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January 18th, 2016

05:47 pm: eugenics in SF
[personal profile] lightreads reread Children of Morrow and Treasures of Morrow by H.M. Hoover, and I commented
There was a time when eugenics was all over SF written by women. And I was reading SF during that time, but I was a kid, and didn't notice it.

I am curious about it now, and I wonder:

What time period was that, exactly? [I'm thinking of the seventies]
Is my sense that it was more common in books by women than by men correct? If so, why?
What were they thinking?
Why did it stop?

Would you say that these are books I should include if I make an investigation of the phenomenon?


Can you think of any books I should include if I want to take a broad look at eugenics in SF? When I say eugenics I mean an attempt to improve the human race through selective breeding, not genetic engineering. And for this I'm not interested in books about breeding for The Perfect Child that has been foretold unto us, who will save the world; that trope is also creepy, but different.

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12:59 am: Two Paths
The top left card represents the first possible outcome. Strength: Raw power. Health and physical fortitude. A surge of tremendous force. Recovery from sickness. Victory after apprehension and fear. The ability to face and overcome opposition brings the inner qualities of strength and forbearance. Delays and setbacks will be overcome.

The top right card represents the second possible outcome. The Tower, when reversed: Unexpected upheaval leading to a positive change in life. Catastrophe survived or narrowly avoided. A new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.

The middle left card represents the force drawing you towards the first possible outcome. Queen of Wands: The essence of fire behaving as water, such as a rainbow: The natural embodiment of passion and sensuality, who is always the center of attention. One who reflects the desires and ambitions of others, and ignites them. A radiantly vital person, cocky and charismatic, who sees what she wants and goes after it.

The middle right card represents the force drawing you towards the second possible outcome. Ten of Wands (Oppression), when reversed: Refusing to take on burdens greater than you can carry. Noble leadership restrained from transforming into tyranny. Bearing the weight of ultimate responsibility without being crushed. Through careful conservation of their fuel, the engines of creation continue onward.

The bottom card represents the critical factor that decides what will come to pass. The Moon: Cyclic transformation covering the mysterious forces of the night. Feminine beauty and the intoxicating vitality of youth. The metamorphosis from beauty to beast and vice versa. Occult forces, sensitivities and intense dreams. Dangerous situations and perilous times.

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January 14th, 2016

12:03 am: wednesday reading
• What are you reading?

A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar, for SF book group, which is my favorite book group because 1. I like a really good proportion of the books we read, and 2. I can get loud and funny there and people still like me, even if I'm saying something mean about a book they like.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, for a new book group, which would be my fourth. It's a roundtable discussion of classics, led by CSU grad students, hosted in a very interesting small press/bookstore/coffee shop/community space. There were seventeen people at this first meeting. The discussion was good. Everyone got to talk. I said that while I was reading about Hester Prynne on the pillory, I was thinking about 21st century victims of public shaming. When I was seventeen, I thought that we could throw off our hypocrisies, be honest about who we loved, be honest about who we were, and eliminate shaming! Nope.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Something I've got checked out from the library, I hope.

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January 11th, 2016

11:53 pm: Cross and Triangle
The first card, the significator, is placed in the center of the cross. This card represents the prime energy manifest in your life. The Hierophant: Ritualism. Mercy. Kindness. Forgiveness. Inspiration. Compassion. Servitude. Inactivity. Timidity. Captivity to ones own ideas. Tendency to cling to outdated ideas and principles. Conformity. A religious or spiritual leader.

The second card, placed above the significator, represents Air. It describes your spirit, process of thought, and the influence of reason. Knight of Clubs: A journey. Advancement into the unknown. Alteration. Fight. Absence. Change of residence.

The third card, placed to the right of the significator, represents Fire. It describes your motivations, creative energies, and the influence of passion. Two of Coins (Change): Difficulty in launching new projects. Difficult stations. New troubles. Embarrassment.

The fourth card, placed below the significator, represents Water. It describes your emotions, meditations, and the influence of love. The World: Attachment. Completion. Perfection. Ultimate change. The end result of all efforts. Success. Synthesis. Fulfillment. Capability. Triumph in undertakings. The rewards that come from hard work. Eternal life. Admiration of others.

The fifth card, placed to the left of the significator represents Earth. It describes your physical presence, position in life, and the influence of the material world. Eight of Cups (Indolence): Discontinuance of effort. Disappointment. Abandonment of previous plans. Shyness. Modesty. Abandoned success.

