Obiter Dicta: Maybe Maybe Edition

Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:33 pm
reynardine: (cooking_goddess)
[personal profile] reynardine
Slow start today, but got some thing done. Made chicken fajitas and pico de gallo. We haven't had that in a long while and it was good.

I want to put together my slopers for the Cornificia dress and chemise so that I get get help with adjustments at the Barony Sewing Night on Tuesday. I haven't had the energy to do much lately so I need to push myself on this. I also need to take pictures, since the gal who is running the project would like me to document the work.

I tend to forget to take pictures when working on something, but now I need to. Blogging is almost the only way most people will see what I do, since even when I go to events, I'm so quiet.

I also need to start washing some of the silk that I've recovered from picking apart meisen silk kimono. My plan to wash them in the guest bathroom sink will not work--the sink tends to clog. So I will get some buckets to handwash the silk, and then set up a drying rack in the guest bathroom tub (or else on the deck?).

I still need to work out my new kosode pattern, too. I have some spare thrift-store cotton fabric that will work for that. The only way to tell if the panels are wide enough to look right is to just put something together and see how it works. There's a way to fold the sleeve-seams in a bit at the shoulder so the arms do not look too short--an issue when the body is so wide. Again, I'll need to play with it.

I want to do some practice camping at smaller events later this summer and autumn, because I want to try to attend Gulf Wars next March. My cousin Lisa has given me an open invitation to visit (her family lives in Mississippi about 40 minutes from the Gulf Wars site--we were roommates after college and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding, so we're close), so I would have a nearby place to retreat if things get too intense for me. I still need to get a CPAP battery and a few more camping things.

If I start working on things now, it might be doable. The trick would be to talk Bob into it (we'd have to get another cot/pad, though). Otherwise, several local people go to Gulf every year (Calontir as a Kingdom has a huge presence), so it isn't like I wouldn't know anyone if I go alone, and I would have family nearby if there is trouble.

It would be more fun to go with Bob, though. He used to be stationed in Mississippi (at Keesler AFB in Biloxi), so he likes the area. He just hates camping.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:02 pm
reynardine: (festive)
[personal profile] reynardine
A happy Summer Solstice to all who celebrate!

A quiet day today. Ran some errands with Bob, paid some bills, answered a few heraldry questions. I'm getting better at blazoning, but there's a lot to learn. The Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium is this weekend--some people in Calontir got together and chartered a minivan to go (the meeting is in Knoxville, TN) but there was just no way I could justify the expense, not with a bunch of medical bills waiting.

That's the tough part--all the bills are still running through the two insurance companies. I still have no idea what I owe! Medicare is understaffed and takes forever to process claims, and then sometimes they'll refuse to pay on something, but insist that I should not have to pay since the primary insurance covered what they consider fair (the two insurances pay doctors at different rates). I of course do not want to suggest to the medical billers that maybe I owe something if the government insists that I do not. It's confusing!

And it's scary to see what the hospital/doctors originally charge vs what the insurance company will agree to pay. I think the doctors push up their charges so the insurance will pay more. I would feel bad about it, but we pay through the nose every month for insurance and have done for years. Now we are older and need it, and they are unhappy about that.

Saw some darling tortie kittens today. Bob said if we didn't already have two cats (that don't get along), he would have adopted the kittens and the mother cat as well. But we do have our two little brats, so that is that.

Happy Solstice, Lovelies!!!

Jun. 21st, 2017 12:23 pm
caitri: (Default)
[personal profile] caitri
 Many thanks to everyone who sent me birthday greetings and wishes--they were muchly appreciated!! <3 

I hope everyone is staying cool (and safe) during heatwave/storm season. I've taken (possibly too much) to working later at night and then sleeping in a bit longer during the heat of the day....but I'm still getting shit done, so.

I'm trying to think if I've been up to anything interesting lately and the answer is not really. I write and I do chores. "Yay."  I did get accepted into a class at CalRBS in August, so that's something to look forward to! But otherwise it's trying to keep routine and not get sucked into news/politics and whatnot on social media (emphasis on "try"...I'm terrible at it. I have gotten to where I probably "only" check the NYT six times a day or something). I keep thinking "I should post more" and then thinking "about what?," so.

Quick signalboost: Two of my friends had books come out this month! Lisa Edmonds just released Heart of Malice and Nicky Drayden just released The Prey of Gods. They are both kind of doing their own self-promotions, esp. Lisa, so if you can pick up their books and leave reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. Consider it good karma!

Hurray!

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:38 pm
litlover12: (GK1)
[personal profile] litlover12
 The book is out!

I've been doing publicity for it like crazy.

I'm pooped. 

But happy.
reynardine: (sleepy)
[personal profile] reynardine
Barely-there kind of day. I did some financial things and a little laundry. Migraine had me knocked out for several hours. It's better now that the sun has gone down. Kansas is too damn sunny, even in our dark little cave of a house.

