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.


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: (crazy eyed Renji)
We got Mason off for his robotics trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Alas, not without some static, when I thought I was being helpful. But, Mason is resisting ANY form of mothering me at the moment. It's like he's a toddler again with the whole, "IMA, I CAN DO IT." Even when, what I think I'm doing isn't mothering at all, but what i would do for anyone, like grabbing him a drink from the fridge.

But, I mean, we worked it out. I even got an apologetic "You do a lot for me. I'm sorry, I should appreciate you more," text. Which is huge. He is, really, as my friend Josey put it, a good lad. If I think back to my terrible teens? I was holy terror. Pretty sure I never told my mother i appreciated the things she did for me.

To be fair to everyone, this trip kind of came up suddenly, despite being on our calendar since forever.

Hell, I feel like March kind of came up suddenly, despite the natural progression of the calendar. Is it just me? How is it already the 13th?

But, it's Wednesday, so that means reading! I actually have some things to report, holy crap. I read SEMIOSIS by Sue Burke. At first I wasn't sure about it. I loved the first chapter and then felt a little dismayed when the second chapter jumped ahead a generation. I have, in my life, been very burned by time skips *cough*BLEACH*cough* *cough*HARRY POTTER*cough* But, I pushed through and discovered that EACH chapter is a different generation, which, in the end, worked out. I ended up enjoying the whole ride. So, ultimately: would recommend.

I'm now finally on to A RECORD OF A SPACE-BORN FEW by Becky Chambers, which I am likewise ambivalent about, but I'm rolling along with it because i have long been a fan of Chamber's narrative voice. There are some people who just READ well, in my head, and Chambers is one of them.

I haven't read much in the way of manga, which is.. I'm running out of new things to pick-up at the library, I think. I read the first two volumes of a manga that the library had about a serial killing magical blade, (Durarara!! Drrr!! Saika arc by Ryohgo Narita) but I didn't even review what I read because I just kind of went 'meh.' Which is weird, I should probably go back and do some kind of review, but I don't know. I did review From Green Kitchen by Ueda Aki (which I had read on-line), but I also read My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness finally, and I didn't review that.

I guess, I need to do a little review work and catch up.

Any-WAY, what are you all reading?
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 was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.


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: 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.


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: (Default)
 ...than using up my leftover homemade French bread for bread pudding.  I don't know why, I probably should feel more like someone who lived through the Depression (Captain America?).  

For those following along, it's a bazillion degrees below zero here. Mason's school is cancelled AGAIN for tomorrow. As he pointed out, now the only day he will have school is Friday and then it will be the weekend again. He says, "It's going to feel less like going back to school and more like a break in my winter vacation."

It's been lovely to have both him and Shawn home. We've done a whole lot of nothing all day; none of us is out of our PJs and it's 5:37 pm.  I did some stamping, but mostly I've been cooking and eating... and napping. I really have to say that this cold weather is working for me. I'm also really glad that several local businesses have taken it upon themselves to close. My coffee shop closed. The postal workers didn't try to deliver. People who could, should stay home, inside, and warm.

In less lovely news, my Loft class was officially cancelled.  I was really looking forward to it, but alas. I only got 4 people interested. (Worse, we could have used the money. Ah well.)

On the other hand, Broad Universe is trying out a mentoring program, and I signed up to be a mentor. I've got myself a mentee, and we've started working together. By chance, she's written a fantasy novel involving the sidhe and Irish politics. Considering that I wrote something similar (my first novel, which got weirdly published via a pay-as-you-go outfit:, I'm VERY excited by her novel.  So, that's a yay. 

I am reading something, but I'm not enjoying it. I decided to try to pick up the books that are up for the Philip K. Dick award and I started Claire North's newest book 84K. I'm... not much liking the fact that she leaves sentences trailing off, unfinished, and there are a LOT of fragments and fragmented scenes. I'm not QUITE ready to give up on it, but, man. It's tough going.

What are you reading this fine Wednesday?

lydamorehouse: (??!!)
All I know is that it's 2019. I have no actual idea what day of the week it is. Wednesday is my best guess.

My family all went back to school and work. I stayed home with kitty, who is still with us, but it's unclear how long (more under the cut at the end.) I was extremely grateful when [personal profile] naomikritzer reached out to offer to bring lunch and chat. She brought some potato/leek soup that was left over from a New Year's Eve party that she'd gone to. I supplied some day-old French bread, and she also brought a spinach and cheese stuffed naan that needed to be rescued from a freezer that apparently stopped freezing and used up. All and all a lovely meal, made more lovely by the chance to chat with a dear friend about anything OTHER than a sick cat for several hours.

