Well, that was fun.

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:18 pm
aome: (what would you have me do)
[personal profile] aome
Had my colonoscopy this morning. This was a routine check-in, since it had been over 10 years since my last (thankfully having been in remission for nearly the entire time). I went into it resigned but not particularly stressed; sure it's not exactly FUN, but it's never been more than a hassle, honestly.

More hassle than usual this go-around, though. )

AND, to top it all off. Girly stuff )

Moving on.

I've been collecting a number of links in the past week, so in no particular order:

Double chocolate banana bread. This is the second time I've made this, and it's just as amazing as the first time. *snarfs entire loaf*

Butterbeer marshmallows. Damn, they're expensive, but I'm sooooo tempted. (Oh, man, they also have Kaluha coffee marshmallows, Nutella marshmallows and, for the Dr Mcoy fans out there: bourbon marshmallows.)

And speaking of HP Pottery Barn has a new Harry Potter collection. Some cute stuff there.

Really cool Targaryen family tree, created by a DeviantArtist.

In other news ... there really hasn't been a lot of news. Still getting back into the swing of school, which is to say we're all permanently exhausted as we readjust to getting up at the ass-crack of dawn again. I did attend the high school's Back to School night last week, which was good. Will wasn't able to attend, as he was helping his younger brother/wife finally (FINALLY) get their tons of crap out of the basement. But that also meant I was free to take all the front-row desks that none of the other parents (nor my own husband) want to sit in. The teachers get all of 8 minutes to talk, so it's a bit of a rush, but I did get the gist of all MiniPlu's classes and introduced myself to all her teachers. I liked them all (including the lone teacher MiniPlu hasn't met yet - next term's US History Honors teacher), although the Chem situation is ... interesting )

I always feel a little weird when I introduce myself to the teachers; I hate describing MiniPlu as "the Asian girl" but I figure that since these teachers see a million kids per day and school's only been in session 8 days (as of Back to School night), it's a quick way for them to bring up an image of my kid, since there are hardly any Asians at the school (and obviously, divided by 4 grades, even fewer per grade). The Chem teacher still managed to get MiniPlu mixed up with someone else, because after I introduced myself he said something about how she had emailed him to ask for some document that he'd refused to provide, and I had no idea what he was talking about. And neither did MiniPlu. I think there's another [MiniPlu's name] in her year, and even if that one isn't in her block class, it's possible maybe he mentally switched them? (I don't think I mentioned the Asian thing when I shook his hand - he jumped to the "document" remark before I could get in another word.)

Ugh, still feel like an over-inflated balloon. Going to walk the dog and see if I can get it to shift. Stupid Crohn's, stupid colonoscopies.

Sherlock Recs for September 2017

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:50 pm
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Default)
[personal profile] swissmarg
My favorite Sherlock Holmes fanworks for the month of September 2017. All recs are Sherlock/John and set in the Sherlock (BBC) verse unless otherwise noted. The links go to the recs, not the fanworks, although the recs in turn have links to the fanworks.

Quickrecs:

Recs for the week ending 10 September 2017: 1 wedding planning/joint therapy fic, 1 5-times on the way to Johnlock fic, 1 WW2 AU
Recs for the week ending 17 September 2017: 1 post-series 3 AU, 1 post-series 4 fixit


Rec Lists

Post series 4 from John's POV
Sherlock is a BAMF
First-person POV
Johnlock fics based on classic books
Translock


P.S. You can find my past Sherlock recs here. Content mirrored on swissmissficrecs.tumblr.com.

Reading roundup

Sep. 13th, 2017 01:38 pm
hamsterwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] hamsterwoman
I'm way behind on RL posting (my past week and weekend have actually bee quite busy, in a mostly-good way), but I've hit another point where I just want to talk about books. So!

37. Mackenzi Lee, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue -- This was a birthday present from [livejournal.com profile] aome, but actually even before I got the book as a gift I heard about it from [livejournal.com profile] ikel89 during the exceedingly scenic drive back from Kazbegi, and was intrigued to check it out for myself, so Debbie's gift was very timely :) Having read it, it wasn't quite as cool a book as the premise (and fabulous title) made it sound, sadly, but definitely still an entertaining and fast read.

Here's the very fun premise -- a Grand Tour by a young bisexual British nobleman, his best friend/(male) love interest, who is mixed race (and also *spoiler*), and his younger sister who isn't interested in finishing school but wants to go to med school instead. Along the way from Paris to Spain to Italy, there's political intrigue, highwaymen and pirates, and alchemical mysteries. That sounds pretty cool, right? And it is fairly fun, although a couple of things undermine the strengths of the book: Spoilers from here )

I think, overall, this book falls into the category of things like Love Interest, where I wish a better author had taken a crack at the premise. But, fortunately, unlike Love Interest, the book as-is is at least competently if overly earnestly written, so I *could* enjoy it, rather than sputtering in ever-increasing bafflement as to what the hell the author thought they were doing. But for all its flaws, it was a fun read, and I do want to know more about Felicity, in the sequel! (Thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] aome! :)

38. Avoliot, The Course of Honor -- novel-length original sci-fi m/m with a whole bunch of tropes, starting with arranged marriage (posted on AO3) -- I picked this up courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] egelantier's rec. I actually don't like arranged marriage much as a trope, and not all of the other tropes invoked are necessarily favorites of mine, but the whole thing worked very nicely (to the point that I read it straight through in a couple of hours over the long weekend). I liked both protagonists a lot, introverted Jainan, trudging slowly back from years of abuse and clinging to his dignity and uber-extrovert Kiem, who is used to thinking of himself as a bumbling idiot but suddenly finds himself having to deal with darker things than elementary school charity events and shmoozing with journalists. The secondary characters are also quite nice, and even the cameos, like Kiem's general mother, are fun and intriguing. There's also some very nice and deftly interwoven worldbuilding about all manner of things, from sports to dress and gender expression, and trans and non-binary characters whose introduction is handled in an impressively non-issuefic-y way that I feel like some profic authors could learn from. More, with spoilers )

Bonus: authorially-approved fancast on Tumblr.

39. Black Mould (Rivers of London graphic novel #3) -- interesting story (and oddly, sadly timely, on the subject of London slums), but mostly I just have random observations, with spoilers )

40. Naomi Novik, Golden Age and Other Stories -- this is the art book where each piece of (loosely) Temeraire fanart (many of them pieces I've known/enjoyed for years) is accompanied by a new story or drabble. I read this in ebook, so didn't really get to enjoy the art (more than I've already enjoyed it on DeviantArt or Tumblr, I mean), but the stories of course were new. It was mostly entertaining fluff, although one book and less than a week after I'd finished it, I had pretty much forgotten its existence and skipped it in my numbering, oops. XD The stories don't really add that much to the universe, I feel, but there were a couple that do linger -- the story set in the Americas, with John Wampanoag as the POV character, which I would've liked to see more of; the present-day Temeraire drabble that was jsut the perfect length; and my favorite thing in the book, Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth is a Longwing captain :D Individual stories, with spoilers )

41. Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands -- this was another book I inhaled, pretty much over a busy weekend, and partly it was trying to keep up with [livejournal.com profile] ikel89 (reading in tandem is so much more fun when I'm actually enjoying the book. Imagine that! XD) but mostly it's because it's a really fun book. I've been disappointed and/or frustrated by SRB's latest offerings (the Lynburn trilogy steadily pleased me less and less with each book, with the conclusion being my biggest disappointment of the year, and one of those rare times where I felt downright betrayed by a book; good thing it wasn't a series I really cared about; Tell the Wind and Fire was not as disappointing, but it was frustrating anyway, in the way it was in dialogue with other books, but mostly I thought the other books more effective, even when one of them was Dickens :P So, it was lovely to have an SRB book I was actively and almost wholeheartedly enjoying (I do have some quibbles, but on the whole I liked it a lot, and immediately recommended to both L -- who is lapping it up with even greater glee than I -- and Awesome Friend Ali). I wish I could hail it as a return to form, but it just makes me worried that, because this book was written, what, in 2013-2015 (and published as a serial on SRB's blog), so, like, concurrently with the Lynburns? So it's not like SRB is back to writing books that I like and I can look forward to more -- it's that she used to. And even here, I liked the beginning (and the core of the story that was clearly set up by the beginning) more than the ending, so my enjoyment of the book is tinged with nostalgia, even though the book is brand spankin' new. More, with spoilers )

There is a Luke-POV short story set in the same universe, which I've also read by now (part of the 2014 anthology I mention below) and also an Adara POV short story on SRB's LJ.

