rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Now expanded to 7th Sep as "can reasonably expect to be in at least till then, but maybe not long after": http://doodle.com/trxc2pkak5fnnyfp
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
The short version:
I have finished the first round of chemotherapy treatment, but I will need to stay in hospital for probably at least two more weeks. When and how I get to go home and what happens next is all a matter of wait, watch and see. I have daily blood tests, and those results are what’s being watched.

Long version: Read more... )
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Apparently to be expected at this stage. Also yet another bed move, which seems to have been driven by changes to the gender mix in the ward. I'm by a big window at least, with a view mostly of sky and concrete.

I'm also having platelets transfused as I type this. My first receipt from the National Blood Service, no doubt not the last.
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I wasn't planning to watch them live, that would be ridiculous in this time zone, and hardly a low-stress option.

Except my body is apparently WIDE AWAKE.  Hurray for liveblogging (my reception in hospital isn't up to the full video stream even if it wasn't antisocial), and on with the excitement.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Clare's made me a visiting schedule for next week on Doodle; if you want to visit me, please write your name in and tick the slot that suits.  Only one person (or couple) per slot please.  No children but my own.

I am up to seeing people but I am not very up to tracking who is coming when, so we thought we'd give this a try.
rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (libdem)
My hair's going to start falling out in another week or so. I decided to reduce the inevitable mess by cutting it short ahead of time, so this afternoon's exercise has been going back to the 9mm trim of 2013.  (also bonus less effort to stay clean and non-sweaty between now and Fallout Time)

Tony has tweeted a set of photos in-progress, and here's my hospital-bed selfie:

Haircut selfie

Charles enjoyed helping cut it; Nico wasn't that interested but has commented cheerfully that "your hair short like Daddy now".  Tony did all the buzzing :-)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I woke up with a little morning burst of energy, and my wardmate persuaded the nurse to bring us some food (real breakfast turns up around 9am).  OJ & toast fuelled me through a shower and clean clothes, and my bed was freshly made by the morning nurse.  Now I might have a little lie down on it to recover before second breakfast :-)

I inhaled a new paranormal romance book a couple of days ago: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Lauren Esker is a warm, sweet romance between a were-sheep and a were-wolf from feuding families in rural USA.  I liked that the romance itself was straightforward and the conflict was real and external and not contrived by no-one having an honest conversation (there were some very touching honest conversations too!).  Also the wider family on both sides were great, especially the were-sheep granny matriarch.  It's 99p for about another day, I think.

As it had been so exactly the sort of thing I want to read right now, I signed up on the author's mailing list and have just bought her new release: Handcuffed to the Bear.  I'm a few chapters in, and enjoying it very much (it opens with the protagonists coming round from unconsciousness, handcuffed together on a remote island, wcpgw).  It's also currently 99p.

Lauren Esker is a penname of Sholio, who also happens to write some of my favourite MCU fanfic too :-) 

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
A short appropriately-themed (i.e. death and medical advances) Discworld fanfic, now at AO3


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
 Some photos on twitter from yesterday and this morning, but I'm back to being mostly horizontal again it seems.

Edited to add:
Also apparently for moving beds. I'm no longer in H4 by myself, but on a 2-bed bay with Other Rachel, just off nurses' reception. Clearly doing too well :-)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] stephdairy said something lovely in a comment on one of the medical posts that I wanted to share more widely:

I always wondered what the defining characteristic of the future would be. It's not flying cars, it's not a moon colony, hell it's not even that you have a stonking chance of beating this thing... It's that you have people there even when they're not, that community, caring, and loving can span the globe.

It is so true. My physical world is very small right now (mostly in bed, though with a newly-decorated wall to look at and a reasonable view out of the window).  But my emotional/mental world is wide and sustaining, and I am incredibly grateful.

I have graduated to sitting up and using my laptop for short periods, rather than pecking things out on the phone or tablet.  This is so much nicer

I am more up to short visits now.  [personal profile] ceb is going to help me set up stuff to schedule it, when I get back to her :-)

For now, if you are in the area and want to pop in for a few minutes (on the understanding I might say "sorry, please go away" or be asleep), I am in bed H4 on D6 (it's signposted) and visiting hours are fairly relaxed.  Don't make special visits yet, because of aforementioned random may-be-asleep-or-antisocial.  Ironically I seem most awake first thing in the morning, which is when the staff here are busiest.

And please, please don't come if you have anything at all communicable.  That's probably the most important thing, not just for me, but for everyone on this ward.
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Content notes: bodily functions, medical procedures, morbidity and mortality, weight loss
Read more... )
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Admin: medical posts are public and behind cuts. Too much work to maintain a filter, and too many people with an interest and no DW account. I'll put future medical detail in its own posts in the same way.

