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Angela Duckworth, Grit. There was a bunch of buzz about this book a year or so ago, and a lot of people apparently took the part about perseverance to heart without reading what she has to say about passion for what you're doing being equally important. I'm still thinking about this book.

Graydon Saunders, The March North, first reread. I enjoy this book, but it's a really difficult read. Having a viewpoint character so immersed in their world that the reader has to puzzle out things from context is one thing, and part of the fun of reading speculative fiction; I'm still not 100% clear on what the standards and focus are, and I don't quite get the jump from "we just did this military action" to "we're establishing a Second Commonweal", but I get enough of it that I can follow along. However, when I'm having to puzzle out *which character is speaking* from context? That gets annoying.

Patricia Wrede, Mairelon the Magician. I especially admire how she writes the climactic section, as more and more people show up in one room, everybody's distinguishable, and everyone has a reason to be there.

Currently reading:

Patricia Wrede, Magician's Ward.

Michael J. Sandel, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets.

Rainbow Rowell, Carry On. This may be a "well written but not my thing right now" book, but I'm giving it another couple of chapters to see if I get hooked.

In the queue:

Megan Frampton, My Fair Duchess. I can't remember why I checked this out, but I assume it was reviewed on either Mrs. Giggles, SBTB, or Dear Author.

Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent.

Mary Roach, Packing for Mars.


Apr. 4th, 2017 08:47 pm
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Much as I like the people on my LJ friendslist who aren't on DW, I'm not comfortable signing the new terms of service at this time; since I can no longer even view my friends page without doing so, that's it for my time on LJ for now.
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Reruns of The Great British Bake Off are showing on our local PBS station, and Spouse was watching it this afternoon. At one point, ominous music accompanied the failure of a cake.

SPOUSE: Wow, is someone about to get killed? This sounds more like a murder mystery. Is there poison in one of the cakes?

CASTIRON: Midsomer Bake Off?

SPOUSE: I'd watch that.
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I'm trying to find a series of Discworld fics that I read many years ago (where "many" = "at least nine years ago and quite possibly fifteen or more"). Of course, I have no memory whatsoever of the titles or author. I've already looked on AO3 and haven't found it.
I do recall that it involved aged Vimes/Vetinari. )
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Starbucks has a new drink called the Cascara Latte. All I can think of is Water. "The rebel will not speak until the island has its own chain of coffee shops."


Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:57 pm
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I'm not planning to stop crossposting my public DW posts to LJ at this time, though I might stop cross-posting private posts. If anyone on LJ needs to find me on DW, the username's the same.
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My original assignment fic for Yuletide is Missing Persians, a 101 Dalmatians (book) fic. The recipient wanted a Perdita-centric story, and one of her suggestions, that Perdita might form a bond with the white cat over past uncaring owners and loss of children (though temporary in Perdita's case), sparked my interest.

Then when I'd submitted it and was ready to relax, I saw a pinch hit request for Ghostbusters 2016 that included the suggestion "the team appears on Family Feud". I agreed with the recipient that this was a thing that should exist in the world, and now it does: I Ain't 'Fraid of No Feud.

Cabin Pressure fans will recognize the names of the members of the opposing team. I was tempted to write it as a true crossover fic, but besides the fact that I have no idea whether the recipient likes or is even familiar with CP, I quickly realized that I'd have trouble keeping the CP side from taking over; I also couldn't come up with a scenario I'd actually buy where a British team would be playing an American team on Family Feud. So, the allusions are there, but it's not a proper crossover. (That said, it is now my headcanon that Kevin Beckman is the son of Gordon Shappey's sister, and I may yet write a real Ghostbusters/CP crossover fic.)
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I got *two* Peter Wimsey fics for Yuletide, both lovely.

A Brief History of the Patronage of Beatie Wilson. What happens to Beatie after Gaudy Night. This is now my headcanon. The voices and the moral struggles ring true.

Prelude and Fugue on the name of B.A.C.H. (spurious?) Miss Murchison does an investigation for the Cattery and in the process becomes friends with a church organist. The courtship works for me, and there's also some nice tidbits of Lady Mary and Charles Parker at home.

Thank you, fic authors!
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Open Road Media gave me an early Christmas surprise -- Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede is finally available as an ebook. It seems to be at a sale price today (Friday the 16th), at least in the U.S. -- Amazon and Barnes and Noble have it for $2.99, and Google Play for $1.99. (Regular ebook price is apparently going to be $14.99 -- ouch!)

