rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
Nico is on fine form today.  Singing the "alphabet song" he concluded

"now I know my A B C, next time sing ... Let It Go"

complete with appropriate change of tune, and then enormous giggles.  Apparently Let It Go is his favourite.

(He has been ill for over a week, in a "not very serious, just keep treating the symptoms" kind of way that just keeps dragging on, and he woke up in a foul temper this morning, but he is pretty cheerful right now.)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I stayed up way too late last night reading the latest book by Courtney Milan: Trade Me which got released yesterday.

I started reading Courtney Milan for her historical romances, and I was particularly smitten with the Brothers Sinister series, set in Oxford and Cambridge during the late 1800s, with women mathematicians, scientists, newspaper editors (and the aristocratic men who fall for them). She does all the emotional connection and struggle and happy endings that I love reading romance for, while quietly including a whole range of characters who aren't just aristocratic white straight neurotypical people with perfect mental health.

Trade Me is a billionaire novel.  There are lots of billionaire novels, especially since Fifty Shades of Grey and mostly I ignore them because I find conspicuous consumption and rescue narratives a turn-off.  But this is a Courtney Milan billionaire novel so I couldn't wait to see what she did with it.

And I loved it. 

The trouble is, the things I especially loved are basically spoilers.  So let me see.  It's a trading-places novel, where Blake, the heir to a huge tech company swaps his life with that of Tina, a poor immigrant fellow student, only he isn't doing it for laughs and she insists they make a proper agreement, and they become friends and eventually a romance happens.  The novel isn't very fond of the "rich man rescues poor woman from poverty" narrative, and Tina isn't passive or a victim or stupid, and Blake is a rich boy with a problem, but not in a woobie manpain way. 

So you have Blake washing dishes to pay rent on Tina's horrible bedsit and trying to figure out his problem, and Tina planning the new top-secret product launch and worrying about her family.  (And the actual tech product launch scene, very near the end of the book, is brilliant and funny and spot on and I kind of want to get [livejournal.com profile] fanf to read the book even though he doesn't really like romances, just so I can laugh about it with him.)  There are lovely minor characters, and people feel believable, and there isn't any minor character being one-dimensionally horrible to provide artificial conflict, and the ending is great and doesn't tie everything up happily ever after.

I am so glad that there are two more books in this series, and I am particularly excited for book 2 and the characters it's apparently going to focus on.  I also want to see more about how Tina and Blake and their families go on from where they've got to at the end of this book.

Two other things of note:
  1. There is a trans character who just happens to be trans, and it only gets mentioned as a background thing to explain a particular response to a conversation.  That character has way more lines/scenes that aren't about their being trans.
  2. There is extensive portrayal of an eating disorder.  I think it's a portrayal done well, but it's unavoidably there in the story.
Trade Me is available from all the usual ebook stores, including DRM-free and in multiple formats at Smashwords, and also in paperback rather more expensively.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Take this list, remove a thing, sort it by how much you like the things, add a thing at the top, a thing in the middle, and a thing at the bottom (preserving the sortedness, pedants):

(most liked)
Reading the latest book by a favourite author
Running away from zombies
Steam locomotives
Getting up early
Nessie Ladle
Eating paper
Oilseed rape in hayfever season
(most disliked)

(from http://damerell.dreamwidth.org/87540.html)

This is assuming:
a) running away from zombies as in Zombies, Run! not an actual zombie apocalypse.  It edges ahead of steam trains because all I need to indulge is a smartphone and suitable clothing, rather than an entire railway.
b) the children stay asleep when I get up, so I can have some peace and quiet

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I have a supporting membership to this year's Worldcon, and this gives me the ability to submit nominations. My placeholder post from last year is a bit thin on things to nominate, mostly because I just haven't seen or read that much.

Strange Horizons and Tor.com have a helpful archive of fiction sortable by date.
[community profile] ladybusiness have a Hugo-eligible spreadsheet sourced from recommendations to them, which I may use for preference as someone obviously already liked the things on it enough to recommend them.

But here is your chance to push something at me to read / watch / otherwise consume between now and 9th March :-) Ideally not something I already have on my placeholder post.

Poll #16386 Hugos!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 3

Recommend me an sf novel (or two!) published in 2014

Recommend me some shorter-length sf (do not worry about the exact categories) published in 2014

Recommend me an sf film (or two!) released in 2014

Recommend me some short-form sf drama released in 2014

Recommend me one (or more!) sf graphic novel published in 2014

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I've been nursing a sick toddler since Saturday, and also sick myself for much of the last few days. On the good side I got more reading done!

Books read:

Prisoner by Lia Silver
Laura's Wolf by Lia Silver
These are turning into comfort rereads for me. Also I haven't got over getting a Yuletide gift from the author :-)

Night School: Legacy by CJ Daugherty
This is book 2 in a series about a boarding school for the teenage children of the rich and powerful. It was due back at the library and I started it in a bit of an impatient mood with it and its tropes (undecided between two boys! beautiful mean girls! secret society secretly runs the world!), but eventually the storytelling drew me in and I finished it in a rush before it was library-run time. I don't think I will bother with the rest of the series though.

Fool for Love by Eloisa James
A fairly fun regency romance; second in a series. I find the style a little stilted and the plots completely silly, but there's a lot of charm and I'm a sucker for farce, which I think James does very well. Also though each one has its own "complete" romance story, there's at least three or four more going on in a more long-winded way among the wider cast, and I do want to see those resolved too. (I am not sure why I'm tolerating the romance tropes here better than the young adult ones in "Night School", but I am.)

Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron
Pack of Strays by Dana Cameron
Books 1 & 2 in an urban fantasy series (the third is due out at the end of March) about a trainee archaologist who discovers she's part of a Family, of werewolves and vampires and oracles. They're both fast moving with fairly complicated plots and the archaology is intermittently vital to the plot. The viewpoint protagonist is believably confused and flailing and trying to do the right thing even as it gets harder to figure out what that is.

I enjoyed them very much and I've preordered the next one. I have to thank [personal profile] davidgillon for bringing them to my attention (and writing a better review than I've managed here).

Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
This is the sequel to Stranger, which came out only a short while ago, and which I liked very much. I probably liked this one even more: it raises the stakes, develops the characters and the world a bit further, and has some lovely culture-shock exploration, between the small-town democratic society of Las Anclas, vs the power, wealth and control of the nearby Empire that threatens it. We lost the Mean Girl viewpoint from the first book (though we see her from other points of view) in favour of a new character from the Empire.

The authors have self-published this sequel, after getting the first published through a traditional route, and Sherwood Smith has published a thoughtful piece about that decision, which I think is worth reading if you are generally interested in what's happening with publishing, even if not in post-apocalyptic young-adult novels, or these ones in particular.

Selfishly, I'm glad that this sequel came out so quickly, and I do rather hope both books sell enough that the remaining two books planned can get written too.

Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor
I bought this on the basis of its mention in a podcast transcript by Smart Bitches Trashy Books (the main podcast discussion is on trigger warnings for rape, but this was in the "what have you read recently" bit), and enjoyed it very much. The romance is between a pregnant widow, with four children already, and a Navy SEAL, and it could have been awful, but the way the children in particular were written felt realistic and not-annoying to me, and the romance worked well and showed the two of them having to work their way through conflicts and life-changing decisions if they're going to make things work. It was the SEAL end of things I found less believable, in particular the Last Minute Dramatic Tension about 9/10 of the way through. But overall it worked for me really well, and there's a sequel out in about two weeks which I've preordered.

Next book
No idea, something else easy, ideally off my to-read pile, as I'm still ill.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
'But Hazel, you didn't really think the Chief Rabbit would act on your advice, did you?'

[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)
I've had two of my ten evening classes on this course at Cambridge Regional College, and so far I'm enjoying it.  I'm very grateful to the friend who pointed me at it and is also on the course.

Week 1: lots of talking, mostly about How To Avoid Injuring Yourself Doing DIY - ladders and electrical safety and so on.  Then we finally got to hands on stuff, and did some simple wood sawing and began preparing baby's first wood joint.

Week 2: continuing baby's first wood joint, and adding chiselling to sawing in our range of skills.

The class is quite small, about 10-12 students.  About half of them are women, and I'd guess the age range at about 20-60.  The setting is a workshop with all the tools, equipment etc that we need, so it's a good place to practice with tools I don't have at home.  I did have some difficulty with the chiselling which I was relieved to find were likely down to the chisel not being sharp enough, and physically shown the indications to look for.

Week 3 is apparently going to be hanging doors and I have got ridiculously excited because I basically hate all the internal doors in my house.  They are that nasty hollow fake-panelling which seems to have been designed to create the maximum number of surfaces and grooves to catch dust.  So I find myself browsing DIY store websites for doors and door handles, and may have to drag Tony around the local ones to choose a couple of doors for me to start with (probably to replace doors we mostly keep open anyway, in case I cock it up - I'll save the bedrooms and bathrooms until I'm a bit more confident).

In later weeks we do some glazing, some tiling, some very  basic plumbing, some making holes in things (and patching holes we didn't mean to make), and some bricklaying.  Right now I'm full of New Enthusiasm Energy and thinking of practical applications around the house once I've had a chance to try stuff out in class.   I suspect the projects I'll feel able to tackle after it's over will keep me busy for rather more than ten weeks.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
This evening, for the first time this year, it was not completely dark when I left work.  About 45 minutes after sunset, and the sky still had some shades of blue in it, and I could see where sunset had been by how the sky there was lighter.  

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Hello kind author! I am really looking forward to your story celebrating the amazing women of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I ticked all fandoms and all characters.  There is no-one in the tag set I would not enjoy reading about.   My general likes and dislikes I wrote out very recently for Yuletide so I'm going to be very lazy and link you to that dear author post.

If you have a story idea that you've been meaning to get around to, that is about one or more of the MCU ladies, that doesn't include things in my dislikes, then please make this your excuse to write it. I would be completely delighted to read it.   

If however that's not very helpful and you would like a prompt or two to kick something off, here are some.

Maya Hansen was one of the most interesting characters in Iron Man 3 and I was gutted when they killed her off.  I wrote a Maya Lives story (Finding True North Again) but I would happily read a dozen more, so free to write your own or remix that one or show me what happened next or cover some of her time before IM3. 

Betty Ross was unaccountably missing from Avengers Assemble.  I mean, seriously, if you know that there's one person who consistently can get the Hulk to calm down, why aren't you getting her on board the helicarrier rather than faffing about with cages?  (yes, I know the real-world answer is because Liv Tyler was pregnant, but it's annoying.  More of Betty please.  I very much like the version of her who appears in [archiveofourown.org profile] lalaietha 's series your blue eyed boys and related stories if you want more headcanon, or just go with what we on screen)

Christine Everhart is an interesting minor character - I mean yes, she's there at the beginning of Iron Man as part of establishing Tony's careless playboy side, and there's the unnecessarily bitchy exchange between her and Pepper the morning after.  But then she's the one who brings Tony the key evidence about Gulmira, and the one who provokes Tony into declaring himself Iron Man (and watch that press conference scene, the other reporters go nuts and she sits back, like she's all done here). 

She makes another brief appearance in Iron Man 2 and mostly I think (like pretty much anyone else who has to deal with weapons during that film) she's thinking "WHY, Tony? WHY did you have to grow a conscience and leave the rest of us to deal with Hammer and his massive insecurity complex about you".  So basically  I'm intrigued enough to want to know more.

Maria Hill gets the sceptical sidekick role in Avengers Assemble: cool, expressive of her disagreement but ultimately following Fury's orders, incredibly competently.  She continues quietly competent throughout Captain America:Winter Soldier, for which the key moment for me is when she's running the operation to take down Project Insight, sees people approaching her position, and just rolls her chair back, shoots them, and gets back to it.  She protests Steve's apparent suicide on the Insight carrier but follows his orders anyway, because he isn't more important than the millions being targeted by Insight.

