Dept. of Poor Kitty

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:49 pm
kaffyr: Kitty from "Kiki's Delivery Service" (kiki cat)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Phil's Very Bad, No Good Day

Poor Phil. Our little black kitty, who we've been treating for the past couple of weeks for ear infections - and taking to the very nice vet twice in those past couple of weeks - has been, finally, diagnosed with an ear polyp. It's bleeding when it gets jostled, which is why one ear has been smelling nasty; old blood. Eurgh. It doesn't seem to hurt him too much, and it's not awfully itchy, as ear mites would be ...

... but he needs surgery. And the surgeon our vet recommended is 30 miles outside the city limits (in Buffalo Grove, oddly, where I spent 19 unpleasant months covering the community. In fact, when our vet handed BB the booklet, I thought "I'll bet this is somewhere way the fuck out, please let me be wrong," and of course I wasn't. Fucking Buffalo Grove.)  Since Phil goes unhappily nuts for the 10 minutes it takes us to drive to the regular vet, this promises to be extraordinarily stressful for him, and for us. Especially since he'll have to go out for a consult, and then back out for the actual surgery. 

It's going to cost, too, but to not do it would be wrong. There is also the possibility, we're told, that the polyp may have grown through the eardrum; and that may mean they can't remove the entire thing, and that it may grow back. Aaack. 

Poor guy, he's really so forgiving of us. He's already climbing back into my lap, and wanting to be petted. I love him, and I hate stressing him out.

In happier human news, I feel much better. And it's the weekend. So there's that. 
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
Even if the rest of the film were forgettable, Howard Hawks' Red River (1948) would be worth it for the climactic fight scene where Montgomery Clift and John Wayne are tragically and brutally and patriarchally beating one another's brains out and just as the audience, consisting in this case of me and [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, decides it cannot take another second of this senseless macho bullshit, Joanne Dru can't either and not only says as much, she holds both combatants at gunpoint until they cut the machismo and admit they love one another. It was a thing of beauty. ("You'd better marry that girl, Matt.") Factor in the gun-comparing scene between Clift and John Ireland and other not infrequent moments of no heterosexual explanation and the whole thing was a nice break from today's otherwise relentless grind of work, even if we weren't totally sure at the outset. It is not easy to watch a movie in the company of an active and presently tired and cranky eleven-month-old, but we managed. In other news, Fox these days is freestanding, fast-moving, can hang upside down by the knees if an adult holds them, and appears to be taking against the entire concept of pants. They like honeycake, though.

Autolycus is being heartbreakingly plaintive right now. He has a vet appointment early in the morning and it requires fasting, which is an impossible concept to explain to a cat. I let him graze all day and gave him a proper dinner at the absolute last moment, but he is attempting to convince me that, actually, in point of fact, he starved since then. We should find him some kind of special treat after the appointment, for being so brave and honest. Last night he and his sister shared in the Rosh Hashanah chicken. All cats are lunisolar.

In honor of the High Holidays, here is a post on Jewish superheroes and here is a brilliant riposte to the rather short-sighted question "How can you be Black and Jewish?"

Back to the relentless grind. At least it is almost autumn.

Well, going to re-roof, um...

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:17 pm
archangelbeth: Bleach's Captain Byakuya, three-quarters view. Captioned: sigh (Sigh)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Lessee, about a third of the house? The garage and the triangle of the roof on the Main Part that faces the garage, and probably some re-siding, since they're gonna put a rubber membrane all over everything to keep the ice dams from happening again and overflowing the protective plastic and coming in and WRECKING THE HOUSE AGAIN.

There will also be a hatch into the dead-space behind our bed/closet, where the flying squirrels were living. They are gonna be maaaaaad.

I cracked open a lot of chestnuts. Chestnuts are what happen when artichokes and oak trees interbreed.
https://twitter.com/emccoy_writer/status/910954038417600512
(It's all soft and fluffy in the very inside, like the very center of an artichoke...)

None of the chestnuts I found were round enough to be likely to be fertile, darnit.

Havva Quote
[more on Norsemen, a show...]
f___ stares in a certain amazement at some of the dick jokes they've decided to go with here.
-----------------------Quoted by f___-----------------------
1: "You still have that huge farm? Mm, and it's going well? Lovely, and, uh, yes. And I've always really respected you, so, uh, I'm going to challenge you to a holmgang."
2: "...what?"
1: "Yes, where, uh, the winner takes all the property of the loser, and his land, and his wife, and, uh, so forth. That's the rules, isn't it?"
3: "Yes, yes, that's right."
2: "...but you have no property! And I worked to build up all of this!"
1: "Yes, uh, that's true, but those are the rules, and it would be very foolish of me not to take advantage of that, wouldn't it? I've always really respected you. So, uh, yes. I challenge you to a holmgang. I don't make the rules."
Room, chanting: "HOLMGANG. HOLMGANG. HOLMGANG."
------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------Quoted by f___-----------------------
Omar's wife: "Omar? Omar? Are... are you hiding?"
Omar: "I'm just thinking! In private!"
"You can't avoid the holmgang, you'll shame yourself, and me. Indirectly."
"It's just that... Arvid is so big, and he's trained to be a warrior since he was a baby, and he's probably killed a thousand men. I've never touched a sword before today!"
"Blah, blah, don't be so defensive. You can beat him. It's all in the mind. 99% attitude."
"...is it?"
"Sure. If you raise your game 5%, and he lowers his 5%, most of the job is done."
"Are the margins that... uh... small?"
"Sure. And if you admit the possibility of thinking a little bit outside of the box, anything could happen, hm? Okay. Good luck. See you there."
------------------------------------------------------------


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

Dept. of This I Believe

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:47 pm
kaffyr: (Deficiency weekly)
[personal profile] kaffyr
You Know ...