At this point the cross is complete and the triangle is formed. The sixth card, placed on the bottom left of the triangle represents one of two opposing forces. Queen of Clubs, when reversed: Jealousy. Deceit. Possible infidelity. Unstable emotions. Fickleness. Resistance. Opposition.

The seventh card, placed on the bottom right of the triangle represents the force that opposes the bottom left card. These forces may be external, but they are frequently one's own inner archetypes in conflict. Six of Clubs (Victory): Conquest. Triumph. Good news. Advancement. Expectation. Desires realized as a result of efforts.

The eighth card, the reconciler, is placed below the cross in the third vertex of the triangle. This is the force that will resolve the conflict between the bottom left and bottom right cards. By meditating on this force and bringing more of it into your life, you can bring the matter at hand to a swifter conclusion than would naturally occur. Knight of Cups, when reversed: Subtlety. Artifice. Trickery. A sly and cunning person. A person capable of swindling.

The ninth and final card, placed in the center bottom of the triangle, represents the final outcome unless you change course. The Hanged Man, when reversed: Lack of sacrifice. Unwillingness to make the necessary effort. Failure to give of oneself. Egotism. False prophecy. Useless sacrifice.

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06:55 pm: too many items
I have 23 items checked out from the library:

This year you write your novel / Walter Mosley.
Barn owl / David Chandler.
Making origami masks step by step / Michael G. LaFosse
The checklist manifesto : how to get things right / Atul Gawande.
Age of contradiction : American thought and culture in the 1960s / Howard Brick.
Bad feminist : essays / Roxane Gay.
A paradise built in hell : the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster / Rebecca Solnit.
The gift : creativity and the artist in the modern world / Lewis Hyde.

Hotel du Lac / Anita Brookner.
Dead to me / Cath Staincliffe.
Persona / Genevieve Valentine.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Ancillary sword / Ann Leckie.
Watership Down / Richard Adams.
Ex Machina. Book One / Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris.

Californication. The second season
Silicon Valley. The complete first season
The theory of everything
Borgen. Season 1
Deadwood. The complete second season [
Home
Boy meets girl
Clouds of Sils Maria

Plus 2 items on my Overdrive account:

What's a dog for? : the surprising history, science, philosophy, and politics of man's best friend / John Homans
The scarlet letter [electronic resource] / by Nathaniel Hawthorne

18 items on my hold list, of which 6 are fiction, 4 are non-fiction, and 8 are movies or TV shows. 1 is ready for pickup, 11 are frozen, 6 I probably should freeze even though their waitlists are really long.

That's close to normal fiction/nonfiction ratio for me. I don't read nearly as much nonfiction as fiction, but I keep them a lot longer. Even so, half of those are probably going to go back unfinished. This is the second time I've had A Paradise Built In Hell out, and it's going to go back unfinished again, and I'll cycle through the waitlist again. I should just buy it, but then it would keep getting bumped by books with time pressure.

It's Nixie who's reading The Gift, not me. Only 24 of those items are mine!

4 of them are for book groups. 3 of them are books I already own, but I can't find them right now and I need to read them right now. I have no idea how that situation with the TV shows happened. No idea.

What does your to-read pile look like?

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January 7th, 2016

02:36 pm: This book sounds so wonderful I don't ever want to read it no real thing could live up to this description: Welcome to Mars, by James Blish.

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11:44 am: hate shopping. hate fashion. hate my face.
I just got new glasses.

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December 30th, 2015

10:20 pm: #Rogeliban
The thing is, I don't really want fanfic for Jane the Virgin, not yet anyway. But [personal profile] musesfool recommended this, and it's metafiction, and it's about Rogelio. I still don't want fanfic for Jane the Virgin that is even a little bit off, but all the voices in this are right on.

Fandom ships Rogelio with Esteban, his rival, because of course they do. Rogelio's response is quintessential Rogelio.

#Rogeliban http://archiveofourown.org/works/5468876

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December 25th, 2015

11:20 pm: christmas day
Mungo asked me to show him how to make Big Molasses Ginger Cookies, so we did that today. To get the best texture,
1. Use Crisco
2. Keep the dough cool until it goes into the oven (I know that's not easy when she has you rolling the dough into balls with your hands)
3. Remember that they'll keep cooking on residual heat after you take them out of the oven, so take them out before they're done.

