in search of a glue stick, see…

haus_library_tbr

A piece of wallpaper is coming up, and so I went in search of a glue stick, see, and that’s where it all went wrong.

The glue stick would be with Young Indiana’s not-entirely-unpacked stuff of that nature, so I went out to the sun room where most of that is. Where most of it is, uselessly, I might add, because you have to leave the house to get into the sun room, so it’s not a casual step in to get to all of that stuff, which includes paper and drawing utensils and paints and coloring books and things of that nature.

So I thought, well, I’m out here, how about I just get these things moved into the house. The puzzles, especially; no point in having puzzles you can’t get to, so I brought them all in and put them in the library.

Except of course there’s no room for them in the library, the shelves are all taken up. And I thought well, it’d be good to maybe give Indy a whole bookcase of his own, with his books and his crafts stuff and puzzles and etc so on so forth. And *technically* several of the shelves weren’t filled with stuff,

which is to say they obviously were, but they were filled with things like the now-read TBR shelf books which were waiting to go to a used bookstore and really a couple of the shelves were just laden with random crap that could be, if nothing else, consolidated, so the no-longer-TBR books got put in a couple of bags and things got consolidated and the graphic-novels-and-gaming-books part of the TBR shelf just got moved somewhere else, I’m not proud of myself but there you have it, and about five shelves’ worth of books got moved around and really at least an entire shelf’s worth of stuff should go up to the office so I brought it up to the office which is not, mind you, *sorted*, not entirely, so it’s only getting slowly worse instead of better and for god’s sake this is just a bag of CORDS, and this box here is ancient hard drives and all of that should really just be backed up onto some big external memory machine so we can get rid of the smaller pieces

and *gosh* if I could just–well, okay, totally clear the TBR shelf, that’s the easiest way to do it, but if I could just *somehow* without having to totally clear the TBR shelves eke just like two more shelves out of the other bookcases I could maybe move one of the bookcases into the kitchen where it could hold, er, other stuff, and okay so some of this stuff could legitimately go into the office if there was anywhere to put it which if I sent those things there and put those ones in some other closet because they legitimately don’t belong in the office and maybe, no, I don’t know, honestly there’s nowhere to put it right now and gosh I really miss doing photography and I really need to try to get myself out there, join the local photography club and the walking club too but anyway maybe if I actually went through these amazingly stupid millions of files and organized them I bet they’d only take up a single box instead of the four or five that are currently in use and that’d gain me a ton of space and wait I cleared out like four shelves in the sun room and this stuff really DOESN’T need to be all in the house maybe I actually *could* make it work, not today because I still need to vacuum and finish cleaning the living room, why haven’t I done that, I got like halfway done and then, well, I mean I hate vacuuming, I really do, that’s the problem here, and

look, so the thing is the glue stick turns out to be somewhere in the garage.

nibbled to death by ducks

head_on_by_mizkit

I’m being nibbled to death by ducks. Or perhaps I am a duck, nibbling things to death. Either way I have accomplished many many small important things that probably add up to a lot but somehow don’t *seem* to.

…no, actually, having gotten the Old Races short story project kinda off the ground I suddenly feel like I *have* accomplished things. Yay!

I gotta finish up with MAGIC AND MANNERS next. The heavy lifting is done on the revisions for it, but I need to add a couple of small scenes and maybe refine another few things. If I can get that out the door by Friday I will be very happy. Wish me luck!

– email book layout person
– mail french books
– mail hqn stuff
– dig out story for patreon ppl
– mail stone’s throe
email agent

Recent Reads: The Old Races Collections

Baba Yaga's Daughter

I’m starting a new Old Races short story project, so during our Great Internet Hiatus, I re-read the two story collections I’ve done.

I almost never re-read an entire book I’ve written. I read URBAN SHAMAN when it was published, and I’ve read THE CARDINAL RULE twice just for fun, but generally I just flip through a book looking for a detail if I need to look something up, so it was kind of fascinating to actually sit down and read two books in a row written by me.

I still think BABA YAGA’S DAUGHTER is one of the best things I’ve ever written. There’s one story I would demystify a little more now if I could revise it, but overall I’m really pleased with the whole collection. Incredibly pleased with it, actually.

