jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
My love affair with Fallen London lasted almost exactly two weeks, in the following stages:
  • Oh, it's free on iOS, may as well check it out.
  • The writing is kinda fun.
  • I'll throw a little money their way, support people doing cool things etc.
  • The app is frustratingly slow for something that's just displaying text and still images.
  • Yay, an app update fixed much of the slow!
  • ... which serves to reveal the grind-y underbelly of the game itself.
  • Bored now.
Verdict: the writing is fun but the gameplay is annoyingly focused around doing the same thing repeatedly. Reading the same fun snippet for the nth time sucks much of the fun out of not only that snippet but the ones around it.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Over the weekend I helped writer-Steph run the blue-pencil/pitch-practice room at Creative Ink Festival. Mostly we made sure that the newbie writers and the editors were in the right place at the right time to talk to each other, and ran sign-up sheets, and spelled each other when there were panels we wanted to go see.

The panels I got to were alright: on the level of your better small-con panel, I'd say. Nothing earth-shatteringly amazing but worth attending. More usefully, the couple of pieces that I put in for blue-pencilling (aka "reading by someone who doesn't know me") went over very well: one got a small amount of useful feedback, and one got mostly gushing and "no no no, this is clearly not a flash piece, it's the prologue to a novel, and I WANT TO READ IT." Which was pleasantly validating, enough so that I've resubmitted both of them to story markets after a hiatus of *mumble* months.

Our Wednesday writeins may have acquired another member, too. I suspect that I really do need to find a critiqueing group, mostly so that I have some motivation to bloody well finish something, but the writeins are better than nothing.

What are you reading right now?

I haven't technically given up on Mieville's Embassytown, I guess. It's a puzzle-novel: here are the aliens who can't lie, who can't talk to machines but only to empathically-bonded pairs of humans; here is an alien who is learning to lie; here are a bonded-pair of humans who unintentionally(?) drive the aliens mad by speaking to them; what's going on? Turns out I don't like puzzle-novels, at least not when they read as slowly as Embassytown does.

This is my third Mieville, and I've disliked them all for different reasons. (King Rat had a plot that resolved itself by the antagonist self-destructing, which I detest; Un Lun Dun was decent but unmemorable, and I couldn't shake the feeling that it was an attempt to rewrite Neverwhere and give it a plot this time). I should probably stop but I want to try The City & The City first.

What did you just finish reading?

John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy, nearly fifty years old and still decent. I mean, the characters might make it to the level of 'cardboard cutouts' if they strained a bit, the prose is serviceable at best, and in the entire trilogy I think there's a single named woman and maybe three unnamed ones, but they read quickly and have some neat worldbuilding going on. They can stay. I don't know that I'd recommend them to anyone who didn't grow up with them, though.

What do you think you'll read next?

This weekend I picked up both of Katrina Archer's fantasy novels, so I may as well read Untalented.
jazzfish: Exit, pursued by a bear (The Winter's Tale III iii)
The Cinamatheque, the semilocal artsy theatre, is doing a Shakespeare 400 film series. I like the Cinematheque quite a bit but their Shakespeare preferences ... are not mine.

Choices that I am fully on board with:
  • Chimes at Midnight, aka Orson Welles plays all the Falstaff in one movie
  • Kurosawa's Throne of Blood and Ran, aka Samurai Macbeth and Samurai Lear
  • My Own Private Idaho, the single most arthouse Shakespeare film I can think of
  • Forbidden Planet
Choices that I understand while not agreeing with:
  • Polanski's Macbeth
  • Whedon's Much Ado and Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet, because people will come see those (I will go see R+J, because it's been at least a decade)
  • West Side Story, ditto plus classic-musical cachet
Choices that baffle me:
  • Three different Oliviers: Hamlet, Henry V, Richard III. Surely one was enough?
  • Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Taming of the Shrew, though there may be context that I'm missing
Omissions that baffle me even more:
  • Branagh. I assume someone at the Cinematheque hates Branagh.
  • Ian McKellen's fascist Richard III
  • Julie Taymor's Titus
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Spring has come on with a vengeance, as someone or other once wrote. This is a mixed blessing in our south-facing greenhouse-like apartment but I do approve of the sunshine.

