nightdog_barks: (Sun)
Ugh, so tired and cranky. Have not been sleeping well at all and every day now it is hot and still outside. :-P

Reading Jack Cheng's See You in the Cosmos. It's a YA/middle school/middle grade book, a class I read very occasionally (I loved Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, but hated Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity.)

Watching Grantchester and The Great British Baking Show on PBS, and Forged in Fire on the Hitler History Channel. Also watched The Accountant on one of the movie channels -- thought it was very silly but fairly fun.

President Potatohead is still an utter moron.
nightdog_barks: Illustrated close-up of a bird's head grasping a red berry in its beak (Bird with Berry)
1) It is heating up for summer, and I am tired and blah and ugh. :-P

2) I made a donation to the Public Theater, the organization behind the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar that has Delta Airlines' and Bank of America's knickers in a twist.

3) The less said about that insane Potatohead praise circle this morning, the better. Jesus H. Christ, how has the earth not opened up and swallowed all these spineless sycophants?

4) Has anyone here seen the Australian movie The Babadook? I missed the first 20 or so minutes, but the rest of it was amazing and holy shit, so DARK and creepy as hell.

5) Currently reading Jenni Fagan's The Sunlight Pilgrims. Aside from what I thought was a bit of unrealistic dialogue in one chapter, I am liking it a lot.

6) Blackmare and I should have a Housefic up pretty soon. :-)

7) Pretend there's a number 7 here to make an oddpost. :D
nightdog_barks: (Glass Full of Rain)
We FINALLY got some decent rain early this morning, along with lots of thunder and lightning. Now it is partly sunny and not too bad.

Stayed up way too late last night when I noticed TCM was showing Eraserhead and I watched the first 30 or so minutes of it. Have any of you guys ever seen it? It's certainly ... um. I mean, I did think some of it was actually funny, like at the beginning when Henry (Jack Nance) is in his apartment and there's dead ... plants/ivy/vegetable matter all over the place, and he looks straight into the camera like, "You see what I have to live with." I stayed with it until the first scene with Mutant Baby and then I went to bed (it was about 1:30 in the morning).

Does anyone recognize either/both of these two Housefics? The second one (hiding in rafters watching funeral) sounds vaguely familiar to me but I can't place it ...

EDITED TO ADD ... One fic found, one fic ... well, maybe. Are you out there, [personal profile] verbal_kint? See comments on this post for details, thanks to [personal profile] menolly_au. :D

Have been reading Jay McInerney's Brightness Falls. It is set in 1987, which seems like a lifetime ago and another world. McInerney doesn't appear to believe in consistent question marks, though, because there are many many sentences like this -- "Who is this person," Russell asked Donna. But there are other sentences where people are asking questions, AND THERE ARE QUESTION MARKS. I don't know. It's just an annoying tic in an otherwise good book.

Points

Mar. 5th, 2017 06:56 pm
nightdog_barks: 1920s style illustration of a woman reading (Reading modern woman)
1) A very grey and dreary day here with occasional rainy sprinkles. A pair of wrens have built a tiny "cave" inside a thatch of dead lemongrass (in a large pot on a wrought-iron table on the deck) and lined it with dead leaves. I can't tell if they're using it, though -- every now and then I take a peek inside but they're never there and I haven't seen them going in & out lately. From what I've read, wrens build more than one nest and then choose one, so maybe they didn't choose this one. I'll give them some more time.

2) Speaking of birds, here is a gorgeous example of a murmuration of starlings from today (in the UK, on Twitter).

3) Finished Montefiore's Romanov biography and immediately ordered his history of Jerusalem. Two thumbs way up for the Romanov book, strongly recommend, but good god in the end it is so sad. Three hundred years of history coming to a squalid, brutal little end in a dark little cellar -- murder by a group that included at least one drunk and a psychopath, and the whole gang of them couldn't even shoot straight.

4) Watched two silly movies last night -- The Nice Guys, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Did not care that much about either film, but I did laugh out loud for real at the elevator scene in The Nice Guys.

