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

Recs?


[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

Hot

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: (books2010)
I find reading (and writing about) anthologies / magazines difficult.  I need to take breaks between each short story, and then when I get to the end I've mostly forgotten what happened in the first 75% of the stories, and then writing about the anthology turns into a marathon, and then I give up.

And I have just acquired all 60 back issues of Lightspeed, via the Queers Destroy SF! Kickstarter, which is a lot of short fiction.

So, as "do a little each day" is working well for my studying, I thought I'd take a similar approach to short stories: write up one or two a day, post them six at a time.

This set has 2 stories each from anthologies acquired this year:

Women Destroy Fantasy! (which I got because it had a T Kingfisher story in it)
Women Destroy Science Fiction! (which I got because I enjoyed Women Destroy Fantasy!)
Kaleidoscope (recommended by [personal profile] ceb )


The Scrimshaw and the Scream by Kate Hall (WDF!)
A story about people who seem to be turning into birds, in a society which thinks this is terrible and the signs of turning into birds are because of bad behaviour. I did actually find it a bit too Obvious Metaphor / Message Fiction so it didn't work for me.


Making the Cut by H. E. Roulo (WDF!)
An interesting take on female superheroes but I found the Surprise Terrifying Birth hitting my pregnancy+birth buttons badly. I'd like to read more by this author without that plotline.


Each to each by Seanan McGuire (WDSF!)
Genetically modified women soldiers in the Navy (modern mermaids), facing mysterious attacks. I really enjoyed this, and if it's more typical of McGuire than Parasite, I should seek out more by her.


A Word Shaped Like Bones by Kris Millering (WDSF!)
Rather creepy tale of an artist going quietly mad on a long space journey. It unfolded very well; I think better to say I appreciated it rather than enjoyed it ...


Cookie Cutter Superhero by Tansy Rayner Roberts (K)
A rather different superhero story to the above, rather pointed about how superheroes generally are viewed, and about how female superheroes in particular are treated/seen in superhero teams. I really liked this one and would like to read more by the author.


Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon by Ken Liu (K)
I find it hard to write about this one without spoilers. A young couple discover that a myth is true, but is also not quite what they thought. I liked it a lot.

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
They say that there was a time when El-ahrairah and his followers lost all their luck.


[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: (books2010)
Before I had children, holidays were vast oases of time in which I could read.  Now, not so much.  Although I did learn to read Room on the Broom from back to front as well as the more usual way, at the insistence of my younger child.  It gives it a Memento-style feeling, though rather less violent.

What I've read
I finally finished rereading Ancillary Sword!  Once I got started I stopped only for child-related interruptions.  It is still a cracking good read, and I hope for some time and space to put thoughts together over on [community profile] bookatorium now.  I note that Ancillary Mercy is now listed for pre-order at Amazon, with a publication date of 8 Oct.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bryony and Roses by T Kingfisher: a sensible heroine with a good line in gardening, a convincingly creepy enchanted castle, a Beast who doesn't behave like a domestic abuser, and an ending I didn't see coming even if maybe I should have.  I also really liked Bryony's sister Holly, who isn't in the story very much but makes her presence felt, and in general Bryony's feelings towards her family.   In fact family-feeling, gardening, and sensible heroines are very much common features across the T Kingfisher books I've read; sometimes it's birth-family and sometimes it's found-family. 

I don't normally include my textbooks in this, but I'm going to make special mention of Unit 3: Costing and accounting systems from my current OU course on management accounting.  I have not yet made it through a session of study of this book without falling asleep.  In theory I find it interesting! But in practice there has been a lot of slumping over the textbook and pulling myself awake to find handwritten notes that wander off into gibberish.  I am determined to defeat it study-wise but I'm definitely keeping the ebook around against future insomnia.

I read A-Force (2015) #1 and like the art and the story, and the way it introduces key people so I can keep track of who's who.  The Secret Wars setup is really weird but I'll just handwave that as "weird big comics crossover event stuff".  I am engaged by this set of people and their situation and wondering what is going on, and I'm trying to justify to myself spending the money to keep up with it rather than wait for a collected edition.


What I'm reading now

Younger by Suzanne Munshower; I got as far as chapter 2 on the train home and am still finding it interesting.


