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On this livejournal blog I crosspost from Dreamwidth. 

A Masterlist of all my fanfiction is here. There is Harry Potter, Highlander, Torchwood and a Bible story.

Solar System necklace

A few people wanted to see what the solar system necklace (that Bear gave to me for our anniversary) looks like. Here's a pic:


DSCN6275.JPG

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Star Trek Meme

Taken from [personal profile] jiokra:

Day 1 - Favorite TOS Episode
Trouble with Tribbles. It's just too cute.

Day 2 - Favorite Federation Race
Klingons - more for Worf and B'Ellana and their individual stories. Not the war stuff of Discovery Season 1.

Day 3 - Favorite Starship
Enterprise-D - I started with TNG and it is my definitive show. Plus I do like how it looks.

Day 4 - Favorite Captain
It is really hard to pick between Picard and Janeway here but Picard does have a slight edge.

Day 5 - Saddest Event
Jadzia's death

Day 6 - Happiest Event
Voyager getting back home

Day 7 - Favorite TNG Episode
"Inner Light", followed by "Family"

Day 8 - Favorite Federation Enemy
Borg

Day 9 - Favorite Character
Do I have to? it is like picking children. Picard and Janeway and Chakotay and Troi and Wesley and O'Brian and Guinan, there are just too many to pick one.

Day 10 - Most Shocking Moment
I don't think anything in TV shocks me really.

Day 11 - Crew Position You Would Want
Science officer

Day 12 - Crew Position You Wouldn't Want
Command

Day 13 - Favorite DS9 Episode
Between "Dr Bashir, I presume" and the Tribbles episode

Day 14 - Favorite Time Travel Episode
Between DS9 Tribbles episode and Voyager's trip to the 90s.

Day 15 - Favorite First Officer
Chakotay

Day 16 - Favorite Voyager Episode
"Resolutions" - I'm such a shipper

Day 17 - Favorite Trek Novel
TNG: Imzadi and Voyager's Full Circle

Day 18 - Favorite Non-Aligned Race
Q

Day 19 - Favorite Enterprise Episode
"Similitude"

Day 20 - Character You're Most Like
Like Picard for his book learning, and probably Harry Kim for naive nerdiness.

Day 21 - Least Favorite Character
Kes

Day 22 - Favorite Trek Film
First Contact

Day 23 - Best Trek Tech
Medical tech

Day 24 - Best Overall Space Vessel
Enterpise

Day 25 - Favorite Discovery Episode
7th Episode of Season 1 where there is a party and crew keeps dying and living through again.

Day 26 - Planet You Would Most Like To Visit
Vulcan

Day 27 - Character You Would Date
Chakotay

Day 28 - Name Your Own Starship
Ursa Major

Day 29 - Favorite Trek Quote
Live long and prosper

Day 30 - Favorite Trek Series
The Next Generation, although Voyager is close second.

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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, 367pp

I reread Good Omens since I want to watch the TV show (my Dad finally got me the right version, but it won't play on my tablet, only the computer. So I will watch it on weekends over the next few weeks). I forgot a lot of the details over the years but the book was still hilarious. I love its humor; I was giggling in a lot of places.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell, 320pp

I really enjoyed this one. By now I read all of Rowell's books except for Carry On, which I'm not planning on reading. This was as expected very enjoyable. I figured out it was a loop fairly quickly, before the character did. I really liked the relationship between Georgie and Neil, especially young Neil (since we don't really see much of the adult Neil other than he inability to pick up the phone. Also I would be pissed at my husband for not picking up the phone for a whole week even if he was mad, since that is some juvenile behavior right there -I would want to talk about the kids and not just about the sulking.) But through conversations with young Neil, I could see why they loved each other and why they would want to keep working on it. I liked being in Georgie's head.

One thing I didn't buy were the ages of her kids. She has two girls, 4 and 7, and her 7 year old was acting like my 4 year old (now 5), and her 4 year old seemed like a toddler. Her girls just seemed much younger than real kids are.

