoy the further stories of Jack and Jill when they had been the weakness of the first book. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a more traditional narrative, but its meta elements remain in a present narrator who speaks directly to the reader and directly about the narrativereminiscent of Valente's Fairyland series (but toned down), not entirely at home in the modern-day frame narrative, but preserving that focus on portal-as-character-growth, on the relationship between person and narrative. I have technical quibbles about this book (I haven't even mentioned the rushed ending), but it exceeded my expectations. There's so much room in my heart for stories which take a diverse, self-aware, dark approach to portal fantasy while maintaining a sense of wonder and aesthetic.
Title: The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen Book 1)
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Published: Blackstone Audio, 2015
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 415
Total Page Count: 222,990
Text Number: 709
Read Because: reading more form the author, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
In Paris, in the aftermath of a devastating war, a vulnerable house of fallen angels is threatened by both a curse and competing houses. The premise is fantastic and atmospheric: aristocratic in-fighting, diverse and present pantheons, dangerous magic within the decrepit homes and cathedrals of Paris. It's at best indulgent, but at worst overwrought andunexpectedlycold. There are things that Bodard consistently does well: significant character growth, socially-complex worldbuilding (Philippe and his background is the easy highlight of this book), and big, magical climaxes. But, while present, those elements are unfulfilling because it takes so long to reach them and the journey is tedious: repetitive phrasing, politcking that reads like bickering, plot intricacies that have more to do with bad communication than true complexity. It feels longnot just longer than it needs to be, but longer than it is. I liked it more than the Obsidian and Blood series (although I'm convinced they could exist in the same universe), but, I suspect, for arbitrary reasons; it isn't good enough to recommend, or to make me read the sequel.
Title: Crucible of Gold (Temeraire Book 7)
Author: Naomi Novik
Narrator: Simon Vance
Published: Recorded Books, 2012
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 355
Total Page Count: 223,345
Text Number: 710
Read Because: continuing the series, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: Temeraire and Laurence are reinstated and sent on an ambassadorial mission to the Incan Empire. Another rambling book; it does a better job illustrating the ways that alternate history and world forces are shaping the war, and but much of that is still backloaded while traveling and survival make up the bulk of the book. There's some welcome reoccurring characters, and Incan society provides another interesting take on dragon/human social structures, but this too is familiar to the series. As this series grows longer and its individual installments lose their cohesive plots, it lives and dies on the strength of previous investment in the characters and worldand I have that in droves, and will happily read the daily tribulations of Laurence and crew. But this is late in the game to still be waiting for the plot to coalescence and the pacing to pick up.
I also need a tag that I can use for when a character talks to an externalized manifestation of their own psyche in order to hash out a problem. There must be one, right? Any suggestions?
I woke with a migraine this morning. I think it's a multi-factor thing. I slept less last night than I wanted to because Scott took forever (two hours!) getting ready for bed after I was ready to sleep. Then, when he came to bed, he kept doing stuff with his laptop until I asked him why he was still up and still keeping me up. I had some coughing, so I didn't dare use the c-PAP. I was stressed about the story and about the family gathering this afternoon (BIL's birthday), and a number of other things. There's also some indication that my body may be preparing for a period (though I'm skeptical because been spotting off and on since late June. If I didn't already have a gynecology appointment on the 9th, I'd probably have called already to see about setting one up).
The lack of sleep and stress are making me ache. I'm wearing thumb splints today because I can't do what I need to otherwise. I have to wrap the present for our BIL some time in the next half hour (Scott's trying to repair the dryer). We only have Christmas wrapping paper.
What I really want to do is to lie down and nap. There just isn't time.
Yesterday I was informed that an old friend and former housemate in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Erica W., had died of a stroke. For those that knew her, this has been a terrible shock. She was relatively young, and seemed so alive, and seemed to have so much to contribute to this world. It is a harsh reminder that friends can be lost at any time with the randomness of life.
When I first met her she and her partner at the time, James, were in their mid-teens. Intelligent, attractive, highly alternative, and very fashionable, they were already living together and regularly visiting local nightclubs, where they were very well-regarded for the characteristics mentioned. There was an especially amusing moment when a local newspaper printed her in a vox-pop what her preferred nightclub was - and mentioned her age in the credit.
