topaz119: (it was a dark and stormy night)
Once again, I'm only now just getting to this, but at this point it's basically a tradition...

Previous years: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

this is what I wrote last year: )
topaz119: (somanybooks)
I will eventually get around to the year-end memes (which I enjoy but end up doing in January, as December is always so crazy.) Since it is Wednesday, let's start with the book meme for the last month or so of 2016 (GR says I read 50 books in 2016, which is mostly WIN. Discussion of why only 'mostly' below.)

finished
The Winter Sea, Susannah Kearsley, FINALLY. It took me months to listen to this, but for whatever reason, I hung with it. (I suspect it's that the Scottish history geek has deep roots in my psyche, but I am not in the mood to give this book any more of my time to really parse it out.) While I was really not a fan of the modern-day framing story, I had to laugh at a few outraged reviews on GR, where the part about the modern-day author & her outdoorsy Scottish history professor of a beau having a common ancestor or two caused them (the readers) to squick out… I mean, this was nearly 300 years' worth of genealogy; at that point, there's barely any DNA in common even with siblings to start. After 10 or so generations, you're related to everybody in the country. Anyway. Done.

Do You Want To Start A Scandal?, Tessa Dare – I have not had a lot of luck with my most recent TD reads, but this one must have just hit me at the right moment, and it was a delightful bit of froth that kept me smiling throughout Thanksgiving.

What Maidens Mourn, What Darkness Brings, C.S. Harris – Two more Sebastian St Cyr mysteries, and I have to say, I am loving the attention to historical detail that comes with every book. I am not one of those readers who analyzes every clue and scrap of information to try to figure out who did it (so when I do actually figure things out, you know it was pretty straightforward), but I like how the motives and actions are tied to the time and place of the crime (ie, these are not wallpaper historicals.) Seb is still madly over-dramatic and a giant wooby-in-the-making (it's a Very Good Thing his closest friend is a brilliant, if morphine-addicted, doctor. Otherwise, I feel like he'd have succumbed to one or the other of his assorted injuries.) Also, Hero continues to rule.

Magnate, Joanna Shupe, historical romance, New York Victorian era. I was a little stalled on this for reasons I have yet to figure out, but then she threw in the oh-dear-your-clothes-are-covered-in-snow-we-must-get-them-off-you trope, so clearly I couldn't just leave them hanging, right? I am not entire sure how I feel about this one still -- on the one hand, I loved that the heroine was a financial wizard, but on the other hand, I feel like she was conveniently both virginal and completely unselfconscious about sex. Also, we seem to have glossed right over the hero's high-handed business and personal dealings. (IOW, we walked riiiiiiight up to the alpha/alpha-hole line and maybe needed a little more recognition of that fact.)

Last Chance Christmas Ball, Mary Jo Putney, et al, YAY FOR CHRISTMAS FLUFF. I didn't even mind that this was all short stories stitched together around the conceit of the titular ball, or that almost all of them are second chance romances, where the protagonists were together before and then not, because REASONS, and now they're trying again. It was all very soothing and calming while I was trying not to scream at the idiots during rush hour (audiobook, obvs!)


now
Why Kings Confess, C. S. Harris, historical mystery, next in the St Cyr series and I think we're finally casting an eye toward Seb's doctor friend and maybe getting him a life (and offering an alternative to the opium for his pain), so that's good.

Hamilton: The Revolution, LMM & Jeremy Carter -- I just joined a 52 Books reading challenge on Goodreads (see below), where there's a topic each week and you get to pick a book to fulfill it and this first week is a book from the GR Choice Awards, of which this counts and seeing as BabyBoy got it for Christmas and it's already Wednesday of the challenge week, it seemed to be the easiest thing to go for.


next
I have the last two published St. Cyr books, still have the next Black Widow YA, and now that Rogue One has STOLEN MY BRAIN, I suspect I will be in the hunt for All The Star Wars stories.

Plus, I got to 50 books this year and missing the last 2 so I can say 'I read a book a week' is somewhat annoying, so the last remaining part of my brain thought that the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge group on Goodreads sounded like a good idea. I will be seeing how far I get with that this year, too. Let me know if you join and we can compare notes as we go!


