Jul. 27th, 2017 02:42 pm
chazzbanner: (tenting tonight)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
I'm wearing earrings for the third day in a row; I bought a pair in the UP, and decided to go through my collection and start wearing them again.

Tuesday's (the new ones) include a tiny turtle - I bought them at an Ojibwe museum. Yesterdays were a colorful pair of fish, made from a lightweight wood. Purple and blue? I have a pair of birds in the same style, which I'll wear next week.

Today's pair I bought at the Fourth Street Fantasy convention, from a local artisan. They are small stones. All of these are dangling earrings, which I prefer because you can hardly see studs, with all my hair.

[livejournal.com profile] ordenchaz and her daughter were with me at the MOA when I got my ears pierced. It's kind of odd, since the hole in the left earlobe was not made straight through but at slant. Awkward!, I sometimes poke around with the wire.

I'm also wearing a necklace that I bought on the UP, in the same museum store. I'm not sure I saw it as a necklace when I bought it, the 'chain' is made of buckskin, the rest of buckskin with beading and some fringe.

I'm even less used to wearing necklaces (my teeshirts all have writing on them, it seems odd to cover it!). Of course with earrings there are things you have to be careful about, such as combing your hair.


The usefulness of paranoia

Jul. 27th, 2017 02:55 pm
rattfan: Quote from Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series (Incryptid quote Seanan McGuire)
[personal profile] rattfan
Paranoia has its uses.  For a while now I've been worried that I would have problems with my Visa card overseas, as I did last time I travelled.  This time I knew there'd been a problem because I hadn't figured out that there was a cap on what I could withdraw in a day.  I thought I'd solved it, but was still worried, so decided to take the huge step of contacting the hotel's sales centre in Finland and getting them to take their money early.

Turns out my only option so close to the date was to ring them up.  As a lifelong telephobic, few things are more terrifying.  But not as terrifying as the possibility of trouble at the other end after no sleep for 24 hours.  So now I have talked to Finland and heard a tri-lingual phone message [Finnish/English/Swedish], with directions so I knew I'd be talking to an English speaker.  I painstakingly gave the details of the card and she had a go.  Transaction declined.  Right, so I then have to talk to my bank.  Turns out that the transaction limit I see in Internet banking and the limit on the card as a debit card are not the same thing.  Okay, probably this is basic to some folks, but not to this rodent.

The guy at call centre says he can lift the limit but only for half an hour; something to do with being a call centre and not the bank.  No problem!  Back to Finland, where I talk to a second operator and am plunged into wild confusion when she does not immediately recognise the contact number as one of theirs. [No idea.  First person had no trouble].  I again painstakingly explained.  Fortunately operator 2 finds the notes of operator 1 and all is clarified.  The transaction is completed and I sit back, feeling a strong wish for something alcoholic and a bit of a lie down.

I think I'll be okay now, but I would not have been, had I ignored the feeling that I really had to do this.  In many ways I'm sorry we're beyond the era of travellers' cheques.  They were easy to get, more secure than cash and useful.


Jul. 26th, 2017 03:28 pm
chazzbanner: (torii)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
A group read of Banner of the Damned has started on Reddit - a follow-up on the long Inda group read. I didn't read along this time, but followed the posts.

I got quite a bit done today, but the afternoon was thrown off by j-wat coming by to talk. Disruptive! LOL After some talk about travel the conversation got hijacked by It Can't Happen Here, the book and play (and present events). One of the staff here is in the mini-play, during the Minneapolis Fringe festival.


It's my birthday...

Jul. 26th, 2017 01:40 pm
el_staplador: Actress Mary Anne Keeley in a breeches role (breeches)
[personal profile] el_staplador
... and I'll write finally get around to finishing and posting ridiculously self-indulgent fic if I want to.