It is also "What Are You Reading" Wednesday, and I can report that I read another short story last night. "Sour Milk Girls" by Erin Roberts which I kind of hated. There's no hard and fast rule that stories have to have a happy ending to be satisfying. Lots of people will tell you that they sometimes feel that grim endings are more realistic, but what "Sour Milk Girls" felt like to me was "mean girls being mean, the end." There was a clever sort of word-building going on, but one of the main plot points (memories being wiped) was never explained in context of the world. What was the point of it? What did the people doing the wiping (institutionally, and then, later, individually) get out of it? What was the benefit? And, then it was just "ha, ha, we were mean."

Or, so it seemed to me.

Well, I will keep hunting. I have five slots I can fill in my nominations for the Nebula, and I only have three filled so far. There are lots and lots of eligible short stories out there.

I'm also revisiting Starhawk's Truth or Dare.; Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery, which is a book I tried to read when it came out in the late 1980s. I'm not sure how this type of book bills itself. It's not non-fiction, though it tries hard to be, with footnoted research and a lot of academic language. It's kind of like creative nonfiction, maybe? With a dash of memoir and a lot of poetry? Starhawk (a native St. Paulie!) is one of those people that a lot of pagans my age read back in the day. She's probably best known for Spiral Dance, which is a bit more of a how-to. Possibly my revisiting of Starhawk should have started there, because I'm finding Truth or Dare tough going. Reading it has made me think about how little has changed and how many revolutions are still needed.

When I need something lighter (or to pass the time at the vet's office), I've been SLOWLY making my way through the first Longmire book, The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. Shawn and I really enjoyed watching "Longmire," and Shawn found a copy of this at on the library friends bookstore's free shelf.

Cat update (not good) )
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 don't think I read ANYTHING this last week, besides the Internet, which is a monumental reading fail.  I blame MarsCON? Trump?  ....myself? (It's probably that last one. I could have at least read more of The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, since I ended up keeping it longer than I should've. I also could have picked up a few more manga, but I guess I just failed. I did write a little bit of fan fiction, however, so that's a positive.)  Still, I hate have a weekend with nothing to report. I endeavor to be better next week.  

On the other hand, having just been to the library, I have a *fantastic* TBR pile. Would you like to know what's on this fabulous list?  Well, you're in luck!

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnellly
Incensed by Ed Lin 
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock.

I'm still working through the debut authors from the Locus Recommended Reading list, but I did note that Amberlough seems to be up for a Lambda, too.  (A twofer!)  

Since I like to be completely surprised by the books I'm reading, I let Mason read the backs of these and pick one for me.  He chose An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, which I started at the restaurant last night.  I'm not sure about it; it has airships, but I'm going to give it at least 50 pages, which is my deal with myself.

That's what I'm looking forward to reading. How about you? Read anything fun last week? Anything awful? Anything?
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)

Yeah, so, I guess the last few days have escaped me. I know where yesterday went: I worked at White Bear Lake library. While there, I discovered that I may have lost a book.... one that *I* checked out. I'm going to have to go to Roseville and confess today. The dumbest part is that I think I lost one of my OWN Japanese language books in the process. I think I returned a book that I actually bought at the Friends sale, thinking it was this missing one. But, I have turned the house upside down and the book remains at large. It's so weird, because I always put my library books in one or two places. I do this because our house is otherwise quite full of books and a library book can easily get lost among all the others.

Ah, it's going to be embarrassing. But, there's nothing for it.

But, so, yes, speaking of books. Last week I quit a number of books. I had been trying to find a good mystery that had Taiwan as a backdrop, but the books I found all wanted to be mysteries more than they wanted to be travelogues. So, I quit on Toroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari and Out of Turns by Anne G. Faigan. While looking for the authors of these books, I see that Ed Lin has produced two more books in his Night Market mystery series. I liked Ghost Month quite a bit, because the mystery was really quite secondary to all the interesting bits of scenery of Taipei and Taiwanese culture. Looks like Ramsey County has the next book, Incensed, so I'll put that on request.

I'm going to be forced to quit The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss, because it was due yesterday and when I went to try to renew it, it picked up a hold. Since someone else is in the queue for it, so I'm going to have to get back in line if I want to finish it. Which is a bummer because I was actually starting to enjoy it, despite the fact that I normally despise anything that breaks the 4th Wall.

