tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/74: Penric's Fox -- Lois McMaster Bujold
Did demons mourn? Oh, yes, breathed Des. It is not something we come into the world knowing, as elementals. But we learn. Oh, how we learn. [loc. 1662]


This novella begins some eight months after the events of Penric and the Shaman: Penric has become friends with Inglis, and is visiting him -- and trying to learn shamanic magic -- when both are sought out by Senior Locator Oswyl. A local sorceress has been murdered, and he needs to find the murderer. Penric, though, is more interested in the fate of the dead sorceress' demon ...not very spoilery )

A query from a self-published pundit.

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
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[personal profile] reddragdiva

My Bitcoin pundit career is going great guns! I got to go on BBC Newsnight and call cryptocurrency garbage. Don't ever buy into cryptos, btw, they're a car crash. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Soooo I just got a note inviting me to speak at a seminar, about why blokechain is pants, to a small number of people who have money. I'm gonna charge for my time of course, but I can sell books there. Which means physical paperbacks I bring in a box.

Now, one of the great things about this self-publishing racket in TYOOL 2017 is 0 capital expenditure. Has anyone here done this, or anything like it? Was it worth it? Did you end up with a box of books under your bed forever?

The books are $3.03 each to print, but all author copies come from America (because Createspace is dumb), at some ruinous shipping rate to the UK. Assuming Kindle and CreateSpace pay promptly I'll have a pile of money on September 30, but I sorta don't right now.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to approach this? Doing a talk with a box of nonfiction books - good idea, bad idea, no idea?

(I'll no doubt do a pile of flyers for people who haven't got cash on them right there. Who carries cash in the UK these days? Less people than you might think.)

how earning rewards works for me

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:14 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have launched BEWITCHING BENEDICT

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I’ve got REDEEMER sorted

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have this unexpected thing sent off

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when KISS OF ANGELS is written

Dear Me: when the fuck am I really going to be allowed to watch s5 Orphan Black?

Apparently Me: when the entire 22 book to-do list is done.

Sometimes I hate me.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/73: Penric and the Shaman -- Lois McMaster Bujold
I take my first duty to be to souls, not laws. And to learn as well as teach, or what else do the gods put us in this world for? [loc. 856]


Four years have passed since Penric acquired, or began to host, the chaos demon he calls Desdemona. Now a fully-fledged Divine of the Bastard's Order, he is living in the palace of the Princess-Archdivine Llewen, sorcerously crafting printing plates, and studying greedily.
non-spoilery )

Wedding anniversary

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:13 pm
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[personal profile] flick
Today was out wedding anniversary.

I made Mike a card:


(I've only had the book on paper quilting for a year, after all!) Worth clicking to embiggen, ifIdosaysomyself.

Mike very kindly did all the mucking out.

(While he did so, I took Jo to the vet. Over the last week or so, she's been occasionally yelping or whining, but it's got more frequent and last night she had a particularly bad spell that involved her making a noise for a minute or so. The vet couldn't find anything particularly, but did think she was maybe not *quite* so keen to take her weight on one of her front legs. It may also be a neck thing, although she did have a good feel around there. Short walks and more painkiller than usual for a week, and we'll see how she goes on.)

We had a quiet lunch at home.

(During which I took some ibuprofen for a headache and Mike had a migraine pill)

After lunch, and Jo's walk, we headed off to darkest Sussex to look at a horse.

He's called Thunder Joe, a name which is definitely going to be unused in full.

We liked him enough to ride, and it seemed to go quite well.

Even if it did hail while I was on him, and we were in a field with overly-long grass, which is one of my least favourite places to ride.

We'll go back and see him again next week, with riding instructor, using a school that they can borrow just down the road.

If riding instructor answers her text messages....

Afterwards, we headed home again.

I'm not sure how the day has been utterly exhausting, but we're both worn out now!

We had a lovely special anniversary dinner...

(Party-left-over soup from the freezer, and the other half of the loaf of bread that neither of us ate much of for lunch

...and now we're on the sofa with a bottle of wine.

Thankfully, Mike did a run to France yesterday!

