Today I have to attend an online class thingy at work which runs from 3PM to 5PM, so had to change my schedule for that. I thought that would mean I could sleep in, but with anxiety dreams, my guts acting up (which might be connected), being too hot under the winter quilt, and 'the kids' traipsing around the house, that last hour was not all that good. Not very effective sleep. So, book review time! I found this book my friend lent me completely fascinating and could do little else but read it for about two weeks. And now I sort of feel as if there's a hole in my life. You know that letdown after you finish a consuming book and it's not there for you anymore? I don't need the question mark on the end of that sentence, I know you know it.

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson )

Okay, then, probably time for me to start getting ready for work. :) We got that last stupid mega-push of a class cleaned up, got back to the yearly testing, and now we have another small presentation we've going to have to do for everyone, which is annoying to me because it's not a training. It's literally telling people how to do their jobs, even down to where they can stand, which I feel is in no way our alley.
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Now that Eor has finished it, also. Initially when I posted I hadn't finished it, and when I finished it I wanted Eor to read it, too, to give me feedback on if, as I suspected, there really were some huge plot holes and threads which did not come together. There really are.
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What a weird freakin book. I picked it up because I needed something to read to keep me in the bath, and today I actually took an hour long bath because I wanted to finish it. Partly I wanted to get it done with because sometimes the descriptions just went on too long. The main character didn't make sense to me - he was supposed to be smart but he seemed dumb as a post and fatally committed to being an asshole and then panicking. And you know how sometimes you expect people to go through a change during the course of a story and become a better person? Well, he went through a change and became, if anything, even more of an asshole. Well, his newfound abilities allowed him to become more of the asshole he already had been. And the ending twist that was blatantly telegraphed did NOT get followed up by the next twist I thought sure I saw coming as the real ending.

It certainly kept me reading, though.

(Again, I only have something to say if I didn't particularly like a book. ;))
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...I'm still going to have to go to work, because you can't call in on your first day back from vacation.

I know I said I was going to post a few words on the poor use of space in the cruise ship. However, I'm dizzy, my skin hurts and I can barely keep my eyes open. Reading is a challenge, let alone organizing thoughts, and I'm not quite sure what my fingers are typing. I've done very little today besides read the backlog on LJ and DW (I looked at a few of my favorite people on Facebook, but I'm not going to waste my time with the whole mess.), cook breakfast and dinner, and put away clean clothes. Skipped lunch because I was sleeping.

Eor's reading in bed, though he intends to stay awake until 8pm. I think I'll go join him.

Books read on vacation:

"Wings" - Terry Pratchett. Last in the series with "Truckers" and "Diggers;" a kid's book, good fun. :)

"Demontage" - a Dr. Who story, I don't recall the author. Might have been Terrance Dicks? A very strange (of course, it's Dr. Who) story of people and creatures going into and out of paintings.

"Children of the Company" - Kage Baker. This was actually a set of short stories, and "Son, Observe The Time" is in it yet again. However, in the new setting there's more to get from the story, as it's in context with a bunch of other stories where a certain characters evil machinations are part of the background. And it's such an enthralling story, for me, that every time I stumble across it I can't avoid getting sucked in. Also, "The Applesauce Monster" and the one where a certain characters is trapped in a submarine were both it it, both stories which I'd recalled as quite powerful and had wanted to read again. They did not disappoint. I wonder if she changed many details when she shoved them all into the bigger picture.

I think those will be the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth books of the year, but I'd have to go look that up and I just can't right now.

Hm, Eor suggests hot chocolate. Yeah, that sounds good. :)
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Finished "Brisingr" (C. Paolini) this day, being #11 in my books for the year.
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derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2013 08:27 pm)
"Eldest," Christopher Paolini = book #10 for the year. What do you think - take a break or roar on into the next book of the series?
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derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( Jan. 18th, 2013 08:03 pm)
Today, Derien travelled 1.55 miles on the journey from Bag End to Rivendell.

Continued on the journey to Rivendell

A total of 40.67 miles along the way.





Generated by Eor's Walk Tool inspired by Eowyn Challenge.net

...

And other than that, I read "Dodger" (Pratchett) and Chapter 13 of Post Captain (O'Brian) and did a couple of loads of laundry and dishes. Quite the lazy day.

