Involves a boy who goes through a small door in a wall in the back of a garden. He time-travelled back to the 19th century, and became somehow caught up in a conflict between two wizard or magicians or sorcerers, one good & one evil. That's what we got - help me Obi Wan.
I am giving serious thought to forwarding my soon-to-be-ex financial advisor's emails to me to his boss at IG, because he is continuing to be such an asshole. I don't think I'd even have to editorialize in order to point out that what he's writing to me and the way he's putting it is inappropriate in business correspondence. It would just be a question of forwarding the emails, and possibly highlighting the particularly egregious stuff. I feel like emailing him back, "When in a hole, QUIT DIGGING!"
I won't. In fact I still haven't responded to his most recent email from 2 days ago, because I was so angry with him writing to me, among other things, "I fear for your financial future. But maybe you don't care." I knew I couldn't respond civilly and I was raised to be civil. Evidently IG guy was raised differently. The only reason I haven't forwarded the emails yet is because there is a slim possibility his boss might fire him, and I don't like to think of myself as the type of person who would try to get someone fired when they have a wife and two kids to support. But if he keeps up this correspondence, I may turn into that type of person.
Who decides, upon having been (very politely) informed that their services are no longer required, to unload on their soon-to-be-ex-client IN WRITING, so that client has a record of what they've said? It just seems totally unprofessional to me. Aren't financial advisors supposed to thrive upon word of mouth referrals? Wouldn't it seem like a good idea not to burn bridges? I have no idea if this guy is unusual or if this is standard Investors Group practice, but I am feeling more pissed off at the entire organization with each passing day.
Text: Empowered: Agent (Empowered, #1) by Dale Ivan Smith, which so far is the best Instafreebie book I've tried (a rather low bar). The world-building is simple but fun; it's not just that Empowered people (that is, people with superhero-type powers) exist, but it's also an alternate history - one in which Richard Nixon prevented a nuclear war from escalating into global destruction "after Washington DC had been destroyed by a Soviet nuke fired from Cuba." (So I guess Kennedy didn't stop the Soviets...) This only shows up incidentally, at least in this book, but I am charmed by Nixon being considered a hero in this universe.
Mat is a good character, an interesting woman with a skill - manipulating growing plants - that is clearly much more useful (and lethal) than anyone gives her credit for. The Hero Council choice of "join us if we can use you, otherwise you must swear to never use your power" seems rather terrible to me, a bit of shoddy world-building but I guess it's needed for the plot. Her choices and actions are reasonable, especially as circumstances paint her into a corner. I like that she has a family she cares about, and I also like the lack of romance (though I suspect one is building).
The writing is okay, not great, though it's mostly free of typos and technically adequate. There are few obvious errors (such as a character being identified by name before Mat would actually know her name) but also few flashes of brilliance. Mostly it's just somewhat flat. I didn't feel particularly pulled along or emotionally invested, and this, plus uneven pacing toward the end, contributed to a general feeling of anticlimax.
Audio: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama, which was a SYNC offering, and surprisingly enjoyable and novel for dystopian YA. This is set in an alternate future in which the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 led to the need for split-shift staffing of hospitals, a day set and a night set of doctors and nurses, which in turn proved so efficient that the division between day workers and night workers was expanded to all parts of life, formalized and codified and enforced by law. But as daylight living is more natural and presumably more enjoyable, gradually the night people ("Smudges") became stereotyped as stupid, undesirable, lesser than the day people ("Rays") - and it took me until about 3/4 through the book to realize this was a civil rights allegory.
Yes, there is some suspension of disbelief required, but no more than, say, teenagers fighting to the death broadcast on television, or a society discarding all but a hundred selected novels, songs, and films. And what makes this an actually good book is that the plot is legitimately interesting and complex, and goes in unexpected (but foreshadowed) ways. There is a romance, which is somewhat cutesy and predictable, but at least it's not a love triangle - and, speaking of YA tropes, though this is in first person it is in PAST TENSE THANK GOD.
I liked the ending, which is not pat or universally happy, and which leaves a lot of things open-ended for a sequel (or for fanfiction). I would like to have seen a more explicitly "fight the system" plot, with Sol and the other characters actively working to bring the system down - maybe this will be in a subsequent book? Finally, I ship Sol/Gigi la la la and will be nominating this for Yuletide.
The audio version also includes "Noma Girl", a prequel short story which is also available free online. It was a nice fleshing-out of incidents only alluded to in the novel, but there's no new worldbuilding or anything unexpected here. I did like the more sympathetic view of Gigi. I don't think it will make sense if you haven't read the novel.
Webcomic: For some reason I followed a link (from Goodreads, maybe?) to The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal by E. K. Weaver, which I'd vaguely heard of through osmosis but really didn't know anything about (I didn't realize it was a comic, for one; for some reason I thought it had to do with lesbians) and devoured it over the course of four or five days. It's a gay (m/m, and has some nsfw) roadtrip story in which the title characters get to know each other and find themselves (well, sort of). If you haven't read it, I recommend it! There is a tiny fandom, and I believe the comic was originally posted on LJ as a WIP.
What I'm reading now: Cibola Burn, the fourth Expanse book. So far I'm about 25% in and enjoying it more than the previous book, Abaddon's Gate. Also, wow, apparently all minor characters are gay in this universe, or at least every throwaway line about people being married refers to a same-sex relationship.
What I'm reading next: Now that I'm recommitted to this book series, I've got the next two on my phone.
What I've just finished watching:
Movie: I finally watched Hidden Figures, and it was every bit as awesome as I'd hoped. ♥ My mother was a chemist for the FDA before and during this era, and I realized that at least she had the advantage of being white (though she had the disadvantage of being Jewish). I can't imagine what it must have been like to have both racism and sexism barriers looming so hugely in one's life.
