The Grief Hole by Kaaron Warren

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: July 2016 by IFWG Publishing
Format reviewed: Trade paperback, 336 pages
Genres: Supernatural, psychological horror
Source: Library
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Publisher (print) ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia~ Kobo

There are many grief holes. There’s the grief hole you fall into when a loved one dies. There’s another grief hole in all of us; small or large, it determines how much we want to live. And there are the places, the physical grief holes, which attract suicides to their centre. Sol Evictus, a powerful, charismatic singer, sends a young artist into The Grief Hole to capture the faces of the teenagers dying there. When she inevitably dies herself, her cousin Theresa resolves to stop this man so many love. Theresa sees ghosts; she knows how you’ll die by the spirits haunting you. If you’ll drown, she’ll see drowned people. Most often she sees battered women, because she works to find emergency housing for abused women. She sees no ghosts around Sol Evictus but she doesn’t let that stop her. Her passion to help, to be a saint, drives her to find a way to destroy him.

Kaaron Warren is a multi-award-winning author and The Grief Hole shows why. I’ve held off reading her work for a while, since horror is really not my jam. However, when The Grief Hole was nominated for a Ditmar Award, I knew it was time for me to dive in.

At first glance, the book looks like supernatural horror. Theresa can, after all, see ghosts. These ghosts reflect the way a person is most likely to die.

However, the ghosts are not the scary part.

Although they’re keen to gather more of their number, they are ultimately powerless background noise. As the story progresses and Theresa comes to understand things better, they become somewhat more sympathetic.

Instead, what is clear from the start of the novel is that it’s about human monsters. The story is divided up into Interventions. These are times when the ghosts around someone are so numerous or otherwise strange that Theresa is prompted to act: to commit some deed that results in death or incarceration for the perpetrator. She’s very clear she acts out of a sense of justice, rather than revenge.

However, this doesn’t make Theresa a good person by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, we’re shown all the ways that Theresa herself is monstrous. She thrives on the suffering of others, often poking at emotional tender points and claiming it’s to help. She frames newspaper smeared with blood from her cousin’s suicide, looking on it as somehow inspirational. She keeps files of atrocities reported in the media. And she jumps to conclusions about what her ghosts are trying to tell her, acting on information that is sometimes incomplete or incorrect. She shows how good intentions are sometimes self-delusion.

While the ghosts aren’t exactly central to the story, I still refused to read this story after dark. The author does a fantastic job of creating an oppressive atmosphere that lingers over the reader as much as the characters. Towards the end, the story took on a dark fairytale resonance, somewhat reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm or the story of Bluebeard. This is enhanced by the characters, some of whom feel otherworldly. Theresa’s aunt Prudence is a prime example. Her association with the colour red and the way she always carries balloons with her gives her the feeling of a hallucination, only kept partially at bay by the fact she’s visible to people other than Theresa.

I can’t say I enjoyed The Grief Hole; it is not a book intended for comfort or enjoyment. However, it is a well-written and thoughtful examination of grief and altruism. It won three major Australian awards this year and most certainly deserves the accolades it has received.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

umadoshi: (Tohru & the pretty boys (flamika))
[personal profile] umadoshi
We have a window in our bathroom! (A skylight, technically, since the exterior bathroom wall slopes outward and is shingled.) Except I have yet to see the window, because it's on the front of the house and I came in through the back door when coming home tonight, and there's still a bathroom wall between the room and the window/exterior wall. Getting the actual window in was the only time-/weather-sensitive part, and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and the contractor agreed that the drywall would stay intact for now. (I wasn't here for the discussion, so I don't actually know if that's because [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I haven't finalized what we're doing with that part of the room (the extra floor space we could gain by removing the existing interior wall and just having the sloped wall), or because of time constraints, or because that's just not being part of what that contracting company does...? *shrugs* But we have a window.

K.B. Spangler has a new book out this week--one that's not connected to A Girl and Her Fed. (Digital only right now, but a print version is coming.) [twitter.com profile] seananmcguire wrote a short Twitter thread in response when Spangler announced the new book's availability; the key takeaway about the actual writing is "If you want some of the most elegantly written, internally consistent, funny, touching, TRUE science fiction coming out today, you should take a look at @KBSpangler. She's the real deal, y'all. She's writing shit that breaks every rule, and still works."

