Tag Archives: cranky

Last beach read

Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox is the last of my beach reads. It was fine as a beach read, but I don’t feel a particular urge to read the second book of the duology. I liked the idea of the plot, but the world building felt kind of weak: a sort of England/European world but clearly not…until there were pop culture references (music) that jarred me out of the fantasy world.


As part of my partial season ticket plan (5 games), I received tickets to the two pre-tournament World Cup of Hockey games played in DC:  USA-FIN today and EUR-SWE tomorrow.  I can’t do back to back games during the work week, so I picked EUR-SWE and gave tonight’s tickets to a friend, who is having a great time.  I picked tomorrow in part because there are more Penguins on SWE than are on USA and FIN in total (only Olli Maatta, who needs umlauts on those As), but also because I am not impressed with Team USA’s roster, its head coach, his team/game philosophy, or his stance on the anthem.  (Which, lbr, is a non-issue in hockey, the whitest sport on Earth.)  I’m not sure who I’m going to cheer for; the choices are RUS (Malkin), SWE (Hagelin, Hornqvist), North America (Murray) or FIN (Maatta).

Also on a cranky note:  why, Apple?  I want to come back to you, but I’m not giving up a universal, wired earbud jack for airpods or accepting the crappy work-around Apple has planned.  First, I lose earbuds all the time; and I buy cheap ones for this reason.  No wires means it will be easy to lose the airpods.  Also, wired earbuds are a defense mechanism for me (and for many, many women); I’m not giving them up because Apple  wants to sell more proprietary peripherals.  Did Apple test these with women?  Or just ignore the opinions of half the audience in their usual arrogance?  Yeah, no, I’m not giving up my wired earbuds and if that means I’m not going back to iPhone, so be it.

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March reading

March was kind of meh for reading in the early part of the month.

As mentioned, I was less than impressed by the portion of the Captive Prince trilogy that I read.

Patricia Briggs’ Fire Touched came out early in the month as well.  I’ve given up on her Omega books set in the same world; as I mentioned when I read the last book, Anna’s dismissal of Charles’ desire to not have children Seriously Pissed Me Off and struck me as profoundly offensive in a way that would’ve had readers up in arms if their positions had been swapped.  Mercy…eh, I have mentioned before that her acquisition of a new power  or tool of power or conveniently powered/talented friend whenever one is needed seems lazy.  And it happens again here. Plus, Mercy’s internal monologing in which she knows better than Adam about how he feels about god/religion strikes me as profoundly patronizing in much the same way Anna “knowing best” about whether Charles should want to have kids did.    Yeah, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

I’m almost finished Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies (non-fiction), which I’m really enjoying.

And I’ve got the first installment of Ms. Marvel to read next.  And the web comic Check Please.


Random:  I was reading an NPR piece on “Boston Chinese” food and ran across one of my language pet peeves, the use of cache for cachet.  They are spelled differently; pronounced differently; and have completely different meanings.  How freaking difficult is it to use the right word.  Boston Chinese does not have “a certain cache”; it has a certain cachet.  FFS.

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Continuity is a thing

There is an author whose voice/style I really enjoy.  Or maybe it’s the voice she has given her main character?  In any case, I’ve kept up with the series through multiple books, even though pretty much every book has had very noticeable copy-editing blips and some continuity errors.  Despite being edited by a Big Name Editor.

A novella was self-published recently, and there are a couple of continuity/consistency things that just make me cringe.  Is it retconning?  I don’t know.  But I think I’m at my limit, especially now that the series has moved to hardback; I’m not willing to pay hardback prices for books that make my hands itch for a red pen.

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Oh, fandom

There are lots of good things about hockey fandom.  There are.  But sometimes I forget how young a lot of fandom is.  Or maybe young isn’t the right word.  Inexperienced?  Oblivious to economic realities?

DKPittsburghsports.com is a sports news site focused on Pittsburgh sports; it was founded by a former Trib reporter and much of its staff are also former Trib employees or refugees from other traditional media venues.  Its material is behind a pay wall.  It’s a relatively cheap pay wall, frankly.  It has a tumblr where it posts snippets and it occasionally makes full posts free to the public.

But some people in hockey fandom have copied entire posts and circulated them.  So that other fans (or any random person poking around the internet) can read the copyrighted material while avoiding/evading the pay wall.  And when they receive a DMCA notice, they consider the site to be “douchey” because the posters aren’t making money off the reposting and thus there’s no harm.

