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I am in Helsinki for Worldcon! If I was a more organized person I’d have posted about this earlier, but, well, I’m not, so. I’m in Helsinki for Worldcon!

I will be publically available for chatting at the following times:
1. The Dublin 2019 parties on Thursday & Saturday nights
2. From 2-3:30ish on Friday afternoon–informal kaffeesklatch type thing, the Dublin 2019 table will know where I am if you don’t see me in the seating area around there
3. The Hugos on Friday night
4. Any other time you waylay me unless I have stuff specifically scheduled
4a. I have a panel about women writing comics on Saturday morning at 10am so I’ll definitely be there. :)

Anyway, Helsinki! I flew through Copenhagen, which turned out to be exciting because I thought I had an hour layover but it turned out my plane arrived, I got through passport control, and as I was heading for my gate (ON THE OTHER END OF THE AIRPORT) they announced final boarding for my flight to Helsinki. I scurried and said “my connecting flight just got in!” and they gave the board a skeptical look, but the sign didn’t say “closed” yet, so they let me on and closed the door behind me. Whew!

I hate (haaaate) taking public transport in places I know not at all, so I was nervous about the train from the airport to the hotel, but it turned out that it was very well annotated and I made it with no problem. Then my roommate collected me at the train station (THANK YOU) so all I had to do was follow her and get there safely. And now I’m oriented, so it’s all good.

I immediately saw half a dozen people, upon arriving, whom I might have hoped to see at some point over the weekend, so that was rather lovely. We got dinner and our tiny group of three expanded to about 11, some of whom expressed great surprise over my very different hair (and went on to theorize I might be a spy; I told them not to blow my cover :)). Then I wandered around the convention hall a bit trying to get oriented inside, and managed that fairly well, but didn’t go to the panel tat semeed fun because it was already packed full when we got there!

Instead I said to people that Helsinki is on the same latitude as my hometown, so I was going to go outside and be emotional about the light :)

Then I went outside and was like, oh shit no, I really *am* going to be emotional about the light, and it left me feeling a bit verklempt.

But then I found another friend and got introduced briefly to Ellen Datlow who knew my name (*faints*) and I had a bit more to eat and it was a lovely ending to the evening, which is now going to end properly so I can get up early and have more time with the light. ♥ :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Yes, I know, I’m the person in Ireland many of you know, so it ticks that item off the list if you can get me to do it.

Yes, I know, you’re having a wonderful silly time participating and want other people to join in and have fun too.

Yes, I know, it’s just this one thing.

Yes, I know, it’s for a good cause.

The answer is still no.

I am *glad* you’re all having fun with it. It looks like fun! It sounds like fun! I enjoy reading peoples’ adventures with it! And yet I do not want to participate.

Furthermore, the prospect of participating is stressful to me. It is a thing that if I said I would do it, I would be lying. I would mean to. I would want to. And I would feel really guilty about not doing it, but I still wouldn’t do it.

If there is ever a year when I feel up to participating, I’ll tell people. But until then, the answer is no, so please don’t ask.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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This afternoon Duchess, the mama cat, was meowling around the trap, either looking for her kittens or food. I wasn’t about to give her the kittens, but on the off chance she might go in and eat, I put food in the trap and set it.

Half an hour later there was a VERY UPSET Duchess in the trap.

I texted the rescue people and they called and said bring her down to the rescue centre, there’s someone there, so we transferred her to the cat carrier (which was easy but impressed the rescue ladies that we’d done it successfully) and I brought her down. They felt her up, and, great news, she’s NOT pregnant!

So instead of keeping her until she has babies, they whisked her right off to the vet, and in the morning she’ll be spayed. She’ll recuperate at the rescue centre for a few days and then she’ll come back to our garden.

We still have the trap, and in fact as soon as I’m done writing this I’m going to go put food in it again in hopes of catching Panda one of these days. (I’m much less confident of catching the ill-tempered ginger, Marky.)