Any combination of the agents being badass together: Maria, Natasha, Sharon Caron, Melinda May, Victoria Hand, Bobbi Morse.

Natasha and Skye talking hacking together (or just hacking together).

Any combination of the scientists being sciency together:  Jane, Betty, Maya, Jemma.

I hope that's helpful and look forward to reading your story :-)
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
In the darkness and warmth of the burrow Hazel suddenly woke, struggling and kicking with his back legs. 

Moderator note: in this chapter, Fiver describes a dream.  The time to discuss what it refers to is when we reach those events, not now.

[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)
I got this for Christmas from my inlaws.  It is a very funny buddy cop movie starring Sandra Bullock (the straightlaced overachieving FBI agent) and Melissa McCarthy (the foulmouthed maverick neighbourhood cop).  Together they fight crime track down a nasty killer and the drug lord he works for.

It's quite obviously a film that knows its genre stereotypes and is having enormous fun with them.  The dialogue is brilliant, and the two lead actors are just fantastically good at delivering it, and with the body language.  I particularly personally appreciate having a fat woman lead character who is also clearly clever and sharp and good at her job, rather than just being the comic relief or the emotional support. 

There's a refreshing absence of the usual action-movie stuff that grates on me (women aren't background characters and rewards! there are important non-white characters! who aren't villains!) so I had time to notice the terrifying approach to fiirearms (it's funny! but then you stop laughing and have time to think that was incredibly unsafe wtf) and the fact that the main plot is almost entirely driven by the futile War On Drugs[1].  And the remainder by the criminalisation of sex work. 

This film has reminded me that I basically adore Sandra Bullock, so I have gone on a bit of a shopping spree for more of her films.  I'm having less luck finding films with Melissa McCarthy that look like I actually want to watch them but I'll accept recommendations :-)

[1] Just like Die Hard 2, 25 years ago.
rmc28: (books2010)
Today is not that day.

8 M&B 3-in-1 "By Request"
6 M&B Regency
5 M&B Historical
1 M&B 2-in-1 "Date with a Regency Rake"
1 Tessa Dare
1 Elizabeth Hoyt (author of the awesome Batman Regency Romance novel)

and as a palate cleanser to all that romance, Fifty Sheds of Grey

Oh hey, it's Wednesday. Let's call this a Reading Wednesday post.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The primroses were over.

[This is a 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 cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
One of the books I read last year (Prisoner by Lia Silver) referenced Watership Down as a book about soldiers and specifically the Second World War.  Now, I read Watership Down repeatedly as a child and can remember most of the plot and quite a lot of passages almost verbatim, but I missed that aspect completely.  I probably last read the book twenty years ago, so I thought it would be interesting to read it again now.  And invite people to join me if they wish!

There are 50 chapters and an epilogue, brought together in four parts.  Here's how this is going to work:
  1. I'm going to make one post per chapter, roughly once a week, most likely at weekends as that's when I have more time.
  2. The post will consist of the chapter number and title, a 1-2 sentence summary of the chapter the first sentence of the chapter, and a link back to this post.
  3. I'll make a comment to the post, in which I say whatever I find I have to say about the chapter and the book so far.
  4. (Hopefully) some of you join in the discussion.
  5. At the end of 2015 we'll have finished the book!
  6. People are welcome to join in at any time (but you will need a Dreamwidth account or an Open ID to comment)
  7. My comments policy applies: Please remember there are real people on the other side of the screen, and communicate in a way you'd be happy to stand by if you were interacting in person. Your comment should be at least two out of kind, interesting, useful & correct. If you can't manage that, don't post it.
  8. Spoiler policy: There are people who have not read the book and some of them will be participating in this read through.  Please keep discussion to the current and previous chapters.  At most you can mention that something will be significant later, but the time to discuss that is when we have reached later, with references back if needed.
First post will be this weekend (3-4 Jan).  The chapters are about 3-5 pages long in my Penguin edition, which means even in very busy weeks I should be able to read a chapter and think about it.

List of posts so far:
Chapter 1: The Notice Board
Chapter 2: The Chief Rabbit
Chapter 3: Hazel's Decision

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Since my reset on 4th May:
Physical books: added 44, read 15 - current total 330
Ebooks: added 44, read 34 - current total 134
Library: requested 35 books, of which 6 remain unread.

Goals same as last year (keep on swimming):
1 on, 3 off for physical books
1 on, 2 off for ebooks
Up to 6 requests at a time from library (finishing one requested book allows me to request another)


Physical books on:
  1. Fifty Sheds of Grey
  2. One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
  3. Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt
  4. The Wicked Lord Rasenby by Marguerite Kaye
  5. The Rake's Rebellious Lady by Anne Herries
  6. Virgin: Wedded at the Italian's Convenience by Diana Hamilton
  7. Count Giovanni's Virgin by Christina Hollis
  8. The Italian's Unwilling Wife by Kathryn Ross
  9. Make-Believe Mistress by Katherine Garbera
  10. Six-Month Mistress by Katherine Garbera
  11. High-Society Mistress by Katherine Garbera
  12. Once Upon a Pregnancy by Judy Duarte
  13. Her Mr Right? by Karen Rose Smith
  14. A Merger ... or Marriage? by RaeAnne Thayne
  15. Shaken and Stirred by Kathleen O'Reilly
  16. Intoxicating! by Kathleen O'Reilly
  17. Nightcap by Kathleen O'Reilly
  18. The Millionaire's Rebellious Mistress by Catherine George
  19. The Venetian's Midnight Mistress by Carole Mortimer
  20. The Billionaire's Virgin Mistress by Sandra Field
  21. The Count's Blackmail Bargain by Sara Craven
  22. The French Count's Pregnant Bride by Catherine Spencer
  23. The Italian Count's Baby by Amy Andrews
  24. The Children's Heart Surgeon by Meredith Webber
  25. The Heart Surgeon's Proposal by Meredith Webber
  26. The Italian Surgeon by Meredith Webber
  27. Blackmailed into a Fake Engagement by Leanne Banks
  28. Tempted into the Tycoon's Trap by Emily McKay
  29. Transformed into the Frenchman's Mistress by Barbara Dunlop
  30. The Beauty Within by Marguerite Kaye
  31. The Scarred Earl by Elizabeth Beacon
  32. Reforming the Viscount by Annie Burrows
  33. Never Trust a Rake by Annie Burrows
  34. The Greatest of Sins by Christine Merrill
  35. The Rake to Ruin Her by Julia Justiss
  36. The Highlander's Stolen Touch by Terri Brisbin
  37. A Stranger's Touch by Anne Herries
  38. The Accidental Prince by Michelle Willingham
  39. Man Behind the Facade by June Francis
  40. Return of the Border Warrior by Blythe Gifford

