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Aug. 22nd, 2013

The fair isle class was a blast. It took a lot of hours to train my right hand to manipulate the yarn properly, but the extra effort was worth it. The teacher loaned me one of her books to look through for ideas. That was so much fun that I've requested most of the fair isle books that my library system has. Thus far, with the exception of a section of Alice Starmore's book on how to create your own jumper, the lot can go back into circulation without any scans or photos. There was a downside to all of this fair isle fun, and it has a name: Trouble.

Trouble is living up to her name. She seems to have a fascination with yarn. I rescued a skien from her teeth a few weeks ago, and since then, all yarn has been stowed in the middle of tables or too high for her to reach. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, after three nights of dear Trouble waking us up and three nights of me not able to go back to sleep afterward, I put my fair isle project down on the ottoman and went back into the bedroom to rest my burning eyes. I kept hearing her trot back and forth in the hall, and stupidly, I pretended to be dead in hopes she would settle down. Well, she did settle down with a nice half-done project. After I gave up trying to nap and got up in search of coffee, I found a long trail of one color of yarn leading into the kitchen, where it ended with a frayed and very wet free end. The rest of the project was tangled under and around the ottoman. Of course, she had no idea at all why I was angry. That was minutes ago, an age to a puppy. The damage to the actual project is minimal. I can probably fix it, unlike the sunglasses, the hole in the couch's arm, the back of my shoes, my slippers, the hole in the middle of the kitchen rug, the wiring to the solar panel, etc....

Latest book read: Damned by Chuck Palahnuik This isn't my usual genre, if "literary" is a genre. One of his blog posts really hit home. Homework. I need to read good writing for inspiration. Unfortunately, Damned was not especially good. It was clever, in that in-joke, too bad you don't really get it since you weren't a literature major sort of way. Each chapter starts out with a little letter from the protagonist, Madison, to Satan. I suspect that this is playing on Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret, which I never read. Nothing really happens for a couple hundred pages. You meet some people, meander around a teenager's gross-out version of Hell (Made me miss Dante.), chuckle a wee bit over a few of the writer's ideas of what people stuck in Hell have to do, and then it ends lamely. Maybe this was an off novel? I've got Fight Club in my library request queue.

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org

Jul. 29th, 2013

There is no real content here.

I keep trying to keep track of what I read. So, for lack of anything important to say, a book review.

Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson Read more...Collapse )
So, yeah, I won't be checking out the second book.

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org

May. 21st, 2013

I feel guilty whinging about the wind after reading about Oklahoma. So, maybe, I'll just tiptoe by that particular whine and hope that, by Friday, it'll be calm enough to get back to working on the big garden re-do.

I could bore you with my navel-gazing as to when you can call yourself fluent/an expert/pick a rank/title, but I think I'll pass on that one, too.

Which leaves what? Well, I didn't keep my volunteering hand secured to my side, so I'm now the webgal for our local Audubon group. The board meeting was actually fun last week, and no one wanted to run against me, so I get to tear apart their website and remake it into something I'd want to use.

Finished reading Sacrilege by S.J. Parris. AKA Bruno 3, this book continues the adventures of renegade monk Giordano Bruno while he's in England. This one wasn't as much fun as the first two, but it was still very interesting, both in the mystery and in the world building. She got a "C" in the romance part of the plot. That part was clearly a plot device. I managed the last forty or so pages while in the midst of food poisoning. I expect, if I were to reread it now, when my head isn't pounding and my gut isn't twisting, the story would have been better.

Just about time to start promotion on the next concert: Jeana Leslie, Siobhan Miller and Aaron Jones. Why, this promoter wonders, is the pretty portrait that hints of nothing other than attractiveness the new publicity shot? I guess, if you're well-known some place, that you could get away with it, but if you're trying to break into a new area.... No. Get some high-res images of you doing whatever it is you're trying to get people to come and see you do. These women are amazing musicians, and both have lovely voices. The press images are of two cute women who are just sitting there. If you must have beautiful portraits taken that you plan on using to advertise yourself, at least place your instruments in the shot. Just sayin'.

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org

Mar. 26th, 2013

And suddenly it's Tuesday. This time thing is weird. It crawled like a crawling thing Thursday. FridaySaturdaySundayMonday? Whoosh.

Our concert went really, really well. The community center that hosted it is very happy, which makes us very happy. They made eighty dinners, all of which sold, and they hosted a successful bar. I know, because I bought the last cold beer around 9PM, just before the second half started, and then had to arm-wrestle the WBH over the last third. Full house, all 120 tickets sold, with sad folks turned away at the door. How surprised they were that a Cape Breton traditional music concert would sell out. Really? With the quality of the music and the exhausting and relentless promotion that both the radio station and we've been doing for weeks? Oh, we're supposed to let you in for free? And why is that? I'm the official bad guy, and I just have to say that turning on the sad face or the pissy face isn't going to work. Sign up for the email list and buy your tickets earlier than the day of the concert.