Bob defrosted and cleaned-out the chest freezer. I'm trying to put together a grocery list so he can go to Costco (and maybe HyVee) tomorrow. The larder is just about bare. If I'm up to driving, maybe I'll send him over to Costco and I'll tackle HyVee?

We finished watching The Handmaid's Tale. Very chilling, and has given me nightmares. The book was a hard-enough read, but seeing it unfold on film (and very skillfully directed) makes it worse. In a world where women are only judged on their mothering or housekeeping skills, I would have no place whatsoever. It also made me painfully aware of how dependent I am on my husband and to a lesser extent, my father, even now, even at my age.

Today is World Refugee Day, and every time I see an article about refugees, it reminds me that no matter what problems I may be having, there are people out there who have lost everything through no fault of their own. People who just happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could happen anywhere, even here. Hell, it did happen here--remember Hurricane Katrina? For a while there in Dubuque, the rental houses down the street from us were filled with families from NOLA. (They didn't stay long--Iowa's winters were too mean, I think.)

The size of this crisis is hard to imagine, and I'm not sure what the best answer is. I majored in Middle-Eastern History, and it's true that part of the world has been unstable for centuries, with populations moving back and forth, although rarely at this scale.

Politically, it is a very difficult issue, and I don't expect my friends to agree on the best solutions to this problem. Wars, disease, and natural disasters seem to be a constant in this world of ours. But there are organizations like Doctors Without Borders who are out there helping people who have lost everything. Perhaps today would be a good day to donate to one of them?

Syrup on the Brain

Jun. 19th, 2017 02:06 pm
reynardine: (yume_kawaii)
[personal profile] reynardine
More seroquel haze. I had to up the dosage and that makes me so sleepy. I just drift through daily tasks. Someone else's hands are moving. I just watch, slightly puzzled. It's the oddest sensation.

I can feel the medicine working on me--it's like syrup being poured on your brain--but I can also feel the mania scrabbling against it like a rat in a trap. My brain DOESN'T WANT to slow down. No, it says, let me be free, there is so much I need to do, so much, ALL THE THINGS...!

It's the best feeling in the world, and the worst, because I know what happens if this whirlwind is left to run its course.

I'm tired of picking up the pieces after I run wild. Hence the seroquel, and the dark hallways where I linger so the sunlight won't kick off another migraine, and isolation so I won't disturb other people as I try to get my balance back.

Obiter Dicta: Seroquel Haze Edition

Jun. 17th, 2017 08:54 pm
reynardine: (dreaming_alice)
[personal profile] reynardine
The words aren't coming together tonight at all. This stupid drug is like glue on my tongue.

Old boyfriend did NOT seem to recognize my name, yay.

People coming home from Lilies today (they didn't schedule anything official on the last Saturday because so many people pack up and leave then). Some people loved it, some people had a bad experience, and yes, hella hot and stormy. And I missed it.

Bob wants me to sell my canvas tent that I got for my birthday. It's never been used, and probably would not be too difficult to sell, but I don't want to do it. It would be like giving up.

Some people mock "The Dream" concept of the SCA as being some 1960's hippy-dippy claptrap, but I'm a bit of an idealist myself. I believe in "The Dream", but I think "The Dream" is different for each person. Every person brings their own Dream into the Society and "The Dream" is what happens when all these smaller "Dreams" come together. It is not static. It changes, it evolves. I've seen the process first-hand over the past quarter-century.

I struggle with ambition, though. I think if I was free of ambition, I would enjoy my hobby a lot more, because I just would not care what people thought and how it could affect my chances of advancement in the future. I tell myself again and again that I DO NOT CARE, but that's a lie. I care. I care very much. If I could let go of that desire, things would be easier.

But OTOH, my desire for recognition helps drive my actions, gives me a purpose, a goal. So here we have a paradox.

There is more to this line of thinking, but the threads have tangled. Here I will leave it to another time.

Two Reviews at TFF

Jun. 14th, 2017 10:12 pm
caitri: (Books)
[personal profile] caitri
 Crossposted at The Future Fire

Frances Hardinge, A Face Like Glass. Amulet Books, 2017. Pp 487. ISBN.978-1-4197-2484-8. $19.95.



Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass first appeared in the UK in 2012 and has only just arrived in the US this spring. It straddles the gap between children’s literature and the young adult genre uneasily; the protagonist is a preteen girl named Neverfell, who is too young to be interested in the romance or nascent sexuality that is usually a hallmark of YA, and yet she is witness to the aftermath of numerous murders, and the threat of violence is often just off-page. And yet Hardinge loves playing with language in a way that recalls some of (what I think, anyway) is the finest children’s lit like The Phantom TollboothThe Neverending Story, or Alice in Wonderland—the latter of which the author has a small homage to when Neverfell follows a rabbit up rather than down, discovering a wider and scarier world in the process.

