keeping vigil

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:08 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Content Warnings: dying, life and death questions, medical details, family stress, kids

Read more... )
elf: Silhoette of autumn scene; one glitch sitting on a park bench, another leaping in the air (Glitch - Autumn Day)
[personal profile] elf
This gets interesting, because "reminds me of summertime" often has nothing to do with the contents of the song. I spent a good portion of my preteen and early teen summers in Arkansas, so there are a swarm of country & bluegrass songs that I think of as "summery" because that's when I heard them. But those aren't the only ones I think of as "summertime" songs.

Cotton Jenny | I'm Gonna Hire a Wino | Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire) | Delta Dawn | Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time | Cruel Summer | Stay Young | Good Vibrations | Nobody | Boys of Summer

And one I associate with summer both because of how I first heard it and the contents )Meme list

(no subject)

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:18 am
chocolatepot: (Default)
[personal profile] chocolatepot
I should have put, under my "positive" column yesterday, about buying strawberries - I'd been walking to Stewart's for milk, and I saw this Amish woman holding a wooden tray with two quarts of strawberries on the sidewalk. (This is a small residential street, not the sort of place the Amish usually set up stationary booths.) I was thinking, "I hope she's selling those, I'd really like to buy them ... but it'd be super awkward if she actually just looks like she's going door-to-door, maybe she's just delivering some strawberries that someone else ordered, I don't know ..." But she greeted me and sold them to me for $3 each! I carefully put them in my tote bag, and they still did squish and leak a bit into the hip of my dress, but it seems to have washed out. So I've been having strawberries and cream (not clotted) for dessert lately, and yesterday Sue happened by an Amish stand when she was returning lightbulbs to the hardware store, and bought me another quart! So much strawberry.

OTOH, would you like to be depressed? Someone unpicked a mantua to turn it into some kind of hideous, shapeless sleeveless fancy dress.

still present

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:28 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Still present. Staying with things. Uncle slept all day, is declining, no longer able to drink liquids. Aunt got out of the house for a few hours while we (Dad and I) were there. Cousin age 5 is a handful and a delight. We fought many monsters, took the dog for a walk, and ate gorilla food (gorilla munch brand corn pop cereal, yogurt, sliced fruit). At lodge to rest now. I am sad and not okay, but I am okay with not being okay, and I am here.

Reviews

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:46 pm
slashmarks: (Leo)
[personal profile] slashmarks
The Sultan of Byzantium - Selçuk Altun. My main advice to you in deciding whether to read this book is to first ask yourself if a book that is mostly about the Turkish protagonist wandering around Byzantine ruins and thinking about history, with some intrigue to spice things up occasionally, is appealing to you; and if yes, to read about a chapter and decide whether the protagonist is obnoxious or charming. If you find him obnoxious, you will hate the rest of the book, so just put it down there. I, however, actually liked him; it helped that he is possibly the most obviously autistic character I have seen in a while (he speaks to inanimate objects regularly; can read hundreds of pages of history in an afternoon; and displays the plot relevant ability to stand in a room and skim mosaics with hundreds of pieces, then quickly find the one tile out of place – after which he is vaguely embarrassed about having accomplished a difficult task implausibly fast and hangs around pretending not to be finished for a while. I found this almost unbearably relatable.) I also was amused by his blase acceptance of his childhood sweetheart coming out as a lesbian, followed by visiting her in Italy and staying with her and her girlfriend for a few weeks to catch up.

That said, he is also very, painfully arrogant, and the sexism in this novel is really just – weird. On the one hand, it's hard to say the protagonist is particularly oblivious to women when he doesn't seem to notice anyone at all unless they're involved with something he's obsessed with; on the other hand, there's some really creepy behavior in the romance subplot that otherwise affects nothing, and the protagonist repeatedly hires sex workers and is polite but oblivious to them as people, too, so that may bother some readers. (I found the parts of the romance subplot that weren't creepy and stalkerish cute; he meets her when he has to ask her permission to gain entrance to ruins she is currently supervising work on, falls in love with her in the back of a lecture she is giving on Byzantine history, and their courtship consists of three weeks of wandering around Byzantine sites in Istanbul while he provides exposition and she takes photographs and notes. As far as I can tell they discuss nothing else during this time. You see what I mean about autistic coding?)