What I'll read next
I still have the two Jill Mansells I found in the to-read pile when moving it.  A-Force (2015) #2 if I buy it.  Assorted library books are waiting for attention.  Draykon by Charlotte E. English is next on the ebook list.
rmc28: (books2010)
 What I've read
[more than usual in the last fortnight I have been sticking to light, predictable reads that I find comforting and escapist]

Much Ado About You
by Eloisa James
A new series of farcical historical romances, this time featuring four sisters (rather than the previous series, which was four friends).  I do like the friendships in these books probably at least as much as the romances.  I also like that the library has them all; they're definitely single-serving books for me.

Archangel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Second in the "Guild-Hunter" series about a vampire hunter and angels.  This was definitely a bit gorier and getting close to my personal tolerance for that; also to my tolerance for dominant asshole romance "heroes".  I still like the concept and the characters a lot though, and the library has the rest of the series.

Justice Calling
by Annie Bellet
This is a pretty short read (150 pages, but a couple of chapters of the next one are included, so it's rather less than that).  It's a fun urban fantasy: there's shapeshifters and a witch with a secret, and a big tough law enforcer, and peril and plot, and a bit of romance worked in.  It was more or less exactly what I wanted to read right now and I enjoyed it very much.  There are four more books in the series, and a sixth coming out next month; I'm restraining myself from buying the lot right now, but I will be getting them as I clear more of my ebook backlog.

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
This was a library book; I have about 2/3 of Jill Mansell's output on my shelves: contemporary romcoms with interesting people, complicated plots and happy endings, many of which are set in and around Bath, near where I grew up.  I haven't read one I disliked, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.   [I am still migrating my to-read pile into my room, and there are two more by her in it, so I have physically pulled them out to read shortly.]

What I'm reading
I'm part way through rereading Ancillary Sword, and then "T Kingfisher" (Ursula Vernon) released another fairy tale retelling this week, so I am also part way through Bryony and Roses and enjoying it very much.

What I'm reading next
I was sufficiently impressed by G Willow Wilson's defence of A-Force to buy the first issue digitally.  (Though ouch, individual comics on release week is an expensive way to do this hobby.)  I also want to carry on with Daredevil vol 1.
That pair of Jill Mansell books I just found.
Younger by Suzanne Munshower is next up in my ebook list

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The great burrow was less crowded than when they had left it.



[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)
Things I have learned with recent travel planning.

Virgin Trains East Coast release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Saturday 12w away.
First Great Western release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Wednesday 11w 4d away.

(No, this isn't documented anywhere I could find easily, this is me checking for Advance tickets every morning until my travel dates come up.)

Naturally, the journey where I want to travel out Friday and back Sunday is with the first, and the one where I'm travelling out Monday back Friday is with the second, so in both cases I have to wait a week between outward and return journeys being released.  Either I wait until both legs can be booked (and in my experience, the cheapest tickets WILL go in that week, if not on the first day), or I get the outward leg and spend a week hoping I haven't messed up and will be able to get the return leg ok.
rmc28: (destructive)
It is not the first time I have dropped it, but this time I have caused a fairly spectacular spiderweb of cracks across the screen.  It still works and is useable but some of the cracks catch on my finger.

Fairphone's support center will fix it for a bit over 110 euros, plus postage to get it to them.  I am currently waiting for a cheaper fix to arrive, which is a stick-on screen protector from a third party, sized to fit Fairphones.  That should keep me going while I find £90 out of my spending-on-me budget, and decide if I want to fix this one or keep on saving for the next generation phone currently in design.

[my "destructive" icon seemed especially appropriate - yes that is me attempting to break a phone, approx 3.5 decades ago]
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
We have a Family and Friends Railcard, one of the flavours of discount cards for money off rail travel in the UK.  We've had one almost continuously since Charles was born, because buying him a ticket allowed us to use the railcard and thus get 1/3 off the adult tickets.  And I've had an online account to manage our railcard and renewing it.

The railcard online account system doesn't allow users to change their names on the account.  After an exchange of emails we established that the Railcard customer service team could change the name attached to my railcard account, but that I could never renew my railcard online again, and would have to ring up customer services every time. 