Physical books off:
  1.  Fifty Sheds of Grey
  2.  One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

Ebooks on:
  1. Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
  2. Worth the Risk by Claudia Connor
  3. Call Me Saffron by Talia Surova
  4. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
  5. Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Ebooks off:
  1. Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron
  2. Pack of Strays by Dana Cameron
  3. Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
  4. Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor
  5. What's Yours Is Mine by Talia Surova
  6. Draw Me In by Talia Surova
  7. Call Me Saffron by Talia Surova (dnf)
  8. Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon
  9. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
  10. Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Requested books: (strikethrough means read or bounced off)
  1. Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger's by Mohammad Ghaziuddin (returned unread, come back later)
  2. The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson (returned unread, come back to)
  3. Pegasus by Robin McKinley (returned unread, come back to)
  4. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (returned unread, come back to)
  5. Legacy by CJ Daugherty
  6. Fool for Love by Eloisa James
  7. A Wild Pursuit by Eloisa James

rmc28: (wedding)
By agreement, Tony went out to a party tonight and I stayed home with the children.  Nico was asleep soon after 9pm but Charles was determined to stay up to midnight if possible.  We had a mellow multi-screen evening (Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on the tv, Charles playing Angry Birds on my phone, me noodling on my laptop) but despite strenuous efforts, Charles fell asleep shortly after 11pm.

I settled in to watch the London fireworks at midnight and put on Captain America:Winter Soldier to watch afterward.

At 1am, Nico fell out of bed with a dramatic thud.  I think he woke up more from my picking him back up than from the actual fall, and settled back to sleep fairly quickly.

At 2am, he woke up and made his way downstairs where he expressed a great deal of concern for the car that was being thoroughly smashed up:  "Car broken! Car broken, mummy!  Poor car.  Car is sad."   We are now watching Teletubbies instead, and eating cold fishfingers because they were there.  Also I am reading through 50+ story notifications from AO3 now that Yuletide authors have been revealed. 

At some point I will try to put both Nico and myself to bed, as I need to get back to something like my usual sleeping pattern tomorrow night.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (half-marathon)
But now is when I have time to write, so: happy new year!

I looked at my new year's post for 2014, and am glad that the children have grown easier with another year in them.   We took it even easier than last year, with just the one trip away on the 27th, and some super-easy visitors on the 20th and 14th.  Nico has been only moderately clingy, and I have managed to run a couple of times, and generally feel fairly rested and recharged.

I have some things to look forward to:
- my Change It Yourself course at the local college, where I hope to acquire some basic DIY skills, starting next week
- my sister-in-law's wedding at the end of January
- Eastercon (without the children!)
- two babies due in my extended family in the summer

I have to make a decision by early March whether to continue with my OU study (suspended for most of the last year) or to let it go.  The Change It Yourself course and how it goes is definitely going to inform that decision.

I think, like 2014, my approach to 2015 is going to be Just Keep Swimming.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
In a stroke of genius, my inlaws Lucy & Simon bought matching jumpers for the four children. It took quite some effort to pose a baby, two toddlers and an 8-year-old together, and parents had to be in there too to settle them down, but here, see the cuteness that is my children and their cousins:

Four cousins and their mothers

We kept the jumpers on our two for the journey home. It's my experience that dressing them alike gets an "aww cute" reaction which gives us rather more slack for them being children in public. Anyway, the two of them in matching jumpers holding hands through the non-accessible bits of the underground was a sight to behold. If I hadn't been carrying a buggy up and down flights of stairs, I would have photographed it for you.

(In fact any way of playing up the "aww cute" is helpful, which I first realised during Eastercon when C was a toddler. We got a lot more approval and a lot less annoyed huffing when he was running around dressed up as dragon or spider than we did when he was "just" a toddler running around.)
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
On Saturday we went over to Beaconsfield and back to meet up with two of Tony's sisters plus spouses and offspring.  The travel was tiring and crowded (we managed to avoid the horrors of Finsbury Park, and were just stuck on a standing-room only train to Liverpool St, and just-about-enough-seats for all the other legs).  We were all rather zogged yesterday as a result, and I was very deliberately letting Tony sleep in as long as possible, and trying to keep the children occupied elsewhere.

Nico and Tony have developed a bit of a tradition on weekend mornings for Nico to "help" Tony with his morning cafetiere.  By about lunchtime, Nico had clearly decided Tony was slacking, barged into the bedroom and marched up to the bed saying "Come on Daddy, do coffee!"    I am afraid I was laughing too much to intervene as Nico ruthlessly pulled the covers off his father and repeated "Coffee, Daddy" until Tony emerged and got the kettle on.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Lots of these are short, and there's a lot less of them than the main Yuletide collection, so I rocketed through the collection last night while being kept awake by small children. These are my favourites.

I'm not going to say much about these because they're only 100 words each and you might as well read that rather than my blather - just that I thought each one worked really well for the fandom it was in:

Justice and Mercy (100 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Mercy of Kalr, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq

Memorial for a Tea Set (100 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Kalr Five, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq

On Saturday We Went For A Picnic (100 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Characters

Transfer of Title (100 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Tom Long, The Clock

Comfortable (100 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: A Civil Contract - Georgette Heyer
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jenny Chawleigh, Lydia Deveril

Agent of F.I.E.R.C.E. (105 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Black Widow (Comics)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Liho (Marvel) & Natasha Romanova

Non-drabbles, in increasing order of wordcount:
Black Beauty - Anna Sewell, Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie, Dragonriders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey, Persuasion - Jane Austen, Watership Down - Richard Adams )
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
The rest of yesterday went pleasantly: the children seemed to mostly like their presents, with a few real successes and nothing really disliked.  I had failed to track just how many clothes I'd bought for each child though, and there are drifts of new clothes in the living room which need sorting out.