Sitting in front of a screen, fighting codeine-generated nausea and an increasingly bleak mood, listening to Steely Dan warble about crossing one's old man back in Oregon, pleading with an unseen authority figure, "don't take me alive" ...

... is not necessarily a shining example of emotional hygiene. 

Perhaps it's time to go to bed. 

Yes, I know it's only 7:50 p.m. 

WHAT??!?!

Letter to my Senators

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:12 pm
lydy: (Default)
[personal profile] lydy

Dear Senator,

 

I know you have fought, again and again, for the ACA.  Thank you.  Please continue to fight.

 

Allow me to tell you about my personal situation.  I am fifty-five, female, and employed.  When I was a child, I was diagnosed with asthma.  These days, I’m mostly fine.  I have a rescue inhaler, but rarely need it.  But that diagnosis is a pre-existing condition.  That means that, if the Graham-Cassidy bill goes through, I could be denied coverage.  When I was in my thirties, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.  I was treated, and am currently just fine; I no longer even need drugs to manage this condition.  It is even possible that the diagnosis was not entirely correct.  However, that diagnosis is in my medical chart, and therefore a pre-existing condition.  Therefore, I could be denied coverage.  When I was thirty-five, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.  I have a CPAP machine which I use nightly.  It won’t last forever.  I need to replace the mask at least once every six months.  This is a pre-existing condition, and I could be denied coverage.  Any one of these conditions could kill me.  Any one of these conditions could mean that I can be denied coverage.  And not just denied coverage for this condition, but denied coverage at all.  This has happened to me before.  When I lost my job, no insurance company would offer me any coverage at all, because of the bi-polar diagnosis.  I was fortunate enough to live in Minnesota, which offered Minnesota Care.  Not every state has such programs. 

 

The holy grail, according to the Republicans, for health coverage is “choice.”  As if I, or most people, have ever had any real choice.  I get my insurance through my employer, who negotiates with an insurance company, and those negotiations don’t include me or my interests.  I may be offered a “choice” of tiers.  When my employer and the company they have contracted with parts ways, no amount of pleading will allow me to keep my doctor.  I will be subjected to transitioning care to whoever it is that my employer has contracted with this year.  This has happened to me over and over and over again throughout my working life.  The claim that the ACA has reduced choice is laughable.  Most of us have had no choice, anyway.  What it provided, what it guaranteed, was access.  I might prefer to see the doctor I have been seeing, sure, but I _need_ to be able to see a doctor.    I have preferences, yes, but access is much more important.

 

Health insurance isn’t like car insurance.  I can choose to pay a minimum amount to cover my old beater, because quite honestly, if it’s in an accident, there’s not much point in fixing it.  This is not true of my body.  I can’t just write off my aging body as not worth fixing.  I can’t decide to buy a new, better body.  Still, we are required to buy car insurance, if not for ourselves, for the people we might hurt if we run into them.  And in this sense, there is a similarity between health insurance and car insurance.  Health insurance means that I can afford to get vaccinated, and treated for serious, contagious diseases such as tuberculosis.  And that protects everyone I come in contact with, including those who are too young, or in too fragile health to get vaccinations.  This is important, and necessary, for all of us.  I really don’t want to die of bacterial pneumonia, and neither do you.  I don’t want to watch a generation of children be crippled by polio, or die of scarlet fever.  And yet, when you strip away the ability to get health care from the poor, this becomes a very real danger. 

 

Please continue to fight.  Please feel free to share any of the details of this letter with your colleagues or anyone else in this fight for my life. 

 

****

Sigh.  My senators are Franken and Klobuchar.  Maybe they can wave their numbers in someone else's face.  

I really don't want to die.  Why do the Republicans want to kill me?

The Good Place: Season 2, Episode 1

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:32 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Absolutely fantastic. Do not click on cut unless you've already seen it. The whole series is streaming on nbc.com.

Read more... )
yhlee: snowflake (StoryNexus: snowflake)
[personal profile] yhlee
[Note: I used Cheris and Jedao as my playtest characters when working on Winterstrike, a StoryNexus game I wrote for Failbetter Games.]

"I can't believe you didn't think it was worth telling me that we're living inside a game," Jedao was saying.

Cheris sighed. "I didn't tell you," she said, "because you wouldn't be able to shut up about it, and it's hard being a good playtest character when someone keeps ranting." cut for Ninefox spoilers, I guess? )
sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
Erev Rosh Hashanah: I misplace the keys to my parents' house and cannot help with the cooking as early in the afternoon as planned, but my brother and his family turn out to have been laid low by some opportunistic bug (the preschool year has started) and don't make it for dinner after all; my father drives their roast chicken and their challah and their honeycake out to them in the evening. We eat ours after I light orange taper candles that technically belong to Halloween because that's what's in the house. The chicken is brined and stuffed with lemon halves and fresh rosemary; the huge round challah with honey drizzled lightly over its egg-washed crust is from Mamaleh's; the honeycakes are homemade and the twice-baked potatoes were introduced by [personal profile] spatch and me. I know it is not precisely the customary use of the Shechecheyanu, but I find it useful to have a prayer thank you, God, that we've made it this far. The year starts anyway, ready or not. I'd rather recognize it as it goes by. L'shanah tovah, all.