[One of the delights of the modern world for me is all the things I can sort out online without having to ring up anybody. I don't like ringing up strangers, or indeed talking on the phone to anyone much apart from my family and close friends.  I would much rather tell a computer what to do myself than talk to a stranger who is effectively doing the typing for me.]

Or I could "buy a card for someone else" and put my right name in.  Or I could create a new account with a different email address, and get the names right on that.

What I actually did was:
  1. Change the email address on the existing railcard account from my main email address to an old one I don't use any more, but can access.
  2. Set up a new account with my main email address.
  3. Put the right name on that account.
  4. Buy new railcard in plenty of time for my next booked train trip.

Seriously though, people who are building online services.  People change their names!  Build your system to accommodate that without making them jump through stupid hoops!  (Also note that the majority of people in this country who change their name are women - try not to be de facto sexist in your system design).
rmc28: (happy)
I put my hair up in a French-plait for the first time in years.  20 months growing-out since the last time I cut it to 9mm.  Of course, some of it was falling out after the 25-min walk to work, and I redid it twice during the morning and then gave up and shoved it back into a ponytail instead.   But it was nice while it lasted.

Passport with the right name arrived!  (I had a letter last week with a query, which I put on one side to deal with After The Election.  The nice person from the passport office who had written the letter rang me to follow up before I had got round to writing back, and we were able to sort it out by phone.  This was all after office hours on a weekday evening.  I was impressed.)

Railcard with the right name arrived!  (This followed tedious faff which I shall write up separately.)

New sandals for Charles arrived!  (John Lewis were out of stock of the right size when we went shopping on Sunday, but put through the order online for me.)

I'm not sure which of Charles and me is the happiest right now.  But we're both pretty happy :-)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
  • Sleeping for ten hours almost uninterrupted, almost a miracle (one short conversation at 5am with Charles, who then Went Away).
  • Cinema with Charles: Big Hero 6, in which I allowed myself to cry floods whenever the heartstrings were tugged.  (Loved the film, missed the beginning, DVD is preordered to arrive at end of the month.)  And then we had lunch at his favourite place and mostly missed the rain cycling home.
  • Cuddles and puzzles and counting and reading books and even more cuddles with Nico. 
  • Being able to lightly supervise both of my children while they play together.
  • Running for the first time in about 2 months.
  • Talking with my mother, with friends, with Tony.
  • Tony bringing me delicious icecream by Jack's Gelato from the Cambridge FoodPark event.

Tomorrow will have swimming and shoe-shopping with children, and some study in the afternoon, because I got behind during the election campaign.

rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (libdem)
From the Federal Party constitution (full document in PDF available at that page):

10.5 Nominations must be of a Member of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, who must be proposed by at least ten percent of other members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and supported by 200 members in aggregate in not less than 20 Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations representing youth and students as provided by Article 13.8) and must indicate acceptance of nomination.

The 8 LibDem MPs are:
Tom Brake
Alistair Carmichael
Nick Clegg
Tim Farron
Norman Lamb
Greg Mulholland
John Pugh
Mark Williams

10% of other members is 0.7 of an MP. So a leadership candidate needs to persuade one other MP to propose him (they are all white men over 40) and then another 200 members from around the country to support him.


From the Leadership Election Regulations (in the same document as above):

2. The electorate for the purpose of the election shall be those members with current membership of the Liberal Democrats on the closing date for nominations, including those members whose subscriptions were due not more than three months before the closing date.

Want to vote in this one? Want to be part of the discussion of the party's future?

http://www.libdems.org.uk/join

You'll be welcome.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I'm noting that I have simultaneously:

- a very intellectual/analytical political nerd almost gleeful fascination about how uncertain this election is and how likely it is that the next government will be some kind of confidence+supply arrangement or possibly a coalition, and parties will have to cooperate and there are so many possibilities

- a very visceral/wordless rollercoaster of excitement and nervousness and hope and fear, both for my specific constituency, and for my country as a whole


Also I am clearly not falling asleep, and yet I have to be awake and coherent at 9am for C's class assembly. 
rmc28: (OMG)
I was ill over the BH weekend with yet another cough, resulting in rather less leafletting and rather more curling up in bed feeling miserable than I had planned.

Today I've had to give up door-knocking and come home because of a stomach upset.  I am now making phone calls at intervals, which I dislike even more than door-knocking.