In related news, I just spent a vile amount on US-to-Canada shipping* to get a print copy of Rise Up Swearing (so far the only compiled volume of AGAHF) and a little pin of Bubbles, the Fed's digital clownfish...avatar? (I'm blanking on the correct word. "Avatar" is applied to something else in that 'verse, though, IIRC. Hmm.)

I was spared having to decide, in this time of "yes, I swear, I'm trying to cut back on spending", whether I was going to get a "Literalists do it with their genitals!" shirt; the shirt is currently unavailable (as in, no longer showing up on the site at all, not just out of stock). My wallet is grateful.

*Ordered directly from the AGAHF store, and she was as appalled as I was at the shipping cost. It wasn't surprising, though.

The first week at Casual Job is over--all two days of it! (Four hours yesterday and eight today.) I'm having some tech frustration at the office that would take ages to type up and is not terribly interesting, but I'll say that I really, really hope the person who sometimes does on-site IT support for us is around on Monday, because WOW, calling the help desk was useless. -_-

So far at Hal-Con I've seen several people wearing geeky shirts from stories I know, and things like a Sailor Saturn costume down in the mall food court. (A moment of respectful silence for the food court workers this weekend, who'll be slammed.) But the best was when Ginny and I were running down from work to get lunch and ran into someone in Tohru cosplay! The cosplayer mentioned that she was off to get her Yuki and Kyo, but Ginny and I were then unsure if she'd meant plushies of the boys in their cursed forms or fellow cosplayers.
havocthecat: angry christina ricci with a chainsaw (feelings kill them all)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Never try to mean girl at a Slytherin.

I just need to find a good picture. Suggestions?

People keep making the mistake of thinking that just because I'm nice, I'm a pushover. Or gullible. Or both.

That is...beyond hilarious as a concept.

Fuck everyone today.

(Work issues, though I've run into the same idea outside of work, I suppose. I will elaborate when I'm not vaguebooking on a work computer on a work network.)

Loose-leaf Links #48

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Earl Grey Editing, Loose-leaf Links, loose-leaf tea, plum and cinnamon tea, The Tea Centre

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Plum and Cinnamon, a new blend from The Tea Centre. It’s a bit more cinnamon than plum for my liking, but makes a lovely afternoon tea.

Follow Up ) Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

 

And lastly, Christina at Books and Tea has a review of two tea-flavoured candies. Yum.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

havocthecat: angry christina ricci with a chainsaw (feelings kill them all)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Not because I dislike the heat, because I unironically like 90+ degree hot, humid weather, but because it's given the ragweed fresh life. I'm sneezing non-stop.

Mishmash post

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:04 am
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - thoughtful)
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I want to say it feels weird to think that I'm going back to the office tomorrow, but it doesn't seem real enough yet to feel weird. (Having had only something like a week of work in the spring is not really helping. I'd barely sat down at my desk and then we were finished!) What does feel weird is thinking--hoping!--that when I get home tomorrow there'll be a window where there is now a solid wall.


--The first few days back are usually pretty reasonable. (I could conceivably even be home for supper tomorrow evening!) Thankfully, today I was able to finish and submit the half-volume that's due tomorrow, so that's not hanging over me...but I'll need to go pick up my and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose's con passes, and then on Friday, no matter what time we wrap up at the office, I'll be going straight from there to the convention. I even made it as far as looking over the schedule and making notes this evening, although in practice I rarely make it to more than a small percentage of the panels and talks that catch my eyes. So many people. O_O (The "rarely" applies to cons and similar things in general, as this is only my second Hal-Con.)


--When I was poking around in my tags the other day to see if I could figure out when I stopped bouldering, I came across this 2013 post about Claudia from when she and Jinksy were about five months old. Oh, my kitten. *^^* (*finds baby!Claudia!kitten icon*)


--I have this half-formed theory that Casual Job is the appropriate excuse to actually start figuring out lipstick, since I really haven't, despite buying a bunch in Toronto. The defense I have to offer is that I'm usually at home living in pajamas when Casual Job isn't on (I'm very glad I'm not one of the many people who needs to Get Dressed to successfully work at home--although if it'd help my focus, you bet I'd do it), and when I go out it's usually either quick errands (hard to convince myself to bother) or to have dinner out with someone (and I know people eat and drink with lipstick on all the time, but it turns out I find it intimidating to consider needing to immediately touch it up while out if it smears/wears off).
umadoshi: (kittens - sleeping)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky/SFF Things

"Seanan McGuire on What She Learned From October, Plus a Sweeps!" The interview is about what writing Toby's series (AKA her first novel and series) taught her, and the contest, which is open until September 30, is for all eleven books to date.