Pile of Bones: a Novel of the Parallel Parks – Bailey Cunningham. This is a portal fantasy with a twist: the protagonists are essentially participants in a fantasy, immersive MMORPG, which they access via a park in their city. I had trouble getting invested in the basic premise because I had trouble believing anyone would voluntarily go back to the park once they found it; the life of low level players, working drudge jobs until they find an opportunity in a world much more casually violent than modern earth, seemed too miserable to actually work as escapism, whatever the lure of adventure. I also just did not like the constant low level grossness – like, it's possible to write characters sneaking in through the sewer without graphically describing the filth and specifying that they don't have time to wash after, you know? I just don't want to read that. Most people, I would venture, don't find it appealing. That said, once I was invested in the characters and plot it got a lot more interesting, I appreciated the random classical history dropped into the park, and I really loved the slice-of-life academia sections in the real world; I also loved how all of the characters are queer and one of them is a queer woman and a single parent, whose parenting is shown on screen.

Spanish Society: 1400-1600 – Teofilo F. Ruiz. Research reading, described by its author as a social history of Spain. The problem with this work is that it is only unwillingly a social history; the author is really interested in economics and political violence, and spends most of his time talking about those things. The two chapters on topics that are undeniably social history – food and clothing; and popular culture – are probably the worst scholarship in the book and the sections on food in particularly are painfully judgmental and downright bizarre (a pound of bread, half a pound of meat, vegetables and a liter of wine is inadequate food in one sitting? What on earth does the author eat? And please stop telling me about how Fat Heavy Diets Are Bad, this is a history book, not a diet manual). The rest of the book is fine, and useful, with the author's judgmental tendencies obnoxious but mostly limiting themselves to misplaced but ignorable adjectives like “bizarre” and “miserable.” A decent overview of the economics and political violence of Spain immediately post-Reconquista, with some useful citations on food. Ignore everything he says about clothing.

The Ruins of Us – Keija Parssinen. An American expat who married a Saudi man twenty-five years ago discovers her husband has taken a second wife without telling her; the slowly unraveling dysfunctions of their family are abruptly revealed all at once, and things explode. Also involved is a second American expat, a friend of hers from college who works for her husband. The major strengths of this novel are the characterization – everyone is complex and believable, if their behavior is not always likable – and the prose; I found it gripping even when I really wanted to put it down. I think the plot was mostly reasonably well handled, just not my sort of thing. I'm not sure if I bought the denouement, it seemed like the events of the conclusion should not have been so easily swept away, but what was logically difficult to believe came off as mostly emotionally satisfying and fit the generally somewhat dreamlike tone.

In the Labyrinth of Drakes: a Memoir by Lady Trent – Marie Brennan. And the series continues to improve. Loved the archaeology in this one, loved the attempts at experimental science instead of solely fieldwork, loved the protagonist's brother showing up and their sibling relationship loved the romance plot – intellectual companionship plus hilariously in character impulsive decision making, I actually went back to reread one particular scene – but was kind of torn on the setting; I really want an explanation for how the alternate history sets up the Arab caliphate(s) existing and a city that I had the impression was based off of medieval Baghdad, without the Mongol conquest or the subsequent Safavid and Ottoman rule in the region. Like, either write secondary fantasy or don't, you know? Half-accuracy is distracting. The culture also felt oddly thin in places, probably because the early modern middle east is a setting I've actually studied. But overall I definitely enjoyed this one.

So ...

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:27 am
chocolatepot: (Default)
[personal profile] chocolatepot
Negatives:

- Normally, I feel kind of down on Tuesdays: first day of the work week, not where I want to be, etc. etc. so I just give myself more leeway to doodle around at work that day and get down to things later, but this week it's just continued all the way through. The change to our open and working hours is really bumming me out - since we're only going to be open until 6pm on Fridays instead of 8, the Friday evening "extra shift" no longer counts as a thing, and each week one of us will work Monday (while closed) and the other Saturday (while open), so there will be no more alternating 3- and 2-day weekends, which means that any time we switch Mondays/Saturdays, one person gets Saturday-Monday off and one person only gets Sunday off. It's not objectively a huge deal, but one of the very few good things about working here was the flexibility and the long weekends. Most frustrating, because I can't even deal with it by going, "well, I'm going to get a different job and open a new chapter of my life!" since I'm already trying that.

