rmc28: Charles facepalming eloquently (facepalm)
Yesterday I was reading a fanfic where a character applies to a number of UK universities, including Cambridge. I first twitched a bit because the portrayal of applications made no mention of UCAS, or of interviews, and they had stuff wrong about student fees, but reminded myself that that's kind of nerdy detail and I should let it go. (I am an alum and employee of the University of Cambridge, and have spent 15+ years supporting IT systems used for university admissions, the nerdy detail of these things is my daily bread.)

Then the character gets to Cambridge, where there are apparently semesters, and dorm rooms, and RAs, and payphones which take quarters, and they are clearly not even trying.

I have refrained from leaving feedback to this effect on the story, but I had to vent somewhere.

(Also, if you want to have a character go to Cambridge, you could do worse than read this helpful website the university has put together for its students.)


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I got a GP appointment on Tuesday morning because I was still feeling nowhere near better and it was day 8 off work. Among other things, he strongly recommended inhaling steam "as often as possible". I had been doing this intermittently but I started doing it every hour or two I was awake. By Wednesday afternoon I started feeling a lot better, and on Thursday I finally got back to work. I may of course have been about to get well anyway, but it's felt like a very dramatic recovery.

He also completely changed my understanding of how I should be treating cold symptoms.

(cut for discussion of cold symptoms)
Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I broke my weekly swim+sauna streak, *sob*. In theory I was supposed to go yesterday. In practice yesterday I didn't even want to leave the house to walk 200 steps around the corner and spin the nearest pokestop, never mind anything more energetic.

Last Monday I had the morning off to go to a child-related appointment, and had enough time afterward to squeeze in some semi-urgent clothes shopping for the children and was feeling very accomplished even before I got to work. I started feeling a bit rough in the afternoon so thought "ah, I'll take the evening off Morris practice and rest up and I'll be fine tomorrow."

I was not fine the next day, or really the rest of the week.

By Saturday I was feeling nearly well again, which was good because I'd made plans months ago to see Come From Away with my dad and stepmother. I wrapped up warm and ventured to London taking it very easily all the way so as to be fine Sunday (spoiler: this did not work). The production was even better than I'd hoped, but I won't buy cheap theatre seats for my six-foot-plus dad again!

I am much better today than yesterday but not as good as Saturday, so I'm still off work and hoping my intense boredom indicates the end is in sight.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Tony and I have tickets to Captain Marvel! Opening day, but 19:30 rather than 00:05 because I have finally become mature enough to value sleep over superheroes.

By coincidence the children were watching an episode of Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes with Carol in at the weekend, which is the instance I first imprinted on.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I realise I haven't written a real update since going back to work three weeks ago. I have been mostly keeping up with my (delightfully, wonderfully) active reading page, and trying to leave comments where relevant, even if very brief.

The swim+sauna project continues: I have managed to keep up my at-least-once-a-week plan, and I've figured out that I definitely have a preference between my local sports centres, and I have tried out both weekday evenings and weekend time slots. I am beginning to settle into a routine that I hope will become habit: one weekend afternoon and one weekday evening (to be skipped if I am going to the theatre / cinema on an evening in the same week). I've done the sums for PAYG, monthly and annual fees; my reward if I stick to this routine for the whole of February is an annual unlimited swim+sauna membership.

Other events of note:
  • The children and I visited my mum & stepdad for a weekend just before her birthday, and ALL my brothers made it there too, so that was fun. (I kind of bodged my swim+sauna for that week by getting my swim at their local sports centre, and my saunas - yes plural - in their house, as they have one. But so good.)
  • I went to see a student production of Othello at the ADC and was impressed
  • I took one child to see Spider-Verse at the cinema, and the next day the other child to see Northern Ballet's Tortoise and the Hare children's ballet at a different cinema, and generally both went well and a good time was had by all.
  • I'm pleased to see that as well as the other two children's ballets we have tickets for, Northern Ballet will have both Victoria and Dracula streamed to cinemas later this year
  • I went to the Pinpoint annual conference, Pinpoint being a local organisation run by and for parents of children with special needs, and have promised to write up some notes for other parents at school
  • Charles and I went to see Twelfth Night at the Southwark Playhouse this weekend and had a really good time.
  • I've managed to get to Morris practice 3 weeks out of 4 so far, which is considerably better than I managed last term
Also it has been Too Cold (I get grumpy when it's below 5 C or above 25 C; yes all of you in more extreme climes can laugh) and we had Actual Snow on a couple of days and I tried not to kill too much of the children's excitement with my "ugh, snow" grumpiness.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I think I'm probably ready for it. I have really appreciated the extended time off. I have definitely enjoyed having some days to myself while the children were at school / childcare. I have not achieved any grand projects, but my reminder app is much less in the red now, and I have seen a lot of theatre and cinema (and planned out and booked up a bunch more for coming months). I have managed to swim+sauna twice in two weeks, and planned when I'll do so for the next two.