*

Currently reading (for some pretty loose values of 'currently', admittedly, and also 'reading' :P) cut, as it got a bit long )

From this pre-publication review of Vallista we learn that Vallista is a gothic. OF COURSE! (although I don't like gothics, so... IDK.) I'm intrigued by the promise that "many of the mysteries plaguing Vlad are solved here". Like, what mysteries? That don't appear to be overtly solved in Hawk, since Vallista takes place before it...

And from Brust's Patreon, which I check out periodically, the new-=to-me revelation that Tsalmoth (tentatively the after-Vallista book) is set between Yendi and Jhereg (!!!) -- i.e. actual Vlad and Cawti marriage (/relationship), not during the honeymoon period, not when it's falling apart while Vlad is oblivious to it. That should be interesting!

And speaking of books that may or may not come out at some point: Scott Lynch interview from Worldcon has the following tidbits about Thorn of Emberlain )
aome: Me as a toddler (toddler ice cream)
[personal profile] aome
Gacked from my new friend [personal profile] spiffikins. :)

70 questions, including 3 fill-ins )

Two's first day of school yesterday went well, and he was lucky enough not to have any first-day homework, probably his last year for that. His first impression of his A day teachers was good; we'll see what he thought of his B day teachers (today's electives and his social studies teacher) this afternoon. He reported sitting with some new kids at lunch, to be nice, which I was proud to hear about. I really hope he makes some genuine friends this year. Even one friend.

MiniPlu came home with another boatload of chem homework - more outlining, plus memorizing the order, abbreviations and spellings of the first 18 elements for a quiz today. (She was NOT amused.) Plus a math packet. And she has a short English paper due Monday (on top of a summer-work test in both English and Math on Monday, and a Chem test on Tues). Should be a fun weekend. :-P

My achievements today: a nap, finished reading "The Scottish Boy" (see link in yesterday's post), and not a whole lot else. :-P
aome: (frogs)
[personal profile] aome
So, Two has attended Camp Aranut'iq for three summers now. He has been begging us to attend family camp since the first year, so this year, we signed up to go. Truth be told, we weren't really super-keen on going since it would be sorta roughing it (cabins, not tents, but very basic cabins), and mosquitoes, and it was going to be unseasonably cold at night while we were there and pretty much guaranteed to rain on Sunday. But we knew it was important to go, so off we went on Friday for yet one more drive back to New Hampshire.

Camp report )

So, anyway, overall, we mostly enjoyed the activities, hated the rain, didn't sleep super-well, but enjoyed the companionship of the community. I'm not sure if we'll do family camp again or not, but at least we did it once.


And now ... a solicitation. So, Camp Aranut'iq is an amazing place. Sure, it's rustic, but that's what summer camps are supposed to be like, right? And meanwhile, they do an amazing job of just letting "trans etc" kids be themselves, and giving them strength and acceptance they need to make it through the rest of the year. And, you know, hopefully NOT commit suicide. (There is also a week-long camp on the property for people with skeletal dysplasia aka dwarfism, and an upcoming camp for people with craniofacial deformities.) Anyway, Two adores it there, as does just about every camper. The only real deterrent is ... the toilets. When the director bought this camp in 2014 (they'd been renting other camps since their inception in 2009), he inherited the camp's composting toilet system, which is fantastic in theory (good for the environment!) and horrible in practice (more like perpetual porta-potties >_< ). We actually were somewhat lucky that it was unseasonably chilly this past weekend, because it cut down on smell. But the director has said that some kids refuse to come back, or refuse to come at all because of what they've heard or experienced with the stinky composting toilets with the bottomless black pits under the seats; even Two has said he doesn't want to attend for longer than a week because he isn't sure he could put up with composting toilets for TWO weeks.

