richardderus's fourteenth thread of 2019
This is a continuation of the topic richardderus's thirteenth thread of 2019.
This topic was continued by richardderus's fifteenth thread of 2019.
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See ya, 2019! 1949 says all the best.
I'm bowing to reality. My new goal is to write 150 reviews for my blog, meaning real reviews not impressions or squibs. At this point I barely won't make it. My ancillary goal remains to create some sort of post about the Pearl-Ruled books explaining why I am abandoning ship; I'll set an arbitrary count of 100 of those since goodness knows I abandon a lot of books.
My 2018 Reviews Are Here:
Reviews 1-25 are linked there.
Reviews 26-31 are linked here.
Reviews 32-39 are linked there.
Reviews 40-54 are linked over here.
Reviews 55-70 are linked over here.
Reviews 71-101 (I misnumbered) are linked over here.
Reviews 102-110 are linked over here.
Reviews 111 - 123 are reviewed over here.
Reviews 124-127 are there.
2019's Reviews Are Here:
Reviews 1-4 are here.
My first Pearl-Ruled notice and two reviews are found here.
Reviews 7-15 plus some Pearl Rules are in this thread.
Reviews 15-19 and a Pearl Rule are here.
Reviews 20 & 21 are are here.
Reviews 22-32 are back there.
Reviews 33-38, Pearl Rules 6 & 7, and a random review are all back yonder.
Reviews 39-50 and Pearl Rule 8 got left behind.
Reviews 51-57 sont derriere.
Reviews 58-66 and three Pearl Rules are thataway.
Reviews 67-82 plus three Pearl Rules are swiftly receding.
Reviews 83-104 and two Pearl Rules estan por detrás.
Reviews 105-111, plus three well-loved reads, reside rearward.
This thread's reviews are:
112 The Forbidden Stars wraps up the trilogy nicely, post 83.
113 The Betel Nut Mystery was perfectly adequate, post 112.
114 Good Legs is a fun short story, post 166.
115 Spacebred Generations tells us about ourselves in stark relief, post 210.
116 Kind Sir was a flop as a play and a flop as a movie, now unremembered, but a favorite of mine, see post 235.
117 Dark Space introduces a space-opera setting I quite like, post 258.
118 Darker Space expands the universe I already liked, post 259.
119 Starlight finishes what I think the author planned to say about the space-opera setting, though I hope not! post 260.
120 Gaia, Queen of Ants rocked right along in its uncomfortable way, post 267.
121 Wish Upon A Star was a nice little story to round out my thread with, post 281.
122 Five for Heaven ends a series of fun little stories with magjickq'n'stuff, post 282.
123 Rain and Embers is about the Immigrant Experience in the US, post 283.
124 Vintage 1954 wiled away three hours most agreeably, post 288.
Via Bookish, here's a list of challenges to #KillYourTBR (note that I've modified a few entries to make them possible for me to meet):
Bad night. My ceiling sprang a leak. The radiator above my bed and next to all the artwork I have on my wall leaked.
Google won't let me post the image but the link doesn't require sign-in. Lots of busy-ness moving things and, since I can't move my art by myself, I was worried all night that the bubble would pop and everything would be ruined.
It didn't happen and the bubble has shrunk greatly. The maintenance man is looking into the radiator above my room as the source of the leak. Cross y'all's crossables for a swift, permanent, easy-for-me resolution?
>4 richardderus: I hope your artwork remains safe! Fingers crossed, and typing a bitch this way!
Happy new thread!
>4 richardderus: Oh, no. Will maintenance move your artwork for you until the situation is definitively resolved? Looks like some very lovely stuff, both artistic and personal, you have hanging there.
Happy and hopefully dry new thread, RD.
I will do my utmost to be a contortionist until the plumber plumbs.
>6 jessibud2: If only your home issues were so easily fixed, Shelley.
>7 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie...it would SO suck to lose two paintings I've had since the middle 1970s and one trippy one I got here.
>8 laytonwoman3rd: I don't think they care about my stuff, Linda3rd, but the one guy might help me if I can catch him...if the leak is fixed, I'll be less anxious about it.
>9 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, thanks for the contortions.
Happy new thread and I hope the leak gets fixed quickly and not one single drop of water ends up anywhere near your lovelies.
*second smooch* of the day
I'm in! Thank god for latex paint! I really like the painting, and WHO is the handsome guy in the lower left? Hum?
>17 SomeGuyInVirginia: Hey there, Lare, glad you're here...that is mah dear ol' Daddy, I shall have you to know, when he was a stripling of forty.
The painting was made by Mama's best friend, Irene Walgore, in 1973. I *slaved* to pay her $50 for it. I've always said that my taste in art stems from meeting Irene. She used the palette of the Fauves to paint Impressionistically. It always did right by my eyes, and still does.
OMG, water leaks and artwork *never* end well! Crossables crossed that the leak doesn't burst.
On a happier note, 1949 Dodge! The car my folks had when I was really little. No decent car-family photos, though.
>19 SandyAMcPherson: *read as I listen to the dripdripdrip of hot water into a 5gal bucket*
Oh, that is an UGLY-looking bubble, Richard. I'm so glad it didn't burst. Hope they get it fixed soonest.
I love the Basil scent of Meyer's Soap.
I learned to drive on a basic 1949 Dodge with Fluid Drive (made learning a stick shift a bit easier, that) probably a lot like this:
>17 SomeGuyInVirginia: I also have hung a painting by an Irene prominently in my house, Irene Boody, I believe, who was a local landscape painter in my small dessert town. Certainly purchased before 1976 and at a similar price, but nothing like as colorful.
Happy New Thread, Richard. I like the Coronet topper! How did it go today, with the maintenance people? Fingers crossed.
>24 msf59: Hi Mark, well...nothing to report...they stayed shtumm all day and left the building an hour ago. In their defense, there are six public spaces with buckets under leaks and those leaks are scarier than mine. Still makes me edgy to have a bulb pf hot water dribbling into a bucket mere inches from paintings I can't move.
Hi there Richard, so sorry to hear about the water troubles. Someone more knowledgeable than me (a plumber) reminded me once when I had horrible water problems that the power of water is not to be underestimated. It causes more problems than anything else on earth I think.
Happy new thread!
>26 brenzi: Water has stepped up its assault. I ended up having to scramble around, hurting myself in the process, getting my artwork off the wall. Mission accomplished, though, so that's good.
I had terrible water problems last summer. The house I live in was built on a cement slab and the pipes in the slab developed a leak. Of course, it was the hot water. Just to add to the misery the constant running ruined the hot water heater, so that had to be replaced. That was what clued me in to the fact that something was wrong. Then I had to get a fancy new age water witcher to come into my house, run some kind of an ultra sound machine over the floor to find the pipe that was leaking. He marked my floor up, then the plumbers had to get a jack hammer into the house and break up the floor. Fortunately for me, I still had some of the hard wood pieces left over from when the house was rebuilt after the tornado in 2011, so the patching doesn't show. It was expensive, and painfully protracted. I had to take time off from work, etc. etc.
Water - where it isn't needed is a curse. Water where it is needed is a blessing.
Richard sends his apologies, that he won't be visiting LT until probably tomorrow afternoon. This is due to the ongoing issues resulting from the leak in his room. He has been busy sorting out his things and is a little worn out. He said he's fine, though and just needs to rest for a day or so.
Sorry to read about the leak in your room, Richard. I hope the issue is solved soon.
Take all the rest you need. (((hugs)))
Happy new thread, Richard. I hope your water woes are fixed soonest.
Very bad no good day. Go look at my Facebook wall. So to speak.
See everyone...well...when I can.
>35 richardderus: Oh my. Glad to hear that the artwork is protected. But. Oh my.
Hoping for rapid repairs.
Feeling your pain :(
We have a leak in our roof which was coming through above my daughters bed. We finally worked out what was causing it - but with the terrible weather it's now been two weeks and they guy had to cancel on fixing it this morning. This means that I have to continue my twice daily climb into the loft, crawling on arms and knees along the building (it's a v shallow loft) before squeezing on to a board between to beams (less than a foot high gap), wriggling till I can lean on my elbows and retrieving and emptying a bed pan style bucket that I have to pull back from where the roofing felt has collapsed.
I am not a small person. It is a squeeze and it hurts every time I do it. I have never had enough sympathy for people with joint pain as my elbows, knees and shoulders are taking it in turns to be torture - so much much sympathy now to all who do.
Whinge over :(
How awful. I'm glad your artwork was protected. I hope everything is fixed soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.
*smooch* from your own Horrible
I am sorry to hear about the continuing water issues! WTH? I hope they get everything fixed today and I also hope the damage to your belongings, is minimal. Fingers crossed.
>36 swynn: Thanks, Steve!
>37 BekkaJo: OMG, Bekka, that's hideous! All that crawl/drag/empty routine, well, *I* sure couldn't do it. *smooch* for your difficulties to feel a little bit better.
>38 karenmarie: Seriously, Horrible, this could've been so very much worse.
I'm waiting out the plumbing activity in the secret lounge. It's noisy with other plumbing work, but it's not dropping dust and crap on me.
>39 msf59: Thanks, Mark. It's a 110-year-old building, it wasn't always well maintained, and it lived through Superstorm Sandy...I'm amazed it has as few issues as it does.
Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry to see what happened in your room! My sympathies, friend, and glad you were able to move the artwork prior to the major issues. I hope it's able to get quickly fixed and you back and comfortable soon. Ugh.
>41 bell7: Thanks, Mary, it's ongoing...the new valve that fixed the leak is leaking. Like all old systems, once one thing goes wrong...well...it's part of being in a place that's got character. And let's face it, seven books (I found some more while I was getting the unvacuumable bits vacuumed now) is bubkes for a water problem. I am happier than ever that I did the hard work of moving stuff BEFORE the problem showed up.
Tomorrow, goddesses willing, the new sheetrock will go up.
So no on the tomorrow sheetrockin' because some new problems surfaced. A contractor will come on Monday. The whole exposed area, now leakless for over 6 hours, is plastic-wrapped and the new mattress and box spring are presently under me dimpled hiney.
I got a lovely surprise in the mail! I bought Roni's gorgeous persimmon-glazed tankard, and it arrived safely today. Damned image went sideways onto LT and I can't be arsed to figure out how to fix it now. But y'all know me well enough to realize that if I had a personal anti-grav unit I'd've bragged about it loudly already.
>43 richardderus: Very annoying when LT rotates the pictures like that. Here ya' go.
>43 richardderus: Good thing you've got a squad to get your back, kiddo! Very nice photo--you're looking good.