Theatre:
The Nutcracker live from the Bolshoi Theatre, in the cinema
The Convert at the Young Vic
Hadestown at the National Theatre
The King and I from the London Palladium, in the cinema

Cinema:
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Bumblebee
Mary Poppins Returns
Aquaman

I would like to write more about things I see, so if you want to put a vote in for any of these, please comment to say so! Or if you've seen any of them and want to talk about them / have any questions, please go ahead! I will make no promises about the timeliness of my answers, but I'll do my best.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
It takes a little under 2.5 hours to get from my house to the National Theatre, if all the public transport is cooperating. Because I am mildly paranoid, I got here 90 minutes before the performance starts. I've had a not-too-expensive-by-London-standards meal in the cafe on the third floor, looking out over the Thames and Waterloo Bridge. And I have high hopes for enjoying Hadestown, a musical about Orpheus & Eurydice and Hades & Persephone.

(And then I will belt back to King's Cross as fast as I can in hopes of getting home only slightly after midnight. Matinees are much more civilised.)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I read a really good thoughtful long piece about parenting and the choices parents make about what to share about their children, written in response to a terrible editorial which I did not like at all and am cordially not linking to. In any case, the piece mostly stands alone:
https://drakkinabrarian.wordpress.com/2019/01/04/posting-as-a-parent-on-the-internet-do-remember-your-child-is-a-person/

This is a thing I have become more thoughtful about as my children grow up. I don't post as much detail in unlocked posts as I did when they were small. I'm more careful about what photos I post - and I would as a matter of course take down any photo if they wished me to. For the last year or two I've been explicitly asking for Charles's permission before posting anything about him, including to the private groupchats I'm on with family; Nico I'm still mostly telling after the fact rather than getting permission in advance, but I can see that balance shifting. I don't know if I'm getting it right, but I'm trying.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Today is the first day of my leave where the children are back in school / childcare. I used a bunch of the time to do something very self-indulgent: a lane-swim and sauna. It was SO good. My muscles ached from the unaccustomed exercise, and then the heat of the sauna loosened them right back up and I was very mellow indeed. (Yay for having a brain on which endorphins so obviously work.)

I very nearly didn't go because the house really does need tidying and my to-do list is enormous, but I'm so glad I picked the "just have fun" option.

Last spring I had a few weeks in a row where it was easy for me to fit in a swim and a sauna and I kept saying "I should find a way to fit this into my routine regularly" but then didn't manage it. I still don't really have a good time to go regularly or have even decided which of the two local sports centres with a sauna to go to regularly (different timetables, prices, ease of getting there, etc etc). But today at least I managed to stop worrying about finding the Perfect Time and just go.

Next week I will still be on leave so it will also be easy to just go (probably to the other sports centre, on principle). And then maybe I can look at my schedule for the following week and find a time that works for that week, and repeat.

I don't really do new year's resolutions, but I think it might be a very good thing for me to manage a swim+sauna every week this year.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The screenplay is available from Sony Animation (PDF).

John Scalzi has some interesting things to say, especially on the use of animation and the cleverness of the layered origin storytelling.

Interesting interview with the directors which has more detaila bout the animation techniques.

And three favourite fics (behind cut because of spoilers for a specific character reveal):
Read more... )
rmc28: (books2010)
Via [personal profile] oursin and assorted others on my reading list, based on James Nicoll's list of “100 SF/F books You Should Consider Reading In the New Year.”

Italic = read it. Underlined = not this, but something by the same author. Strikethrough = did not finish.
* already on my to-read pile somewhere

 

the full 100 )

14 read, 17 authors I've read something else by, 7 on my to-read pile already. Lots of interesting suggestions in the remainder for future reading.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
On Sunday, I did some gift shopping and went to see The Nutcracker as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet, live-streamed to cinemas across Europe. In  my case the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge, which had nearly sold out its biggest screen. I booked my ticket ages ago and had forgotten I was sitting in the very middle of the row, and turned up very nearly at the last minute, which meant about a dozen mostly-elderly people had to stand up to let me reach my seat. I decided as a result not to go anywhere at the interval, and took my time trying to leave at the end. (Also as I just missed a bus and there was 30 minutes to the next, I got a drink and a mince pie from the bar, and was delighted to briefly see[personal profile] beckyc and S who were on their way to a film.)