*laughs* I’d said if we brought Duchess down in the trap maybe I’d leave it with them for a few days and the lady was like, “NO! KEEP IT! Now that you’ve gotten started I don’t want you to stop!” But we got Duchess into the cat carrier, which was much easier to transport, so it wasn’t an issue anyway. :)

Anyway, I’m VERY glad Duchess isn’t pregnant again, and VERY glad she’ll get fixed and won’t be having any *more* babies. I do not want a garden over-run with kittens, even if they are adorkable.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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We got a capture cage and a regular cage from the animal rescue place & to rehabilitate the kittens in. (Habilitate, I guess; they were never habilitated to begin with, so I guess they can’t be REhabilitated….)

The animal rescue people are SWAMPED and they have no easily found place to give the kittens to someone else to teach to be pets. The lady there said every female cat they’ve had brought in in the past 2 months has been heavily pregnant and that she doesn’t remember a year this crazy.

She also opined, and I suspect she’s right, that our mama cat, Duchess, is probably pregnant again. She’s certainly looking Unfortunately Rotund, so the shelter people would REALLY LIKE her to be captured before she has more babies and gets pregnant AGAIN. And I think she’ll be pretty easy to catch if the kittens (who run in for the food first) are out of the way, so:

We’ll be keeping the kittens for a few days. Since the entire family is leaving on holiday on the 9th, we really can’t keep them beyond that, but at least this will give us a window for capturing them and hopefully catching Duchess and getting her into a place to have her babies as well.

So as of last night we have TWO! TWO KITTENS CAPTURED! AH AH AH AH AH also a bitten thumb the little fuckers (yes, i washed and antiseptic-ed it right away).

The parents were sufficiently upset about the trap that they did not go into it to eat the rest of the cat food last night after I caught the kittens. I’ll put new food out tonight. I hope they’ll take the bait, not that I’m catching them right now.

The kittens are terrified and angry. When we went in to check on them this morning, Turvy (aka the smart one, aka The Little Fucker Who Bit Me) found another space in the cage it could squeeze through, but fortunately (?) squirmed through it backward and couldn’t figure out what to do with its head. I tapped it on the butt a couple times and it shot forward again, back into the cage. I then rearranged the whole room to get the cage up against a wall and block off all the places they could squeeze through. They thought that was all horrible.

I will already be glad to hand them off to somebody who actually knows something about taming feral cats.

Topsy, the brave one:



Turvy, the smart one:

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So I’ve had this vague awareness of a sensitive place in one of my teeth for a while, and in the past week it’s gotten quite sharp when something cold encounters it, so, grimly irritated about the prospect of a cavity (not so much the dentist; I don’t mind dentists, but I only have 2 cavities and that’s from drinking too much soda 25 years ago and I’m still pissed off about it), I called a local dentist and made an appointment. The sharpness of the pain seemed to fade a bit in the past couple days, but having made the appointment, off I went.

I have no cavities!

In fact, the dentist was basically like “okay so we’ll do x-rays because I can’t see any obvious holes,” did the x-rays, “er, so, no, there’s really no cavities here, your teeth are in *great* condition.” (and for an Irish person to say ‘great’ instead of ‘grand’ is like an American going for ‘superlative’ instead of ‘great’)

She quizzed me on whether I grind or clench my teeth (not to the best of my knowledge), and whether I was in consistent pain (I’m really not), and put something HORRIBLY COLD on my teeth to see if it hurt and it fucking well did. Then she did it again on the top to see if there was a dead tooth that might possibly be referring the pain, but there wasn’t and it still fucking well hurt. That, however, was the only unpleasant part of the whole thing.

I have a little bit of gum…thingy…you know, where it’s been abraded too much and has shrunk (that’s not the right word) so there’s a little bit of nerve exposure, she said, and that’s her best guess for what’s causing the pain. Receded. Slight recession of the gums. Don’t brush your teeth too hard, people! Just brush them gently for a long time! And floss! She admired my flossing habits.

