Meanwhile, at the desk...

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:47 pm
halfshellvenus: (Laundromat Reaper)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
I was listening to various Chris Cornell offerings on YouTube last week (as you do), and came across some things I'd never heard before. The first thing I stumbled on really hit me, especially after his recent suicide. It's not the background scoring you'd expect, and I don't really like it, but the song brought such pangs. So heartfelt. The second is one that probably EVERYONE but me knew existed, but nonetheless, I would never have considered interpreting this song with so much bluesy pain. Wow.

In TV viewing, we're near the end of S5 of Homeland. I've been watching with one foot on the brakes for a while this season. S4 made me ache over a character in a way I never would have imagined. Then his life got darker and lonelier, and I'm pretty sure S5 won't end well for him. It all seems so unfair. :(

Bookwise, I think I'm about to abandon Metrophage. I'm more than a third into it, and the characters are still farting around in service of exposition-y world-building. Too much! People, Jasper Fforde pulled that off in the two opening pages of Shades of Grey. Lay out your shiny new context naturally and concisely, and then augment it as you go— by showing it via components of the plot, not in place of it. :(

I just finished A Cast of Vultures, which was an entertaining mystery. Before that, The Fall of Lisa Bellow. That was mostly YA-genre, but the POVs include the main character's mother and show her with depth and with details that sometimes hit painfully close to home. Loved the brother.

Fake Plastic Love was one of the most interesting things I've read recently. People are calling it Gatsby-esque. It features young, earnest millennials finding their way in a soulless world, with a few unusual thinkers who reject modern values and search for the beauty of earlier times. You might expect it to be insufferable, but the narrator is a pragmatic young woman who really fit into either camp, and sees the attraction and folly of both. The first chapter is a little bit of work, but it sets up the framework for the rest of the story and launches the question of why you would wind up excluding your onetime best friend from your wedding. After that, it's hard to put down!

And now, a different "reading" pleasure: Funny Messages Left On The Windshields Of Terrible Parkers. Snark, rage, passive-aggression, and the occasional outbreak of random OCD. What's not to like?

Goatbusters!

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:15 pm
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
So, those goats being deployed along the bike path who were destroying elderberry groves along with the brush they were supposed to be eating? I ratted them out to the people who manage the parkway, who were extremely grateful. The animal supplier will be restricting the goats better, and maybe substituting sheep in some areas. I rode past that spot today, and there were a lot of broken branches from where they'd damaged things last weekend. There are goats again there now, in an open brush area. These mostly looks as if they might be dwarf goats— I saw a baby one standing up that was about 14 inches to the top of its head! Every bit as cute and silly-looking as you would think.

Yesterday, I biked in the garage because the parkway was closed until noon for Eppie's Great Race, a local mini-triathlon. I keep wondering why they don't move that to May or June instead of mid-July? I was able to go out post-race last year, but this year it was about 96o at noon, so already too hot. Sacramento leaders are wringing their hands because we lost next year's USA Track and Field Championship to some other city, but in good conscience, we should not be bidding on that. It was here this year, in June, across the period that was over 100-degrees every day and included the Thursday that was 108! Portland and Eugene are excellent locations for that, or maybe Seattle. But geez, have some consideration for the athletes. Don't host that here. :(

In other biking news, I had a blowout during my Wednesday right, and discovered that the rear tire was WAY overdue to be replaced. It was a disgrace— there were 4-5 other bald spots apart from the one that blew out. I was by the side of a busy road, in the open sun, cutting up the plastic mailer piece in my tool kit to patch those spots. Inside the kit, my tire-repair glue had leaked all over everything (same as the last few years— it leaks out of its container in the heat), so my mini Swiss Army Knife scissors were sticky, but usable. The plastic pieces, less so. They're really durable, but I hadn't counted on them repeatedly slipping out of the tire while I put the other ones in and tried to get the new inner tube in there. I finally got everything back together just as two guys in a pickup pulled over to see if I needed a lift. I said I wasn't sure— maybe swing back in a couple of minutes? I had everything fixed, but those liner patches were untested. The guys correctly decided that sounded ridiculous, and so we loaded my bike in the back of the truck and they drove me the 8 miles back to the office. They were probably in their mid-late 20s, very nice, and I was lucky they stopped. Still, as we pulled up to the entrance and unloaded the bike, that return felt like the cyclist's Walk of Shame. It pretty much is. /o\

So, new tire now. I cleaned out the tool kit, and I put in new plastic-lined paper (like those Fed-Ex envelopes), for the next time I need it. I probably should go back to the old standby for that issue— a dollar bill. You'd be surprised how well that works as a temporary fix.

