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jjmcgaffey's reading in 2018

Club Read 2018

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1jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jan 14, 1:52am Top

My third year in Club Read - hope I can bring in more conversations in my thread. I'd love to discuss my reviews - did you read the same book, and do you agree or have a completely different opinion about it?

I'm Jennifer; I live in Alameda, CA, with two cats. My parents live down the street (about a mile and a half away); one sister in Mountain View, about 45 minutes away, and the other in Reno, about 4 hours' drive away. I'm a Foreign Service brat who grew up moving around the world (more or less literally); it's very strange to me to be living in the same house for the 13th year this year. I cook, garden, stitch, do ceramics (taking a ceramics class, for the second time, from my local senior center), sew, weave, braid, program, fix computers (run a home computer repair business) - and oh yeah, read.

I read mostly genre fiction - primarily science fiction and fantasy, which get grouped together as SF (speculative fiction). Then romances, mysteries, animal books, children's books (which include examples of all the genres...). I also read a lot of non-fiction - biography, sciences, history, words, etc. And craft books and cookbooks, which don't so much get _read_ but do get used and referenced. I don't read horror, and I don't read literary fiction - in both cases, because I don't enjoy being depressed by my reading.

So the goals I'm setting for this year are the same as last year: 150 books read (I fully expect to exceed that); 50 books discarded; and 50 BOMBs (Books Off My Bookshelf) read - books I've owned for over a year that I've never read. I reached all three goals last year - books read easily (over 200), discards just over, and BOMBs eked out in the last few days of the year. I'm keeping my rules from last year too - one BOMB read for each reread I want to do. I'm not counting any other kind of book, even books for review (Early Reviewers, Netgalley, etc) - they'll count only if they're over a year old (and I have way too many of those...). I'll track them, though, and may think of some prize for myself if I read a bunch of them.

Books Read



BOMBs



Books discarded

2jjmcgaffey
Dec 28, 2017, 8:34pm Top

Reading Rules

1 BOMB read for every reread; cannot read in arrears.

At least 4 BOMBs read every month (or read nothing but BOMBs at the beginning of the month until caught up).

3jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 5, 1:16am Top

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Reading January-March

January
1. Moths of the Limberlost - @^ - by Gene Stratton-Porter.
2. The General Zapped an Angel - * - by Howard Fast.
3. Block Party - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
4. The Incubus Job - @! - by Diana Pharaoh Francis.
5. Dragon's Breath - * - by E.D. Baker.
6. The Fairy Bridge Troll - @! - by Leah Cutter.
7. The Meri - @!* - by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
8. On Ordeal - @^ - by Diane Duane.
9. The Guild - @^ - by Jean Johnson.
10. Beauvallet - @* - by Georgette Heyer.
11. Once Upon a Curse - * - by E.D. Baker.
12. The Brightest Fell - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
13. The Best Revenge - @# - by Justine Davis.
14. Codgerspace - * - by Alan Dean Foster.
15. Timekeepers - @! - by Simon Garfield.
16. Rules for Reforming a Rake - @! - by Meara Platt.
17. Whiskey River Runaway - @! - by Justine Davis.

February
18. Soo Canal! - ^ - by William Ratigan.
19. Ars Historica - @! - by Marie Brennan.
20. Wild Hawk - @^ - by Justine Davis.
21. Maps to Nowhere - @! - by Marie Brennan.
22. Freedom's Landing - @# - by Anne McCaffrey.
23. Freedom's Choice - @# - by Anne McCaffrey.
24. Freedom's Challenge - @# - by Anne McCaffrey.
25. Freedom's Ransom - @# - by Anne McCaffrey.
26. The Prisoner of Zenda - @* - by Anthony Hope.
27. Faro's Daughter - @* - by Georgette Heyer.
28. The Kin - @* - by Peter Dickinson.
29. Alaskan Dawn - @^ - by Edie Claire.
30. (Un)bidden - @^ - by Melissa Haag.
31. Emmitt's Treasure - @^ - by Melissa Haag.
32. Leaving Lana'i - @^ - by Edie Claire.
33. Luke's Dream - @^ - by Melissa Haag.
34. Thomas' Heart - @^ - by Melissa Haag.
35. (Dis)content - @^ - by Melissa Haag.
36. Carlos' Peace - @^ - by Melissa Haag.

March
37. Bodyguard of Lies - @^ - by Erin M. Hartshorn.
38. The Temple - @^ - by Jean Johnson.
39. Into the Fire - @^ - by Elizabeth Moon.
40. A Vicarage Reunion - @! - by Kate Hewitt.
41. Beneath the Sugar Sky - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
42. Wheel of Stars - @* - by Andre Norton.
43. Illyrian Adventure - * - by Lloyd Alexander.
44. Mindtouch - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
45. Three Men in a Boat - @^ - by Jerome K. Jerome.
46. Who in the World Was the Secretive Printer? - ^ - by Robert Beckham.
47. To Say Nothing of the Dog - @* - by Connie Willis.
48. Tempests and Slaughter - @^ - by Tamora Pierce.
49. Earthweb - @* - by Marc Stiegler.
50. Far Harbor - * - by Melisa C. Michaels.

4jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jul 2, 3:24am Top

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Reading April-June

April
51. Press Start to Play - @^ - by John Joseph Adams ed.
52. No Place for Magic - * - by E.D. Baker.
53. Mindline - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
54. Dreamhearth - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
55. The Salamander Spell - * - by E.D. Baker.
56. Lord of the Storm - @# - by Justine Davis.
57. Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol 13 - ^ - by Harold Gray.
58. The Skypirate - @# - by Justine Davis.
59. The Kingbird - @^ - by Justine Davis.
60. Rebel Prince - @^ - by Justine Davis.
61. Raider - @^ - by Justine Davis.
62. Freedom, Spiced and Drunk - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
63. Maui Winds - @^ - by Edie Claire.
64. Family - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
65. Kris Longknife Among the Kicking Birds - @^ - by Mike Shepherd.
66. Burn Bright - @^ - by Patricia Briggs.
67. 100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time - @^ - by Kendall Haven.
68. A Town Like Alice - * - by Nevil Shute.
69. Into the Moonless Night - @! - by A.E. Decker.
70. Lior and the Sea - @^ - by Diane Duane.
71. Tortall: A Spy's Guide - @^ - by Tamora Pierce.
72. Neogenesis - @^ - by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.
73. Earthrise - @^ - by M.C.A Hogarth.
74. All Passion Spent - @^ - by Vita Sackville-West.
75. The Spheres in the Knot {ss} - @^ - by Jean Johnson.
76. Project Emergence - @! - by Jamie Zakian.

May
77. From Canal Boy to President - @^ - by Horatio Alger.
78. The King and the Book - @^ - by Jean Johnson.
79. Mystery on the Mountain - @^ - by Jean Johnson.
80. A Call to Arms - @# - by David Weber & Timothy Zahn.
81. The Shield Ring - * - by Rosemary Sutcliff.
82. A Call to Vengeance - @^ - by David Weber & Timothy Zahn.
83. Whiskey River Rescue - @^ - by Justine Davis.
84. Whiskey River Rockstar - @! - by Justine Davis.
85. Return of the Cowgirl - @! - by Eve Gaddy.
86. Uncompromising Honor - @^ - by David Weber.
87. Wizard's Hall - * - by Jane Yolen.
88. In The Wet - @^ - by Nevil Shute.
89. Rose Point - @^ - by M.C.A Hogarth.
90. Never Buried - @^ - by Edie Claire.

June
91. Interim Errantry - @# - by Diane Duane.
92. Stealing the Elf-King's Roses - Author's Cut - @#^ - by Diane Duane.
93. The Seventh Bride - @^ - by T. Kingfisher.
94. Trustee From the Toolroom - @# - by Nevil Shute.
95. Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 1 - @# - by Thomas Siddell.
96. Ladycastle - @^ - by Delilah S. Dawson.
97. Spellcast - @^ - by Barbara Ashford.
98. Lumberjanes Vol 1 - @^ - by Noelle Stevenson.
99. Steed and Mrs. Peel Vol 1 - @^ - by Mark Waid.
100. Things I Want My Daughters to Know - !* - by Elizabeth Noble.
101. Stardust - * - by Neil Gaiman.
102. Big Buttes Book - @! - by Henry Buttes.
103. Rabbit Hill - * - by Robert Lawson.
104. The Golem - ^ - by Barbara Rogasky.
105. Gambler - @^ - by Justine Davis.
106. Kris Longknife's Bad Day - @^ - by Mike Shepherd.
107. Black Star, Bright Dawn - ^ - by Scott O'Dell.
108. Magic Elizabeth - * - by Norma Kassirer.
109. Endless Blue - @^ - by Wen Spencer.
110. Tricks for Free - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
111. The Voyage of the Frog - * - by Gary Paulsen.
112. Princess Tales - * - by Gail Carson Levine.

5jjmcgaffey
Edited: Sep 19, 3:57am Top

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Reading July-September

July
113. Sun, Moon, Dust - @^ - by Ursula Vernon.
114. Gib Rides Home - * - by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
115. The Trouble With Tink - * - by Kiki Thorpe.
116. The Thief - * - by Megan Whalen Turner.
117. Everything and More - @# - by David Foster Wallace.
118. Laisrathera - @^ - by M.C.A Hogarth.
119. A Rose Point Holiday - @^ - by M.C.A Hogarth.
120. Dreamstorm - @^ - by M.C.A Hogarth.
121. The Two-Step - ^ - by Eileen McCann.
122. Alysha's Fall - @^ - by M.C.A. Hogarth.
123. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown - @^ - by Seanan McGuire.
124. A Logical Magician - # - by Robert Weinberg.

August
125. A Calculated Magic - * - by Robert Weinberg.
126. Sawdust in His Shoes - ! - by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.
127. Seven Wild Sisters - ^ - by Charles de Lint.
128. Spellcrossed - @* - by Barbara Ashford.
129. The Prey and the Ghost - ^ - by Roger Leloup.
130. The Time Spiral - ^ - by Roger Leloup.
131. Daughter of the Wind - ^ - by Roger Leloup.
132. The Devil's Organ - ^ - by Roger Leloup.
133. The Forge of Vulcan - ^ - by Roger Leloup.
134. Michael and the Elf - ^ - by Kathryn Sullivan.
135. Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator...To the Enchanted Convention - ^ - by Walter Willis & James White.
136. The Enchanted Duplicator - @^ - by Walter Willis & Bob Shaw.
137. The City of Lightning - ^ - by Phil Foglio.
138. The Incorruptible Library - ^ - by Phil Foglio.
139. The Privilege of Peace - @^ - by Tanya Huff.
140. Kings and Wizards - ^ - by Phil Foglio.
141. The Curious Trio - %^ - by Roger Leloup.
142. On the Edge of Life - %^ - by Roger Leloup.
143. The Dragon of Hong Kong - %^ - by Roger Leloup.
144. The Morning of the World - %^ - by Roger Leloup.
145. Rebel Pilot, Texas Doctor - @! - by Eve Gaddy.
146. Shifting Plains - - by Jean Johnson.
147. The Dead Lands - @! - by Rick Hautala.
148. Kristina The Girl King - ^ - by Carolyn Meyer.
149. Famous Phonies - ^ - by Brianna DuMont.
150. Lake Tahoe, A Maritime History - ^ - by Peter Goin.
151. Longshot - # - by Dick Francis.
152. The Lightning Thief - * - by Rick Riordan.

September
153. A Spoonful of Magic - ^ - by Irene Radford.
154. Young Warriors - @^ - by Tamora Pierce & Josepha Sherman.
155. A Hero for Antonia - * - by Elisabeth Kidd.
155. Skylar’s Outlaw - * - by Linda Warren.
156. Mackenzie’s Woman - * - by JoAnn Ross.
157. His Child or Hers? - * - by Dawn Stewardson.
158. Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride - * - by Elizabeth Rolls.
159. Fantastical Ramblings - @! - by Irene Radford.
160. The Return of Rafe McKade - * - by Nora Roberts.
161. Penric's Fox - @^ - by Lois McMasters Bujold.
162. The Rose Legacy - @^ - by Jessica Day George.
163. Spinning Silver - @^ - by Naomi Novik.

6jjmcgaffey
Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 8:40pm Top

# indicates re-read, % indicates borrowed book, @ indicates ebook, * indicates BOMB, ! indicates ER etc, ^ indicates new book

Reading October-December

October
November
December

7jjmcgaffey
Dec 28, 2017, 8:36pm Top

Reserved in case I need it.

8MGovers
Dec 31, 2017, 10:30am Top

Passing by to wish you a wonderful new year. And to mention that I starred your thread, just in case I will turn out to be a SF-girl after all. I'll be happy to be inspired here.

9dchaikin
Jan 2, 12:20am Top

Hi Jennifer, I'm always fascinated by the number of books that show up here. Wishing you a great year.

10jjmcgaffey
Jan 2, 8:36pm Top

>8 MGovers: Hi, Monica! I do read primarily SF/F - last year I read almost exactly as many SF/F as everything else combined. Hope you find some good stuff here.

9> and Hi, Dan! Yeah, I read a lot... I've read two books and a short story so far this year (well, OK, one book I started in the last few days of last year, but still). Thanks!

11jjmcgaffey
Jan 2, 8:45pm Top

So to start out the year - I'm doing a slightly nuts thing. I read a lot of ebooks; I have cards to literally a dozen+ libraries in this area, and mostly get ebooks from them (occasionally a paper one, but then I have to make the trip back to return it...). I search on Overdrive.com for the books I'm interested in...and over (and over and over) a book I want to read is "not available in my libraries" and "available in libraries near you" - Los Angeles library.

And then Southwest was having cheap flights on short notice. So...tomorrow, January 3rd, I am flying down to LA (from San Francisco Bay Area) for the express purpose of getting a library card! I'll spend the day there - arrive about 10:30 am and leave at 10 pm; my plan is to go to the library nearest the airport and get a card first, then either hang out there or wander around and see what's nearby. I'm also planning to do this basically on foot, possibly on the bus if I can't get through or if it's raining. It should be a fun day. Despite making me get up at 5 am to catch a 9 am flight (they say be at the airport by 90 minutes before your flight, and it takes me a while to get assembled in the morning). Early to bed, tonight!

12ELiz_M
Jan 2, 9:49pm Top

>11 jjmcgaffey: That is wonderful and only a little nuts. I've certainly planned trips around bookish events.

If you ever feel the need for another library account, out-of-town US residents can get a Brooklyn Public library card for $50/year. I don't know how extensive their SFF collections are, but I am quite happy with the selection of ebooks and audio books:
https://www.bklynlibrary.org/use-the-library/borrow

13MGovers
Jan 3, 3:36pm Top

>11 jjmcgaffey: - It's not nuts, it's dedication. Good luck with your mission!

14dchaikin
Jan 4, 1:41pm Top

That is a lovely plan.

15jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jan 4, 4:57pm Top

>12 ELiz_M:, >13 MGovers:, >14 dchaikin: Thanks!

And it worked perfectly. Got to the airport in plenty of time, went through security with only minor stumbles (the last time I flew, the scanner was new - I didn't know about "empty your pockets of _everything_, not just metal"), got down there. Walked to the library, stopping at a farmers market along the way to eat a pupusa and drink some horchata (yum). Got my card. Sat and read for a while, and checked out some ebooks via my phone (some I'd been looking for for a while!). Changed my shoes - it was warm enough down there (especially while I was walking) to wear sandals, but I've been in closed shoes here for a while and my feet did not like the walking in sandals (blisters and proto-blisters), so I'm glad I brought both. Went back a different way and wandered in and out of stores - no shops, just big chains, but I did find a Tuesday Morning. Those are always fun to explore. Didn't buy anything but food, though. Went back to the airport pretty early, about 4 hours before my flight - my legs were really hurting. Got through security even more easily this time, inspected the food available and decided to just snack on what I'd brought. Massaged my legs and feet a bit. Read, knitted, relaxed until my flight; the flight was fine (one bit of turbulence at the end). I'd checked whether it would rain in L.A., but I forgot to check if it would rain in Oakland...came back to floods. Got my car, came home, did a very little bit of cleanup and unpacking, went to bed (with aspirin).

By the way, Southwest is very nice, at least on short domestic flights. It's positively oldfashioned - on a flight just over an hour, we got free soda/juice/tea/hot chocolate (I opted for the last) and peanuts or pretzels (and alcohol for sale). That was the same in both directions. I traveled with just my backpack, which fits under the seat, so didn't have to even think about checking a bag, but I believe they have one free checked bag. And stuff like that. Their loading method is reasonably efficient - when you check in you get a number (and you can pay to check in early, or just jump in 24 hours before the flight). You line up according to your number, and you get to choose your seat as you walk in - just look and pick. On the way out I got a window seat with an empty middle seat; on the way back (my number was much later on that one, and the plane fuller) I got an aisle seat and three of us. The seats aren't huge, but I wasn't cramped either. And it was amazingly warm on the plane - I'm used to half-freezing on a flight.

And I'm rather stiff and slow this morning, but functional; I've downloaded the books and prepared to shift them to my phone where I'll actually read them. Definitely worth it. I walked over 10 miles, 23,000+ steps, yesterday...today I will work on hitting my normal 6000 step goal.

>12 ELiz_M: ...yeah, I somehow can't handle paying for a library card (there's a library in the town just down the way that charges for non-residents - they have good books, but no). There'd have to be something amazing that I couldn't get anywhere else. And maybe there is...I will investigate, thanks - but probably not.

I've planned trips around bookish events before - but this is the first time I've taken a trip solely for a book thing (not even an event, really), without any other reason for the travel. My parents and I drove down to Palm Desert a couple times in previous years (time-share things), and if I'd thought of it I could have gotten a card then - but they're not doing that any more (too hot for them), so that wouldn't work. I've been trying to figure out a reason to go to LA for about a year now, and then I finally decided to just _go_.

16wandering_star
Jan 5, 4:48am Top

How great that you had such a nice experience when you were doing your 'slightly nuts' thing - as my other half likes to say, fortune favours the brave.

I am not currently based in the UK but found out that I could still borrow ebooks from my local library there, because I still have a valid library card. It's a great service.

17jjmcgaffey
Jan 5, 8:09pm Top

Yes, library ebooks are _great_. So nice to have access when you're not near (or don't want to go out in bad weather, even if it's not all that far). And nice to have access to so many books.

I'm finding myself reading ebooks much more than physical books - at least partly, because it's a heck of a lot easier to _find_ an ebook (search on title or author...easy peasy) vs looking on my shelves (not too hard, but some things aren't sorted right) or (worse) looking in my boxes of books. I need to read all the ones in boxes, because the reason they're in boxes is that I don't know if I want to own them - most I haven't read, some I have but don't remember if they were worth keeping. But I gotta _read_ them before I can dump them. In some cases, I've gotten e-copies of books that are somewhere in my house...which means I can read them and decide, then I just have to dump or shelve them when I come across them later. And I'm finding myself very willing to dump books I moderately enjoyed reading, if I have (or can get - library) an e-copy in case I want to reread. Some are staying in paper version as well as e-, because I love them and want to be able to read them any way I want - or lend them out. But I can get rid of a lot thanks to ebooks.

18auntmarge64
Jan 5, 9:02pm Top

>12 ELiz_M: Oh, yes, Brooklyn PL is wonderful. And you don't have to go there to register - it's one of the few libraries with large ebook collections that will take membership by email.

19jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:43pm Top

Books Read
1. Moths of the Limberlost @^ by Gene Stratton-Porter. Review - Interesting - mostly because she tells the real stories that got put into her fiction. She has much the same voice here as in her fiction, too.
2. The General Zapped an Angel * by Howard Fast. Review - Ugh. All the stories, without exception, are downers. Not for me.
3. Block Party @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - Fun - Surebleak adjusting to Liadens and vice versa. The next chapbook is the prequel to this.
4. The Incubus Job @! by Diana Pharaoh Francis. Review - Interesting universe, less interesting story.
5. Dragon's Breath * by E.D. Baker. Review - Nice fluff - Eadric gets quite tolerable by the end. Emma's making some interesting friends.
6. The Fairy Bridge Troll @! by Leah Cutter. Review - Nice! Christine deals with things and actually develops some self-confidence. Excellent happy ending.

Currently Reading
The Meri by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff - another ER book. Well-written but I'm not enjoying it - too nasty in parts for me. And I'll pick up the next E.D. Baker book shortly - I have the whole series in paper.

BOMBs
Two - The General and Dragon's Breath. The rest are new, but ebooks so they don't count as BOMBs despite (several of them) being old enough in my library.

Discards
Both BOMBs are leaving. I might want to read Dragon's Breath again, but I bet I can get it from one library or another - and Howard Fast is utterly uninteresting.

New/Reread
All new to me. Two rereads paid for (already!) with the two BOMBs.

Reading quite a bit, though I'm still looking for something to really draw me in. I'm planning to work on my old ER books, as well as BOMBs - I have 23 ER books older than a year (and 10 younger), three of which are BOMBs (the rest are ebooks and don't count). That's 23 unread and (therefore) unreviewed (I have 50+ reviewed, but still). Cleaning out old stuff is clearly the theme for the year!

20jjmcgaffey
Jan 6, 11:32pm Top

Today I went over to my parents' and we took down Christmas - it's Epiphany today, the 12th Day of Christmas, and the proper day (say our family traditions) to take down the tree, lights, creches, decorations in general. It's a big task, but we got it all done. And now I'm wiped. When I finish here (reviewing, updating my book stats spreadsheet, and posting the above) I think I'm going to bed, though it's only 8:30 pm.

21ursula
Jan 6, 11:40pm Top

I had no idea you could get an LA library card just by being a resident of California.

When I was in Antioch (2-3 years ago), the Contra Costa library system was kind of awful for ebooks - and I know you're in Alameda County, not Contra Costa, but I mention it because I was surprised that it would be the case in any bay area county.

I am still using my Denver library card with regularity even after quite a few years out of the area. I'm glad they don't have an expiration date!

22jjmcgaffey
Jan 7, 3:50am Top

I have both an Alameda County card (and an Alameda City one) and a Contra Costa card. They don't have a lot of ebooks, but they have some that no other library does, so it's worth it. Also Sacramento, Oakland, Berkeley... The cards I have do have expiration dates - 5-10 years, most of them, but time ran out on a bunch of them last year and I had to refresh.

It does seem to be changing, the limits on getting a card. I had a Mountain View card when I worked in that city, and I thought it a) had run out and b) wasn't renewable because I no longer had an address within Mountain View. But I got an email from them saying "Hey! We see you have a library card - did you know it will expire at the end of January 2018? Come by and renew it!" I should check what they have in the way of ebooks before the end of the month, so I can renew if it's worth it. Anyway - apparently now being a resident of CA is sufficient. That's been true for Berkeley and a lot of others for a while.

23dukedom_enough
Jan 11, 8:55pm Top

>15 jjmcgaffey: Wow. I used to make day trips to NYC, about 2 hours one way by train, and visit bookstores, but to fly - hardcore.

24jjmcgaffey
Jan 12, 12:51am Top

I considered driving, and the train, and various buses, but with the Southwest fare sale it was actually cheaper to fly (even though I paid for parking) as well as faster. I think my total for the day, including buying food, was under $125 - certainly under $150. Which is more than I usually spend for a day of entertainment, but in this case worth it - I've already checked out several books that no other library I have access to has.

25jjmcgaffey
Jan 12, 1:05am Top

Today was the first day of my second semester of ceramic class. We watched a video of a guy who does broomstick work, then made our own - in my usual determination to go functional, I rolled one long cylinder then cut it in half to make two mugs. We'll see if they work - they're awfully thin and a bit wobbly, but part of that is the rather wet clay we used. Next week they should be dry enough to put handles on, and still soft enough to shape a bit. And the mug I threw last semester went for bisque firing - it's a glaze fire this week, so it won't be done until next week (one small kiln, one firing per week. It takes a while to get things done...) and then I can glaze it (and it can wait for the next glaze firing...). And I picked up the replacement lid for the garlic jar - I made the jar in my high school ceramics class, in 1984. Somewhere between then and now, the lid fell and broke - and last semester I (tried to) made a new lid for it. It got bisque fired at the end of last semester, but I forgot to pick it up then (I don't want that one glazed). I'll try it on the jar on Saturday, and take a picture. No idea if it will fit - the original jar is a pinch pot, very uneven. We'll see.

Normally broomstick work is for vases, or pitchers, or the like - stuff I don't use. Mugs I'd like to have, especially if I can put on a handle like the Torpedo Factory mugs, that goes up higher than the mug itself and is large enough to get your entire hand in to. The mug I threw looks a little odd, because I threw it to the proper height and then when I trimmed it it got about half an inch shorter - so the handle sticks up a long way. Again, we'll see.

I don't want decorative stuff, I want functional (but good-looking) things. So mugs, plates (I made one large plate (which is actually a bit too large...), and one small one I like, and one small one I didn't like so I gave it away), maybe some bowls - I made one pinch-pot bowl that's OK, but not wonderful. I have a long list of stuff to make, mostly for the kitchen - a new spoon-rest because the handle broke off mine, pie weights (can you say "easy"? Little pea-sized, unglazed balls of clay...), a pie bird like Mom's (because all the modern ones are too big and clunky), cookie stamps...many things.

Two sessions a week - one day of class, one day of workshop. I need to get in gear and start making my things in workshop!

26auntmarge64
Jan 12, 10:01am Top

The ceramics class sounds fun.

27jjmcgaffey
Jan 13, 1:33am Top

It is. I took that class in high school and enjoyed it very much; I've been thinking about getting back into ceramics for...about 30 years, now. The local senior center, Mastick, has great classes in lots of stuff, but you have to be at least 50 to be a member and actually take the classes. My mom gave me (and herself) the ceramics class for my 50th birthday last summer. She's not taking it this semester, partly because she wasn't sure she'd be up to it after her hip replacement (she would have been, no problem) and partly because in February she and Dad are going on a cruise in Eastern Europe (Adriatic Sea, I believe) and she'd have missed several classes. She intends to join again next semester.

I find that my hands remember quite a lot about ceramics - I managed to throw a decent mug my first time on the wheel this time. It came out a little weird, as I said above, after I trimmed it - it's a bit short. But details, details - I got the shaping right, and it didn't get away from me and go wobbly. Similarly for pinch pots and slab work. Which I suspect makes me a little annoying to other students - one confided to me that she hadn't made anything she liked yet (she was a beginner with me/us last semester, I believe). I've made things I like more than others, but only one thing I really didn't like. Which makes it more fun...though if I keep making things worth keeping, I'm going to have to start selling them or giving them away - I don't have _room_ for more stuff!

28jjmcgaffey
Jan 14, 1:41am Top

Books Read
7. The Meri @!* by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Review - Ok, but somewhat flat for me. Every woman gets Chosen, none get to show that women can handle the job? Hmmph.
8. On Ordeal @^ by Diane Duane. Review - Nice - glimpses into the past of three characters.
9. The Guild @^ by Jean Johnson. Review - Good, not excellent. Major step in the series arc, though.
10. Beauvallet @* by Georgette Heyer. Review - Eh, more swashbuckling than actual characterization.

