feuervogel: (reading)
Saturday I went to the UNC library to get a borrower's card (which I got for free with my Durham Tech student ID woo), use the computers for some research, and check out some books.

I got Feridun Zaimoglu's short story collection "Zwölf Gramm Glück," then I couldn't remember the name of the person who wrote "Mutterzunge," so I looked that up: Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Back to the opposite end of the 8th floor stacks, not quite as far as Zaimoglu.

I follow the Library of Congress numbers down to the bottom shelf, find Özdamar. Shelved beside her was Selim Özdogan, so I picked up a couple of his books and decided to go with "Ein Glas Blut," which is a collection of short stories and poetry.

I started with Mother Tongues, because it's in English (UNC doesn't have a single copy in German). It's very Literary. I've ordered a copy in German, and it shipped today, so I should get it sometime soon. I don't need to return the books until 2/18 (and I *think* I can renew them, not sure). But I spent a good bit of the first few pages wanting to know what the language was like before it was translated, then it got weird. (Literary weird.)

So I started reading Ein Glas Blut, since they're all short, a page or three. Some of the poems are confusing for me, though I'm not sure if that's because there's some reference or context I'm missing. Some of them are just fine. I liked the one called "Drei Fragen," where he asks three questions. I read that out loud to Ben, translated mostly on the fly.

There's another one, traueratem, that's I think supposed to be/was originally spoken word, because there's one section that has this distinct defined rhythm and rhyme scheme that sounds very much like rap. I read it out loud to Ben, in German, and he agreed.

I like this a lot better than Mother Tongues, though I'll withhold judgment until I get that in German to compare. Sometimes translations can be really weird. (Or it could just be, you know, Lit'ry.)

Then I looked him up on Wikipedia, and it turns out he wrote a fantasy novel. (Or a regular novel that was nominated for a science fiction prize. Whichever. It sounds kind of magical realism-ish. If I can find a cheap copy here, maybe I'll buy it.

The library also has Heimstr 52, which sounds from its Amazon blurb like the sort of thing I'm looking for. (Also, there are lots of papers written on the metaphor of travel and transit in Turkish German literature.)

I should start with the Zaimoglu soon.

I just wish I read as fast in German as I do in English. Then again, I read *really fast* in English. If I'm actually paying attention, I read a lot slower.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Called Duke Health to get them to straighten out this bloody stupid billing issue, because I paid this thing last March, and it's not my fault they moved that money to a different (wrong) account.

2. Edited and posted my review of Interfictions.

3. Played stupid facebook games.

4. Read my RSS aggregate thing.

5. Looked up more German Studies graduate programs, including one in England and a 2-year MA program that starts with a year in Salzburg.

6. Turned the synopsis of the currently untitled short story into an outline.

7. Waited for Duke Health to call me back.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm looking for a novel published between, say, 2005 and 2010, by a Turkish German. A Bekanntin from Twitter gave me this, which kind of helps (though not if I can't find any of those books here for reasonable prices).

The reason I want this is so I can write a paper for my grad school application. (I need to give them a 10-20-page paper, theoretically written during my undergraduate German studies. We never wrote real academic papers, with journal references and stuff, in college. So I need to make one now.) I want to write about Turkish Germans, though I don't have a paper topic specifically.

My alternate idea was to write about reunification viz Friedrich Christian Delius' "Die Birnen von Ribbeck," which we read in one of the college classes, maybe "lit since 1945," and the current state of affairs. (The pears thing uses a lot of metaphors, like "you have to graft trees together carefully, otherwise it won't take.")

If I knew anything about film/media analysis, I'd write about Gegen die Wand (which I have a bunch of articles on) or Das Leben der Anderen. Or Türkisch für Anfänger.

ETA: Do you have recommendations? Have you read any of those books and liked them? Or books by other German Turkish writers? If I click, Amazon helpfully gives me similar books, but I don't know anything about them.
feuervogel: (facepalm basti)
Several months ago, I went to a friend's birthday party. A mutual friend has a girlfriend (I keep wanting to say "new," but they apparently passed the 1-year mark a while ago), and she just rubs me the wrong way. The first couple times I met her, which were at good-sized parties, I chalked it up to her being new here and not used to The Gang and trying to fit in but being a geek and socially awkward [we've all been there, amirite?], but then this conversation happened.

I forget how we got onto the topic. Possibly discussion of horror films was occurring in a neighboring conversation or in the context of a regular horror film festival at a local theater.

Me: I don't like horror films. They give me nightmares.
Her: I used to not like horror films, but then [boyfriend] started showing them to me, and now I kind of like them.
Me: Yeah, I don't think that would work. I don't like being scared, I have a really low gore tolerance, and I get nightmares and occasional DAY-mares from quasi-flashbacks.
Her: I used to think that, too, but now I can watch some horror movies. [elaborates a bit]
Me, mentally: You are completely missing the fucking point. Are you really that obtuse or just clueless?
Me, out loud: I'm glad you enjoy horror movies. I really don't.

Then I either changed the subject or found a different conversation to join in on. Or maybe decided my drink was empty and needed refreshing. Or had to pee. I don't recall, exactly.

So, not very useful. Why's it so hard for people to accept things that are personal preferences, like comedy over horror, happy endings over sad endings, writing style, colors, whatever?

I was reminded of this because I've made it to the novellas section in the Hugo packet, and at the top is Mira Grant's Countdown, which is a prequel to her Newsflesh trilogy, which is all about zombies. I don't like zombies. I don't like horror. I'm going to finish it because I want to know what happens (it's about how the zombie virus was released into the world, which is pretty cool from an infectious disease/epidemiology standpoint) and the writing is good. And I'm halfway through it already.

