lydamorehouse: (Default)
Ugh, I have not had a chance to really sit down and finish the story of our trip to Chicago. It was amazing, honestly. The only other thing we did before leaving was go to the Shedd Aquarium.

a giant crab looking out of the aquarium at the camera.

This lovely crab is not the star of the story that i'm about to tell, but I didn't actually think to take pictures of the murder in progress that we observed in the tank two doors down, as it were. There was a crab that Mason and I watched that had cornered--pincered, really--a sea urchin and was greedily munching on its tank mate. We initially thought, "Oh, maybe that's crab food?" but then Mason noticed a picture of that exact urchin on the list of tank inhabitants and we were like, "Oh. Oh MY." Mason, who, when he was four of five would tell you that he wanted to grow up to be a marine biologist, was enraptured. I mean, I was, too? We must have stood by that tank watching the carnage for a good two or three minutes and Mason was like, "Okay, I want to come back to this, so let's look at other stuff and circle back around."

When we came back, the urchin had made a break for it (somehow!) and the crab was desperately trying to fish it out of the crevasse it had snuck into.

Such drama!

Also, Mason could NOT have been more excited to see an isopod and a ratfish, both of which are denizens of the very deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. A place Mason has longed to visit since he was a toddler. Other kids dream of the moon; Mason, the deep ocean.

Isopods, I should tell you, look like deep-sea pillbugs (or sowbug or rollypolly.) We sort of attracted a lot of "??" attention when Mason was like, "OMG, ima! An isopod!" Literally, everyone in the throng around us was like, "What's so damn exciting about a sea bug?" If anyone had asked that out loud, however, I'm SURE Mason would have been happy to tell them.

The drive back was uneventful. I managed to take a "wrong" turn leaving Chicago, so we ended up heading home via Milwaukee, but that wasn't the end of the world. Even as I veered off, I thought, "Eh, 90 / 94 both lead where I'm going, what's the difference?" And, sure enough, it wasn't much. We saw some slightly different scenery, is all.

Mason was back to school Monday and I worked at White Bear Lake from 10 to 2, which was only exciting because when I went to take the recycling out--Buttercup got out. Most of the time, this is no big deal. I nab him and toss him back inside.

This time, as one other time that I remember, Buttercup FREAKED OUT. He hissed at me when I approached him and growl/whined like I might hurt him. When I picked him up he got so scared that he basically ran over my face using his claws to get away from me. The cuts were not deep, but foreheads BLEED like a m-fer and I literally had to change my shirt before work because of the fountains of blood pouring off my face.

The reason I think Buttercup was having some kind of weird post-traumatic stress (he was stray before he came to us) is because when I opened the door, he ran in ahead of me like he was so, so very glad to be home away from that scary person trying to hurt him. He wound around my legs when I came in as though to say, "Ima, there was some scary sh*t out there, I barely escaped with my life, I love you so, so much!" My only other thought is that the other time he hissed at me like this and freaked out until I opened the door for him was another time when he got out and I kind of corned him between me and a wall. This time, it was me and a fence. Makes me think something really nasty must have happened to him that's lodged in his subconscious.

Poor baby.

I'm also deeply angry that, despite all the blood, I barely look injured. If you look closely (or I point to them) you can see the various scabs, but damn it. I was mauled in the FACE! I wanted to tell people some wild lie about how I was attacked by a bobcat!! My mutant healing factor has cursed me again. I never black eyes, either, damn it.

And now, three days later, everything just itches... and I can't scratch because they're all still so new and surface.

Sigh.

Anyway, I don't have much to report in terms of reading. I'm currently reading a manga called Hinamatsuri by Ohtake Masao, about a magical girl who falls (like literally, out of the sky) into the life of a low-level yakuza thug. She's from an alternate dimension/other world where telekinesis is a thing and so she's got superpowers that come in handy from time to time, but she's also like 11? So, the yakuza guy kind of becomes a trying-to-be-tough/secretly-softy foster father for her. I'm on chapter 40 or about 83 and I'm not sure I'm going to finish it? I don't hate it--in fact there have been a lot of fairly touching scenes so far and some humor that I could appreciate, but this kind of light touch is always a tough sell for me. I love humor in manga, but I tend to really prefer humor as a side note to more serious material? 

Anyway, a friend of mine also let me know that there is a second season of "Morose Mononokean" available on Crunchyroll, so I've been watching that. It's yet another story of a high schooler who can see yokai (this is apparently a MAJOR epidemic among high schoolers in Japan,) but I really have been digging the world-building around the yokai and the Mononokean (a kind of living, temple/tea house that moves through space, and, of course, currently occupies the folded space inside the high school.)  And the relationship between the master of the Monokean (Abeno) and the aforementioned high schooler. 

So, that's me ATM. I am working again tomorrow, from 9 to 1 at Shoreview.  But, we now have to pay for the trip to Chicago, so that's how it goes.

In other news, it's April 10th and it's snowing BUCKETS outside.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
Indicative of my day yesterday, I started a "What are You Reading Wednesday?" post, only to discover this morning that I hadn't finished it...it was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.

*sigh*

I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/my-solo-exchange-diary-hitori-koukan-nikki-by-nagata-kabi/ Thanks to a VERY QUIET night at Maplewood on Tuesday, I also have a bunch of books being pulled for me at the Ramsey County Library from the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List. So, hopefully, I'll have a better list of things I've read soon.  

Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover.  I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark."  Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA. 

Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine.  I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.

And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."

It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.

Ugh.

In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming. 

Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living." 

In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.

It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.

Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.

WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.  

Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.

So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.

It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
Shawn's favorite OB/GYN moved into private practice in Burnsville, so we drove down to the new clinic this morning. I'm waiting in the waiting room, so I thought I'd catch y'all up on the exciting news of my life.

Since many of you may be hoping for some fannish bits and bobs, I will lead with a new review I did for Mangakast. Last night, I was bored and so I did the thing I do sometimes when I'm looking for a new manga to read. I have the categories/tags page bookmarked on Baka-Updates (which is a great site that is kind of like a catalogue of all manga published and bits of information about them, though it's NOT a place to read manga.) and I will pick a subject I'm interested in, like "pen pals."  I'll hunt down the list until I find one that looks interesting and has been scanlated.

Yesterday, I found Omamorishimasu, Dokomademo which briefly mentions pen pals, in a cute way, but is mostly a mob family drama with a little bit of m/m romance. If you can't tell, I was 'meh' about it.  The mangaka, Junko (not my fannish persona, alas), is one that I enjoy, as she wrote Kiss Him, Not Me, a reverse harem that an otaku girl gains when she loses a ton of weight after her anime 'husbando' dies on the show and she goes into depressive mourning (which sounds TERRIBLE when I describe it that way, but it's actually done with a lot of love.)

The link takes you to my review, so feel free to read that and explore my other reviews, as you like.

