Tag Archives: tmi

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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Goals for 2016

Inspired by Sunita’s post.

These are mostly life goals, because I’m resigned enough to the continued slump in reading that I can’t really make any really specific reading goals.

  1.  Read more.  Write about what I read (or watch or listen to).
  2. Career development.  I’m pretty good at my job, but there’s not a significant amount of growth or development potential there by its nature.  I mean, it gives me a really broad base of generalized knowledge, and I’ve managed to acquire expertise in a couple of specific areas but they aren’t necessarily what I feel most engaged by.  Also, to be perfectly honest, large chunks of what I see on a daily basis are pretty demoralizing, in terms of man’s inhumanity to man and how greed turns off people’s common sense.  Beyond that, I think I might want to transfer to one of our regional offices. The problem will be figuring out how to do so without burning bridges, because my director has undermined everyone in my group who has attempted to transfer or get a detail or secondment; he’d rather have staff who are miserable than be down staff numbers since we’ve been told that for every 6 people who leave only 1 will be replaced.  [He’s an HR lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m pretty sure a couple of complaints have been made already.  I especially love how he tells women that we are “too emotional” whenever we call him on his unequal treatment.  And then there’s blatant favoritism of his workout buddy, who gets special treatment while being barely competent and less productive than everyone else in the group.]
  3. Finances.  I’m saving but could save more.  And I feel like I’m not making my savings work enough, so…financial adviser time.
  4. Learn to knit a sweater, so I can use the gorgeous Blue Heron silk-merino blend yarn I was given for Christmas.  I’ve never made a sweater.  No pressure there; the giver is just very much looking forward to seeing me in a sweater made with their yarn.
  5. Eat better.  I’ve been not great nutrition-wise lately.  Part of it has been the holidays, with all kinds of sweets around, but part of it has also been overindulgence on my part with respect to lattes and pastry at Cafe Poupon.
  6. Figure out what to do with my spare room.  I’ve decided kind of generally that I want to install a murphy bed system, but it needs storage/shelving, too.  I’ve looked at units that I could assemble (in theory…bad theory) but think I’m going to have to find a local cabinet-maker or furniture place that does them.
  7. Continue winnowing the clutter.  A lot of things that fall into the clutter categories are books and knick-knacks and the like.  I used to think that since books never go bad, why not hoard them?  But I feel like that’s not the healthiest attitude.  Also, it’s stuff to dust and store.
  8. Watch less hockey. (This is entirely The Biochemist’s fault.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

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On fractures and changing communities

Superlibrarian wrote a really good post on the fracturing of the Romland online community last week, and Sunita followed it up with a second post.  I don’t have anything material to add to their posts or the thoughtful comments.

Both posts made me think about my participation in the community online over the last several years. (Dear godlings, I just checked my archive, I’ve been blogging intermittently since 2005…I am a crone in internet years.)  Some very thoughtful reader-bloggers have come and gone as I’ve stood on the sidelines.  (I hope they left in good health and are doing well in real life, and just left Romland as their interest/time waned, but don’t always know.)  Other bloggers, like Superlibrarian and Rosario, just keep reviewing with a consistency that I find amazing.  AAR went from being Laurie Gold’s to not.  ATBF changed its board/commenting.  Authors had message boards that got closed down due to flame wars.  First the big blog platforms were LiveJournal and Blogger, and then it was WordPress.

Later came other platforms and social media, both of which integrated marketing and selling to a degree that was much more obtrusive than earlier platforms, IMO.  GoodReads never felt particularly welcoming to me, so I didn’t join the migration there.  Amazon boards felt like a free-for-all when I visited, so I clicked back as fast as I could.  I used to be much more active on Twitter, but have mostly let that go over the last year or so; all the romance Twitter-folk I followed seem to RT a lot of promotional material that I just was not interested in.  For all the community noise about DA and SB being reader-blogs, I’ve felt like they were author (SB) or industry (DA & SB) blogs for a long time now, well before the Jen/Jane brouhaha.

