yasaman: shelves and shelves of books,with text of bibliophile (bibliophile by obsessiveicons)
([personal profile] yasaman Jul. 30th, 2014 10:01 pm)
Ahahaha, books what books? ;_____; I am so behind on my reading goal, let us not speak of it. Anyway, here's some stuff I've read in the past....four months.

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher had a really fascinating premise with sadly not great execution. Psychologist Elizabeth Cole takes a job on a recently colonized world, where every colonist is bound to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she soon realizes that she's not one of the colonists, she's her supervisor Dr. Murphy's ghost. Romance and plot happens, but alas, the romance is not believable at all. It went from "hey, I find you attractive" to "TRUE LOVE FOREVER," with frankly baffling and nonsensical speed. Plus, there's precious little sense of who Elizabeth and Murphy even really are. My inability to believe in or invest in the romance made the whole rest of the book flounder for me.

Mary Roach's Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex was an enjoyable pop science read about the science of sex. It was pretty hilarious, if sometimes a little too blithe for my tastes, and thanks to the nature of the available research, it's pretty focused on procreative, heterosexual sex. So just be aware this isn't, y'know, serious scholarship or anything. But it's readable and informative, and a fast read.

Julie James' Something About You was a forgettable contemporary romance about a US attorney and FBI agent. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either. I'd have done better to find a good het casefic to read, if such a thing was still prevalent in fandom.

Kate Griffin's A Madness of Angels, first in the Matthew Swift urban fantasy series, redeemed all those weeks of mediocre reading by being tremendously fun and a really great urban fantasy read. Protagonist Matthew Swift was a breath of fresh air compared to the other dark and angsty and brooding heroes so prevalent in other urban fantasy books. Matthew is just sort of sweet and open, and really winsome with it, while still being a competent sorcerer who's hellbent on finding out who killed him and who brought him back to life. Also, Griffin handles Matthew's unique situation (it's not just Matthew in his body) in a really great, unshowy way.

What really made the book for me though was its take on urban magic. It all just makes glorious, instinctive sense, and is a really brilliant way to root magic in the rhythms and rules of the city. Too often, fantasy series stick with the same old expected magical systems based on ~the land~ or the old magics or whatever. Griffin tosses most of that out the window, and instead the magic of the city gives us such amazing moments as Matthew building a magical ward with the Oyster card terms of service and spells built through graffiti and street art.
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musyc: Slytherin text icon: We're all mad here (Slytherin: All mad here)
([personal profile] musyc Jul. 30th, 2014 09:40 pm)
So it's been a solid month since I updated. Ah well, these things happen. There's not been a whole lot going on in my life. Lessee here, five things to prove I'm still alive. XD

*I have a tooth, one of my last remaining bottom molars, that's been giving me some pain for the past couple of days, but I can't afford to have anything done about it, so *shrug*. Just smearing semi-regular applications of Anbesol on my gum and waiting for the ouch to go away. (It's happened before, it will happen again. C'est la vie.) It's being 'encouraged' currently by a bit of swelling/aching in my sinuses due to pollen and other naturey whatnots, which is sending little strings of pain down along my jaw, but it should stop hurting before too long. I can halt it all temporarily by pressing a couple of points on my cheek, acupressure style, but I can't sit there with my fingers dug into my face all day. So I deal. (And yes, this is related to my absolute mind-numbing, must be sedated to even enter the building much less sit in the chair, terror of dentists. Letting it ache and hurt and even break is actually the preferable course of action to me. I'll have a tooth pulled rather than repaired, so I'm missing several back teeth. I know it's foolish. That's how I roll.)

*Fallen down on my calorie/food tracking the past couple of weeks so I've stalled out on my weight loss. Hovering around 185 pounds as of this morning. Still, that is the lightest weight I've been since ... probably junior high. So I'm still counting it a win. Ten/fifteen pounds to my goal. Almost there! Feeling good!

*Rescue kittens have assimilated very well into the household. Hierarchy has been established, Jesse and Sam have acknowledged that Bear is the alpha (well, Gidget is really, but Bear pretends he is), breakfast/dinner times have been learned, and the 'get Musyc to open the door thirty times a day or leave the screen open' game has been mastered. XD

*Finally got tired of waiting for Dreamwidth to give updates on their mobile changes and begged the original layer codes from a Very Helpful Person. So I now have a journal layout that looks exactly the same, but that isn't utterly fucked. No resizing on mobile devices, no squished-up bullshit. Plus I can doubletap to zoom on my tablet again, thank GOD, that was pissing me off more than a lot of other things about this. And while I was at it, I did a little color change for my fall/winter feels. It's really just a slightly different set of purple shades, but WHATEVER. I like purple.

