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.
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
Ugh, I hate this time of year, and it's always like this. It's the middle of September -- it's supposed to be getting cooler, but instead it gets HOTTER. At least it's only one more week? Seriously, fuck this weather.

Ahem. Well, even if it's not cool outside, Mister Nightdog is cooking a brisket and the house smells wonderful. I finished reading Uprooted and really liked it, although I'll admit I think it could've lost about 20 pages and had a better, tighter ending because honestly, the ending seemed to go on FOREVER. After that I read Kelly Link's early collection Stranger Things Happen. I liked all of it except one story -- it was called "Louise's Ghost" and both the main characters were named Louise. No thank you.

Now I am reading Darryl Pinckney's Black Deutschland, which is about a gay black (American) guy living in West Berlin in the 1980s, before the Wall came down. It's pretty good.

Oh, and also I think Layla and I heard a coyote last night. We heard a high-pitched yip-yip-yip, but it didn't sound like a little dog yip, it sounded like a big dog doing a yippy sing-song. Whatever it was, Layla did not like it. :D
nightdog_barks: In the morning mist, a huge oak tree rises in a field (Field Oak)
The weather is slowly changing -- a front came through early this morning and it RAINED. These last two weeks Layla and I have seen a skunk and a couple of opossums while walking.

Finished reading Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts a few days ago, and HOLY SHIT. Chiclets, this book was fucking TERRIFYING. I finished it late at night, and I was sorry I didn't wait until daytime. The story is about a 14-year-old girl who may or may not be possessed by a demon (or she may be schizophrenic, or she may be completely faking it). The father in the story is desperate for help (and money) so he gets his family involved with a priest AND a reality-TV show for the Discovery Channel. And it's all narrated by the 14-year-old's little sister, who may know a whole lot more than she's letting on. I thought it was dark and brilliant and amazing and horrifying, and did I mention dark? Oh my god it gets REALLY DARK at the end, and it for real left me shaken and questioning what was real in the book. I thought Tremblay played all his cards perfectly, and I am not going to forget this one for a long, LONG time. Wow. Two thumbs way, way up, but believe me when I say this book is not for everyone.

OKAY, SO. Now I am reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik and I am enjoying it thoroughly! Have any of you guys read her Temeraire series? Is it worth reading? I mean, Uprooted is great so I'm assuming her other books are too ...
nightdog_barks: Red poppies against an ivory background (Poppies on parchment)
Well, I finished Brooklyn last night, and ... meh. I guess it's telling when the highest-ranked review on Goodreads only gives it two stars. Sorry, Colm Tóibín, but this one is going directly into my "donate" box. Will probably read Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts next.

Made a fresh batch of granola. That was about it for the day. :-)
nightdog_barks: (Flower: Poppy)
I'm not sorry to see you go. :-P

Reading Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn because I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. It's been a while since I've read one of these "slice of life" novels, and I'd forgotten how ... quiet they can be. Maybe too quiet? We shall see.

Watched most of The Danish Girl last night and was once again swept away by Alicia Vikander's stunning beauty. Was also amused to see Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts in it, all cleaned up and looking very fine, as I totally associate him with the psycho wannabe thief and all-around lowlife Eric Deeds in The Drop, where he assumes a completely acceptable American accent (as do Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace). :D

Also, in somewhat local news -- it's one of the oldest tricks in the book.

And last but definitely not least, a bonus pic of Layla ...  )
nightdog_barks: Drawing of a coyote (Coyote)
1) I take Layla for her nightly walk pretty late, and by late I mean around midnight. This time of year, it's cooler. So anyway, last night we're on our walk, and as usual the neighborhood is dark and quiet. However, on a side street (we go down it every night to make a loop) I notice there's a big box by the curb. In the street, up against the curb. So we go over to take a look, and at first I think it's a really big stereo speaker, but then I see that it's a piece of furniture. It's a wooden chest of drawers. (When I was a little kid I called them "chester drawers," heh.) Anyway, it's about five feet tall, and it's a ... chest of drawers.

With clothes in it.

I carry a little flashlight at night, and in every drawer, I could see clothing. (I didn't open any of the drawers.)

So there's a chest of drawers, in the street, with clothes in it.

IDK, chiclets. I just don't know.

2) There are hummingbirds coming to the new feeder! I am pleasantly astonished and delighted every time I see one. THEY ARE SO TINY. :D

3) Everyone pretend there is a #3 here.
nightdog_barks: (House Reading)
So there is a fic Career Day Challenge over at [ profile] house_wilson, and it reminded me of a fic from back in the day -- a story where either House or Wilson (or both?) was a tailor. Does anyone else remember this? Or am I imagining things? All I have is a super-vague recollection of one of them ... being a tailor. In a tailor's shop.

EDITING TO ADD that perhaps the tailor shop was a cover? And everyone was really part of a spy organization? Which, I know, sounds kind of like Kingsman, but this was years and years ago, way before the movie.

OTHERWISE. Warm and sunny here after some much-needed rain. I have seen a couple of hummingbirds in the past week, so today I hung a hummingbird feeder in the backyard. Also on our nightly walks I have FINALLY started seeing wildlife again -- so far just armadillos and cottontails.

