Advantages of a two-house household

  • Jul. 21st, 2017 at 12:36 AM
For those who don't know, we live in an up/down duplex. Marna, Ian and I live upstairs and Lorayne has the downstairs, with two spare rooms for any guests of upstairs or downstairs.

Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.

It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.

So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.

Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.

Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.

They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.

Also, the lack of dog.

Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.

His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.

And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.

ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.

*sigh*

PEDTM: Day 20

  • Jul. 20th, 2017 at 5:57 PM
I am so glad to be home, sitting quietly. It was too big a day, again.

I was a tad late to Mother's because Webster and I were on hold with his GP's office while they tried to find his file so they could tell us why they left a voicemail for him yesterday. Finally they asked to call back, but I just had to leave for Mother's so Webster told them to tell me, and I left.

To my surprise, when I got there Mother was gone. I asked the floor nurse where she was and he said, BINGO. Bingo? But she's blind? Well, someone is helping her. I was thrilled, though pretty surprised, but I went back to the room to start arranging the flowers I'd brought her.

My sister called then and she also marveled at BINGO? I don't think Mother's ever played a game of Bingo in her life! At that moment a therapist rolled Mother back in: turns out she was at her first occupational therapy session. They did an assessment, checked the X-Ray, and the diagnosis is de Quervains tenosynovitis, and you say that five times fast! It's a sort of tendonitis, very similar to carpal tunnel, and they think her wheelchair is too high so she has to push with her hands too much. They are going to lower her chair a big, plus do therapy, and I had to buy her a right-handed thumb spica splint. So not a fracture, thank goodness, and now maybe she'll start recovering a bit.

No Bingo, though :)

After we talked for a while, I took her to Olive Garden for a gin and tonic and a bowl of her favorite soup, zuppa toscana. She only ate about half the bowl, which worries me, but she had eaten a couple of the cookies I'd brought her, plus some candy my sister had sent from Hawaii, so presumably she got enough calories. I hope.

When we were back in her apartment, I discovered I had missed a call from the GP's office, so I called back while I was with her and sat chatting until someone finally came on. The conversation was very distressing and, imo, almost incoherent. This wasn't a doctor, I think she was a clerk? But she didn't really identify herself. At any rate, if I understood her, Webster is in trouble because his bloodwork showed he did NOT have any demerol in him.

I explained (why is this not obvious?) that he only takes the demerol when all his other migraine drugs don't work. She said (I think she said) that the instructions are to take them everyday, so he isn't following the instructions. The implication being he must be abusing them? Selling them?

Foolishly I tried to discuss this with her but quickly realized she was both 1) ignorant and 2) hostile, so what the hell. I told her that, per the doctor's instructions, Webster had an appointment this Monday with a neurologist that the doc had recommended and another appointment with the doc in ten days to follow-up. She sounded bored.

Well, you can imagine how I felt, so double or triple that and you can imagine how Webster took the news. NOT WELL. He has drafted a letter to the doc and will continue to work on it, but I dunno. When he last saw the doctor, he was told that the doctor had received a letter from the DEA saying that he, the doctor, wasn't permitted to prescribe anymore narcotics. Today we hear something completely different.

I know the DEA is being extremely heavy-handed about narcotics, so maybe the doctor is just CYAing?

Anyway, we were worried enough about meeting the new neurologist (we have seen so many over the years), and now he's extra worried. Perfect migraine recipe! My god, do I miss Kaiser Permanente in California.

Okay, enough droning on about my weird day. When I got home, I had a glass of wine, made potato soup and vanilla pudding, and now I'm going to take a long cool shower and read.

Oh, a link! I haven't spent a lot of time with this, but it looks fun: the most iconic book set in every country. You have to scroll down a bit but they really do mean every country. I think a better title would be "the most iconic book IN ENGLISH in every country," though.

Take that, reproductive system.

  • Jul. 20th, 2017 at 12:28 AM
Surgery itself went well...though complications then kept me in the hospital for not the planned 2-3 hours but for about 12 -- and it's all a bit ongoing, shall we say. I'll post more, but despite my three-hour nap after we came home, I'm beat. And my brain still isn't working properly.

Shout-out to the folks working at UCSF Mt. Zion -- they've all been both both friendly and competent medical professionals (the super-enthusiastic residents were THE BEST. One of them bounced little on his feet, holding the clipboard for consent signing out to me).
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (www.blackalliance.org) is having two webinars on the State of Black Immigrants. Part 1 is July 18, tomorrow, at 5pm; part 2 is July 25, both 5 pm EST.

Registration: goo.gl/u8Eckc.

Books read July 4, 2017 - July 19, 2017

  • Jul. 20th, 2017 at 2:22 AM
As promised, some books I've read:

Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
★★★★

Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.

I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. read more )

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. read more )

Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. read more )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. read more )

The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★

Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. read more )

A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★

I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. read more )

There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.

What I got was so much more. read more )

Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★

A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.

I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. read more )

Jumping back in in the middle, with books!

  • Jul. 20th, 2017 at 1:49 AM
One of the benefits of the new mood-stabilizer is that I'm reading again. After reading my way through a shit-ton of fanfic, I'm now switching between fanfic and pro novels.

I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.

I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.

A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.

Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.

I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.

It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.

Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).

The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.

If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.

No good very bad day

  • Jul. 19th, 2017 at 10:19 PM
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.

PEDTM: Day 19

  • Jul. 19th, 2017 at 7:55 PM
Another busy day, but not nearly as busy as yesterday and certainly not as upsetting. I was up before six to get to the lap pool so I would be ready at 7:30 when our contractor returned. Yes, a return to the mess! But this is just a little job. We went with him to Lowes' and purchased the material for the shelves we want installed in the closet, and to decide on a door that will separate the master bedroom from the master bath. DONE. He will start work on next Thursday.

After we came home and had a brief rest, we headed out for our dental appointments. Webster has some issues so after a lot of searching, we found a highly recommended dentist but she is way the hell out in Scottsdale. But she turned out to be just as good as we'd heard and he feels comfortable in her hands, so it's worth the drive. Plus it was a beautiful day with enormous billows of clouds, and on the way home we saw virga and rain.

Speaking of rain here, that big rain we had a few days ago included a microburst over Phoenix, and someone photographed it from a helicopter; check it out here (scroll down a bit). I'm so glad that wasn't over our house!

Today is Hyacinth-sky747's birthday. Remember her? My god, what a writer. Wherever she is, I hope she is happy and healthy and having a wonderful day.

This essay isn't for everyone, so click with care, but it's written by a journalist with a brain tumor, the same kind that John McCain was just diagnosed with: Going out like fireworks: A reporter investigates his own illness -- brain cancer. Really powerful.