Still looking for an apartment, still not finding one. Rumour has it that the lack of rentable supply has to do with owners realising they can make more money for less effort with AirBnB and short-term rentals. Jerks. There are definitely fewer places available than there were two years ago, even accounting for price and location.

On the bright side we went to see a place out by Commercial-Broadway on Wednesday night, and while it didn't work out (mostly made of stairs, and the few interior walls had baseboard space-heaters) we decided that that's pretty much the kind of neighborhood we're looking for. Lots of foot traffic, lots of interesting restaurants and shops and grocery stores, lots of trees. Not really any hi-rises, which is okay. My new space at work has a third-floor balcony that overlooks a quiet street, and I've discovered that I rather enjoy watching people when I'm close enough to see *people* instead of brightly-coloured ants.

So now we at least have someplace to focus our efforts, and the knowledge that the general kind of place we want to live does exist.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
On (roughly) the centennial of the Easter Rising, it's clearly time to link again to A History of Ireland in 100 Excuses.

The Cinematheque is running an Irish film festival for the occasion. On Sunday [personal profile] uilos and I went to see a documentary on the Rising, followed by Liam Neeson Versus The Bastard English And Also His Fellow Shortsighted Irishmen.

The documentary ... didn't impress me. The occasional newsreel footage didn't make up for the annoying Ken-Burns-esque closeup image-panning, and the shots of contemporary Dublin added very little after the first couple of images of the Post Office. I spent most of the time wishing it had been a book.

Michael Collins, well, it's still Michael Collins, it's a fictionalised and dramatised look at a freedom fighter / terrorist in the early twentieth century. Most of what I wrote last time I saw it holds true. Needed more Stephen Rea. (This is true of most movies. Stephen Rea has made a career out of appearing slightly rumpled and compelling.) It's a good movie and one of the few biopics, possibly the only one, that I'd recommend.

I brought back a round of con-crud from Niagara, of course. At least it seems to have *not* turned into full-blown pneumonia, which it did in one or two other people who were there. Stupid sinuses.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
0) ... and still insists he reads of ghosts.

1) One amusing in retrospect bit I didn't mention earlier: when I arrived at the train station in Toronto (after an unpleasant redeye flight featuring loud drunk bachelor-partiers, and a wholly pleasant ride on the new no-longer-$38 train from the airport to the train station) I attempted to present my passport so I could pick up my ticket and ... opened to a picture of [personal profile] uilos. Apparently our passports got switched for the wrong wallets the last time we travelled (down to the used bookstores with Steph in December). Luckily I had my own Nexus card and my own PR card, and the train folks were happy enough to take the Nexus card, but it made for a somewhat tense ride down.

E FedExed me my passport so I could get on a plane to go home. I could *probably* have worked it out with just the Nexus card, but I had used the passport to buy the ticket, and better safe than stranded in Buffalo.

2) Speaking of, home from the Gathering as of eleven-thirty last night. Still tired, still heavily overpeopled. I didn't take care of myself as well as I could have this year; the weather was miserable for the first half of the week and for whatever reason once it nicened up I still didn't go outside and wander. Something to bear in mind for next year.

3) More on this later, but: consider this another plug for Graydon Saunders's Commonweal novels (available in ebook from the Google Play store). Reread the first (The March North) and read the first third or so of the second (A Succession of Bad Days) over the week. Comparisons with the work of Mr Ford are not inapt. The bone-deep understanding of trauma and healing and loneliness and identity is still there in Graydon's work, it's just even further down than in The Dragon Waiting. Or maybe I just haven't reread these enough times for it to be obvious to me.

4) It seems I have a strong predilection for flawed characters in difficult situations who are trying their damnedest. I have no further use for stories about terrible people being terrible, and I think this means I should let the Joe Abercrombie books go.

4a) Losing people you’re responsible for hurts. If it didn’t, the Line wouldn’t give you a warrant of commission.