Neverfell lives in Caverna, an underground world whose extensive caste-based society ranges from lowly Drudges to the highest members of Court. The central focus on Faces, or the ability make facial expressions, an art form which must be extensively practiced and which is limited by caste, with Drudges limited to only a small number (and none of them ever angry or dissatisfied) and members of Court with access to hundreds. Neverfell, as a girl from the world above, has ready access to numerous faces naturally, all of which ripple across her face and betray immediately whatever she really thinks. When she is discovered as a child by the Cheesemaker Grandible, he is horrified by this and has a mask made for her, convincing her that she must be astonishingly ugly. When a Master Facesmith visits the Cheesemaker, Neverfell hopes that she will help her make a Face of her own… and from there follows Neverfell’s adventures and misadventures in and out of Court, numerous mysteries around both Neverfell’s unknown origins and a series of murders, and finally, something like a revolution at the end.

A Face Like Glass is incredibly complex and sprawling as Neverfell climbs up and falls down the social ladder on several occasions. Unfortunately, Neverfell is both incredibly naive—which means that the other characters have to repeatedly explain what’s “really” going on to her, each situation’s dangers and benefits, and so on—and strangely without her own agency. She gets adopted by Grandible in the beginning; she is adopted literally or metaphorically throughout the rest of the book by other families, friends, and enemies for their own purposes, and so plot keeps happening with Neverfell usually a bystander. When she does take control in the final pages of the book, it is just before she takes an amnesia-inducing potion, so she only gets to see the effects of the successful plan, and so is rendered passive even by herself.

I had mixed feelings about this book—though I suspect they have more to do with an adult reading a children’s book than anything else. The plot is incredibly unhurried in a way that will likely work for a young reader who is reading slowly and with absorption, the better to enjoy the minutiae of description and detail that permeate the text. Unfortunately, I rather wished the characters would just get on with it, rather than telling one another their plans, explaining how the plans would work, then carrying out the plans, etc. The sprawling length of the story also meant that minor characters would be introduced briefly and only reappear a hundred or more pages later, by which time I had forgotten who they were and what they were meant to be doing; I wish a Dramatis Personae could have been provided, as it would have been helpful. On the other hand, I immensely respect the amount of thought that Hardinge put into her world, especially with its use of language and some truly memorable turns of phrase. As a side-effect of living underground, the time of day is delineated through counted hours; to be “out of clock” is to not match the schedule of hours, while to always be “on clock” is to maintain an unusually steady sleep and activity period. Other inventive elements include the True Crafts, in which True Wine, True Cheese, and so on, have properties beyond taste and smell, including the abilities to alter memories or provide hallucinogenic sensory experiences, among others.

I think young readers will get the most out of this book, but adults with sensitive children may want to peruse the volume first because of the violent scenes—which are admittedly far and few between—haunt the characters throughout. Adults will enjoy a well-told and absorbing adventure story, one without the seemingly omnipresent love triangles that have become cliche to so much of the YA genre. Neverfell is, if not altogether endearing, at least far from a cliche.

***

And a quick rec for Women in Noir Week:

Jacqueline Carey's novels Santa Olivia (2009) and Saints Astray (2011) are unlikely to be read as noir, but I would argue that they are closer to that genre than to conventional dystopia, as noir is characterized through its ethical ambiguity and fatalism, and dystopia through omnipresent degradation. In Carey's world, there is a valid escape to be had from the shitty not-too-distant future southwest US, where a queer Hispanic teen named Loup is torn between revenge for her dead brother and escaping to a better life for herself and her girlfriend Pilar. The outer world, including Mexico and Europe, has rebounded after a devastating pandemic in a way that the isolationist US has not. Loup's and Pilar's journey evolves beyond a quest for survival to one of discovery of this outside world, from tourist beaches to fashion and pop music.

Their saga concludes with their search for social justice for their home, still under martial law, and for equal rights for genetically modified humans, both of which are impeded by the complex oligarchy of the US government and military, as in this case being born, for Loup, is a crime of itself.
reynardine: (asoiaf_sansa_speaks)
[personal profile] reynardine
Bob was off today, so we went to see Wonder Woman. The movie was good and kept me entertained all the way through, but I guess I set my expectations too high, because it wasn't extraordinary.

The Olathe AMC continues its streak of wretched customer service. It's getting to where I loathe going to movies there anymore. They were already overpriced, and now they've moved their matinee time to before noon, rather than before four pm like it used to be. I wasn't that keen on the assigned seating, either. I can maybe understanding doing that on opening weekend (actually, NO, it should be first come, first served), but this on a Wednesday afternoon more than two weeks after the movie was released? There were some people there--maybe 15 tops--but certainly no need to assign seating.