"Transcript for OTW 10th Anniversary Chat with Seanan McGuire & Martha Wells".

"Exclusive Interview and ARC Giveaway: In Other Lands author, Sarah Rees Brennan". This contest has closed, alas, but I really liked the interview (and its entirely appropriate attention to mermaids): "My protagonist Elliot is a huge nerd, so when he arrives in a magical world he immediately asks ‘Show me the mermaids!’ rather than ‘Explain to me this strange word… magic…’ and mermaids are for him a shorthand for him wanting to behold the many wonders on offer in a magic land–in other words, harpies, unicorns and mermaids, oh my. He then keeps asking about the mermaids, having lessons about them, researching them, getting different answers about mermaids from different people, until he finally does meet one–with consequences I will not spoil for those who do not yet know!"

"Sci-fi author Martha Wells on writing a series about a robot that calls itself Murderbot".

"‘SHEroes’: Wonder Woman meets Bionic Woman". "Lindsay Wagner, aka Jamie Sommers or “The Bionic Woman,” posted her photo with Lynda Carter, aka Diana Prince or “Wonder Woman,” on her Facebook page recently and, as expected, fans went wild with nostalgia."

"Superheroes for the Jewish New Year". [Book Riot]

Over at [dreamwidth.org profile] ladybusiness, [dreamwidth.org profile] renay posted a great interview with Kate Elliott.

"Present-Day Devices as Props". "Every Star Trek production requires a large number of props to act as technical devices of Starfleet or of aliens. There are custom prop designs for standard phasers, tricorders or communicators. But in most cases there is a need for additional props that either serve a specific purpose in the story or are used as generic futuristic decoration. Several of the props that could be seen are actually slightly modified devices of the 20th/21st century. In particular, game consoles have been used repeatedly for handheld scanners."

Sarah Gailey (author of the hippo-wrangling AUs River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow) currently has an unrelated serial, The Fisher of Bones, running in Fireside Magazine, who've just announced that the whole story is now available for preorder (and...get the ending before folks who're reading it/choose to keep reading it in serialization, which seems a bit odd to me, but sure).


TV/movie news

"Linda Hamilton Set to Return to 'Terminator' Franchise".

"MISS. FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES Movie Is a Go, Thanks to Kickstarter".

"“Madam Secretary” Showrunner Barbara Hall Developing CIA Drama for CBS" about "a multigenerational family of spies."

"The real hero of Netflix's "The Defenders" is the way Jessica Jones throws very heavy things".

"REPORT: Marvel Studios Developing a Power Pack Feature Film".


Miscellaneous

"Dictionary of the Oldest Written Language–It Took 90 Years to Complete, and It’s Now Free Online". [Open Culture]

"A 68 Hour Playlist of Shakespeare’s Plays Being Performed by Great Actors: Gielgud, McKellen & More". [Open Culture, 2015]

"Street Artist Paints Fantastic Fake Shadows Under Objects Perplexing Sidewalk Pedestrians Walking By".

Conflux 13 Schedule

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Conflux, Canberra’s annual convention for speculative fiction writers and fans, begins next week! This year it is taking place from Friday 29 September until Monday 2 October and the theme is Grimm Tales. Hugo-winning editor Ellen Datlow is the international Guest of Honour, and dark fantasy/horror author Angela Slatter is the Australian Guest of Honour. Kaaron Warren will be the MC. As usual, I will be attending and am very much looking forward to making some new friends as well as catching up with some old ones.

Where to find me

I will be sitting on four panels. Exact details are subject to change.

Con 101

When: Friday, 29 September 10:00 AM

Where: Program Room 3
Hotel Vibe
1 Rogan Street, Canberra

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Leife Shallcross

New to Conflux? Not been to a con before? Come and get your starter packs here. (Mostly just friendly chat–no actual starter packs will be issued, but there may be Tim Tams.)