I didn't realize the couple that helps Georgie at the end were supposed to be Cather and Levi from Fangirl until I just read it in the online plot summary. Huh.

Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold [Vorkosigan Saga], 288pp

Nothing was really happening for the first 1/3 of the book. Elli and Miles got together but was pretty much it. It was only once the switch happened that the book picked up. Then it was pretty fun, especially by the final action sequence where each tower had a different group of people trying to get them and Miles had to figure out how to avoid them all and to get out of the situation. I always really like when Bujold escalates to the ridiculous and Miles just has to improvise as he gets deeper and deeper. I was spoiled that there will be a clone, so when Miles first makes up the story to the reporter it was really funny. But I didn't know too many details about it, so actual appearance was interesting. Although wouldn't 17 and early-mid twenties look different enough to arouse suspicion? I liked Miles' concern for Mark and giving Mark his name. It is a dynamic I'm looking forward to see more off. Looking forward to more of the series as usual.

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovich [Rivers of London 2], 288pp

When I was in Miami I wanted to start something light, and this has been on my list for a long time (when I looked it up, I read the first book in 2016, liked it but didn't love it and haven't been moved to read the next one. But it remained on my library Kindle wish list, so I figured why not.) I liked this book more than the first one, maybe because there is a little less set up. And also I was just not a fan of the face falling off aspect of the first book. The magic in this series is so much more gross physically than other magical series although Dresden Files does not shy from the way magic can mess someone up nor is magic in Harry Potter that innocent if you start to think of what the spell can do (the killing curse is just not as gross physically. Werewolf bites though were never pretty.). Anyone, I enjoyed the plots of these books although I figured out about Simone almost at once. I can never take the book seriously when the characters are having sex all night long with little rest - that would chafe and also, get some sleep, - so I figured there was a supernatural element there. But Simone's story ended up quite sad and didn't go in the direction I was expecting. The other storyline was mostly an introduction to the Faceless magician so I'm not sure how I will like it overall. I continue to like Peter's need to study magic like science and how is teaching Nightingale to behave in a modern world (i.e. not using 'black magician' as descriptor). So overall I'm much more likely to pick up book 3 next year instead of waiting another 3 years.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre, 316pp [Hugo book]

Vonda N. McIntyre did this spring so it felt appropriate to read her for my 5 Hugo books a year goal. This book was a Hugo in 1979 and it read differently than other 70s winners (and I read 2 others just this year). For one thing, the main character is a healer named Snake, who travels in the desert and mountains to heal people. There are other women characters who talk to each other and have full lives. And Snake is just a wonderful character and person and interesting to spend the book with. The love interest is a decent man but not someone who has to come to her rescue. Snake saves herself and Melissa in the end. He is pretty much an unexpected reward. The book takes place in apocalyptic world so a lot of dialogue feels a little stiff sometimes to portray a little more simplicity but at the same time it worked. Many families are more than one partner, same sex relationships are casually referred to and it just seems like a more modern book than one written in late 70s. I'm really enjoying reading all these Hugo winners - they are all so different from each other and it is letting me discover some lovely stuff.

July Questions Day 1-31

1 Have you ever flown a kite?
I don't believe so although I feel I might have when I was very small. I really don't remember it.

2 What is the most beautiful thing you have ever destroyed?
I broke a really pretty necklace once. I can't think of anything destructive.

3 Have you ever planted a tree? Or chopped one down? If you have done both which was more satisfying?
I have done neither. I have thrown a random seed to the ground and hoped it would sprout but that didn't really count.

4 Would you rather live in a world without deodorant or painkillers?
Without deodorant. People can get used to the smell but painkillers really help in many situations. I need my Advil for headaches and cramps. I'd rather be smelly.

5 Can people really change?
I believe so. The change have to be self-motivated though; you can't make anyone else change if they don't want to. And we also grow and change as we get older in many ways.