Also, if you're looking for a bookish challenge for the year, BookRiot has a handy round-up post.
topaz119: (color in darkness)
Holiday greetings to everyone celebrating!

cutting for the holiday mundanity? mundaneness? )

I've been dipping into yuletide a little at a time--before I lose track, have a few of the stories I've enjoyed:

Indian Ocean. Present Day., Top Gun, Maverick/Ice, ~16,500 words, Mature === Post-apoc Navy pilots trying to hold it all together, holy cow, how many tropes does this one hit for me? Many, many, many is the answer.

Therefore Is Winged Cupid Painted Blind, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Jack/Phryne, ~6200 words, Explicit === ::fans self:: When pressed, Jack has quite the mouth on him. (Mind the warnings.)

We Arrive In The Dark, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy/Miranda, ~5800 words, Mature === Fantastic Miranda Priestly voice, an Andy who is both mature enough to deal with Miranda and still not very polished, all woven together with a lush fairy tale theme that remembers both the sparkly part and the darkness of reality, all without being a fairy tale itself.
topaz119: (hawkeye&hawkeye)
Title: practically perfect
Fandom: Hawkeye (Marvel 616)
Rating: Mature
Length: ~10,000 words
Pairing: Clint Barton/Kate Bishop
Notes: Written for the 2016 Hawkeye Squared Xmas Exchange.

Summary: It’d started out to be just a normal day-after-assembly day, one of the ones where Kate had been too tired to make it to her place and they’d ended up crashed out on the couch with the TV flickering through the night, but now Clint’s staring at her like she just slapped him, which okay, maybe isn’t all that much of a stretch, and Kate’s hands are shaking hard enough that she has to put her coffee down before it sloshes over the side of the chipped mug and burns her.

(It’s bad, Kate thinks. She's putting her coffee down, that's how bad it is.)

Link (AO3): practically perfect
topaz119: (my first fandom)
Good morning, happy Monday, omg, I went to see Rogue One last night at a 10:15 show and I am already staggering around like a zombie. If I don't use my brain over lunch, I will fall asleep with my head on my desk. Plus, there is a sad lack of actual geeks at this new workplace, so I have no one to actually babble at.

Tag; you're it!

First off, we almost didn't make it to the movie at all. #2Son was having a really rough weekend, anxiety-wise, and I had just about given up on him wanting to leave his safe spaces at the house when he came up after 8 pm and wanted to know if it was too late to go. *I* certainly wasn't going to tell him 'no,' but we couldn't make the 8:25 show and there wasn't another one starting until 10:15. That actually was good on the regular part of life, as BabyBoy had some complicated print job he was trying to put together for his lit project (we ended up at Kinko's on the way to school this morning) *and* had just remembered that he needed cookies for a Drama Club party/cookie swap today. You all will be very proud in that I didn't leap in to make them for him, just found the box of Ghirardelli chocolate-carmel cookie mix and yelled answers to his questions while running around dealing with the dogs, etc. But he got them made and Oldest, #2 & I took off for the theater.

spoilers (and mostly squee. 99% squee. BUT SPOILERS.) )

As I said to the boys, I must now go and read ALL THE STORIES (and really, truly watch the rest of Clone Wars and Rebels.)

Come babble at me!
topaz119: (hawkeye&hawkeye)
okay, just under 10K words submitted for the Hawkeye Squared exchange, \o/. It's not even 9 p.m. (much less 3 a.m., like the last time I had a deadline for something.) Possibly I am getting better in my old age?
topaz119: (treelights)
If my father had not already passed away from that heart attack a couple of years ago, I am telling you that the price tag on the Christmas tree I just bought would have bumped him right off.

(um, it is entirely possible that I am overcompensating for the general insanity of this last month, but I won't tell if you won't. and I will try for better pictures this year.)
topaz119: (it's a bookworm thing)
The refrigerator is still not really working, sigh. Fortunately, I have a coach for a husband, and he has a ridiculous number of big coolers that he uses during summer camps and practices, so the boys hosed them all out and I have everything packed out in them. Also fortunately, the freezer attached to the sad fridge is still working so I haven't had to find space for all of that stuff, too. I'm being super-creative and trying to use up everything I can, which is at least saving the money I'd usually spend at the store/restaurants this week. (Yeah, if the blasted thing needs replaced, that's a drop in the bucket, but every little thing helps, right? argh.)

