Books read in March 2019

Apr. 20th, 2019 11:37 am
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou

As discussed last month, I’m redirecting the energy I previously used for providing content warnings into writing a little bit about what I thought about the books.

(This isn’t why this post is late. There was minor Medical Drama involving unexpectedly low iron levels and some rather unpleasant tests to try to find out why — short version is my internal organs are fine, we still don’t know where all my iron went, but iron tablets are magic, and that’s good enough for me.)

Definitely recommend

Swordheart, T Kingfisher. I somehow wasn't expecting this to be a romance. But it is! As well as fantasy. I’d read it again.

The True Queen, Zen Cho. I loved the first book in this series (The Sorcerer to the Crown) and I love this one even more. Dragons! Powerful older women! Wit and banter that are actually funny! And other reasons to love it that would be SPOILERS.

The Martian, Andy Weir (re-read). I keep confusing [personal profile] bob by referring to this as “the potato book”, but honestly the POTATOES are the thing I love about it. There’s at least one potato reference that made me laugh out loud simply because of its precision and dryness (which may or may not have been intended by the author). Some of the book is a bit clumsy (the stereotypical German, the insistence that humanity never leaves anyone behind when it’s set in the near-future with no indication that the problems of poverty, famine, institutional racism, etc have been fixed) but overall I like it and may well read it again.

Maybe recommend

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie (re-read). Hercule Poirot mystery with an unreliable narrator. I'd read this before many years ago so knew the twist, but enjoyed trying to figure out where the gaps in the story were and how it was all managed. The thing with Agatha Christie is that you can be reading along quite smoothly and then suddenly there's half a sentence of casual and entirely unnecessary racism, anti-semitism, ablism, etc, and then it goes back to being an interesting detective story. (Some of her books are worse than this, with the racism or rape-apologism embedded in the plot — I will never read Nemesis again.)

Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, T Kingfisher (re-read). I decided to read these again after enjoying Swordheart, as they’re all set in the same universe and although I didn’t enjoy these two all that much the first time round, many other people seem to have loved them so I thought I’d give them another go. Still not my favourite: too much sexual longing, plot very slow. There are individual lines that are hilarious, though.

The King Must Die, Mary Renault (re-read). I read this when I was a kid and was absolutely astonished by it. It's still very readable, but although I'm aware of how pioneering it was in terms of retelling the Greek classics, I much prefer the more recent and less male-oriented works like Circe.

Wouldn’t recommend

The Valley At The Centre Of The World, Mallachy Tallack (DNF). This was just kind of boring. Also, there were too many short, choppy sentences that kept pushing me out of the story. I tried to work out if there was some pattern to these, some reason for them, but either there wasn't or it was too subtle for me. I got 27% of the way through and kept finding myself wishing I was reading something else, so I stopped.

The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman (DNF). This was kind of the opposite of The Valley in that it's all action and very little scenery. I again got fed up of it around the 27% mark and stopped reading.

Hot Money, Dick Francis (DNF). Not enough horses, too many unpleasant rich people. I stopped reading at the point where one of the main characters stated that a disabled person would have been better off dead.

Infomocracy, Malka Older (DNF). It's the future! Everyone has Wikipedia installed on their Google Glasses, police push their way through crowds by poking people with plastic triangles, and global elections are conducted with wards of exactly 100,000 people each. I decided not to buy this after reading the Kindle sample, so I don't know if the author ever explains what happens when someone dies or reaches voting age.

City Of Lies, Sam Hawke (DNF). I tried really hard to finish this! I should have liked it! It describes food and plants and technology, and has disabled protagonists! But I found it very boring and a little sanctimonious, and I kept forgetting which of the two POV protagonists was the current one, since aside from their disabilities and jobs they were fairly indistinguishable.

The Shipping News, Annie Proulx (re-read) (DNF). I read this years ago and remember liking it, so I thought I'd give it a re-read, but unfortunately I've also seen the film so was unable to get Kevin Spacey out of my head.

