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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Straight Outta Crawley by Romesh Ranganathan. This is his autobiography. I really enjoyed it. He had a way of telling all his embarrassing stories so they were funny. What I found interesting was when he was working at a boring, soul-destroying job he discovered that having a toilet cry helped (it was once he was having to do it regularly that he realised that wasn't sustainable and became a teacher instead). I didn't know the toilet cry was a thing that existed out in the world in general.

What I Am Currently Reading
Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller. I only discovered this existed last week - but then it did only come out last week. Although it's a Discovery book it's all about the Enterprise - Discovery people only get mentioned in it. I decided not to wait to see if the library got round to getting it and bought it. And then spent a whole evening trying to get it on my ebook reader because Adobe Digital Editions decided it didn't like it for no reason. I have now bought a Kobo, although I am reading this book on my Sony ebook reader. I can't compare them properly until I have the (red) cover for the Kono, but on balance the Sony is a better ebook reader.

What I Am Reading Next
Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey. This was a book mentioned in the podcast Writing Excuses. Their description was basically: murder mystery at a magic school, written for adults. I was sold. And it's finally at my local library, waiting for me to pick it up.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars July wrap-up

This month I was reccing at [info]tardis-library. I have done six recs, which is more than one a week, so that's pretty good.

At first I thought I'd rec some old favourites. And then discovered I couldn't remember any authors or titles, only bits of what might have gone on in them. But then I discovered I have favourited some stories on Teaspoon. So long ago that I've forgotten the stories completely, so I have really enjoyed re-reading them (they're still good!). So I have plenty of recs to keep me going.

I also managed to get three in a row on my bingo card, which is generally as much as I get on a row. We'll see if I manage to get a bingo.

I'll give this 10/10 and keep reccing - maybe try and post one a week. At that rate I have enough favourited stories on Teaspoon to keep me going for the rest of the year.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I’ve been up to

I've been doing lots of coding. I have a whole list of projects because it's doing things that help me learn them. There was also tennis, until it finished last weekend 🙁

I signed up for [info]remixrevival. I missed it last year because it was just too hot and now it's about to be too hot again... But only for a few days and it'll have probably improved by the time assignments go out. Otherwise the evenings aren't too bad - this is the one time of year I am glad I live in a cold house.

And then there were the house-based sagas...

The toilet handle was loose. I looked in the cistern and found that the screwy bit on the inside that keeps the handle tight was loose. My toilet is the wrong shape and I couldn't tighten it, so decided I needed to take it off and start screwing it on again. So I unsecrewed the screw holding the handle in place, went to take the screwy bit off and then discovered I didn't need to undo the screw.

So I tightened up the handle, went to put the screw back on and dropped it into the cistern. I didn't fancy putting my hand in that water so I decided I'd flush it and pick it out when it was empty. After the flush I discovered two things:

  1. The cistern doesn't fully empty when it flushes
  2. I am an idiot

Handily, I had some random screws, so I used one of them to screw it down.

The other saga was with the smoke detector. I have two in each location (due to previous 3am smoke detector saga). One plugs into the mains (which came with the house), the other has a non-replaceable battery (which came from the fire brigade at 3am). One of them started chirping when I was frying stuff. Chirping means it was a loud beep, but not as deafening as the smoke alarm going off.

That was annoying, but then it started chirping when I was boiling pasta. It turned out to be the battery one and the way to silence it is to press the test button. Which deafens you with six beeps. Given that you can only do it ten times, and in total it probably only chirped six times, I only tried that once.

Looking at the manual, for chirping it said to check it's definitely the smoke alarm making the noise and check the location. Well, the location had been fine up until then and my hall is not that big and there's no a great deal of places to put the smoke alarm(s).

I thought maybe it was the cooker, so gave it a thorough clean. Not only did it not help but then it did some chirping when I wasn't even cooking. I looked online to find that it wasn't the battery, because then it would chirp every 30 seconds (it was more than a minute between chirps) and it was probably faulty.

So I got rid of it. It spent some time in my garage (where no one would hear it chirping, if it still did it when not attached to the base plate) and then got taken away with the electrical recycling.

I now only have the one smoke alarm downstairs, which is sufficient. And a look on Amazon tells me these fire brigade smoke alarms are terrible and often have a crazy short battery life (even though it's supposed to be ten years). So I'm looking forward to the other one dying...

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Dead Trees Give No Shelter by Wil Wheaton. I read this for the horror square in LJ book bingo. It was short, which was good, and the horror part didn't give me nightmares. Having said that, that part that was most horrible was, I suspect, not the part he thought it was, but the very first part when someone is executed for murder (totally legally, because it's set in USA).

