This is turning into an annual ritual

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:27 pm
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Or more like every 10-11 months. Guess who just bought a new computer? It me!

This time I don't think the demise of the old one is my fault - the battery was behaving weirdly on Sunday, and then yesterday at 40% power it went zoooop and wouldn't turn on again. It's still in warranty, so is being shipped back to Lenovo. In the meantime I still have work to do, so bought an itsy-bitsy teeny weenie Lenovo YogaBook, which is proving very difficult to type with (keyless keypad!) but otherwise seems like a Friend.

Naturally I hadn't made a recent file backup on the old computer, but I'm fairly sure the HD will be okay, and all my work stuff is on dropbox.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: Arundhati Roy, 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness'; Science of the Discworld II, and a few other bits and pieces.

Recently Finished: Backdated reviews from the UK trip, as follows

The Lawrence Browne Affair (The Turner Series, #2)The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Apparently I was on a roll with 'accidentally reading book two before book one of a series'. I liked this one! Although without the context of book 1 I had some trouble figuring out WHY a slum-born swindler was a competent secretary, I liked it a lot. I liked that the give-and-take came from both directions (Georgie's decision to read up on electricity was a nice touch), and I'm a fan of the cast of supporting characters - Lawrence's female inventions buddy especially.

The Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series, #1)The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I liked this one a lot less than The Lawrence Browne Affair. It just seemed... meh. Meh in world-building, and in character-building. I think there's only so many 'scoundrel goes straight for love' romances one can read in a row, and I was coming to Cat Sebastian off the back of KJ Charles' An Unnatural Vice.

Mother of Souls (Alpennia, #3)Mother of Souls by Heather Rose Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was *interesting*. This book is definitely marking a genre-stamp for the series, moving it more firmly into historical-fantasy and away from romance. Which, given I was getting sick of neatly parcelled romance novels, is a good thing to me. I enjoyed both of the new lead women characters, and the returning ensemble cast. It was particularly rewarding to see Anna the apprentice develop more as a character. The test to Margerit's worldview & philosophy of the mysteries via Serafina was great, as was the increase in ensemble cast diversity.

I'm just a bit surprised - I thought this was 3 in a trilogy, but it's clearly not a final-in-the-series book. This is, overall, a GOOD surprise. I have high hopes! Especially for Margerit's niece - I devoutly hope she's our next heroine.

Frenchman's Creek (VMC Book 2160)Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I've never read any Du Maurier, and I'm told this is atypical - the only one of her works she claimed as a romance at all. It was a bit weird to read, like, say, if you'd read LOTR *after* reading Raymond E Feist. Suddenly I could see all these influences on the queer histrom I've been reading - not only faithfully adapted elements but *deliberately departed from* ones. Like. If this was written by one of the m/m histrom crowd now, there would be a *lot* deeper interrogation of the class issues in the novel. (Class here is used primarily as a _uniting_ factor, something to bring its heroine together with her Manic Pixie Pirate Baron, and not really interrogated at all.) Fisherman's Creek is definitely better literature, but less self-aware.

Good things: it's not in the slightest HEA. Which I liked - I was surfeited on HEA by the time I got to this one, and I can't see how a HEA would have *worked* here (unless you rewrote it as m/m. In which case they run away to sea together).

Also, Our Hero is a Manic Pixie Pirate Baron. That part seemed fairly self-aware: burned out woman gets to meet an inspiring rebel who Changes Her Life and recharges her to go back to her real world, much as has happened to dudes in literature forever.

To review later: Georgette Heyer, Tanya Huff, a book about beds, the latest Archer magazine issue, and LM Montgomery's autobiography.

Up Next: I need to attack Carolyne Larrington's 'Brothers and Sisters in Medieval Literature'




Music notes: well I saw Midnight Oil, asyouknowBob. And I bought Alan Doyle's first solo album, Boy on Bridge. Today I noticed that the song 'Testify', which sounds like country-gospel, is actually a song about a dude escaping prison by staging a river immersion baptism. This pleases me.

Oh my

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:21 am
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
This morning I made pancakes and ate them on the balcony, and started reading Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I'm only about two chapters in, and am already blown away by her prose and her... I don't know what to call it, exactly, but it's there in God of Small Things and it's there in this one, and I haven't found anything in between that quite tastes like they do.