 

Creating Story for Games

When: Friday, 29 September, 2:00 PM

Where: Program room 2

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale (m), Rik Legarto, Alistair Ott, Maddy Piggott

Whether it’s roleplaying IRL or in a computer game.

 

Beyond the Hunger Games

When: Saturday, 30 September, 11: 00 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Felicity Banks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale, Aiki Johnston (m)

The best YA books in the last 12 months

 

The Hugos are a Joke

When: Monday, 2 October, 11:30 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Alan Baxter, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Fitzgerald (m), Tim Napper

Or have they redeemed themselves? And what about the Nebulas? And how could we get better Aussie representation on the shortlists?

 

If you have an interest in speculative fiction and can make it along, please stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people. However, if Canberra is a little too far away for you or attending conventions is not your sort of thing, there’s no need for you to miss out entirely. I shall be posting a convention report once the excitement is over (and I’ve had the chance for a few restorative cups of tea).

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

havocthecat: methos from highlander (hl methos)
[personal profile] havocthecat
In case anyone doesn't already know:

[community profile] hlh_shortcuts.

(I mean, I didn't. There might be someone else who doesn't?)
umadoshi: (walking in water)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I'll work backwards (chronologically) in this post.

I just finished registering and paying for the Friday evening class (for which [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear and [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh were already registered), so I guess it's now a definite Thing That Will Be Happening. Time to spend the next week and a half trying to get back in the habit of stretching regularly. >.>

There was some uncertainty before I successfully got registered. The online registration process was straightforward for the trial class, but two things happened almost simultaneously re: the actual class. 1) I got a follow-up email from the studio saying they hoped I'd enjoyed the trial class and listing the beginner timeslots that still had openings...a list which did not include the one I wanted (AKA the one my friends were already registered for, not to mention being the only one that could conceivably work with Casual Job going on), and 2) the online class schedule/registration form showed "(3 Reserved, 5 Open)", but didn't have a "sign up now" button (which some others did). TBH, I still have NO clue what's going on there, but after exchanging some emails with the studio, we established that the class did have openings, and now I've given them money, so I should be good to go.

As for the actual trial class on Friday, it could get long, and involves fitness talk, so I'll put it under a cut )
umadoshi: text: "Witch! Get over here!" + "Hey! That's DOCTOR Witch to you!" (AGAHF - doctor witch)
[personal profile] umadoshi
[dreamwidth.org profile] sovay went to a vampire movie marathon earlier this month and wrote about the movies. (If you read and enjoy the post, remember that [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay has a Patreon for film reviews!)

"Tag Yourself, I Am the Irish Bat Dad". "The video was filmed by Tadhg Fleming, and went viral when reposted by @jonnohopkins, and if you haven't seen it then I would describe it as 'the Citizen Kane of portrait-mode Snapchat stories about a bat getting in'. But I would like you to now avert your gaze away from the video and instead turn it deep inwards. Who are you? What are you? What is the very spirit of you? Your essence? You know it. But sometimes it's hard to express. Who, exactly, are you: are you a mood, a note on a piano, a taste, a feeling? Are you light, colour, heat, sound? Whatever you are, I think you can find yourself in this video. I think you can tag yourself in amongst the chaos. Here are some suggested tags – feel free to add your own:"

"This is How Canada Talks".

"BPD and the Pace of Friendship". [author Mishell Baker]

"10+ Adorable Comics That Hilariously Sum Up What It’s Like Living With A Dog".

"Meet the man fighting to save our country's rarest chickens".

Genevieve Valentine posted her red-carpet rundown for the Emmys.

"Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] calissa, "A Digression About Storytelling, Narratives, and Diversity by Bárbara Morais". [The Book Smugglers]



Several links via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne:

--"100 Common Myths & Misconceptions: The world's most widespread falsehoods - debunked!"

--"What Happens When People Are Bored At Work (10+ Pics)".

--"Celebrities Re-Created 1940s Hollywood Glamour Shots And They're Gorgeous". [Buzzfeed]

--"10+ Dogs Who Don’t Understand How BIG They Are And Think They’re Lap Dogs".