Also, I've never been a fan of McCain, but holy shit. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. And his enmity with Tr*mp has proved really helpful, so for very selfish reasons I want him well and in the Senate. Dang.

My hat, but I want some chocolate. Alas, I don't have any in the house except one frozen Pret a Manger brownie that I'm saving for a really, really bad day.

FMK: Mélusine and Juniper Time

  • Jul. 19th, 2017 at 1:50 PM
Mélusine by Sarah Monette is a very long, very good, very fucked-up H/C darkfic in a canon I don't know.

That's not necessarily a criticism, by the way, it's enough my id that I have spent many a delightful lost weekend voluntarily reading exactly that sort of thing.

Read more... )

Anyway, I enjoyed it enough that it is getting kept (after all, some day I might not be able to find fanfic like this on the internet anymore) but I don't think I care enough about the non-id parts to go looking up the canon. (If I did I would probably just end up really liking Shannon, anyway, and like I said it's really obvious there is like 0 fic about him.)

And still very annoyed that it had exactly nothing to do with Mélusine; if someone tried to name a fantasy novel Cinderella and then not have anything to do with Cinderella except, like, the ruling family having a shoe in their heraldry and also there was a fairy godmother as a minor character in one chapter, nobody would let you get away with that.

Also, it got me re-reading a bunch of old Doctor/Master fic just in time for me to be mildly optimistic about the show again, so there's that.


Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm was not a bad book, and I'm glad I read it, but I also don't think I need to keep it, and I didn't particularly like it. It gets the "if you like this sort of thing, this is probably the sort of thing you will like" rating, with a caveat for me being unsure about its portrayal of First Nations people. The first thing that struck me is that it didn't feel like a SF novel, or even a genre novel at all really. I spent a lot of time thinking about why. It's a story about the building of an international space station and first contact with aliens set amid the collapse of Western capitalist civilization, so it ought to be an SF novel. It's definitely at least partly just the writing style. But I think it's mostly a question of what the book thinks is important, fr. ex: not the space station or the aliens or even particularly the collapse of civilization except as they affect the two main characters' many personal issues, which are the only thing the narrative actually seems to think we might be interested in. Whic isn't to say I don't like a character-focused SF novel, but an SF novel where one of the main characters is an astronomer who spends half his time in space, a) I would expect it to spend more than five pages actually in space, and b) I would expect him to not spend all of those five pages thinking about nothing but his marital issues. Also, you know, I 100% don't care about the dude's personal issues and am only mildly interested in hers.

Read more... )

I am glad I have read this but am pretty sure I will never desire to read it again, so K pile it is. And it inspired me to finish Always Coming Home, so it was definitely worth it.

Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams

  • Jul. 19th, 2017 at 9:58 AM
Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams: Holy shit, it has to be noted—and I did not do this on purpose—but it took me five years exactly to read this book. I started reading it on July 11, 2012, and finished it on July 11, 2017.

That's exactly how slow going it was.

To my disappointment, not everything William Carlos Williams wrote is as accessible as "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say," two of his most famous poems. Instead, there's a mix of transparent and opaque.

And then there's Paterson, which he's also known for, a five-volume epic poem that here is presented in extracts, taking up about forty pages instead of its usual three hundred, and seems to be about a grasshopper, a park, geography, some text from a medical journal, a personal letter, and a history lesson. I don't know if it would have made more sense if I had read it in its entirety, but I'm not interested in finding out.

Williams liked to experiment with white space and sentence fragments—he's a contemporary of e e cummings and T. S. Eliot—but his white space lacks the energy and enthusiasm of cummings, or, later, of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Mostly it just looks jumbled, or unnecessarily spread out, staggered like the teeth of a zipper. The chopped up, incomplete sentences were coarse and seemed to impede meaning rather than free it. I didn't feel like I was discovering or feeling something; I felt like I was tripping over it.

For such a long volume, my notes with my favorite poems and lines don't even take up a whole index card, and I was definitely experiencing William Carlos Williams fatigue by the end. The book collects selected poems from 1914 to 1962, and I found Charles Tomlinson's introduction to be wordy and almost breathless in tone but informative about Williams and his poetry style, though more useful after I'd read the book than before.

My favorite discovery has to be the complete Pictures from Brueghel series. I'd read parts of it before, but didn't realize there was more to it. It's ten poems based on works by Brueghel the Elder, who I encounter quite often in poetry. There's something about his paintings that draws poets to him. It's probably the level of detail, all the little stories going on in these huge lush landscapes full of color and people and animals. The poems I've read have all evoked such clear images, even if I'm unfamiliar with the paintings themselves, and Williams's work is no exception. Though, as always, in order to enjoy Williams's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" to its fullest, you benefit by knowing the joke behind Brueghel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and the tiny splash Icarus makes down in the corner of the painting where no one is even looking. Just his leg sticking out of the water. Williams captures the humor and sadness of that image, still giving it only slightly more attention than Brueghel did.

It seems I like Williams best when he's being simple and transparent. His complicated, fractured works don't appeal to me as much, and it feels like this collection is more geared toward the latter. But could be it only felt like it.

Contains: rape, classism, and racist language and attitudes.

Jul. 19th, 2017

  • 3:03 PM
I've been so busy, and so focused on spending my free-time-to-write on original projects, that I feel like I want to talk to people on Dreamwidth but don't really have anything to write a post about.

So let's start with the essentials, which is two friends who are currently in need of a bit of help.

[personal profile] kuwdora, who makes amazing vids, is taking vid commissions to help pay for a career development opportunity.

...and it seems the other friend has reached their financial goal for the thing they needed, which I saw halfway through writing this entry, so. Please consider helping out kuwdora!

*

I'm busy planning London things (when I'm not busy doing other things). I've bought contact lenses for the first time in my life (putting them in and out is AWFUL but having them in is pretty wonderful). I finished watching "The Handmaid's Tale" and the "Game of Thrones" premiere and feel weirdly similarly about both.

Sunday was picking up my contacts and hunting for a birthday gift for a friend and getting stuff from the pharmacy and overall I got home from work around 8:30pm. Monday was pilates at 5pm, followed by my roommate's friends coming over at 9pm for Game of Thrones. Tuesday was going to buy new walking shoes (mine have holes in them and I need something for London), and because I needed a specialized store I yet again came home at like 9pm.

Today is going to be swimming (because my pilates class was canceled), followed by an optometrist appointment.

Basically just really, really long days. I've mostly been spending my weekends doing fuck all because of it, lol.

