hildy89: (dangerous weapons)
Sad news on the internet today.

Barbara Mertz, the writer better known as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels, dies at 85.

I was more of a fan of her other series with Vicki Bliss and Jacqueline Kirby, but I had accepted that after Laughter of Dead Kings we weren't going to get any more of either of those series. I hadn't realized how many Amelia Peabody books were published!

C'est moi!

Sep. 25th, 2012 12:37 pm
hildy89: (carnevale venizia)
I went to see Nathan Gunn at the Kennedy Center over the weekend and wrote it up on my blog over here. I do wish I knew a little more about opera to appreciate some of the pieces. Metro was being a pain that weekend, which made travel difficult.

I'm through with both of my book challenges. I had challenged myself to read 30 books on Goodreads, I'm at 37 right now with three months to go. I also joined the TBR challenge and scaled Pike's Peak, which meant reading 12 books that I owned prior to the beginning of this year. I'm hoping to keep going, but I doubt I'll reach the next summit, which is Mt Vancouver and 25 books!
hildy89: (newsflash)
I remember when I said "long weekend" wistfully. My July 4th was more like a death march or a bad episode of Survivor. First the air conditioning conked out on the building. Not surprising, the a/c dies at the first rumble of thunder. But when it wasn't immediately reset I started to get worried. At one point, I stupidly went to the library for a quick respite. And promptly dinged my ankle while puttering around the stacks. Several friends have suggested I need a suit of armor. While practical, it'd be completely uncomfortable in summer. I actually spent the night at a very nice hotel last night -- after the temperatures climbed to 80 degrees in my building, I considered that I was not a hothouse flower. The building is waiting on a part to fix the problem, so we'll see what I go home to tonight. I hope everyone else had a better 4th.

Bright side, I did finish Gail Carriger's Soulless over the weekend. Very funny mix of steampunk and supernatural and romance... now if only the author can sort out her POV issues in later books. Maybe she was going for omniscient/Victorian style narrative, but the end result was switching POVs in literally the next paragraph. Loved the world and the characters though.
hildy89: (girl friday)
On the spur of the moment, I joined a 48 Hour Read-a-thon. The idea was to pick some books you wanted to read and to see how far you could get over the week. I attacked my pile of crime books. By some miracle, I managed to finished Richard Castle's Heat Wave and Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon, the latter I've been meaning to finish for literally ages. I blogged about it over here. I will probably post a fuller review of Falcon once I get my thoughts together. I suspect a rewatch of the Huston movie may be in order with a comparison against the pre-code version. Since I don't drink, I'm not sure whether watching "Satan Met a Lady" sober is a good idea. Maltese Falcon is most definitely not a romantic comedy of any stripe.

One thing it did remind me I've put off was my eyes. I dug out my reading glasses, which helped a lot, but my eyes adjusted so well I'm now worried about my eyes. I haven't had an eye appointment since the last time I went to Pearle and went into hock. My old doctor moved so he's in the same building as my allergist, but he's no longer with Pearle. I still haven't decided whether I'll go back to him or find someone closer. I've heard horror stories about nearly every chain. I've also seen suggestions to take your prescription to one of the online places -- but then how do you know which frames to pick? It's almost worse than buying shoes online. And I have about as much chance of anything fitting right.
hildy89: (fox in winter)
So to update my life:

The temp assignment ended on Friday with a bit of a whimper. The holiday party was on Thursday, so the bulk of the staff didn't bother coming in on Friday, so it was just the boss and me. That worked out well for a slow and leisurely day. During the day I learned about the impending snowstorm. So I trudged to the local store on the way home to load up on the essentials. Note to people in store: saving a place for someone in line is all nice and stuff, but when they bring in a massive cart of stuff? Don't expect the people behind you to be all friendly-like.

The snows are quite impressive. The white stuff has filled up the entirety of my non-balcony outside which makes for a scary sight. No power outages, thankfully. Hopefully all the roads and airports will be cleared in a few days when I disappear from DC for a week. Going from 30s to 60s/70s is going to be so much fun this year.