Let's talk about books...

now
The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley -- yes, STILL. I finally broke down and put it on 1.25 speed on the Audible app, in hopes of getting through it, Scottish accents be damned. I'm not sure why I don't just ditch it, but for whatever reason, I keep coming back to it. It's not that I'm loving it all that much (the present day heroine is acting like a teenage ninny, not a 30ish successful novelist, which is really my sticking point, I think. I keep trying to re-frame it as a NA romance, but then there's the part about how she's done this all before, and that's before I keep muttering about how, NO, DNA DOES NO WORK THAT WAY.) Like I said, I really don't know why I haven't bailed, but here we are...

Magnate, Joanna Shupe -- Historical romance set in early 20th C New York, for a change. Rough and ready industrialist and sekrit!financial whiz daughter of Old Money. Marriage-by-blackmail! Overheard conversations! Insta!attraction! In other words, all kinds of tropey goodness in a surprisingly well-done historical environment.

finished
Royally Screwed, Emma Chase -- You guys know I love me a well-done Common Girl/Boy Marries The Prince story, and this one definitely falls into that well-done category (also, the Girl category), with bonus points for how much I really liked the supporting characters and how they gradually revealed themselves as the H/H got to know them. Warnings for alternating first-person narratives and this definitely falls more toward the erotic romance category b/c there is a lot ("") of sex.


next
I dunno... I still have the next Black Widow book (Red Vengeance) and my hold for Eligible, the latest of the P&P cottage industry, just pinged up, so... On the other hand, I have way too many things hanging around waiting to be read...

hmpf

Nov. 19th, 2016 03:12 pm
topaz119: (velma is thinking)
Oh, crap, crap, crap, my refrigerator is not getting cool, it is Thankgiving week, and the earliest I can get a repair appt is the day *after* Thanksgiving.

AIEE.

#2Son is currently on top of the fridge with a vacuum cleaner & hose, reaching for the external coil/fan in the back b/c we could not get the blasted thing to move out of its little cubby. We got the front coils vacuumed but struck out on any other way to get to the rear coil.

Moose!Dog thinks this is THE BEST GAME EVER and is jumping up and down with glee, all 70 lbs of him.

I say again, aieee.
topaz119: (somanybooks)
Let's get caught up on books…

finished
Second Chance at Paris, Cole McCade – I really wanted to like this book more than I ended up doing. I'm all for lady scientist heroines, but a couple of things just yanked me out of the story (mostly related to how the astrophysics profession works, plus a few 'um, no, actual laws of physics don't work like that'.) And of course, once you get that break, you start seeing other issues, too, and the whole fragile illusion of stepping outside your normal life crashes down. So, I finished it, but only barely.

Changes, Jim Butcher – Book #12 of the Dresden Files, and I was spoiled going in for the big decision, so I spent the first half of the book 'seeing' the plot points getting ticked off to where Dresden has to make the momentous decision. #2Son & I listened to this while driving down and back from Orlando, so I got big chunks of James Marsters' narration, which is never a bad thing. spoilers ) Also, I like Thomas and Molly (and not as siblings, because something needs to jolt Harry out of his blue megrims.)

The Bookshop on the Corner, Jenny Colgan – You know how sometimes the right book presents itself at the exact moment you need it, and no matter its literary merits, you just fall into it and never want to climb out? Yeah, this book was all that and a cherry on top for me. I don't know that it's any better than your average small town romance, but it had Scotland and a little bookstore and a grumpy local dude and Scotland and a mad romance involving a train and books as a way to heal and find yourself, and did I mention Scotland? (Also, there was an improbably luxurious converted barn for the heroine to live in while she reinvented her life (the existence of which was actually explained, so points for that.) Oh, and it came with a soaking tub and high-end bath products. WHAT COULD BE BETTER?)

Where Serpents Sleep, What Remains of Heaven, Where Shadows Dance, C.S. Harris – Books 4, 5, & 6 of the Sebastian St Cyr mysteries, which continue to entertain me fabulously. I do approve of Sebastian's marital decisions, and I'm looking forward to see how actual parenthood knocks him even further off his equilibrium. I could wish for someone who could deal with Paul's fascination with learning how human bodies function and his unfortunate addiction to opium and give him a little companionship on the side, but that's a minor wish. I see where a fair number of people feel the mysteries are a little too complicated, but it was an exceeding complicated era and since all of the murders tend to be tied up with the events of the day, I'm pretty impressed that everything dovetails together. Also, major props for writing Prinny as the nightmare he really was.