Flying Finish, Dick Francis. I appreciate that he included reproductive justice activists, but also hormonal contraception doesn't work like that. I liked all the detail about how you transport horses by air. But generally this isn't great. Too much about the perils of communism.

A Is For Alibi, Sue Grafton. This book is really weird about people's bodies, especially fat bodies. Aside from that, it's a fairly generic detective story with added tedious heterosexualling.

Mum Back in Hospital

Apr. 19th, 2019 02:22 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Ambulance came to pick her up this morning: she's developed an infection on top of her broken ribs/sternum/cracked vertebra. They're going to be keeping her in at least overnight :(

The Friday Five for April 19, 2019

Apr. 19th, 2019 03:32 am
spikesgirl58: (I see you)
[personal profile] spikesgirl58 posting in [community profile] thefridayfive
April is half over and we are tumbling toward May and soon it will be the season of graduating. It seems like every class has a graduation now, so how about you

1. Did you enjoy your senior year of high school?

2. Did you have a senior trip (high school) and were you able to go on it.

3. Was graduating (from either high school or college/university) a big thing with your family or just another day?

4. What were you looking forward to the most after graduating from either high school or college/university?

5. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your graduating self?


Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DW or LJ. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so please feel free to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**

The Blessing of the Bears

Apr. 18th, 2019 08:33 pm
baratron: (cute)
[personal profile] baratron
When I am in Rochester with Grant, we go to Community Christian Church which is, in my words, a "hippy church". The first thing you see when you enter the building is a sign saying "Refugees Welcome", and they actually mean it. The minister is a gay man married to his husband, some of the lay people who help with the services are visibly queer, and it's genuinely welcoming. Even though I'm not a Christian, I still feel more at home there than in the UU church we went to once, where people came up to us afterwards and enquired as to whether the service was the strangest thing we'd ever been to. The idea that we might be Unitarians already didn't seem to occur to anyone. (There is a second UU church in Rochester, and I might try it sometime, but I don't feel any particular need to.)

Some people from the church work for a charity which helps children who may have been abused (TW: site talks about child abuse). When they come for assessment, they can choose a plush friend to help them through the process. Apparently they get through 4 to 6 plushies per day, which is a lot of new referrals. One of these people, Bob, died recently and in his honour, the church decided to collect Bears for Bivona because it was alliterative.

When we arrived and saw a giant box of bears (and other soft toys), I decided to go through the box and hug them all. So I did so after the service. When people asked what I was doing, I explained that you can't just buy a teddy bear from a shop, stick it in a collection box, and expect it to be able to help a hurt child. You have to give it some love first. And Rev Steven considered this and decided to put the teddy bears out in church the following week.

At Community Christian Church, Rochester, NY, USA. 2019-04-14
(click through for bigger version)

So the bears sat through the church service and were filled with the love of the congregation. They were pointed out during the "share with children" part of the service and each child went to hug one of them. Then the bears were blessed so that they could bring joy to their new owners. If you get the impression that this is not exactly a standard, mainstream sort of church - you'd be right!

Also the sermon featured Banksy art. (Did you realise that Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant?)

More bear details. )

Surely she's not going to....

Apr. 17th, 2019 08:01 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
TWWOTV has been having fairly extensive building work done inside her house, as part of which they stripped out all the loft insulation (we could tell, because they stuffed the porch full of it to get it out of the way).

When I took Bob out for his walk today, I noticed that it had all been brought outside and piled in a big heap. Just where she typically has her bonfire pile.

"Surely she's not going to..." I thought, snapping a quick picture of it just in case. I had a quick google when I got home, and found various reassuring stuff about it being fire retardant, and thought no more of it.

A few hours later, I was doing a bit of cleaning and, as it was warm, opened the back door to let some air in. A few minutes later, an utterly revolting smell drifted in.

Yup, she did. Massive rolling clouds of yellow-brown smoke were pouring past the house. Is that safe? Is that legal? Is that the builders driving off as quickly as they can like sensible people?