HalfshellHusband's biking has been "iffy," since he fell off his bike twice during a ride last weekend. He's been having trouble with sudden loss of equilibrium, though this was the first time it hit him while riding. He says he isn't dizzy, it's more like his internal gyroscope has stopped working. Kaiser has sent him to an audiologist, and ENT person, and last week to a neurologist (who was curt and dismissive, so yay). This started maybe 3 weeks ago? Four? It can go on for most of the day, though it's usually better by the afternoon. When it's bad, it's really bad. I hope Kaiser gets to the bottom of this. It seems as if it might be caused by the conflicting need for a low-sodium diet (and preventing fluid retention) and his already low blood-pressure. All of the health management for his congestive heart failure has been really tough on him. :(

Some happier news: our son got back from his week in Yosemite last weekend, which was nice for everyone. It also cut way down on the cat's "exploratory howling." We watched The Man Who Knew Infinity with him last weekend (he knew about the mathematician involved, and I didn't— despite years of higher-level college math). Last night, it was Nightcrawler. Who knew Jake Gyllenhaal could play such a weird, creepy character, and do it so convincingly? Good story, but many cringe-worthy scenes that were like object lessons in how NOT to behave in social situations. Wow.

HSH and I are in the middle of Netflix streaming Hinterland, a moody Welsh police drama. Apparently, it is filmed in both a Welsh version and an English version, though only the English one is being streamed. I would totally watch the Welsh with subtitles, but that would be fun for me and decidedly UNfun for HSH. We just finished River, a Netflix original with Stellan Skarsgård. REALLY enjoyed that one. It's just 6 episodes, so well worth trying.

All right, time to gird my loins and go to Walmart. I make the trip about 3 times a year, for things not available at Target. Wish me luck and fortitude...

Bun Me No Bun-Buns...

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:27 pm
halfshellvenus: (Psycho Penguin)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
We hit a heat wave again over the last five days, so instead of lazing around in the mornings I got up earlyish to bicycle outside while I still could. Friday through today were all better than last Monday, where I realized at my turning-around point that I was "done" heat-wise... but was still 8 miles from where I can even exit the bike path, and 9-10 miles from home overall. Uggggghhh.

On one of those rides last weekend, I nearly hit a bunny. I was zipping along and could hear this ruckus in the bushes off to the right, and then a rabbit chased its buddy right out in front of me. I said, "Move, move, move!" as I was braking, because while the one rabbit turned right around and went back into the bushes, the other one ran down the path right in front of me before it finally veered off. *Whew* I hit a squirrel that way, about 20 years ago. Same situation, except when it ran out in front of me I went "Eeep!" and it did too, and then I hit it. /o\ Poor thing. I've seen a few paraplegic ground squirrels out there (the suicide runs in front of bicycles are a regular thing), so if it survived, it probably wasn't for long. :(

The goats are back along the parkway, eating underbrush to reduce fire danger. Unfortunately, it looks as if they need to be better corralled in certain areas—they're eating the elderberry groves, reaching up for leaves and cracking branches off. When sheep are brought in to do the work, they're less ambitious than goats, so definitely a better choice for those areas.

Speaking of sheep, one of the places I pass going to/from the bike path has sheep on the property. They are still unshorn, and we've already had a chunk of 8-10 days over 104-degrees that ended last weekend, and a couple of days this weekend. I think these are "lawnmower" sheep and not wool sheep, so what would it hurt to shear them in early June and again in early August? And since the owners had a "Yes on Prop 8" sign years ago, well... I am still judging them.

Our 4th was great, and eventually the subject of several snacking regrets, because life. I.e., pretty much the same as every year.

How is life for all of you?

halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
On A Hoof And A Prayer
idol season ten | week 23 | 1470 words
Backing the wrong horse

x-x-x-x-x

Clancy Starshine was a horse with a dream. He wasn't looking for winner's circles or roses, for Clancy knew he wasn't fast or even especially athletic. He wanted fame and fortune of a different kind.

Clancy had his heart set on Hollywood.

He had an agent, a man named Barney McFadden. Barney worked with all kinds of actors, human and animal alike. He found fairly steady work for Clancy, but it was always for things like Stampeding Horse Number Three, or Herd Member Five. Clancy never got the good gigs.

"I believe in ya, pal," Barney would say, and he really seemed to. But Clancy's career was limited to crowd scene appearances, or occasional parts in farm settings. The work kept him in oats and a nice stall, but those weren't the kinds of roles that led to starring in television shows and movies.

Read more... )

This is a Gatekeeper's round, so there's no poll, but all entries can be found in the comments here for your reading and commenting pleasure. Only 18 of them, so quick and well worth it!

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