- We had a special events committee meeting and I could barely function in it because all I could think about was how deeply I resented board members for coming up with ideas for me to follow up on or criticizing what we're doing because they don't spend enough time with us to realize some problems aren't our fault (e.g. whining that we don't send out enough press releases, when the issue is that not every news outlet we send them to publishes them; complaining that some of our presenters are sucky/barely relevant, when it's not like we have people queuing up to present and I know approximately 10 people in this county). Or signing up to work one shift (or not sign up to work any) at an event where I'm working 5-15 hours of unpaid overtime.

Okay, but on the positive side!

+ I put in for Koa, CoK, and Thick as Thieves at the library on the same day, hoping they would come in the proper order for me to finish the reread first but knowing they wouldn't, and they didn't, and so now I'm reading TaT! It's sooooo gooooood, Eagle of the Ninth meets The Goblin Emperor!

+ I just confessed that lately the board is making me completely nuts, like they've gotten less tolerable or something, and Sue agreed and said that maybe that's why she's been sleeping poorly and feeling not-great, so we're totally on the same page as far as that goes and I'm not a horrible, bitter person.

+ So maybe I couldn't have the green dress on display in the house - the Cranford dress, despite being massively bigger than the form, looks quite good in situ and somehow matches the room well despite being, um, brown-on-brown.

+ I didn't write very much over the past two days, but what I did write I'm pretty happy with. Needs editing, obviously, but this draft is turning out so much better than the first ... I'm going to have to do a compare/contrast thing here one of these days.
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
[personal profile] elf
For this one, I also have a swarm to choose from. Probably not as many as color-songs, though; I like lots of songs with numbers in the chorus but not in the titles. I think I'm going to bypass the entire Schoolhouse Rock set (I like all of them, but especially Zero My Hero, Figure Eight, and Little Twelvetoes) and try to stick to "mainstream" songs, or at least, songs intended to be standalones rather than part of something else. (Mainstream's in quotes because I have some filk here; if you don't know what they are, they'd be hard to track down.)

Christmas at Ground Zero | One Tin Soldier | Two of Us | Threes | Wind's Four Quarters | Five Years | Six Days on the Road | Seven Year Ache | 867-5309 | 9 to 5 | At Seventeen | 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover | '65 Love Affair | 88 Lines about 44 Women | 99 Luftballons ...

Wow, there's a lot of mopey in that list. I should pick something that's a bit more perky.
One bouncy cheerful number song, coming up. )

thank you in my whole body

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:07 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Warning, contains emotions in tumbling mixed up words Read more... )

context, kinfolk, and crow feather

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:34 am
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
So to provide a little more context for my last post…

CW: discussion of death and dying, major illness, family ties, travel uncertainty

Read more... ) Neighbor crow, I am listening. Uncle, I love you.
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Really? Just one? I have a whole rainbow of songs I like with colors in the title: Crimson and Clover | Orange Crush | Big Yellow Taxi | Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine | Crystal Blue Persuasion | Purple People Eater | Lavender's Blue ...and then we get to colors not in the official rainbow set... Bad Bad Leroy Brown | Whiter Shade of Pale | Touch of Grey | Black Hole Sun | Pink Shoe Laces | Sister Golden Hair | Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

Gah. Have to pick just one.

I'm going with pirates. )

30 Day Song Meme

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:29 pm
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
[personal profile] elf
Stealing this from [personal profile] kshandra. I decided I should blog more, and telling myself to blog more about Important And Interesting Things isn't working, so I should try one of those "blog every day" things. (I've never done well at them.) This time, I picked something easy and fun instead of something that requires Deep Thought that I usually don't have by the end of my workday.

So: 30 days of songs, which are likely to be YouTube embeds (but maybe not, because I have a great love for a lot of filk that's never made it to YouTube); some are likely to get a lot of commentary, and others are likely to be "here it is, end of the day... um, have a music thing."

SUMMER SOLSTICE JAM PARTY BEGINS NOW.

List of Songs to Post Later )

so i have an eticket all of a sudden

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:04 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
traveling tomorrow

serious illness in extended family

hugs welcome

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