Currently Reading
Once Upon a Curse by E.D. Baker - not wonderful, but OK. Time travel is hard to handle, and Emma's being an idiot. I need to find something I know will be good to replace Beauvallet.

BOMBs
Two - The Meri is both an ER book and a BOMB, since I've had it since 2013. Not sure if that was the ER ebook or the paper copy - in any case, I can now get rid of the paper copy. Beauvallet is also an eBOMB, and also a discard.

Discards
Two, as mentioned above.

New/Reread
All new to me - and 4 rereads paid for, now.

Hit my BOMBs goal for the month already, though I'll keep on pushing - good to get ahead. I'm working on my book boxes, which makes it easier to choose BOMBs.

29jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jan 15, 11:00pm Top

Arrgh. I did some supergluing - and stuck two fingers together. I can handle not having fingerprints - I think I've put a superglue skin on at least one finger every time I've used it - but having my ring and little fingers stuck together is quite awkward. I'm soaking that hand at the moment, and typing one-handed - surprisingly tiring. But it is starting to come loose.



Hopefully, the glue will work as well on my projects as it is on me. Fixing broken bits of my vacuum cleaner - it's probably 35 years old or so, and parts are not to be found (at least, not for reasonable prices).

I have a triumph - someone threw away a sheepskin rug, and I rescued it from on top of the bin before the rain started. It was badly matted in one area, lightly spotted in several, and shedding quite a lot. But I vacuumed it, then brushed it (and got handfuls of wool - I wish I spun, it would be wonderful. But I don't so I threw it out), and vacuumed again. The matted area is a lot fluffier, the spots are nearly gone (some left on the handfuls of wool, some just spread out enough to be unnoticeable on the fluffy wool), and it's basically not shedding any more (I got all the loose stuff). I'll vacuum and brush it again before I actually put it down for use - but for a little work, I have a rug that's probably $200 new (it's big - 4 skins). And the leather is in fine shape, that's the thing that makes sheepskin unusable - if the leather is stiffened or wearing through. So yay!

Ah! Fingers came apart. Still lots of glue on them, but apart I can handle it.

30jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:57pm Top

Books Read
11. Once Upon a Curse * by E.D. Baker. Review - Fluffy but annoying, though it ended OK. She messed up in backtime thoroughly, though apparently it was what actually happened.
12. The Brightest Fell @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Wow. Utterly amazing story, with threads from the first few books coming back to tangle Toby's life even more. Excellent novelette at the end, too.
13. The Best Revenge @# by Justine Davis. Review - Lovely as always - grim in spots but so rich. Possibly my favorite Redstone.
14. Codgerspace * by Alan Dean Foster. Review - Yawn. Foster can do better than this - amazingly pointless.

Currently Reading
Timekeepers by Simon Garfield - a Netgalley book, apparently a re-release (it first came out in 2016, but this one has Trump references). Fascinating book about how we perceive, use, are ruled by, manipulate, build devices to measure time. So far I've gone through trains, metronomes, and watches, and am currently reading about cameras. Also reading The Guild Vol 1, a graphic novel by Felicia Day - it's a little awkward because I have it in e-version and the sizing is delicate. Big enough to read, but fuzzy, or sharp but teeny tiny (this is reading on the computer, I'm not even trying it on the phone). I think I'll put it on my 10" tablet and see if that works better. The graphics are OK in any case, it's just the words that are tough.

BOMBs
Two BOMBs - nice! I'm exceeding my goal (of reading 4) for the month - but given what happened last year, building up a backlog is a good idea.

Discards
Two discards, too - the BOMBs. The other two are ebooks and keepers anyway.

New/Reread
One reread, three new-to-me books. Five rereads paid for.

I finished Codgerspace almost a week ago, but my reading has slowed down a bit since then - partly because I'm reading a non-fiction (Timekeepers) on my phone, instead of my usual fiction. I've read, but haven't finished anything since then. I've also decided to start reading magazines at the table, in hopes of reducing my huge backlog - reading a Smithsonian at the moment, so very interesting, but it doesn't count as a book.

31chlorine
Edited: Jan 27, 2:55am Top

Timekeepers seems interesting.
I have a similar book on my wishlist: Time's pendulum by Jo Ellen Barnett.
Unfortunately for the last two years my nonfiction reading has been almost inexistant. It's something I'm thinking about actively doing something about, but then I said I didn't want to impose any reading goal on myself this year... Well see!

32janemarieprice
Jan 27, 8:48pm Top

>30 jjmcgaffey: Looking forward to your thoughts on The Guild. I really enjoyed the web series and want to be Felicia Day's best friend. :)

33jjmcgaffey
Jan 28, 1:07am Top

>32 janemarieprice: So far the protagonist is rather whiny and limp, though her digital adventures are interesting. We'll see if she improves (I just got to where she sees her "boyfriend" cheating on her...so hopefully she'll grow a spine).

I used to follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter, so saw quite a bit of Felicia - yeah, sounds like someone I'd like to know better. I dropped off Twitter shortly after the election, though I'm gently dipping my toes back in now.

>31 chlorine: Yes, looks like they had the same basic idea (though I suspect different treatment of it). I'll keep an eye out for Time's Pendulum.

I generally have at least one non-fiction going - it can take me several months to read one, if the concepts are deep enough I can only manage a chapter or so at a time and then have to think about it. Timekeepers is a bit lighter than that, I'm reading it pretty fast (10 days in, I've got less than a quarter to go). I usually read my non-fiction at the table, one bit per meal. And I'll read multiple fiction books while I'm working on one non-fiction - nice light stuff.

I like creating nice, general reading goals - whenever I make a list of books I'm going to read, all of them immediately become entirely uninteresting and I want to read something completely different. But a goal like "read books I own and haven't read" is general enough that I can find something no matter what I'm in the mood for. Read more non-fiction is also pretty general - or you could just focus on finding a book you want to read, that happens to be non-fiction...

34chlorine
Edited: Jan 28, 3:27pm Top

>33 jjmcgaffey:
I agree that reading nonfiction is a light goal. A few years ago I used to have a goal of reading 10 nonfiction books each year. I kept up with it for a few years and was really glad I did.
Then for a few years my goal, still light, was to diversify the countries I read from. I also loved that goal.

This year however, I find I want to break free from challenges. I also ditched my real life bookclub, and want to see what happens if I read the books I want to read at the time I pick them up.
But I really like goals so I'll probably pick up some again in upcoming years (or in 2018 if I feel like it).

This being said, my nonfiction stats are not so bad for the last two years: 8 books in 2017, and 7 in 2016,which is not a lot but not far from my previous goal of 10. :)

35jjmcgaffey
Jan 28, 7:25pm Top

>34 chlorine: Yeah, that works. It's also interesting to see what appeals after you've used a goal to "inform" your reading self that this stuff is interesting too... I say, casually, that reading my BOMBs is an easy goal - but last year was the first time I achieved anything much, with a strict rule of a BOMB per reread. A couple years before I had a goal of 25 BOMBs and failed completely. So far this year I've read quite a few BOMBs (for the time spent); if I can keep this momentum up I'll exceed my goal, without ever having to say, no, I can't read what I want, I have to read a BOMB first. So if this year you want to just read whatever you like - yay! And tracking what you do end up reading will be interesting - see how much non-fiction you read without a firm goal to aim at, etc.

I've never been able to do a bookclub - see my note above about a book I'm scheduled to read being automatically uninteresting. I've only tried a couple times, and actually managed to read (most of) the book once...and then was uninterested in the discussion of it. Just doesn't work for me. It seems to work for most people, though.

36chlorine
Jan 29, 12:03pm Top

>35 jjmcgaffey:
If you were not interested in the discussion then maybe this may not have been the right group for you. I think that I was lucky with my bookclub to find a group in which the conversation corresponded to what I liked: sufficiently rich to exceed simple I liked it/did not like it, but not too involved either as too much reflections on the writing style or influences can bore me.

37jjmcgaffey
Jan 29, 5:23pm Top

Maybe. But with the addition of my disinclination to read a book I _have_ to read (I had an awful time in school...actually, that's probably where the disinclination came from, I think I enjoyed maybe one or two of the (many many) books I was required to read), I think I'll just stick to reviewing and commenting on LT. Works better for me.

38chlorine
Jan 30, 12:49pm Top

>37 jjmcgaffey:
Sure, I wasn't saying that to push you into joining a reading group. I was just commenting on the lack of interest you had for the discussions, but of course your dislike of reading books you somehow have to read is predominant here. :)
Keep telling us here what you read!

39jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:36pm Top

OK!

Books Read
15. Timekeepers @! by Simon Garfield. Review - Excellent! I'll be looking for more by him. Lovely word origins, too.
16. Rules for Reforming a Rake @! by Meara Platt. Review - Ugh. Insta-lust, cardboard characters and unlikely plot (as much as I read of it).
17. Whiskey River Runaway @! by Justine Davis. Review - Fantastic - this is the Justine Davis I fell in love with. Great characters, great setting, great story. And a perfect antidote to the last book.

Currently Reading
Still trying on The Guild - I haven't gotten it on the tablet yet. I picked up Soo Canal!, which I bought a few months ago (so not a BOMB) - I can't tell yet whether it's a history or a historical novel. Sounds interesting, though. I've got a bunch of others that I put down for a while and should pick up again - I will at some point. Some of them are BOMBs, too. Trying to read actual paper books, instead of just going to the next ebook...

BOMBs
Not a one - but two ER books, that's almost as good. I'm up to 69% reviewed...

Discards
Even though it's an ebook and doesn't count, I'm actually deleting Rules for Reforming a Rake. I don't think I'll ever want to read it. The other two are also ebooks, and definite keepers.

New/Reread
All three new to me - but not BOMBs, so still 5 rereads paid for.

I've read a lot of Justine Davis books - some of her early ones are rather poor, then she hit her stride with the Trinity Street West series, and Redstone Incorporated. Both of those are long, connected, tangled series, with solid characters who continue to be themselves whether they're the main characters or side ones (and they all keep showing up). The themes are great, the stories are great, I love them. There are also some SF books - just a couple at first, but it's now a 4-book series and may extend. Those are good to excellent, too. Then she started doing Cutter's Code - and I can't stand those. Still long, connected, and tangled, but with the addition of a magic dog all the characters seemed to become cardboard. I didn't stop reading her, I just kept reading and rereading her old books. But Whiskey River is entirely up to her earlier standards, and I'm back to waiting eagerly for the next Justine Davis.

40jjmcgaffey
Feb 2, 12:55am Top

January stats
17 books read
1 rereads
16 new books
5 rereads paid for

4419 pages read, average 259.9

6 BOMBs - hit my goal for the month
5 ER books - nice!
1 Netgalley books

13 ebooks, 4 paper books

6 discards - hit my goal here, too.

8 SF&F
2 children's
2 non-fiction
5 romances

14 F, 4 M authors

Not bad - and very nice, on BOMBs, discards, and ER books. I don't have a specific goal for the last, but I do want to improve my percentage reviewed (ditto Netgalley, though that's not as bad). The usual serious imbalance towards female authors.... Quite a few excellent books, and several really bad ones - oddly varied, there. Good start to the year.

41jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:37pm Top

Books Read
18. Soo Canal! ^ by William Ratigan. Review - Fascinating subject, less than interesting book - too hoo-rah for me.
19. Ars Historica @! by Marie Brennan. Review - Collection of alt/faerie history short stories - all interesting, though some are unpleasant and some wonderful.
20. Wild Hawk @^ by Justine Davis. Review - Eh - manipulator hero, excessive sex scenes. Poor for a Davis, which makes it better than average for a romance.
21. Maps to Nowhere @! by Marie Brennan. Review - Another lovely assortment, these are purely fictional (vs the historical basis of the last collection). Very rich.

Currently Reading
I don't care, I want to read these. Freedom's Landing and sequels, by Anne McCaffrey. A many times reread, of a largely really fluffy SF story. It's been bugging me for weeks, and I give in.

BOMBs
Nope - the only paper one was Soo Canal!, and I haven't owned that a year. But two ER books.

Discards
Soo Canal! Read, will never read it again.

New/Reread
All new.

42jjmcgaffey
Feb 11, 11:28pm Top

I'm rather annoyed just now - I garden on my balcony. It's now warm enough (barely) to grow some things, and I finally got around to planting the potatoes that had been sitting on the table sprouting. I planted them 10 days ago; they were beginning to show leaves and moving up above the surface of the soil. But apparently a squirrel decided I was feeding him - I checked on them today and found one (of three) potato, the leaves and stems of the one that was furthest along, and a few scattered bits of roots from the third one. Arrgh! I covered them up and wet them down again - they may be far enough along to live without the food storage of the tuber. I need to spread some net over the pot to keep that beastie out in the future, though.

43jjmcgaffey
Feb 19, 6:54pm Top

Books Read
22. Freedom's Landing @# by Anne McCaffrey. Review - My favorite of the series - good fluff, interesting worldbuilding. Ends abruptly.
23. Freedom's Choice @# by Anne McCaffrey. Review - Part 2 of the story; not a complete arc. Still good fluff, though. Ebook has a lot of stray commas (scannos) - distracting.
24. Freedom's Challenge @# by Anne McCaffrey. Review - Ties off many loose ends - not all. Timeline is (still) confusing. Not terrible, not a favorite.
25. Freedom's Ransom @# by Anne McCaffrey. Review - Whole new set of loose ends, some of which are tied off by the end of the book. Politics and trading (sometimes the same thing). More worldbuilding, but not exciting.
26. The Prisoner of Zenda @* by Anthony Hope. Review - Excellent pulp, with some actual depth to the characters. Worth reading, maybe worth rereading in a while.

Currently Reading
Dunno, I haven't picked my next book yet. I do need to get more BOMBs going.

BOMBs
One - I thought I'd already read The Prisoner of Zenda, but apparently not.

Discards
Discarding my paper copy of Zenda, since I have the e-version.

New/Reread
Four rereads - the Freedom/Catteni series is total fluff (it could be more, but it's not), but I enjoy it a lot. It was bugging me, and I finally just went through the whole lot. The worst thing is, the first book is the best but has no conclusions...have to read the whole series to get as close to a conclusion as possible, and the fourth is the least interesting. I go through this every time I read the series, but there's no way around it...
Anyway. Two rereads paid for, now - need to read BOMBs and get that number up!

44jjmcgaffey
Feb 19, 7:04pm Top

I spent a lovely weekend in the hills of Marin County, at a Girl Scout camp that was originally built for earthquake survivors. It was the site of an SCA Culinary Symposium - a weekend of classes on medieval food. This session was a lot more lectures and discussions than hands-on classes - the two previous ones I've gone to I got to actually make more stuff. Still, it was interesting; I came back with a bunch of recipes, including one I've been looking for since the last symposium on that site, three years ago (a White Pie - custard with ginger, yummy). And I also found some new obsessions that I'm trying to avoid being caught up in - but medieval kitchen gardens! Grow your own spices! I do anyway, but there are some I _could_ grow for medieval dishes...maybe. Or not. I don't have a lot of space, and if it's something I'd only use occasionally... But I could easily become obsessed with the idea of medieval gardens, and researching them.

On the way back I picked up yet another library card, for MariNet (San Rafael library). I need to sign in and research what they've got in the way of ebooks, but everyone's got something different.

Came home, didn't unpack much, slept for 9+ hours, and I'm being very slow this morning. Good thing I didn't schedule anything today. Tomorrow is going to be busy, and I do need to do my laundry today...but I can do that at almost any time.

45janemarieprice
Feb 20, 5:27pm Top

>44 jjmcgaffey: That symposium sounds great! Any really wild recipes?

46jjmcgaffey
Feb 23, 12:35am Top

Not really - or not any ones I'd want to make and therefore tracked. The ginger pie is a "quiche-like" recipe - eggs, fresh cheese (ricotta or cottage cheese) and fresh ginger. I had it at the previous symposium, three years ago, and have been trying to figure it out ever since.

The other thing was that we made butter - cream and buttermilk allowed to sit for 2-4 days at room temperature (done ahead of time, obviously), a small mason jar half-filled with the cultured cream and shaken hard for about 15 minutes. It's really amazing watching the butter suddenly form... We didn't salt it - that's a preservative, but the small amount we made will probably get eaten pretty fast. Not to mention the preservative abilities of refrigerators, which they didn't have.

Lots of recipes for what we now consider breakfast foods, which weren't in period - eggs (poached, omelets, etc) and sausages, waffles and pancakes, and so on. But I have good recipes for breakfast foods and these sound really complicated (lots of grinding herbs and so on).

It was fun, though.

47jjmcgaffey
Feb 25, 6:58pm Top

Books Read
27. Faro's Daughter @* by Georgette Heyer. Review - Bleah. Too many misunderstandings (my least favorite romance trope).
28. The Kin @* by Peter Dickinson. Review - Just what I needed right now. Interesting Stone Age YA.
29. Alaskan Dawn @^ by Edie Claire. Review - Excellent romance - solid characters. I'm looking for more by her.

Currently Reading
Haven't decided yet - I need to read more BOMBs, I want to read Trustee from the Toolroom (I've read and enjoyed it before, it's niggling at me for a reread), and I'm going through my boxes of books and inventorying them properly (so I can find ones I want when I want them), so I keep coming up with either "Oh, that's where that was!" or "I didn't know/remember I had that!". There was a series niggling at me for a reread, but it's retreated at the moment (can't remember what it was) - if it comes back, I'll read it if I've built up enough BOMBs (which is why I hadn't read it before, when it was niggling). Also I have two new books, bought recently, that I really want to read soon - Neogenesis by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and The Temple by Jean Johnson. Both ebooks.

BOMBs
Two, both eBOMBs. I really need to get to the paper books too.

Discards
Both BOMBs are discards - I have the e-versions, should I wish to reread. One is unlikely, one slightly more likely (but not probable).

New/Reread
All three new, and two BOMBs, so I have 4 rereads paid for. Still need to build up more of a backlog.

The Kin is a really weird book, but it was the perfect antidote to Faro's Daughter. And I got Alaskan Dawn for free from Amazon (through BookBub - they send a weekly email with Amazon deals) because it sounded mildly interesting - and discovered a new good author to read the backlist of. Unfortunately none of the libraries I have access to have the next book in the series, at least not in e-book. So I'll have to wait a bit on that.

48jjmcgaffey
Feb 25, 7:17pm Top

Another annoyance - a while ago now, but I didn't write about it. That new library card I got? Marinet (Marin County) doesn't allow out-of-county cardholders to check out ebooks. I guess their out-of-county cards are only for people who work there and live elsewhere...or something. I get up there about 4 times a year, so no way I'm going to check out physical books - so that card is completely useless. What's annoying is not that they limit Overdrive etc books - it's that I found that out only after attempting to log in to the ebook portion of the site, and being told there was a problem with my card...carefully read the page, and finally spotted a small-print footer that said that all an out-of-county card can access is Safari books (books about computers only - and every library that has access to them has access to all of them, so I already had that). The librarian didn't say anything about it, there wasn't anything on the application form, there wasn't any mention of the limit in the brochures they gave me - only after jumping through a bunch of hoops making my account, and then only in the small print. Bah.

49tess_schoolmarm
Feb 25, 8:04pm Top

50auntmarge64
Feb 26, 8:50am Top

>48 jjmcgaffey: Jennifer, check out Brooklyn Public Library. They allow non-resident membership to be completed online and allow ebook borrowing, and they have a great collection. https://www.bklynlibrary.org/use-the-library/borrow

Out-of-State Residents (non-NYS residents)
Non-NYS residents may apply for a Brooklyn Public Library membership and enjoy access to our extensive selection of Articles & Databases and eBooks. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders. Once your application is submitted, a representative will contact you within five (5) business days with the next steps.


When I applied they asked for a copy of my driver's license and the whole thing went through in a day or two.

51jjmcgaffey
Feb 27, 2:29pm Top

Yeah...they've been recommended before, and I'd love to do it, but I can't bring myself to pay a recurring fee for (access to) books. Maybe someday.

52jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:38pm Top

Books Read
30. (Un)bidden @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - Reading out of order, and this one is a flashback (nearly all) - confusing, but I do like this series(es).
31. Emmitt's Treasure @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - I remembered most of the events from the woman's POV; as always, interesting seeing it from the man's.
32. Leaving Lana'i @^ by Edie Claire. Review - Good, not wonderful - not quite as good as the first book, but worth reading.
33. Luke's Dream @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - Eh - not very different info on POV, not very interesting story.
34. Thomas' Heart @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - He's nearly as obnoxious in his own mind as Charlene thought he was. Annoying - and switched too fast.
35. (Dis)content @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - I don't like Isabelle - too angry and too quick to switch. Too many deus ex machina, too.
36. Carlos' Peace @^ by Melissa Haag. Review - Boring. Same story as (Dis)content, adding very little except red herrings.

Currently Reading
Rocket Jockey by Lester Del Rey - I've read it before, but I didn't review it. Need to read, review, and probably discard. Then the same books I mentioned in my last post, plus some BOMBs (new month, get moving!).

BOMBs
Nope. All ebooks.

Discards
Nope. All ebooks

New/Reread
All new to me, but they didn't affect the count of rereads paid for - still 4.

I think I read too much of these linked series, too fast. Also I don't much like Bethi or Isabelle - I like Michelle and Gabby better (and have little opinion about Charlene). One more book to go - Olivia's book apparently has both the man's and the woman's POV in one book. But I'm going to put off reading it for a while, and read other things.

53jjmcgaffey
Mar 2, 4:09am Top

February stats
17 books read
4 rereads
13 new books
4 rereads paid for

4873 pages read, average 286.6

3 BOMBs
2 ER books
0 Netgalley books

16 ebooks, 1 paper books

4 discards - hit my goal for the month

7 SF&F
1 non-fiction
1 general fiction
8 romances

14 F, 3 M authors

Ouch, didn't make my BOMB goal. OK, go find a BOMB or two (or three or four or five...) and read that next, before I finish the other books I'm working on. I got lots to choose from... Not a bad month, though nothing exciting.

54tess_schoolmarm
Mar 2, 10:10am Top

>53 jjmcgaffey: Am new here...what's a BOMB?

55jjmcgaffey
Mar 2, 8:11pm Top

Books Off My Bookshelf - some LTers call them ROOTs (Read Our Own Tomes) but that doesn't work for me mentally/grammatically. I own ...oh, 2-3000+ books that I have had in my house for over a year (many, over a decade) and have never read (and nearly as many that I have read and want to keep - or at least keep the e-versions). I bought them because I wanted to read them, at least theoretically - so I'm dang well going to read them! Not to mention that I find it almost impossible (only almost, though) to get rid of a book I haven't read - it might be wonderful! So reading them is a necessary prequel to clearing them out. And since I am totally swamped with _stuff_ in my house (not all books - there's craft tools and materials, gardening stuff, etc), clearing out things I don't need/want to keep is an important thing for me to do.

Which is why reading BOMBs is a major goal for me. And last year I (for the first time since I set it as a goal) actually managed to read my 50 BOMBs, though it required a big push in December (which is a rotten reading month anyway, too much else going on). So I'm trying really hard to read at least 4 BOMBs a month and preferably more, to build up a backlog, and blow away my goal this year.

56tess_schoolmarm
Mar 3, 12:13pm Top

>55 jjmcgaffey: Ok ty! Yes, I've known them as roots, but bombs will work, too! BOMBs is a major goal for me, although I "only" have about 500 at this time. I'm on a book diet and only get my monthly Audible (that I listen to going/returning from work) and trying to get nothing else until that number is pared down. I've done really well as 4 years ago I had over 1000.

57jjmcgaffey
Mar 3, 1:37pm Top

Oh, that's impressive! I keep trying to book diet, but it doesn't work - ooh, I've been looking for that! This is finally out! Yard sales and library book sales (I can't not go, they might have something wonderful!). And unlike most things, where I can say "it will be on sale again, at least as cheap", sometimes books are a one-time thing. Not new releases, admittedly, but weird old books.

I'm currently sorting through and logging (on LT) the books I have in boxes - which doesn't directly get them read, but does make it possible for me to find them when I feel like reading them. And it does make them pass under my eyes, so I can pick a few BOMBs to make up for last month and fill this one.

58avaland
Mar 6, 7:41am Top

OCLD - obsessive compulsive literary disorder, it sounds like. I haven't heard of any recovery groups for that.

59ronincats
Mar 6, 10:17pm Top

HERE you are! I guess I never saw a link to your new thread at the end of the year, because I know I've had you starred the previous two years. One of the problems with the stars is I just look at them and not at which group your thread is in!

Very much looking forward to photos of your pottery when it's done. I haven't brought anything home for several weeks because of slow-downs in the kiln firings, but should have some items this Thursday. And I have a lot of glazing to do, hopefully, this week. The spring craft shows are coming up soon.

Faro's Daughter is one of my less-favorite Heyers as well, for the same reason. Love pretty much everything Peter Dickinson wrote. Congrats on your library card hunts but bummer about the Marin County one. And I've finished 13 BOMBS so far this year.

60jjmcgaffey
Mar 7, 1:24pm Top

>59 ronincats: Beat me! I'm up to 9, with two in process - but neither one is catching my attention. I'm in sort of a book slump - I want light and cheerful with some thought behind it, and I'm getting stupid and nasty and brainless and...bah. I've got a couple reviews to do, including one DNF I wanted to like because of the author...bah again. And yes, Peter Dickinson has a wide range of weird and wonderful stories - but the only ones of his I have that I haven't read are mysteries (and ebooks, so not even BOMBs), and he tends towards the dark there, so not a help with my slump. Tried and quit another Heyer, too - The Talisman Ring, which I _think_ I've read before, but the first couple chapters seem unfamiliar (or completely familiar, they're very standard Heyer) and I was getting po'ed at all the characters so I'll read it sometime when I'm in a better mood.

Yeah - I have a bunch of finished pottery sitting on the counter waiting for me to take pictures. Really need to get to that. I've made two mugs, plus finishing the thrown mug from last semester - none of the three are really good, though. One I can't drink out of with spilling (the edge is too wide - so is the handle), one is usable but looks awkward, and the thrown one looks lovely and is quite usable except for being 5 ounces in capacity. There's nothing hot I'd drink only 5 ounces of... I need to throw another mug or two, and make them big enough that I don't trim them down to tiny.

Yes, my stars are spread out across Club Read and 75ers and a few other places - late December and early January I spend a lot of time hunting people down, and I think I missed some people this year. And picked up some new ones - I think my numbers are about the same, for threads I'm following. Good to see you here!

>58 avaland: LOL! Good to have a name for it...

61jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 13, 10:42pm Top

Books Read
37. Bodyguard of Lies @^ by Erin M. Hartshorn. Review - Not for me. Too grim and no characters I was interested in. I liked her urban fantasy, though.
38. The Temple by Jean Johnson. Review - Good - BDSM is not my kink, but after reading this I can see how it might be for some people. And the usual great characters.
39. Into the Fire by Elizabeth Moon. Review - Nice - Ky dealing with conspiracies and bureaucracy. And a lovely ending.
40. A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt. Review - A weird combo of literary and romance - lots of angst, and a happy (but not sappy) ending. Surprisingly good.

Currently Reading
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire. Fascinating - and yet another angle on things. The Illyrian Adventure by Lloyd Alexander - ugh. I will finish it, it's a short little BOMB, but lordy Vesper is a _pain_. I still need to read more BOMBs, but I seem to have escaped my slump - The Temple was a lovely shift from the annoying books I'd been reading.

BOMBs
All new books, but no BOMBs.

Discards
Bodyguard of Lies...well, it's an ebook, so it doesn't count. My sister says I should read the second book and I might like it better, but I don't think so. No discards that count, anyway.

New/Reread
All four new, one an ER. But no addition to my rereads-paid-for count - still 4.

I'm feeling better about reading, but still fragile about BOMBs after all the unpleasant books I ran into trying. Still need to read some, though. I'll go through some of my boxes and be pickier about my BOMBs.

62jjmcgaffey
Mar 15, 5:58am Top

Books Read
41. Beneath the Sugar Sky @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Gorgeous - some of the students go on a quest stemming from the events of the first book. Next please!
42. Wheel of Stars @* by Andre Norton. Review - Bleah. Very Norton, and rather horror - on several levels, including the coercion throughout. Interesting but not enjoyable.
43. Illyrian Adventure * by Lloyd Alexander. Review - UGH. Vesper is a spoiled brat, Brinnie is an idiot, and the plot is pure cardboard.
44. Mindtouch @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Utterly wow. More introspective than I usually like, but I _love_ this. More Hogarth!

Currently Reading
Three Men in a Boat, which...I thought it was a reread, but it may be a new book. Ebook, though, so not a BOMB. Followed by To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis, which is a BOMB - and why I'm (re?)reading Three Men. And then probably some more Hogarths, because I adored Mindtouch and I want more!

BOMBs
Two, the Norton and the Alexander.

Discards
Both the BOMBs are out - they're bad and awful respectively. I need to find Wheel of Stars, it's in a box.

New/Reread
All four new, and the two plain new books (not BOMBs) are excellent and fantastic respectively. Though Mindtouch did give me a headache from staring at the computer (and from crying) - I couldn't even pause reading long enough to get it on my phone, where I prefer to read. And with two BOMBs, my reread count is up to 6.

So I don't know what did it, but I managed a breakthrough - it took me 10 days to read the last four, and two days to read (well, to finish The Illyrian Adventure) this four. Disposed of two BOMBs, and found a book that leads me into a whole bunch more - I'd heard of Hogarth before, I think, but I hadn't read any of hers. Hopefully her others stand up to Mindtouch in quality.

And now I'm going to bed, to nurse this headache. It's 3 am - again, Mindtouch's fault.

63jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 17, 7:35pm Top

So I'm a little distracted - more than usual, even. My dad's in the hospital again - fourth time in two months - with apparently a "slow heart attack". They've checked his arteries and they're clear - surprisingly clear, says the doc. Which means all the standard fixes don't apply (stent, bypass, etc). They're trying a new drug regimen on him, and he's staying in the hospital while they check it out. Mom's there nearly every day. He was in the hospital 20 minutes away, but shifted to the one an hour away that has better cardiologists, and his son-in-law's father (is there a name for that relationship?), who's an oncologist but is known in the hospital. Fortunately my sister lives about 20 minutes from that hospital, so Mom's mostly staying with her. I'm going down tomorrow to visit him; Mom's also going down, but she'll be staying and I'm coming back up.

So things are complicated, and my brain refuses to consider not having Dad around so I'm having a hard time connecting with what's going on. I can handle taking care of stuff - mundane stuff - but anything beyond that, no. I'm making Afghan bread, naan, for our church's Family Day celebration on Sunday, and I'm focusing on that a lot. Also reading a lot - and some very good books. But there's this looming thing in the back of my mind, always, that I just can't deal with.

64fannyprice
Mar 18, 1:08pm Top

>63 jjmcgaffey:, I'm so sorry about your dad. I hope the new treatments work for him & that you're taking care of yourself amid all this stress. :)

65Goblin_Investor
Mar 19, 1:11am Top

>63 jjmcgaffey:
I whish your dad well.

66janemarieprice
Mar 19, 9:58pm Top

>63 jjmcgaffey: I am very sorry to hear this. I know how all consuming worrying about family health can be. I'll be thinking of you.

67jjmcgaffey
Mar 20, 6:12am Top

Thanks, all three of you. They're finding new options, and testing out variants of what he's got now - he is doing better, but still in the hospital (mostly because they want to watch him while they're testing variant medicines/dosages). He's now well enough to be deeply bored...reading a lot, on his tablet.

68dukedom_enough
Mar 20, 8:44pm Top

>67 jjmcgaffey: Well, boredom seems like a hopeful sign.

69ronincats
Mar 20, 11:14pm Top

Glad your dad is feeling well enough to be bored, Jenn. Here's hoping they come up with a treatment that's super-effective.

70jjmcgaffey
Mar 21, 2:42am Top

We had a meeting with the Palliative Care team, discussing how he was doing (he was in on it, and Mom, and me, and my sister and her husband, and my other sister by phone) and what the likely prognoses and treatments were. Lots of things aren't going to work; lots are possible but they have to see how he does. His biggest problem is excess fluid - he's lost 7 kilos over this hospitalization, basically all fluids. They're still trying to drain more out of him. Which is a really odd thing to be a heart problem, but Dad never did do things normally... He's doing well, though, aside from trying to fall asleep at every opportunity (his usual reaction to being sick, with anything). Walking a bit, talking to everyone... Lots of hope, no answers yet.

My sister who lives in Reno (the one who was in the meeting via phone) has come down to visit - she says, despite talking to everyone via text, she needed to see him and see how he's doing. I'll go down to the hospital again in a day or two, and see her (last time I saw her was Christmas).

And I'm doing various normal stuff. Including _not_ starting my garden - I should have gotten the seeds started at the end of February at the latest. Get moving on that, Jenn! I use an Aerogarden for starting the seeds, and it does go very fast, so the timing isn't actually all that horrible - but I still want to get the tomatoes going. I saw a tomato bush the other day, a foot and a half high and covered with flowers. I'm obviously way behind...

71fannyprice
Mar 21, 3:56pm Top

>70 jjmcgaffey:, I need to start my seeds as well. And yet, DC just got our first real snowfall of the season....

72jjmcgaffey
Mar 22, 2:55am Top

Books Read
45. Three Men in a Boat @^ by Jerome K. Jerome. Review - Cute, though the humor was a bit too pranky for me.
46. Who in the World Was the Secretive Printer? ^ by Robert Beckham. Review - Children's bio - very simplistic language, but it taught me some things.
47. To Say Nothing of the Dog @* by Connie Willis. Review - Nice! The beginning is rather a pain, and like Three Men, but it develops into something more.
48. Tempests and Slaughter @^ by Tamora Pierce. Review - Fun! Good in itself, excellent as addition to the earlier series.
49. Earthweb @* by Marc Stiegler. Review - Interesting on several levels - I want to check out some of what he says about the Web.

Currently Reading
Far Harbor by Melisa C. Michaels - interesting Norton-esque story, not at all what I think of for this author. A BOMB, too. Press Start to Play, edited by John Joseph Adams - so far, not impressed. I think I've ended each story saying "What?!". Haven't gotten to the Seanan yet, though.

BOMBs
Two - the Willis and Earthweb. Both interesting, both I have the e-version so I can dump the paper book. And I've hit my goal for the month, excellent.

Discards
Three - the two BOMBs plus the Gutenberg book. Beat my goal for the month.

New/Reread
All new to me - and two BOMBs means I have 8 rereads paid for now. Which is good, because after Tempests and Slaughter, I want to reread a bunch of Tamora Pierces.

Reading steadily along, through all the rest of the stuff going on in my life now. Excellent progress - nearly up to 50 books in the first three months of the year (bet I beat that), and on track for both BOMBs and discards. That's the nice thing about doing monthly goals as well as yearly, they don't fall behind and then I try to read and discard huge numbers in the last couple months of the year (bad time for reading anyway). May will probably be a bit short (it's a busy month for me), but if I'm nicely ahead by then all will be well.

73jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 14, 2:37am Top

Books Read
50. Far Harbor * by Melisa C. Michaels. Review - Very nice! Very Norton-esque - girl with unknown (to herself) powers runs away and acquires an animal friend, and comes into her own. No sequel or similar books, as far as I can see - pity. And the first BOMB I've read this year that is _not_ a discard (there's no e-version I can find).

Currently Reading
See reading for April post.

BOMBs
Yep, it's a BOMB.

Discards
But not a discard - the first BOMB I've read that isn't, because I can't find an ebook version.

New/Reread
New to me - 9 rereads paid for.

Yeah, so I'm slow posting - and very fast reading. See post after next.

74jjmcgaffey
Apr 5, 1:09am Top

March stats
14 books read
0 rereads
14 new books
9 rereads paid for

4079 pages read, average 291.4

5 BOMBs - passed my goal for the month
1 ER books
0 Netgalley books

11 ebooks, 3 paper books

5 discards - passed my goal for the month

9 SF&F
2 children's
1 general fiction
2 romances

10 F, 4 M authors

And after all my fretting, beat both my BOMB and discard goals for the month. I'm nicely ahead now - keep it up! I also discarded some other books, deciding that I was never going to read them (subjects or treatments that were completely uninteresting) - I'll be doing more of that as I go through the boxes - but I'm not counting them here, mostly because keeping track would be a pain.

75jjmcgaffey
Apr 5, 1:15am Top

Books Read
51. Press Start to Play @^ by John Joseph Adams ed. Review - Not for me. A very few good stories, few of which I can even remember (there were a _lot_ of stories in here). Most were either bewildering (and I do game) or too nasty for me.
52. No Place for Magic * by E.D. Baker. Review - Another cute fluff; not bad, not exciting.
53. Mindline @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - As good as Mindtouch, though it's two parts - first an accelerated medical mystery, then a much calmer part about them learning to work together. Love it, next!
54. Dreamhearth @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - A switch again - new place, new aspects to the relationship, new interactions with others - Vasiht'h goes for therapy, his idea. Still fun. More!
55. The Salamander Spell * by E.D. Baker. Review - Fluffy and overly familiar - the full story of what we already know about Grassina and Chartreuse as Olivene gets hit by the curse.

Currently Reading
A Taste for a Mate by Carrie Ann Ryan - I felt in the mood for a werewolf romance. Probably going to read at least one more Frog Princess book before I quit for a while - there's only three more to go, but there's only so much fluff I can take at one time. And I want to either read or quit and discard a bunch of books that I've been, theoretically, reading for quite a while (over a year, in a couple cases). I won't list them until I've actually restarted, though.

BOMBs
Two BOMBs, both discards - the Frog Princess books.

Discards
Two discards, and one that would be if it weren't an ebook.

New/Reread
All five new to me, so now 11 rereads paid for.

I'd started the first two in March, and only finished them in April - but that's still quite a chunk of reading for the first four days of the month. And a very good start on my goals.

76jjmcgaffey
Apr 5, 1:28am Top

So it's been a busy couple weeks. The good news is Dad's home, and doing much better than he was even before they went on the tour - up and active. He thinks he's in awful shape, I think he's finally well enough to notice how sick he is (there's always, in a real illness, a point at which you start getting better and realize how bad off you've been). He is currently tasked with recuperating enough to get a pacemaker implanted next month.

And now that we're not running up and down to Santa Clara (Mom calculated that her car, with either her or me driving, went over 800 miles in the last couple weeks between the hospital and home), I'm finally catching up on things. I got some of my seeds started yesterday. Unfortunately, my living room is jam-packed with stuff from emptying out my storage unit late last year, and one of the things that has gotten tucked behind or into something is my seed box. I buy some seeds each year - there are some hybrid tomatoes we like - but mostly I do open-pollinated plants, and collect my own seeds to replant. And those seeds are missing. Arrgh! So this year's new seeds are planted, but I'm still hunting my box - hopefully they'll show up very soon (good incentive to work on the various plastic tote boxes filling my living room).

And tomorrow, I start the third semester of the ceramics course, with Mom this time. So I think it would be appropriate to post some pictures of what I did in the second semester, the first part of this year (since I didn't post a single one during the course). See next post.

77jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 5, 2:37am Top

So a roundup of my ceramics work.

Three mugs and a small bowl:

The green mug I threw at the end of the first semester and glazed at the beginning of the second. It's a lovely mug, with a graceful handle (OK, it sticks up too much, but it's nice) and a nice thin, smooth rim - and it holds just about 5 ounces. Argh. There's nothing I want to drink from a mug that I want 5 ounces of (the only thing I can think of is alcohol, and I'm allergic...). I threw it to the right height, then trimmed it - and the bottom was a lot thicker than I'd thought.
The two other mugs I made with a broomstick technique, rolling them around a stick.
The middle one, though small, is annoyingly thick - the handle is too wide for my hand and the rim is too thick for me to easily drink out of. Bah. It has a wood-grain pattern that's completely invisible in the picture.
The one with the brick pattern is rather large (13 oz), and rather awkward-looking - but it actually functions as a mug.
I'm trying to figure out what I'll do with them - only the brick mug is useful as a mug. I may give the green mug to my sister, who does drink alcohol - I'll see if she's interested. I'm tempted to break the handle off the wood mug and use it for a pencil cup (the handle is in the way too much to leave). The bowl is nice, though I glazed inside its foot and it stuck to the bottom - I need to Dremel off the button of clay underneath it that doesn't let it sit straight. I tried sanding it but it sanded the foot shorter too.

HENry, a sculpture experiment:


This was a class project, following a magazine pattern. It's amazing how different everyone's "birds" were... I complained when the teacher proposed it that I didn't need any more decorative items, but by the time I was done sculpting him he had a name (and I didn't notice the pun until later) and I had a new decorative item. The glaze was difficult to apply, with the different parts in different colors, but I like the way it ended up spilling over. And he is currently on display in a local art show - the teacher offered three birds but one of the students took hers home, so I offered HENry in its place.

A small plate, a pie-fish, and a brick wall used for experimenting with glazes (hand for scale):

The plate was made by pressing clay onto a plaster form - the form I used is actually a wide, shallow bowl, but I only put a small circle of clay on. I like it. I wasn't expecting the purple color - it's Smoky Merlot, but the label (and our test tiles) shows a reddish glaze (sort of like the mugs). Pretty, though. The pie fish was my (first) attempt to duplicate Mom's pie bird - it's a way of venting a pie without cutting slits in the crust, you just cut a circle at the center and put it over the bird sitting in the pie filling. I learned the technique, but the fish ended up shorter - the pie bird looks exactly like that with another, smaller bubble of clay coming up from where the fish's mouth is forming the bird's head. I like it, it looks good. But I still want to make a proper pie bird. You can buy them, but they're awfully clunky. And the brick wall is entirely for experimenting with two glazes - different numbers of layers, and different ones on top. One is matte and a bit dull despite making white lines where it's thicker (in the joints of the bricks); the other is shiny and bright-colored, but all one color (that's the wood mug, and you can't see the grainlines). I really like the mixture, especially the second from the left, at the top - it's shiny with the white lines.

There's a couple things that I don't have pictures of - a little stamp (not sure where I put it), and a lot of pie weights (very dull to photograph). And a stand for HENry. Also a clay ball/ornament - it was left over from making the pie-fish, and I fiddled with it. That went for bisque firing the last day of the class, so I'll get it (and glaze it) tomorrow.

78auntmarge64
Apr 5, 9:24am Top

Jennifer, so glad to hear your Dad's doing so well. That'll certainly put you in a mood to create. Re: your BOMBs - I think you should throw the whole lot out and start anew. My own keep get winnowed down unread because my tastes have changed and I keep looking them over and deciding I have enough other books on my TBR list to keep me busy for years - not to mention the new ones I keep adding from reading LT. I've actually emptied a couple of bookcases.

79jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 6, 12:20am Top

>78 auntmarge64: Nah, I'm too stubborn for that. I have gotten a lot better about - if it's awful in the first couple chapters, I'm done. I quit a(n e)book today and won't go back - my werewolf romance is unreadable. She can spell, at least, but isn't so good on using the right word - so I was having trouble figuring out what she was trying to say. However, the focus on sex (not romance) and cruelty was quite obvious. Not for me. A couple years ago I decided, after trying three books, two of which I remembered enjoying, and finding all of them unreadable, that Catherine Coulter was no longer an author I was interested in and dumped...I think it was 11 books, 8 of them never read. But I got these books because I wanted to read them, I'm still at least theoretically interested in them, so I have to at least start and try them before I dump them. And I've found quite a few I've been pleased to have read, and a good many that I kept in e-version. I'm happy to dump the paper book if I have the ebook, but there are some that don't (yet) exist that way - those I have to keep the paper.

There's also the fact that I read fast - if I limited myself to new books (books newly released), I'd be without stuff to read sometimes! Unacceptable!

Empty. Bookcases. ???? What is this concept? I don't think I've ever encountered it before (aside from magazine layouts!). :D

80jjmcgaffey
Apr 11, 1:17am Top

Books Read
56. Lord of the Storm @# by Justine Davis. Review - Still good, but misunderstandings trope (and a rape scene) are hard to take.
57. Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol 13 ^ by Harold Gray. Review - Yeah, done with Annie - I'll reread early ones, she's _stupid_ here.

Currently Reading
The next book after Lord of the Storm, Skypirate. Also A Town Like Alice, which is _nothing_ like I thought it would be - Shute is good at doing that to me. That was one I picked out of a box, while sorting it. Haven't gotten back to any of my started-and-discontinued books, yet.

BOMBs
None in this lot.

Discards
Wellll - no, not going to discard Annie. Or maybe I'll sell it back to Amazon - it's practically new and in good shape. But not right now.

New/Reread
One reread, one new book, so 10 rereads paid for. Skypirate is also a reread, but then A Town Like Alice is a BOMB, so that will be a wash...

One book I greatly enjoyed the first time, enjoyed less this time. The heroine tricks and basically rapes the hero early on - I remembered the scene and was wincing all through the first part of the book waiting for it. And then they're both rather oblivious - I really dislike the misunderstanding trope. It's a good book with bad bits, though, not a bad book. The other was new and...as I said, I think I'm done reading Annie compilations. Too repetitive, and the stories getting stupider (or more written as if the reader were stupid, perhaps). So not great reading, this lot.

81jjmcgaffey
Apr 11, 1:39am Top

Not much going on - (still) trying to catch up on all the stuff that didn't get done while Dad was in the hospital. And I have to get my taxes done! (due Monday - but I want them done by Friday, to be sure). Work on those tomorrow.

I made yogurt today, definitely the hard way - normally, I heat up the milk in mason jars in a stockpot full of water, then put them in a styrofoam cooler with hot water to hold at temperature for a while. Cool them off in a sink full of cool water, then inoculate and back into the cooler (a bit lower temperature) to ferment. However - as I remembered _after_ I'd started heating the milk - today my whole apartment complex was without water from 9 am to 5 pm (doing a major fix). So I had hot milk, but no hot water for fermenting nor cool water for chilling. I improvised - used a flaxbag for heat, and let the milk cool on the counter and then in the fridge - and it did thicken up nicely, though softer than I usually make it. We'll see how it comes out - it's draining now in the fridge, I like Greek yogurt (which means drained yogurt). I'll see if it solidifies enough for me, tomorrow. I spent the day (while the yogurt fermented) at my parents' house, since they had water. Worked on covers for LT, among other things.

Other than that - sorting and tagging book boxes, and scanning covers out of them; doing sewing projects (I need to resize a mattress topper cover, and make new laundry bags), cleaning house, little stuff. And planting, which is a whole other annoyance (I mentioned this earlier).

So I've mentioned that my house is crammed with stuff, I think - I slid a little too close to hoarder, over the last couple years. I made some progress, but then I emptied my storage space last November and brought all the stuff here - and stacked it in my living room. I can remember thinking, as I stacked things, that I'd need some of the things that are behind them or otherwise tucked away in the spring - but I'd have dealt with these by then, surely! Well, I haven't. And one of the things that got tucked away _somewhere_ was my seed box - all the seeds I've collected, and commercial seeds as well. I can't find the silly thing anywhere! I've planted some things - three kinds of tomatoes, and some basil - from seeds I bought this year, and I've bought some more seeds that I should get into dirt soon. But my collected seeds, from weird tomatoes and odd herbs, are mostly of things that aren't available in a normal nursery - and while I could order many of them online, the timing is awful (not to mention the price). I keep being certain that it will show up soon, so I don't order - if I'd ordered when I realized the box was missing, I'd have had my seeds. But... Argh and bah and bleah. I've got some things planted, anyway (gave up and bought some starts, including two of my odd tomatoes, but not the two most important ones). I've planted the starts, and some basil from Trader Joe's; cleaned up pots (I garden in pots on my balcony, I don't have any land); finally got some carrot seeds in (should have been planted in January, but I hadn't cleaned out the pots);... bah. I'm a very good procrastinator. I know I'll be unhappy later - or I should know - but it always feels like there's lots of time until there's no time at all.

And speaking of which, it's time for bed. No, not going to do "just a few more things..." - I'll be in bed after midnight _again_ if I do. Bed now. G'nite.

82auntmarge64
Edited: Apr 11, 11:36pm Top

>81 jjmcgaffey: You're funny, Jennifer. :) And you've got so much going on! And you ARE going to do your taxes today, riiiight???

Re: empty bookcases - I know what you mean, but I just turned 70 and I've been thinking I need to reduce the clutter so if something happens to me, or I need to move (the 35 steps up to my front door might require that, one of these days), there won't be so much to pack, or throw out. My reading tastes have changed, and I read on my Kindle or tablet when possible, so my shelves were a lot less crowded when I went through them to discard most of the TBR books available at the two library systems to which I belong. All told, there are really only a couple of dozen books I'd want to always have in real book format. It is disconcerting to get rid of a bookcase (two, now), but one positive outcome has been that when a neighbor offered me an extra 36" long aquarium that had been delivered to him I was able to find the room. Now I have two tanks, one for guppies and one for my rainbowfish and loaches, and I don't miss the ousted bookcases at all!

83jjmcgaffey
Apr 11, 8:06pm Top

Yes, that's definitely happening with me - not for all my books, but for all but my favorites, I'm happier to have the ebook than the physical book. It's possible I may experience this "empty bookcases" concept myself, sometime in the next few years...though I suspect I'll find other things to fill up my shelves. Craft materials, if nothing else.

My bookcases are shelves hanging on the walls (Elfa), so if they weren't so crowded and didn't have so much stuff under and in front of them, they'd be nicely out of the way. As it is...well, I really need to work on them (or at least on their surroundings).

And yes, I'm doing my taxes right now! See me doing taxes? There's always something that draws me away (needed a tax form, printed it, needed ink - not right now, but soon - so ordered it...and then LT drew me in. Just checking one thing...). OK. Back to taxes.

(I got to bed after midnight last night. Only 20 minutes after, but...)

84avaland
Apr 13, 5:25pm Top

>81 jjmcgaffey: I'm not sure you can be a certified hoarder if you actually emptied a storage space....

85ronincats
Apr 13, 7:26pm Top

>84 avaland: LOL

>77 jjmcgaffey: And people say I make big handles!! I like that you are using lots of techniques and that's great. Consider that most mug handles start at least half an inch below the rim and likewise from the bottom of the mug. The rim is the most vulnerable spot to attach something. Leaving room on the bottom allows you to glaze the entire handle without the bottom sticking to the kiln shelf. Is Henry's body solid or hollow? Is HENry a male or a female? And I want a pie bird! Let me know your instructions when you get it down pat.

86jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 24, 12:55am Top

>85 ronincats: I have - we, my family, have - a bunch of mugs from a Torpedo Factory potter, which have handles like that (more or less). The advantage is that, without making the mug stein-sized, my dad can actually get all four fingers into the handle rather that two or three in and the rest below - and the rest of us can put our whole palm in and cradle the mug. The handles worked for him (no idea what his name was), but he retired or something while we were out of DC and no one has taken up the pattern, that we've found in several visits since. I've proposed it to several potters, who I suspect agreed with you - none of them could/would make that shape. So I'm gonna! I'm still working on the concepts - the thrown mug is by far the best, but I have to figure out how big to make it so that it trims to the proper size (neither tiny nor huge).

And yes, most of the Torpedo Factory mugs we've lost have been for the handle cracking off the rim. But none of them were under 10 years old when they died, so poo. It's good enough.

HENry's hollow - it was a technique out of a magazine that our teacher had all of us try (and some very very different birds resulted!). Pinch pot shape of head and body, worked closed at the rear, then trimmings put on (wings and tail and so on). And pierced, of course - HENry has a big hole in the underside, into which I will insert a cone stand (I made it along with him, but it didn't get bisqued - got lost on the shelves - so it came home after HENry went to the show). I have no idea...well, I think of him as "him", especially with the walrus mustache. I named him Henry for no conscious reason, and only later realized it was actually HENry...

Will do. It's a thrown shape - like HENry, hollowed out and then closed (or nearly closed) at the top, where it was most open. As I said above, a proper piebird would have another bulge, about half the height of the fishes' body, above what the fish has. I threw it and then cut it off at the skirt, and it was ridiculously thick and heavy at the skirt; I let it sit for a week, wrapped, and then hand-trimmed it (couldn't do it on the wheel because there's no way to hold it upside down). I scraped out a huge lot of clay from the inside of the skirt and up into the body, and shaped the body a little (the side-vents included) and the mouth. I'm going to try again soon, and see if I can get it cleaner to start with.

>84 avaland: Yeah - I'm not _actually_ a hoarder, quite. I don't keep everything. What I do do is buy or otherwise obtain Neat Stuff that I might use sometimes (my BOMBs fit that description), tuck it away and lose track of it... For years, I kept a reasonably good flow going, of stuff coming in and going out. But I had a couple complicated years, and the inflow continued while the outflow stopped. I've been working, for the past year or year and a half, on getting stuff out, and I've gotten rid of quite a lot - therefore there was room for my storage stuff. But then things got complicated again (Dad being part of it) and I got distracted, and the outflow stopped again. I should stop the inflow (which would help with both things and money, frequently)...but so often it's something that I don't know if I'll ever see again (books are frequent offenders in that style!). So. Still working on getting stuff out, but I need to work harder, and faster. Where the heck is that seed box? I've gotten behind the totes (just shifting them, not getting rid of them/their contents) into most of the spaces where I thought it would be, and it's not there...It's hiding from me, that's what, until I clear the living room. Hmmph.

87jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 14, 2:12am Top

So the flax-bag fermented yogurt came out very smooth and creamy - not sure how much of that is the fermenting and how much is the cultures (it was a new kind of starter yogurt). It didn't drain nearly as much as my yogurt usually does, stayed nearly liquid. Tastes great, though.

