rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I lost my house keys this evening, almost certainly while trying to help catch a loose dog in the local park. The dog is unharmed and reunited with his owners, who live nearby, but there was some terrifying running into a busy road first, and a bunch of talking to people after (including a long-overdue catchup with my neighbour).

Between that and my subsequent pacing around the park failing to find my keys, I am 50% over my target step count and extremely grumpy with tiredness.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
First of all, I accidentally bought the wrong shiny new phone outright, but that's ok, I'm being sent a returns envelope and I'm being refunded, and that's a lesson to double-check the version number before hitting buy.

Then I bought the right shiny new phone on contract from my current mobile SIM provider. I had it delivered to a local store, because it was that or my house, and slogged into town yesterday to collect it.  I was under the impression that the local store staff could sort out moving my number - this isn't a PAC situation because it's same-company to same-company.  But no! They were powerless! If I had come into the store to buy the thing in the first place they could have helped me, but because I bought in online I had to ring up the helpline to sort out my number.

So I did that this morning. But apparently because I have Not Done Things The Expected Way, the only way the person on the phone could resolve things is to have the phone company ship me another phone, and separately ship me a prepaid envelope to send back the other one -the one I have already spent ages setting up, naturally.  The idea that they could just update the records on the database on which they can see the details of both my contracts is just not possible, and there was a definite flavour of them graciously helping me out of my own mistake because it was clearly stated on the website that I had to go into a store to upgrade. 

(I checked this morning, and the relevant page does say "you can upgrade by going into a [brand] store" - in a page that has a bunch of other stuff on it, and in definitely smaller print than the big banners saying "get special deal on our shiny new phones".  Were it me, I'd change it to say "to upgrade, you must go into a store".)

I mean, I think I'm not going to be out any money due to my Not Doing It Properly, just some tedious admin.  But it's annoying and I'm frustrated both by the weddedness to Going Into A Shop, and by the idea it's somehow better to ship two phones back and forth than to update a database.

The phone is very shiny and lovely though, and I'm sure its twin will be just as good.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I am getting increasingly frustrated with my phone (a Fairphone One), which is about 3.5 years old now and frequently crashing, as well as physically a bit dodgy (because I am clumsy and drop it quite often).  My previous phone was an iPhone 4 which I also had for a bit over 3 years.

I was dithering about the options for a replacement (including going back to Apple rather than sticking with Android), and was thinking of posting a poll, and being systematic about the options.  But then I started reading reviews at Which? and decided a Galaxy A3 would work for me (at the top end of a size I can cope with holding, not horrifically expensive, should be a significant improvement over the current phone, available now) and bought one to be delivered to work tomorrow.

It's possible I am a satisficer rather than an optimiser. 

An impatient satisficer.
rmc28: (tony)
We went out for lunch, all four of us, as a low-key celebration of:
  • my birthday (last week)
  • our wedding anniversary (today)
  • Nico's birthday (tomorrow)
The walk there and lunch were mostly pleasant, the walk home rather less so (too hot).
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm forty years old today. My second birthday Since Cancer.

I've not done much about it: cakes in the office yesterday & I may get a takeaway tonight rather than cook.  I am vaguely thinking of doing Something on the weekend that includes 1st October (my arbitrarily-declared Happy Being Alive Day) but I haven't worked out what Something will be yet.  In the meantime, a good friend is holding a party on Saturday so I'm going to enjoy being part of their celebration instead of organising my own right now.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Politics. On Thursday night I posted that I expected nothing but disappointment from the election, and it was ... not quite that bad! Locally I am gutted for Julian losing. Purely selfishly, the size of the Labour majority puts it well into "we need to reevaluate the whole campaign" territory, not "we just needed to work a bit harder", which means I don't feel personally guilty for not doing anything.  (For clarity, I don't mean "oh the LD campaign was terrible" - I claim no insight into any of the local campaigning because I wasn't doing anything political - just that it's important to figure out the reasons why the change in vote was so dramatic.)  I was also really pleased to see Jo Swinson re-elected in Dunbartonshire, and Layla Moran elected for the first time in Oxford West & Abingdon.  I'm afraid I'm still in distantly-watching mode where politics are concerned; if the LibDems were likely to be offered a coalition or similar agreement I'd be clearing the decks to go to the members' special conference, but that doesn't look like it'll be happening any time soon.

Wonder Woman. Tony encouraged me to go see this with him when I wasn't feeling especially keen on it, and I'm SO GLAD he did.  I enjoyed it very much, I had very strong emotional reactions to Themyscira and the No Man's Land scenes in particular, I thoroughly enjoyed the slow-mo OTT action choreography and creative use of shields in combat.  (I want ALL the fanfic about current-day Diana comparing shield techniques with current-day Steve Rogers.)  I guessed one "plot twist" almost immediately but the other took me by surprise. It was a lot funnier than I expected too!  It's not perfect, but it's very very good and I'll be preordering the dvd as soon as that's possible.

Trailers and adverts. There was an advert for England Women's Cricket team before Wonder Woman.  I can't remember ever seeing such a thing before.  Was the thinking "women + athleticism" perhaps? Anyway I am in favour.  The Spiderman: Homecoming trailer makes me want to see it even though I'm still bitter about it bumping Captain Marvel back a year when Spidey already had LOTS of films. Transformers: The Last Knight has Anthony Hopkins delivering ridiculous lines in the trailer, and Bumblebee doing something cool enough I gasped aloud and I actually might agree to see this in the cinema if the 10yo Transformers fan so wishes.  And finally I managed to see the Black Panther trailer this morning and am very excited and that is one for me to see in the cinema.

Working (musical). I went to London to see this yesterday afternoon and really appreciated it.  It's 90 minutes without an interval, and it's "just" a series of vignettes in dialogue and song, based on a book of interviews with the US workforce, originally from the 1970s and updated with interviews from 2007-8. The vignettes themselves all have something to reveal, and how they're placed next to each other does interesting things too.  This production has the main parts played by six experienced actors, and a "chorus" of six new actors (as it happens, each of them in their first professional part), and the choreography, of movement as well as dance, was as delightful to me as the music. Two songs were added to the musical for the 2012 version, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and I carefully didn't look up which they were in advance so I could try guessing them.  I got one right, and completely missed the other but it's obvious in retrospect.  Annoyingly, I can only find a cast recording of the original version of the musical, without the LMM songs.  I liked the Southwark Playhouse too - it's small and friendly and relatively easy for me to get to: one train and one tube from Cambridge.

Fatigue. I am paying for all this fun today though.  I started off yesterday feeling tired, and despite taking it very easy both ways to London I had to go to bed early once home again. Today I can barely get out of bed and it's taken me half a day to pull enough brain together to write this.  If I'd gone to just one of Wonder Woman or Working but not both, I would probably be in a better state today, but it was probably worth it.

 
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • Emergency shopping for bread (for C's lunch), beguiled by Nico counting to 100 in 10s, 5s and 2s.
  • School run
  • Cast my vote at my local polling station
  • Last minute-revision
  • Cab to exam, to be kind to myself
  • Exam
  • Cast proxy vote 1 very near exam (with bonus meeting with [personal profile] dearheart & family!)
  • Cast proxy vote 2 on way home
J has offered to babysit so I could go to the pub this evening ... except I really don't think I'm up to it. Bah. Instead I think I will have a quiet wibble in a corner once the children are asleep, and then try to sleep before any exit polls are out.

I don't expect anything but disappointment from the election results, but I have work tomorrow, and a date in the evening with [personal profile] fanf to see Wonder Woman, and on Saturday I am Self-Indulgently Going To The Theatre In London with [personal profile] ses and [personal profile] wildeabandon .  And on Sunday I need to get back to my last remaining OU course ...


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I had planned a fairly low-key long weekend, involving some studying, and taking the children swimming as much as possible.

However, I got a migraine on Saturday evening which was not shifted by sumatriptan, and which didn't really clear until Monday evening.  So we had an even lower-key weekend. Charles made a cake (over two days, because we ran out of ingredients), and Nicholas watched/listened to/sang Mitch Benn's Very Hungry Caterpillar rock opera song repeatedly, and spent ages engrossed in a puzzle book I later realised was marked "7-10 years", and Tony gently herded and fed everybody and got retweeted by Mitch Benn, and I spent most of the time in bed.  Though I did go food shopping yesterday afternoon, which for reasons meant wandering around Aldi in one of my more glamorous dresses and a huge pair of sunglasses.