Otherwise, Sunday was about decorating the Solstice tree.

blurry shot of Christmas tree

Mason's D&D group ended up cancelling, but he wasn't much help since he fell asleep on the couch.  Shawn spent the day fighting off a migraine, so I did most of the actual decorating. This year, I could NOT get the lights right. For some reason I ended up plugging a "male" plug into a dual plug and got to the end of the string only to discover that I had the wrong kind of plug. It should have just been a quick matter of finding the plug and flipping things around, but somehow, even though I was testing each string, I ended up with a bunch that weren't working. I must have done this rigmarole a half-dozen times. BUT, I finally got everything working and plugged in properly.

We bought our tree from the Y's Men, who set up across University Avenue from us.

We buy our tree there every year and do our traditional mad dash across University Avenue (which is a four-lane busy street with a set of light rail tracks running down the center of it, as well.)  We decided this year that the light rail actually makes the running with the Christmas tree hoisted between Mason and I a little easier, because it acts like a safety island (there's a pedestrian pass or we'd NEVER be able to do this.)  I'm sure we look ridiculous scurrying across all the traffic with a giant tree between us.

But it's part of our ritual, so you know.

Driving would be weirder, since University is now set up as a series of one way turns from our house, so it's actually several blocks LONGER to drive across the street, than it is to walk.

The picture of the tree is blurry because I have a new smartphone and am learning out to focus it.  Many apologies. You get the general idea of the thing, at any rate. Big tree. Many lights and shinny bobs on it.

Since my family left me in charge, there are a lot more birds on our tree. Being pagan, I like to make sure there are a lot of bird ornaments and such on the tree. Sun symbols and spiders and deer also abound.  I will talk more about what we do for Solstice as the time approaches, but, since both Shawn and I grew up with Christmas, we kind of celebrate both Solstice and Christmas. We exchange our meaningful, family gifts on Solstice and have a bonfire--though it's actually just a fire in our chiminea outside, and then exchange another small set of gifts on Christmas eve, mostly just to mark the day.

What about you? What are your holiday traditions?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Since I (hopefully) will have more folks stopping by here to check out fannish stuff, I will lead with the fact that I just finished watching the anime for Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san / Skill-faced Bookseller Honda (the link takes you to the review I did at MangaKast, my manga review blog.) I felt very 'meh' about this one, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of humor that depends on me finding typical nerd behaviors funny. I never much liked "The Big Bang Theory" for similar reasons.

This is not a universal problem I have, however. I rather enjoyed what I read of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me despite the problematic schtick of the TV trope 'beautiful all along' nerd-style. I think part of the difference is that I get the sense that in the case of Kiss Him, Not Me, there's an underlying... appreciation of geekdom? Like, the humor isn't only to point and say: LOOK AT THE WEIRDO BEING WEIRD. Instead, it's more of a gentle 'isn't it funny when...." with specific nerd habits. I have no problem laughing at myself or my community. I do it all the time, in fact. But, there's a subtle difference when it's done with an 'us' vibe, instead of a 'them' vibe.

I felt Skull-faced Bookseller Honda had a lot of 'them' vibes.

But, the anime is short (only 9 episodes), so you can decide for yourself. Or you could follow the link I provide in the review and read the two chapters of the manga that are online.

Possibly the best manga a read this week was Shimanami Tasogare by Kamatani Yuuki. It's an #ourvoices manga, as Kamatani-sensei is non-binary... and talk about an 'us' feeling, holy crap. The story is a coming out story of a boy who is outed by his browser history and a bunch of bullying, nosy high schoolers. The boy consequently considers suicide. He's saved from his attempt by the vision of a woman leaping out a window.... she invites him to a clubhouse for GLBTQIA+ folks and he finds his people. It's really a lovely story. I cried all the queer tears. I reviewed that one over at Mangakast, too, but this is basically all I said about it, because I really want people to go read that one for themselves.

So, that's my fannish news.

Meanwhile, in real life, I'm sipping tea that my friend [personal profile] naomikritzer brought back for me from China. She's recently returned from a trip to Taiwan to see our mutual friend [personal profile] jiawen who sent back stationary for me, which is very cute and which I plan to use right away! (Thanks, R!)  Naomi also gave me a gorgeous handmade notebook filled with handmade paper, which is almost too pretty to write in.  She also got me a cool bent metal sculpture that is, apparently, the Chinese character for the sounds my name makes (LIE-duh). And, as if that wasn't enough, she also brought me some fun candy to try and one of those funky little prizes you always see in anime that people get out of machines and are in round, plastic balls. 

So much wonderful stuff. 

And, more importantly I got to hear all the travel stories. I LOVE traveling, even though I can't afford to do a lot of it, internationally. My family and I are all about the road trips--particularly Mason and I, who have been known to spontaneously head off to small Minnesota towns to see statues of Vikings and whatnot.

I like traveling vicariously, too, so it was a wonderful afternoon for me.

Now, I think I'll just sip my tea and hop over to Tumblr to see what mayhem is happening there.
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Last night I was invited to be a guest lecturer at the College of Saint Katherine's by a colleague of mine at Ramsey County Library. Normally when I do these things at colleges and universities, I talk about my personal experience as a published science fiction writer--an area, on which, I am the leading expert.

This time, however, I was asked to come explain manga and graphic novels to a group of library science graduate students, aka future librarians.

It's not like I have zero experience passing myself off as qualified to talk about any number of fannish things. I do it all the time at science fiction conventions, right? But, there's something about this particular subject that oft goes awry (or 'gang aft agley,' as Robert Burns himself would say, incomprehensibly.) I don't know if the Goddess is trying to tell me that it's foolish for me to set myself up as an expert in something that is so decidedly _not_ my culture, or what?  

To be fair, I was very, very, VERY clear to these students that I am a consumer of this particular media, NOT an expert. I said that at the start and I reiterated it several times.  

I can't say it was an unmitigated disaster, not like that yaoi/yuri panel at WorldCon where I looked out into the audience and realized there were ACTUAL native Japanese EXPERTS in the audience and our panel was a bunch of blathering white chicks. In comparison to that, this was absolutely fine. The talk went... okay. I mean, the instructor promised me that this was a lively group and that I wasn't going to have to stand in front of them and lecture for an hour. And... I didn't? There were several glazed over eyes, but I did field a number of questions. The worst part is that there were slides.  And I read them to the class. Which...  yeah. I mean, to be fair, it was kind of my own fault. I sent a list of definitions to the instructor and she quite helpfully made me a powerpoint presentation, because manga does have a lot of specialized terminology.  

But, I SUCK at powerpoint presentations. I am 150% better at leading discussions--class discussions or panel discussions. Lecturing, particularly on a subject like this, where I don't have all of the information at my fingertips?  NOPE.

I wouldn't call it a fail, but it was not one of my better guest spots. 