The adults had a few gifts each which meant we didn't feel left out, food was tasty and plentiful and everybody ate to repletion.  We had lots of fun opening crackers together, and then started an impromptu Wallace & Gromit marathon, and I had a burst of getting-things-tidied doing-laundry changing-sheets while that was happening.

[it's not that housework is especially fun, but it always needs to be done, and doing it essentially on my own schedule rather than under external time pressure can be its own kind of relaxing]

Unfortunately, from about midnight until 4am either one child or the other kept me awake, which means I am less than cheery this morning.  Better now I have breakfasted.  The most annoying point was a fat-finger moment while reading while cuddling Nico.  Instead of deleting an individual ebook I'd finished, I managed to delete all the ebooks on my phone.  Most of them are backed up to Calibre on the family computer, but not the 200+ yuletide fics I downloaded to the phone yesterday.

So tasks for today (in no particular order):
- redownload yuletide fics, this time to Calibre, and then reload phone with 1400+ ebooks
- go for a run and have a nap afterward to catch up on sleep
- get the children to help me put their new clothes away, and almost certainly cull some of the existing ones

rmc28: (wedding)
I fell asleep sometime after midnight.  At some point after that Nico woke up and came into my bed.  Charles woke me up at 5am, but was persuaded to go away again.  And at 6am.  And at 7am.   At 8am I finally felt ready to wake up properly.

Nico got much more into opening his stocking this year; Charles mostly resisted the urge to play with all his brother's stocking-contents as well as his own.  As last year, I put the (excessive number of) presents behind the fireguard in front of the unused fire to keep them out of curious toddler hands.  Mid-morning there was a little present avalanche and the fireguard fell over.  We put it back up up but further out from the fire, and left the presents where they had slid.

I'm wearing a tshirt with Olaf from Frozen, with the slogan "I'm All Out Of Shape".  We've had a mellow morning eating treat breakfasts and too much chocolate, and Nico playing Let It Go and dancing/singing along.  Now Tony has made the salmon-on-bread and poured the bucks fizz.  Charles is wearing a Santa hat and preparing to hand out presents, and all is well with the world inside my home.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Two yuletide gifts.

And you know what's even better than that?

Getting thank you comments for the stories I wrote before I was even awake enough to read my own gifts. Yay for happy recipients. 

My gifts, let me show you them:

To Roam Between Stars
(2757 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Abigail Brand/Carol Danvers, Carol Danvers/Janet Van Dyne, Abigail Brand/Carol Danvers/Janet Van Dyne
Characters: Abigail Brand, Janet Van Dyne, Carol Danvers, Nick Fury

Abigail Brand is a minor character on A:EMH which is the brightest most colourful amazing animated series about the Avengers, and this story is about her growing up and coming to join the Avengers.  In her brief appearances on the show, Abigail impressed me with her competence and ruthlessness, and this story expands on that.

Blank Pages (3040 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Werewolf Marines - Lia Silver
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Echo (Werewolf Marines), Charlie (Werewolf Marines)
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Sister-Sister Relationship, Storytelling, Yuletide Treat, Misses Clause Challenge

I have enthused before about the Werewolf Marines series, and this is a lovely "prequel" to the book about Echo, filling in more about Charlie and with very evident sisterly affection.  I particularly liked the use of Little Women fanfic inside the story, and I only regret that it's so long since I read Little Women that I'm probably missing some of the context.

I'm now busy downloading every story in the archive that looks like My Kind Of Thing to my phone so I can read it safely anonymous there, as I for sure will not get through them all in the week before they are revealed.
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
I discovered Nico playing with the power switch to the house router, singing "switch it on, switch it off" to the tune of Let It Go.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I went to work today, leaving Tony and the children at home.   Late morning I got a call on my mobile from an incredibly distraught Charles, who had applied the latest update to his Angry Birds Go app, which had wiped out all the upgrades he'd earned over hours and hours of gameplay.

This is how you can tell I am a parent and a software developer: first I spent several minutes expressing sympathy and suggesting local sources of comfort; then I said that when he was ready we were going to write down exactly what happened and send it to Rovio.  And finally (after he'd rung off, much calmer), I looked up the support page and mailed it to both Charles and Tony.

My colleague (also a parent) was amused.

(I have only just sat down after coming home; the bug report has yet to be written)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
This is inspired by [personal profile] kate_nepveu's recs post earlier today.

I didn't set out to keep a recs list for Yuletide 2013. What I did do was download everything that looked interesting while they were still anonymous and work my way through them later. Anyway, these are the bookmarks I made of 2013 Yuletide stories. I've replaced the supplied summaries with brief notes of my own, hope that helps give a flavour of why I liked them.

Legally Blonde, Gravity )

Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Sarah Jane Adventures )

A-Babies Vs X-Babies )

Chalion Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold, Cotillion - Georgette Heyer (x2), Doctrine of Labyrinths - Sarah Monette (x2), Dragonriders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey, Laundry - Charles Stross, Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula Le Guin, Persuasion - Jane Austen )

Calvin & Hobbes with Young Wizards - Diane Duane, Disney Princesses (x3) )
rmc28: (wonderfrown)
Both my assignments are finished, named, and uploaded. 
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
So what should I do about the item of clothing that is exactly as described, arrived very promptly, with reasonable postage etc - but reeking so much of cigarette smoke that it's gone pretty much straight into the washing machine, and I've taken the packaging to the outside bin?

I suspect the Approved Thing is to send a polite message through ebay alerting the seller to the smelliness of their sales items, and/or leave something in the feedback form?  Probably not the latter until after the former?  No idea how to phrase feedback; not doing great at phrasing a message right now.