I think the timing was good--you didn't have to worry about it while moving all your stuff around but can get that little extra boost from your coffee in a gen-you-wine stoneware mug that is a work of art (if I do say so myself) while recuperating.
Just delurking to send sympathy about the water damage and the perils of aging plumbing.
>43 richardderus: Nice ceramic mug. A great comfort in all your leaky woes.
>43 richardderus:. You have nice eyes, Richard dear. The same can be said about just about everybody, but I really like yours. And those ceramic mugs are the bomb! You can get a ton of coffee or tea and them. Lucky lucky man.
Happy new thread, Rdear. I'm so sorry to hear the misfortune of breaking the water pipe. I hope this issue will be resolved soon.
Awesome photo with Roni's new mug. Now all you need is a jug of coffee to refill.
Nice photo, RD, sideways or upright.
Sorry about the continuing post-leak woes, but it does sound like they're trying to do the right thing. And a new mattress and box spring are a wonderful thing.
*smooch* from your own Horrible
RD!!! Can you get a pillow top mattress??? They are seriously awesome.
>48 ronincats: It was wonderful serendipity, indeed. I had a delightful time washing it when I unboxed it, rubbing the smooth/sandy contrast and the shape of the bowl around and around in my hands. It was like getting a hug from you across the whole width of the country!
>49 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks, Sandy, I appreciate the sympathy. It was very comforting because it's hand-made by someone I've known forever (over a decade here, that's modern forever) and that makes it special.
>50 SomeGuyInVirginia: *smooch* Silver-tongued devil!
>51 Ameise1: I do love a glass pot for coffee, Barbara, but honestly I love my double-walled stainless-steel pot so much it's hard to imagine giving it up.
>52 karenmarie: *baaawww* Thank you, sweetiedarling!
Well, old buildings have issues just like old people, and all too frequently they're plumbing related. Because the wall's open, I can hear every clank and creak from the pipes. It's not especially relaxing...I had an anxiety attack when I got up for the prostate pee at 4am, the noises had me convinced that I was about to take a too-hot steam bath.
They're louder because they're not behind a wall, said my less-sleepy rational mind.
Still, I stayed up and watched Klaus on Netflix....
>53 SomeGuyInVirginia: I have a memory-foam 1" topper for the mattress. No way would a state-supported facility even spend the time to laugh at the idea of getting a resident a fancy mattress! It took me three months to repay my friend for the top-quality topper, but it has been so very very worth it. I'm saving up for the inevitable replacement. They don't come cheap and they don't last forever.
Great photo of you and the tankard, Richard. Sideways or right side up the picture is very colourful. Fingers crossed for a speedy and successful repair.
>56 Familyhistorian: Thank you, Meg! I appreciate the kindnesses.
Three hours of Rob hanging in my room with me has left me smiling. He was so kind, surprising me by showing up and just holding me so I could really decompress. My therapist, whom I see on Fridays, is a lovely soul but she doesn't give hugs!
I am refreshed. Onward!
>58 quondame: I don't know what size bed you have, or what the sheet-changing regimen is there, but my twin-size 1" memory foam topper is ideal because I can use a shallow bottom sheet to make just the topper, or a deep bottom sheet to make the mattress and topper together, depending on how much my hands hurt.
I could have housekeeping do the making, but they have a habit of walking off with my sheets thinking they're the facility's.
>57 richardderus: Happy to read that Rob came to lift your spirits, Richard.
>59 richardderus: I share a California king, and take up rather too much of it with my dog bed, but am suffered to do so because I complain a lot less about back pain than formerly. My dog usually eschews the dog bed in favor of pushing my husband toward his edge of the bed. For herself, she abhors edges and is expert and fixing herself in middles. Fortunately, at under 13 lbs, she can be removed when she is really not wanted. I'm thinking a memory-foam pad would work great with the camping cots we use.....
Hope the worst is behind you now, Richard. Continued vibes for a speedy restoration to comfort and joy. And yay, Rob!
Happy Saturday, Richard. Glad to see the smile. Hooray for the colorful tankard and the loving embrace of Rob. It looks like both helped.
>60 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita, I was *so*happy* to see him! The visit boosted my mood a lot.
>61 quondame: They're pricey for camping, and fully twin-sized, so if the cots are even a little bit smaller than standard twin there will be issues. So's you know.
>62 jessibud2: Your keyboard to the goddesses' inbox, Shelley! I know how, errm, un-fun your Montreal issues are and I can honestly say I'll take my problems over yours! I am so sad that this situation simply drags and drags.
He was a fleecy little lambkin for coming here on a workday to just be with me. I am so impressed!
>63 msf59: Thanks, Birddude! They both helped my mood a lot, and Rob rolled his eyes, grabbed a bunch of crates, and set me to sorting keep-vs-donate books. "So when were you planning to read these swords-and-sworcery novels? Are you going to live long enough to make re-reading all this Wodehouse a good investment? Can I please have the Cordwainer Smith collection? What do you mean, in your will?!"
Upshot was I deaccessioned a hundred or so books with his raised eyebrow, impatient snorts, and loving snark. But no, he didn't get the Smiths. (I'll wrap 'em for Yule.)
>64 richardderus: The mattress pad I was looking at was a bit more than the cot itself, but within range for what I spend on major whims. My husband was unhappy with his cot and got one the size of mine, pretty much twin bed size & as my current dog bed is a bit wider than the cot, the mattress pad should work. But adding another thing to the packing list, that might be a problem.
>65 quondame: Hefting and humping these things wouldn't be my idea of fun, but then neither is sleeping outdoors. So that's me opined out!
>66 richardderus: I "camp" in a rather large tent in which I have my own 8'x8' room - and the nights in late May and early October are just cold enough for me to pile on blankets and it is some of the best sleep I get all year. I've gotten quite used to the drumming for the belly dancers and all the bardic wailing.
>67 quondame: ...looks...like...English...can't make sense of it, though...
>69 quondame: Amen! It's disrespectful to all our ancestors' hard work to go back to sleeping outside and cooking over an open pit!
>69 quondame: and >70 richardderus: ... camping, hmmmm. No.
Many years ago, we tented and then had a "camper" on the back of our pickup truck. It was the only way we could afford to travel anywhere. We liked being out in the bush, canoeing and what not. Our kids grew up learning a lot of the great outdoors, fishing, astronomy, how to read a topo sheet, quiet forests etc.
Fast forward ~ I got older and said, Okay, kids have left home and I am not going to camp anymore, even in a hard-sided arrangement.
I want to be pampered if I'm travelling. I want to stay in interesting towns and take day trips, have meals that are outstanding, have indoor toilets thankyouverymuch.
It has been glorious. Not as many 2- and 3-week journeys, but worth the change in travelling mode. Just saying for me, of course. I get that for SCA (as an example) one can hardly participate if they're staying at the local "Astoria" or equivalent...
>71 SandyAMcPherson: For me it's the hot and private showers. No hot showers? Will not attend. This is not hell, I mean high school, and I do not wish to share my cleaning process with the great unwashed. I'd've been a terrible Roman.
>57 richardderus: Rob’s a sweetie – so glad you are refreshed.
>64 richardderus: Cull-master! And sneaky for holding the Cordwainer Smiths back for Yule. Excellent.
And re camping: We only had two vacations that I can remember that were not camping. Army surplus tent, cots, sleeping bags. Coleman stove and lantern. Outhouses if we were lucky. The last time I camped it was with a boyfriend in ... 1974? at Morro Bay. Nevermore.
>73 karenmarie: Morning, Horrible! How lucky I am to have the love and support of so many people so widely distributed. It's a humbling and delightful experience.
Many bags of books others will enjoy are upstairs. I gave one man a special bag of old mysteries and thrillers. It wasn't stuff I'll re-read, like old Christies and MacLeans. He's happy now, I'm happy to do it, and Rob made it happen.
>43 richardderus: Really nice to actually see you, Richard. Geez, you don't look like a demon.
Really glad you survived the plumbing leaks without permanent damage.
>75 weird_O: Appearances can be deceiving...
Tomorrow, possibly, I'll have a huge grim day of my wall's wallboard coming down and being replaced. *sigh*
"Upshot was I deaccessioned a hundred or so books with his raised eyebrow, impatient snorts, and loving snark." Love it!
Happy Sunday, Richard. I am enjoying a perfectly lazy day. Books are front and center, with some football later on. I did pop out and fix up the bird feeders and filled the birdbath. I also cleared away some leaves, but that will be the end of my outdoor activity. I am having a good time with The River Why. Talk about snarky fun.
Hey, lookee my pretties together! Roni's mug and my SterlingPro french press pot.
I am so bummed that they don't make this shape anymore. All are cylinders now, which while graceful fail the coziness test.
Your problems...I can’t even. Here’s hoping that tomorrow will be as quiet and stress-free as possible.
Much love to you.
112 The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt
Rating: 4.5* of five
We're not under any illusions about the Axiom anymore, are we? They're the xenocidal monsters of which nightmares were first brewed, they're cruel and thoughtless and smugly superior...no, scratch that, they're oblivious to lesser life's reality and so find nothing or no one convincingly sentient except themselves. They're even working, while in hibernation, on changing the fundamental constants of the Universe! And all so they can prolong their own nasty existences (and those of some slaves to do the scut work, one supposes) in complete disregard of the fact that this fundamental alteration would destroy whatever life there already is in it. In spite of all that, here's Captain Callie Machedo and Ashok the engineer, the White Raven's Scotty, met in the middle of blowing the (apparently awakening, shudder) Axiom's shit up some more!
Some people don't want to live.
Or rather, some people are willing to risk death so that the Universe and its untold trillions of life-forms can, and will, live. An altogether more noble formulation of the same set of behaviors, no?
The rest of the review will go live on my blog, Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud, on the 29th...the first day of my annual #Booksgiving review-fest!
>82 bohemima: Gosh, thanks for the wishes, Gail but I want noise and dust and workmen putting up wallboard! Then silence on Tuesday.
I bought Tim Pratt's The Wrong Stars during my last visit to Mysterious Galaxy--which was just notified they had lost their lease and so, unless something miraculous happens, it will close in 60 days. Anyhow, glad you are enjoying Pratt, and hope tomorrow will be full of ripped workmen fixing your wall.
I hope Monday sees everything done and Tuesday can be gloriously uneventful.
>85 ronincats: I hope you like Pratt's work! Beware the infodumps.
That's horrible news about Mysterious Galaxy! I'm so sad. It was a great landmark on the SFF scene.