Well, no, the rebloggers aren’t making money.  But they are republishing material that isn’t theirs, material that is behind a pay wall.  Republishing a paragraph might be fair use, but an entire column is not.  The material is NOT theirs to do that with.  And they are erasing potential income to the site based on their republishing.

That’s not douchey.  That is defending their intellectual property and their livelihood.

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Sometimes the best thing to do is stop talking

I have only been in a courtroom a few times post school and summer/semester clerking. The vast majority of times since then have been for jury selection when I was called for jury duty (counsel always excuses me). I have occasionally seen a lawyer tell a client to stop talking. Usually when they started talking directly to the judge or opposing counsel inappropriately and oversharing in a way that was detrimental to the case.  (Telling your client to stop talking looks bad and signals poor client control, but sometimes it’s better to get them to just stop talking even so.)

I feel like sometimes in life, we all need someone to tell us to sit down and shut up because we are making things worse. That m/m author could use it right now. The new post at her blog (which I’ve now removed from my reader, thanks) is Not Helping. It’s all Poor Me! People are So Mean! While making it pretty clear there was an ulterior motive (sell more books!). Ugh.

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Fandom things unrelated to books – cranky post

I’ve been watching The West Wing on Netflix lately.  I was late to the show, didn’t start watching it until the third season.  And then I ended up missing most of the last season.  But I loved C.J. Cregg – my competence kink, let me show you it.  I will watch anything with Allison Janney in it, anything.  Now that I’m rewatching it from the beginning, I still love CJ but I find a lot of the other characters considerably less sympathetic than they were on first watch.  Part of it is perspective/age and experience, and another part of it is watching several episodes at a time and seeing repetitive behavior that irritates.

How many times did Toby undermine CJ?  How many times did he talk down to or underestimate women?  All the damn time.  The episode when Felicity Huffman’s character burns him hard?  He so deserved it; he underestimated her and treated her like she was stupid.  Why?  Mostly because she was a woman and he seemed to feel like it was okay to condescend to her (and to blow off CJ at the same time).

Sam’s call girl friend – the president promises that she’ll get admitted to whatever bar she wants.  Uh, that’s not really the way bar admissions work.  Moral turpitude is often grounds to deny admission.

Anna Deavere Smith as Nancy McNally is awesome.

But do not get me started on the political appointee/operative attitude toward government employees.  The contempt is not even veiled.  Which I guess is only to be expected since in my experience, the contempt that rank and file government employees feel toward Congress and elected officials and their appointees is reciprocal.

Also on a fan-ish note, I’m struggling with my enjoyment of professional hockey.  The NHL is problematic, as much as any other professional sports league, although they (and a lot of fans) seem to think otherwise. It’s mostly white bro-culture that’s homogenous, racist, and sexist (spare me the “hockey moms! hockey fights cancer!” PR program; try again when Ice Girls are either gone or get to wear exactly the same clothes as guys shoveling ice).  It has domestic violence, assault, and substance abuse problems that the league prefers to pretend do not exist.  I have always been aware of this and acknowledge that being a fan is problematic (to put it mildly).  But this summer has really been awful:  the deportation voluntary departure of Slava Voynov, the settlement of a civil assault case filed by a former nanny against Mike Ribeiro, drug charges against Jared Stoll and Mike Richard, the drunk driving and leaving the scene by Ryan O’Reilly, and pending rape investigation of Patrick Kane are just the things we know about.  What other stuff has been deemed small time and swept under the rug by the NHL or the teams?

The Blackhawks and Predators have been pretty tone deaf to how bad this looks to outsiders and to female fans in particular.  The league’s indifference has been infuriating.

My favorite team is currently not under the microscope for similar off-ice activities; I have no illusions that it always has been so or that it will always remain so.  I paid for my season mini-plan before the Kane allegations and the NHL’s most frustrating indifference surfaced.  The share of ticket revenue that goes to the league is already gone and there’s no way to get it back.  Only one of the games I have tickets to involves any of the teams involved above (although I also have no illusions about the possibility of equally awful but unreported behavior by players on any other teams).  I’m not sure what to do.  Make an equal donation to either Turn Around or House of Ruth?  Sell my tickets and donate the proceeds?

