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23 November 2015 @ 11:20 am

We have successfully had American Thanksgiving here, with more than 30 people descending to eat vast amounts of food. This is at least our 6th Big Thanksgiving, and this year we got everything on the table at the same time and with an absolute minimum of difficulties. We’ve become a well-oiled machine! Dad commented on how impressed he was that Ted and I were both in the kitchen without killing each other, but the size of the kitchen in this house helped that a lot (not that we’ve ever killed each other during Thanksgiving, but it was less stressy in a kitchen this big). We did notice that our stress levels shot up when there were even just two more people in the kitchen doing things (getting coffee, etc), but once the coffee was sorted I ruthlessly threw people out of the kitchen so we could work, and it went very well. And once the food was out and all, it was fine for people to be hanging around in there to talk, which they did.

The kitchen ended up impressively clean at the end of the evening, which is good because we did nothing in it at all on Sunday until our houseguest, in a fit of kindness, loaded the dishwasher at the end of the day. Ted and I were shattered. :)

Someday I’ll learn to throw smaller dinner parties, though, so I actually get to talk to people more than hugging them hello and goodbye. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

19 November 2015 @ 02:05 pm

*lurches out of the darkness, stares around wildly*

I’ve just finished up page proofs on MAGIC & MANNERS, which will be widely available…uh, pretty much as soon as there’s cover art. :)

Working on REDEEMER, having just reached the (hopefully) halfway point and having (definitely) gotten all the long-term recurring characters on the page. Except the one who isn’t introduced in this book but nevermind that.

Hosting American Thanksgiving at our place this Saturday (because for some inexplicable reason, the Irish don’t have next Thursday and Friday off work), and am soon going to go run around desperately cleaning the house for that event. We expect 40 people or so.

I have a bunch of half-written blog posts that I’ve meant to get scheduled to give some appearance of functionality and life over here, but I haven’t even been able to finish those. Clearly in need of…

…well, actually, lunch, right now, although that’s obviously not where this sentence was going in the first place.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

06 November 2015 @ 11:41 pm
Song Thrush at Sunrise
Song Thrush at Sunrise

Song Thrush at Sunrise

Look! Look! I’m remembering to post a Friday Photo! Very late, but we’ll take what we can get. :)

It turns out I really enjoy taking pictures of birds, although I’m not very good at it and get decent shots through luck more than skill. This one, f’rex, is pretty but a microcosmically small percentage of the original photograph, which I don’t believe I had the telephoto lens on hand for. Still, I like it. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

06 November 2015 @ 11:34 pm

In an unexpected WIKTORY, I got 3900 words written today and am now only a day behind on Nano. Indeed, had I not run out of battery I think I’d have caught up on it, but, well. No battery.

Fortunately, Chapters Books had gotten in GREEN EARTH, the revised, one-book edition of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital trilogy, so I had something to read on the train going home and things. For I’d gone into Dublin to have a celebratory drink with a friend who just turned in her dissertation, and I’d made a day of it.

It was a day that mostly went as planned: I went to the bank, went to a shop to get one of my favourite pair of glasses (which had, some time ago, been adjusted by Young Indiana) readjusted so they fit again, went to the cinema, where my brain informed me we had no intention of actually *going* to a movie and sat me down to write the 3900 words, which was genuinely great.

After that I toddled off and got a massage, although if I’d known that a proper 30 minute massage cost €40, I’d have gotten a 15 minute walk-in chair massage for €10. :p That was the part of the day that didn’t go so well, IMHO, because damn. At least my shoulders feel good, though, and the stiff neck I’d had has been worked out. And then it was dinner and then drinks with friends, so it was altogether a lovely day. And now I’m going to bed because OMG tired.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

05 November 2015 @ 11:42 am

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a wash in terms of getting much of anything done. Oh well, it happens. Well, I did work on revisions for something, but there wasn’t much in the way of new wordcount.

Today (Wednesday) I’ve finished the next Old Races short story, which will be posted in a couple of days. I’m…going to try working on galleys, but I don’t know if I’ve got the necessary level of consciousness. Galleys are mind-numbing, even when they’re easy, as these ones have been. Besides, I only need to get through about 15 pages today to keep on track with those, even if it’s not as fast a track as I’d like.