I gave
seasons 5-7 of Buffy, to Nixie
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, to Mungo
Sorcerer to the Crown, to Neal
Fly By Night and The Cloud Roads, to my nieces.

Nixie gave me a beautiful mask she made. Mungo gave me Redshirts and The Goblin Emperor. Well done picking books that I enjoy... which I know because I have already enjoyed both those books. I efficiently regifted The Goblin Emperor to Mungo. He found my description of Redshirts less appealing, so we're going to go exchange it tomorrow. Neal is making me a Thing for the kitchen, a piece of granite countertop, set an inch lower than standard kitchen counter height, with storage underneath, the whole thing on casters. It's going to be so heavy.

Then we had dinner with Neal's girlfriend, who had spent the earlier part of the day with her other not-genetically-related family (her former in-laws). Nixie is still struggling with painful feelings about her parents' not being a couple anymore, but we all behaved well.

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December 21st, 2015

04:34 pm: "Upgrade", by Rohinton Daruwala
I read "Upgrade", by Rohinton Daruwala, for the December Strange Horizons poetry podcast. You can read it here or listen to me read it here.

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December 19th, 2015

11:39 pm: Kung Fu Panda
Amazon just sent me "Because of your recent purchase from Amazon.com, you are receiving a promotion code redeemable for a free digital HD copy of Kung Fu Panda. The code will cover the full cost of this item."

I am not sure why they thought I would like to own a copy of Kung Fu Panda. Assuming I can give it away -- which the email doesn't say I can't -- if you would like to own a copy of Kung Fu Panda, comment below and I will forward it to you.

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December 12th, 2015

10:20 pm: sizes
We got five inches of fluffy white snow today, which makes it very noticeable how not white the white dog is, and how tiny the tiny dog is.

My neighbors have a new baby, five weeks old and eee! even tinier than the tiny dog! But that doesn't last. I'm trying to remember how old his big sister is, and wishing LJ had a useful search function.

I took Aiko to the vet for a blood draw to make sure he can still take his arthritis drug. There were puppies in the waiting room, nine weeks old, with soft puppy fur; at 16 pounds and 13 pounds, already bigger than the tiny dog, and destined to get bigger than Aiko. The vet wanted a urine specimen too, which Aiko did not provide, so they sent me home with a specimen collection kit: one small styrofoam bowl, to hold in the way of the stream; one specimen cup; one plastic pipette, to transfer the specimen from bowl to cup. 'Specimen' is one of those words I always misspell. Every time I typed it in this post it came out 'specimin'.

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December 11th, 2015

02:29 pm: books for my nieces
I've got two nieces, 10 and 13, both read a lot. The last time I saw them, I gave the 13-year-old A Natural History of Dragons. Turns out she *loves* dragons, so I lucked out there. The book she was reading was The Life of Pi. I gave the 10-year-old The True Meaning of Smekday, which I was worried might be a little young for her, but I love that book so much I wanted to share it, and it turns out that like most avid readers, she enjoys things intended for older and younger people.

So I'm casting my mind around for Christmas presents. I haven't read Uprooted, but it seems very popular among my reading list. Maybe Seraphina, but a kid who loves dragons has probably read it already. The Cloud Roads wouldn't be too mature for a kid who chose to read Life of Pi, right?

Do you have any suggestions?

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December 10th, 2015

10:01 pm: wellness dog food coupons up for grabs
My last two bags of Wellness dog food had a problem with the zip-lock closure coming unstuck from the side of the bag, so they couldn't be sealed. I complained, so Wellness sent me three $5 coupons for any Wellness product, so these could also be cat food coupons! They expire March 2016. I get dog food delivered by Amazon, so I can't use them, except that sometimes I run out of dog food before I run out of month, so I'm going to keep one in case. Would you like the other two? First ask gets. Comments are screened, so you can leave an address.

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December 2nd, 2015

11:44 pm: past it
I am 23 minutes into watching Hope Springs. I am crying and I am so angry. When I picked it off the library shelf I thought, hey, Meryl Streep! I did notice that it was about an older couple going to couple's counseling, but I didn't think it would bother me. I'm over that. That part of my life is over.

Turns out I'm over it because I don't think about it.

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November 30th, 2015

10:26 pm: church sign
There's a weird fundamentalist church near here whose sign often manages to piss me off. Yesterday it said, "Life without God was never meant to be lived." I'm not curious enough to go inside the church to find out, but I am curious enough for an opinion poll:



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November 29th, 2015

01:46 am: The Twisting Path spread provides insight into the path ahead of you and the choices you must make. This is the spread for situations where more than one pitfall may lie ahead.

The card at the lower left, represents the first decision along your path. Catone (Death), when reversed: Stagnation or petrifaction. The refusal to let go of the past. Resistance to change because of fear.

The card to the far left represents the first false path that may lead you astray. 9 Dischi (Gain), when reversed: Bad luck attending material affairs. Elitism and snobbishness. Lack of discipline resulting in the erosion of security and stability. Contempt for the exact labors that brought one to a position of refinement. Dishonesty in financial matters.

The card in the middle represents the second decision along your path. 10 Anfore (Satiety), when reversed: Dissipation, debauchery, and stagnation. Taking one's good fortune for granted. Problems in domestic and social matters. A false love or infatuation, leading to a lack of fulfillment.

The card at the lower right represents the second false path that may lead you astray. 4 Mazze (Completion), when reversed: Squandering a great and hard won victory through decadence and laziness. Failing to reward those truly responsible for an achievement. Using past accomplishments as an excuse to ignore current problems. Abandoning the very qualities that brought about initial success.

The card at the top represents one possible mask of your true destination. 6 Spade (Science), when reversed: Conceit and intellectual pride. Being stuck in a problem which has no apparent solution. Frustration and anxiety that are left unsettled. Travel and exploration are delayed.

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November 17th, 2015

12:08 am: What is it about "lady"?
So I was walking my dog and this arrogant jerk in an SUV decides that he is not going to yield to me, after all SUVs are washable. After skipping back out of his way I made a gesture. Not that one. The one where you hold your hands out to your sides, waist-height, palms up, calling on heaven to witness the wrongness of what just happened. And this guy, this guy who is in too much of a hurry to slow down to permit me to finish crossing the street, this guy slows down, rolls down his window, and leans out to shout back at me, "What, lady? There wasn't a stop sign!"

"It's a crosswalk!" I shrieked back.

"There wasn't a pedestrian sign!" he yelled, still looking back at me while he was driving forward.



Obviously there are several things I can be righteously angry about here, but what most irritates me is that vocative "lady". Don't call me "lady" when you're being a dick!

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October 28th, 2015

09:37 pm: recommending books to someone I don't know well enough to recommend books to
[personal profile] dingsi asked for book suggestions, and I made some even though I get anxious recommending books to people I don't know.
I want to suggest three women of color who write excellent books that haven't been suggested yet, but all these books have content that I have to warn for while recommending them. They are all fantasy, but not the kind of fantasy that escapes from the fact that if you're a woman of color, some people will treat your body as if it were their property.

What makes these books so great is that they are about living a joyful autonomous life anyway.

Redwood and Wildfire, by Andrea Hairston, is set at the beginning of the 20th century, in the swampland of Georgia and then in the theater and film world of Chicago. The protagonist is a Black woman learning to use her magic and her storytelling power. The other main character is a mixed-race Native American and white man. Warnings for a lynching, a rape, alcoholism, and the fact that there is eventually a romance between characters who became friends while one of them was an adult and the other was a child.

Nalo Hopkinson's work is multicultural, feminist, queer, and intersectional. Midnight Robber is the one I read first and still my favorite, but the protagonist is raped by her father. Sister Mine has a Caribbean family of gods living in modern-day Toronto. Warning for consensual incest between conjoined twins. The Salt Roads has three protagonists, in 18th-century Haiti, 19th-century Paris, and ancient Egypt, connected by a goddess and the struggle for freedom. Warning for slavery and prostitution.

Octavia Butler wrote some of the most worthwhile and most troubling books I have ever read. I don;t even know where to start talking about them. Fledgling is about vampires, but it will take you straight into the heart of the problem Butler never stopped struggling with: the way our biology drives us to violate other people's autonomy. She alienates the problem by telling stories in which the exploiters are a different species than the people they use, but you can't not see the light these stories cast on the way men use women, the way white people use Black people, the way fetuses use their mothers.


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October 26th, 2015

03:37 pm: Swan Girls, by Theodora Goss
The beautiful poem I mentioned last week is Swan Girls, by Theodora Goss, which you can read here:

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20151005/goss-p.shtml

You can listen to me reading it on the Strange Horizons poetry podcast here:

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2015/20151026/xpodcast-p.shtml

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October 24th, 2015

01:43 am: • What are you reading?

Who Do You Love, by Jennifer Weiner. Not recommended. There's a bullying scene. The thin rich pretty doted-on girl who does the bullying is our protagonist. The victim is described with such detailed, thorough loathing that I am reconsidering everything I ever enjoyed about Jennifer Weiner novels.

• What did you recently finish reading?

A Slight Trick of the Mind, by Mitch Cullen. Recommended. Read for library book group. Nobody said the word, but we talked about fanfiction, which is hard not to do when you're talking about Sherlock Holmes. One guy didn't mind all the AU versions of Sherlock, but was indignant about this one because it pretended to be the real Sherlock, but it was taking away everything that made him Sherlock (i.e., his great brain). I thought Cullen created a believable person, who was believably the same person as ACD's Sherlock Holmes, but seen through two very different writers' styles. I loved the detail that Cullen's Holmes is aware of the fanwork being created about him, and very offended by the ones that depict his dear companion as Jam Watson.

The person who picked the book began by apologizing for it: she hadn't read it, only seen the movie, at book-choosing time. Apparently the movie has a happy ending pasted on? I can't see how that would work. The book is all about the fact that we all lose things we can't bear to lose; that not even the great detective can turn back time and bring them back to us; that we mostly go on living anyway.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I've got to finish my bowl of misery soup, that is, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, for book group Sunday.

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October 19th, 2015

03:29 am: I hate my voice so much some times.
I love this poem though.

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October 14th, 2015

08:16 pm: wednesday reading
• What are you reading?

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, by Chris Bohjalian, for Tawanda book group. Misery soup. Like grimdark, except no action sequences. Or suspense: lots of flashbacks and forshadowing assure you that it is misery soup all the way down.

• What did you recently finish reading?

A Fearless Heart: How the courage to be compassionate can transform our lives, by Thupten Jinpa, PhD. I didn't finish the book, but I'm done with it. This was for a previous Tawanda book group. The one who picked it really wanted us all to read it and think about it, so I gave it a good try, but nope. An example of why I'd find this hard to swallow even if I were convinced it would be good for me:
We can all see that we benefit from other people's kindness, but not everyone benefits equally. How much we do benefit appears to be influenced by how compassionate we are ourselves. A team of scientists studied fifty-nine women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants filled out a questionnaire that measured their individual level of compassion; they were then randomly divided into two groups. About a week later, the participants came to a laboratory session, where they were asked to do three things: give a speech in the presence of two experimenters, participate in an interview, and do a math task. Each person was given five minutes to think about a speech, while they were hooked up to machines, such as electroencephalographs, that would measure brain waves and certain body functions. For one group, one of the experimenters made positive comments such as "You are doing great," or smiled, nodded in agreement, or made other affirming gestures while the participants engaged in the tasks. For the other group, the experimenters did not offer any positive encouragement.

Strikingly, the participants who scored high on the compassion scale and received supportive signals from an experimenter had lower blood pressure, lower cortisol reactivity, and higher heart rate variability -- all proven to be associated with physical health and social well-being -- especially during the most stressful of the tasks, giving a speech. Compared to their counterparts in the second group, these same individuals also reported liking the experimenters more. These effects were not observed for those who were in the group that received supportive gestures but scored low on compassion scale and those who, although scoring high on the compassion scale, did not receive encouragement. In summarizing their findings, the researchers noted that "those who are more compassionate may also be more benefitted by support, particularly during acute stress situations." In other words, to benefit most from others' kindness we need to be ready with kindness of our own.

That is one possible explanation. Another is that your self-reported compassion scale is actually testing for people who care a lot about making a good impression on the experimenter. Then the experiment shows that people who care a lot about making a good impression on the experimenter respond positively to signs that the experimenter approves of them.

My explanation has the same explanatory power as yours. Since mine posits one entity instead of two (being compassionate and responding positively to kindness), Occam's razor says mine is preferable.

The thing is, I didn't have any objection to the claim that compassion is good for you. I was happy to take it on trust. But propping it up with buttresses that are obviously painted canvas and don't even go all the way to the top breaks my willingness to trust and replaces it with nothing.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I just found Who Do You Love, by Jennifer Weiner, at the library.

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October 4th, 2015

11:05 pm: Happy birthday, [personal profile] oursin! I hope the Aged P is well.