Designing Your Life, Burnett & Evans – I do enjoy a good self-help book, though I got burned with the last one I read (ugh, I even bought the audio book) and have backed off the genre for the last 6 months or so. This one is based on the course that's Stanford's most popular elective and I have to say it was pretty interesting (though, really, I've known enough designers in my professional life to not just blindly accept that their process is The Best Thing Ever.) I had this from the library and will probably request it again and see if I want to buy it and foist it on the boys. :D

now
The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley – Again with Scotland, though this one isn't hitting nearly as many buttons as the one above. Honestly, I'm surprised I'm still listening to this. It's taking me forever, both because it's a long book (SK is into exhaustive detail) and because I can't really hit the accelerated playback and still understand all the variety of Scottish accents. Also, I am side-eyeing the heck out of the explanation for the memory sharing, because, um, no? DNA doesn't work like that. I think I would have liked it better with some woo-woo glossover. Now I'm far enough in that I'm not giving up, but I'm not really all that invested in who our modern heroine is going to end up with, and I already know the disaster that was the Jacobite cause in Scotland, so I mostly am listening just to see how she survives.

The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead – I swear to God, I don't understand how this country has survived its past.

next
Black Widow: Red Vengeance, Margaret Stohl – My only complaint about her first Black Widow book was that it spent more time on the younger characters than on Natasha, but by all accounts, this one remedies that. I am cautiously optimistic, but as I said after finishing the last one, it's not like I'm awash in official ways to let TPTB know that I like the character and would like to see (A LOT) more of her.
topaz119: (my first fandom)
I read this quote from Cory Booker somewhere in the gazillion blogs I follow: Never let your inability to do everything undermine your determination to do something.

It is sticking with me, so I thought I'd share.

(There's also this quote from Terry Pratchett: Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.

That's sticking with me, too.)

(Not a quote, but something I've been thinking: What would Princess Leia do? New ink isn't in the budget, but it's on my mind.)

In random news, my mother-in-law handed me $50 (for my birthday) when they were up to see BabyBoy's play this weekend, and I am tempted to just drop it in an envelope and forward it directly to the ACLU. Somewhat relatedly, I have been sitting with the word ‘elitest' this past week, as it gets thrown (or mumbled) at me a lot during discussions of the type we're going to have to have going forward. On one level, I get it—not only do I have multiple university degrees, but they come from schools smack in the middle of that description. On another level, I most certainly did not come from that kind of a background and I worked my fucking ass off to get there and not wash out, which people who actually know me should also know. So I tend to react defensively to that word and I'm trying to work past that so I can talk to people more effectively. I'm not exactly sure how all that's going, but I guess we'll see how quickly I get a migraine at Thanksgiving and take it from there.

On a happier note, BabyBoy's play was amazing. *He* was amazing. (Well, so was the whole cast, but omg, that was my baby up there on stage for almost the entire play.) I went on Wednesday to see their dress rehearsal and it actually managed to distract me from the horror show of real life. I am incredibly proud of him for getting up there and committing to it 100% and just being so good at it. We had guests all weekend, as people came and went to see the various performances, so that was also distracting in a real enough way and kept me running around enough that I slept almost as soon as I fell into bed. The tricky part is going to be keeping that going, because nothing is going to get done without good sleep.

Also on the distraction level, I asked for prompts for my birthday, and I got the first one finished over the weekend. It took a little longer than usual, but it also went on a little longer than your usual comment fic, so I went ahead and posted it to AO3 last night:

not entirely accurate, Leverage, gen-ish Parker/Hardison/Eliot, for [personal profile] schneefink's prompt: Leverage and spaceship(s) or aliens?
topaz119: (Default)
Ok. Here’s the deal: I am literally sickened by the election, plus, I live in a red, red, RED state already, so the atmosphere kinda sucks outside of the city anyway. But. I have a kid who is incredibly sensitive to anxiety (and who I am pretty sure is at least bi, if not gay, though we haven’t really ever talked about it, not even when his brother came out as bi) so I cannot, CANNOT, let this overwhelm me. Plus, I am just mad as HELL.

So. I totally understand the need to take a break and regroup, and totally support whatever you need to do to cope (but please, PLEASE, try healthy means. Please. I love you guys, and you have kept me sane over the years. I want you around for the rest of it, and if that sounds selfish, I’m sorry, I hope the support goes both ways.)

In that vein, I made chicken soup this morning, and took the new, crazy!dog on a walk, and will be spending the night with BabyBoy’s dress rehearsal.

(Ok. Small break in the sanity here. My s-i-l just texted me happy birthday greetings, and added: “And just for you, the US elected a new president!”

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK?

