We had a trial run this morning for how things will work in the fall, once school starts, because Cordelia had to catch a city bus at 7 a.m. in order to be at Skyline for an 8 a.m. orientation. I'm pretty sure I only got through it because I woke at 2:30 and took my thyroid medicine. If I don't wake to take it, I have to wait an hour and a half before I can eat or have my morning tea/coffee. Which would mean eating right at the point that I can actually go back to bed.
I have no idea how I'm going to make it through that time without sugar and caffeine. Scott has asked me not to discuss it because it upsets Cordelia to think that she's making things hard for me. I kind of want to snarl at him because that doesn't actually help me at all.
I'm kind of thinking that what ought to happen is for Scott to be the one to make Cordelia's breakfast since he'll be getting up at the same time she does. I'm not convinced that I need to be up to do that just so that he can sit on the couch and watch TV with her. (She needs the whole hour and a half to spin up and be functional. If someone doesn't put food in front of her, she won't eat.) I guess we'll see.
After Cordelia got on the bus, I took a walk. I walked very slowly for about an hour and a half. Then I went home and tried to get some things done. At about 10:30, I tried to nap, but I kept getting texts and phone calls. I did sleep some because I had kind of gripping dreams in between the texts. I figure I'm tired if I manage to out and out dream in a ten minute nap between text messages.
I need to find some space for myself in the next few days so that I can finish the fic that's due in early September. The problem is that I can't write it while Cordelia's home, so I may not actually have much time. She's volunteering most of next week, so maybe I'll have time then, but I also have doctor appointments in there and a bunch of other things that need doing while she's not at home. I don't know. I have 6000 words of story and something that would be an ending for any other exchange. I just haven't gotten what I need for this.
I'd normally ask Scott to get Cordelia out of the house, but I don't see that happening between now and the due date. There's just no way to make it work.
I hope this is still cross-posting to LiveJournal. Anyone from LJ reading this, for the past 48 hours, LJ has not let me comment on anyone's journal. I will try again on my laptop on route, but might not be able to catch up.
Will talk more about a really good ballet I watched recently on YouTube.
In many ways, this is a very typical novel for its genre: lonely people bumbling through their lives, trying to understand who they are and how to interact with the culture around them. It's improved by its touches of levity and brightness, including an almost unrealistically happy ending, but it's hard not to be pleased to see these characters succeed. I absolutely adore Ranjana's vampire obsession, which feels so bizarre surrounded by the very serious-minded literary quality of the rest of the book. Though I do have to protest that Satyal does not seem to have done his research. He says, Anne Rice had as many orgasms in her books as commas, but come on, Anne Rice almost never writes explicit sex scenes. Clearly it should be Laurell K. Hamilton had as many orgasms in her books as commas, and I know he's heard of Hamilton since he name-dropped her in an earlier scene. We also get an excerpt of Ranjana's novel-in-progress at one point, and it's much more Dracula or even Nosferatu than anything from the modern paranormal romance genre. But I forgive these mistakes because awkward moms writing vampire romance is beautiful and should be in more novels about the Immigrant Experience.
Overall it's not a particularly outstanding or memorable example of what it's doing, but it's just odd enough to be worth reading, and your time will be pleasantly spent.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
Hoodoo Harry by Joe Lansdale. A novella in the long-running Hap & Leonard series, mystery/thriller books about a pair of mismatched best friends (one a white straight ex-hippie, one a black gay conservative) in rural East Texas. In this adventure, Hap and Leonard are driving home from a fishing trip when their truck is rammed by a bookmobile driven by a terrified 12-year-old boy. Unfortunately the kid does not survive the crash, and an investigation turns up signs of torture on his body as well as the fact that he'd been missing for a week. Even stranger, the bookmobile itself had disappeared more than 15 years ago, along with the woman who drove it. From that point the adventure takes off, with an investigation, more bodies, fistfights, secret hidden rooms, and an all-out gun battle.