--"Spite Houses: 12 Homes Created With Anger and Angst". [2015]

--"Amateur Vs. Pro: How Differently The Same ‘Ugly’ Location Looks When You Become A Professional Photographer".

--"10 Badass Trees That Refuse To Die".

--"28 Precious Vintage Photos of Children With Their Pets".

--"This Russian Photographer Captures Stunning Photos Of Kids And Their Pets".
havocthecat: a magical tree (feelings tree magic)
[personal profile] havocthecat
We were reviewing the kidlet's U.S. history project on Colonial Virginia, which involved Jamestown, and I took it kind of farther than his teacher did. (I do that a lot. History is broadly expansive.) Also I got to explain that Captain John Smith was an asshole, and I got to whine later to Mr. Havoc that I really don't like Pocahontas (the Disney film), not because I don't like Pocahontas (she was awesome), but because John Smith was an asshole, not a romantic lead.

You have no idea how much my dad told me about John Smith and Jamestown when I was a kid. You really have no idea.

So I also learned that the kidlet didn't know why the Church of England formed, and this all culminated in my explaining to him that Henry VIII wanted to get remarried, the Pope told him no, and the Henry said, essentially, "Screw you, I'm the King of England! I'll start my own church!"

It was a glorious moment. I love being a parent.
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! at play 1 (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I have good intentions about reporting back on the trial aerial silks class, but for now: I survived, I am nowhere near as bendy as I used to (SHOCKING, I know), and I'm almost definitely going to sign up for the actual class but haven't done so yet. (I did check and make sure it's not right on the verge of being full. Right now the registration site says five out of eight slots are still free, and one of the three claimed slots is [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh.)

I already mentioned the key bit of this on Twitter ([twitter.com profile] MermaidLure, not [twitter.com profile] ysabet_m), but I went from that studio's website to the one of the place where I took nearly all of my dance classes, long and long ago. exercise classes and my dance history (such as it is) and whatnot )

Garden stuff!

Our tomato harvest is a bit awkwardly sized: we're bringing in enough fruit that [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose is having a bit of trouble keeping up with eating them, but not enough that we think (at useful times) of foisting some off on people because we're ~drowning in tomatoes~ or anything. There also aren't enough at one time to make it obvious that we can/should just cook up a big batch of sauce or something. It's a little weird.

Anyway, it being fall means that our thoughts have turned to planting bulbs! A couple of days ago we placed an order with Vesey's, in which [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I ordered 30 Prince Claus snow crocuses, 40 Tricolor snow crocuses, 30 of the Snow Crocus Mix bulbs, 20 of the Jessie starflowers, and 20 of the Mixed Daffodils mix.

...I didn't fully process until just now, typing that all up, that this means we bought 100 crocus bulbs. I mean, I knew, but...it just didn't seem like that many, somehow. La!

I was seriously tempted by some irises, but we opted against them. The German and Bearded varieties are beautiful but expensive, and we didn't really have an idea of where to put them, and this lovely Dutch Iris Mix starts at a package of 75 bulbs. O_o

We also ordered another set of three tomato halos, but not another set of the stackable tomato ladders, as we discovered this year that Canadian Tire offers very similarly-shaped tomato cages that can be stacked on top of the Vesey's ones. This'll bring us up to six each of the halos and the Vessey's ladder segments, which are meant to slot together, and then we can use the Canadian Tire ones for height. (You can see our current arrangement fairly well in the third picture here, where the red components are from Vessey's and the green ones--which aren't meant to be stackable, but do come in a longer version if we ever want still more height--are from Canadian Tire. This year, with our ten tomato plants, some of the green ones got pressed into service in as single-segment supports, but at the far left you can see a plant with a base Vesey's ladder plus a Canadian Tire one for height.)
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Fake Geek Girl, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Belladonna University, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: March 2016 by Sheep Might Fly
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Belladonna University #1
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Author’s website (electronic, free) ~ Sheep Might Fly (audio, free) ~ Review of Australian Fiction

Meet Fake Geek Girl, the band that plays nerdy songs at the university bar every Friday night, to a mixture of magical and non-magical students: lead singer Holly writes songs based on her twin sister Hebe’s love of geek culture though she doesn’t really understand it; drummer Sage is an explosive sorcerous genius obsessing over whether Holly’s about to quit the band to go mainstream; shy Juniper only just worked up the nerve to sing her own song in public and keeps a Jane Austen themed diary chronicling the lives and loves of her friends. When the mysterious, privileged Ferd joins their share house, everything starts to unravel…

Fake Geek Girl is a fun short story that brings magic to an Australian university.