My impatience with the constant promotion on social media corresponded with a giant reading slump.  Add in a market shift to subgenres I’m not interested in, and a marked drop in editorial values across the board, especially noticeable in self-published work?  Well, I’ll find some other entertainment, thanks but no thanks.

I’m spending probably the same amount of leisure time online…but it’s less likely to be in Romland spaces.  Instead it is in fandom spaces.  Someone getting the geography of Pittsburgh slightly wrong in a 100k fic might make me roll my eyes, but doesn’t make me want to bang my head on my e-reader the way a content or continuity error like that in a boutique-pubbed $8.99 ebook will.  (And that kind of things is *definitely* out there; it’s the reason I delete samples and return books.)

I’ve sort of lost the thread at this point.  Which means it’s a good thing I am posting this on my own blog, where I can be self-indulgent, rather than wasting comment space on Superlibrarian’s or Sunita’s blog.

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Adventures in public transportation and pedestrian motion

+  I’ve signed up for the Planned Parenthood 5K run.  I’ll be walking though.  I only run when I’m late for the bus or train.

+  You should check out the adventures of Beth as she prepares for a 100 mile charity bike ride.  Inspired by her posts, I’ve rented a bike from my local bike shop (haven’t owned a bike in years, only ride at the beach) and am contemplating buying a used bike.  Maybe.

– What did I do to my ankle?  I don’t remember wrenching it, but clearly I’ve aggravated my old ankle injury (the result of my cat trying to kill me, tripping me as I walked down the stairs), because it is grossly swollen.  Elevated and iced.

~  Walked around the World Trade Center last night.  The memorial pools are quite lovely, and I’m curious to see how the museum turns out.  Our NY regional office used to be located in the WTC complex (not in the towers) and had to relocate; it’s pretty unlikely that the office will move back, given the build out in the “new” space we leased.  I’m curious about the rental terms and incentives that will be offered for new tenants.  Surely there’s some cachet and it’s prime real estate, but the tenants of the original buildings have moved on and I wonder how many of them are interested in coming back.

Lesson learned:  the Newark Airport Hilton isn’t really close to anything.  Not even the airport.  All the hotels near the train station were booked, the hotel closest to the meeting was not great, and our travel office wouldn’t authorize a hotel in Manhattan since the meeting was in NJ.  I thought: it’s a Hilton, how bad can it be?  The hotel is fine…but the shuttle to the AirTrain to the train station then on to the Path train to get to the meeting was a little ridiculous.  Considering my usual commute, that’s saying something.  Also, the morning shuttle fills up very quickly, which is not good.  (The 6am was full already when I arrived at 5:45.) I might stay there again if I ever fly out of Newark but not for any other purpose.

+  After the meeting, I had a few hours to kill before my train home.  Told my boss I was going to do some shopping.  I think he thought Macy’s.  No, I went to The Strand instead 🙂

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At the doctor’s office today I:

+ got a tetanus shot, after first getting a disappointed look when she realized I hadn’t had one in > 15 years.

+ learned that what I thought was a troubling mole appearing suddenly is actually just a skin flap, irritating but nothing to worry about.

+ got said flap snipped off.

+ had pictures of my skin taken for a dermatologist to look at online, rather than get a referral then make an appointment.

+ heard an encouraging pep talk about diet and exercise, and was told to start a food diary.

+ learned that my blood pressure is down (it’s never been unhealthy) despite recent stress.

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Vanilla?

I’m reading Mapping the World of Harry Potter. It was the book I pulled off the TBR pile at random this morning.  (Yesterday’s book was Phaedra Weldon’s Wraith, which had an original premise but didn’t hold my attention.)  I finished the essay on the appeal of Snape, and have a question that is based entirely on what I think is an almost throw-away categorization made by the author:  oral sex as kinky, or at the very least not vanilla. 

 . . . Really?

Far be it from me to belittle anyone’s preferences — we’ve all got our own things, right?  [Doing so would probably invoke some corollary of the Karmic Rule of Kink (tm Dan Savage).]  But is a sex act as common as oral really kinky or non-vanilla?

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