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for what to do in London. So far I have the staples (places I've been and can always happily spend time in):
- british museum
- V & A

Potentially interesting but also maybe kind of boring (I have a friend who'd LOVE both of these but for me they're kind of "oh ok" sort of options):
- tour of parliament
- tour of buckingham palace

plays (I have to pick one):
- Matilda in the west end
- Much Ado About Nothing at the globe
- Queen Anne at heymarket (I do love Romola Garai)

Other than that I have: walking around various parks. LOL.

There's definitely loads more to do in London, but I feel like I've done the more obvious touristy stuff (Sherlock Holmes house, the eye, transport museum (LOL I know this is less obviously touristy, but I liked it)) and the less obvious stuff I'm not familiar with?

(I've always wanted to do the loo tour, ever since meeting the owner/tourguide at a party, but it seems every time I'm in London the times don't work out ;_;)

Anyway, suggestions for stuff to do are very welcome!

Tags:

PEDTM: Day 18

  • Jul. 18th, 2017 at 6:37 PM
Oh my god, what a day. My alarm went off at 5:45 so I could be ready for the sprinkler repairman who came at 6:30. To no one's surprise, we needed a new controller but he had everything required and I was pleased with the price. He showed me how to use it and left a manual, and I'll try tomorrow to make sure I remember how. He also showed me a few more things about the system, like how to turn the water off if there's a leak, and of course the most important thing: how to run some valves manually.

He left around 8, and I left around 8:30 to swing by Safeway and buy Mother a bouquet. They had a really nice one -- usually I buy a bunch of mums or carnations, not a pre-made bouquet, but this was lovely and even my nearly-blind mother really liked it. I also brought her more cookies and two of the cinnamon rolls I made yesterday. She ate those right away! So I will make a larger batch and freeze them. Maybe tomorrow or Friday.

We had a nice visit. My sister called as usual, but Mother's AIM person (Aging in Motion) came a little early so she took Mother down to the gym to start her workout and I talked, in private, about what's going on and what's worrying me. You already know it all: how prevalent my late uncle and aunt are in Mother's conversation, how short her memory is, and an issue with her right wrist. Then I went down to hang out in the gym and cheer Mother on. She is in remarkably good physical shape for a 93 year old, and she loves her AIM person. One of the PTs caught me to let me know that Mother's doctor has prescribed some occupational therapy for her -- OT is for the hands.

I was a little puzzled and talked to the director of PT. He explained that Mother's nurses had noticed that she had trouble transferring herself. That irritated me: yes, because of her right wrist, which I have reported and complained about for two weeks. We talked (with Mother) and the plan is they will do an assessment of her wrist. He will also check that it's been x-rayed (Mother thinks it has, but you know her memory). If it hasn't been, he'll arrange for it to be (they have a portable x-ray so they just do it in her room). If there's no fracture, they'll start OT for a week and then re-assess what's going on. I know where his office is so I can catch him and get information.

After I left Mother I also talked to the nurse on her wing, a really nice guy I've come to know and appreciate, and told him the story. He said he and the director of PT had already talked and he felt they were on the same page. So let's hope.

The good news is that's lots of people coming to see Mother: the AIM person, regular PT they have for all the residents twice a week, and now OT. Plus me, of course, and my sister's calls.

After I left, I hit Costco and then finally home. Webster came out to greet me and help me carry stuff in; when he saw me he said: Have you been crying? Are you all right? Well, I hadn't been crying but I was so exhausted and a little frustrated. I called my sister again and brought her up to speed, and of course he listened in so he knows what's going on. My sister advised me to have a drink, and I would have except then the a/c guy came by to check on a freon leak and instead of a five-minute check he just left, after two hours. So still no drink for me! I think I'll open a bottle of wine :)

But I did have a pleasant afternoon with Webster, once I'd settled down, and it looks as though we might have another storm tonight, yay! More rain would be lovely, even though the humidity + heat is pretty rough.

Oh, I found two cool videos on Jason Kottke's site:

Y40 jump: Guillaume Néry explores the deepest pool in the world. Only two minutes but my hat, what a video. What a pool! This is at a hotel in Italy, and I want to stay there and swim in the pool. No free diving, though.

Awaken, a documentary full of arresting imagery: This is the trailer for a movie coming out next year. Some of the images brought tears to my eyes. Also not very long but so beautiful. "Arresting imagery" is exactly right.

Now, what about that drink?

Gratitudes

  • Jul. 18th, 2017 at 8:01 PM
1. Beautiful summer skies.

2. A glass of pink wine. (See icon.)

3. Lunch with someone I dearly love. \o/!

4. The entertainment value of watching my son play his first game of Magic: the Gathering today.

5. The prospect of an evening of Great British Bake-Off with [personal profile] sanj once I put Mr. Kid to bed, huzzah.

FMK #17: Humorous SF

  • Jul. 18th, 2017 at 5:51 PM
Last week's winner was Enchantress From the Stars! Looking forward to it. From discussion in the comments, I think I attempted to write that story once when I was about twelve.

The loser on overall K votes was Pebble in the Sky, but I'm invoking the rule that says a K winner must also have a majority for K votes, which Pebble in the Sky didn't have, and giving it to the Stasheff instead.

(I also just noticed that I never announced a K for the LGBT-themed week. No book in that poll had a majority of K votes - or anything close to a majority, even - so I'm not calling a K. The overall most K votes was the David Gerrold book, but it had almost twice as many f/m votes as K, so I have added it to the F pile instead.)

Responses to Mélusine and Juniper Time coming later today, I promise.

This week, a friend assigned me Humorous SF, so here we go!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week. That will leave me only four books behind, whoo.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Brust, Dickson, Doctorow, Foster, Gardner, Hines, Jones, Laumer, Martinez, Moore J, Moore MJ, Pinkwater, Pratchett, Robinson, anthologies )

This Week in Fandom, Volume 56

  • Jul. 18th, 2017 at 1:44 PM
This Week in Fandom

This week in fandom: Reaction to the 13th Doctor, Photobucket & SoundCloud problems, and stats on female sports fans: https://goo.gl/gCTfC1

PEDTM: Day 17

  • Jul. 17th, 2017 at 7:16 PM
I drove my car for five different errands today. None of them were walkable -- well, two of them would have been but it's too hot. So: to the lap pool, to the pool store to have the water tested, to the dermatologist so Webster's treated basal cell cancer can be looked at (it's healing very well; they are pleased); to my ukulele lesson; to the car repair place to pick up the Jeep. My hat, but that is too much driving on a day off.

But my swim was great, and it's good to have the Jeep back, though they're sending us a list of things that will eventually need repair (well, it's twenty-six years old, so even though we take excellent care of it, things happen, especially in this horrible heat). My ukulele lesson was a little different but a lot of fun -- I have an excellent teacher, I think. I'd like to get good enough to take my uke to Mother's so we could sing along with it, but I'm not there yet.