Basic update: I've had a rough start to treatment, docs have worked hard to mitigate and I slept really well last night and am making use of this burst of energy to write this and catch up on messages etc. I've a minor procedure this afternoon which might knock me back again, so if I go quiet that's why.

My mother is in town for a couple of days and keeping me company. She's going to be visiting on a regular basis for the duration. Tony's mother has reorganised her life and is coming to live with us long-term from this weekend, which is utterly amazing of her and should give us a bit more capacity to cope and to make use of the many generous offers of help, and move out of day-to-day crisis management. Tony and the children have had a badly-timed bout of stomach bug but hopefully I will see Tony tomorrow.

  1. All the support and offers of help, really feeling loved and supported and appreciative.
  2. NHS treatment free at point of delivery, and my employer's generous sick leave policy means we don't have to worry about money on top of everything else.
  3. This cancer is curable (yay science) even if the cure isn't much fun.
  4. The staff here are all very kind and I'm managing to learn names (never my strength).
  5. I have a room to myself, which suits me.
  6. Internet and smartphones :-)
rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (speaking)
 Gossip, photos, fic recs, podfic recs. All welcome here.

I'm currently sleeping a lot, listening to ybeb podfic and intermittently checking email (inc comment notifications) and twitter. Reading anything longer or writing much probably going to wait.

See also: http://fanf.livejournal.com/135958.html
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Thank you all for the lovely messages of support, I'm all emotional and feeling the love, and I'm hanging on to them when things are hard. It may not feel like much at your end but it's making a real difference at my end, I promise you.

I started treatment last night and it's already Officially No Fun and exhausting so again apologies for slow/no response. I am reading and appreciating.

Tony came today and has a list of things you can do to help, which will go up at [livejournal.com profile] fanf as his domestic duties allow. There's some stuff about visitors in it because I'm to tired to deal right now with schedules.

Cancer sucks. Science is great. I need to lie down again.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Bad news and good news: I have acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), a type of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). It is curable. I will be undergoing chemotherapy for about the next six months, the first month or so as an inpatient, the rest as outpatient but making regular visits.

I'm now in ward D6 for the rest of my inpatient stay. I will be grateful for visitors in hospital if people are able (but I'm going to have lowered immunity so not if you've anything communicable).

I'm still coming to terms with this, so I might be slow to respond to comments. I appreciate every one of them.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
 I've been told very firmly by a doctor that I am to stay here today. Tests this morning, and probably more this afternoon depending on results.

The parallels with my day job (analysing and fixing software errors) are especially strong today.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Keeping me sane and grounded this week (see previous public post):

Ursula Vernon (as T Kingfisher): Bryony and Roses
Lois McMaster Bujold: Penric's Demon
Lia Silver: Laura's Wolf, Prisoner (and no doubt Partner shortly ...)
The Economist magazine
[archiveofourown.org profile] dsudis : assorted works
[archiveofourown.org profile] copperbadge :assorted works
[archiveofourown.org profile] Philyra : I Came To Win / I Came To Conquer
[archiveofourown.org profile] Feather : your blue eyed boys specifically the podfics recorded by [archiveofourown.org profile] sallysparrow017
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
That's been my life the last few days. I've now got some certainty so I can say what's going on.

I'm currently in Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge, I've been signed off sick until the end of next week and it's quite likely I'll be off longer. I've gone from being "a bit of a mystery" to having my illness identified, but the cause of my illness probably won't be known for another week. There's a range of possible causes from minor to scary, but even the scary ones are treatable. I am not worrying in advance of the data.

So still lots of uncertainty, but enough certainty to talk about now: I'm going to be on bed rest for at least another week and I'm not going back to work soon, but I'm also unlikely to get suddenly worse.

I may get to go home this week (tomorrow even!) because I can bedrest there, but anyone familiar with this hospital and its discharge administration will know to believe I'm going home when I'm going out the door of the ward, and not a minute sooner.

I have internet and my ebook, audiobook & music collection. I'm currently in a room to myself (with ensuite!) and the food is adequate but not exciting. I'm bored and visitors are welcome, but text my mobile first in case I'm going home (message me if you want my number). Ward N3, visiting hours 2-5pm & 7-8:30pm.

Medical detail at great length will be available in a filtered post or an email: let me know by comment or message or email if you want to know, but I'm not putting it in a public post.
rmc28: (smile)
Continuing my recent habit of buying/supporting more short fiction than I can read, this lovely Kickstarter for Uncanny Magazine Year 2 drew me in with an amazing list of authors/artists. I'm boosting in case it also appeals to you (and to increase the chances of getting the stretch goals).
Creator list under cut )
rmc28: (books2010)
First I dug out the remaining published shorts by Iona Sharma I hadn’t already read:

Ur by Iona Sharma
The setting for this story is Ur, a joint colony between humans and aliens (the people of Earth and the people of Xi Lyr). The plot follows the household of a government minister as Earth takes a vote whether to continue the colony project or not; it’s about that, and it’s also about language and people and change.

One-Day Listing by Iona Sharma
This story has another humans+aliens setting, this time with a recent disaster having taken place; the story doesn’t focus on the disaster, just the background stress it puts on everyday activities. It’s very much a day-in-the-life kind of story and I enjoyed it as I have everything else by this author.

[I had an idea to go track down short stories by Hugo nominees I hadn’t hated, specifically Kary English and Rajnar Vajra, but couldn’t find anything recently published by either not requiring a purchase to read. Which is fair enough, but I’ve already got oodles of bought books/magazines to read, so I postponed that plan for now, and went back to things I’ve already paid for.]

2 from the current edition of Clarkesworld:

Today I Am Paul by Martin L Shoemaker
What if medical robots could pretend to be people on demand, when caring for dementia patients? This is a neat little story about that scenario, playing out with one old woman. I was reminded of my paternal grandmother and thought the story was done well.

It Was Educational by J.B. Park

This story was rather less to my taste, being a reviewer in a simulated “historic” education game, which is definitely at the gory end for me.

2 from the current edition of Lightspeed:

The Smog Society by Chen Qifan, translated by Ken Liu & Carmen Yiling Yan
I was impressed by the invocation of the smog-covered city, and all the little technological defences against it; I was less impressed by the man-pain of the old man who keeps ignoring his wife until it’s too late. It’s a bit of a depressing story, but one that will stick with me, I suspect.

To See Pedro Infante by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This was also rather depressing: a young woman with the ability to send her mind into other bodies, living a fairly miserable life with a crush on a celebrity.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
(I totally have more to say about emotional labour, but this is a quick thing I wanted to mention in passing)

A couple of people on That Metafilter Thread wrote about Facebook and how it makes a lot of emotional labour easier.

I really don't like Facebook; I killed my account when Charles was still a toddler, and the steady stream of stories of privacy violations and monetisation and manipulation of feeds etc has not really encouraged me to return.

But, I have two new niblings born in the last ten days, and the parents of those babies, like much of my extended family, use Facebook to share baby photos and keep in touch.  It is work for me to rejoin Facebook; it's also work for them to remember me specifically not being on Facebook and to find some other way to keep me updated, and that is not really work I expect anyone to do for me ...  once I frame it as work.   I find it is work I'm willing to do, once I acknowledge it to myself as such.

So I have a Facebook account now, and lots of baby photos to coo over.

(and good grief, Facebook really really wanted me to give it my email address book; the search function is rubbish without it; eventually I googled my brother's facebook and got started from there stalking finding more of the family)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Tony and I will be in Bristol next week with the children.  We know about Shaun in the City and we're probably going to visit the Zoo.  We would welcome recommendations of places to eat and things not to miss, suitable for including an 8 year old and a 3 year old.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
We went to see an early showing of Hot Pursuit, which has Reese Witherspoon as the by-the-book cop escorting criminal witness Sofia Vergara to testify against a drug kingpin.  Things go wrong, and they don't get on, but have to work together to survive.

It is not a surprising film: it hits the mismatched-partnership comedy-movie beats you would expect, but it is done very well and is frequently very funny.  Although it gets a bit cringeworthy in places, it stayed on the right side of unbearable for me.   It reminded me a bit of The Heat which is also a police comedy hitting well-known beats but with women in the lead roles.

Witherspoon is awesome as Cooper, who is small and fearsome and takes everything very literally, and was apparently raised by a single-dad cop who carried her around in the back of his patrol car all day (which is in the opening few minutes of the film , and was ringing my "possible child endangerment" alarms.  Spoiler: the child is not harmed.)  What I particularly liked is the daddy issues are only briefly referenced after that - they've been established, we spend very little time dwelling on them.

I also liked how they had fun with the physical contrast between the two women, and with stereotypes and perception.  It is not a Serious or Life Changing movie, but it was a lot of fun.  (I note that Rotten Tomatoes et all seem to wildly disagree with me and hate it.  Oh well.)

