nightdog_barks: (Tomatoes)
Stopped by Lowe's as part of running errands today and bought two Better Bush Hybrid (determinate) tomato plants and two Tabasco pepper plants.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a rabbit's head with long ears, facing left (Father Rabbit)
There was a cottontail in our backyard last night. Layla, needless to say, was very excited and wanted to go chase it, but we wouldn't let her (we are very mean). The cottontail could tell it was being watched (by us and the dog), and so it just sat still for a while. Then it relaxed enough to look around, and then enough to forage around in the grass and dirt. Layla eventually got bored and decided to take a nap. :D

Finished a very good book -- Wake, by Anna Hope. The story follows three women -- Ada, Evelyn, and Hettie -- through one week in November, 1920. The Great War has only been over for two years, and its effects are still rippling through their lives. I really enjoyed this short novel and give it two thumbs up. Now reading Simon Sebag Montefiore's new history of the Romanov dynasty, and so far it is excellent.

The weather is still wildly unseasonable -- much too warm, and today we are waiting for rain.
nightdog_barks: (Gingko Leaves)
It started raining last night at around 10:30 or 11, and basically didn't stop until about 40 minutes ago. So that's a good soaking that we really needed.

Finished reading the Steven Jobs biography last night and thought it was terrific, although at times it was genuinely painful when Isaacson would talk about Jobs' acts of selfishness and all-around general assholery. I mean, the man screwed his friends and colleagues out of bonus money and stock options. He treated people like dirt. He parked his Mercedes in handicapped-parking spaces (sometimes he would angle it in so it blocked two spaces) (I am not making this up). AND YET. He was a creative genius. He changed the way we use computers, the way we make phone calls, the way we listen to music. (I'm using the general we here; I don't own any Apple products.) He was a genius, and yet he could be such a shit human being. (Aside: I have Isaacson's bio of Benjamin Franklin on my to-read shelf; I suppose I'll get to that sooner rather than later.)

Also last night was the 10th (and final?) episode of The Young Pope. I've watched all 10, and for me, they were 10 of the best hours of TV I've seen in a long time. I loved this series -- its moments of surreality, its dream-like atmosphere, the beautiful cinematography, the very human protagonists. Two of the episodes (Nine and Ten) reminded me of Magnolia and the way that movie treated the stories of secondary characters. Kudos to The Young Pope, and especially to Jude Law, Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Cécile de France, and, I suppose most of all, to Paolo Sorrentino, the writer/director/creator of this dazzling show. If it was available on a U.S.-compatible DVD set, I would buy it right now.

And I guess that's all I've got. :-)
nightdog_barks: Illustrated close-up of a bird's head grasping a red berry in its beak (Bird with Berry)
The completely ridiculous "winter" weather continues -- it is 81 degrees here right now (27.2 Celsius), and it feels as though it's 83 because the wind is out of the south. We have the back door and windows open, and I've put Layla's bed cover in the wash and the interior bedding outside to air out. If it continues like this (and it's supposed to through at least next week) I'll have to start looking for tomato plants. Which is nuts but whatever.

Finished Rivers of London and ordered the next book in the series, Moon Over Soho. In the meantime I am reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, which so far is a terrific story and very interesting. I have also picked up (but not yet started) The Letters of the Younger Pliny, because I was reading an excerpt somewhere where he wrote to a friend asking if he believed in ghosts and it was just fascinating. :D
nightdog_barks: Retro comic illustration of a woman wearing a futuristic space helmet by W.T. Benda (Rocket Woman)
And it's a warm start to February, although a cold front is actually in the process of moving through. The sun is out and it's been very dry for a while now.

FINALLY finished the first volume of the Hitler bio (second volume isn't out yet), and there was much rejoicing. Thanks to two old friends' strong recommendation, I am now reading Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and enjoying it thoroughly. :D
nightdog_barks: (Bridge Lion)
Okay, so I know we said there's an Epilogue coming for Solstice. This ... isn't it. But it is a prequel. :D

Title: Distaff Magic
Authors: [personal profile] blackmare and [personal profile] nightdog_barks.
Characters: Wilson, House, an OFC
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: No
Spoilers: None
Summary: The relic's as old as the Pyramids: Instructions not included. It and its long-lost ritual may be better left in the past. But pain, even someone else's, can push a man to take his chances.
Author Notes: This is set in the Diviners 'Verse, the same ficverse as Take the Long Way Home and Solstice, in which House is a Doctor of Divination and things are just a little bit different. This story falls between those two -- it is a sequel to Long Way Home and a prequel to Solstice. Cut text is from the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), King James Version.
Intrepid Readers: [personal profile] pwcorgigirl

Out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke ...  )
nightdog_barks: (Baby Barnum)
'Saddleworth Man' identified! This is a story I've been following, and I'm glad to see it has at least some resolution -- although it's still a mystery as to why he was there.