>86 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! See below.
>87 karenmarie: *smooch*
Okay, so knowing how this stuff works, I was showered, bandaged (knee wounds are always in need of help when I have to be out of my bed for a day), and had just started the coffee binge when the workmen arrived! It was so completely and exactly what I was told would happen that I was, and still am, a bit shell-shocked.
AND no, they didn't want to move my bed so all the kerfuffle of getting the mattress topper moved etc etc blahblahblah wasn't needed! Of course I threw sheets over stuff so I won't have to dust later. Now to tackle the wet-carpet issue.
But all in all, a great way to start the day.
Well, hurray for the shock of efficiency! I'd keel over dead if that happened here! My *wet carpet* issue, which of course, was much more than just a wet carpet, is into its tenth month and although the larger, outside issues have begun to be addressed (though not yet completed), the basement remains carpetless and stripped naked, as we speak. You give me hope, though, that such a thing (efficiency) does exist, somewhere... ;-)
Happy Brand New Thread! Said the laggard 90 posts in.
Love the photos of you and the lovely Roni creation. Thank you for the mug close-up in >79 richardderus:. You look like a happy camper, and with good reason.
It's our last day here. Arrggh. A combination of looking forward to being home and wanting to take them all back with us.
>89 jessibud2:, >90 SandyAMcPherson: I'm so sad about the ongoing annoyances of life for you, Shelley...I hope Sandy's idea will help the future of the space.
>91 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I know what you mean, you want to sleep in your own bed but you don't want to leave Rafa and, um, what were their names again, those parent people? But then there's the whole knowing-where-everything-is factor....
Glad you enjoyed yourself, happy to see you here, and a fond salute to you and Bubbe.
I'm glad lad to note your increased outlook for dry comfort! I hope all your possessions get back to where you can best enjoy them with minimal difficulty.
Glad things are getting a little drier for you. Hopefully, the repairs are quick!
I am indeed shocked that person(s) showed up on time, prepared to work.
The mind reels.
>93 quondame: Thanks, Susan. I'm beginning to suspect that'll be most of the week. The plastering they do tomorrow for finishing touches will need to cure, so it'll be Thursday before they paint. Oh well.
>94 figsfromthistle: They've been amazingly quick, Anita, though nothing in the realm of physics can make materials behave differently than they were engineered to do.
>95 bohemima: Heh. I know, right?
>96 msf59: He's got excellent taste all around, said the old man he hangs with. *grin*
>98 ronincats: It pretty much was, Roni; I spent a lot more time sitting than was comfortable for me, though, so I fell asleep once I got back into my own bed around 3pm.
Hi Richard. I love the mug Roni made for you and now that I have met her in person I can enjoy her creative work even more! I'm also glad you (we both) have friends around here who will, um, put us to rights when we are gone a bit sideways. xo
Happy new thread Richard!
I hope your water woes are finally over.
>79 richardderus: Those shapes compliment each other well. Yay for Roni!
... Wait; you parted ways with your sword-and-sorcery and your Wodehouse? Why am I even talking to you? ;0)
>100 EBT1002: Ain't it the truth! *smooch*
>101 humouress: Yeah, well, you can put it down to the Evil Youth. He asks good questions, then expects answers. I *won't* live long enough to make a re-read of Wodehouse a good investment; I can't even imagine why I got the swords-and-sworcery in the first place!
Good to see that there is progress happening with your repairs, Richard. But of course it would be a miracle if it could all be done in one visit. That Rob, what a thoughtful guy!
Happy Tuesday, RichardDear.
Sorry there was too much sitting yesterday, glad that it was in a good cause.
>79 richardderus: Looks like the pretty pretties were made to be together, Richard!
Good they are working on your place. I hope it is all done in a few days, as it is hard enough for you being up all day.
I was reading Film School Reject's list of the 50 Best TV Shows of the 10s when I ran across my dear doted-upon Great British Bake-Off at #15. Critic Farah Cheded said succinctly what I'd need an hour to express:
You couldn’t get a sweeter, warmer atmosphere in an oven full of blueberry muffins. GBBO plays like an anti-reality show insofar as it stands in stark contrast to everything that genre defined itself as in the ‘00s: there’s no dehumanizing humiliation here, and the only currency that matters is a Paul Hollywood handshake, the stakes being otherwise low (no cash prize, only a bouquet of flowers and a cake stand).
Sometimes the "lowest" stakes are really the most important, at least to me; doing your very best, being seen to do it, and appreciated for the merits as well as held accountable for the failures therein. I've watched every episode, knowing it's a show and the editing is what drives the drama, still seeing the real and urgent *need* in these folks as the driving force of why people watch it in the 10s of millions.
>103 Familyhistorian: I'm genuinely pleased that the repairs haven't been more horrible than they absolutely had to be. I am aware of my good luck every time Rob does something sweet...and it says everything that I'm aware of it often.
>104 karenmarie: Thanks, Horrible. I'm still abed today, probably will be until early afternoon when the plaster will have had the statutory 24hrs to set. Then he'll put on another, beauty coat, and the 24hr clock will start again before painting. At least, that's what I hope!
>105 jnwelch: I'm still in joy mode over the extremely low loss-of-books ratio, Joe, so the minor annoyance of having to be ready to move to the secret lounge at a moment's notice is trivial to my emotional altitude.
Get rid of Georgette Heyers! Sure, I'll get rid of my left leg while I'm at it.
>106 FAMeulstee: They do, don't they Anita? I was captivated by the mug for that reason: The glorious persimmon-red glaze, the tubby shape, the handle big enough for my fingers, and the fact that it looks cozy and happy like my french press pot. Could not resist, did not try.
*smooch* Happy reading today!
>108 katiekrug: :-)
So maybe tomorrow, though I'm guessing more likely Thursday, paint will go on the wall. It's happened pretty darn fast! I'm very pleased, especially as I know some of the other issues the guys are coping with.
But y'all! Y'ALL AREN'T GONNA BELIEVE THIS!! EDITED...NEW INFO CAME TO ME:
AND I WON!!!
OH BOY!! I was wrong about the contest...it turns out the books came from a good ol' pal of mine whose kind heart was touched by my plight! Even better!!
The boxes are in my storage piles waiting for my room to be done. SO EXCITED!
ETA This is the haul! (On top of my crates that'll be going back into my room after painting is done and dried.)
113 The Betel Nut Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu
Rating: 3* of five
The last half of this book was a fast ride, and a lot of fun. I will most likely continue the series, but we're talking about cocktail-peanut books...much of a muchness. This book did nothing not done in the first book, and the series is the series so take it as you find it.
Not much horsepower expended in the read or the review. But more than adequate for time-passing, with a charming sleuth. Though I'd strongly prefer the absence of an established framing device, the "remembering in leisure what was lived in haste" trope. Almost never, at least since Rebecca, has that felt necessary or fresh.
>111 richardderus: - Holy windfall, Batman!!!! And wowza! Congrats!
And we could have a field day with that paint on the wall. Sort of like a Rorschach (sp?) test-type thing. It kind-of looks like a profile of someone naked from the waist to the knees, to me.... I do have a migraine at the moment, so maybe that's just me and my drugs speaking....
>113 jessibud2: Heh...I hadn't seen that, but I do now! "Thanks" for the un-unseeable thought. I'm so amazed at my very good fortune.
Oh, WOW! I can't believe you won the whole thing!! Congratulations, Richard dear!
>115 ronincats: Thanks, Roni, I'm amazed I am finding the discipline to keep from ripping into the boxes Right NOW but, as they're in the public hall, I don't want to run the risk of opening them up for little mice to pilfer.
Wow you certainly have a lot going on in your life Richard, not all of it bad either. Congratulations on nearing the end of the emergency renovations and on the great stockpile of books.
>111 richardderus: What at great win! Do you know the number of books and titles in those boxes?
>111 richardderus: Wowza!! That is fantastic! Looking forward to hearing how you are going to deal with this booty. Lots of sorting and prioritizing. Very cool.
Happy Wednesday, Richard. I am enjoying the day off, but with the damp & chilly weather, I do not think I will be hiking.
>111 richardderus: Wow! That is a great win, Richard, congratulations! I am so happy for you!
Very curious what books you got.
>120 msf59: It is indeed, Mark, and thanks! I'm expecting a lot of it to go to the library, TBH, but we'll know more when I'm able to get into them.
Glad you're at least spared a day trudging through the slop. No birding, but no delivering either, so on balance isn't that a yay?
>121 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita, I'll be posting the pilf as soon as I unpack it. I know one book is This Chair Rocks! because its development editor was a friend of mine from years ago.
Congrats on the book windfall. It’s probably more fun to open the boxes like it’s Christmas, but I did peek at their bookshop tab and saw all 13 published in 2019, and the 6 already scheduled for 2020.
And, I just signed up for Celadon’s newsletter.
>123 karenmarie: Hey Horrible! I'm not at all unpleased by the list they've built. Jamie Raab was around when I was agenting. Her taste wasn't quite in line with mine but she's got a good, solid list.
And see? The contest works! They got more list subscribers from it. *smooch*
You've heard of Celadon Books...they're a new part of the Macmillan publishing empire...they ran a contest to win their ENTIRE first year's output.
AND I WON!!!
Woo-hoo! Way to go, man. Can't wait to hear what delights are in those boxes. When did you pick up the nickname "Whisper Man"?
BTW, I'm glad to hear that you're keeping your left leg and the Georgette Heyers.
>111 richardderus: - What a great win! Can't wait to hear what's in those boxes. It looks like a lot more than just 13 books....
>111 richardderus: What a great surprise for a book lover! Looking forward to your list of titles!
>125 jnwelch: I'd be 60% less human without them.
Your guess is as good as mine re: Whisper Man. I don't think I whisper, though I've noticed some people do have trouble hearing me. I put it down to a morbid fear of being a screamer like my parents.
>126 katiekrug: It sure does, but the boxes weren't too heavy for me to lift by myself. Maybe it's got the ARCs for their 2020 list?
>127 thornton37814: It's a great way to end a week of upheavals and disarrangements. I was deeply, deeply anxious for the first four days of this passage and am only now finding some sense of the bottom I can stand on.
>128 jessibud2: It's a really good book. I have the self-pubbed edition around here somewhere. I'll look it up.
So, back up there in >111 richardderus:, I thought it was the contest winnings that arrived...but OH BOY!! I was wrong about the contest...it turns out the books came from a good ol' pal of mine whose kind heart was touched by my plight! Even better!!
Have an Octypus!
>131 richardderus: What a great friend! So did you win and have those book to look forward to?