So, Nick's plan is to rip out every one of them and build proper indoor flush toilets, with indoor showers as part of the same buildings (there will be several such buildings throughout the property) in time for next summer. The cost? About US$200K. Please consider a donation to make this possible? Even a few dollars would help. And every camper will praise your name forevermore. Probably the parents, too. ;-) Donate here, and specify that the money should go to the capital campaign fund, or the toilet fund, or whatever you want to call it.

I know nobody has much money to just throw around, and there are the legitimate needs of Harvey victims (and, alas, probably Irma soon, too) and a hundred other worthy causes to plead for your donations, but if you DO have a little bit extra, or know someone else who might, please consider it?
aome: pile of books (books)
[personal profile] aome
Both kids went off to school today!




(MiniPlu actually started yesterday; the high school starts a day ahead of everyone else because they get a day off after midterms in Feb when nobody else does, so it all works out in the end.)

MiniPlu's first day )

Two didn't get his schedule until he arrived today, but by chance I found it online yesterday afternoon when I was filling out online forms for both kids (emergency contacts and such). His schedule )

Hopefully he'll let me know how his first day went, aside from "fine." :-P

ETA: First-day photos can be found at LJ here. You must be logged in.

So far today, I've: taken a nap, gone for a run, baked and frosted my BIL/SIL's anniversary cake (26 years today; would've been 83 for my grandparents), and started laundry. Without interruption. Bliss! I have a HUGE pile of catching up to do online, both for reading and posting, not to mention email, but I'm already down to a half hour before MiniPlu comes home, so some of that will have to wait for upcoming days.

In less blissful news, I went to a new TKD school last night for the first time. And I hated it. )

Last weekend we went to Camp Aranut'iq (where Two goes in summer) for their family camp weekend. I'll do that report separately, since this is already getting pretty long.

I've done a fair amount of Stucky Big Bang reading, mostly while at camp (yay for Kindle downloads!), but I'm still in the middle of an absolutely massive one. I know there aren't a lot of Stucky fans on my flist, but if you're interested, I can wholeheartedly recommend:

Demobilization. AU in that Bucky went off to WWII without Steve (there was no Dr Erskine, so no serum) and came back with his left arm missing. He and Steve had a past, pre-war, and Bucky has decided to officially let Steve know how he feels when he gets back, only to find that Steve now has a steady girlfriend. A big emotional punch, this fic, but a happy ending.

Saying Your Name. MCU compliant through Winter Soldier. Steve knows Bucky is dead. He's not sure how he knows, he just knows. So when he sustains a catastrophic injury and ends up in a sort of afterlife that mimics pre-war Brooklyn, he knows he has to find Bucky and get him back to the "other side." But Bucky doesn't remember his former life and doesn't want to go, forcing Steve to wait patiently, rebuilding his relationship with Bucky, until he remembers. And what will happen once they're both back in the real world again? Another one with a lot of strong emotions and angst, but a happy ending.

The Scottish Boy. This is the monster, 130K-word story I'm still reading. Complete AU, set in 14th-century England. Steve is a country knight, and Bucky is a savage prisoner dumped on him by Brock and Pierce after they nab him in a Scottish battle. Who is Bucky, really, and why is he so important? Bucky eventually goes from prisoner to Steve's squire, and the boys fall in lust - eventually in love - along the way, despite the strong homophobia of the period. Holy smokes, this author really knows her Medieval history, bringing this story brilliantly to life. I don't know how it turns out yet, only about 70% of the way, but I'm completely captivated.

In the meantime: if you're in the line of fire from Irma, please be safe, and check in when you can!

Also, I have again missed an entire week of LJ. If you posted something I should know about, please leave me a link!

(Also, I still call my father "Daddy." I didn't realize it was gross and creepy. I'm sorry?)

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