This is a quick read (only 76 pages) and could easily be enjoyed without knowledge of the rest of the series, though it's dark enough (as you could probably guess, when a young child dies on page one) that I'm not sure many would want to. It's funny, it's exciting, it's tense, it's basically everything Joe Lansdale always does well, just in a smaller package than usual.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History by Eric Foner. A collection of essays previously published in The Nation about the connection between American history and contemporary issues. Foner is a well-regarded historian; though I know him best for Gateway to Freedom, his book on the Underground Railroad, he's studied and written on multiple periods and topics.
The oldest in this collection is from 1977, written for the 50th anniversary of the case and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. Foner describes the ways the men have been used as a symbol and example for multiple agendas, and how most such portrayals ignore the reality of them as individuals. It's still an interesting and useful article today. The most recent is from January of this year, 2017, and recounts Foner's experiences teaching a college course called “The Radical Tradition in America". He's taught it since the 70s, and students have understandably changed over time, from those who were trying to maintain hope during the Reagan 80s, to those energized by Obama's 2008 victory, to the last batch, influenced by Bernie Sanders's campaign. Some of the essays do feel a bit dated, such as the one from 2001 on the Patriot Act. It's still an awful law, don't get me wrong! It's just that nothing Foner says here is likely to be news to the reader.
My favorite essay was the one on Lincoln's changing views on slavery and racial equality ("Our Lincoln", 2009). Foner portrays him as ultimately a centrist, slow to change his opinion but equally capable of correcting past mistakes. It's a nice change from the black-and-white view of history (and modern people) that can sometimes take over our thinking.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie. Ah, this book is fantastic! :D I mean, it's Rushdie, who's surprised, but I do think this is by far the book of his I've loved the most.
The Golden family – Nero, the patriarch, and his three adult sons, Petronius (aka Petya), Lucius Apuleius (aka Apu), and Dionysus (aka D) – are newcomers to The Gardens, a small self-contained neighborhood in New York City, like a child's dreamy ideal of pre-hipster Greenwich Village. Their names, by the way, are all fake; the family is fleeing undisclosed trauma in an unnamed country (it's obviously India, but you have to get fairly deep into the book for that to be made explicit). Each adjusts, or doesn't, to their new life in America with varying degrees of success. Petya attempts to move past his severe autism and alcoholism, Apu makes a name as a celebrity artist, and D struggles to figure out his (or her) gender identity. Nero joins the construction industry, blasts his name across buildings, and acquires a Slavic trophy wife, but it's not quite fair to call him a Trump analogue; for one thing, Nero's far too smart and self-aware, not to mention capable of regret. In fact Trump himself is occasionally mentioned in the background, though he's always referred to as 'The Joker':
To step outside that enchanted—and now tragic—cocoon was to discover that America had left reality behind and entered the comic-book universe; D.C., Suchitra said, was under attack by DC. It was the year of the Joker in Gotham and beyond. The Caped Crusader was nowhere to be seen—it was not an age of heroes—but his archrival in the purple frock coat and striped pantaloons was ubiquitous, clearly delighted to have the stage to himself and hogging the limelight with evident delight. He had seen off the Suicide Squad, his feeble competition, but he permitted a few of his inferiors to think of themselves as future members of a Joker administration. The Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face and Poison Ivy lined up behind the Joker in packed arenas, swaying like doo-wop backing singers while their leader spoke of the unrivaled beauty of white skin and red lips to adoring audiences wearing green fright wigs and chanting in unison, Ha! Ha! Ha!
All of this is narrated by René, a young man also living in the safety of The Gardens, a filmmaker with dreams of making a documentary about the Goldens, or perhaps just a movie starring a fictionalized version of them. René openly admits that he will combine characters or change backstories to fit his idea of how the story should go, which means it's always open to interpretation how much of what he's telling us is the truth.
It's a book that is bursting at the seams with stuff of all sorts: Greek myth, Roman history, Russian folklore, American politics, philosophy and melodrama, an enormous number of characters each of whom gets their own backstory, motivation, and secret thoughts, subplots and sub-subplots, dramatic revelations from the past that reappear unexpectedly, murders and fires, equal allusions Kipling and to mafia movies and the I ching, and even a secret baby. The writing is gorgeous, of course, and there's plenty to make you think, but what I was most surprised about was simply how compelling it was. I never wanted to put this book down, because I was so thrillingly engaged to find out what happened next. Just a really, really amazing book. I already want to reread it.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
Okay, I'm all caught up with my Netgalley reviewing at least. Now I just need to write about the nine other books I've finished...