Un fior che nasce e muore: two studies in Hanahaki disease (4421 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: La Traviata - Verdi/Piave, Zenda Novels - Anthony Hope, The Opera Companion - George W. Martin
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Violetta Valery/Alfredo Germont, Flora Bervoix/Violetta Valery (unrequited), Flavia/Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf Rassendyll/Rupert of Hentzau, Duke Michael/Flavia (unrequited)
Characters: Violetta Valery, Alfredo Germont, Giorgio Germont, Flora Bervoix, Michael Duke of Strelsau, Flavia (Zenda), Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf V of Ruritania, Colonel Sapt, Rupert of Hentzau
Additional Tags: opera - Freeform, Hanahaki Disease, Alternate Universe - No Homophobia, tuberculosis, Meta masquerading as fic
Series: Part 3 of Opera Over The Rainbow

Opera has always presented a more overt demand for suspension of disbelief than most other dramatic forms, and never more so than with its ongoing fascination with plots based on hanahaki disease. The middle of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of this tidy, sentimental metaphor for tuberculosis – a gory, unpleasant and all too real ailment – and it has lingered ever since. Blood was replaced with roses, hacking coughs with immaculate arias, lingering deaths with graceful swoons.

Chapter 1: Violetta, o, la traviata (Giuseppe Verdi and F. M. Piave)
Chapter 2: Michael of Strelsau (Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan and Julian Sturgis)

I have also: been swimming in cold water; had my heart gently broken by the latest Madame C- C- instalment. We're going out for dinner later. It's a quiet birthday, but a good one so far.


Jul. 25th, 2017 03:07 pm
chazzbanner: (totoro umbrellas)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
As I drove to work I fretted about traffic and parking worries, and about whether my appointment would start an hour late so I wouldn't get back to work until 3:00 ---

I found a parking spot near the entrance, Dr. Johnston started at 12:30 today so I was first in line, and I got back to the office at 1:40. :-)

Sometimes things work out amazingly well.

Of course my eyes are blurry from dilation, and I had to answer an obscure question from j-wat about a conversation I have not been part of. (honestly how do you write that sentence correctly? linguists would say you only need to make a sentence understandable!)

I am wearing new earrings, bought in the UP. I'm also trying a trick ... whenever I lose my temper about something I am moving my bracelet from one wrist to another. It's eye-opening. The effect that other drivers have on me, for instance.

-- Just spent 20 minutes talking with lep in the hall, about camping and the horrible mosquitoes she met near Ely this month. Northern Minnesota, not East Anglia. :-)


Reading: The Star of the Sea

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:27 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The Star of the Sea is Una McCormack's sequel to The Baba Yaga (which I read last autumn). Both novels are set in a universe originally created by Eric Brown, though I haven't read Brown's books in the series, and take place in a far-future universe where both humanity and their traditional enemies the Vetch are threatened by the mysterious and massively deadly Weird. In this book, following the events of The Baba Yaga, the human Expansion mounts an expedition to Stella Maris, where humans, Vetch and Weird had been living in harmony, ostensibly to study the Weird but perhaps with more sinister motives. At the same time, Yale, one of the residents of Stella Maris, agrees to transport a mysterious human girl and a Vetch boy back to the Expansion for purposes that, at least initially, aren't clear to any of them, while information analyst Maxine Lee, working in the Expansion's capital, starts to suspect that some of the conspiracy theories she's meant to be monitoring may have more truth than she has been led to believe.

Like the first book, it's a plotty, compelling sf thriller with a strong cast of mostly-female characters. Also like the first book, this isn't a utopian Star Trek-type space opera; it's an examination of what it means to live in a society that's far more authoritarian than any of its citizens would care to admit, and of how an authoritarian regime can exploit the small (and not so small) differences between people to bring discord and division to a previously-harmonious society; and if I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I enjoyed The Baba Yaga, I think it's simply that the world I live in has shifted between last September, when I read that, and now, and I found it so dark that in places it was quite difficult to read, knowing what's going on in the world around me.

getting this in

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:44 am
chazzbanner: (window box)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
They have Paul and Babe in the UP, too. In fact, the UP reminded me a lot of the (Minnesota) Iron Range, for obvious reasons. Mining, forests, Finns, pasties. With a Great Lake shoreline! (You really can't call the North Shore part of the Iron Range.)