She prescribed Sensodyne toothpaste and mouthwash (blick), and basically said “come back in 3 months, tell us how you’re doing, & we’ll clean your teeth and see if anything looks different.” So. There we are.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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My captain’s keyboard has stopped working. :}

I’m almost positive I know what the problem is. There are about 8 keys that don’t work, and there’s a pin in the PS/2 connector that got bent a while ago. I was able to nudge it back into place, but it got yanked and bent again and although I’ve nudged it back into place again, I think the base of the pin is no longer connecting.

I’m also almost positive this could be fixed by splicing a new PS/2 connector into place.

The PROBLEM is that the OTHER end of the connection is wired directly into the keyboard (of course), and the keyboard, being two unwieldy pieces, is a pain in the ass to bring anywhere. Assuming there’s even somewhere around here that would do this kind of thing.

It’s frustrating knowing I probably know half a dozen people who could do this in 30 minutes, but they all live on the other side of the world. >.<

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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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

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Actually, I think–I hope–my head is coming through the other side of being a toxic waste dump, but jeez o flip. I’ve had two back to back colds. I don’t think I was sick when I went to Liverpool, so I guess I’ve been sick since about the Sunday after, which is three weeks today. It feels like longer. Both colds have been entirely in my head with a massive fucking cough that ejects gobs of snot that the constant nose-blowing assaults on my sinuses have not been able to remove preemptively.

I’ve been a lot of fun to be around. I coughed so hard I threw up! I’d never done that before. Cross one off the bucket list, I guess. Anyway, Friday night I conceded to Ted that if this hadn’t taken a significant turn for the better by Monday I should in fact go to a doctor and see if it’s more than just two utterly crappy colds in quick succession, but then Saturday afternoon and night I was able to lie down for sleep without trying to expel my lungs, so I think I may be on the mend.

(She said, ferociously ignoring what feels like a new fresh sore throat as opposed to “oh god my throat hurts from coughing so much”.)

IN OTHER, less gross, news, despite being a one-woman snot-production company, I’ve been working on a proposal for the publisher who’s interested in working with me, binging s1 of Brooklyn Nine Nine (I love the Pontiac Bandit so much), READING (how great is READING, PEOPLE?!!? (although reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s AURORA and James S.A. Corey’s CIBOLA BURNS back to back created some significant cognitive dissonance)), and making fumbling attempts to clean the house.

Oh, and Dad brought over four kilos of cherries, so those got pitted stemmed and frozen, and I need to pursue jam and perhaps cherry pie with them. Mmmm. And let’s see, what else. Ted got an e-reader and we’re culling the print books again, although at this stage we’re pretty close to the bone and are reaching Things That Can’t Be Purchased As E-Books, which means we keep ’em. :)

Yeah, what else, hm. There is a fluffy! bouncy! kitten in our yard (or in its vicinity, anyway), courtesy of some of the feral cats who live in the area. I’d like to try to capture the kitten(s) and see if they’re young enough to be tamed and homed, but it’d obviously be good to capture the adults and get them fixed, too. (*pauses to email the local animal rescue people about this, in fact* There, that’s done.)

And now I’ve taken a remarkably long time to make this blog post and shall rise up and go clean the kitchen, because for some reason it WON’T STAY CLEAN. If only we didn’t need to eat….

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Last week I apparently participated in some extreme sport sleeping. I can tell because I woke up with a knot the size of Kansas in my neck and shoulder, and then the next day the middle of my back went out.

Young Indiana, employing new techniques learned from his aunt, gave me a genuinely terrific massage that dealt with the middle back problems, but my neck was really a mess. I went to my PT, who said, “Wow, that’s a big knot!” and worked on it thoroughly and it’s loosening up. Slowly.

Really what happened was I took Ireland’s version of Nyquil (which, unlike actual Nyquil, still has active ingredients, and also works on me much more effectively than Nyquil ever did) and I slept so hard that I didn’t move at all for 7 hours one night. I’d think that would mean being so relaxed nothing would ever knot up, but that’s apparently not how it works. Hrmph.