Called 999. Took them an alarmingly long time to find our address on their system. They were only interested in the 'on fire' aspect of things, and whether there was anyone looking after it. When I said that the builders had gone and I couldn't see anyone nearby, they sent a fire engine and told me to call Environmental Health.

Called Environmental Health, who located us much more quickly (presumably using the magic of Google). Fire Engine arrived, and EH said to call back when they'd gone / not gone. Fire Engine left, so presumably she was home and just got a telling off. Called EH, who said "I'm on my way". Called New Mrs Up The Hill and told her to 1) get the kids indoors and 2) to call her local EH as well (she got the out-of-hours and left a message).

Fifteen minutes later, Bob exploded and I opened the front door to find a pleasant-looking man there. "That was quick!" I said, and got a confused look from our local councillor who was out canvassing. We had a chat (very diplomatic: "I'm ignoring the national party issues right now and just focussing on the local elections"), he said he'd look into a couple of things for me, he went on his way.

The wind shifted slightly. The smoke was now blowing Up The Hill, rather than at us. The EH guy arrived, and spent quite a while muttering ("stupid... inconsiderate... rude... why would you...") before rather apologetically saying that as the wind had shifted away from our house he couldn't do anything but tell the Up The Hill EH guy what he'd seen.

And I still have no fucking clue what breathing in smoke full of chemicals and laced with microscopic glass shards will do to me, the dog, the horses, the ducks and -- most worryingly -- the ducklings. Hey ho.

Mum Update

Apr. 16th, 2019 10:22 am
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
She came home from the hospital yesterday, and appears to be recovering as well as can be expected. Thanks for all your good wishes.

Hellboy (2019)

Apr. 16th, 2019 09:41 am
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Daughter and I went to see Hellboy yesterday. We liked it.

spoilers under the cut )

Busy growing

Apr. 15th, 2019 05:04 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
The ducklings and us!





This morning, the ducklings were already outside when I went to let the ducks out. Sigh. I guess the duck house door isn't quite duckling proof. We got them sorted out, and they immediately dived on their food, so I guess they went out because they were hungry.

We've had a busy day in the garden: Mike set up the irrigation system for the polytunnel, and mowed the lawn, and I assembled supports for the peas and beans, some of which we then planted out. It's amazing how much better the soil is in that bed compared to last year, but that's what happens when you put a nice layer of horse manure on and leave it to the worms over the winter.

We've rearranged the veg garden this year, so that we can fence part of it off and keep the muscovies away from the legumes. Fingers crossed.
ewan: Star (Default)
[personal profile] ewan posting in [community profile] rglondon
Welcome back to another week! Just a short update this time.

Untitled

Our featured article is Family Bistro, SW16 4EU, which is a Polish restaurant in Norbury. The pierogi are handmade and worth the wait, for all dumpling fans.

Our one new addition is Byrnes Pie and Eel House, a pie and mash shop in Wallington, with trad styling but relatively recent to the area. Our RGL explorer judges the food to be fine.

What I did in March 2019

Apr. 14th, 2019 10:08 pm
squirmelia: (Default)
[personal profile] squirmelia
Bridging Home

I caught a glimpse of a Korean house that had landed on a bridge above a busy road.

I ran around Bristol wearing cat ears, while playing Ingress. An Anomaly was happening and I was a Media Moggy. My team, the Enlightened, won the Anomaly! I also did some missions for Mission Day, and some other missions that took me around Bristol to stare at some of the graffiti. I also tried some tatratea liqueur and met some fun new people.

I walked on the pier in Herne Bay, and along the beach, past beach huts. I stared at the sea. I played Dance Dance Revolution in the arcade, and air hockey with my mum.

Back in London, my shadow was captured at the Science Museum, which I visited with family, and we marvelled at rockets.

I ate purple carrot cake flavour nitro ice-cream, went to Pub Standards for drinks with web folk, and visited the Photographer's Gallery and saw some challenging exhibitions.