Bing Bang

Jan. 24th, 2017 04:59 pm
nightdog_barks: An open mouth in the lower left-hand corner, with a cartoon balloon saying "words words words" floating above it (Words Words Words)
1) Email notifications of LJ comments are very hit and miss right now, mostly miss. >:-P

2) I am happy because (a) we got an ad for a new Indian grocery that's not too far away!, and (b) it is warm today. Warm like spring warm. Wish the sun was out too, but oh well.

3) Received a wedding invitation for April.

4) Watched the fourth episode of The Young Pope last night. Still interested.

5) Today, in the "I'll Take Historical Assholes for $300, Alex" category ...

Among Hitler's skills was his ability to mimic people's gestures and speech. He enjoyed entertaining his entourage by imitating Max Amann, who had lost his left arm and who spoke quickly and repetitively in Bavarian dialect. 'You could just picture Amann shrugging his armless shoulder and frantically waving his right hand,' Christa Schroeder reported.

~ from Hitler: Ascent, 1889 - 1939, Volker Ullrich, page 388

Monday

Jan. 23rd, 2017 03:31 pm
nightdog_barks: (Red Horse)
Omg so tired; have not been sleeping well for weeks. A bit over halfway through Volker Ullrich's Hitler. It's a fascinating read, but I'm having undeniably happy thoughts about picking up something more ... light next. :-P
nightdog_barks: (Hawk Eye)
I have seen a lot of great photos from the marches today. This may be my favorite, from London. Credit to Ami McKay on Twitter for this shot. :D

 photo Women_zpswqt2lzpd.jpg
nightdog_barks: (Skeleton)
 photo 32ca0cb7-f0f3-4fd4-8af7-e8dff55612d4_zpshurvebj3.jpg

Detail, George Frederic Watts' Mammon, 1884-85. Credit Rabih Alameddine, who tweeted this and many other images today.

Blah Blah

Jan. 18th, 2017 02:06 pm
nightdog_barks: Retro comic illustration of a woman wearing a futuristic space helmet by W.T. Benda (Rocket Woman)
Ugh, was consumed yesterday by a sense of creeping anxiety and dread. Usually I can keep the political crazy at bay, but sometimes it comes slithering back. It probably doesn't help that I'm currently reading Volker Ullrich's new biography of Hitler, or that I watched half of Alfonso Cuarón's very dark vision Children of Men the other night. :-P

On the other hand, I've watched the first two episodes of The Young Pope, and I'm still enjoying Lucifer and Timeless.

Poem

Jan. 13th, 2017 05:58 pm
nightdog_barks: (Fish in a Blue Sea)
This was Rabih Alameddine's poem of the day today.

Gathering at the River


Is it
crossing over Jordan
to a city of light, archangels
ceaselessly trumpeting over
the heavenly choirs: perpetual Vivaldi,
jasper and endless topaz and amethyst,
the Sistine ceiling seven days a week,
the everlasting smirk
of perfection?

Is it
the river Styx,
darkness made visible, fire
that never stops: endless murder
too merciless to kill,
massacres on an endless loop,
the same old victims always
coming back for more?

Or is it the silky muck
of Wabash and Maumee, the skirr
and skim of blackbirds,
fields of Queen Anne’s lace
and bumblebees? Well,
go out once more, and feel
the crumble of dry loam,
fingers and soil slowly becoming
the same truth: there in the hand
is our kinship with oak, our bloodline
to cattle. Imagine,
not eons of boredom or pain,
but honest earth-to-earth;
and when our bodies rise again,
they will be wildflowers, then rabbits,
then wolves, singing a perfect love
to the beautiful, meaningless moon.


~ Philip Appleman
Source
nightdog_barks: (Burning Book)
I forgot to do this earlier!

From Taiga and Topaz Eyes -- Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 117, and the second sentence is what your life will be in 2017.

Well, I actually have three books, all of them equally near. Let's see what they say ...