I spent some of the time emptying and deleting boxes, so I can return my apartment to some form of sanity. New bookshelves will just have to wait for the New Year, if at all. The amusing thing is I decided to try switching around some of the contents of said bookshelves to see if they'd fit better. So my skating shelf has been moved to a new location and I get to look at my writing and miscellaneous books from my bedside. [livejournal.com profile] suricattus gets good company with Nick Bantock & Jasper Fforde.

The only snag in all of this is on the technological front. I put together the computer, only to lack an internet connection. I have a cable internet/router combination. I think I have the correct ethernet/modem cables I just can't figure what goes where. And my entertainment unit is *still* in shambles. I really should have written down instructions for that. For a self-proclaimed geek, dvd/vcr hookups are strange and mysterious things. Plus finding the paper for the printer and the mp3 player cables...

Writing wise, not much to report, other than Yuletide successfully written and uploaded. [livejournal.com profile] remember_wenn is having its first annual fic fest in February and are taking prompts. I've dumped in a whole bunch of prompts.

My weekend

Dec. 6th, 2009 02:14 pm
hildy89: (roll tide roll)
So the DC area received its first snowstorm yesterday. A mere dusting by most people's standards, but enough to send most people scurrying. Unfortunately that delayed part of my weekend plans (bookshelves!) for another time.

The delay had one desired effect. I could curl up and watch the SEC title game. Good thing, since Bama came to play! When Saban took the ball with the coin toss, I knew it was going to be one of those games. Hello Mr. Tebow, I'd like to introduce you to a few of my big friends. Greg McElroy played absolutely out of his mind. He's taken a pounding from his critics this year, so it was kinda sweet to see. Mark Ingram is closer to getting Alabama's first Heisman Trophy. With all of our national titles, it's hard to believe we don't have one yet. (Again 1992 flashbacks, we played Miami in the title game against the Heisman Tropy winner, Gino Torretta. There were many signs "Gino Who?" at the game.)

This afternoon my uncle and cousin returned to get all the boxes out of the storage units. They also figured out how to hook up the smaller tv/vcr combination, so I could watch the Redskins against the undefeated New Orleans Saints (those are four words I never thought I'd say -- no offense [livejournal.com profile] majkia). Why do the Redskins always get those teams on their schedule? I have horrible memories of the New England shellacking we received. Worse, I like both Saints and Patriots, so it's not like it's the Giants or Cowboys.
hildy89: (big sleep)
Not quite but close enough. Tonight was the opening of the spring book sale at the local library. I've never gone to the Thursday/Friday openings because I was either working or wasn't a member of the Friends of the Library. They were selling memberships at the door, so I thought it'd be nice to see what treasures I miss by going on Saturday or Sunday. Wow. Wow. I'd forgotten how crowded and cutthroat these events can be. One person grumpily asked why some guy was taking all the science fiction paperbacks and basically "because I want them" was the response. I brought a tote bag. Other people brought massive wheelie carts, boxes, you name it. I relied on my fine old memory, because I'm not used to actually finding what I'm looking for. Others looked through the piles with iPhones/pdas/lists in hand. I came home with a full bag of books for a little over $30, including over a dozen Margery Allingham books. I was a little nervous when I found that motherload, since I knew the titles sometimes vary between American & British editions, but I only wound up with one duplicate. I'll need to have that list with me the *next* time I go hunting for more Campion. They've expanded into nearly every format imaginable including cds,dvds, books on tape, and graphic novels.

Now I just have to decide what to read next.
hildy89: (our first date)
Some covers are just guaranteed to make to go "Whoops, what's that?" That was the case when I spotted the George Mann's "Affinity Bridge" cover in this Tor books blog. Was that an airship I spied? Indeed, it was yet another steampunk Victorian story, this time a mystery set in 1900 England. The book won't be published in the States until later next year alas. Mann's British publisher Snow Books has commissioned a short story in the same universe, called "The Shattered Teacup". You can both download it as a pdf or as an audio book. The voice actor manages fairly well with the different voices and accents. It's a very old school detective story, which is a nice relief from all the darkness and angst. The steampunk touch in this reminded me more of "Clash of the Titans", but in a good way. You'll understand.
hildy89: (reading glasses)
The permanent crown was put in today. All was fairly painless this time. Not like the time they did my front teeth and nearly needed a pair of pliers to get the temps off. They took forever adjusting the fit and checking my bite though. It'll be a few days before it feels normal.