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. I read this for the chosen based on the cover square in LJ book bingo. And it turned out to be a good choice because I loved it and got through the whole thing in three days. It's ordinary fiction, albeit with a ghost and the whole thing where only one person can see and hear another is something I love. Also there was an interesting mystery. I already have a hold on another of her books that looks like it has an interesting mystery (and I liked the first three chapters I could read as a sample on the library ebook site).

What I'm Currently Reading
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by PG Wodehouse. It's Jeeves and Wooster, all pretty standard stuff really. And so far, almost the same plot as the last one I read.

What I'm Reading Next
Mrs Beeton's Every Day Cookery for my last LJ book bingo square! Although since it has 568 pages of small, very densely packed writing, I expect it will take a while.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars June wrap-up

This month I've been trying pilates.

I started by going to youtube and trying something that was popular and not too long. And the first one I did bored me so much that I didn't want to do any more. It was just the sort of exercises I've done before and made me feel like I'm stretched now, time to do something proper.

But I tried again and was looking for videos that don't involve lying down (I don't know what I have against lying down exercises, but I just don't like them). I came across Cassey Ho. I like that she acknowledged that the exercises she was doing hurt after a while. And that she counted down to when we were going to end them - without that I tend to find that I give up just before the instructor does. She's also really positive and acts like she's in the room with you, saying that you're doing well. But manages for that not to be eye-rolly (which is a very fine line). I did also discover that the 3 minute workouts might be short, but are hard...

In conclusion, I ended up enjoying it and will continue to do it. It's just a case of choosing what exercises I want to do.

I'll give it 8/10.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Sun and Moon, Ice and Fire by Jessica Day George. I've read her other fairy tale retellings and saw this one and thought I should read it sometime. And then LJ book bingo has a square for fairy tale retellings and my library had this in ebook form. So I read it in about two days. It's based on a Norwegian fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I don't know how much like the original this is, but I really enjoyed it. And learned some Norwegian words.

What I'm Currently Reading
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I started this a while ago and then stopped to read other books, but now I am going to finish it (I have less than 100 pages to go).

What I'm Reading Next
A few books to finish off my LJ book bingo squares:

Dead Trees Give No Shelter by Wil Wheaton for the horror square. I wasn't originally going to do this square because I don't do horror. But it is short, the sample was interesting and the reviews describe it more as a campfire tale. I just need to pick the right time to read it, so it doesn't give me nightmares.

Animal Farm by George Orwell for the banned book square. It's one I've been meaning to re-read for a while because I've only read it once before and don't remember it that well.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella for the chosen based on the cover square. I can tell you that it's green and there's a modern girl and a 20s girl on the cover, but that's it. I will be reading it once the previous person in the queue has finished with it.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I’ve been doing

A lot of programming stuff. I have found that learning things that I'm already using at work has been such a help - there are some things I never knew existed and now I could change them to make them so much simpler. So it's useful and interesting and fun, but also time-consuming.

Tennis. The French Open just finished, so I've been listening to that, when it's been on the radio/online. I watched it, on mute, for five minutes and that was enough - the camera work just does not do me any good. It was exciting and now we are on to grass, which mostly happens not on the radio during the day when I'm at work. Until we get to Wimbledon, then there's eight hours a day of it to listen to.

Singing and dancing. Choir goes in terms, so our end of term concert is during Wimbledon, then we have the summer off. Dancing is most weeks and some weekends until the end of July, when it becomes some weeks and some weekends. It was really cold at the start of the season (end of April/start of May), warmed up enough that I didn't need so many layers, now it's got chilly again.

Writing. None of this leaves much time for writing, but I have started a few things, but not got any further than a completed first draft. I am trying to put some effort into finishing something, if slowly, because it's been so long I've forgotten how to write.

Decluttering is also going slowly because I fit it round everything else. At the moment getting rid of things mostly involves moving them to the spare room, but in the summer when I have some more time, and when I have some days off, I will work on getting it out of the house. I did remember to take a bag of stuff to the charity shop this weekend, so that's a start.

For LJ Book Bingo I finally decided that I needed to assign my list of books I've read to squares. I've found I've filled most of them, but in a way that means I have no lines. It's a skill.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – June

This month I'm going to try pilates (from YouTube videos).

This is mostly because I read an article back in winter about yoga and pilates and it said that they do similar sorts of things for you, but certain types of people tend to like yoga and certain types tend to like pilates. I was in the second group (I can't remember any more details than that). Since I tried yoga a couple of years ago, I thought I'd try pilates to see if I like it any more.

