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Monday, May 27th, 2019
12:00 am - Goodreads Review
The Sea Hawk and Captain Blood (and kind of Scaramouche) by Rafael SabatiniCollapse )

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Friday, May 24th, 2019
9:17 pm - Coyote Cinema: Booksmart and John Wick Parabellum
This time you get a twofer! Double billing! Woo!

BooksmartCollapse )

And then there's the whiplash of going into the next auditorium to see

John Wick 3: ParabellumCollapse )

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Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
12:52 am - Meltdown
There's a quote, probably Stoppard, something about how Things have gotten about as bad as they can get when things have gone about as far as they can go. I did that. Last night's auditions were hot and stressful, and wandering a strange city in the dark was stressful, and apparently I took all the stress I've been trying to stay on top of for the past couple of months and turned it into nausea, a migraine, a fugue state with no real rest, vertigo, and a general sense of dissociation. It was supposed to be a day where I did dishes, went shopping, built a bookcase, and took the cat to the vet. Mostly I spent the day in bed crying over Handmaid's Tale and Happy! Amanda helped me deal with refilling my daily drug buckets, and I ate food. Hopefully tonight I sleep and tomorrow I can reset.

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12:37 am - Goodreads Review
The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History
by Ken Gormley


This is an ensemble piece, with scholars of all stripes doing individual explorations on each president and then a final chapter discussing unifying themes and trends. I'm fully guilty of that syndrome where you know Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Ummm de dummm, Lincoln, Hmm hmm hmm, Roosevelt, Ummm, Roosevelt again, Cleveland's in there twice somewhere... This book helped a lot to establish identities behind the head of each administration, up to the Obama administration. It's also, at thirty dollars plus, the most I've spent on an ebook so far. And a worthwhile investment. I'd thought it would be more about the Supreme Court (and I'm still on the look out for that book) so I was a little disappointed at first, but this is just as rich and textured, and as much of a learning experience as I'd hoped.

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Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
2:21 am - What **possesses** people....
What possesses people to take the time to look up questions people ask on the internet and then type in a reply that says essentially "I have no idea."?

"What does 'camino' mean in Spanish?"
"I don't know any spanish but El Camino is a car in the US."

"Does this product work with the iPhone 6e?"
"I don't own any Apple products, but you could probably call customer service and ask them."

"Does this hair dye stain porcelain?"
"I've never used this hair dye, but you could probably ask Google."

It's almost as mystifying as the people who take the time to find question asking fora and ask questions that they could easily look up on Google.

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Sunday, April 21st, 2019
9:16 am
I had hoped that when we moved into the new house I'd stop seeing Inky out of the corner of my eye.

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Friday, April 19th, 2019
8:40 am - Ichabod ventures forth
In the last couple of weeks Ichabod has been very insistent on going outside.

I think he's looking for Inky.

Emoji of sadface.

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
4:38 pm - Now it feels real.

He's not just hanging out in the vestibule any longer. I took him to Exclusively Cats for cremation. When he comes back, we're going to scatter him beneath the bush he liked to hide under when he snuck out.

So he got a car ride, which he loves, and then gets to go outside. His life has just gotten better since he died.

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2:39 am - Long Dark Night of the Soul
We haven't been able to get Inky to the vet yet. Tomorrow.

When it's night and the house gets quiet, all I can think of is him in his box in the vestibule slowly freezing, all alone. So I go down for a while and sit with him. Sitting shivah, kind of. It at least makes me feel a little better. I may have some broken coping methods for dealing with loss.

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Sunday, March 31st, 2019
3:41 pm - Requiascet in Pacem Dick Kitty