6 What amazing secret about a relative did you only find out after they were dead?
I don't have that many relatives that died during my lifetime, thankfully. And I can't really think of secrets that I found out.

7 Have you ever employed a smith of any kind?
For my jewelry. I had to fix an earring once and my trusty necklace was thinning at the top and needed an adjustment.

8 If you could levitate six inches off the ground what would you do with this impressive but actually not very practical skill?
It's a very practical skill for avoiding the rainy ground and having dry shoes. I don't need it to reach top shelves since I'm tall but I could use it to reach the cabinet right above the fridge where I keep baking tins.

9 How obsessive are you about your bins?
Not very. I live in an apartment building so I just have to walk down the hall and send trash down the chute and put recyclables into the blue container there.

10 Have you ever been up on the roof?
Yes. Most recently last autumn when out elevator was being replaced and we could walk on the roof to the neighboring entrance and take the elevator down from there.

11 What's the largest vehicle you have ever driven?
I don't really drive although I did get a license when I was 20.I practiced in a regular sedan car.

12 Have you ever met your doppelganger?
Not yet.

13 What is the best certificate that you have ever been awarded?
When I was maybe 8 or 9 in summer camp, I drew this crocodile which I cut out and pasted on another paper and drew around it. I got an art award for that very unexpectedly. I also liked the history award in high school. But of course the most joyous one was from University of Toronto for finally passing the PhD Medieval Latin exam after years and years of trying.


14 If being permanently stapled to a cello would somehow bring about world peace would you be prepared to be permanently stapled to a cello? It would hurt a little bit and you would never quite be able to escape the pain but there would be world peace and you could learn to play the cello.
For world peace I would do it, especially since I really like the sound of the cello.

15 Do you remember a place that was once all fields and is no longer?
Yes. There was a lot of construction in college since I left and when we went to visit a lot of grass was gone.

16 What one legal thing would you make illegal?
Smoking

17 What one illegal thing would you make legal?
Don't have an opinion

18 Have you ever named a pet after a real person?
I never had a pet. I did name my dolls after the people who gave them to me.

19 Do you have a favourite plate?
No, no favorite plate. I do have a favorite mug to drink my tea - my college mug with the school logo.

20 What did you use to spend your pocket money on?
I used to save it up to use for presents for people or to buy my radio/cassette player or a CD player. Occasionally some music.

21 Would you rather not be able to see any colors or have mild but constant tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
The ringing would get annoying fast so I would go with not seeing colors, although that would suck.

22 What is your most interesting quirk?
I don't think I have any interesting quirks.

23 A genie gives you one wish, no infinity wishes allowed, what do you ask for?
Health for my family.

24 What's the weirdest thing that you have ever seen at the seaside?
Nothing beyond weird bathing suits.

25 Would you rather be a scarecrow or a scared crow?
A crow.

26 What's the most un-breakfasty food you've ever had for breakfast?
Olivier salad and cake for New Year's morning. It is a tradition. I did have leftover pizza once in a blue moon.

27 If you had to have a tail, would you prefer one like a rabbit, a monkey or a donkey?
A rabbit. It's cute and fluffy.

28 Do you like hard-boiled eggs?
Yes. Eggs in any form are delicious.

29 Would you rather live in a tree-house or a bouncy castle?
Tree House!

30 Would you prefer to be furry like a bear or scaly like a fish?
Furry. It would be soft and comfy.

31 Who is your favourite Mike?
My 15 year old nephew Misha (Misha is Mike in Russian, short for Mikhail)

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Air travel meme

Airplane travel meme that has been going around, taken from several people. Since i was just coming off a flight on Tuesday, it seems appropriate to do.

Air travel memeCollapse )

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June Questions Day 16-30

16 Would you rather be a bee or a butterfly?
Butterfly.

17 What is the best ice lolly?
Vanilla with yellow/orange cover - that was my favorite as a kid

18 What do you think the tooth fairy does with all the teeth?
Builds her castle with (I didn't have a tooth fairy as a kid, I only learned about her in the US)

19 what do you think fish think about?
Food and swimming

20 If you had to hide an elephant in your house where you would put it?
I live in a two bedroom apartment - there is not a lot of places to hide an elephant. I would try to put it in the courtyard perhaps.