I started the session off asking how many of these future children's/teen librarians (some of whom were already working in middle and high school libraries) read any graphic media: comic books, manga, graphic novels. There was a noticeable lack of hands that went up. I tried casting a wider net, as it were, and asked how many folks had SEEN a Marvel superhero movie... I... I'm not sure I've ever been in a room with so many people who have apparently NEVER seen a Marvel movie. Talk about a bubble that I usually live in. I had no idea there were even a dozen people on the planet who hadn't seen Avengers, much less all of them in the same place.

That might have thrown me a bit. I was at least hoping to connect to this room of 15 graduate students over a shared appreciation of Chris Evans or Tom Hiddleston. It was very weird to me to not be able to look at this room of women and go, "Loki, am I right?" 

IT WOULD HAVE FALLEN ON DEAF EARS.

What even! How does?

At that point, I had no choice to start off with, "Okay, so... manga is...." and start reading off the slides. I mean, I think, ultimately, things were learned. We did have an interesting discussion about how difficult it is to judge where certain manga should be shelved. I spent a lot of time explaining the publishing categories, like shounen, seinen, josei, shoujo--but, I realized that none of that was terribly helpful, since a manga like Chi's Sweet Home (literally the most inoffensive, sweet, simple thing--as story about a cat doing cat things, which Americans normally shelve in the juvenile section) is technically marketed in Japan as seinen, which is aimed at the ADULT (over 18) MALE audience.  I tried to explain that, really, a lot of this has to do with how much kanji is understood by the audience and sometimes, simple, sweet stories are popular among adult men....which says maybe more about how rigid the West is in its marketing strategy?  But, so, as a librarian, knowing that something was originally marketed to adults in Japan isn't often much of a clue as to whether or not it's "kid-friendly" in Western terms, especially since certain expressions sexuality are not nearly as taboo as they are here. (Good example being the masterbation scene in Bleach that was scrubbed for the English-Language release. Newsflash: teenagers masterbate. Americans, however, are too Puritanical to have that KNOWN, I guess. The funny part is that the scene wasn't the least bit explicit, is was much more IMPLICIT, but it was there, and, apparently, that was too much.)

But, anyway, I got an "honorarium" of a twenty-five dollar gift card to my favorite coffeeshop.

I feel like I probably gave them $25 worth of information, so that's probably fair. It's just ironic that at a con, which I do an entire weekend's worth of programming basically for free (minus the price of admission), I would probably have given hundreds of dollars worth of information. On the other hand, most of my audience at con would know what a manga _is_, so we'd already be out of Manga 101 territory.

So, that was my night.  

Otherwise, I've been recovering from an extremely wonderful Thanksgiving spent with good friends. Oh, and I had a birthday in there, too. I'm 51 now, everyone! Whoo!
lydamorehouse: (writer??)
I'm going to be a ConFABulous this weekend (October 19-21, 2018.)

ConFABulous is a GLBTQIA+ friendly relaxicon. A relaxicon (sometimes spelled "relaxacon") is a science fiction convention with little or no programming.

ConFABulous falls into the first part of that definition and, thus, I will be officially leading two programming items. The first will be on Saturday (20) from 5:30 - 6:30, "Yuri/Yaoi Reviewing with a Queer Eye," which is basically about the ups and downs (as it were) of reading a "queer" genre that's written by mostly straight women for straight women. On the same day at 10 pm, I will be hosting the "Midnight Slash Reading," which I'm terribly afraid is going to be me, myself, alone. I just put out a call on Facebook and Twitter, but I'm going to be prepared with lots of copies of my own work to be handed out for other people to perform.

I don't know how many people normally _go_ to ConFABulous, so it might be a small audience, anyway.

I'm also going to attempt to be technical services for [personal profile] jiawen  so that she can attend (and probably keep me company because I don't know who all goes, see above) Thanks to her, I will be sitting in on a lot more gaming than I normally would. But, that should be fun (or I'll bring a book.)

Friday night is also the big parent open house/dinner for Mason's work.  I have been DYING to know what it is he actually does for KAYSC/the Science Museum, so hopefully after Friday I will have some clue.  

Right. I should probably go put together some thoughts about Yaoi/Yuri for the con. I sort of despise the "expert" panels where it's just me talking because, inevitably, I'm not prepared enough. Panels, I excel at; talking by myself for an hour... eh, depends. I mean, I can go to a science fiction writing class only vaguely prepared and knock it out of the ballpark. But, something like this, where I have to have specific examples ready to go?  I should probably put together a powerboat presentation. Honestly. Even if they don't have the AV equipment for me. At least I'd have some notes to go off. And titles. And authors names.

Right. I know what I'm going to be doing for the next few hours....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I honestly do not know where the time goes.  

Well, yesterday I worked at the library.  I discovered some time ago that the Dementors, who had been banished from Shoreview (due to the sunlight and remodel,) have shifted to New Brighton. I ended up working New Brighton for two Tuesdays in a row and I'm thinking that I need to put New Brighton on my 'only if there are no other hours available' list. The Dementors at New Brighton are much more mild than they used to be at the old Shoreview--no one, for instance, has called administration to harass me for enjoying my job too much (yes, this actually happened at Shoreview in the past.)  BUT, it's kind of a death by a thousand cuts thing, you know?  I've talked about this before, but I think in addition to the silent "you just did the thing, but I'll redo it in front of you" there's also the general SLOWNESS of New Brighton. I probably wouldn't notice the first bit, if I were generally busier.  But, it's just not. The library is tiny and on days like yesterday, when it rained for much of the morning and afternoon, it's DEAD.  

People have time to get on each other's nerves when there isn't much else to do.

So, there's that. But, I mean almost any work environment is survivable for short, four hour shifts.  Add to that that money is a strong motivating force in my life and it's, ultimately, not much to complain about, really.

Yet I love to complain, so there's that as well.

Anyway, since it's Wednesday, I should probably at least mention some things I've read. I just finished reading a wonderful manga series called SATURN APARTMENTS.  It's science fiction, and, despite the title, it actually takes place on a ringed "apartment complex" in the Earth's stratosphere.  Our heroes are window washers.  I kind of feel like that should be enough to sell you on this manga, because WINDOW WASHERS IN SPAAAAAAAACE!  But, what else can I say about it?  It's charming. The hero is very plucky and outgoing and relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. There is a secret about Earth's surface, and class warfare. 

This is not the kind of manga that inspires fan fic. There aren't a lot of ships to sail and the art style is very atypical.  If you're normally turned off by the big eyes, etc., SATURN APARTMENTS might be a good first foray into the world of manga.  Outside of the fact that it reads "backwards," the story is much more like a typical Western graphic novel. 

I still haven't been able to consume many traditional novels. I have one, the Taiwanese mystery that I mentioned before, on my bedside table, but I keep finding other things to do with my time. I continue blame Trump for this problem.  I get awfully depressed when I think about what's happening in my country, and then all my brain wants to do is curl up on the bed and play mindless video games (like not even GOOD video games, stuff that's the mental equivalent of 'Solitaire.') 