>132 quondame: How gloriously WEIRD! I love it, thanks.
No, these are all the books I can expect to receive. I may yet win the contest, but now I don't much care TBH.
>111 richardderus: What fun! Truly compensation for the leakage upheaval... I hope there are wonderful things in there that you really want to read, and some left over to donate.
What a difference a day makes! Twenty-four little hours later, my wall looks better than it did when I moved in. The paint will be ready for me to hang my artwork again by tomorrow, I can move my books in at last, and all will be even better than it was the day the ceiling started plopping hot water on me last week. All the yay!
>134 laytonwoman3rd: I know, right?! What a great way to end a stressful passage.
I honestly am not fussed about what books are in the boxes, it's their existence, and their provenance, that matters to me. To be so well thought of by someone who's known me thirty years says something. I hope.
I was hiding in my basement, so I missed all the tradesmen shuffling through your room, making it once again dry and habitable. Glad your spirits are up, and that you have a stack of new books to read.
BTW, can't like that topper. Pedestrian, utilitarian, lumpen. A rolling obstacle. But that's just weird old me.
>137 weird_O: Heh...that was the common opinion in 1949, when Ford introduced its zippy new styles. I'm really pleased to have my room reassembled, see below.
Books are in place, so my corner is ready for ME!
>139 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I'm sorry I didn't clean it up first, but I was so excited to have it (mostly) done I couldn't wait. I still need the guys to help me hang my big manatee dream painting.
So glad that the repairs have gone smoothly and you're able to start putting things to right again, Richard. And hooray for big boxes of books! Hope you find some real winners in there.
>141 bell7: Not *quite* what I was expecting, since it came from the friend of a friend and wasn't the contest win I'd hoped for, but hey! Good to have copies for everyone.
Okay, well, the boxes turned out to be ARCs of three Celadon titles: A Nearly Normal Family, a legal thriller; The Whisper Man, a serial-killer thriller; and Molly: The True Story of the Dog Who Rescues Cats, which flew out of the box! Two are left on the library's shelves. I'm happy it was so popular!
'Morning, RD! I'm glad to hear that things are getting back to normal. And a new normal, since the wall looks better than before.
I hope you have a lovely day in your 'new' digs.
>143 weird_O: :-)
>144 karenmarie: Hi Horrible, what a *gorgeous* morning it is here! For the first time since The Incident, I took my walk outside instead of up and down my hall. Glorious winter day, sunshine and light breeze and the ships on the horizon...*aaahhh*
*smooch* for a lovely day there, too
>145 msf59: Hey Birddude, how's it going? See >142 richardderus: for my slightly deflating, then inspiring, haul. Carry well on this Thursday!
>138 richardderus: My love for the dreaming manatee painting continues to grow. Not to mention all the sweet books.
>147 jnwelch: It has a lot of meaning for me, so I am glad it wasn't water-damaged, even though it got a bit dented by the men's ladder. It's not catastrophic but hey, it's bound to happen.
>148 humouress: Heh, how's tricks, La Overkill? I'm amazed at Rob every time he opens his mouth. It's like hearing younger me speak!
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows to all! I'm slowly adjusting to a state of reduced anxiety. I don't know what'll happen next but for today nothing's happening to cause me stress. I got to walk outside for the first time since the events. The sunshine and just-warm-enough 40°/4.5C weather made it irresistible!
Now listening to Feliks Kaparchuk do an acrylic painting of a landscape on YouTube while puttering. His Ukrainian-accented English and soft voice makes me feel swaddled and rocked.
Look at this. Think about it for a minute: What sense does it make to listen to one of these people complain about taxation rates they pay that are under 100%?
And here's a link to the video.
>150 richardderus: I only see an empty graph. I see the numbers on the left and the words at the bottom, but nothing IN the graph. Maybe a link?
'Morning, RD! I hope it's another lovely day for you.
I've just finished my first infusion of coffee, will read a bit, and then work on some FoL Treasurer stuff.
Happy Friday, RD. Sorry, the contest box wasn't as rewarding as you hoped. Glad you got out for a stroll. Chilly here in Chicagoland but we should get some sunshine, though.
>151 ronincats:, >152 laytonwoman3rd: I found a link and posted it. Scary to think of the twisted greed that says "MINE ALL MINE BACKBACKBACK" like friggin' Daffy Duck when asked to pay more in taxes.
>153 karenmarie: Hi Horrible! Busy morning, doctor and therapist and bathing and drinking coffee from my new mug...did I mention I had a new mug?
It goes with my beloved stainless steel double-walled french press nicely, doesn't it?
>154 msf59: Hiya Mark, well since it wasn't the contest but rather just the random kindness of a publishing person, I'm still pretty chuffed...I love knowing how good book people can be...even if the books themselves didn't light me up.
>150 richardderus: Thanks for the link, Richard, even in a graphic it is incomprehensable anyone can be that rich :'(
So glad the hot water is no longer dripping on you and that the wall is even better than before!! Here is some more artwork for you. Straight from the OR Aquarium to you, with love. : )
>111 richardderus: That is better, RD. The giving of a friend is worth far more than the windfall being directed by the fates.
Have a great weekend.
Kim has a good idea! Here's more artwork for you.
I believe it's five photos of a forearm combined, but if it's someone with five forearms, all the better
Hi RD! Happy Saturday to you. It's cold and rainy and icky here. We'er home from errands and will happily stay home the rest of the day.
114 Good Legs by Joshua Ferris
Rating: 3.5* of five
Read it here free. You get four free reads a month from them; this one is worth burning one.
It's wonderful to read the thoughts I've had all my life, the wonder and the bewilderment and the anxious unreality of existence, come from another brain. It's incredible to me that anyone can read a short story of this economy and precision and not instantly fall in love with the form.
Happy Saturday, RD. Hooray for "Good Legs". Thanks for sharing the Ferris short story. I will have to check it out.
>167 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It was a perfectly fine day in. Today will be even better in...warmer, but rainy, and nothing is urgent enough to make 50°/10C and rainy a winning proposition for outdoors fun.
Coffee and books for me!
'Morning, RD! Your Sunday sounds good so far. Keep up the good work.
*smooch* from your own Horrible
Pick me up in the 54. First stop, brunch. Be nice to my friends, they might not know shit but they're pretty and at this stage of life, pleasant if not kind.
Second stop we play 300 Miles Paper Rock Scissors. Go from there.
Hop in! Plenty of room for all the prettys, and 300 miles is two tanks in this beast.
Hey, RD!. I have had a busy day so far, I have not cracked a book, but will very soon. Watching the Bears beat up the Giants. Not much of an achievement, if you ask me.
I discovered a story collection we might like, while perusing a best of the decade list- Young Skins: Stories. Sounds really good. Have you heard of it?
>175 SomeGuyInVirginia: Ohio! I'm afraid, puppis, deeply afraid.
>176 jnwelch: "I don't very often read short stories"
...oh dear, Joe, I can only hope you've got some idea of a cure for this, this disfiguring disastrous deficit in degutative reading.
>177 msf59: Nevah hoyduvim. It sounds like a good collection!
Oh dear, the Giants...oh oh oh....
Hello RD. I seem to have missed an awful lot of activity - books, etc - while RL has been consuming
Water leak - Bad. ;(
Camping I don't do anymore. Loved it as a young adult but need to comfort of a bed and, like you, hot running water. I am flexible on most other things, camp-wise. I do love evening star gazing and in the past bundled up warm with a handy flask of adulterated hot chocolate. Good times.
>79 richardderus: - Perfect! I am a french press kind of gal, so now I am off to investigate your SterlingPro (I just use a lowly Bodum).
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
Happy Monday, RichardDear.
I'm slowly working my way through two short story collections and The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon but am rewarding myself with an Ian Rutledge mystery set post WWI England.
>179 lkernagh: Y'know, on balance the water leak wasn't that awful. Compared to the possible ways it could've gone, it's been painless!
"Glamping" isn't anywhere near enough to make me want to go sleep outdoors. I feel guilty just contemplating the labor that goes into making my experience effortless.
>179 lkernagh:, >180 quondame: Bodum is a perfectly fine brand! I used a Bodum glass pot for ages. Their stainless steel model, or the only one I could find anyway, wasn't as appealing to me as the SterlingPro was. It looked fat instead of curvy:
>181 karenmarie: Hey Horrible! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your hair-shirt reading phase.
The Wayne broke his beloved French press last week, so I am looking into a replacement as a Christmas gift...
>183 katiekrug: This exclam-heavy review says what I think about the SterlingPro model I have. Double-walled 18/10 stainless (the "10" is the percentage of nickel in the steel; higher=sturdier and shinier longer) means practically indestructible. I've moved this one twice, it's barely noticed, and neither time was it coddled or swaddled. The screens used to force the coffee through the grounds last a year or more; replacement sets are ~$10 for six.
And that pleasing pear shape? It means that the base reservoir of coffee is the most insulated against heat exchange. If I have a lukewarm cup of coffee, it's because I've *wanted* it that way and had to let it get there in my cup. Amazon sells it for $60, but it's seriously cheap for its price. Said the broke-ass miserly biblioholic who grudges buy new underpants until the old ones lose their elastic action in the waistband.
>184 richardderus: - Thanks for all that great info! Saved me lots of time :)
>182 richardderus: I am happy to admire the sleeker more svelte silhouette of the SterlingPro, but I am very fond of my sturdy squat Boduns, dented and balky as they are. The all metal is a plus though as the Boduns' plastic parts do break.
Hey, RD. Beautiful fall day, in Chicagoland. Nice, being above normal for a change. The sunshine is a bonus too. My current reads are singing along too. All good here.
>185 katiekrug: I live to serve, Madame.
>186 quondame: That's a huge issue for me, Susan, because my hands don't work as well as they once did so I drop and break fragile things with great regularity. The flimsy plastic Bodum parts are goners in a matter of months. This pot's still chuggin'.
>187 msf59: It's a wonderful way to end a day, warmer than normal, for you. I've been doing my steps indoors because I've had some vertigo problems, but at least I have the space.
>180 quondame: and >182 richardderus: - Fair enough! I was more enticed by the stainless steel vs glass, since I usually only see glass french presses. ;-)
I recently converted over to a double-walled stainless steel water bottle and LOVE how it retains the temperature (hot or cold) and was wondering if that would be the same with the Sterling Pro (which I think Richard has answered in >184 richardderus:. Thank you for the explanation!)
Happy Tuesday, RD!
My hair shirt is becoming less onerous - I'm down to the short stories of Dorothy Sayers, which are more than tolerable.
