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.
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.
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?
So, I just read Copperbadge's Charitable Getting. Feeling conflicted about how happy the ending was, and how much the character who was very obviously Copperbadge got to shine at the end. I think I'm torn in that classic conflict of "Life is not that neat and tidy and doesn't have happy endings" and "But I read fiction because it's required to make sense! And I LIKE happy endings, because real life is too depressing!" Oddly, I had not read his Extribulum page before copying that link, above, so this evening while preparing this post I perused several entries and found he addresses that particular conflict here, and comes to the same conclusion. :) It was a very enjoyable book, even though the formatting got all messed up on my Nook and it was often difficult to tell who was talking. Paragraph breaks just weren't happening.

And I only just realized that was book #7 for the year, and I'm only in the beginning of week #4. I started trying to keep track, although I suck at it. I will never, ever be able to keep it up all year. But reading is something to do while I'm walking.

And for my walk, a sad showing after two days off because I wasn't feeling well:
Today, Derien travelled 0.56 miles on the journey from Bag End to Rivendell. Nothing interesting to report. A total of 41.6 miles along the way.
Generated by Eor's Walk Tool inspired by Eowyn

"Work" was riding in the car all day with Mainertoo, who talked non-stop. Yes, he totally knows it, and gave me a can of cashews for putting up with him, but honestly it's not hard, he is amusing. :) I just can't get my own thoughts sorted out in the very little spare air space left me to think and respond.
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


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.
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. 8th, 2013 07:46 pm)
But my monitor is. Grabbing some time on Eor's laptop. He's very sweetly ensconced me in a comfy chair with a blanket around my legs, which I don't particularly need because I'm still sweating from my walk and really need to go take a bath soon. ;)

I may, actually, finally, be developing some stamina. I walked for longer and at a higher angle than I have for a while.

Today, Derien travelled 1.45 miles on the journey from Bag End to Rivendell.

Road curves slightly
Followed the fairly straight and level road.

A total of 31.86 miles along the way.

Generated by Eor's Walk Tool inspired by Eowyn

(For some reason the links did not copy as they usually do, though.)

Of course it's always easier walking for a while when I've got a good book to read, and I have "The Life of the World to Come" by Kage Baker. Don't try to jump straight into this book, it's at least the fourth or fifth of a series and I've been waiting ages to get it, and am finding it rather delightful. :)

So, yes, the monitor. It's been unhappy for a few weeks, I guess, refusing to start right up again when left to go into power-save mode. It would take ten or fifteen minutes, then start up when it felt like it. And I said to myself this might be kind of a good thing, because it would break my of my addiction to reading Facebook. A week or so ago Eor thought of a way around that - he set it back to using a screen-saver so it just stayed on all the time, and I got to see all my Hogswatch pictures cycling through. And that worked fine until Windows decided to do some of the regular updates, day before yesterday, and the monitor just never recovered. Oh, it's little power light blinks, but it acts like it's in power-save mode. Ah well. I've been reading and walking on the treadmill more, so it's probably a good thing. :)

Must go take my bath, although I suppose I should post to Facebook real quick, too. And maybe check my email.
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.
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
I've been reading Angela Brazil novels - girls at boarding school, WWI era - and the first two were kind of slashy, but this one...

(Diana, the main character, talking about her roommate, Loveday):

"I'm falling in love with her," she admitted to Wendy. "I was taken with her, of course, the moment I saw her, but I believe now I'm going to have it badly. I think she's beautiful! If there were a Peach Competition, she'd win at a canter."

(Diana has gone to bed very upset):

All night long Loveday had uneasy and troubled dreams about Diana. They met and parted, and quarrelled and made it up, they did ridiculous and impossible things, such as crawling through tubes or walking on roofs; they were pursued by bulls, or they floated on rivers; yet always they were together, and Loveday, with a feeling of compunction and no sense at all of the ridiculous, was trying with a sponge to mop up Diana's overflowing rivers of tears that were running down and making pools on a clean table-cloth. She awoke with a start, feeling almost as if the sheets were damp. Stealthy sounds came from the next cubicle, and the candle was lighted there.