5) Here is a really interesting article from Smithsonian magazine about what happened to the Greenland Vikings. I don't actively look for stories about the Vikings and/or Greenland, but when I see them I read them, because many years ago I saw an article like this, and I immediately thought of an AU historical fic in which House was a Viking put out to pasture, as it were, running a small shore station with a few comrades. I still think about it every now and then. I wrote quite a bit; maybe I should release it as a Fly Free Little WIP. :-)

Five things make a post. :D
nightdog_barks: (Dame Judi)
Ye gods, I am in a cranky mood today. Let's just go to the numbers.

1) Finally copied Solstice to AO3. One thing accomplished, anyway.

2) Watched Barton Fink last night, and holy shit, it is still as terrifying as the first time I saw it. Fantastic cast, nightmare of a story.

3) I have seen more than one report (unconfirmed from any official source) that LiveJournal has moved its servers from California to Russia.

4) I first saw Carrie Fisher (although I didn't know I did) in 1975, in Shampoo. It was the first "grown-up movie" I'd ever seen -- I was 17, and my BFF at the time and I told our parents we were going to see The Hindenburg and bought tickets for Shampoo instead. It was ... eye-opening, to say the least. :D

The next time I saw her, it was two years later. It was just Star Wars then, not Episode or Subtitle Anything. And it was amazing. After that I knew who she was.

I didn't realize until a few days ago that she was just two years older than me.

5) Richard Adams passed away on Christmas Eve. This year will never end.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a red parrot's face in profile (Red Parrot)
So, so warm here, with temps in the 70s (Celsius, above 21).

Watched almost all of 8 1/2 the other night on Turner Classic Movies and really liked it. Good lord, but Marcello Mastroianni was HOT. And the whole dream sequence where Anouk Aimee wore a scarf on her head and looked like she'd stepped out of a Vermeer painting. Omg.

Not much else right now. I need to copy Solstice to AO3 but I haven't done it yet. And in an unrelated observation, I swear that Eli Lilly leaves a random number of the needles on their Trulicity injection pens totally blunt. I'm just saying -- OUCH. >:-P
nightdog_barks: (Hunting Stag)
It has been cold here, chiclets. Really cold. I didn't take Layla for her nightly walks two nights in a row because the wind chill the first night was 4 and the second night it was 10. We'll go tonight, though.

Watched a movie called Midnight Special and really liked it. I have been a fan of actor Michael Shannon since I saw him in Take Shelter, and he doesn't disappoint here.

Cut for possible spoilers ...  )

So anyway. I know people are sick of politics (at least, I know I am), so I'm going to put the next thing under a cut too. It's something I did on the night of December 1st, which was the day I saw that Trump bumper sticker. Every word I'm about to write is true. I'm calling it -- Picking Up the Chalk, or, How I Became a Neighborhood Subversive for One Night ...  )

So. That turned out long.

In other news, here is an awesome short (very short) story for the season from one of the writers I follow on Twitter -- In the Late December, by Greg van Eekhout. I liked it a lot.

Also, it looks like Blackmare and I will have a Christmas Eve Housefic for everyone. A two-parter, with an epilogue to follow. Merry merry. :-)
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: (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: 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: 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.
nightdog_barks: Actor Tom Mix dressed as a cowboy (Movie Poster -- Tom Mix)
SO. I dreamed last night that I was sort of a groupie in the entourage of some famous woman science fiction writer (I have no idea who it was), and we ended up at the University of Wisconsin, which in my dream was like a huge open-air tent city out in the middle of nowhere. Even the public toilets were outdoors, WITH NO WALLS, and I was attempting to use the toilet without attracting too much attention. And nobody was really paying attention, but I was still nervous. BRAIN WHAT.

I don't even know. The weather here is beautiful, and we have Early Girl tomatoes, little green Romas and Patios, lovely long banana peppers and poblanos and Santa Fe Grandes. I am still reading Nell Painter's History of White People and it is pretty interesting.