But last night I had weird dreams about mutant viruses and zombies.

I'll probably skip the Newsflesh novel that's in the packet. I'm sure it's good, but a) it's book 2 and b) ZOMBIES. So I'll probably only end up reading 3 of the 5 nominated books.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
As a member of this year's WorldCon, I get to vote on the Hugos. This is extremely exciting. I'm making my way through the novelettes, then I'll get to the novellas. I'm not sure I'll have time to read all the novels, especially the GRRM one bc it's number 5 or 6 in a series, and yeah, fuck that.

I've got the pro artist, fan artist, editor long form, and short story categories ranked already. I may take a pass on the short form dramatic presentation (I don't watch Dr Who, and I don't feel like watching a single episode of Community). If we can find Hugo and Source Code to rent/dl and watch them, maybe I'll have more than 2 things to rank in that category. I don't much feel like watching ALL of Game of Thrones season 1, either.

I'll skip the fancast, since I'm not into podcasts.

That leaves related work, graphic story, semiprozine, fanzine, editor short form, and the Campbell (not-a-Hugo). I should be able to get through much of them before voting closes. I have all the text things on my kobo and am reading them & taking notes.

If any of you want to hear my thoughts & reasonings for ranking, I can post that here, locked, when I'm done. I may write up Thots on the short stories (brief reviews) on my blogger blog.

Here's how I did it for pro artist: I opened the files in the voter packet in Preview, in alphabetical order. The ones that made me go "WOW" or "DAMN" were at the top. Some were technically quite good, but lacking life and vibrancy. You get to rank them in order (Hugo voting is instant runoff), so the two I said "WOW" to, I had to decide which was 1 and which was 2. I ranked the one that was more vibrant first. (Since this is public, I won't tell you which that was.)

Does that interest people? (Even if it doesn't, I may do it anyway, neener neener, it's my journal, I can do what I want.)

(I kind of dig this Hugo-voting thing. I may buy supporting ($50) memberships in the future even if I can't make it to the actual con. Like London 2014. Also kind of meh on San Antonio, because it's Dragon*Con weekend again.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Though I haven't really done much else lately...

I'm still liking the Legend of Korra and Mouretsu Pirates (there are actualfacts canon lesbians in the latest episode!).

Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope) is another new series that I'm enjoying. It's about a few high school kids in the jazz age, and one of them is a complete nerd boy who doesn't get jazz initially (he's a classical pianist), then he transfers to a new school and meets this rough and tumble guy who's a jazz drummer. They hit it off, and nerd boy learns the art of not giving a fuck. There's a love triangle+misunderstanding plot in episode 3, and I spent half the episode saying "you people need to have a conversation" or "TELL HER YOU LIKE HER DAMMIT" then he did, and I was happy. (We don't know her response, though I'm assuming that's episode 4.) I'm not a fan of love triangle plots, and the misunderstanding that would be resolved if they took 5 seconds and TALKED "plot" drives me up a tree. So I was pleased to see a quick resolution there. The music is by Yoko Kanno, and it's directed by the guy who did Michiko to Hatchin.

That last sentence is how Ben explained this show to me, and I said, so, what's it about, then? And he was like "iunno." I don't particularly find "it's by the guy who directed X" a helpful description. All that gives me is an idea of what it'll look like.

Gundam Age has serious pacing issues, and I'm not a person who notices pacing issues, so that's saying something. Also, its underlying premise is extremely stupid, and Gundam series aren't really known for their brilliant plots.

Space Brothers is still kind of interesting I guess, though sad sack guy is starting to annoy me.

Lupin III: A woman called Fujiko Mine would be a much better show if it weren't all about Fujiko's tits or Fujiko being a sex object. (Though it seems to be portraying her sexcapades as a tool she's using to manipulate men, which is kind of like agency and less like being an object, but it's still a pretty sketchy depiction.) Fujiko's tits are also very perky for being as big as they are. I have friends with her proportions, and I can assure you their boobs don't look like that unless the woman's in a corset.

I read Glamour in Glass, the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey. I enjoyed it a great deal. I'm currently reading TOR! The story of German football by Uli Hesse. I'm enjoying it, but it's kind of a special interest book, and I suspect most of you would be pretty bored with it. It's the definitive English-language book about the history of German football. (It's also the only one that isn't academic.) I also have a book on Eastern European football since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

My TBR pile isn't really getting smaller, but my to be reviewed pile is getting bigger.

[personal profile] anthimeria, I found the notebook where I made notes on Skywatch, and I'll email you soon.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I just realized that pretty much all I've been posting lately is word counts. But I've been spending most of my days either farting around on facebook games or writing and evenings reading while Ben plays video games.

I finally made it through my re-read of the Foreigner series and first read of the 4th trilogy in that (book 12 is finally out in paperback). That's 4500+ pages. Then I read Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer, and I'm working on Among Others by Jo Walton, which was a birthday present. I've also read the Hunger Games trilogy (on my e-reader).

The Foreigner series is very dense politics, with aliens who resemble humans but have very different psychology. The fourth trilogy spends some POV time with young Cajeiri, not just Bren. That lets you get a little more insight into atevi psychology than Bren has. There's a fifth trilogy in the works; I wonder if that'll be the last. I also wonder if DAW will ever authorize ebook versions. Fifteen books take up a lot of shelf space!