If it stops, they take the warrant away.

--Graydon Saunders, "The March North"

5) I am returning the nameless new laptop. A week with Taranis has convinced me that I don't need to spend an exorbitant sum of money on a new machine, not yet and likely not for another couple of years. I *do* need a battery replacement and could do with a clean reinstall, but that can wait for the weekend.
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
Not really up for wandering the gameroom, and I could probably do with some downtime anyhow.

The Gathering is a week-long smallish (400 people?) gaming convention in Niagara Falls (US). [personal profile] uilos and I were first invited two years ago; sadly she hasn't made it back. Maybe next year.

I'm rooming with Scott, a guy I met at random last year. He's a fine roommate but very much an extrovert. As with Christine last year, I've not had to be this sociable in the mornings in a very long time.

Eric B--'s absence this year is notable: he welcomed me into the morning 18xx games two years ago, sort of took me under his wing last year, and is generally one of the Good Ones. Hopefully he'll be back next year.

Two years ago Splendor was obviously the Big Hit; last year it was Codenames. I haven't seen anything this year that would really qualify. There's a lot of Codenames Pictures being played, which is exactly what you think it is.

Perhaps it's Ponzi Scheme, which Dave E-- described as "a party game for economic-gamers." Every round, everyone takes a scoring tile and a funding card, which provides an infusion of cash now in exchange for a payment in a few rounds. Then there's a flurry of 'clandestine dealing' where you're exchanging money and score tiles with the other players, and then the round increases. You can pay for your ruinous interest by ... taking more and larger funding cards, but those will come due sooner or later as well. You're hoping for "later:" the game ends as soon as one player can't make a payment, so if you're going to go bankrupt in two turns that's fine as long as someone else crashes out next turn. Ponzi Scheme is currently extremely unavailable; there's a new edition coming in a few months, I believe.

The weather's been horrendous: cold, rainy, I think there was unpleasantly wet snow a few days ago, and so very very windy. I have not left the hotel except to make a grocery run the day after I got here. I may go out to the falls on Friday or Saturday, I haven't quite decided yet.

Three more days of gaming, and then travel on Sunday. It's been good to not be at work.
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
My laptop hath arrived. Initial impressions: thinner and glossier and about the same weight as Taranis. The Power key is a stupid idea. I miss having both USB ports on the same side: makes it a little harder to charge two things at once. The very very clever battery-power-lights on the side of the case seem to have been dispensed with, which makes me sad. Overall I see nothing to challenge my belief that laptop case design reached its pinnacle with Taranis and it will all be downhill from here.

I haven't done much with it: installed a few programs, made some configuration changes. So I haven't really noticed that it's much faster, or anything like that. The retina display *is* nice: everything just feels a bit crisper, brighter, more solid.

I expect I'll take Taranis with me next week, and then come back and offload all my documents onto the new currently-nameless machine.

What are you currently reading?

John Morressy's Kedrigern and the Charming Couple, book 4 in a series of five slim light fantasy paperbacks from the late eighties. I read the third (Kedrigern in Wanderland) several times in high school / early college and have been carting around the set of five for years; don't know if I ever actually read them or not. I don't think I did. They're utter fluff with occasional bright spots ("Ah yes, the hermit Goode, who lives in the wood that slopes down to the sea") and more than occasional visits from the sexism fairy. Doubt I'll be keeping them.

What did you just finish reading?

Kedrigern 1-3. I don't want to get started on anything serious; I'd rather not carry any physical books with me to Niagara this weekend.

Before that, Philip Knightley's biography of Kim Philby, followed by a reread of Tim Powers's Declare because of course. Knightley paints Philby in a positive light: not sympathetic but definitely admiring, and very critical of the British intelligence service as an old-boys' club and nothing more than a grand old adventure, a Great Game if you will. I came out of it vaguely dissatisfied. It felt too hagiographic to be trusted, I think.

Declare is of course fantastic, although I was less taken by it this time round as well. Powers wrote an excellent secondary female character in Elena and then reduced her to a prize to be won. The interleaving of the timelines worked well, I thought; it's just the wrap-up that felt wanting.

What do you think you'll read next?

Kedrigern 5 if I get to it before I leave on Friday night. Otherwise, since Graydon Saunders's third Commonweal book is out, probably a reread of The March North and then reading A Succession of Bad Days and Safely You Deliver. I've got the third of Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Trilogy waiting for me, too.
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
Let's see. Still writing (mostly just on Wednesdays with Steph), still playing the viola and starting to sometimes feel like I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Still less than thrilled by job but hey, they pay me. Still looking for a better (closer to downtown, less frustrating) apartment. Settling into getting used to the idea of having a stable living situation, and being able to think and plan about what happens next.

Finally got the cats on all wet food all the time. They've been on dry food for long enough that wet food has been "okay this is a nice treat but where is my REAL dinner?" It's taken a couple of brands to get to some that they'll consistently eat most of. I say "some" because we had one that we thought would work but after a week that turned into "aww, the humans bought a case of our favorite food, now we can't like that kind anymore." Mixing it up seems to be sufficient.

Apple has deigned to offer new normal-sized phones, so we'd intended to go pick those up this weekend. In addition they now give you some amount of credit for your old phones, which seems like a win-win proposition. Unfortunately the local stores are sold out of new normal-sized phones for the next couple of weeks. And the easiest way to get credit from the old phones is to exchange them at the time of purchase, which precludes ordering online. So, new phones once I get back from Niagara.

I did go ahead and pull the trigger on a new laptop, though. I may go to my grave defending the hardware setup of Taranis, my current laptop, as The Best Ever. It's got a CD drive, a Magsafe power connector that detaches safely when you accidentally kick the cord rather than yanking the laptop off the table, and it's got a software Eject key that is intensely stupid but can be remapped to be a proper Delete. Sadly newer models of Macbook have removed the optical drive and replaced the useless Eject key with what I think is a Power key that I can't remap. And all indications are that Apple is getting serious about moving to USB3 for power ports with the new models that ought to be out this fall. I figured, I may as well get while the getting is no worse, and if the new laptop lasts me five years like this one did then it's a fine investment.

And this Friday I fly out to Niagara for a week of gaming. I'm not really feeling the get-up-and-go urge, which seems ... odd. I suspect I'm pulling in on myself again. Eh. Will sort that out once I'm back from Niagara.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Woke up last Saturday morning with the telltale soreness of sinus drain at the back of my throat. I didn't have any other symptoms, though: no headache or stuffy head, no spaciness, some tiredness but not much. Mostly just the sore throat.

The bone-weariness kicked in further on Sunday, and I ended up staying home on Monday. I could have gone in, I guess. Mostly I didn't want to deal with the hour of transit to get there and back again.

I was more or less fine by Tuesday. [personal profile] uilos has picked up something of her own; if it's the same thing I had then it's hitting her a lot worse.

Stupid spring sick.

Every NYT Millennial Trend Story: "Millennials--the demographic group also known as Generation Y, Generation Me, and Daesh--have found it difficult to balance dueling priorities as they exit their parents' basements and enter the real world." (I am told this is even more hilarious with the browser extension that replaces "Millennials" with "Serpent People.")

Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box: "Man, from my perspective, is not an identity so much as a Long Con, and masculinity is a concatenation of anxiety–founded posturings."

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle: "In 1996, an amateur archaeologist found a single upper arm bone sticking out of the steep riverbank—- the first clue that the Tollense Valley, about 120 kilometers north of Berlin, concealed a gruesome secret."

'I'm not the Obamacare kid anymore': "He was the chubby 11-year-old African-American boy who stood next to President Barack Obama as he signed Obamacare into law at a White House ceremony on March 23, 2010.... As supporters prepare to mark the sixth anniversary of Obamacare's signing, Marcelas is marking another rite of passage -- as a transgender teen."

An interview with Gail Ann Dorsey about Bowie: "He completely, single-handedly altered the course of my life."

Smart Car turned into a snowcar: "Yeah, it's just a thought that came to me and it seemed like the right thing to do."
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
Today I amused a small child on the bus by blowing bubblegum at her, and explained to several very young violinists that they should take up viola because it's cooler.

