I have gotten out of the habit of chasing down fan vids and would like to download some to my laptop for enjoyment purposes. I find them to be a lovely pick-me-up--they don't necessarily have to be cheerful vids. But I probably can't deal with extreme gore or realistic violence (I've seen half an extremely well done Hannibal vid that I had to nope out of because I am chicken).
Some vids already in my collection that I really like, to give you an idea (in no particular order):
- bironic's "Starships"
- bopradar's "I Kissed a Girl"
- Lithium Doll's "All These Things"
- laurashapiro's "Ing"
- giandujakiss's "A Charming Man"
- obsessive24's "Cuckoo" and "Remember the Name"
- shati's "Hope on Fire"
- sisabet's "Cowboy" and "Two Words"
Fandoms I especially like watching/or have some clue about:
- I like the visuals of Game of Thrones although I've only watched one episode (have read most of the extant books, though)
- The Good Place
- recent Star Wars
- The Great Queen Seondeok
- The Good Wife
That being said, if the vid can be understood without having seen the show, I'm happy to watch it. :)
I have also decided to burn some vacation by declaring the weekend of Leslie Odom Jr's Ravinia concert to be a four-day weekend. I shall go to the Botanic Garden for a few hours on Sunday afternoon, then walk over to Ravinia and settle my butt on the lawn with a tasty selection of noshes (and possibly a bit of very classy booze) to listen to Gershwin, followed by the golden tones of Mr Odom. And then have Monday to snooze after a late night.
As I was making my lunch wrap this morning, I set aside some of the wilted spinach for Sawyer and the guinea pigs, then realized that Sawyer and The Guinea Pigs is totally the name of my next cover band. Some will also go to Peeves the hamster, who is one of the sweetest, nicest hamsters I have ever gotten to snuggle. When I pet his back, he rolls over to show his fuzzy white tummy and wriggles into my hand while making the cutest little happy hamster face.
I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”
I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.
I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)
Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.
Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
I want autumn and wearing layers and pulling out things made of wool.
Speaking of wool, I am wearing new sneakers made of wool today, for which I paid full price and I don't care because my poor arthritic foot bones are loving them so very much. The tops are soft! The insides are soft! There appears to be adequate support! They are from Allbirds and I never want to take them off. For the most part, they are not too hot, though I haven't tried them standing in the high humidity all day yet.
I am tempted to buy a pair of the loungers as well, for dayjob wear. (I snuck the sneakers in today because it's Friday and also hardly anyone is here.)
Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.
It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.
So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.
Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.
Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.
They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.
Also, the lack of dog.
Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.
His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.
And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.
ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.
Thunderstorms last night and this morning, which I don't object to at all, except for the bit where I have to get out of bed and leave the house while it's still raining. :P Water shoes and quick-dry dress, ahoy!
T is coming over tonight to pick up the bulk of the books that are Going Away. I can't WAIT. Couldn't haul a load downstairs this morning because of the rain, so it's going to be a lot of one-armed hauling tonight, but it will be worth it! We'll have to keep Shoba (the black German Shepherd downstairs) inside while I'm working, as he's developed a worrisome tendency to think I am an Invader, despite knowing me for almost two years. He blocked me at the top of the stairs coming home last night, and growled with enough sincerity that I didn't think pushing it would be good. It wasn't a big thing, J was right there to make him knock it off, but I worry that he's not feeling well and it's making him cranky (he has lymphoma). Fortunately, his huge fluffy white counterpart Juno still thinks I'm awesome. Juno has no discretion, but that's fine. :)
I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.
Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.
Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.
I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. ( read more )
The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. ( read more )
Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. ( read more )
Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. ( read more )
The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★
Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. ( read more )
A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★
I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. ( read more )
There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.
What I got was so much more. ( read more )
Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★
A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.
I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. ( read more )
I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.
I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.
A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.
Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.
I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.
It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.
Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).
The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.
If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.
Still No Word by Shannon Webb-Campbell
I read this slowly and several times. I have trouble writing about poetry, but I liked the clarity and feeling here.
Chalk by Paul Cornell
Hard to know what to rate this one. I think it does what it's trying to do with great effectiveness, but I'm not really interested in what it's trying to do? The story does claustrophobic, creepy and bleak, pretty well wall to wall, which I think is very true to the author's experiences, but like with Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane (with which this shared a lot of elements), I'm not that invested.
I liked a lot of the struggle for significance in the face of meaningless cruelty, and the storytelling itself was delightfully creepy (for those into horror), but it was a hard read.