Read more... )
nightdog_barks: (Oak Leaves)
The windows are open because it is 76 degrees here (24.4 Celsius). Just this afternoon I've seen chickadees, house finches, and bluebirds in our backyard. The bluebirds are especially pretty. I actually thought I might see Early Girl tomato plants for sale at Sprouts yesterday.

Finished reading Michael Chabon's Moonglow, and yes, I liked it a lot. But (is there always a but?) Chabon's narrative device kept me from being fully immersed in the story. What we have is something along the lines of Big Fish, where a father tells the story of his life to his son, except in Moonglow it's a grandfather telling the stories. And ... that, for all intents and purposes, is the character's name. He's my grandfather, and the other characters are my grandmother and my mother. Some of the secondary characters have names, but the main triad is nameless for 99% of the book (I think we learn the grandmother's name very late, but to me it wasn't clear if that was her or not). Anyway, this kept tripping me up. I mean, I guess I shouldn't have had a problem, but I did. Also there were a couple of points in the narration that seemed to be either bad editing or plot holes or Chabon indicating an unreliable narrator -- one of them was explained near the end, the other wasn't (a character who had two eyes, about 10 pages later, only had one). ANYWAY. It's a good read (some of the writing is just exquisite), but I think I liked Kavalier & Clay better.

Now I am reading Iron Towns, by Anthony Cartwright, and it is short and pretty good.

And because I am a Tom Hardy fan, I watched Taboo last night on FX. I like dark, gritty, and silly, so I thought it was great. :D

Sunshine

Jan. 4th, 2017 04:02 pm
nightdog_barks: A reclining winged cow reads a book (Reading critter)
Well, the fourth day of the new year is bright, but it was cloudy and grey earlier. It's still damp and chilly out, though. Supposedly we have a chance of snow flurries Friday morning. :D

Reading Michael Chabon's Moonglow, and so far it is very good but wow, the narration jumps around (in time).

Have resolved to try and finish some more Housefic WIPs. :-)
nightdog_barks: (Reading Girl)
Books read in 2012
Books read in 2013
Books read in 2014
Books read in 2015
Books read in 2016


2017

The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, David Jaher
Moonglow, Michael Chabon
Iron Towns, Anthony Cartwright
Hitler: Ascent, 1889 - 1939, Volker Ullrich
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
Wake, Anna Hope
nightdog_barks: (House Reading)
Watched tonight. Cut for possibly major spoiler ...  )

Hello 2017

Jan. 1st, 2017 02:57 pm
nightdog_barks: Painting of a white crow or raven with a pomegranate seed in its beak (White Raven)
Well, the first day of 2017 here is GORGEOUS. 63 warm degrees (17.2 Celsius, and really, it feels much warmer than that) and sunny. Both new calendars are up (Sierra Club in the bedroom, Audubon Society in the kitchen), and there's laundry in the wash. Layla was Not Pleased about the neighborhood fireworks last night (especially when someone set off what sounded like an M-80 close by), but she's happy and fine today.

Also today, I went out on the deck and discovered that SOMEONE had stolen three ripe lemons from our little Meyer lemon tree. There were seven there yesterday; I have picked the remaining four to keep them out of GRASPING PAWS. (I am blaming the opossum who apparently lives nearby.) Oddly enough, the three ripe Satsuma oranges on the other tree were untouched. :D
nightdog_barks: (Gorey's Penguin Book)
So I fell down a Wikipedia hole this afternoon, looking at a list of former hotels in Manhattan. Because really, you never know when someone will need a place a stay in an historical fic or AU! After all, if the New York Times hadn't decided to move their offices in 1902, the Pabst Hotel might still be around to host some hijinks. :D

BUT ANYWAY. I was reading about the Hotel McAlpin, which had a restaurant called the Marine Grill, decorated with murals by the American artist Frederick Dana Marsh. TL;DR, in the process of renovation, the hotel was gutted in 1989 and the murals ended up at the Fulton Street subway station, where they can be seen today at the Broadway/Nassau entry/exit.

// end of rambling story //

I read 43 books this year (if I finish David Jaher's The Witch of Lime Street tonight, it will be 44).

Well, I hope 2017 is better than 2016. Hope.

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February 2017

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What I'm Reading Now

Fiction
Wake, by Anna Hope

Nonfiction
The Romanovs: 1613 - 1918, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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