I am reading Christopher Buehlman's Those Across the River, which is about weird happenings and family secrets in the Depression-era American South. It is obvious the narrator is one of those people who Can Not Leave Well Enough Alone. :D
nightdog_barks: The character Geordie Keating from Grantchester walking away (Geordie Walking Away)
August I am so tired of you plz to go away now kthxbai.
nightdog_barks: Red Mobil Pegasus flying over an open book (Pegasus and book)
Well, it's properly hot and I have no energy for anything.

Finished Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent, and oh my god I loved it. Easily one of the best books I've read this year -- perfect atmosphere, wonderfully-drawn, HUMAN characters, a fascinating storyline -- two strong thumbs up! And the physical book itself is absolutely worth it -- a gorgeous paper jacket, beautiful binding, sturdy pages. The only drawbacks are that it's not available in the U.S. and there's no Kindle edition. On the other hand, my experience ordering through Amazon Marketplace (my copy is from Eagle Books Ltd. and I was not charged any import or customs duties) was super-smooth, so if anyone decides to buy this book, there should be no worries on that end.

Watched a couple of movies -- Testament of Youth and Cloverfield. Liked the former, although I thought it didn't match the heartbreak of the book; really enjoyed the latter, and I thought the ending was pretty realistic as to what would actually happen to people caught up in such a huge catastrophe. I also watched some of Sicario, but not enough to say anything about it.

I wish it would rain.
nightdog_barks: Illuminated manuscript white daisy on a gold leaf background (Flower white daisy)
So far you are a lot like July. :-P

Finished LaRose and it was indeed very good. Two thumbs up! Started Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent, which I bought through Amazon Marketplace because it's ... not actually available in the U.S. yet. The book took about two weeks to get here in a package that has a couple of little Royal Mail stickers. I started it last night and have read almost 60 pages, and oh my god you guys it is WONDERFUL. :D
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
1) Stuck in one of those periodic cycles of ferocious hot flashes. :-(

2) But! In much better news, we saw a screech owl two nights ago! I could hear it calling, very softly, and I could tell it was close, so I said "Layla, wait just a minute," and started shining my little flashlight into the trees And there he was! Wee little guy, about the length of my hand (5 1/2 to 6 inches tall). He (she?) was reddish-grey and had a streaky chest. It owl-bobbed its head at us a couple of times and flew away on silent owl wings. :D

3) Almost finished with LaRose, by Louise Erdrich. If the ending holds up, it will be one of the best novels I've read this year -- the others are Samantha Hunt's Mr. Splitfoot and Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins. It hasn't been a particularly good year for novels for me, so far (I've read a dozen and thought three were memorable).

4) People who use "lead" when they mean "led" should be banished from Twitter. This is like when paid became payed for a while, and it makes me grit my teeth.

5) This is some prime-gauge nightmare fuel. The permafrost is melting, so long-frozen anthrax spores wake up. Thirteen people hospitalized, 1,500 dead reindeer. The dystopian fics write themselves.

Five things, as I've heard, make a post.

Oh, July

Jul. 24th, 2016 03:34 pm
nightdog_barks: Graphic of a bluegill fish (Fish bluegill)
Ugh, so tired and blah. Have not been sleeping well, and the weather ... well, it's July. Feh.

1) Reading Louise Erdrich's LaRose. I am an Erdrich fan, and so far this one is very good.

2) Watched the 20/20 episode about the Texas A&M University bonfire collapse last night and enjoyed it, although the show presented an incredibly squeaky-clean version of the events and didn't bother to do even a few minutes of a post-mortem as to WHY the disaster happened. (There's a very good write-up of the underlying causes here, in a Texas Monthly article by Paul Burka.)

BUT. What I wanted to say was that there was a fascinating moment with the woman who was with Public Relations at A&M at the time, who described seeing the dead students being covered with white shrouds, and how for years afterward, she would dream of cocoons in a dark forest. It was deeply affecting and undeniably creepy, and it was so, so striking.

3) No more tomatoes. Peppers are holding on. Lemon oregano that I'd had for a few years is a complete loss. Mint and basil are thriving. Have seen nothing on our nightly walks except cockroaches and tiny baby geckos. Oh, and toads sometimes. Layla tries to catch the cucarachas and geckos. :D


Jul. 24th, 2016 12:11 am
nightdog_barks: Painting study of a sparrow in flight against an off-white background (Sparrow Flight)
Just because I never noticed before how the piano notes at the very end sound like a birdsong.

nightdog_barks: A tiny cartoon dog barks NOW in all directions (Now Dog)
Well, the WiFi feature of my camera seems to be mysteriously WORKING again, so here's a shot of Layla looking Very Serious from this afternoon. :D

 photo fe7f6b86-1d38-4b30-8de4-97df3cd3a610_zpsyboe3woo.jpg


nightdog_barks: (Default)nightdog_barks

October 2016

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What I'm Reading Now

Black Deutschland, by Darryl Pinckney

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin

The History of White People, by Nell Irvin Painter


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