We then wandered into town deciding where to eat, and I said flippantly "Isn't there some new foodie/hipster place we haven't tried yet?" and Tony laughed and then said "Yeah, actually there is!" and so we ate at Butch Annie's.  We had delicious burgers which we ate quickly - it's not really a place for lingering over the meal, but the food was very tasty indeed.  (And I checked about the tips if I pay by card, and the server gets them, once a month.)

So we then stopped into the refurbished and renamed Architect on the way home and had a pleasant hour or two alternately talking with each other or tweeting or reading, and eventually toddled home at closing time.

(where we discovered Nicholas was wide awake and ready for Toddler Midnight Party, happy joy)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
It's too late now to vote for the Hugos. But if you have a membership of Sasquan you can buy a vote for the 2017 Worldcon. It is somewhat faffy: [personal profile] ceb has clear instructions here and it took me something over an hour (including time to wrestle with a printer and a scanner and email) to get mine and [livejournal.com profile] fanf's done and emailed off.  (Yes, Tony voted and signed independently but it's really not much more work to wrangle two ballot papers than one, so I did that part.  Also it turns out we are in complete agreement in our ranking of possible sites, which amused me.)

The deadline for site selection is 24:00 PDT on Monday 10th August 2015.
rmc28: (books2010)
Almost like a reward for getting through the Hugo voting, Kameron Hurley posted her second story funded by Patreon, which handily completed another set of six stories for me:

The Judgement of Gods and Monsters is a thoughtful story about how a society creates the balance between being fully peaceful in peacetime, and being able to defend itself in wartime; how it deals after the war with those who committed violence within it.

I like the main plot of the story, but I also like how some of the background details (family structures, command structures, current technology) are not like the current white Western default, which builds the sense of this being a different place very effectively.

Archana and Chandni by Iona Sharma
Indian wedding … in space! I loved it, from the convincing portrayal of enduring culture into the future, to the spaceship sibling, to the wedding couple and the feeling of family. Just lovely. I have to thank [twitter.com profile] karaspita who linked to it. (and now I have Yet Another source of short fiction to fail to keep up with, yay!)

Alnwick by Iona Sharma
Also brought to my attention by [twitter.com profile] karaspita; this time about a bureaucrat in a British space program getting called out of a tedious party to respond to an accident affecting one of the key staff. I really like how the characters and the background culture feel completely real and believable, and the overall feeling is optimistic.

(and at this point I looked up the author’s website, realised that Nine Thousand Hours which I wrote about last time is also by Iona Sharma and think maybe I rather like this author?)

Noise Pollution by Alison Wingus
I really like the worldbuilding this story, where music is magic and there’s evil/chaotic noise that has to be fended off with singing, or at least a walkman playing some good music. Lots of fun. (and oh hey the author also writes comics)

The Totally Secret Origin of Foxman: Excerpts from an EPIC Autobiography by Kelly McCullough
It’s pretty much what it says on the tin: another variant on the superhero origin story, complete with former friend/nemesis and unexplained arrival of powers, but done well and interesting me enough to stick the imminent novel-in-the-same-universe on my wishlist.

Kin, Painted by Penny Stirling
I read this because the accompanying artwork was by Mia, whose work I adore. I’m often find highly stylised writing puts me off, if I’m noticing the style more than the story, but I think here the style and the story work together well and I enjoyed reading this, and admiring how Mia’s painting fits it so well.

(And Lackingtons looks interesting, if by its focus on stylistic writing, somewhat outside my comfort zone. I didn’t have enough short story publishers to keep up with, clearly!)

rmc28: (books2010)
You totally wanted 2000 words of my voting choices and reasoning, written as I went along, yes? In case you didn't, I cut it.

I do rather resent that the racist misogynistic political campaigns calling themselves Sad/Rabid Puppies drained a lot of my pleasure and enthusiasm for Hugo-voting this year, so I fell back on bad habits of being deadline-driven. However I think I’ve managed to look at and form opinions in more categories this year than I ever have before.
Read more... )
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(Maybe I’ll expand on these at some point, but on past experience probably not)

Acoustic Festival of Britain in June: I met [personal profile] jae  and really liked her! I saw Show of Hands with her! I enjoyed listening to live music and also a night and a day responsible to none but myself. I was really impressed with young Welsh singer Kizzy Crawford. I also realised I really don’t enjoy long-distance driving any more, but I did at least have the audiobook of Ancillary Sword to keep me going.