The other track actually got used as "exit music for a film" or at least a TV show.
I find both of these selections to be genius and more than a little creepy.
thank you so much for writing a story for me! I'll be absolutely thrilled about anything you can create about the relationships I requested, and everything important is in the requests themselves, but if you'd like some additional info/ideas/thoughts, here's some of it:
( Fic Likes & Dislikes )
I hope this is useful for telling you about the kinds of things I like to read. :)
Now for the fandoms and ships I requested, in no particular order:
( Grimm - Kelly Burkhardt/Elizabeth Lascelles )
( Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Sarah Connor/Catherine Weaver )
( Once Upon a Time - Regina Mills | Evil Queen/Mary Margaret Blanchard | Snow White, Red Queen | Anastasia/Jabberwocky )
( Doctor Who - Thirteenth Doctor/Missy )
ETA: While I'm at it, what's the difference besides animation style between Star Wars: Clone Wars (older, 2D animation) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (newer, 3D animation)? I am strongly biased aesthetically toward 2D animation but will watch the latter if the story/characters are good...
Erotic Poems ed. by Peter Washington -- the hodgepodginess is delightful: Tennyson sandwiched between Baudelaires. Recommended still. If you do read it, be aware that the last poems are all about the fire gutting out, so plan when you read it accordingly.
Villanelles ed. Finch & Mali -- a morning in a hammock in a ponderosa forest gets me to the end. Good stuff, both the older and contemporary workings of the form. Recommended.
Plus various poetry anthology readings not otherwise noted.
In comics: 1) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the Great Lakes Avengers, a compilation of a four-issue arc plus some specials (including her first appearance, as a teenage Iron Man fangirl). Oddly dark, but fun when Squirrel Girl herself is onstage. 2) Super Hero Girls: Summer Olympus, words by Shea Fontana, art by Yancey Labat -- a couple times through, reading it aloud to TBD.
Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations: Volume I: from Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty ed. by John Minford & Joseph S.M. Lau -- a thick brick to match the long title, being 1130 pages plus preface and appendices. Found this browsing in the library, and we'll see how far I can get before I run out of renewals. I am very much enjoying the sheer SCOPE: it starts with oracle-bone and bronze-ware inscriptions, which are even more interesting than expected. (Note: volume II seems not to have been published? If so, BOO HISS!) Am less than 20% in, which still covers a lot of ground.
Subject quote from "Goblin Market, Christina Rossetti.
I was in Oregon, in the totality zone, for the eclipse; this is more or less my trip report, written as fiction in the Fear of Spiders/Overwatch universe. The eclipse really was indescribable - you have to be there - but this is my best attempt to relate what I saw and how I felt.
All the locations are real world locations, accurately described, and specifically relate how I got down to Shiniko, Oregon for the totality, and back, after crossing the Oregon border from the north. All of Venom's and Widowmaker's lines are basically my commentary while being the one driving... inappropriately quickly... with my road trip crew down a surprisingly empty Highway 216.
"I loved it," said the Widowmaker, her voice fluid, "when the spider ate the sun. Slowly dimming light, then sunset all around, in all directions, and then - gone, but for the corona. Exquisite."
"That was wizard!" agreed Venom, speeding along Highway 216 west from Highway 97 to Highway 197 in the Oregon high desert. "The sky went violet! Blue, dark, rich, with extra violet, somehow. The pictures always made it look black, but it wasn't! So intense!"
"I think that was partly ultraviolet, from the corona," suggested the elder assassin, as the old-style automobile - a Spider, appropriately enough - barrelled down the road into the canyon, chasing the water. The speed limit sign said 55kph. She hit it at 120. "The light had such intoxicating depth."
"Felt like time just stopped! And I know from time." She giggled at little at herself, and shook her head. "Pictures just can't tell the story, can they?" said Lena.
"Not at all. One cannot even describe it, one must experience it. The changes in the air, the blue and violet glow, the heat vanishing with the sun..."
