nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
2017-10-18 08:12 pm
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This and That

My paperback edition of Stephen King's It is 1,153 pages long. I am on page 541. So it's taking a while. :D

We have been watching the baseball playoffs. We were pulling for the Cleveland Indians because Mister Nightdog_barks grew up in northeastern Ohio, but ... oh well. Now we're not really wedded to any one team. I mean, I suppose we should be rooting for the Houston Astros, because Texas, and Mister N wants them to win, but that may just be because they are playing the Hated Yankees and the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend. As they say.
nightdog_barks: Illustrated close-up of a bird's head grasping a red berry in its beak (Bird with Berry)
2017-10-12 04:26 pm
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Still October

Although today it doesn't feel like it. We're on the temperature roller coaster (again) and today it is going up. By Sunday it is supposed to be down again.

Here are a couple of links I liked today --

Flying the deceased in Alaska, which made me think of the sequel working I have to Northern Light, in which House is an Alaska bush pilot. The sequel is one of those WIPs that is SO CLOSE to being finished, and yet. I don't know why this has happened more and more often the older I get. :-P

All the things that are womens' fault, by Rebecca Solnit. I laughed out loud at some of this, but. Yeah.

Finished Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land and loved it, although I did think at least one plot point got wrapped up a little too neatly, and I definitely considered the possibility that the author had actually truly forgotten about it until the last minute and then realized he needed to say something. I do recommend the entire trilogy -- it was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed each book.

Read Michael Wallis' David Crockett: The Lion of the West, which was a pretty interesting biography of ... Davy Crockett. For those who might be interested, it also serves as a good introduction to the history of Scots-Irish settlement in Tennessee and the Eastern Seaboard. I must say that none of the "founding fathers" of Texas come off very well in this book. Which is something I already basically knew, but ... ouch.

Now reading Stephen King's It, which I read when it came out. I don't remember very much of it, and I wanted to read something spooky during October, so here we are.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
2017-10-01 10:20 pm
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Hello, October

Now reading Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land, but before that I read Etgar Keret's slim book of short stories, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God & Other Stories. All of the stories (except the last one) were two to three pages long, and I have to admit that after most of them, my main reaction was " ... okay?" Out of 22 stories, I think I really liked about ... three of them. Maybe four. The majority didn't stick in my mind at all.

The weather turned cool for a few days, but we're still waiting for real fall to arrive. :-P

Made that Pumpkin Spice Cake again today, and it is yum. That recipe is a keeper. :D
nightdog_barks: (Moon Boy)
2017-09-24 10:00 pm
Entry tags:

Blah blah

It is still way too warm here, but we're supposed to have a real cool front either Tuesday night or Wednesday, I can't remember which. In the meantime, Layla has been enthusiastically enjoying her encounters with the young opossum I've written about previously, who apparently DOES live in one of our neighbor's yards and has been making an appearance almost every night. Layla barks joyfully, the possum freezes on top of the (wooden) fence, great noise and jumping about is had, I tell Layla to come inside NOW, Layla is pleased as punch at having done her job.

We have been watching the new Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary, The Vietnam War, and oh my god I will be glad when it is over. It is a brutal, brutal series, brilliantly done, packed with eyewitness accounts and video. I know the broad outlines of the war, but I was only 10 years old in 1968 so almost all of the details are new to me. Something that did make me smile just a little was the discovery that Robert McNamara's son Craig essentially ended up becoming an organic farmer. Swords into ploughshares, indeed.

I am almost finished reading Lev Grossman's The Magician King. As soon as I'm done I will order the last volume in the trilogy. Reader, I am loving this series so much. :D
nightdog_barks: (Happy Pink Stove)
2017-09-17 05:33 pm
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Sunday Baking

Put together this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cake today (from the Washington Post). Followed the instructions except for sifting the flour and spices together -- just took it out of the oven and it smells delicious. :D

We must have an opossum in residence close by -- Layla treed a youngster both last night and this morning in the backyard, scaring the bejeebers out of the little guy both times.

Currently reading Jay McInerney's The Good Life, sequel to Brightness Falls and the middle book in his "New York trilogy" (I've noticed some people calling it his "Yuppie trilogy," heh). It's a good read, but omg these characters do not talk like normal people talk. Before this I read Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I had read it once, years and years ago, but I heard Gaiman had restored something like 12K words to a new edition. It was interesting to see how the book did or did not follow the first season of the TV show, and how a few scenes had been transferred to TV virtually unchanged. I enjoyed it a lot -- two thumbs up, would recommend.
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
2017-09-07 05:09 pm

This and That

Able to get out and do things now, but I'm still knocked out the next day. Well, onwards. :-)

Here are some links I liked/found interesting recently ...

1) From the British Museum, an Anubis plushie. This just delights me. The Dread Lord of the Underworld and after-life, weigher of the scales, African golden wolf ... as a plushie. I think he's adorable. :D

2) We had one of these fluttering around our deck light last night. We get them occasionally at this time of year -- they are BIG, and they're very calm, so you can get close to them. This guy's body was about an inch and a half long, and they're really furry. I left it alone, and because it had landed on our shovel handle and wasn't moving, Layla ignored it.

3) Kate Millett has passed away. She was 83, and she was celebrating her birthday on an annual trip to Paris with her wife and longtime collaborator. Good for her.

4) Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a long piece in the Atlantic on Potatohead. Did I say it was long? It's long. And it's very much worth reading.

5) This is a real case, reported in 1997 in the British Medical Journal. A woman had a brain tumor. And it talked to her. O_o

There. Five things make a post. Y/Y
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
2017-09-01 05:09 pm
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Hello, September

Oh my god I am still so tired. I am getting better, but this is going to take a while. Anyway, I read some books ...

1) Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977 - 2002, by David Sedaris. I loved this, but then I am a David Sedaris fan. There are times I can take or leave his essays and I know he can be an acquired taste, as it were, but if you like him then you should like this. What a cast of (real) characters! What an ear for dialogue! This is funny and sad and weird, and I hope his next volume of diaries comes out soon.

2) News of the World, by Paulette Jiles. I enjoyed this a whole lot more than I thought I would. It's 1870, and grizzled old Captain Kidd has been hired to take ten-year-old former Kiowa Indian captive Johanna from the Oklahoma border to her aunt and uncle outside San Antonio, Texas. Along the way there are bandits, unfriendly townspeople, and a near-constant threat of continued Indian raids. I thought Johanna's voice was a mite too precious at times, but this is a terrific story. If you liked True Grit and/or Lonesome Dove, you'll probably like this. Two thumbs up.

3) Alligator Candy: A Memoir, by David Kushner. This is a true crime story, and it's a heartbreaker. The author's older brother was abducted and murdered in 1973. The author was four years old, his brother was eleven, and this book is Kushner's attempt to come to terms with it all. It's a tough read at times, but I recommend it.

And now I'm reading an anthology -- Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury. So far I've read the first five stories, and I've liked Neil Gaiman's "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" and Sam Weller's "The Girl in the Funeral Parlor" best, although the others were pretty good too.

Otherwise ... it is still warm here, but you can tell the weather has changed. Layla is also much happier. And I'm terribly behind on comments. Sigh.
nightdog_barks: (House In Library)
2017-08-25 02:53 pm

Housefic: Letters of Transit

NOT A NEW STORY. This fic was first posted at [ profile] house_wilson on September 28th, 2006. It got skipped, somehow, when I posted my collected stories to AO3. So here it is again, seeing the light of day, on its way to Archive. One typo has been corrected; otherwise, the text is unchanged. :-)

TITLE: Letters of Transit
AUTHOR: [personal profile] nightdog_barks
PAIRING: House, Wilson
WARNINGS: None. No spoilers, no nothing. It's just a story.
SUMMARY: Wilson is Wilson, no matter where or when.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Never will.
AUTHOR NOTES: THIS IS NOT A NEW STORY. Special thanks to [personal profile] perspi for the Summary and [personal profile] bironic for the last-minute read-through.
BETA: Silverjackal, who saw the original idea and wanted me to write it months ago.

The first card arrives ... )
nightdog_barks: (Teddy and Bird)
2017-08-24 03:28 pm
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Cranky Thursday

Woke up this morning from an anxiety dream in which a couple of grocery store employees were demanding to see the credit cards in my wallet before I shopped because they thought I was Not My Real Name. I said I was My Real Name and was going to show them my American Express card, but then I saw I had two American Express cards, and I knew one was expired, but which one? Somehow this segued into me standing with a grocery cart inside the grocery -- a friend had been there (my BFF from high school), but she'd gone to buy a bottle of whiskey and I was alone, unsure what to do. :-P

Still discovering new aches and pains -- stretched and my abdominal muscles were SO SORE. Ouch. Today it is two weeks since my surgery. Somehow it feels longer.

Good stuff -- we are making a savarin sweet bread. Something new for us, but it's fun to experiment. :-)

Oh, and I've copied Letters of Transit to my DW (locked) to get it ready for posting to AO3. So, probably tonight sometime.
nightdog_barks: (Eclipse)
2017-08-21 03:08 pm

Dragon Eats the Sun

But he didn't eat all of ours -- only a 75 - 77% totality for us. Still, the light waned, and the sky to the north and west grew noticeably bluer. The temperature also dropped a few degrees, and it wasn't my imagination. Hopefully I (and all of you!) will be here in 2024 when we will get a 100% totality. :D

Started Simon Sebag Montefiore's history of Jerusalem, and so far it is such a great read.
nightdog_barks: (Dorothy)
2017-08-19 04:50 pm

Omg so tired

I keep telling myself it's only been nine days, and that it will take a while. I am feeling better, though. :-)

Discovered the other evening that I have a Housefic from 2006 (!) that somehow never made it onto AO3. It's Letters of Transit, if anyone remembers that, in which House receives postcards from an alternate universe Wilson. Here's the link to the first chapter (goes to the house_wilson community on LJ). Please ignore the Photobucket hostage notes -- I'm not paying them one red cent. I'll work on posting it to AO3 sometime soon. I can't believe it got lost, but I'm glad it got found. :D
nightdog_barks: (Armor Girl)
2017-08-16 02:58 pm

So Then That Happened ...

SO. I've been away for a bit, and here's why ...

Female medical stuff follows, so skip if that's a squick for you ...  )

In addition to all this, I am reading David Sedaris' Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977 - 2002 and loving it. :-)
nightdog_barks: Girl reading a book that covers her face (Book reading girl)
2017-08-01 04:10 pm

Hello, August

So we are having a cool spell, which is VERY UNUSUAL for this time of year.

1) Finished reading Jack Cheng's See You in the Cosmos and Min Jin Lee's Pachinko, neither of which I recommend. :-(

2) Currently reading Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, which is tremendously good so far. I really liked his Dead Wake, about the sinking of the Lusitania.

3) Watched Arrival and was like "wtf did I just watch?", then noticed it was on again the next day and so watched it again and liked it better this time.

Three things; post.
nightdog_barks: (Sun)
2017-07-20 04:47 pm
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Almost Friday

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: Red Mobil Pegasus flying over an open book (Pegasus and book)
2017-07-15 02:55 pm

Cloudy Saturday

It actually rained a bit this morning and is still overcast, giving us a temp of 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius), which is amazing for mid-July. Unfortunately, the humidity is 70%, making it feel as though it's 95 (35 Celsius). I'll still take the cloud cover.

Was very sad to see this news -- Maryam Mirzakhani passes away, aged 40. First (and so far, only) woman to win the Fields Medal, genius mathematician. Wife and mom. And just 40. JUST FORTY. What else might she have accomplished? Seriously, cancer can go DIAF.

Sigh. Still curious to see who the 13th Doctor will be, even though I fell out of love with the show this season and I'm really not sure why.

Here, have a somewhat blurry pic of Layla (taken this afternoon) --

Oh! Editing to add that I forgot to mention I saw a bat last evening, flitting around our backyard at just dusk when the sun was going down! I think Layla was barking at it. :D
nightdog_barks: (Dry Farmhouse)
2017-07-14 05:47 pm
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Bastille Friday

Roofers are done, THANK GOD. We've lived in this house for thirty years and in that time we've had three (now four) new roofs put on, and every time I forget how INCREDIBLY NOISY IT IS. Good lord. Layla was mostly okay with it all -- she was more concerned at the end when one of the guys walked around the deck using a leaf blower (leaf blowers are her Mortal Enemy).

Reading Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts' Deaths of the Poets and liking it greatly.

Here is a very cool little clip of some kind of little white shorebirds making fantastic flashing patterns in flight. :D
nightdog_barks: (Sunflower)
2017-07-11 06:07 pm
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The Nail Guns Next Door

Because we had a huge hailstorm in the spring with golfball-sized hail, lots of folks in our area had to have their roofs replaced. Yesterday and today it was our next-door neighbor's turn. Tomorrow it will be OUR turn. :-P

I finished Lev Grossman's The Magicians, and, unlike so many of the people on Goodreads, I ... well, I loved it. I thought the story was engaging and I stayed up until almost 3 in the morning reading two nights in a row. I know the publisher apparently marketed it as "Harry Potter for grown-ups," but I'm one of the seven people on the planet who never read Harry Potter so I don't think I was coming to it with any real baggage. To me, there were echoes of Bret Easton Ellis (some people behave very badly in the book) and Ursula LeGuin, René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. (Not to mention our old friend, Donna Tartt.) There was a point in the book when I thought, "Oh my god these people are HORRIBLE and I hope something bad happens to them!", and another point when I breathed, "Oh, shit!" when something very bad did begin to happen. Yes, there are a couple of missteps by the author, including a moment when a minor Native American character is described as having a "hooked nose." It's perfectly plausible that someone who IS Native American could have the facial characteristic of a hooked nose, but ... um. Not a comfortable moment. I winced and shook my head, and kept reading. And now I'm ordering Grossman's next book in the trilogy.

So. Two thumbs up, a strong recommendation for a gritty, lyrical story with some deeply flawed characters struggling to figure out life, love, and the whole nine yards.
nightdog_barks: 1930s movie poster of Buster Crabbe and a lion (Movie Poster -- Jungle Man)
2017-07-08 03:09 pm

Warm Day in July

And by warm, I mean it's about 95 degrees and feels like 105. :-P

Layla got me up at about 4 in the morning, woofing (very softly) that she needed to go out (she was lying). Anyway, I was sitting in one of our deck chairs while she lounged on the deck, when our wind chimes suddenly ... chimed. EXCEPT THERE WAS NO WIND. It was dead calm, close and stifling, with what appeared to be a full moon. So I got up and aimed my trusty little flashlight at the chimes. (These are our wind chimes. I love them.)

There was an anole lizard clinging to one of the chimes. "Oh, hello," I said. Made me smile. :D

Reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians, enjoying it so far.
nightdog_barks: English robin on a white background (English robin)
2017-07-02 03:34 pm
Entry tags:

This and That

1) I finished Paul Tremblay's Disappearance at Devil's Rock last night, and ... well, I'm glad I didn't buy it in hardback when it came out. It was not anywhere near as good as his previous A Head Full of Ghosts. I think Devil's Rock would actually make an excellent scary movie, but as a novel ... it just left me really cold. There were (to me) some strange writing choices, among them writing some dialogue as if it were from a script (so you get dialogue like Luis: No), which I think was supposed to convey immediacy but came off to me as simply lazy. And cut for spoiler ...  )

Anyway, the book just didn't work for me. No thumbs up. If you're in the mood for something REALLY scary, read Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts.

2) Spent a little time last night opening an Imgur account (because of this). I haven't seen any of my Photobucket-hosted pics vanish (yet), but there are at least two fic-related images I need to not go away, so I replaced the Photobucket links inside the fics with Imgur links. Then I discovered that the links on my Dreamwidth Annals page all pointed back to Livejournal, so I worked on fixing that.

3) Fireworks last night. Layla did not like.
nightdog_barks: (Horse Weathervane)
2017-07-01 04:20 pm
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Hello, Rainy July

Buckets of rain around midnight and then again very early this morning. Everything is green in the backyard -- the Tabasco peppers are the only things still producing, although there are a couple of baby figs on the dwarf fig tree and a couple of little green Satsuma oranges on the young citrus. The Tabascos look like tiny red firecrackers -- I don't think we've ever had peppers that grew upright like this (as opposed to serranos, jalapeños, and cayennes).

Reading Paul Tremblay's Disappearance at Devil's Rock, which is good, but not as good, I think, as his A Head Full of Ghosts, which was absolutely fucking terrifying. I read Paul La Farge's The Night Ocean last week but didn't like it nearly as much as I'd hoped I would. But if you're in the market for a book that sounds like Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna and Michael Chabon's Adventures of Kavalier & Clay got together and had David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, then The Night Ocean is the book for you. Personally, I can only give it one thumb up. Mild spoilers ...  )

Have been restless and crabby the last week. Bah, humbug.