Other facts:

- yesterday I spent 200 chf on a handbag. It's a very nice, very understated handbag made of good leather, so probably worth it. (There was a Fossil bag I liked, on sale, considerably cheaper, but it had suede panels and was probably more fashion-dependent.) Friend R went shopping with me, and I think I disappointed her: I did not want sparkles, or colour blocks, or quilt effects, or tassels, and most things with gold embellishments I thought were too overdone (for me: underdone for R, I'm sure). I kept gravitating to bags she described as 'my aunt has one like that'. Basically I wanted something considerably smaller than my satchel, that I can wear with a dress, and that won't draw much attention (so I can carry it with ANY dress. Or with a more masc outfit if I so choose).

- We then went prowling through the makeup section. I learned a lot of terrifying things about makeup. Again, a bit weird, because I'm attracted to makeup as a THING, but evidence proves I don't bother wearing it. R kept being like 'this would look good on you'. Well, yes. Except I wouldn't wear it. I bought some single-use face masque sheets from Sephora, though, and that turns out to be quite rewarding. I haven't had a good masque since I stopped buying clinque (the Sukin mud one may or may not have been good for my skin, but it didn't feel like anything on and was therefore a disappointment).

There have been some Girlfriend Situations in the past week that have varied from bloody brilliant (gosh I'm looking forward to seeing her!) to anxiety-hamster to quietly worrying.

Miscellaneous

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:01 am
highlyeccentric: Me (portrait by Scarlet Bennet) (Not impressed)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
1. I deserve points, because I just made a doctor's appointment for a non-urgent matter.

2. Midnight Oil concert was totally worth it. The anxiety I worked myself up into in advance of going to Paléo was not, really. There *were* big crowds coming in by 8, 9 pm - but not at 5pm for the opening gigs! It was super chill when I got there. I ended up leaving at about 8.15 - I'd moved on to a smaller stage featuring tiny british boys known as Temples, but the mix of cigarette smoke and pot in the air was making my eyes stream and my head hurt. I feel a bit... a bit useless because I went to a thing and LEFT as everyone else was arriving. But actually, who cares? I saw what I wanted.
2.i. I have to say though, some of the tracks off Diesel and Dust which if you think about them too hard are Not Cool, well. They are really uncomfortable when you're all standing on European soil. the Dead Heart, particularly: it's pretty close to musical blackface to begin with, and the cultural dislocation just makes it more obvious.
2.ii. Garrett chose to do his contextualising around 'imagine if the French government had got their act together and had made it to the east coast of Aus before the British, I'd be singing all this in French'. Which. Okay. He didn't try to suggest this would be better, or worse, colonialism-wise, but I was still not happy with the way it felt. And at some point he referenced 'our dear first peoples, the indigenous australians', and just. Nope. How patronising can you GET?
3.iii Rob Hirst remains crazy talented oh my goodness. I somehow forget to notice the complexity of the percussion if I'm just listening, but as soon as you see him in action: wow. Also, the percussion kit included an honest-to-goodness rusty corrugated iron water tank, which I can only assume they physically transported from Aus for use during 'Power and the Passion'. Hell yes.

3. I started making a weekly habit tracker thing. Like a sticker chart for kids - you set a number of chores or self-care activities and colour in when they're done. I think I've set 49 possible things over a week, but not all of them are daily so I have targets. If i met every target I'd be at 41 things; so far I'm rewarding myself if I get to 25. And it's... working? The first few weeks I had days with only one or two squares; now normal is 3 or 4.

And on that note I'd better go and address today's tasks, starting with 'walk to work' (i missed 'get up by 8')

Today I am Doing A Thing

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:06 am
highlyeccentric: Vintage photo: a row of naked women doing calisthenics (Onwards in nudity!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I am going to a *music festival*. I have a ticket to Paleo (... somewhere. First quest: locate and print ticket), which is not a festival of weird food, but a festival of rock/pop music. Who knew?

Midnight Oil are playing on the main stage at 6. I was SUPER EXCITE when I bought the tickets (obviously, since I bought them) but now, in face of the prospect of travel, crowds, etc, I am less excite. I don't think I'll regret it, though.

Arcade Fire are on the main stage later tonight; I'm not sure that I'll stick around for that, though.

Book Meme!

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:26 pm
liseuse: (books and personality)
[personal profile] liseuse
I know, I know, I don't post for ages and then it's a meme. I snagged this from [personal profile] magnetic_pole. Statements which are applicable to me have been bolded!

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
Ahahaha, yeahhhh.

2. You currently own more than 50 books.
Ahem.

3. You currently own more than 100 books.
I do! I mean I did cull my book collection considerably when I moved house but it never got below 100 and it's growing again.

4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.

5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.
I am a big fan of my ereader - mostly because I like to try and read lots of longlists and the library quite frequently has them split between its paper and ebook collections, also I like to read massive novels and it's good to be able to have them on my ereader so that I can read them on public transport more easily.

6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands.

7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
Always. I think I've got three on the go right now?

8. You read every single day.
Well, I try to.

9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.

10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.

11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.

12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.
Well, I have been known to regret it when I'm trying to stay awake at my desk, but I know full well I'll do it again.

13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.

14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read.
Yes, but I probably didn't say that to the person whose invitation I turned down.

15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
More "carry on with reading" time.

16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book.

17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.

18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.

19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.

20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book (it’s okay, we won’t tell).

21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
Eh, kinda. If people are after literary fiction or fantasy recommendations, then yes.

22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.
Recommending books is harrowing! What if they don't enjoy a book you loved!

23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.

24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.

25. And you judge them. A little bit.

26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.

27. You’ve vowed to convert a non-reader into a reader.

28. And you’ve succeeded.

29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.

30. You own several signed books.

31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street.

32. In fact, you have.

33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.

34. You own a first-edition book.
I own a few but only because I bought them cheap from the charity shop. I'm not fussed about editions.

35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.

36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.

37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.
I love the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.
I try to read the entire longlist every year.

39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.

40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.

41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.

42. You gave your pet a literary name.

43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.

44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.

45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...

46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.

47. You love the smell of books.

48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.

49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.

50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.

A thing I did in the UK

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:07 am
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
After Leeds I met up with friend L, and we proceeded to Penrith, and then on foot out of town to an outlying mixed rural/industrial area (it was weird. It had sheep and a Local Business Park and a cake factory), where our accommodation was a 'camping pod' in a former orchard. Pretty cool, aside from getting rained on heavily to get there.

Saturday we marched up the road to the Rheged centre (me: oh, this are must have been part of Rheged! L: no, Rheged is a welsh place name, there was this king, Urien Rheged... me: let me tell you a thing about the fifth and sixth centuries) and took a bus down to Keswick, in the Lake District. It was very beautiful, we walked around Derwent Water, many sheep much scenery very wow (photos forthcoming see [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum).

However, before setting off on the scenic part of the expedition we went to A PENCIL MUSEUM. And learned about the history of pencils. I'm not sure it was quite worth the 5 pound entry (it would've if we'd had kids with us: there was a whole room of colouring-in play space), but it was pretty awesome. Special points to the display on the Cumberland Map and Compass Pencil, produced at the behest of Charles Fraser Smith, the British govt's secret gadgets-commissioner for WWII.

I do so love weirdly specific museums.

Forgive the repetition

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:49 am
highlyeccentric: Graffiti: sometimes i feel (Sometimes I Feel)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric


Thing I learned: Alan Doyle's current touring band, the Alan Doyle Trio (not the Beautiful Gypsies, good news on the not-having-a-racist-band-name front) were touring with the Barenaked Ladies in April. And my fave track from the 2015 album was co-written with the lead dude from BNL. (Who is also getting round and old lookin' and that hasn't decreased my attraction to him either, sigh.)

Also the attractive lady with the violin is Kendall Carson.

The video for Summer Summer Night was released yesterday and I'm not impressed. They seem to have decided that Alan is too old to front a scene about dreamy summer beach parties, which, OKAY, but I am not interested in desaturated slomo shots of blandly attractive young people dancing. At the expense of shots of Alan and his ridiculous face and/or Kendall Carson and her... everything.

So I'm watching this live video instead.

WELL

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:52 am
highlyeccentric: Divide by cucumber error: reinstall universe and reboot (Divide by cucumber)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I was just thinking yesterday that Auspol had been suspiciously normal, compared to the UK and the US, for at least a week.

NEVER FEAR. Today I woke up to news of:

A: SECRET KIWI IN THE SENATE

and

B: Turnbull's plans to override the laws of mathematics.

I'm not sure what's best about item A: that Scott Ludlam has been an illegitimate senator all this time, or that he DIDN'T REALISE HE WAS A KIWI. He 'didn't realise citizenship followed you like that'. You're a SENATOR, sir.* How many immigration debates have you slept through?

Item B is pure gold and the best motivation I have ever heard for subscribing to a VPN service. Declare your allegiance to the laws of mathematics!

* Wait, no you're not. You've never actually been a Senator. You've just been... in the Senate. A secret Kiwi in the senate.

Posting challenge 7/17: Book meme

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:06 pm
magnetic_pole: (Default)
[personal profile] magnetic_pole
Who can resist a book meme? Thanks to [personal profile] therealsnape for leading the way.

Note: I do a lot of reading for work--in fact, almost exclusively reading for work these days, apart from the occasional fic. Which means that I don't read a lot of fiction. But I do read a real variety of non-fiction--academic, general audience, recent, not-so-recent, in my field, in other fields. So I'm going to go ahead and reply here, with a caveat that I really wish I read more fiction. One day!

I'd love to see what you have to say! I'll create a text box below if you want to do the meme yourself.

Bold the statements that apply to you.

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
Of course.

2. You currently own more than 50 books.
These first questions are just to stroke our bookish egos.

3. You currently own more than 100 books.
12 Billies, if you know the Ikea bookcase size. I've actually received four in the mail while typing this meme. I kid you not. This is what happens when you study the recent past. Everything is $.01 plus $3.99 shipping.

4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.
Mmmm, no. I don't read online very well yet. (And honestly between reading the news and reading articles in PDF form, I don't feel I need any more screen time than I already have.)

5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.

6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands.
It's actually pretty logical--mostly by subject, with a bit of size distribution to keep the bookcase stable. But I'm not sure a stranger could find something quickly.

7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
Always!

8. You read every single day.
I read the back of the cereal box over breakfast. I'm not sure how I'd get through a day without reading.

9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.
Of course! Two, since one is a bit dry.

10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.
Always be prepared. (Metro riders in DC have to say this fairly often these days.)

11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
Actually, no. Reading fic, yes. Fic makes me obsessive. But not books.

12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.

13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.
Hm. If you have suggestions on this, let me know!

14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read.
I try never to decline the few social invitations that arrive, lest I turn into a hermit.

15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
In the general sense that all good days are reading days.

16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book.

17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.

18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.
No, and I've also never been mugged while reading a book. Gah! Do folks really walk around reading? Isn't that dangerous for a whole host of reasons?

19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.

20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book (it’s okay, we won’t tell).
Just once, when Dumbledore died. Full on sobbing in an airport, I'm afraid to say.

21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
Well, my students. Usually a few days before papers are due. But every once in a while a student will e-mail and say "I've read everything you suggested in class last semester--do you have any other suggestions?" and I'm giddy with joy.

22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.

23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.

24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.

25. And you judge them. A little bit.

26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.

27. You’ve vowed to convert a non-reader into a reader.

28. And you’ve succeeded.

29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.

30. You own several signed books.
I'm collecting signed books by my colleagues, as we start to publish them.

31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street.

32. In fact, you have.

33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.
If dead writers count, then yes!

34. You own a first-edition book.
Well, technically. But it's obscure and relatively recent stuff, nothing genuinely valuable.

35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.

36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.

37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.

38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.

39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.
Wow. Not at all. I'm going to be curious to see who says yes to this one.

40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.

41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.
My favorite academic remainders bookstore used to sell these great canvas book bags. I've got two.

42. You gave your pet a literary name.

43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.

44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.
Mmmm. Is this really a related question? Yes, but only because I'm old and learned to skim using caps and punctuation. kids these days r hard 2 understand

45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...
Embarrassingly, I once gave a cultural history of Christmas to someone as a Christmas present. (In my defense, it looked great!) After that, the better half took charge of all of our gift-giving.

46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.
Doesn't anyone else not have favorites this way? I could name a handful that really touched me or influenced me in some way, but I don't have a favorite.

47. You love the smell of books.
Ergh, not really. I buy a lot of things from the 1960s and 19070s and am always a little worried that smell is a toxic mold of some sort.

48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.

49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.
Hm. Held my breath, definitely!

50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.

And here's my TRS's very own addition:

51. You found out about a new book you want to read while doing this meme.
I did! Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter via TRS. This looks light and fun. And to contribute one of my own, since I didn't discuss specifics above: Empire of Cotton: A Global History

This is a Musical Rec

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:08 am
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric


Single from Alan Doyle's forthcoming album 'A Week at the Warehouse'. I don't know why but I hadn't listened to any of his solo / Beautiful Gypsies stuff*, and I've just discovered it and it MIGHT reconcile me to the break-up of GBS.

*Well. Maybe the TERRIBLE BAND NAME. No points, Alan.
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