I did get my taxes done on the 11th - they went in before I went to bed at that 0020 time. I use Turbotax - and the business income part is so complicated, and the rest is so easy... Being a freelancer is a pain sometimes. But I can't imagine working 9-5 again.

88jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 14, 2:33am Top

Books Read
58. The Skypirate @# by Justine Davis. Review - Better than Lord of the Storm - they're more equal, and fewer misunderstandings. Still plenty of obstacles, though.
59. The Kingbird @^ by Justine Davis. Review - Nice little short, showing the two couples settled in a bit - and their kids.
60. Rebel Prince @^ by Justine Davis. Review - Kids all grown up, practically - and an action/adventure with romance subplots. Enjoyable, though not as rich as the first two.

Currently Reading
Raider, the next Coalition Rebellion story - beginning of a new trilogy, I'm told (yay!). Still A Town Like Alice.

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Nope.

New/Reread
Three new. 9 rereads paid for.

Only halfway to my goals for the month, for BOMBs and discards, but there's still quite a bit of month left (and I'm even on both of them for the year).

89jjmcgaffey
Apr 16, 2:02am Top

I mentioned this recipe on richardderus's thread, and got asked to write it out - did so, but it's a huge post. So I'll put it here and link to it on his thread.

Double-Chocolate Clementine Cake (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)

Cake

5 clementines (scant 1 lb)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 7.1 oz
2 1/3 cups almond meal (Honeyville, Trader Joe's) (or finely ground raw almonds, NOT Red Mill almond flour) 8.6 oz
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular is fine) 1.5+ oz

Glaze

2 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar 4 oz
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 oz
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch salt

Scrub Clementines and rinse well. Place Clementines in a pot with enough cold water to cover them. Bring water to a boil, and cook at a simmer for 2 hours. Drain. When cool enough, pull apart, and remove any seeds. (My Clementines had no seeds whatsoever.) Add to food processor or blender and finely chop fruit, peel, and all. (I used my blender for this step and it worked fine.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Jennifer - Two 8-inch pans with liners, spray the sides.

Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almond flour, and baking powder. Mix well. Stir the cocoa into the chopped clementines and add (otherwise it flies everywhere). Mix again.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil after about 40 minutes to prevent the top from burning. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Jennifer - 35 minutes is perfect for the two layers - check and rotate at 30.

Once cake has cooled, remove from pan. Prepare glaze as shown below and pour/spoon over cake.

Glaze Directions:

In small saucepan, combine water and powdered sugar until smooth. Sift cocoa over sugar mixture; blend well. Stir in olive oil and salt. Warm glaze over low heat, stirring constantly, until just warm to the touch. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Allow to set 10 minutes before serving.

Shirley’s Notes: This is definitely a cake that improves after a day or two when the flavors all meld together, but it’s delightfully moist and flavorful from day one. If the glaze should harden before you finish preparing it and adding to cake, add a little more water and warm to spreading consistency. The glaze recipe is from another wonderful gluten-free, dairy-free cake here at gfe: Mediterannean Chocolate Cake.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Jennifer's notes
I do the clementine puree separately - when I have clementines I'm not going to eat before they go bad, I boil and puree them. It takes a while - 2 hours boiling, then blend and bag them - but isn't complicated (do keep an eye on the water, though, scorched clementines smell awful and are pretty well useless). Mine are always seedless. Boil them, then fish out the squishy lumps and drop them in the blender, blend until smooth. Then spoon them into ziploc bags, by weight if you can (I have a scale and a thing that holds bags upright - very useful). One pound per bag - it fills about half a quart bag. Then squish it thin and freeze the bag - you can put them upright once they're frozen, and they don't take a lot of room. I always have a couple bags of clementine puree in the freezer. Take a bag out and put it in a bowl - on the counter if you want to make the cake within 12 hours, in the fridge if you're doing it a day or two in advance.

Mix up the ingredients, dump the batter into the pan(s). I like making a layer cake better than a single one. Bake - something between 30 minutes and an hour. I've never had a problem with the top burning, making the layers. Test for doneness - it may have a few crumbs clinging even when it's done, but no pudding-like streaks on the knife/skewer/whatever you use. I remove the cake immediately - flip onto a rack and peel off the liner - then let it cool. I actually cool it upside down, it works fine.

I use jam between the layers - choose whatever kind you like. Marmalade, raspberry, and nectarine jam are particularly good; blueberry doesn't work as well, it doesn't have enough tartness to stand out.

I've used the glaze given here; it doesn't cover the layer cake sides, but I can pour it on the top and it drips a bit down the sides. I've also made buttercream and Chocolate Butter Icing from Joy of Cooking (if you have an old enough edition, there's a version made with a whole egg that I like best). Or any other chocolate icing you like. Or even a not-chocolate one. But test and taste the cake - I don't think cream cheese would work well with it, for instance.

This is a very rich, moist, fantastic cake, not overly sweet. It keeps well, too - either on the counter or in the fridge (lacking flour, it doesn't go stale like most baked goods in the fridge). It freezes well, too, though it's a good idea to cut slices, wrap and freeze rather than trying to freeze the whole thing.

This is the cake I make for my mom's birthday every year; she loves orange and chocolate. I've tried it with other purees, but most don't have enough flavor to work - pumpkin is rather blah. Raspberry puree was amazing, though. I'm planning to try to make a spice cake, rather than chocolate, with the pumpkin. Lots of possible variants.

90humouress
Apr 16, 2:08am Top

Thank you! I have a vague idea that I've seen Nigella's version somewhere. Now to find clementines ...

91jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 16, 2:27am Top

You could probably use sweet oranges, too, if the peel's not too thick. Though you'd have to deal with the seeds. Clementines/mandarins/tangerines sort of... I'm not sure what would be available in Australia, what you're looking for is small, sweetish citrus (large golf ball to small tennis ball size?), with peel that comes off easily (usually removable with just your fingers and a fingernail to start it). Not very tart, and the peel is very thin - maybe 5-6 pages thick (it's hard to think of a thickness measure, especially across oceans!). And usually seedless or only one or two seeds per fruit.

And they're usually very short season - in the US now they're year-round, I'm not sure where they come from. True clementines are a Christmas fruit, the mandarin is longer season, and they've crossed things in and out until (I'm told) they've lost true clementines. But the replacements (mandarins or "Halos") are available most of the year. I looked it up, and clementines are grown in Australia, but not much.

Ah! Nigella says, look for mandarins or honey tangarines, preferably with tight, thin skins, and look out for seeds. Don't puree the seeds, even if your blender will do it - it makes the puree too bitter. Boil the fruit, dump it out and chop roughly, pull out the seeds, then blend.

92laytonwoman3rd
Apr 16, 1:00pm Top

>89 jjmcgaffey: That recipe sounds wonderful, even though we don't do the gluten-free thing. I never buy clementines (or Halos) even though I enjoy them, because my market sells them in bulk, and I can't use them up before they start to fail. No little ones around to share them with. So freezing the puree is a terrific solution.

93jjmcgaffey
Apr 16, 2:46pm Top

Yeah. I discovered the recipe when my sister was put on a gluten-free diet; she didn't stay on it long, but oh my am I glad she was, because it led me to this. Most gluten-free baked goods are poor substitutes for the real thing (the best approach normal) - this one, no. It is among the best cakes I've ever eaten, let alone made. Easy, too, if you deal with the puree separately. And yes, that's exactly why I started freezing the puree. I'd already been making and freezing pumpkin puree, so I tested and clementine worked fine too (but if you do both, _label_your_bags_! The color is extremely similar...and clementine pie really doesn't cut it for Christmas).

94humouress
Apr 16, 3:13pm Top

>93 jjmcgaffey: You speak from experience?

95jjmcgaffey
Apr 17, 2:17am Top

Not quite - I pulled out a bag that wasn't labeled and put it to thaw, then noticed I had way too many orange bags and realized some of them were clementine. I could tell by smelling it which one it was, it just took me a bit longer (than I wanted) to figure it out.

96kidzdoc
Apr 23, 9:14pm Top

I'm slowly catching up on Club Read threads, and just read about your father's illness. I'm glad to hear that he is out of the hospital, and I hope that his doctors can fin a medication regimen that improves his congestive heart failure.

97jjmcgaffey
Apr 24, 4:25am Top

>96 kidzdoc: He's going in for a bilateral pacemaker on Wednesday. Hopefully that will stabilize his peculiarly-beating heart, enable him to deal with the extra fluids, and in general get him back into good shape.

98kidzdoc
Apr 24, 4:00pm Top

>97 jjmcgaffey: I wish your father well on his pacemaker surgery tomorrow, Jennifer. My father collapsed at home in November, was found to be significantly bradycardic, with a resting heart rate in the low 30s, and received a pacemaker as well.

99jjmcgaffey
Apr 25, 2:06am Top

>98 kidzdoc: I'd missed that - that your father got a pacemaker. I gather it helped him; excellent!

Dad goes for his surgery tomorrow. The problem with his heart is that the upper chambers (particularly the left) aren't beating hard enough to fill the lower ones and tell them to beat/squeeze - so his heartbeat is kind of (beat)(beat)BEAT instead of Beat Beat. The pacemaker should straighten them out and get his heart beating normally again, which should also help with the retaining fluids. Here's hoping!

I've made a few things in ceramics, but nothing's come home yet - one glazed item should come out Thursday, and then I'll have...at least two, maybe some more bisqued the next week. The class project this semester is "slip-glazed" (I think that's the term) plates - which is, as I understand it, plates first glazed with white glaze and fired, and then decorated in various ways on top of the glaze. Mom and I made our plates last Thursday, and trimmed them today; they'll be among my bisqued things that go in this Thursday and come out next Thursday (or Tuesday - glaze doesn't come out until the class day, but bisque often gets out of the kiln for the workshops on Tuesday). I also made a little plate, like the purple one above, but using stoneware instead of the white clay - unfired, the stoneware is very dark brown. I'm not sure what it will look like bisqued - it may be almost red, I've seen some pieces like that. We'll see. I may have another piece ready to bisque, but if so I can't remember what it is right now. I write them down, but sometimes I miss one for a while.

And I planted my purchased tomato starts - and that d*n squirrel decided I was putting out more food for him! He ate a lot of leaves and half-way through the stem of my favorite variety. I sprayed with diluted hot sauce, and the second day I put some undiluted hot sauce around the stems of all the tomatoes. The one he ate half the stem of fell over, but I'm not sure if he came back or it was just the wind - it's too small to get much support from the tomato cage it's in. So I buried the stem in a trench - the top was already growing bent upward, from when it fell over (I didn't notice until the next day). That was two days ago, I haven't seen any more leaves being eaten and Dr. Carolyn seems to be doing fine lying down. Hopefully I've convinced him there isn't any good food here any more. I'm scared to put my little seedlings out overnight, though - that's when he comes. Maybe I'll net them. I don't want to put the hot sauce on them, either - after I'd spread it around the tomato stems, I noticed that the first ingredient is chili oil (that's fine), but the next two are vinegar and salt, neither of which are good for plants. I looked at some critter-chaser sprays at a local hardware store - mostly essential oils of various sorts, and all of them included garlic. Maybe I'll chop up some garlic in oil and spread that around. I like the smell of that, a lot better than hot sauce!

100jjmcgaffey
Edited: Apr 30, 6:41pm Top

Books Read
61. Raider @^ by Justine Davis. Review - Still good - different characters, same universe. Next please!
62. Freedom, Spiced and Drunk @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Jokka are weird. Good story, though the protagonist is a bit selfish.
63. Maui Winds @^ by Edie Claire. Review - Not bad - nice characters, if overly complicated. Lots of coincidence. Fun to read, though.
64. Family @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Ok, talk about complicated...Vasiht'h goes home with Jahir, to the Eldritch planet, and...yeah. Things happen.
65. Kris Longknife Among the Kicking Birds @^ by Mike Shepherd. Review - An excerpt that was cut out of one of the KL books - interesting bits, but not much to it.
66. Burn Bright @^ by Patricia Briggs. Review - Mostly a setup for the next arc(s) - lots of stuff happening, some character explication, rather confusing. Still enjoyable, it's Charles and Anna.
67. 100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time @^ by Kendall Haven. Review - Eh - too many bits to remember any of them.
68. A Town Like Alice * by Nevil Shute. Review - A slow, convoluted, simple little book - lots of reasons not to like it, but I do.
69. Into the Moonless Night @! by A.E. Decker. Review - It's not as simpl(istic) as it looked - a lot richer than I was allowing it to be.
70. Lior and the Sea @^ by Diane Duane. Review - Nice, and weird - very Duane.
71. Tortall: A Spy's Guide @^ by Tamora Pierce. Review - Scattered bits - fun if you already love Tortall, but don't start here.

Currently Reading
The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil - weird book. I'm trying to decide what else - I set up Neogenesis, but I'm not sure I'm in a Liaden mood. Maybe I'll read A Call to Vengeance by David Weber etc instead. Or something. Or pull out a BOMB. Oh, and in paper I'm reading Lord Foulgrin's Letters by Randy Alcorn - _really_ weird book. It's an updating of The Screwtape Letters...aside from making it closer to present day, and inserting a few scenes from the human's POV, it's really not very different. And so far, the human-centered scenes are mostly annoying. It's easy to fight demons, and accept angels, if their influences are obvious (he feels someone watching him in his otherwise empty car, he feels drawn to read an old Bible, with some helpfully underlined phrases...bad depiction of what Alcorn is presumably trying to suggest, how to fight. The letters are more accurate - distraction is the best tool. That sort of thing). I'll try a little longer, but I may dump it and reread Screwtape instead.

BOMBs
One - A Town Like Alice. Which is a keeper, at least until I get an e-copy.

Discards
None. Most of these were ebooks, anyway.

New/Reread
All new. One BOMB makes it 10 rereads paid for.

Took me a while to post, though I've been reading and reviewing as I went (well, mostly reviewing - had to catch up the last few). I do need to read more paper books and BOMBs! Getting near the end of the month, again... Though in fact I'm right where I need to be to hit my half-year goals, if I hit the goals the next two months. Better to work on it now, and get ahead. Lord Foulgrin's Letters is a BOMB, though, and almost certainly a discard.

101quondame
Apr 26, 12:28pm Top

>100 jjmcgaffey: My dad was a Tamora Pierce fan, and gave me his copy of Protector of the Small which wasn't quite my thing so I haven't read more by her. I don't remember much about it other than weighted staffs and lots of detail of knight training, though that's really more than I usually can bring up. I was just wondering if that book is representative of her entire work.

102jjmcgaffey
Apr 26, 2:38pm Top

Well...it is the omnibus of a series about a young woman who, against custom (but not a new law), manages to train to be a knight. So yeah, there's a lot about fighting, and training; there's also a lot about facing your fears and changing people's minds by just stubborning through. Many - not all, but most - of her series (and she writes few if any standalones) are about a young female doing what's not expected and succeeding through great obstacles. She's pretty YA, though more - graphic isn't quite the word, but nothing else fits. Detailed about the physical aspects of fighting and life, perhaps. More so than the popular conception of YA (which doesn't really fit reality...).

She has two universes (if they're the same world, there's no physical overlap in the books so far); the Circle of Magic one, which started with a four-book series focusing on four young mages learning about their (unusual, and obscure) magics, and has expanded from there, mostly in ripples around the four of them (them, them grown up, their students...).

and Tortall, which started with a quartet about a girl disguising herself as a boy to become a knight...and has expanded from there. Tortall is actually broader - not just more books, but more and different heroes (again, mostly female). The second series there is about a girl who has Wild Magic - she can talk to animals, including intelligent ones, and (it turns out) to creatures called Immortals, magic "animals" from centaurs to griffins to dragons and basilisks (who are very different from the standard type) and stranger beasts. There's also a two-book one about a girl who grew up in a family of spies (more or less) but protected - and ends up having to use her skills to cause and prevent a revolution. Then Keladry's story - that's Protector of the Small - and the latest one is about a (male, for a change) young mage at school. It's interesting if you've been reading all the books, because the mage, as an adult, shows up in the series about the Wild Magic girl and thereafter (so his story is set earlier than most of the Tortall books so far) - and there's a lot of cross-links. Oh, speaking of earlier - there's a trilogy set quite a while (several generations) earlier, which is kind of a police procedural with lots of magic involved - that's Beka Cooper.

All of them - all of Tortall, at least - have direct meddling by gods, greater and lesser. And lots of magic, which is sometimes very much not appreciated by the heroes. Circle of Magic has (unsurprisingly) more magic, but fewer gods (not none).

Dunno. I love them; Keladry is and isn't typical of her work. She does get very detailed - the Wild Magic one spends quite a bit of time on the care of horses, for instance, and the most recent one goes into great detail on teaching magic and its variants. Alanna's story, though it's also about a girl becoming a knight, has somewhat less detail on the training and more on what she needs to do to pretend to be a boy, and the discoveries she makes which endanger the kingdom (which means she has to balance keeping her secret against the good of the kingdom...). There are overarching concepts, mostly about secrets and duty - sometimes duty in very odd ways (a duty to plants to use them fully, for instance - shows up in a healing context in both Circle of Magic and Numair's story - the latest Tortall one). You might try Alanna, or Daine (Wild Magic), or Beka; or Magic in the Weaving, also called Sandry's Book, the first of the Circle of Magic ones. But if you don't like those, yeah, she's probably not for you.

She's got two books called Tortall, which is confusing; Tortall & Other Lands, short bits about characters who sometimes show up in the books (not all in Tortall - at least one is an urban fantasy-ish apparently based on her own experiences), and the one I just read, Tortall: A Spy's Guide, which I do _not_ recommend as a place to start. All the fun in it is recognizing things you already knew and expansions of them.

103jjmcgaffey
Apr 28, 3:21am Top

...you didn't know you'd get a dissertation on her if you asked, did you? Tamora Pierce is one of my comfort reads - and she's the Guest of Honor at Baycon this year, the SF con I've been going to regularly for a decade+. So I've hooked my parents...well, my mom at least...on her. Dad is reading but less interested - interested mostly because he's going to be on some panels with her and wants insight into her thinking.

104quondame
Apr 28, 1:52pm Top

>102 jjmcgaffey: >103 jjmcgaffey: Thanks for the impressive level of detail. There are few authors, no matter how much I love them, that I can summon up more than humor! characters! heartbreak! the plot! the writing! page turner! in some combination or other.

105jjmcgaffey
Apr 28, 11:56pm Top

I picked up Alanna: The First Adventure, which I believe was her first book, when it was new. I've been reading along as she creates all her characters and universes... I was 16, by the way (a bit older than Alanna, but only a bit).

I can do impressive details on what books and what happened in them for quite a few authors - just don't ask me the character names. My family party trick is one of my relatives turning to me and saying "What's that book? The one that has X and they go to Y and..." and a good 80-90% of the time I can come up with it off the top of my head. That's for SF&F, and possibly romances, maybe a few other genre works (mysteries) - don't ask me literary works, though, or most thrillers or any horror. I was really surprised at how poorly I do in the What's That Book threads.

106humouress
Edited: Apr 30, 10:49am Top

Best wishes to your dad for his surgery. Sounds like it will help, and hope he's back to normal soon. He's on panels with Tamora Pierce? You'll have to tell me how; I must have missed it.

>100 jjmcgaffey: The touchstone for the Patricia Briggs book is giving me the wrong book. I was intrigued because I really like her fantasy books, but when I look for her books, she seems to write mainly paranormal which is not my preferred genre - so I was wondering if that one was fantasy.

>101 quondame: >105 jjmcgaffey: I read the Alanna quartet when it was the only series she had out because the premise of a girl becoming a knight against custom appealed to me. I confess it did throw me a bit because it didn't follow the usual 'pig-boy' trope of the protagonist being the long-lost heir to the kingdom. :0)

ETA: >99 jjmcgaffey: pictures!

107jjmcgaffey
Apr 30, 7:02pm Top

>106 humouress: Bah on the surgery - he and Mom went down on the day, and there was some emergency and they cancelled his surgery. Still waiting for a reschedule (so I really _hope_ he's on panels with Tamora Pierce, and doesn't have to miss Baycon!). He got his heart shocked back into proper rhythm just before he left the hospital last time; this month was supposed to let him stabilize and then the pacemaker would lock it in. I'm getting nervous that his heart will go wonky again with this longer wait, and they'll have to start the stabilization over again, bah!

So how it happened was - I've been going to Baycon for over a decade. Three (I think three) years ago, the Guest of Honor was David Weber, who Dad loves and Mom likes (his work, I mean, of course), and I convinced them to come to the con. I don't just attend the con, I both gofer (volunteer at whatever I'm needed for) and teach a class on fingerloop braiding - and since I'm doing a workshop, I also get panels. So does my sister, who's an author. Dad listened to us talking about it, thought about Weber (and specifically his SF religion series, that started with Off Armageddon Reef) and applied to do a panel on religion in SF with Weber. And got put on several panels, of various sorts, and enjoyed himself tremendously - so they've been attending, and Dad's been doing panels, since.

This year the Guest of Honor (as I said above) is Tamora Pierce, an author neither of them was familiar with; I introduced them to her work and Mom's enjoying it, Dad likes it. He applied to do panels, as usual, and ended up on at least one with the Guest of Honor. So did my sister. I don't think I'm on any panels with her, though I'll attend some of them I'm sure. And maybe even a kaffeeklatch - (very) small group meeting (5-8 people) with the author. I went to one a couple years ago with Tanya Huff - and validated her concerns when I asked her when the next book in the Silvered series came out because the end of it was so obviously setting up a new book. Her publisher had said her original ending was too abrupt and it needed more...but she's certain it's a standalone. So Yay I felt the same way as the author and Wah no more stories in that universe...

And no, Briggs still isn't writing any more high/straight fantasy, sigh. Burn Bright (I fixed the touchstone up there too, thanks) is the latest in her Alpha and Omega series, urban fantasy with werewolves, a spinoff of Mercy Thompson. Yeah, I prefer her early stuff too - she hooked me with The Hob's Bargain, and I like the Raven ones and adore the Hurog stories. She keeps talking about maybe writing another Hurog book, but it's not scheduled (sniffle). But I have gotten interested in the urban fantasy - it's not as good as the early stuff, but it's good.

Yes, that's one of the things I loved about Alanna - not only is she not the hidden heir, she doesn't even end up Queen! She knows who she is and what she wants, and more-or-less gets it. Including George.

Pics of the garden? OK, I'll put some up soon. I do seem to have convinced the squirrel this isn't for him, though I may have to keep an eye on things when tomatoes start forming. I (still) haven't brought any ceramics home yet - should be something this Thursday, though.

108jjmcgaffey
Edited: May 1, 1:12am Top

Books Read
72. Neogenesis @^ by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Review - Nice. Another drawing-together of the threads - from family to saving the universe.
73. Earthrise @^ by M.C.A Hogarth. Review - Interesting, though Reese is mostly annoying. But only mostly.
74. All Passion Spent @^ by Vita Sackville-West. Review - Not at all what I usually read, but interesting.
75. The Spheres in the Knot {ss} @^ by Jean Johnson. Review - One more bit of story…
76. Project Emergence @! by Jamie Zakian. Review - Didn't actually read - re-skimmed the start, skipped to the end and confirmed it didn't get any better. Ugh.

Currently Reading
Well, nothing really...theoretically still Lord Foulgrin, but I'm getting less and less interested in it. I wanted to read another BOMB, but couldn't come up with one I could bat out in less than a day. So I dealt with an unreadable ER book instead. I'll start something fresh tomorrow.

BOMBs
Not a one. So short for the month, but I was enough up previous months that I'm still OK for the year. Concentrate on it next month.

Discards
Well, they're all ebooks - I'll delete Project Emergence, but it doesn't count as a discard. Like BOMBs, I'm short for the month, OK for the year, and need to concentrate next month.

New/Reread
All new. No additions, so still 10 rereads paid for.

109jjmcgaffey
May 1, 1:16am Top

April stats
26 books read
2 rereads
24 new books
10 rereads paid for

6674 pages read, average 256.7

3 BOMBs
2 ER books
0 Netgalley books

22 ebooks, 4 paper books

2 discards

18 SF&F
3 children's
1 non-fiction
2 general fiction
1 romances
1 graphic novels

20 F, 7 M authors (one book with a male and female author counts for both)

Nice lot, though short on BOMBs and discards. A lot more read this month than the previous ones, though a lot of them were short - still, a higher page count too.

Next month is going to be short, probably - May is always my busy month. I'll try to get some BOMBs read and discarded early on, before the big stuff starts.

110jjmcgaffey
May 1, 1:35am Top

So - May. In May I have (every year):

First weekend, local library sale. I help with setup (sometimes) and breakdown (every time), and usually buy a box of books on Sunday. I generally manage not to buy too many before that, and last time my box wasn't anything like full - only 40 or so books, I think, rather than the usual 80 or so. But it still ties up the weekend, starting Friday morning.

Second weekend, relatively free. Only the Spring Festival street fair. This year there's a housefilk (singing circle of filk music, science fiction folk songs) about an hour's drive away and I'm going - that's Saturday night, so Sunday is going to be fun (snooore...).

Third weekend, Maker Faire - do you know it? The tagline I like is "The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth". I volunteer every year; I was exhibiting with the SCA for a while, but they quit. I usually go help with setup on Thursday and Friday, and do last shift on Sunday; I'll probably attend Friday and Sunday. I can't attend on Saturday, because that's my HOA's annual meeting; I'm on the Board, so I can't skip it. Bah. I'd much rather go to the Faire. Everything from 3D printers and drones to making yogurt and growing mushrooms at home. It takes over the San Mateo Event Center grounds...and it's overflowing them, now. 125,000 people last year, and probably more this year. It's fun and insane.

Fourth weekend, Baycon. As I said above, I both volunteer and present at the con - so I go on Thursday to help set up, take part Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and help break down on Monday afternoon. Again, utterly exhausting and incredibly fun.

And (as I've had before, but not every year), the first full week in June is an election, and I run a polling station. So the weekend after Baycon I'll be picking up materials, Monday I and my team will set up the polling station, Tuesday we'll be working there from 6 am until 10 pm. And Wednesday I'll spend mostly flat, and creaking and groaning when I have to get up.

I'm going to miss at least one and probably two ceramics classes, since I'm doing setup on Thursdays for Maker Faire and Baycon - and one ceramics workshop, on a Tuesday (Election Day). Ah well.

And somewhere in there, unfortunately probably just before Baycon, is Dad's surgery. They've rescheduled him for May 24 (that's Thursday). So he may not be doing his panels, awww. We're still hoping they can squeeze him in earlier - he was planning for wearing a sling at Baycon - but it may not happen. And he probably won't be going to Maker Faire either, since he gets tired so fast these days. Phooey!

So I'll try to squeeze in some reading in there, but May is usually my lightest reading month, utterly unsurprisingly.