"Morphology, longevity, incept dates"
Whilst in Perth we shared two households at different times - the first was the famous "accelerated house", a dilapidated duplex pair with questionable plumbing. Part of the duplex was the home of the Accelerated Men, a goth band of some repute. The place was wired up a local area network with a AlphaMicro AM-100, and came with its own stray cat (Velocity) which I adopted. Several years later, at the final place where I lived in Perth, we were in more normal accommodation. I could help but chuckle a little at my highly fashion-conscious housemates who could spend hours in preparation on going out. I also remember showing them the Internet at the time; a text-based interface to usenet groups. "This", I implored sagaciously, "is going to change everything". I don't think they quite believed me at the time, so it was with great fondness catching up with James just a couple of years ago, and recalling that moment, he said: "And you were right!".
At the time Erica was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, and despite being a witty conversationalist, was physically in the doldrums. A few years later however, and I suspect heavily because of the direction provided by our mutual friend Bruce T., there had been a complete change, as she had become quite a figure in the fashion industry and was running her own label and store, Alysian Empire. I still have some of their clothes to this day. Later she would go on to have another fashion label of even greater renown, ericaamerica.
In the post-Alysian Empire period we only caught up in person a couple of times, and more recently exchanged a few messages, courtesy of the 'borg of social media. Despite this we had the sort of friendship where years could literally go by and when we did get in contact our banter could continue as if no time had passed at all. It was a friendship built on mutual understanding and respect, of affirmation of each other, of strong and happy shared memories. The mention of her name in conversation would always brighten my day and bring me joy; but not this time.
"Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together. Who does?"
drawesome A fanart community that has had some fun prompts
Let's Make Games and Drink Responsibly: A gathering for people in the local games community, it was a lot of fun and I had some really interesting and inspiring conversations. Cam came along and it was perfect for him, as someone who is really interested in discussing and making games but isn't working on anything right now. Also Scott Ludlum was there! (I was too shy to talk to him but he said he was happy to be among friends, which was nice to see) It's apparently going to be monthly, best way to follow it right now is probably the Let's Make Games Facebook group.
A WINNER IS ME.
I guess in a couple of hours, I'll be hypomanic/super-stable, all chronic pain will be totally gone and my sinuses will be extra SUPER clean! XDDDDDDD
(if brains are so fucking important you'd think they'd work right)
( Archer season 1 episode 1 )
( Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders )
( Beauty and the Beast (2017) )
( DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games )
( Defiance pilot episode )
( Doctor Who: Terror of the Zygons )
( Doctor Who: The Time Meddler )
( Doctor Who: The War Games DVD 2 )
( Fresh Off the Boat assorted episodes )
( Gilmore Girls assorted episodes )
( Justice League Dark )
( The LEGO Batman Movie )
( Leroy and Stitch )
( Merlin season 1 )
( Mulan: Rise of a Warrior )
( The 1900 House )
( The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World )
( Shakespeare: The Word and the Action )
( Skiptrace )
( Teen Titans: The Judas Contract )
( Teen Wolf season 2 episode 1 )
( The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt assorted episodes )
I ended up not writing yesterday. The afternoon and early evening got devoured by insurance related stuff. There's a receipt I can't find that I'm about 60% sure I submitted for a claim, but I can't find any indication on the Aetna statements that they ever got it. I also haven't managed to find it in any of the places I keep those receipts.
Then, while we were eating dinner, our power went out for about an hour and a half. Scott and I decided to go out in search of some sort of dessert, but the first place we tried had too long a wait for seating. The second had already closed for the evening. We went to Plum Market for the half price baked goods and then ended up at Wendy's for frosties. After we had paid, they handed them to us with straws, telling us that they were out of spoons and that, if we really wanted, they could give us forks instead of straws.
Cordelia's pediatrician told me that I will have to talk to the sports medicine people about guidelines for what she can safely do in gym class. I really hope they don't need to see her in order to do that because there's pretty much zero chance that they could see her for that before October, not the way non-emergency appointments go at the U.