Anyway, the PT said she had another client whose teenage son had come home from Wonder Woman in awe of Diana (not in lust, but in awe of what an amazing superhero she was) and the woman thought, gosh, if my son likes this so much, maybe I’d better go see it, so she’d arranged a girls’ night out to go see it this week, and the PT told, her she had another client (to wit, me) who had seen it 4 times, and I sure hope they all had a good time. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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*sigh* I just spent about 40 minutes trying to get some ebooks onto my ereader, which didn’t work very well because it’s been a while since I’d done it and I’d kind of forgotten how. It’s not hard. It used to be hard, and I defaulted to the much harder version, which obviously took more time than the newer easy way, and also the USB port I first plugged it into on the computer wasn’t working and it took longer than reasonable to figure that out, so that was just, yeah.

I wanted to re-read the very comforting BLUE SWORD, but didn’t want to read my 30 year old worn-to-bits paperback. Finally got the books onto the e-reader. Discovered THE BLUE SWORD wasn’t there. Furthermore, it’s not available on kobo’s website, either, at least not on this side of the pond. Gave up in despair, deciding to read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LONG RUN again, as it’s pretty well equally comfort reading.

And then I remembered I had specifically asked for a bunch of Robin McKinley books in hardback so I could read them at my leisure without wrecking my old worn to bits paperbacks, and of course THE BLUE SWORD is one of them, so I have a lovely hardback edition and now I’m too tired to read it.

So here it is, 5 to 9 on a Friday, and I’m going to bed, because I’m a real party animal. :p

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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A few weeks ago my friend Leah said her husband wasn’t much interested in seeing Wonder Woman, so she wasn’t likely to see it in the theatre, and Ted said “THIS WILL NOT DO” and checked to see how much plane tickets to Liverpool were and they were practically nothing so he sent me to Liverpool for a lark with Leah, and we went to Wonder Woman together!

Knowing I had to get up wery wery early for my flight, I took a shower the night before and ended up with…Quite The Hair in the morning.



But I tamed it, and got myself some hot chocolate at the airport. I was very tired. But less large of hair. :)



It was the shortest flight I’d ever been on that didn’t involve being in an actual puddle-jumper (ie, 6-12 seat twin propeller airplane). We went up, we went down, there I was. I hung out at the airport for a while, reading, until Leah could collect me, and we spent an EXTREMELY giddy couple of hours ranting about work, children, and the patriarchy. (And, to be fair, a bit about Tom Hardy. Not so much ranting there, mind you, but. :))



These drinks are not actually alcoholic, because it was 11am, but they were DELICIOUS!



We went to our movie. We sat through a truly inordinate number of ads, which, thankfully, had no sound. We started to become concerned, in fact, after many many soundless ads. Then the trailers started, also soundlessly. They were doing these weird little 10 seconds spots for Dunkirk, and the second-to-last one faded to black and immediately came up with the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, except because there was no sound and the fade to black had been so brief, they really looked like one trailer.


“Is this how we won WW2?” Leah asked, mystified. “Woody Harrelson and an army of monkeys?”

Then a theatre employee came in and said the entire sound system in the theatre had blown and they would not be showing us Wonder Woman in that theatre at that time.



However, there was another showing half an hour later, and they let us go to that one!



We had an utterly splendid time. Leah really enjoyed the movie. It ended and she said, “That was…that was *good*,” in astonishment, and then we went back to the airport, picking apart all our problems with it and rewriting things to our satisfaction, but we were really happy and had such a good time! And decided that we should really do that more often, because it turns out to be really cheap to pop over for a day, and ours is one of those friendships based on kindred spirithoodness rather than regular meetings in real life (we think that was our 6th time actually being on one another’s physical presence), but it was such fun that it seems like it should be a thing we do, and I need to look into doing that with OTHER friends in England and equally nearby locales…!

But yeah. That was really great. Yay for a lark!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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We watched The Expanse late last year, & liked it a lot, so I got Ted LEVIATHAN WAKES, the first book in the series the tv show is adapted from, for Christmas. He read it & liked it & said I had to read it, so I did a couple days ago.

It was very good. It also happens to be one of the best adaptations from book to screen I’ve ever encountered, which is unusual and appealing. Anyway, having finished it I immediately started the second book, CALIBAN’S WAR, which Ted has not yet read.