The Nutcracker was really beautiful and very much worth seeing, I floated on the glow from it for the rest of the day.  I should book myself another set of ballet-at-the-cinema tickets for the next few months, but maybe not in the very middle of the row again.

In the evening I watched the second half of Watership Down and it remained disappointing. In case I never get around to writing a longer critiique, my main problem is that the adaptation doesn't understand leadership at all, and as a result does both Hazel and Woundwort complete disservice.

Monday I had a few last gifts to get and then in the late afternoon I shut myself in the back room to wrap gifts. Nico ferried gifts to the tree for me at intervals. So I finished well before midnight for the first time in ... years? I did stockings for the children and a goodie bag for me and went to bed at a sensible time.

Tuesday was deliberately low-key, with just the four of us. I insisted the main presents waited until Tony was up and we'd had some salmon-and-bread. After a number of presents had been opened a natural break occurred while Lego was assembled and the remaining presents got opened in fits and starts during the rest of the day. For next year I think I should let the opening start earlier and encourage more breaks during the day.

Tony made us a large but simple meal of roast chicken, roasties and a few sides, and rather later he and I had some dessert. (The children's dessert came when we opened a couple of boxes of chocolates from under the tree.) I downloaded all the promising-looking Yuletide fic as ebooks to go through at my leisure, and then fell down a hole of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fic instead. We made a couple of video calls to grandparents which went fairly chaotically but seemed well-received.

My brother came over for a bit on Wednesday to exchange gifts and hang out with his nephews, and we ate Tony's ham and bubble+squeak fritters. Otherwise we have remained quietly at home, everyone fairly content to read or watch things and not do much else.

(I have been fairly aggressively catching up on all the very-overdue tasks on my reminder app since Saturday, mostly changing bedding and laundering All The Things, but by its nature this is the kind of catching up that has a lot of sitting around in between times. I could have been reading some of my unread books pile, but instead I have reread a bunch of particularly comforting books.)

Tomorrow Tony and I are going to see The Convert at the Young Vic (written by Danai Gurira, starring Letitia Wright, I am very excited) which functions as a seasonal gift to each other.

Yesterday I finally sorted out travel and accommodation to see family in Sheffield in a few weeks, and today I managed to score a Friday Rush ticket to Hadestown at the National Theatre (as reviewed by [personal profile] swaldman ) for next weekend. That was an experience! I was a bit disheartened at first to be told there were over 350 people ahead of me in the Rush queue, but I decided to wait it out, and when I got let through to booking, my second-choice performance time still had some tickets left at the price I wanted to pay. Then I hit a second queue to get tickets for the specific performance, but much shorter, and I was still able to get the ticket I wanted.  And my confirmation email is from 13:23 so the whole thing didn't really take that long, it just felt like it.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I woke up to a number of cheering posts about how the longest night is over and the days will start getting longer again, reinforced by very mild sunny weather. This afternoon Tony and I went for a date: noodles and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse which was really very good: all the right emotional beats and lots of fanservice. I laughed, I cried, I may have had (silent) moments of punching the air with delight in a few places. Peter Parker is the Spiderman of my childhood but Miles and Gwen are my new favourites. (And I love this Aunt May, and I really liked this Doc Ock.)

After we came home I watched Watership Down part one, about which I have rather more mixed feelings. I didn't actually give up on it, and I'm going to watch part two tomorrow, but my list of postiive things is rather shorter than my list of quibbles.

And then I read the LibDem email giving us the sad news that Paddy Ashdown has died and I am feeling a bit too numb for words about that.

rmc28: (bat-funny)
3 full weeks off plus this weekend. The last week off the children are back at school. This is pencilled in for "recover from a hard year, build up resilience for what will probably be a harder one". I have a stack of books on my ereader and very few plans.

The other day Tony introduced me to [twitter.com profile] gitlost - a twitter bot that finds GitHub commit messages containing swear words and tweets them. Reading down the whole lot at once is delightfully cathartic - oh yes, my fellow developers, I have been there and I know those feelings. (I am actually too stuffy / professional [delete as preferred] to put swear words in my own comments, although I frequently wish to.)

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
Trailer for the new 2-parter from the BBC & Netflix.