I keep forgetting to say that I watched Laurie Anderson's Heart of a Dog on HBO the other night. I really liked it, but then I'm a Laurie Anderson fan. :D

Also I finally went ahead and ordered my own DVD copy of The Drop, since I keep watching it every time it turns up on a movie channel. It's become one of my favorite films -- I think it truly is a little gem.

Hello April

Apr. 2nd, 2016 04:11 pm
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
And so far April is beautiful. Cloudless blue skies, just cool enough to be enormously pleasant.

Reading Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon, and I am surprised that no one's made a movie of it yet. Dread ghosts and creepy monsters in Los Angeles, spiced up with some kinky sex? It's made for Hollywood! :D

Watched Ant-Man last night and really enjoyed it. Which I was not expecting -- I'd expected to not care for it. I mean, it's a superhero who's superpower is ... shrinking and commanding ants? But the special effects were amazing, and it was so funny in spots that I laughed out loud for real. Michael Peña is hilarious and steals just about every scene he's in. Two thumbs up, would watch again.

There's going to be a Russian version of House. I think Aleksei Serebryakov looks like he will make an interesting House, but I'm actually more curious to see a Russian Wilson. :-)
nightdog_barks: (Glass Full of Rain)
Calm and mostly sunny right now, but we had an exciting morning with thunder, lightning, rain blowing sideways, and some light hail. And it's supposed to do it all over again after midnight tonight.

Watched a tremendously silly movie last night -- Lucy -- that for all its silliness was actually (I thought) much better than the 6.4 score IMDB gives it. It's a Luc Besson film, and while it's not nearly as good as his The Fifth Element, it was good enough and fast-paced enough to draw me in. I especially liked the Egyptian actor Amr Waked as a French cop named Pierre Del Rio (what), and Min-Sik Choi as the Big Bad, Mr. Jang. Two thumbs up, would definitely watch again, even with its goofy storyline.

The Housefic that Blackmare and I are working on is up to three chapters. :-)

ETA that I almost forgot! Here's a very strange fish, caught off the deep waters of Newfoundland! No, seriously, look at this weird fish. :D
nightdog_barks: (Green Tree)
1) It is warm. Trees are leafing out and/or blooming, including the useless Bradford pears. We had a light freeze the other night, but I put towels over the tomatoes and peppers and they were fine. There's a ton of pollen in the air and everyone is sneezing (including the dog).

2) Has anyone seen this little New Zealand film called What We Do in the Shadows? It is a mockumentary about a group of flatmates in Wellington who just happen to be vampires. It was played totally straight and was funny and ridiculous and unexpectedly charming and heartwarming at the end. We were channel-surfing after watching San Andreas, which is an absolutely terrible movie (but it's got Dwayne Johnson and California falling into the sea so your argument is invalid) when we ran across it. :D

3) Early voting in our state primary ended Friday. I stood in line for forty minutes to cast my ballot. That's the longest I've ever waited to early-vote. Tuesday is going to be interesting.
nightdog_barks: (Flower: Poppy)
1) Took Layla to the vet today for her annual vaccinations. She enjoyed the car ride but was not so thrilled when she was actually at the vet's. But it was done, she tolerated being prodded and poked, and she's fine. She weighs 60.5 pounds, which is pretty close to what I had guessed and is right in line with a female Black Lab. :D

2) Yesterday went to Calloway's because they had garden veggies on sale for $1.98. Bought two poblano pepper plants and two sweet banana peppers. The two cayenne pepper plants from last year have survived the cold weather and are putting out new green leaf growth. Also some of the trees in our neighborhood are budding out. Winter? What winter?