On the bright side, I had a lovely email from someone who'd googled to find out why people ask for numbers outside the polling station and found this post from ten years ago, which apparently remains useful (and highly google-ranked) to this day.  That absolutely made my day.




rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
Hellbender by Dana Cameron
This suffered a bit from being interrupted a lot, so I kept losing track of the plot and having to skip back a bit and so on.  But I thoroughly enjoyed it as the next instalment in the series, resolving some plotlines, opening up more areas, and generally being a good romp.  I must get round to reading the author's archaology-detective books at some point.

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
So it's an urban fantasy about a vampire hunter, except that it turns out angels are rather scarier than vampires, and also that the limited number of archangels basically run things.  Our vampire hunter protagonist gets recruited to hunt down an archangel that has gone mad and is being especially appalling.  I found it a good read, but the romance a bit clichéd.  I have already tracked down and borrowed the next one from the library :-) 

Queen of Nowhere
by Jaine Fenn
I rather enjoyed this book about  a super-hacker travelling between space-stations for a couple of decades gathering evidence, recruiting a mostly-unaware spy network, with the end goal being to expose and defeat a secret conspiracy that most people would find laughable.  There are little interludes from other points of view around the human polity.  The book opens with her getting questioned by local police on arrival at a space station, and from then on we follow her getting in and out of trouble, and getting help when she least expects it.

I found the book a bit odd in places - not sure if I should be viewing the "unexpected help" as sinister or not, not sure how to read the actions of some of her established allies.  I was expecting some twists which didn't happen, but meanwhile I didn't see the actual ending coming.  (There are some similarities between the ending of this one and the ending of Angel's Blood but it would be spoilery to discuss them, so I won't at this point.)

A-Babies vs X-Babies by Skottie Young & Gurihiru
Some time ago there was a comics Event called Avengers vs X-Men which I didn't read (see: bad at keeping up with comics).  This isn't really anything to do with it, except for using it as an excuse to draw 20 pages of cartoon baby versions of comic characters fighting each other.  They are very cute and terrifyingly recognisable.  This is definitely one of those that takes me a long time to read - there's one double-page spread and quite a few more pages where there is so much going on I just have sit and stare at it for a while.

Rescue
by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Andrea Mutti
This seems to be a "one shot" tying in to a longer story, which is a pity because I love Pepper Potts, and Pepper Potts in an Iron Man-style suit rescuing people is awesome and I'd love to read more of it.  About half the comic is about Rescue being awesome and the other half is Pepper being exhausted and stressed out in hiding.  I like the artwork which is not-cartoony and does things with colours and silhouettes that I like.  [argh, I lack vocabulary for this stuff - anyone able to point me at resources for how-to-describe-comic-art?]


What I'm reading now
Justice Calling by Annie Bellet
Only one page past the first chapter I already reviewed so far, so nothing new to say yet.

Daredevil vol 1 by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin & Paolo Riviera
Only read the first few pages, but my brother recommended this on the basis of the art, and I adored the cover

What I'm reading next
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh (from the library)
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (reread for [community profile] bookatorium )
whatever is next on my Marvel comics backlog
whatever is first on the free comics from Comixology

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
It is a hudl2 from Tesco; I had done a bit of looking at specs and prices, and played with my m-i-l's first-gen hudl, and was generally convinced it would do what I wanted.  It is cheap, and I had a bunch of clubcard vouchers which made it even cheaper.

It runs the same version of Android as my phone, which meant I felt confident in using it.  So far I've established that typing isn't much more fun than on my phone, and reading is less comfortable, because I need both hands to hold it, or to rest it on something.   However, the apps I have all look nicer and show more words at a time.  (That's the Economist and FT newspaper subs, Kindle app, Mantano app for epubs, Adobe app for PDFs, and of course Chrome for web pages.)

It comes with an app to manage multiple users, so I've set up both children with an account, and I can control which apps they each see when they log in. That means I can let them e.g. watch stuff on iPlayer or play games without worrying about them mucking up my ebooks or reading stuff open in my browser tabs.  Charles has expressed appreciation for the greater screen size for Angry Birds Epic.