I don't play with them much, so I have no idea what's out there or how to find them.
so you may notice a lot of dead image links at some point in the future here.
(Right now they're still being hosted because I have a paid account).
I've switched over to SmugMug, so everything should be hosted from here on in.
So we should be good for a little while longer anyway.
Now let's see if this works.
Orange-Bellied Parrot as Totem
INTERNET: GUESS WHAT ANOTHER ADDICTED ARTIST WITH A MOOD DISORDER IN YOUR GENERATION DIED, WANNA GUESS HOW, GO ON, JUST GUESS
MOI: //would set shit on fire if not glued to couch
Everybody's sharing that "Hunger Strike" duet but I can't fucking listen to that right now, although they both look so joyful, it just breaks my heart. Been listening to this on repeat instead.
One promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And dare to rise once more
and this one made me feel a little less crap.
I’m a podcast fiend. I find they’re a great way to keep me entertained while I’m doing housework. Over the last few years, I’ve ended up with quite a few shows to listen to. They fall into three broad categories:
Books, Media and Culture
This is far and away the biggest category. It includes podcasts featuring interviews, discussions about fandom, and reviews of books, movies and TV shows.
Fangirl Happy Hour: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Renay of Lady Business and Ana of The Book Smugglers. They review books, movies and graphic novels, as well as discuss what they’ve been reading or watching more generally. They also talk about the state of SFF fandom and often segue into political commentary and discussions of mental health.
Galactic Suburbia: This Hugo-Award-winning podcast is hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alexandra Pierce. Much like Fangirl Happy Hour, they discuss the state of SFF fandom, albeit from an Australian perspective. The two podcasts occasionally end up in dialogue over vital issues, such as what can be classified as cake. The ladies of GS also discuss the culture they’ve been reading, watching or otherwise consuming.
Not Now, I’m Reading: A new podcast just started by Chelsea of the Reading Outlaw and Kay Taylor Rae which focuses on reviewing genre books and media. As a keen reader of romance, I appreciate that their focus is a little wider than just SFF and the way they’re unapologetic about their passions.
Overinvested: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Morgan Leigh Davies review movies, TV shows and comics. Most are genre, though not all. These ladies are savvy critics who really know their stuff and are also not afraid to love material they know is rubbish.
The Skiffy and Fanty Show: This Hugo-nominated podcast is headed up by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink with a large cast of co-hosts. They do multiple segments of varying kinds, including signal boosts, interviews and Torture Cinema (wherein a panel reviews a movie deemed to be awful by pop culture).
Radio Free Fandom: Another new podcast, in which Claire Rousseau interviews guests about their fandoms. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far and am still getting a feel for it.
Reading the End: I usually prefer my podcasts to be solidly genre, but I make an exception for the Demographically-Similar Jennys. Gin Jenny and Whisky Jenny do often discuss and review genre books, but are just as likely to be reviewing contemporary literature. They also discuss their favourite instances of particular tropes and occasionally delve into research on space, the sea and Arctic explorers. At all times, they remain utterly charming.
SFF Yeah: Book Riot’s new SFF podcast. Sharifah and Jenn discuss SFF news and favourite literary tropes. I’m still deciding if this one is for me.
Sheep Might Fly: A podcast of serialised fiction by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Tansy alternates between previously published work and completely new stories. It’s a delight to hear them in Tansy’s own voice.
Tea and Jeopardy: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Emma Newman. Each of the guests she interviews has a connection to SFF and each interview takes place in a different (fictional) lair arranged by her morally-dubious butler (voiced by Peter Newman). Guests often find themselves in a bit of difficulty as they leave. The fictional framework doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it fun.
The Math of You: This is a relatively recent discovery from me. Lucas Brown interviews a range of guests about the pop culture that influenced them while growing up. Not strictly SFF; this is geekdom in many flavours. Lucas is a warm and enthusiastic interviewer.
The Writer and the Critic: Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond review a range of speculative fiction. I initially picked this up due to its Ditmar nomination this year and have liked it enough to keep it on. The contrasting perspectives make it engaging. However, I’m also adverse to spoilers, so haven’t yet delved into many of the episodes.