I made bread today, from the levain I prepared last night. Normally it makes two loaves, but I made one loaf and then two pans of rolls: one just regular sourdough rolls but the other I turned into cinnamon raisin rolls. Webster says they're like candy, so I think Mother will enjoy them. I also made chili for dinner which turned out really tasty, even though I had to ad lib the recipe.

I see Mother tomorrow but don't have anything planned. I'll bring her homemade cookies and a couple of the cinnamon raisin rolls, but I'm not sure what else to do. I think I'll leave home a little early and swing by Safeway to pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers. If it isn't too hot we can sit in the garden for a while. She's lucky because her assisted living area has a beautifully landscaped garden with two fountains. I love sitting there; it's just the heat that keeps me from spending more time there.

I have to get up super early tomorrow because at 6:30 a gentleman is coming to look at the controller for the drip system. I've done as much testing as I could but I need someone with more knowledge than the owner's manual. He came recommended by our handyman, who promised he wouldn't sell us a new system unless we really need one. My feeling is we need a new controller, but we'll see. Maybe I just need to learn how to use it.

We heard from our contractor and on Wednesday he'll be out so we can go together to Lowes' and buy the stuff he needs to build shelves in a closet. This is the last job for a while so I'm anxious to get it done: put a door in between the master bedroom and the attached bathroom (I know! why no door there???) and shelves in the closet. Maybe two days of building and then it's done. At least I hope so. It's been lovely not having people wandering around the house.

I'm pooped. I think I'll call it a day. Good night!

Still Star-Crossed is getting so good!!

  • Jul. 17th, 2017 at 4:53 AM
I am so depressed it won't be picked up.

At first I wasn't that into it; I liked some of the performances and the lush design, but the story wasn't doing much for me. But now it's really hit its stride!

Sigh.
I have also managed to...well, let's call it "consume books" during commute hours, dead wait times, or long drives -- audiobooks, often in combination with the written Kindle version (you can buy a combo package that lets you pick up reading or listening at the point you left off; it's one neat function). After the breathtaking Rivers of London series by Ben Aarononovitch, I was looking for urban fantasy of a similar vibe: witty, well-written, and featuring diverse protagonists.

My choice fell onto Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series -- the first two novels feature Verity Price, a cryptozoologist-slash-ballroom dancer in New York City; I like them for the setting, frankly, and the richness of this imagined world of non-classified monsters in our midst.

The following doesn't spoil plot points, but it does give an outline of characters and places.

''Discount Armageddon'' & ''Midnight Blue-Light Special'' )

''Half-Off Ragnarok'' & ''Pocket Apocalypse'' )

Ultimately, these are entertaining, so I may stick with the InCryptid series because of the dearth of diverse urban fantasy (true fantasy has gotten much better on that vector these days; read Ancillary Justice or The One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, or or or). Again, if anybody new is reading this who has recommendations for books or series similar to Rivers of London by Ben Aarononovitch, please let me know!

PEDTM: Day 16

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 9:26 PM
So a new Doctor Who! Now that Moffat has moved on, I think I'll give the thirteenth doctor a try. Besides, thirteen has always been my lucky number.

Had a nice, relaxing day. Slept later than usual, swam, then backwashed the pool. Webster and I grocery shopped, and then I made chicken and dumplings, his favorite meal (he's re-heating some right now). I also started a levain for bread tomorrow and fed my sourdough starter. I made another batch of buttermilk panna cotta but something went wrong and it isn't setting up. I guess we'll drink it? Practiced ukulele, but not enough. Oh well. My lesson is tomorrow at three, so I have some time.

There's a storm outside: lots of wind and lightning, but so far no thunder or rain. We keep peeking out the front door and back windows to watch the weather. Heh, I can hear Webster looking out the front door again. I wish we'd get some rain, but at least we've had some clouds. All of a sudden it's really humid, though; today while working on the pool the sweat literally poured down my face. I got in the pool a couple of times just to cool down, but I was very happy when I finished and could come into the air conditioned house. I honestly don't know how humans lived here before a/c. Webster points out that the rivers actually flowed back then and they would spend the hottest part of the day in the water. Sounds good to me.

Anybody read The Essex Serpent? I started it today; not sure how I feel about the characters yet. Guess I'll find out.

Good night!

Seen on 17-mile drive today

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 6:59 PM
A turkey vulture sunning its wings near the beach:

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UPDATE: I heard from them. The archive is closed to new submissions but the admins are still there and can be reached via their Help Desk. There are no plans to move the archive.


Media references to fanfic, up to 7/16/17

  • Jul. 17th, 2017 at 7:27 AM
According to Katharine Trendacosta on io9, Fan Fiction Is a Bad Television Show's Best Friend (thanks, [personal profile] msilverstar!).

Caroline Knorr took a look Inside the racy, nerdy world of fanfiction (CNN).

A recent episode of NPR’s Ask Me Another featured Fans, Fiction, And Fan Fiction (guest: Chris Colfer).

Breitbart’s Adam Shaw wrote that Newsweek Dabbles in ‘President Hillary’ Fan Fiction.

This story was amusing; as summarized by Clarisse Loughrey in The Independent, Man reading 'Harry Potter' realises he's actually bought adult fan fiction - except I’m pretty sure he just found it online. For New York Post, Hannah-Rose Yee wrote This guy mistook X-rated ‘Harry Potter’ fan fiction for the real deal. And, from Katie O’Malley on ELLE: Man Hilariously Mistakes Adult Fan Fiction For Harry Potter And It's Heartbreaking.

Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Wattpad, John Green, Jane Austen, The Rock )

Times-Dispatch’s Rachel Marsden wrote After months of gossip, speculation and fan fiction, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin finally met in person for the first time at last week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

For The Brag, Nathan Jolly wrote that Joel McHale from Community, The Soup (and your fan fiction) is coming to Sydney

In ‘Much loved misfits’ in The Hans India: It is an easy task for writers to be fan fiction writers as there is no need to start from the ground up, people just borrow established characters and stories and add their own take and thoughts to it.

From Star Weekly: Julie Dollery used to juggle a job at IBM while writing fan fiction online. When she was made redundant, the 50-year-old Sanctuary Lakes resident used it as an opportunity to focus on her writing. She tells Charlene Macaulay about completing her first book, and her love of Wyndham.

CBS Miami reported that Fan Fiction App Has Users ‘Hooked’ Through Text-Style Stories.