From the Radio Times: 2x 100m episodes on BBC1, Saturday 22 December 7pm & Sunday 23 December 7:20pm. Then they'll go onto Netflix internationally. I am excited enough to have actually put the times in my diary. They have a star-studded cast of whom I'm most interested in John Boyega as Bigwig. Olivia Colman is voicing a gender-flipped Strawberry. (How is that going to work? Doesn't it undermine a fairly fundamental driver of the plot?)

I did a read-through of Watership Down a few years ago. There's an unfinished index post that I may get around to finishing one day, but we did make it all the way to the end and all the entries are tagged watership down read through if you want proof. [personal profile] siderea wrote a really cool 3-part long essay on Watership Down around that time:
Part 0
Part 1
Part 2

[personal profile] rachelmanija  writing as Lia Silver has a couple of characters for whom Watership Down is deeply important, and one of her other readers made a brilliant icon:
fucking new guy who hates my favorite rabbit book

rmc28: (destructive)
I was a bit dubious at signing up time about my ability to deliver this year (too much going on, on top of the ever-present risk of Biology Happening), so I promised myself I'd treat the default deadline (9am tomorrow UK time) as my actual deadline. On Saturday morning I had 0 words, only the haziest idea of plot, and a distinct lack of desire to push myself through to get it written anyway, so I thought I'd see how I felt Sunday morning. At which point I had a bit more plot but also had an RSI flare-up. So I have defaulted. There is still a minor possibility I could bash out something as a treat in time for the deadline, but mostly I feel a great relief at one less thing I have to get done.

(Also, it took me all day yesterday to remember that painkillers are a thing that helps with RSI. Competent adult here, honest.)

Brief history of me and Yuletide:
2011: it got me through a holiday week made miserable by pregnancy, and continued to bring me happiness for some considerable time after
2012: I felt I should Give Back, signed up, and wrote my Very First Fanfic with great seriousness. And also bashed out a treat in a few hours just before the deadline, which got nearly as good a reception, so that showed me
2013: did not sign up due to Life Being Busy with a toddler
2014: signed up, greatly enjoyed local Yuletide writeins, wrote my assignment and picked up a pinch hit, and collaborated on a very silly short story
2015: did not sign up due to being ill
2016: did not sign up due to finishing degree
2017: signed up, enjoyed myself, only one story this time though

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Did you know you can filter out specific tags from specific users from your Reading page? I did not, until [personal profile] kore  posted a handy tutorial a few days ago. On Friday I discovered a reason to use it, and it works! Brilliantly! (My only comment is that if you haven't already created a Default subscribe filter, you need to create one and put all your current subscribe list in.)

[personal profile] jenett 's salon this week is on the topic of "what brought you to dreamwidth" with additional introductions thread. Meanwhile [personal profile] angelofthenorth  is hosting a non-fannish friending post

[personal profile] siderea  posted a reminder of her recipe for encouraging community on Dreamwidth, and [personal profile] melannen  posted her guidelines for encouraging discussion in the comments of one's posts

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Including the pre-orders due to drop in December, I have bought 42 books this year that are still unread. This excludes two anthologies and four Serialbox seasons, because I'd rather take those one story / episode at a time under my standing "read some short fiction most days" goal. It also excludes the HumbleBundle of 14 UI/UX books, which I remain too lazy to list individually.

I finish work on the 21st, so I have two weekends and then ten leave days before the end of the year, so I could probably manage to read about 12 books in that time. Help me choose which to prioritise.



Poll #20851 reading the to-read pile
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27


Which of these books on my to-read pile should I read before the end of the year?

View Answers

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
9 (33.3%)

Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
0 (0.0%)

The Prince and Her Dreamer by Kayla Bashe
2 (7.4%)

The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
0 (0.0%)

Some Kind Of Hero (Troubleshooters 19) by Suzanne Brockmann
1 (3.7%)

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
6 (22.2%)

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
0 (0.0%)

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
11 (40.7%)

Daydreamers Journey by Julie Dillon
2 (7.4%)

Imagined Realms Book 1 by Julie Dillon
3 (11.1%)

Imagined Realms Book 2 by Julie Dillon
1 (3.7%)

Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night by Katherine Fabian and Iona Datt Sharma
7 (25.9%)

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
14 (51.9%)

A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family 2) by Cecilia Grant
1 (3.7%)

Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood
8 (29.6%)

Felicities Maximised (Comfortable Courtesan 12) by L.A. Hall
11 (40.7%)

Ria's Web of Lies (Ria Miller and the Monsters 1) by Nigel Henry
1 (3.7%)