So much for a brief travel note!

It was easier getting to Edina yesterday than I had feared - but I'll admit that in the evening I did noooothing but watch The Great British Baking Show, and the NHK cinema verite series Document 72 Hours.

This morning I finished The History of Persia, which I've been listening to on my walks. I was so close to the end that I played it at the office after the walk, too. It was published in about *1910, I think. Pre-WWI, post-1907.

I never thought to look him up in Wikipedia, but here's their intro about the author:

"Brigadier-General Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes, KCIE, CB, CMG (28 February 1867 – 11 June 1945) was a soldier, diplomat, and scholar with a considerable literary output. He wrote historical, geographical, and biographical works, as well as describing his travels in Persia." Inneresting, as catsman would say.

Note: 1915 publication says Wikipedia, but it surely was written several years earlier.

Today I have a 12:30 retinal appointment, so I'll have my sandwich about 11:00 and leave at 11:30. I will come back to work - driving with dilated eyes, alas.


(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:06 am
slemslempike: (Default)
[personal profile] slemslempike
If you search on Idealist for jobs with the keyword "gender", the first two that come up are for the International Potato Centre and the African Cashew Alliance. They actually sound really interesting jobs, but not quite what I want to do. Herewith a very witty comment I made to a friend who wondered if potatoes have gender: "the ones with lashes are female". (Because potatoes have eyes DO YOU SEEEEEE?)

Have any of you ever bought anything from duty free on an airplane? I suppose if I actually wore perfume or had expensive tastes in alcohol or hideous taste in jewellery I might, but as it is I quite fancy a go on one of the children's toy planes and the rest seems an utter waste of magazine space.

If any of you like to buy non-Kindle e-books, and haven't already got a Kobo account, would you let me invite you to it? You get a free £3 credit when you sign up (for use on books over £3), and if you decide to use that, then I get some money too. It would keep me in Angela Thirkell books, which is what I am currently going through. I've run out of the non-terrible ones at faded page so need to expend actual money for the rest.

signs of life?

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:44 pm
chazzbanner: (wisdom sign)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
I spent the morning avoiding work and the early afternoon busily catching up on things. And I leave at 3:00 today!

Yesterday when driving back from the Southdale library I found that France Avenue is narrowed for blocks on end. Just another difficulty on my way to Edina on Mondays and Thursdays! This means using Xerxes going as well as driving back home, and of course many France-drivers will have the same idea. Sigh. So inconsiderate of MNDot!

I did some French and Italian at noon, and, after a bit of work, my brain seems to be working again, word-wise. We'll see! I did a little poetry reciting on my camping trip, but not much. Again, we'll see what I've forgotten. Two weeks seems such a long time!


still decompressing

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:50 pm
chazzbanner: (corgi bunnybutt)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
I'm suffering a bit from having had two cups of (strong) DBS coffee by 8:30 this morning. Eek! it does take time to get over that big a shot of caffeine.

A bonus for arriving back in the Cities on Thursday was that I got to watch the last few days of the July (Nagoya) basho. Sumo. :-) Hakuho set a new record for total matches won (1050) in a career. Picture me smilig, not just with this :-).

The reunion yesterday was a strange proposition. It was the 50th reunion for that branch of the family, so it was a big one. It was good to see more people there (like in the 1980s) - but it meant [livejournal.com profile] bluesail_toby and I got to talk with fewer people. Too much going on! In fact I will write a letter to Jerry-n-June because they said they used to go to the UP years ago and wondered where we went this month. No time to tell them yesterday!

The reunion tee shirt fits.

On the other hand, this computer's headset gives voice only in one ear! Not so good for some kind of asmr.

Boy it will take some time getting back to Italian and French! I won't push it.


Belated Memery

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:48 pm
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
The Kindly Ones for [personal profile] carbonel

Story here

This is an ambitious story. Its theme, basically, is "Snobbery with Violence." It's set in the place where I learned to sail, and I wanted it to have a ferocious sense of place; I'm not sure how successful that was.