Finally, from a Wicked Local Malden piece about a visit from author Cammie McGovern: Malden Reads will collaborate with the literacy coaches and educators in the Malden Public Schools to share the students’ fan fiction with McGovern.

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Support a great vidder!

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 12:02 PM
Hi Dreamwidth! It's been ages.

I am about 85% activism these days, but I've got vidding on the brain again: Vividcon in three weeks OMG!

I wanted to tell you about a friend of mine whom you might know: [personal profile] kuwdora. She is a fantastic vidder who is trying to become a professional editor, battling significant obstacles to do so. She has an amazing opportunity to get coaching from the editor of Burn Notice and Empire, but she can't quite make the math add up on her own. So please consider donating to her GoFundMe. Your donation will help a talented woman succeed in a male-dominated industry, giving her the skills and connections she needs to survive in Hollywood. Please give if you can.

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iZombie Season Three

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 10:14 AM
Full disclosure, I haven't had the time to watch a single new show I'd waited for and subscribed to on iTunes: The 100; Orphan Black; Killjoys; Wynonna Earp.

The one show I managed to finish is iZombie. And I do recommend it.

Zombie S3 )

The question this show poses about humans and zombies is: Can't we just all get along? The answer potentially being, OH HELLS NO! But...not necessarily.

Doctor Who

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 9:32 AM
The Doctor Who news out of the UK have made me unexpectedly emotional. Doctor Who Casting )

Because I so loved Doctor Who for its undying sense of wonder.

The last show that conveyed the incredible, the vast strange beauty of the universe that well had been Farscape -- a different show, of course, heavy into the psychedelic, with even more whump and the personal perk of never taking itself seriously. But then Russell T. Davies' New Who came along, and finally I understood what all these other nerds and geeks with their t-shirts and telephone boxes had been about all along.

You already know the below if you've been following this blog; I'm just summarizing my experience with Doctor Who in the past and looking to the future )

So yes, I'm back to Doctor Who. Buckle up, companions.
Gluten-Free Sweet Treats: Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and More, by Emma Goss-Custard: First, this book is British and, as an American, parts of it made no sense to me. The "gluten-free storecupboard" section at the back goes through various ingredients and where to find them but failed to address my many questions. Mixed spice? Stem ginger in syrup? Damsons?? Turns out those're plums. I know this because I can use Google, but I had to go out of my way for it, and I feel like I'd have to go out of my way to find many of these ingredients, which is an obstacle. The other problem is cultural. I'm never going to make spotted dick because the name makes me want to gag.

Still, the cookbook is adorable and has many good qualities, and there are even a few recipes I'd like to try, but at a certain point I gave up because too many of the ingredients aren't things I keep around. Lyle's Golden Syrup and Lemon Oil amongst them. I continued to flip through and look at the nice pictures, but with less of an expectation I'd find something I could make out of my cupboard.

The good news is that every recipe stands on its own. The book doesn't require a custom flour blend. It uses a lot of polenta, ground nuts and seeds, and very little rice flour. It doesn't address flour substitutions, though. There's an emphasis on fresh fruits, as well as different levels of cream (clotted, double, fraîche). Weirdly a lot of the chocolate recipes call for dark and milk chocolate. Not something I see a lot.

The book itself has cute graphics and a colorful layout. I love that each recipe has an info box that tells the size/number of items it makes, baking time, and if/where/how long it can be stored. The introduction to each recipe sometimes suggests flavor variations but only rarely describes the taste and texture of the item. Add that to the fact it only has colored pictures for a third of the recipes, and that means I only have the ingredient list to go by when judging what the final product is going to be like, and in gluten-free baking it's basically impossible to guess the outcome of throwing together a bunch of nut flours and cornstarch. The British call cornstarch "cornflour" by the way. No way that can end badly.

The recipes give amounts in volume and weight (ounces and grams), and there's a helpful index and an abbreviated introduction to gluten-free baking.

Not something I'm going to come back to, but might be a great cookbook if you're gluten-free and in the UK or have gastronomical ties to the region.

OMG YES!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jul. 16th, 2017 at 5:29 PM
*SCREAMS*

ETA: link

Will be coherent later, for now I'm just running around screaming. :D :D :D

ET again A: The clip is now up at the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p058vj2q

*STILL SCREAMING*

Another edit - some quotes from Whittaker, Capaldi & Chibnall here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2017/jodie-whittaker-13-doctor
http://variety.com/2017/tv/global/bbc-doctor-who-1202496884/

OMG OMG OMG

PEDTM: Day 15

  • Jul. 15th, 2017 at 10:11 PM
Just finished re-watching the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. My hat, but I laughed a lot. I enjoy a lot of the MCU, but I think Guardians is my favorite. But when I re-watch Doctor Strange, that'll probably be my favorite, and wow, am I looking forward to Black Panther, which will probably then be my favorite. When does that come out, anyway? Oh dang, IMDB says it won't be released till next year. *sulks*

Saturday is Mother's day, but we kind of mixed this up. I drove out and spent a couple of hours with her, during which my sister and her wife called. Then I brought Mother back to the house so she could see the remodeling (she keeps forgetting that she's already seen the changes), and then Webster, she, and I had lunch at Red Lobster. She ate everything on her plate + two biscuits, so that made me happy.

During all this, I got an email from my sister-in-law asking if I would pick up a bouquet of roses for a friend of hers who was going into hospice at Mother's assisted living facility. Across the street from the Red Lobster is an AJ's Fine Foods, which is an upscale grocery store, kind of a local Whole Foods, so I left Mother and Webster in the car with the a/c running and had a bundle of white roses and alstroemeria put together, with a card I signed for my s-i-l. We dropped it off when we took Mother home. I've had texts and emails from my sister and her wife thanking us for doing that -- apparently the flowers were one of the last things her friend saw before she passed away. I'm so glad we were in a position to do something like that. It kind of shook us up, as you can imagine.

So we kissed Mother goodbye and came home and collapsed. I swam a little bit but a storm was threatening and I could see lightning in the distance, so I didn't stay long. Came in and started watching Guardians, and now it's time to sleep.

Oh! Someone on Tumblr linked to this brilliant MCU vid, Glitter and Gold, by djcprod and Grable424. Awesome, awesome stuff, and one of my favorite songs that I like to bellow when I'm cleaning house. Now I want to re-watch all the MCU movies.

PEDTM: Day 14

  • Jul. 14th, 2017 at 8:15 PM
Hello, hello, I had a lovely quiet day. Swam, took the Jeep in for a tune-up, chose new "coach lights" for either side of the garage door, came home, and mostly listened to the latest My Favorite Murder and a Josephine Tey novel. Played piano, practiced some ukulele (I have a lesson on Monday), and hung out with darling Webster. There's a chance of thunderstorms tonight, which I find extremely unlikely, but I did sit in the back yard for a bit and the air does smell unusually sweet, so maybe. We can hope.