Bad for the Boss (Just For Him 1) by Talia Hibbert
0 (0.0%)

Undone by the Ex-Con (Just For Him 2) by Talia Hibbert
0 (0.0%)

Sweet on the Greek (Just For Him 3) by Talia Hibbert
0 (0.0%)

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
3 (11.1%)

Omega Wintertide by Dessa Lux
3 (11.1%)

The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin
2 (7.4%)

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
1 (3.7%)

Between the Lines by Sally Malcolm
1 (3.7%)

Song of the Sea Spirit by K.C. May
0 (0.0%)

His Cocky Valet by Cole McCade
2 (7.4%)

Kiss of Angels by CE Murphy
2 (7.4%)

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
3 (11.1%)

Revision by Andrea Phillips
1 (3.7%)

Werewolf Unchained by Shay Roberts
2 (7.4%)

Liquid Gold by Tansy Rayner Roberts
3 (11.1%)

Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts
4 (14.8%)

A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe
0 (0.0%)

Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel Book 1) by Kaia S√łnderby
2 (7.4%)

Rosewater by Tade Thompson
3 (11.1%)

By Any Other Name by Natasha West
0 (0.0%)

Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss & Tahl Raz
0 (0.0%)

I <3<3<3<3 the Centre Pompidou
2 (7.4%)

Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou
2 (7.4%)

Centre Pompidou - The Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art by Jacinto Lageira
3 (11.1%)

Marvel's Black Panther: The Art of the Movie
10 (37.0%)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yeah, I'm a week behind posting this. Better done than perfect.  I was actually doing well at reading what I bought, and then I accidentally fell down a few sales.

Books acquired in November
  • and read in November:
    1. A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (Blackshear Family 0) by Cecilia Grant
    2. The RBG Workout by Bryant Johnson [3]
  • and unread in November
    1. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
    2. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
    3. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
    4. A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family 2) by Cecilia Grant
    5. Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood
    6. Felicities Maximised (Comfortable Courtesan 12) by L.A. Hall
    7. Ria's Web of Lies (Ria Miller and the Monsters 1) by Nigel Henry
    8. Bad for the Boss (Just For Him 1) by Talia Hibbert
    9. Undone by the Ex-Con (Just For Him 2) by Talia Hibbert
    10. Sweet on the Greek (Just For Him 3) by Talia Hibbert
    11. Swordheart by T. Kingfisher [1]
    12. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
    13. Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux [2]
    14. Rosewater by Tade Thompson
    15. By Any Other Name by Natasha West
    16. Royally Yours Series 1 (Serialbox) by Megan Frampton, Liz Maverick, Falguni Kothari, K.M. Jackson, Kate McMurry
  • and previously read
    1. The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
Books acquired earlier & first read in November (all bought 2018):
  1. Under The Mistletoe by Mary Balogh
  2. Skraelings by Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley [3]
  3. Penhallow Amid Passing Things by Iona Datt Sharma [2]
  4. The Underwater Ballroom Society edited by Tiffany Trent & Stephanie Burgis
[1] Patreon
[2] Pre-ordered
[3] Physical paper book

Books on pre-order:
  1. Sing for the Coming of the Longest Night by Katherine Fabian and Iona Datt Sharma (7 December)
  2. Between the Lines by Sally Malcolm (10 December)
  3. The Prince and Her Dreamer by Kayla Bashe (12 December)
  4. Omega Wintertide by Dessa Lux (13 December)
  5. An Elegy of Heroes by K.S. Villoso (16 January 2019)
  6. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (26 February 2019)
  7. The Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum (19 March 2019)
  8. A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole (30 April 2019)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday I presented at a national professional conference as a representative of my employer. [1]

One of my colleagues also presented. We had a corporate hire car and split the driving to Liverpool on the way up Monday afternoon/evening and he did all the driving on the way back yesterday. I was very grateful for the latter. It might have been nice to take more time to explore the rather nicely regenerated docklands area, but it was also really nice to get enough sleep Monday night and get home to my own bed last night.

Today I have mostly been Very Tired. Thankfully today was a rather easier one than usual at work because we had our team holiday lunch. (I wore a ridiculous Christmas tree jumper with an optional light show, an excellent charity shop discovery a few weeks ago.) I am sufficiently tired that supper has been delivery pizza and I intend to go to bed soon.

I have matured enough to promptly and sensibly rest when getting fatigued, but not enough to stop feeling completely and utterly resentful about my limitations.