Devil's Cub is a Heyer Regency. The male lead is a rake with a violent temper (but he adores his mother, who also has a bit of a temper). The female lead is a no-nonsense woman. I was disinclined to like the male lead from the beginning, but he got a little better. Even if the horrid gender norms of the early 1800s are horrid. It's apparently normal for men to discipline their wives with spankings as if they're children! Gag.

I think I'd enjoy Among Others better if I understood more than three or four of the references the narrator makes to books she's read. Of the books/authors name-dropped, I've read Tolkien and LeGuin. No Heinlein, Delany, etc. Example sentence (paraphrased): "Now I understand what Smith meant when he told Jones what he did." That means NOTHING to me. Aside from the gratuitous NERD CHILDHOOD NOSTALGIA (which I don't have, not having had a Proper Nerd Childhood myself), it's a good story.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is sheer and utter nonsense. Like, completely illogical nonsense with a fresh coat of nonsense on top. It's very pretty, and the battle system is almost the same as in XIII, but good god DAMN the plot makes no sense. "If you change the future, you change the past." NO. That's not how time travel works.

I can't wait to see Legend of Korra. Holy shit. I am all over that show. I watched the preview of the first two episodes online yesterday, and I was impressed. It looks like there's going to be a good amount of depth again. A:TLA was a show for 11-year-olds about genocide and imperialism. Korra looks like it's going to be a show for 16-year-olds about classism and privilege. I'm looking forward to it!
feuervogel: (reading)
I'm finally getting this online, after having books sorted & catalogued since October. My flist & circles get first dibs.

All paperbacks are $2.50, all books marked "used hb" are $2.50, and all other hardbacks are $5. The Japanese anime magazines are also $2.50. Shipping is based on weight.

spreadsheet here
feuervogel: (writing)
Faced with the impending close date of the alternate history spy anthology I submitted "Something There Is" to (they extended it) and having heard that the magazine where "Valkyrie One" has been since October 3 is sending out notices (though according to Duotrope, I'm at the point in my submission where I should poke them), I started browsing for the next places to send them and managed to use all the time I'd allocated for writing today. I've got the next ones picked out, at least.

Not *quite* all; I usually write until 4:30 or so, but I'm not exactly sure what happens next. I've seen discussions of pre-writing, so you know what the scene looks like when you sit down to it, but I don't really have a way to do that. I could go for a walk through the neighborhood, which tends to help me jostle things up, and it's been ridiculously nice lately, so maybe I will, I don't know. Tomorrow I have Pilates class in the morning, and that throws off my whole day. Wednesday's clear during the day, then Thursday morning, I'm driving Ben to the airport. Sometimes when Ben's gone, I'm mad productive. Other times, I'm ... not. (Being an ESTJ with mostly I??? friends is frustrating. Often.) I'm not sure which way it'll go this time. Might depend on what my thyroid's up to.

Anyway. I'm also still re-reading the Foreigner series. I'm up to book 4. I was poking around Amazon, and I learned that book 12 will be out in paperback just in time for my birthday, so happy birthday to me. (I have the first trilogies in paperback, so even if they're out in hardback now, a) that costs more and b) it doesn't match the rest. And I hate having the books in a series not match and not fit on the same shelf. I'm annoyed at Miles Errant for that reason, actually.)

I also got the Hunger Games trilogy for my kobo (on sale, $13 for all 3), and I need to read that before the movie comes out (in March). That's the second thing I bought for it. The first was the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, which was really awesome. I need to review it on my actual blog.

And I need to list those hundred or so books that I want to sell...
feuervogel: (wtf?)
I present to you a review (by someone else) of Watch on the Rhine, a book in which John Ringo (and some other less famous dude) try to convince us that the N*zis weren't really all that bad.

What.

The.

Fuck.

(Apparently, also, the Bundeskanzler defends the Waffen-SS. OMGWTF JESUS CHRIST NO. Unless the NPD managed somehow to get enough votes to lead a coalition, no Chancellor would say something like that. (Think it? Maybe. Say it out loud? Political suicide.))

I'm offended that this book exists. Ugh.
feuervogel: photo of a lighted Christmas pyramid at night (Weihnachten)
Yesterday involved sleeping in a bit, eating gingerbread cake with lemon curd whipped cream (and I had to make the lemon curd myself, because the store was apparently having trouble with the supplier and I didn't feel like going to Harris Teeter; it really says something about me when I'd rather make custard from scratch than drive 15 minutes each way to the store.), opening the one gift on the table (a framed picture from Ben's aunt), and generally lazing about until we went to see Sherlock Holmes with Laura & Paul then get Chinese food for dinner.

I read all of Dragon Bones (because I betaed a fic in that universe and had a very vague memory of enjoying the books when I read them; it's odd that the only part of the book I remembered was the subplot about the twins...). I started it after breakfast & present (around 11, I think?) and finished it around 2. Ben was astonished, as usual. I can read 100 pages an hour (in English, if it isn't dense). That's how I roll...

Sherlock Holmes was fun and fanservicey and actiony. Holmes' German (and Moriarty's) was atrocious. Mostly they were quoting Schubert's "Die Forelle." (Thematic!) Their accents were horrid and unintelligible. Also, Moriarty sang "Vorüber wie UN Pfeil." Nein, nyet, non. Un is French.