This morning I had an appointment with my cancer consultant at Addenbrookes, and decided I was still too tired to cycle, so I went by bus which takes about twice as long, but at least it's reading time? All my results are still clear, including the DNA tests which were backed up for ages, but are now getting turned round quite fast - even my most recent stabbing results are back, and completely clear.  I'm now nearly half way through follow-up.

I mentioned feeling like my recovery had plateaued, and she listened, but pointed out I'd had multiple colds over the winter, and it was a bad winter for cold viruses around here apparently, and viruses do cause fatigue.  The physiotherapy department is offering a newish "exercise for recovery" programme, and she's going to refer me. From previous experience of stuff like this, I don't expect it to tell me much new-to-me, but I'll give it a try anyway. I said something along those lines, but she said "well, I want to know if it can help my patients, and you can tell me what it's like if I refer you".  I agreed that I probably would be able to report back on who would be helped by it, even if I wasn't.

My reading time on buses and in the waiting room was spent on All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries), a novella by Martha Wells, which [personal profile] fanf read recently and recommended, and which I'd seen multiple people on DW and Twitter enthuse about. I loved it, and I would happily read many more instalments of adventures of the grumpy socially-awkward soap-opera-watching security android who stops pissing about the moment something dares to threaten its humans. I have not previously read anything by Martha Wells, but I see she has quite the back catalogue, mostly fantasy. Anyone who has read both All Systems Red and her other books, are they similar?
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The temperature went over 20 degrees C this week, at which point I discovered all the things in my wardrobe that aren't really suitable for hot weather. One of my favourite Svaha dresses is too lowcut for me to wear without something underneath, unless I can figure out some kind of insert to the neckline. (Or possibly go to a professional alterations place and get them to do so.)  Another of my staple dresses (from Evans) is beginning to wear out. I have had a spendy month and ordered a bunch more Svaha dresses, which will turn up at some point when shipping and customs get around to it.

cut for mention of weight + body image )

The weather also prompted me to actually get my hair cut.  It was getting increasingly shaggy and annoying me; while it was just long enough to tie up off my neck, I really wanted to get it tidier.  The post-chemo curls were also a constant reminder of having had chemo. The more recent growth seemed straighter, but I wasn't sure if it was just being pulled straight by the weight of hair below.  Spoiler: nope, my hair seems to be straight again (photos at Twitter).  I am quietly delighted and enjoying having my hair back again.

(I promptly spoiled the lovely blow-dried effect by letting C persuade me to go swimming yesterday afternoon, but my hair seems to still be straight.  Woohoo.)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
There are two things coming up I want to see, and would like to encourage friends to come see with me. I'm not quite at "buy a ticket to something fun" today, but I'd like to get there.  Please comment / message / email me if you're interested in coming too, ideally by this weekend.

Show one:
The Southwark Playhouse is putting on Working, a musical with songs by "Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor". So obviously Lin-Manuel's contribution is among lots of other people's, but the musical blurb itself sounds interesting: based on a book of "interviews with the American workforce" and "a strikingly dynamic and contemporary look at what it is to work and what it is to be a musical".  Also I like the theatre's access information page which seems a better effort than most and would therefore like to Turn Up And Support This Kind Of Thing.

I'm looking at going to the 3pm show on Saturday 10th June.  This is both my least-busy Saturday during the run, and immediately after my exams.  Tickets £25 / £20.


Show two:
There is a touring professional production of Bring It On, the cheerleader musical, which I saw a local amateur production of recently. I am considering either:
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 23rd September, at the Milton Keynes Theatre
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 14th October, at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Both of them are do-able as a day trip from Cambridge by public transport.  I lean slightly toward the Wimbledon one because that's by train not coach, but I could be persuadable to either.  (Both is probably overambitious).  Tickets are between £43 and £57.50, plus a transaction fee (because of course there is).


