Reading: St Mungo's Robin

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:23 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I wasn't quite ready to get my head out of fifteenth-century Scotland after finishing Gemini, so I thought I'd read the fourth of Pat McIntosh's Gil Cunningham mysteries. Set in Glasgow, about ten years after the end of Gemini, these books feel a bit like a extension of the world of the Niccolò series; some of the same historical characters appear in both and I like to imagine Dunnett's characters living their lives just off-screen. (Accidentally or on purpose, there are also a couple of cases where character names and nicknames end up being minor spoilers for points in Dunnett where knowing a character's full name rather than just their nickname would have given too much away, so if you're reading your way through Dunnett and care about remaining unspoilered I'd recommend leaving McIntosh until afterwards; I also enjoy McIntosh more for having read all of the Niccolò books now and understanding the historical background.)

In this book, Gil (now officially charged with investigating murders, after his earlier successes on an amateur basis) is called to a Glasgow almshouse where the unpopular Deacon has been found stabbed with no shortage of people who might have had a motive to kill him. He's also due to be married in a week's time and his investigations are both helped and hindered by family and friends arriving in town for the wedding, while he and his fiancée, Alys, are both suffering from pre-wedding nerves.

I enjoyed this a lot - the series really seems to be hitting its stride by this stage, with the core characters established enough to feel like old friends now; Gil's investigations manage not to feel out of place in the historical setting while still allowing him to do things like estimate times of death from the condition of a corpse. I did spot a couple of clues well ahead of Gil, and had worked out the identity of the murderer by about two-thirds of the way through the book, but then it's always nice to feel cleverer than the detective!

The rain hath rainedeth every day

Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:03 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

But nonetheless there has been sightseeing.

I already mentioned Rynek Underground.

The Mehoffer House, which is an artist's house, pehaps more interesting for the interiors than the art, but with an ace cafe, the Meho Cafe.

The National Museum - there are lots of branches, we went to the main building, which seemed mostly arts and crafts + the Lady with the Ermine.

There is probably more to see than we saw at Wawel Hill, but we did the State Rooms and the Royal Private Apartments of the Royal Palace, and the cathedral. Must remark that dwelling in marble halls, or at least spending several hours walking/standing on floors of that substance, does my lower back thing no favours.

We did an organised tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mine: very impressive. (Much more spectacular than the one in Cheshire which is now an archive store.)

Today we went to Kazimierz, which on reflection, was not, being Saturday, the ideal day to do so - had intended going earlier in the week but ran out of time/energy.

There have also been visits to a number of churches, which after a while tend to run together - lotsa baroque.

August booklog

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:38 pm
wychwood: G'Kar knows freedom is born in pain (B5 - G'Kar freedom)
[personal profile] wychwood
125. The Cat's Eye and 127. Helen Vardon's Confession - R Austin Freeman ) Not exactly Freeman's finest, but there are some nice bits tucked away here.


126. Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey ) I still think this book is really messed up, but the plot just about makes up for it.


128. Trouble and Her Friends - Melissa Scott ) Mostly interesting as a kind of historical curiosity, but if you like cyberpunk it's definitely worth a look.


129. Shadow Man - Melissa Scott ) Lots of cool gender stuff in this one, but I really loved the story about building for liberation that it surrounded.


130. Temeraire - Naomi Novik ) The simplest and also I think best of Novik's novels so far; nothing else she's written is quite this adorable.


131. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle ) I dunno, I love these less than I used to.


132. Curse of Chalion - Lois McMaster Bujold ) Remains one of my consistent favourites.


The Commonweal books - Graydon Saunders ) I wish more people were reading these, because I love them. And also that he would publish the next one, because I want to read it.


136. The Witch of Syracuse - Dorothy J Heydt ) These are pretty good, but not exceptional; on the other hand, they're free to download, so you could definitely try them!


Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, books 2 and 3 ) I like these, and I like what Coates is trying to do, but I'm not sure how he's going to get there! And it's an awkward mixture of elements, at times.


