highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: Arundhati Roy, 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness'; Science of the Discworld II, and a few other bits and pieces.

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

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


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

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

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

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

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




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

Oh my

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

Other facts:

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

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

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

Miscellaneous

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

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

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

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

Today I am Doing A Thing

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

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

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

things and a book meme

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:26 pm
issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
[personal profile] issenllo
1. My average writing speed is... 1000 words per three hours. Spread over a few weeks. Oh, well. No one said I had to write longfics.

2. I really want to buy the new commemorative edition of HP and the Philosopher's Stone. But I already own a copy bought some 18 years ago. I got into HP in 1999. Hm.

3. Look, a book meme!

via [personal profile] oursin

1. You currently own more than 20 books: You mean the ones on my table. Yes.

2. You currently own more than 50 books: The ones on the floor. Yes.

3. You currently own more than 100 books: The ones on the shelves.

4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader: Actually, that was for fanfic and school, but why not books as well, right?
the rest here )

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:20 pm
norfolkian: (Moana)
[personal profile] norfolkian posting in [community profile] gardening
Following on from my last garden update, here's a picture of my small front garden with more flowers:



I also have a small back garden with two raised beds which I use to grow vegetables. I'd had some terrible problems with slugs and birds eating stuff, early in the season, but I bought some netting which seems to have helped. To be honest, though, I feel like I've neglected my back garden a bit as I've been concentrating more on the front garden and have not had much time lately. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I thought I'd better go out there and start harvesting some stuff, and this was my haul!




A thing I did in the UK

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

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

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

I do so love weirdly specific museums.

Forgive the repetition

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


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

Also the attractive lady with the violin is Kendall Carson.

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

So I'm watching this live video instead.

WELL

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

NEVER FEAR. Today I woke up to news of:

A: SECRET KIWI IN THE SENATE

and

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

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

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

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

This is a Musical Rec

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


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

*Well. Maybe the TERRIBLE BAND NAME. No points, Alan.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
My now-habitual consumption of a stack of romance & pulp during conference season stood me in good stead again, and then, my usual resorts exhausted, I turned to du Maurier and Heyer. So far I do not object to this choice.

Currently Reading: Georgette Heyer, 'A Civil Contract'; Tanya Huff, 'The Second Summoning'.

Recently Read:

For work, Utz's 'Medievalism: A Manifesto'

Spectred Isle (Green Men #1)Spectred Isle by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I LOVED THIS BOOK. (I have an ARC of it, which meant it got to be the first of my conference-season comfort reads.)

It has WWI angst and magic and 12th century ghosts, it's like it was written expressly for meeee. Our Hero ended WWI in disgrace for a crime that he variously implies constitutes sodomy and/or treason (exact details are only slowly doled out, in a careful integration with the plot). He is no longer welcome to excavate with his former mentor Leonard Woolley* and has ended up working for a rich gentleman with dubious ideas about the network of magical sites across London. Unfortunately for all concerned, there IS a network of magical sites across london, and Our Hero keeps stumbling across the man who's tasked with (in the absence of his family and allies, all lost in the war) keeping them under control.

Shenanigans ensue. Folk tales turn unfriendly. Unquiet ghosts from the Anarchy period must be put to rest, et caetera. I am particularly fond of the role which Randolph's deceased fiancé ends up playing - this book doesn't fall into the trap of completely eliding women from its m/m universe.

(*I mentioned this aspect to an archaeologist friend and her response was to suggest he should work with Mortimer Wheeler instead. Apparently Mortimer Wheeler is infamous for sleeping with anything that moved.)



An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's possible my enjoyment of this book might have been improved by realising it was number two in a series (some key plot points did seem rushed!), but perhaps not. I really, really loved the dynamic between these two, and the resolution re Jonah's career juuuust managed to convince me. (I like that. I like that it was teetering on the edge of something I was going to be pissed with, only to find a way to do it well.) I love how much both of them love the people in their lives. A++



The Secret Casebook of Simon FeximalThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is... odd. It starts as a collection of short stories, grows something resembling a through-plot, and ends as a set-up for the Green Men books. I think I'm glad I read it only AFTER having read Spectred Isle - I liked it as a prequel to that, better than I think I would have on its own. It does showcase KJ Charles' command of folklore and local history, which I particularly like.



An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Plot-wise, this solved some of my problems with 'An Unnatural Vice' (turns out it helps to read things in order, who knew). It has several threads going on, and handles them all well. In terms of characterisation, Clem is a really good piece of writing on Charles' part - it's clear that he is autistic-or-something-like-it, but that's framed in terms that work in his setting. His position as a bastard of mixed race is mixed in with that with finesse, in such a way that you can tell that the two alienating factors are feeding into each other (a brilliant illegitimate son, or a neuroatypical heir, would both have had very different fates). I like that Clem isn't entirely alone in his family, and his cousin Tim is a good egg.

For some reason, I just didn't *click* with this pairing as well as I usually do with Charles' couples. I found them both, and their wants and their working out of the ways they fit together, fascinating, but not compelling.



Also finished: two Cat Sebastian m/m ... not bodice rippers if no-one's wearing bodices. Waistcoat-rippers? Cravat-rippers? Daphne du Maurier's 'Fisherman's Creek', which turned out to be an obvious influence on one of the former. And Renée Adieh's 'The Rose and the Dagger', which I'm still a little bit... dissatisfied with.

Up Next: Work things. I have a whole book on beds to read. Don't you just envy me?




Music notes: didn't listen to much while travelling, but today I coaxed Spotify into revealing to me that Alan Doyle has a new single and an album I didn't know about. My feelings on this matter are YES GOOD.

July Garden update

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:37 pm
dantesspirit: (Sycamore)
[personal profile] dantesspirit posting in [community profile] gardening
-IMAG6319

The beans are slowing down, boo. We've gotten a gallon so far, and today, just a handful. There's still more still growing, so hopefully we'll get at least another quart before they fade completely.

More! )

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:52 am
issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
[personal profile] issenllo
The fact that K-dramas feel compelled to contrive some way for even fantasy characters to get smartphones as soon as they arrive on earth (aka modern-day Seoul) is a sign that their writers find it impossible to imagine life without them, isn't it.

(Watching Bride of the Water God, haphazardly. It's not that great at the moment, but goodness knows I'm a sucker for fantasy world-building.)

Ow

Jul. 11th, 2017 09:45 am
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I'm back from the UK! Many things have happened, some good some bad some ???. Instead of any of them I wish to report:

I have a wisdom tooth. It has come through behind my existing molars, instead of underneath them, which is nice. It's not straight (about 20 degrees off upright) but it's not perpendicular or driving straight into my other teefs, so that's better than expected. There's not really enough space for it back there, so it wasn't ever going to come out straight.

However: ow. It's currently not completely out (3/4 corners are free), and the teething pressure/pain is still hangin' around. I realised a while ago that was one source of my frequent 'aargh everything hurts, no, wait if I think about it I don't actually have a headache or an injury?' elusive pain thingies. I'm just so acclimated to jaw pressure (thanks, braces) that it legit doesn't register as a sensation I should pay attention to, until it gets quite severe.

I'm hoping that now the tooth is free it will settle the fuck down; I realise it's much more likely that there's just not enough space in my jaw for it and I will have this pain until I woman up and see a dental surgeon. In the meantime I have baby teething gel.

Also, new tooth means NEW WAYS TO BITE MY MOUTH. It's not fun.

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