Tomorrow is another's Mother's day, though I don't have any plans. If it isn't too awfully hot maybe we'll have lunch in the garden, or maybe I'll take her to Olive Garden for a gin and tonic and a bowl of soup. We'll see. I expect I'll hear a lot more about Uncle Russ so I will sit there smiling while my heart breaks, but, as my dear departed friend Leo used to tell me, it is what it is. If my deceased uncle Russ visited Mother recently, that's cool.

Webster has gone two consecutive days without a prodrome, let alone a migraine, so we are both very happy about that.

I found this article about the history of cats in LA, which I enjoyed: The history of domesticated cats in LA. You're on the internet, therefore you love cats, right? Well, I certainly do and I'm fascinated by the history of LA. If time machines were real, I'd want to go back to early LA, back when it was El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula, and also to right after WWII (when my parents moved there). That there would be cats is just a big ol' plus.

Jul. 14th, 2017

  • 5:12 PM
I didn't actually will myself sick to get out of a work 'team bonding' event. But I can't deny the super convenient timing.

I finished up a big work project I've been working on for months. I was somewhat concerned I wouldn't be able to find something else big and lengthy to work on next... and then I stumbled on a trash fire made up of a few different individual fires that will take a lot of effort to put out. Which is great! But also a bit demoralizing, in the sense of "holy shit is everything terrible, am I going to be cleaning up decade-old bad code forever?".

I really need to apply for other jobs. For the experience of applying, remember / figure out how the hell to do interviews, hopefully get an offer I can use to blackmail my current company to give me a better raise. (I was basically told, flat out, that the only way to get a more-than-meh raise was if they had to 'fight' to keep me. So.) But the whole concept is terrifying. I get stuck on details like, what route would I take to drive there? I haven't even applied yet, and I'm already worried about the commute. I worry about everything, the whole chain of events, up front. Which makes me good with money, I guess, but in most other ways it makes things too impossible to begin, with all the risks and potential for failure.

I have fallen off of Twitter. I've conceded that I'll likely never be sufficiently blasé with my thoughts to casually tweet them out with any regularity. I recently got an instagram acct, for reasons I'm disinclined to examine closely. So far I've kept at it longer than I feared I would, so that's nice. I'm sticking to a deliberately slow pace, for now.
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie: From Christie's author's note: "I wrote the book after a tremendous amount of planning, and I was pleased with what I had made of it. It was clear, straightforward, baffling, and yet had a perfectly reasonable explanation; in fact it had to have an epilogue in order to explain it."

It was so perfectly explainable that she had to add an extra bit to the story to explain it. Yes, that makes perfect sense. I often find my own writing to be so straightforward it requires an epilogue to explain.

This is only my second Agatha Christie book, and the only thing I remember about the first one is that it had a million characters and maybe some Siamese cats? I figured this one would at least have fewer characters. I read it because I recently finished Yukito Ayatsuji's The Decagon House Murders, which references this book in both the text and the premise, and I wanted to see how closely the two were related. Ayatsuji borrows a lot from Christie, and adds his own interesting twist on the murderer.

As for Christie, I didn't care much about the characters, and the writing is awkward thanks to a disjointed dialogue style that depends heavily on adverbs, like:

She said grimly:

"This woman was poisoned. Possibly by a toxic amount of -ly adverbs."

He said doubtfully:

"Surely that's not possible?"

She said grimlyer:

"Oh, it's totally possible."

And, as previously complained, the mystery had to be explained in an epilogue. Which isn't how I like my mysteries to be solved.

Contains: antisemitism, colonialism, racism.
NPT reveals have happened! It was a very short anon period, alas, but now I can actually talk about this. It was my first time writing this fandom - and it's a for a show I've loved for a long time. I used to watch The Pretender on German TV, and read a lot of (English) fanfic on the old pretender.de archive back in 2001/02, checking it almost daily until it vanished. My fic reading dropped off after that, but I never stopped loving the show, and rewatching it - my last full rewatch was in 2015 - only reinforced that. (It holds up very well, in case you were wondering. ♥)

Writing it myself for the first time after all that time felt pretty strange, but in a good way. :)

Title: Set Us Free
Pairing: Miss Parker/Jarod
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Jarod should be used to people being unworthy of trust, but some things hit closer to home than others. - Miss Parker knows how it goes when Jarod calls her in the middle of the night, but some calls are stranger than others.
A/N: This story refers to events from episode 3.04, Someone to Trust, in which Jarod gets himself hired as an arsonist and becomes close to his boss's seemingly-innocent wife. But Kristi isn't what she seems, and Jarod finds himself in trouble. Don't worry if you don't remember the episode well (or at all) - everything in the story should be clear from context.
Written for [personal profile] the_rck as part of Not Primetime 2017.

Originally posted here at AO3.

Set Us Free )

It's almost time!

  • Jul. 14th, 2017 at 8:20 PM
It's almost time for the Thirteenth Doctor! Announcement on Sunday!

In 2008/09, when Eleven was cast, I had very definite opinons about who I wanted it to be, and was disappointed both that it wasn't Paterson Joseph, and that it turned out to be a VERY young white bloke. (Also, OMG I hated that leather jacket look - so offputting.)

In 2013, when Twelve was cast, I didn't have specific preferences but hoped for someone who wasn't a young white bloke, and at least got one out of three.

This time? Especially after all the groundwork Moffat has been laying, if it's not a woman this time I'm going to be disappointed. If it's a white man I'm going to be disappointed and angry. And if it's Kris Marshall as has been rumoured, I'm going to be furious and will probably not watch series 11 live.

I haven't really been following the rumour mill, but I've read enough to know that unlike last time, this time round rumours about female candidates have been treated seriously by all involved, which is great. But if they don't do it this time, they'll have lost the last chance to make it mean something other than a tired old "well, better late than never, I suppose."

Cross all your fingers for Thirteen!

So I just rewatched Stella Dallas (1937)

  • Jul. 14th, 2017 at 11:34 AM
Only watch this movie if you're committed to sobbing uncontrollably through the final half hour.

Seriously, it's dated, but even 80 years later it packs a wallop. I can't think of any movie that's affected me this deeply where no one dies, is injured, or even placed in any kind of physical jeopardy.

Has anyone written anything comparing Imitation of Life (1934), Stella Dallas (1937), and Mildred Pierce (1945)? It's like the same story told three different ways, with slightly different shading. (Edit: It turns out there totally is analysis, not necessarily of these 3 films in particular, but the genre has a name: maternal melodrama!)