I have been married to her brother for 27 years, and with him for 6 more, and not especially reticent about my political views, and that’s what she texts me? Even if it’s a joke (and I’m not entirely sure that it is), seriously, what the fuck is she thinking?)

Right. MAD AS HELL. Coping strategies.

What I was leading up to before the stupid, oblivious text, was to say that I come from that branch of fandom where you bring the presents on your birthday, but I’ve been working on things that aren’t done yet, so perhaps today we could distract each other with ficlets? Leave me a fandom, and some characters (pairings or gen, either is fine) and a prompt if you want and I’ll see what I can come up with. I’m [archiveofourown.org profile] topaz if you want a timestamp from something I’ve written, or I can see if I can fake something for a fandom I haven’t written in yet. I’m not sure my brain is functioning well enough for actual, 100 word drabbles, but I can try for them if you want.

(Sorry to the non-fandom ppl on my circle/flist, but geekiness runs deep and is my longtime strategy for keeping my sanity. Um, if you want, I can share a recipe with you if you’re not into the fandom thing? Food is my other coping method. :D Tell me what you like and I’ll see what I have stashed around (because it’s not like I don’t have a ToBeCooked list that’s as long as my scary, teetering TBR pile.)

So, yeah, tell me what to write to break the OMGNOWWHAT cycle for just a little bit…
topaz119: (it's the great pumpkin)
oh, ffs, the guy I sit next to at the new job is horrified that I handed out candy last night to kids who didn't live in my neighborhood. "But candy is so expensive," he's telling me. "They're taking advantage of you."

SERIOUSLY?

2 $14 bags from Costco? (which, for non-USians is about 11 lb/5kg/~500 pieces)

I mean, I know there are a lot of people for whom that *is* an issue, but it's not me, and it sure as hell isn't him.

ugh, people just suck, you know?
topaz119: (off to see the wizard)
So, you know, it’s always good to do a friending meme and introduce yourself and add interesting people and have others add you… and then disappear for a week or two.

Um, oops?

Sorry!

Hello to the new people! (and to the rest of you, too, who’ve been hanging around here for a decade or so, ILU.) The me (lj) | me (dw) tag has an introduction and assorted random posts (like favorite movies and books, etc.) Feel free to poke around and interact as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.

At least the disappearing act was for a fun reason: the Annual Epcot Food & Wine trip was last weekend, \o/. There was food! And wine! And I got a tiara! (I don’t know why, just that my friend L walked up and handed me what she assured me was a Belle (my favorite Disney princess) tiara, and that no, it wasn’t the $200 one from the shop in the Mexican pyramid so I shouldn’t worry about losing it. (She’d started making noises about how I needed a tiara then, but I put it down to the tasting flights of tequila layered on top of half a World Showcase worth of wine. Clearly, the idea stuck.)

Happily enough, it was really comfortable and hey, it was Disney World—nobody even blinked at the sight of a 50ish woman wearing a crown. So, yeah, I have sparkly headgear in about half the pictures from the weekend. It’s not the strangest thing that’s ever happened on one of these weekends.

surprising no one, this got long )

favorites )

And now it's almost Halloween and thus time to haul out all the creepy crawlie stuff, to further distract myself from the election insanity... I will try for pictures this year.
topaz119: (hawkeye&hawkeye)
Okay, random reading and writing notes:

I somehow went from #127 on the hold list for Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (this was yesterday evening when I was at the actual library), to having it show up on my account this morning as waiting to be picked up. I don’t actually understand, but I will be going by to grab it before they figure out where they made the mistake!

It is also getting to be time for the fall version of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, which I have done for the last few iterations and HAD THE BEST TIME EVER. It is super low-key—I don’t actually try to read for 24 hours, but rather treat it as giving myself permission to sit and read all day, which I used to do all the time as a kid/teen, but is virtually unheard of now in my near-dotage. These weeks leading up to it are part of the fun, too: I wander through my out-of-control TBR stack (physical & virtual) and assemble a likely looking set of books, assemble tasty snacks and drinks, put the HoB on alert that I’m not available for chores (this is mostly to reinforce to myself that it’s a Day of Reading, not so much them) and dive in on the day. In the spring, it’s nice to sit out on the deck, but in the fall, I get the fireplace going (pro tip for warmer climates: those fake logs from the grocery store put out next to no heat, and a wooden wick candle picks up the slack on the auditory side. Oh! And this year I have my Bearded!ChrisEvans candle for olfactory excellence.)