The rain was lovely last night and I hope my grass seeds and flower seeds take root and grow.  I have a couple more gardens to try to clear out and figure out, but, as always happens this time of year, it all ends up seeming so daunting.... I mean, my problem has always been this love/hate relationship I have with gardens. I LOVE gardens and the idea of gardening, but I HATE weeding and the actual physical labor that goes into creating and maintaining a good garden.

Speaking of physical labor, I ought to go do the dishes.
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 I don't think I'd have a single title to report if last night wasn't a REALLY SLOW shift at the Maplewood Library.  

Perhaps you've heard, Minneapolis/St. Paul and surrounds have been bombarded with snow. 6-8 inches, easily. Yesterday, when I was driving around the visibility wasn't EXACTLY whiteout conditions, but the fourth or so block way from wherever I was, was that hazy blur you get in those kinds of snow storms.

So, of course, the library needed me to come in at 5 pm.

In a surprise to no one (but probably library administration) hardly anyone wanted to be out at the library last night.  Well, that's not entirely true. While I was shelving books in the adult comic book/manga section, I overheard two gentlemen discussing where they were planning on sleeping after the library closed. Let's say, instead, last night wasn't a high book turnover night.  So, when it was my turn on the AMH (colloquially known at Maplewood as "the oven,") there was not much for me to do.  I even asked my supervisor if I should be doing something else and she looked at me somewhat askance and said, "Read a book."

So, I hunted around for a first volume of some manga or other. I ended up readed Sapuri / Suppli by Okazaki Mari. (Amusing note about the title, it's merely a 'translation' into the same sounds as spoken by an English speaker.  This sort of thing drove me crazy in Nana when I read it because the scanlators insisted on writing Reira when she specifically says she was named after Eric Campton's 'Leila.'  If you're translating everything else into English pronunciations just write her name Leila. It confused me because I'd have to stop every time her name came up to remind myself to say it "Leila" in my head. I've seen people do this with the name Alice, too. It's dumb, because the last thing you want a reader to have to do is break the pacing of the story for something that USELESS and easily remedied.)  At any rate, the book was okay. I had checked it out and returned it within an hour.

At any rate, the roads were pure ice and packed snow on the drive home at 9 pm.  That sucked (though not as much as having to figure out how to sleep somewhere in the rough.)  I saw two accidents on the way home.

Today, at least, we have bright sunshine. However, it's stupid-ass cold, 17 F / -8 C.  Tomorrow is supposedly the Twins' first home game... they play in an open-air stadium. I heard on NPR that they're hosing off the stadium seats (metal, btw) with hot water.  Fans (if they go) are going to be sitting on ice cubes.  

While I was at the library, I also picked up some novels to try.  I have no idea if I'll actually crack these either, but fingers crossed.

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I read almost no books again this week, but I've been on a huge manga kick. I've been posting reviews nearly every day (which might actually be driving my readers away....) At any rate, things I read this week include:

Aogeba Toutoshi by Jiraiya
Mahou Tsukai no Yome / Ancient Magus’ Bride by Yamazaki Kore
Kakuritsu Sousakan Mikoshiba Gakuto / Probability Investigator Mikoshiba Gakuto by Kaminaga Gakuto
Owari Nochi, Asanagi Kurashi / Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale (Vol. 1) by Morino Kikori
Nigeta Hitsuji no Tsukamaekata by Aoyama Toomi
Watashi Sekai o Kouseisuru Chiri no You na Nani ka / The Feelings We All Must Endure by Amano Shuninta
Fushigi Neko no Kyuu-chan / Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan by Nitori Sasami
Lupin Sensei / Lupin III (Vols. 1 – 4) by Monkey Punch

Of these, I would recommend Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan, which is an adorable 4-chome (4 panel) comedy webtoon about a kid who picks up an abandoned cat. It's relatable to anyone, anywhere who has ever owned a cat.  Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale is the most amazing manga series ever, in that it's an honest-to-god cooking manga (with recipes!) that also follows the story of a young girl who has been abandoned by her family in an after the fall of civilization world and the mutated GIANT spider (the size of a car) that she... befriends? It's kind of amazing.

All the cool kids are reading/watching Ancient Magus' Bride, so I finally go around to it... and was... conflicted. My review about it is on MangaKast, if you're curious, but I presume most of the people who read me here are not likely to follow me over there. (That's not a dis, but the reason I don't review my manga on this blog is because I know that it's kind of my own separate thing.)

I'm probably going to bring a couple of novels with me to MiniCON this weekend because I do have a few moments of scheduled downtime, and I'm often very wound up at night after a full day of panel discussions, etc.  A book might help me chill. I am going to bring along my laptop, so you'll probably get a day-by-day con report.

This weekend, as it happens, is also Mason's big robotics competition. Today, he and his team are off from school and headed over for the unpacking and "inspection."  They have the day to do any last minute adjustments to the robot and to practice with it. Tomorrow competition begins.  Shawn and I are going to try to stop by and watch a little, if we have a chance. Shawn took the day off work, just because. Public school is out for NOT EASTER a.k.a. teacher work day (or whatever the official excuse it is to give Christians Good Friday off.)  Saturday is the main event, though many teams will be eliminated by then.  Mason is NOT convinced his team will get that far, but he should have a good time, regardless.  Luckily for us, it's at the University of Minnesota in stadium village and with his bus/train pass Mason can legitimately take care of himself getting to and from, if need be. (He could technically walk home. We're a straight shot up University Avenue.) But, his girlfriend is also a member of the team and she's already agreed to give him rides, should he need it.

Because I'm at the hotel the whole weekend and will have the car.

I'm looking forward to MiniCON. Even though I posted my schedule, I wouldn't expect you all to read it, so I want to point out the very coolest thing... the interview [personal profile] naomikritzer is doing with me on Saturday will also be "with" Tate.  I jokingly said to the MiniCON planners "Ha ha, wouldn't it be funny if I answered Tate's questions with a sock puppet." To which they said, "Ha ha, fandom will do you one better" and they LEGITIMATELY made a MUPPET of me as Tate. The puppet is so complex they had to schedule a puppeteer.

A puppet-f*cking-teer!

I sh*t you not.

This should be.... wild. I hope to high heaven that someone is planning on filming the interview. In some ways, I have NO IDEA how this is going to actually work, in other ways, I can only imagine that it's going to be AMAZING.


lydamorehouse: (??!!)
I... wow, I really have been crappy at keeping up with my reading. I didn't finish a single book, though I've read several hundred pages on a non-fiction book about teenage depression. (Don't worry, Mason is FINE. I just happen to have a number of friends whose kids seem to be going through this and I wanted to read up.) The rest of what I've been reading is manga, which I will enumerate below.