"What's the matter, Diana?"


"Aren't you well?"

"Yes, I'm all right."

"What is it, then?"

As a grunt was the only answer, Loveday got up and drew aside the curtains. Her room-mate was ready dressed, and was in process of combing her light-brown locks and fixing in a slide.

"What the dickens are you up to, child?" ejaculated Loveday in amazement.

Diana turned quickly, pulled Loveday down on to the bed, flung an arm round her and laid a fluffy head on her shoulder.

"Oh, do be a sport!" she implored.

"But what do you want to do?"

Never fear, she actually just wants to go visit her cousin, who's getting sent to the front. However, female ejaculation is apparently not a myth. ;)

Later, they get a new agriculture teacher who brings two student- assistants with her...

"I believe I'm going to adore Miss Chadwick! She looks so sporty. She wrinkles up her nose when she laughs, just like a baby does."

"The little dark student with the freckles is my fancy."

"Oh! I like the other, with the bobbed hair."

Damn, I need to get to sleep. But I think there are more delights to come with this book. :)
In the first few pages of the book we get an infodump outlining the Worlds of the book: Originally, when people from the Live World died they moved on to Half World, a sort of Purgatory for working out their spiritual baggage before moving on the live for a time in the Spirit World. (And then they would be reborn into the Live World.) However, something (hand-wavely never explained) broke the connection between the Spirit World, the Living World and the Half World, so that everyone who was in each World at the moment the connection was broken got stuck where they were. In Half World they are reliving their deaths, with greater or lesser time spans between the reliving depending on their strength of will... and somehow they can extend that time also by mutating into monsters (also never explained). Humans still die (the story begins in a world indistinguishable from ours) but instead of going to Half World they are now being immediately reincarnated, which causes more anger and violence because they don't get to work out their stuff. Those who were in the Spirit World at the time things broke can't get back to be reincarnated and apparently are getting steadily more ethereal, possibly to be lost forever if things don't get reintegrated.

The writing was uncomplicated, but did have enough variety in sentence length and structure to give some expression of different levels of intensity and emotion, which I appreciate. However, I felt the whole story suffered from bizarre over-the-top characterizations and speech mannerisms. Why does one character always refer to everyone in the third person? No reason is ever given, it's just one of those mannerisms, intended, I guess, to make her 'distinctive.' The Big Bad Guy is particularly weirdly monstrous and psychotic. In addition I'll grant you I don't know much about mythology but this idea of Half World rang to me as though it had been quickly invented for the story. There are also several points which are not very well explained. How is it that there's a convenient portal from the Living World to the Half World, which seems to be where people need it to be? Why do some animals help our young heroine? When did the link between the worlds get broken, and how? The Half World seems to have a perfectly modern feel to it, so it might have been last Tuesday. And there was rather more gruesomeness than I would have preferred, personally. I felt a bit scarred by so much talk of people's violent deaths, even if they weren't actually dying that moment. I was left wondering why nobody seemed to have died peacefully in their sleep! And then there's the occasional mystical character which seems to exist for no particular purpose, almost as though the author is attempting to create the feeling of a cross-over from other stories.

I awarded points for the main character being non-special, and remaining so all the way through. She's overweight, poor in school and gets bullied really harshly. (I kind of hate those books that try to pass a girl off as unattractive because she's 'too thin.' Yeah, sure.) Her mother disappears one day and the girl is told she has to travel to Half World if she wants to see her mother again.