Also, I'm looking longingly at an amateur production of In The Heights in Birmingham 14-15 July, but as I'm running a child's birthday party on 16th July I don't think it's going to happen.

(yes, I am mildly obsessive about Seeing All The Things related to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I also kind of like the idea of aspiring to a lifestyle of travelling the country seeing musicals ...)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
On the Monday of last week, after we'd got back from a family gathering in High Wycombe, I managed to utterly trash my laptop.  I did something stupid[1] trying to fix something else, and before too long it was xkcd-sharks territory and I was completely out of my depth, and stressed out, and mildly frantic because I have two OU assignments due before the end of next week.  I was, thankfully, not too worried about data loss, because I do backups regularly, thanks to [personal profile] simont helpfully equating it to housework.  But I need a device to work on.

I was able to say to Tony last week: help, I have cocked this up quite thoroughly and now I can't even boot the thing, and I am so upset about being stupid I am making myself even more stupid.  Can you please take this from me, and hopefully as you aren't all emotionally tangled up about it, you'll find it straightforward.  Please make it boot again, and reinstall Ubuntu, and once I have Dropbox installed I can take it from there.

And he did, by the next day.  (I was sufficiently busy and stressed out I avoided checking it until the weekend, but it works! Huzzah.  I have lost a small amount of data because my backups are only weekly, but nothing disastrous.  Thank goodness.)


[1] Truly, I didn't think this through kind of stupid, yes

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I got the email that my ballot was open a few days ago, and I have just entered my votes-so-far into it, based on what I've already managed to read / watch / otherwise consume.  Ballots can be edited right up until the deadline, but this seems like a good way to make sure even the limited preferences I have right now get recorded.

My intention is to make brief posts about how I'm voting and what I think of the finalists, as I complete each category.  As a general rule, I pay no attention[1] to stuff by Vox Day or his publishing company Castalia House.  For this Hugos, I intend to pay no attention to Puppy nominations unless I also see buzz about them from elsewhere‚Äč, so some of my Hugo posts will list five finalists, and some six, and that is why.

[1] wording deliberate: attention is probably my most limited resource and I've a lot of other things I'd rather spend it on

So far, I have managed to read all the non-Puppy finalists for Short Story and for Novelette, and while in each category I have a clear favourite, ranking the remainder is proving something of a challenge, but in a good way.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From last weekend until 8th June is literally the busiest I will be all year: 2 OU courses with exams on 6th and 8th, and a third that just started and will run until September. I knew I was going to be stressed and overloaded and wrung out for about 8 weeks and had basically made my peace with it as the price for getting done this year rather than next.

And now 8th June is a general election, and I have no time to campaign, and have to fight the guilt gremlins that think I should surely be able to carve some time out magically, somehow, and funnily enough being even more stressed does not increase my productivity, or help me sleep.  This has not been the best week!

I've now logged out of Twitter and Facebook on my phone, so I can't take the stress with me everywhere.  I've devoted the weekend to resting and sorting out money (thus removing some other stress).  I'm behind on everything, but Facebook reminded me that I wrote this time last year about being behind on everything. While I'm still perpetually running too close to my limits, those limits have expanded in the last year.  I'm routinely working a 5-day rather than a 4-day week, I'm studying at a higher level, and my fitness has improved a little.

So I'm going to trust that if I take care of myself, I can get through this.  At least by 9th June some of my stressors are guaranteed to be gone.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
+ went to see this amateur production last night, with lovely friends (and bonus extra lovely friends who I didn't know would be there)
+ the dancing was ace, and some really impressively athletic cheerleading stunts
+ now I actually know how the plot runs together (Skylar is a lot funnier than I'd expected)
+ acting and singing pretty good
- no non-white performers, for roles that are meant to be non-white and whose race is plot-relevant
+/- discovered from wikipedia after I got home that one of the characters was played as trans on Broadway, but that subtlety didn't make it into this production
+ also discovered from wikipedia there's a professional production on UK tour this September (when I am FREEEEE from studying)
- there is no fanfic for the musical on AO3. at all.
- I failed to get to sleep for ages, and am paying for it today
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I've read: poetry
Threading North and South by Matthew Murrey
Bids for Border Wall Now Being Taken by Ellen Steinbaum


What I've read: short fiction
The Revolution, Brought to You by Nike by Andrea Phillips.
I loved this story so much.  Marketing and brands as a force for good.  As a current business-school student, the branding-and-strategy stuff was absolutely spot on.