Blackberries: from bramble to bread

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:24 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I went blackberry picking this morning, which I’ve been feeling torn up about having had no time to do. (I genuinely feel better for having gone.) I’d found a good run of them a couple weeks ago and went to check it out, to great success:

That’s over a kilo of berries picked in about 45 minutes, which I felt was a pretty good haul. While I was picking, one woman walking by said, “Good day for picking!” and another one who had been out picking yesterday actually stopped to talk to me (Her: I always feel SO GUILTY when I drive by these berries! Me: YOU UNDERSTAND ME!!!!), and that was really nice because almost everybody who’s spoken to me about picking at all thinks I’m bonkers.

So I came home and washed the berries

and got them into the pot

and made jam



and three hours after I started picking blackberries, I had homemade blackberry jam on fresh homemade bread.


Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. :)

I then made PEAR JAM because we have STUPID NUMBERS of pears on our pear trees (there are by far more pears fallen to the ground than we have had at all, in previous years at this house), and it is wonderful. I had no idea if it’d be any good because I’ve never had it, much less made it, but it’s pretty splendid. It starts out sweet and kind of apple-y and then suddenly it’s like NO WAIT THIS IS *PEAR* JAM!!! and it’s really good! And Ted, who likes pears (or at least processed pears) thought it was wonderful, so I’m very pleased with myself.

Tomorrow I have ambitions of making pear jelly, because I have An Awful Lot Of Pears here, and I bet that’ll be really nice too. And I gotta start doing something with the crabapples and the appleapples and…*despair*

(I mean, I gather other people can just walk on by fruits of the trees and whatnot without even flinching, but me and that lady from this morning, WE JUST CAN’T DO IT.)

(We’re gonna get a pressure cooker. That way I can make applesauce and canned (or at least jarred) pears and…other stuff…that will last if pressure-cooked but won’t otherwise.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Smart duck

Sep. 12th, 2017 07:27 pm
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[personal profile] flick
When we went to put the animals to bed (before dinner! The nights are drawing in.), Eskarina was sitting on her own by the pond. She looked up and wiggled a bit when I walked over to get the feed dish, but she didn't jump up and head for bed, which was ominous.

I gave Mike the rugs I was carrying (most of the boys rugs are off being cleaned at the moment, but their two thinnest ones go in our washing machine ok so I took advantage of a sunny, breezy day to de-stink them) and went to pick her up, which is when I realised that she had a piece of nylon thread wrapped around one of her legs.

Fortunately, she didn't wiggle while I untangled her, and even more fortunately she hadn't been struggling enough to have actually cut all the way through the skin. As soon as I'd finished, though, she was off with a flap of her wings and a squawk.

It got me thinking, though (after I'd picked up the rest of the thread and thrown it away): it doesn't really surprise me that, say, elephants go to people when they need medical help*: they're smart. Similarly, dogs do it because they're tame. Ducks, though, are neither of those things. My runners are fairly domesticated, but anyone who's ever seen the reaction when I have to pick one up knows that they're not at all tame**.

Mike pointed out that birds are quite smart for brain size, and it's true that I'd be fairly unsurprised if, say, a corvid that I'd been feeding did the same thing. On the other hand, I'd be completely astonished if the robin, who follows me around when I'm carrying the duck / wild bird food, nagging me to hurry up with it, did the same thing.

* Elephants also, I just heard on the World Service, go into stealth mode when in danger from people: they hide out during the day and travel fast at night if they know that there are poachers in the area. There are now plans to look out for this on the researchers' movement trackers, so that they can alert the rangers to be on the look out for trouble when they see that sort of movement pattern!

** Except Esme, she was fairly tame, poor little thing.

The boys are back

Sep. 11th, 2017 01:29 pm
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[personal profile] flick


I have a bean-pod-cut, sustained while helping Mike prep dinner veg last night. It's a bit like a paper cut, but more absurd.

Definitely autumnal...

Sep. 10th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] flick
- fungi in the woods
- misty mornings
- light rugs on the boys overnight (and associated repeatedly checking the rain radar to see when we should bring them in to make sure they don't get caught in a shower just before the rugs go on them)
- no longer need to water the garden
- two evening haynets for the boys
- bringing them down the hill on my own when Mike's in London
- entrance to ex-Mrs Up The Hill's field turned into a swamp....