Also, I'm reminded - in the 1930s and 1940s, movies were about women. When did we lose that?

You dropped a bomb on me

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 10:14 PM
::glares at [personal profile] kore for getting Gap Band stuck in my head::

What a weird day today. It started by getting up earlier than I would like, especially since I couldn't sleep last night, to talk to the people who help me out with the ginormous garden that I can no longer manage by myself. Then I had to go off to an appointment with the genetic counseling specialists, who were going to do an intake evaluation before setting up an appointment with the doctor later. I thought it was just going to be me answering questions about my history (my repetitive answer: I don't know, because outside of questions about my sister, I have no idea what my family history is as I'm adopted) but it turned out to involve all this strange stuff.

First they asked me questions and the nurse doing the interview was…odd and not a very effective communicator, and then they told me I'd have to do another blood draw and I was very unhappy about that, because one of the reasons I'd gone in for a blood draw after the CT scan was so they'd be able to run all these tests. It's nearly impossible to get a vein on me and I just finally got rid of the awful bruises from the last one and the CT scan and I'm really sick of them, and she didn't seem to understand it well but there was an alternative that involved spitting a lot, or at least she seemed to think so. We agreed to that (like, I had to tell her three times that yes, I would prefer that test), and then they make you watch this little video from the genetic testing company, and then call the number on the phone there where you'll talk to yet another person about the same sorts of questions.

I was supposed to meet up with someone afterward, and when I finished watching the video I had to send them email saying I wouldn't be there at the appointed time--which, ha ha, turned out to be unnecessary because the little video tablet was an hour off; I'd seen 3:08 and wondered how the hell it had been over an hour when it turned out it had only been about 40 minutes. It's…annoying to have to keep explaining my situation over and over, and then listen to the obligatory sympathy. It's not that I don't appreciate their kind wishes and their condolences about my sister, I do, I really do. It's just that, I don't know, I thought all this paperwork was going through and instead they were asking me why I was there/calling, as though this was satisfying curiosity on my part or something. I had to keep explaining that the surgeon wanted to see if I had genetic markers for ovarian cancer so we could determine what, if anything, should be done while I'm in surgery for the tumor removal.

Anyway, after a lot of fumbling and confusion, they brought me this little kit, and I had to spit into this funnel to a certain line, and then mix it with some kind of liquid. It…is really, really hard to generate that much spit in a short amount of time. So, lesson for using it as lube in slash stories--unless your human is super drooly, they're probably not going to be able to do that (and spit is terrible lube anyway).

She didn't seem to know what she was doing, and so I'm not confident about this, but it goes off to their lab and then supposedly they call me and we move forward. I kept asking about insurance, and no one would really talk to me about it--they said that once they call me, I can decide to go forward or not, but if insurance won't cover this, I know it's very expensive and it's not something I can really think about, considering the costs I'll incur from major surgery. But it was frustrating, because no one was committing to what had to be done re: insurance, and how I find out whether this is covered or not. Since my insurance company is weaseling out of the ACA exchange next year, I have this terrible feeling they'll be a lot less willing to approve things for those of us who get our insurance that way, because they're evil sons of bitches and should all die in a fire.

So I finally got out of there with very dry mouth, and traffic both ways had been kinda hellacious so my back was really screaming a lot, but I couldn't meet up with my friends, and just went home. I'm trying to get rid of stuff lately, purging a lot of things, and I had this very expensive thing up on Craigslist for a good price, and this woman kept jerking me around about coming to see it, but finally she showed up at 8 and then proceeded to push me into a corner on the price and I felt just tired and bad enough that I went, fine, whatever. I took an instant dislike of her, and she wanted to know about this nearby restaurant but I was thinking, ugh, go away, take the damn thing and stop talking to me about how cute my neighborhood is and how you want to move to West Seattle and what a hard day you're having.

All I could think was "bitch, I have cancer" and that made me want to laugh. So that's my new mantra, and I'm combining it with something a friend told me to do, which is start making a list of, like, all the dog breeds you can name in your head when people are talking about things you don't want to hear, which they are doing A LOT of lately. I'd forgotten, since it's been a while, how much everyone loves to tell you what to think/feel/do when you get sick.

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PEDTM: Day 13

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 8:41 PM
I am so happy to be home and in bed; it was a long day. Not a bad day, but long. I took Mother for a mani-pedi, and had one myself, and then to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. It was very nice, but her memory was so bad that she couldn't always remember where she was or why. And then I thought she was going to fall out of the chair where she had her pedi; she simply wouldn't stay in it till my pedicure was done and I ended up smearing the polish on my toes trying to keep her from falling out of it. But everything ended well and she settled safely in her recliner for a nap and I went on home to collapse with a glass of wine.

And I do like my manicure and pedicure! I chose a pale pale pink this time; Mother chose her usual orangey-red.

A little while ago I got off the phone with one of the friends I went to London with, my former professor. It was lovely to hear from her. She is a little ditzy but has the sweetest heart.

Tomorrow we take the Jeep in for a tune-up, but have nothing else planned and I'm looking forward to seeing how little I can do. Plus it's Friday! Even though I'm retired, I still get a thrill from Friday.
There was just a fire alarm at my building. It lasted fifteen minutes. About half of that I spent cornering Joey, locking him in the carrier, and hauling his butt downstairs. Now, he is offended by the entire affair and shunning me.

I can't decide whether to go to Vividcon or not. Since next year is the last, I feel like whatever fandom flame I'd hoped to nurture— Hmm. Okay, I realize this may seem weird, but I feel almost like Vividcon is now best left to the community that "built that city." I have to decide soon—I haven't bought a ticket yet.

I had my Year One Transplant Anniversary Bone Marrow Biopsy today. Ouch.

P.S. Call your senators about healthcare.

free ebook: Kushiel's Dart

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 2:53 PM
Tor.com has this eBook of the Month Club where every month they give away an ebook for a week, and then for the rest of the month there are discussion posts and whatnot. Because it's Tor, the books are always DRM-free, and you can get them in mobi or epub—though only if you live in the US or Canada; sorry, everyone else.

This month, Tor's giving away Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, and I know fandom's got a thing about this series, so I'm passing it along. I think the only reason I know about it in the first place is because of fandom and the crossover/fusion fics that borrow its premise. Which, to quote from that Fanlore article, is:
The books take place in an alternate-Europe during the Renaissance; the primary setting is a country called Terre d'Ange, which is a France-analogue. Its people practice an invented religion whose primary tenet is "Love as thou wilt" - as a result all forms of lovemaking are sacred, and in canon most characters are assumed to be bisexual and there are multiple examples of relationships involving BDSM and polyamory.
So go sign up if this sounds like your sort of thing. You'll get Tor's newsletter, but I honestly enjoy having it pop up in my inbox. Tor.com has interesting articles about science fiction and fantasy, and really great free short fiction, and the newsletter gives you little blurbs about them maybe once a week.