On the writing front, it is once again time to sign up for [community profile] mini_wrimo / [livejournal.com profile] mini_wrimo, for those of us who are not quite up for doing full-on NaNoWriMo. (While I might get to the point that 50K in a month isn’t an unreal concept, it’s probably never going to be during the month where I’m staging Thanksgiving and gearing up for the blitz of December.) But I can usually give MiniWrimo a good try, and will be attempting it once more this year. Sign-ups are open!

Also! [tumblr.com profile] lostemotion is doing the crazy thing and running a Hawkeye-Squared fic exchange! (That’s Kate/Clint from Marvel comics, aka Hawkeye/Hawkeye. See icon for reference.) They tick all my favorite writing boxes: age differences, found family, super-excellent competence porn (as Hawkeyes) while flailing all over the place as functioning adults, with an excellent setup for friends-to-lovers (and all the good & bad that can call forth.) I haven’t done a challenge all year (except for [livejournal.com profile] picfor1000, for which I coincidentally wrote HawkeyeSquared) so I’m in, \o/.

…aaaaand lunch is done, bye!
topaz119: (somanybooks)
books
now
The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley--it is, like all of her work, very, verrrrry detailed. It also turns out to be about D’s family (the Scottish clan from the 1700s, so nobody we know), which I didn’t realize when I snagged e/audiobook on whatever Deal of the Day I got it on. It was a little bit of a kick when the Countess of Erroll showed up as a character. (I seriously doubt D’s family is from that exact branch of the family, but they were/are that clan. It’s given me renewed interest in digging through genealogy records. After 4 or 5 generations, it’s just so many names on a screen to me, even with my own family.)

Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans--the book form of their Stanford course on using design principles to figure out what you want to be when you grow up (even if you're already there, ie, old.) I mostly got this to see if it might help #2Son with his less-traditional life plan, but I'm enjoying it on my own, too. (I do enjoy a good self-help book and this one is low on the woo-woo scale, which is even more endearing to me.)

A Second Chance At Paris, Cole McCade--I've completely lost the battle to stop adding to my (already staggering) TBR pile, both virtual and not, and this is one of the romance kindle deals I've been unable to resist. But seriously, the heroine is an astrophysicist with a father suffering from Alzheimers--how could I pass that one up? So far, it's not bad. There is some serious lack of communication in the main couple's background, which usually sets my teeth on edge, but since this case involves high school miscommunication, I'm letting it slide for now.

done
Since the last time I checked in...

Turn Coat, Jim Butcher, audio by James Marsters -- #10 or 11 of the Dresden books; I can't remember the last time I've lasted this long in a series, but now I'm at the point where I'll be damned if I stop. (Also, good on Butcher for letting the Luccio situation play out the way he did. I'm also to the point where I think he actually planned it that way, too.)

When Gods Die and Why Mermaids Sing, C.S. Harris -- #2 & 3 of the Sebastian St. Cyr books (Regency-era badass ex-military viscount with an Irish actress mistress & a former street-rat of a tiger), both of which I very much enjoyed. There was one point where I was a little worried that the actress was ripe for fridging, but in the next chapter Harris set up her agency and involvement so that while I am not entirely sure she'd going to survive much longer, it probably will have more to do with her own (valid, understandable) choices. The setting is spot on, too -- no wonder my mom loved these books.

next
I have a couple of Beverly Jenkins' books on my bedside table so I think those are next up. Also, 2 more St. Cyr mysteries.

tv
You all know I almost never watch anything as it's actually airing, but I'm making an effort for Poldark, if only because of my mom (again.) Even if I can't call and dish with her about this version and even knowing the general plot line (we watched the original series way back in the day), I can't let it air without watching. I have to say that I think this Elizabeth is much more sympathetically written, because I *never* saw her point back in the '70s (omg, Team Delmelza all the way) but now I am rooting for her to find some way to happiness (so long as she keeps her mitts off Ross.)

The boys have been shepherding me through Parks and Rec, which never appealed to me when it was on, but that was apparently because I watched in the first season. We skipped clean over S1 & S2 and I am having a *blast* with S3 onward. We're up to Leslie's campaign for city council and while it is striking a little too close to home these days, I still get all the warm fuzzies from it.

I'm tiptoeing through Daredevil and Jessica Jones, mostly because I fell hard for Mike Coulter in the first episode of JJ and really want to watch Luke Cage with the proper background, but I can only take about 1 episode a week because of the dark (themes, not settings.)