Lupin Sensei / Lupin III by Monkey Punch (vols. 1-4)
Kabeana Money Hole by Nakawaga Riina
Kabeana Heaven Hole by Nakawaga Riina
Ojii-sama to Neko / The Gentleman and the Cat by Sakurai Umi
Judge by Tonogai Yoshiki (vol. 1)
Our House Love Trouble by Owaru

Of these, probably the best (and, sadly shortest,) is Ojii-sama to Neko, which is ADORABLE and, for all intents and purposes, is the manga version of Mr. Putter & Tabby, a children's series I adored by Cynthia Rylant, which might be the root of my adoration of slice-of-life/no-drama-really-happens types of stories.

Speaking of MangaKast, (which we weren't, but I did review all of these at that site), I saw a funky sudden uptick in views a couple of days ago. The only thing I can attribute it to is that a link to my review site appears under my bio as Guest of Honor on the MiniCON page. It was listed as a place to sample my "work"... hahahahaha. More like SEE WHAT KIND OF PORN I'M READING!  

I... really hope that no one got a shock when they clicked through, if, indeed, that's where this significant bump in readership came from.  

Honestly, I was just chatting with another manga/anime WordPress blogger today about all this, and I really have no idea what drives people to--or away from--my manga blog. I've always just reviewed whatever the hell I'm reading (so long as it is manga-related), and YET, despite my haphazardness, I actually get fairly significant traffic to that site--if the statistics are to be believed. If I'm reading this right, I get about 300 visitors, on average, per day.  Maybe that's actually nothing, but that seems like a lot to me, especially given that I am writing about something very niche, and very random. And I have made no real attempts to connect to the manga/anime community. At best, I send off a link to my Twitter account. I don't even tap Tumblr unless I'm reviewing Bleach (dead now) or Blue Exorcist.

So, I don't know what to make of that.

The real question is: what are YOU reading? Anything good?

lydamorehouse: (Default)
I have a number of books that I'm currently reading, but I'm not sure if I finished anything. I did read four volumes (two in paper, and the others via scanlation sites) of Totsukuni no Shoujo / Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe, which is a very creepy/cool manga that I'd highly recommend. Otherwise, I have a book I think I started last week called An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King on my Kindle. I picked up a hardcover book, a mystery that takes place in Taiwan, called Taroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari...but it's a disappointment to me so far because what I really want out of mysteries set abroad is a travelogue with a small story attached, and currently I'm getting a lot of character study of a disgruntled, jaded American journalist and his hippy/New Age cameraman.

That's my reading.  In fact, I think I may head out early today because I have a bunch of things that need to make their way back to the library.  Maybe I'll poke around and see if there's anything else of interest there.

How about you? What've you been reading this week?
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
Robotics is coming to a close. Tonight, in fact, is the last night for building. Mason's team has until midnight Eastern Time (11 pm for us) to finish tinkering with their robot. After that, they have to shrink-wrap it and put it away until competition. I have no idea when I'll see my child tonight. I suspect the Washington team will go as late as possible (and my son will LOVE every minute of it.)

Luckily, he got to bed early last night.

And Shawn and I get a mid-week date night, so that works out pretty well. I suspect we'll catch up with "Victoria" and eat a lot of popcorn. Who says romance is dead?

Speaking of movies, I saw two this weekend. You'll never guess what the first one was.... yeah, actually, it WAS "Black Panther." My Marvel crew is always on top of things, so Mr. Murphy got tickets a week ahead, which was good because theaters were selling out. I had work at Maplewood from 10 am to 5 pm, and so I joked to Mason (who had spent from 8 am to 3 pm at "Week Zero" robotics, where they test their robot against the obstacle course for the first time) that both of us would be lucky to keep our eyes open. Hahahahahaha, yeah. No worries there. "Black Panther" was amazing. I don't have much to say about it that hasn't already been said, but I will add my voice to the chorus that recommends you to go, if you haven't already.

The other movie we watched was "The Great Wall." When Mason noticed us watching it he snarkily said, "Oh, I see, we're having the complete opposite experience from 'Black Panther' now, eh?" [If you're curious about the controversy around "The Great Wall" and somehow missed hearing about it when people were discussing it, Huffington Post pretty much sums up my argument about the movie: "No, 'The Great Wall' Isn't Racist Whitewashing (but The Question if it is a White Savior Movie is a Bit Tricker.)"]

What these two movies had in common was kind of surprising. Somehow, I missed that "The Great Wall" was a fantasy, where the Great Wall of China was kind like Wakanda in that it was fantastically science-fictionally advanced... the ancient China we want, full of amazing costumes, beautiful people, impossible heroics and acrobatics, and super-powered monsters.

Of course, in "Black Panther" the white people were superfluous to the plot (Tineey-tiny spoiler )), and the 'monster' was actually one of the more sympathetic characters who actually brought with him a legitimate conflict with real world implications.

It was an interesting double-feature, though, given the controversy around "The Great Wall."

I am not, by the way, recommending "The Great Wall." I found it to be somewhat vacuous, if pretty. The only thing going for it is that it very much had the vibe of a SUPER big budget version of a Hong Kong film, ala "Once Upon a Time in China" or "The Bride With White Hair" but with the annoying addition of Matt Damon. I can see why people cried "whitewashing," actually, because even though 8 out of 10 actors were Chinese, Damon's role is OBVIOUSLY the sort normally occupied by someone like Jet Li. It's kind of weird to see a white guy get the slo-mo slides and off-the-wall jumps, while shooting arrows... that's clearly supposed to be Li or Chow Yun Fat or Jackie Chan or Brigitte Lin or Michelle Yeoh.

So, I mean, "The Great Wall" and "Black Panther" both had the same number of white actors (3), were directed by PoCs, but one of these movies is a giant ball of Fail (at least in the US market. I have no idea how "The Great Wall" played in China. Okay, quick check reveals that Wikipedia says, "The film went on to gross $170.9 million at the Chinese box office, which is considered a disappointment.")

It was an interesting movie weekend.  The rest was same old, same old, I suppose.  I hinted at the fact that I worked at Maplewood on Saturday. That was another full day, but, wow, it was so much nicer to be at a place that respected my work. It went so much faster, despite being the same 7 hours. I also, because it's Maplewood, came home with a new manga series, which I read the first two volumes of last night called: The Girl From the Other Side / Totsukuni no Shoujo by Nagabe.  It's very "spoopy" as the kids might say.  I'm probably going to write up a review of it later today.

I guess that's me. You?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
A lot has actually happened in the intervening week that I failed to report. A dear friend of mine, Peg Ihinger (known to a lot of readers as pegkerr), lost her husband, Rob, to cancer. His memorial was last Friday. Rob's obit ran in the Star Tribune. His daughters did the most amazing eulogies that broke me down to tears, which, considering that I'm far close to Peg than I ever was to Rob, is something.