Kidlet's coming home today for T-Day, calooh, callay! I'm chuffed.
>189 lkernagh: Hi Lori! The explanation is on the house. I'm always so pleased and usually surprised when something performs as it's meant to. This pot has been a pleasure to own and use. Makes a nice change.
Have a lovely Tuesday.
>190 karenmarie: Hiya Horrible, was there some doubt as to Jenna's holiday plans? Or are you just mom-ing with your celebration?
DLS will make your hair shirt smooth as linen, I'm sure, and yay for that. It's a great way to spend the hours. Have a gorgeous Tuesday, like we are. *smooch*
I just got the best Thanksgiving inducement for hosannas and orisons of joy: Old Stuff is leaving tomorrow for his son's place in Connecticut, and won't be back until SATURDAY!!!
You get to enjoy being in your refurbished room sans roomie! Have a great Thanksgiving, Richard.
>192 richardderus: Good tidings indeed. Sharing space with disagreeable mammals is such a downer. Happy stuff-free Thanksgiving!
Congrats again on fuming and stinking Old Stuff giving you a break for a few days. And for making corn bread stuffing.
>192 richardderus: Something to give thanks for, RD. How will you spend the day?
^Hooray for a quiet few days, RD! Enjoy, my friend. Got some good books lined up?
>196 jnwelch: Yeah!! Oh, but no need to modify "stuffing" with "cornbread" as all right-thinking humans know that stuffing/dressing can only be made with cornbread. It was on the third tablet of five, the one that Moses dropped.
It is the Word of God.
>197 PaulCranswick: Since Rob is working, reading and eating my brussels sprouts with dill and cream cheese. He's not mad for them. Stuffing on Friday when he's here.
>198 msf59: ...books...? Whatever could you mean, "books lined up"?
Hi Richard, well I couldn't disagree with you more about the cornbread stuffing but everybody loves what they grew up with I think. Or perhaps it's an acquired taste? Anyway have yourself a wonderful Thanksgiving, whatever you do.
>200 brenzi: ...but Bonnie...God's Holy Word establishes cornbread as the One True Stuffing! How can you rebel against God's Holy Word?
(Mama made cornbread stuffing for turkey but chestnut-oyster stuffing for goose, so I am in reality not as dogmatic as all that.)
'Morning, RD! Yay for Old Stuff being gone for today-Saturday.
Bill's Aunt Ann always brings the stuffing - cornbread/sausage and cornbread/mushroom.
Happy Odin's Day, Richard.
Man, you threw me off with that talk of tablets and God. Has there been a dramatic change in your life? Or is that only referring to the God of Stuffing and the Tablets for Indigestion?
I'm reading my first Rebecca Solnit book (I'm guessing you have several on your already read shelf), and it's impressive: A Field Guide to Getting Lost.
>202 karenmarie: Hey Horrible! I'll have a double scoop of each stuffing, please, hold the turkey.
>203 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, it's been a delight to know I can have the room to myself the rest of today and all of tomorrow. I *hope* he's staying away on Friday....
Solnit's quite a writer. It is unpleasant to realize how much ill will there is towards women among my fellow men.
God Spake Upon The Stuffing. Let None Dispute Her Word. Yea verily, it is cornbread or it is Abomination! (As is poly/cotton blend fabric. And also cheeseburgers.)
The old friend who enticed a stranger at Celadon to send me books *also* sent me a boatload of goodies that arrived today!
Ask Again, Yes -- Well, at least I can read it at last
Service: A Navy SEAL at War -- Intriguing because of the whole war-criminal thing 45's trying to distract us with
Dear Mrs. Bird -- drawing a blank...
The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty -- *swoon* mineminemine at last!!
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography -- fascinating
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures -- happy ending to crappy events
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin -- srsly, Erik Larson, so of course
Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History -- gagging a bit that the "attempts" were unsuccessful
Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago -- from my UCP cart! W00t!
The Fox Boy: The Story of an Abducted Child -- this is another I've been pining after.
Code Name: Lise -- OOOOOOO
All the Light We Cannot See -- I thought I'd read this but I haven't
Felicia's Journey -- William Trevor books always welcome!
and three direct-to-library volumes:
What Happened -- read it, mea exculpa noted, moving on
Thunderstruck -- trade paper copy of a hardcover I already have, so to the liberry it goes
Heartland -- read it, can not *abide* the narrative conceit but good golly miss molly Smarsh hits the nail on the head.
>204 richardderus: Enjoy your time without roommate, Richard dear.
We have no thanksgiving nor stuffing, so all the chatter about it is lost on me.
The rain god was with us today, heavy rain was predicted, but we walked nearly dry :-)
>205 richardderus: That is so nice, looks like you are very happy with most of them!
>205 richardderus: Wow! A nice haul! You have wonderful friends!
Happy Wednesday, RD! And hooray for "no effin' Old Stuff"! Enjoy the next couple of days.
115 Spacebred Generations by Clifford D. Simak (link is to free text on Internet Archive)
Rating: 3.5* of five
Not for nothing was Simak a journalist/popularizer of science. This generation-ship tale is short, so doesn't go into a lot of details about *how* a thousand-year voyage through space would be accomplished without human maintenance of its workings, and how it came to be that twentieth-century English was the lingua franca of the Ship, and whether the Ship's breeding program took account of skin color variations, and why The Little Woman was still in her place...the list goes on.
But what I see in Simak's story is the basic story I read SF for. It is about the tiny little prisons Humankind builds and calls Paradise. It is about the unquestioning and overly trusting way we accept what is given and hunger only for more, not radically and materially different. Novelty is more important than innovation...gossip more important than erudition. Wake up, Author Simak shouted at the Folk of 1953 who read this story, Life is short so wake up!
His fix-up novel, City, was in much the same vein. The Earth is subject to disasters and cataclysms, but savvy Humankind was ready for that and.... As I think we can imagine, since Simak lived through the Cold War (died only three years before it ended, if we take 1991's collapse of the Soviet Union as The End), that was more a triumph of hope over experience. But his fiction, not precisely deft in execution, was always aimed at making a point about doing your own best, convincing others to do theirs, making the best of the stuff you had to hand. Teddy Roosevelt's formulation would've appealed to Simak, I think: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
And that's all the Folk on the Ship have done. It isn't perfect but they're still alive, and Humanity can chug along somehow. But Mr. Simak, what I wouldn't give to ramp your ideas about women above the helpmeet/homemaker/uterus bearer. Mary Hoff, Mrs. Hero, sees a whole new world and her first thought is, "can we have a baby now?" She's *asking*permission*from*her*husband* to have a baby on a wide-open new planet.
Feminists are duly warned: Probably not enough substance here to outweigh the deep, dark, dank cave of regression Simak lived in. I'm not resentful that I read it. I won't go out of my way to urge you to. But Simak's view of Humanity seems to accord with mine: Pretty damned lazy, really happy to remain stupid, and full of hate and spite, but love 'em or leave 'em.
Does the Shipping News cover off-planet departures?
Happy Thanksgiving, RD! Enjoy your time without Old Stuff. and Friday Thanksgiving with Rob. Save me a piece of the carrot cake with pineapple cream cheese frosting.
*smooch* from your own Horrible
>205 richardderus: I'm agog. That's a good friend!
Have a great day, Richard, with no Old Stuff and plenty of Stuffing.
>214 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, and may the avian decedent's consumption give you great pleasure as well.
Yeah, I've hit the lottery in friend terms so many times it's scary. Of course the city of Chicago isn't famous for producing friendly persons, so very, very, very few of them hail from there.
>214 jnwelch: A comma instead of a bracket in the front of your image code is preventing me from seeing it, Joe.
Happy Thanksgiving, Richard!
Happy Thanksgiving, Richard. I hope you are enjoying the day. I am currently watching the Bears struggle, and waiting for our company to arrive. Not much reading getting done.
Hi Richard, hope you have a really lovely Thanksgiving Day and send love and hugs from both of us dear friend.
>216 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! I'm waiting for the carrot cake to cool before frosting it, so Rob and I will be able to share it tomorrow.
If I don't eat it first.
>217 msf59: Thank you, Mark! I posted the short-story reviews on my blog, that's as close as I've come to reading today. I'm not doing one single stressful thing so I don't have to rip any remaining scalp-hairs out.
Except resisting my delicious-smelling carrot cake. I hope that kid appreciates my self-sacrificing nature.
>218 mahsdad: Thanks, Jeff! I'm expecting to enjoy The Code Book. I hope I do, and Singh joins my stable of regulars.
>219 johnsimpson: Thank you, John, and please send Karen my love!
>220 quondame: That is the single daffiest turkey I've seen today. Clearly you haven't told him what's in store for him, Susan. *tsk*
Oh, tell me what you think of the Code Book. Not only do I have a copy, but in a break from tradition I know exactly where it is on the shelves.
Happy Friday, Richard!
Have fun with Rob, and I hope you have some carrot cake left for him.
>222 SomeGuyInVirginia: I shall not refrain from announcing my views, I promise.
>223 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita! Rob and I finished the green goddess seafood rice dish as well as the brussels sprouts and new potatoes, but the carrot cake got short shrift...too much, too soon I guess.
>224 karenmarie: Hey Horrible! Y'all doing the leftovers thang today? All I have is the carrot cake.
>225 weird_O: Unnerving as it looks, Bill, it *is* a pretty darn fine feast.
>226 SomeGuyInVirginia: Larry! behave.
No roommate, lots of new books, yummy food and Rob!! Happy Day after Thanksgiving!! : )
>228 Berly: It is, it is, and thanks for stopping in Berly-boo! *smooch*
We had leftovers for dinner, Bill and I. Jenna had cereal, unnatural child that she is.
>227 richardderus:. It's like a tourette's thing with me. The letters in my crib mobile spelled out 'Question Authority.'
Forgive, and blame it on the Bossa Nova.
116 Kind Sir by Norman Krasna
Rating: 3.5* of five
Really good dialogue and pretty klunky scene changes; the play wasn't a hit on Broadway because the stars, Charles Boyer and Mary Martin, were famous for singing roles and there's not a note sung. Alas, the flop was about to sink forever, a small but lovely little story of a misunderstanding, then a lie told to ease a man's conscience, and a woman's fury artfully revenging her misuse leading to a happy ending, doomed to obscurity. Then as now a hit Broadway play was a safe bet to get a film deal. Not so much for flops.
