Monday, October 05, 2015

What I read -- September 2015

“My Real Children” by Jo Walton. After plugging it to one of my friends, it seemed appropriate to read it myself. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it turned out fine. I started having to put it down about 40 pages from the end because watching Trish/Pat lose her memory was too distressing for sustained attention, but I pushed through. JW’s voice is so her own. There was more exposition than I thought was allowed, but it totally worked, so apparently that rule… isn’t. Whatever works for the story is how the story has to be told. 

“Maplecroft” by Cherie Priest. This totally sucked me in and if I could have I would have stayed up all night finishing it. The story is told in diary entries, letters, and reports, and it was an interesting exercise in voice I think. When doing something like that it seems to me that you can’t let the different characters sound too different, or too the same. The sequel came out at the start of the month!

“Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valente. She’s one of my girl crushes. This was fun to read at the same time that I was following Steven Brust’s readalong of Trotsky’s “The Revolution Betrayed”. The fairy tale repeating patterns and layers of imagery were fantastic. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t know Russian stories or history nearly well enough to catch all the references, but what I did catch was plenty.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

In Process -- September 2015

First Draft
 “Food Insecurity”. Short story, finished again.
“Smoke Zombies”. Short story, finished.
“Trappaneria and Scrimshawerie”. Short story, started.
I am starting to fantasize about NaNoWriMo again. Maybe this is water leopard’s year?

“Food Insecurity”. Typed up and took apart the crap part.
“Lucky Kate”. Did Character/Setting draft.



“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Tied in all danglers. Crocheted edging. Sewed on beads. Tidied steek edges. Blocked. After 35 months, this thing is done!
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Ignored.
Gift item. Done.
Gift item. 5%.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What I read -- August 2015

“Flex” by Ferrett Steinmetz. He was in my Viable Paradise class, so how could I not read this? The boy saw it and said the cover looked cool. I read the scene where Valentine and Aliyah made up while I was sitting in the coffee store, and tears ran down my face, so way to go Ferrett. So proud to know him! 

“The Darkest Part of the Forest” by Holly Black. The boy has an unexpected hatred for the Spiderwick Chronicles that he’s never explained. So this book didn’t attract him at all. Me, on the other hand… I couldn’t put it down. I especially loved how Hazel and Ben had the shadow of their parents’ neglect hanging over them, which got fixed about when they didn’t need their parents anymore. I also loved Ben and Hazel’s relationship so much. 

“The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett. Last week I read a quote from William Gibson that referred to DH and plot, and it seemed worth reading something. This book was published in 1929! It held up just fine, seemed like reading the script from a black-and-white movie. Though I did have to google excelsior (a brand of wood packing chips). 

“A Universe from Nothing” by Lawrence M. Krauss. The boy bought this a couple of months ago, and read it and then forced it on me. The weird thing was I felt like I understood it! And I can’t even understand routers. A little bit rabid on the atheism, but whatever.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

In process -- August 2015

First Draft
 “A surprising Number of Crows”. Short story.
“Food Insecurity”. So, I had finished this kinda crap short story last month, and then the boy told me a strange tale out of his own life, and I realized that was the plot of this story, so when the previous-mentioned was done, I went back and restarted this. It’s a fun exercise because I have the character and setting development largely done separately, so I sat down trying to just write the plot, which I can merge with the other stuff later in a fantastic edit-straganza.

“Wind/Water/Salt”. Finished that spreadsheet with all the chapter data. 
“Food Insecurity”. Started typing but never got around to taking apart the crap part.
“Lucky Kate”. I came across a market with a deadline that looked good for this, and I thought it wasn’t in that bad a shape, so I pulled out the folder.
And I must say, my process is not nearly as awesome as I thought it was. The last time I looked at this was April. My folder had pages and pages of handwritten content that I couldn’t find in either of the printed drafts, neither of which was dated. Both had comments all over, and I couldn’t tell if those were done or not. I thought there was something clean, and I looked all over the house, only to later on open a soft copy and find that one of the marked-up ones was the newest, with its changes entered, including those pages of handwritten content (oddly marked) inserted in the wrong place.
I moved that, deleted a couple of pages of other stuff, made a few changes, and printed again. This time everything is dated at least. I did another draft for scenes, and now I'm ready to print and tidy and send out, I hope.



“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Ignored.
Vinterlys (Norsk Strikkedesign). Finished.
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Ignored.
Prow pullover (IK Summer 2014). Finished.
Gift item. Started.

I also sewed a pair of shorts.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Iceland: Best Hotel Ever!

We stayed at the Icelandair Natura, which was apparently the best possible choice. Like any normal people do, we flew into Keflavik airport and got a bus to the hotel. Unbeknownst to me, the Natura is right next to Reykjavik airport. Like right beside it. Every time Ed went out for a smoke he got to look at whatever had flown in.

Reykjavik airport is a smaller airport that nevertheless had smaller corporate jets and the like coming in all the time. Over the course of the week we saw a MU2, a Beechcraft Starship (he told me he thought they were all recalled), and a turboprop DC3. This plane was parked there the whole time, harassing me:

(you can't actually see the scantily-clad woman painted on near the front there, can you?) 

There was a shrine to Bobby Fisher, and the boy was really into playing chess at the time (that seems to have died off this week, but will probably ramp up again next week, my theory is), so that was a hit, though he wasn’t really impressed with the WiFi, which would randomly kick him off every half hour or so, making online chess frustrating.


John Scalzi has been showing pictures out his hotel room during his tour. My view was this:

That’s Ed down there.

There was an elfstone (a boulder where supposedly an elf or elves live) at the other end of the parking lot with a plaque that said this was a well-known elf stone location (which I took to imply that they didn’t want people to think the hotel had just made this up for the tourists). I didn’t take a picture of it.

Everything seemed like it was in walking distance. We could have walked from the bus depot to the hotel (and did on several occasions). There was a Subway (restaurant) nearby. More about that in another post. We walked downtown, and the hotel also gave us a bus pass which was fabulous. We walked to the beach, and the graveyard. And we walked to the Pearl.

The pearl was clearly visible up the hill from our hotel, and there were all walking trails up there, so it was one of my first obvious things to want to find out about.

When, a couple of days later, we went on our big Golden Circle bus tour, we went to a geothermal plant.

It has giant water pipes that run to the pearl, filling six giant hot water tanks, losing one or two degrees on the way. Apparently they heat houses that way, and houses in Reykjavik don't have hot water heaters. Signing up for the tour, the boy said “Coming in, I didn’t think I was interested, but that was cool.” Win!