The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell Scott
I knew very little about Mrs Roosevelt and nothing about Pauli Murray going in, and loved finding out about them. The book primarily focuses on Murray and her life, with the interactions with ER highlighted and context of ER's life at those times added. It doesn't shy away from their weaknesses and mistakes, which is nice in a positive bio. I felt that it gave me a strong understanding of both women, and of how their interactions with politics changed over the years. I now want to read bios of all the other amazing women they crossed paths with along the way.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, narrated by Kate Burton
I really enjoyed this. It's sort of meandering and reflective, with time jumps and backstory, but I just liked spending time living with these characters. There was a core of good intentions and kindness in most of them, even if most of them didn't always live up to that. The period setting was phenomenal.
The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army by Robert O'Harrow, narrated by Tom Perkins
Perhaps a little heavy on lauding our hero, rather than letting his achievements stand on their own, but absolutely fascinating for all that. I would have liked more on the mundane logistics of the Civil War supply system, and maybe a bit less building things before the war, though the War Department politics were very interesting.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin
I can't figure out if this book is not as clever as it thinks it is, or if I'm just not smart enough to get it. A problem I have with a lot of litfic, to be honest.
I was initially cooler on it, but reading some interviews with the author gave me a better idea of what he was doing, and that helped my appreciation of the book.
I admit that I did not find the surface narrative of Cora's escape that interesting, though I liked Cora herself, and it was kind of neat to pick out threads from various real slave narratives. The alternate history elements in the Carolinas were also pretty neat, though they didn't really tie into the railway being an actual railway, which frankly I don't get the point of.
There were themes of story telling and who gets to have a voice/tell the story of enslaved people, which I didn't really pick up on myself, but appreciated after hearing the author talk about it.
All in all I liked it, but don't really get the buzz.
Adrift on the Sea of Rains (The Apollo Quartet, #1) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Competent alternate history, which is mostly enjoyable because of the massive amount of NASA nerdery. Though props to the author for starting the series with such an unlikable protagonist (the kind of man who thinks he's the best ever, but is clearly not someone who should be in charge of a gas station, let alone a moon base). The tech conceit was a bit handwavey, but it got the story where it was going, and I enjoyed how it unfolded.
The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (The Apollo Quartet, #2) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Again with pleasing NASA nerdery (though stop explaining abbreviations! anyone this far down the NASA rabbit hole knows what LEO stands for, let alone USAF! I liked the conflict between civilian NASA and the Air Force space corps.
However, the hero is more or less why I don't read SF by dudes unless it's recced. His entire character is basically Sad Because His Wife Left Him. There are no significant women in the story other than the ex-wife.
I also didn't believe the central plot point, which I won't spoil, but will say was a handwave too far in terms of science. You can't just wave the word "Quantum" around and expect me to believe it. I might not have minded as much if I'd liked the hero, but here we are.
Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above (The Apollo Quartet, #3) by Ian Sales (Goodreads Author), narrated by Trina Nishimura
I mean, It's always nice to read an AU where the Mercury 13 got to go to space, even if they continued to get screwed over by NASA, but I didn't find the plot of this one very compelling. Sales clearly couldn't think of much to do with female astronauts other than have them do the same stuff all the guys had done and then cheat them out of the moon walk, so half the plot is about a male deep-sea diver who is looking for a spy satellite's cargo. I basically felt like I was reading a non-fiction book about the US spy program, with a Korean War AU on the side. Thin on both characterisation and plot. Author describes make and model of every plane, train and automobile in story. Does not need to do this.
Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, narrated by Suzanne Toren
I know everyone read this when it came out ages ago, but I admit to having read the preface and then skipped to the bits about T.E. Lawrence, at the time, so this is my first go through.
I really appreciate the historical perspective, and how the author kept focused on the conference, but provided the background for each of the major regions and disputes. The personalities of all the diplomats were very well drawn, and I liked the heavy use of quotes and original sources. They helped keep me engaged in the storyline.
The conclusion regarding the spin out from the peace conference was very interesting, and I'll have to check out more books on the topic.
What I'm Reading Now
Theoretically a couple things, practically not much.
What I'm Reading Next
Going on a trip starting tomorrow, so probably a lot of romance novels. *remembers to charge e-reader*
allergy mystery ( food challenge weirdness )
pockets ( a happy shopping adventure )
Friday is the 6 month anniversary of the Women's March, so now I have another calendar deadline for showing at least one version of my current project. (I'm struggling to convince myself that I AM ALLOWED to revise later.) I've spent all day today working on it, and all evening redesigning a crucial piece. There's so much yet to do, but I'm learning so much.
Annnd I just realized I didn't post this earlier. Oops?