YEAR OF MIRACLES as a collection doesn’t hang together as well, to the point that reading it has completely changed what I intended to do with the new ORSSP. I am, in short, dissatisfied with the YoM collection, and so I’m going to be writing 3-5 new “Origins” stories—stories that happen before the Negotiator Trilogy—and then a whole bunch of “Aftermath” (post-trilogy) stories, including Grace’s story, “Kiss of Angels,” for the new project.

All the Origins stuff will eventually be collected in a print edition that will contain the novella “Year of Miracles” as an anchor piece, and all of the Aftermath stuff will be (more eventually, I suspect, as there’s more to do there) collected in a print edition with “Kiss of Angels” as the anchor piece. I will be much happier with that, and will feel they make much stronger collections than the current Origins/Year of Miracles/Aftermath chronological setup I’ve got going.

What was interesting, from a reading-to-refresh POV, is that wow, there’s stuff I’d TOTALLY forgotten about. Whole characters I’d completely forgotten, nevermind the setup for stuff I implied (to myself if no one else) while writing them. Of course, the flip side of that is there are places where I clearly had a vision for where I was going when I wrote a story and I now have essentially no clue where I intended to go. I’m sure I’ll figure it out, but it’s kinda funny to read a story and think “Yep. Yep. I was goin’ somewhere with that, all right,” and have NOOOOOOOOO IDEA where that somewhere was. :)

So I took a lot of notes, and generated a lot of new ideas, and if I can shape the Origins stories up a little, I have a really quite clear idea of what I’ll be doing with the Aftermath stuff (it more or less involves an apocalypse O.O). I think it’s gonna be good!

work that isn’t writing

henry_firstdayschool

I cannot believe it’s the end of August. This summer has been a loss to a much greater degree than expected, and I’m just sort of…I’m getting my feet back under me, at this point. And I *am* getting my feet back under me: I’ve actually accomplished a great deal of detail work over the past week, all of which was very necessary and is something of a weight off my shoulders.

Today is the first day of school:

henry_firstdayschool

which means I have about 8 weeks of 15-20 hours of time back to myself before the first term break, and in that time I…should theoretically be able to get quite a lot done. I’m not even going to make a list of what that all should be, not here, not today, not when I have a bunch of other piecemeal bits to still get done, but…the ball is rolling a little, maybe. I just hope it’s not up hill. :)

moving thinks to do up so i can see ’em again
– clear out inbox, augh (642 530 241 144)
– dig out that extra story for patreon patrons this month
– pay credit card bills
print things from ian
finish paperwork for ian
print things from hqn

Picoreview: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

pr_uncle

Picoreview: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Harry Cavill spent a fair bit of the movie wet and dirty. There’s nothing more really needs be said.

Seriously, the whole film could have been unmitigated drek and I may well not have noticed, because Harry Cavill was so incredibly beautiful that I stared at him dumbfounded every moment he was on the screen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where my jaw just dropped every time somebody came on screen. Usually I get inured to it, y’know, like, “Yes, wow, yessir that is one attractive man, okay, movie now,” but I was staggered every single time Cavill was on screen. And he didn’t even take his clothes off!

Right. Aside from that, it was pleasantly entertaining. Not high art, but a nice romp that they probably could have knocked 10 minutes off without damaging the story, as I thought a few times that it was getting a little long. The costumes were good (Cavill’s suits, dear god. Sharp-dressed man.), and the womens’ hair looked like 1960s hair, not 1960s hair by way of 2015, which pleased me.

I thought Alicia Vikander’s accent was pretty hit and miss, but I liked her as a character and I liked her relationship with Armie Hammer’s rather…sweet, really, giant Russian spy with anger management issues. The script fell down a bit for Hammer, I thought; he got short shrift in comparison to Cavill both in screen time and in general competency, and given that he’s supposed to be the best of the KGB, well. I wanted to see that. He did get more character development than the other two, though, and the musical score for his rage, though, was utterly brilliant.