And then there was the usual manga/manhwa/manhua:

Make Me Bark by Sagold
Hamerare Host by Kaneko Ako
Gentei Kareshi / Limited Boyfriend by Uni Yamasaki
Ani no Chuukoku / Brother’s Warning by Asada Nemui
Ore Monogatari!! / My Love Story (Vols. 1 & 2) by Kawahara Kazune / Aruko

Most of the above is yaoi/boys' love/BL, with the exception of Ore Monogatari / My Love Story, which is a shoujo (a girls' romance) about the type of guy who is never the hero of love stories, except in this case he is. He's a big bruiser type, but he has a gentle heart and, for once, a girl falls for _HIM_ instead of his classically handsome best friend.

I finally broke down and started watching "Ancient Magus Bride."  I am... wow, did NOT expect it to start the way it did, so we'll see if I stick with it.  There's only one season so far, however, so it might be something I can get through reasonably quickly while washing the dishes.

As I posted before, MarsCON is this weekend.  The only panel I'm NOT looking forward to is the manhwa/manhua one, despite the fact that *I* proposed it.  I proposed it, however, hoping that I was not, in point of fact, the only local person reading these.  I'm certainly no expert, and now I'm the only person the the panel.... on top of which, they seem to have slotted me in the "teen" track (because OF COURSE) and literally the only manhwa/manhua that I've read is COMPLETE SMUT.  I'm trying to decide what to do about it.... it's possible that I won't have much of an audience anyway, in which case we just have a roundtable discussion.  But, I should prepare a list of titles, maybe?  I dunno.  UGH, I'm not looking forward to it, honestly.

Anyway, how's you? What have YOU been reading?
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: (yaoi)
Wow, today, huh? It started out nice enough with a Valentine's Day smooch from my wife, but then it proceeded to get... hassle-ish? Shawn needed to pick up doughnuts for her volunteers. We stopped at our usual place, Sugah Rush, only to discover a sign that said "Closed" with a "back at 7:30" sign underneath that.  Okay, that was weird, since they're usually up and running at 6:30 am, but okay. I dropped Mason off, then Shawn, bought myself a coffee, and drove back. I arrived at 7:32 am. The door was still closed. So I waved over the counter girl who explained, that no, they were closed the whole week (possibly for Chinese New Year?) I suggested maybe they handwrite a sign? Because we could have gone somewhere else rather than looping back.

I go next to Wollet's, which is open, but significantly more expensive. I make up the difference between what Shawn gave me from petty cash and have the nice lady there give me an assortment.

Off I go to MHS. Only to discover that the History Center's doors are locked AND I'm completely out of minutes on my phone. I see someone coming in and I say, "Excuse me, these doughnuts need to go to Shawn Rounds in the State Archives. Could you deliver them?" He says he could, and I think, "Okay, good. PROBLEM SOLVED."

Only, when I finally get home and call Shawn on the landline, she hasn't seen her doughnuts.

I think someone just stole our doughnuts.

I'm hoping Shawn will call soon and let me know that I'm wrong and that they actually arrived, unscathed.

It's Reading Wednesday also, I guess? Well, I finished that manuscript that's been hanging around my neck like an albatross. So, that's definitely a good thing. I also read Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown, which is a book that I got from the library which was listed on the most recent Locus Magazine "recommended reading list," in the subcategory of debut authors. I like reading debut authors for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that since they're brand-new, it's extremely unlikely that I'll have to hunt up the rest of a series in order to enjoy their current title (sometimes, of course, this might be a first novel, but they have a ton of short fiction.) Also, obviously, it gives me a taste of the new blood coming into science fiction/fantasy.

I really liked Tropic of Kansas. I'm going to go over to Goodreads in a bit and see if I'm alone in this. Thing is, I could see people feeling differently, if only because the book very much goes off the "if things continue this way" premise of Trump-inspired future. Brown does take some pains to make it clear this is actually an AU, (Reagan's assassination is successful, for one,) but the fascist dictator and his "first girlfriends" bare a certain resemblance in spirit to 45. Luckily, the story is about the underground attempt to overthrow fascism, which is always a story I can read, even in these, the waning days of Babylon. (Goodreads has very mixed reviews that do seem to depend somewhat on one's political leanings.)