How was your day?
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Playing a stringed instrument is hard. It's not all that physically demanding, but it requires precision and dexterity, which have never been traits I associate with myself.

Too, I've only been at it for a year and a half. I have no recollection of what I sounded like after a year and a half of cello (and the timeline there is fuzzy anyway; do I count from when I started in grade school orchestra? or when I started with private lessons under Dr Boyce, from the beginning of Suzuki book 1?) but I doubt I was all that musical. Certainly it was years before I willingly played outside of first position.

Playing a stringed instrument is hard, and I would do well to remember this.

That doesn't make my viola sound any better, though. I am reasonably certain that I'm better than I was a year ago. I am less certain that I'm any better than I was six months ago.

I'm at the point where habits from cello are actively working against me. To take one example, when I play a fourth above an open string I place my third finger and instinctively think "four," because on cello that would be the fourth finger. This causes confusion when using my actual fourth finger. I'm trying to train myself out of that; it's not yet stuck.

There is also my general inability to relax into things, which seems to be at the root of my difficulty getting the sound I want. It's hard to sense the contact point (bow on string) when you're too tense to feel the bow gripping the string, and it's hard to keep the bow moving in a straight line when you're not engaging your whole arm in the process.

Some part of the problem is that my practice schedule has fallen off in the last six months, for obvious reasons. (In related news, the forty-hour work-week is some bullshit, both in general and in the specific case of how I'm spending it.) There's also my ongoing inability to hear the difference between a minor and major chord, which ought to be easy, and my tendency to not notice when my pitch starts drifting off until I play an open string and it sounds jarring.

Point being, my playing is not where I want it to be.

Ira Glass:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
And so I stick with it. Because maybe it'll get better, and because every single time I walk out of a lesson with that feeling of this is awesome, i can do this.

Maybe it's a lie, but it's a useful one for now.

books again

Mar. 9th, 2016 03:31 pm
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
I used to remember the books I read much better. These days it seems like I read a book and a year later I can't recall much about it at all.

Turns out the solution is to *reread*. After a first reading I retain scattered images and impressions, and if I'm lucky a general sense of the plot. A second reading cements it in my brain much more solidly.

Hence, this past couple of weeks.

What are you currently reading?

The Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells. Book 2 of the Books of the Raksura, which I first read, mm, about three years ago. This is exactly the thing I'm talking about: all I remembered was "the Raksura go to a city built on the back of a sea creature, for Reasons". It has some quite interesting plot and metaplot development before they even start leaving for the city!

What did you just finish reading?

The Cloud Roads, Raksura 1. These are, still, excellent fantasy books for people who are honestly getting a little tired of the sameyness of fantasy. They genuinely feel like a whole different world instead of culture-X-with-magic. The Fell make for a slightly too-pat antagonist but every other relation between and among cultures is handled well enough that I forgive that easily.

Before that, a reread of WJW's This Is Not A Game. Feels a little slighter than when I first read it, but still an enjoyable romp. "...you want to write Dagmar fanfic?"

Before *that*, reread of Doyle/Macdonald's Price of the Stars and first-read of the first two sequels. Excellent fluffy space opera that's a little deeper than one might think. Hopefully volumes 4 and 5 will turn up soon so I can read those and the already-acquired #6.

What do you think you'll read next?

The Siren Depths and then probably a first read of the two Tales of the Raksura collections. These are going fast enough that I doubt I'll be able to jump straight into the next book (released 5 April); I don't know what I'll pick up instead.


Mar. 8th, 2016 10:43 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
This is what I mean when I say I'm ridiculously lucky:

I have awful teeth, have had since pretty much forever. Orthodontia since third grade, a year and a half of braces, crowns and root canals on six or seven of my back molars, all that. In retrospect this all started when I mixed a hardwood floor, a blanket, and a running start at the age of four and had a root canal in one of my baby teeth. I'm used to dentists, is what I'm saying.