Wow, I sound like a bitchy old person, don't I? I think it's the price that ultimately makes me cranky. Movie, popcorn, and sodas for two people on a Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm should NOT run almost $50! Grrr.

Yay, I have a new office chair. My old one has been in bad shape for awhile. The new chair is big enough to handle my weight and fairly comfy. The old one has been retired downstairs for now.

Seroquel is already messing with my appetite (omg hungry ALL THE TIME) and has made my knees and ankles swell up. I just keep telling myself that with luck, I should only have to deal with this for 4 to 6 weeks, and then I can get off of it again.

And I fell asleep at the keyboard. Yeah, seroquel does that as well, yay.
ankh_hpl: (Default)
[personal profile] ankh_hpl
The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry AssociationThe 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This year's Rhysling Anthology offers an excellent snapshot -- make that a whole photo album, or rather a 200 page perfect-bound trade paperback -- of the current state of speculative poetry.

Trends I noticed this year include a swing away from formal poems (though there were a few), a more mainstream tone, and an increased use of mythology outside the traditional Greek/Roman /Norse pantheons. Strongly narrative verse continues to be favored, and pure science fiction (as opposed to fantasy, dark /weird, or "other") seems to be making a comeback.

The overall quality of the poems this time around is impressive. So is the variety, which means most readers are unlikely to enjoy each and every one -- but will assuredly have their horizons expanded.





View all my reviews

Back in Black

Jun. 14th, 2017 07:21 am
reynardine: (zombies_ahead)
[personal profile] reynardine
I'm still sad about missing Lilies, although the heat is very bad this week. It's barely tolerable in our house with AC. I slept downstairs last night, and spent much of the night before downstairs as well. (It's almost 10 degrees cooler.) So maybe it is just as well.

Back on Seroquel again. I could feel mania snapping at my heels, probably triggered from stress. It's not always easy to recognize because you feel happy and optimistic and that should be a good thing, right? Except that it escalates to the point that it's difficult to think with all the thoughts swirling around. God, it's sad to have to be so suspicious about feeling happy!

There's a sign I look for now: when the mania gets going, I tend to pull off a lot of books from my bookshelf, since I need to explore all these ideas. They get stacked up in piles in various places of the house. And really? You can only read one book at a time.

So yeah, back to the Seroquel, which gives me migraines and makes me really hazy, so everything takes about 3 times longer than it should. Some things get set aside until my concentration gets better. I called the psych doc to get starting dosage, and I'll see him in two weeks for a follow-up.

Words cannot express how much I loathe Seroquel, but it's the only affordable drug that has worked on stopping the mania. Life gets disrupted for 4 to 6 weeks every time I go on the stuff, but mania is so destructive that I can spend months and years trying to fix the damage it inflicts on my life.

You'd think the depression would be the worst part, but the long-term impact is less because you don't have the energy to do much. Whereas with mania, the energy is there and the lack of judgement and complete disregard for consequences result in a perfect storm for disaster. Lord, the stories I could tell about stupid stuff I did, especially when I was in my 20's and not aware of my illness!

My doctors, my therapists, and my parents all are very complimentary about how I "manage" my illness. It is cold comfort, I confess. I would prefer the Bipolar would just go away altogether, but alas, it keeps coming around, with more intensity as I get older.

It's like The Writers Saw Me

Jun. 12th, 2017 06:07 pm
reynardine: (computer_fox)
[personal profile] reynardine
"Did I even make a sound?
Did I even make a sound?
It's like I never made a sound.
Will I ever make a sound?"

God, no wonder that musical won.

Tony Awards 2017

Jun. 11th, 2017 11:55 pm
reynardine: (musicals)
[personal profile] reynardine
The Tony Awards show was interesting, although Kevin Spacey was hit and miss as host. (Not sure if it was all his fault, though--for example, the ending song with him and Patty Lupone was just so awkward. His imitations were hilarious, though. Dear Evan Hansen deserved every award it got. The soundtrack had me in tears, the show must be brilliant. I'm sorry that The Great Comet didn't get more--it probably would have if Dear Evan Hansen had not been there. I haven't heard the soundtrack on the Hello, Dolly! revival yet, so no opinion. Come From Away didn't sound interesting to me at first, but the song they did was excellent. May need to get that soundtrack. I was horrified that James Earl Jones' Lifetime Achievement Award was not shown on TV--after over 60 years on Broadway, they treated him the same way they treat the Lighting, Costume, and Set Design people. Very poor decision by the show's producers.

Technomancer game

Jun. 11th, 2017 11:48 pm
aota: (GURPSborgcube)
[personal profile] aota
Game went very well. They really liked the map so I will do others in the future. Will have to figure out how to make the Hexes easier to see in low light. I didn't want them to over power the image but they were a little light for the room we were playing in. Live and learn.

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