I read a couple of fluff volumes of manga, too. I read Plum Crazy!: Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat (volumes 1 & 2) by Natsumi Hashing. I picked those up at the library, in the juvenile section (even though its Japanese publishing rating is  'josei' which is for more adult readers). This is a story about people who own cats, or maybe cats who own people.  Plum belongs to the household of a woman and her son who run a traditional dance studio in small town Japan.  Plum has adventures there and, along the way, discovers an abandoned kitten, who she rescues and who causes all sorts of trouble. It is, however, kind of about nothing at all... which is often the kind of slice-of-life manga I adore tremendously.  A good antidote to the dystopia of Tropic of Kansas.

What are you reading?

I'm off in a little bit to go fetch some ingredients for Mason's Chinese class. He and another student are making "longevity noodles with chicken" for the class's Chinese New Year celebration tomorrow.  I'm thinking about hitting United Noodle because I love that place. (I'm pretty sure I could get the noodles elsewhere, but hey, and excuse to go to United Noodle for the win!)

UPDATED DOUGHNUT STATUS: UNDELIVERED. But, Shawn was able, through an MHS-wide email, discover that my "helper" had dropped them off at the information desk with no note or explanation. Shawn is on her way to pick them up now. 

In related news, I now have minutes on my phone.
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)
..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:  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:

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: (yaoi)
I actually read a book. Like, you know, the kind without pictures. It was called Sonora by Hannah Lilith Assadi. I picked it up because Locus Magazine suggested it MIGHT be of genre interest and it was on the long-list for the PEN award. There was one genre moment and it COULD have gone the route of magical realism, but the novel pulled its punches on that aspect in favor of a more "literary" bent. For me, that made it less appealing. I can't, however, say that I HATED the book, because I didn't give up on it. I read the whole thing. I would not, however, recommend it to genre readers. I would say that there was a lot of "navel gazing," except the heroine, Ahlam, lives a wholly unexamined life. She just frames it very poetically.

So, that was a bit of a bust. I did start the PEN prize winner, Out in the Open by Jesus Carrasco, which I'm liking better, though I'm also still waiting for the possible genre element to start. I think maybe it's being set in a dystopian Mexico, but because everything is so rural where we are in the story at the moment, it's not entirely clear yet. It's also not super gripping, so I've set it down and haven't felt a burning need to pick it up right away again. So, we'll see if I can report it read by next week or not.

Otherwise, I did consume my usual amount of manga: You & Me, Etc. / Bokura ni Matsuwaru Et Cetera. by Kyuugo and a chapter of Renai Game by Chidori Peko, "Cinderella and the Shoemaker," both of which were yaoi, neither of which were terribly sexy. Alas. Kind of a "meh," week for reading.

Meanwhile, debate continues to rage on my Facebook feed about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I find it really kind of amazing, but people are still chiming in either positively or negatively about that movie.  I've continued to engage some folks, but, as I've said many times, if you have a good reason for disliking it, I'm not going to argue with you. I have one friend who wanted a particular character to go one way, and was disappointed when that didn't happen.  Fair.  But, it's people who want to insist that it was bad writing and just stupid... I mean, yes. You're not wrong. Star Wars has never been written on the same level as, I dunno, 2001: Space Odyssey.  This is the same franchise that has "I hate sand. Sand is coarse. It gets into everything. Not like you. You're soft." for dialogue from the young man who would grow up to be Darth freaking Vader.  I mean, of course, we should EXPECT better, but... I'm not sure how much more to expect is reasonable.  Star Wars was never meant to be great literature, IMHO.  But, if that's what you hated, that's fine, I guess. I'm not going to waste hours attempting to prove that the newest Star Wars is the pinnacle of writing prowess, especially since I don't believe that myself.  :-)

I just thought the movie was fun, and I'm surprised so many people seem to hate it with SUCH burning passion.

The movie broke box office expectations (and records?), so people are seeing it. I don't really know what kind of stock to put into box office numbers, because there are plenty of popular movies that 1) I have never seen ("Titanic," being the prime example of that. Still haven't seen it. Have no plans to.) and 2) that I personally think were kind of dumb (too many to list.) So, I don't think there's any particular vindication in the box office success of this film.  I do wonder if the hater population is just loud and vehement, rather than as wide-spread as I'm being led to believe by various fannish media outlets. 

Well, it might make a good topic for a panel discussion at some point, at any rate.  Goodness knows, I've had plenty of practice arguing my points about the movie.  And it's a welcome distraction from the THREAT OF THERMO-NUCLEAR WAR, for f*ck's sake.
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.

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