I hit Books a Million as a treat on the way home. Their shelving system really needs work. They've separated out the mass market from hardcover and trade paperbacks in two different parts of store, so you really have to look sometimes. I asked about Jo Graham's "Black Ships" since I'd heard it recommended by several friends. They were supposed to have a copy in SF/fantasy. I even asked if it was mass market or trade. The bookseller kept saying paperback, making me wonder if he even knew there were two types of paperbacks these days. He checked the regular mass markets and assumed it wasn't there. After making my other purchases, I went over to the other sf/fantasy section and found it on the first try. Things like that make me order online, I'm sorry to say. I'm all for supporting the lowly bookstores, I love having the book in my greedy hands, but I really hate sloppy bookselling like that. *shrugs* I'm sure someone will say "But you found your book". Yes, but only because I checked again, rather than my first impulse, which was to go out the door, assuming he was right and they really didn't have it!

On the bright side, I have a half day at work tomorrow. The full job doesn't start until the 5th. But I work again. This fills me with glee. And hopefully fills my bank account with lesser amounts of glee.

Home!

Dec. 27th, 2008 04:50 pm
hildy89: (Default)
So after a week in sunny warm central Florida, I returned home to DC. The trip was mind boggingly problem-free. There was nearly no line to check a bag, go through security and catch a taxi home. And my bag was the second one off the baggage claim. It's like someone said "Let's go easy on her this once". Considering how bleah the Christmas turned out, it was nice. I had a good time and I enjoyed seeing my parents, but I'm glad to be home with my bed and my computer and my schedule. I came down with something over Christmas, but I'm mostly feeling better, except for the right leg that's giving me issues off and on.

After I came home, I splurged on some books at my sad and depressing little BDaltons and had a late lunch at Noodles and Company. There won't be many more occasions to do this. They're finally giving up the ghost and closing down. Once that store goes, I'll have to go over to Clarendon for books. Even stalwart local Olssons has closed down as well.
hildy89: (ellery queen)
I meant to post this before Nano started, but I was a little side tracked. By the point I’d gotten around to this, I’d finished the second book, too. *sighs*

[livejournal.com profile] neadods mentioned Kate Ellis' mysteries in her Bouchercon wrap-up post. The online descriptions sounded interesting enough, so I hunted down the first two books, Merchant’s House and The Armada Boy at my local library. Both books had a good blend of the modern and historical showing parallel stories of the modern CID detectives and the archaeological dig. I love these types of books, more so than actual historical mysteries, because I love seeing the modern perspective. Archaeology/historical research are just different types of detective work. The different threads do all interrelate to each other. Part of me felt everything was a little too neatly wrapped up at the end.

Kate Ellis books; slight spoilers )
hildy89: (reading glasses)
Home from the Philly excursion. I had a nice time with the family, although disappointing on some fronts and flat-out frustrating in others. I managed to snatch a few photos of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Olympia & Becuna. The museum's exterior was under heavy construction, which I tried not to capture in my photos. If you like quilts, they're having a lovely exhibition of Gee's Bend quilts until December. Alas the new Perelman Building for their costumes/textiles exhibits was extremely sparse, but they only opened last year. Still I saw more tapestries and textiles over in the main building. We did the Olympia & Becuna on a very bright Monday morning, so it was hard to get good photos without the sun messing up the light. I do wish I'd gotten a picture of Baldwin's Book Barn, an used bookstore my parents remembered in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It's a converted 1820s barn with nothing but used books, mostly hardcovers. It covers over four floors of all topics imaginable. All the photos are up on Flickr.