We got to Jade Palace later than we've gone on Christmas before, around 6:30, and it was packed. We got a table at 6:45, which wasn't awful, but we had to flag down a waitress to take our order, and she didn't bring our drinks for a while. But she was running around in circles, so we couldn't really blame her. Next year if we go out for a movie rather than watch one on video, we should time it better. If that means dinner at 5 for a 7 pm movie, so be it...
feuervogel: (reading)
I ordered a Kobo Touch today. They're selling one "with offers" for $99, which is the same price point as a Kindle Touch. The "offers" are basically ads and special offers from "select partners." I figure it can't be worse than the ads running on apps on my phone because I'm too cheap to pay for Angry Birds or Tweetcaster. The other down side of the cheaper one is that it only comes in black, not the cute silver, lavender, or Carolina blue the $129 one comes in as well. *shrug*

The main advantages I see for the Kobo over Kindle is that it has an SD slot that takes up to 32 GB and it can read more file formats. Since it's not a tablet (though Kobo makes one), you can't install the Kindle or nook apps on it to read those books, but I have/can get them on my phone or laptop, so whatever. I also have the Kobo desktop on my laptop.

I opted for an e-ink screen over a tablet for a couple reasons. First, battery life. It may have a bigger battery than my phone, but the specs for most tablet readers say you can get 7 hours or so of reading. My phone, with the screen brightness turned down and other battery-saving features, runs through about a quarter to a half if I'm playing Angry Birds for an hour or two. Second, I don't really *need* to have facebook or email (or Angry Birds) on the reader. I have my phone for that. Sure, writing long emails on my phone kinda sucks, but nothing's usually so important that it can't wait until I'm at my laptop again. Third, so much cheaper. The tablet e-readers are running $200-250 (or more, if you want an iPad). I can afford a Christmas present for myself that's $100, but $200+ is pushing it (and, besides, I have an Android phone).

The website said they'll start shipping on Monday and I'll get email with a tracking number when it does. I'll write more when I have it in hand and can play with it. I have a novel to beta read and another to review. I'll see how it works on those.

GAH.

23 Oct 2011 03:49 pm
feuervogel: (reading)
Gah.

I just finished reading a book to review for a magazine. It's cyberpunk, which isn't my usual subgenre. The last cyberpunk I read was Snow Crash, I think, though it's possible I read whichever William Gibson it was (I don't remember if I read Idoru, Neuromancer, or both) after that, but neither of them is particularly recent.

So when the book starts out on the first page using jargon and whatnot, I had NO idea what they were talking about (and the EPITHETS! Just use his/her freaking NAME, not "the blond pilot" or whatever) and felt like I was missing half the conversation. I have no idea if these are terms used generally in the current cyberpunk scene and I just don't know them, or if this book is entwined in an existing world of the writer's so people already know them, or if it's just something the writer made up for this book.

Leaving aside that the book wasn't generally my cup of tea, there were serious flaws in it. Like, 3/4 of the way through, there's something that looks like it's a remnant of a previous draft (actually, two somethings) that didn't get cut out or properly revised. The romance feels pastede on. The politics feel pastede on. It's about the singularity, I guess? And the evils of capitalism (which I generally approve of)?

I have to figure out how to write a review of this book without just waving my arms around and going "GAH!" a lot. Also without being scathing, because it wasn't as bad as Darkship Thieves (which was HORRIBLE OH GOD FUCK THAT BOOK), and the underlying idea was pretty cool, but the execution was lacking. I was frustrated SO much reading this book. I got a Kindle version, and my notes are "wasn't this copyedited???" and "WTF?" and also "come on, you can't use the singular Latin word for house to mean both house AND houses... it doesn't work that way!"
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
If you've been in my house recently and come upstairs, you may have noticed the bookshelf in the hallway with a precarious stack of books and boxes on top of a full shelf of manga. That's in addition to the disaster area in the bonus room in front of the bookshelves. (I did eventually find the Abmeldungsding I was looking for! I moved it to where I thought it should have been, so I'll be able to find it again later.)

Ben sent email to the comic shop asking if they wanted to take any of our used manga off our hands. We're offloading 75 volumes of manga and artbooks, mostly in complete sets or large portions. (I still plan to list the books I have for sale here. I just need to work out a pricing scheme.) They give store credit at a pretty good rate, so we won't have to pay for manga for several months. (Mostly, we're getting 20th Century Boys, Ooku, and whatever Ben's reading these days that's still running. Moyashimon, if Kodansha renews the US release after cancelling their entire contract with Del Rey...)

So that cleared off a good portion of that shelf in the hall, so the precarious stack is now integrated into the shelves. Which is good, because it was starting to get kind of scary.

The bookshelf in my room/office is kind of a wreck, and I'll get to that someday. If Ben ever gets around to sorting his Magic cards and selling some of them. It's mostly full of pharmacy books, which are more or less useful on occasion.

I'd like to sort through the closets, take old clothes to the thrift shop. There's one not half a mile from my house. I've heard that larger sizes are hard to find there, especially in business casual styles. I've got some size 12 and 14 things that don't fit me anymore and that I don't wear (partly because they don't fit; partly because I don't go to work regularly), and someone else could use them.

It's shocking how much Kram two people can accumulate in ten years. Especially if one of them is a packrat who doesn't get rid of anything, ever.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Because the internet lacks a sarcasm tag, and we haven't invented a punctuation mark to denote it, all the authors I listed yesterday as "not actually science fiction" was sarcasm.

I'm currently reading one of Drake's RCN novels, which are based on the same source material (a Napoleonic-era British sailor's diary) as O'Brian's Aubrey & Maturin books (Master and Commander, ff). O'Brian set his in the Age of Sail; Drake set his in a distant future where people have colonized space.

Drake's Hammer's Slammers novels are not-very-loosely based on his time serving in Vietnam, and set in a future where people have colonized space (and hire mercenaries to fight their battles for them). (If you like gritty military SF and you haven't read these, the first collection is excellent.)

Bujold's Vor of Barrayar are based on the imperial Prussians (with some influence of Czarist Russia), with purposeful similarities to Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories and the occasional reference to Georgette Heyer (especially A Civil Campaign).

Cherryh's Foreigner books aren't specifically based on real Earth history, as far as I know, but the parallel between clueless humans (presumably white people) stumbling into more complicated alien politics than they thought and colonialist Europeans drawing borders in Africa and central Asia that ignored the existing people's affiliations is there, even if you don't squint too hard.

Her Alliance-Union books are, like much space opera, the Age of Sail in space, with long journeys between various human establishments (be they colonies on stations or on planets), trade, pirates, a too-powerful Earth Company (a la the East India Company), politics, rabble, and the like.

LeGuin's books are generally anthropological in nature, especially the Hainish ones. The concept there is that the Hain seeded the universe with people, and they left them to develop/evolve under different conditions. Eventually, some group of them discovers space flight (or the Hain teach them? I'm not sure), and they go from planet to planet to observe the natives and eventually ask them to join their league of worlds (the Ekumen). They're quite brilliant.

And these are all science fiction, regardless of what some purist genre-snob thinks.
feuervogel: (writing)
I revised the next scene today, and I added 135 (net) words, for a total of 75417.

I also finished reading Darkship Thieves, which I will have more to say about later. My initial impression wasn't incorrect, but there's some definitely non-right-wing stuff going on (gay characters, mainly).

And I've ordered a new washing machine. It's an LG 2140, front loading blah blah, 10% off at Home Depot (which covers sales tax and a bit more). No new dryer, but they don't have the massive savings potential that more efficient washers do. (It's coming from our tax refund.) We may get a couple fancy drying racks and use them for most laundry, and save the dryer for bigger things like sheets and towels. The front loaders have a more effective spin cycle, so there's less water to dry out of them to start with.

I need to feed the cats before I go to tai chi class. Tomorrow I go back to Dr Jay's Chen class at 9th St Dance, which means I'll have 2 Chen classes a week. Which ought to help me in my quest for yellow sash.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Saturday, a few friends and I went on the Big Boss Brewery's tour for my birthday. It was extremely popular, but the weather was nice - 70 degrees or so - so after it was over, there was a big open-air festival almost in their parking lot. There were two food trucks (OnlyBurger (the veggie burger was pretty good, but the fries were meh) and KoKyuBBQ (Ben enjoyed the duck bratwurst sandwich and tater tots fried in duck fat)).

I tried their new Dunkelweizen, D'Icer, and it was pretty good. It wasn't Weihenstephaner or anything, but it was drinkable. (Speaking of Dunkelweizen, I tried New Belgium's in their Lips of Faith series; it was black as Coke and about half as sweet.)

After digesting the beers and food, Ben and I went out to Sage for dinner, where I boringly got the fesen joon. The jokey waiter must have cut his hair since New Year's, because I didn't recognize him until he started talking.

2. I haven't gotten anything productive done on my writing in a while. I fixed the plot issue I think; I still need to propagate some of the changes, but I can do that while I'm doing the hardest part of the revision process: getting into the characters' heads and adding descriptions. What do they see/hear/smell/feel/etc? What can I say other than "he narrowed his eyes" (eg)?

3. SCHEISST EUCH IN DIE HOSEN, WIR STEHEN GANZ AM OBEN, UND WIR STEIGEN WIEDER AUF. HIER KOMMT HERTHA! Yesterday's match pitted the best offense (us) against the best defense (Fürth), and we got a 2:0 win out of it, extending our lead over our next competitor to 4 points. Unless we lose the rest of our matches (which is, of course, technically possible, but not terribly likely), we'll get promoted back to the first league. HA HO HE!

4. I got the results from my bloodwork last week. I'm currently overmedicated for my thyroid, so I get to take half the Cytomel for a while and see what happens. (My TSH was undetectable, and my T3 was above normal limits, but T4 was fine.) Hopefully this won't lead to a return of The Nausea. Inability to concentrate is one of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, so that helps explain #2.

5. Reading one of the free books I got, Darkship Thieves. I'm not very far into it yet, but so far, our heroine has ripped her nightshirt in half to stop the men attempting to abduct her in their tracks and commented on how she knows the man whose spaceship she ends up in is a "real man" (I paraphrase) because he responds to the sight of her breasts. Said real man (who's got cat's eyes, which is actually kind of nifty tech) is from an anarcho-individualist culture (barf), and on p 87, there's this bit about "those wacky 21st century folks, thinking there aren't really gender differences in brains" which made me want to hurl the book across the room.

Frustratingly, Persecution of the Other (and the people the cat-guy is descended from are basically bioengineered to be smarter/faster/stronger/fit better in X situation and were, of course, persecuted and wiped out on Earth, except those who fled) is very frequently a liberal/progressive motif, where The Other stands in for queers or racial/ethnic minorities or other real-life disprivileged groups. I don't get the impression Ms Hoyt has any truck with that librul pansy nonsense.

At least I didn't pay money for it. (I did buy Mark Van Name's omnibus Jump Gate Twist, and I feel OK about that, because Mark admits to being Baen's token liberal. Also, it features a beefcake/emo shot of Jon on the cover.)

6. Still taking tai chi. I'm taking a break from weapons to go back to Dr Jay's 9th Street Dance Chen class for the current session. I can't take both, because they meet at the same time. I may go back to weapons over summer, because it doesn't look like he's teaching Chen over summer. (I could be wrong; it happens on occasion.) I'm also taking Nina's Tuesday evening class, which may ALSO be going on hiatus over summer.