I’ve got a letter half-written to the NHL (like they’ll actually read it?) but I don’t think they’ll care or change their radio silence. Why bother unless/until fans who are revolted by this actually hurt their bottom line?

Tangent:  the CWHL announced a collaboration with the NWHL and NHL.  I’m very curious about the timing of it, since the NHL has basically ignored women’s hockey and the CWHL for as long as it’s existed.  Now it’s time to get some good lady-PR?  How convenient.


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Apparently I’m crazy

According to a random commenter, who apparently wants to be a writer but can’t afford an editor or proofreader and doesn’t want to do the actual work of being in an online critique group, I am crazy for thinking that self-published authors should invest either the time or social capital in those things.

Whatever.  Maybe I am crazy, but I’m also a person with disposable income directed at books and a reader who kills Kindle samples when they demonstrate shitty grasp of punctuation, spelling, verb tenses, etc.  Make of that what you will.

Mostly I just wanted to roll my eyes at the commenter, who comes across as a whiny child who needs the Debbie Allen Fame speech.  Or maybe just Ursula the Sea Witch’s warning:  if you want to cross the bridge, you have to pay the toll.


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Real books vs. ebooks

I love to visit The Strand bookstore when I visit NYC:  so many books, so many choices.  And I’ve bought OOP and used books from the online store.

Having said that, I must confess that their marketing slogan, “Real books lower priced than ebooks!” seriously irritates me.  Whenever I see it in the store, I roll my eyes and walk past.  It appeared in the subject line of an email yesterday, and has really stuck in my mind since then.

The Strand makes money selling paper books, rare and common, old and new.  Ebooks aren’t something they sell or deal in at all.  I understand why they want to grab potential book buyers and their attention and their spare cash.  But calling paper books “real” implies that ebooks aren’t.  The nature of an ebook is a philosophical and legal question that can be debated for hours.  But what this slogan says, in so many words, is that the medium of the story being told is more important than the content.  Is that really the message an advocate of books/reading/literacy wants to send?

IMO, it will alienate ebook readers while pandering to readers who value the object over the content and who feel superior for their paper choice.  I don’t know, maybe their market research tells them that their customer base is not composed of ebook readers, so the slogan will work.  (It must be working — it’s been in use for several months at least.  Maybe The Strand is a brand that doesn’t need technology, or maybe its customer base is made of hipsters who love the retro aspect of reading paper books?)

There are always going to be people who want paper books.  And other readers who prefer ebooks.  And people like me who read both.


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Is math that hard?

Maybe it is in the editorial context. I don’t know.

I just finished an otherwise good book with what seems like noticeable simple math/age error in the opening chapter.  The narrator tells readers that her husband (a villain) proposed to her when she was 28 years old.  And that they’ve been married for 2 1/2 years.  Which would seem to indicate that she is at least 30 if not running up on 31, yes?  Except then the narrator has a conversation with another character who chides her as being sheltered and not yet 30 years old.

How exactly does that math work?

Look, it isn’t that big a deal in the scheme of things for the book whether she’s 29 or 30 or 40.  But when dates or years are specified, I do the math mentally.  When it doesn’t add up properly, I spend time trying to figure out where/what I misunderstood and am jarred out of the story.  Which is probably not the storyteller’s goal.

This particular author is sort of well-known in her niche and has, as I understand it, very good editors at the various publishers she works with.  And yet this is not the first wonky math in her books:  percentages adding up to more than 100%, timing that makes no sense unless major holidays are moved, etc.

Maybe things shifted in the editorial process.  I don’t know.  But I can tell you that as much as I enjoyed the book, what stands out is the not-quite-right age of the heroine based on the conflicting information provided.

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But followed by comma?

Why?  Why am I seeing “But,” everywhere?  Are writers following the pause = comma rule?


Just stop.

Also, prey does not mean the same thing as pray.

Name checks so characters’ names are consistently spelled would be nice.  One character in the $0.99 book I wasted time and money on — yes, I resent both, given how crappy the book was — is both Alisha and Alicia.

Uncomfort is not a word.  Discomfort is.

“Civil law” is not an area of specialization.  Calling it one is like calling biology a specialization in the field of research; it’s still a very broad category.

Direct address commas really do matter.

Consistent use of dashes for compound words would be nice; doing it right for one word right next to another that is ignored is jarring.

“Really” contributes no value to sentences in professional writing and should be cut every time.



Maybe now that’s out of my system I’ll be able to settle into a good book?

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