Not sure if I want or should ask for some refund?  I strongly dislike the smell but it doesn't actually make me ill, and I felt I'd bought at a reasonable price.  There was no indication of it coming from a smokers household.   Of course there's no indication in the item description of it coming from a smoke-free household either, which some sellers do emphasise; perhaps I should stick only to such sellers for future clothing purchases.  (Mind you even then I quite often end up with clothes smelling really strongly of washing liquid artificial scent which also needs washing out before I can bear to wear them/put them on my children.)
rmc28: (BRAINS)
For the second time in 10 days, I have had that "what's that mark on my screen?" feeling, only to realise it isn't on the screen, it is in my vision.  The little blurry mark has expanded gradually into a wobbly semicircle fitting neatly around my monitor, and flashing interesting geometric coloured patterns.  When it expands out of my field of vision, the headache will probably start.  There is some really interesting correlation I can't quite remember between the neurochemical cascade in my brain and this light show outside ... actually the light show is also in my brain, isn't it?.

Unlike 10 days ago, I have managed to take some drugs while the aura is still in progress..  Let's see how this goes.

I seem to have improved my energy levels to the point where I can stay up too late repeatedly, and give myself migraines.  Onward with glorious purpose!

Later edit ~19:00
: The painkillers did not take; I ended up begging a lift home from a coworker and taking my nauseous headachy self to lie very still in a dark room.  After a while I felt better enough to come out and eat and drink a bit, but the headache persists, so back I go.
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
I realised that although I have told several people this anecdote in person, I never got around to blogging it.

In the summer, the four of us went to Sheffield for a few days to meet up with my nephew the mustardseed and his parents.  On our last evening, we were having supper at their home, and Nico was bimbling around their garden and fiddling with a couple of pieces of smooth gravel.  All of a sudden I spotted him shoving one of these little stones right up his nose, just too late to stop him.

Luckily the children's hospital with an A&E was on the bus route back to our hotel, and we were shortly to depart in that direction anyway, so we just hurried up our departure, and I took Nico in while Tony and Charles continued on without us.  Monday evening in A&E is quite civilised and we didn't have to wait long before a nurse saw us and attempted to teach me how to blow the blockage right back out again.  It took me about a dozen tries and the supervision of a more senior nurse, but eventually I succeeded.  We were on our way again less than 30 minutes after arriving and I felt quite the hero.

The next day, at lunchtime, something reminded Nico of this, and he chattered excitedly to me and Tony about his visit to the hospital. 

I said "Nicholas, do we put stones in our noses?"

"Yes!" he said, grinning and nodding.  I sighed.

"Nicholas, should we put stones in our noses?"

He shook his head very solemnly. "No."
rmc28: (glowy)
Graduate Trainee Developer - this is a post within my team of ~10 developers, and we're looking for bright people who can learn, regardless of degree subject.   Closing date is 31st Jan and interview date is 11th February. We're open to those graduating next summer as well as those available now.  If you know anyone interested, please do pass the link along, and I'm very happy to answer any questions about the job, either here, or by email to my personal address, rmcf@cb4.eu. 

Plus 3 jobs which I know rather less about, but can answer general questions about the department (either here or by email):

2x Programme Manager (Fixed Term)

1x Senior Project Manager (Fixed Term)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Three years ago I bought us a new artificial tree, and spent a Saturday afternoon in bed gestating, while Tony and Charles assembled and decorated the tree.

A year later, Charles did the tree mostly by himself and roped Tony in to help, while I looked after 6-month-old Nico.

Last year, we opted not to try for the tree at all, given how mobile and unreasonable our 18-month-old toddler was.

This year, Charles helpfully pointed out that if we waited until 1st December we would be rushed because it was a schoolnight, and therefore it would be much more sensible to put the tree up today. This time we included Nico until his "help" became too difficult for Charles to handle, and I took Nico off elsewhere to distract him while Tony and Charles decorated the tree.

So far, Nico is being fairly sensible around it, but presents are still going behind the fireguard to reduce temptation.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Scene: 8am today, nagging C to get dressed because we are already behind schedule for getting out to school. "Remember Mummy, I have to dress up as someone out of history!"

Argh. Flail. "Robin Hood isn't historical Mummy" (which cheered me). So we went for "wedding suit and top hat, you can be Brunel" except he decided he wanted to be a Victorian magician. So I made a top hat and a wand out of thick black paper and sellotape in about 10 minutes, and he got breakfast and cleaned his teeth and got to school on time. I was only a little late to work.

Charles, in outfit and brandishing his wand, on the stairs
rmc28: (books2010)
What it's about
This is a book based in an alternate universe: where the United Arab States were attacked on 9th November 2001 by Christian fundamentalists from the mountain regions of America; where an invasion followed and a Green Zone was set up in Washington D.C. and where the UAS Homeland Security works to prevent crusaders carrying out terrorist attacks in Baghdad.

In the summer of 2009, a captured suicide bomber claims during interrogation that this is all a mirage and that in the real world the USA is the single superpower.   The interrogation is cut short by orders from the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee - the war hero Osama bin Laden - but not before the investigating team become aware that this story has been said again and again by other captured terrorists, and are asked to investigate "the mirage story" by direct request from the President.

How I came to read it
I read this book for bookclub (and then was too tired for bookclub, so have no idea what the others made of it) and I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise, because the premise has the potential to be really good or really appalling.  Normally I'd give this book a wide berth and go read something else instead.

Read more... )

I'm very unlikely to reread this and will be taking it to the charity shop next week, unless one of my local friends would like it?
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I've been following with a certain horrified fascination the discussions following the reveal of Benjanun Sriduangkaew as Requires Hate / Winterfox. I was vaguely aware of all three: BS as a well-regarded nominee for the not-a-Hugo award for new authors (though I never did get around to reading that part of my Hugo packet earlier this year); RH for vicious reviews and nasty tweets that occasionally had a point, but I found the ratio of venom-to-point too high for my taste and after a while stopped following links to her that were shared; Winterfox for being vicious online to some people I know slightly.