[1] I would link but the conference website appears to be down for me. Sigh. If it reappears later I'll update.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I took Nico to see this film last weekend. It's a funny animated children's film with songs, about a yeti whose life changes entirely when he encounters a mythical being known as the Smallfoot, who is of course a human. This I expected from the trailer.

It's also explicitly about going from living a happy fulfilled purposeful life, which is built on lies preserved by a priesthood (this is literally the opening number), to figuring out what to do with a much more complicated truth. And it's about the importance of maintaining one's own integrity rather than giving in to external pressure, and it gets in some collective decision-making and successful non-violent resistance to superior force. All in a film written for young children to enjoy.

My young child loved it, and so did I. Recommended.

(If you've seen it, please come talk to me about it because I Have More Thoughts than I have time to write just now.)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
It has been A Week at work. Well, it's been a hectic three weeks since I came back from half-term and the main takeaway is that there's a reason I normally avoid taking October half-term off (in the last 18 years: 1 maternity leave, 1 long-term sick leave, and the two times C started a new school).  Just too busy a time of year.  I had a meeting in which I had to explain why we still need people who can at least read COBOL, and came out of it to discover that one of the scenarios had just occurred, so there went the rest of my day ...

Out of work, it has been a very cultural week, if less so than I'd planned. I missed High School Musical at the ADC Friday before last due to a miscommunication with Tony, and the Vue cinema's attempt to show the Royal Ballet's La Bayadere on Tuesday managed perfect sound but no picture, so I came home early with a refund and a free ticket. However, I successfully got to see Dessa live at the Dome in Tufnell Park last Saturday, the Bolshoi Ballet's La Sylphide at the Arts Picurehouse last Sunday & a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Young Vic today. I note that there's a different production of Twelfth Night coming to the Southwark Playhouse next year, and I have the US high school version, She's The Man, lurking somewhere in my DVD to-watch pile.

I am still doing bits of cooking here and there: modified sunshine bread is becoming a staple when I have enough grip of an evening to prepare it, and I tried out chocolate chilli black bean soup this morning to help fend off a looming cold. It was tasty, even if I wimped out of handling actual chillis in favour of the spice jar.

I am trying to catch up on Doctor Who before tomorrow evening - just watched Arachnids in the UK - and my interview about parental experience of seeking SEND funding will be in tomorrow's Sunday Politics show (11am, BBC East). They filmed Nico being adorable so I'm hoping they show more of that than my talking head :-)
rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (libdem)
I have agreed to be interviewed by local BBC tomorrow, about the experience of trying to get additional funding for children with special needs and disabilities in this area. Apparently staff at my child's school immediately thought of me when asked if there were any parents who would be willing to speak on the subject, how flattering.

Also I cut my hair at the weekend. I had this whole blog post I was mentally composing about my increasing dissatisfaction with my hair and planning to ask for advice, but as I was thinking it out I realised what I wanted to do, which was this:

New hair

So thank you dreamwidth friends, your imaginary advice was very helpful! I have had my hair this length twice before: once growing it out because the baby had stopped pulling it, and once growing it out after chemotherapy. It turns out it makes a big difference choosing it entirely for myself. I remembered how fast it dried (that was a reason to cut it), but I'd forgotten how it felt to have the wind ruffle my hair. I've been enjoying it a lot.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
When I was on leave at half-term, I impulse-bought A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes and pre-ordered Tin Can Cook, both by the amazing Jack Monroe. While I don't at all mind saving money, mostly I was trying to break out of feeling incompetent at cooking, the consequence of mostly finding it a dull chore, and having the good fortune to live with a good cook (and two more in training).

It promises straightforward cooking for a busy parent, and a lot of meat-free recipes (meat being expensive). I've enjoyed the few recipes I've tried so far, and my intention is to try all the recipes at least once, though probably not strictly in order. Nico picked out the Mushy Pea Soup and tonight helped me make it for the second time, and we ate it with the end of the loaf of modified Sunshine Bread I made yesterday, and I felt more capable of making food than I have in ages. So that's good.

I really love the original Sunshine Bread but modified it for my child who dislikes sultanas and pineapple by leaving both out, and using ~200ml of apple juice to replace the pineapple juice. It works best if I do the mixing and the first rise last thing at night, then leave it to prove overnight. If I get up promptly and put it in the oven, it's ready just in time for said child's breakfast. And the next day it can be toasted (a loaf has never yet lasted to the end of the second day).

This morning we made it into tomato sandwiches for breakfast, which reminded me of Ursula Vernon's The Tomato Thief.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I am attempting to make this a monthly rather than quarterly keeping-me-honest.

Books acquired this month
  • and read
    1. Agnes Moor's Wild Knight by Alyssa Cole
    2. In the Vanisher's Palace by Aliette de Bodard [1]
    3. Invited Everywhere (Comfortable Courtesan 11) by L.A. Hall [1]
    4. Spark & Change by Kellum Jeffries
    5. Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
    6. Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries 4) by Martha Wells [1]
  • and part-way through:
    1. Under The Mistletoe by Mary Balogh
  • and still unread:
    1. The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
    2. Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good edited by H. L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam [2]
    3. Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good edited by Joanne Merriam [2]
    4. Skraelings by Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley [3]
    5. Penhallow Amid Passing Things by Iona Sharma [1]
  • and prevously read:
    1. The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
Books acquired previously:
  • and first read this month
    1. A Larger Reality / Una realidad más amplia edited by Libia Brenda [2]
    2. Mother of Invention edited by Rivqa Rafael & Tansy Rayner Roberts [2]
Books on pre-order:
  1. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (26 February 2019)
  2. The Weight of Stars by K. Ancrum (19 March 2019)
  3. A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole (30 April 2019)
Books still unread from earlier in 2018:
  1. Marvel's Black Panther: The Art of the Movie [3]
  2. I <3<3<3<3 the Centre Pompidou [3]
  3. Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou [3]
  4. Centre Pompidou - The Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art by Jacinto Lageira [3]
  5. The Underwater Ballroom Society edited by Tiffany Trent & Stephanie Burgis
  6. Geek Actually Season One from Serialbox (Cathy Yardley, Melissa Blue, Cecilia Tan, Rachel Stuhle
  7. Born to the Blade Season 1 from SerialBox (Marie Brennan, Cassandra Khaw, Malka Older, Michael R. Underwood)
  8. ReMade Season 1 from SerialBox (Gwenda Bond, Matthew Cody, Carrie Harris, E.C. Meyers, Andrea Phillips, Kiersten White)
  9. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  10. Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
  11. Some Kind Of Hero (Troubleshooters 19) by Suzanne Brockmann
  12. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  13. Daydreamers Journey by Julie Dillon [2]
  14. Imagined Realms Book 1 by Julie Dillon [2]
  15. Imagined Realms Book 2 by Julie Dillon [2]
  16. The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin
  17. The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
  18. His Cocky Valet by Cole McCade
  19. Song of the Sea Spirit by K.C. May
  20. Kiss of Angels by CE Murphy
  21. Revision by Andrea Phillips
  22. Werewolf Unchained by Shay Roberts
  23. Liquid Gold (Mocklore 2) by Tansy Rayner Roberts
  24. Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts
  25. A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe
  26. Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel Book 1) by Kaia Sønderby
  27. Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss & Tahl Raz [4]
Plus 14 books on UI/UX from HumbleBundle I remain too lazy to transcribe)

[1] Pre-ordered
[2] Kickstarter
[3] Actual physical book
[4] Part-read in Q1, yet to finish

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I don't watch much TV for myself, but I do often stream CBeebies shows for Nico, and some of his choices lately I've enjoyed a lot.

Do You Know has Maddie explain how things work, often using one of her "special cameras" e.g. an IR camera to look at the hot water in a bath, or a slow-mo camera to watch an automated recycling sorter. Each episode is 14 minutes long and covers two "things", not always obviously related (e.g. Episode 2.1: Shipping Container and Bubble Wrap), with a bit of a recap at the end.  There are two series, I think both with 25 episodes, of which some random rotating selection can usually be found on iPlayer.

Catie's Amazing Machines only started a couple of weeks ago (we're up to episode 13). Catie's a rally driver, and in each episode she introduces (and often drives) three different machines on a theme e.g. today's was Snow Machines, yesterdays' was Underwater Machines, and so on. There's little bits of filmed responses from small children, and everyone gets encouraged to choose their favourite. Nico's favourite is often different from Catie's. Again, 14 minutes long.

CBeebies Stargazing turns up every now and again with a week-long 5-episode series presented by my favourite TV scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock alongside Chris and Robert the Robot. They've also managed to rope in Tim Peake in at least two of the series (there was a bit in one of the previous weeks where he was filmed on the space station answering questions from the Miss Mouse puppet and I was slightly in awe of the reach of the BBC). The fourth week is currently on iPlayer, but they don't seem to get repeated, nor can I find them to buy anywhere.

