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 [livejournal.com 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

Music

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: (Newspapers)
Okay, I admit I'm cheating a little here, but since this was posted six years ago, I don't think everyone has seen them. All the links go to Livejournal.

FOLKS ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO PLAY WITH ANY OR ALL OF THESE POSTS.

I'll post some "new" abandoned WIPs, probably next week. :D

Read more... )
nightdog_barks: (Looking West)
It rained yesterday, which was refreshing and cooled things down. Today, alas, we are back to sunshine and temps in the 90s (above 32 Celsius) and ridiculous humidity. :-P

I have been reading Richard Zacks' new book on Mark Twain -- Chasing the Last Laugh, about Clemens' 1895 world tour which he undertook to stave off bankruptcy (bad investment and business decisions will bite you). It's good, but I think not quite as good as Zacks' earlier book Island of Vice, which was about Teddy Roosevelt's tenure as New York City's Chief of Police. That was a terrific read; with this book, Zacks seems compelled to include every single bit of research he's done, and consequently the narrative staggers at times under the weight of all the financial details.

Something that I learned that was totally new to me -- I didn't know that before 1901 Australia was a bunch of separate states, with actual toll booths and customs duties at the borders. SORRY AUSSIES FOR TELLING YOU SOMETHING YOU ALREADY KNOW, but it was a surprise to me. :D

Here's something nice, though:

Reporter Herbert Low took Twain to one of Sydney's most beautiful vantage points for seeing the harbor, "Mrs. Macquarie's Chair." On a tentacle of land, they sat in an exposed sandstone outcropping, carved long ago into an oversized bench to suit a governor's wife, and they gazed in the direction of what would one day be the Sydney Opera House.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
Another lifetime ago, I used to work in downtown Dallas, on one of the top floors of a very tall bank building. When the wind blew hard, you could feel the building sway.

Death at Dallas protest rally

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
nightdog_barks: Illuminated manuscript head and forequarters of a small blue dragon (Blue dragon)
I haven't heard them, but apparently Layla has, because she is hiding in the bedroom again. But I haven't seen Mister Rat again, either. Maybe it's because we have no more tomatoes.

Also! The lovely folks at House MD What-If spoke to me for their Author Interview series! You can find me here -- come over and have a look around, and please feel free to ask more questions. :D
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
So now we know who's been chowing down on our tomatoes on the vine. Mister Nightdog and I were having brisket tonight and watching The Right Stuff on one of the movie channels when we realized there was a rat in the tomato pot closest to the window. And as we watched the rat instead of the movie, he industriously severed a stem from the plant and carried it off.

"There was a tomato on that," Mister Nightdog said.

"Well, let him have it," I said.

I don't know if it was a Norway rat or a roof rat, but it was a good size and very furry. Bold little bastard.

Speaking of the film, parts of it are still very good, but I don't think the beginning has held up very well. Basically it is Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager saying "I AM A MAN DOING MANLY THINGS," with Barbara Hershey as his wife-to-be on a horse doing a "I AM RUNNING AWAY FROM YOU ON A HORSE PLZ CHASE ME." So, yeah.

ALSO. I am reading Samantha Hunt's novel Mr. Splitfoot, and wow, so far it is very good.

Sail Away

Jun. 22nd, 2016 10:19 pm
nightdog_barks: The character Geordie Keating from Grantchester walking away (Geordie Walking Away)
So I loved almost all of the Person of Interest series finale last night. I was a little spoiled for what was coming -- there was what was being billed as the "close-captioned transcript" of the final episode floating around (it was linked in an IMDB thread) -- but knowing didn't detract from my pleasure at most of the show.

Cutting for anyone who hasn't seen it yet ...  )

SO ANYWAY. That's all I could think of right now. I'm sure there's other stuff, but I'm tired. :-)

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September 2016

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What I'm Reading Now

Fiction
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi

Black Deutschland, by Darryl Pinckney

Nonfiction
The History of White People, by Nell Irvin Painter

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