Oct. 17th, 2017 02:40 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
1. Cuddly kitten. When I work from home, he likes to hang out on my desk, or on my lap, or doze behind my computer, or pounce on sunbeams in my home office. ♥

2. It was cold this morning -- first frost tipping the grasses. So I am wearing leggings, a short denim skirt, a rose-colored tunic, and my knee-high deep-red Doc Marten boots. I am super goddamn cute today, y'all.

3. Ginger peach fizzy water. Om nom nom.

4. I have Yuletide canon in my possession, and hope to start reviewing it later today.

5. Exercising good self-care, I am closing FB again, and instead of reading things that make me sad and angry, I am going to pet my kitten.

Vallista, by Steven Brust

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:05 am[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)
Review copy provided by Tor Books. Additionally, the author has shown by his behavior that despite what I've said in previous review disclaimers about his books, he is absolutely no friend of mine.

However, quite often people who have made me sad, angry, and/or disgusted with their behavior write books that are too dreadfully written to bother to read, and this is not the case with Vallista. This is another entry in the Vlad Taltos series, and like the others it is not doing exactly the same things as its predecessors. It is expanding the universe of the series, it is messing with everything that has gone before and recasting it. It is definitely not an episodic "like this one, but more of it" entry in its series, and the trap-building nature of the vallista comes satisfyingly into play.

What was less satisfying for me this time around, and this may well come into reviewing the author rather than the book as I am trying not to do: everyone has tolerance limits on the First Person Asshole voice. It's no surprise that a substantial portion of a Vlad Taltos novel is written in First Person Asshole. Some people's tolerance is about a page and a half, some infinite; mine is, at this point fifteen books into the series, fraying. (I would also like it a lot if someone would write a study of how FPA voice shifts in a long series so that it always feels contemporary and therefore includes very mild contemporary phrasing that's almost but not quite invisible and ends up being the prose tic version of a long mystery series looking like it only spans two years and yet starting with the protagonist using pay phones and ending in them using smart phones. Someone who is not me should do that using several authors as reference. Thanks.) But Vallista also has, for very good plot-related spoilerific reasons, forays into other prose voices than that, which made it a lot easier to read just when some of the "look at me I'm clever" bits of narrative voice were not feeling quite as clever as hoped and had repeated the not-clever multiple times just to make sure you had a chance to not-laugh at it again. I liked...hard to describe for spoiler reasons...pieces of other prose voice, and the reasons why they were there.

There is quite a lot of Devera in this book. If you're here for serious forward momentum on ongoing plot arc and for Devera: here you go, this is the one you're looking for. Relationships among other characters in the series, a great deal less so, but there's a great deal of "can't have everything" going around in the world, inevitable that some of it would end up here.


Oct. 16th, 2017 09:03 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: Veronica Mars (veronica)
I just finished S1 of The Good Place on Netflix.


I am full of theological thoughts. But OMG I have to know what happens next. I. What. HOW IS THIS SHOW EVEN.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Oct. 16th, 2017 03:04 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
Today's been tough, social-media-wise, so I am closing all of the tabs containing non-dw (realname) social media, and cultivating some gratitudes.

1. Kitten falling asleep on my lap at lunchtime, warm and purring and paws splayed in complete relaxation.

2. Takeout Chinese for lunch with [personal profile] sanj on the spur of the moment. With bonus kitten sitting on the chair at the head of the table, and periodically sticking his head up over the edge of the table to see if we would let him eat our chicken. (Which we wouldn't.)

3. The new mini-season of Voltron went live this past weekend! Kiddo and [personal profile] sanj and I watched half of it last night, and it's delightful.

4. Yesterday I roasted some delicata squash (seasoned with salt and pepper and curry powder) and then roasted the seeds (boiled briefly, then seasoned the same way.) It pleases me to have turned something I would ordinarily have thrown away into tasty snack food.

5. Dinner for tonight is already made, so when I get home from work around 5:30 I can mostly relax. There's work I need to do, but if I don't do it tonight, nothing will catch on fire.

How are y'all holding up? Be gentle with yourselves.

Sunday gratitudes

Oct. 15th, 2017 02:11 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
1. A good night's sleep, followed by Mexican breakfast and coffee and the Times on my laptop.

2. Making slow cooker chicken bouillabaisse again because it was so good last week.

3. A mellow Sunday of playdates (for the kiddo) and cooking and laundry (me), with the promise of [personal profile] sanj coming over later.

4. I am considering whether I can spring for Hugh Acheson's new slow cooker cookbook.

5. It is a spectacularly beautiful day. I am sitting on my mirpesset, listening to the wind chime, watching birds soar overhead.

