Tag Archives: apropos of nothing

The first quarter of 2018

Well…the reading slump has improved, if only by the smallest of increments.  Four books finished!  Three more books from authors whose series I used to love attempted and DNF’d; two of those were library books, and now they are not even on the library list.  I would not characterize any of the four I finished as five star reads, but I am going to look for other work by one author.  Another of the books reiterated that New Adult fiction and a Very Popular Author in that subgenre are REALLY not for me.

Next up on the fiction front:  Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai.  An autographed copy was on display at the Strand when I was in New York a few weeks ago, and it was an impulse buy.

Currently working through on the nonfiction front:  The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.  I can only read this in small increments because it is so infuriating.  I live in Baltimore; the modern effects of segregation are painfully apparent here, exacerbated by the flight of heavy industry.  I worked briefly in a landlord-tenant clinic years ago, representing low income tenants in rent court.  Even so, I had NO IDEA that the segregation was written into law; I thought it was a function of the racist application of law.  My white privilege there.  *cringes*

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Shoes and pants for travel

To say that I am not particularly fashionable would be an understatement.  My wardrobe isn’t small, but the section that I wear on a regular basis is.  While I joke with colleagues about how bland and uniform-like most suits are for people in our particular line of work, there’s a certain relief in knowing that there’s a uniform of sorts for days with meetings and for business casual.

But I am always keeping an eye out for clothes that travel well, are easy to mix and match, and are wash and wearable.

A few days before leaving for Portugal, I stopped by REI, looking for a pair of shoes.  They didn’t have exactly what I wanted: the particular style had been on clearance and sold out.  But I ended up buying a pair of Merrells and a pair of Mammut pants off the clearance sale rack.

The Merrells are as excellent as Merrells usually are:  the black Dassie shoe worked with pants and casual skirts and wore well for walking miles on cobblestones.  The Mammut pants wound up being better than I anticipated for traveling.  They are made of lightweight material that dries quickly when rained upon, didn’t feel binding even after 12+ hours of wear, were easily cleaned, etc.

Highly recommend both…although it looks like the pants aren’t available any longer.

Still…if you don’t want to wear sneakers as you travel but still need good support and sturdy shoes for walking, Merrell might be a brand to try.  And I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more Mammut on the sale rack.

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Note to self

Next time, permit more time for wine tasting. Two port caves per day is really my limit, but there are so many, and I won’t have time to try them all. 😍

Also: this fascinated me. Up close, it’s a bunch of mangled car parts stuck on the corner of a building for no apparent reason. A few yards away, it is clearly an Art Installation…maybe one with a message I don’t really get. But still, it’s ingenious.


And then there is this installation across from a hipster-y coffee place. Those are car tires sticking out of or affixed to the building.


(Where I had a pastry and a latte. Yum.)

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Second beach read

I’ve had Our Kind of Traitor to be read since the beginning of summer.  I meant to read it in time to see the movie, but I missed the movie in theaters and have only just finished reading the book.

It was…kind of a drudge.  I mean, it wasn’t badly written, in terms of language and narrative.  It was just dour in the way that Le Carre is.  He’s got a particular world view that is present in all of his work as far as I can tell.  (Or maybe just the few books I’ve tried?)  And I find it to be less than engaging; it seems (to me) replete with casual misogyny, classism/racism, and a sort of Cold War remnant worldview.  All of the characters in this book were cliches or stereotypes.  There was an arc of sorts but little or no resolution.  I need to remember in future that he’s not to my taste.

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Apprentice in Death by JD Robb

Why can’t I quit this series?  The story lines are stale or recycled.  The editing is sloppy.  Meh.

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Today’s beach events have me wondering if social scientists have looked at beach etiquette.  There are square miles of empty beach; why drop your umbrella two feet away from a stranger’s umbrella?  Cell phones mean you can have that conversation anywhere; but should you have a conversation about what sounds like confidential work stuff while screaming over the waves and gulls on a beach full of strangers? What is the psychology or sociology that has people do this kind of stuff?  Or smoke on the beach, or track sand on someone else’s blankets/towels, or play a radio without earbuds, etc?

One of my beachy neighbors failed to secure their umbrella today.  As the wind picked up, the umbrella took off, whacking me in the throat with the pointy end hard enough to knock me down (I was standing and didn’t see it coming until the last moment).  The underside of my chin has a huge welt, along with my cheek and the side of my neck, despite icing.  I’ve got a weird throat/ear ache and it kind of hurts to swallow.  If it still hurts in the morning, I may try to get a doctor’s appointment and head home early 😦

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ETA: I’ve finished listening to the first of five sections of Middle March.  The sections are based on size/time, not by chapter or book section.  But it’s still further than I’ve ever managed to get when attempting to read it in paper or ebook.  I like the reader’s voice, but I don’t really care about any of the characters so far.

 

 

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Random housekeeping

I was poking around in WordPress and wound up on the page that tells me about visitors and which posts are popular.  It’s an odd combination of posts, to be honest:  a cranky post about the difference between bequest (noun!) and bequeath (verb!) and a review of Black Wade, a graphic novel, which I had kind of forgotten about.  Black Wade is by far the most popular post I’ve ever written, which is kind of ironic since it’s not a post I put a huge amount of effort or thought into.

Seeing the stats made me go see if I still had it on my bookshelf.  Yes, there is was, sitting next to my Firefly graphic novels and also one of the early Mercedes Thompson graphic novels.  But, wow, has it *not* aged well for me.  In fact, re-reading it gave me a serious squick.  It’s going in the discard pile, although I’m not sure if it is appropriate for donation to the library or what.

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Reading ennui

My reading ennui continues.  After failed the fifty page test; the writing read as elementary to me and the POV was childish, even for NA.  Next?  That’s the problem, there’s nothing I want to read.

I wandered around B&N today with book money and a coupon for 20% off burning a hole in my pocket, metaphorically speaking.  They had a gigantic teen section with separate subsections for PNR/fantasy, general, and romance.  The mystery and romance sections were maybe half of what they used to be.  None of the authors I was looking for were in stock:  none of CS Harris’s backlist, no Ilona Andrews, the third book in Leckie’s series but neither of the other two, etc.  I could, of course, order them from B&N.  Or I could order them from Amazon for less and have them arrive sooner.  Or I could spend my time doing something other than reading, which is most likely to happen.

This is how a life-long reader stops being a reader and how B&N loses business.

D:

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The Martian was pretty good.

I’m interested in seeing Sufragette, despite the fact that Carey Mulligan is the main character.  (She seems really one note to me in all the roles I’ve seen her in.)  But Meryl Streep.

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We sing songs about our friends in E Minor

I finished The Moor’s Account, which Rosario recommended.  I liked it pretty well, mostly because the POV was novel.

At the library today, I picked up a copy of After by Anna Todd; it’s New Adult, which is not my favorite sub-genre, but the fact that its tag line is “wattpad sensation” caught my attention.

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I’m so ready for hockey season to start tomorrow night.  My first game is next week.  And I’ve got tickets for an NWHL game 🙂

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Saw Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls at Rams Head Live on Saturday and the 9:30 Club on Sunday.  Beans on Toast and Skinny Lister opened;  I’d seen BoT before but never Skinny Lister.  I think their sound suits FT better than the other second acts I’ve seen at his shows before, which struck as a little too metal to be consistent with the sounds of BoT and FT.  And I was pretty entertained by the squeeze box/accordion player, who rocked out, and the upright bass player who crowdsurfed during one song.  I liked the set list slightly better on Saturday (it included “Eulogy”, “Worse Things Happen at Sea”, and “One Foot Before the Other”) than Sunday but enjoyed both shows.  The sound was better at the 9:30 Club; at Rams Head, the bass and drums made the lyrics a little hard to distinguish some times, at least I found it so up on the balcony rather than down on the floor.  I love that there is a tour flag traveling to all the tour stops independent of the band; it goes via fans.  The dude who brought it to DC was in front of me in the line to get into the show.  [I’m looking at his other tour stops and thinking hard about road trips.  But since he’s going west, it’s probably not going to happen; if he were going up or down the east coast, I’d be seriously tempted.]

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