Funerals are always awful, though I really enjoyed the fannish wake that was held for Rob in MnStF style. It made me think that something like that is very much what I'd like for... well, I guess what's weird is that I would actually like it FOR ME, which is to say, I'd want something like that while I was grieving, and the only thing that's wrong with that idea is that Shawn, my wife (the one I'd likely be grieving--banish, banish, banish), is not at all fannish. And, throwing a party might seems weird, you know:, "I'm a widow! Party for me!! Bring out the Irish folk music!" No, no.... okay, NO. Upon deeper consideration this is a terrible idea for my family, but it was absolutely perfect for Rob and his.

In completely different news, a friend from Wales sent me a care package of tea (thank all the gods! I was back to drinking Earl Grey, which, I had previously considered OK tea and now realize the errors of my ways), jelly babies, and two sets of United Kingdom "Game of Thrones" themed postage stamps. I'm not the world's biggest GoT fan, and have not, in point of fact, even watched a single episode of the HBO series. However, these stamps were just too cool not to try to get copies of. My friend very kindly obliged... I mean, I made her go to the post office twice, which makes me feel rather badly, but I have offered to return any care package in kind, if we could ever figure out if there's anything America doesn't already import to the UK. (In the past, I've sent her things from the Asian markets around here, because those items were harder to find in small town Wales.)

I have also, speaking of reading, still been slogging my way through the manuscript I'm critiquing for the Loft. I have been working at it, steadily, nearly ever day since I got it... it's just slow going when you're reading at that deep a level, I guess. The good news is that I officially have six weeks to finish it, and I don't want it to be hanging around my neck that long. I'm going to keep pushing at it, and hopefully by this time next week I can report that not only did I finish my work, but I had my meeting with the author.

I also signed up for MarsCON programming, so if you're planning on being there, I will be, too.

Things I have read. I'm currently reading an actual novel that I picked off the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List called The Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown. I'm enjoying this one so far, despite the fact that it should give me nightmares as it's clearly a dystopian extrapolation of the politics of the current administration.

I've decided I'm going to try to read as many of the debut books listed as possible, so I also have on my TBR pile: The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss and The Guns Above by Robyn Benis.

Read a number of manga this week, of course, including:

Renai Crown / Crown of Love (Volume 1) by Kouga Yun, and
Haru ga Kita / Spring Has Come by Kome Mochino

My library has had a sale of manga that they've weeded from their collection and so I bought several dozen titles, which I will be reading and reviewing over the next week, no doubt. I picked up anything that had a first volume, so it should be interesting to see the range of things.  I suspect I'm going to be reading a lot more shoujo than I normally would have, but what the heck.  The price was right: 5 for a buck.

How about all y'all?


lydamorehouse: (Default)
I spent most of last week reading a manuscript that I'm still working on critiquing for the Loft.

For those of you who don't know, the Loft has a program where you can pay to have your manuscript critiqued by a professional, like myself. Like most things that go through the Loft, it's expensive. To be fair to the prices listed there, I work really very hard on these things and the critique is very thorough--everything from pointing out passive voice to plot holes. So, that's been eating up a lot of my usual reading time.

I did, however, get a few manga (and manhwa) read. I read BJ Alex by Mingwa. Even though this manhwa is definitely a yaoi, BJ does NOT stand for what you think it might. BJ in this context is a "Broadcast Jockey," the Korean equivalent of a YouTuber. I thought a bit about [personal profile] jiawen while I was writing my review, because the only BJs I've ever watched are mukbang, which is a whole separate kind of thing. (If you haven't heard of mukbang, which I certainly hadn't before hearing about it from her, it's basically a You Tube live-stream of someone cooking and eating food, while chatting with people who are texting into their channel. It should be unwatchable, but I have to confess to losing several minutes of my life to more than one, without subtitles, knowing absolutely no Korean.) So, this write up is probably more interesting than the manhwa was, but, if you like yaoi, it is pretty cute and I would recommend it. It's not finished. There were only about 4 chapters up when I read it.

I also read the first volume of Cat Paradise / Gakuen Sousei Nekoten! by Iwahara Yuji which is a manga about a girl and her cat and the magical academy they attend, where they gain superpowers and fight demons. You know, typical manga stuff.

Another manhwa I read was The Baker on the First Floor by GyaGa. This one follows a yaoi artist (whoa! meta!) who falls in love with the titular baker who, in fact, has moved in to the first floor of our hero's apartment building.  There is a wild amount of back story in this one, if you take it on, since both of them have ex-lovers they are hung up on. I mean, I read the whole thing, but it's not a top tier recommendation by any stretch.

Apparently, I also forgot to talk about a number of manga that I read during the big snow storm. If you're ever curious about the manga I consume (and there is a great quantity of it), you can read MangaKast--the site where I review literally everything manga related that I read. 

The other thing I read over the last week were letters that I received from a friend of mine between 1988-1990. I have several more years worth that I want to go through, because this particular friend led a very interesting life. He competed in the Gay Games in Vancouver as a body builder and lived all over the country, including the Castro in San Francisco during the late 80s.  The letters are a surprisingly rich queer history and I haven't even gotten to the part in his life where he becomes a porn star... He and I are FB friends and he said he might one day want to write a book about his life, and I totally he should. His letters certainly read like a novel.

How about you? What've you been up to? Wha'tcha reading?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
..though I don't think I have anything much at all to report.

The only thing I know I read for sure between last Wednesday and this one was about four chapters of Blue Exorcist / Ao no Exorcist by Kazue Katou because I made the decision to renew my subscription to Weekly Shounen Jump.

This was kind of a big moment for me, to chose to forgive them. I was fairly angry at WSJ over their treatment of fans of Bleach. I have my own separate issues with the mangaka of Bleach, Tite Kubo, and how he chose to end his run, but that was different from my frustration that there was never any official release from the English-language Jump regarding Bleach's ending. I was especially mad because it was clear from the pirate sites and their fan translators that the WSJ in Japan was letting fans know that Bleach would be ending soon.  I got into a bit of a Twitter storm with WSJ (English-language) over it because it felt very much like there was ZERO point in paying for a subscription that gave me LESS THAN what pirates could provide.

The other thing that frustrated me about my subscription which I paid doggedly because I felt I owed something to the creators of the manga that I loved, was that Jump was consistently at LEAST one week behind the pirates.  As I snarked in one of my tweets, literally the only thing my subscription to Jump gave me that the pirates couldn't was a stupid Yu-Go-Oh! card that I threw away as soon as it arrived.

But, I noticed that Haikyu! was listed as a Weekly Shounen Jump manga on the cover of the tankobon (the collected volumes), and I started to soften, especially since I know that My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia is also a Jump product.  Add Blue Exorcist / Ao no Exorcist into the mix and suddenly that kind of bent the scales towards renewal.

I'm glad I re-upped, actually.  Not only will I get more Yu-Gi-Oh! cards to toss in the garbage, BUT, in all seriousness, it almost seems as though someone at Jump listened to my crazy ranting.  Blue Exorcist / Ao no Exorcist is actually two weeks AHEAD of the scanlators at the moment--or at least they were at the time I picked up my subscription again. Even just days ahead of pirates makes the subscription worthwhile, IMHO.  Especially since Ao no Exorcist / Blue Exorcist might be my favorite monthly serialized shounen manga currently. (I should note, in case that's confusing, my subscription to WSJ includes what they call Jump+, which is where their monthlies are serialized.)