I would really love to see a second film that played more to his strengths, and to see Vikander as a regular part of the team, but as it turns out the film has been a total and complete flop, which I think is downright tragic. Seriously, everybody should rush out and see it in a desperate attempt to give it legs, because I really did enjoy it thoroughly and I’m sad it hasn’t done well.

And my god, Harry Cavill is beautiful. (“Armie Hammer is good-looking,” my Mom said. “Henry Cavill is *ludicrously* good-looking.” :))

a feast of strawberries

haus_apples

I was in town yesterday and saw a fruit vendor with 1-kilo flats of strawberries for €5 each, which I thought was an excellent deal. I bought two, came home with them, and went back out not much later to get (other things also, but) four more.

The young lady at the booth looked at me a bit askance when I came up and asked for four flats. I explained I was making jam, and she said, “Oh! Okay. I was wondering if you maybe had a bit of an addiction.” I said, “I don’t like to talk about it,” and she laughed and said she had a 3 kilo box for €10, and did I want that. I did, so I bought, er, 7 kilos of strawberries yesterday, and hulled them all and froze them in jam-batch-sized portions and very soon now I’ll make them into jam. Except the ones that are going into a strawberry-rhubarb crumble this afternoon.

We have concluded to our satisfaction that at least one of the apple trees has Brambly apples, which are meant to be good cooking apples. I’ve been pointed at a site on how to make pectin from apples, and we’re going to have so many apples I’m more than a little tempted to give pectin-making a shot, just for the hell of it. I can’t find any recipes online that really seem to use it, but I do have at least two pre-1950 cookbooks, so I should look in those. If I do all of that successfully I’ll post recipes and stuff, as I seem to recall there are quite a few jam-makers reading my blog. :)

Even if I don’t go the pectin-making route I’m going to have So Many Apples. I’m going to have to freeze zillions of them. I shall regret not having a chest freezer before this is all over, I can tell, but I will persevere with what I’ve got by thinking of apple pie, applesauce, apple muffins, apple bread, apple cobbler, apple crumble, apple fritters, apple eeeeeeeeeverything, all made from apples picked in the back garden. :)

Now I’m hungry and shall go in search of food. But not apples, because they’re not ripe yet. :)

so the visualization thing is called aphantasia

mindseye

I’ve been talking about this topic for years (whether you see pictures in your head when you, say, read), ever since a conversation with a friend and Ted and the friend said something about the radio drama in her head, and Ted said “You only get a radio drama?” and she said “Oh no! I get the whole movie!” and I said “wait what?”

After some incredulous back-and-forthing, we found that they saw pictures in their heads when they read (or called up memories, or DAYDREAMED, WHAT THE HELL!!!), and I didn’t. (“How can you possibly make such great pictures in MY head when YOU don’t see them?” Ted asked in bewilderment.)

This whole astonishing conversation shed light on several scenes I’d read in books over the years that had always vaguely bothered me: the bit in EMILY CLIMBS, where a father can’t recall the face of his dead child, that he’s unable to pull up a picture in his mind like most people did; a bit in SURELY YOU’RE JOKING, MR FEYNMAN, where they’re trying to see how well people keep time in their heads and those who did it best saw a clock counting in their mind; and non-book things like, yes, counting sheep or this stupid math thing we did in school as kids where there were these color blocks we were supposed to be able to use to help do multiplication in our heads: 5 blue squares, 10 red ones, 1 green, etc, which were, I now understand, tools for people who visualized, and which I always thought were a really stupid thing to do, because as with all of the above examples, my basic reaction was and is: oh sure, WHO ACTUALLY DOES THAT?!

A lot of people, apparently, except I have to say that from my casual interrogations on the topic over the past decade+, it’s a lot more like 1 in 3 people who don’t visualize than 1 in 50. Also most (not all, but most) people who visualize strongly tend to like longer narrative poetry better than short conceptual poetry, and…loads of stuff. :)

Anyway, the whole inability to visualize thing clearly works differently for different people. I can tell you with a fair amount of accurate detail what Tom Cruise (and I use him because everybody knows who he is) looks like, but I cannot ‘see’ him in my head, whereas Ted can apparently pull up a 3D image and spin it around in his head. *boggle* I’ve had visual artist friends who say they occasionally get a flash of an image but can’t hold it (which is how I am), and if you ask me I say what’s in my head is words, but it’s not PICTURES of words. It’s just words. In the darkness. Where they belong.