One thing I had forgotten about with the new computer was the razza-snarl of reinstalling the old HP digital camera. Since I couldn't find the disk, I used the backup from the laptop, hoping it would have what it needed. For now it works. But it only steels my resolve to get a new camera at some point.
hildy89: (reading)
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I just finished reading Bob Greene's Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen. It's about a small town in Nebraska that decided to open up a canteen for US soldiers during WWII. The troop trains would stop for ten minutes and the canteen would provide coffee, sandwiches, cigarettes, magazines. The book is littered with remembrances of war veterans and canteen helpers and locals. It's about an America that's disappearing. It's also a love story about trains or at least how they impacted the small towns they passed through. The saddest parts of the story aren't the war stories as much as the disappearance of the train station. I heard about the book when I was temping at the SEC and Harvey Pitt, the then-chairman, mentioned the book favorably in a lecture. That's what I love about books. You discover them in interesting ways, whether they're recommended by a friend or spotted on a bookshelf. There are the books you have to read for class and there are the ones you kick back and read on a weekend.

I also read Irene Nemirovsky's "Fire in the Blood" which was short and unsatisfying. Given the author's tragic history, that criticism is hard to give. Who knows how that book would have turned out if she'd had more time to revise it? That makes me look at my own works with a different eye. If I left tomorrow, if I couldn't write anything more, what would I leave behind? A lot of unfinished ideas and convoluted plots. Theoretically it should galvanize me into working harder.

I read for enjoyment. I read for escape. But I also read for knowledge and history and understanding. I want to visit places I will never see. I want to pack my bags for that great adventure whether it's Narnia or Hogwarts or New York or wartime London. Reading is a tool, but it's a great joy too.
hildy89: (play suspended for rain)
And Saturday it rained. Lord did it rain. All morning and nearly all afternoon. Fortunately dear Hanna wasn't quite as hard-hearted as her Savannah namesake and spared us some of her fury. The DC types worked pretty fast to catch bad draining streets/alleys. I stayed inside, having done my groceries on Friday, and watched the US Open's men's semi-finals. Federer managed to get in his match, but Nadal had his match switched to the smaller Armstrong stadium. They didn't finished until today. Murray just wouldn't let him get comfortable out there. Part of me is thrilled for Andy, but part of me wishes it had been Tim.

Then last night I went over to [livejournal.com profile] pinkpolarity's place for a belated birthday celebration. She introduced me to the magic of the Xbox. The last time I played video games was in the arcades or with the good old days of Coleco Vision. *wistful about cracking Zaxxon* And as I tried to explain to her, most arcade games have one controller and maybe two buttons, so the Xbox controller was really hard for me to master. The whole idea of "seeing and moving" (i.e. look around first and then move) was alien to me. She tried me out on the first KOTOR game which I enjoyed. It's a very forgiving game for beginners with nice reminders throughout. Then I hit a stumbling block called Battlefront. I just couldn't master it. We tried putting me through the first Halo's tutorial to see if it would help. The world was interesting, but it's not really my type of game.

I'm gearing up for another Avengers kick. Netflix brought me the extras disk off the Emma Peel Megaset. The "Case of the Missing Corpse" promo was delightful. The real revelation were the last remaining season one episodes with Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel. Like Doctor Who, the Avengers is sadly missing some of its history because of the masters were taped over/lost/otherwise misplaced. Only the first act of "Hot Snow" remains and "Girl on a Trapeze" and "Frighteners" were complete. I actually quite liked "Girl on a Trapeze" more than "Frighteners", even though the former lacked Patrick Macnee as Steed. (I also liked Nurse Carol better than Keel's actual fiancee. She came off as smarter. Oh well.)