Legal stuff: Kushiel's Dart will be available from July 13th-19th. Download before 11:59 PM ET July 19th, 2017.

Gluten-Free Cookies, by Luane Kohnke

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 1:37 PM
Gluten-Free Cookies: From Shortbreads to Snickerdoodles, Brownies to Biscotti: 50 Recipes for Cookies You Crave, by Luane Kohnke: Did I take a star off this rating (on Goodreads) because the author used the phrase "yummy-in-the-tummy" (in quotation marks no less?!) in one of the introductions to a recipe? No, but I wanted to. I wanted to so much.

Instead, I will ignore that, and focus on the positives, because there are so many of them. To start with: This book does not require a custom flour mix! Each recipe tells you exactly what you need to make it. The measurements are by volume only, though, which I find to be a bummer in gluten-free cooking. I'm going to try the ginger molasses cookies first, and maybe fool around with converting the measurements to weight using an online calculator or chart. If I can find two that agree.

Most of these cookies are made with brown rice flour and almond flour, along with tapioca and potato starch. The recipes call for xanthan gum, but Kohnke says you can substitute guar gum straight across, which goes against everything I've read, but I guess you can experiment with that if it's your thing. Some of the cookies call for vegetable shortening, which I don't cook with, but I've had good results using ghee or clarified butter in place of Crisco, so I'll try that here. The book has an introduction that goes over ingredients, cooking techniques, and tools for those people who are just starting out, but it doesn't get into substitutions much so you're on your own there. And while these recipes don't require a custom flour blend, they are based on Kohnke's own mix. She says you can use it in your favorite wheat flour-based recipes, too, and provides a handy chart to convert a cup of wheat flour to a cup of her blend with all the individual ingredients listed, so you still don't have to mix up a batch of it and have it hanging around.

The recipes cover a lot of the basics: chocolate chip, gingerbread, jam thumbprint, oatmeal, snickerdoodle, shortbread, biscotti, flourless peanut butter. There are sections on kids' cookies (for kids and/or to make with kids), bar cookies and brownies, holiday cookies, and meringues. One of these things is not like the others.

Each recipe has an introduction that describes the cookie's flavor and texture, and at the bottom it tells you how to store them and how long they'll last. There are lovely color photos for each cookie, and a useful index that is sorted by recipe and ingredients. So you can look for "ginger molasses cookie" or "molasses" and find it in both places. This is definitely a book I'll come back to.

Fanlore wants YOU (to become a gardener)!

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 8:13 PM
Fanlore is recruiting gardeners to help us with Fanlore!

Do you like writing about fandom? Gardeners are editors who work on Fanlore and take additional responsibilities regarding the wiki’s maintenance. In addition to adding content themselves, they make sure text isn’t deleted indiscriminately and tidy up after other editors, to help new content better fit the wiki’s guidelines. They can also participate in internal discussions about Fanlore events, policies, and documentation. No technical experience is required—you just need to know and love Fanlore, both as a user and an editor. If that sounds like you, come and join us!

Apply on the volunteering page! Applications are due 19 July 23:59 UTC

Elections 2017 Q&A and Chats

  • Jul. 13th, 2017 at 11:10 AM
OTW contested election banner

We're hosting live chat sessions with the OTW election candidates! Click the link to find out dates, times, and how to join, plus answers to the Q&A questions you submitted: https://goo.gl/Q5rKet

PEDTM: Day 12

  • Jul. 12th, 2017 at 8:05 PM
A bit of a day off today. Swam, fixed a big breakfast for Webster who was recovering from a migraine the night before, then made vanilla pudding (excellent: a Smitten Kitchen recipe), and practiced piano and ukulele. In the early afternoon I visited Lowes to price shelves for a closet, bought Jimmy John's for lunch, and came home to hang out with Webster. For dinner I grilled cod.

I like retirement. I never thought I'd have a retirement like this, I have to admit.

This evening I finished the fourth "Josephine Tey" mystery by Nicola Upson -- this one had Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville as major characters! I enjoyed it quite a bit and will read the last two. I do wish they'd stuck with the original narrator, though. Wanda McCaddon is a fine narrator, but I just loved Davina Porter's voices. Oh well. I see Davina has narrated many, many other books so when I finish this series, I'll try looking there.

And now I'm in bed and ready to sleep. I hope you all had a lovely day.

Oh, nearly forgot! There's an eclipse coming on August 21 and most of us in north America will be able to see it. If you go here and put in the name of your city, you'll get a graphic representation of what the eclipse will look like for you. Folks in Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming will have something closer to a total eclipse. Remember not to look directly at the sun!
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee: Henry "Monty" Montague is off to the continent for his Grand Tour with his best friend Percy and, unfortunately, Monty's little sister and a chaperone. But Monty's dad, The Duke of Whatever, is totally fed up with Monty's rake-like behavior and sets down some strict rules Monty has to follow if he wants to learn how to run the estate when he comes back. Uh, spoiler, he doesn't he follow them.

Elsewhere, I described this as a romp, and I stand by it. It's rompy. It's queer. Monty seemingly goes all ways, and in fact reminds me a lot of some James T. Kirks I've encountered in fanfic—rough childhood, convinced of his own awesomeness (as a defense mechanism), will kiss anything with a mouth, and totally, deeply in love with his best friend who has dark skin and can't eat with the family when company comes. This metaphor is breaking down, but Percy is mixed race, and while Monty might be totally oblivious to what this means for Percy, Percy is more than aware of it, and even if Monty doesn't notice, the story does, which I appreciated a lot.

I couldn't help but like Monty even though he's a self-absorbed little shit. He's loveable and slappable in equal measure. Percy adores him, so there has to be something about him we didn't get to see since we apparently meet him at his worst. In keeping with this, Monty's quest was totally dumb, and if he'd listened to ANYONE even ONCE in his LIFE then NONE of this would have HAPPENED, but then you don't have a book, or a guy who can learn from his mistakes. Which I'm not sure he ever does, but whatever. He cries a lot, too, which I dig.

Good hurt/comfort, friends-to-lovers with lots of sweet snuggling and intimate non-sexual contact, in addition to some brief sexual contact. And a kick-ass sister. Fun, super queer, and a happy (if unrealistic) ending.

Contains: violence, child abuse, suicidal thoughts, racism, homophobia, upsetting attitudes towards chronic illness/disability.

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