List of fic
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Just to gather up in one place the various scattered bits and pieces I have done:


this is the collection...Collapse )


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Books read in 2017
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E. F. Benson The Luck of the VailsWhy read this? Is it recommended?Collapse ) 

Dorothy L. Sayers Unpopular opinions Why read this? Is it recommended?Collapse ) 

Lois McMasters Bujold Komarr and A Civil Campaign  Why read this? Is it recommended?Collapse )

Hannah Craik Olive Why read this? Is it recommended?Collapse )


This entry was originally posted at http://heliopausa.dreamwidth.org/63104.html. Please comment here or there.

A kitchen gadget, and recent reading
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This gadget sounds really useful!  I have a coconut scraper made like a small stool, with the scratching part sticking out one side.  This is fun (in a mild way) but the sharp teeth sticking out at shin level aren't the best plan for kitchen furniture.  A bench-mounted, relocatable, had-whirled scraper sounds just the ticket!

I've been reading quite a bit, here and there -
  • reading the book Nation by Terry Pratchett, and thinking (so far, three chapters in) that it's very good, but erratic and a bit patchy.
  • have read the book Olive, by Mrs Craik, which interesting as a record of thinking on various matters (women's art being marginalised/suppressed, physical "deformity" cutting a woman out of the marriage market, race, religion) - but is not particularly worth much as a novel.
  • reading The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which sketches out much fascinating material, so far, but isn't really catching fire (bad metaphor, in the circumstances).
And beginning to brace myself for March, which is shaping as a pretty full-on month.

This was also a test-post on cross-posting to LJ; it seems to have worked fine.


This entry was originally posted at http://heliopausa.dreamwidth.org/65984.html. Please comment here or there.

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies...
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New planets!  I'm excited and agog, and also (is there anything I can't find a downside to?) thinking somewhere alongside the excitement that this discovery could foster up a feeling that now we don't have to worry about wrecking this planet because we've got somewhere else we can go.  (Of course there's no such real suggestion; I just mean how it might change people's mood about things.)  So... mixed feelings.  But still... seven planets, under a huge, cool sun.  Wow!  Oh, we live in amazing times!

So does everybody, of course - I mean, so everybody always has, whether they knew it or not.  Today's also, more or less, a hundred years since the stunning, out-of-nowhere (ha!) end of the Romanov rule over Russia, on the back of the chaotic butchery of WW1 and of riots over incipient (or actual?) famine. 
Coincidentally, on Nirvana in Fire, talk has turned to how a failure to provide relief in such crises leads to rioting and thus to regional (at least) instability - true enough, and I'm sorry Nicholas II hadn't better advisors, or (if he had them) that he'd listened more.  A sad ending for an amiable family.

Great sonnet, isn't it, by the way?  :) 

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A quiet weekend, and a desert turtle
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Oh, wonderful!  I thought, around about mid-morning Saturday.  The people (who are very pleasant people, I haste to say; it's just that I'm a lazy beast) who were invited for lunch on Sunday can't come!  And thus the weekend suddenly opened to reveal ... what is it?  somethings of vast eternity.  Or a day and a half of free time, anyway.  :) I was cockahoop.

So...  I plucked those cumquats which were ready to fall from the New Year's cumquat tree, and made spiced cumquat chutney - and I made muesli bars, too, to use up some over-ripe bananas.  Went marketing, of course, and accidentally brought home a mountain of lettuce, and much green herbage (because it was past ten, and the market-seller wanted to pack up and go home).  Also triumphantly tracked down cinnamon bark, for the chutney, down a market side-street, and generally had a good time.  :)

And then on Sunday I went to visit an aged friend - that was absolutely great!  She is recovering from a stroke, and it was wonderful to see her so much better, so much stronger.  We just sat together for three-quarters of an hour, and drank water, and talked of nothing much - of planting trees recently, and looking at photos . Not a long visit, because I didn't want to wear her out, but a very, very happy one - it was so good to see her, and to see her so strong.  :)

And I took in various media throughout the weekend:

- watched the 27th episode of Nirvana in Fire, which means I'm exactly half-way through;

- read some of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about very exciting things, but so far is not very well or engagingly written;

- and read some newspapers online, of course, which yielded this lovely story (with picture) of a desert turtle.
  What an amazing creature!  And how beautiful it seems in the picture - to me, at least - gold and emerald.  :) 
  Also, I chortled at a word attributed (wrongly, I'm sure - possibly autotranscription from a recording?) to the herpetologist, which suggested that the turtles are excavating underground - making  a second pleasing picture, of a different, totally imaginary, sort! (But now I've been back and they've fixed it up - good to see journalistic diligence at the ABC.  Unless it was the mortified herpetologist who set them straight.)


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Fannish, and also LJ
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Two fannish things

1. Nirvana in Fire - I'm getting deeper in; the turnings of the plot are getting grimmer and more challenging -  not in terms of visible bloodshed, but more in terms of the damage wreaked by ruthless and amoral politicking.  That sounds so simple - like the Sheriff of Nottingham - but it isn't like that; nothing is simple and innocence is lost, and the consequences of actions keep rippling out forever.  The damage, including spiritual damage, rebounds everywhere, including on those who commit to wrenching things and people back from their destructive trajectories, to restore right.  I'm reminded of Shakespeare: "the time is out of joint.  Oh cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right."

2. Halfamoon has finished, I suppose; at least, it was billed as running for the first fourteen days of February, which are now over.  As the organisers half-anticipated, people's engagement was way down this year.  I myself couldn't seem to manage any fiction; I posted three short pieces about characters who met the prompt criteria - appreciations of bad, wonderful Senora Madeline Neroni, and of two of the women in Nirvana in Fire, and of Missee Lee, who is, IMO right now, the most stunningly impressive heroine in all of twentieth century children's fiction.


Two LJ things - one pleasant, one puzzling

1. The problem I mentioned a little while back, about difficulty updating an entry, is now solved - thank you, maraun!

2. In my inbox is a message reading, in its entirety: "(You are not authorized to view this comment.)"  Then why send it to me?   (Is there any person who's sent me a message which I seem to be ignoring, perhaps?)




This entry was originally posted at http://heliopausa.dreamwidth.org/65112.html. Please comment here or there.

About yesterday...
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Sorry to anyone perplexed by my putting up the wrong link about politics yesterday; I've gone back and fixed it now.  :)

Also about yesterday's post:  the move I mentioned to sell off public land in the US, which stank to high heaven, has apparently seemed too bad even for the current climate there - or was it that hunters and shooters threw their voice into the protests?  I don't care - it's been stopped, as reported by [personal profile] twistedchick  here.  and I'm glad. 

As for today:  it's World Wetlands Day, and people are celebrating the glorious world of places which aren't safe, steady land, and aren't clear open water - fens and swamps and marshes and bogs and quagmires.  (What a gorgeous word, by the way! - quag-mire.  Is it that the ground quakes, do you think, or does quag refer to its sticky, sucking character?).  
But leaving the words, lovely as they are, and just thinking about the wetlands themselves - places betwixt and between, and so which feel mysterious and not quite in our ken - and thus in turn have given us so much, much wonderful literature: desperate freedom fighters holding out against the Normans, and the Swamp Creature, and a gigantic hound with dripping phosphorescent jaws, lolloping towards to an island in the fog, and the Black Lagoon, and bells ringing out from a huge church rising from the flood, and mangroves which are a story in themselves, and strange girl butterfly hunters, and Puddleglum and all Marshwiggles, ever.  



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And into February.
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The stuff that's happening in the US - I don't know what to say.  There are so many things happening so fast - and as [personal profile] twistedchick posted some days back, behind the smokescreen of the more publicly outrageous things, other very damaging things might be happening, like the proposed sell-off of public land, where according to the Guardian, "the sale does not [even] have to make money for the federal government".  (I added the "even" because I think it's a staggering aspect.)

editing to add: this link spells out the scenarios, much more informedly than I could, what might be behind the "smokescreen" I was talking about.

All honour to those who are making a stand against unethical, illegal or immoral acts, especially the former Acting Attorney-General, who is one of those described in last Sunday's psalm, about those who can't be moved or shaken, who stand by their undertakings, (as she, Sally Yates, stood by her oath to uphold justice) and don't sell out the innocent - for money or a career move or for anything else. 
I said especially her, but I suppose there are others not in the public eye, in humbler positions who dare not go public, but are quietly not selling out the innocent.  All honour to them, and may they one day get their due as people who upheld humanity when the system around them went the other way.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to trawl through mainstream media for good news on a daily basis, following [personal profile] megpie71 's lead.  Not always easy to find things, but I find it useful, to keep afloat.

February means that halfamoon has opened - fourteen days of celebrating women in fandom. 


I'm not feeling any fiction nudging to be written by me, but I'll be contributing by posting about some women characters, anyway, and maybe about a TV series which is crammed with women characters.




This entry was originally posted at http://heliopausa.dreamwidth.org/64208.html. Please comment here or there.

Bread and honey, but mostly honey
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The exodus is pretty nearly complete, and wonderful quietness is over the neighbourhood.  People have gone back to their family homes/ancestral villages for the New Year, and building works (thank goodness!) and businesses have shut down for the duration (three days, or so, pretty much).  The baker's shut down two days ago; we went to lay in a modest stock of bread supplies, including half-a-dozen mouse-bread rolls - the baker grinned, and threw in an extra - making it an excellent baker's half-dozen, i guess.  So that's the bread part.  :)

And the honey...

I was browsing through some regional newspapers - I think it was the South China Morning Post - when I came across a story of a man hospitalised after eating "mad honey" from Nepal.  (Yes, it was the SCMP!)  Just one spoonful was enough to leave him in a bad way (temporarily - he recovered!)

But... whoever heard of "mad honey"?  Not me, so i went to look for more info, and was vastly intrigued.  Honey-focussed ramble follows, with various links follows...Collapse )

And that's the end of my ramblings about honey (and a little bit bread).  :)


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Mostly very small news
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Lovely to read of so much exhilaration and hope on the many marches.  I'd been anxious - about communications systems, amongst other things - and it was so good to find that it wasn't necessary at all, in the event!  :)    (But it was interesting to see it confirmed by some people involved, that mobile phone/cell phone coverage does indeed falter in large crowds - something to be aware of, going forward.)

In more local news:

The Tet goldfish have all been released into waterways, to become celestial dragons for the three kitchen gods to ride back to heaven.  I mentioned last year that student groups and other young volunteers were asking people not to toss their fish-carrying plastic bags in when they released their fish - this year that's become a campaign, with posters and more volunteers and council workers, stationed at the likely places (where there are steps down into the water, mostly).



The poster says: Let loose the fish, hold onto the plastic bag!

I have new glasses, and the world is crystal-clear.  (Or as close to it as my eyes allow, anyway.)   I am being amazingly conscientious about putting them back in their case, but I expect it won't be terribly long before they're being slung around casually, and ending up as battered as all previous pairs of glasses have been.

Yesterday I made crumpets from scratch!   I used this recipe, which weirdly doesn't reveal that the crumpet so made should be toasted later - i.e. that it's not intended to be eaten in its flabby original first-cooked state.  The dough/batter was really strange - very gloopy and gluey - but the result on cooking was instantly recognisable as crumpets, though not exactly round due to my not having the poaching rings to make them in.  They toasted up well this morning, but were regrettably doughy inside.  :(  If I do it again, I'll cook them longer at lower heat, in the first cooking.

Thanks to a tip from puddleshark, I've been looking at and enjoying Nirvana in Fire, a 54-part series (I'm up to part 9) set in eighth-century China.Read more, if you like...Collapse )




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