I celebrated [personal profile] sbp's 50th birthday in an unusually decorated pub.

I ate lunch with [personal profile] jacquic at Stem + Glory. Aubergine, mmm.

I had drinks with Frood.

I visited the Riverside Gallery in Richmond and saw the Imprinted Memories exhibition and ate ice-cream at Danieli's.

I saw a performance of the Myth of the Singular Moment at the Vaults Festival. Must try to go to see more things next year!

I walked on Wimbledon Common, but didn't see any Wombles.

I think I ate goujons for the first time. I'm not sure what the difference between goujons and fish fingers is though really.

I ate a sweet marked “surreal” and thought perhaps it would make my day more surreal. Rainbow bagels appeared after that. I went to the Barbican and watched a video of a game based on the artist's grandmother's dream diaries. I went to the Wellcome Collection Late on Cyborgs and listened to a talk by people who have designed objects such as a scarf that confuses facial recognition systems and VR experiences. I played a VR experience that started in a salon and ended up by some goddesses who had some words of wisdom. I watched a video of cyborgs dancing.

I ate a Lego biscuit and stared at the wonders of the world made from Lego, and twanged a few instruments.

I gazed out over London from 120 Fenchurch Street and bumped into friends there briefly. I enjoyed the view. It snowed very briefly then also.

I wandered through Camden and went to ChinChin Labs and ate a St Patrick's Day sundae which had lucky clover ice cream, chocolate potato cake and stout chocolate sauce. I headed to the British Library and went to an exhibition on Cats on Page, which was about books that contain cats. I listened to sounds of cats and guessed what the cats were doing. I listened to Adrian Edmondson reading The Cat in the Hat. I read about cats that are detectives and cats with magical powers and poems about cats. I listened to the Top Cat theme and then to Lovecats and danced a little bit in the library then. After that, I went to Japan House and saw an exhibition on Prototyping in Tokyo and saw robot tardigrades and artificial limbs and 3D printed structures that moved pleasantly when you picked them up.

I met up with a friend and tried a taste of durian ice cream, but the taste still makes me feel nauseous, so then I opted for Hong Kong Milk Tea ice cream in a green macaron.

I wandered into Selfridge's to look at a skip, but the art wasn't that exciting and the performances were not that often.

I went to Ladies that UX and listened to lightning talks. The moon looked beautiful on my way home.

I helped create cross-faction field art in Ingress – making a picture of the EU flag in the game by walking to different locations around London.

I went to a video game dating event!
squirmelia: (Default)
[personal profile] squirmelia posting in [community profile] flaneurs
My notebooks fell off my shelf and I started looking through them and there were journeys I'd been on by bus written in some of them, that I never got around to writing up. Here is one such journey:

I did June Challenge I.(c) Buses, but which June I did it in, I am unsure now. Maybe I have photos and tracks to accompany it somewhere. Anyway, for this challenge, I got on the first bus that came along, then got off after 9 stops.

Read more... )
squirmelia: (Default)
[personal profile] squirmelia
My notebooks fell off my shelf and I started looking through them and there were journeys I'd been on by bus written in some of them, that I never got around to writing up. Here is one such journey:

I did June Challenge I.(c) Buses, but which June I did it in, I am unsure now. Maybe I have photos and tracks to accompany it somewhere. Anyway, for this challenge, I got on the first bus that came along, then got off after 9 stops.

Read more... )

(Cross-posted to [community profile] flaneurs)
baratron: (endurance)
[personal profile] baratron
My apologies for the lack of updates. I have been eaten by chronic fatigue . Fortunately, I am staying with Grant, so I have access to an Emotional Support Alligator.