Left spouse here for contractor

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:50 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Did long drive.

Missed the exit on the way back and went the long way home. -_-
I hate driving at night.

*thud*

Havva Quote
f___ has started something called Norsemen, which she thought was going to be like Vikings--which she has at least heard about, and appears to be of the Tits & Scowling Historical subgenre--but this seems rather like...wry comedy, so far? Huh.
arcangel [to f___]: Huh!
f___ says, “A cheery Viking is giving a little pep talk and introduction about getitng to Norway to the crew on his ship.”
f___ | "We won't get paid? We... I feel the flow of information on this ship is extremely arbitrary. And that's totally uncalled for, when we're so crammed together in such a small craft. I didn't know until yesterday that we were even going to Norway!"
arcangel [to f___]: Heehee
E•••• hee.
f___ e says, “Dude saying that just got punched.”
-----------------------Quoted by f___-----------------------
A moment later, at the prow of the boat:
"Do you think that was a bit much?"
"No, no, you're the chieftain, it's expected that you're a bit, uh, like that when you're in charge."
"It's just that a fear-based leadership style is... It doesn't feel right."
------------------------------------------------------------
I–– giggles.
f___ says, “There is a very comic scene happening involving a series of old men who are supposed to do a ritual where they leap to their deaths, and are feeling a little uncertain about it after the first guy went, while the guy leading them tries to urge them on.”
arcangel giggles
-----------------------Quoted by f___-----------------------
"Maybe I don't want to jump."
"Come on, guys, go, go do it."
"It's not my sort of thing!"
"Okay, well, I'm a slave, I can't make you do anything you don't want to do, but, uh... Could you please just stay from Nordheim? So that people don't understand that you didn't do the aettestup?"
"Of course, no problem!"
"Great, thank you, wonderful. Bye!"
------------------------------------------------------------
arcangel heehee
f___ says, “This is bizarrely hilarious.”
f___ says, “A viking is trying to figure out if it's a little pathetic that he's still pillaging and hasn't settled down with a wife and land like his peers.”
f___ says, “The thing that makes it /bizarrely/ hilarious is that this is all being done with meticulous costuming, sets, landscapes, music, and good camera work.”
--I love the "livetweets" of what people're watching on the MUSH


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

art accountability

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:19 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Sunday's sketch of the Dragon while we were getting food:


(Dammit, I like life drawing, even if I'm too n00b to be good at it. Joe says I have been getting better since I started a few years back though.)

Pen: Pelikan M205 Aqumarine (F nib)
Ink: Diamine Eclipse

Moving on from heads to eyes and lips? )

I haven't gotten back to Ctrl+Paint because life has been busy, but yesterday my art accountability was working on a Thing in Photoshop, mainly blocking in values.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
[personal profile] hawkwing_lb
Weigh-in: 107kg approx

Benchpress: 6x5 at 60kg
Squats: 5x5 at 100kg, 1x8 at 60kg.
Leg lifts: 3x10
Overhead press: 4x6 at 20kg
Lat raise: 3x10 at 8kg/arm
Bicep curl: 3x10 at 8kg/arm

Rowing: 2km in 10:45
Exercise bike: 1km in 2:58




So after a 16km bike ride yesterday and a 7-8km walk on Sunday I think I'm getting enough exercise this week, maybe.

Augh, meant to be here...

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:07 am
archangelbeth: Bleary-eyed young woman peers up, pillow obscuring the lower half of her face. Text reads: SO not a morning person. (So Not A Morning Person)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
But wasn't, don't know if contractor showed up, went gallivanting off to check on some things in the next town over (so to speak). Gah.

Got some beads out of it, anyway. *sigh* They are very pretty, very cheap, shiny gimcrack beads.

Mother-in-law has huge blood clot in leg, and they are gonna keep her in the hospital for a wee bit till they have the blood-thinning med dose set up right. We are pondering figuring out how to loan her an Apple Watch to see if she'd use it to Stand Up More, because lack of moving legs is Not Good.

I also ....blanking... blanking...blanking... Ugh, brain. Anyway, spouse was being taxi for his mom a lot, including in the ER while they got the ultrasound done (they did not get it done after waiting HOURS, like till 10pm, last night, 'cause the Venous Ultrasound person'd gone home), and getting her checked in.

Then spouse and kid went for dinner, and I did trash night all alone -- including having to deal with the trash bags being in the garage. Our kitchen floor is higher up than our garage floor, for Reasons. Geologic ones, even. So we have stairs in the garage up to a little landing, and then a door into the house. The bottom of the stairs is currently blocked by the metal scaffolding that our contractor guy is using to get at the ceiling. I have discovered -- after Flicker-cat made a break for the garage FOR GODS KNOW WHAT REASON last night, and had to be lured out from under things -- that I can (as I suspected (yes, there are too many dashes and parens in this; sue me)) put one foot over the stair railing, slide that foot under the stair railing so there's enough Stair there to support me, and swing my other foot over.

