nightdog_barks: (Oak Leaves)
Bright sun and cool temperatures, all of which is supposed to change this weekend with steady rain and cold temperatures. Got out today and went to Sam's Club (we use a lot of olive oil so we buy the BIG plastic jugs), CVS (I'm taking Trulicity these days and was due for a refill), and Tom Thumb (local grocery store). At the last stop, saw my first-ever Trump bumper sticker, on the back window of a pickup truck. It was driven by a middle-aged white guy. In the privacy of my own car, I muttered some very bad words. >:-P

About to start reading Paul Murray's The Mark and the Void. Murray also wrote Skippy Dies, which I loved, so I'm hoping this is on the same level.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
You were a pretty good month, except that you gave us a lunatic pea-brained grifter for a President.

Watched a really dumb movie, Eddie the Eagle, and a really good documentary, Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro. The former was not redeemed by the presence of Hugh Jackman; the latter was amazingly good, the story of an American soldier who used his own small 35mm camera to document his WWII experience.

Still reading Farthest Field, which has gone from being "interesting" to "downright amazing." Seriously, this is such a good book about a subject I know very little about -- modern Indian history, specifically the role of India in the Second World War and the lives of individual Indians during that period. Two thumbs up so far.

Starting to see lighted Christmas decorations on our nightly walks, which is nice, especially as Layla is sometimes bemused by them and stops to stare. :D
nightdog_barks: (Newspapers)
Grouchy and growly all through the holiday. Generalized anxiety and free-floating testiness FTW!

I did read Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which just won the National Book Award, and I thought it was ... good. Not great. Did it deserve the National Book Award? I don't know; I haven't read the other nominees, although Paulette Jiles' News of the World is on my to-read list, and Lydia Millet's Sweet Lamb of Heaven (which was on the award long list) is in my to-read stack. (The complete list of awards is here.)

So anyway, now I am reading Raghu Karnad's Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War, and so far it is interesting.

I think I have stopped watching Westworld. The last episode I saw was "Trompe l'Oeil." After the supporting-character death in that episode, I thought about it a lot, and I finally came to the realization that, while I liked some of the show's characters (Dolores and Maeve, in particular), I really didn't care about any of them. Add to that the sheer unrelenting bleakness of the show, and, as technically beautiful as I think it is, I was like "Why keep watching?" So far I'm not missing it. Still watching Lucifer and Timeless, both of which are very silly.

Dream

Nov. 18th, 2016 06:02 pm
nightdog_barks: (White Nautilus)
I dreamed last night that I was handed a guitar and told to either re-string it and/or play it. The problem? The guitar strings were a jumbled mess, like this, and they were thick, like pipe cleaners. I just awkwardly held the guitar, and the dream segued into something equally absurd. It was only after I woke up that I realized guitars are only supposed to have six (or, okay, twelve) strings.

About to start Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

Birds

Nov. 17th, 2016 02:38 pm
nightdog_barks: Illustrated close-up of a bird's head grasping a red berry in its beak (Bird with Berry)
So here is a live bird-feeder cam from the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, which is near Brownsville, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. So far I've seen titmice, mourning doves, and green jays. The jays are really striking -- blue heads, a black "necklace," and long green bodies.

http://sabalpalmsanctuary.org/feedercam/

Tuesday

Nov. 15th, 2016 07:45 pm
nightdog_barks: Red poppies against an ivory background (Poppies on parchment)
Got out late today and went to Great Clips for a haircut, then to one of our local garden centers, where I bought some Johnny-jump-ups and some other pretty violas to put in pots in the backyard. Made me feel better, although my headache from hell still comes and goes.