Read more... )
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Europe at Midnight is the second in Dave Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series; although it isn't quite a sequel to Europe in Autumn and could reasonably easily be read as a standalone novel, reading Europe in Autumn first fills in some of the background, and reading Europe at Midnight first would take away the impact of one of the major plot twists in Europe in Autumn.

Like Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight is basically a Le Carre-esque spy thriller which replaces the Cold War with the complicated politics of a fragmented near-future Europe. Its events take place on the same timeline as those of Europe in Autumn, with limited points of intersection. It's clever and plotty and interesting and I enjoyed it a great deal. I did, however, have one reservation, which was that I counted no fewer than three separate incidents where female characters who were important to the two male protagonists died violently in order to advance the men's plots (and a fourth where a woman was only seriously injured). It's true that the novel belongs to the gritty spy thriller genre and that comes with a lot of violence, death and general unpleasantness, and it gets points for having a reasonably wide range of female characters who are as likely to be dishing out the violence and general unpleasantness as on the receiving end of it, but by the third death I couldn't help feeling that this was starting to feel a bit like a pattern, especially as none of the deaths of men had the same emotional resonance for the two protagonists.


Rivers of London: Black Mould is the third Rivers of London graphic novel. I pre-ordered this in February when the release date was, I think, May; it was eventually released this week. Like the first two, it's a short standalone casefic which doesn't add to the wider arc of the series; fairly slight, but it was nice to see more of DC Guleed in particular, and it was entertaining enough.
rattfan: (Default)
[personal profile] rattfan
Incredibly wet day today, especially for Perth.  Managed to get some exercise anyway, half of it without being rained on, when I went to see whether the Swan River had burst its banks yet.  Answer, just about;  it's lapping over the usual edges and creating some very large puddles.  I'd put a photo but despite busting my brain, haven't worked out how to do that here yet.

Apart from that, spent most of the day doing stuff around the house/messing online.  I think I have managed to break Facebook, which is now showing me ads both for gay tours of New York and dating websites so that I can find the right woman.  I also got a junk (?) email from somebody offering to be my slave.

Organising for trip to Finland is done, I'd say.  Today I got the info enabling me to pay for the tour to visit the Oikiluoto nuclear power plant on the day before Worldcon and also print out the bar code I'm supposed to present at the con when I get there.  Everything so far has been incredibly well organised on their part;  most impressed.  I work next week as normal, then the Monday and Tuesday following, then I leave on the redeye flight Thursday night.

A bit wet

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:17 am
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
[personal profile] vilakins
One of the many reasons we moved to Oamaru was the weather. It's a lot drier here than wet, humid Auckland.

The latest storm hit the whole country, but especially the east coast of the South Island, this area particularly badly. Oamaru got over three months of rain in 26 hours. The infrastructure couldn't take it, rivers have flooded their banks, State Highway 1 is closed in many places including downhill from us where it crossed the river, and houses in the North End, a flat coastal area, are flooded, and steep Don Street, one we considered, is now a river with water running under houses.

At first I was pleased to live on a hill - and so far we're all right as the rain continues - but we woke up to see a slip on the hill opposite. There aren't houses on the slope (another reason for picking this place - nice view) but I suspect there are on the flat under it.

We have to go to Christchurch next week, so I hope the roads are open by then.


Jul. 21st, 2017 10:39 am
chazzbanner: (door flower boots)
[personal profile] chazzbanner
Greetings from ... Minneapolis. We arrived back yesterday about 2:00 - just on time for lightish traffic. We did (both) check email in early evening, but the power went off in the library! No post.

We're pretty tired. Last night, exhausted. We're supposed to leave for a family reunion today and two more nights of camping there, but we've decided to go tomorrow for the day.

It's hot here! It went down to the 40s some nights in the UP, and yesterday when we got home it was 90. We had one day of rain (we went to a museum) and one bad evening downpour, but it was dry before and after. The last campground, in Wisconsin, had horribly aggressive mosquitoes, but on the other hand in the morning it was warm enough but not hot - no need for a jacket - and not even any dew on the tents so it was easy to pack.