How are y'all?

Femslashex reveals

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:42 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: (Default)
I got two fantastic original fic gifts:

Firstly, this dark, atmospheric, wartime story with layers upon layers and stunningly good style:

J'attendrai (1479 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: 1940s Resistance Fighter/Glamorous Wartime Singer
Characters: 1940s Resistance Fighter, Glamorous Wartime Singer
Additional Tags: Love in a Dangerous Time

The sadness of having to wait, the sweetness of having someone to wait for...

And then this, which is just sheer fun:

The Pirate and the Mermaid (8628 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Pirate/Mermaid
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Mermaids, Pirates, Supernatural Elements, Cultural Differences, Shipwrecks

"Of course," said Charlie pettishly. As if she was just a stupid kid, asking stupid questions. "How was I supposed to know? You're the first mermaid I've ever met."

"Well, you're the first woman-with-legs I've ever met!" snapped the mermaid.

FIC: A Sunset Romance

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:20 pm[personal profile] gramarye1971
gramarye1971: Old Ways (TDIR: Old Ways)
Took me much longer than I expected to whip this fic into a final shape, but it feels good to post it now. So have a story wherein even my fake dating reads like gen-fic, and I can't stop myself from finishing with an A. E. Housman quote because I am predictable like that.

Title: A Sunset Romance
Fandom: The Dark Is Rising Sequence
Rating: G
Relationship: Merriman Lyon & Miss Greythorne (or perhaps Merriman Lyon/Miss Greythorne)
Summary: At the end of the summer season in Trewissick, the Professor has returned to stay at the Grey House. This time, however, he has brought a lady with him...and from the look of things, their relationship goes beyond anything that might be interpreted as mere friendship.
Notes: An expanded version of a trope prompt ficlet, courtesy of the ever-delightful [personal profile] rymenhild, who requested fake dating, Merriman Lyon. Once I stopped giggling at the prompt, I started to see how it might actually work! So continuing my original response, here is a few thousand words of Merriman and Miss Greythorne fake dating, set in the autumn between the events of Over Sea, Under Stone and The Dark Is Rising. (Also on AO3.)

A Sunset Romance )

What we tell them and when

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:24 am[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)
Friday night Mark and I took our ten-year-old goddaughter to her first jazz concert, a real grown-up concert in the atrium at Orchestra Hall, not a kids' concert, tailored to her interest in drums. It was a smashing success and I have been telling people the joyful parts of being able to share this with her, how captivated she was, how the other concertgoers were delighted by her.

There's another tiny piece I haven't mentioned, but it's the week it is, the year it is, the world it is.

When I went out to the bathroom at intermission, Orchestra Hall had the pre-ordered drinks sitting on a table completely unattended. No staff near the table, no staff even visible. People's names were under the drinks, patrons were milling around. I was appalled. And when I went back in, I mentioned this as a terrible idea, and I said to Lillian, "Sweetie, don't ever, ever, ever take a drink that's been left unattended. You always, always, always watch who has had control of your drink." And she nodded solemnly and said, "Yes."

She is 10.

I did not say "rape" or "rohypnol" or "GHB." At her age, she probably honestly filed it away as "someone could spit in that, gross." But...she is 10. She will be in high school before we know it. And you have to grab the moments you can. You have to take the opportunities. If you sit a kid down for a lecture, here is all the stuff you need to know, some of it will fly past, some of it will not go in. And you will forget to say some of it. If they only hear stuff once, some important stuff will be lost.

I was not that much older than she is when my cousin told me the same thing, always know who has had your drink, do not drink an unknown punch at a party, even if they tell you it's non-alcoholic, maybe especially if they tell you it's non-alcoholic. Watch them make your drink, keep your drink with you, do not leave it on the table if you go to the bathroom, finish your soda, get a new one after.

She is 10.

She is 10, and I hope no one has said Harvey Weinstein's name to her. She watches Big Bang Theory, and I wish she didn't, because it's full of toxic bullshit, and because Mayim Bialik is trying to tell her that if only she's good enough, if only she dresses the right way and wants to be a good smart girl it will be enough. It will not be enough. This thing I am telling her, at 10, about control of her drink, about how to hold her hand when she punches, about kicking for joints and soft places on the body and running like hell, about how she is worth it and never think she is not worth hitting as hard as she can, as hard as she has to: it will not be enough. I cannot promise that it will be. It is what I have. I can give her that my friends think it's amazing that she loves the drums, my friends want to introduce her to the lead percussionist and help her see all the cool percussion instruments. I can give her grown-ups who see a tiny pixie child intent on listening to jazz and want to give her more of the world, not less. Who say, when you go out in the world, this is what you do--not, don't go out in the world.

She is 10, and I told her, never take a drink that's been left unattended.

It will only get more like this, in the years ahead. As the adults, we always want to think it's too early to have to say the words, and by the time we're comfortable, it's too late, they needed to hear them already. We want to protect them from the words, and we can't protect them from the world. So the opportunities come in the strangest places. It's fun when it's "do you know what Cubism means?" This one was not a fun one. But you take the moments you get. She didn't have to dwell on it, she nodded and went on with her evening, which she declared to be joyful hours. It's still lodged in my heart, though. She's 10, she's 10, she's 10. I want that to be a magic incantation, but it isn't.


Oct. 11th, 2017 07:17 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: apples and honey (apples)
1. I made a slow cooker apple crisp today.

2. Kid, giggling at kitten. Because kid. And kitten.

3. It is a(another) Jewish holiday, so I bowed out of a work obligation tonight, and I am glad of that. I am in my PJs already.

4. I have a glass of white wine at hand. Huzzah.

5. We reached the end of screen time, and my kid happily picked up a Geronimo Stilton book, and instructed me not to set the timer (for his 20 minutes of reading homework each night) because he's not reading right now for homework, he's just reading for fun. \o/!

How are y'all?

Ready to bug out

Oct. 11th, 2017 10:16 am[personal profile] mount_oregano
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)
sword and hiking staffIt’s become fashionable to have a bug-out bag, “a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours,” dixit Wikipedia (so it must be true).

In the corner of my office, I have a hiking staff and a sword. You can bug out to wherever you want, but I’m going through the portal into fantasyland. I’ve read the
guidebook, and those are the essentials.

I’m prepared.

— Sue Burke


Oct. 10th, 2017 06:44 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
1. It was a beautiful warm day today. I got to sit in not one but two different sukkot! (No, spellcheck, I do not want to put an "h" on the end of that word, but thanks for asking. Psheesh.)

2. I am merrily humming a song from J.C. Superstar ("Ho sanna hey sanna / sanna sanna ho") for obscure Jewish calendrical reasons and it is making me giggle.

3. I taught a really good class today and it was super-fun.

4. I have chicken bouillabaisse for dinner, and good bread, and a salad made with CSA greens, because the unseasonably warm weather means I still get fresh local lettuce and mustard greens and arugula.

5. Tonight I will get to watch more S4 Gilmore Girls with [personal profile] kouredios, which I am excited about. Also my son and I watched two more eps of S1 The Good Place yesterday, which is entertaining.

How are y'all?
mrissa: (Default)
Review copy provided by Tor Books. Also the author is a personal friend.

This is the beginning of a new trilogy for Bear. It's set in the same universe as Range of Ghosts and its sequels, which I loved, but it is not a sequel to them per se. As such, this is a great place to jump right in. Different things with different characters! Doing their own stuff with their own themes and foci! Readers famously--infamously--want "more of the same, but different"; this is definitely different, and I think setting it in the same universe will push enough of the "more of the same" buttons for many people.

What has it got in its pocketses? Well, the opener is an ice wyrm attacking a caravan on a frozen river. Frozen riverrrrr. So I'm in. The travelers there center on a pair of roving adventurers, who...don't share a lot of the traits you expect of the classic fantasy traveling adventurers. Like being alive in all senses and human in all senses--though they are more human than many of the adventuring pairs I've read whose authors meant them to be human in all senses. The Dead Man and the Gage are my new favorite buddy road trip pair.

But it's not just their book. There are also--for more than balance--two rajnis. Two princesses whose not-princess title matters, whose ruling roles are complex and who must make calculations about their own power, the power of those they care about, their people, their people's relation to the environment. The water divers, the snakes, the elephant and the lilies...these are some of my favorite elements in a modern fantasy novel, pulling in politics and setting as they do. The way that rajni Sayeh's life as a third sex person within her culture matters, the way that it does and does not change how she sits on her throne--but also the way that her motherhood changes everything she does. I love Sayeh best. There is always a risk that there will be one favorite character, with multi-POV novels, and I love Sayeh best--but not to the point where I was impatient to get through the other scenes, not to the point where I wanted to be done with Mrithuri or the Dead Man and the Gage.

This is definitely the beginning of a trilogy, so we have miles to go before we sleep. But I'm pretty eager to go those miles.

Please consider using out link to buy The Stone in the Skull from Amazon.

So. Excited.

Oct. 10th, 2017 10:36 am[personal profile] kass
kass: omg wtf yuletide! (wtf (yuletide))
I got my [community profile] yuletide assignment!