*For the next ... oh, let's say month or so. I'm not allowed in office supply stores or pen/paper aisles. Because it is SCHOOL SUPPLY SEASON. And I already have five packages of Bic Cristal pens and ten empty one-subject notebooks. I can't buy any more. NOT EVEN IF THEY ARE A QUARTER EACH.

>.>

*grabby hands*
Wow, so between Renner and his gray t-shirt and his love for the character, and the Barton brothers in Hawkeye 19, I am once again virtually drowning in ALL THE FEELS for a certain purple-loving archer. I sure as hell hope welovefine is bringing Hawkeye t-shirts to DragonCon, because I think that needs to be my attire of choice this year.
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
([personal profile] jazzfish Jul. 30th, 2014 03:09 pm)
Permanent resident cards have come in the mail! We are now officially Permanent Residents. The card itself is very strange, incorporating swirly text, two differently-coloured hologram-type things, and a small transparent window that's got a tiny version of the ID photo printed on it, in addition to the large photo. Difficult to forge, I expect, but also rather odd-looking.

In less happy news, I dumped much of a mug of tea onto my awesome keyboard yesterday. For awhile I thought it would survive but some must have splashed into the electronics. Currently the spacebar, back-tick, and right arrow don't, and some of the numbers are flaky at best. So I get to ship it back to Kentucky and have them fix it, for a $30 fee. Yay.

I'm currently using the Alphasmart Neo I bought in Blacksburg as a keyboard. It's... as keyboards go it isn't terrible, but the lack of function keys and Delete key, and the functional lack of an Escape key, are wreaking havoc on my normal computer-usage patterns. Oh well. It's just for a few weeks, and if it's too obnoxious I can either buy a cheap keyboard, or just use it in laptop-mode.

And we move in less than two weeks. I alternate between feeling like we haven't packed ANYTHING and like there isn't really that much more left to pack. I have lost all sense of which of these views is more accurate. It doesn't help that we've almost run out of boxes, either.
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annotated_em: Tezuka from Prince of Tennis (anime), chibified, reading a book (reading)
([personal profile] annotated_em Jul. 30th, 2014 10:53 am)
Today, in things Em has finished reading this week, we have Libriomancer by Jim Hines. This is the first installment of his series in which magic arises from books and the power of belief imbued in them by the readers who love them, and it reads very much like a love letter to all things science fictional and geeky. Our protagonist, Isaac, is a semi-disgraced member of the secret society of Porters who know how to use the magic of books and whose job it is to protect this secret world of magic and magical creatures from discovery by the ordinary folks who can't use magic themselves. Unfortunately, Isaac finds himself in the middle of a brewing war between the Porters and the vampires and on the hunt for Johann Gutenberg, who founded the Porters several centuries ago and has gone missing at precisely the wrong moment. If that weren't problem enough, he's also trying to balance a tricky love triangle on top of everything else.

This was a pretty quick, light read, and as I said above, very much a love letter to pop culture and science fiction, and it earns props for dealing with the love triangle in a way that did not make me want to grind my teeth--which is pretty rare for the standard urban fantasy love triangle trope, I must say.
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liseuse: (paris seine)
([personal profile] liseuse Jul. 30th, 2014 03:01 pm)
What Are You Reading (Actually On A!) Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

War and Peace, Tolstoy.

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama. To be honest, I'm not sure how well this is working for me as a 'Chronicle' of the French Revolution, but as a very well written narrative and collection of wonderful anecdotes, character sketches and quotes, it is working wonderfully. I mean, I've learned about René-Louis de Voyer, Marquis d'Argenson, who advocated for a French air force aloft in air balloons, and about a balloon flight containing a sheep (called Montauciel) and a duck and a rooster. I like Schama's writing style, which is easy and smooth and occasionally hilariously snarky. I bookmarked this little passage because a) it's amusing and b) my brain picks up on references to the Limousin

"[Turgot] came to the Contrôle having spent many years as a brilliant and exceptionally hardworking intendant in the impoverished province of the Limousin in southwest France. There he has laboured industriously to do good, building roads and persuading the peasants to plant and consume potatoes, a crop previously thought unfit even for animals and certainly less nourishing than the boiled chestnut and buckwheat gruel that had been the standard Limousin fare.
Unfortunately the region of the Limousin was peculiarly unsuited to the application of his most cherished ideas, especially those he had published on capital accumulation, for it was difficult to accumulate any capital while subsisting on boiled chestnuts, or, for that matter, on potatoes."

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. This draws on the killing of Damilola Taylor in 2000, telling the story of Harrison, who has recently moved to the Dell Farm estate, with his mother and older sister, from Ghana. It's part exploration of Harrison trying to work out the social codes of his new school, new home, and new country, and him and his friend, Dean, trying to catch the person who stabbed someone outside a fried chicken shop. The novel is fine, and I can see why it ended up on lots of 'best new novel!' lists, but the reason it did is that it's a relatively undemanding story about inner-city gang culture and the politics of integration, and it makes it a Lesson Book for middle-class white readers [of which I am one, I'm making no bones about that. I am the target audience for this book.] with no real insight. Also, there are bits narrated by a pigeon, and they don't work particularly well.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont. I feel like if you enjoyed The Secret History you might enjoy this book. It's not telling the same story, but it is set in the same sort of world as the fringes of The Secret History - rich, troubled, kids at a forgiving and last-chance school/college and dreadful events that unfold because everyone is messed up and messing up. This isn't a perfect novel; there are points where you can tell it's a first novel - Jason, the protagonist, is a bit over-written and over-wrought at times, but it is a very very good novel, and Dermont manages to make Jason a sympathetic character whilst acknowledging that what he is suffering isn't in the same league as what other characters are suffering, because he's protected by being rich and by being rich and white.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, Citizens is quite long, and there's War and Peace still going on, and I still have Beautiful as Yesterday by Fan Wu to read.
Re-read.

This is the fourth Rivers of London book. It's still excellent and there's some neat stuff I didn't notice on the initial read-through that massively pays off way after it happens.

All in all, I find this whole series quite intriguing.
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vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
([personal profile] vass Jul. 30th, 2014 09:38 pm)
Books

Read some of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot (which is a great Jack Dann title+author combo, btw.)

Read a few grudging pages of Les Mis.

New book acquisitions this week: Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Michel de Montaigne's complete essays. Which latter is as thick as Les Mis. I'm not going to start it yet - it's part of the autobiography and memoir category in my List of D00m, and it comes after The Book of Margery Kempe (I'm skipping Augustine's Confessions because I've read it before.)

Some other recent book acquisitions I forgot to mention until now: a pile of big old folio-size art books from my parents, who are downsizing. I got one general art history, one on Asian art, one Renaissance, one pre-historic, and one on Impressionism... oh, and some comics collections. Amphigory, Amphigory Too, and Colonel Pewter In Ironicus. My father also insisted on giving two huge lever arch files of Colonel Pewter newspaper cuttings, but he did say I could get rid of them when I was done with them. I do not have room in my home for two huge lever arch files of anything. I also got to plunder their fiction and nonfiction, but there was surprisingly little there that I wanted but didn't have already.

Fanworks

I love how sometimes you think "wouldn't that make a great Yuletide fandom?" and you search for it in AO3 and discover that someone else was way ahead of you and requested it already in a previous year, and got the story you would have most liked to read, and it's right there waiting for you to read it. It's so convenient, so helpful of them.

Three years ago, [personal profile] st_aurafina requested the music video of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', and [archiveofourown.org profile] Ankaret wrote The Doves And The Ravens, which is as weird and spooky and haunting and tragic and weird as the music video, with beautiful language and deeply strange worldbuilding.

And now I don't have to request 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' for Yuletide this year. (So far on my list of things to request, I have A Stranger in Olondria, A Suitable Boy, and Ancillary Justice.)

Read The Other Miss Bennett, by [archiveofourown.org profile] halotolerant, adorable Pride and Prejudice Kitty/Georgiana.

Watched Integral, a POI vid by [archiveofourown.org profile] soupdragon. Their first vid, and it showed in that I found harder to follow than most vids, and I'm already pretty bad at following vids. But the song choice was absolutely perfect.

Best fanart I saw this week: [personal profile] sqbr's Our Lady of the Machine. Root from POI in the style of a religious icon. (The moment I realised that wasn't an earring, it was a reference to canon, OMG.)

TV and Movies

POI. 'Risk': I am trying to figure out what Jim Caviezel's acting choices in the tailoring scene were meant to signify, if not that John's turned on. Also, in the scene with Finch and Carter in the cab, I decided that the world needs more Finch/Reese/Carter. So far I've only been able to find one story with that combo.

'Baby Blue': LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. Oh poor Carter. That double-take. And "She was in imminent danger of kidnapping." And then her second, even more horrified double-take at "Leila's safe. She's with John."

'One Percent': this show. It keeps teetering on the edge of being serious and moving, and then expresses Nathan and Harold's horror at 9/11 with an EXTREME DRAMATIC NOSTRIL CAM. To be fair, Harold's nostrils were very shocked and distressed.

BTW, Logan Pierce, you are a billionaire. I think you can afford to keep an epipen handy in case you're inadvertently exposed to something you know you're allergic to. (We are leaving alone the fact that ANAPHYLAXIS TREATMENT DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT.)

'Identity Crisis': Finch on E was not as horrible as I feared. They left him more of his dignity than I expected. More than Fusco has unmedicated. Poor Fusco. I was starting to feel sorry for him, and then he handed a computer to Harold Finch right after he set the sirens off. I particularly liked the scene where suddenly everyone onscreen was occluded by a large, loud tortoiseshell cat. She does that so much she should have her own IMDB page.