Today there is one less asshole in the world. And he will be sorely missed. Inky was our troublemaking black cat. He'd pick fights with other cats because he was bored. He'd claim a space or a lap just so neither of his brothers could have it. But he always made sure Mom was safe when she went to the bathroom. And he knew when to be adorable and cute in order to disarm you, no matter how irritated you were at him. He was Amanda's favorite, and she was his. But with her being in TN so much, he had decided that John was an acceptable substitute. He would follow John around, and visit him in his office or when he made a lap in the Daddy chair. When he lay in the sunbeam, one of his favorite hobbies, his black fur turned warm chocolate. He was a hard cat to photograph, as black cats often are. He'd usually just appear as a dark blob doing something super cute. I'm pretty sure I have at least a couple of shots of him, but the only one I can find at hand is this one of him and his brother negotiating placement on the bed. Or it's another incident of 'groomin time' turning into 'rassle time'. He's the blur on the left. He and I had a complicated relationship. When I first moved in, I was usually the one to grab him up when somebody violated catlock protocol by leaving the front door open. I was his moon faced assassin of joy, so he'd avoid me. After a few years, things got a little better; I'd manage to get one or two pets in as he walked past, accidentally getting too close. He didn't hiss or spit or run away, he'd just crouch lower and lower to the ground to try and avoid me while he passed. We came to an agreement where every once in a while I could pick him up for a short bit, and I would make sure to put him down before he started to squirm and thrash. And sometime last month, when John was out of the house and I was sitting in the Daddy chair, he examined the situation and decided that I would do as an alternative lap just this once.

This afternoon, we found him sprawled out on the family room floor, as if caught mid-sunbeam. He was not a young cat by any means, so this wasn't entirely surprising, but he was not the one we were expecting to lose first. It looks like whatever happened was swift and painless. I took my last chance to pet him and snuggle him and say "Ha ha I'm giving you pets and there's nothing you can do about it." And then we put him in a box to wait for the vet's to be open tomorrow. I love you, Dick Kitty, and Tennessee will be that much less joyful without you.

EDIT: Oh yeah, he looked like Toothless the dragon when he smiled.

MORE: He was frequently fearless, taking no shit from anyone/thing, although he also frequently forgot that he'd been declawed. So if he had beef with another cat, he'd smack them two or three times quickly and then look at his paw like "God damn it," and beat a tactical retreat. This was one of the many reasons we didn't want him to go outside. And that made outside the one place he desperately needed to go, because if the monkeys say 'no' then it must be someplace pretty awesome. But usually when he did get out he'd run as far as the corner of the house and start eating grass. And if I was super casual, I could just walk up behind him, pick him up, and bring him back in.

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Friday, March 29th, 2019
11:47 pm - You're not paranoid if they are listening to you through your fillings.
I imagine it would be easier to deal with my pathological fear of accidentally giving myself an overdose on my prescription pills if incidents like tonight's didn't happen.

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Sunday, March 17th, 2019
8:50 am - MN in VT
Want to see a #MattNathanson show but can't be arsed to leave the living room? A full concert.

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Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
4:34 pm - The Big Reveal
Now that the house has passed the appraisal stage, I think it's safe to announce without fear of jinxing it. On 03 April, we will get the keys to our new house in Chattanooga. There are enough bedrooms for everybody to have a bedroom and a personal room and still have a guest room for visitors. There's a covered deck in the back of the house, and a nice view down into the valley. Now we can stop packing 'so there's less to do when we move' and start packing in earnest.

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
4:59 am - Goodreads Review
Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland by Melinda DuChamp

Let's start with the elephant in the room. This is a dirty book. Dirty people use dirty words and do dirty things. There's even some light BD/sM. The book describes itself as 'Mommy Porn'. There's also some meta humor, which is funny, and then there's too much meta humor, which is less funny.

In general, consent is modelled, but like in the original there's a case of a safeword being ignored. It's a fantasy, though, so maybe reading about a safeword being ignored is hot for you. There's also a lot of lefty propaganda about how you're allowed to enjoy sex, and if both parties/all three parties/the whole softball team enjoy themselves then it's much better than if only one person does. Unless there's only one person involved--ask Cheshire if you need tips on that.
Four stars because it was over so quickly.... ):

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Monday, February 25th, 2019
1:12 am - Goodreads Review
Seer of Mars by Cindy Borgne