I spent a long time reading the (hundreds of) comments to James Nicoll's post about the revelation and many of the links people posted in the course of that.  I came to my own conclusion after all that reading, which is basically that this person repeatedly acted to bully and intimidate people.  She was destructive to more than one fandom community.  And she deleted most of the evidence, so you are left looking at comment threads with only the responses by others framing the negative space where her words used to be.

I'm not so bothered about the nasty reviews.  It's the bullying and the community destruction I find particularly abhorrent. 

Laura J Mixon did a rather more systematic analysis.  This helpfully includes a couple of tables in the appendix of people targeted for bullying by BS/RH.  It's that time of year when my family shares seasonal gift wishlists.  I made a point of putting works by authors on that list onto my public wishlist; some were already on my private list of things-I've-been-recommended, some after a quick google looked as though they'd be My Sort Of Thing.

I have mostly come to terms with the fact that I'll never read all the good books.  I have literally hundreds of books on my to-read piles and wishlists; if I never added another recommendation I'd be set for reading for the next decade or two.  Right now I don't feel like prioritising Benjanun Sriduangkaew's works, and I do feel like prioritising the works of people whom she attacked.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
  • Glorious solitude
  • Toddler bedtime cuddles
  • Curry
  • Imminent sleep
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
 I sent myself to my room for losing my temper with the children and shouting too much.

I think it amused Charles, which is better than scaring him.

Tony promises curry shortly. If I don't have to talk to anyone for a bit I may even be fit company by the time it's ready.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
My doctor wrote to me to request a follow-up blood test for my vitamin D levels.  The symptoms certainly match, as do the risk factors (being fat, breastfeeding, latitude).   The earliest I was able to book a blood test is next Friday, so I am trying hard to contain my impatience until then.

I managed to run three times in the last week, and I'm going to bed when I'm tired rather than trying to get everything done each evening.  I don't feel as awful as I did a week ago but I'm a long way off what I like to think is "normal for me".  Let's not talk about the to-do list or the paperwork pile.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith (Amazon | Apple | Google | Kobo )

This is a post-apocalyptic YA adventure story, which is a self-contained story but which clearly has lots of scope for sequels. I liked it a lot and I hope it sells well enough that the authors can write sequels.

It's not quite a dystopia - well, it's post-apocalyptic, but the action all takes place within a community which seems not-horrible, if imperfect in the way that small communities where everybody knows everybody's business are. Families and school and a bar and a dance hall and at least some democracy (a council, a mayor). Oh, and at least some of the population has mutant powers (except that 'mutant' is a slur, and the polite word is Changed), and there are lots of strange and dangerous mutated animals and plants too. (Meat-eating roses! Telekinetic squirrels! Psychic murder trees!)

The basic plot is that the small community, Las Anclas, has been getting on with life, vaguely aware of the threat of an empire-builder who they fought off nearly two decades ago. There's tension between the Changed and the Norms, and some bad history, and a recent change of Sheriff. And into this comes a young man, the stranger of the title, who is escaping danger but may have brought it with him.

The story is told from five points of view - five of the young people in Las Anclas, including Ross the newly-arrived stranger. Each one gets a chapter at a time, and the voices are distinct enough and get enough airplay at a time, that I found this very effective. Between them they see pretty much everything that is going on, and as the tension and action reach a climax towards the end of the book, I was unable to put it down as they all faced peril.

I liked that the teen romances on view included gay, lesbian, poly and straight relationships, and included a main character who I read as asexual-to-demisexual. I especially appreciated the skewering of the "two best friends fall for the same boy" trope. I was a bit meh about the Beautiful Mean Girl (With A Secret), though the chapters from her pov were both alien and compelling. I do hope she gets to grow up, have better role models, and be less mean.

I preordered Stranger after discovering that Rachel Manija Brown is also Lia Silver, author of the Werewolf Marine romances about which I have enthused previously. I'm very glad I did. This book is a different genre and a different style, but what they share are: characters I care about; writing that keeps me turning the pages; avoidance or subversion of the most annoying genre tropes.

I'm now looking forward to working through some of Sherwood Smith's backlist, while I wait for sequels to Stranger and more werewolf marines.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
l was pretty sarcastic about the doctor telling me what I already know.  But since speaking to him, I have taken more concrete action towards both sleep and exercise than I've managed in the last two months, and I'm not feeling quite so ground down by exhaustion.  (I'm still not getting enough done, but baby steps.)

Maybe if I'd done that in the last two months I wouldn't have needed to go to the doctor at all.

Maybe I could work on being kind to myself without needing an external authority figure to agree with me that I need something.

rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
Over the last months, Nico has gone from singing along occasional words with Let It Go to singing entire lines both with and without the original, to singing a recognisable Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to a little repertoire of recognisable nursery rhymes.

And he likes to change the words.  So for example he has a whole song about Yellow Yellow Ye-e-low, and another about Daddy Daddy Da-Da-Dee (both to Twinkle Twinkle) and additional verses to The Wheels on the Bus where Mummy goes cuddle-cuddle-cuddle and Daddy is either fast asleep or goes snore-snore-snore.  (Not the fairest division of labour, I feel.)

Yesterday was the most complex yet, where he was singing about an orange plate to Let It Go.