Speaking of magazines (which Jump used to be), the other thing I've been reading is all the articles in the Atlantic, which Shawn bought me a subscription to for the holidays.  I guess that counts as reading, too, right?

How about you? Reading anything notable?
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
Man, it's a good thing that I didn't make a New Year's resolution about being better at blogging. I would have already messed that one up. I actually didn't make any resolutions this year. I have in the past, but this year I found myself thinking that the best I might be able to hope for is "be nicer," and then I immediately engaged in a knock-down, drag-out internet fight about the new Star Wars movie on my Facebook page and I thought, "Whelp, there goes that one."

Did I read anything this last week? No, I really didn't. I mean, yes, of course, there was a manga. It was really AWESOME manga (and a long one, 21 volumes) called: Shi ga Futari wo Wakatsu Made / Until Death Do Us Part by Takashige Hiroshi / Song Ji-Hyoung ("Double-S"). It's about a blind katana-welding vigilante who ends up as the bodyguard to a girl with pre-cognition.  It's literally everything you want from a story with that kind of premise, including scenes where our blind hero slices bullets with his microfiber space-age katana.  I mean, so CHEESY that it comes out the other side into SO AWESOME, you know?

I highly recommend it, but I'm not sure it's available in any commercial venue. Oh, looks like you can consume it legally:  https://www.amazon.com/Until-Death-Do-Part-Vol/dp/031621390X.  Well, I might have to support this, because I really loved this whole stupid story. The art is really pretty amazing and I loved the characters a lot. If you want to read my review, as usual, you can find it over on Mangakast:  https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/shi-ga-futari-wo-wakatsu-made-until-death-do-us-part-by-takashige-hiroshi-song-ji-hyoung-double-s/

I didn't manage to get any further in the other PEN award novel that I took out from the library.  That one might be a lost cause, after all.  But the library lets me borrow it for three weeks, so I'll keep it around for a while yet in the hopes that I'll feel in the mood again soon. 

How about you?  Read anything of interest this week?

Today is the first day that Mason will be a volunteer debate JUDGE of middle school debate teams. He's going to be over at Highland Park Middle today with a bunch of his colleagues from Washington Tech.  He's super nervous about it, which I understand, but I suspect it will go well (knock on wood.) But, because this is volunteering, I'm going to play chauffeur to a number of his fellow debaters, which should also be interesting. I should see what Google Maps thinks is the fastest route between Washington and Highland.... 

Anyway, the joys of parenting, eh?

lydamorehouse: (Default)
Absolutely EVERYTHING.

Except I don't think I did much reading this week. Possibly a manga or two. Oh, yes, I did read My Neighbor Seki / Tonari no Seki-kun (Vol. 1) by Takuma Morishige, but I didn't much care for it.  It should have been perfect for me, it's one of those low-drama slice-of-life type stories I've been craving lately, but it was TOO silly. The story is about a middle grade girl, Rumi, and her desk neighbor, Seki. Seki brings toys to school and plays imaginative games with them that Rumi gets emotionally invested in... to the point that SHE'S the one who gets in trouble for goofing off, not him.  This seems to be a never-ending gag.  I could have read the remaining eight volumes that I'd checked out of the library, but I just didn't trust that the story would ever move beyond this. TBF, normally, I don't need it to. This time, I was just much more "meh" about the set-up. Also, I'm a really hard sell on certain types of broad humor, in manga (often the exact same stuff will work just fine for me in anime.)

I also skimmed an on-line manga called Acid Town by Kyuugo. This one, I started to really like, but then the mangaka seemingly got enamored by some side-characters I cared a whole lot less for, and this angst-y yaoi turned very plot-heavy in a way made me skip through a lot of the action waiting to reconnect with our main characters. I reviewed this one because there was enough in it that I found compelling, but it's not something I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't already consume a LOT of manga.

That was about it.  Normally, Christmas is a great time for me to catch up on reading, but I actually ended up really busy the day after Christmas.  We had gotten FREE tickets to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at 9:15 am on the 26th, and, just as I was headed out the door, my boss from Ramsey County Library called asking if I could fill in for someone who had suddenly quit. I like to do these emergency saves time to time, so that my boss thinks favorably of me, so I agreed. It was kind of a mistake. The movie was GREAT (thank you to those who encouraged me to go), but it wasn't over until noon, and with getting everyone back (we took Mason's girlfriend along), I wasn't really back home and settled until 1 pm. That just MESSED ME UP.  Plus, I am super grateful for the FREE tickets, but OMG I'm not sure I would ever do a movie that early in the morning again.  

First of all, it's just plain weird to see a movie in the morning. Secondly, I did NOT consume enough coffee.  I think, had I to do it over, I would have made sure to get up earlier and made a trip to get an espresso drink from somewhere. For some reason, I was expecting the theater to have better food options.  We went to Oakdale, which I had remembered as being so full-service that they have a bar in the theater. So, I figured they'd have something decent for breakfast, since they have almost a full menu around lunch time.  But, no. The only options were popcorn and pretzel bits.  I opted for the pretzel bits because... small salty bagels?  NO. VERY BAD CHOICE.

We also saw it in mega-ultra max or whatever the better than IMAX version is... and, I didn't need that. We actually had the best seats for that kind of experience (way in the very back row), so we could see the whole screen, but everyone coveted those seats, so I was knee to knee with my neighbor.  

All of that aside, I loved the movie.  Probably because I had read so much hate, I was really expecting a terrible film.  I thought it was fun, very worthy of the Star Wars franchise.  My ships are battered, but unbroken, honestly.  Sure, they tried to spray no homo on some folks, but I'm not entirely sure it worked, especially since a huge part of my personal head canon involves polyamory (and an ace Rey). But, that's all I can say without being spoiler-y and I'm not sure I'm up for a full written dissection, ATM.  I literally can not understand any of the hate.  Given all the warnings, I expected the film to be "messier" than it was. The porgs were fine. WTF, fandom. Chill out. Phantom Menace was a WAY sh*ttier film. Okay, one small spoiler )Not that I have feels about it or anything. :-)
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Once again, I don't think I consumed a single actual novel, but a lot of manga have been read and enjoyed. This week, I read:

Sign Language by Ker, a manhwa (the Korean version of a manga, usually full-color and in web comic format) about the lust-affair between a part-time cafe employee and his deaf boss.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?/ Kinou Nani Tabeta? (Vol. 12) by Fumi Yoshinaga, a manga about cooking and eating and two gay guys for whom food is clearly their "love language."

I Hear the Sunspot / Hidamari ga Kikoeru by Yuki Fumino, a manga about a college note-taker who works for a deaf student, and their compelling slowburn love affair.