So, today we moved the boys back into our field. That meant a busy morning: leave the boys in the stableyard; go up the hill for a final poo pick and taking down the electric fence; put the electric fence back up in our field (the grass is still growing, so we'll put them in a small bit of it for a month or so and then start strip grazing for the winter); point out to the boys that the gate to the field is now open and watch them charge in to start noshing).

I've also started the sloe gin, which will be much more abundant than last year. It somehow seems wrong to be picking them so early, but some of the ones we picked today were almost over-ripe.

It's nearly time for jelly making, once we've fitted in a day scrumping on the common. The chilli one last year was quite a hit, and the patio chillis have done well (unlike the conservatory ones, which are pathetic), and I've not made a sloe one for a few years (and have plenty of sloes still in our hedge if needed). I probably want one more, suggestions welcome....

Picoreview: Inhumans

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:52 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

Picoreview: Inhumans: not *as* bad as the reviews said. To further illuminate that comment, I also went to see Rough Night this week, and of the two, Inhumans is not the one I wanted to walk out of.

That said, you should not in any way mistake it for *good*.

I went because I was sort of horrifiedly fascinated to see just how bad it was, after all the scathing reviews. The result may be that my expectations were SO LOW that I could not actually be disappointed. Also, there were only four people in the entire Imax theatre (I was the only woman), so I sat in the back row and livetweeted the whole thing, which may have added considerably to my enjoyment of the whole thing, because, I mean, it was awful, but I genuinely had a good time.

The inhuman special effects are unforgiveably bad. Medusa’s hair is embarrassing and her costume is dreadful. Gorgon is wearing plush boots with hooves glued to the bottoms and they must have told him “just walk on your toes, it’ll be fine.” Lockjaw–okay, actually, Lockjaw’s teleportation looks pretty cool, so presumably that’s where they spent all the budget. Although it doesn’t look like an expensive effect.

The writing is *appalling*, especially in the first twenty minutes. I mean, my *God*, it’s bad. Iwan Rheon is not only saddled with truly awful lines throughout, but is also, I think, badly miscast as Maximus, which is saying something, because the writing is so terrible for everyone that it’d be pretty easy to feel that the entire show was badly miscast. But he really stood out. *None* of it is well-written, though. Somebody somewhere said “Inhumans should have been treated as a family drama like The Tudors, only with superpowers,” and that really is what they should have done and instead they…have done this awful stilted thing with a painfully tropey creepy charmless bad guy and…I mean, honestly, I don’t even know how they made it this bad.

Ken Leung, playing Karnak (whose name I never caught in the show, and whom I referred to as Tattooed Attitude), was trying really hard with really bad material. (So was Crystal’s hair. Crystal, played by Isabelle Cornish herself seemed…pretty Crystal-like, really. Not good, but I thought she had potential.) Serinda Swan’s Medusa was…*sigh* Yeah. Anson Mount managed to be utterly awful without having to say a word as Black Bolt, and then he got a little better and I thought perhaps he could pull it off with time and practice, and by the end he’d won me over and I was really enjoying him.

(As an aside, though, these people have *moronic* communications systems for a people with a silent king. I mean, Black Bolt ACTUALLY USES SIGN LANGUAGE in this film. Which is AWESOME, because silent king! Except…Medusa…is the only person…in the entire Inhumans family…who has bothered to learn it, and thus is the only person who actually knows for sure what Bolt is saying. WHAT KIND OF DUMBASSERY IS THAT?! And also they have a, you know, like, Star Trek communicators system, WHICH THE KING CAN’T USE. BECAUSE THEY’RE MORONS. I mean, for God’s sake, if nothing else they’ve been watching Earth for ages, HASN’T SOMEBODY NOTICED HUMANS USE PHONES TO TEXT NOW? Do the Inhumans not have a writing system which THEIR KING could communicate with? OMFG!!!!)

Ahem. Back to the main post:

Gorgon is WONDERFUL. Despite the plush boots and bad writing, Eme Ikwuakor *radiates* charm and presence, and dominated the screen whenever he was on it. I loved him and I want him to have awesome SFX instead of humiliating ones.

There were three twists I didn’t expect in the show, two of which improved their characters (one improved the affected character so dramatically that I completely reassessed the performer’s ability) and one of which made me go OH YAY. And my final verdict?