Somehow I've managed to get some reading done. I finished the latest Elizabeth Peters' mystery, Laughter of Dead Kings, the last Vicki Bliss mystery. I'll need to write up my thoughts on that one later, because some things bothered me about that book, especially compared to the earlier books in the series. I also finished the first Rogue Angel book Destiny, which is like Witchblade meets Relic Hunter, complete with Joan of Arc references. It's fluffy mindless entertainment with a fairly decent heroine. That she's nearly the only female character in the book is a little worrying. My mother must have sensed I needed a book to read. Either that or she magically senses my struggles with writing these days. She sent me Margaret Atwood's Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing.
hildy89: (north by northwest)
Yesterday was one of those days when I was stuck in a funk. No matter what I tried, I couldn't seem to get out of it. I really shouldn't do "retail therapy" in that mental state. But I'd been good for awhile, so a combined Borders/Best Buy trip seemed like a good birthday present, right? Best Buy's tvondvd sale means I get to catch up with both seasons of "Eureka". For whatever reason, I went through Borders' mystery section without remembering that Elizabeth Peters has a new Vicki Bliss book! So I wound up with Goodis and Stark instead.

I do miss the Suncoast though, if only for their anime section. I guess I'll have to order "Maria Watches Over Us" because I haven't seen it anywhere.

New Balance has either heard my pleas or just decided for a change. They're coming out with another version of my favorite sneaker in the fall. We can only hope that the 993s fit better than the 992, because I've run out of resources for my old shoes. Ebay brings up EEs or worse a men's 8AA, which will be two sizes too big for me. I'm cursed I tell you.

There is an end in sight for this assignment. I keep chanting over and over "Two more shelves". They still have me until the end of the week, though, so I don't know whether they'll need me to help with the discards and other packing duties.
hildy89: (blue box)
I know I have a few Connie Willis fans on this friendslist. A new community [livejournal.com profile] willis_worlds just opened for discussion, fanfic, etc on her books. I was pleased to see a Bellwether fic included in this year's [livejournal.com profile] yuletide stories. I desperately need to get back to reading "Passage". Or just reading in general.
hildy89: (cuff)
[livejournal.com profile] selenak has a nice long post on with recommendations on historical fiction & other media related to Tudors, specifically Elizabeth I and her father Henry VIII. New books to read, yay!
hildy89: (sidonia)
Ellen Kushner's latest Riverside book Privilege of the Sword is available now in trade paperback with gorgeous cover. I had heard Ellen read parts of the book at World Fantasy Con in Washington, D.C., so it was more than eagerly awaited. The book is set between her previous books Swordspoint and Fall of the Kings. (She's also on lj as [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner.)

On the Endicott Studio blog, Terri Windling mentions a notable trip in Lyons, France, along with Kushner and Delia Sherman including a stop in an antiquarian bookstore where Ellen had found a bunch of French fairy tale books. Needless to say, the books went back across the Atlantic with her. She has created an Adrienne Ségur tribute page showcasing some of the beautiful illustrations.
hildy89: (Default)
Only because I don't want to be singing "I don't know where I'm going to go when the volcano blows" all day...

Time to officially flail. I'm leaving for the con and while I'm mentally and emotionally ready to go, the physical packing isn't quite there yet. Thankfully I'm leaving early and will have some time before I have to be at the airport. I swear the MP3 player and various cds had it in for me last night. Usually it's easy to pull the tracks into Musicmatch and add them to the player. Every cd I picked up wouldn't trigger the automatic track listings... And I still can't figure out where I put the confirmation slip from the hotel. I'm going to call them today, if all else fails. And I would flail over the weather forecast for later today...

I posted a scan of the second Pocket Dragon pattern I'm working on, called "Scary Book". As you can see, the background is mostly what is left. I'm bringing that and one other project to the con for off moments. Waiting in line on Friday morning usually allows for a "moment of quiet reflection" as Giles would say.

The Washington Post's Book World columnist Michael Dirda weighed in on the discussion of digitizing books. He pointed out the flaws in the system where you could potentially have several different versions of a text online, so which is the "right" one? He was looking for a Thoreau quote and found three different variations. And what happens if you digitize a mistake or typo from a "bad" edition?

I did like this description of the actual art of reading a book:

All this said, I think that tactile, manual encounter with a physical object is important to reading. One needs to turn pages, mark favorite passages, scribble in margins, carry the book in your purse or pocket, reread favorite passages, stare at it on your bookshelf. It would be a great diminution of the reading experience to miss out on these.

Okay maybe only stare at it and wonder if I'd read it...

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