I've been enjoying watching stuff on it - the screen is big enough and high enough resolution to be actively pleasant when it's on my lap, rather than squinting at my phone up close.  The children seem to like snuggling up together to watch stuff on it; meanwhile I've finally started watching Daredevil and discovered that I can literally cover the screen with my hand when it gets too gory for me.  For whatever reason, I find it easier to settle down to TV on my lap in a room by myself, than on the big TV in the living room.

The absolute delight though is reading comics.  I have a Marvel digital comics account, and I have a lot of first issues-of-series on it, from when they did a big first-one-free promotion some time ago.  But I find my laptop screen the wrong size, the desktop too inconvenient, and my phone too small.  The tablet though, is just right: the artwork is clear and crisp and the experience is lovely.  I need both hands to read a comic or a graphic novel anyway (which is why I am so slow to read them), but I can carry literally hundreds of them around on this tablet.

I still find it a bit hard to switch back to reading comics after reading lots of text, because my default is to race through the text and not slow down enough to see the artwork properly.  But I do enjoy it when I do, and I'm slowly working through my existing collection, and managed to only buy one new thing so far (this Daredevil collection - look at the cover on that, it's amazing! - because J recommended it and it was on sale).

All my future comics purchases will be digital.  Please recommend me ones you like, and good places to get them. I'm set up with Marvel and I know that Comixology exists - is there anything else I should know about out there?
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The corner of the opposite wood turned out to be an acute point.



[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)
My ticket to Acoustic Roots arrived this week.

Way back when, I had a few years in a row of attending music festivals with assorted lovely people (including but not limited to: my Dad, MBM, [livejournal.com profile] atreic , [livejournal.com profile] emperor , [livejournal.com profile] antinomy , [livejournal.com profile] arnhem ) but fell out of the habit when running around after a small mobile Charles got less fun. (For me.  I think he liked it.)

But Show of Hands are playing at Acoustic Roots, and I have a chance to meet up with [personal profile] jae (who I first DW-followed because of our mutual liking for the band), and I found a cheap Travelodge room for the night not far away, and so I am GOING to live music for the first time in ages.  (I am also spending a whole night by myself in said room, also for the first time in ages, and nearly as happy about that.)

These days Charles is a lot easier to look after, so I am also eying up Ely Folk Festival as something we can day-commute to by public transport and see if it's his sort of thing.   Cambridge Folk Festival is obviously closer but a lot more expensive and almost certainly a lot more crowded.
rmc28: (books2010)
Second round, library books and recently acquired ebooks:


Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
An urban fantasy about a young woman hunting vampires, so far so cliched: but the vampires are captured, subdued by a technological fix, and returned to angels to whom they owe a contract.  The first chapter does a good job of setting the scene and convincingly making the angels seem scary.  Will continue.

Queen of Nowhere by Jaine Fenn
A protagonist gets asked to come in for questioning by local police on a space station.  The first chapter establishes that she's going by an assumed identity, that she's working against an enemy, that she's suffered tragedy, and that too much attention from the police could get her in real trouble.  Will continue.

Justice Calling by Annie Bellet
A game/comic shop in a town full of students and shapeshifters and other magical creatures, run by a woman who is hiding her real powers.  In walks a shapeshifter "Justice" accusing her of murder.  Will continue.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
First of the very famous Swedish crime novels that I never got round to reading yet, but picked up the first one free on a special offer. The prologue, introducing an old man receiving rare flowers and an old detective who's still baffled by this unsolved case, drew me in and I'm looking forward to reading more.  Will continue.

Draykon by Charlotte E. English
This starts with a young girl going into a fairy ring and being trapped ... and then rescued by her mother almost immediately, and taken home with the baby animal she also found trapped in the ring, which in turn triggers a family argument.  Will continue.


This round did not reduce my to-read pile at all!  But it has enthused me to crack on and read some of my lurking library books and recent acquisitions.


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

Thank you so much for agreeing to write a story for me.  I am going to be very lazy and link you to the post I made for Yuletide which covers my general likes and dislikes, and then go into more detail for my specific requests below.

The other thing I want to say is that although the exchange rules say to include all my requested characters in a particular fandom, I personally will consider the job done if you make at least one of them the focus, even if you can't get all four in.