The story was engaging enough to carry me about half way through the book, but not all the way. It reads like a standard Special discovers he's a baddy and atones by becoming a Special for the good guys plot. But the writing is muddy, spending too many words describing inconsequential actions, overdescribing--especially explaining character motivations, which even if this is a YA novel feels condescending--and dialogue that sounds like no human being ever spoke those words in that order before. It felt a bit like "The Lives and Loves of Doby Gillis" meets one of those WWII propaganda films. I imagined Ian and Nate as being portrayed by a young James Stewart and Cary Grant, and I think this made it more entertaining for me. It may be perfectly in character for being sixteen, but our protagonist is actively annoying. He whines. A lot. He has this single-concept tunnel vision where he can only keep one thing in his head at a time. And he's got his heart set on this tragic martyr idea of love, where the pain he suffers shows how much love he feels. If the trilogy is not already finished, I would strongly advise the author to hire a good copy editor and a good editor. There's a story in here somewhere, and I think they can dig it out.

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Thursday, February 21st, 2019
12:22 pm - Goodreads Review
Forevermore (A Pat O'Malley Steampunk Mysteries #1) by Jim Musgrave

This book bills itself as a detective novel. I made it about half way through, and then put it aside. There's not a lot of detecting here, really. Our main character has thrashed around this twenty year old case about the death of Poe, except in order to solve that, he has to solve the murder of a woman who worked in a cigar shop. And in order to solve that, he has to ask all of the suspects about a black cat he had a dream about. And in order to decipher his dreams, he has to overcome his crippling pathological fear of intimacy with women caused by his time in combat in the Civil War. And in order to do that, he has to have awkwardly lurid sex with a woman who's been trying to seduce him for years. And after that night he discovers that sex is pretty nifty. And that, your honor, is where I put down the book.

Also, regarding the 'steampunk' in the title, it doesn't apply to the technology level so much as, I suppose, the gritty film noir aesthetics of the writing.

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Friday, February 15th, 2019
10:02 am - Goodreads Review
Loki--Mike Vasich

I saw this title and thought it would be a look at Norse mythology from the Bad Guy perspective, like Grendel or Wicked. It was not. Which was disappointing, because different perspectives is kind of my jam. What it was, was a retelling of the Ragnarok myth with a more modern vernacular and a more fleshed out storyline. Which is not a bad thing in and of itself, and I enjoyed the read.
However.

The book could use a copyeditor.
Perspective/Point of View shifts around rapidly, once within the same paragraph, and without warning. You eventually figure out what's going on, but it throws you out of the story and makes you cranky.
The practice of spending a chapter to give you the condensed story of part of the myth followed by three chapters of the more modern telling of what you just read means I spend three chapters vaguely bored. What's worse is that sometimes the condensed story is directly contradicted by events in the following chapters which means I spend three chapters vaguely confused.

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Friday, February 1st, 2019
4:04 am
The House Eaters -- Aaron Polson

I am very much of two minds about The House Eaters. There were good things, and there were... missing things. Subplots started that might have been interesting (My parents had to move and aren't getting along) that sort of get brushed aside, dealt with offscreen, or just left to languish (btw: turns out dad was having an affair and they got divorced). The characters have interesting hooks, like AJ the jock with a human soul, that don't pan out into much of anything. The femme fatale with whom our main character is destined to fall into destructive love just sort of rubs up against him when she wants to get her footballer boyfriend's attention, and he sighs in exasperation before getting beaten up again. There was some quality YA creepy horror stuff in here, which again sort of gets handwaved at the end as if the point weren't the story but the fact that during the process it felt creepy. Also, I advise budding young authors to avoid descriptive phrases like "Her face was white as vanilla yogurt."

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2:28 am
Keep me
In your bed
All day

Nothing heals me like you do

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Saturday, January 26th, 2019
3:01 am - Book review--The Velvet Room
The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I found this book in my Kindle library, not really sure when or even if I'd bought it, or why. The title was evocative, and I imagined some kind of Victorian sensualist story. It was not a Victorian sensualist story.

This is a story about a girl in Grapes of Wrath times central California, nothing stable in her life, her family travelling and trying to find work, which she can see is slowly killing her dad. He finds orchard work on a ranch, and she finds this small library in an abandoned house on the grounds. It's got books and nice things, and it becomes a little haven for her. Which I totally get. Anyway, apparently this is an award winning YA title, and it deserves it.

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