139. Speak Its Name - Kathleen Jowitt ) A sweet little romance, with lots of student Christian politics thrown into the mix. Fab.


140. Servant of the Underworld - Aliette de Bodard ) This is more like the de Bodard I found in the short stories! Will be reading the sequel.

Underground again

Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:51 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Which, given the weather - today was persistent drizzle rather than yesterday's chucking it relentlessly down - was a good idea. Salt mine, to be precise.

However, has been a long day - only just in from a Mahler concert - so any more detailed reports on touristic activities may follow at some later season.

(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:37 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] jenett, [personal profile] matociquala and [personal profile] nanila!

Final loading dose... DONE!

Sep. 21st, 2017 04:45 pm
stonebender: (Default)
[personal profile] stonebender
I’ve had trouble writing the last two posts. I’m a slow correspondent, what can I say? I’m not sure this post gets to what I wanted to talk about, but it’s close. I may work on it some more, but I thought letting people know what’s going on was more important than perfect communication.

On September 5th, I received my last loading dose of Spinraza (Huzzah!). After six tries and four successful injections, it seems that I have learned how to advocate the best circumstances for success. Pain meds help in allowing me to stay on the table longer and the longer I can stay there, the more chances for a successful lumbar puncture. The pain meds also help with recovery. The first few times we tried an LP, successful or not, it took several days for me to stop feeling sore. I also make sure I’m not put on the table until the radiologist and doctor are ready to go. That way they have the most time to get the needle where it’s supposed to go with as little pain as possible. So although the last loading dose took a couple hours before it was successful. It was successful!

Most of the staff were new to me. I started explaining what needed to be done and the staff were paying attention. After a bit my morning worker started taking over just by saying things like, “Wasn’t Guy’s wheelchair parked over there and you brought the lift over here?” Basically, asking questions that clarified my instructions. After a bit it was fascinating to watch. She knew me and she has been through this dance with me several times now. She knew what had worked. So I let her take over the logistics. As usual, the staff followed directions and were concerned with my comfort.

I have been paying attention to any physical changes since the treatments began. I didn’t feel much at first. Except that my breathing is easier. I’m worried that the improvement is just a placebo effect. I want to feel like all this effort amounts to something. Seems like the beneficial effects of the treatment are so subtle. [personal profile] loracs and I will be the only ones to notice.

I’m really looking forward to the next pulmonologist appointment. Then I will have some objective evidence that I’m actually improving. Until then I keep racking up observations. Along with stronger lungs, [personal profile] loracs has noticed the grip strength in my left hand is stronger. I feel some strength in my arms, but it’s not like I can suddenly raise my arm above my head. It seems like I can gesture a little more. I think I have a little bit more motion in my right hand when I use my trackball. Nothing I couldn’t do before, but it seems like I can do it longer and with less fatigue.

After the third dose, I noticed that my neck seems to be stronger. Driving in the car is always a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I can’t hold my head very well, so it flops around a bit. I try to ride in the car in a reclined position, but that cuts into the sightseeing. I usually alternate between reclining and sitting straight up. Still, my head flops around more than I like. I’m noticing now that I can keep my head up most of the time. I also noticed that I can lift my head off the bed if it is at a little angle. I can’t lift it from completely prone. I don’t think I could lift it at all before the Spinraza.

On the possible negative side, I’ve noticed some tension headaches since the fourth dose. They don’t last long and they could just be hay-fever. The pain is similar, but I notice it when I’m being impatient or a little pissed. I am not at all sure if this is related to the drug. That’s about all I’ve noticed at this point. I think I’ll be getting a follow-up appointment in the future. So they can see where I’m at and decide what to do. I may get some physical therapy. (So I can look buff.)