Other than that, all I watch is HGTV and the Food network. :D

movies
For some reason, I have been in this total Bollywood mood. Maybe because Sonali Dev's writing reminded me how much I loved the drama and flair? (She has a new book out right now and I ended up re-reading her first two on various planes this summer.) Luckily, the library has an excellent collection of the genre, because it’s otherwise a pricey addiction. So, yes, lots of giant dance numbers, except my 2 favorites turned out to be straight drama, not musicals. (Dil Chahta Hai, which is a coming-of-age arc about 3 friends and their romantic entanglements; and Monsoon Wedding, which does have the obligatory wedding but where the wedding is the catalyst for the drama in that everyone comes together and Stuff Happens. I am not ashamed to admit I cried through parts of both.) I'm still on the waiting list for Dil Dhadhakne Do (which sounds like the same big family Drama, only with a 30th anniversary cruise) and Band Baaja Baharat (friends to lovers against a backdrop of wedding planners. Dear lord, the bulletproof tropes that one hits for me...)

Sidenote: Last weekend D wanders into the bedroom asking if I had RSVP'd for his friend N's wedding, which, uh, no? Your friend, your chore. I haven't even met the bride-to-be, though I do like the groom a lot. He's adorable. (He taught with D for years.) So, they're a modern couple and everything is set up online, which forces D to go through the (agonizing, seriously, no one ever had to do so much stuff to rsvp a wedding, yes, my eyes are rolling out of my head) process of downloading the app and finding the wedding and then he's all, 'a sanjeet?' (he's spelling it out for me), 'what is that and why do I have to rsvp for that, too?', so yay for cultural diversity in reading and watching and still being able to impress the husband even after 30 years?

games
I am the world's worst gamer--my hand-eye coordination can handle typing & that's about it, but I am managing to play Knight of the Old Republic with much support from the HoB. I'm so proud? Also, on my phone I have been playing Regency Love for a couple of months & might just find myself running off with a most unsuitable beau. Also on the phone, I have just started Fallen London, but I have no idea what I'm doing there, so I'm expecting to die a horrible death at any moment.
topaz119: (wdw)
And we’re back for Part 2 of How to [Over] Plan Your WDW Vacation. :D

This part is centered on the Holy Grail of getting all my favorite WDW restaurants in a single Spring Break, which means I kind of have to figure out which park we’re going to on which day 6 months in advance of said day, because that’s when the Disney reservation system opens for restaurants.

I know, I know. It’s crazy. But here’s the thing: *you* really don’t have to get this obsessive, especially if you’re not going during times when schools are on break. I, however, have a husband who teaches and I still have a kid in high school, so I’m stuck going when the crowds are high. And I’m always much happier if I have good restaurants on the plan, so if you’re good with counter service (which is really very much improved around the World) or if you just want someplace where someone brings you your dinner, you probably don’t need to go to this extreme. I usually just think of it as gaming my vacation—I do it almost everywhere (you don’t want to see the spreadsheet I had for the trip to NYC this past summer) but WDW rewards my obsessiveness and creates a vicious cycle.

All that being said, though, if you want to get crazy, here’s how I do it.

crowd assessments and park selection )

Ok,*now* we finally get to the restaurant portion of all this! )

what to do if you don't have 6 months to plan )

Also, everybody always wants to know our favorite counter-service restaurants so here’s the list )

Helpful links:
Touring Plans Crowd Calendar
AllEars.net's Menu Index (crowdsourced but often more helpful than official WDW)
topaz119: (let the wild rumpus begin)
We adopted a new dog! Wonder!Dog is getting older now and we didn’t want a new dog to have to fight the Replacement syndrome, plus we are hoping that a more active companion will be helpful for #2Son’s (slow, so slow I can’t even tell you, but it’s actually happening) advances against his anxiety and depression. So, we’ve been stalking several rescue organizations and finally went and met a few of their pooches in person over the weekend. #2 & I took Wonder!Dog up to the kennel on Saturday and ended up liking one dude who was everything we didn’t think we wanted, but who wormed his way into our heads (and to a lesser extent our hearts, at least that day.) He was big and youngish and not either of the dogs #2 had seen and liked. But we decided to go back on Sunday with BabyBoy and D in tow and, yeah, our guy came out and gave #2 a hug (literally—he jumps up and puts his paws around you, which, yes, we need to break him of the habit of just doing it, but it’s also super-sweet if you know it’s coming and are braced for it, so the command to learn is ‘give me some lovin’.’)