TV: We have finished S2 of The Expanse! I am still a little weirded out by the timelines of book series and show being off from each other. I also thought the Ganymede plot was done better by the show, but the Avasarala and Bobbie plot was done better in the books.
What I'm watching next: Nothing for a while, because on Saturday we are headed out for a week of backpacking in the wilderness and so we might as well hold off on starting anything new. I'm trying to talk B into getting a short-term subscription to HBO Now via Amazon Prime so we can watch Game of Thrones. (His objections are that a, he hates WIPs even more than I do and wants to be able to watch every day or every other day rather than waiting a week between episodes, and b, he is sure they will make it hard for us to cancel after a month or two.)
In the meantime, remixrevival has signups through Sunday, and crossovering has extended signups through Sunday, so if either of these interest you, you have a few more days to join up!
Brainy bunnies! Rabbits surf to safety on back of sheep as floodwaters rise
How scientists redesign DNA codes
Why Are Human Teeth So Messed Up?
9 Chilly Facts About Frozen Food Pioneer Clarence Birdseye
3, 2, 1 ... Bake Off! The Mission To Make Bread In Space
The Wool Brigades of World War I, When Knitting Was a Patriotic Duty
Adobe to pull plug on Flash, ending an era
Two days in an underwater cave running out of oxygen
Sperm counts among western men have halved in last 40 years – study
Video of teacher’s confrontation with Border Patrol agent goes viral
In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents recycle polluted dam water
Growing Up As An Untouchable
'I Am a Girl Now,' Sage Smith Wrote. Then She Went Missing.
Nearly Half of All Murdered Women Are Killed by Romantic Partners
CTE Found in 99 Percent of Brains Donated by NFL Families
TSA tightens electronics screening for domestic flights, too
Booby-traps plague north Iraq as Islamic State targets returning civilians
As it loses in Syria and Iraq, ISIS establishes a new beachhead: the Philippines
Rights groups ask Duterte to retract threat to bomb schools
One hundred children a day are now crossing the border into Uganda from the war in South Sudan, without their parents – creating a ‘children’s emergency’
It's almost worse that I almost, almost have myself together, but I don't quite - not to where I can really just get through the stuff I need to get through readily, or feel like there's extra energy there that I don't urgently need to use on things if I could just make myself do them. I don't have an excuse, and I don't have a plan.
The world has so many people doing terrible things.
How can it only be Wednesday? Yesterday felt like it was 8 days long in and of itself. Sigh.
What I've just finished
What I'm reading now
Still on Abaddon's Gate. I like it but not as much as the first two books so it's taking me longer to read (the fact that I haven't been getting a seat on the train hasn't helped). I feel like the new characters are not nearly as interesting as Avasarala and Bobbie, though I like Anna and Bull just fine. Melba, otoh... On the plus side, ( spoilers ) I'm about a hundred pages from the end so I'm guessing there's still some excitement to come.
What I'm reading next
Regardless, I did pick up the next book - Cibola Burn - because I do want to see what happens next. I just also wish we got the POV from the others on the Roci instead of all Holden all the time there.
Yesterday bluemeridian posted a batch of MCU and Wonder Woman recs.
"‘Wrath of Khan’ Returning to Theaters for 35th Anniversary".
"Orbit Turns 10: Take a Look at a Decade of Milestones". [The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog]
Via misbegotten, the Cincinnati Zoo has successfully reunited Fiona-the-hop with both of her parents. Adorable hippo pictures ahoy!
From 2014, but via Twitter today: "BitchTapes: American Protest Music". [Bitch Media]
"The Fourth Messenger at the 2017 New York Musical Festival". [ViennaTeng.com] (Includes purchase links for the soundtrack and script.) [ETA: Refers to a concluded run, not an upcoming one.]
On Atlas Obscura:
--"NASA Just Released Hundreds of Historic Space and Aviation Videos".
--"These Endangered Pygmy Rabbits Survived a Wildfire by Heading Underground".
--"Why It Took Scientists So Long to Figure Out Where Babies Come From: Human conception was still basically a total mystery until as recently as 1875".
--"The Odor ‘Wheel’ Decoding the Smell of Old Books".
--"The Dormouse-Fattening Jars of Ancient Rome".
--"People in 1920s Berlin Nightclubs Flirted via Pneumatic Tubes".
--"Found: Never-Developed Photos of Mount St. Helens Erupting".
--"These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books".
On Mental Floss:
--"The Golden Girls Are Starring in Their Own Version of Clue".
--"This Illustrated Periodic Table Shows How We Regularly Interact With Each Element".
This is your yearly Icon sticker request page. Make those requests! What are you feeling fannish about this year? What is your visual fan identity?
Please post here if possible. Anyone who only uses twitter can @ me there.
A couple of young boys (men) of maybe 17 or 18 years of age walked by her and took the table next to her. When they sat, they were looking at her and laughing, the one seated nearest to me said, "Yeah, go to the mall and pick up hot chicks." That broke the other into hysterics.
I turned and said, stonily, "Yeah, go the the mall and pick up an asshole."
I'll let you imagine what happened next.
"'HOW WILL WE EXPLAIN GAY MARRIAGE TO THE CHILDREN?'
Parent: 'Well, you know mommy and daddy love each other, right? Well, Murphy and Sven love each other just the same way, so they got married.'
Child: 'Oh. Okay. LOOK! Swings! Can you push me on the swings?'
"Why don't we ask how we will explain war to children? *That* would be difficult - and it might be good to meditate on why it would be so hard."
"We already get a subscription to Cricket."
"So? N doesn't."
"N practically lives here. She doesn't need her own subscription."
"Don't you want her to read more!?"
(Okay, she didn't say that last line, but she thought it VERY LOUDLY.)