So I'm going to have to self-motivate if I want to get my yellow sash this year. I'm awful at that.

7. Cats are evil.
feuervogel: (reading)
Meine Schwiegereltern wohnen zur Zeit in Basel, während die Schwiegermutter lehrt oder so etwas. (Sie ist Professorin.) Sie hat angeboten, beim großen Buchladen mir Bücher zu kaufen. Ich kenn, leider, keine deutsche SF/F-Schriftsteller! Bei Amazon gibt's sehr viele Bücher von Englisch ins Deutsch übersetzt, aber darauf habe ich keine Lust.

Letztes Jahr habe ich Die Magier von Montparnasse im Buchhandel gesehen aber nicht gekauft. Das, und sein Sequel quasi Der Kristallpalast, hab ich erbittet.

Jetzt komm ich zur Frage: welche Bücher könnt ihr empfehlen? Ich mag nicht frauenfeindliche Sachen (zB "Quest" von Andreas Eschbach), rassistische Sachen, anti-feministische Sachen, usw. Meine Lieblingsautoren sind Lois McMaster Bujold, CJ Cherryh, Terry Pratchett, und Neil Gaiman.

Danke im Voraus!
feuervogel: (reading)
So I volunteered to be on a panel on "where's the rest of the acronym?" at NASFIC. The panel assignments aren't out yet, but I thought I ought to prep anyway, just in case.

I can only think of a few off the top of my head, so I thought I'd turn to my frenz on teh intarwebs for help. (I googled "bisexual protagonist sf" and found Mary Anne Mohanraj's list, but paging through, the vast majority is gay or lesbian. I disagree with her classification of Swordspoint's protagonists.)

So, what I'm looking for primarily are speculative fiction novels (or novellas, or short stories, I guess) that have main characters, either leads or part of an ensemble cast, who are from the BTQ* part of the acronym. Preferably *positive* depictions, please.

Bisexual
Alec Campion (Swordspoint) [canonically has female lovers, a wife, and a son]
Richard St Vier (Swordspoint) [canonically has a female ex-lover (Jessamyn)]
Aral Vorkosigan (Barrayar)
Desire (Sandman)
Henry (Blood Price/Tanya Huff)
Anise (Sing the Four Quarters/Tanya Huff)
Bannon and Vree (Fifth Quarter/Tanya Huff)
Sarah Rainmaker (Gen13)
Eric and Cory (Bedlam's Bard/Mercedes Lackey)
the Elfquest series
the Anita Blake series

Trans/Genderqueer
Dono Vorrutyer (A Civil Campaign; debatable whether this represents an actual trans narrative; I've read arguments against but not for.)
Iain Banks' Culture novels (also debatable; people can alter their bodies with a thought and show no attachment to either gender, particularly. Perhaps more post-gender than trans?)
Desire (Sandman)
Mission Child (Maureen McHugh)
Glasshouse (Charles Stross; debatable - see comments)
The Left Hand of Darkness (LeGuin; not strictly trans, but influential look at gender)
Tobin/Tamir (the Tamir Triad, Lynn Flewelling; also not *strictly* trans, but a critical look at gender essentialism)
Weetzie Bat (Francesca Lia Block)
Xenogenesis (Octavia Butler; third gendered aliens)
Imajica (Clive Barker; third gendered character)
Wanda (Sandman; controversial character)
Okha Soyan (Bloodhound/Tamora Pierce)

suggested but unsure where to classify
Blackjack (Lee Singer)

So, my friends who may be more well-read than I, what do *you* suggest? PS: Feel free to link!

Ow.

3 Apr 2010 06:11 pm
feuervogel: (do not want)
Helped Sarah move. In the process, I smashed my finger between a box and the corner of a filing cabinet. It's swollen and tender, but I iced it for a while (at A's place, during another friend's birthday party) and it's a little better now.

That's pretty much been my day so far. Need to finish this book I'm reading. I only have 110 or so pages left, I think. It's very challenging: it challenges a lot of assumptions I have. One in particular is librul guilt over colonialism. The author says it's condescending and arrogant for people (Americans, mainly, are his target) to assume that everything fucked up in the "Third World" [sic] countries is our fault and we should flagellate ourselves over it.

That deserves its own post, with the relevant passage quoted. But right now, my finger hurts, so I'm going to stop typing.
feuervogel: (reading)
1. Characters whose life history is basically trauma after trauma after trauma.

2. Plots that exist mainly to further traumatize the characters.

These are not what I look for in my fiction. I do not enjoy reading about people's misery. Yet I also understand that sunshine and bunnies and kumbayah make for rather dull stories, so of course there should be problems and bad things happening. Balance. It's a good thing.
feuervogel: (happy)
I got through my entire to-do list, except registering for the CE. I have another week or so for that. And it's like $170 for a day-long CE, which includes continental breakfast (coffee, tea, and pastries) and a rather nice lunch. It's at this fancy-pants resort/spa in Greensboro, which is part of the reason it costs several times as much as the day-long CE with continental breakfast and box lunches at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. (Which I won't be able to make this year, unfortunately, because I'll be in BERLIN instead. Hahaha. It's the first day of my language class, even.)

I learned that David Drake got a JD at Dook, and he was the town attorney for Chapel Hill. Now I feel obligated to read his books. I bet they have some at the library, and there are some free on Baen's Webscriptions. (Baen has offices down here. Did you know that?) But he has written space opera with mercenaries, and I feel doubly obligated to read more in the subgenre.

After dinner, Ben's gonna play the last bit of DLC in Assassin's Creed II, and I'm gonna crochet. I have a shawl I need to finish. I'm on row 12 or so of a projected 80+. -_- (At least it's worked entirely in half-double, so it's quick.)