111quondame
May 1, 2:12am Top

>107 jjmcgaffey: 😞 I would have been so happy to have another book in the Silvered universe.

112jjmcgaffey
May 1, 2:50am Top

Oh yeah. It's a fascinating setting, with magic and the Industrial Revolution colliding (never mind the werewolves)... But she told the story she wanted to tell. And she does come up with new universes all over the place...

113lisapeet
May 1, 5:48am Top

I like the BOMB acronym. I need to up my own BOMB consumption, and am hopelessly bad at it, thanks to a combination of working in a place where oceans of galleys pass through and a great library ebook system (New York Public) that I lean on for instant gratification whenever I hear about something that sounds good.

And in my years of covering libraries, I still have yet to go to a Maker Faire, though I'd love to. That sounds like a fun May schedule.

114jjmcgaffey
May 2, 2:39am Top

Yes, a constant influx of new books is a problem for BOMBs... Apropo of nothing much, I won two ER books this month, one of which sounds interesting and one is the sequel to one I won and loved a while ago. Glass and Gardens and Whiskey River Rockstar, respectively. ER and Netgalley are bad enough, I can't imagine working where galleys flow through...

Yes, you should go to a Maker Faire. Everyone should go, at least once. There will be something there that catches your eye and your imagination - whatever you like, there will be _something_ for you. Mine is the original, in San Mateo; New York is the second largest, though I don't think it was the second to start (that was...Detroit? Chicago? somewhere like that). There are a lot more, plus the "mini Maker Faires" that are spreading everywhere (there's one in my town! I'm going to volunteer, and possibly exhibit (fiber work). But that's not for a couple months yet, in July).

115quondame
May 2, 11:24am Top

>114 jjmcgaffey: The year I was really up for going to a Makerfaire it had been rescheduled and I lost track of it. I've been several times to our local maker space, and even recruited a few employees for one of my brother's projects, but I'm really much more a reader than a maker - though I could have taught a couple of those dudes a thing or two about the importance of ironing......

116jjmcgaffey
Edited: May 3, 3:17am Top

Yeah - to really enjoy a makerspace, you have to have a project in mind, if not in hand. I've visited one and spent quite a bit of time in another, but never really got into it. But Maker Faire is much more of a show, with some hands-on - not "Here's our laser cutter" but "This is our laser cutter and these are things we made with it..." (full-size grandfather clock is one I remember). I learn things every year - it took two or three Maker Faire talks plus a book before I got comfortable with making yogurt, for instance (and now I make it regularly).

Looks like the only one actually in LA is a Mini Maker Faire, downtown - called DTLA http://dtla.makerfaire.com/, first Saturday in December (brrr! Ok, nowhere near freezing, but I went to college at UCSD - it gets pretty darn chilly that time of year). The nice thing about the Mini fairs is that you can actually see all of it in one day without walking your legs off (unlike the flagship Faires, like San Mateo and New York).

I generally check out just a couple areas - Homegrown Village (food and gardening, and some of the hand-crafting), the 3D printing area so I can drool over the latest machines, a quick walk through the Fire area - big mechanicals and fire shows, like the Crucible (a makerspace before that term existed...). They teach welding and cutting steel with fire - they teach a lot more than that in their own space, but those are nicely flashy for the Faire. The project is usually something like cutting out a pattern of your hand.

I don't usually get to Swap-a-Rama-Rama, bring clothes to swap and modify. I've done the soldering class once, it was fun but not my thing. I skip the RC boat battles and drone races, not interesting to me. Etc, etc. There's so _much_! That's partly why I volunteer - lets me see things while they're setting up, that I wouldn't have time to visit if I were just attending.

117quondame
Edited: May 3, 12:19pm Top

>116 jjmcgaffey: I've done volunteer at SF conventions, but it never occurred to me to do it at a Maker event. I'm used to just watching all the young whipper snappers show off. I did attend a Two Bit Circus event - a couple of years after the Kickstarter I supported, but a big flashing, echoing space was exactly what I don't like spending time immersed in.

118jjmcgaffey
May 4, 2:00am Top

I never heard of Two Bit Circus - I'll have to look it up (though I don't know if I'd go if it were possible). I actually heard about Maker Faire needing volunteers while touring Tech Shop, a makerspace (too far and too expensive, even if I had a project, but really interesting to tour). And then once I'd signed up once, I get alerted every year that they want volunteers again. It's fun for the same reason gofering at a con is, you get to see behind the scenes.

119lisapeet
May 4, 5:48am Top

It's funny because Library Journal does a fair amount of reporting on Maker stuff, but it's always the purview of either School Library Journal—which deals with kids' stuff—or my tech editor, so I never get to play with any of it. Someday, someday.

Also, failing miserably at the BOMBs because I just got five-count-em-five new galleys to read this month for a panel I'm doing at the end of May. I know, not really a problem, but. I also have a little thing for e-galleys from Netgalley and Edelweiss, plus a book I've wanted for a while—The Song of Achilles—showed up as a Kindle deal of the day yesterday, so click. I got Miller's Circe a while ago and really wanted to have this one on the shelves too. I even went to my favorite Friends of the Library book sale hoping Songs of Achilles specifically would show up; it didn't, and I left empty-handed, but now at least I have the ebook.

120jjmcgaffey
May 5, 11:17pm Top

Heh. It's my library's book sale this weekend, too, and I helped with setup and left with four books. Two reading books - a book of fairy tales and an SF - a drawing instruction book, and a book of knots. And then two more cookbooks from a yard sale today. Tomorrow is the dangerous day, box sale. I'll try to keep it down. I do use the LT app every time I shop, to make sure I'm not buying duplicates...

I'm chugging through a book now, mostly to get rid of it. Unfortunately it won't count as a BOMB because it's an ebook - Horatio Alger Jr.'s biography of (President) James Garfield, From Canal Boy to President. He's slanted the story a bit to make it match his usual style - Garfield was a poor boy with no one in the world but his mother and older brother. Except (we learn many chapters later) for his uncle (mother's brother) who lived just down the road, with a son (at least one, who was one of Garfield's best friends) and presumably a wife. No mention of any of that while the story was dealing with his childhood - at that point my interest waned sharply, as I now don't trust anything I'm learning from the book. But I'm dang well going to finish the stupid thing! That is, more or less, my reaction to most Algers - I kind of like the outline of the story, but I get very very tired of them long before they're done. But it's going to take a while. I'm also reading a BOMB, The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff. That's pretty good, though it's unlikely to be a favorite...but it's also taking a while, partly because I'm only reading it in fits and starts in between doing lots of stuff. So no finished books to declare, just books-in-progress.

121humouress
May 8, 2:55am Top

Oh wow; you do a lot of volunteering.

I hope your dad's surgery works out, and in time for him to join the panels. So you don't have to be a writer or in the business to be on them?

122jjmcgaffey
May 9, 12:27am Top

Nope. Well - you have to be interested in SF... I'm on the panels as a reader - I read a lot of SF (as you can see!), and that's often a viewpoint that's interesting to con-goers - can be more interesting than that of a writer, actually (if it's not a writer you follow). I'll talk books for hours, and SF&F is my preferred genre, so I do well on panels. But honestly, if you go to cons and are willing to sit up in front and talk about a subject, Programming is probably willing to put you on a panel.

I've been on some train-wreck panels, and attended more. But usually there's at least something interesting to be got out of any assemblage of people talking on SF-related (sometimes distantly related, but...) topics.

Oddly, my volunteering is heavily focused on this month. Not entirely - there's another library book sale every October, I read in church regularly, and I do Project Pick year-round (though not all that often), but May is my busy month. Too many things I want to be involved in all happening in the same month - and _not_ on the same weekend, which would make me pick one.

And no, it looks like Dad's surgery will be the 24th, so he'll still be recuperating while Baycon's going on. Bah.

The box sale was not too bad - 31 books. I quick-and-dirty entered them, with the app - now I have to go through and tidy them up (now that I have a free evening for a change! Lots of stuff going on - work, and doing things with my parents, and so on.

Still chugging through the Alger and The Shield Ring. My ER books came in, I need to collect them (ebooks, they emailed me and I need to actually download them). I'll read them after I finish The Shield Ring.

123jjmcgaffey
May 13, 1:45am Top

Nasty cold hit me on Thursday and is still hanging on - sinus, mostly, which means headaches, drippy nose, and postnasal drip for a sore throat. Ugh. I'm minimally functional - getting some things done, but slow about it. Did get my laundry done today. Church tomorrow and I'm serving as a Cup - better than if I were serving as Host, since I don't have to touch anything but the outside of the cup. Getting to bed early, too, so I should get enough sleep. I have been reading, and have actually finished quite a few - but don't have the energy to post about them yet. Maybe tomorrow, or Monday.

124kidzdoc
May 13, 9:19am Top

Ugh. I can sympathize with you, as I acquired a viral respiratory tract infection from one of my patients and started to feel sick on Friday. I hope that you feel better soon.

125quondame
May 13, 4:38pm Top

>123 jjmcgaffey: Unfortunately I know exactly how you feel. Getting over mine now, hope you are feeling much better soon.

126ronincats
May 13, 10:31pm Top

So sorry to hear about your cold, Jenn. I am still hacking even though I am better than last week. Hope you recover soonest.

127jjmcgaffey
May 14, 1:19am Top

This one seems to be short (inshallah). I'm almost unstuffy, three days after it started - still blowing my nose regularly, but it doesn't drip if I delay a while. And only my normal change-of-season coughing. What I'm hoping _doesn't_ happen is if the cold goes down into my chest and then back up into my sinuses - too many of my colds do that, bah. And I have to say that if I had to get a cold, this was the weekend to do it. I'm sorry I missed the filksing Saturday night (filk, originally a typo for folk, is music by and for science fiction fans - my favorite genre), but next weekend is Maker Faire and Baycon is the one after that...and the election is just after the weekend after that. I'm concentrating on getting enough sleep and food and liquids that I'll recover quickly and thoroughly. I guess the post will be Monday.

Dad has a pain in his chest, so we're going down to see a doctor (not, unfortunately, anyone he's seen before) on Monday, just to make sure nothing is going wrong. Dad suggests that his heart is plotting to become an emergency so that his schedule gets bumped up...could be, but I'd rather it were indigestion or a rib out or something.

Other than that, and a lot of reading, nothing much going on. Gathering my energies for the lotsa work coming up.

128jjmcgaffey
May 16, 2:14am Top

Dad's back in the hospital - he has a major, unidentified as of yet, infection. He was being increasingly weak, probably partly because he couldn't eat anything; the pain in his chest was diagnosed yesterday as being muscular/skeletal, not related to his heart, but the doctor ordered blood tests anyway and they discovered a very high white blood cell count. Mom and I took him down to the hospital for cardiac tests (his cardiologist called him last night and said to come), and by the time he got there he was so out of it that when the cardiologist saw him he said to take him direct to the ER, and he ended up admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics. He'll spend tonight there, and possibly longer - hope not. He'd had two doses of antibiotics when we left, and was already immensely better - still pale, but sitting up, looking around, and hungry - well, he thought he'd be able to eat, at least. Hopefully, under hospital care, he'll get stronger and be able to take the surgery next week for his pacemaker - the way he was this morning, I don't think they'd have done it, he looked ready to die. Thank goodness we took him down there.

And that was my entire day today. Maybe I'll post tomorrow. I got quite a bit of reading done, sitting around various waiting rooms...

129quondame
May 16, 7:10pm Top

>128 jjmcgaffey: I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It's good you got him to help quickly.

130ronincats
May 16, 7:12pm Top

I'm so glad you were able to get your dad seen before things got even worse. Hopefully he's on the road to recovery now.

131jjmcgaffey
May 16, 8:31pm Top

Yes, he's doing much better. Out of the ICU and into the regular hospital - and Mom sent a picture to the family, he's pink! One of the big signs of a problem with him is that he goes pale. And he's eating, she says. Sehr gut.

I'm prepping for Maker Faire setup tomorrow and Friday. Need...lunch, sunscreen, hat, bandanna(s), closed shoes, work shirt, doesn't matter what t-shirt I wear because I'll be wearing the year's volunteer one...something to do if I end up sitting around...charger for my phone...etc etc. I'll be working much of Thursday (well, working Thursday afternoon, but I'm going to Maker Faire the long way around to get to a store I need to visit, that's not in my usual area - so the whole day's pretty much gone) and basically all of Friday - going in for a 9 am shift, when that's over exploring the Faire, then going back for an evening shift. So I need to make sure things are OK at home, too, because I suspect I will be falling on my nose, waking up and heading out again from Thursday until Sunday night, at least - maybe Monday, as well, I have a (late) morning job. Always fun...and exhausting.

132jjmcgaffey
Edited: May 16, 9:06pm Top

Books Read
77. From Canal Boy to President @^ by Horatio Alger. Review - Very Alger - he rearranged details to make it his usual story. Which makes it less than interesting as a biography.
78. The King and the Book @^ by Jean Johnson. Review - Next bit of the story - unconnected to the surrounding ones.
79. Mystery on the Mountain @^ by Jean Johnson. Review - And the last free story, which begins to tie things together - and leads into the published story. Which I now have to find and reread.
80. A Call to Arms @# by David Weber & Timothy Zahn. Review - I remembered very little of it, but it's a good story - in itself, and leading to the next. Read in prep for reading the third book.
81. The Shield Ring * by Rosemary Sutcliff. Review - Very rich, like all the Dolphin Ring stories. Tearjerker at the end, deservedly.
82. A Call to Vengeance @^ by David Weber & Timothy Zahn. Review - Good! Again, interesting to watch the traditions that hold in Honor's time be developed.
83. Whiskey River Rescue @^ by Justine Davis. Review - I gave up and bought the first book - got the second from ER a while ago, and just got the third ditto. Lovely story, very Davis. One of my favorite tropes, abused person learning to trust again.
84. Whiskey River Rockstar @! by Justine Davis. Review - I don't believe it - she got me to enjoy a romance featuring my _least_ favorite trope, misunderstandings! It actually makes sense with these characters and situation.
85. Return of the Cowgirl @! by Eve Gaddy. Review - Very eh. Not bad, not wonderful - though it may be partly because I just finished two Justine Davises and this just doesn't stand up to those.

Currently Reading
Uncompromising Honor, the latest David Weber Honor Harrington book - an ARC, it comes out in October. It's a tying-together-of-threads book, with stuff happening here, there, and everywhere. Some nice surprises - and some nasty ones, too. Not a place to start - I'm having trouble keeping people straight, and I've been reading since On Basilisk Station! The chapter headers giving precise places are very helpful - and for a change, the timeline runs straight. Not perfectly, but it's always because of travel delays - for instance, in the middle of the book here, they discover what happened at the end of the last book, when the news gets to Manticore. But it doesn't get presented as happening "now" and then suddenly we're a month later, or earlier, in a different place, like some of the previous books. Also a BOMB, Wizard Hall by Jane Yolen. Should be a quick read, it's a little skinny book. So far extremely confusing, but that's how it's supposed to be - the protagonist is just as confused as the reader. I'm planning to read more BOMBs out of my children's book boxes - nice skinny books, quick read and probably quick discard. And then I can cut down on the three boxes of books I have in that category.

BOMBs
The Shield Ring.

Discards
Nothing, yet. I'd get rid of The Shield Ring if I could find an e-copy, but haven't (at a price I'm willing to pay) yet. Everything else is ebooks, so wouldn't count anyway. In fact, I've discarded quite a few books as I went through my book boxes, but I'm not sure how many of those I'd counted as discards before (after reading them as eBOMBs, or as duplicates, or...). So not tracking those.

New/Reread
One reread, all the rest new. And one BOMB, so the number hasn't changed - still 10 rereads paid for. That should go up soon, but not yet.

Got a nice lot of books read for May - I'll read more, but my reading will slow down a lot from now on with Maker Faire and Baycon coming up.

133quondame
Edited: May 20, 2:02pm Top

>132 jjmcgaffey: The Shield Ring was the first book I read that did Arthur 'in period'. I may have read it again in my 30s, when I was revisiting my early teen favorites. Perhaps it's time to revisit it.
>>> Added later - Oops I was thinking of The Sword at Sunset. Since I was interested in early England I may have read The Shield Ring, but don't remember anything about it. Which means I can read it without disappointment.

134kidzdoc
May 20, 12:39pm Top

I'm glad that your father is doing better, Jennifer.

135jjmcgaffey
May 21, 11:55pm Top

>134 kidzdoc: Thanks. Looks like he will be having the pacemaker surgery this week, they've confirmed - assuming his blood tests etc in the next couple days come out all right. He is so much better now that they've knocked out the bacterial pneumonia (which is what it turned out he had). Still weak and tired, but he's present, as he was _not_ before - a slow decline that we just didn't notice, thought he was just sleeping a lot. Whew, glad we got him in there in time. He's home now - got home on Friday. His surgery is scheduled for Thursday morning - when I'll be at Baycon.

>133 quondame: Yes, it's Sword at Sunset. She also wrote another Arthurian trilogy, but I don't know how it goes - if it's in period or the standard Arthur story. I strongly dislike that story - it's just too depressing, watching people who are trying to be decent make all the wrong choices and destroy what they've been building. So I've never brought myself to read hers - I didn't realize Sword at Sunset was supposed to be Arthur until I was well into it and couldn't stop reading. It's odd, because Arthur is not the main character. The Shield Ring is set after the Norman invasion - under William the Red, mostly.

Have you read Black Horses for the King, another odd take on Arthur? That's by Anne McCaffrey. I remember enjoying it, but can't remember details - so obviously it's time to reread...

136quondame
May 22, 2:30am Top

>135 jjmcgaffey: I did like Black Horses for the King. I've found McCaffrey a mixed bag - some of the Pern stuff is as boring as it gets and I can't imagine telepaths fulfilled as communication equipment. As for a difficult ending King Hereafter is an absolutely heartrending account of a man going down fighting for the last ⅓. So mostly I just read the first ⅔.

137laytonwoman3rd
May 26, 11:24am Top

I hope your father is continuing to do well, and that pacemaker can be (or has been) implanted.

138jjmcgaffey
May 26, 2:22pm Top

Yes, he had his surgery on the 24th, spent the night in the hospital and came home on the 25th. He says (via text) that he's doing well - he takes a pain pill (because he's still sore) and it knocks him out, but every time he wakes up he feels better. It's excellent.

I'm at Baycon, and enjoying myself as usual. Gophering (volunteering), sharing a room with my nephew, talking with him and my sister and brother-in-law, talking to random people about fascinating things, going to interesting panels...My first panel is this afternoon (How do you define a good book?). My sister's moderating it, and there's two or three others on the panel. Should be interesting, if only because I know Mar's definition and mine vary widely (and mine varies from most people's, I think - I read a lot lighter and more cheerful than most people seem to like). I'll do my fingerloop braiding workshop on Sunday, and then two panels on Monday, breakdown, and home. Where my cats will be thoroughly pissed at me, as usual.

OK, time to be up and about. I got up this morning, did exercise (a book-themed variation on Qui Gong (sp?)), went and got milk from the store across the street, came home, showered, got breakfast, and needed to inventory my music - oh, have I mentioned the dealer's room at Baycon? I don't think I have. Well.

It's not huge - one largish room, about 20-25 tables. Everything from steampunkish leather and canvas work, to jewelry, to (lots of) authors showing their books (higher percentage than usual, this year), to a used book store (they haul over their SF books. Oddly, I wasn't interested in any of them - sorting through my books has made me more sensitive to the physical size of my hoard, I guess. Besides, I have all the ones I know I'm interested in reading). And then there's the filk music sellers - I think it's Random Factors, might be another seller. I see a whole bunch of CDs, and I don't recognize more than about half of them. Do I own them? Do I want to? Argh! Last year I went for it - and found that two of the five I bought I already had (had bought in previous years). So this year I a) made sure I entered all my CDs into MediaMonkey (which is to say, ripped them into my computer through the program, so that it knows what I have) and b) (intended to) make an Excel list of what music I have so that I can consult it on my phone _while_ I'm standing there looking at the CDs. I did the first part, I think...I think I got everything, or at least most of my recent purchases (the ones most likely to be available here). But I didn't do the inventory part. So I did it today. MediaMonkey has a Create Report capability that will create the file nicely, then I'll Dropbox it to my phone. It's a huge list, but I can sort by artist and album and have a fighting chance of _not_ duplicating previous purchases. Then there will only be the question of artists I don't know - whether I want to try them out. We'll see - depends on how many "Ooh! Another by these guys!" CDs there are. That booth will probably get the majority of the money I spend this year (as every year) - aside from the hotel room, of course.

Anyway. So I created the inventory, and needed to spend some time so Dropbox could pass the file over...so of course I came to LT...

I'm currently reading a not-very-interesting mystery. There's nothing wrong with it, just not characters I'm enjoying. This is a good thing, because the two previous books I read (before the con) were so good I was staying up late to read just a bit more...not a good thing, with all the stuff I needed to do as prep (ah, I can blame not having the music inventory on them!). This one I can read a chapter and drop it without wanting to go on (much better for getting where I need to be on time). But that means leave now. Bye!

139jjmcgaffey
May 26, 2:25pm Top

>136 quondame: That I cannot do. Despite wanting to for a few books (and a few series, for that matter) - if I start the story and enjoy it, I have to finish the reading. It makes me not (re)read the good parts as much as I'd like to, because I know the bad parts are coming. But the story's not designed to finish at a good place, and I can't stop in the middle...phooey.

140avaland
Edited: May 26, 4:42pm Top

>86 jjmcgaffey: I understand completely.

>138 jjmcgaffey: Very interesting to hear about your time at BayCon. I ran the dealers room at Readercon for 5 or 6 years when it was closer in Burlington, MA. We had about 25 book dealers or publishers each year to wrangle (we intentionally only had books, zines & other printed/published material, no jewelry or other stuff), each dealer had between 1-5 tables. In fact, this is the con that my husband and I met at back in '98. It's now quite a bit further in Quincy, MA (south of Boston) so Michael goes to help with audio (they record all the panel discussions & interviews) but I stay home. I don't read as much in the genre as I used to.

>Hope all went well for your dad!

PS: I just went off to BayCon's website to check it out.

141jjmcgaffey
May 30, 4:20pm Top

Books Read
86. Uncompromising Honor @^ by David Weber. Review - Wow. Nice connecting of threads - and an utterly unexpected twist to the war. Lucky Honor (in a sad sort of way).
87. Wizard's Hall * by Jane Yolen. Review - Cute, convenient, very YA-simplistic.
88. In The Wet @^ by Nevil Shute. Review - Wow on this one too. It's political SF, with a weird frame. Fascinating.
89. Rose Point @^ by M.C.A Hogarth. Review - Nice, very interesting after Family - and now the timeline is better nailed down (this is set a few years after Family).
90. Never Buried @^ by Edie Claire. Review - OK. A little too...I don't know, gushy? I didn't really like any of the characters.

Currently Reading
Lifeboats from Interim Errantry - blast it, I bought it thinking it was new and just figured out it was in Interim Errantry. Bah. Duane just doesn't write fast enough for my consumption... Oh well, good story. And I'll read the other two in IE as well, why not. I need to read more BOMBs, quickly! But it's still a busy time. Probably not going to make my goal this month, so I'll have to concentrate on it next month (didn't I say that last month?).

BOMBs
Wizard's Hall. Nice quick read too.

Discards
Wizard's Hall. Never Buried doesn't count, it's an ebook, but I doubt I'll ever read it again.

New/Reread
All new. 11 rereads paid for now.

Mostly good or very good books, nice. And not a bad count for May - I may well up it by a few before the month is over, but if this is the limit it's quite decent (14 books this month so far). But I still need to focus on BOMBs! And discards. Read books from boxes.

142jjmcgaffey
Jun 8, 1:49am Top

May stats
14 books read
1 rereads
13 new books
11 rereads paid for

3879 pages read, average 277.1

2 BOMBs
2 ER books
0 Netgalley books

12 ebooks, 2 paper books

1 discards

7 SF&F
2 children's
1 non-fiction
3 romances
1 mysteries

9 F, 5 M authors

Again, not enough BOMBs or discards. Need to focus on that in June. More balanced gender-wise than usual, though a lot of the male authors were David Weber. Also need to focus on Netgalley books and ER books. But not a bad count, for May.

143jjmcgaffey
Jun 8, 1:56am Top

Books Read
91. Interim Errantry @# by Diane Duane. Review - Still good, but annoying I bought Lifeboats separately.
92. Stealing the Elf-King's Roses - Author's Cut @#^ by Diane Duane. Review - I need to reread the original version to see the differences - I think the ending was the biggest one, I remember being more confused last time.
93. The Seventh Bride @^ by T. Kingfisher. Review - A nicely scary (not horror, just scary) fairy tale - Bluebeard, more or (mostly) less. I do like her style.
94. Trustee From the Toolroom @# by Nevil Shute. Review - Lovely as always. It's been a long time since my last read - remembered most of it, though not the details.

Currently Reading
Spellcast, by Barbara Ashford. Interesting, though I'm still waiting for undisguised magic to show up - I may be waiting a while.

BOMBs
Nope, not a one. Grr.

Discards
Ditto. Mostly e-rereads of favorite books (and one new favorite).

New/Reread
Three rereads, one new. So 8 rereads paid for, now.

The beginning of June is as bad as May - but now the election's over, and I'm more or less recovered from it. So stop with the easy reads, Jenn, and get some BOMBs done! And ER/Netgalley books, too. I got Spellcrossed, the second book in the Barbara Ashford series, a while ago (early last year); I just found Spellcast, so I'm reading that and then I can read the BOMB. And I want to go through my kids books box and read a bunch of nice, thin little books...

144jjmcgaffey
Jun 8, 2:29am Top

Hmmm. I kind of stopped posting for a while. So Baycon continued to be as fun as usual; I only bought 4 CDs, though that was my largest single expenditure. Most of the rest of the stuff in the dealers' room that was interesting was interesting in a "Hmm, I could make that..." sort of way, rather than a "Gotta have that!" way. (whew).

The panels were fun - my definition of a good book was actually pretty close to everyone else's. Solid characters, decent plot, and some hope or at least optimism at a minimum. The 14-year-old on the panel summed all our opinions up with "Fun and feels".

The fingerloop class was poorly attended, partly because a scheduling mixup meant it wasn't listed anywhere but outside the room on the day it happened. But I got three people, including my acolyte from last year; she tried the spiral again and was rather bored with it, so I showed her the braid I'm working on learning. It's not difficult, but I don't have it memorized the way I do the spiral and 5-bowe braids (yet). It's very pretty - a flat braid with the edges one color, and the center stripe alternating two colors. Grene d'or (golden grain) is the usual label for this braid. I'll add a picture later - have to find my braid and take one.

Dad went back into the hospital on the third day of Baycon - possible pneumonia, though they finally decided it was just irritation of the lungs from coughing too much (there's a catch-22!). He went home on Tuesday, after Baycon. I stayed through breakdown, but left right after that (skipped the afterparty) and went up to Oakland Airport to collect a friend of the family who was coming to spend a few days with Mom and Dad. Pam is always fun to spend time with; we (all of us) did a lot of talking. Mar and Colin stopped by on their way home on Tuesday, too. Most of that week was recovery (and reading).