Request 1: Iron Man

Natasha Romanov, Maya Hansen, Pepper Potts, Tony Stark

Maya Hansen was one of the most interesting characters in Iron Man 3 and I like to pretend they didn't kill her off.   Killian holds up one kind of mirror to Tony; Maya is another - so focused on the science and the possibility of breakthrough she overlooks the morality of her work.   She and Pepper even talk about this in the film - Pepper was quite happy to work for an arms company and it was Tony's change of heart that she implemented.  Natasha, like Tony, is dangerous and frequently underestimated: they both carry guilt for their pasts and are trying to make amends.

I'd love to read fic about these people interacting, about addressing their past actions and working to redress their mistakes.


Request 2: Avengers
Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, Maria Hill, Nick Fury
Request 3: Avengers
Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson

I made two requests for Avengers because there seemed two good groupings.  The first one could be SHIELD before or during the films right through to CA:TWS - casefic, a day in the life on the Helicarrier; how they joined SHIELD, etc.  Where your fancy takes you, but these SHIELD agents doing good work together will make me very happy.

The second grouping is essentially post-Age of Ultron, and my excitement about these four working together.   Wanda and Sam being empathic to people, and also badass in combat; Steve and Natasha leading and training their new team; Steve and Sam's friendship; Steve and Wanda would have one kind of mentoring relationship; Natasha and Wanda would have a very different kind, which could be amazing to explore.


Request 4:
Maria Hill, Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers

I adore CA:TWS, and in particular the friendships and working relationships between these three that are shown during the film. Anything exploring how they work together during and after, would utterly delight me.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file.   These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep.  Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return.  I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day not to find it.

A while ago I read [livejournal.com profile] siderea 's post about filing, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin.  But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.

On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again.  And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping.   At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper.  And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job.  And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return.  Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.

The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born.  So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.)  It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more.   The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.

It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach.  I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because [livejournal.com profile] nassus was arriving.   Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk.  Long may this last.
rmc28: (books2010)
This is my attempt to clear my to-read piles a bit faster, by reading just the first chapter and seeing if I want to continue. For now, just ebooks and library books: the physical to-read pile has already been through multiple rounds of culling and I've generally been much pickier about new aquisitions in paper since I started reading ebooks.  I'm not nearly so picky about either ebooks or library books.

First round, focusing on books acquired recently:

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
I had forgotten this was only a novella; also it doesn't have chapters. But I read the first few pages and found it hilarious and decided it was a definite keeper. (I went straight back and finished it after I'd read the remaining four first chapters.)

Younger by Suzanne Munshower
This was a Kindle First offering last month. The prologue totally has me sucked in: a woman going on the run, her boss suddenly dies, there are secrets afoot to do with an experimental treatment that makes people look younger? Keeping this one.


The Book of Deacon by Joseph Lallo
The God Decrees
by Mark E. Cooper
Defender by Robert J. Crane

I got all three of these in: Quest: Eight Novels of Fantasy, Myth, and Magic, which I was alerted to by Lindsay Buroker, whose first novel (which I've read and enjoyed) is in it. Sadly all three of these were boring me before the end of the first chapter.

I was a bit worried I was getting "bitch eating crackers" about epic fantasy, so I went back to Buroker's The Emperor's Edge and confirmed I still like that first chapter. These three just aren't my thing.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I liked it, and I really enjoyed the experience of seeing it in the context of a marathon with two earlier films, and in the company of a lot of other people who are fannish enough about these films to also spend nearly 8 hours in a cinema on opening night and go home at 2:30am

I think it's a good fun addition to the series but not my new favourite.   It's very crowd-pleasing: there's a steady stream of funny bits and one-liners, and a running joke about swearing, and some nice little cameos and references, as well as some very effective dramatic big action sequences. 

I was pleased that they had a lot of the wider team either making appearances or referenced in conversation, and also that big themes of the film are MCU-typical Yay Teamwork but also very explicitly Protecting people is more important than beating up bad guys

Everything from now on will be spoilery.

spoilertastic babble )
rmc28: (bat-funny)
 It's full of Marvel fans and we've already watched Avengers Assemble & Winter Soldier and now we're on the trailers before Age of Ultron and it's VERY EXCITING.

(yay Star Wars trailer)

I have a huge promotional tin of popcorn bigger than my head and I doubt I'm going to finish it. But it is a pretty tin.

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

August 2015

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