Quick beer review: Picked up a 6-pack of Dead-Eye Jack (Lone Rider Brewing). It's a seasonal (Outlawed Release) porter. As I've mentioned before, porters are hit or miss for me. This one is a hit, I think. It's got a decent balance between malt and hops, and a hint of chocolate. Recommended! (I prefer stouts over porters, as far as dark beers go. Except the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, which is amazing.)

I probably mentioned how much I liked Shotgun Betty, which is Lone Rider's hefeweizen. I'm going to mention it again, because it's so damn good, and I haven't had any since my halloween party, because it's only available in growlers still, and I can't drink 4 pints by myself. :P

We should make a field trip to Big Boss and Lone Rider, but possibly not the same day. I wonder if Triangle Brewing in Durham offers tours/samples/etc... (Ooh, I can send a SASE to Lone Rider and get labels and coasters...)

Which reminds me of another quick beer review: Triangle Brewing's Belgian golden: Nice, drinkable. Not quite as good as Duvel, but probably cheaper.

Holy shit, clicking around TBC's website shows a Black Friday cask festival. Too bad it's impossible to get Ben's family here for Thanksgiving. :P (Not that they'd want to do it, of course. Except his bro.)

OK, dinner's ready. Time to eat!
feuervogel: (reading)
So, there are these up and coming fantasy authors who receive wide critical acclaim in the SFF community because of their amazing style and/or voice.

I can't stand them. It reads to me as overwritten and pretentious, which is everything I hate in fiction. For example, Catherynne Valente. I wanted to like Palimpsest, and I liked the idea behind it (a sexually-transmitted city? cool!), but when I read it, I kept wishing she hadn't spent so much effort on style.

I've read excerpts from a forthcoming novel (or very recently released?), and ... I have the same problem. I have no plans to read it entirely, so I won't mention the title here, though the author's initials are NJ. I've read gushing reviews, and, while the story might be good (fantasy has recently become very much Not My Cup of Tea), the writing hits me in that trying too hard spot.

(Then there's the dang (also horribly overwritten) Kushiel series, which I wanted to like but hated for a variety of reasons, including a) I wanted the narrator to die because she was such a self-absorbed twat and b) Carey made BDSM BORING. Also c) indentured sexual servitude of minors without their consent, aside from being born into it. WHICH ISN'T CONSENT, GUYS.)

So I must be defective, and a bad writer who likes bad writing, because I don't like these great New Fantasy™ writers and think they overwrite and are trying to become Literary. I like straightforward, unpretentious writing. And there's so much recently written that seems to be filled with Literary Allusions that Smart People should Get, though in reality Smart People means "former English majors."

I'll never be successful, I guess, if the market is all about attempting to write in a Literary style.

Stuff.

5 Dec 2009 07:00 pm
feuervogel: (never too late)
Today I slept in a bit (though I laid in bed awake a while), then did the Saturday morning routine: Cup a Joe for coffee & breakfast, then grocery shopping. We skipped the farmers' market, because we didn't need anything, and, besides, the weather was nasty.

It's the type of day where you want to stay inside where it's warm and dry. It's been in the 40s and rainy all day. It's supposed to get into the 20s overnight. Brr!

I finished reading All the Shah's Men. I'll put a review and some thoughts on my blog later this week. I made a brief review on GoodReads already.

I wrote a couple reviews of books I finished earlier for my blog; they'll be autoposted at specified times.

Inspired by [personal profile] sabeth, I'm going through my hoard of BPAL and deciding what I want to get rid of. I'll possibly post here, then at the forum. Primarily looking to sell; I have more freaking perfume than I know what to do with. (You'll pry War from my cold, dead hands, though.)

Tomorrow, Mo & Nolan are coming over, and I'm making them Turkish coffee. One pot makes a demitasse cup for 3 people (approximately), so that should work out fine, since Ben can't have caffeine. I'll have to break out the antique cups I got from Etsy that I'm terrified to use (because they're 80 years old!), since I only have 2 cups from Ikea.

If you want to hear this year's Bad Sex in Fiction "winner" read out loud in silly voices, go here. NSFW, obviously. Possibly also not safe for your mental health. Or your sex life.
feuervogel: (writing)
Because my journal is turning into a series of boring how many words I wrote today posts, I'll add something else to this one.

Yesterday I went to a law & ethics update. I learned that if you're a patient in North Carolina and file a malpractice suit, unless you can get an expert witness (which is hard to do, apparently), you'll lose. Even if it's something incredibly fucking obvious, like the surgeon operated on the wrong damn knee. The court threw out the case because they couldn't get an expert witness. Seriously, WTF.

I renewed my license, so I'll be able to work, legally, next year. Even if I have to *shudder* get a real job somewhere, since this per diem thing isn't working so well.

---
Today's word count: 1803
Total word count: 32680

Today I went back in time a bit, after getting stuck in the tactics of this stupid space station battle. What I need is some visual/artistic talent so I can draw the layout of the station from a ground-level perspective. I dl'ed google SketchUp, though my skills are kinda ass.

Seriously, not being a visual person makes working out things like, oh, what a station looks like, what people look like, how a particular building looks, whatever, incredibly fucking difficult.

I have an email pending to my military buddy, about how to make this stupid battle scene work.

---
I read a couple Georgette Heyer novels recently. It's amazing how many things she got away with that you're told never to do -- the synonyms for "said," (including everyone's favorite, "ejaculated"), switching POV without a marker, giving people's life histories in the middle of a chapter as infodump. I like them; they're fun and silly, but they're not good examples for modeling my own writing.