On the reimbursement front, I received one of those “this is not a bill” statements from Medicare. It seems to say that all the hospital stuff is covered, but it doesn’t specifically say anything about whether the Spinraza has been covered. It even says that Connie’s services are covered but nothing about the drug. Connie seems optimistic they will get reimbursed. I’m disconcerted, but I’ll cope. Thanks everyone. I’ll keep you in the loop.

Game Review: Overlord

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:07 am
green_knight: (Skyrim)
[personal profile] green_knight
[expanded from the review I posted on Steam]

Review and Discussion )


Bonus review-let: Forced.

Forced, Gamification of Games, Player vs. Designer )

So, yeah. I am learning something about gaming, game design, or myself from every game I play, and I am glad I seem to have broken through the mountain of shame (OMG, so much stuff I've never played, best never look at them) and guilt (OMG, so much wasted money). I no longer feel compelled to 'give every game a fair chance' just because I once spent money on it. (Frequently, in bundle deals, I did not even set out to buy all of the games.)

Overall, I spend less than £5/month on games and, overall, I enjoy gaming. I'm not going to get the same amount of fun out of every game, but if I can average a couple of hours of fun for every £5 I pay, that's actually not bad value for money.

Oh dearie me, this guy's got form

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:41 pm
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Back in 2008, Gandhian pilgrimage that ended at Calais.

And his present (surely it is the same guy) simple life agenda has crossed my horizon heretofore.

My dearios, I give you I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.

O, lucky old you, a healthy bloke with sufficient resources to undertake this project and pontificate about it. You are not just lucky to be 'born without any serious long-term health issues' - this is due to various factors including maternal nutrition and antenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases (even if he didn't get these, and I bet he did, he would have benefitted from herd immunity), i.e. the benefits of modern medicine and sanitation.

Also, I have no time whatsoever for anyone who dismisses other people's experiences of pain: there is a man who, we must suppose, never sat an exam while doubled over with period pain, or suffered a migraine. Not at all rare conditions. Your body is not 'always aiming for balance and health'.

And we observe that he has had a vasectomy... because one of my questions (among the many stimulated by the thought of all the technological advances that have made women's lives so much less arduous, which I remarked on when his bogosity first impinged upon my aghast gaze), wot abaht contraception?

Perhaps we might introduce him to the notion that being regularly flogged with a large codfish is a cure for pretentious woowoo?

(And do we think that his simple austere life is 'more work for other people', like the process that gets his handwritten ms - written on tree bark in berry juice, we wonder? - from his simple cabin in the woods to the Guardian website?)

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:49 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] italiceyeball!
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
[personal profile] bibliofile
Just took this back to the library, so I want to mention it before it drops out of my short-term memory. An excellent book, or as [personal profile] jaeleslie put it, "Theodora Goss is a fucking genius."

It starts in London with Mary Jekyll, mixes in mysteries (is Dr. Jekyll still alive?), suitably dismal nuns (caring for Mary's half-sister, Diana Hyde), adds in a bit of Holmes and Watson (on their way to another gruesome murder scene), further explores what Dr. Jekyll was trying to do (oh, and he was an alchemist, and they had this alchemist's society), and goes on from there.

It's not just one girl's quest for anything, though: there's the mystery of whether Mary & Diana's father is still alive. Mary tries to hire Sherlock Holmes for the task. There are other interesting people that they meet, especially the women. There is some science involved, and sexism (c'mon, it's the Victorians). A bunch of nuns trying to teach poor women some work skills to save them from sin, in suitably dreary conditions. And a couple of ghastly murders occur, too.

If this sounds anything like your cup of tea, READ THIS BOOK. Like Jae said: Theodora Goss is a fucking genius.

Rogue One

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:11 am
egret: Capt. Janeway reading a paid (Default)
[personal profile] egret
Finally watched Rogue One on Netflix. 

So was that meant to be a cliche-filled thinly written action flick? I felt like it was fight fight fight something the force oh look space fight fight fight quips robots pew pew fight. It looks like reviews were generally good so I guess it's just me.