The world-building was one of my favourite parts of the story. It’s set in an alternate version of the present where magic (also referred to as the Real) and technology (the Unreal) exist uneasily alongside each other. Magic is very much the norm, with almost everyone having some degree of magic proficiency. Students have laptops and mobile phones they need to keep protected from magic radiation, and heaven help the student who tries to use magic Post-Its on his ordinary textbook. The university likewise reflects this dichotomy, with the more prestigious College of the Real teaching thaumaturgy and similar magic classes, while the College of the Unreal includes Gender Studies and Unreal Literature.

The characters were also wonderful. Each character is distinct, with their own personalities and quirks. Hebe is a sweet girl who cares about her friends and isn’t afraid to snark when she’s constantly mistaken for her rock-star twin sister. Sage is the glue that holds the band together… well, usually. And shy Juniper’s love affair with Jane Austen was gorgeous. I was actually a little disappointed we didn’t get to see more of her, but I’m hoping that may be rectified in a later story.

As you might gather, friendship is very much at the heart of the story. Changing circumstances threaten to steal away one friend, but has simultaneously delivered a new one. The characters don’t always face these changes with grace, making them very relatable. They also come with a side order of banter.

The story is written in first person with the author’s distinctive voice–sarcastic but fun and upbeat. The chapters alternate perspectives, with the heading title incorporating the perspective character’s name. Despite this, I didn’t immediately twig to the shift in perspective and it threw me off in the second chapter. However, the story was too much fun not to persist.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fake Geek Girl and the series has become my new favourite of the author’s work.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Linkspam: fannish/geeky, cute, misc.

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:40 pm
umadoshi: (Tori "feel the word" (gold_dust))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"Q&A: Guillermo del Toro's highly personal monster film 'The Shape of Water' speaks to 'what I feel as an immigrant'".

"Nintendo Is Resurrecting The NES Classic Mini And Increasing SNES Classic Inventory". (I'm trying to carefully balance skepticism and renewed hope that I might be able to lay hands on a classic mini.)

"Check Out Super Cute Character Visuals from Sanrio x 'Fullmetal Alchemist' Collaboration Project".

There's a Kickstarter happening for a Miss Fisher movie.


Cute Stuff

"Kitten Livestreams: Get Your Daily Dose of Cute". [Front Page Meews] "You read that right – there are kitten livestreams on the Internet, and you could be watching them right now! I’m highlighting three of my favorites that I think you’d enjoy too, so read on to discover the next best thing to live kitten cuddle time."

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] jimhines, photos of hens adopting other animals and "The 100 Greatest Owl Pictures You’ll Ever See".

"All This 5-Year-Old Wants To Do Is Help Save Street Cats: “He said it makes him feel like a superhero for animals.”".

"This Maine Coon Is About To Break A World Record For The Longest Fluffiest Tail".

"I Take My Wolfdog On Epic Adventures Because I Hate To See Dogs Locked Away".

[dreamwidth.org profile] naye posted a heap of adorable LaPerm kitty photos from July!

"These Photos of Celebs with Puppies at TIFF are Doggone Adorable: Celebs took a break during the Toronto International Film Festival to hang out with some adorable pups from Finding Them Homes".


Miscellaneous

"Tori Amos’ lost hair metal album ‘Y Kant Tori Read’ gets a digital release (listen)".

I think this is the first interview I've read where Tori talks about the inspiration behind her new album: "Tori Amos: 'Menopause is the hardest teacher I've met. Harder than fame': A walk in the Smoky Mountains in the footsteps of her late Cherokee grandfather helped the musician rediscover her muse – and write an album that confronts the US’s rapacious violence".

Via a few people, "Delta flight beats Hurricane Irma: A tense series of events as a Delta flight from New York attempts to land in San Juan, Puerto Rico and leave before Hurricane Irma hits". [Twitter "Moment"]

Have you all read the story of the time Seanan McGuire's Alice!kitty stowed away on a plane?