On Friday I picked up the supplies for the election, and got yet another rearrangement of my team for the election. I had at various times 8 different people assigned (counting me), and four of them disappeared for various reasons...the last one was assigned to the polling station on Saturday. Whee! No one could make it on Monday night, so I did setup on my own, which is always rather a pain. We did get in a little early on Tuesday (5:45 am, instead of 6), and managed to get everything out and ready before the polls opened (it's been tighter, some years, but it's never done much in advance). Slow but steady stream of people all day, with a few mini-rushes and one big one at 6 pm - we had every booth filled and people waiting to get a booth, as well as people in line to get checked in and get their ballots. A _lot_ of Vote By Mail ballots dropped off, I think partly because there was a dropbox at the building but it was at the far end, and we got a lot of people asking us where it was and then just dropping their ballots with us instead (it all goes the same place, no biggie). We got cleanup done in good time - I think we were the first polling station in our area done. And left by 9:30 pm, home by just after 10, asleep by 11 (after I fed the cats and took an aspirin).

Wednesday I was considerably _less_ sore than I'd expected, but still feeling rather groggy. Got up and dressed only a little late, but then lazed around and read all day, got essentially nothing done.

Thursday was the last day of ceramics for this semester; we have a potluck with both classes attending, and a raffle of stuff people don't want. Mom put her majolica plate into the raffle, and then chose it when her number came up. One way to keep from having extra stuff... I got a small blue bowl. I also picked up two molded bowls and my majolica oval bowl - which is a trifle disappointing, because "leaf green" is charcoal gray and "light green" is brown. Chartreuse is a lovely light green, but I only did a few shoots on the vine in that. Oh well. One of the molded bowls is striped - I made snakes of white and stoneware clay and alternated them, then rolled them out into a striped sheet and used that to mold the bowl. It's not bad, though it's uneven - and as usual, the foot isn't straight and it wobbles. And the other bowl - is the best one I've done yet. It's a white-clay bowl, with a stoneware spiral on the inside - it stands up quite a bit, bumpy. And I glazed it with a transparent green glaze on the inside and a dark red-brown one on the outside; it looks lovely. But the best part is - I made it (molded it inside a wooden bowl) then came back the next time and put a foot on it. When I came back the time after that, the differential drying had cracked that foot pretty much off. So I peeled off the remainder, smoothed the surface again, and made a separate foot - just a ring of the same clay, pressing the bowl onto it to shape it to the outer surface of the bowl. Fired the two of them separately, then when I glazed the bowl I covered enough of the bottom that the foot-ring was on glaze. And the glaze ran and solidly glued the bowl to the foot, just as I'd hoped (since I'd had problems with bowls gluing themselves to things I _didn't_ want them to be glued to...). It worked perfectly, and the bowl doesn't wobble (unlike my other three). I'll have to use that technique on purpose next time! Oh, and I made pao de queijo, Brazilian cheese bread, for the potluck - and 7 people wanted the recipe. I got their emails and mailed it to them right after. They're lovely little chewy puffs, very easy to make (if you can find tapioca flour) and quick. And gluten-free, just as a topper. Fun.

Home, did some cleanup, posted here (finally, I've been working on it since Wednesday morning), and now to bed. A job tomorrow and then Costco with Mom. Now my life begins to get back to normal - only occasionally panicking busy, instead of all month!

145humouress
Jun 8, 2:41am Top

I'm glad to hear your dad's doing well now.

Looks like you all had fun at Baycon!

>135 jjmcgaffey: I used to love reading about the knights of the round table as a child. But then came the triangle and no matter what version I read, with great hope, it always ended the same way and so now I avoid Arthurian tales like the plague.

>138 jjmcgaffey: I've been looking for a way to catalogue CDs (especially one that's as easy to use as the LT app) which also includes track listings (hopefully automatically). I've finally settled on LT itself. Do you find Media Monkey easier/ better?

You're certainly storming through your books! As for BOMBs, I cannot do it. I am trying to, though. Really.

146jjmcgaffey
Jun 9, 2:53am Top

Yes, exactly. That's my feeling about Arthur - and all the many, many variants on it. Sigh...

MediaMonkey is actually a player - so I rip my CDs through it, and it catalogs them as it stores the files. Then I can export a report - in this case, an Excel file filtered by genre (which turned out to be a bad idea - filk is kind of fuzzy, and there were some CDs on the table that I considered folk...and I didn't know whether I had them), and then sorted by artist and album. It was an extremely clunky catalog (trying to see and sort a huge Excel file on my phone was not fun); next time I'll export a CSV file and put it into HanDBase, my Android database. It's an excellent program for keeping track of things (jobs, clients, the characters in my stories, state quarters I'm collecting...whatever), though entering stuff is clunky; I believe it can import CSV files, which should make transferring from MediaMonkey simple. The advantage is that the MM file will list what I _actually_ have, not what I think I have or have remembered to enter (all I have to remember to do is rip the CD so I can listen to it). It accesses FreeDB, so for many CDs (not all - again, filk is weird. My preferred genre of music often has semi-professionally produced CDs that don't get into the (semi-)official databases. But I can enter the names of the tracks, and artists if necessary, myself, and MM will thereafter recognize that CD - and of course will create the MP3 files with the data I've put in (so I need to be careful of typos!).

Yeah, I read fast. That's one reason why I reread quite a bit - though the availability of library ebooks helps with the "nothing to read" problem. And library books, but then I have to actually go out and get them...and it depends on what the library has decided to get. With the ebooks, I can check a whole bunch of libraries very easily and if _any_ of them have the book I want I can get it right away (often, at least). Which is why I was so annoyed about Marin.

Long day today - chores in the morning, which mostly didn't get done. A job at 1 pm, then I went to my parents' house and Mom and I went shopping - to an Asian supermarket and then to Costco. Bought a lot of stuff, this was definitely a stocking-up trip (15 pounds of brown rice. That's about a year's supply for me - and a lot cheaper than buying it in one-pound bags). A lot of walking - I'm tired. And I have a huge floater in my left eye, that suddenly popped up in Costco - big enough to actually interfere with reading, now and then. I'm keeping an "eye" on it - may have to go to the eye doctor, if it starts flashing at me (that can be a sign of a detached retina or retinal tear). Not a problem I've ever had before, but I've never had a floater this large either. Of course, it may just be a floater...dunno.

147humouress
Jun 9, 7:21am Top

>146 jjmcgaffey: I forgot; you're an IT expert whereas I'm too lazy to learn more than the basics. Considering I've never used even an iPod, maybe I'll stick with LT for cataloguing - it's not like we buy loads of CDs these days anyway. But thanks for the explanation. If I find that the whole thing is getting too large, I'll look further into it.

A year's supply of rice wouldn't survive a month in this climate :0)

Hope the floater disappears without becoming anything worse.

148quondame
Jun 9, 12:18pm Top

>146 jjmcgaffey: Of course our versions of the Arthurian tales were composed when the death of (almost) everyone in a love triangle was the hot ticket. And as it was partially anti-Saxon Norman Brittany propaganda, the conflicts and defeats were justifications for re-civilizing the British (not Anglo-Saxon) isles. Now Anglo-Saxon is used when referring to British culture, but the original British peoples and the Normans - who were linguistically and probably culturally far closer to the Anglo-Saxons - wouldn't have been comfortable with that designation.
There are a great many renderings of Arthurian legend that I like, and a few I've avoided or thrown across the room, but the ancient framework of a doomed love triangle in a doomed kingdom isn't what turns me off.

149humouress
Jun 9, 12:45pm Top

>148 quondame: Hmm; I hadn’t thought of it in an Anglosaxon / Norman light.

What drew me in as a child was the chivalry etc. I always wanted to be a knight in shining armour (not a damsel in distress), so the collapse of all that hope and glory was a crushing blow.

150quondame
Jun 9, 2:51pm Top

>149 humouress: With Mallory, Howard Pyle, and The Boy's Mabinogion garnered from my dad's bookcase I had 15th, 19th and 12th cent. reconstructions of oral traditions, in addition to Camelot and The Sword in the Stone movies my view of Arthurian stories was by 14 already expanding beyond Knights and Chivalry, when The Sword at Sunset came out and for some reason I liked the doomed elements of the whole story arch. I was also into 11th-13th history by way of the Plantagenets The Devil's Brood, so the whole Brittany+Norman vs Saxon English thing came to the fore. Of course I now hang out with guys who bash each other for kingship and fun on weekends, so the knight in shining armour stuff never wore off either.

151chlorine
Jun 10, 6:39am Top

The Seventh bride seems right up my alley and I've wishlisted it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

152jjmcgaffey
Jun 13, 3:09am Top

>151 chlorine: Welcome - her stuff is always weird and good.

I think I discussed here, and certainly spent an entire panel at Baycon discussing, that I need hope in my books. I don't need all sweetness and light, but hope and optimism are necessary; if they're not present, I finish the book actually depressed (or don't finish it). And every Arthurian tale is either a total downer at the end, or not true to the classic story - so I actively avoid Arthur stories.

And it didn't have to be so bad. I recently read Shane, which is a) a classic b) very short and c) an Arthurian-oid love triangle. But it ends cleanly - not entirely happily, but the triangle and the choices of those involved lead to building up a stronger, better situation than existed before, rather than to the destruction of everything those involved were trying to build. Shane is the sacrifice to that good ending, but a willing one. I seriously winced when I figured out what was going on - I was afraid it would follow the Arthurian path - but I loved the path it did take.

My path to the SCA was more Robin Hood than Arthur - I was, and still am, totally addicted to those stories. And those I can read and enjoy, even Robin's death, because there's hope behind them. There's a lot of variants of that story - different times (from the classic under Richard the Lionheart to one movie that places Robin in the Wars of the Roses...), different angles on the stories, different combinations of characters (one book I have makes Much the miller's son the same person as Will Scarlet). And the various ballads, which are (many of them) older and different angles again from the stories.

The Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie has a bit of that Saxon vs Norman thing. Ivanhoe has more.

153humouress
Edited: Jun 13, 9:56am Top

>152 jjmcgaffey: Fortunately for me, I had Robin Hood, too. I think most of what I read (for Round Table tales as well) was or was based on Lancelyn Green’s stories.

154quondame
Jun 13, 2:22pm Top

>152 jjmcgaffey: The marriage of Sir Gawaine is a most hopeful story. I read a number of Robin Hood versions as well as growing up with the TV series. The animated Disney one was one of my daughter's favorites, but I have so seen it too often. It's been decades and decades since I read Shane in school, though I mean to read a few more non-fantasy westerns before I place my last bookmark.

155jjmcgaffey
Jun 13, 4:48pm Top

I'd never read Shane before - not sure how I managed to escape it for so long. A few years ago I read Nancy Springer's The Hex Witch of Seldom, which says it references Shane - so that triggered me to find the book. And a few years later, to actually read it... now I need to reread Hex Witch, which was very good but I'm not really catching the Shane references. I don't think Springer read Shane as an Arthurian - what she picked up, as I recall, was the dark stranger who came to solve all the problems at great cost to himself.

Yes - Howard Pyle was my first Robin, I think, but Roger Lancelyn Green may have been the second. But I have a _lot_ of versions - Henry Gilbert, Paul Creswick, George Cockburn Harvey, E. Charles Vivian, Donald Cooke, Louis Rhead, J. Walker McSpadden - those I know I've read (though most of them aren't marked as read in LT, I haven't read them since I started tracking!). Half a dozen others I may have read or not - I've never managed to read Robin McKinley's Outlaws of Sherwood, though I love her work. Something about the collision stalls me every time. And a few dozen movies - Errol Flynn, the Disney one, Douglas Fairbanks (which is really neat if you like the Errol Flynn one, Errol has stolen so many gestures from the silent!), NOT Men in Tights or Prince of Thieves. A bunch of made-for-TV ones, on home-recorded VHS - I've no idea if they're still watchable, I should test them. And see if any are available on DVD. One of those was the one that placed the story in the Wars of the Roses, very odd.

I never really got hooked on any of the Robin TV shows, because I grew up overseas and reading the stories, and by the time I hit the States and could see them, all the shows I found contradicted my image(s) of Robin in ways I disliked. So instead I watched Zorro and Swamp Fox - those stories came to me through TV first, so the shows worked for me.

156quondame
Edited: Jun 13, 9:27pm Top

>155 jjmcgaffey: I've never pursued Robin Hood stories - I think being told the were based on Beltane king & queen or woodland spirits and not any historical entities influenced my attitude, but I really do prefer Arthur and his circle, who after all, did have a good run, and a remembered shining moment. I couldn't get all the way through Tennyson though. But Prince Valiant! That must have been my first King Arthur in the Sunday comics - my husband just brought home a glorious book of full Sunday comic page Prince Valiant. Zorro was great fun. I don't know Swamp Fox.

157jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jun 14, 1:53am Top

Oh yes. Val is _wonderful_. Is your book the oversized hardcovers? That's a great reprinting - I have several books of different reprint versions, but they always get too expensive after a while. The hardcovers I'm gradually collecting, though, because they are by far the best I've seen.

There's just about as much historical evidence for Robin as there is for Arthur - which is to say, not much. The historical Arthur (who was probably a Briton fighting the Saxons, shortly after the Romans left Britain) also has very (very) little in common with the standard story - Le Morte d'Arthur was written in the...1400s? and has knights in full plate armor, etc. It's based on old ballads and tales. There are also old Robin Hood ballads, from which the standard story was derived - and like Arthur, Robin got updated to whenever the compiler was writing. The woodland spirits thing has shown up in a few stories - Gilbert, for one, has him friends with the Little People (otherwise known as the Picts), and at least one of the TV shows has a lot of magic mixed in. Which is one reason why I don't like that TV show...it doesn't match my image of Robin at all.

Swamp Fox is a Disney series based on a real Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion. It's been years (decades) since I saw it, I've no idea if it ever got released for home watching - but it was great stories for the kid I was. I can still sing the song...

Swamp Fox! Swamp Fox! Tail on his hat,
Nobody knows where the Swamp Fox at
Swamp Fox! Swamp Fox! Hiding in his den
He runs away to strike again.

Hmph. Looks like they only released the first three episodes on DVD, nothing for the remaining 5. Bah.

The Patriot movie was also based on Marion, no idea whether it's more accurate than the Disney one (which wasn't, particularly). I should watch that sometime - but I'm really not much for video.

Oh, a funny - and one reason why I'm not much for video. Another Robin Hood show, on the BBC (the 1975 series, which I saw rather later than that), was really nicely done and very rich - but Prince John was played by the actor who played Ford Prefect in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He was perfectly good, but I kept expecting him to ask about towels or babelfish or something - I couldn't separate the actor from the role(s), and therefore couldn't drop into the story. Which is one reason why I don't watch many movies/shows.

158quondame
Jun 14, 2:29am Top

>157 jjmcgaffey: My husband has collected a number of hardbound PV collections, but the one that came home today (Mike's birthday) is Fantagraphics Studio Edition: Hal Foster's Prince Valiant His Little Nemo's are pretty awesome as well.

159jjmcgaffey
Jun 14, 3:23am Top

Fantagraphics does a lot of excellent books. They did Modesty Blaise too (and finished all of them, wahh! I have them, I can reread, but there'll never be any new ones). The hardbacks I meant are theirs, but not the Studio Edition - not sure what the difference is, though that looks nice. Mine are these - http://www.librarything.com/work/8933789/book/64624147. They're tabloid sized - 11x13, which is a ridiculously huge book but an amazing size for seeing all the details Foster put in his art.

I've read some Little Nemos; each one is interesting, but in aggregate they annoy me. So I've never gotten a collection. I've mostly read them online.

160quondame
Jun 14, 11:40am Top

>159 jjmcgaffey: I will never forgive Modesty Blaise for disrupting my homemade pizza birthday by showing up at the base theater and pulling my classmates away immediately after dinner.
The Studio Edition is huge & 16lbs. It comes with a single sheet that is the full size Hal Foster drew the originals. The detail is astounding.
Little Nemo isn't quite comfortable, but it is astounding. Since I'm nowhere near the comics geek my husband is there are shelves double filled with hardbound volumes I'll never touch ousting books I want to shelve. Not to mention racks of metro-shelving in the garage that host his regular comic book collection (and 1 large shelve of my sewing pattern collection, which is completely cataloged, indexed and tagged.) But I was able to pull Fables #14 straight off the shelf for a TIOLI shared read, so it's not a complete loss. And there are several other graphic novels I follow.

161jjmcgaffey
Jun 14, 9:26pm Top

Heh. I've never seen the Modesty Blaise movie; as I understand it, it bears even less resemblance than usual to the original source. I've read all the comics strips, now (sniffle), and I've long since read and reread all the books - even the end of the story.

I used to be something of a comics geek, but between too many crossovers (annoying) and going away to college where I could neither afford nor had room to store new comics, I kind of stopped reading them. I still have 9 longboxes of comics, which I need to go through - there's a few series I want to keep (I'd be happy to reduce them to graphic novels, but the ones I've checked haven't been collected). The rest are leaving; glad I read them, not going to reread and don't want to deal with that much volume any more. I also have quite a few graphic novels, some of which I could get rid of - including a chunk of Fables, which are BOMBs. The first one and several more in sequence, then a few out of sequence (including Witches). I've read the first one, and didn't enjoy it much - great art, neat concepts, annoying characters and plot. But as usual, I can't dump the lot until I've read them, or have finally concluded that they're not for me - can't do that on one book.

There are some fantastic stories that have been told in comics/graphic novels. But I'm all about the words - so GNs are far from my focus. I like the Modesty reprints, but mostly because they're more Modesty stories - I'd read them as just words, too (the novels are equally excellent). Stuff like Girl Genius...they'd have to spend a lot more words on describing things if it wasn't done as a graphic novel, but it's the story that draws me in. Same for Castle Waiting. And the same for the comics series I want to keep - All Star Squadron, Excalibur, and a few others.

162quondame
Jun 14, 10:45pm Top

>161 jjmcgaffey: Since he got the huge iPad, my husband has been reading lots of old stuff and GNs on it - He's got a couple of different subscription services and says he can get pretty much anything he wants. That's how he pulled up Saga for me. My daughter denies giving it to me to read, but I'd read at least half of the first 18 episodes before. I'm at least 90% pure print, but will read almost any GN or comic someone I trust recommends.

In spite of what he says about not needing them anymore, new comics, though fewer, still enter the house and the old ones haven'g gone anywhere.

I like Girl Genus, but haven't heard of the others you mention.

163jjmcgaffey
Jun 14, 11:43pm Top

Castle Waiting is an indie comic that got picked up by a publisher (Fantagraphics, actually); there were some problems (if you get it, make sure you get Vol 2 Definitive Edition - it has about a third more comics and actually comes to a stopping point) but there are two, excellent, hardback compilations. Not sure if she's gone on with the story - I've never found it except as a compilation - but if so I'm delighted, it's a fantastic story. In several senses of the word. Nope, as far as I can see she quit writing it, darn it. Fairy tales rearranged and combined into a completely new story - with some logic actually applied (when the sleeping princess leaves with the prince, what happens to those left behind?).

All Star Squadron is a DC comic, set in WWII. It's got an odd collection of heroes - everyone from Hawkman (pretty well-known) to Johnny Quick (never heard of him before this series). It lasted a few years, then got seriously modified and uninteresting to me in one of the crossovers (Infinity War, actually - though the movie isn't quite the same story as the comics crossover). Excalibur is Marvel, an X-Men spinoff, with all my favorite X-Men (plus some) in some really interesting situations. Again, the series got killed off after a while - I think it's been resurrected but that was after I stopped reading so I don't know. In general, if I really liked a comics series it got killed off, which helped with the stopping reading... All-Star Squadron hasn't been collected at all, as far as I can see. Some of Excalibur got put into GNs, but not a full run as far as I can tell. Etc. And while some of them that haven't been collected have been digitized, a 60+ volume run at $2 to $4 per comic...isn't happening.

I can read some comics on my big (10") tablet, but it's awkward. And on the computer isn't a lot better. So far I prefer paper for GNs. Words, no problem with e-reading (at least, no problem with epubs. PDFs are a pain), but with the art - and usually, a fixed-size page - not so good. A screen big enough to actually see them is too heavy to hold comfortably (I have a computer that does the tablet thing, folding back, but I can't hold it up to read for very long).

164quondame
Jun 15, 1:31am Top

>163 jjmcgaffey: iPad pro with Hoopla on our local libraries - we have cards at 4 but mostly use only 3, Santa Monica, Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County. Then there's Marvel Unlimited. There seems to be endless content. Of those you mentioned, Mike's heard of Excalibur but not the others and since he's my source, other than the occasional online GN then it makes sense I would have missed them.

What online strips do you follow?

165jjmcgaffey
Jun 15, 10:40pm Top

um...Lots? and lots and lots...

Girl Genius, Star Power, Gunnerkrigg Court, Irregular Webcomic, Freefall, Sequential Art, Faux Pas, Full Frontal Nerdity, The Whiteboard, Megacynics, Girls with Slingshots, My Neighbor Errol (and his NANOcomics), xkcd, Questionable Content, Safe Havens, On the Fastrack, Kevin & Kell, PS238, Order of the Stick, Strong Female Protagonist, Deer Me, 21st Century Fox, Scandinavia and the World, Everyday Heroes, Zen Pencils...a bunch of syndicated ones, too (including The Phantom and Prince Valiant). Note that several of these are quite NSFW, at least in spots. And some of them aren't updating, recently. I still check regularly, though. I opened all my webcomics tabs and just typed them in here.

Hmmm. I shall have to try Hoopla - I've looked at it and saw nothing but movies and audiobooks. I'll have to check their comics holdings.

I have an LA City card - at the beginning of this year I flew down (from Alameda, in the SF Bay Area) for the singular purpose of getting one; they have by far the best ebook holdings I've found yet. I have...8 cards? Alameda city, Alameda county, Oakland, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Hayward, San Francisco, Peninsula, Santa Clara county and city, and the LA one. And a Marin one that's useless (no checking out ebooks if you don't live in the county, bah), and an expired Mountain View one. 11 (12) current cards and one I could renew if I went to the trouble. It's very handy - if one library doesn't have a book, or all of them are checked out, another one is likely to have it. LA has the most, of what I want to read; SF is second. I've checked out a few physical books from the Alameda City library in the past year...I used to get a lot, now it's all ebooks.

Yeah - as I said, most of the series I really enjoyed got killed off one way or another, quite a while ago. I stopped reading in the late 90s; there's a lot out now that I just don't know anything about. Likely Mike either never saw or didn't enjoy and thus doesn't remember my favorites. And Castle Waiting I never saw as a comic, only as the compilation - my library got the first one in, I loved it so much I bought it and the second one. And when I went to look again, they'd deaccessioned the first volume...silly people! They only got it in so I could see it...

166humouress
Jun 15, 11:19pm Top

Well of course you can't check out e-books if you don't live in the county. You might not be able to return them on time, if you live too far away, or you might run away with them.

167quondame
Jun 16, 1:22am Top

>165 jjmcgaffey: Well, I've had a couple of others, including one for Normal, Il. and North Hollywood, but while there are always some books for which there is a wait at all three or at the two that carry the book, it is rare that one doesn't have the book at all. But yes, LA has the best ebook selection and apparently that holds for comics. In addition to Girl Genius, I have read a couple of those. As for NSFW, well, I'm retired, but have run across some which are still too crotch oriented for my taste.
My daughter in her Agatha enters the Castle cosplay I made &| assembled for her.

168jjmcgaffey
Jun 17, 2:27am Top

Cool costume!

Yes - NSFW is broader than just "don't read these at work"; I meant it as a general warning. I can tolerate a heck of a lot of language and explicit situations if the story supports it (and none, if the story doesn't...I've come across a few books like that. Probably some webcomics too, but as I never go back they've been wiped from my brain). Sometimes what I think is a good story (with spicy bits) is eek oh no for people I point to it...so I generally list them as NSFW, so the more-sensitive-than-I folk know what might be coming up.

I got the loads of cards when I was still doing basically all physical books; they're mostly within reasonable driving distance, or were when I got them (I was working in Mountain View at the time, for instance). LA is _not_ within reasonable driving distance, but now that I'm mostly ebooks it matters much less...But I still check the various libraries when a book I want is not immediately available. And sometimes a library with a smaller collection will have an ebook available that's got a hold list elsewhere, I presume because they have fewer ebook readers among their members. Or I just jump in at the right time.

>166 humouress: Plbbbbbt! I can't even _look_ at their holdings, with my Marin card. So totally useless. And I _said_, when I got it, that I didn't live in the county and wanted to check out ebooks, and the guy didn't say a word - it wasn't until I got home and tried to look (and got bounced out several times), that I read every word on the page and found the tiny print about na-nyah, can't check out our books, you outsider...Bah. I'd have been far less annoyed if they'd said up front that I shouldn't bother. I emailed them and said that, too.

169humouress
Edited: Jun 18, 1:15am Top

>168 jjmcgaffey: So weird.

Meanwhile, I love Overdrive; I'm borrowing books from 2 different Sydney-side libraries from a continent away.

>167 quondame: Nice costume. Though I've never met Agatha enters the Castle, the original, to be honest.

170jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jun 18, 1:12am Top

Yes. Overdrive is fantastic - especially Overdrive.com, where you can search for a book and it will _tell_ you which of your libraries have it. No visiting and searching each one.

Well, you might enjoy the comics - it's online for free, so you can try it out easily. www.girlgeniusonline.com Great steampunk magic coming-of-age legendary mystery...romance, sort of (love triangle, even)...stuff. With really cool art, too. I own most of the books (not the latest couple...I'll get them eventually), but I still read online primarily. It shows up there first, anyway. After they've put it online, it gets collected into a book (and Kickstarted); and it remains available online.

No! Nooooo! I don' wanna do a complete Agatha reread! Don' wanna! Maybe later.

171jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jun 29, 2:24am Top

Books Read
95. Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 1 @# by Thomas Siddell. Review - Lovely as always - I read it online, and also have this in paper. Nice to have the digital, though.
96. Ladycastle @^ by Delilah S. Dawson. Review - Weird and almost wonderful story - nice twists to the cliches.
97. Spellcast @^ by Barbara Ashford. Review - Seriously weird story - I kept expecting it to come to one conclusion or another and it would go off in an entirely different direction. Very rich.
98. Lumberjanes Vol 1 @^ by Noelle Stevenson. Review - Didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to - it's been highly recommended, but was a little too weird for me.
99. Steed and Mrs. Peel Vol 1 @^ by Mark Waid. Review - Not interesting. Very stylized in a style I don't care for, referencing a show I never watched. Yawn.
100. Things I Want My Daughters to Know !* by Elizabeth Noble. Review - Not what I usually read - very slice-of-life and some really stupid decisions made. But it comes out right - not magically, but reasonably. Very rich, too.
101. Stardust * by Neil Gaiman. Review - Lovely fairy tale - I may even watch the movie.
102. Big Buttes Book @! by Henry Buttes. Review - Started, stalled, restarted and read through. Interesting and annoying - I disagree with the (modern) author on several points, but there's a lot of recipes I want to try.
103. Rabbit Hill * by Robert Lawson. Review - Cute and fluffy, with anthropomorphized animals. Too sweet for my taste.
104. The Golem ^ by Barbara Rogasky. Review - Rather nasty - poor golem.
105. Gambler @^ by Justine Davis. Review - Gorgeous relationships, fascinating events, one seriously tough-to-swallow coincidence but it's still a great story.
106. Kris Longknife's Bad Day @^ by Mike Shepherd. Review - Very clearly what it is - an outtake from a novel. Good scene of Kris, but no story.
107. Black Star, Bright Dawn ^ by Scott O'Dell. Review - Annoying. Interesting events, but so many threads left lying that it's disappointing overall. And not a BOMB, that's annoying too!
108. Magic Elizabeth * by Norma Kassirer. Review - Lovely sweet story - and it's exactly as old as I am. I think I'll keep it.

Currently Reading
Sawdust in His Shoes by Eloise Jarvis McGraw - an ER book, mildly interesting so far. Endless Blue by Wen Spencer - she is _amazing_ at worldbuilding, especially various cultures. I started A Closed and Common Orbit but stopped because I haven't yet read A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - I've gotten that now, I'll read it soon. But I pulled out a pile of books from one of my boxes (though not all of them turned out to be BOMBs) and I'm reading those now, to catch up on my BOMBs and discards. I have The Voyage of the Frog and The Princess Tales to go.

BOMBs
Several! Things I Want My Daughters to Know is both an ER book and a BOMB - I got it in 2008 (yeesh). I pulled Stardust out for the One Librarything, One Book read, and read it at the right time, though I haven't actually gone and posted or read in the thread. Rabbit Hill and Magic Elizabeth are out of my box.

Discards
Three of the four BOMBs (I'm keeping Magic Elizabeth, at least for a while), plus The Golem and Black Star, Bright Dawn which I also pulled out of the box but they didn't turn out to be BOMBs.

New/Reread
One of the 13 books listed is a reread - all the rest are new to me. I've read Gunnerkrigg Court in multiple formats, now, and enjoyed it in all of them (it's trying to get me to do a complete reread of _that_ now, too! Online archives are dangerous things...).

I haven't been posting books, even while I was posting other stuff, but I have been reading. I decided to concentrate on BOMBs, to catch up, but I'm still reading other things as ebooks in and amongst my children's books BOMBs. So a nice lot of books, and still a couple days to the end of the month - I may well hit my half-year goals in time.

Huh. Counting books to update my tickers, I found I'd partly missed two in February. 19 books read that month, though they were new and ebooks, nothing toward my goals. And the individual book listings were correct, it was just the stats that were wrong.

172jjmcgaffey
Jun 29, 3:11am Top

I haven't updated my dad's condition here. He's doing much better now. It took him a while (not surprising), and he was being very sluggish for quite a while (sleeping a lot, walking rarely (except when his physical therapists insisted), leaving the house only for doctor's appointments). But he's brightened up quite a bit in the last week or so; he went to Mass last Sunday (and got swarmed by all his friends and acquaintances). We went out to lunch yesterday (Wednesday), to a nice pizza place; and today, we (Mom and Dad and I) went to the Alameda County Fair.

We definitely picked the right day; it was a high of 76 or 79, rather than the high of 91 that's forecast for Friday. We got a wheelchair for Dad, so he wasn't walking, but was outside and moving around (and getting out of the chair every once in a while, to see stuff or transition someplace that didn't have a good ramp). Mom and I got good exercise pushing him, too. The Fair is always fun - there's great stuff for sale, and fascinating exhibits. Ate - I had a huge baked potato, with broccoli and cheese sauce - then decided we were done and came home. Just over 4 hours there. We were all fighting to stay awake on the way home - amazing how tiring it is being out in the sun.

By the time we got home, Dad was the least tired of the three of us. I came home and zoned out for a while, then mustered up enough energy to actually post. It's so nice to have him really back!

173humouress
Jun 29, 5:06am Top

>172 jjmcgaffey: Yay! Good news about your dad.

174jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jul 2, 12:09am Top

Yes, it's _such_ a relief. He's not all the way back, but he's on the way. Whew.

And I did some concentrated BOMB reading, and actually managed to hit my half-year goals before June ended (admittedly I was still reading the last one half an hour after midnight, but I finished it before I slept so it counts). BOMBs and discards both. See below.

175jjmcgaffey
Jul 2, 12:16am Top

Books Read
109. Endless Blue @^ by Wen Spencer. Review - Fantastic worldbuilding and story, and amazing characters. I need to read more Wen Spencer.
110. Tricks for Free @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - Great story - new environment, and Antimony finally figures out something about who she wants to be. I do love Sam. The short at the end is very interesting, too.
111. The Voyage of the Frog * by Gary Paulsen. Review - Simple story of a very lucky kid - he gets lost at sea and doesn't die of it. Nice descriptions.
112. Princess Tales * by Gail Carson Levine. Review - I'd read all three stories before, and I don't think much of any of them. Boring or annoying characters in silly situations.

Currently Reading
Everything and More by David Foster Wallace. I thought it was new, but I've read it before; still interesting enough to reread. It wasn't a BOMB in any case, since I'm reading it as an ebook. And as an ebook, it's _really_ annoying - all the equations are images, which do _not_ resize properly on my phone screen (he should have used vector images rather than raster). So I have entire pages full of one equation - one _short_ equation - with a tiny bit of normal font next to the end or beginning. It's much more difficult to read than it should be. Some others hanging fire, waiting for something else - Common Orbit is waiting for Small, Angry Planet, for instance. And I just got my Hugo packet, so...other stuff may be waiting for a while yet.

BOMBs
Two, Voyage of the Frog and Princess Tales.

Discards
Both BOMBs are also discards. Yay for getting stuff out of my boxes!

New/Reread
All four new; the first two are ebooks, though. 13 rereads paid for.

176jjmcgaffey
Jul 2, 12:17am Top

June stats
22 books read
4 rereads
18 new books
13 rereads paid for

6324 pages read, average 287.5

6 BOMBs - passed my goal for the month
1 ER books
0 Netgalley books

14 ebooks, 8 paper books

7 discards - passed my goal for the month

9 SF&F
6 children's
1 non-fiction
2 general fiction
4 graphic novels

13 F, 9 M authors

Not bad! And I hit my goals. I do like having the monthly (though I miss those) and half-yearly goals - it helps, so it doesn't all pile up at the end. Not too bad on author balance, either.

177jjmcgaffey
Jul 2, 12:22am Top

Half-year stats
112 books read
12 rereads
100 new books
13 rereads paid for so far

30876 pages read, average per book 275.7, average per month 5146

25 BOMBs so far this year, hit my goal for the half-year
13 ER books
1 Netgalley books

90 ebooks, 22 paper books

25 discards so far this year, hit my goal for the half-year

58 SF&F
15 children's
6 non-fiction
6 general fiction
21 romances
5 graphic novels
1 mystery

82 F, 32 M authors

Boy, can you see the slants! More SF (and F) than anything else, more than half my reading. More than twice as many books by women as books by men (and that's with a few with one of each marked - collections, mostly). I've cut way down on my rereads. I've done very well on ER books, though I still have some old ones to deal with; need to concentrate on the Netgalley books. And I read a _lot_ more electronically than in paper.

I do like tracking this stuff, it's very interesting.

178quondame
Jul 2, 12:19pm Top

>175 jjmcgaffey: In some ways Endless Blue is my favorite of Wen Spencer's books. I was disappointed when she wrote that she didn't intend to make up entire worlds again.

179avaland
Jul 2, 1:31pm Top

FYI, Wen Spencer has a new book out, or about to come out....

180quondame
Jul 2, 3:06pm Top

>179 avaland: I've been following her on FB and Patreon and have only got updates on BWoB sequel and the Zombie thing she has been having trouble with.

181jjmcgaffey
Jul 2, 6:43pm Top

I like a lot of what she writes - Tinker etc doesn't do it for me (not sure why), but I love Ukiah Oregon and Eight Million Gods, and find A Brother's Price and several others fascinating. And your comments sent me to her website and now I need Black Wolves of Boston - is that the one you meant, Lois? The excerpt under Works in Progress had me laughing out loud.

182quondame
Jul 2, 8:23pm Top

>181 jjmcgaffey: Black Wolves of Boston has been out for sometime, and it does have hilarious moments - and violent ones too. The Wiccers are not our Wiccans.

183kidzdoc
Jul 3, 11:06am Top

I'm glad that your father is doing better, Jennifer.

184jjmcgaffey
Jul 5, 2:04am Top

>183 kidzdoc: So am I - whew. He drove today - from the garage to the electric car charger in the parking lot of the shopping center next to their condo, but it's the first time he's driven since...a long time ago. Since early February, I think, when he got sick the first time. And he's making coffee! Not cooking yet, but he will in a bit - and Mom will be very glad of it, she's been basically doing all the cooking for months. He doesn't want to stand for long. I'm going to point out the stool they have, which they got some time ago when his leg was too bad for him to stand (and pace, as he usually does) while teaching class. But it works very well for hitching a hip onto it instead of standing while you stir or chop or whatever.

Grump grump. My brain is breaking - my current read is (a reread of) Everything and More, which is fascinating and highly amusing but brain-stretching. And I've finally started trying to figure out a new fingerloop braid, a hollow braid which I want for my Fitbit Flex 2 - I'm so tired of this rubber wristband, I want cotton please. But the more I read about the braid, the more I have to read - she has a different take on braiding, and I have to check how it matches (or doesn't) what I know and have been working with for years. Three-dimensional topology, figuring out how to hold the threads slightly differently...or not, maybe it's the same way I've been doing, I learned from three different people and then figured out some of it for myself. But the way she writes things isn't the same terms/jargon I'm used to, so I have to actually figure out what she means by X and how I'd write it, and then compare how she achieves X and see if it's the way I know or a different way or something else entirely...It's fun, it's fascinating, I've done one braid her way and it looks like it will be a very useful new set of braids - but it's also brain-stretching, in a different direction than Wallace's, so my poor brain is getting worn out. I need to read some fluff and give it a rest... (Yay, more BOMBs!).

Didn't walk (or bike) the parade this year, so I got to watch it for a change. Lovely. Fighting with my phone a bit - it didn't save some videos I took, grrr! Those were mostly of the horses, which are absolutely gorgeous - and now I don't have pictures of them. One group had a bunch of horses, including a pair of spectacular grays - and then two people riding bulls (probably steer, but still). I got some pictures of their rear ends, is all. Cool, though.

Next weekend is the (first) Alameda Mini Maker Faire; I won't be presenting (didn't get around to applying in time), but I will be volunteering and certainly attending. My parents are attending too - except the Faire sold out already. Mom's using my ticket (that I got before I was volunteering); Dad's on the waitlist, but we think we can talk him in on the day. It's free tickets, but trying to control and anticipate numbers. Should be fun - and with this much demand, we can figure on it happening again next year!

And then, the Friday after that, we go up to Nevada to my parents' timeshare at Walley's 1894 Resort. It's a hot springs resort that has been around since...well, 1894. Mark Twain visited and wrote about it (at least, like a celebrity endorsement - it's not in any of his stories, that I'm aware). It's a nice place, and close enough to Reno that my sister there comes down and stays with us a while - close to Lake Tahoe, too (well, close as the crow flies. It's over the mountains to the east of the lake - a long way up and a long way down again) so we usually go to a few things there (Tahoe Shakespeare!).

Fun times. I'll have to bring some BOMBs with me to Walley's...or just read enough before we go. Crafting, reading, catching up on stuff.

185janemarieprice
Jul 6, 5:42pm Top

>184 jjmcgaffey: Also glad to hear your dad is doing better. Four hours at a fair sounds like good progress!

186jjmcgaffey
Edited: Jul 27, 3:52am Top

Books Read
113. Sun, Moon, Dust @^ by Ursula Vernon. Review - Neat story - as usual, Ursula sees things skewed. Farmer boy inherits magic sword and really isn't interested…
114. Gib Rides Home * by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Review - Great bits, but no real story - it dribbles off at the end.
115. The Trouble With Tink * by Kiki Thorpe. Review - Cute fluff, also rather pointless (aside from Friendship is Good).
116. The Thief * by Megan Whalen Turner. Review - Fun, despite a cast of manipulators. Next please! Oh lovely, there's a whole series…
117. Everything and More @# by David Foster Wallace. Review - I love his language, but about 2/3rds of the way through I lose my footing in the math. I still like his phrases, but it's not enough for me to enjoy - I just race to get through. And the ebook ends unexpectedly - there's a looooong stretch of endnotes and then bibliography and index and stuff, fooling me that I wasn't as done as I was.
118. Laisrathera @^ by M.C.A Hogarth. Review - I paused in reading this series, but needed some good fluff - this is a bit better than fluff, and very good. Made me read much later than I should have. Reese - all of them, actually - have developed a lot.
119. A Rose Point Holiday @^ by M.C.A Hogarth. Review - A neat expansion of events, inserted into the timeline just before the end of Laisrathera. Lovely cultural bits, and character development.
120. Dreamstorm @^ by M.C.A Hogarth. Review - And then I found out the last-so-far of my favorite series of hers had been released, and grabbed it. I do love Jahir and Vasiht'h. Nice character development, great story, excellent progress in their story.
121. The Two-Step ^ by Eileen McCann. Review - Cute and...not clever, wise. Dynamics of relationships described as dancing, with nice Feiffer-esque cartoons to show them.
122. Alysha's Fall @^ by M.C.A. Hogarth. Review - Seriously dark and strong - but at the darkest parts, there's still someone trying for the light. Wow.

Currently Reading
A Logical Magician - reread, to lead up to the sequel which is a BOMB. Triggered by Dad reading it. Sawdust In His Shoes, an ER book (the first one I've gotten in paper in a long time). A bunch more ER books, ebooks, that I haven't started yet but should (plus old ER books...). The Girl in the Green Silk Gown because no way I'm putting off a Seanan McGuire... And I'm hooked on M.C.A. Hogarth, but I'm going to delay starting Second which is the first Alysha Forrest book (Alysha's Fall is a prequel) until I've cleared out some of my backlog.

BOMBs
3 BOMBs, all in the first week or so - need to read one more for the month. Gib Rides Home (which I also have as an ebook), The Trouble with Tink, and The Thief - which I _now_ have as an ebook, along with all the rest of the series. I've been ignoring that for years - wow.

Discards
All three of the BOMBs, since I have the two I want as ebooks. Plus The Two-Step, which - I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I need to reread.

New/Reread
Everything and More is the only reread, the other 9 are new books (though only three of them are BOMBs). 15 rereads paid for.

So I've been reading, though I haven't been posting here (and boy do I love my spreadsheet, so I don't have to write all this up tonight! I've been writing it in the spreadsheet - just copy and paste the above). It's been a busy month, between the Fourth of July (when, for the first time in...5 years?...I _didn't_ walk in the parade (or rather, bike). So I got to watch it, for a change. Some truly gorgeous horses, and excellent floats. Then the Mini Maker Faire, which was tiny (as expected) - one block's worth of booths. Some really nice stuff. I volunteered, and got a lovely laser-cut wooden badge for doing so. Next year I'll exhibit! Then my parents and I went off to their timeshare in Nevada - it's a hot springs, that's been a resort since 1862 (not 1894, I was confused). Comfortable place to stay, nice hot pools, and interesting stuff in nearby towns. However, I managed to get a pretty bad burn midweek, and spent the last few days of our trip tending it. No blisters, just dark red skin that ached on my shoulders and upper back. It's down to itchy now, and hasn't peeled at all, surprisingly. Lots of aloe and a cold towel. Home last Friday, and I got my birthday gift - at my request, my parents gave me the money to buy a new mattress, I got a Purple mattress. It is weird, doesn't feel particularly soft, smells funny (though that's fading pretty fast) - and I ache less when I wake up than I have in years. Strange and wonderful object. I get the pillow tomorrow (it's in my package room - too late to pick it up today). (Ok, some of that was repeat, but from a different angle...).

I'm still struggling with the braiding. Hers is a different technique, from a different angle - but I think I've got that under control. I can now replicate the braids I've been making all along with her style. So now I can start working on the new braids, that can't be done the way I used to do it; it's not nearly as mentally difficult, but a little physically difficult because the braid I want for my Fitbit uses the thumbs. And holding my thumbs upright for the length of a braid is _hard_. I quit in the middle of my first try because my thumbs were cramping up. I need to set up a pegboard so I can put the braid down and pick it up again later. The new braids are quite simple to do (if you already know how to do fingerloop braiding), I have to remember only a few moves per braid. But it's going to be a while before my thumbs are as limber and capable as the rest of my fingers. Fingerloop is fantastic finger/hand exercise - my ring finger can move independently of the rest of my fingers, and all my fingers can hold positions and shift around easily. It took a while for that to happen - a year or so, once I was braiding steadily. I suspect it will take about as long for my thumbs to get in on the program. That is, if I start doing braids that use my thumbs steadily... I'm glad I'm done with Everything and More, so I'm only stretching my brain in one direction at a time now.

I have a few red(dish) tomatoes - I've eaten one, the second to come ripe. Bloody squirrel (I think) got the first one and left the peel on my balcony rail. But he hasn't been back for the others, so...hope he decided it wasn't worth his time. The tomato plants are not doing well - they range from skinny to pathetic. But the most pathetic of them is the one with the most tomatoes, so...I guess it's OK. And somebody - I suspect a crow or jay, rather than the squirrel - ate most of my blueberries, bah.

I need to put up a lot of pictures, of various things...

And Dad is doing _much_ better, all of a sudden. He got back from his surgery and was pretty limp - sleeping a lot, and moving only when he had to. Then he started getting up, but walking with a cane, not standing for any length of time, and not doing things like making coffee. He went to the Mini Maker Faire and quit after about an hour, he was done (missed a few things, not much). Then we went up to Walley's, he sat in the hot pools a lot (and didn't swim in the pool the way the rest of us did), and used his oxygen (it's at about 4000 feet elevation, and we're essentially at sea level in Alameda). But he also kept forgetting to use his cane. Since we came back, he's been much more energetic, and has started doing things - making coffee, driving to the local clinic for his prescriptions, stuff like that. Like he was doing before all this started. It's such a relief... He didn't drive on the way back from Walley's (nor on the way up), Mom and I split the driving. But in August, he and Mom are going to South Lake Tahoe, and I'm not going with them - I'm going to Worldcon that week. Hopefully, he'll be able to do part of the driving, not sticking Mom with all of it.

187ronincats
Jul 27, 10:45am Top

A lovely newsy update, Jenn, and good news about your dad. This is really your first time reading The Thief? Oh my! The next book is better! The final book in the series (#6) is coming out next March. Enjoy!

188jjmcgaffey
Jul 27, 3:46pm Top

>187 ronincats: I know! (about the last book). I've been following the discussion on your thread. Yes, I'd somehow managed to completely avoid the book(s) - and even discussions by people who loved it, like you. It was basically not on my radar - I picked it up some Sunday sale, I think (oh, this looks interesting, throw it in the box). And now I've read it and run into paeans of praise for it all over...very strange. Speak of the Devil.

189quondame
Jul 27, 4:58pm Top

>186 jjmcgaffey: I haven't got a Purple mattress yet, exactly, but late last year I got a seat pad which I put under my hipbone when I slept and that helped a great deal, and then they had the Kickstarter for dog beds and I got the largest one, which I put on top of my bed and sleep on, with my shoulder and head over the edge - my head on a stack of pillows and my shoulder in the ditch between. So fabulously comfortable. No aches - I just spent a night on a hotel bed and am so stiff.

190jjmcgaffey
Jul 27, 7:18pm Top

My sister has a Purple mattress, and got the seat pad with it - she uses it, as a seat pad, pretty much constantly. She's the one that convinced me to go for it. Your jerry-rigging a Purple is funny! Nice it works, though. Maybe you should bring at least the seat pad along on a trip? Can't carry a whole mattress, but the smaller pieces might be possible.

191humouress
Jul 28, 12:04am Top

Yay for your dad getting better!

192quondame
Jul 29, 10:11pm Top

>190 jjmcgaffey: I took the whole huge dog bed for the 2nd & 3rd nights of Costume College and slept much better and cooler than the 1st night. I can't take it on a flight, but if I'm driving it will be a priority to fit it in.

193avaland
Jul 31, 9:03am Top

>181 jjmcgaffey: Yes! That's the one I ran across.

194jjmcgaffey
Edited: Aug 8, 1:55am Top

Books Read
123. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown @^ by Seanan McGuire. Review - An excellent story - except that the climax doesn't work, I don't believe it. Still worth reading and rereading...but not happy.
124. A Logical Magician # by Robert Weinberg. Review - Fluff, with serious male gaze. Reading it mostly so I can read the sequel (a BOMB) and get rid of both.

Currently Reading
Way too many books, most of them in paper (how odd!). Spellcrossed is my only current ebook - sequel to Spellcast, so far not as interesting. I suspect my father, who's addicted to amateur theater, will love the first section; it was rather dull to me. The magic just showed up, I may find more of interest now. In paper: A Calculated Magic, the sequel to The Logical Magician (and I thought that one had male gaze! This is awful); Sawdust in His Shoes (still), an ER book; Famous Phonies, a book I borrowed from my parents; A Maritime History of Lake Tahoe, mildly interesting mostly picture book (photos and captions, no separate text); and Seven Wild Sisters, which I just got at a yard sale and started reading...why? Interesting, but I've got a few others going! Ghahh.

BOMBs
Nope.

Discards
A Logical Magician. And its sequel, as soon as I finish it.

New/Reread
One new, one reread. 14 rereads paid for.

And because my reading time is spread across so many books, I haven't finished one since the 28th. So I don't need to do a separate August post, until I get some of these done...

195jjmcgaffey
Aug 3, 2:45am Top

July stats
12 books read
2 rereads
10 new books
14 rereads paid for

2858 pages read, average 238.2

3 BOMBs
0 ER books
0 Netgalley books

7 ebooks, 5 paper books

5 discards - passed my goal for the month

8 SF&F
2 children's
2 non-fiction

10 F, 2 M authors

My worst month so far this year, only 12 books. Not terrible, but low for me. A lot of paper books, and it'll be the same next month. Good for discards, didn't quite make it for BOMBs. And very heavy on the female authors - though a lot of them were M.C.A. Hogarth. Well, 4 of 10 were.

196auntmarge64
Aug 3, 9:12am Top

EXCELLENT news about your Dad! Have been following his saga, and he's been through the wringer, but hopefully it's all up from here.

197jjmcgaffey
Aug 8, 2:29am Top

>196 auntmarge64: Yes, it's such a relief. He's really turned the corner in the last couple of days - acting and reacting normally, not the slow lumpish way he's been for so long. It's one of those subtle things I didn't notice until he did come out of it. And I suspect he's still got a bit of a way to go, but he's most of the way back (driving again, on a regular basis, for one thing. Punning, for another!).

My parents are now considering attending Worldcon, on day passes, at least. It depends on the smoke in Tahoe - if it's as bad on Monday as it is now, they're probably going to skip the trip. Sitting in a hotel room in air conditioning is no fun...So if they're around, they may come down to Worldcon for a day or two. Or not, it's still a maybe. But it would be fun if they can make it.

I'm starting...not to pack for Worldcon, not yet, but to consider what I will be packing. What clothes, what crafts, what other stuff I want with me...

Oh, I didn't write up last weekend! So a few weeks ago, my sister mentioned that there was going to be an SCA demo at a local, tiny, RenFaire. I said I was interested, she said she'd keep me updated. Then I more or less forgot about it. She mentioned on...Wednesday? that she would be at the demo on Sunday and might not make our weekly virtual hangout. I said hey... and with some quick arranging, I was going too. Which meant that Friday afternoon I needed to head down to San Jose, prepared for the demo and to stay two or three nights at my sister's house. Fun! Very fast packing, and of course some things got left out, but nothing crucial. Got there Friday, helped set up, went on Saturday which was very veryveryvery hot (I think it hit 98, and we were outside all day. Under a (canvas) roof, admittedly, but still), and again on Sunday which was only very very hot (95 or so). I was scheduled to teach fingerloop braiding in a half-hour class; people kept coming by and seeing what I was doing (trying to learn a new braid) and wanting to try it, so I taught six or seven people before my class was supposed to happen, two people in the class, and another 8 or 10 afterward (in ones and twos). About 18-20 people on Saturday, 10-15 on Sunday (same sort of thing, just dribbling through). It was great fun, I didn't lose my voice until Monday, and the organizer of the RenFaire loved us and would be delighted if the SCA wanted to show up for demos in her other faires. Not me, for either of them - one's half-way to Tahoe and one's _in_ Tahoe, and neither is at good times for me. But next year in San Jose, sure!

We were right next to a falconry booth...I can't remember the group's name. They had an amazing lot of birds - a couple female harrier hawks (huge dark-brown birds), an African redtail, a barn owl and a Great Horned owl, and a kookaburra! And a couple others that I didn't get identified. I kept having to stop myself singing the Kookaburra song (Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree-ee, Merry, merry king of the bush is he-ee...).

I ate a lovely steak-and-cheese pie. And discovered a small brewery that makes real birch beer! Dad's from Michigan, and has fond memories of birch beer; he's been looking for the real thing since. Boylan's is good, but a bit too sweet to my taste - most of them are either too sweet or too fizzy, or both. Weasel Inn Sassparilly is a couple guys brewing soda (birch beer, sarsaparilla, creme soda and orange soda) and selling it, basically, at RenFaires and similar events (apparently, at some SCA events, but not ones I go to so I never ran into them before). I bought a liter, we drank it, and I got a refill (it's a refillable brown bottle, and the bottle is expensive but refills are quite cheap). They don't have much web presence, though, and don't apparently sell any way except at events. Trying to figure out how to get a steady supply...

I only got lightly scorched - the kind of pink that goes away after a sleep and a shower. I was wiped both days, but that's not unusual after a day outside. I loved it! And my sister is getting questions about fingerloop braiding - the hows and whats. I'm looking forward to doing a similar exhibit at Maker Faire Alameda next year - and hopefully getting students to come learn fingerloop from me, afterward.

198quondame
Aug 8, 3:04am Top

>197 jjmcgaffey: Your SCA RenFaire demo sounds a treat. I've enjoyed demos and miss the Irish Faires we used to work in June - I still have a bunch of wooden combs I got for 'parking' finger loop braids.

199humouress
Aug 8, 11:54am Top

>197 jjmcgaffey: Noooo! Not punning! Seriously though, good to know your dad is doing so well.