This is the newest category in my podcast list and focuses exclusively on tabletop RPGs (which, I’m sure, surprises no one).
The Gauntlet Podcast: Primarily hosted by Jason Cordova, the podcast interviews game designers and signal boosts RPGs being crowdfunded. The hosts also discuss the games they’ve been playing and what has been inspiring them.
The Gauntlet crew also run several other related podcasts. I’ve not yet listened to +1 Forward, but it has recently been nominated for an ENnie Award. However, I have listened to Pocket-Sized Play. I don’t usually go in for Actual Play podcasts, but I’ve been loving their Monsterhearts campaign, Mercy Falls.
The last category in my list is short. While I appreciate some measure of discussion about craft and industry, I find too much counterproductive for me (it’s hard enough to mute my inner editor).
Ditch Diggers: Hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. I picked up this one because it was nominated for a Hugo this year and I wanted to judge it fairly. Mur and Matt discuss craft, answer questions and interview other creators. It’s a solid show, though I occasionally find it abrasive in ways that weren’t intended.
Writing Excuses: These short episodes are hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler. Each season has a distinct theme and guest co-hosts. I appreciate the diversity of voices (though it remains sadly US-centric). Each episode ends with a practical exercise.
Altogether, these make up my current playlist. Does anything catch your attention? What would you recommend I check out?
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
I'm at home alone right this moment. Cordelia had a volunteer shift at the downtown library this morning and plans to meet up with friends at the Traverwood library in the afternoon. She'll go home with them, and we'll pick her up at 9:30, after movie night with her friends. Their current plan is to watch Grease.
A couple of nights ago, I cooked the remaining ground turkey in the instant pot with some great northern beans and turkey bacon. I added chicken broth and some herbs/spices. I think I misjudged that because it almost gives me reflux. It doesn't actually; I can just tell that I'm near the tipping point.
I've managed the two most urgent phone calls, but neither matter is resolved yet. The second call is almost certainly going to end up with me having to call a different doctor's office about parameters/limitations for Cordelia's knee in high school gym. I was hoping not to have to because that's the doctor that wanted us to do surgery. The first call went to voicemail, so nothing's resolved until I actually manage to talk to the person.
The other call I should make is to Shar Instruments to ask about buying a viola and whether or not we can do it on installments. Of course, buying a viola kind of requires us to be fairly sure Cordelia's done growing. She's only grown half an inch in the last year and a half, and she's in the height range where all the women in my family tend to fall (5'1 to 5'3"). It's just that everyone in Scott's family is tall, so Cordelia's still hoping she'll get taller.
I'm trying to decide whether filling out insurance forms is more important than starting to write right this moment. My procrastination levels are set to 11 at the moment. The forms are important, very much so, but would there be any harm in having Scott fill the dratted things out this evening?
I have given our old crock pot to our cleaning lady. She'll actually use it, and we haven't touched it in years. The stoneware inserts are really too heavy for me at this point. I don't think this is the sort of thing that's worth holding onto for the years until Cordelia moves out and might want it. Plus, I'm pretty sure she'd rather have an Instant Pot instead.
Please Stop Comparing Cripping Up to Blackface
Analyzing the Gender Representation of 34,476 Comic Book Characters - interesting analysis on a few characteristics.
Spoiler warning for the new Doctor Who actorDoctor Who: We regret to inform you ...
Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Published: Riverhead Books, 2011
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 290
Total Page Count: 221,710
Text Number: 705
Read Because: reading more from the author/listed here in a reading list from Indra Das, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: The iterated narratives of an author, his muse, and his wife. It's stories within stories, stories about storiesa playful, fluid experiment in form that reminds me of Margaret Atwood (especially "Happy Endings") and Joanna Russ (especially The Female Man) in style as well as theme, because this is a conversation on gender, gendered violence, and the relationship between narratives and human experience. It's somewhat limited, but does good by what it engages, particularly as regards competition between women (over men). The iteration is handled about as well, with each instance lasting just long enough to achieve investment. Tone is the weakness; the surreal fairytale atmosphere alternating with parody (especially of historical eras and socioeconomic class) feels disjointed, without the same effective self-awareness or flagrant disregard as Atwood or Russ, above. This is ambitious, and succeeds without excelling.
Title: Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements
Editors: adrienne maree brown, Walidah Imarisha
Published: AK Press, 2015
Rating: 2 of 5
Page Count: 300
Total Page Count: 222,010
Text Number: 706
Read Because: mentioned in Octavia E. Butler by Gerry Canavan, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: An anthology of 20 storiesmany of them quite shortof visionary fiction: speculative narratives that explore marginalization, social justice, and radical social change. Many of these stories come from activists who have never written fiction (others are poets, writing here in prose). The lack of experience shows in clumsy, unconvincing worldbuilding, hamfisted social justice themes, and a general dearth of technical skill. There are a few happy exceptions, like the density of "Evidence" by Gumbs and the fluidity of "Lalibela" by Teodros. Editor adrienne maree brown's "the river" is also strong. But, surprisingly, work from published authors isn't much better; the excerpt from Fire on the Mountain by Bisson is the most promising, but it doesn't work as a short story. The intent of this anthology is pointed and brilliant, and there's something refreshing about reading work from activists whom I otherwise might not encounter. But it's simply not very good. The majority of stories share a structure which frontloads worldbuilding and characterization, but cuts off plot while the larger conflict remains unresolveda logical limitation, given the complexity of the social conflicts at hand and the lengths of these stories, but still repetitive and oddly self-defeating: all these narratives about social change, rarely offering a plan to change society. There are exceptionsthere are uplifting stories, cathartic stories, productive stories; but on the whole, this collection feels like an unfulfilled ambition as well as being technically unaccomplished. I admire it, but didn't enjoy it, and don't recommend it.
There are also two nonfiction essays; "The Only Lasting Truth," Tananarive Due writing on Octavia Butler, is a good read and strong finish to the anthology.
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published: Broadway Books, 2014 (2012)
Rating: 2 of 5
Page Count: 375
Total Page Count: 222,385
Text Number: 707
Read Because: co-read with Teja, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: After his crew makes an emergency evacuation, one astronaut is stranded on Mars, left to MacGyver his survival. Remember that bit of Hugh Howey's Wool where someone has to improvise an underwater breathing apparatus in order to repair a generator? that scene, but long form, with an irreverent tone in counterpoint to the harrowing survival situation. This was originally self-published, and feels like it: the tone is repetitive and everything outside of the protagonist's PoV shows this most and worst; the pacing is rendered predictable by condensed foreshadowing and an "everything that can go wrong will go wrong" plot. It's compulsively readable, absolutelythe sudden-onset crises and their clever (nerdy, math-heavy, repetitive, but: clever) solutions makes for a lot of momentum. But there's no cumulative effect or staying power.
(Teja of pretty much the same opinion. He accidentally read it super fast, so I did too, and that's what it has going for it: momentum, speed, action-adventurey survival. He had more tolerance for the tone and voicealso works among this same power nerd demographic, so he has more fond feelings; I actually didn't mind it until external PoVs were introduced, as they are of two types: incredibly dry inanimate object narratives, and the realization that all the characters sound like this & Weir doesn't actually have any grasp of tone, this is just his default. Wouldn't have read on my own, but don't regret reading itit's harmless. But pls Missy pls stop reading white dudes!!! they're boring!!!!)
(I will tag on to almost anything Teja reads just for the opportunity to read something with someone and talk to them! about books!but his inclinations v. much run towards "things that appear on a lot of lists" and, surprise, dominant culture reiterates itself & has shitty taste.)
I've been sneezing a bit, off and on, since I got up this morning. It hasn't been enough to make me worry, but it also hasn't quite gone away. I'm also now feeling sore from the walking I did on Monday. Walking is difficult because my calf muscles are trying to refuse to stretch at all.
I wrote 87 words last night. I'm hoping that this is the breakthrough I need in order to be able to get moving with the story as it's due Saturday. I also spent about ten minutes finding names for the OCs I know I'm going to need for my Captive Audience assignment.
I'd like to go out and do some Ingress this morning because some players from the other side came through and knocked over almost all of the portals in the neighborhood. I managed to reinforce three that are difficult to attack without tramping over uneven ground (these folks were out well after dark and tend not to want to get out of their car(s) at the nature center), but there's one unclaimed portal now that is easy to knock down from the parking lot but can't be captured from there. One only has to venture about two yards onto the grass to reach it, but... Most people don't bother.
I probably won't end up going because I've only got an hour before a friend comes over and because I need to do several household chores first. If Cordelia wakes in time, I want to see if she has dishes lurking in her room. I'm hoping to run the dishwasher soon. There's not a lot of space left. I could fill it with a couple of mugs. I'd just like to give priority to bowls and/or plates if she's got them.
I need to put in a support request at AO3 because there's a comment on one of my fics that never got emailed to me. I've gotten emails for more than a dozen comments left after it was and for one left seven hours before on the same fic. It's been three days, so I don't think it's just delayed. It's not in my junk mail, and I checked Gmail just in case it was getting hung up there (occasionally, that account just won't download for a few hours at a time), but it's definitely not there. It's not utterly lost because it's in my AO3 inbox and on the fic, but... I like to archive comments locally.
I'm trying to figure out how this can happen without whatever's doing it completely destroying our clothes or, you know, affecting them somehow. All the clothing seems to be fine.
Our washer and dryer are about twenty years old. We bought them new when we bought the house. The dryer uses natural gas.
*Cordelia says the weird coins are nothing to do with her.
We discovered last night at about 9 that we have no bread type stuff usable for Scott's sandwiches. The rye bread was moldy. The burger buns were moldy. The two remaining bagels weren't, but for some reason, Scott didn't want cheese and turkey and chocolate. I suggested cashew butter and jam, but he decided to take meatloaf instead.
The meatloaf isn't exactly right this time. It's edible, but I put in too much teriyaki sauce because I lost control while pouring it in. I had to add a lot of extra oatmeal to balance the wetness, but there wasn't much I could do about the flavor. For some reason that I can't recall now, I also added dill. The combination of dill and teriyaki isn't bad, but it is completely unexpected and so a little disconcerting.
We still have half of the package of ground turkey left, and I should cook that today. I'm just not sure what I want to do with it. Maybe I can scrounge the ingredients to make some sort of soup either in the pressure cooker or in the crock pot? I know how to do it in the crock pot but that would require getting the dratted thing out and finding a place for it to sit and all of that. I think I'll see if there are any decent soup recipes for the pressure cooker.
There's going to be a local to us anomaly for Ingress in late August. I'm in the process of signing up for it, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do, given how variable my energy levels and such tend to be.
On the bright side, I'm no longer sore from yesterday's excursion. I had trouble walking for most of the evening, but I'm doing about as usual now. Which means I still hurt. I just don't hurt extra from having been stupid.
I currently only have two library books that can't be renewed. One is due this weekend. The other is newly checked out, so I have a couple of days shy of four weeks to finish it.
( Today's To Do List )
On Sunday visited the Unitarians to hear a presentation by the president of Dying With Dignity to speak on the upcoming legistlation such matters. Last year to the state government committee I contributed two submissions from different organisations on the matter, and legislation is expected soon. In a less positive manner, an old friend of mine has just found his way into hospital and I suspect he's in the position that he might not be getting better. Three years ago he appointed me enduring power of medical attorney. To top it all off, caseopaya's mother has found herself in hospital as a complication arising from her continuing illness.
It surprises me that there are those who begrudge public revenue raising and expenditure on health, as if the wealthy have more of a right to live than the poor. Even using the criteria of the 'dismal science', economics, it is obvious that having people alive and well is not just a private benefit to the person in question, it is also a public benefit. The is equivalent matter here with education as well, and likewise the private-public benefit is a continuum which includes current and future productivity of the person in question. All of this, of course, on top of matter of being in a society that cares for its less fortunate.
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 :}
They were about twenty minutes late starting my appointment, and then they had technical difficulties while trying to develop my x-rays. I got out of the office an hour and a half after my appointment started.