Numberblocks is five-minute mostly-musical episodes about animated numbers 1-10 (and occasional guest 0), which manages to sneak in a lot of practice of adding, subtracting, number bonds and patterns. Series 3 in particular has provided a lot of entertainment, and ended with a brilliant noir spoof in The Wrong Number.

And finally, Gudrun: The Viking Princess is a set of five-minute adventures of a little Viking girl (lots of lovely period costume and setting), heavily focused on Scottish wildlife and landscapes. And it's available in Gaelic too. A little extra nerd bonus is that the English voiceover for Series 1 is provided by David Tennant (but not the Gaelic, and someone else does Series 2).

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
THANK YOU for signing up to Yuletide. I'm really looking forward to reading whatever you write. If you already have a story idea in one of my fandoms, and it doesn't hit my DNWs, please treat this as your excuse to write it. If not, I've tried to put some ideas against each fandom and hopefully one of those will ping something for you.

Likes: teamwork, competence, friendship/affection, people communicating well, people communicating awkwardly but sincerely, optimistic or hopeful endings.

DNW:
  • endings without hope
  • humiliation/embarrassment (I avoid a lot of comedy due to this; otoh I am a sucker for really good farce)
  • harm to children
  • extensive graphic violence (some canon-typical violence is fine)
  • extensive focus on pregnancy or childbirth (brief mention of either is fine; care of babies and children is fine).

Requests


cut for length )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
First day of half-term: the children were united in wanting a pyjama day, while I made a to-do list of the many (many) tasks accumulating during the week.

I've stripped and remade two beds, run the dishwasher 4 times, the washing machine 5 times, the tumble-dryer ditto (well, it is running load 5 now). I also managed to cook a roast-in-bag whole chicken for lunch for the three of us, along with copious veg, and turned the carcass into stock and then soup, which has turned out satisfyingly tasty.  This is more cooking than I normally ever do, but it's the sort of thing Tony does quite often, and I was missing him a lot.

I also dealt with headlice, about which the least said the better. I could wish for one of Bujold's sorcerers venting disorder.

Tony gets home tomorrow evening, probably just after the end of Doctor Who. Hurrah.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We're more than halfway through Tony's absence due to work conference. The house is not entirely disastrous and bedtimes have mostly been observed, but I am very tired. I have finally done Yet Another Tedious Piece Of EHCP Paperwork and it's ready to post in the morning, hurrah. Two short emails related to it to send, and then I can reward myself with something fun.

Next week is half-term, which seems to have arrived much sooner than I expected. I have the entire week off work and some ideas of Fun Things To Do, but I really want to get the children involved in sorting out the plans for the week. I think post-it notes and the whiteboard may be involved.

Of course, that also means I have only today and tomorrow to finish off all the things I need to do at work before disappearing for a week ...


ETA: Did the two short emails, thought I'd start sketching a half-term plan on the whiteboard, but it needs a serious scrubbing. *sigh*

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
On Tuesday I had an appointment with my cancer consultant. A lot of hanging around to be told all is well and all the results from my quarterly bone marrow tests look great. I have only one bone marrow test left, which will take me to three years post-treatment. My consultant won't discharge me until I reach five years post-treatment, but only needs to see me annually now.  The chances of relapse at this stage are pretty miniscule, which is why they stop testing after three years.

So I have the Last Bone Marrow Test in another couple of months, and then consultant appointments next year and the year after, and then I am Done With This. I feel I should organise some kind of No More Tests celebration in January, if I can muster the capacity to do so.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The thing I am currently particularly hating about the process of seeking support for children with additional needs is the way we have to document everything at its worst on the worst days; we have to fill out lengthy documents about how difficult and disruptive and generally hard work they are, and how much they are struggling, and never talk about how brilliant and delightful and wonderful and amazing they are.

And then for some reason I find myself feeling miserable and useless and a failure as a parent[1] I WONDER WHY. And then it's harder to look after them, and harder to keep up with the paperwork, and I end up second-guessing all my life choices. Sometimes it makes me want to burn everything down and start again, except that's what villains do.

(And yes, it is probably harder as a disabled adult advocating for oneself and for sure it is not as hard as being the child trying to navigate the world that is not designed with them in mind. I'm not trying to be the disability-parent making it all about me. I'm just finding it hard a lot at the moment.)


[1] for clarity, I mean my failure to support them enough directly, and to cause sufficient support to be provided for them in school; I emphatically do not see my children's additional needs as a failure on anyone's part.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

February 2019

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