So I tossed the trash bags over the railing, basically, followed them over, and bagged the trash. Left it in the garage near the door, went back over the railing, through the house, out the front door, to the car. Backed it up, opened the door, loaded the trash into the back, closed garage door, drove the 300 foot driveway IN THE DARK (I am not hauling the trash out by hand; are you kidding me??), with headlights of course (I specify the darkness because NOT HAULING IT BY HAND IN THE DARK FOR 300 FEET!), unloaded, came back, parked out of way of spouse's car, and went back in the front door.

Most of the accomplishment is the railing, but the context around my railing escapades is important.

Really.

Hush.

...did I mention getting to bed at 5 in the morning again? *sigh*

Oh, hey, I wonder if this looks like crap or not in reality. -_-
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1549781367

Havva Quote
I will end with some wise words from Reverend Mord: The universe is not uncaring. It cares about very strange things sometimes, but the great powers within it care even for the creatures as tiny as you and I.
--sabine (DW)


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean

This is very long and detailed, so I’m going to try to put in a cut tag.

All right, I can't get that to work, not if it was ever so. I'm sorry.

 

On Tuesday Raphael and I went to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The forecast was for a sunny, almost windless day with a high of 87. The air quality was moderate. I complained about this the day before and Raphael asked if I'd prefer not to go. But Sherburne is actually a good place to go on a less than perfect day, because there's a seven-mile wildlife drive with stopping points for viewing whoever happens to be around; also a tiny oak savanna (1/10-mile loop) trail and a prairie trail with an oak grove in the middle with a bench (1/2-mile loop). And it's September; hiking season will be over at some point.

We got a late start but arrived with about five hours of daylight ahead of us. Sherburne is near Sand Dunes National Forest, and its soil is also sandy. It's a lightly rolling landscape full of marshes, pools, and prairie, broken by lines and clumps of trees. You drive through a short stretch of mature restored prairie to reach the actual wildlife drive. It was awash in blooming goldenrod and blue and white asters and rich brown grasses.

 We stopped at the Oak Savanna Trail and had a sandwich, read the list of plants presently blooming (six kinds of goldenrod, four kinds of white aster, two kinds of blue aster, rough blazing star, and boneset) and then walked out on the tiny boardwalk. We examined what looked like an abandoned bald eagle's nest through one of the spotting scopes provided, and then started looking at spreadwings (yet another kind of damselfly) in the tall grass that the boardwalk runs through.

 Here is an image of a spreadwing that one might see in Minnesota, though I don’t know if that’s what we did see.

 http://museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Odonata/lere.html

 A flicker of motion in the distance caught my attention, and I looked up to see three sandhill cranes landing across the prairie near the road we'd come on. "A family," said Raphael, looking through the binoculars. "See the juvenile?" I did see the juvenile, which did not have all its red in yet but was almost as large as its parents. The cranes started walking through the grass, not unlike herons stalking through shallow water; occasionally they would bend their long necks down and poke around in the grass roots, and occasionally one of them would make a sharp dart and come up with food and swallow it.

It was hard to decide whether the cranes were more awesome through binoculars or just as tall shapes against the pale road and prairie, bending and straightening, wandering apart and together again. If you didn't look through binoculars you could also see meadowhawks darting around, the spreadwings rising to catch tiny insects and settling again to eat them, the unexpected wind shaking the oak leaves and the grass and the asters. From time to time a darner moved across the larger prairie, veering after prey or just powering along.

At last a truck came fairly fast along the road, raising a cloud of dust, and the cranes paused, considered, opened their huge wings and rose up, gawky but graceful, and flew away low over the grasses. We went back to looking at smaller wildlife

I was trying to spot a spreadwing through the binoculars when I saw what looked like an animated tangle of brown grass. I said to Raphael, “There’s some kind of mantis there!” and when Raphael expressed astonishment, I added, “It’s very stick-y,” which allowed Raphael to come up with the actual name: It was a stick insect. It took a few moments for me to describe its location and for Raphael to see it, and then I had trouble finding it again through the binoculars, but it was busy clambering around against the wind, so we did both get a good look at it. It was only the second stick insect I’d seen in Minnesota. The other was at Wild River State Park. That one was much larger and was rummaging around in a pile of leaves at the edge of the parking lot. This one was fascinating because its camouflage was so great, and yet it did have to move around, so you could differentiate it from the grass if you worked at it.

We’d arrived in the deep of the afternoon when smaller birds are quiet. We heard a few goldfinches murmuring, and a phoebe carrying on, and a chickadee. We left the boardwalk, admiring the asters waving in the non-foreseen but welcome breeze, and walked around the oak savanna loop. The little oak saplings tangled among the other shrubbery were already starting to turn red. White asters poked their flowerheads through leaves belonging to other plants, to startling effect. Autumn meadowhawks floated and hovered and darted, snatching up gnats from the clouds around them. We had seen a monarch butterfly in the asters while we were eating our lunch, and also a dark-phase swallowtail wandering over the grass; now we saw a painted lady butterfly.

We made an attempt to leave, but a darner landed on a drooping dead branch of an oak tree right in front of the car. The sun was behind it and we couldn’t get a good look without tramping heedlessly into the prairie, so we didn’t, but its silhouette was lovely against the brilliant sky.