We are full of the community center love. Not only did they make an incredible dinner and host a bar, when it was time for the dreaded break-down and clean-up, they told us not to worry about putting the chairs away or doing any cleaning. All we had to do was help the sound guy get his tons of equipment stowed. We made it home by midnight, toasted the great music and great audience and people, and keeled over.

Saturday? I vaguely remember driving up to town to deposit checks and stop at our favorite bar/pizzeria for some well-earned calzones and pints of Arrogant Bastard. After that, brain turned to mush. Sunday? Sloth, idleness, some cooking, and yes, more sloth. Monday's high point was finishing...

Frankenstein's Cat - Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave new Beasts by Emily Anthes. When NPR's "Fresh Air" isn't all about television shows and musicians, there are occasional interviews with authors that make me hit our local library system's website and put immediate hold requests on books. This was one of them. Anthes's prose has a lovely wry tweak while delivering a lot of information. Whether the topic is about glowing green cats, the high cost of cloning your pet, remote controlled rats/roaches/beetles, or prosthetics for dolphins, she does a damn find job of discussing the science and the ethnics. If you're a science fiction writer, you owe it to yourself to read this slim gem. If you got your biology degree thirty-plus years ago like I did, this is a book to make you feel stupid. I had many moments of "Wow! When did they learn how to do that?" and "Wait, they told us that was impossible!"

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org

Mar. 8th, 2013

My posts appear to be of the "X whatevers make a post" these days. *shrug*

Thing the first was a trip a few hours north to see the Masters of Tradition show. I'm kinda torn about this production. The line up was great. David Power on uilleann pipes; Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill; Máirtín O'Connor's band with Cathal Hayden and Seamie O'Dowd; and sean nos singer Iarla Ó Lionáird. I've seen Hayes and Cahill many, many times. O' Lionaird has the voice of an angel. Power's a splendid piper. The trio put on a very strong performance. It's just, well, it was kind of like watching one of those variety shows from the seventies, the ones with a little banter, a musical act, some quips, a song, and all with a distinct start-stop feeling. This wasn't what I was hoping for, although it was good, but I don't think it was $30/ticket good. The last segment, when they all finally came together as an ensemble, was the only part where the energy sparked for me. Guess I'm a hard sell, since the rest of the crowd appeared to be thrilled with the production.

Thing the second was I finally read another book. I'm starting to feel like my reading mojo is way off. Thank you, [personal profile] aome, for suggesting Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce. Once the writer got past that overworkshoped first chapter and got into the story, it was a fun read. I had some problems with her too-equal world, but this is a YA story and there's nothing wrong with getting young adults used to the idea of sexual equality. Her Mexi-Cal backdrop was fun, and her otherworldly creatures were nicely done. My eyebrows raised when I read the full names of her parents, and if I'm reading this correctly, they must have been related. Whenever Flora attempted to use a word of power and all the squiggles appeared on the page, Flora morphed into Agatha Heterodyne for a few paragraphs. Plus, how could I not smile every time Flora's heroine would be mentioned, since that heroine has my RL surname. Must read the rest!

Thing the third...Well, is there a thing the third? Only if you want to read about my wrestling with various German words that multiple meanings like "doch," "aber," "auch," "mal," etc.... Pimsleur keeps tossing these words in with no explanation why they're being used differently this time.

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org

Jan. 14th, 2013

First book of 2013 read! Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys YA tale of a girl and her family swept up during the Soviet Union's overrun of Lithuania. I enjoyed it a lot, although I felt like I was rereading "Into the Whirlwind," a memoir I'd read years earlier. My quibbles are minor. The author has several very nice turns of phrase and good characters. The afterward was a bit too-too for me. Still, if this was the introduction for young folks to the terrible Stalinist pogroms, then it's a good one.

Definitely more fun than the Putin hit piece I'm picking my way through and might abandon, because it's so obviously a hit piece. I've learned a lot about politics ca. '90-'95 or so, but it's just so damn dull.

I had a wonderful weekend felt class. Saturday was boots (which I'm ignoring right now because the idea of sticking my foot and leg into icy cold wet wool to finish shrinking the boots to my size just doesn't sound like much fun) and Sunday was a much smaller hat project. It was great fun, although my back threatened to overturn any fun had on Saturday night, as the work table was way, way too short for me. That leaning position required to lay out the wool drafts for each layer sent my back into spasms. Lots of stretching, two glasses of wine, more stretching, and three Ibuprofen got me through the night. The WBH was so sweet. He could tell how much pain I was in and had a very good idea as to why. He offered to cut PVC extension pieces for the table legs. So, early Sunday morning, when the frost was thick on the ground, I asked if he was serious about the offer. Next thing I knew, he'd donned his heaviest coat and gloves and headed out the door. By the time I had to leave, he presented me with four 18" sections to raise the table. No backache on Sunday. *loves fiercely*!

Cross-posted from dreamwidth.org