"36 Websites That Will Change Your Entire Fucking Life". [Buzzfeed, offering a range of actually useful and/or quite quirky]

"Identity Theft, Credit Reports, and You". [US-focused]

"Why I Will Never Stop Being Glad That Hillary Clinton Refuses to “Go Away”".

Via several people: "The last surviving sea silk seamstress". [BBC]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay, "Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries". [Smithsonian]
umadoshi: (Tori blindfolded - Spark vid (snuddles))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Updates re: my last post:

--Bathroom window installation is not happening tomorrow, but we're still hoping it'll get done next week. (This entails putting the window in front scratch, not simply replacing an existing one. And once it's done, we'll have to figure out details of what else we want to do, in terms of the extent/specifics of renovating the room. More on that some other time, I imagine.)


--[dreamwidth.org profile] seolh is up for taking the trial class for beginner aerial silks with me tomorrow, despite having already done it once with [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear. It'll be good to see her, and also, I didn't realize just how anxious I'd gotten over the thought of going alone until she said she'd come too and it lifted. I'm still anxious about other things relating to going to the class, but this feels much, much better. (Now to figure out what I'm going to wear. o_o I have options, but are any of them good options?)

It's amazing how soon Yuletide is. As usual, despite not having any intentions of participating, I find myself keeping an eye on the unofficial nominations spreadsheets and people's fandom-rec posts/comments, partly to just see what's catching people's attention this year and partly (shocking no one) to see if there are any folks out there who I don't already know who're enough into the Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire canons to be nominating any. (Which, yes, we can fine-tune down to "is anyone nominating/will anyone be requesting Newsflesh?", but that's not the only reason.)

(There's a "Praise! Your! Fandoms! Get others interested!" post on [dreamwidth.org profile] yuletide, if anyone's interested/inspired.)

Meanwhile, In Other Lands (née The Turn of the Story) is still new enough that I keep seeing people discussing or reviewing it, and it makes me grin every time.

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are talking about improving our financial habits, in terms of both a more informative spreadsheet for tracking income/expenditures and an attempt at more actual budgeting. just a few lines (mostly) about how I buy books, but cut 'cause finances )

The good news for my wallet is that I somehow entirely missed when Tori Amos' North American tour dates were announced in...July? Anyway, a few days ago I suddenly clued in and looked and realized she's playing Massey Hall in Toronto on October 30th. For most of the year I've been telling myself firmly that 2017 is a ONE-Toronto-trip year, but for a day or so I wavered a lot while checking the price range, noticing that Air Canada had a relevant sale, verifying that crash-space arrangements would be good...all while reminding myself that Casual Job will definitely (insofar as anything can be definite there) still be happening then and it'd have to be a super-short visit...and then I finally checked actual ticket availability, not just the price range, and that was the nail in the coffin. (It's not that there aren't any tickets at all, but [reasons].)

It's not that I'm desperate to see this tour, anyway (which I guess is obvious from my failure to try harder to make it work out), but that I always think, what if it's her last tour??? You never know. She's not old, by any stretch, but a few years ago she talked about maybe wrapping up her touring days. Clearly she opted against it then, or even soon after, since she's still at it, but what if, what if, what if... (I actually haven't listened to the new album right through yet, and I have no expectation of loving it--I haven't truly loved an album of hers since Scarlet's Walk in 2002 or so--but damn, she still does an incredible live show, and draws on her entire back catalogue.)

Guest Post: Ethical Tea Reviews

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Photo by Lyss Wickramasinghe. Used with permission.

Despite rumours to the contrary, I am not a tea snob. While I drink plenty of loose-leaf tea, I also drink a ton of tea bags. So, I was delighted when Lyss took time out from the Never Never Book Box launch to pitch this to me.

Everyone loves a cup of tea! But more and more people are coming to care about where their tea comes from. Ethically sourced tea is a massively growing industry, with many ethical brands now being available at the local supermarket in Australia.

But are they any good?

This is the real question for tea connoisseurs. Is there any quality difference between the ethical brands and our old favourites? And just which ethical ratings can you trust?

Well don’t panic, we here at NeverNever HQ are going to figure all this out for you!

Read more... )

Lyss Wickramasinghe, reporting from the bottom of a teapot at Never Never HQ. She had to battle off a few hundred pirates and a couple of pesky Lost Boys, but can now enjoy her cuppa in peace.

To share her love for ethical and delicious tea, The Never Never Book Box has included a specially blended organic tea in their Upcoming Questing box.

Sign up to their mailing list for a chance to WIN a Free Box at http://the-never-never-book-box.launchrock.com/

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Other than major news incidents, which are mostly weather-related these days. Okay, not really, but I'm not getting into politics right now. I'm not in the right headspace to handle that.

Please tell me how you're doing! What's going on in your life?

Things in my life after the kidlet's bar mitzvah have mostly been terrible and I'm not ready to talk about them yet, which is why I haven't been updating any of them yet. Distract me from that, please.

I'm so far behind on my tv-watching that I'm just now getting to the Supergirl finale. One spoilery quibble with the first half of the finale that relates to U.S. Constitutional law. )

I'm very much enjoying everything about Supergirl otherwise, at least. I haven't even touched on my summer tv watching yet. It's been that kind of summer.
umadoshi: (purple hair)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I got an email today saying our application to foster kitties has been approved! ^_^ [personal profile] scruloose and I followed instructions and read the attached foster manual, and then I emailed to confirm that we'd done that, so now we'll be added to the "This critter needs fostering! Who'll take them?" mailing list.

The "manual" covers a lot of ground and is very reasonable. The only significant thing I'm unsure of--and will ask the shelter about--is the degree of deep cleaning/sterilization we'll have to do between fosterlings, presuming there aren't any health issues with the departing one(s). The manual specifies that one fosterling's cat toys aren't to be kept for the next one(s) to use unless they can be bleached, but said nothing about food/water dishes and the litter box and stuff. There's a lot of room between "scrub thoroughly" and "decontaminate absolutely every object and surface a fosterling touched".

My hair's purple-with-turquoise-streaks got brightened up today, and the undercut shaved almost right down to the skin (a #0 buzz cut, [personal profile] scruloose says; it was probably a #1 last time, and when I buzzed all of my hair a few years ago I think we did it at #3). My stylist and I set a longer appointment for late-ish November to lighten the shade of purple a bit.

I can feel the air on the lower back of my skull. It's very weird.

Just over a week before I head back to the office for the fall Casual Job stint. o_o What the hell, time? And somehow we have a lot packed in between now and then:

--I need to rewrite at least a volume's worth of manga (between two projects) and do some prose proofreading.

--In a burst of "wait, that kind of exercise class could actually be FUN", I signed up to take a trial beginner aerial silks class this Friday. [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear was talking about it because she and [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh just did a trial class and are gonna take the actual class, and it sounds neat, so I was kinda like "I wanna play too!!!" Which...I usually keep in my head, because OH, HI, ANXIETY! But here we are. (If I like the trial and sign up for the class, there's going to be the constant possibility of missing it due to work, but on Fridays I'm usually done by a reasonable time, so an evening class in walking distance of the office would be doable.)

--It sounds like there's actually a reasonable chance (!) that the bathroom window [personal profile] scruloose and I spent the summer waiting to have installed will actually get installed within the next week or so. Given the domino of things we want to do with that room, all of which rely on getting the damn window put in, that would be very nice indeed. (And also made of upheaval, which is a lot of strain on my nerves, but I will cope. Oh, and technically it's possible we could have a fosterling by then! Which'd mean putting Claudia and Jinksy into [personal profile] scruloose's office for the day, not the spare room.)

--We have a follow-up vet appointment next week to get the cats their feleuk updates (since we avoid having them get more than one vaccination in a sitting), and to talk to the vet in more detail about how Claudia's annual ultrasound went. (I mean, other than Claud's unbroken streak of being so cooperative that she didn't need to be sedated at all, despite having a patch of fur shaved and goo smeared on her, plus a blood draw. Our girl is such a trooper.)

--Then the weekend after this one--so the day after Casual Job starts up--is Hal-Con, and knowing that it's a month or so earlier than usual (and how odd to have a sense of the "usual", since last year was the first time we went) doesn't actually help much with the "BUT HOW IS IT HAPPENING ALREADY???" feeling.

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