Then I went the opposite direction from the one I should have because there was an Ingress portal down there that I'd never hacked. It was a bit farther away than I remembered (some friends lived there during college). Then there was one just a block farther on, and I could get to a couple more on my way back by going one block over. I over walked by quite a bit.
I went to Totoro for lunch, getting there about an hour after I left the dentist. I had a teriyaki beef bento and got Cordelia something called a 'yummy roll' which she loves. Then I headed toward the transit center to get the bus home. I should have tried to get an inbound bus instead of walking. I ended up getting to the end of the block where the transit center is as the buses were pulling out, so I had to wait half an hour for the next bus. I should have gone to the library (a block away) or the transit center building. Both would have been cooler. I was just so tired that I couldn't face unnecessary walking.
I got home about 3:30, and Scott called just after I pulled out my key to open the door. I told him I'd call him back in a couple of minutes because there was no way I could unlock the door while talking on the phone and juggling three bags.
Today was a lesson in how having a big water bottle doesn't help if I don't take it out to drink from it. Of course, I had a lot of water while I was having lunch and then a lot more after I got home. I was very glad we had some gatorade because that's what staved off the headache that was trying to get itself going.
T: ....did you remember to take your sertraline and oxcarbazepine before 3 PM?
MOI: -- MOTHERFUCKEDY
(I should really take one of each in the morning and again in the late afternoon, but LOL I can barely remember to take ALL my pills once a day in a huge bolus, good fucking luck to my continued existence if my body ever depends on taking different medication at different times during the same day)
Author: Shira Glassman
Published: Prizm Books, 2013
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 180
Total Page Count: 220,965
Text Number: 702
Read Because: intrigued by this blurb of the series, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: A young queen and her new bodyguard go on a quest. It's a difficult plot to introduce because the objective is a moving target, interrupted by backstory reveals and aided by coincidencesand that's not entirely a bad thing: it has a fun, action-adventure feel and a light, sweet tone. The Jewish-influenced worldbuilding is fantastic, and the diversity of the cast is admirable, albeit pretty hamfisted. But the writing isn't great, which shows worst in the dialog and plotting. If progressive fluff and found family is your style, this is a good bet; I found it well-intended but insubstantial.
Title: Shissou Holiday
Artist: Hiro Kiyohara
Published: Kadokawa Shoten, 2000
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 195
Total Page Count: 221,160
Text Number: 703
Read Because: fan of the author, scanlation read online
Review: A teenager, insecure in her adoptive home life, engineers her own kidnapping. Otsuichi's twist endings are consistently satisfying, even when the reveal is as exposition-heavy as this one, because they have narrative logic and it's enjoyable to catch the foreshadowing. But the real pleasure here is the little things: the relationship between protagonist and supporting character, the atmosphere of the hideout; the art isn't phenomenal but it's adequate, and it successfully depicts those small, intimate touches and uses them to sell the protagonist's character growth, which compensates for flat humor and uneven pacing. This isn't as grim or sad as most Otsuichinor is it as profound or memorable as his better work; it's not a must-read. But it's okay.
Title: Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables Book 3)
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Published: Gutenberg, 2006 (1915)
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 260
Total Page Count: 221,420
Text Number: 704
Read Because: continuing the series, ebook via Gutenberg (although I own it in paperback somewhere)
Review: Anne attends college and learns to fall in love. For all that this focuses on romance, it's less dated or frustrating than the previous installationperhaps because the many featured romances are so varied and compassionate. Anne's romantic entanglements are almost overdrawn, but they function as a platform for her character growth, for the quiet conflict between storybook ideals and happy realities, and by pulling double duty they don't overstay their welcome. Her college life goes relatively unexplored, and I wish it were otherwiseAnne's scholastic achievements would help ground the narrative. Daily life with her classmates rises to fill that gap, and performs well; Patty's Place is exactly what one would hope for from this series, charming and gently idealized. I liked this, didn't love itprobably none of the sequels will live up to Anne of Green Gables, but that's an unfair standard to hold them to.