I really needed it after all last week, where every day was giving tests to people as fast as I could. The days flew by, I barely had a chance to snarf bites of my lunch, and then at the end of the week the person who'd organized the testing schedule was pissed at me because I'd missed a few people. I say it's her fault for setting up an unrealistic expectation that we could do everyone in one week - it can't ever happen. There will be people who are on vacation, out sick, or just can't be spared from the line work. Or, some bonehead like me doesn't realize that there's a specific hour that certain people are available, and gets involved with another project during that hour. It happens. The stupid thing is, she's all stressed and pissed at me (literally wouldn't even acknowledge my existence when I spoke to her directly) and is probably going to blame the failure of her perfect plan on me and throw me under the bus to the higher up managers, but we actually have until next September to complete this testing, so it's not as if she even needed to schedule everyone in one week. *le sigh* And people are, rightfully, telling me, "That's just how she is," and "We can't worry about what people think of us," and I know they're right, but I still hate it when people think I'm an idiot, because I not-so-secretly fear that I actually am an idiot.

...

ETA: Just did another .37 miles, because I was cold, so...

Heard a Black Rider, met elves, and continued on with the elves.

A total of 41.04 miles along the way.
Eor got my new Kage Baker books loaded on my Nook and I'm so excited! I was thinking "Gods and Pawns" was going to be all her short Company stories that had appeared in Asimov's ("Son, Observe the Time," "The Applesauce Monster" and all the Alec Checkerfield parts) but I don't recognize any of the titles and the first one seems, so far, to be new to me. It opens with Lewis and so far highlights his heartbreaking crush on Mendoza. (She likes him, but is largely indifferent to anyone romantically because there's some kind of mystical thing going on with her - although thankfully 'mystical' is not what her personality is about - and I don't want to give too many spoilers if you haven't read this series.) Oh, I love Lewis and his sweet naivete', and now I'm all totally excited about this book. :)

And now I'm trying to peruse Wiki to find out what IS the name of the short story collection I need to round out all the Alec Checkerfield parts of the Company series, but trying not read too many spoilers. Normally I don't care a bit about spoilers, I merrily read every spoiler going.

I definitely need "Black Projects, White Knights."

Okay, so, my day. Very strange. I didn't expect a lot of people in the office because it's a holiday, but my boss went home sick, yesterday, and called in sick today, and the afternoon manager called in sick (he was looking pretty bad, yesterday, too). Moose called in sick, and I've got to admit he usually comes in even if he's hung over as all hell, so he might really have been sick. Half the people who did come to work looked and sounded pretty bad as well - snuffling and hoarse.

However, when I looked at my email I realized there is a plan afoot to send a guy I'll refer to as Franklin down to MA for a test, and that Moose and I were supposed to have worked together with him to get him ready, today. Also, that the afternoon manager was going to talk to Franklin about the fact that he's going to MA on Thursday - as in day-after-tomorrow - and work out details. But, see above paragraph - everybody's sick. I got a different manager involved, and hopefully things will now be worked out. And I worked with Franklin to get him ready for the test. I still don't feel confident and I plan to work with him a bit more, tomorrow. I hope everyone's back in, because there's paperwork to be done which I can't do and I'm afraid my boss has forgotten about.

I sort of felt weird about the whole thing, like I was picking up some slack that wasn't my business, but that's why we have a team, I guess. If someone can't be there, someone else has to do it.
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I finished reading "A Harum-Scarum Schoolgirl" a couple of days ago and need to make one more installment about the femme-slash, but I'm not sure there's any particular short bit that I can quote from the last part of the book.

A long, infodumpy quote and spoilers for the end of the book... )

Phew! Twenty chapters, a hundred and sixty-one pages in my Nook. Oh, and that bit about her hating to sew didn't make any sense as she had made extensive alterations to an evening gown to be worn on stage by the Vicar's wife earlier on in the book, so I have to wonder if Brazil was patching together a few different story ideas and not paying a lot of attention. There was even a sub-story at one point where Diana tells a short story about an adventure she had with her cousin. I don't know if I can read another Brazil right away, but I kind of want to. :)

And some random other stuff...

Today I've done a lot of things to make myself feel good - a good amount of stretching that made me feel inches taller, followed by a nice long, hot shower, some fanfic, leftovers soup with eggs and veggies, and then a pot of tea and a cookie. Now it's nearing noon I have to get started on the real things that need to be done - groceries, dishes, laundry to be put away. But first I think I'll make a run to Harpswell. Eor got his VW van back the day before yesterday! It's been gone nine months; he'd begun joking that he expected a Beetle along with it. :) But, on the way home we realized that they'd tossed an extra rug in the back, and then he got an email from the shop yesterday saying they'd found the front license plate lying around. So I intend to make the run up there and swap them the rug for the plate. I'll do grocery shopping on the way back, I think.