Also after finding out that people could do this I started trying to develop an ability to visualize, just out of curiosity, and I got just far enough along in the exercise to start getting an idea of what it might be like and it was HORRIBLE. My head felt crowded. It was AWFUL. UGH!

People can also apparently hear music in their heads as if (and language does not explain this well) they’re listening to a radio or an orchestra or whatever in their heads. That’s happened to me like…two times in my life. Maybe three. For no more than a phrase or two of music, and it’s SHOCKING AS HELL. I earworm, but it’s…just words. With the idea of a tune in their vicinity. And my voice. Ish. Kind of. In a sort of…flattened way. Muted. Not like my voice spoken aloud. At all.

Also HOLY CRAP the idea that Fantasia is like ACTUALLY LIKE SOMETHING PEOPLE MIGHT SEE IN THEIR HEADS LISTENING TO MUSIC!? WHAT THE HELL!?!? I mean I knew that was like the *idea* behind it but I thought it was sheer fucking fancy, like, you know? It never crossed my mind that it might be LITERAL. (and oh look, ‘aphantasia’ is the opposite of ‘phantasia’, which. heh. i see what they did there.)

I love this topic. I really do. It’s SO FASCINATING to find out what happens in other peoples’ heads…!

The Great Manor House Picture Post

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This is long, but I’m Showing Stuff Off, so I’m not putting it behind a cut. :)

The house & front garden:
actualmanorhouse

front_garden

The sun room (with slightly distorted child), visible to the right of the house:
sunroom

The living room end of the Long Room:
longroom01

The dining room end of the Long Room:
diningroom

The library:
library02

library01

To the left is the TBR shelf before 6 weeks of no net.
haus_library_tbr

The TBR shelf after 6 weeks of no net:
haus_tbr02

The kitchen:
kitchen04

kitchen03

kitchen02

kitchen01

My (the, but mostly my :)) office:
office.jpg

My beloved Captain’s Chair:
haus_captainschair

Guest room:
guestroom

The back garden, in all its glory, from about the midway point of the garden:
haus_back

From the far end of the garden:
haus_garden

The swingset we installed first thing upon moving in:
haus_swingset

A garden full of housewarmers (the children all stayed inside, the adults all hung around outside, which I think is very funny :)) :
housewarming01

Wall of red roses:
wallofroses02

Wall of many colored roses!
wallofroses01

Apples, just, y’know, like, growing and stuff. (Food does not grow on trees in the land of my people!)
haus_apples

Recent Reads: The Abigail Adams Mysteries

rr_9thdaughter

I’ve had Barbara Hamilton (Hambly)’s Abigail Adams books on my TBR shelf for quite a while, based on my love for her Benjamin January books.

I didn’t like the Adams books as much as the January books, which kind of surprised me. It was partly, I recognize, the Puritanism in the books, which made me…impatient. I don’t have a lot of use for religious fundamentalists in real life, much less in my fiction, and the fact that Abigail Adams herself apparently struggled with her (literally) Puritanical faith did not help to endear her to me.

Anyway, I guess I got used to it, because it wasn’t as difficult to read the second two books as the first, but neither was I terribly sad there weren’t more in the series. I wish I had been, though, because she’s such a great writer. Like the January books, there’s a terrific sense of time and place built into the books, and the characterizations are wonderful. Overall, I can’t help thinking they’re worth a better response than I had to them, but that’s on me, not the books.

back online with thinks to do

back online with thinks to do

Now that I’m back online I have a list longer than my arm of thinks to do.

put in a grocery order
check to see how to renew indy’s passport
update fitbit to use new one
email redeemer patrons
email patreon patrons
prep short story for patreon
update reading list
email ian
email steve
– clear out inbox, augh
email harlequin
– pay credit card bills
update fb page
email mailing list
email m&m mailing list
email orssp mailing list

hook up printer
– print things from ian
– print things from hqn
print embassy appointment page

…there’s a lot more, but this is all I can remember right now.

More posting on more interesting topics soon.