D loves big dogs, and this guy is (as best we can tell) 65 pounds (29 kg) of lab/border collie mix, gray and black and white, with the size and head of a lab and the color and markings (and feathery ears) of a border collie. He’s like a big gray wolf. BB wanted a lap dog for snuggles, so he was holding out until the dog basically climbed in his lap and sprawled out for a belly rub. All 65 pounds of him. Wonder!Dog was pretty chill about it all, just wandering around the meeting area and ignoring the youngster, so after another little while of the dog draping himself over people, and #2 getting attached, we said okay and started signing paperwork. #2 was super-good at getting him in the car, because the poor guy did *not* like the look of my SHIELD van and only got in after sitting on #2 and edging closer to the car every few minutes, which seems like a win in more ways than one.

Now, we just have to figure out what to name him. We have various geeky names under consideration:
  • Grey Wind (GoT) – A little too obvious with his coloring + all the direwolves die so horribly. I hate to saddle the poor dog with that karma
  • Oliver (Wood, HP) – D is *rolling* his eyes at this one, but I swear, the dog is the canine equivalent of that sweet, dumb Quidditch player. We eliminated Cedric (Diggory) b/c, hi, dead; also D might die with a dog named Cedric even before he got to the source.
  • Orome (the Valar of the Hunt, LOTR) – Oro is… okay as a call name? Maybe? D might not be able to survive explaining the origin of the name, though.
  • Shadow (Gaiman, American Gods) – Again, maybe a little too obvious with his coloring and we’re fighting off the Sonic gaming associations
  • Maximus (the dog that’s part of the Roman army at the beginning of Gladiator isn’t named, but he runs into battle with Maximus) – D is totally fine with Max, and we can all see this dog running flat out with horses, but BabyBoy feels it’s too boring. Also, I somehow doubt the dog survived Commodus’ rage, so again with the bad karma.
  • Strider (also LOTR) – Again, D might choke on explaining the name
  • Mouse (the Dresden Files) – He (the dog) does not particularly look like a Mouse, but we were grasping at straws.

    For non-geeky names:
  • Beauregard - I have mentioned that I married a good ol’ boy, right? Beau isn’t too bad of a call name, though. I guess. The kids are less excited.
  • Harry (not Potter) – Yesterday was the 950th anniversary of some pre-Battle of Hastings battle and Harold was the king at that point. D actually doesn’t mind this.
  • Viking - We were mourning that Odin’s wolves had names that nobody liked & D suggested just plain Viking.
  • Indy - #2Son offered that we could just keep calling him ND (New Dog), which slurs very easily into Indy, but I don’t know what D thinks of that.

    And finally, since he’s part Border Collie, if you look up the Gaelic clan name that D’s family is a sept of, you get a mouthful that could easily be shortened to Mac. That might sidestep BB’s ‘but it’s boring’ argument.

    Okay, there’s more stuff, but this is the big news and I think I’ve gone on long enough. I will be back with the name decision and some pictures (if we can get the dog to stay still long enough.)
  • topaz119: (wdw)
    I’m not sure how or why it’s already Monday, but here we are…

    On the plus side, I did manage to finish up that post-Star Trek Beyond Kirk/Pike sequel I’d been playing with (see my previous post), but the rest (ie, the mundane part) of my weekend to-do list is sadly un-lined-through. Priorities, yeah?

    So, a couple of people have asked for my Disney World planning strategies, and since I’m in the middle of planning out a trip with my brother & s-i-l for next spring break, I thought I’d do it in a series of semi-real time posts.

    First things first--where to stay )
    topaz119: (Pike)
    Title: Starlit Wave
    Fandom: Star Trek Beyond / AOS
    Rating: Explicit
    Length: ~8400 words
    Pairing: Christopher Pike/Jim Kirk
    Notes: Since it was pretty obvious that Star Trek Beyond was pretending that Into Darkness didn't actually exist, I decided I could do the same, too. So, yeah, that stuff with Pike in the beginning of the second movie? Nope. Never happened.

    Summary: So far as Chris could tell, with the warp capabilities of this particular ship, it was going to take a week and a half to get out to Yorktown, and probably the better part of the remaining half-week to finalize the approach and docking.

    That gave him two weeks to figure out what the hell he was doing.

    Link (AO3): Starlit Wave

    August 2017

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