LEVIATHAN is a good book. CALIBAN is a terrific one. It made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and there were lines I stopped to read to Ted. There was a thing from the last book that hadn’t been addressed, and I was muttering about it, and Ted said “Maybe it’ll come up later,” and I said, “I’m on page 342 and it hasn’t been addressed yet, I don’t think it’s going to be.”

In the middle of page 343 it was addressed. :)

“Oh no!” I aid, and started laughing. “A new element?” said Ted. “Holden!” I said. “There must be a law, like Murphy’s Law. Any bad choice you can make, Holden will make. Holden’s Law.”

And then reading the last several chapters went like this:

Me, involuntarily: Fuck!
A few pages later: Hah! HAH HAH!
And a few pages later still: Oh, shit! Shit shit shit!

Ted: DO YOU MIND?
Me: NOT AT ALL

I can’t wait to read the next one. GOOD BOOKS YO.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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My older nephew, wishing to space his birthday out from Christmas somewhat, requested a half-birthday, so the family got together today for a kind of combined Father’s Day/unbirthday party.

Between the hours of 8am & 2pm, I baked a rather complicated cake, made its complicated frosting, made vanilla ice cream, cleaned the kitchen 2 times, did 4 loads of laundry, emptied all the rubbishes, cleaned the kitty litter, made lemonade, and just barely managed not to die of the outrageous 80 degree heat.

Ted went out to do errands, and the first thing he said upon returning was, “In my defense, *you* sent me to the bookstore….”

(The take was 2 cookbooks for said elder nephew, who wants to learn to cook, as well as Naomi Novik’s TEMERAIRE, a book for Indy, and the next three books of the Expanse series.)

Post-erranding, Ted made a ridiculously delicious dinner of grilled veg, salmon, shrimp, & kielbasa, which we all sat down to eat with hearty appetites. We also spent a lot of time lounging in the back garden, where, among other things, I spent a few minutes leg pressing my sister, which is no doubt perfectly normal behaviour.

The unbirthday boy cleaned up nicely, with a whole bunch of *extremely* nice tea (he’s apparently really in to tea, who knew?) and cookbooks along with an offer of cooking LESSONS from my husband the professional chef, and a super cool katana-style letter opener and some other good stuff, and seemed very pleased with his unbirthday.

The cake and ice cream turned out very nicely–the ice cream was so rich and smooth it was practically obscene, which isn’t always the case with my ice cream; I don’t make it enough to be really good at it consistently–and the lemonade was appropriately appreciated.

I managed to walk 4000 steps without actually leaving the house, which seems a little ridiculous. I am absolutely shattered, and to top it all off, I’m coming down with a cold. But it was a splendid day and we’re all happy. Tired. But happy. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m participating in displacement activities, pretending that organizing a bunch of stuff will get my work done. Obviously I know that’s not how it works, but hey, I’m doing it anyway.

I asked for this perfectly gorgeous blank book for my birthday (and obviously recieved it):

but had no actual specific use for it in mind. I’ve been prodding at habit trackers but basically don’t like any of the digital ones, so I thought what the hell, maybe I’d go old-school analog and try a paper one. I’m hoping it’ll get me a little bit back into the habit of journaling again, too. (I used to be a great journaler, back in the day.)

I think you’ll all agree my first attempt at a habit tracker turned out horribly. The rollerball pen I was using smeared everywhere, and I had no sense of the size I needed to lay the grid out at, and…all kinds of stuff. Live and learn, though, and OH GOSH I GUESS I’LL JUST HAVE TO BUY SOME MICRON PENS JUST FOR JOURNALING WITH O NOES. Probably if I keep it up I’ll eventually figure out a decent grid and everything, but my handwriting will never be magnificently calligraphic or probably even moderately tidy, and I’m just going to have to live with that. Also, I have ink all over my hands. *scowly face*

In other displacement news, I did tackle the Work Thinks To Do list and rendered it somewhat more reasonable. I also had a little talk with myself about the reasons I was procrastinating on some projects, and when we were done having that conversation I told me to get over it and get them done. I hope I listen and obey.