So, just, back. If there are any photos worth sharing I'll do that, but it won't be until next week.

More later, as well. I mean, all I've talked about is the weather!


(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:43 pm
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Happy Birthday [personal profile] coughingbear

Reading: Every Heart A Doorway

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:40 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Seanan McGuire's Hugo-nominated novella Every Heart a Doorway is a school story with a twist: it's set in a boarding school specifically catering to young people who have visited the kind of other worlds familiar to readers of portal fantasy novels and who are struggling to adapt to real life on their return (most of the students at the school in this book long to return to their fantasy worlds, though we are told that there is a sister institution catering for those who need help to forget their more traumatic travels). Disbelieving parents send their children to the school hoping that they will receive therapy and recover from their breakdowns, but instead the school supports its students in understanding and integrating their experiences while still allowing them to hope that they will find their doors again one day.

The story mainly follows Nancy, who has returned from a sojourn in the Halls of the Dead with a preternaturally developed ability to stand still and a penchant for dressing in gauzy black and white clothing, to the distress of her parents who want their old daughter back. Shortly after Nancy's arrival at the school the first in a series of gruesome murders occurs; suspicion falls on Nancy, as a new girl and one whose world was a underworld, and she and a small group of other students have to work together to discover who the real murderer is. The murder mystery plot is really only a Macguffin, though (and I thought it was quite obvious from very early on who the murderer was); the book is really an exploration of identity and belonging, as the students try to deal with having found and lost worlds where they felt that they belonged much more than they ever had at home (each student went to a different world, uniquely suited to that individual). It's easy to see Nancy's parents' rejection of the changes in their daughter as parallelling more conventional rejections by parents' of their children's developing tastes and views. Identity politics writ larger also feature; Nancy explicitly identifies as asexual, while one of the friends she makes is a trans boy who was expelled from the fairyland he travelled to when he was discovered to be a prince and not the princess they thought he was.

Some of the reviews I'd read online had made me worry that this was going to be preachy, or at least a bit cringily identity-politics-by-numbers, but in fact I didn't find it that way at all; it was interesting, sensitive and thoughtful. I wasn't completely convinced by the way the murder plot was resolved, which seemed to owe rather more to the conventions of the students' fantasy worlds than to the real world in which the story takes place, but generally I really enjoyed the book and can absolutely see why it has won and been nominated for so many awards.

Reading: The Saltmarsh Murders

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:41 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I picked up Gladys Mitchell's The Saltmarsh Murders in the Oxfam bookshop, because I'm always interested to try new-to-me 1930s detective stories, and grabbed it off the top of my to-read pile last week when I was looking for an easy read to follow To Lie With Lions.

The Saltmarsh Murders is the fourth of 66 detective novels featuring Mrs Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, psychiatrist and amateur sleuth. In this novel, she turns her attention to the death of a young woman who has recently given birth to an illegitimate baby (and the disappearance of the baby) in the South Coast village of Saltmarsh, where she was paying a visit when the murder was discovered. She is aided in this by Noel Wells, the slightly dim curate of the village. Noel also narrates the novel in a first-person style which clearly owes a lot to Wodehouse, who he mentions being a fan of.

I wasn't sure the Bertie Wooster-esque narrative was a natural choice for a detective novel, and Noel is a very sloppy narrator, with events coming out of sequence in a way that made it quite hard to follow the plot at times. The book also features a black character and contains the kind of period-typical attitudes to and language about race that are pretty hard for a modern reader to stomach, as well as some period-typical attitudes to class and a couple of incidences of painfully rendered yokel accents. Most of the characters felt very two-dimensional, with the only one who really took on any life at all being the village madwoman, Mrs Gatty, and I didn't actually find the mystery plot particularly compelling. I don't think I'll be seeking out any more of Mitchell's books (although I think I might have at least one more that I bought as a Kindle bargain years ago...).


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