I'd been going to the same dentist since we got to Vancouver but I hadn't been totally happy with her. So when I got laid off and my insurance lapsed, it seemed like a fine time to just forget to go in for cleanings and such. And when I got a new job, insurance didn't kick in for three months, and then I just didn't feel like bothering. I didn't want to go back to my old dentist, and I didn't want to go through the hassle of finding a new one.

One of the crowns that I got in DC has been giving me a bit of trouble since I got it: it was painful to put in place, it didn't sit right on my bite, and there was a little lip at the base of it that caught when I flossed. On Satyrday night, while we were at a small local gaming convention (playing Die Steven Seagal[1]), I bit down on a lollipop stick and felt something give way.

The entire crown above the gumline had sheared off.

"How on earth," you ask, "is that lucky?"

It doesn't hurt, thanks to the root canal.

My insurance kicked in two months ago. (Emily's doesn't until next month, so it could have been better, but half covered is better than none.)

And when, spurred by the sudden need for a dentist, I complained about my lack of same, David recommended his. I went today for a cleaning and checkup and prepwork for tooth/crown replacement and he seems likely to be the best dentist I've had since I left Dr Ankrum in Blacksburg. And who had a last-minute cancellation, so that I could get my teeth cleaned during the prelim appointment.


[1] A German trick-taking/bidding card game that's really named Die Sieben Siegel, or The Seven Signs/Seals. It comes with a standup figure, the Traitor, that you can take as your bid if no one else has and you feel like just mucking with everyone else. Naturally we refer to the Traitor as Steven Seagal...

The convention was pretty good, too: played some heavier games, some lighter ones, a really good round of Tichu, and on Sunday wrangled thirteen people in three 18xx games.

And tonight we just got back from seeing The Big Short, which is very good and avoids being horrendously depressing by being extremely funny in a dark way. Relatedly, I am growing accustomed to the idea that I will sometimes be the only one laughing in smart movies. At least I had [personal profile] uilos there laughing with me tonight.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 400ish
Total words: 988
Neat things: A new character, on the far side of a blazing inferno!

Progress, and at least I know what happens next. Eventually this will tell me why it's happening.

In email with Steph on Tuesday we'd decided to meet for pre-writing dinner at Deep South, the newish decent cheap barbecue place. Steph mentioned this to her coworkers on Wednesday and one of them said "i think they're closed." Yep, closed up shop earlier this week. (At least they're only relocating, and not gone for good.)

Luckily we had a backup plan: Jinya Ramen, across the street from the library. I've eaten there maybe a dozen times, and it's not great but decent. I arrived about five minutes early, and all the lights were out, and there was a handwritten note on the door to the effect of "We are temporarily closed for maintenance and cleaning." Immediately below this was another note headlined NOTICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.

So we wound up at Original Joe's, the overpriced pub-food place around the corner. Maybe next time will go better.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 500ish?
Total words: 668
Neat things: If I prayed, I would have breathed a prayer of thanks to the maintenance staff. If I breathed.

Just realised I've not been logging words here for awhile. I've been meeting up with Steph C-- most Wednesdays for a write-in, and getting some extremely sporadic other words down. Most of it's been on the bloodmagery story.

Which is intensely grim, and is about to hit the grimmest of grim sections, and is not really something I need or want occupying my brain-space these days. So I've shifted gears again.

What now? It's a story that I've had the opening bit of (not even a scene, just a scene-setting) for years, and for whatever reason felt compelled to briefly revisit a couple of weeks ago. And now I have probably about a quarter of it done. (Rough guess. I've almost outwritten my knowledge of what's going on.)

Weren't you working on something novel-shaped? Drowned City remains in limbo for now. Jasper happened to be to hand when I went looking for something to attack.

Shouldn't you have picked the novel back up again instead of starting something new, thus initiating a neverending chain of endless beginnings? "Shut up," he explained.
jazzfish: book and quill and keyboard and mouse (Media Log)
J. Michael Straczynski (dev.), Babylon 5, most of.

