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drink up me hearties

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So, D and I saw the third Pirates Movie this weekend, which suffered from what I think of as the Iago problem.  Spoilers ahoy!


Anyway, I've been talking too long as it is, but that's what I thought.  Ultimately, an enjoyable movie but a flawed one.

*which I saw because I used to babysit and one of my kids had them.
**it's a word because I say it is.

I'm it...

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Sort of.  sharpenedyaks didn't actually tag anyone, but I haven't done this meme, so here goes: 

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next three sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
6. Tag five other people to do the same.  (I'm skipping this bit, but grab it if you like).

here goes:
"I quit fighting him, and let my aching head rest against his arm.  The resilience and warmth of his flesh against my temple helped my headache.  Maybe if i didn't move, my head wouldn't fall off."

from Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, which is a book about vampires and werewolves, though none of them show up in this passage.  I'm not actually sure why I keep reading her books-- this is the second in the series, about mechanic Mercy Thompson, who lives in a world with Vampires and Werewolves and the Fae, and can herself turn into a coyote.  It could be interesting, and the kind of urban fantasy I like.  But it doesn't seem like anyone is having any fun in this world.  The vampires are mostly evil (which, ok, vampires = evil, Buffy taught us that), but the werewolves don't actually seem much like an improvement, even though they're (sort of) the good guys.  At least, they're the main character's allies, which in this kind of book ought to mean "good guys."  And the fae are destructive and mercurial, which of course is as it should be, but they don't seem to be attractive or compelling, which is something the fae ought to be as well. 

So anyway, I don't think I'll be reading the next one, if there is a next one.

finally...

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all my tech support issues appear to be resolved.  Took them all long enough.

I had a busy busy weekend, with my parents visiting and me and my dad attending a choral festival.  It was fun, but I'm realizing I really have no claim to soprano-dom anymore.  It's time to learn how to sing alto.  Mayun.

Encountered some books by Naomi Novik this past week (His Majesty's Dragon and The Jade Throne), which are a trippy cross of Patrick O'Brien and Anne McCaffrey.  I gobbled up the first one; grabbed the second, which I'm working through a bit more slowly; and intend to grab the third as soon as I can get to a bookstore.  It was the first time in a while the end of the book left me wanting more, more, more in its world.  I got that a lot when I was a kid, but as I've gotten older that sensation has been more and more difficult to replicate.  To a certain extent I ascribed it to being older:  to having learned critical reading skills in college and far too much about how a book is put together (from both a physical and an artistic perspective) at my first job.  But also, it's that the books got smaller:  CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and even Diane Duane were willing to create whole new worlds; Jennifer Weiner is writing in the real world.  Which is why I treat much of my SF/F reading as escapism; I'm trying to recapture my childhood sensawonda at the doors books could open.  Trying to get back through that wardrobe door. 

Also, Mall Indian food is a bad idea...I know this about mall Chinese food, why didn't I think it would apply to Indian food?

Book Report: Hammered by Elizabeth Bear

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This is the first book in a series about a dystopian near-future, in which the US has fallen to theocratic political interests, global warming has permanently altered weather patterns and sea levels around the world, and Canada is an ascendant military power in the grips of war profiteers.  It's written by matociquala, the author of Blood and Iron, an urban-faerie fantasy novel that somehow manages to be completely distinct from the others in the genre, and which I enjoyed rather more than this book.


(PS:  and can I just say how weird it is to review an author on one's friendlist?  I mean, I've never written a book, or even a published short story, so who am I to criticize the author's characterization). 
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I think I grabbed this one at the bookstore because Sars of Tomato Nation recommended the author's short story collection, but short story collections bug the living hell out of me, so I got the memoir. 

Unfortunately, that bugged the living hell out of me too.  It's a memoir of the author's unemployment struggles in Chicago after being laid-off from her high-paying tech sales job in the early 2000s.  On the one hand, it's got the funny, self-deprecating, Bridget-Jones-cum-Sex-and-the-City type writing that I sometimes enjoy from an escapist perspective.  On the other hand, the author is writing about a period in her life that very closely mirrors the last three years of my life, so that fails on the escapist part.  And maybe it's that I know it's a memoir not fiction, or maybe it's that I've been where she has been before, but the author's sense of entitlement really begins to grate. 

Yes, it's nice to read about shopping on the miracle mile, but when she's blowing her COBRA money on boots, I cringed.  I was doing okay with a schadenfruede reading (hey, I got out of law school with a bunch of debt and no job and spent 2 years trying to pass the bar, but at least I was smart enough to keep my COBRA!) until she went to a temp company and took a typing test.  And failed miserably.  And when the person working there pointed it out, bitched that person out, saying something to the effect of:  I used to have people like you doing this for me!  I'm too good for this!

And the thing is:  No, you're not.  Nobody is too good for any kind of work that pays the bills.  I had to come to that realization when, with my very expensive double-Ivy education, I took a typing test.  And afterwords, worked as a receptionist/secretary/temp, for about a year, while intermittantly taking the bar exam until I finally passed it.  I was lucky in that I had the support (emotional and monetary) of my family and of D, but...it was soul-sucking and miserable.  And it may have been both the best and worst thing that happened to me.  I fell down, but I managed to get up.  And I will never look down on a receptionist/secretary/temp again, because I've been there.  Even after reading this book, I'm not sure the author can say the same.

stuff

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Finished some books recently for which I hope to do capsule reviews:  Bitter is the New Black, The Thirteenth Tale, Hammered.  Also some re-reads but I won't be reviewing those unless I get really bored. 

We went skiing this weekend up in NH.  It was nice to get away, though the skiing was sub-optimal.  Spring skiing in the Northeast is always sub-optimal, though, so I'm not surprised. 

More later as time allows.

ok, yes, sometimes I'm slow

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So I read half of Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article about US involvement in Iran, and that (combined with the recent Time article about what the Sunni-Shi'ite difference is) has left me with two (probably not terribly insightful) insights:

  1. The Sunni-Shi'ite split really maps onto the Catholic-Protestant split nicely, doesn't it?  What with the Sunni domination of the Caliphate (similar to the Catholic domination of the Western world in the Middle Ages), and the allegations of heresy, and all.  Hmmmm.
  2. It really is deeply suspicious for a country sitting on as much oil as Iran to be building a nuclear reactor.  Why the need to go nuclear when they have all that oil?  That seriously just occurred to me.
Note that this does not mean I think a war with Iran is a good idea (and especially not under the auspices of the current crowd in the White House).