So, IDEK

Nov. 13th, 2016 05:37 pm
nightdog_barks: (Oak Leaves)
Beautiful weather here today -- bright sun, cool temps. Squirrels are chasing each other around the backyard, but Layla is taking a nap so she doesn't see them. On our walk last night we saw a house with a very large, fully-lit Christmas tree in the front window. :-/

I have been reading The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters (by Laura Thompson) and am really enjoying it. Absolutely fascinating, but I would warn potential readers that the first sixty pages or so are ... a rumpled mess slog. A lot of information, really fast, with an assumption that the reader already knows about the Mitfords' parentage and ancestry. But keep going, and the book is very rewarding in terms of presenting a time and place and social history that is truly interesting. Last night I read the chapter in which Unity Mitford (one of the sisters) wrote her fan letter to JULIUS STREICHER. Oh my god. I was so angry for a while at this sad, stupid girl who's been dead for sixty-eight years. (There's more of the letter in the book than is quoted in Wikipedia and jfc it is just terrible.) I mean, I knew Unity had a thing for the Nazis, just as her sister Diana had a thing for British Fascists. I didn't realize it was that ... overt, I guess.

SO ANYWAY. Anyway. I made Crustless Cranberry Pie on Friday and it is so good (I know, it's not a very attractive name). I left out the walnuts and used an 8x8 square pan. Eh, that seems to be all for now.
nightdog_barks: (Field Angel)
Leonard Cohen passes away, aged 82

God DAMN it.

Edited to add: my favorite cover of my favorite Cohen song. :-(

nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
So I had a terrible headache last night, one of those combination sinus/cluster/stress/tension headaches that gets centered behind your left eye and won't let go. I suppose it wasn't surprising, given what I was seeing happen in real time and in real life.

Well. Anyway. There was a good piece by Charles Pierce, of Esquire magazine, up this morning, and in it was this passage from Hunter S. Thompson, written after the Nixon/McGovern election ...

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes ... understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose ... Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

Editing to add: The students at UT-Austin have come out, and are marching right now. :-)
nightdog_barks: (Blindfolded Queen)
NIGHTDOG: Oh my god, I had the most terrible nightmare! What an awful, awful dream!

// freeze frame //

MORGAN FREEMAN V/O: It wasn't a dream.

As One Does

Nov. 3rd, 2016 05:00 pm
nightdog_barks: (Teddy and Bird)
Voted today. No line, no waiting. Outside my polling place, there was the usual assemblage of political signs. There were two Clinton/Kaine signs, one Trump/Pence, and one Stein/Baraka. I offer this observation without comment, except to say that to see only one sign for the Republican Presidential candidate in my very red state precinct is ... unusual, to say the least.

I really don't know how any of this will turn out, but jfc am I ready for it to be over.
nightdog_barks: (Flower: Poppy)
NOT THAT IT FEELS LIKE NOVEMBER.

:-P

I still have not early-voted, but I will, probably Thursday.
nightdog_barks: (Jalapenos)
Had to turn the a/c on AGAIN because ffs it is almost 90 outside. >:-[

Finished the new biography of Shirley Jackson (by Ruth Franklin) and really enjoyed it. Was sad to realize that she died at such a young age (48) in 1965 -- she could've lived well into the 1970s and '80s and even the 1990s, and written so much more. Am now reading Entry Island by Peter May, which I am liking although I think the narrator/protagonist is a bit of a Gary Stu. :D

Also have been watching Westworld on HBO and Timeless on NBC. The former has exactly the kind of gritty, dark story that pulls me in; the latter is ... not that. *g* Timeless is a goofy series about three time travelers in pursuit of the bad guy, trying to keep him from changing the past. There are so many plot holes you could drive multiple trucks through them, but it is an endearingly silly show and the actors are giving it all they've got, so I keep tuning in.

That's it, but here's a poem by Philip Larkin ...  )
nightdog_barks: Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes, looking thoughtful (Mycroft Thoughtful)
From [personal profile] topaz_eyes a week or so ago. :D

Rules: list the first lines of your last 20 stories. See if there are any patterns.