Three short stories by Laura Clay, collected in Hooves Above The Waves. I liked them very much, flippantly labelling them the kelpie one, the superhero one and the selkie one:
Loch na Beiste
Accounts Payable
Safe Harbour

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.  A reread, I still love it

Binti: Home
by Nnedi Okorafor: sequel to the previous, I loved it, even more development of Binti and her world, but argh, cliffhanger! Until JANUARY 2018 for the next novella.  YES I pre-ordered it.


What I've read: long fiction
Humanity for Beginners by Faith Mudge: 40-something lesbian werewolf, thoroughly enjoyed, going to be lazy and point you at [personal profile] calissa 's review which convinced me to get it, rather than try to write my own.

Digger by Ursula Vernon: Wow. I raced through this in a few days, I can imagine it was a very different experience reading it as-published over three years, but overall my reaction is Wow. I can see why it won a Hugo.

Roses in Amber by C.E. Murphy: a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, gripping and enjoyable.  (Different in both feel and plot from Bryony and Roses by Ursula Vernon; I am so glad that both of these exist.)


Acquisitions:
Humanity for Beginners by Faith Mudge
Hooves Above The Waves by Laura Clay
Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016
No Secrets: A Visual History of Show of Hands


Currently reading:
The Course of Honour by Avoliot (original fiction about space princes in an arranged marriage discovering dastardly deeds; updated twice-weekly at AO3; currently about 2/3 of the way through and entirely Argh, Cliffhangers!)

I got about halfway through the Long List Anthology 2, but as it's all stuff that missed out on being finalists last year's Hugo's, I think I've shelving it in favour of trying to read this year's finalists.  Also I have stalled on Hidden Figures as reading the text annoys me, and remembering to listen to the audiobook apparently eludes me.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Where to find them
Which ones are Puppies

For my own reference, with underlines for what I've already read / listened / viewed, behind the cut.
Read more... )

Chances of getting to everything in time to vote: slim, but I will try.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This was originally going to be an excuse for a family trip to the Cutty Sark, but Charles had a cold so everyone else stayed at home and I went by myself.

The band Show of Hands is (as I write!) holding a concert in the Albert Hall, as they did five years ago and ten years ago. I knew I wasn't up to attending that. However, they were launching a lovely coffee-table book of a photographic history of the band, and holding a launch gig at the gallery of the publisher yesterday - order a book, get one of a limited set of tickets to the gig. So I got one of those tickets and off I went to Greenwich yesterday.

I enjoyed the music very much, and the experience of being in a small group of keen fans (the singing-along was top quality). I was also delighted to get to spend some time with [personal profile] jae afterwards. I was a bit of a nerd and diverted from the most direct route home in order to go look at the being-rebuilt Victoria Palace, so now I know my way to Hamilton for when I go next year.

I was away from home less than 8 hours, and I don't feel like I was especially energetic - even my cycling to and from the station was deliberately paced to not get sweaty - but I went to bed early and took a long time to get moving this morning.  I can only imagine how much more tired I'd be if I'd been co-wrangling children and seeing a bit of a museum as well as going to the gig.  I guess I need to dial back my expectations of our epic nordic holiday a bit more.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I took Nicholas to see the Northern Ballet production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears at DanceEast in Ipswich. Partly because the tour wasn't coming to Cambridge, and partly to see how feasible the journey is if I want to see other things on at DanceEast.  It's an 80 minute train journey each way, but the train wasn't crowded and I enjoyed looking at a landscape I haven't travelled through in years.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk from the station to DanceEast, but that was at a four-year-old's pace.  We took a path alongside the river which was a bit scruffy but quiet and very pleasant in today's sunny spring weather.   It's not very wide, so I spoke quite firmly to my fearless four-year-old about walking sensibly next to me, and the undesirability of falling in.  We made it both ways without incident.   Overall, it was probably a bit longer than going to a theatre in London, but considerably less crowded, noisy, polluted or stressful.

The production was excellent and Nicholas was very focused on it.  An adaptation of it will be on CBeebies next weekend, and I shall try to get a recording, as last year's is still among Nico's favourite things to watch.  I did notice that the audience was very noticeably gender-skewed, both children and adults, which made me a bit sad. 

Back in Cambridge, I took advantage of having to change buses in the centre anyway to take Nico for passport photos.  As we weren't in any hurry, I indulged his desire to ride all the escalators in the Grand Arcade and John Lewis.  We just missed a bus home and I opted to spend the twenty minutes before the next one on a gentle walk across the park to the next stop on the way home, which did the trick of keeping the child of infinite energy entertained. It did not noticeably tire him out.

I, however, am very tired out and have done almost nothing since we got back, but I think I will be ok tomorrow.  Go me, matching my exertion to my available stamina.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Otherwise known to me as "Lin-Manuel Miranda's cheerleader musical".  A few months ago one of my colleagues pointed me at the soundtrack and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to a bunch of catchy songs about young women being ferociously athletic and competitive, and about making mistakes, and a truly moving song about how you go on when someone has really let you down but you miss what you had together.  (Spoiler: this isn't about a hetero romantic relationship, but about the friendship and shared creative endeavours of the two central women.)

Unlike Hamilton, but like most musicals, Bring It On isn't sung-through so I've only the haziest idea of what plot takes place between the songs. I was utterly delighted today to find there's an amateur production of the musical being staged in Cambridge in a few weeks' time.  I am going to see it; either the Friday or Saturday evening performance.  (fx: clears diary).

rmc28: (glowy)
Today's new User Agreement which we had to sign to ever access the account again is the final straw.
  • no posting "political solicitation materials" without specific permission
  • no "perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation". This one in particular comes to mind: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_gay_propaganda_law
  • "non-authorized users will see advertisements on all LiveJournal pages" - one of the original reasons I bought a paid LJ account way back when was to remove adverts next to my own content
  • plus the whole coercion to sign an agreement at no notice to access one's account
So I am making my final backup to DW; this will be my final crosspost and I will delete my LJ in a few more days.
I'm pretty sad about it. I've had this LJ since 2003. I've made and sustained some of my strongest and most important friendships through it. I gave it up for a while and then came back. But I have already built up a lovely circle on Dreamwidth, and for a long time now that's been where the majority of my "social media" networking has taken place. LJ doesn't want people like me, so I'm going.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I've read: poetry
The Question Ever by Wendy Videlock (though I feel the urge to note that 'glove' and 'of' do not rhyme in my accent)
Diss by Makaila Dean
Upon Receiving My Inheritance
by William Fargason


What I've read: short fiction
Nevertheless, She Persisted - a collection of 11 flash fiction pieces for International Women's Day
For me, the standouts were:
Heart Stitch by Jose Pablo Iriarte
The Redshirt's Daughter by Evan Dicken
Attending Your Own Funeral: An Etiquette Guide by Erica L. Satifka

Bride by Mistake
by Nicole Helm (novella-length romance)

Mira's Last Dance
by Lois McMaster Bujold (Penric & Desdemona 4).  This just happened to show up when I was checking Hugo-eligibility of the previous two Penric & Desdemona novellas.  While the first three had quite long gaps of time between them, this one follows almost straight on from the previous, and leaves more than one plot thread unresolved by the end.


What I've read: long fiction
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (reread)
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (reread)
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
I had a couple of days where I really was too ill to do anything but doze or read, and inhaled these latest three.  The endings all struck me as particularly abrupt on this read through, the general destruction-level is getting ridiculous even with authorial lampshading, and there are really a lot of loose threads in play now.  (But I still enjoyed them all very much.)


Currently reading:

The Long List Anthology Volume 2 edited by David Steffen - I was surprised just how many of the short stories collected within I'd read - and surprised by a couple I'd not read but really should have.  Anyway, the quality level so far is excellent.

Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly.  I am ... not enjoying this as much as I expected.  It is feeding my thirst for more information about Dorothy Vaughan (in particular) and the other women from the film and NACA/NASA more generally, but its style is both a bit too chatty and a bit too florid for my liking.  Or possibly having two bad colds in three weeks is making me bad-tempered and uncharitable.  Listening to the audiobook version doesn't seem to wind me up the same way, so I'm going to try listening the rest of the way through.


Acquisitions:
Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm
Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Tony bought Digital Divide by K.B. Spangler, which has been on my radar for a while, so I may sneak a read of it.  (And/or go back to working through A Girl and Her Fed by same.)

I preordered Provenance by Ann Leckie (out in October) and The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (out in September).

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/678222.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I realised yesterday that it was the last of Nicholas's swimming lessons for the term and we hadn't been given a re-enrolment form at any point.  On further checking, we've completely missed his re-enrolment window, and the class he was in is completely full now.   These lessons are always oversubscribed, and the idea is that once you're in the system you get priority to stay in and progress up the classes, but that doesn't help if no-one (me) checks when the deadlines are. 

So I think by default I have to make a note to check for enrolment day at the end of next term, in hopes of getting him back into classes in the autumn term.  That seems ages away.  I suppose I can also look at the holiday "crash courses": four or five daily 30 minute lessons on weekday mornings.  Great for learning but a bit of a logistical challenge for us.

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/677882.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My last exam for the business degree will be on 11th September.  And then I am FREEEEE.

I am banning myself from making any more time-eating long-term commitments until at LEAST the end of the year.  A friend who has known me for over two decades outright laughed at me when I said this :-P  
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday I took Nico shopping for new school shoes after his dance classes.  We returned with:
  • a grey snood with soft fake fur lining for me
  • a sparkling purple hat with yellow stripes for him
  • a fleece-lined grey hat with earflaps and a rainbow space invaders stripe pattern for me
  • a new dressing gown of incredibly soft fleece for him
  • new Peppa Pig slippers for him
... oh yeah, and a new pair of school shoes.

(The first three items were from the local charity shop, which I sloped off to while he was in class, which is possibly cheating.)
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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
On the one hand, I've been having some really constructive meetings with teachers and support staff this year, relating to the needs of both children, including one in my lunch hour today. On the other, there's that horrible letter about attendance.

At the start of last week I managed to deliver two Politely Cross letters to school.  One went directly back to the "Pupil Welfare Officer" robustly defending the reasons for Charles's absences. The other went to the head teacher and the chair of governors to point out the strategic problems with sending letters like that (destruction of parental goodwill, and increased attendance of sick children, with all that implies) and asking them to review both the timing and wording of the letters. 

So far I have had a holding response from the head to say she has received and noted our letter, but is very busy right now and wants to give it a proper response.  This week we got a letter to all parents asking us to lobby Justine Greening about changes to school funding, which is probably one of the things the head is busy with.  I'd be a lot more willing to write lobbying letters if I hadn't had that one about attendance though ...



Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/675757.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel, in running tshirt and leggings, holding phone and smiling into mirror (runner5)
Hugo nominations close very soon (06:59 Greenwich Mean Time on 18th March, so only a few hours to go). I submitted mine on Tuesday night and made a DW post, which didn't crosspost, I think because LJ intermittently decides not to like DW servers.

My highly rigorous selection method was:

  • checking my "Reading Wednesday" posts of 2016

  • checking my blog posts tagged 'films'

  • picking out eligible works I liked and thought good-enough to nominate

  • finding a few other things while googling to confirm eligibility

  • making my perennial nomination of @microsff

The only category I was able to find 5 nominations for was Short Story, but I still think this is better than making no nominations at all. To me, the value of the Hugos is when everyone nominates the things they liked and the popular results emerge from the crowd.

I found some helpful eligibility posts from:
Apex Magazine
Lightspeed Magazine
Uncanny Magazine

And a helpful list of authors eligible for the Campbell Award from Rocket Stack Rank. I also found that Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which I love very much, is eligible for the new Best Series award.

The one other thing I nominated that I've not mentioned before is Splendor & Misery, a hip-hop dystopian space opera concept album[1] by Clipping[2]. It's about 40 minutes long, available on Spotify and impossible to take in if I try to do anything else while listening to it. I've still managed to listen to it three times and I haven't quite got my head around it, but it's amazing. The track All Black particularly sticks in my head.

[1] which I find glorious just for existing and letting me say that phrase
[2] 1/3 of Clipping is Daveed Diggs, who played Thomas Jefferson in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton


my nominations )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Hidden Figures was released in the US at the very end of 2016, so I can nominate it for the Hugo awards this year.  Woo!  (No, it's not science fiction, but the category is "dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects" and I think it counts as a related subject.)

There is a sale for the next 36 hours on the first 9 books of the Young Wizards series, in ebook (which I did not previously have).

rmc28: (bat-worry)
I've had a cough most of the week.  Monday I went to work, which in retrospect was a mistake and I should have worked from home. Tuesday I worked from home. Yesterday and today I am exhausted because I keep waking myself up coughing, and too tired to work, and today on top of everything else I keep wanting to burst into tears at the slightest obstacle. [personal profile] rydra_wong has a theory about cytokines and mood drops towards the end of colds/flu which is a) plausible and b) makes me hopeful that maybe I am towards the end.

AND Tony is ill too and even worse than me, so we're just about adding up to one functional adult when the children need us and otherwise ... not.

Also this morning my main bedroom light bulb died.  Hurrah, past-Tony stocked us up with spare bulbs.  But then I first of all knocked a load of dust off the light fitting onto the nice clean laundry folded on my bed, argh (yes my housekeeping is terrible), and then discovered the bayonet fitting is broken and the new bulb won't stay in it. I give up.  Bedside lights and the window are perfectly fine right?


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Hugo nominations close very soon (06:59 Greenwich Mean Time on 18th March, so less than 3 days). I submitted mine last night.

My highly rigorous selection method was:
  • checking my "Reading Wednesday" posts of 2016
  • checking my blog posts tagged 'films'
  • picking out eligible works I liked and thought good-enough to nominate
  • finding a few other things while googling to confirm eligibility
  • making my perennial nomination of @microsff
The only category I was able to find 5 nominations for was Short Story, but I still think this is better than making no nominations at all. To me, the value of the Hugos is when everyone nominates the things they liked and the popular results emerge from the crowd.

I found some helpful eligibility posts from:
Apex Magazine
Lightspeed Magazine
Uncanny Magazine

And a helpful list of authors eligible for the Campbell Award from Rocket Stack Rank. I also found that Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which I love very much, is eligible for the new Best Series award.

The one other thing I nominated that I've not mentioned before is Splendor & Misery, a hip-hop dystopian space opera concept album[1] by Clipping[2]. It's about 40 minutes long, available on Spotify and impossible to take in if I try to do anything else while listening to it. I've still managed to listen to it three times and I haven't quite got my head around it, but it's amazing. The track All Black particularly sticks in my head.

[1] which I find glorious just for existing and letting me say that phrase
[2] 1/3 of Clipping is Daveed Diggs, who played Thomas Jefferson in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton


my nominations )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I've read: short fiction
Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne. Last of the five novellas in the historical romance collection Gambled Away.

Other shorts, all from Daily Science Fiction:
The Lion by Mari Ness
Counting Down by Peter M Ball
A Howl In The Night, Unheard by Bridget Norquist
One of a Kind by Maurice Forrester
The View From Here by Darragh Savage

What I'm reading: I'm a chapter or so into Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, the book on which the film I liked so much is based.

Acquisitions:
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Roses in Amber by CE Murphy
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Long List Anthology 2 edited by David Steffen

And from the Samhain closing-down sale, a bunch of authors I've never read but whose books appealed:
Hidden Memories by Robin Allen
The Truth As He Knows It by A.M. Arthur
The World As He Sees It by A.M. Arthur
The Heart As He Hears It by A.M. Arthur
She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery
Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg
From the Ashes by Daisy Harris
Heart of Change by Roxy Harte
Temptation City by Lyric James
Thoroughly Tempted
by Lyric James

And now I really need to do more reading and less buying ...
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/674139.html with comment count unavailable comments.

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Rachel Coleman

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