Read more... )
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Thursday we travelled down, dropped stuff in the hotel, and caught a bus to the far side of the Gardens to walk back through them; we very deliberately stayed outside of glasshouses and mostly in less-busy areas, and finished up with time for a good half hour or more in the play area before closing.

Friday it rained a lot. I got in a bit of time with the children at a nearby playground before the rain really got started, and then we went to the Musical Museum shortly after it opened at 11.  We enjoyed the tour of their musical automata, and the performance by the resident organist on the Wurlitzer over our lunch, although both children got a bit bored at different times.  It's a nice little museum and well worth a visit.

We then ambled a bit further along the road and enjoyed the London Museum of Water and Steam, which was much more noticeably child-friendly, and also full of fascinating exhibits, and many rooms and staircases and ramps.  Charles was really into the various hands-on pumps, Nico was mostly into exploring every room and staircase and ramp.  We had foursies there and when it closed, made the very damp dash back to our hotel.  When the rain died down a bit, Nico and I ventured out on a mission to find me a spare pair of trousers (unsuccessful) and food for supper (successful).

Saturday morning we returned to the playground and then to Water and Steam.  The latter had various engines in steam over the day, and the tiny on-site railway had a little train running on it, more or less on demand.  We dragged ourselves away after lunch, and had a fairly tedious journey back across London and home to Cambridge where we all more or less went flop.

I did take some photos on both my phone and my little point-and-shoot camera, and at some point I may post my favourites, but sorting them out is another chore ...
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
We're on a  minibreak for the start of the summer holidays and ate lunch at a chain restaurant, and had an illuminating chat with the waitress about tips and how they get allocated, which prompted more discussion later because C had questions.

And I hate the culture of tipping for food service. I hate that collectively we're ok with poorly paid food service staff and "having" to tip. I hate that almost nowhere I might want to eat out is transparent about staff pay or how tips are divided among staff, but opting out of this secretive game is massively socially disapproved (and of course does screw over the individual server).

And [livejournal.com profile] fanf said it ought to be publicly displayed like hygiene ratings are, and I said YES and tweeted about it a bit.

So my idea is a banding rating, 3 would be enough to start with:
  • at least minimum wage
  • at least living wage
  • at least 10% above living wage.

Plus a tip policy:
  • no tips
  • tips to server
  • tips distributed to all staff
% of tips retained by business for any reason

This standard info should be in the window and ideally on the menu and the website too. Who do I need to convince to campaign for this?
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
What I've read
Mostly comfort-reading: I was predictable and went for Kushiel's ChosenKushiel's Avatar to follow up Kushiel's Dart.  I also picked up and demolished the next in the Eloisa James Regency farcical romances: The Taming of the Duke, ditto one of my extensive to-read pile: Sleeping Tiger by Rosamunde Pilcher.

I mentioned the new novella Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold already: I've reread it once since and it's still very good.  On second viewing I was struck by Penric's essential kindness to people around him and how this ultimately works to his benefit, rather like Cordelia Naismith.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of a new Lia Silver book being released: Mated to the Meerkat is a delightfully funny shapeshifter romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's pretty short, but it was also only 99p, and it brightened yesterday morning and lunchtime considerably.  Worth every penny, A+, will read again.

What I'm reading
I continue to enjoy updates from [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan greatly, and I'm still making my way through A Girl and Her Fed archives in fits and starts.  I'm also listening my way through podfic of your blue eyed boys, mostly at bedtime to stop myself staring at bright light before sleep, and I'm very much enjoying the reader's voice and interpretation. It's a slower way of taking in the story for me, and I find I realise details and turns of phrase I hadn't in the rush of reading it myself.

What I'll read next
For the next few evenings at least, my next assignment for the OU takes priority.  Thrill at costing methods! Gasp at budget variances! Despair when numbers don't reconcile!

After that, who knows? I feel I should round up some enthusiasm for Hugo reading before I completely run out of time to vote.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
For one thing, I had enough sleep.
For another, yesterday Tony and I reached 10 years of being married, and while I was grumpy it wasn't because of him :-)
For yet another, Nico is THREE today. Three years old! Have a recent photo, blurry but fairly typical:

Nico lunging at camera enthusiastically
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Not entirely surprising:

- slept badly last night;
- continuing mild stress at work and at home;
- escorted C to school concert, which was both musically impressive and parentally stressful, and meant we were home late for food

So I'm hitting at least Hungry, Tired and Angry in the HALT mnemonic; I've applied food, I'll shortly be applying sleep. In the meantime, I've followed the maxim "if you don't know what to do with yourself, clean something" (thank you [personal profile] recessional for ybeb, again). In this case my inbox, which is now a bit emptier of tasks to be done.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
... in that I found out about it from a friend on irc who'd just bought it.