Meanwhile, C just about tolerates N singing the wrong words but Tony and I are absolutely not allowed.
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Poll #16126 Reading guilt
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

I feel guilty about not finishing a book I

View Answers

12 (46.2%)

borrowed from a friend
12 (46.2%)

borrowed from the library
7 (26.9%)

started reading on recommendation from a friend
15 (57.7%)

started reading on recommendation from a more formal review (whether by friend or not)
5 (19.2%)

was given to review
11 (42.3%)

was assigned for study
10 (38.5%)

5 (19.2%)

I feel no guilt
8 (30.8%)

I feel guilty about not even starting to read a book I

View Answers

was lent by a friend
16 (61.5%)

was lent by a friend who wants it back soon
19 (73.1%)

borrowed from the library
4 (15.4%)

borrowed from the library and renewed once
5 (19.2%)

borrowed from the library and renewed the maximum number of times allowed
12 (46.2%)

8 (30.8%)

bought more than a month ago
3 (11.5%)

bought more than three months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than six months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than a year ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than five years ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than ten years ago
6 (23.1%)

7 (26.9%)

I feel no guilt
5 (19.2%)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
What I should have been reading over the last few weeks:
  • Library books due back this week that I've already renewed the max number of times
  • Canon for yuletide assignments
  • Leaflets on sensory processing
  • Books on autism (to be fair, this group is more like "the last few months")
What I have been reading over the last few weeks:
  • Fanfic
  • Assorted romances, mostly from reviews at Smart Bitches Trashy Books (still calibrating my taste against that of the reviewers there but only one Did Not Finish, so not bad so far)

I did take myself to the doctor this week with the sense that actually this isn't my usual "busy life, children, etc" tiredness but has been getting gradually worse recently and is now substantially affecting my ability to get much done.  In particular I haven't run regularly in months now and I miss it.  He did refer me for some blood tests for the most obvious causes but opined that "it probably isn't anything simple, you've got too much to juggle, you should try to get more rest and rebuild your level of physical exercise".

I was nice. I didn't say "yes, that's what I've been trying to tell you" or "thank you genius", I just agreed that these were important goals and I'd get right on them and we'd review again in a month or so.

(I did then take this as guidance to go home for the rest of the day and I did get an extra 3 hours of sleep as a result, which did make me feel a lot better.  So that was good, but I can't do that regularly without radical changes to my work and lifestyle, and thus the family.  Which, argh, if I knew what to change to make things better, I would, but I don't want to make serious changes without a bit more to go on.)

I did have a bunch of things I was going to do this weekend.  I'm shelving them in favour of
a) sorting out replacing my fitbit; it mysteriously stopped working a few weeks ago but before then it was giving me some useful sleep data
b) returning my library books
c) doing a gentle run
d) napping

Never let it be said I ignore medical advice.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Someone (and I don't remember who, I'm very sorry) on my DW / LJ follow lists linked me a few months ago to this amazing "Mass Bolero" - a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Torvill & Dean's Olympic gold. The dance was re-choreographed to work on land, and broken into 10-second segments and all sorts of community groups across Nottingham learned one 10-second segment each, and then it's all filmed and stitched together beautifully. I think my favourite is the rugby players, but I love the whole thing, the huge variety of bodies and backgrounds, sizes and shapes.

Each of the children like to watch it with me, I think they are getting different things out of it. Anyway, after we'd watched the tribute a few tens of times, I looked for a video of the original. In contrast to the mass community production, this is the very specific hair-raising beauty that comes from very talented people who have practiced very very hard to get everything just so.

And just for fun I found another 30th anniversary version, this time from ITV's Dancing on Ice. Just how good and how practiced those two athletes still are:

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
In case you've missed the Cars franchise from Disney, they're animated movies about anthropomorphised vehicles aimed at children.  Charles adores them and I find them tedious-to-irritating, so I can usually cope with seeing them once.  These days I have an ebook app that does night mode - this makes tedious children's films on the cheap weekend mornings far more bearable.

This one was slightly better than I expected, but I'm filing it with the rest of the franchise as "films you can only watch again when I am not in the room".

spoilers )

Trailers beforehand:
Annie - a remake of the musical film, with a black orphan girl and a black mayoral candidate in the rich-rescuer role.  

Get Santa - a father-son bonding movie rescuing Santa from jail.  There is literally a half-second view of one non-male face in the entire 2 minute trailer, among at least a couple of dozen male characters.  Charles was keen but I think Tony can take him if he insists on going.

Paddington - which managed to hit both my embarrassment limit and my bodily-function-disgust limit within about 20s of the trailer.  So nope.  I mean, the last time I had to actually stop watching a trailer was one for Prometheus while I was pregnant. 
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Because my spare time is miniscule, so I should actually try scheduling this.
lists, I love lists )
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I've got an assignment and I'm all happy about it.  (Need to reread canon though to do the prompts justice)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
It's time for my semiannual reminder that I hate the stupid changing-the-clocks ritual.  The change forward in the spring doesn't hit me as hard, just reminds me of this tedious twice-yearly waste of time.

My daily commute is roughly 08:30-9:00 in the morning and 17:00-18:00 in the evening.  Yes, it is twice as long in the evening, because of picking up from childcare, whereas darling child is able to walk himself to school, most of the time (and when he doesn't, school is closer than after-school childcare).  At this latitude it's basically always light when I go out in the morning (if not when I actually wake up), but not in the evening.

The last few weeks, the evening has been creeping in. Not quite dark before we get home, but getting there, closer and closer. I don't like it, but I adjust, day by day.  Tomorrow, because of the time change, it will suddenly be dark when I leave work, with no chance to adjust, and that's what hits me the hardest.

It took me a few years to realise that's what I hated most about the clocks going back.  Not the commute in the dark itself, though it's not great, but the sudden jump.

Summertime is such a clumsy way of attempting to "make the most" of daylight, as though everyone worked on the same schedule throughout the country.  Although every time we talk about changing it, all the exceptions who would be badly affected speak up. Why not keep one timezone all year round, and adapt locally, or in specific activities, to the seasons if we need to?  More complicated.  But probably more useful.
rmc28: (tony)
Charles wasn't thrilled to see me when I picked him up today, but we got home, and we avoided the temptation of shopping while cross with each other, and then he helped me put the bins out.

Then we got food-for-children on the go, and I had some consolatory chocolate ovaltine, and Jonny helped me wrangle children while Tony made delicious filling beans+bacon with truly luxurious amounts of butter and garlic. Charles talked to me some more about Christmas cards, but this time when he wasn't hungry, and we came to mutual understanding and agreement, and there were lots of hugs.

Tony and I had beans and bacon, and a mutual-support-and-venting conversation, and Charles has been reading upstairs, and Nicholas is being affectionate and chatty, and in general the world is a much better place than it was 12 hours ago.


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