Here are some fun little puzzles I found through [profile] lifeofmendel, most of them pretty easy (I mean, I got most of them and was appalled with myself on the couple I missed): BrainBats
derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( May. 31st, 2010 09:26 pm)
Got back home yesterday, just minutes after my brother got done hauling most of his things from his van into our place (except for his bike, which is still in the back of his van). He came out to meet us as we got out of the car, saying that he'd been just moments from taking off all his clothes. (Because I guess what else do you do when you arrive in a new place to live after driving for days?) So today has been pulling bamboo (three wheelbarrows full of fresh bamboo and some other things - the linoleum I had dug up before we left, a few burdocks, etc.) and hanging with Hawk, shopping, cooking, and kind of trying to talk about the logistics and get settled in to a new routine where there are going to be three people living in this space. And he brought me the most awesome steampunk bracelet which I'll have to post a picture of as soon as I get new batteries in my camera!

Florida included lots of cake and icecream (because Eor's birthday, yay!) and a new Nook (which I'm sure he already wrote a review of). And let me tell you, taking a sleeper compartment on a train is very cool - private and quiet and I slept SO well. And you travel while you sleep! :) Unlike planes, where I travel while in a nightmare similar to being on really bad drugs.

Tomorrow morning I have my yearly physical, so I'm going to have to get everything packed early and get my butt out the door. I'm dying to try putting a fanfic on the Nook, but I don't know as that can happen tonight. I'm reading "Fix Bay'nets" on the Nook! I had started reading it before and can't recall why I bogged down, but I'm once again reminded that this book is everything Daegaer ever implied. It's nice to know that Fenn really wrote a loyal, adoring Gedge who followed Bracy's orders only when he felt like it.

I read "Bite Me" the third in Christopher Moore's series about the vampires Jody and Tommy. This one didn't end like I expected, which is ... kind of good, I think. Also, a good deal of it apparently the blog posts of Abby Normal, who's style is kind of like a modern goth version of Bertie Wooster - a loopy, perky, slang-loaded narration. Verging on annoying, but I liked it. :)

I should say also that Jasper Fford's "Thursday Next: First Among Sequels" (which I believe is the fifth in the series) was pretty enjoyable for me, though for a good deal of it I was wondering what the hell was going on and how it was all going to fit together.

I've been horrible about trying to keep track of how many books I've read this year, I have no idea.
Not sure if I had already posted a book 4, but going back I don't see it. Since I pretty much read all these following books simultaneously I'll give them a random order:

4) "Lady Cottington's Fairy Album," 'verified by' Brian Froud - This was a fun book, and I was surprised at how well the two characters of the younger and elder Lady Cottingtons came through. The basic premise is that Euphenia (I think that was her name) took photographs of fairies and posted them in this album with short journal entries about what was going on in her life and with the fairies. She apparently died of influenza and her much younger sister, Angelica, later found the album and wrote her own entries opposite her sister's, commenting on things Euphenia did.

5) "Big Fish," Daniel Wallace - I guess I don't get why this book is so well liked. The edition I have has questions in the back, as though it's for a class. And I'm just like "...what?" It's a series of short stories about this guy's father as though he's some mythological being.

6) "Unseen Academicals," Terry Pratchett - Fun, but I didn't like it as much as I like most Pratchett books. Although the bit Tronella objected to (where Ridcully thinks that the reason it's said that 'a lie can run around the world before Truth can get it's boots on' is because Truth is a woman and can't decide which boots to wear) didn't bother me so much as it did her, perhaps because I assume that this sort of sexist thinking is proper for Ridcully's character. No, what I objected to in this book was the assumption that there's something important about Fashion, and that it's not a problem if women are lured to spend all their money on beauty products. Well, and I do think it wasn't up to his usual standards of story-telling. Too much of things just sort of happening just as they have to and people suddenly just saying what they need to. At one point a character has a sort of mental/emotional breakdown so as to reveal a bunch of stuff to his friends and there doesn't seem to be any instigating factor that caused this breakdown... it was just time for them to learn this stuff. Gosh I'm picky. I really DID enjoy reading it a LOT, honestly - there was a lot of giggling going on behind my book.

I'm also still reading "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" by Dr. Amen, and "Triple Witch" by Susan Graves.
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Book #3 - Tracy Mack & Michael Citrin, "Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars - The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas"

Well how annoying - the title is too long to fit in the subject line.