21 If you could fill a swimming pool with your favourite drink and then swim around in it and drink as much as you like what drink would you choose?
It would be kind of gross to drink what you are swimming in. I would pick water though. Maybe tea.

22 Would you prefer to have seven arms or eyes in the back of your head?
Seven arms - get more things done if it is possible to multitask. There is too much hair on my head for the eye to be comfortable there. I already don't like hair in my eye much and rarely wear my hair loose.

23 What age does someone have to be to be properly old?
After 80 I think.

24 If you had to wear somebody's guts for garters who would you disembowel in order to facilitate your socks staying up?
I wouldn't want to do that as it would be stinky. And I don't think I ever had a regular garter.

25 Would you rather have all of your clothes fit perfectly or have the most comfortable pillow, blankets, and sheets in existence?
Pillow, blankets and sheets - I rarely have clothes that are tailored anyway. Plus I don't care about fashion.

26 What's the nicest (true) thing you could say about me?
'Me' who? That's a weird question. "Me" as in this set of questions - weird but fun.

27 How long can you go without checking your mobile phone?
Not too long unless I'm busy. I usually check what time it is on the phone so I pick it up often. I guess the longest would be 7.5 hours at night when I'm asleep.


28 If you dropped your mobile phone down the portaloo on Day 3 of Glastonbury Festival would you retrieve it?
No. It wouldn't work anymore anyway and that is pretty disgusting.


29 Is it better to have loved and lost than to have to eat nothing but Pop Tart for a year?
Yes. Eating just Pop Tarts would get old by day 2, much less day 365.

30 Would it be better to never be able to say yes or never be able to say no?
Huh. I need to say 'no' all the time since I have small kids so for me I will take never to be able to say yes. But this is an interesting question.

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Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, 198pp

This was a collection of short stories about Indians (mostly from Calcutta) and Indian-Americans that won a Pulitzer Prize many years ago. It was the book club selection for Asian-American month at my work. I didn't realize that I was familiar with the author until I looked her up and realized that I watched a movie based on her novel "The Namesake".

There were nine short stories. They were all very different. Some set in the US and some set in India. Some deal with marriages falling apart; others of people learning about each other in a marriage. Many stories involve a perspective of an outsider. Some deal with very unfortunate poor people. Some deal with culture shock and trying to adopt to a different country. There are a lot of themes and points really but overall it was a good read. Interesting and different. I'm not usually a fan of short stories but it really does work here as a collection. So far the work book club has been picking really interesting stuff.

Зулейха открывает глаза [Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes] by Guzel Yakhina [in Russian], 611pp

This book was recently published in Russian but is already translated into many languages and it feels like a book written much earlier. It feels like a classic already. It is a historical novel set from 1930 to 1945, and focused on the Tatar woman Zuleikha who gets sent to Siberia during Stalinist regime since she and her husband were wealthy peasants (kulaki). When the novel starts, she is married to a tough man and lives with her terrible mother-in-law, but she considers herself lucky in many ways although her life is incredibly hard and I really felt for her. Going to Siberia actually brings some agency to her life but her life is still very very difficult. The book is very detailed on the hardships of the journey and on what it meant to live and work in Siberia. The book focuses on other characters as well - we get other perspectives, and some interesting characters. And we even get a love story but it kind of felt secondary. I feel that I learned a lot about that time period. The author based a lot of the novel on the stories that her grandmother told her - her grandmother was sent to Siberia at one point. It was a long book but worth it. And I'm happy I'm reading more in Russian this year.