So I finally started reading Consider Phlebas, which Phil gave me for my birthday. (My birthday is in March.) I'm not very far in; with Ben busy Assassinating (Assassin's Creed 2 is just as bizarre as the first game) and me writing all day, I'm finding that I don't have much time to read. (I still haven't finished All the Shah's Men. I've only got 2 or 3 chapters to go, I think.)

I can get through the current chapter in CP before Ben gets home if I get off the computer now.
feuervogel: (reading)
I just wrote a long post for my other blog, if you care to read it.

UK LeGuin is one of the reasons I love science fiction.
feuervogel: (reading)
I got another reward certificate in yesterday's mail. I still had one from a month or two ago on the kitchen table, so I decided to bring them upstairs, since I remembered having another one up here. I was wrong; I actually had 2. So I had $100 of free Amazon money, which I decided I should spend. (I also had $6 left over from my last reward certificate purchase. I'm honestly terrified to ask how many of these we get in a year, at one certificate for $2500 of credit card use. I'll guess about 9. All our discretionary spending goes on the card.)

So I went through my wish list and cleared a bunch of things off it. )

And in a few hours, Mo & Nolan are coming over with take-out from Tandoor and a weird beer (hopefully the Dogfish Head Sah'tea?) and we're gonna try weird beers. I have a bottle of New Holland's Dragon's Milk Ale (aged in oak barrels!) in the fridge.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
So I'm in scenic Jacksonville for work. This means I got up yesterday at 4:30 to leave the house by 6 to drive 3 hours or so to get here by 9, then work until 6. Today I'm working 10-6 and heading home afterward. (I saw a Taco Bell on the drive in, so I'll stop there for dinner.)

I ate at IHOP last night. I like IHOP, and I know there's vegetarian food there, unlike the Chinese buffet (which came with a good recommendation, but.) I also saw a delivery menu for a different Chinese place in the hotel lobby, but I wasn't in the mood for delivery Chinese of unknown quality. So IHOP. Conveniently it's about 100 yards from the JAX Barnes & Noble, so I hied thither to peruse the books.

I only left with three books, only one of which I'd intended to buy going in (World War One: A short history.) I spent a lot of time in the bargain books section, and they had The Girls Who Went Away marked down in hardback to 5.98, and since I've read good reviews of it, I bought that. I almost got Barbara Tuchman's medieval history book, which was in bargain for like $10, but I'm not that interested in medieval stuff.

My lucky, awesome find was a book called Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds. I say lucky because their section on Turkish history is sparse as hell (and combined with Greek history, which, um. No?) I was perusing the Middle Eastern section looking for All the Shah's Men, the history of the 1953 CIA-led coup in Iran. I found it, and I was thinking of buying it, but I flipped it over and noticed in the list of books by the author, Stephen Kinzer, a book about modern Turkish history. So I put the shah's men back and went to see if they had it. Luckily they did, but it took a minute to find it; the Greek/Turkish history section was poorly organized.

I also perused the travel section for books on Vienna and Budapest. I think the Lonely Planet city guides will be good; they're also nicely small. Unfortunately you can only get Bratislava in the Czech and Slovak Republics book, which is bigger. I'm going to get the LP Berlin Encounter guide for April, I think. Consider Eastern Europe phrasebook; wish there were one for Slovak, not just Czech. Two similar languages but not identical.

The B&N in JAX has a HUGE military section. Military history, history of warfare, strategy, books of tank and warplane IDs. This should not be surprising, since JAX is home to Camp LeJeune. I actually kind of like it, because there's this giant section of books about World War One. It's smaller than the WW2 section, though. There's also Learn Pashto, all about Arabic and Afghani customs, and support books for military spouses.

I just feel weird, this super civilian girl standing and ogling the military history books. (I almost picked up Carl von Clausewitz On War, but it's in the public domain, and I have it on my computer from the Gutenberg Project. Possibly in both English *and* German.) I'm trying to rectify my public high school lack of education about WW1, the parts the US was not involved in. I mean, shit, until I started researching for the alternate history, I don't think I knew the Ottomans were involved, or parts of North Africa, or Japan. (They were fighting Russia.) Or that the Russian Revolution happened in the middle of WW1. So I'm reading more.

I think WW1 is a lot more interesting than WW2, because it was a giant clusterfuck that could ... well, probably not have been completely averted, with the players who were on stage at the time, but have been different. But from what I've read, the early 1900s were a situation ripe for revolution and change, so it was this kettle boiling over. Human behavior is fascinating.
feuervogel: (writing)
Yesterday I'd planned to spend some time making tiny revisions to my flash fiction piece (that came so. very. close. to being bought) and beating my head against an outline for the new, improved version of Blue Danube Waltz. But I checked facebook and saw that my friend from high school was going to be in the area looking at apartments. She called me around 11 to ask if I wanted to do anything, and I said that would be cool. She was driving from Virginia, so it would be a while. She didn't call again until almost 2, and it was 2:45 before I left to meet her.

Needless to say, I didn't get anything useful done on my revisionating.

I did, however, get close to the end of the book I'm reading, Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, which is interesting and good and giving me some weird vibes. I'll expand on that more later, once I've finished it. (It was suggested in the wake of MammothFail as an alternate history that doesn't kill off or ignore the brown people. That it is, but there's a bit of Noble Savage and a couple other tropes. I'll say up front that if you're offended by people criticising the hell out of the patriarchal desert monotheisms, you'll be offended by this book.)

Right, that was more than I wanted to get into now, but oh well.

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feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
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