3) What else? Almost done with We Are Here, and unless the ending is drastically bad, I think it is a really worthwhile read. Ordered another memoir from Amazon, My Father, the Pornographer, by Chris Offutt (it got a GREAT review in the NY Times). Also ordered an older novel, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, by R.A. Dick (pen name for Josephine Leslie). I watched the movie on TCM the other night -- I first saw it when I was probably about fourteen, and thought it was the most romantic thing I'd ever seen (a widow falling in love with the ghost of a sea captain!) -- and ... you know what, chiclets? It's held up really well. So anyway, I thought I would read the book. And yes, I watched the TV series when I was a kid, too. :D

On the other hand, I also re-watched the 1976 version of A Star is Born, the one with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and ... no. Just, no. This is a movie that has not aged well. Except for one song -- Evergreen. Or maybe you had to have been there. :-)
nightdog_barks: (Open Book)
Ugh, it was cold and WINDY all day today. I hate wind, especially COLD wind, so bah, humbug. :-P

I did finally finish Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, and would highly recommend it as a clear, vividly readable history. I'm looking forward to volume 2 (this is supposed to be a trilogy). Started Elizabeth Strout's novel My Name Is Lucy Barton, and so far I'm enjoying it.

Watched Tomorrowland on one of the movie channels and ... it was okay.

Saw an opossum while walking the other night! First wildlife I had seen in MONTHS.
nightdog_barks: (Winter tree)
That third episode of the X-Files reboot was bananas. And I am still enjoying the completely ridiculous Lucifer. Also watched almost all (missed a middle bit taking the dog for a walk) of Mad Max: Fury Road the other night, and it was bananas too.

Made Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chip Streusel today and it was very good. Subbed rum-soaked dried cranberries for the nuts and upped the cinnamon and ginger, and it turned out great. Would also probably increase the pumpkin next time, as people in the comments suggested.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
1) Saw another fox last night. It was sitting calmly in someone's back yard, very close to their house, and at first I thought it was a puppy because I could see the rounded ears and white chest. We all looked at each other for at least a minute, and then Layla couldn't contain herself anymore and barked. The fox bounded away, then stopped and looked back. Its eyes shone golden in my flashlight beam, and then it was really gone, dashing behind the other side of the house, giving me a last glimpse of its bushy tail. It amazes me the way they are so calm and curious -- the first one, a few weeks ago, and now this one, must have heard us coming a mile away, and yet they waited for us to get there. Wat.

2) After the fox, I think I saw a Perseid meteor. It was just out of the corner of my eye, but again it was that thin pen-scratch across the night sky.

3) Finished reading Janice Nimura's non-fiction Daughters of the Samurai and REALLY liked it. This was just a great read for me -- young women (one of them only a child) sent to America in the 1870s to learn the ways of the "advanced West" and then bring those lessons back to Japan. And it's a true story! The young women were interesting, their Western mentors were interesting, life in the 1870s in both Japan and the U.S. was interesting, Nimura's writing was clear and direct -- seriously, two thumbs up and a strong recommendation for this forgotten chapter of history.

4) Started reading Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312. I loved his Mars Trilogy and so far I am liking this.

5) I have watched the movie Snowpiercer twice now, and I LOVE IT, except omg why did Chris Evans have to make that Exposition Speech near the end and just drive the narrative into a goddamn WALL? Oh my god. Cut five minutes -- maybe ten -- from this film and it would be perfect. :D

Five things make a post.
nightdog_barks: A man's eye looks out from a red frame something like a Ouija board (Trademark Eye)
1) Housefic coming this week. It's something I actually started all the way back in 2007 (omg) but I ran across it recently and decided I wanted it out of my hair forever. :P

2) Still walking with the pup. A lot. The nifty little pedometer I bought says I've been doing about a mile a day, which makes me feel pretty good about myself.

3) Reading Hilary Mantel's Fludd and have been really enjoying it, although I can tell you her invented village (at least, I hope to god it's invented) of Fetherhoughton is a place I would NEVER WANT TO LIVE. O_o

4) Watched the 2014 version of Godzilla last night. Visual effects were much better than the script (or most of the acting).

5) Gardening ...  )

There. There's probably more, but five things make a post.

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September 2017

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What I'm Reading Now

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The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

Nonfiction
Alligator Candy: A Memoir, by David Kushner

Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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