Author Notman Krasna was a macher in the entertainment industry. He had the juice to get things done that would've been impossible for others, as a string of successes in the 1930s and 1940s lent him a glow of Harvey Weinstein-y success. By the 1950s, though, the "what have you done lately?" query didn't elicit such glowing names and titles. Kind Sir's fate was changed by an old friend of Krasna's, a series of friends of his friend, and his own savvy response to opportunity's quiet little rap.
Indiscreet a 1958 release directed by Freed-Unit stalwart-cum-wunderkind Stanley Donenm (who died in February 2019 at 94!) was based on Krasna's flop after he pitched the young director on it. Donen was glad to have a Krasna project, and stipulated that his recent turn directing Cary Grant made him sure he'd be perfect as lying philandering Philip, the male lead; bye-bye Boyer. Grant, seeing a fat one down the middle allowing him to work with his old friend the recently rehabilitated Ingrid Bergman; she was delighted to be in a studio film again (sex scandal), but required the story be reset to take place in London since she was working in Paris and couldn't leave. Krasna was no fool, rewrote the screenplay, and filming commenced.
And the critics said...*yawn*
This play and its film can not get any respect! (Well, the English liked it and it was the top-grossing film there in 1958.) Glorious Technicolor, fine mature performances from peak-glamour actors, a love story that was racy because the woman initiates it, more in-jokes than a film student could make up, and South Pacific trounced it and all other comers at the box office. To this day, the play, the film, and the idea of adults falling in love and behaving like fools get no traction on anyone's lists. The play, well, I don't like reading plays too much but I know snappy repartee when I read it. It's got it! The Broadway-back-stage hunks that got drafted out when the film changes came in actually did the story good. The secrets-and-lies bit is evergreen. The play's ending is exactly as soppy as the film's. But why should that matter? Sixty-plus years later we can look past the past's passé prudery, no?
Kanopy, the library-based film streaming service, has it for free. Watch the film. Hunt up the play if you like reading them. But give it a real shot, play the odds and make an effort to be available to bygone charms. They are there spread out before you.
>230 drneutron: It is a bit weird, I agree, though I enjoy eating octopus in general.
>231 karenmarie: Jenna was overloaded with partially ignited genetically manipulated avian flesh, no doubt.
>232 weird_O: I like the elegance and the alienness of tentacles. They're...weird. Weird = good most of the time, at least by me.
>233 karenmarie: *smooch* Already over. He's here, delightful and winsome companion that he is.
>234 SomeGuyInVirginia: *snerk* All is forgiven, you Bossa Novan, you.
Happy Saturday, Richard. It sounds like you had a fine time with Rob. What time does Old Stuff return?
>237 jnwelch:, >238 msf59: Hi Joe, howdy Mark! To my disgruntlement, Old Stuff is here now. I am spoiled. I want this room to myself with no roomies ever again. I hate sharing a bathroom; I loathe having to deal with someone I dislike's moods; I'm just not interested in the cohabitation game. But there's no way around it that doesn't involve $$ and I haven't got any, so better that it's Old Stuff whom I've learned how to ignore for the most part.
The sunshine we're drenched in today will turn into "wintry mix" and it'll top out at about 45°/7C tomorrow. No chores need doing, so I will huddle & stare & read the day away! Boo hoo poor me.
>239 richardderus: We have snow forecast for a couple of days in the long range forecast, but I'll believe it when I see it. I really suspect it won't accumulate.
Hurray for no chores and book reading!!! (I am ignoring Old Stuff just like you do.) Smooches.
Just catching up here! Quite a bit has happened!
Glad the repairs to your room went quickly and you were able to put all your books back!
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving
>243 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita! Happy Saturday to you.
I spent a lovely day with my Young Gentleman Caller, we ate things we like, I got most of the carrot cake to myself (breakfasting on it was delightful!), and am still catching up on my sleep. I'll have to coddiwomple around your way to see what the latest is.
>244 richardderus: I got most of the carrot cake to myself
Wasn't that the plan from the start? ;-)
>245 FAMeulstee: Ha! Well, no...I wasn't *planning* it that way but I'm not sorry!
I'm glad you had a good time with Rob, and YAY for getting most of the carrot cake for yourself :)
Gosh, I missed all the good times....no Old Stuff, lovely visit with Rob, carrot cake... Anyway, I'm glad you had all those holiday pleasures. I got to cavort with grand-nieces, all of whom are adorable, and still think I'm cool, so even having my MIL staying over for two nights was ...um...bearable.
So far it's all thunderstorms. I think the snow was forecast for tomorrow night/Monday morning though. Unless the temp drops a lot, the ground will be too wet for it to stick much.
I started my holiday baking today and got two lemon blueberry pound cakes baked. Now to get them boxed and wrapped and delivered. Tomorrow is gingerbread rum bundt cake day.
>247 katiekrug: It wasn't my best work, I fear, but even ~meh~ carrot cake is better than none. Welcome home, hoping The Wayne isn't still ill.
>248 laytonwoman3rd: The MILmonstress endurable?! You need to bottle whatever pheromone those sprogs are emitting so the rest of us can get that high!
>249 thornton37814: Just be careful driving, that's a recipe for black ice, Lori.
>250 benitastrnad: The pound cakes sound good, but gingerbread rum bundt...!!!!
>111 richardderus: That is so cool. I know Old Stuff was due back today (boo hiss) but I love that a friend sent you a boatload of books! I really want to read Ask Again, Yes as Beth has warbled about that one.
We got a beautiful dusting of snow last evening and today the sun melted most of it away even though we never got above 26F. I am still getting used to this climate....
And I totally agree that even meh carrot cake is better than no carrot cake. P made me a cherry pie and it has made the past 48 hours quite happy ones. I think there is one piece left and it has my name on it. :-)
Morning, RD! Happy December 1st! Sorry, Old Stuff returned. Too bad he didn't get lost along the way. I am going to enjoy a perfectly lazy day, devoted to the books. Maybe, I will knock out a mini-review or 2, between chapters. I am starting Sabrina & Corina: Stories, which I have heard nothing but positive buzz about. Stay tuned...
>252 EBT1002: 26° and melting snow...the ground's radiating enough warmth to make the snow melt? Weird....
Cherry pie *swoon* I used to dislike cooked cherries but have found that, like cooked blueberries, they've grown on me as I get older.
>252 EBT1002:, >253 msf59: Old Stuff is absolutely silent. I am over the moon! Not one hint of yammer. My joy is unbounded. (Well, he still smells bad. But smokers always do.)
>253 msf59: Kali Fajardo-Anstine? There's a mishmash of sounds...Hispanic, South Asian, German, all in one name. Very curious to know what part of the hype is reliable.
'Morning, RD! Happy Monday to you.
Sorry Old Stuff is back, but glad that he's absolutely silent.
Jenna went back to Wilmington yesterday, Bill's taking a vacation day today. We'll run errands and probably end up watching the final 3 episodes of season 3 of The Crown.
Looks like you made the most of your Thanksgiving, Richard. Here’s hoping that Old Stuff goes visiting for Xmas too.
I bet you'd have success with a Kickstarter fund to pay for Old Stuff going to places far away. Maybe with some money left over for carrot cake?
117 Dark Space by Lisa Henry
Rating: 4* of five
The Publisher Says: Brady Garrett needs to go home. Brady’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. Brady is angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.
Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.
Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.
Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.
TRIGGER WARNING FOR NON-CONSENSUAL SEX
My Review: Grimdark story of Humanity with its back against the wall. It's set on a rustbucket improvised and patched-together space station where the only thing for its conscripted grunt crew to do to wile away their mandatory ten-year hitch is wait for the Faceless to decide to kill them and everyone else on every other station then destroy earth's population.
The Faceless have already attacked Earth, destroyed our large cities, and left a bare billion alive on the whole planet...so more like the mid-19th century in population terms...and although it's not stated, the planet's horrifying losses came after global warming was biting. I infer this from the altered climate of Australia, where Brady Garrett is a reffo, that's refugee to us 21st century Amerikinz. He's living a life of near-slavery in a camp where his father mines unstated minerals and is dying from the un-labor-lawed nightmare conditions. Then he's conscripted to serve aboard a space station laughingly called "Defender Three." His ten-year stint starts when he's sixteen...child soldiery is not new nor will it be eradicated from the face of the Earth in any future I can see...and also just as his twelve-years-younger sister Lucy is about to be orphaned by his father's inevitable death. So he's facing a lot.
Add in some rape, some torture, oh yeah and the aliens have one of us they've held for four years! But now he's back! Cameron Rushton arrives on Defender Three in a weird alien...thing, a pod of some sort, and it falls to Brady as the station doc's chosen assistant-cum-trainee to decant him from it.
Cam damn near dies because no one understood how to operate the Faceless tech that brought him "home." In fact, he's dying in front of Brady, who uses the empathy he'd vigorously deny possessing to reach out and comfort Cam in his last moments. Strangely enough this is enough to establish a psychic connection between the men, and allows Cam to live...with wildling Brady as his literal, soon metaphorical, heartbeat. It's quite a turn-up, poster boy Cam the Captive returning from the tender mercies of the Faceless (awkward!) and then getting hitched to a low-class lowlife reffo as his sole means of staying alive (embarrassing!), as well as bearing word from the Faceless battle-regent Kai-Ren that the enemy is calling off their insect-extermination level "war" with Humanity. Funny thing how he's less popular now than when he was enduring...whatever it was he was enduring at the hands of an enemy so little understood our name for them is "the Faceless."
Humanity is, as always, irredeemable. The Faceless are right to exterminate us.
The world-building is excellent, but the sex scenes...*serious* non-con, very explicit rough play...will send the straight boys screaming. Too bad, too, because there's good space opera in here. I'll read the second one for sure, especially after the ending of this one.
This was a group read in the Goodreads Gay SF group. Thanks y'all for bringing this book to my attention.
118 Darker Space by Lisa Henry
Rating: 4* of five
The Publisher Says: Brady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, and he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.
Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.
But from out in the black, Kai-Ren is still watching and everything Brady and Cam think they’ve won, they stand to lose all over again.
My Review: Pretty much all four stars are for the last 50% of the book. It isn't necessary to grind us into Brady's deeply boring late-adolescent angst for an entire half of the book. At least Brady and Cam are hilarious together. Cam's so patient with Brady's annoying-as-fuck oppositional disorder! What he has to put up with...
It's hilarious, spot-on, and deeply telling. But I guess when a man has kept you alive by sharing his literal heartbeat with you, allowances get made.