* On the subject of vidding, Fall Equinox sign ups are open :D
* You can get the game Jotun for free on Steam atm. Don't know how long it's going to last, but it looks beautiful and you get to play a viking lady out to prove her worth to the Gods.
* The new Dr is a lady? GOOD STUFF. Now let's pray we don't get an annoying, white boy companion. I might actually have to start watching it. Meanwhile, I'll settle for watching the joy of my twitter timeline, interspersed with mockery of outright stupidity. I mean, ain't that a gem?
* Florida's Walt Disney World now has plans of adding a Star Wars-themed hotel. And they're going above and beyond. Employees will be in costume and in character at all times, you'll get an identity of your own (and I do believe costuming as well), and all the windows? Will show only outer space. (!!!)
Personally, I would like to petition for more hotels with outer space windows? Gimme a sparse, space-feeley room and THE UNIVERSE OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. Think about it, you don't even have to pay for a good view, as it'll be programmed into every single room ;D
* Note to self: RE-UP YOUR MOOD THEME BEFORE PHOTOBUCKET SWALLOWS IT WHOLE.
Published: Self-published in July 2017
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Young adult, contemporary romance
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available:Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~Kobo
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love… the first time someone holds a gun to your head.
After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.
While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight–getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.
An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first–losing her virginity–their friendship gets complicated.
Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose–each other.
Trust is Kylie Scott’s first foray into Young Adult and I certainly hope it won’t be her last because I was pretty impressed.
There was so much that was great about this book. I appreciated its diversity. This includes race and sexuality–two of Edie’s new friends are lesbians and the other Vietnamese–but it also goes beyond that. Edie herself is an unconventional protagonist. She may be white and blonde, but she’s also considered overweight and has no desire to change that. She has seen her mum go through the constant torture of diets and would rather be happy than subject herself to the same. Of course, she is bullied for being a socially-unacceptable body shape but never by the narrative. Instead, she is also shown as being desireble–and desirable by someone who has a socially-acceptable body shape.
Another thing I loved about the story is the way it advocates for healthy relationships and boundary setting. Edie is not shy about cutting people off if they violate her privacy. She has zero time for other people’s bullshit. While her relationship with John didn’t start under the best circumstances, it is a healthy one–with each one supporting the other through the changes they’re making in their lives. There is also one scene that takes a bit of a dig at Twilight when John unexpectedly shows up at Edie’s bedroom window one night.
This is not a book that pulls its punches. It kicks off with the robbery Edie and John get caught in at the convenience store, and takes us all the way through that traumatic experience. It has all the bodily fluids (and I really do mean all). There’s onscreen sex–and, being a romance writer, Scott isn’t shy about it. There’s awkward sex and sexy sex, and good consent practices at all times.
All in all, I loved Trust to pieces and I’m hoping we’ll see more YA from Kylie Scott.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Right now, I'm leaning heavily toward Sydney being a much less nice person than canon seems to have wanted us to believe. I just can't buy into the idea that he spent that long at The Centre without having a much clearer idea of what was going on than he ever admits.
I am still looking for someone to brainstorm with me and to bounce ideas off of.
The Nonconathon fics have been revealed but are still anonymous. I wrote for it but didn't sign up, so I didn't receive a fic. Three of the fics I wrote are treats while the fourth is a pinch hit. I've gotten nice comments from the recipients of the three treats, and the archive's only been open about two and a half hours. I'm not expecting all that much in the way of comments or kudos because, in my experience, noncon porn doesn't get that so much.
Scott has taken Cordelia and two of her friends to see Spider-man. Only one of the four of them hasn't seen it once already. I'm not clear on whether or not Scott intends to watch it again, too, or just find something else to occupy his time while it's running. Our GPS tracking app shows him still at the theater, and the movie was scheduled to start ten minutes ago, so maybe?
I ended up feeling pretty rotten most of yesterday after I posted here. I ended up spending a lot of time on Facebook because I couldn't focus enough to do anything else. I had gas and was burping a lot. I asked Scott to pick up some carbonated water on his way home last night, and he did. That helped a little by forcing the burps out. Scott and I ended up turning off the light a little after 10, and we both slept until about 8 this morning. I used the c-PAP until about 4:30.