Games
For convoluted reasons, this is [tumblr.com profile] leupagus's fault, because of the Violent Amoral Unicorn of Justice thing. It got me thinking about Nethack unicorns and POI characters (from a paragraph of sleep deprived babble I've deleted from this post before posting: "do not sacrifice Root or Shaw or Reese on a cross-aligned altar.") And then:

------
+....|
|.@..|
.f.<.|
------

Finch the Evoker          St:10 Dx:14 Co:15 In:18 Wi:9 Ch:9  Neutral
Dlvl:1  $:0  HP:11(12) Pw:6(6) AC:9  Xp:1/0 T:6


As you can see, his Int is as high as it can be at the start of a game, but his Con, Str, and Dex are only so-so, and his Wis and Cha are really poor. The f is called Reese, because of Reesons.

Finch the Evoker was killed on level 1 by a sewer rat shortly following a magical explosion... or did he fake his death? I hate playing wizards. I think I might play Shaw the Barbarian next.

Music

Papa Wemba, Molokai. I felt like some Congolese rhumba music. Because I've never listened to Congolese rhumba music, and it sounded cheerful. It was cheerful. Would listen again.

Podcasts
Galactic Suburbia in the car. Finished listening to the 9th July episode. Still to listen to: 29th May, 11th June, 26th July. A lot of podcasts I'm subscribed to, I just delete episodes I don't get around to. This one I keep for later because of the recommendations.

Crafts

Knitting.

Food

Made beef stew again, this time with tomatoes and carrots, less pepper, more garlic. It was heavenly. Made it twice.

Other

Tarot reading. The question I focused on was "what should I do right now?" The cards said I'm feeling uncreative and lack confidence, shouldn't take on too much, am in danger of overload, and (depending on how I interpret the Seven of Cups in this context) either should go ahead and numb out with fanfic so long as I don't overdo it, or should cultivate the art of daydreaming about the future to bolster up my creativity and belief in my own capability and insight into what I want to do next.

Tarot is weird. It can't give you any information or insight that wasn't already in your mind to begin with, but it sure can pull things out of the back of the sock drawer that were there but weren't what you were concentrating on right now. I was not expecting creativity and the power of daydreaming to be a Thing, even though hello, horribly stalled on novel in progress because afraid, and also stalled on job search because no fucking idea what sort of work I want to do or am capable of. I'd actually been expecting the answer to "what should I do right now?" to be whatever card translates to "you should clean the dishes and vacuum the carpet."

Bonus Beatrice picture
photo )
andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Jul. 30th, 2014 12:00 pm)
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
([personal profile] dglenn Jul. 30th, 2014 05:24 am)

"Trade was ever War's superior." -- Raik Na Seem, in The Fortress of the Pearl (1989, Ace Books, New York) by Michael Moorcock

[Is this why the merchant area at Pennsic is so huge and many folks see it as more of a shopping expedition than a war? ;-) ]

azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
([personal profile] azurelunatic Jul. 30th, 2014 01:23 am)
* Made a dick joke.
* Taught R that "bellend" is a dick reference.
* Refrained from pointing my Overlady in the direction of the non-portable fire. (She knows very well where it is.)
* Helped Lt. Michigander on the road to sorting his Adobe issue.
* Impressed Lt. Michigander and Researcher Carmageddon with my utter fury by calling last Wednesday's tech support guy a shitlord. (My language around my team is a lot cleaner than it is around nearly anyone but customers, friends' parents, and my mother.)
* Sorted out that issue with the helpdesk software: user error (and it wasn't mine).
* Communicated to the Escalation Manager what a fantastically bad idea tech N's idea that I ask every tech to add me to the worknotes was.
* Caused the Escalation Manager to send all the helpdesk techs an admonition to not put stuff meant for the user into worknotes like Shitlord Tech did that time.
* Got reassurances that Shitlord Tech has been Talked To, formally.
* Got the Escalation Manager's email address.
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
([personal profile] azurelunatic Jul. 30th, 2014 01:05 am)
Today is a much better day.
dragonfly: (woe)
([personal profile] dragonfly Jul. 29th, 2014 11:18 pm)
He'll go to the vet tomorrow, but I don't expect to bring him back. Apparently he has a general breakdown of his cardiovascular system from, basically, old age. He was doing fine for a couple months since the diagnosis, but suddenly has symptoms. Serious symptoms. We waited a bit to see if he got over them, but he's not.

I'm so glad he can't know tonight's his last night. :-( I wish I could unknow it.



Edit: Thanks so much, you guys. I'm sure you've all lost pets too. *sniff* He was fifteen, a fairly old age for a purebreed, or so I understand. He spent his last hours on my lap. So now we're just going to have a good cry. Thanks for all your kind thoughts.
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