"And then, and then, the last bit of the sun goes out, and you look past the glasses, and - wow! The sun is, like, whole different star! And the sky is a different sky! It was like - it was like bein' in space, like being on a whole 'nother world!"
"The black hole sun, the streaming flares of fusing hydrogen writhing in the sky, the glowing colours - I never imagined the colours would be so intense." She sighed, wistfully. "I do not think my cameras captured the violet, only the blue."
The tires screeched at the first downhill hairpin turn. The road carried with it no forgiveness, no margin - cliff wall to one side, sheer drop to the other. A few guardrails buffered against the worst of the turns, or, at least, the first couple, and then not the next, and not the one after that. The Spider held the road, if barely, as the Talon assassins drifted in their vehicle, across the road, into the opposite-direction lane.
"I remind you," said Amélie, "despite having applied to the Commonwealth, this country is still right-hand driving."
"Yeh, yeh. Curve speed signs are for wankers."
Widowmaker smirked. "That one, if anything, seemed overly permissive."
The junior assassin slowed the vehicle, but not much, and sped it back up at every opportunity. "Nobody's usin' the other lane, I might as well."
It was true. Even with the tens of thousands of tourists flooding back from the zone of totality, Highway 216 sat empty of traffic, out in the high grassy desert, barreling down towards the Deschutes River, splashing and rushing at the very bottom.
"Even so," said the spider, "this road does not seem very forgiving."
Venom chuckled, and hit the accelerator again. "Feeling nervous, love?"
"Feeling impressed that the Cascadians do not seem to care about guard rails, perhaps." The car's right mirror - still just within its lane - came within a few centimetres of the cliff wall. "Or margins for error." She looked out over the cliff the road hugged. "This countryside - it is almost painfully beautiful."
Off to the left, a series of canyons, or one long, split canyon, almost cartoonish in perfection, stepped down towards the water, a mix of steep rocky slopes and bare basalt column cliffs, volcanic, spotted with the occasional first-coloniser plants, mostly gold, some auburn, some ash, and, almost inexplicably, splashes of dark, vivid green, the green becoming dominant the further down towards the river, but really, anywhere water might run or pool or even be slowed down, even a bit, for the thirsty plants to grab it up.
"Whole bleedin' country's a bunch of picture postcards, innit?"
"Glad they had the sense not to muss up the view with fences." Venom floored the antique Sypder into the next hairpin curve, not quite fishtailing, not quite sliding away and to oblivion. "I can't believe we're the only ones on this road. Look at what they're missing!"
"It's not the eclipse, but it is fascinating. Perhaps the tourists are afraid of the heights," said the spider.
"You mean, it's just us 'cause they're too scared?"
"And therefore, do not deserve to see this."
"Fair cop," said the younger assassin. "Woah!" she said, surprised by the severity of yet another hairpin. "That was a tight one!"
"Be careful, we cannot crash this vehicle here - we might start a fire."
"Blimey, that'd be a right cock-up," the junior assassin replied in all sincerity. "They have fires all summer already, don't they?"
"It seems so," the senior assassin said, gesturing back towards a burnt out patch they'd driven by, some 30km before.
"Well, good thing we've got that car park all lined up."
"Indeed. Just be sure not to hit the river. Fish and gasoline do not mix."
"Easy peasy. Reach 'round, pull the body forward, will ya?"
She pulled the middle-aged man forward, from the - well, it wasn't really the boot, not one worthy of the name, not in an F430 - and propped him up against the centre console, between their individual seats.
The Ferrari flew over the first river bridge, as Venom let the engine really open up. "May as well go out in a blaze of glory, y'big ugly monster," she said, made the final turn at a desperately dangerous 220kph. "Good handling, I'll give you that. Right! Whenever you're ready, love..."
"Grab hold, cherie, and ready your grapple," the Widowmaker said, grabbing her lover and launching the two of them out of the automobile. Venom kicked the wheel hard to the right, and the Spider flipped over, briefly flying, then bouncing down the road, hitting once, twice, a third time, and skidding into a gravel parking lot before bursting into flame. Widowmaker's chain retracted, pulling the two Talon agents high into the air, and just short of apogee, Venom launched her chain, and up they went again, a second arc, and again, at apogee, Widowmaker's grapple made the top of the butte, where their ship sat, concealed, and waiting.