Did you realise that kookaburras are kingfishers? When it was pointed out to me, I thought ‘That’s so obvious’ but until then, I hadn’t realised because, of course, they’re not the iconic blue.

The RenFaire sounds like fun (but hot).

200jjmcgaffey
Aug 9, 2:03am Top

>199 humouress: Yes - I saw the bird from a distance and thought "kingfisher...no, too big" then asked and was told what it was. And when they told me, I remembered that I'd known long ago that kookaburras are kingfishers. The beak is really distinctive, more so than I'd realized. Though apparently they don't fish - they hunt on land (from the air), rodents and small birds and so on.

Dad has a pin we gave him long ago - "Incorrigible Punster. Please do not incorrige". He doesn't wear it often, but it would be appropriate almost any time...

>198 quondame: I just have one comb - I don't park my braids very often. It's something I want to get better at, though, because it would be useful to (easily, accurately) put down a braid now and then. Those wide-toothed wooden combs are so perfect for the job...

201quondame
Aug 9, 2:11am Top

>200 jjmcgaffey: Daiso Japan a few blocks from me sells a number of pale wood combs, including the two sided medieval looking ones, for less than $2 each. I find it a much more dangerous place to linger than 99¢ store.

202lisapeet
Aug 9, 6:19am Top

>197 jjmcgaffey: All those raptors in one place sounds so cool! I'm a big fan of big birds. We get lots of redtails and sometimes Cooper's hawks where we are but nothing much more exotic than that.

203jjmcgaffey
Aug 10, 2:48am Top

>201 quondame:...Huh. Daiso? There's a little one in the shopping center near my parents (just down the road), but I've never noticed wooden combs there. I'll have to check. And maybe go into the city to the big one. And yes, I agree about the dangers of Daiso!

>202 lisapeet: I love the raptors - they look so amazing. There's a couple of them on the shore near my parents' now and then - I've never quite managed to identify them, possibly redtails. One has a speckled white breast, one is almost solid brown on the breast - and according to Audubon, both of those are possible redtail coloration. Bah. I haven't noticed that their tails are particularly red, either...so they might be Cooper's, or possibly harriers, or... It's a perennial puzzle, particularly since I only see one at a time, for a day or two at most, once every couple months or so. We do get quite a lot of herons and egrets, large and small, and I've seen an osprey a few times (he was fishing for our koi!). And several night herons, who are way too good at fishing for our koi...

204jjmcgaffey
Aug 10, 2:56am Top

Books Read
125. A Calculated Magic * by Robert Weinberg. Review - Bleah. More, much more male gaze, and sex all over the place - pointless except for author gratification. There's actually an interesting story in there, but I can't dig it out of the heap of sex.
126. Sawdust in His Shoes ! by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Review - Wow. Much deeper than I expected from the beginning. Nice - I'm looking for more of hers.
127. Seven Wild Sisters ^ by Charles de Lint. Review - Cute, nicely done...kind of flat. I enjoyed it but no interest in rereading.
128. Spellcrossed @* by Barbara Ashford. Review - Very odd. Not quite a romance, not quite urban(ish) fantasy...some very deep themes but handled lightly. Good, but not for me.

Currently Reading
A lot fewer in process, now... Still reading Lake Tahoe: A Maritime History. I'll pick up Famous Phonies again tomorrow. I started the latest Tanya Huff, The Privilege of Peace - well, I set it up for reading (that's an ebook). I'll actually start it tomorrow.

BOMBs
A Calculated Magic and Spellcrossed.

Discards
Both the BOMBs and Seven Wild Sisters. The BOMBs are both going to my parents - Mom wants to read the Logical Magician series, Dad will enjoy the Spellcast series (he's the one in our family addicted to theater).

New/Reread
All four new - including one ER book. Sehr gut!

Well. One good thing about reading half a dozen books - if you get in gear, you can _finish_ quite a lot very fast. Finished three books in one day. I'll try to get the other two paper books done tomorrow or Saturday. Then I'll have hit my goal for discards (I already know Lake Tahoe is leaving), but I still need a couple BOMBs - and since I'm going to Worldcon next Wednesday, I need to get them read soon. Along with everything else I need to do to prep for that...

205jjmcgaffey
Aug 11, 2:15am Top

Books Read
129. The Prey and the Ghost ^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Fun fluff - cross between Tom Swift and Scooby-Doo. Neat and nasty tricks.
130. The Time Spiral ^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Weird - no tricks, the real thing this time.
131. Daughter of the Wind ^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Some depth to this one - history, and choices.
132. The Devil's Organ ^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Interesting. The art is very different - apparently this is early in the series, the English version is somewhat reversed.
133. The Forge of Vulcan ^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Same simpler art - and a rather unlikely story. Why was she needed?

Currently Reading
Same as above, though I didn't get started on The Privilege of Peace. Soon.

BOMBs
Nope, all library books.

Discards
Again, nope.

New/Reread
All new to me.

I was in the library dropping off some books for the sale, saw these on the shelf and picked one up...and now I want to read all of them. They're scattered over three branches of the library, and the other two were closed today - pick up the rest tomorrow. It's a cool GN series, about a Japanese girl and her (European) friends - as I said, a cross between Tom Swift and Scooby-Doo. Fun fluff.

206jjmcgaffey
Aug 14, 3:11am Top

I'm knee-deep in packing and prepping for Worldcon. I go down on Wednesday, to help set up before the con actually starts on Thursday. I'll be meeting up with a group of Liaden fans there...I don't know if there will be any LTers at the con (probably, but whether they get identified as such is another question). I have no idea what I'll be doing at the con proper; all the plans I can make are on the edges (the FoLiad meetup, a meal with my sister at an Indian restaurant...). I never did actually sign up to do a workshop, so I'll be trying to get one to happen at the last minute (again). Or just sit in some central location and braid, and offer to teach anyone who wants to learn...

Prepping includes a bit of packing (it's only 5 days, after all), and a lot of cooking. I picked plums (and lemons and pomelos) with ABG, my gardening group, last Saturday; today I turned my 3 pounds of plums into jam. I made it with blueberries as well, half as much as the plums, and a good handful of frozen ginger chunks. Unlike the last time I made this, it's mostly a plum jam - red, and chunky - and has a really strong ginger afterbite. Last time it was basically blueberry (although the proportions were the same...odd) and never gelled - it was fantastic on waffles, kind of hard to keep on the bread and PB for sandwiches. We'll see how this one turns out. I used Pomona's Pectin, so that I could make it low-sugar (3 cups of sugar for 4.5 pounds of fruit). Tomorrow I have to bake a cake, which won't be eaten until next Wednesday, but it'll keep (it's Clementine Cake, made of puree of clementine and almond flour (recipe at >89 jjmcgaffey:). And I found I only had one bag of clementine puree in the freezer (now I have none) - I'll have to replenish that after the con. 4 bags of pumpkin, one of persimmon, and a bag of lentil soup. The contents of my freezer are very odd...

I'm also planning to make bran muffins (grab-and-go breakfast), prince-biscuits (medieval energy bars - though I'm trying something weird and putting whey protein powder in, see if they end up less sugar-crashy), and chewy granola bars. There's a theme to this... which is mostly that I'm way too cheap to eat at restaurants for five days in a row (not to mention the weight gain that would ensue), so arrange to have other food available. I may not manage to make all of these, but they're not hard - just depends on how many other things I need to do (like jobs - I have two clients tomorrow, and an errand for Dad).

My parents left this morning for Tahoe. Oddly enough, I got reports of their travels - from the electric car charger app. I'm signed in to their account, because I'm usually with them when they do long trips in their car...

And yesterday I got my cats vaccinated, which is always a big deal because I go to the low-cost clinic that's on Sunday mornings at the local Petco. It's only two hours (or two and a half), there's always a long line, and my cats are not interested in leaving the house - though I didn't have too much trouble catching them this time. For a change. It took just about an hour from the time I arrived at the store, 95% of which was waiting in line and chatting with the dog owners on either side of me... The other problem is that it is Sunday morning, which means I need to go to church on Saturday evening to be free on Sunday morning. Complicated. I wish they had Saturday hours - or even better, weekday ones. But no.

Oh, and I'm feeling very accomplished. My toilet was basically non-functional - well, it was fine for using, it was the flushing that wasn't working (or was working too well - flush, remember to pull the handle back up, open the tank and poke the float to make the tank refill, and stop refilling...). I bought the parts on Amazon, and I put them in (with only minor difficulties). And now my toilet works perfectly, better than it has in years! I keep having to stop myself fretting over the handle - it just pops back up into place, I don't need to worry any more. So nice. And then today I (think I) got my vacuum cleaner head fixed - I have a (very old - 30+ years) canister vacuum with a power head for rugs. A few weeks ago the head stopped spinning; it wasn't hard to take apart, and to see the broken belt. It was just about impossible to _find_ said belt. I bought one set of belts on Amazon, but they're wrong; I found the right one at Sears.com and ordered them (for $25+, mostly shipping), but then it was backordered. So I took the power head and the broken belt to a local vacuum and sewing shop, and they put on a new belt - which isn't the right one, but should be close enough. And I suspect that when I use the vacuum next, I'm going to be extremely startled by the power of the head - the new belt is a lot tighter than the old one was, even before it broke. And the total was under $5, plus a dollar for parking. Yeah. I need to remember the local shops do have stuff that will work... But anyway, I now have a working toilet and a (presumably) working vacuum cleaner - I'll use it tomorrow, and clean my rugs before I go to the con. They've gotten a little hairy since the power head broke. I'm pleased with myself! And I'm cancelling the Sears order, of course.

207quondame
Aug 14, 12:42pm Top

>206 jjmcgaffey: Enjoy your Worldcon.

208humouress
Edited: Aug 15, 12:25am Top

>200 jjmcgaffey: Huh; do they not fish? My mum lives in Sydney and has always kept a small pond in her garden. She blames the kookaburra that sits on her fence for the disappearance of her fish. I can’t remember whether she actually saw him fishing or not.

‘incorrige’ ... *groan*

>206 jjmcgaffey: Woo Woo! Go you!! I’d be that happy if I accomplished something like that. It’s the little things in life. :0)

209jjmcgaffey
Aug 16, 3:41am Top

>208 humouress: Hmmm - dunno if they will fish. I'd suspect they'd catch what they could - so fish in a shallow pond might be fair game (pun not really intended, it's just how it came out). But kingfishers, as far as I know, don't eat anything _but_ fish - aside from the kookaburra.

Yeah! I keep gloating over it. It's so nice to make something better like that...

I did setup today - a 12,000+ step day, mostly between 5 pm and 8 pm when I quit. I (as usual) took much longer than I intended to get ready in the morning - a nice three- or four-day schedule of setting up for a trip doesn't really help if you don't finish things and just push them off to the next day. Ah well. So I started driving at 3:30 pm, well within rush hour - it wasn't too bad, for rush hour driving (I don't think I ever actually stopped, but it got very slow from time to time). Arrived at the convention center at 5 pm and helped unload the truck and shift stuff into rooms until 7:30, took care of a few other things (I have both my attendee and my staff badge, now...), drove to my sister's eating dinner (sandwiches) as I drove. Unloaded a bunch of stuff I'm donating to an SCA rummage sale - yay, out of the house - now catching up on stuff online. And now I'm finished catching up and I zonk. 0040...sigh, short sleep again. Dumb. But there's always something I need to be doing...

210jjmcgaffey
Aug 17, 3:17am Top

>208 humouress: Hmmm - dunno if they will fish. I'd suspect they'd catch what they could - so fish in a shallow pond might be fair game (pun not really intended, it's just how it came out). But kingfishers, as far as I know, don't eat anything _but_ fish - aside from the kookaburra.

Yeah! I keep gloating over it. It's so nice to make something better like that...

I did setup today - a 12,000+ step day, mostly between 5 pm and 8 pm when I quit. I (as usual) took much longer than I intended to get ready in the morning - a nice three- or four-day schedule of setting up for a trip doesn't really help if you don't finish things and just push them off to the next day. Ah well. So I started driving at 3:30 pm, well within rush hour - it wasn't too bad, for rush hour driving (I don't think I ever actually stopped, it got very slow from time to time). Arrived at the convention center at 5 pm and helped unload the truck and shift stuff into rooms until 7:30, took care of a few other things (I have both my attendee and my staff badge, now...), drove to my sister's eating dinner (sandwiches) as I drove. Unloaded a bunch of stuff I'm donating to an SCA rummage sale - yay, out of the house - now catching up on stuff online. And now I'm finished catching up and I zonk. 0040...sigh, short sleep again. Dumb. But there's always something I need to be doing...

Sheesh. I wrote this, and then forgot to hit Post. I think I was a little tired. Today my body is more tired, but apparently my brain is less so. First day of the con was great, I only made it to one panel but I had a lot of fun conversations. Did a shift as elevator handler - the party hotel has security on the elevator so you can only go to the floor where you have a room, with your room key. I had an all-access card, so got everyone up to the floors with the parties. Two hours standing - ow my legs. G'nite.

211jjmcgaffey
Aug 30, 4:02am Top

The con was great, and exhausting. I'm more or less recovered at this point (only a week later). It all blurs together - I didn't get to many panels, though the ones I did get to were at best interesting and often fascinating. I did get to do my workshop - two, actually, on successive days. 10-12 people each time, nice. And that meant I did a four-way participation - attendee, gofer, staff, and participant/guest. Fun! Though a five-day con is at least two days too long for me - on Saturday I went to bed early and skipped all the parties and after-hours events. I was a lot closer to awake on Sunday thanks to that. And I believe I worked enough hours as a gofer that assuming the con made money, I should get my membership fee refunded, which will be nice. Not why I gofer, but a nice perk.

I'm finally getting around to entering the books I bought or otherwise obtained at the con, too. I've read some of them (the Girl Genius books), still have some to read. And for some reason, I've been reading a lot of paper books, though not BOMBs, in the last week or so - some from the library (graphic novels), some rereads off my shelves, a few new books. I've passed my discards goal for the month, but I suspect I'll come up short on BOMBs again (though not by much).

212jjmcgaffey
Edited: Aug 30, 4:11am Top

Books Read
134. Michael and the Elf ^ by Kathryn Sullivan. Review - Cute little kid's portal story. Picked it up in the dealers room at the con, and finished it before I realized.
135. Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator...To the Enchanted Convention ^ by Walter Willis & James White. Review - Wow. Seriously cool story - I'm so glad it's been preserved online!
136. The Enchanted Duplicator @^ by Walter Willis & Bob Shaw. Review - The original from which the previous story derives - it's a Pilgrim's Progress into Fandom. Makes me want to read Pilgrim's Progress…
137. The City of Lightning ^ by Phil Foglio. Review - Lovely - I read it online first, finally picked up the book at Worldcon.
138. The Incorruptible Library ^ by Phil Foglio. Review - And this one ditto.
139. The Privilege of Peace @^ by Tanya Huff. Review - Took me a while, but it's very interesting - culture clashes, as usual, with some nice twists.
140. Kings and Wizards ^ by Phil Foglio. Review - Ditto again - this is the most recent book, though the online site is well past this.
141. The Curious Trio %^ by Roger Leloup. Review - This is the first book, as written - it's 7th in English, which is stupid. Yoko connects with Pol and Vic, and meets her alien friends for the first time.
142. On the Edge of Life %^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Again, out of order in English. Suspended animation and a scientific vampire.
143. The Dragon of Hong Kong %^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Weird sequence of events - live dragon and mechanical do battle.
144. The Morning of the World %^ by Roger Leloup. Review - Eh. There are so many coincidences here I can barely follow the story - even before the end, which ties back to The Time Spiral (very conveniently).
145. Shifting Plains # by Jean Johnson. Review - I do love this story - I've read it over and over. Very hot, in a restrained fashion, but it's the characters that draw me.
146. The Dead Lands @! by Rick Hautala. Review - Ugh. If he was trying for horror, he missed the mark - but he missed all the other marks as well.
147. Kristina The Girl King ^ by Carolyn Meyer. Review - Mildly interesting. I have to admit I immediately began thinking about Kristina in the 163x universe…
148. Famous Phonies ^ by Brianna DuMont. Review - Not very interesting, and awkward language.
149. Lake Tahoe, A Maritime History ^ by Peter Goin. Review - Very dull picture book with random captions.
150. Longshot # by Dick Francis. Review - Fun as always - this is the survival expert.

Currently Reading
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - I want to see if I enjoy Percy Jackson or not. Young Warriors by Tamora Pierce and Josepha Sherman - anthology, should have some interesting stories at the least.

BOMBs
Not a one.

Discards
Kristina and Lake Tahoe. Famous Phonies too, but it's not my book - return it to the parents.

New/Reread
Two rereads - Shifting Plains and Longshot - the rest are new (but no BOMBs). 14 rereads paid for.

And that's my reading goal accomplished (I didn't really expect not to hit that one...). 150 books read so far this year.

213jjmcgaffey
Sep 2, 1:42am Top

Books Read
151. The Lightning Thief * by Rick Riordan. Review - Not terrible - lots of plot holes, but I do want to see what happens next.

Currently Reading
Young Warriors - eh so far, the best story is one I've read many times before, by Tamora Pierce. I need a table book, and another BOMB or two (or three or four or...) to catch up.

BOMBs
Yep. Still short of my goal, but not too bad.

Discards
Yep again.

New/Reread
New to me and BOMB - so 15 rereads paid for.

One last August book.

214jjmcgaffey
Sep 2, 1:45am Top

August stats
26 books read
2 rereads
24 new books
15 rereads paid for

3883 pages read, average 149.3

3 BOMBs
2 ER books

4 ebooks, 22 paper books

6 discards - passed my goal for the month

9 SF&F
2 children's
2 non-fiction
12 graphic novels
1 mysteries

5 F, 19 M authors

A very unusual month - mostly because of the Yoko Tsuno graphic novels, from the library. Lots of paper books (not all Yoko), lots of male authors (not all Roger Leloup - but mostly). And I sort of equaled my best month so far - I also read 26 books in April, and I read a lot more pages that month. Still, fun. Passed my discards goal, I'm well ahead for the year (only need 14 more discards in the next four months. Not a problem), but I'm behind on my BOMBs (as usual). Try to get ahead before the holiday season.

215jjmcgaffey
Sep 8, 6:09am Top

Huh. I missed a book, earlier - an ER book, at that. Renumber the last few...

Books Read
145. Rebel Pilot, Texas Doctor @! by Eve Gaddy. Review - Not terrible, but not particularly interesting to me. Just doesn’t catch me.
153. A Spoonful of Magic ^ by Irene Radford. Review - Interesting - cozy urban fantasy! Not perfect, but fun.
154. Young Warriors @^ by Tamora Pierce & Josepha Sherman. Review - Eh. No bad stories, but no excellent ones; the best was one I know well, by Tamora Pierce.
155. A Hero for Antonia * by Elisabeth Kidd. Review - Excellent bit of fluff, with reasonably solid characters and all the proper Regency flourishes.

Currently Reading
Fantastical Ramblings by Irene Radford - a collection of short stories, mildly interesting so far. I still need a table book (I was reading Antonia, but that's fiction so only a couple days' worth).

BOMBs
Antonia is a BOMB.

Discards
Discarding the paper version of Antonia because I got the eversion. I may well reread, at some point, but I don't need it on my shelves...

New/Reread
All four new; 16 rereads paid for.

I've got a nasty cold, which is messing up my sleep schedule something fierce. I got up at the usual time this morning, brushed my teeth...and went back to bed until afternoon (though I only actually slept about an hour of that). Then got up and puttered around, got a package, went shopping (because there's a good sale only today on cat litter - but they were out. Got a raincheck), came home and did some cleaning up, then got on the computer and spent way too long fiddling around. I just gave my older computer a clean install of Windows, which means any time I want to do something I have to install a couple programs or change settings or something... that definitely contributed to the fiddling-around time. Scanned a few more covers, including two books I can now discard. But it's 3 am and I really should get to sleep - have to get up tomorrow and go to my parents to do laundry. Mom's recovering from a much nastier illness - this plus stomach flu, I think. Dad's now sick, probably about the same way I am. So I don't think we'll be doing much...I'll take my computer and do more fiddling. I can't scan there - well, I could, but I don't have the books _to_ scan. But I can clean up my scans and upload them to LT, which I'm extremely behind on. Plus I need to take a class online, and...something else online. If my brain is sufficiently functional tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just read comics and stuff.

216quondame
Sep 8, 9:57am Top

>215 jjmcgaffey: I hope you feel better soon.

217jjmcgaffey
Edited: Sep 9, 12:02am Top

Me too. I'm getting quite a lot done, in short bursts, because I'm basically not leaving the house. Inventoried and scanned another box of books, and tagged the next for scanning. Plus chores. But I get some things done, and then I collapse for an hour or so...very boring.

I didn't make it to my parents' today, maybe tomorrow. But I don't think I'm going to church, don't want to infect everyone. Most of the laundry is ready to go, but I still need to strip the bed - normally I get that done Friday, not this week.

218ronincats
Sep 9, 9:36pm Top

Hope you feel better soon, Jenn. "Summer" colds are the worst!!

219jjmcgaffey
Sep 9, 11:54pm Top

Con crud is worse - all the germs from all over get together and have a nice little party in everyone they can catch... And it's spread throughout my family - Mom is a little more recovered than I am, Dad's a little behind me, and my sister Mar got it at the con and is still in bad shape. Dee doesn't have it - she hasn't encountered us since the con.

I got laundry assembled, but not to my parents'. Shopped - I was out of milk, that's a necessity (I make my own yogurt which helps a lot, throat and stomach. But needs milk to make). And did hangout with my family, with all of us coughing at each other. It's 9 pm...and I think I'm going to bed.

220jjmcgaffey
Sep 14, 2:04pm Top

Books Read
155. Skylar’s Outlaw * by Linda Warren. Review - Perfectly good romance - I don’t want to reread, but it was fine.
156. Mackenzie’s Woman * by JoAnn Ross. Review - Ugh. Lies, manipulation, and insta-lust. I rated this 4 stars at some point? I’m wondering if it was a stray click. I’m going to count it as a BOMB - I certainly don’t remember it.
157. His Child or Hers? * by Dawn Stewardson. Review - Nice! Very solid characters - and no shortcuts to easy solutions.
158. Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride * by Elizabeth Rolls. Review - Oh, that's good. Talk about solid characters - lots of wrong choices all for very good reasons. Loved it. I need to remember that Elizabeth Rolls is good.
159. Fantastical Ramblings @! by Irene Radford. Review - Meh. Didn't enjoy any of the stories - most of them seemed rather pointless. I like her book-length work better.

Currently Reading
The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts, and Wonders Never Cease by Debra Salonen. Two more BOMBs out of my romance boxes - this being sick is being very helpful, in some ways! Also Penric's Fox by Lois McMasters Bujold, which somehow slipped by and didn't get read immediately when I got it... That's an ebook.

BOMBs
Four BOMBs and an ER book - which would be a BOMB if it weren't an ebook (2013). I'm past my goal for this month, and one short of being up to the count for the year.

Discards
Two discards - the first two romances - and two keepers. I'd discard Fantastic Ramblings too but it doesn't count.

New/Reread
All five new - and with 4 BOMBs, that means 20 rereads paid for. I should actually do some, at some point.

I'm still quite sick - only up to doing things for a little while, then I collapse again. I'm also utterly bored of being sick. So my ongoing project for the last week has been inventorying my book boxes - using Inventory mode to collect what's actually in a box, then tagging them with the box number, and finally scanning any covers (most of them) that haven't been scanned. And picking out books that appeal to me and reading them, which has helped tremendously with my BOMBs challenge. Work on a box for a while, sit or lie down and read, work some more...do household chores (one major disadvantage of living alone, there's no one to pick up the slack if I can't do something. So it gets done).

My older laptop, which was acting as a desktop replacement, has started crashing constantly despite a fresh install of Windows. I suspect it's the fan, again - I replaced it once before, years ago, though all it really needed was a good cleaning. I'll do that again, but not until I'm better - one of the symptoms of this cold is conjunctivitis, and I can't focus on anything for long. Don't want to get into the guts of the computer and poke the wrong thing. Later. Fortunately my newer laptop, from this past Christmas, is behaving itself perfectly.

annnndd...I'm going to eat some yogurt and go back to bed. It's 11 am...but then I didn't go to sleep last night. I'm actually trying to work my way forward around the clock, because that's easier than trying to get up at the normal time when you don't go to sleep until 3 or 5 am.

221jjmcgaffey
Sep 17, 2:51am Top

Books Read
160. The Return of Rafe McKade * by Nora Roberts. Review - Rafe is way over-entitled, at the beginning, but he learns a lesson - so does Regan. Solid characters, though the plot's a little thin.
161. Penric's Fox @^ by Lois McMasters Bujold. Review - Lovely, like all of these. Another murder investigation, with some really interesting threads drawn in. Now I want to reread the whole set…
162. The Rose Legacy @^ by Jessica Day George. Review - Pretty little story - it has flaws, but was fun. Looking forward to the sequel.
163. Spinning Silver @^ by Naomi Novik. Review - Wow. Fantastic variant on multiple fairy tales. So much more than a retelling…

Currently Reading
Still Wonders Never Cease - it's OK, but not up to the last three books. So I'm reading more on my phone than in paper. I'll start another ebook soon, but haven't yet. And still looking for a table book!

BOMBs
Rafe MacKade is a BOMB, the other three are ebooks.

Discards
Hmmm...no, I don't think so. Hanging on to Rafe, for a while anyway.

New/Reread
All four new, and one BOMB means 21 rereads paid for(!!). I do have some rereads lined up, but there keeps being something better first.

I'm still sick. And now I'm pissed off, because yesterday I woke almost well - still a trifle stuffy and occasionally coughing, but with full energy, my throat barely sore, and feeling great. And by evening my throat was on fire and my sinuses were so stuffed my ears hurt. Grr! No fair, you can't go away and then come right back! I think I hate this cold. At least I got laundry done (at least some of it) while I was feeling OK, and did some shopping too. But grrr. I went through my ebooks that I haven't read yet and found a bunch of good-to-excellent ones - and then Spinning Silver came in from the library and added to the lot. Still reading a few BOMBs, though since I've stalled out on book boxes in the last couple days I haven't picked up any more to start. I'll do that later, when this settles down again. One reason I don't have a table book is that I haven't been eating normal meals - my throat is sore enough I can't eat a lot of my normal foods, so I've been drinking smoothies. So not much time at the table.

Going forward around the clock worked about as well as it usually does - which is to say, not at all. Went to sleep at 11 am, woke at 5 pm, stayed up a couple hours, woke again at 1 pm the next day. Bah. It's midnight now - go to sleep soon.

222humouress
Sep 17, 3:03am Top

Oh no! I hope you get better soon.

Looks like the con was a family affair. Hope they're better soon, too.

223jjmcgaffey
Sep 19, 3:53am Top

I've actually got enough posts in this thread, and it's still early enough in the year, that I think I'm going to continue. I believe this is the first time I've continued a book thread...

Group: Club Read 2018

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