The story's heartbeat, you should forgive the wordplay, is the love shared by Brady the fuck-up and Cam the saintly patient grown-up. He's there, steady and solid and accepting, as Brady acts out again and again and again. As Brady's the one telling us the story again, it's not all that surprising that he's giving us his own slant on the action...but what a jerky kid he is. I know we're all jerky when young, but good lord Author Henry please give us surcease from Brady's solipsism in the next book!
Cam, because of their indelible link established when he needed saving in the first book, knows Brady's past as intimately as if it was his own. He seems to be able to make that work in their love's favor, where Brady is not quite so self-aware or so well-adjusted or something. He knows as intimately as Cam does what was done to the returned...prisoner? captive? plaything?...that Kai-Ren the Faceless battle-regent, um, modified shall we say in his own image.
Don't try to tell me that won't come back to bite him in the ass. (And yes, the antecedent is vague there, by design I assure you.)
So we get a chance to see what life is like for the new family, which now includes the resilient and plucky Lucy. Cam, in his saintly way, makes no objection to Lucy entering his new pair-bond with Brady. I can't help wondering if it had been Cam's sister, how Brady the bratty would've reacted.... Anyway, the couple is tentatively thriving, the world is still spinning, and then *BAM*
Kai-Ren and the Faceless are back.
Suddenly the mentally linked men in Humanity's midst are a Threat to Security. Suddenly the hands-off approach the authorities took to the people wearing the identities of Returnee and Mate is revoked and the fact that they share a mental bond that also includes Kai-Ren and the Faceless is too much risk of exposure to ignore. Let's not forget that this is an Earth whole population was literally decimated by the Faceless not so very long ago. Their caution, well...I'll never really get it, this Security State mindset, but I recognize its reality. What exactly can be done against the Faceless is what is never clear. Their weapons are simply too far advanced for Humanity to defend itself against, so what sense does it make to try?
Well, anyway, there we are and there Brady and Cam are in prison and there Lucy is with Cam's also-saintly parents and the story becomes a seriously exciting ride. I was breathless as Kai-Ren came back back to Earth to invite, for want of a better term, Brady and Cam to see his culture. It is just about lethally frustrating that we don't get to go there as soon as the ship arrives. Kai-Ren's essential alienness is a thing we're allowed to hope, by the end of this story, will be a bridgeable gap. Brady is scared to go back into space, as who wouldn't be when only bad things have happened to him there. Cam is...ambivalent, but honorable, and desperate to stop the extermination of his species. The military men who clutter up this installment in the series include Cam's first love, Chris Varro. Who, for a wonder, Brady falls in love with via his shared memory with Cam...until Chris (unsurprisingly) simply doesn't see Brady.
Ouch! Your beloved doesn't even see you! But wait...how can he...he doesn't know you from a hole in the ground. He was in love with your lover, they were first-loves, not you.
So of course, this being a Lisa Henry novel, Varro is on Kai-Ren's vessel with Brady and Cam. And Lucy, who simply will not be left. Not that Brady wants to leave her; nor does he want to take her into the unknown, the blackness of space; but he can't, in the end, feel like he's depriving her of Family (a thing he treasures as only one who's never had it can) potentially forever. Along for the ride comes Doc, whose caretaking of Brady while he was a raggedy conscript on Defender Three no doubt saved his life and most certainly enabled him to save and enter Cam's life.
The gang's all here. How long until Darkest Space comes out?!?
119 Starlight by Lisa Henry
Rating: 4.5* of five
The Publisher Says: Brady Garrett is back in space, this time as an unwilling member of a team of humans seeking to study the alien Faceless and their technology. It’s not the first time Brady’s life has been in the hands of the Faceless leader Kai-Ren, and if there’s one thing Brady hates it’s being reminded exactly how powerless he is. Although dealing with the enigmatic Faceless might actually be easier than trying to figure out where he stands with the other humans on board, particularly when one of them is his boyfriend’s ex.
Cameron Rushton loved the starlight once, but being back on board the Faceless ship forces him to confront the memories of the time he was captured by Kai-Ren, and exactly how much of what was done to him that he can no longer rationalize away. Cam is used to being Brady’s rock, but this time it might be him who needs Brady’s support.
This time Brady is surrounded by the people he loves most in the universe, but that only means their lives are in danger too. And when Kai-Ren’s fascination with humanity threatens the foundations of Faceless society, Brady and Cam and the rest of the team find themselves thrust into a battle that humans have very little hope of winning, let alone surviving.
My Review: It's time for the ride to end, it seems. The third and possibly final outing in the Dark Space series dropped on 1 December, and I was up all night devouring it. Author Henry, all is forgiven for the FOUR-YEAR WAIT you subjected us to.
The ride to Kai-Ren's homeworld, or so the men and the audience assume, is on the Faceless battle-regent's (heh; the joke makes sense after this book, promise)...vessel...that has an atmosphere shareable by humans if not particularly pleasant to them. It's also downright inimical to their tech. (A thing I'd think Cam, accustomed to the vessel as he must be, might've mentioned was a possibility, but we're never told such happened.) Luckily, Cam's ex and Brady's object of derisive jealousy Chris Varro thought ahead and brought pencil and paper notebooks! (Although how the paper stays inscribable is somewhat beyond my ready comprehension.) And he's prowling Kai-Ren's...vessel...making copious notes and poking around wherever he can find to go. All unmolested by the Faceless.
In fact, they appear to have no particular interest in the human passengers, not troubling themselves to provide food and water and sanitary arrangements. Of course, the men (and Lucy) brought some food and Doc and Brady brought cigarettes (ickptui and why hasn't the devastated Earth stopped growing the noxious resource-hogging tobacco plant?!), but no one knew how much they'd need. They're in the, um, third month? how does one accurately measure time in an alien environment? of a voyage without a set duration. Where they're going is unknown, how long it will take is unknown, how the...vessel...propels itself is unknown...lots to learn by Humanity, and Chris is the only one we actually see doing the work of figuring it out.
No wonder Brady hates him. He's like Cam: The omnicompetent hero-guy, only this one doesn't care about Brady so he must be a jerk. And why was it again that Cam left him, or he left Cam, or however that was?
These thoughts are part of Brady's ruminating (in the psych-problem sense) about how much he's a waste of space on this trip while simultaneously, and redemptively in my eyes, worrying about the bright spark that is Lucy. Is she developing properly in this weird environment? Is her bright, inquisitive nature going to make her into a Cam instead of her rage-inducing reffo (refugee to us 21st-century Murrikinz) background making her into a Brady? It is a sign of Brady's growth as a person that he's worried about Lucy's personhood on this voyage into the utterly unknown:
Knowing that someone else sees you differently from the way you see yourself, for better or worse, is a sign of increasing self-awareness and hope, and not a second too soon in Brady's case. His ragey adolescent acting out is touched on in this book but not seen in action. Thank goodness. I was way over that after Darker Space, I must say.
So the routine, set largely by the Doc and his analog clock, abetted by Chris-the-eternal-officer, ticks along until after about three months of relatively unchanging conditions Something Happens. Kai-Ren's...vessel...has finally revealed its true nature to the men's combined observational powers. It is a spoiler to mention it, so I won't, but suffice it to say that the entire purpose of this trip has been to take the humans with the Faceless to a place in the galaxy where the Faceless can begin a new generation. Kai-Ren's position in the inscrutable hierarchy of the Faceless is bolstered and enhanced by the presence of the humans and he shows them off to the lower-ranking Faceless in some humiliating ways. The humans aren't in any position to fight against this, or back after things happen; the Faceless are simply not killable in any ordinary way.
Extraordinary ways have a way of happening quite extraordinarily often in fiction, have you noticed?
As we're entirely in Brady's head during this trilogy of books, we don't see anything from Kai-Ren's PoV and we don't get any non-Brady-level views of Faceless society. But the events that form the climax of the book are all Brady all the time, from the shocking and unexpected moment that disaster strikes, to the intense and exciting ways that disaster gets amplified, and thence to the cause and the resolution meeting in a scene that left me slightly weakened from clenching and sweating. Faceless society has been dealt a major surprise, and Kai-Ren is the vector of and the victim of it. Humanity's role? Casualties, of course, because whether elephants fight or fuck, the grass suffers. Not entirely powerless at last, possessed of a secret weapon that absolutely no one could've predicted would exist, Brady (especially), Chris, and Cam all unite in purpose to get themselves to safety...possibly at long last not illusory!
Thus does Author Henry leave us after around six hundred pages of Brady and Cam's life together. It's barely the beginning of the journey, that much we're sure of:
Brady's learning how to conceptualize a future that has Cam in it. He's even admitted out loud that he needs to get psychological help when they get home. He's growing up at last, and he's lucky enough to have someone to grow with who is willing and able to grow along side him.
The surprises in this book are too spoilery to go into. But I very, very much want you to know that they make the future for Humanity a lot more interesting, and I hope very strongly we get more views of that world.
He hinted broadly.
>255 karenmarie: Hi Horrible! I spent my day canoodling with lunatic surfer boyfriend...good waves apparently cancel out self-preservation from hypothermia...although it *was* fun warming him back up.
So glad you're liking The Crown! I think it's amazing.
>256 Familyhistorian: I daren't hope for such bounty from the Universe, Meg. But it would be *glorious*!
>257 jnwelch: Ha! I'll start a Kickstarter for dentistry before I'll start one for something that benefits Old Stuff.
I spent my Monday, when not canoodling with Frostytoes the BF, getting my #Booksgiving reviews of Lisa Henry's books ready to go for tomorrow a.m. They are above for those interested.
Now I'm going to make ham salad and eat sandwiches before passing out.
>225 weird_O: oh my, that is disgusting.
I would've gladly joined you in indulging in the carrot cake Richard. I'm glad you got to enjoy your time with Rob.
>262 quondame: Good lookin' out, Search, I did indeed like the (re-)reads. My previous years' reviews were...um...sketchy, shall we say. I liked the effect of reading all three in a day and a half. It left me with a more complete 600pp reading experience than waiting years between releases did!
>263 brenzi: Hi Bonnie! Thanks, the carrot cake wasn't peak-flavor good, but it did the job. Got me a little fatter.
He's a real pleasure for me to be around. He's like I was in my youth: Too weird for the normal people, too queer for the oddballs, and too easily bored for the scene queens. I wish I'd had a me when I was his age!
>225 weird_O: Separately ok, but together!!!!???
Carrot cake is not my thing RD. A savoury sweet is a thing of confusion.
Morning, Richard. Happy Tuesday. Cold here today but tolerable. I love your descriptions of Rob. How did his frigid, surfing adventure go?