This is not exactly a well-written book, the plot is kind of thin and fed to the reader using lots of exposition, the main character is sort of a Gary Stu (he's young, brilliant and an amazingly talented forger), action scenes are flat as freakin' pancakes, but somehow it was a fun read, and I might be up for another. Not too soon, perhaps. :)
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I loved this book - He had some serious thoughts about government to put across, and he made me laugh while he did it. I think this should be read by everyone. :)
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I may hate this book when I'm done reading it, but just now I'm kind of loving those parts that are supposed to be excerpts from books by 'Chad C. Mulligan.' The chapter I just finished reading is from the (non existent) book "You're an Ignorant Idiot" (yeah, I do love that title) and compares the draft (because "Stand On Zanzibar" was written in 1968) to a crazy person who has to rip apart another human once a week, and the community has decided to send it not the people who are dying anyway, but the ones who are at the cusp of their greatest potential, and the generalized belief is (you may or may not think this is true) that without this sacrifice we wouldn't be here. But then Mulligan (a supremely cynical character who has not been seen, only experienced as the supposed author of all these clips of books which inspire the characters in the real book, SOZ) devolves into a rant - what does it matter if these young men sacrificed their lives to this God called War for you? Because your life basically sucks. Sure, you're here, you're "free." Whatever that means. Free to buy more shit from big corporations, imho. I didn't need John Brunner to tell me that. ;) (Mulligan is rumored to have committed suicide, a plot thread which I hope goes somewhere.)

You notice I rarely write reviews after I'm done? I think while I'm reading, but when I'm done it's over. I close the book and I'm on to something else.
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derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( Jul. 4th, 2009 09:36 pm)
A partial list of what we got at the booksale last weekend... at least, so we think. It could be everything, but it doesn't seem like it's enough.

Familar Quotations - John Bartlett
Hunter of Worlds - C.J. Cherryh
Annals of the Time Patrol - Poul Anderson
The Day's Work - Rudyard Kipling
Time and Stars - Poul Anderson
Metropolis - Thea Von Harbou
Three Men In A Boat - Jerome K. Jerome
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler
Six Gun Planet - John Jakes
Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat - Harry Harrison
Memory - Louis McMaster Bujold
A Passage to India - E. M. Forster
Left Hand of the Electron - Isaac Asimov
Ringworld Throne - Larry Niven
You're Only Old Once - Dr. Seuss
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derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( Apr. 27th, 2009 10:41 am)
I feel... almost sorta accomplished. Okay, not really. But I did do enough exercise to tire me out (which was not very damned much because I've been so bad for such a long time), and delivered a paper to the bank which was wanted for the whole condo mortgage project, and made the kitchen look a little more presentable. There's a chance people from the management company might come through, today. They warned us yet again that they're coming through looking for leaking toilets, but that excuse is wearing thin where they keep using it. Not sure what the heck they ARE looking for - maybe they think someone has a cat against their lease, maybe they're expecting to find someone's drugs.

I also finished reading "Foundation," by Asimov, and read all of "Clemantine" by Sara Pennypacker, and started on "Reaper Man," Pratchett, which will be a re-read for me. I have no idea what number books these are because I apparently haven't tagged any books since #3. In between I have read at least "Another Fine Myth" by Robert Asprin, "The Sharing Knife: Volume Two - Legacy" by Lois McMaster Bujold (okay, not as good as the Vorkosigan series but I kind of like it, even if the main character's name is Fawn), and "My Dog Was A Redneck But We Got Him Fixed" - Roger Pond (this is actually a collection of essays which were originally newspaper columns, so they're mostly mildly amusing and some are him having a quick rant). Oh, I nearly forgot "Star Drek, Deep Shit 9" or whatever it was called. Pretty bad. I have no idea where it is and am not going to bother going to look for it to check on the proper title and the author. AND "The Rest of the Robots" by Asimov, which was mostly fun.

I think I'll scarf a quick bowl of cereal and go to work. I had my eggs earlier, so hopefully it won't make me sick. :)

Oh, I started writing a Rocky Todd/Bicky Bickerstaff (Wodehouse) fic over the weekend. So far it's horrible, but at least it's writing.
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I'm currently reading "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, and aaaauuuuuugh!! Holy fuck, there's a difference between making the reader feel that they're smarter than the characters and making the reader feel like the characters are numb as fucking hakes. When I get the next step in the puzzle 127 pages before the characters do, that MIGHT be overdoing it a bit.

Granted it was 127 pages of telling us how beautiful the country is and how handsome all the people in it are (except for evil people, who are ugly) (is this why the person who loaned this book to me feels the book is 'beautiful'? Because somehow it doesn't strike me quite the same way. The book is not beautiful to me just because the character is apparently in love with the world.) and also a long detour into telling us about a medieval manuscript and why it's terribly important and then giving us the actual text of that manuscript, which takes up less space. And you invented that manuscript for this book, it's part of the fiction! Do you just wish to give an academic verisimilitude? Because here's a clue - this is fiction. Even people who like reading academic texts don't necessarily want fake ones inserted in the middle of their fiction.

Do-do is a very dull girl, lately - all I do is rant about houses and this damned book. The sooner I can finish it and move on to something I like, the better. A pox on coworkers forcing books upon me! And the worst thing is, I had to work with this particular coworker all day, yesterday, and all I wanted to do was talk about how much I hate the book she made me read. So I thought of anything else I could talk about, and was ridiculously chatty all day.

Must go find a new fuse for the van. It blew while I was driving, yesterday and let me tell you it's hard to drive in a snowstorm with no wipers or front heater blower. I was relatively pleased with the fact that it took me no time to diagnose the problem as a fuse; I pretty much knew instantly what was wrong, but then I didn't know where to find the fuse box... panel? ...so it didn't do me much good at the time. Eor has now yanked the bad one, and told me where to put the new one, so I can run down to the parts store and get it this morning - and it's not snowing, today, so I can see while I drive.

(Yesterday I had to take a cab to work, was 15 minutes late and didn't get to eat proper breakfast. I was not a happy camper. All cereal and no eggs gives me a tummy ache.)
derien: It's a cup of tea and a white mouse.  The mouse is offering to buy Arthur's brain and replace it with a simple computer. (Default)
( Jan. 21st, 2009 02:15 pm)
#3) "The Shadow In The North" Philip Pullman. It ended up being not at all what I expected. I thought I was in for a light kid's adventure/mystery, and halfway through it turned into something else again. It should have warnings for character death, because you don't expect that in something that says "A Sally Lockhart Mystery" as if it were an ongoing series. Although the prose was somewhat clunky in places, and there were a few stretches, the end left me feeling a bit like I was reeling. Though of course that could also be because I'm sick.

spoiler for one character death... )
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Last night I was a gypsy kid, trying to escape, with some siblings of mine, from someone we had embarrassed, and the night before last I was a refugee from war and plague. Although in both dreams things were looking up at the end - it seemed as though the guy took pity on us and was forgiving us at the end of the dream last night, and the night before last we found a couple of kids still alive in a line of dead who were waiting for burial, and then found a quiet place to camp where there was even a store which had fruit for sale, and I bought a white peach. So I guess over all I'm hopeful, and haven't completely lost my faith in humanity?

We were up early and got the car out of the garage, and I went out and gassed up the van (have to go to an Irving station because we have this rewards card, and let me tell you, it was low enough on gas that the trip made me nervous). After that I had an appetite and when I got back I maued down 2 eggs, 4 pieces of toast (two of them with cashew butter and some good 'tri-berry' jam that Eor got for Christmas from a coworker) and then an orange. Buying a white peach in my dream of night before last made me think my body was trying to tell me to eat fruit.

They did a nice job cleaning our street last night, but it's snowing again. :P

Over breakfast I read What Is And What Seems To Be (Arthurian Legend, about Guinevere, by Lesserstorm) and 1918, by [livejournal.com profile] rabidsamfan (and now I'm sucking up all the drabbles on his/her journal.)

The other thing I've been reading compulsively, lately, is "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara W. Tuchman. I've been working on this book for at least all year, quite possibly more. I'm starting to ship Baron Enguerrand de Coucy VII with Baron Olivier de Clisson )

Oh how am I so distractible! The Recently Deflowered Girl (a long-lost Edward Gorey book) just grabbed my attention. Must make this link as I am NOT going to read the whole thing right now (am halfway through it) and I'm sure the rest of you will find it enjoyable. :)

I have been neglectful of keeping track of the books I've read so far this year. I guess I read "The Affair at Styles" on our way to Florida on the train, so that actually goes as the final book of 2008...
Book #44) "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" - Agatha Christie. (a Poirot mystery.)

At for first book of 2009 I get to claim:
1) "Daily Life In Victorian England" by Sally Mitchell. A little repetitive due to the method of dealing with each aspect of life separately in order to show attitude and technology change over the era, but interestingly enough written to keep even Short Attention Span Do-Do amused.

2) "The Man Upstairs" - P. G. Wodehouse: in fact I hope I didn't already claim this one as read, because for some reason I'd thought I'd finished it, but when Eor mentioned something about the last story I was confused and went back to find that I had only read a little over half the book. Short stories, why I hates them.

I currently have in progress "A Distant Mirror," "The Horse Stealers" (a collection of Anton Chekov's short stories), "The Clicking of Cuthbert" (another collection of Wodehouse short stories) and "The Shadow In The North" by Philip Pullman. Ugh. ADD much?
.

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