From atop their high vantage point, they could see the local wardens rushing forward with emergency fire suppression, the wreckage of the convertible already burning itself out, the body of Roger Müller - well-known multi-millionaire playboy and less-well-known deep financier of ultra-nationalist media and neofascist politicians - already well-crisped. His remains would show a blood alcohol content well above 0.17, over twice the legal limit, but entirely in character.
"And that's why y'don't drive pissed." Venom said to her partner, cheerfully.
"That was magnificent."
"Such a shame when people overindulge, innit, love?"
Widowmaker spun on her lover, pulling her abruptly, roughly, against her own body, eyes wide and open. "Yes. Let's balance it by overindulging ourselves."
Venom shuddered with quick arousal. "Fast cars and fast kills? I like the way you think, sweet. But let's move the..."
"So now I'm the sensible unf " - she said, as Widowmaker bit into her neck - "...we can't stay here, love. Somewhere else. The way we went south. Nobody's on that road, either."
"Fine. Bakeoven, then. How quickly can you fly us back?"
"You just saw how quick I got us here in an antique, didn't ya?"
"Point made. Go."
Lauren Chun, The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi (2012)
Read Vongerichten for a fusion tour. Read Chun to distinguish older and newer (she labels). Neither book could have existed without a family member: Vongerichten's three-star chef husband enabled the TV show on which the book rests, and Chun acknowledges the restaurant in which she was raised, though she doesn't trouble herself to credit by name the ajummas who labored in her mother's kitchen.
Both have a great grounding in writing and showing what one knows, however. Vongerichten is admirably matter-of-fact in crossing among the restaurants where she and Jean-Paul dined (thence recreated or adapted a dish), remembrances of her adoptive parents, and remembrances of her birth mother. She lived with the latter till she was three years old, then parted and re-met when she was grown. Chun studied law and worked as a wine buyer before returning to kimchi, the one thing her mother had warned her not to share with non-Koreans, which made me wonder whether we're of similar age; quite a few K Ams from the US West Coast have this story about their childhoods, without Chun's backing (or Roy Choi's) of restaurant-quality food.
(Japanese miso soup and ramen were acceptably exotic, but Japanese anything was protected by the coolness of their electronics during that mini-era. Korean food was nearly unknown even in southern California unless you lived right atop K-town or (where Chun was) Orange County's Garden Grove/Anaheim pocket. Otherwise, you were assumed Chinese, a situation aided by the fact that some Chinese restaurants served pickled cabbage, whether in their own right (northerly tradition) or because they were run by Koreans.)
Yesterday, Cordelia and I went downtown around noon and bought sandwiches. We took our time because we didn't need to be at the high school until 2:15. I didn't expect that part to take more than half an hour (and it didn't). I spent some time using up some of my Ingress inventory in hopes of clearing space for the things I'm supposed to have for the anomaly. I'm still short on a number of things, and Scott's behind me in that respect.
For about three hours yesterday, Ingress was giving 2.4 times the normal level of points for everything. After that until almost 4:30 this afternoon, they gave 1.7 times the points. Given that yesterday was the one day I was sure I'd be out of the house for a while and able to do Ingress, I was pleased.
We got to the high school about half an hour early, but they sent us on through. It wasn't actually crowded, and we managed everything pretty quickly. Cordelia now has a student ID and three very, very heavy textbooks (which they did not warn us we would need to take home with us). We got home a bit after 3:00, and I more or less fell over.
This morning, Cordelia and I went out for her annual doctor's appointment. That went well enough, but we found out that the dermatologist Cordelia's been seeing has left the practice, so we'll have to deal with someone else when we need to renew those prescriptions. They've still got two female doctors (and two male), so it won't be hard to get Cordelia in to see a woman as she prefers.
don't throw away your eclipse glasses! mail them to Astronomers Without Borders, or deliver them to the nearest organization (most likely a local school) collecting them for AWB, so that students in South America and Africa can safely watch the next eclipse!