120 Gaia, Queen of Ants by Hamid Ismailov (tr. Shelley Fairweather-Vega)
Rating: 4* of five
Corruption is universal, I suppose we can now agree. Politics and power corrupt innocents and attract the corrupt. Purity fetishists would do well to contemplate what their insistence on viewing all signs of corruption in a person wielding or seeking power as utterly unhelpful, bordering on destructive. Gaia Mangitkhanova, the central powerful figure of the novel, is Kali, the destroyer-to-create-again goddess of Hindu myth; she is also Gaia, Greek goddess of Creation, who parted Chaos to summon all order and logic into being. These divinities use their femaleness, their existence as sexual as opposed to unsexed divinities, to create and to destroy entire races; Gaia (or Goia, as we also learn to think of her) is very explicitly made in their mold.
The TL;DR is on my blog.
>265 PaulCranswick: Why ever not together, if okay separately? Like carrots (very sweet things, you know) in cake, the unexpectedness of combinations is, or can be, quite fun.
Live a little! On the edges there is a better view of the whole.
>266 msf59: Hi Mark, it is indeed Tuesday, and it is rimed with snow here. The tiny little dusting we got overnight was slushing up but the wind kicked up, the temperature dropped, and ice formed.
So glad I don't need to go outside today!
He loves to surf, and the North Atlantic's cold year-round so he's got a wetsuit. It's really in changing outdoors that he gets *super* cold...so he often changes here in my bathroom. I fetch him from the very back of the building so no one sees a dripping guy in a wetsuit squishing through the lobbies.
One day they'll catch me, but I really don't care. They can't kick me out for having a guest. They'll be mad and yell some...it's funny how much like being a teenager it is to live in a publicly-funded institution.
>268 richardderus: >265 PaulCranswick: Now that's interesting. Carrots are sweet to me, especially cooked. Too sweet to satisfy me as a dinner vegetable, even with just butter and salt, not to mention the usual sweet yuck sauce. So the idea of them being savory is odd. I view most carrot cake as a slightly handicapped spice cake - the exception being that from Brent's Deli, which is heaven.
Nice reviews of the Dark Space Opera trilogy. I'm glad Brady grew up some; the first half of that second one sounds eminently skimmable.
Late check in after a fairly busy day. I'm so glad that you only saw a blank message on my thread!
*smooch* from your own Horrible
>269 quondame: Carrots are sweet to me, as well, though I like them as a veggie. I am seriously averse to peas-n-carrots for some reason that makes no sense.
>270 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, and yeah...skimming was the order of the day until a spoilery thing happened. Then I was riveted all over again.
>272 karenmarie: ...message...?
So. My Gaia, Queen of Ants review got a response from Hamid Ismailov:
Thank you for your profound understanding of the novel!
Seriously chuffed. Like, really seriously.
>271 richardderus: - From your thread to god's ears. Personally, it sure can't be any worse than the first 11 months of this beleaguered year!
>273 richardderus: Peas and carrots are served at involuntary cafeterias and hospitals, also bad cafes. When they appear on my plate it is a signal that I'm not eating where I would choose to eat, even if I am. But I don't see the point, really, when green beans or spinach exist, not to mention grilled zucchini, onions, peppers, and broccoli. My husband is at the peas and pearl onion point on the evolutionary scale, but will eat better when it's offered.
>273 richardderus: - That's so awesome that the author responded to your review!
>274 jessibud2: I devoutly hope you're correct, Shelley. Devoutly.
>275 quondame: Peas & pearl onions > peas & carrots > peas, carrots, corn.
I like almost all leafy greens with the notable and extreme exception of kale. It smells like iguana farts and tastes the way failure feels.
>276 katiekrug: It's a lovely thing when authors *like* your reviews. Appreciate the attention, or augustly disregard them, that I'm accustomed to; appreciate them, say "you got it," that will never get old.
>277 bell7: Thank you, Mary! *smooch*
We got a dusting...the slush stage coincided with a FREEZING blast from Canada and there was a skating rink thing goin' on. I avoided the problems by being Queen Slug-for-a-butt's ancestor.
>279 quondame: NO. N. O. Nyet, nix, nein, nuh uh.
I like my lima beans in tarragon lemon butter served with roasted chicken thighs in garlic and oil, and a crate of spinach. A favorite meal of mine.
121 Wish Upon A Star by Judith Merril
Rating: 3.5* of five
SF blogger Joachim Boaz decided to do a project where he will review a sampling of the Golden-into-Silver Age short fictions about generation ships. The first review, and story, I read was Spacebred Generations by Clifford D. Simak. That read was a success, so why not follow along?
I got ahead instead.
In this December 1958 tale of a generation ship much more under its crew's control that Simak's, and on a much shorter voyage as well...there are people on Merril's ship who were born on Earth!...we're re-introduced to the hell that is adolescence and the agonies of first love.
We're also seeing the ship's life much more intimately than we did in Simak's story. For one thing, Sheik (Toshiko, our PoV character) is a boy in a world run by women. All the officers are women. The men, like Sheik's maybe-dad Bob, are laborers and technologists. Sheik's mentor as well as other maybe-dad is a plant specialist, Abdur or Ab, the one responsible for maintaining the biodiversity of the ship's air supply. Eventually, of course, when the ship lands Ab will be the one who teaches the whole community to grow plants for their food. And Sheik is his shadow, his willing and joyful amanuensis, already teaching the next generation about the miracle of plant life.
So we join the fun when Sheik's wretched over Naomi's mean and cutting comments to him, ruminating over how unfair it is that she'll always be in charge over him and she's just mean! Also why won't Sarah, like him the oldest in her generation, Notice Him? So far, so standard...but times are a-changin' and Sheik isn't about to let a little thing like being forbidden to listen in on adult stuff stop him.
Kids are kids. Don't care who's in charge, dad or mama, a kid's gonna rebel. This time, what he hears is something so HUGE he almost can't believe it! And add to that Sarah's sudden, um, Noticing Him, and you have Sheik's birthday and Christmas come at once. (Heh.) Add on top of all that the men's secret council regarding the Big News, a discovery about what men and women really do together, and a sleepless night will pass for Sheik. Probably Sarah, too.
I gave this story three and a half stars because it's not the revelation that it would've been sixty-one years ago to have women in charge. There's a decent chance that'll happen in the USA in 2020, or so I hope. It's also a very small story, a slice of adolescent life; that's not all that interesting to me personally. It's fine as a story, it has good things to say about equality and the arbitrary nature of society and the fairness doctrine is far fleshier for its 1958 readers than it would've begun by being.
Just...slight. Homey. Not meant to be more, and published in December so it was probably meant as a holiday tale, one of the lighter fare that most entertainment venues specialize in presenting as North Americans head into the Winter Holidays with their feasts and decorations and wrapping-fests. It's not badly written. It's just not my personal taste. Heck, the read is free, try it out.
122 Five for Heaven by K.J. Charles
Rating: 4.75* of five
I'm attempting to regularize my Goodreads count and my LT count. This epilogue to the Charm of Magpies series isn't in the database and I no longer tilt at that windmill, to the link is to the sign-up spot...though in honesty, I don't think any of y'all will run out to read the end of a series you ain't begun.
Available as a free read when one signs up for Author Charles's newsletter. Stephen and Lucien have been traveling the world, happily re/visiting many ports of call, and the way biology works they're about to enter an entirely new port in a city new to them all. Jenny and Merrick are having a baby! In Nagasaki!
We'll ignore the fact that the newborn is in for a rough few days in fifty-odd years.
Anyway, Author Charles offers us this lovely semi-epistolary adieu to the lovely world of Lucien and Stephen, and it is as always a pleasure to read as well as a very deft coda to a series that won my heart from page one. For heavens' sake, don't read it unless you've already read the novels! It won't have much impact but it will spoil the hell out of the experience you *should* already be bookhorning into your TBR.
123 Rain and Embers by Ali Nuri
Rating: 4.75* of five
How does an Arab immigrant to the US, living in Las Vegas...possibly the most American place on Earth's surface, parched and dry and hot and gaudy...process his fragmented identity? Who is he, why is he that person, and most of all...why should you care?
Because identity as an American is front and center in the life of the country in the 21st century. Because the answers to those questions matter more than ever. Historically immigration has stirred violent passions in the hoi polloi as the lower classes seek to be better than someone, anyone at all, and the upper classes seek to ensure their fiscal and social stranglehold on the national discourse that it may never be allowed to stray into a real, egalitarian call for justice.
This is what you see before you right now, theydies and gentlethem. The latest salvo in a long-running war against ordinary people by those who profit from their labor. And Ali Nuri, disadvantaged in this country by several layers of identity, has prospered, is contributing to the society that would turn on him in a heartbeat because he's darker skinned than the ideal held up to all who enter this closed and inbred culture.
The rest is TL;DR for the site. It's on my blog now.
#ReadingIsResistance to Othering the immigrant out of the national conversation. Understanding what someone feels is the best way I know of to overcome easy, lazy Othering.
Good reviews, Richard! I read the one about Gaia: Queen of Ants, and thought, what an odd title in 2019; it sounds like it belongs in the 1950s. And then I read >281 richardderus: and thought, yes, this is where it belongs. BTW, the link to your blog in >267 richardderus: didn't work for me - it took me to a blank "Book Talk" page. By the way, by the way, I do love me some Clifford Simak. I'd never heard of that story. Free seems like a reasonable price, so I'll give it a whirl.
>284 jnwelch: ...I wonder why...anyway, thanks for the alert and I've freshened the link so it isn't likely to happen again.
The Internet Archive is amazing, and I am always all about the freebies.
Good review of Rain and Embers! Sounds like something I might enjoy.
Hey, Richard. Heavy day at the P.O. and then PT after work, so finally making the rounds or a least a few anyway. I finished and adored Sabrina & Corina: Stories. Nothing like discovering a new, young, fresh voice in literature. She reminds me a bit of Lucia Berlin. Did you ever read her?
124 Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain
Rating: 4* of five
My thoughts on this book's appeal center on its ability to lull your anxiety centers and soothe your story cravings while delivering resolutions to all problems for all the people we've invested our three hours in. Really welcome in the Silly Season of family gatherings, work parties, and suchlike exhaustions. Load the Kindlebook onto your phone for $9.50, read it in bits and snatches...you'll recall everything because it's all right there.
Satisfying, savorable civet for your ease and delectation.
The TL;DR version appears on my blog tomorrow.
>285 richardderus: The Internet Archive is an amazing place, I find. I hope your week is going well, Richard.
>289 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! Thanks for coming to see me. I am hopeful that the week will end as well as it began!
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