First chapter is on Bujold's Goodreads blog.  I got through the first chapter and promptly bought it.  (bah, to-read pile and budget doom, it was worth it)

Penric's Demon is set in what was the Chalionverse and is now apparently the World of the Five Gods, and the story is set in yet another country we haven't previously visited, though with references to the existing known polities.

(I was mildly taken aback / smuttily amused when I searched for it on Amazon UK and got asked if t to search for penis demon.)

As you discover in the first chapter, Penric is a young man on the way to his betrothal, who accidentally acquires a demon from a dying sorceress, thereby missing the betrothal.  Instead he gets dispatched to the big city and the religious authority over demons, all the while trying to understand his new situation, his new passenger, and what they can do together.

I liked it very much; maybe not quite as much as The Hallowed Hunt but that's praising with faint disparagement.

rmc28: (tony)
getting home from a mildly stressful day, to find Pieminister in the oven.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
It was cold, it was cold and the roof was made of bones.

This brings us to the end of part 1. If you haven't already seen them, there are some really in depth posts by [livejournal.com profile] siderea on what she gets out of reading Watership Down, which I found hugely interesting and very thought provoking. When LJ is behaving again, you will find them here:

Siderea Reads Watership Down: Introduction (Part 0)
Siderea Reads Watership Down: El-ahrairah to His Warren (Part 1)
Siderea Reads Watership Down: The First Sixty-Five Pages (Part 2)

[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
C is nearly 9, and adores the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and all its sequels.  C also seems especially fond of comics, getting The Phoenix each week and positively racing through a number of Phoenix collections I've bought[1], and also digital comics Angry Birds vol 1 and Angry Birds Transformers.

Bedtime stories that seem to have been enjoyed ([personal profile] fanf does bedtime stories so I'm going by impressions in passing) include I think all the Pratchett juveniles, and a set of The Worst Witch and sequels.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was a bit slow going (or I am less good at bedtime reading) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a bit too exciting.

We have a largeish assortment of children's books, mostly from my and [livejournal.com profile] fanf 's collections, but I think we may still need to actively offer and encourage trying individual books and series.  I'm actively happy to buy more, but would prefer to get ebooks and digital comics for ease of travel and storage.


[1]  So far Bunny vs Monkey Book 1, Tales of Fayt: The Crooked Imp, Troy Trailblazer and the Horde Queen and Mo-Bot HighPirates of Pangaea Book 1 seems to be staying in the school book bag but I'm not sure if it's actually getting read.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
1. (done) Invitations to N's 3rd birthday "party".  Actually just a weekend gathering for drinks in a child-friendly pub that has a bouncy castle when the weather is good.  I realised this morning that I didn't need to carefully design and print out a set of invitations, when I have a large cache of stationery.  Handwriting the details onto 5 postcards (of children's book-covers!) and addressing 5 brightly-coloured envelopes took less time than designing an invitation to print off would have done.
Read more... )
7. everything else on my todo list


2015-07-01 23:02
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
 There are at least half a dozen things I "should" have done this evening after getting home from work and childcare pickup.

What I actually did was flop in the least-hot (but not actually cool) part of the house with a lot of cool drinks and (eventually) a water-soaked buff to cool my head.

It is now just about cool enough for me to cope better, but I'm badly in need of sleep, rather than doing All The Things, which just makes tomorrow evening even more laden with Stuff To Do but not actually likely to be any cooler.

A siesta culture at work would presumably help here, but I can't imagine us doing so for the few days a year it gets like this. (Just like we don't have snowploughs for the rare days they'd be useful).
rmc28: (destructive)
To senior management at Subway, La Redoute, Confused.com and anyone else whose automated birthday greeting I've yet to receive:

It doesn't actually make me feel warmly towards the company, you know. It makes me think "ew, creepy! why have you got my date of birth? go away!"

In some years, where I've made less fuss about my birthday, the automated greetings underlined how few genuine birthday greetings I've had from friends and family and actively made me feel sad.  (note - this is emphatically not a request for birthday greetings from my circle, lovely as you all are - it's just some years I make no fuss and I get little fuss made of me and that's fine.  It was the creepy automated emails that made me sad, not other people.)