I am much more of a Star Trek person although I LOVED Return of the Jedi and have seen most of the Star Wars films and in high school I wrote fanfic set on the Wookie planet. The Wookies were my favorites. I would watch a whole Wookie movie. It is probably the closest I get to furry interests. 

It was nice to see Diego Luna. 



(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:04 pm
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 L'Shanah Tovah! to those who celebrate!

Reading: Gemini

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:18 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
In the final book in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò series, Nicholas de Fleury returns to Scotland to try to make amends for the damage caused by his earlier actions and to safeguard his family from the enemies who have tried to kill both him and them so many times. For a while, I thought that Gemini was going to be a bit of an anticlimax to the series; several plot threads were resolved at the end of Caprice and Rondo, and Gemini is almost entirely set in Scotland, lacking the exotic locations of the earlier books. Nicholas has also changed and grown, and in Gemini is tackling the task of learning to care for people, and not just for the outcomes of his schemes. However, after a slow start, the novel gathers pace and the psychological drama is more than a match for the drama of any of Dunnett's other novels; there were just as many twists and edge-of-the-seat moments, and I found it just as hard to put down. It's a fitting end to the series, and like the ending of Checkmate leaves me wanting to go back and re-read key moments from earlier in the series in the light of the final revelations.

Fittingly, having started reading The Game of Kings on my 40th-birthday trip to Scotland, because I wanted to read something set in Scotland while I was there, I read Gemini while on holiday in Scotland once again. Three and a bit years, 14 books, at least 7,000 pages and an amazing sweep of European and Middle Eastern history in the early modern and late Middle Ages later, I can safely say that it has been one of the most intense reading experiences I've ever had. I can't actually remember who it was who made Dunnett sound intriguing enough for me to give her a try (I suspect it may have been a gestalt entity of friends and acquaintances), but it's been incredible, and in many ways I'm sorry to have come to the end. (I do still have King Hereafter to read, and will probably give the Johnson Johnson novels a try at least, but neither is going to be the same.)

Requiescat in Pace

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:03 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
All NYTimes obits:

Wednesday went underground*

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:19 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Boys will be Boys, which was still very familiar although it is many years since I last read it. Wonder if Turner would really have liked to be writing something a bit more serious about matters of popular culture; and would have liked to be nerdish in the archives of the publishing companies, because there are sometimes wistful asides about the mysteries that might be solved thereby. Pretty sure this is where the very youthful [personal profile] oursin first acquired that apprehension that each generation disses upon what the young of next are consuming (whether print or radio or more latterly other media) as A Road to Ruin (I wish I could locate my copy of his Roads to Ruin).

Also finished The Witch of Syracuse: worked well, did not have that sense one so oft has when scattered short stories on a character/s are brought together of 'fix-up', but that it worked as a narrative arc. Also thought it worked well on the historical contingencies, nature of the deities, etc. (Very unfluffy Hellenic/Punic goddesses.)

Being somewhat smitten with travel angst, read various short things, comfort re-reads, etc.

Did read the novella Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow (2016): very good, even though I couldn't remember why or when I'd downloaded it.

On the go

Finally began Victoria Bates, Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England: Age, Crime and Consent in the Courts (2015) - very good so far.

Also currently in medias res, Patricia McKillip, Kingfisher (2017) - very good, but my bar for riffing on/mashing up Arthuriana is set very high with Naomi Mitchison's To the Chapel Perilous.

Up Next

Dunno.

*Among other sights seen today, Rynek Underground.

Rosh Hashana 5778

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:55 pm
filkerdave: (jew roll)
[personal profile] filkerdave

Tonight at sundown marks the start of the Rosh Hashanah and the year 5778. May all of you reading this be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.

לשנה טובה

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:44 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
to [personal profile] serene !  Hoping next year is better.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthdsy, [personal profile] sharpiefan!

Profile

maureenkspeller: (Default)
Maureen Kincaid Speller

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags