little_tristan: (Kitten Monster)
I spent the morning in chat with [personal profile] valis2, who designed the most beautiful jewelry for me to give as Christmas gifts. If you haven't visited her shops, you probably should. If you wear jewelry or like beads, that is. I'm terribly excited about giving these pieces to the people they were made for. Custom jewelry is the best.

NaNo and its unaffiliated Mini Challenge are over so I'm going back to writing in my random, haphazard way. Never having worried about word counts before, I'm interested in seeing if I do more or less work without the mild pressure.

Self-imposed goals might be good. But feeling like a failure because the muse wasn't there and I didn't reach the goal, or I wrote badly for the sake of getting more words on paper, would be bad. Feast or famine, it's a fine line.

I've pretty much given up my book goal for the year. I'd have to read a book a day from now til the end of the year and that's not going to happen. Unless I read all the Star Trek: TOS novels on the shelf. I could probably do two or three of those a day. But they aren't what I want to read right now. Quality tops quantity once again.

Yesterday I saw a Criminal Minds ep from S5 that I've never seen before. 4 to 8 episodes a day on two different channels and I'm still finding new ones on the DVD. It's fun trying to guess why certain ones aren't aired. This one is about an outbreak of suicides among high school kids in neighboring towns. Is it the teen suicide angle? The identity of the unsub? Garcia's hair? (I adore her, but does she start getting ready at three to be at work by eight?)

It'll never be one of my favorites, though, because they're all mean to Reid on the plane going home, listing things they hate about him. He looks so sad and no one even apologizes.

I can't wait to get to S6. I know I'm missing a lot there. And one that I have seen is one of my favorites.

We stayed up a little late last night, since we were sleeping in a bit this morning. But I ruined it by getting sick after about 3 hours' sleep. Lately I've been haunted by a mild, lingering sense of nausea. Possibly from smoking so little pot this last week. Mark dragged me out of bed so I could throw up for a while and smoke a bowl, and then we went back to sleep. It was very strange.

Possibly the strangest part was that when I first woke up, Big Orange Roy was catloafing on my ribs and shoulder, in what has always been Murphy's place. Murphy was on the pillow when we went to bed, but he decided not to stay. He doesn't move to my side very often anymore, probably because of his balance problems.

What's weird is that no cat besides Murphy has even slept on me like that before. Roy's lived with us for 12 years and I never would have guessed that he even wanted to. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe it's just a status thing.

People are supposed to like animals because they look up to us like gods. I've always found that rather awkward. I wonder if that's how God feels when people fight over religion. I'm big enough for all the cats to sleep on, but they don't want to share.

And the dogs are even worse.
little_tristan: (Kenny)
Yossel is harder to read than I expected. It's a what-if story by a man who missed the Holocaust by leaving Poland in 1926, the year of his birth, wondering what would have happened if he'd grown up in his Polish village. I don't think he's going to make it.

Murphy Sloane, otoh, is getting better. I didn't expect that. We thought he was failing due to age, and his appetite was falling off accordingly. Now that he's been getting Fancy Feast two and three times a day (basically whenever he asks--he doesn't take advantage), he's visibly plumper and less wobbly.

The only thing weirder than his willingness to starve himself for better food, is the incredible speed of his recovery. It's happened before but he's so old, we're always slow to catch on. The vet has told us it's normal at 14, 15, and now 17, but all he wanted was different food.

Maybe he really is immortal. *fingers crossed*

Mark ate and slept all day, too. He doesn't put on weight like Murphy, but his eyes get brighter. That's nice to see. And Russ bought him special food at the store so he'll eat more. He wanted something different, too. I wish Purina made a variety of People Chows. Dry for snacking and a dozen flavors of canned food to heat up and eat with bread. We could go for years on that. So long as there was still chocolate in the world.

I finished Yossel after starting this post. It made me cry. But I totally recommend it to Holocaust buffs (is that the right word?) and fans of great graphic novels. It would be worth owning for the Introduction alone, but I'd suggest that anyone who can bear the subject give it a read. If the dialog typeset looks familiar, Joe Kubert invented it. It's used in nearly every comic book I owned as a teenage collector.

Apparently he invented graphic novels, too. I'm not stupid. I've asked myself numerous times how much art and culture was lost with young Jews who never had a chance to develop their talents. But Joe Kubert nearly was one of them and Yossel forces you to see that in a way that almost can't be borne.

And all he did was draw comic books that changed comic books and their art forever.
little_tristan: (Books)
I forgot to turn my phone ringer back on after the concert Saturday. Goes to show how long it's been that I actually thought a ringing phone would be a distraction or something. Gunfire could easily have gone unnoticed by anyone more than four seats away.

So I didn't know Heather was calling all morning to tell me her son and the girl she babysits are both sick so she couldn't come over. I very much appreciate this. Being sick is the worst. If she doesn't get it, too, she'll be over Friday.

The dogs don't know it, but they'd be happy. Willow gets to stay inside and Ranger doesn't have to be on alert for the baby (who's almost THREE) trying to get off the couch. She knows he belongs there and is incredibly vigilant in her self-assigned duty.

Now I get to write all day. I'm very excited. Not only have I figured out what the ending is supposed to be, I think I'm onto a plausible way of getting there.

Plausible is one of my favorite words. It lets me write the most unlikely things without having to say it's a different universe than ours. A grand capacity to love and sacrifice should be probable. But I'll settle for plausible.

I also get to read. My Currently Reading stack is back to five. Or six. This morning I got back into Commandant of Auschwitz. I'm at the part where Hoess he explains how he wanted to run a clean, efficient camp full of healthy, well-fed prisoners who would be grateful and want to work hard in return.

It didn't work out for him (poor Hoess) because he was given incompetent and malicious underlings who refused to unlearn the cruelties they brought from other camp postings. And the young ones were no better, because they preferred to learn from the cruelest of the "old hands". So everyone ignored the poor misunderstood commandant, who was doing his best to accommodate his prisoners but simply couldn't be everywhere at once. The man literally begs for our sympathy, if not outright pity, for how hard he worked and how unappreciated he was.

I guess when you know you're going to get hung, there's no reason not to say whatever you want. It's a shame, though, that no one seems to have written a point by point historical breakdown of the claims he makes. One prisoner's brother did. A long footnote comments on all the inaccuracies written by Hoess about his "friendship" with the prisoner, who survived the camps and also read the book. They weren't friends.

It's going to be very hard to finish. But I still want to know.

Before bed I'll switch to Doug Adams.
little_tristan: (Bunny)
They're one of those groups whose attention you just never want to bring upon yourself. It's so nice when they aren't noticing you that it goes against every fiber of your being to call them up and ask them to please look into your account. Like going to the police station to find out if you're wanted. But they promised me money back in August and it never came.

I was willing to more or less wait forever, but Mark's a little more practical. When it's not his problem. He wouldn't have called. He wouldn't even go to the doctor that time he had obvious, visible cancer. I had to trick him a little. But dealing with these things is my job, not his. (Even the cancer, strange but true.)

The hold music sucked, and I had to listen to it forever, but the agent couldn't have been nicer. I think she was surprised that I wasn't crying or yelling at her. Phone answering people there must feel terrorized, too. I accidentally made a Comcast tech girl cry once. It did not feel good. (Little known fact: When they're doing something and have you on hold while they type, they've usually just hit mute and can still hear you. Resist the temptation to vent at that time.)

But then she solved the problem! And said it was their fault and had absolutely nothing to do with me! And APOLOGIZED! Several times!!! An IRS AGENT!! It was amazing. Mark was disappointed that it'll take another month for the refund to go through, but when I told him about the conversation he got over it.

Actual exchange:

Mark: Isn't this the same IRS who takes all everyone's money and homes and makes them kill themselves?

Me: Presumably. At least that's the number I dialed.

Apparently all those suicides got the message across after all.

I read a lot of John Corvino's Debating Same-Sex Marriage, with Maggie Gallagher, while I waited. Corvino was excellent across the board, but Gallagher was too confused and nonsensical to get all the way through. It's like even she knows she doesn't have a case, other than I DON'T LIKE IT, but hopes that if she says enough words no one else will notice.

So now I'm reading Spider by Patrick McGrath, suggested by [profile] birdgirl_1107. Only not at night because it's creepy and I think it'll get worse. The writing is excellent, but Spider has a deep, dark mind.

The boys are working tomorrow so Russ and I won't get our pre-concert naps. I possibly could if I time it properly and am able to crawl into bed before they get home. It's iffy, though. I might not try. If I don't take my evening meds on time, I can stay awake. Although probably I can stay awake for the Gin Blossoms no matter what.
little_tristan: (Kindle)
Maybe it was a one-time thing, like when a silverfish fell out of a used book I got in the mail and failed to reproduce. The silverfish, I mean. I suspect the book has reproduced several times over.

Criminal Minds is being gross with amputations and fertilizer and other ickiness. But Reid finally almost had a story arc! It was SO close. And Henry's costume made up for ALL the things!

The arch-nemesis has outdone himself again. He wanted me to look up a documentary show and tell him what time it was on. Also what channel. And he couldn't remember what it was called, but he sort of knew what it was about. So could I please locate that in the next thirty seconds.

It actually took a couple minutes. I wish I hadn't done, though. He'll expect me to do it again. And after finally I convinced him that I really couldn't Google what, specifically, was wrong with his car when it was making a noise that time.

Anyway, I solaced myself with some new Kindle books--Jaws, Jurassic Park, and The Bell Jar. Kind of a mixed bag, but they're all ones I've been waiting for on Kindle and now they're here! This is good because I still have to read 36 books by the end of the year or else look like a giant failure on GoodReads. I don't know why this matters. Probably it doesn't.

But there still may be a children's/YA dash the last half of December. Unless I decide to take up Zane Grey.

There was an ad for the local news where the talking head announced they'd be covering "How your genes/jeans help determine how you vote". The graphic was Romney/Obama. Without more clues, I honestly don't know if they're talking about our DNA or our pants. Probably both angles are equally valid. I don't watch the local news, except to get the weather.

The election hasn't happened. I wish it would. Today the robocalls show as BLOCKED in the caller ID. This is not more subtle. I already didn't answer when it was from IL, where it might possibly have been an actual person I know. Or DC, when it might have been the actual president. Perhaps in four years they'll have learned to hack our phones and make it appear as if our mothers are calling. Of course I still wouldn't answer. I'd want to save the voicemail.

Today I deleted 20,000 words of The Dancer. Pretty much everything beyond the point where I stopped last night, except for one paragraph of dialog that I quite like. With luck it will fit back in somewhere. The rest was all a mess with people being married to the wrong people and being too religious and characters hanging about who should have shriveled up and fallen off when I cut them out back at the beginning. Plus that whole section was about something that isn't going to happen now. Or if it does, it'll happen differently, with the right people being married and widowed and fallen off the page. But I think it'll be something else entirely.

Hopefully I'll get an inkling as to what, basically, that might be in time to write 500 words about it before bed.
little_tristan: (Bunny)
But it's not even dawn so here's yesterday's news.

Ranger made a full recovery and spent the day reasserting her dominance over Willow. Surprising how quickly a dog Will's age can forget a year and a half of fuzzy-butt-whippings and start thinking she's in charge after just one day. But that misapprehension has been corrected and all is well.

Tammy came over and dusted, which is probably boring to read about but never fails to thrill me. Everything is so clean, and she's so much fun to have around. Really breaks up the boredom of a Tuesday.

I've been playing around with The Dancer this week, too. With Steve out of the way (he was a bad influence on one of the characters) and no deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, I might get it fixed up this winter. Or not. Depends on if it keeps being fun.

The nemesis avoided me all day, which was really nice. I kept the heat turned up unbearably high to reduce the chance of yelling, and apparently made some points. He wandered in last night while Mark and I were kicking back with a little Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the first hour, at least--we'll have to finish it tonight) and offered to raise the rent. That's pretty standard. If shouting doesn't work, throw money at it. Well, if it makes him feel better, who are we to say no?

Today Heather's coming over. Hopefully with canning jars, or I'll have to send her to Goodwill to look for some. She also volunteered to take the old man shopping for proper clothes if he wants to go. He probably will. Hanging out with Heather is that much fun. I'm bummed that I'll miss out on her company, but having the house to myself is nice, too. There was a new Criminal Minds DVD in the mail yesterday, and I still have a disc and a half of the final season of House. Heather doesn't let me watch that stuff with the kids in the house.

Also big plans to finish reading The Dark Tower so I can start The Hitchhiker's Guide series. I haven't read them since I got them for Kindle and short books will help my numbers. (Next on deck: Anne of Green Gables series.) I think I need to read another 40 books before the end of the year to meet my goal. This has not been a good year for me and reading. Next year I'll raise my goal again and try harder. Maybe more Kindle Singles would help. They sure did last year.
little_tristan: (Breaking Bad Walt & Jesse)
I'm not sure where I am right now. I finished the book club book on time, which was good. We haven't had the discussion yet, but I was ready and that's what counts in my head. And yesterday I finished Wizard and Glass, so I'm down to only four books on the Currently Reading list. At least three of which will get finished for sure sometime this year.

Heather was supposed to come over yesterday but she got a last minute invitation to see Alanis Morissette at the Crystal Ballroom Sunday night and was too tired to do anything Monday. But she was able to tell me about it in great detail, so it was like being there. Only without the hassle of actually seeing Alanis from fifty feet away and, you know, hearing the music. Because the only thing better than missing out on something awesome and fun is listening to someone talk about it nonstop for an hour. *sigh*

But it did give me a chance to catch up on all the paperwork the boys dumped on me over the weekend. They give me two kinds of work when they're around. One has to be dealt with immediately, usually with one of them standing over me impatiently or calling for updates every two minutes. The other is a cumulative thing that I can't handle until they stop producing it. Otherwise it would be like cleaning up feathers during a pillow fight. Better to wait until the pillows are all empty before starting to sweep. Or, in this case, sorting, entering into the software, and throwing half in the trash and filing the other half. So I did that and paid the bills that were stacking up. I can't do that sort of thing when Heather's here, since the kids never stop running and screaming and grabbing things and it takes both of us to watch them.

Tammy's coming to dust today and I'm putting her on the big desk so I won't be working much. I'm very excited about having it clean for maybe the first time since it's been here. And tomorrow Heather's coming without kids to take the old man and me to the hospital for his consultation with a vascular surgeon. Which he's now trying to blame on me, of course. He sat on the referral for two months and then asked me to make this appointment three weeks ago. Now he says he never wanted to do it and almost for sure won't have the procedure, but "you kids were so insistent". Um? What? I guess if saying "No one's going to ask why aren't you dead yet if you decide to prolong your life" is being insistent, then maybe. But no.

My favorite part is how he says he never asked for this consultation and I set it all up on my own. I reminded him that he gave me the information, otherwise how else would I have the phone number, but he just shook his head and wandered off. The boys say he always does this so no matter how it turns out it will be someone else's fault. Of course. Whether he dies in agony or spends another cold and boring Oregon winter in our library, it'll be on me because I insisted on whatever he ends up doing.

Maybe I'm good at this life and death shit, but I sure am bloody fucking tired of it.

Hopefully the sun will show up this afternoon so I can go downtown. I just found a stack of last year's Scientific American that Homeless Steve might enjoy, he likes reading physics, and they have a book for me at the library. Because I need to start another one.

But not right now. Right now it's time for my uncontrollably twitching thumb and I to go watch Criminal Minds* and wait for Tammy.

Is it sad that I dressed up for this?



*I wrote a CM fic a while ago and finally got it to a satisfactory point. I think. If you want to read something totally different from anything I've ever done in any fandom, it would be Everything to Everyone.
little_tristan: (Saints1)
I've stopped having the recurring nightmare about the strange houses. Other nightmares are taking its place, but they aren't nearly as bad. This is a good thing.

Last night Steve experimented with a new pork chop recipe and now I don't feel very good. Not sick, just odd. It might be some kind of heartburn (or pork overdose). It feels like pressure from the middle of my sternum to the base of my throat but it never started burning. Hopefully it'll go away soon. It's pool day.

Nature Noir is a really good book. I bought it under the impression that Jordan Smith was a woman, but eventually the author says that it was right and just but bad for his career when the park services started making up quotas of women and minorities. Several chapters after reading that, I still picture a woman. There's no mention of girlfriends or wives, no subtle sexism, no comments at all about women rangers being less able or less useful in the parks. In a lot of ways he writes like a woman, too. Way more nature porn than you usually get outside of actual poetry. Now I wonder if he's gay. I think I'd like gay ranger stories.

Steve's got me watching Criminal Minds. That might become my new fandom. I'm developing a bit of a Reid/Morgan thing already. Turns out I didn't used to watch it because it used to have Mandy Patinkin and I avoid him on principle. His face annoys me. Also his name. But we haven't seen any of his episodes on A&E yet so I don't care. I'll be getting them on DVD soon to catch up, but it'll be okay. I know he won't be there long.

I need more purple beaded jewelry. That's just an observation. But it's true.
little_tristan: (Book Reading)
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Katie by Michael McDowell, which is also on the long list for book of the year. She's a fabulously unrepentant killer of all things wealthy, fluffy, or just plain in her way. So major warnings for senseless violence and dog abuse, but still a truly awesome story by a brilliant writer whose career was cut short far too soon.
little_tristan: (Default)
Things have gotten much less poky over the past few days. I don't know if it was withdrawal from upping my sedatives and then cutting back again, or a worse then average hormonal shift, or maybe just your standard bi-polar shift. Whatever it was, it's backed off again. I'm still not fully functional, though, as I sprained my essential thumb again. So still no writing, but at least I'm not stressed about it.

I've been reading a lot, some good and some (coughcaitlinflanagancough) complete crap, but it makes me feel better. The dogs and cats are okay, and the boys are going to stand up for themselves at work today to the extent where they might get fired. I say it's about fucking time. (The good boss set up a really generous and understanding system wherein they could work/supervise 24 hours a day for a couple weeks and not die. Then he went on a business trip and the bad boss changed it to a system so bad we think he wants them to die. But the good boss comes back today and they're so ratting him out.)

Steve moved in yesterday so we're all fixed up on that front. We watched cartoons this morning and now he's cleaning the kitchen while I goof around online. How not-stressful is that? I just have to find him a bed so he can move out of the living room. No amount of warning can truly prepare a person for a house that comes alive at 3:30 in the morning. But I think Ranger liked having someone to sleep with.:)

Thank you all for the understanding and the peace and quiet while I shut down and rebooted, and especially to [livejournal.com profile] oddmonster for making sure all my systems came back online.
*love and hugs for everyone*

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