 We drove on, past tall browning and reddening grasses, clumps of goldenrod, clouds of asters. Darners flew up from the sides of the road and zoomed away. We found at the turning that the refuge had reversed the direction of the wildlife drive since we were there last, which was momentarily confusing; but we found our way, and stopped at the Prairie Trail. I pointed out some thoroughly spent plants of spotted horsemint. We’d seen it in bloom, if you can call it that, at William O’Brien. It’s a very weird-looking plant. Here’s a photo:

 https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/spotted-horsemint

 This observation continued my inability to accurately provide the names of things; I’d just called it horsemint and Raphael reminded me that that particular weird plant was spotted horsemint. There are other horsemints, but they don’t look so strange. As we stood looking over the rise and fall of the little prairie, with folds of alder and sumac, and lines and whorls of different grasses and goldenrod, all truly starred with the blue and white asters, I said that I loved how big the sky was at Sherburne. Raphael noted that it was a slate-blue just now; we assumed that was the haze of the wildfire smoke all the way from the west coast, a somber reminder of far too many things.

 We took the grassy path, startling small grasshoppers out of our way and stirring up meadowhawks from the tall plants and shrubs. We saw a monarch; we saw a painted lady. Passing through a little grove of young alders, on almost every tip of the dead trees intermingled with the living there was a meadowhawk perched. They swept upwards, snatched a gnat or fly, landed to eat again. Raphael showed me how to identify a female autumn meadowhawk: they have a definite bulge just below the thorax, which was easy to see against the sky. Darners zipped past from time to time. If it was a green darner we could usually tell even from just a glance. The others were mosaic darners, but harder to identify in passing.

 I think it was as we approached the oak grove that we started seriously trying to identify the grasses. We’d known big bluestem, aka turkey-tail, for years. After seeing it labelled repeatedly here and there, I could pick out the charming clumps of little bluestem, just knee-high, with their pale fluffy flowers lined up and catching the light. We’d looked at an informational sign at the trailhead, but its drawings of Indian grass and switch grass didn’t look right. Raphael pulled up the photo of the sign about grasses at the visitor center at Wild River, which had struck both of us at the time as much more informative than other attempts to depict native grasses; and we could suddenly identify Indian grass after all. It has a long, narrow rich brown seed head with varying degrees of spikiness; some are quite streamlined and others are tufty and look as if they need combing. And we felt more confident about the switch grass with its airy spreading seed heads.

 Raphael pointed out a beetle on the path, maybe a Virginia leatherwing, and then realized that it looked like a moth. A little research when we reached the oak grove and sat down showed that it was a net-winged beetle, and the entry even mentioned that it looked quite a bit like a leatherwing.

 The bench we were sitting on was made from boards of recycled plastic. At some point Raphael had had enough sitting and went ahead a little way just to see what was there. I’d noticed when I sat down that there were verses from the Bible printed on the back of the bench in some kind of marker. On the left was the passage from Matthew that begins, “Come unto me you who are weary and heavy-laden,” and on the right the passage from John that begins, “For God so loved the world.” These might have been written in different hands. But the passage in the middle was definitely in a different hand, and began, “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine.” The ending of the passage was a bit smeared and I couldn’t read all of it, but at the bottom the name “hunter s. thompson” was clear enough. I followed Raphael and relayed the beginning of the passage. “Hunter s. thompson!” said Raphael, going back to the bench with me. “It’s from <i>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas</i>.” Raphael looked this up too, and showed me the unsmeared passage on the cellphone.

 Giggling a bit, we went on our way. We were now well around the loop and into the straight stretch back to the car. From the other side I’d pointed out a lovely layering of grasses, goldenrod, a narrow cleft of willow scrub, and a candy-red line of sumac. Now we came to the sumac from the other side. On the path in front of us was a butterfly. “What is that?” said Raphael. “It’s a Red Admiral,” I said confidently, but it wasn’t. It was another Painted Lady. Raphael consolingly told me that they were both Vanessa, very closely related, but the Red Admiral is very common in Minnesota and I was chagrined that I’d misidentified something else as that.

 We came to a little stretch of boardwalk over a marshy area. On a shrub was a shimmery amber-tinged odonate. I pointed it out to Raphael. It turned out to be another autumn meadowhawk, though it looked as if it ought to be an Eastern Amberwing, or at least a Band-Winged Meadowhawk. It had perched on a bit of red-stemmed dogwood, just to be extra-cooperative. We went on through the cattails and willow, past a minute patch of open water and up onto the grassy path again. Raphael pointed out that where the path climbed back out of the tiny marsh there was a nice view over the rest of the open water and the winding marsh with more willow, and cattails, and a shrub we should have known but didn’t. (I briefly misidentified it as more red-stemmed dogwood, because it was my day to misidentify everything; but it had deep purple stems and leaves just starting to turn reddish.)

 On our right for the end of our walk was the brilliant sumac and the cleft of alder saplings, all their leaves fluttering and twinkling in the wind and sunlight; on the left a long slope of prairie grasses interrupted by goldenrod and asters. More darners sailed by. The sky had lost its smoky cast and was a fine late-summer deep blue. We came back to the car and Raphael began to drive away, but I exclaimed at the sight of a big clump of stiff goldenrod covered with pollinators. We didn’t get out, but looked our fill from the car. Big bumblebees, a Ctenucha moth, beetles, ambush bugs. Once Raphael started reading it, I had to edit this entry to correct the Ctenucha moth's name and type, so have another link, since they are very handsome:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctenucha_virginica
 
There’s one more trail you can actually walk along, near the end of the wildlife drive, but there was a sign at the beginning saying that it was flooded. Before that we drove past long stretches of marsh, open water, and rolling prairie, all patched with clumps of trees. From time to time there would be a wider spot in the road, sometimes a formal space big enough for three or four cars, with a bench or two, or a platform over a low spot with spotting scopes and some informational signs about the wildlife; others just a metal platform with railings, where you could stand and look over the water. We tentatively identified the spot where we’d once common moorhens, which are not so common that we weren’t deeply excited. We’ve also seen muskrats and various ducks in these locations, and once there was a gigantic cloud of mosaic darners all brown and yellow – I seem to recall that some of them were lance-tipped darners, but I may be wrong. This time we heard water birds making a ruckus, but couldn’t see them. Darners came by in about the density that they had been all the while. Over one platform we saw what turned out to be a northern harrier; these guys have an amazing acrobatic flight, and they’re reddish on the underside and bluish on the back. I excitedly called this one a kestrel, which would be smaller and have the colors reversed: bluish on the underside and red on the back. We also very clearly saw a nighthawk with its white wing bars, though the sun was still up.

 We also saw some cedar waxwings fly-catching from a tree with a dead top, and heard a yellow warbler.

 At last we came to a stretch of water, islands, and snags so large that it had two separate viewing-spots. From the first we saw several groups of large white birds. I thought the first were swans, but they were white pelicans. There were also some swans, however. We came finally around a curve of the gravel road to an observation station in a little oak grove, overlooking the far side of this large sheet of water. This is where most of the dead trees are, and here, to our delight, we saw as we’ve seen before several times a very large number of cormorants. The sun was setting by then, off to our right. The sky was pink and the water reflected it. Many cormorants were roosting already, but some were still coming out of the water; they would land on a branch, sometimes settling and sometimes glancing off several different trees before finding one that suited them, or one in which the other cormorants accepted them. It was hard to be sure. Then they would spread their wings out to dry, looking as if they were practicing to be bats for Halloween.

 We found the swans and pelicans we’d seen from the other viewing station, though it was getting pretty dark by then. Cormorants still flew up into the trees and spread their wings. Through binoculars you could see the ones that had folded their wings now preening their breast feathers. Some of them had pale necks and brown fronts rather than being entirely black. I mentioned this to Raphael, who looked it up in Sibley and confirmed that those were juvenile cormorants.

 It was getting quite dark by then and the mosquitoes were starting to think about biting us in earnest. We drove past two more pools; beside one two groups of people we’d seen pass earlier, a third car I didn’t recognize from before, and a man using a wheelchair were standing and gesticulating. We pulled up and got out. The water and trees were lovely in the twilight, but we didn’t see any wildlife. The solitary man went away in his wheelchair, the unfamiliar car left, and we followed, watching the varied texture of the grass and flowers fade away into the dark.

 

Pamela

mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Review copy provided by Haikasoru Books.

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time. The Bamboo, the creatures in it, are described as vampires, but they’re really more grass monsters who eat human carrion. They’re described as scary, but I’m not particularly scared by them so much as baffled by their strange, secretive, hierarchical laws. (For me, this is a feature, not a bug.) And on basically every other page, I’m left saying, “What? What?” (Again, a feature, not a bug.)

There are three sections varying widely in time, with different protagonists. Even within the sections, the timeline swings wildly, spending pages on a conversation translated lovingly to attempt to show what level of formality the Japanese conversation used (oh, a losing battle) and then going over forty years in a single line. I would say that it’s full of plot twists, but that sounds very linear, very straightforward, as though things are following one upon another with logic–it is full of plot twists the way the dream you are trying to remember from two nights ago is full of plot twists. “And then you what? Why? Okay.”

And then the grass monster reached the end of their life and exploded into flowers. What? Okay. No, different section, they ate someone who they thought was abusing a prostitute. What? Okay. If that’s not okay with you, you should probably move along, because that’s what there is here, a whole lot of angst and monsters and randomness, and some of you are saying, gosh, no thanks, and some of you are saying, sign me on up.

Please consider using our link to buy A Small Charred Face from Amazon.

Books read, early September

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:45 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Alex Alice, Castle in the Stars Book One: The Space Race of 1869. Discussed elsewhere.

Hassan Blasim, ed., Iraq+100 Discussed elsewhere.

Chaz Brenchley, Dust-Up at the Crater School Chapter 7. Kindle. Plotty, moving forward, full of dust storms and schoolgirl antics, as one would expect for this project.

Marie Brennan, Maps to Nowhere. Discussed elsewhere.

George Eliot, Middlemarch. Kindle. And this is what happened to my early September. Middlemarch is surprising; it is delightful. It is one of the longest classics of English literature, and it is a joy to read. I kept thinking that I would want to leaven it with bits of something else, go off and take a break and read something in the middle of it. I didn’t. (I mean, I always have a book of short pieces going. But other than that.) While I was reading Middlemarch, I kept wanting to read Middlemarch, and when I was done reading it I wanted more of it. The only thing of its size that’s at all comparable in my attachment to it is John Sayles’s A Moment in the Sun, and that does not have the passionate following Middlemarch has–wherever I mentioned it I found that friends and strangers were ready to share my delight in this wandering intense chatty behemoth of a book. I’m discussing it with a friend who’s reading it with me. I’m not sure I have a lot to add for the general audience except to say, it’s funny, it’s intense, it’s gigantic emotionally as well as literally, it makes me want to read more George Eliot, it makes me want to read its giant self all over again. It is in some ways exactly what you would expect and in other ways nothing like what you’d expect. It is thoroughly itself. And oh, I love her, I love George Eliot so very much. I’m glad I read such a quotable thing when I was past the age of needing to strip-mine books for epigraphs. I can do that later. I’m glad I could just relax in and read this first time.

Masha Gessen, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. I enjoyed another of Gessen’s books and picked this up because the library had it, more or less on a whim. And it gave me a perspective on modern Russia that nothing else has, particularly on its criminal justice system. What the prison system is doing there, what trials are like, what sorts of things are prioritized, what and who counts, what and who does not. Enraging, illuminating. There are some things Gessen just takes for granted you will know about feminist art theory and punk, but I think it may still be interesting if you don’t? but even better if you do. Also, if you have a very strong high culture/low culture divide, read this book and have that nonsense knocked out of you. Not that I have an opinion about that.

Ben Hatke, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Discussed elsewhere.

Steve Inskeep, Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab. This is very much in the popular history category: short chapters, many things explained on a fairly straightforward level. Not a lot of delving deep into the obscure corners. However, Inskeep does a fairly good job of switching back and forth between the lens of the European settlers turned recent Americans and the lens of the cultures of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, and especially Cherokee people in the region he was discussing. One of the things that this particularly underscored for me is how quickly the European/American settlers viewed the land as traditionally theirs in that part of the south: the beginning of the Cherokee Trail of Tears was twenty-three years before the US Civil War. Even the earliest of the resettlements was only thirty years before. So in some parts of the Deep South, there were indeed plantations that had been going for generations–but in large, large swaths of it, the land they were fighting so hard for was land they had just taken from its previous owners basically five minutes ago. References to traditional way of life in that context are basically like talking about GameBoys and other hand-held gaming devices as our traditional way of life: they are bullshit. I think the way we are taught this period of history in American schooling encourages us not to think of that. I will want to read much deeper works on Andrew Jackson’s presidency. In this case I will say: Inskeep is not trying to paint him as a great guy or not a racist…and I still think he ends up going too easy on him. But it’s a good starter work for this period, I think.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Language of the Night. Reread. The last time I read this was before I was keeping a book log, which means also before I was selling short stories regularly. I was a lot less prone to argue with assertions about fantasy not needing to compromise then. (Oh nonsense, of course it does.) But one of the things that makes Ursula LeGuin a great writer is that she argues with her past self, too. She evolves. She evolves in the course of this collection. And I think she’d be far happier with people thinking and arguing than uncritically absorbing anyway.

Rebecca Mead, My Life in Middlemarch. So…I didn’t mean to go straight from Middlemarch to a book about it, but the other thing I had from the library, I bounced off, and…I wasn’t ready to be done. This is Mead’s memoir entangled with a bit of biography of Eliot. There are places where Mead is bafflingly obtuse (some areas of gender politics and the writing of sexuality, notably, but also the difference between a character who is fully human and a character who is generally sympathetic), but in general it is short and rattles along satisfyingly and tells me things I want to know about George Eliot without telling me too many things I actively didn’t want to know about Rebecca Mead.

A. Merc Rustad, So You Want to Be a Robot. This is a solid and heart-wrenching collection. It’s impossible to pick one true favorite because there are so many good choices. Definitely highly recommended, Merc hits it out of the park here. And they’re just getting started.

Gerald Vizenor, Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles. This is when Vizenor was just getting started, and gosh I’m glad I didn’t get started with his early work, because…why, oh why, did so many men of the seventies–particularly men who wanted to claim they were ecologically minded without doing much about it–pick the same direction for their demonstrations of their own sexual daring? Well, Vizenor grew out of it. But it’s a one of those. The person who wrote the afterword was sure that objections to it would be because people thought Indians couldn’t be like that! and no, it’s that it’s trite, it’s exactly the kind of trite sexual objectification of women–especially Indian women–that you’d expect from “seventies dude trying to be sexually shocking.” He got better. I’m glad.

non-binding poll

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:53 pm
yhlee: heptagon and flame (mirrorweb) (hxx emblem Liozh)
[personal profile] yhlee
Because I realized there's no point in my writing prequel-to-hexarchate (or even prequel-to-heptarchate [1]) stories about all-new characters if nobody wants to read about all-new characters in the story collection. :]

[1] I had this great idea about the heptarchate's founding but.

NOTE: I make no guarantees.

Poll #18837 hexarchate story collection
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 41


What *existing* characters would you like to see more stories about?

View Answers

Shuos Jedao
28 (68.3%)

Kel Cheris
33 (80.5%)

Shuos Mikodez
23 (56.1%)

Kel Brezan
18 (43.9%)

Kel Khiruev
18 (43.9%)

Andan Niath
6 (14.6%)

Nirai Kujen
13 (31.7%)

mystery POV #1 from Revenant Gun that Yoon evilly refuses to divulge
13 (31.7%)

servitor POV #2 from Revenant Gun
19 (46.3%)

someone else that I will mention in comments
4 (9.8%)

ticky the tookie tocky
13 (31.7%)

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:56 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I just spent several minutes trying to figure out where the hell the mysterious rustling noises were coming from.

One of my cats (Alex) was entirely hidden within the depths of a shoebox-size Priority Mail box. He has just now emerged, and his sister Erin has vanished inside.

No cat photos because I don't have an X-Ray camera.

Let him go, let him go, God bless him

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:06 am
laramie: (Default)
[personal profile] laramie
Week of September 11 - 18
I made some very small progress advancing the story on 'Yuletide' and a lot of progress preparing the POD version of 'Thanksgiving.' Reviews have been coming in for 'Team Guardian' - thirty of them now, and mostly four & five star. Even the couple three-star reviews don't seem to have anything really bad to say. Yay! I'm hoping this will make a difference in future promotions.

My most consistent efforts of the week went toward finding translators on Babelcube. At this point I have an agreement with a German translator and a Spanish translator, and am on the waiting lists of Portuguese & Hindi translators. This is a slow process. I'm looking at another service now for translating books to Chinese and publishing to the Chinese market... I'll let you know how that goes.

On Saturday I heard the very sad news of Dave Romm's death - a shock to the local f/sf fan community. It's been thirty-eight years since I first met him. I still find it hard to believe he's gone. I participated with Dave, Jerry Stearns and other local fans in starting the Shockwave radio show on KFAI back in 1980(?) I moved on, but he and Jerry stuck with it and created a legacy of shows over the years. Dave became a Baron - of a small country, the name of which I can't recall offhand. He was a frequent master of ceremonies at Minicons over the years. He brought an outgoing personality and good humor to the whole community - he will be greatly missed.

My favorite memory of Dave is of the occasion he, Richard Tatge and I all went out one Holiday season to look at the light displays. Dave drove, Richard sat in back as we went through the residential streets of Minneapolis and admired the festive lights. Along the way, all three of us whistled Christmas Carols in chorus.

My heart has been heavy, but the chores remain. I've kept up with the basics.

In odd bits of time I continue reading about estate planning for authors. I'm still flummoxed about who might be capable and willing to be a literary executor for my works. My niece Elise is a lawyer, but I don't know if she has any interest in the publishing world. I hope to live many more years before the issue arises, but Dave's death came as a reminder of how suddenly life can be cut short.

Stressy day

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:48 pm
archangelbeth: Bleach's Captain Byakuya, three-quarters view. Captioned: sigh (Sigh)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
1: Spouse -- with his mom -- has been waiting for their turn at the ultrasound machine, in the ER, since... 3:30pm or so? Well, with a stint at Urgent Care, but UC sent them up to the ER for an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. It is now 10:50pm. He is still not home. Nor have I heard from him since before I and kid went to seek food.

2: The garage is not usable as an ingress to the house just now, as there is scaffolding there, because we had water damage and our contractor needs to see how bad it is. We also have carpenter ants in one corner. The composite board is at least not disintegrating, but I am now of the opinion that composite board should NEVER be on ANY load-bearing floor. Or wall.

Also, roofs should have a rubber membrane that goes up over a foot at any house-join, so that when ICE DAMS happen, they do not overflow the plastic at the joins, come in the back, and RUIN EVERYTHING.

*sigh*

Further, the ENTIRE CEILING of the garage is not up to fire-code. It's only 1 layer of... whatever that stuff is called. Not drywall? The other thing. I can't remember. But it should be 2 layers, not 1. But noooooo, the people who put it together didn't put in both layers. FURTHER, they doubled-up on the plastic sheeting that's supposed to be on only one side of insulated walls (to keep moisture from being trapped in the middle layer and turning the insulation into Mold Surface Central), and didn't secure the wood slats of the ceiling grid (that holds up the insulation) to all the two-by-fours correctly. Especially at the edges. AND they didn't use long enough screws in the ceiling such that he was being surprised that we hadn't had a chunk of ceiling start coming down.

Having a friend who is a total stickler for code come and SUPERVISE house-building seems like a worthwhile investment at this moment.

3: If you are a lunch restaurant and are closed to customers 10 minutes before your closing time, I am going to tell Apple Maps that your closing time listing is wrong, unless you have a note on the door that the kitchen had to close up early or something. YES, I think people should get to go home promptly! However, I also think that presenting "closing time" to staff as "time we should go home by" is going to make for cranky customers. (We're not the only ones who were hoping to get in under the wire.) Staff should be paid for hanging around till the No More Customers Allowed In closing time! I believe Management is not setting correct Staff expectations. (Or, possibly, not paying them enough for those expectations.)

I am more sympathetic to an evening restaurant closing a little early if they have no customers in the building. I mean, they don't expect last-minute people and it's dark.

It is frustrating to hit BOTH of those in one day, though. -_-

Havva Quote
E____ says, “...The Widowmaker/Sombra ship is Spiderbyte and I will hear nothing to the contrary.
https://twitter.com/velsmells/status/898341081690943488


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