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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. Finished Blade of Dream on the train back from a family visit. It felt like a more enjoyable read than Age of Ash, and also like a more conventional fantasy story. In Age of Ash we were mostly following low-life. Winter seemed to swallow up the whole book, and although our middle and upper class Blade of Dream characters go through the same season, they have warm baths and fires tended by servants to keep the cold at bay. Alys and Sammish don't get any of that. Our BoD characters came across as rather nicer, softer people, having not spent large parts of their childhoods struggling on the edge of existence. I enjoyed Theddan and Elaine's friendship. Even if it did come across to my jaded pov as being rather idealised, it was well-written and the way they bounced off each other was a delight. Just in case anyone Daniel-Abraham-shaped is listening, I can spot a comma splice at ten miles and have plenty of free time in my schedule that I could spend proofreading book 3. : ) ETA: From going back and reading the last page of this thread, I can see others have been picking up on Bryn a Sal and Halev Karsen.
  2. Yes! I'm going to subscribe to Disney just to find out where Ezra ended up. I seem to remember he had Thrawn with him too.
  3. Watched Good Omens 2 last week. Pros: Warm and broadly optimistic Some of my favourite credits ever Great costuming and some very good performances (Jon Hamm and Michael Sheen) Often mildly amusing; sometimes really funny Enjoyed the commentary on Job. When I watch TV from the USA, I often get unnerved by how intensely slim and beautiful anyone is if they're a lead character. Or a supporting character. Or a minor character. Or an extra in one scene. It was nice seeing a load of fairly 'normal' looking people in most of the roles Cons: Didn't have enough plot. I've read on a fan's blog that the original idea for a sequel would have started with the end of Good Omens 2 and that does explain rather a lot Could have done with a well-developed b-plot to run parallel to Crowley and Aziraphale (instead there were lots of threads that mostly related very closely to C&A; I like the characters but there was just too much of them) I thought John Finnemore was trying too hard to channel Terry Pratchett (e.g. the writing in the zombie plot seemed quite close to Reaper Man). It might have been better for the show if he'd decided to write more as himself. I read a lot of fanfiction in my very misspent teenage years, and the better examples tended to happen when the writer had their own voice and was interested in the source text, but was also confident about doing their own thing. Seemed to be edging a bit too close to pure fan-service at times for my tastes. I was about to complain that they recast Beelzebub with a younger actress in view of plot developments. But then I looked it up, and Shelley Conn is actually slightly older than Anna Maxwell Martin. Also saw Oppenheimer. It was okay, but biopics aren't my genre. I prefer more of the Copenhagen (Michael Frayn) approach. Was impressed by Robert Downey jr. as Strauss since I had no idea it was him till I looked up the cast online afterwards. And slightly embarrassed. I'm not normally that bad – I spotted Hughie from The Boys and Kenneth Branagh. That said, I couldn't tell Oppenheimer's dark-haired love interests apart.
  4. This story has already been posted here, but it makes me so happy that I'm posting it again. When the 1700s come to the rescue. The article quotes in full the description of the skipper of an eight-metre sailing boat which broke its rudder and was rescued by the three-masted Götheborg of Sweden. Also: the Götheborg's Instagram. Plus, like any self-respecting eighteenth-century sailing ship, it has a LinkedIn account.
  5. One of the surprise pluses about growing older is that even if I stumble across spoilers for a game/book/show, by the time I get around to it, I won't remember what the spoilers were.
  6. Yes, fraid so, the ending is too memorable for my brain to have marked it as 'disposable' as it does with most detective novel denouements! But I'm happy to reread it for the atmosphere. ETA: omg the typos...
  7. I've been thinking of rereading Nine Tailors for a while. I've got a fondness for fenland gothic(k) (see also Graham Swift's Waterland) and NT must be tangled up in the roots of that particular niche.
  8. The dog makes me think of The Mitchells vs. the Machines except instead of getting trapped in a dog–pig loop, here it's dog–ferret.
  9. I tried ecosia a couple of years ago but reverted to Google since ecosia didn't have the ability to return bus and train timetables for the relevant day. I don't drive, and that particular feature is very useful. Should give it another go.
  10. Sounds fantastic. I love eggplant/aubergine. A favourite easy recipe of mine a few years ago was: cut them into round slices. Lightly slash the surface of each with a knife. Make a rub with soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar to taste and brush it onto the aubergine rounds. Put them on a baking tray and grill them for five minutes. Take them out. Brush the other sides with the soy sauce mix, and put them back in the grill for another five minutes. Serve with chopped garlic chives. Baba ghanoush and fish fragrant aubergine (called after the spice mix, involves no fish) are great too, though have never tried to make the latter at home. I made Caponata around the same time the linked recipe came out and thought it was delicious. But the aubergine does suck up lakes of olive oil!
  11. Unfortunately, the news isn't great from Ireland either. Though it doesn't sound as if the problem is quite on the same scale as the UK.