Breath (Vol. 1) by Chifumi Ochi, a manga about a jerk and the guy he blackmails. (Can you tell I didn't really like this one?)
 

I also read the preview copy of Nnedi Okorafor's Black Panther for my review job at Twin Cities Geek.  In fact, today, after I do the dishes and start the bread to go with tonight's jambalaya, I need to sit down and write a review for that.  I also still never turned in my review of As the Crow Flies, so I need to do that, as well.

My other book related news is that I've LOST a library book somewhere in my house.  I took out all 9 volumes of My Neighbor Seki, and I can't find volume one ANYWHERE.  I thinking that I might just read the first volume on-line and then return the others, so that I can focus on finding that book?  I hope that I don't have to confess to my colleagues at work that I managed to lose a book.  That would be so embarrassing!  I'm hoping it will turn up over the holidays. I have a bad feeling that it's somewhere in the bedroom, which could mean that I might have to clean... (drum roll, please).... UNDER THE BED.

The horror!

I'd love to hear what you've read this week or what you will be reading over the holiday break.  

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 It's Wednesday! I actually spent a good portion of this morning reading so that I could report that I have FINISHED all 21 volumes of Nana by Ai Yazawa.  Whoo!  Of course, I raced to the end only to find out that the mangaka is on indefinite hiatus and the end wasn't the end, but sort of just stopped due to her illness.  :-P Eh, the non-ending ending was traumatizing, but it was still a good (highly-addictive, very soap opera-y) series. 10/10 would recommend.

In other news, I feel fairly productive in a complaining sort of way.  When I went out with the kitty litter, I discovered that our recycling bin had not been emptied.  I called Eureka and talked to a very diligent person, who seemed very concerned.  We've been missed a number of times, so we'll see if anything will actually be done. He promised to have the drivers tag us next time, if somehow the missed pick-up is our fault.  I will be very pissed off if they say it is, however.  BECAUSE our recycling is so particular, I make it part of my Monday morning routine to make sure that the bin is situated properly. They have these stupid robotic arms and so they say they have to have two feet or some crazy distance around the bin for them in order to pick it up. So, after dropping Mason and Shawn off, I always go to the back and pull in our garbage can (they ALSO come on Monday, but are capable of actually just pulling the thing around to dump into their truck) and double-check to make sure the recycling bin is close to the alley and unobstructed.  It's stupid and a hassle, but it sucks more when we run out of room in the bin because they miss us for weeks at a time.

But, having had a mostly successful conversation with Eureka, I finally wrote a letter to my city council person, Russ Stark, about the parking situation in our neighborhood.  We don't have a working garage. We never have, but that's never been much of a problem in the past, oh, 15 years or so.  There was always plenty of room on our block to park in front of our house. These last few years, it's become really difficult.... in the middle of the day.  I suspect Russ is NOT getting a ton of complaints about this, because many people come home AFTER the parking clears up.  But, I will often come home at 8 am and there will be no place for me to park.  

A lot of it, ironically, is due to the fact that we're a block from the Fairview Green Line stop.  I don't know what is appealing about our neighborhood, but people come here to leave their cars and then take the train into work. I've watched them do it.  One time I ended up sitting in my car for an extra fifteen minutes listening to the end of a radio program, and sure enough I watched THREE different people park their cars and walk to the train station.  

The rest of the traffic belongs to employees of the businesses on the end of our block.  I wish that the businesses had been required to provide parking for their employees, but for some reason they weren't. The irony is that there's a huge parking lot at the end of our block. It belongs to Wendy's and the Russian Tea House. The Russian Tea House has rented out some of their space, because the energy company parks their vans behind the tea house.  But, I wish Wendy's would make a deal with the other employers.  The lot sits empty and our block fills up.

At any rate, I asked Russ to consider permit parking. It would, at the very least, cut down on the ditch and ride people.  (If you're going to commit to public transportation, you should go all the way!) 

We'll see, once again, if anything comes from my complaint.  But, hey, I've only been putting it off for months. I'm glad I at least wrote something finally.

I don't know if it's the weather or the fact that my usual Wednesday group has moved to Friday, but I'm feeling a little down today. I should be happier.  Mason told us about the win in Alabama last night.  But, but somehow I'm just feeling low.  And work called.  They want me in New Brighton from 5 to 8pm.  It's only three hours, so I said yes.  It'll probably be good for me to go out and earn a little money, too.

lydamorehouse: (aizen's return)
...not only that, but Tom Hiddleston's MCU Loki. It was really awesome. I think I turned into a crow at one point. But, we definitely made an alliance with the giant ant people.

I blame this on the fact that Shawn and I watched Kong: Skull Island together. Was that movie panned? We LOVED it.

But, today is Wednesday, so I'm supposed to be talking about reading. I read a ton of manga chapters this last week and not much else. So, I read:

Koi to Kedama to Otonari-san by Suzaka Shina
Ekrano by Kitoh Mohiro
Weekend Lovers / Yokubari na Shuumatsu by Fuwa Kiriko
Blue Drop / Buruu Doroppu by Yoshitomi Akihito
Wombs by Shirai Yumiko
Legend of the President’s Glasses / Kaichou no Megane Densetsu by Irie Aki

Of those, the stand-out was Wombs. It's a very odd, but compelling science fiction manga about women soldiers who, when impregnated with an alien lifeform, are able to travel through an alternate dimension that moves them through real space.  The story takes place on an alien planet that humans (presumably from Earth) have colonized and terraformed.  We're at war not with the native species, but with a second group of colonizers (presumably ALIEN) who think this planet belongs to them. Since we were there first, it's a fight.  The women are used as troop (and supply) transport, but also as scouts because the various spots that they can hop between are a network left behind (or possibly still used by) the planet's natives.  There's a lot of intrigue about various military groups agendas, what the natives are, what would happen if we let one come to term inside a human host, etc., etc.  There's unfortunately, only one volume that's been officially licensed. If you want to read it, you have to look for it on scanlation sites, like Mangago, etc.  The scanlators seem to have done four out of the five available volumes.

If you ever want to read what I think of the manga I'm reading, you can check out: mangakast.wordpress.com.  I review every manga I read.  Which reminds me that I should write something up about Kill a Kill, which I didn't finish because it turned out to be ecchi. 

In the department of things I'm watching, I just got caught up with Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (though Crunchyroll will likely release another one or two before the year is up, I suspect. I'm NOT a premium member, so I have to watch an extra week for the latest to free up.)  I started watching Mushi-shi, which I'm really enjoying.  I don't post much about the anime I watch because I'm SO SLOW. I'm kind of the exact opposite of a binge watcher. I watch one, half-hour episode a day, while hand-washing the dishes (we don't have a dishwasher.)  I have a couple of friends who can blow through an entire series in a matter of days.  I always feel like a slug in comparison.

How about you? Read anything interesting this week?




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