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October 3rd, 2015

02:53 pm: send lawyers guns and money
Thanks to [personal profile] supergee for pointing to The Big Business of Internet Bigotry, by Arthur Chu, about "going viral". Chu says there are compensations for becoming the object of internet hate:
Every instance of business-damaging PR will generate a backlash of people who, because they see the people who disapprove of you as on the opposite “side” from them, will pay you more than enough to compensate for your loss.

Seriously? Every instance?

I know it's easy to go from "This is what happened to me" to "This is what happens." Even easier to generalize from "This is what happened in the stories that I am aware of." But, although going viral on the internet is not one of my Mastermind subjects, I can easily think of people who have become targets of internet hate, have lost a lot as a result, and have not received piles of compensatory cash: Adria Richards. Justine Sacco. Lindsey Stone. I imagine that this is a lot more common than what Arthur Chu thinks is the norm.

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September 27th, 2015

09:00 pm: Just got back from book group. Sarah hosted at Kathleen's house, because Sarah's roommate's mother was visiting so she didn't have room, so we all brought food and drink to share, and petted dogs and gossiped and watched the lunar eclipse until the clouds covered it, and talked about the book, which was The Circle by Dave Eggers.

I am entirely in charity with my book group right now, which makes me feel quite brave about venturing among new crowds of people. We talked about taking the book group to Ellen in California in February, or maybe March. If we went to Ellen's the first weekend of March, maybe I could go to Fogcon the second weekend.

Brave is not how I usually feel, though, so... so even if I could make this happen I'd probably regret it.

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September 24th, 2015

03:15 pm: tiny dog/tomato
My tiny dog has rediscovered that tomatoes on the vine are food. He figured this out once before, a couple of years ago, but I kept him away from the tomato plants for a while and he seemed to forget. This year I noticed a hole in a ripe tomato as if a bird had pecked it for a drink; later I found Newt eating that tomato, still on the vine, and now he'll go get himself one anytime I'm not looking. The big dog will finish a tomato that Newt has started, but won't pick them himself. I don't know whether he doesn't recognize them as food while they are on the vine, or he doesn't recognize them as food unless someone else is actually eating them. I suppose I have enough ripening tomatoes that I could experiment...

Thanks to [personal profile] jesse_the_k and [personal profile] liv for the prompt:
When you see this post, feel encouraged to post something in your journal. Short or long, trivial or profound, it doesn't matter, just something. And if you like, you can pass on the token by copying this notice at the bottom of your post.

tiny dog is keeping an eye on you

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September 11th, 2015

02:30 pm: So you remember last week when Dr Reimer's office, with whom I have had a new-patient appointment scheduled since February, called to say they weren't taking any new patients now? And I called back, and talked to someone who assured me that my appointment was not cancelled? So I showed up for my appointment today. It was cancelled. Sorry for the inconvenience. But we're not taking new patients, so there's nothing I can do for you.

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September 10th, 2015

09:21 pm: to-read list monotonically increasing
I brought three books home from SF book group: City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett, which is the book for next month; The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard, which also has to be read by next month so I can pass it on; and The Last Rainbow, by Parke Godwin, which doesn't have a deadline so it will probably go on the shelf and never come off.

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01:30 am: wednesday reading
• What are you reading?

Gemsigns, by Stephanie Saulter, for SF book group tomorrow. Interesting combination of comic-book tropes with accomplished writing. I've had enough second-hand exposure to Steven Universe that every time I pick this book up I have to reorient what it means to call people Gems.

Also still reading A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, by Thupten Jinpa, which was last month's book for Tawanda book group. Not going to finish before it has to go back, but would like to get to a good stopping point.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The SF book group grew too big, so it closed to new members and the bookstore started a new one. They asked members of the old group to come to one or more of the first meetings to help them get started, and their first pick was The Killing Moon, by N.K. Jemisin, so I reread it and went along. It is still excellent, and fun to talk about with new people. The new group's second pick is God's War, which I am glad I read but don't want to reread.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I just picked up Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee, because I got to the head of the library waiting list, and A Slight Trick of the Mind, by Mitch Cullen, because it is the next book for library book group; but that isn't until October. The next book for Tawanda book group is The Circle, by Dave Eggers, which I have read, but long enough ago that I wouldn't do a great job of talking about it; but Tawanda never does a great job of talking about books. I've got Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. The Killing Moon reminded me that I haven't read The Shadowed Sun. And I have The Fifth Season too! Too many choices.

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