Reading Wednesday 16/08

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
  • Interesting Links for 16-08-2017

    Aug. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
    andrewducker: (Default)
    [personal profile] andrewducker

    The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

    Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
    miss_s_b: (Default)
    [personal profile] miss_s_b

    Interesting Links for 15-08-2017

    Aug. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm
    siderea: (Default)
    [personal profile] siderea
    Local clinicians: I just got the mailing for this fall's Harvard Med Psychiatry Dept CE trainings, and at the Dec 1 & 2 session "Treating Couples", kinda buried in the list of presenters are Esther Perel and Terry Real. It's astronomically expensive, like all Harvard Med's stuff, but if you're a sufficiently hardcore fan, there you go. (Some of the other names on this list may also be famous people I don't recognize.)

    Approach to Housesteads

    Aug. 14th, 2017 08:41 pm
    purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
    [personal profile] purplecat




    I've no pictures from last week so have another from the week before. This is the approach to Housesteads fort from the East. Imagine what that must have been like when both wall and fort walls were more than a couple of feet high!
    sfred: (faun)
    [personal profile] sfred
    If there's anything you want to say to me after BiCon, feel free to do so here. Comments are screened and will remain so.

    weekend

    Aug. 14th, 2017 01:45 pm
    hollymath: (Default)
    [personal profile] hollymath
    I"m settling into a pattern of weeks with very little to do and very low mood, and then being very busy and mostly happier on the weekends. This is really bad for me and no fun but I don't feel able to get myself unstuck yet.

    Adventures in Babysitting )

    I was staying over so quickly installed myself in the spare room, with the comfy bed, the robot alarm clock and the lamp with colorful airplanes on its shade. It was pretty great.

    I was there because next morning Simon and I were driving to Leeds for BiCon and it made no sense to get me home late at night just to go pick me up again the next day.

    BiCon )

    The Home Office at BiCon )

    So I was quite glad that my plans had changed such that I could go to Brighouse that night. I was tired and a little emotionally wrung-out with one thing and another. It didn't help a lot though as after a blessed day off Twitter I was catching up on Charlottesville. I spent way too much time reading what it felt like I couldn't look away from but also couldn't fix. But I was heartened to see a lot of white people talking about how unhelpful attitudes like #ThisIsNotUs were, ignoring that this is what America has always been so we can feel better about ourselves.

    Andrew came over to Brighouse too yesterday, for Sunday dinner and terrible films. It was really nice having all the best people around.

    Now I'm home where all the cleaning and laundry have been neglected for quite a while even before I was away because my mental health has been so bad. I've done a load of laundry I'm about to go hang up and put another one in. It'd be nice if I could clean some things. And I have to write down volunteering admin and stuff I need to do before it all falls out of my head. Better go and do all of that, then!

    Here's hoping this week is better than the last two.

    Magic ex Libris: The Next Chapter

    Aug. 14th, 2017 09:30 am
    jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
    [personal profile] jimhines

    Some of you might remember me talking about a 15,000-word novelette I was working on between wrapping up Terminal Alliance and starting on Terminal Uprising.

    That novelette is called “Imprinted,” and it’s the next Magic ex Libris story.

    It’s about Jeneta Aboderin, and it’s set roughly eight months after the events of Revisionary.

    I haven’t set a publication date yet. There’s a bit of work left to get everything ready, and with Terminal Alliance coming out in November, I’m guessing it will be available in January or February.

    I also haven’t set a price. $2.99 would be ideal, because that’s where ebook royalty rates jump from 35% to 70%. What do you think? Does $2.99 seem fair for a 15,000-word story, or should I bump it down to $1.99 and take the royalties hit?

    Finally, as long as you’re here, what do you think of the not-quite-finalized cover?

    Imprinted Cover: Draft

    Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

    Interesting Links for 14-08-2017

    Aug. 14th, 2017 12:00 pm
    siderea: (Default)
    [personal profile] siderea
    Via [personal profile] conuly, Why Medicaid Matters to You, by Prof. Sharona Hoffman, of CWRU. tl;dr: Because Medicaid is not just for poor people, it's how old people (and younger disabled people) pay for nursing homes. So it's for you, too, unless you plan on dying young and healthy.

    The article has some interesting stats in it.

    (I'm morbidly curious to know where you can score a private nursing home room for only $92k/yr. I presume it's somewhere very rural and far away from here, with terrible care, because by Massachuetts prices that's an incredible bargain.)
    andrewducker: (Default)
    [personal profile] andrewducker
    Instead, I was seen by a doctor last night at the Out of Hours service, who checked with the Eye Pavillion, who told me to come in at 2pm today. So Jane got me there in one piece (crossing roads and navigating festival-goers being tricky when any change of brightness causes intense pain), the doctor checked it was nothing unexpected, and that my iris was not stuck to my cornea (like last time), and then handed me some Maxidex and Cyclopentolate. The former reduces inflammation, the latter stops anything sticking to anything else while it recovers.

    It's a pain, because I have to take the Maxidex hourly for the next two days, then 6 times a day for a week, then 4 times a day for a week, then thrice daily for a week, twice daily for a week, once daily for a week, and then I can finally stop. So I've installed an app on my phone to tell me when I should, and am letting that worry about it for me.

    Also, the Cyclopentolate seems to cause my eye to focus slightly less well, so for the week I'm using that I suspect I'll have a bit of a headache (as I do now).

    But! I am not in as much pain as I was, and my eye is probably not going to explode. So yay!

    Interesting Links for 13-08-2017

    Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 pm

    [domesticity] That Damn Lamp

    Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 am
    siderea: (Default)
    [personal profile] siderea
    1) I feel the need to share that the lamp in question, I got from Aunt C – who spent her entire working adult life making lightbulbs for Sylvania. The fact that I can't manage to find adequate working replacement LED bulbs his is either the most ironic or most appropriate thing ever.

    2) Okay, I'm now in correspondence with the manufacturer of one of the sets of 5W bulbs that didn't work. They asked about the competitor bulbs that worked, and said they will scare some up to compare with their product. ETA 8/13/17 11:10PM: I have just got a full refund and a thank you note for supplying such detailed information, which is being passed on to the R&D team.

    Restarting the writing

    Aug. 12th, 2017 09:55 pm
    andrewducker: (Default)
    [personal profile] andrewducker
    I've been meaning to write more for ages. But nothing quite seems important to share, which frankly is a pretty silly approach to take.

    So, I'm going to try writing more:
    Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon, as projected onto the inside of the dome at Dynamic Earth was entertaining, but largely because of the music. The graphics were, frankly, the kind of thing I used to see in 1990s demoscene disks. Basically a more modern take on this kind of thing. Which isn't _bad_ per se. But it was pretty uninspired, and not up to the quality you'd expect Pink Floyd to demand.

    The local council are great. Well, when it comes to emergency sewage problems. Where the drain outside the back of the building flooded, leaving raw sewage coming in under the back door to the block. I paid for it to be cleared, and they couldn't, so I got my insurers involved. And they told me I'd need to get everyone in the block onside to pay for their share. And then Mandy at work recommended I talk to the council, who had someone here within two hours to say "Yup, that's a health hazard, and it affects multiple homes", and then had an emergency team out three hours later who had plans of where the drains were, found drain covers _under the grass_ and sorted it all out. And will now bill everyone in the building separately, so I don't have to worry about that!

    The NHS are great. Because I have a recurrence of uveitis, which flared up over the last 24 hours. Previous occurrences were in October 2012, in January 2014, and in February 2015 (links more for my own future reference than anything else). Happened a week after seeing my family, and coincided with my IBS playing up, which may be A Thing. Anyway, I called the 24 hotline for non-emergencies, and they've given me an appointment at 23:10 at the Western General hospital, so I'll be leaping onto a bus in 45 minutes to be seen at the Assessment & Rehabiliation Centre.

    Jane is lovely. And came on holiday with me and my family (parents, my brothers, and their partners/children), played lots of board games, went for walks with dogs, and is about to come to the hospital with me to keep me company. (Actual holiday post to follow at some point. Possibly even with pictures of dogs).

    Work is good. And I am currently involved in multiple things I am enjoying, and stretch me. Favourite things of the last year or so are getting to learn PowerShell in a fair amount of depth, and finally getting to fix a bad design decision I made circa 2008 and remove a huge amount of duplicate code.

    [me] Healthcare Ate My Homework

    Aug. 12th, 2017 03:03 pm
    siderea: (Default)
    [personal profile] siderea
    I am frustrated with how my writing has been going of late. It's been difficult. I find myself having trouble keeping my focus on what I'm writing.

    As you may have noticed, I tend to write about whatever I'm thinking about. Normally, that's (1) my psychotherapy clients and the issues that come up when working with them, (2) minds, more generally, and (3) the larger world around me, i.e. current events, politics, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.

    In an important sense, what I write about is my reaction to what I encounter in my life.

    Right now my life is very rich in contact with the healthcare industry. There's D's health issues, my health issues (nothing new and alarming), my clients' health issues, and current events having to do with health insurance and medicine. So I have about a million and one things to say about healthcare.

    Except that even I am getting bored of healthcare.

    And, perhaps more importantly, I really have other topics that it feels to me would be much better use of my time. In this day in history, I don't think tackling problems in the US healthcare system is at all the best use of myself – as important as these things are, it feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    This is not a general sense of futility. I have a huge amount of things in my head that I think sharing could be a very useful contribution to the Very Long Game. I understand what is going on in the US right now very, very, very differently than almost every other commentor. This is what I ardently want to be writing about.

    If I could – ugh! – just get my head clear of all this incredibly boring healthcare stuff.

    So what's been happening on the back end here, in Siderealand, is that I am oscillating rapidly and not at all profitably between the previously alluded to monster healthcare post (or series) and tackling some of the Very Long Game topics – interrupted by the occasional hot take on current events (you have no idea how badly I want to respond to the Sexist Googler Memo, while at the same time very badly wanting not to have to finish reading the Sexist Google Memo, much less start again from the beginning this time taking notes) – and never actually getting any one thing finished. I'll try to work on the monster healthcare post and my mind will wander off in boredom; so I'll try to work on something more important, but then I'll have to treat a patient or get my own medical care or deal with D's health issues, and my attention is wrenched back to healthcare and healthcare-related observations flood my mind. Argh.

    I've been feeling unwell, physically, in ways that are also making concentration hard. This makes the VLG stuff particularly daunting, because it involves having to explain a lot of background and conceptual stuff to get where I am trying to go. I mean, that's the whole point of the exercise. And that takes - or so I find – a lot of concentration to do at all, much less well.

    So, for instance, today was supposed to be a writing day, but I woke up, for no reason I can tell, exhausted and having trouble marshalling words. *throws hands up in the air* Before writing this, I took a break to play some flash games and, wow, does my judgment and reaction time suck.

    So I guess we'll see what I come up with. Sigh.

    ETA: Ahahah, and I managed to initially post this technically wrongly, trying a second time, see if I manage to get it to my journal.

    ETA2: I feel I should mention, part of why my contact with healthcare is up is that my clinical caseload is up: I have more patients. Which is wonderful and makes me happy.

    Interesting Links for 12-08-2017

    Aug. 12th, 2017 12:00 pm
    Page generated Aug. 16th, 2017 07:32 pm
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios