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: Crispin Glover as Mr World in American Gods (Mister World)
1) Ugh, a very blah day today. Mostly sunny and humid, but looking forward to tomorrow because our local Calloway's will have marigolds for 99 cents. Our two big flowerpots out front are empty and some bright, happy marigolds will look nice up there.

2) Still reading the Walter Winchell bio, and was amused to learn that his first job as a "real" newspaper columnist (as opposed to working for an industry organ) was for a publication (the New York Graphic) widely regarded as the worst newspaper in America, if not the world. In covering one crime story involving a killer named Carillo, the editors found that they didn't have a photo of the man, so they used a picture of the actor Leo Carrillo (note spelling) instead. :D

3) Layla may be two and a half years old, but she proved last night she still has some puppy in her when she stole one of Mister Nightdog's running shoes and neatly bisected one of the laces.

4) Still watching Doctor Who and Class, but right now I think I am getting the most enjoyment out of American Gods. Crispin Glover as Mr. World in the last episode was just a walking Ball of Sheer Crazy and was absolutely terrifying. That smile omg.

5) Working on a fic but it is going very slowly.


May. 12th, 2017 04:01 pm
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
Partly cloudy, partly sunny, cooler than it has been, which is a relief. There was another young opossum in the backyard last night -- Layla was barking at it ferociously and scaring the hell out of the poor thing (it was backed up against the fence as far as it could go without becoming one with the fence), so we made her come back in the house. We have not seen the baby bunnies in several days, so I'm devoutly hoping they've hopped away to other, greener yards.

Finished reading Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky, and while I liked it, I didn't love it. It was definitely a page-turner, but the more it went on, the less connection I felt with any of the characters, and I thought the SPOILER ) was ridiculous. So, well. One thumb up?

Now reading Anthony Loyd's My War Gone By, I Miss It So, which is a nonfiction account of his time in Bosnia in the 1990s as a war correspondent. As one might expect, it is not a fun read.

Thought the second episode of American Gods was much better than the first. Guest spots from Gillian Anderson and Cloris Leachman really lifted this one. Still enjoying Class on BBC America.

In old news, President Potatohead and his cronies are still pigs.
nightdog_barks: Man on a white horse (Passion)
So I read Kij Johnson's The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and really liked it. It's basically sort of a fanfic remix of H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, with the protagonist changed to a middle-aged lady professor of mathematics. Reader, I loved her. Vellitt Boe was smart and sensible, and I could've easily read another hundred pages of her adventures (my paperback copy was only 165 pages, so it's a very short book). I know she could easily have slipped into Mary Sue-dom, but she really didn't ping my Sue-dar at all. Okay, I did think the Quest went on a little too long, but that was my only complaint. Two thumbs up, 9/10.

Also I have been watching Class on BBC America and enjoying it, especially Katherine Kelly as Miss Quill. I also watched the first episode of American Gods and thought it was pretty good (I read Gaiman's book years and years ago but don't recall a great deal about it). I am amused to see that Ricky Whittle (playing Shadow Moon, the main character) is a Brit -- I thought he was an American. :D

Weather has turned cool and windy again. This is an up and down spring.
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: (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
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.
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 ...  )

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

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. :-)
nightdog_barks: Actor Tom Mix dressed as a cowboy (Movie Poster -- Tom Mix)
1) Happy Solstice!

2) Have started reading Adam Hochschild's new book about Americans participating in the Spanish Civil War. His usual excellent work, and already so sad. Such young optimists, wanting to change the world for the better, and it all ended in ashes. :-(

3) Here is a great photo gallery from the Guardian of actors who have played Richard III. Ian McKellen is especially hot malevolent here.

4) I received an email invitation to my 40th high school reunion today. 40th. // holds head in hands //

5) Penny Dreadful, oh you. Cut for anyone who hasn't heard the news ...  )
nightdog_barks: (House Reading)
Because omg it is warm and steamy, ugh.

Still watching Houdini & Doyle on Monday nights, and last night I was rewarded with a wonderfully meta-crossover moment. The boys were investigating shenanigans in a mental asylum (Bedlam, because is there ever any other mental asylum in popular historical fiction?), and one of the patients approached Doyle and basically said that he was very familiar with Doyle's writings, and the reason he was familiar with Doyle's writings was that he (the patient) was Sherlock Holmes.

(The asylum director sighs and says "We've got three of them.")

The problem, "Holmes" explains, is that Doyle has gotten everything wrong! And he's going to sue for damages!

"I'll alert my solicitor," Doyle says.

At this point, orderlies begin to drag "Holmes" away (he's annoying the visitors!), but he gets in one last jab at Doyle --

"And for posterity," he shouts, "his name was Wilson!"


Source from the writer of the episode
nightdog_barks: (Glass Full of Rain)
This is the third straight day we have had TORRENTIAL rain. It is like monsoon season or something.

Watched the Tony Awards last night and really enjoyed it -- the performances from Waitress, The Color Purple, Bright Star, and Hamilton were just outstanding.

And ... now the rain is letting up, although it's still thundering. Layla felt the need to come sit in my lap for a little while. All 60 pounds of her. :D

Hello June

Jun. 1st, 2016 03:24 pm
nightdog_barks: A man's eye looks out from a red frame something like a Ouija board (Trademark Eye)
I think it has rained almost every day for two weeks. Everything is green and growing like crazy, but it's also warm and soggy and humid. It feels like we're living in Houston, which would not be bad if this ... was actually Houston. :-P

Watched The 400 Blows last night. I had turned it on (it was on Turner Classic Movies) just for background noise, but then I found I couldn't look away. Jeez, what a film. Sad and transfixing and yeah, okay, I'll call it brilliant. Who would've thought a simple movie (with subtitles!) about a kid falling through the cracks could be so mesmerizing? Two thumbs way up.

Also watched Person of Interest last night, and between it and 400 Blows, I felt completely drained afterward, as though I'd spent hours and hours climbing up a dark, mist-shrouded mountain. Cut for spoilers ...  )

What else? Layla is still fascinated by the little anole lizards and barks at them. I am almost to the end of Dead Wake, and holy shit, the sadness. Did you guys know that it took the Titanic close to three hours to sink? It took the Lusitania eighteen minutes. EIGHTEEN MINUTES. Erik Larson's details of the sinking are just excruciatingly heartbreaking. An absolute nightmare.

A few other things:

1) This is so incredibly beautiful.
2) Hic habitat Minotaurus
3) Only a few more days of wearing this heart monitor thingy. omg I am so glad.
nightdog_barks: Silver robot with a heart pinned to his chest raises one hand to the stars (Heart Robot)
So this was what they played over the end of Person of Interest tonight (Monday night). That was ... a pretty good episode. This series has always had good music.

nightdog_barks: (Tumbling Dice)
Very cool (almost chilly) and very damp today after some morning rain. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain more. That rhyme about April showers is a lie.

Heart is still doing the flippy-flop thing, so more tests are in order. Yay me. :-P

I have been watching David Shore's new show, Houdini & Doyle, and I'm liking it. I am not a fan of Michael Weston, but he is surprisingly tolerable in this as Harry Houdini, and I really like Stephen Mangan as Conan Doyle. Rebecca Liddiard is also good as a female police constable, and between the three of them, they make this (admittedly silly) show a decent hour of entertainment. YMMV.

Reading John Harwood's The Ghost Writer and it is okay. Just got Louise Erdrich's and Joe Hill's new novels, LaRose and The Fireman, respectively, and am really looking forward to reading them.

Layla has an odd (?) new habit of coming to me, sitting down, and giving me a paw to hold. Then she'll give me her other paw, so that she's ... sitting up. With me holding her front paws. She seems to like this. :D
nightdog_barks: The character Geordie Keating from Grantchester walking away (Geordie Walking Away)
1) The sun has gone away today and it is cool and damp. Still pleasant but quite a change.

2) We were able to pick two ripe tomatoes off one of the Early Girl plants! And I bought two more tomato plants -- Patio tomatoes, and the plants are TINY compared to the others. They're adorable. :D

3) Watched the season (series?) finale of Sleepy Hollow last night, and I was ... not pleased. For the first time in a long time I am seriously tempted to write a small fix-it fic for a show that isn't House. Abbie Mills, you deserved so much better. :-(

4) The pollen count around here has been in the 5K range lately. This is not acceptable.

5) I'm sure there's a fifth point around here somewhere.
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.


Jan. 25th, 2016 08:22 pm
nightdog_barks: (Curiouser)
Well now. The second episode of X-Files was so much better than the first that you'd almost think it was a different show. It was written by James Wong, who wrote the original series' episode "Home."

Also, Lucifer is completely ridiculous but wow, Tom Ellis is hot.
nightdog_barks: (Red Devil)


Although seriously, I thought they were going to show Bear at the end.


nightdog_barks: (Default)

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The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

Alligator Candy: A Memoir, by David Kushner

Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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