Big plans to get the bathroom clean today and oh damn I just remembered that if I’m going to go to the store before picking Indy up from school I need to leave right now. #scoots

Right, so I forgot to publish this when I ran off yesterday (Wednesday), and now it’s Thursday and I didn’t get anything done on REDEEMER yesterday either. Or, for that matter, on the proofs, so now I’m behind on everything! Good job me!

Well, I did clean the bathroom. That’s something, I guess.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

02 November 2015 @ 11:32 pm

write 2k on REDEEMER : 2100 words
revise (or proof) 50 pages on one of 3 different projects 130 pages : proofed
– clean a room (thanksgiving is coming) : total failure on this today

So I’m doing page proofs on MAGIC & MANNERS, which is a very, very clean manuscript. I keep thinking I must be missing stuff, but I’m not. There’s just not much to catch. The copy editor, Richard Shealy at SFF Copy Editing, is terrific (and for hire :)). So that’s a great thing. My brain is still going numb from doing the proofs, but they’re really easy. Most of the mistakes are mine. Word echoes, how I hate thee…

2100 words on REDEEMER does not put me into “caught up on Nano” territory, but it’s not a bad day’s work. I totally failed to clean even a bathroom, though, much less pursue a larger ambition like cleaning the living room. Well, there are only…six…public rooms, and there’s 20 days until Thanksgiving Observed…

OTOH, I folded the clothes, at least.

I was moved, this morning, to do half a set of ballet barre exercises, because I know better than to do a full set when I’m out of practice. Even so, my thighs would like to know what the actual fuck I was thinking.

Oh! Oh! Oh! The Old Races Patreon campaign hit its milestone mark! I’m going to have to think of something else to stretch for now! Thank you all SO much! The next story will be posted soon!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

01 November 2015 @ 08:31 pm

This year has just…gone. Poof. Fweh. Zoom. I honestly don’t feel like I’ve ever fully recovered from moving. Possibly because the last dozen or whatever boxes still aren’t dealt with. I just need another bookshelf, at this point, and I don’t have one. #sigh Anyway.

I have so many things to do. My daily Thinks To Do List looks like this, every day all month:

– write 2k on REDEEMER (ie, nanowrimo)
revise (or proof) 50 pages on one of 3 different projects 50 pages : proofed
clean a room (thanksgiving is coming) kitchen : sparkling

…somehow that doesn’t look as horrible as it seems, but revising something and writing something else at the same time is not in my natural skill set…

Anyway, yeah, so I’m basically Nanowrimoing, although I don’t think I’ll use the site this year. I’m having a hard enough time keeping up on blogging, nevermind adding another place to go daily. @.@

Speaking of still-packed boxes, Ted found my coloring books! I’m going to try to spend half an hour every evening coloring, too, because they say it’s practically like meditation and that’d be good for me. @.@ And…yeah. Just a lot is happening.

Oh, God, I wangsted about it on FB and Twitter but I haven’t posted here. My laptop has started making Alarming Clunking Noises, and told me to back everything up and contact the manufacturer to see if I needed to repair or to replace the hard drive. I got the music and my downloads folder and my bookmarks backed up, and I work out of Dropbox anyway, so if it suddenly totally just dies I’ll probably be okay, but I’d really rather not need to buy a new laptop, uh, well, at all. I’d *like* to get a ridiculously large all-in-one screen for my desktop and a tablet-with-keyboard for remote working, but we’re talking several thousand euro worth of tech lust there, which is profoundly impractical. Failing that, until the unlikely time I can afford a big all-in-one, a higher-end tabtop that has enough USB ports to plug my keyboard etc in to and is still light enough for me to carry around practically…is also too expensive. :) So let’s hope the laptop clunks along a while longer. :}

Anyway, I started this blog post like 11 hours ago and I’ve proofed my pages and cleaned a room, so now I’m going to actually, IDK, post it, and go try to get my NNWM words in.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

26 October 2015 @ 06:24 pm

A week ago I went into Dublin and had a Movie Day. I went to see The Martian, Everest and The Intern, and decided not to go to Macbeth because I wouldn’t have gotten home until the heat death of the universe, or something a lot like it, like, eleven-thirty at night. :)

The Martian was, somewhat astonishingly, as good as everybody’s been saying it is. In so far as I had any objections to the plot, it was that their eventual solution seemed obvious to me from the moment the problem was presented, but I assume I’m part of a relatively small subset of people who went “well, obviously.” :) But it’s a really terrific movie, and people keep saying it’s nearly as good as the book, so I’m apparently going to have to read the book now, too.