So, yes, most of the way through I was not a big fan, because I thought the background was unnecessarily hideously gruesome and horrific, but I do realize I'm probably overly sensitive, and undoubtedly more sensitive than the average kid these days. Because, you know, I'm old. (And frankly I read a lot of horrific fantasy stuff when I was young which I think screwed my brain up rather badly, so I'd hate to see that happen to other people.) But I was really pleased and surprised that in fact the main character never develops super-mystical-powers, she remains completely ordinary, doesn't do anything violent, and in fact triumphs through compassion, while it still being an action-packed story. Which was awesome. In fact it's implied that she's not exactly the person that the prophecies refer to, which was amusing to me.
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)
( Sep. 1st, 2011 08:01 pm)
I should put a bookmark right here
and save it for winter, when a sunny afternoon is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

Sorry I don't seem to have much to say during the week and I just want to hide in a dorky comic. Work is kind of wearing me out. In the weeds isn't the half of it, I'm up the creek without a paddle, totally at sea, and I'm not sure I'm even keeping my head above water. Can you think of any other boat related phrases? Because my Dad named me after a boat he said always rode out the worst weather. :) I was headed out to a medical appointment yesterday, a little late and way too caffeinated, and the not-boss got in my way asking me questions about where we were on this and that and why I hadn't done something else over the weekend, and I told him it was because there hadn't been anyone here who needed that training on Sunday and hadn't he had me doing fifteen other things?

"I'm doing my best, but there's only one of me! Only one!"

"You got that right," he said. But he got out of my way.

Today I said I was sorry if I'd seemed a bit snappish, but he brushed it off. I think we're on the same page about all this. I'm getting stuff done, it's just that there's so much. He says he's reminded the Big Guy that another person at my level was supposed to have been hired months ago and that it's ridiculous to expect me to do everything alone.
Very good, I thought. Work, With Occasional Molemen, Jeremiah Tolbert.

And yeah, I don't know why I'm getting sick again so soon, this is rather unusual for me. But I made myself a really good kale soup and am pushing the herbal tea.
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.
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. :)
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.
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. 21st, 2009 10:29 am)
It's a rainy day and I'm being lazy. I've finally just about caught up on [ profile] indeedsir, though I've only read the first chapter of the "Jeeves is a spy in WWII" epic The Long Long Trail - six parts posted so far of fifteen. I kind of don't want to go on to the second chapter until they're all posted.

I have endless amounts of tea, courtesy of my new tea pot brought back from England. :) I had hoped, though, that with a new teapot I wouldn't dribble when I poured like I did with the old one (a rather gaudy thing in dark blue with gold pheasants on it - I thought it terribly pretty when I bought it, but I was 18, then. There are some things we'd often rather not be reminded of when older, and our artistic tastes is often one of them. Think about this when you contemplate getting a tattoo.) but now I find I must accept my fate - I am a dribbler. But the new teapot much more suites me, now - it's round and chocolate brown, fading delicately darker at the edges. I adore it. :)

I forgot to mention that I found out last week that one of the blank phone messages on my answering machine when we came home was my coworker, Alice, calling me to tell me she'd found green peppercorns in a co-op in Bangor, and then realized just as my answering machine picked up that we were in England. It was nice to know that she thought of me and remembered me mentioning that I was out of green peppercorns. :)


While washing dishes just now I found myself singing "Come to the church in the wildwood," a hymn which I only learned because it figured in a sci-fi story I read when I was a kid, where some old German dude with a (I think) bassoon finds that if he plays that song with a special crystal reed he gets little blue warthogs coming out of the woodwork and they... do something. Eat his pants, I think. I read this story multiple times, because it was in a particular anthology which resided at my grandmother's house in Rockland and was something to read when I was there, and a lot of the stories were kind of crazy like that. (I suspect it of being the same anthology which had "Genevive for Everybody," "The Blue Giraffe" and "Helen A'Lloy"). So then I had to look up "The Gnurrs Come From The Voodvork Out" and discovered it was written by Reginald Bretnor, and that there are a few more stories in the Papa Schimmelhorn series (page down to Bretnor) - he was writing them up until 1987! I must find these!

*sigh* Okay, been too lazy, today, must hurry, now. :P
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)
( Mar. 11th, 2009 08:39 am)
I'm reading Fix Bay'nets! and am on Chapter Four: Wounded Men. My goodness, I honestly have never read anything so manly and gay.
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? 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)
Curried Goat in a paper cup


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