I’m still going to have to…effectively *make* time to do some of the stuff, but I (by which I mean, my husband) solved my laptop hard drive memory problem by suggesting I put my works in project into a directory of their own and sync JUST THAT to Dropbox, instead of my entire Writing Directory. Since I already have a Finished Projects and an Ideas & Inactive Projects folder, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to have a Current Projects folder, and I feel like a moron, but now I’ve got one and the laptop is synced without filling its entire pathetic hard drive. WHICH MEANS (yes, see, there was a point to this paragraph, even though you forgot where it started, didn’t you) that the difficulty of writing in the evenings, post-Indy’s-bedtime, is alleviated; I couldn’t go up to the office because he tends to stay awake even later if somebody’s nearby, but I couldn’t write on my laptop because the Dropbox sync choked the teensy hard drive. So that’s sorted.

Not, of course, that I’m going to do anything as rash as write *tonight*, oh no, that would be madness. But I’m getting myself sorted, bit by bit.

Oh, speaking of getting sorted, I took the newly-fixed secondhand bike out on its first spin today. It’s fine, a little short for me, but certainly rideable. However, after a 15 or 20 minute ride around (maybe not even that long) my nether regions are quite shocked at my behaviour and would like to lodge a protest with the management. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Friday morning I had the thought, as I occasionally do, that it’s just not possible to get all the things I want to get written, written, especially in the time frame I wanted to, and that I really just needed to be less ambitious.

48 hours later and I’m still like, “yes, this is a good plan, a reasonable plan.” It won’t last, it never does, but for the window here where I’m going “really it’d be okay to not put so much stress on myself” and believing it, it’s nice. I should go tackle my Work Thinks To Do list while I’m in this mindset, and spread it out over a more realistic time frame than its current status.

In unrelated news, I got my second-hand bike fixed so it’s rideable now. I have ambitions (see, sigh, I’m not good at not having ambitions) to get up earlier and go swim in the mornings, but that would mean going to bed earlier, which I haven’t been doing so well at.

Also, the ten days of June have slipped away, and I need to get hold of the rest of them because I need to get REDEEMER copy edits to the copy editor so he’ll have time to edit them before the deadline he proposed to me. @.@ Seriously, a lot of this year just feels like it’s sliding through my fingers (although I recognize a fair part of that is because I’m still too glued to international political shit-shows, but hey: yay Great Britain, especially the 72% youth turnout, omg, you see that American youth?!? and yet, y’know, that fat lady ain’t done singing yet), but…yeah. Anyway.

I better stop writing this before I start feeling like I’m not getting enough done and start getting Ambitious again. :p :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

mizkit: (Default)

June 1, 2017: United States Climate Alliance formed with 3 charter members. Within hours, 7 more signed on with 11 more expressing interest.

Sept 2017: The USCA, backed by 37 member states, Puerto Rico, & Washington DC, is seen as the framework for pursuing the future liberals want.

Dec 2017: All but 4 states (Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, & Alaska) have joined the USCA. The member states demand a constitutional convention.

March 2018: Denied a convention by an increasingly authoritarian federal government, the USCA member states unanimously secede. Alaska, Oklahoma and Alabama join them.

July 4, 2018: The New United States of America government–colloquially known as Los Estados Nuevos–is formed with additional new states of Puerto Rico, Washington DC, and Guam. Much of the framework of the original Constitution is retained; amendments introducing, among other things, campaign reform, equal rights, and anti-gerrymandering strictures are passed. Tens of thousands flee to Texas, now an independent country.

March 6, 2024: Texas petitions to join LEN. The New United States grandfathers it in, but as the 53rd, not the 28th, state of the union. “Remember the 28th” becomes both a battle cry for those who wish to restore the old United States, and an acknowledgement by the new government of necessary change within a republic for it to carry forward.

July 4, 2026: On the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Los Estados Nuevos introduce restitution to African and Native Americans. The Navajo Nation submits a petition to be recognized as an independent entity within the LEN, and for the first time in 150 years, the interior boundaries of the United States, new or old, are re-drawn.

July 4, 2028: Climate warming has held at 1.68 degrees Celsius for two years. Over 170 countries are now functioning on 90-95% green energy. Los Estados Nuevos has reached a 76% renewable energy threshold, disappointing compared to China’s 89% and Germany’s long-held 98% standard. The United States Climate Alliance, still a functioning unit within the LEN, vow to meet Germany’s benchmark by 2030….

(The flag:
the colors and the stars & stripes, of course, represent the traditional USA, but the reduction of the stripes is indicative of moving toward the future. the stars are meant to be a kind of sunrise/starburst, intended to indicate Los Estados Nuevos’ dedication to green energy/forward thinking/a new day. the base of the starburst/sun is the original 10 signators of the USCA, with the rays being the later signatories/rest of the states.

it’s hard to make a sunrise out of stars, ironic as that may be. i’m still not really satisfied but GOSH I’VE STAYED UP ALL NIGHT AND I’M GOING TO DAMN BED NOW)

(wait, before i go, and before people ask: i’m actually thinking about revising this timeline some (it’s a little optimistic) and using it as the basis for the near future/climate change/SF thing i’ve been thinking about for so long. i’ve been utterly stymied…well, for a long time, but particularly since nov 9, and this feels…possible, as a direction to go in…)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

mizkit: (Default)

So yesterday was my birthday and it is also the birthday of my many many birthday twins, but I wasn’t online much and so I failed to say happy birthday to Esmerel and Silkblade and Chaz’s niece and also Morgan Freeman and Marilyn Monroe and Superman (the first Superman comic was published June 1 1938 :)).

Happy birthday, twins, and thank you to everybody who wished me a happy day!

Ted and Indy snuck off and got a couple pieces of art that have been sitting around for a long time framed, for my birthday. I had no idea what they were plotting, even with Indy saying, “Daddy and I went to see a man to do a thing for you and the man said it should be ready by your birthday!”, which kind of vague meaningless information is often sufficient for me to figure out what’s going on. This time I didn’t, though, and I was absolutely *floored* to receive these:

I love both of these dearly, and was so surprised and happy! The raven is an artist’s copy of a painting done by an Alaskan artist who lives in Belfast (!!!). She had her copy at a convention to show the prints she was going to have done, but she offered to do an artist’s copy for me because we bonded so strongly over understanding Raven from an Alaskan’s point of view, and, being no fool, of course I said yes.

The other is by an artist whose name I can’t remember right now, but I bought it at…Eastercon a few years ago, and I just…love it. So much. I can look at that painting for *hours*. And while the photo does reasonable justice to the silver frame of the raven painting, it really does no justice at all to the greens and blues and silver-gold shimmers of the other frame. I may have to take a better picture at some point, because it really is gorgeous.

And then also for my birthday I got to go see Wonder Woman with a bunch of girlfriends, which was honestly a terrific way to see the movie. (The women going to the all-women showings at the Alamo Drafthouses in the states are going to have an AMAZING experience.) I looked down the row a few times, to see us all smiling like fools.

There were scenes…I know I’ve seen scenes like then before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever beamed through them before. Watching a woman, watching _Wonder Woman_, doing those things…it meant more to me than I ever imagined it would. I mean, I was looking forward to it, obviously, but…it still affected me more than I expected.

Gal Gadot is terrific as Diana. I mean, honestly, utterly terrific. I think she deserves an Oscar nomination. She was *amazing* in the role. Chris Pine is very funny and charming and this is probably the best-written part I’ve ever seen him in. And Robin Wright is just OH MY GOD. OH. MY. GOD.

There are a WHOLE BUNCH of things I’d have done differently. I would have liked to have seen what a female scriptwriter would have done with the story, for example. But it was funny and it was powerful and it had heart and it made me happy. I hope it makes ALL THE MONEY and I intend to do my part in seeing it more than once to help that goal. ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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C.E. Murphy

September 2017

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