Everest was also good, although not nearly as much fun as The Martian. The scenery is spectacular, and verified for me (as if there was any doubt) that I wouldn’t even be able to get to the mountain, much less actually climb it, as there are death-defying heights and rope bridges ON THE WAY THERE, never mind the actual mind-blowingly terrifying climb itself. In case of zombie apocalypse, possibly. Under any other circumstances, nope. But it’s a good film with a lot of good actors, and worth watching.

The Intern was a good unicorn chaser after those two movies, though, jeez. I chose to see them in the Correct Order. It’s a cute movie, with Robert de Niro playing fairly close to peak charm, and Anne Hathaway in a role that I found pretty sympathetic. The supporting cast tragically includes that guy I don’t like from Pitch Perfect, playing the same kind of role (albeit without singing) as in Pitch Perfect, which is kind of too bad because I have a suspicion he’s probably better and potentially a lot more likeable than that role. Still, though, overall a pretty cute movie, and an excellent choice to see after the above two. :)

I’ve also just finished watching Grace and Frankie, a Netflix Original with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin playing women who don’t like each other very much but have known each other and been married for forty years to Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, who at the beginning of the first episode, announce they’re in love with each other and will be divorcing their wives so they can get married themselves, now that it’s legal. It’s pretty damned terrific, and it ENDED ON A CLIFFHANGER, which I totally didn’t expect (I thought I had two episodes left!) and now I’m clawing at the TV for the next season. Which will drop sometime in 2016, apparently, as it *has* been renewed, but agh! I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!

Seems like maybe there are a couple other things I’ve watched lately that I was going to mention, but that’s probably enough for now. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

23 October 2015 @ 07:04 pm

I’ve watched the Jessica Jones trailer, which is not particularly usual for me, and I’m profoundly torn on it.

On one hand, FINALLY we get a female-led superhero story. Jessica Jones is a good character, long varied comic book history, popular following, etc: all of that is good. Like every character who’s had a showcase of (up until now, his) own, the Jessica Jones trailer has clearly got its own vibe: it’s pretty horror-movie-feeling, which isn’t a direction any of the others have gone. So that’s all to the good. And they appear to be using a major part of her early comic book story line as the plot for the first season, which is high-quality fan service, of which I approve.

On the other hand, the back story they’ve taken from the comic, and the direction they’re taking with it, is very difficult to read as anything other than, “She’s been a victim, but now she’s fighting back.”

And I really, really wish that the first female-led Marvel Cinematic Universe showcase was not based around “the girl is a victim.”

Especially, especially because the only other well-established, long-term female superhero–Black Widow–is also from a hideously victimized background. I am not saying Black Widow is, as presented, a victim; she’s not. But her history is *horribly* abusive, deliberately, Machiavellianly so, and she’s already done the Rise Above/Reject Her Past storyline, albeit off screen.

(I did not see Ant-Man, because fuck them, that movie should have been The Wasp, and I gather Evangeline Lily as Hope van Dyne was pretty terrific, but she is also, from what I understand, forbidden by the male figures in her life to go out and be a hero because her mother the superhero had died in an accident, and her overprotective father doesn’t want her to BECOME A VICTIM LIKE JANET WAS. So 1. fuck them, and 2. female victims, whee.)

Anyway, so I’m really torn about Jessica Jones. I’m going to watch it, or at least the first parts of it, and I hope I’ll be so won over that I’ll happily forgive the “the girl is a victim” setup. Because honestly, I really, really want the show to rock. I want to love it. I want Marvel to do well by their first female lead, and I want, for all that is holy and merciful, for to succeed wildly and kill the stupid goddamned “women can’t open a show” thing forever and ever.

#sigh Anyway, to end on a happier note, my friend Lithera posted this cover of Uncanny Avengers #5


and said, “Oooh, pretty! Of course, that card should be the Queen of Hearts. Not that anybody besides me and Catie care…,” which led me to be happy that she understands both me and the importance of little details like that. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

23 October 2015 @ 10:57 am
Celtic Cross, Athy, Ireland
Celtic Cross, Athy, Ireland

Celtic Cross, Athy, Ireland

Another shot from my Athy graveyard pictures. I caught the dawn light just right and the colors really were this remarkable.

I’m doing a really terrible job of remembering to post photos on Fridays. At this rate I’ll be 106 before I get through my backlist, nevermind what I’ve taken recently. Except I haven’t taken anything recently, so that’s, uh, something, I guess… o.O

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)