1) "What are you doing?" House says, although it's pretty obvious what Wilson is doing with that silvery tri-fold contraption. (Heat Wave)

2) The man in the northwest corner bed has two names on his chart, each followed by a question mark. (The Heart Could Wish)

3) "Rev'rend," the voice whispers, low and urgent in House's ear. (Kingdom Come)

Read more... )
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
1) The other day when I walked outside to get the mail, five or six crows flew overhead. This reminded me that a couple of weeks ago when Layla and I were walking at night, a duck flew right over us, honking LOUDLY. Both events made me catch my breath -- there is a curious sense of almost awakening when something like this happens. This is why I love fall.

2) More people are putting up Halloween decorations, and last night Layla and I saw this in someone's front yard. The height measurement is wrong, by the way -- it's eleven FEET tall, not eleven inches. Layla was Not Happy. She was curious, and she didn't try to drag me away from it, but at the same time she didn't want to get too close. I couldn't blame her -- it was pretty damn spooky!

3) Squirrels have been throwing acorns on the deck. Sometimes they manage to hit the grill and there's a loud CLANNNNNGGGGG!. :D

Three things make a post.
nightdog_barks: (Oak Leaves)
What a difference a day makes! It rained for quite a while yesterday morning, and it didn't get out of the 60s (the 15s) all day. It was wonderful. Today the sun is out and it's pleasantly cool. Layla is ecstatic. :D

In other news, I am happy because my copy of the new biography of Shirley Jackson (by Ruth Franklin) was delivered this morning. Really looking forward to reading.
nightdog_barks: (Jackrabbit Sun)
I mean, I've had to close the windows and turn the a/c back on. It's in the 90s outside and it feels close to 100. This is ALL WRONG.

Sigh. Almost finished with Cloudstreet. Not sure what is up next.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a rabbit's head with long ears, facing left (Father Rabbit)
And already I like you because you showed me four baby bunnies last night. The bunny encounter ...  )

So that's the rabbit story! Omg I wanted to pick them up and cuddle them SO MUCH. I resisted by thinking "fleas ticks tularemia" but wow, the human cuddle instinct is strong. I read later that baby wild bunnies are prone to just keeling over ded from stress, so I'm glad I didn't touch any of them.

I am reading Tim Winton's Cloudstreet and liking it very much. It is a challenge sometimes, though, to decipher the Australian English. I already knew that chickens are chooks, but why the heck is a bundle of dry branches called props? And why is a bicycle a grid? And omg, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize a teachest is a TEA CHEST. Nevertheless. I am enjoying the story of the Lamb and Pickles families ("It's gunna sound like a counter lunch -- Lamb and Pickles.") :D
nightdog_barks: (Red Daisy)
1) It rained some earlier today and we are supposed to have more, but right now it is sunny and warm (and humid).

2) I was reading Black Deutschland and it was pretty good, but I have to admit it was also somewhat ... boring. So I thought, "Oh, I'll put this aside for a moment and read Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman, which I've been looking forward to!" So okay, I pick up Unnecessary Woman, which is about the life of a Lebanese woman in Beirut, and I'm reading it, and then I come to page 43. The narrator, Aaliya, is bartering sex for a gun, because her apartment has been broken into. Her partner is Ahmad, who used to work in her bookshop but has since moved up in the world (so to speak) to become a feared militia torturer. Cut because squick ...  )

SO. I get it, I know that I'm intended to read this as darkly absurd and ridiculous, a comedy of the human condition. But all I can think is, DUDE, WTF? Dear Reader, I have not been able to continue with this book, and I am not sure I will finish it. I'm probably overreacting, but to me, that is just such a weird choice as a writer to make. :-P

3) I am now reading John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which is at least some decent brain candy.

4) Is anyone going to watch the first Presidential debate on Monday night? The NY Times is predicting "Super Bowl type numbers" in viewership, and I think they're full of shit just don't see that.

5) On our walk last night we saw a tiny baby toad that was about the size of my thumbnail. :D

Five things make a post.

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December 2016

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What I'm Reading Now

Fiction
The Mark and the Void, by Paul Murray

Nonfiction
Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War, by Raghu Karnad

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