  12. Yes, I really like Nimona, Best new animated film of the year so far, I think.
  13. Agreed. The north-east coast is beautiful and less overcrowded than many of the more well-known tourist areas. Plus, Bamborough and my favourite Dunstanburgh. Lindisfarne (tidal island) is gorgeous too. I have a thing for sunken gardens, and the castle there had one. Midges haven't bothered me in most places. The worst I can remember them was Scotland along the Crinan Canal (black cloud of death) and the west coast of Ireland where the gardeners at a big coastal garden wore what looked like bee-keeping outfits in the late afternoon as protection against the winged horde. As long as you stick close to the coast and away from still water, you should be okay.* Funnest resource I've ever linked to on the board: England and Wales sewage discharge map. Typically areas near population centres have the worst rates. That said, there's also a scandal about run-off from farms going into rivers e.g. chicken farms tipping stuff into the River Wye (Afon Gwy), which runs through some of the most rural counties you can find. *not accepting any responsibility if you do get eaten by the beasts
  14. Ok, it'll be a while before I play this game, but one important question hasn't been answered so far in this thread: must you gather your party before venturing forth?
  15. Didn't realise this was a who has the most exploitative economy competition. If it helps, I felt pretty exploited and vulnerable when I lived in your country, and I was a posh middle class kid with supportive parents. The Tories are in government right now. They can legislate to improve rights for the 'self-employed' food deliverers and other people in precarious jobs. Instead, they're the cheerleaders in chief for cutting red tape and cutting taxes for the rich. Consumers are unlikely to boycott the delivery giants in sufficient numbers for it to be felt. Partly because there's mixed messaging about it: there are plenty of part-time riders around ready to talk about how they enjoy the chance to be their own boss, get out in the fresh air etc. Partly because of supply chain compassion fatigue. As the sitcom the Good Life cheerfully pointed out, more or less every product is compromised now somewhere in its lifecycle. Phone? Yes. Car? Yes Affordable clothes? Yes. We're used to hurting someone with our purchases. And thirdly, most just don't care. I had a quick look on reddit for accounts of riders' experiences, and what I found was a customer complaining about being asked for a tip.
  16. A small army of Deliveroo/JustEat cyclists wait for orders to come through in the centre of the city where I live. Most are young-ish men, most black or Asian, some probably first generation immigrants. The whole system is just crazy. It offers them no stability and no future, just God knows what when they can't cycle anymore because they're worn out or injured. It's the extreme end of the casualisation trend that's dominated the UK for the last decade or more. Make the UK more competitive by cutting workers' security and rights. I guess that as long as true blue constituencies stay that way since inherited wealth has protected the voters thee from the worst of it, the Tories won't care. Even if elsewhere there'll soon be a lot of broke pensioners without anything on top of their state pension and the rent to pay.
  17. Read Winter's Gifts, the latest Aaronovitch novella set in the Rivers of London universe. Found it readable, but not memorable. Despite the author's efforts with the evangelical Christian background of the protagonist, a lot of the characters sounded to me like people from England given access to bigger cars and more countryside. That is, the voices didn't sound quite right. Not sure how successful the portrayal of Native American characters is, and I'm not qualified to judge. I did like the wintry lakeside setting, even if it was probably influenced by the later chapters of American Gods. Having said that, I wouldn't mind another Reynolds-focused book, especially if Aaronovitch feels inclined to dig a bit deeper into her background and how that could be tied into urban fantasy.
  18. The monsoon problem was fixed. The hot water went off again a couple of days ago, with the lettings agency muttering about a new boiler. Not sure when/if that'll happen. The current one is ancient with the flue conveniently close to my bedroom window. Have applied for a new job, and will keep on applying for jobs, so I hope I won't be living here much longer. Primary/elementary school teachers tend to be very nice people. I'm the offspring of two of them. Not sure if I'd recognise the people I went to primary or secondary school with these days – it's been so long.
  19. It's a beach largely frequented by the working and lower middle classes from a 'holiday park' (a hotel for white people who didn't go to Oxbridge). Early exposure to partially diluted excrement has actually been proven to have a strengthening effect on their children's immune systems, making them more resistant to bacterial infections. Keep the sewage flowing, I say. But the sea at St Mawes on the better side of the county is crystal clear, so there's no need to worry about sailing your favourite yacht there.* Aaaaanway. Good news from Wales. Toni Schiavone from Llangrannog has won his case against a parking fine enforcement company on the grounds that the fine was issued in English. Maybe now private companies will pay more attention to their Welsh comms. Da iawn, Toni and Cymdeithas yr Iaith. *Ok, in reality the sewage discharge problem is so bad and so extreme that it's happening everywhere, even in the poshest parts.
  20. Arts subjects are useless; everyone should study STEM for a happier society.
  21. Phoned the doctor's surgery today after two previous attempts (in the UK you have to phone the surgery as soon as it opens then wait in a queue for an appointment) and, after a short call back from a doctor an hour later, was allocated an assessment form for autism. Picked it up after work. I don't know if I have autism or not, but after going in mental circles around it for too many years, it feels good to finally do something. If anything does come of it, it'll be a long way down the road since I'm not paying for a private assessment.
  22. Fear of being caught in a terrible accident? Memory problems?
  23. My hold has come in at the library. Will pick it up on Saturday. Joy!
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