Time Machine by H.G. Wells, 99pp

I read it because it was a classic but I did have to slug through it a little. It is good to have a deeper understanding of the references people and authors make in homage to this book though.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, 340pp

This was a fun read. I liked this book more than the Simon book. I liked Leah's voice and the story as well. Leah wasn't perfect and it was well expressed. She came off very three dimensional. In the Simon book I really didn't have a sense of Abby and it was nice to see a more in-depth view of her.


The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, 421pp

I started with high expectations because so many people I know read it and loved it. Maybe it worked against me. I liked the book - it was well done and I'm definitely will read the next book. I just didn't love it and was nitpicking it more than usual. I think part of it is that this book is competing with "Spinning Silver" for the Hugo and I loved that book so much. I still think "Spinning Silver" is stronger; but I do understand why people love this book.

some spoilersCollapse )

Too Much is Not Enough: a memoir of fumbling toward adulthood by Andrew Rannells, 246pp

I saw Andrew Rannells in his run in "Book of Mormon" and I really liked him on "New Normal" so I figured I would read his autobiography. He is mainly writing about his life from ages 19 to 26, of the time when he was a struggling actor in New York and all that entailed. He did mention some things from his childhood in a big family in Omaha, Nebraska, especially his relationship with his grandmother, his parents, his siblings and poor choices of an unadvised relationship with a 40 year old man when he was 16. But mostly the book was focused on those years as a struggling actor before he actually got his first role on Broadway in a chorus.

I thought it was an interesting approach to his story. His writing style is pretty ordinary but, as the book progressed, the narrative and the stories themselves were compelling and interesting. His writing felt honest and he reexamined his emotions and motivations. He wrote about his father's death with great emotional honesty. The end of the book I was really enjoying spending time with this person, which is a mark of a good autobiography for me.

Three questions meme, Part 2

I got more topics from three questions meme. Here is what I know about these topics:

From [personal profile] jenny_evergreen

1. anthropology/archaeology - In high school I did a program in a college where if you go every week and they tell us about various majors and once you finish that program you can take two college summer classes for free for credit. So the summer before my senior year of high school I took "Intro to Logic" and "Cultural Anthropology". A really loved the anthropology class. Cultural anthropology appeals to me just as social history does - I love learning about lives of people, their family structures and other things about people's lives. I still have my textbook somewhere which is outdated by now. I didn't study archaeology or been to digs but I do like to go to museums and see what archaeologists dug up. I do prefer anthropology though.

2. Fashion - I know very little about fashion and don't follow it at all. It seems a little silly to me. But because my father works as a computer programmer at a major fashion company, I actually have a lot of designer clothes to wear. He has a work discount and my Mom loves shopping. So she usually buys me something for my birthday or New Year. Which works for me since I don't like shopping for clothes. And also I do own a big coffee table book called "Fashion: The definitive history of costume and style" which I saw at an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - it chronicles fashion through time through beautiful illustrations. For some reason I just really liked that book.

3. Hiphop - I know very little. In college I did a group paper of the rise of rap and hiphop for a linguistics class and it was one of the most fun projects I had to do in college. And i do listen to an occasional album. I just got Spiderman Into the Spiderverse soundtrack and it is a lot of fun. And, of course, I adore Hamilton. I just don't listen to big variety of it. Mostly because I don't like songs that are all about self aggrandizing or cursing or all about spending money or sleeping with women. I like hiphop songs that are clever, that are poetry, that are actually trying to say something.


From meowmensteen

1. Mount Rainier - I know it is a big mountain in Washington state and it is a volcano. That is about it.

2. 70's fashion - Ha, I think people got me pegged with my limited fashion knowledge. When I think of the 70s fashion it is all about hipsters and bell-bottoms and long hair. Tie-dye shirts and weird suits.

3. Cake baking - I have made several cakes now for my kids' birthdays. I think I'm getting some hang of it. I still need to figure out how much frosting I really need. I feel I usually make too little even when I follow the cookbook recipe. And one day I can venture more into decorating rather just picking up premade cookie sheets or using fruits. At least the cakes taste well and my kids like them so far. I would like to learn more though.

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