If I take up the free Subway cookie, presumably they will conclude that this is a successful marketing strategy and keep doing it.  So I think not.
rmc28: (books2010)
I'm reading slightly faster than I'm writing up short stories (but only slightly), and I'm still figuring out how to write about them.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
This is the first short story paid for by Kameron Hurley’s Patreon (so for now you have to be a patron there to read it, minimum cost approx $1 every two months, though hopefully this one will get sold somewhere with a wider audience).
It is weird and interesting milSF: told by a soldier who’s part of a cohort that are literally turned into light and “beamed” into position to fight the war, and as the story unfolds you learn more and more about the war and the enemy and the effect of making people into this kind of weapon.

Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (Third Sound Remix) by E. Catherine Tobler
A mysterious sound is disturbing a worker on a helium mining station orbiting Jupiter. I really liked the imagery of Jupiter in this:
“The red spot spun itself out in our sixth year, the storm succumbing to another that is the colors of Earth’s seas: teal and turquoise, indigo and lapis. Sometimes, when the sunlight angles across, the storm shines like a great opal, cracked with orange lightning.”
But I got a bit lost in the mystery and still don’t feel quite clear about what was going on, especially in the second half of the story, even after reading it through a couple of times.

Trigger by Courtney Alameda
A "modern vampire hunting" short story with an exceptional young woman repeatedly facing a big scary monster vampire culminating in a motorbike chase across San Francisco. I quite enjoyed it but it felt like it was part of a longer story; in the comments I discovered it was a prequel to a young adult novel, Shutter.

By Degrees and Dilatory Time by S. L. Huang
A young man gets new cyborg eyes and adapts to them; that’s basically the entire plot, in a fine sf tradition of what-if stories. I thought it was done well.

Nine Thousand Hours by Iona Sharma
A fantasy story about a magical accident taking all the words out of the world, but also about home and how people change.

…And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes by Scott Alexander
A fun exploration of a set of possible superpowers, with an ending that surprised me, in a good way.
rmc28: (smile)
It's about 34 years since I first met my great-uncle Theo and his partner Bob Olsen in California.
It's about 26 years since Theo died.
It's about 16 years since I met Bob for the second time, shortly after which he also died.
It's about 10 years since Canada made same-sex marriage legal.
And just over a year since England and Wales did too.  (7 months for Scotland, and Northern Ireland still doesn't ...)
Just a few weeks ago I was crying over the photos and stories of Irish people going #hometovote, and with joy over the result.

I grew up knowing that a same-sex couple was part of my family, that they were loved and valued.  I don't know if they wanted to be married; I do know they didn't get a choice.

There's still work to do; but today I was in tears of happiness again.  Some of my favourite images behind the cut.
Read more... )
It's my birthday on Sunday; this is a great present, world.  Thank you :-)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
In the last day and a half I've gone from it being incredibly painful to swallow water, to being able to eat solids with only mild discomfort.  Yay penicillin!    And cheap manufacture of generic painkillers, and a doctor who says "can you take ibuprofen? and paracetamol? and codeine?  Good, take all of them."

I'm assuming that pre-penicillin (and in the awful future of antibiotic-resistant bacteria), I would basically hope to keep getting enough fluids in to survive while my immune system eventually got around to dealing with the bugs?

Between the penicillin, the painkillers and the baseline level of supplements and antihistamines I already take, I'm taking over 20 pills a day, and I had to write out a schedule today because I was losing the ability to track what should go in when.  Not sure whether to blame the drugs, the other drugs, or the battle for supremacy in my throat, but I'm quite spaced out and falling asleep at no notice.
rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read

I haven't been reading many books lately.  I have been reading my way through the archives of A Girl and Her Fed, by the author K B Spangler, recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon .  I've also been thoroughly enjoying the ongoing adventures of [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan and her circle of actors, musicians, and scientists (not to mention the wombatt).

Otherwise, I put down Two's Company by Jill Mansell because I was temporarily annoyed by it, and expect I will pick it up again when I am feeling less easily annoyed.

I started reading Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan, which was a library book I picked up as the first of a trilogy; it's set in Hong Kong and has some really interesting magic/mythology going on, but it turns out it's the first of a sequel trilogy and I was failing to keep up with who was who, so I took it back to the library and have requested the first of the previous trilogy to see if I can make any more sense of it.

I read Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James, which was exactly what I wanted the day of a migraine (delightfully farcical period romances with a lot of strong female friendships in them) and am now in a queue for the next in the series to work its way out of the library system.

What I'm reading
I started getting horribly ill yesterday evening, with what turns out to be strep throat, so I have been comforting myself with a reread of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  Which has its issues but remains one of the most sympathetic depictions I've read of sex work & BDSM.  And also the heroine repeatedly achieves things by being clever and sympathetic and understanding of others (as well as hot and good in bed).

What I'll read next
Chances are high it will be the next two sequels to Kushiel's Dart :-)  But I might be radical and read either Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu or The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison as well.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (half-marathon)
Thanks to ebay and globalisation I now have a long-sleeved running top printed with the Winter Soldier arm and uniform, so I can look even sillier/geekier while out running.

Sadly it remains too warm for me to actually wear it for running.  I'm sure I can rely on the English weather to change that before too long.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
'Well done,' said Hazel, as Dandelion ended.

[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Tony and I went to see it last night.  I can absolutely see why people have enthused about it; I'm very glad I saw it and it's an amazing film, but very bleak (yes, I know that is the post-apocalyptic genre) and for me specifically there is too much reproductive horror.   So I'm not sure I want to watch it again any time soon but wow.

I found [personal profile] liv 's review interesting, coming from someone who clearly isn't into action movies[1], and she links off to two other people's reviews which are also food for though.  I do very much like action movies, and yes it is utterly refreshing to have one without a woman as prize for the male protagonist and for there to be no rape and no especially titillating shots of attractive young women[2].   While also being a two-hour car chase with thrills and spills and peril and excitement and explosions and really terrifying stunts.

After we'd left the screen and I was washing up in the ladies loos I realised I was literally shaking and wide-eyed with adrenaline, and we took a longer-than-usual walk home, partly to avoid the hordes of unpredictable drunks coming off Strawberry Fair, and partly because I really needed to walk that off if I was going to sleep.  Good job there George Miller.

Short version (as tweeted last night):  "Would like more action films like this with less reproductive horror please."

[1] this is not to snark at [personal profile] liv , but I was trying to think of a film-date I've gone on with Tony that wasn't an action movie; eventually he remembered we went to see Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.  Which really was just because I'd enjoyed Avengers Assemble.

[2] I'd agree with whatever commenter I saw on Tumblr saying when Max sees the young women washing themselves, the camera is lingering on the water and the one transparent-muslin shot is of a pregnant belly, which ties in to the reproductive-horror themes of the film.   I do think the film is not exactly subtle about the toxicity of over-the-top macho behaviour, and the exploitation of young men by a patriarchal system: the film fairly literally illustrates "patriarchy hurts men too"..

rmc28: (destructive)
Following up my clumsy moment of 3 weeks ago (mostly as a note-to-self):

The stick-on anti-glare screen protector has lasted well so far (about 2.5 weeks - and I have a spare for when it comes off), and the phone is still completely usable.  There is a particularly dense patch of cracks in the bottom left corner which is fine for reading scrolling things like web pages or twitter, but less great for reading ebooks.  I have to make the text bigger to read it through the cracks or (as is happening more often) I read on my tablet instead.  Which needs both hands or something to rest on, but gets me through a lot more text in each screenful.   I'm using my phone more for short/scrolling reading or audiobooks instead.  I certainly fall asleep faster to audiobooks than I do reading.

I am definitely leaning towards "save up for next model of phone" as the way ahead.

rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
Younger by Suzanne Munshower. This is a contemporary spy thriller with added commentary on society's age discrimination, especially against older women. It opens strongly, with our protagonist Anna going on the run across Europe, trying to work out how to survive the people who have killed her boss and are probably after her. After a bit we have a couple of lengthy (multi-chapter) sections explaining how she got there: scientific advances in cosmetics, industrial espionage and probable international espionage. Finally the two threads come together to a final showdown in Rome.

I was certainly gripped by the story, although it sags a bit near the end, where there's a couple of chapters of "everyone sits down and explains things to each other", followed by one of those irritating things where the character Spots Something Important but doesn't bother letting the reader know until the dramatic reveal.   While I'm being critical, I also thought there were one or two too many big coincidences driving the plot - I don't mind one or two, but there are at least four by my count.

I didn't actually like Anna much, though I had some sympathy for her predicament as an older women suddenly finding it much harder to get a job.  I rather think she's meant to be unlikeable near the beginning and more sympathetic as the book goes on, but I didn't like her much more at the end than the beginning.  Even so, I cared about finding out what happened to her, and ignored several other things in order to finish the book. I'd happily read more by the author, although her website doesn't reference anything more yet.

What I'm reading now
I'm a few chapters into Two's Company by Jill Mansell, and it is hitting the usual good notes: (complicated family! interesting new people! social disaster about to happen!)

What I'll read next

I have lots and lots and lots of short SF to read thanks to the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! kickstarter fulfilling.
There are two ebooks left from my last round of "five first chapters"
At the top of my to-read pile is Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell and underneath that Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley.


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
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