I’ll watch more. It’s not good, but it’s not as bad as I expected from the reviews. I think its most unforgiveable flaw is that it’s not much *fun*, but honestly I do not think it’s noticeably worse than the first 2/3rds of season one Agents of Shield, which I thought was really grimly bad but watched all of. It’s not worse than Legends of Tomorrow, except Legends knew it was bonkers from the outset and just ran with it, which gave it a higher feet-kicking outrageous entertainment value. But ultimately, yeah, I’ll give Inhumans a chance.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

unplanned day

Sep. 8th, 2017 06:23 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

Today has not really gone as expected.

Poor Indy has a quite awful cold, and woke up around 4am miserable with it, so that pretty well shut down my night’s sleep. I spent most of the morning sure I would still manage to get some work done somehow anyway, and then the poor kid fell asleep on me after throwing up a few times, so I gave up on that and had a small nap myself. Which I really needed, with the 4am wakeup call, so that was all good. :)

And then he woke up and I actually did manage to get a bit of work done after all, but due to the arrival of a needs-attention-now email, it mostly wasn’t really the work I expected to do. Still, something may eventually come of it, so it’s good to have done it. And I did get a bit of the work I meant to be doing done, and I’m feeling like I’m saying a lot of nothing as I write all this. TL;DR: sick kid, work accomplished.

In between that, Dad got the notification of his Canadian citizenship’s verification, which was AWESOME, and I made banana nut muffins which were also very good but not nearly the same level of AWESOME and also this week I got a box of BEWITCHING BENEDICT books which is also AWESOME but I haven’t taken a picture of them yet so I’ll just have to leave it at that.

Also I did not go to the gym today.

Also Wednesday I made a very brief jaunt to England and bought makeup and booze on the way home. This is very unlike me. :) (I’m slowly replacing the makeup I almost never wear with MUCH NICER makeup I will almost never wear. The lady who helped me decide what color foundation to buy said I had very nice skin. I’m sure she says that to all the girls, but it was nice anyway. And I did not buy dark blue sparkly lipstick although I was tempted!)

Also if you have to choose between seeing Rough Night and Girls Trip, choose Girls Trip every day and twice on Sundays. I might do a picoreview about that, if I remember.

Also, per a conversation with somebody the other day, the first thing I ever saw Idris Elba in was Thor, and I genuinely thought he had gold eyes. To the degree that the next time I saw him in something I was like “oh they must have given him brown contacts, that’s too bad,” and then I was like “…or…maybe…not….”

I’m going to stop now. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Ah well...

Sep. 7th, 2017 07:37 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
The vet says "no".

Back to the adverts we go....
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/72: Penric's Demon -- Lois McMaster Bujold
When he glanced up at the mirror, his mouth said, “Yes, let’s get another look at you.” [loc. 331]


Penric kin Jurald, scion of a minor noble house, is on his way to his betrothal when he accidentally acquires a chaos demon.
not spoilery )

gym blog day four well sort of

Sep. 6th, 2017 10:33 am
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[personal profile] mizkit

I WENT to the gym this morning. I barely caught the bus and I’d been thinking if I missed it I’d go for a good long Pokéhunt and get some new goggles because the ones I’ve been using are Indy’s and they’re not very comfortable but I can’t find mine, but I caught it so I was like: yay I will swim.

Only I got to the gym and into my swimsuit and then remembered I had not brought my swim cap, which is required. And the only ones they have to buy are silicone and I don’t like them so I didn’t want to spend money on one AND I hadn’t worn my sports bra/workout t-shirt so you can see where this is leading.

I did walk home instead of waiting for the bus, at least. It was a brisk 40 or so minute walk and I feel it should have netted me more step count than it did, but, well, it didn’t. Still, it was a good walk, and that’s something. (Devastatingly, Pokemon wouldn’t load so I did that WHOLE WALK and earned no candies. What’s even the point!?) And I did gym yesterday, I did an upper body workout that I’m feeling in my armpits today, so I did something right there. No gym tomorrow, tho, I have other stuff going on, but I should be back the day after.

Also it turned out there are a LOT of blackberries along the road on one particular stretch of that walk home so I might take a couple hours this weekend to go pick.

I have to go shower now because I am disgusting with the sweatiness.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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