I've loved this book ever since I first read it. The characters fascinate me, and it's an excellent example of omniscient viewpoint done very well indeed.
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Dear subconscious,

No, despite the fascinating dream, the Pandorica was not built by Tolkien's Elves. (Though if anyone could build a prison that can't be escaped from even by death, Fëanor's the one.)
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Dear Yuletide Entity,

First, thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

my requests )
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Year in the Life Meme: [personal profile] oursin gave me 2003.

Age then: thirties

Age now: forties.

Relationship then: Recently divorced and not dating.

Relationship now: Married to Spouse.

Where I lived then: house in the unpopular neighborhood.

Where I live now: same house, but the neighborhood's now very popular. Would be great if I wanted to sell, but since I want to stay here for the forseeable, the higher property taxes are a drag.

Was I happy then: Overall, yes. As difficult as it was to be the single parent of a mentally disabled child while working full-time, my life was still so much easier than it had been while I was living with my ex. I had just discovered international folk dance and was enjoying the music and the exercise, as well as meeting new people (one of whom was Spouse).

Am I happy now: Reasonably. My income isn't keeping up with rising expenses, and the prospects for my finding a better-paying job aren't great, but I make enough to keep us fed and housed, and I have sufficient sick leave to deal with the routine ills of young children. I'm still physically functional; I have some in-person friends; my family life is decent. I'm frustrated that my writing has dried up again, and I'm concerned about my family's longer-term future, but right now things are okay.

Ask for a year in comments if you'd like one. If I happen to pick one you're not comfortable writing about, please let me know and I'll choose a different one.
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In fall 2007 I bought a set of size 000000 knitting needles (metric size 0.75mm) and decided that I had to knit one project with them, just to say that I'd done it.

Nearly nine years later, it's done.

tiny sock with penny for scale

Size 12 perle cotton; stitch pattern from someone's book of Turkish sock patterns.

No, I am not knitting a second one.
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Becky Chambers, The Long Way To A Small, Angry, Planet. I'd never heard of it until someone on Ravelry recommended it; I checked it out from the library and liked it so much that I'll buy my own copy. It’s not a book for people who want tight action-filled plots; it’s a more meandering story, character- and setting-focused, though there is an overarching storyline -- a spaceship with a motley crew travels the long way around to install a gate through space in a troubled system. It hits some of the same notes for me that Janet Kagan’s Hellspark did -- glimpses of interesting cultures and how people handle various culture clashes.
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A poem I wrote for an online course a couple of years ago for the prompt "Be creative around the concept of ‘archaeology’s dirty little secrets’." Copying here to archive it somewhere besides my hard drive, since the course materials are being removed from the site.

Its Dirtiest Secret: A Sonnet

Not "Indy's whip is fiction"; not "it takes
A lot of patience", neither "what survives
Depends on ground conditions, weather, time,
Formation processes beyond control"
nor "look what can be learned from these stone flakes--
this darker stain--these sherds, of people's lives."
Not even "stealing artifacts is crime
Against a nation and a people's soul."

But deeper still: the strata show the fate
That comes to all. The artifacts we prize
Will crumble, fall unknown, be broken, cast
Aside; our bodies rot, our bones relate
Unfinished tales, perhaps, to future eyes.
This is the secret: we will *be* the past.


(written for the Coursera course "Archaelogy's Dirty Little Secrets", taught by Sue Alcock of Brown University; if it's ever offered again, I recommend it)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
In looking for relatives of my grandmother's second husband, I have found a person whose father's surname was Weatherwax and whose mother's maiden name was Potter.

I have never wanted to fake a genealogy to show me as the descendant of someone, but this tempts me.
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If I were an Evil Supergenius with Unlimited Resources, I would try to genetically engineer long-lived octopuses, just to see what would happen if their problem-solving skills and ability to learn weren't hampered by a three-year lifespan.
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My new bizarre fannish theory: Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus is River Song on one of her side adventures.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
After a conversation on another forum, I now plan to request Duo from Duolingo slash fic the next time I do Yuletide. (But who would be the other character? The bear who drinks beer? The rhinoceros that the man tried to play with? Other?)

(Seriously, I've found Duolingo very helpful for picking up the basics of other languages; it's not enough to make one fluent, but it's enough of a grounding to build from.)


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