General: Groundbreaking but flawed. Fatally hamstrung by attempts to tell a single story over five seasons through the loss of actors and network sabotage. (Full disclosure: I also despise bound book-fragments and have trouble reading individual issues of comic books rather than full storylines.) I don't regret having watched B5 but I doubt I'll go back to it.

S1: Occasionally cringe-inducing, but decent. I'm enjoying Sinclair, and the Sinclair/Ivanova/Garibaldi triangle. G'kar is a jerk and Londo is mostly kinda sympathetic. Delenn needs more to do. Vir and Lennier are great. Needs more Kosh, and more Morden.

S2: Sheridan feels like a nonentity; half his appearances make more sense if I think of them as written for Sinclair's background instead, and the other half lack personality. Londo's transformation to jerk is complete and I find myself sympathising with G'kar. Needs more Kosh, and more Morden.

S3: Looks like Londo will suffer no consequences for committing fucking GENOCIDE at the end of last season. On the bright side, Sheridan developed a personality! Also the return of Sinclair, who... I can understand why the actor had to be replaced. On balance this is probably my favorite season. Needs more K-- DAMMIT.

S4: Meh. The conclusion of the Shadow War feels rushed. The quick and easy resolution of the civil war even more so. I cannot believe that the people of Earth just said "Oh, we've been duped into believing the xenophobic crap Clark was selling us, our bad" and embraced Sheridan with open arms. I also disapprove strongly of G'kar suffering for Londo's sins.

S5: No Ivanova. No real point to the story. We abandoned ship not quite halfway through. I've been meaning to at least watch the Neil Gaiman episode and the closer for over a year now and haven't managed to work up the desire.

(Currently watching Futurama, which holds up surprisingly well.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Two weekends ago we went back out to Harrison Hot Springs for some time away. We took semilocal J-- and K-- with us this time, which worked out alright. We soaked in the hot pools and played games and wandered a bit and generally had a decent time. I'm not sure I'd go back out there again but I'm glad we went.

Last weekend a couple of friends were unexpectedly in town, so [personal profile] uilos arranged to meet up with them for buns and dim sum at New Town Bakery in Chinatown. Turned out last weekend was also the Chinese New Year parade, so we got to fight through some serious crowds, in the rain, to get to the food.

I'm very fond of Vancouver's Chinatown. The fact that there's not a lot of English makes me a little more comfortable, actually: means I don't have this background worry about whether I need to pay attention if someone is speaking to me, because they aren't. It's got a lot of character and some history, and it just feels *right*. I'm rather bitter that it seems to be the next target for overpriced condo developers.

Meanwhile we are continuing to not find an apartment, because we're super-picky and also the market is terrible. (Don't get me started about buying a place. How stupid is the real estate market in Vancouver? This stupid.) Something will come up eventually, I guess.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
"... but behind me, my cats are doing a conga line." (Reference)

I've had a new chair at work for about two weeks now. The desks at work supposedly go up and down so they can double as standing desks, only mine doesn't go up high enough to be a comfortable height for standing. I could get risers for it, but then it won't go down low enough to trade off sitting & standing. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I finally got a tall chair and a set of risers for the desk, so I've been a stand-up guy off and on. It's good: standing up means I move around more often and don't get quite so stiff.

I've had this chair for less than two weeks, *at work*, and it's already got cat hair on it.

Posts what I have not written and would like to:
  • Musicking
  • Why Transistor (the video game) Doesn't Work, Narratively Speaking
  • On the Impossibility of Finding an Apartment in This Town
  • Harrison Hot Springs, Again
  • Ask Me Where My Money Goes
  • Burnout Or Just Tired?
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
A cat, however hard he tries,
Grows creaky without exercise.
Our Chaos-cat is stiff and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The dignity to clamber back.
The falling-off-the-ottoman thing is, as they say Drawn From Life. He's not really fat anymore, though, hasn't been for years. His hips are still distressingly bony from this past summer's bout with diabetes and the years of general arthritis.

He has also begun turning his nose up at his twice-daily joint supplement treats, which were the BEST THING EVAR about five months ago. O, cat. At least he'll still eat his thyroid pills.


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon


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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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