At some point I should write about things such as PAX East, Being a V.I.P. at Bethesda Game Days, and interviewing Todd Howard (yes, the Todd Howard), but I kinda have to get that interview typed up first. Our interview with Rich Lambert is online in video format and I'm 2/3 of the way through the transcription. Can you believe it takes an hour to transcribe 5 minutes of audio? It's nothing to do with how quickly a person types, it's the effort required to get all of the dialogue recorded perfectly. We tried an auto-transcriber and it had severe issues with all of the fantasy universe words. If you'd like a laugh... )

In other news, I believe there is a BiFest in Kingston today, which would be very convenient if only I was in Kingston instead of on another continent. I expect a full write-up (within session confidentiality rules) and lots of photos (with the consent of the people in the picture). Please.

Tube Walk reminder

Apr. 12th, 2019 05:54 pm
miss_newham: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_newham posting in [community profile] tubewalks
The next Tube Walk will be on Sunday 14th April - this Sunday! We'll be walking from South Quay to Crossharbour and meeting EARLY at 1pm. Hope to see you there!
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick


At least seven out of eight, I think. ZuZu was not happy to see me, so I'll go out again in a bit with an assistant to have a proper check. I suspect that Mike will want me to deal with ZuZu while he wrangles the ducklings!

When I went out, two of them had fallen out of the nest and not figured out how to climb back up. I think I might have to move the box onto the floor for the first few days....

Edit: a couple of the ducklings got out of the nest and couldn't figure out the ramp to get back up, so I roped in Mike as Faithful Assistant and went to move it to ground level.

Being Chief Duck Wrangler, I tackled Mum.
- Hooked beak: immobilised
- Flappy wings: pinned down
- Taloned feet: well away from me

It’s ok, though, because a devoted duck mum, who only leaves the nest for a few minutes in every day to eat and perform her toilete, still has one more weapon at her disposal.



Still, nest and ducklings safely moved, and Mum is back on duty now.

Got out of the shower and into clean clothes. Could still smell it. Oh, right, better clean my bloody glasses....

Mum in hospital (again)

Apr. 12th, 2019 09:52 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Parents were going to visit a friend yesterday, and ended up being one of the two cars involved in this crash. Dad has a bit of bruising from the seatbelt but is otherwise uninjured. Mum is a more delicate flower, and has a cracked sternum and ribs.

She's going to be in hospital over the weekend, so if I'm not as forthcoming to contact as I usually am it'll be because of that; dad and I are taking her a bag full of stuff in about half an hour.
anais_pf: (Default)
[personal profile] anais_pf posting in [community profile] thefridayfive
1. What are the five oldest songs on your iPod, computer, or phone (whatever device you store your music on)?

2. And the five newest songs?

3. What’s your favorite song to sing along to?

4. What’s the first song you ever memorized?

5. What song is your current earworm?

Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DreamWidth or LiveJournal. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so we encourage you to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I recently acquired a copy of Cooking Price Wise by Vincent Price, and promised Ozzy that I would blog any recipes I cooked from it.

Recipe and pictures under the cut )
nanila: (me: art)
[personal profile] nanila
For the past 3-4 years, the bloke has been traveling to cities around the world as part of his air quality/particulate monitoring work. He’s often been accompanied by Robin Price, physicist and visual artist, who makes pollution paintings with a portable sensor setup. The Arts Council recently purchased the “Air of the Anthropocene” collection, and today The Guardian newspaper ran a piece about his work. Sadly, the prettier the photos are, the dirtier the air is!

Robin Price - Dehli playground
Robin Price - Dehli Playground light painting

You can view the collection here.

New quilt!

Apr. 9th, 2019 06:47 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Mike bought me a stack of fabric for Christmas, and I've been making a somewhat experimental* quilt with it:



More pics.

* It's pieced wrong sides together, and then I've snipped the seams. It's also got three layers of poly batting, and is hand tied, so it's incredibly soft and poofy.

Zu Zu tried to go for me when I was cleaning out their house yesterday; she's been squeaking and occasionally hissing at me all along, so I'm hoping that this is a good sign that she's feeling movement in the eggs, but it's made me realise that, in retrospect, I probably should have been at least stroking her every day to keep her used to being handled, 'cause she's not going to be happy when I start picking up the babies....

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