And ahahaha, you know how sometimes when you're signing up for Yuletide you add something to your offers, and in the back of your mind you think, "Wow, if I get matched on that one it's going to kick my ass," but you do it anyway because you figure you probably won't get matched on that one? ::facepalm::

I've just ordered [canon redacted] so I can immerse in it again, because oh, wow, is this one going to kick my ass. But in the best possible way. And I am so happy to have something to work on in the evenings after I put the kid to bed, and a reason to look forward to December 25.

♥ ♥ ♥

A nest-y sort of day

Oct. 8th, 2017 02:12 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
Although it remains unseasonably warm, which means that cooking is somewhat less appealing than it would otherwise be, I'm having a pleasant and quiet and nest-y sort of day, puttering around the kitchen a lot.

Inspired by [personal profile] sheafrotherdon I am making a slow-cooker chicken bouillabaisse. And in the oven I braised this chicken with salami and olives. I'm also making a batch of gluten free custardy apple bars with the end of my gf flour, because one of today's sukkah guests is gluten-free. (Am also ordering more cup4cup, because I like being able to bake for my friends.)

Meanwhile we've also bathed Mr. Kitten (which he continues to not like, but we managed it with no injury to anyone or anything except the kitten's dignity, which he is now recovering by bathing himself on my lap as though to remind me that THIS is how kittens prefer to be cleaned.)

The other recent nest-y accomplishment is setting up a folding bookshelf in the living room so there is now a designated spot for assorted media equipment, and getting the cords more or less under control. The media setup is prettier and less cluttered, plus I gained a little bookshelf space.

And now that the rain has stopped, I'm going back out to the sukkah.

Morning gratitudes

Oct. 8th, 2017 08:16 am[personal profile] kass
kass: a latte in a teacup with a heart shape drawn in the foam (latte)
1. Breakfast fried rice made with turkey bacon and leftover curry-leaf rice.

2. Coffee.

3. A weekend of low-key and happy hospitality -- friends in my sukkah, friends in my living room, kids playing mostly happily, adults moving between nattering and being companionable introverts.

4. Listening to today's rain from indoors, where it is cozy and dry.

5. Yesterday [personal profile] kouredios introduced [personal profile] sanj and me to The Good Place -- we watched the first two episodes -- and I am totally charmed. (Already having some thinky thoughts about how the paradigm presented by the show does or doesn't interface with Judaism, but I'll save that meta for when I've actually seen more canon.)

How are y'all?

(no subject)

Oct. 5th, 2017 08:30 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: Three-quarters crop of Victor from the opening credits sequence of Yuri!!! on Ice (victor)
Right, this article says basically what I was trying to get at with What Love Is (except better, because I'm not Orthodox and the author of this is): Bisexual and Orthodox: encountering the erotic God.

New SGA ficlet for Sukkot!

Oct. 5th, 2017 11:26 am[personal profile] kass
kass: SGA-1 (team)
I do not even remember the last time I just... wrote fic. For fun. \o/!

Written in my sukkah. Happy Sukkot to all!

Booths (590 words) by Kass
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Teyla Emmagan/Radek Zelenka, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Characters: Teyla Emmagan, Rodney McKay, John Sheppard, Ronon Dex, Radek Zelenka
Additional Tags: Sukkot, Jewish!Radek
Series: Part 75 of Stargate Atlantis fanworks

"Schach," Zelenka said again. "And for your information, it's Hebrew, not Czech."

Leaves fall down

Oct. 4th, 2017 09:32 pm[personal profile] mount_oregano
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)
falling maple leavesThe air could not have been more still that autumn morning, yet a tree near my back door was losing its leaves. One by one, they fell of their own weight as the tree let go. At that becalmed moment, leaves were dropping to the ground.

Usually we think the wind sweeps the autumn leaves from trees, and maybe it provides an extra tug. But trees decide to shed their leaves at the moment they deem best. Though they seem almost inert, buffeted by wind, soaked by rain, and baked by sunshine, they control their fates as much as any of us. We, too, can be uprooted by disasters, attacked by illness, cut down by predators, and suffer thirst. Being mobile does not make us less vulnerable. Or less willful.

So on that chilly morning, I watched a tree prove that it was the master of its destiny. One by one, it clipped its bonds to its leaves, and they dropped off. The tree was taking action, and no one and nothing could stop it.

— Sue Burke

Also posted at my writing website:

#inktober 4

Oct. 4th, 2017 09:27 am[personal profile] okrablossom
okrablossom: (Default)
I tried to think in terms of lines and shapes, trying to reduce the fuzzy picture in my head to them before I began drawing (?). Here's underwater... )


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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