The only thing I know about it is that there are some similarities to ballet, based on discussions with my sister, who does pilates.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May wrap-up

This month I was watching The Orville. I saw the first episode, which I didn't think much of. Although I introduced the characters I immediately forgot everything about them. And also I was distracted by one of them being Kasidy Yates from DS9. And Sydnay's dad from Alias being an admiral.

And then I watched episode 3 (About a Girl) which I did like. I laughed at one point, which was unexpected. I still wasn't sure about some of the humour. I couldn't really bring myself to care about the characters. But maybe that's just because I haven't watched many episodes.

I quite fancy watching some more, but not enough to a) pay for them or b) give up time to watch them. It's the sort of thing where, if it was on TV, I'd record it all and get round to watching it eventually.

I'll give it 7/10.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. I struggled with this a bit at first because it's different to Jedi Apprentice - they don't have the same friends and they're not comfortable with each other, even though Obi-Wan's the same age as Jedi Apprentice finishes. But once I got used to that then I enjoyed it. I liked that it showed how Qui-Gon came to know about the chosen one prophecy.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It turns out this is the last of Rainbow Rowell's books that I had to read. I can see why everyone goes on about this, it's really good. I especially liked that it never explains Eleanor's home life, you get to find out as you go through the book.

What I'm Currently Reading
Family Secrets: The Things We Tried to Hide by Deborah Cohen. I bought this on Kindle by accident - I had it on my Amazon wish list (which is a list of all the books I mean to read at some point) and it turns out that if you buy a Kindle book you don't go through the usual buying process on Amazon, it just buys it as soon as you click the button. It was on offer at the time, so I thought it wasn't worth 'returning'. I didn't intend to read it. I'd put some fanfic on my ebook reader and read the summary. Then, at the train station I tried to open the same fanfic and it crashed my ebook reader. So I started this instead. It is really interesting - I've read about Indian 'half-caste' children and divorces and their scandals. I'm currently on a chapter about 'idiocy' and how they dealt with disabled children in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. I'm really not very far through this at all. Partly because I realised I don't remember anything from the previous books - it is coming back to me, slowly, but it's making the book hard going to start with. I remember having this problem with the previous book and eventually I got into it, so I'm sure I will with this one too.

What I'm Reading Next
I have plenty to read and I have to take some books back to the library, which pretty much guarantees that 'just having a look to see what's there' will end with me coming home with something.

Mirrored from my blog.

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Star Trek (2009)

I don't know how I blinked and ten years has gone by since the 2009 Star Trek film. I was tired the other day, and there's been talk of it, due to it being the tenth anniversary, so I watched it. And then remembered exactly what I thought of it when I saw it for the second time: the plot is paper thin. But the first time round I was so busy being amazed at how good the actors were at being those characters that you don't notice the lack of plot.

What I really liked this time around was Leonard Nimoy. I could really feel his friendship with Kirk, despite it being a Kirk he'd never met (technically) and a Kirk who didn't like him.

I think I am all Star Trekked out now. But the tennis season (on TV) is really winding up - the French Open starts on Sunday.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May

This month I'm going to watch The Orville. I keep seeing it mentioned, so I am curious. I am not hopeful though, because I watched a trailer a while ago and it wasn't funny, but I thought the programme is supposed to be funny. Which doesn't bode well. But the first episode is only 10p (even if first episodes are never a good way to judge a series).

But if anyone has any suggestions of good episodes to start with, let me know - I won't get to anything before the weekend.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Death in the Spotlight by Robin Stevens. And I am up-to-date! Until the new one comes out, then I'll be waiting for the library to get it in in e-book form. I enjoyed it, but had no idea who the murderer was. Probably not helped by most of my reading being in bed at night when tired.

What I'm Currently Reading
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. Adam Kay was on Cats Countdown in dictionary corner and read a bit of this and it was funny. And then I found the library had an e-book of it... and a very long waiting list. It finally came to my turn, so I am two chapters in. It isn't as funny as I thought it was going to be, but it is still amusing some of the things that happen. It's also really thought-provoking when he talks about 97-hour weeks and never getting Christmas off.

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I was halfway through, but stopped for library books. I like that most of the chapters are about characters I like. I dislike the Iron Born and Dorne chapters though, they are hard going.

What I'm Reading Next
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. It's finally out in paperback, so I asked for it for my birthday.

Mirrored from my blog.

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The Menagerie

No Discovery spoilers this time.

I rewatched the Menagerie and realised it's really just a tale of friendships - of Spock and Pike and Spock and Kirk.

Spock plans to take Pike to Talos IV. He has it all worked out with the Talosians to take over the Enterprise and distract Kirk long enough to get Pike there. He tells Pike he has it well-planned and he does. That part at least.

Going to Talos means the death penalty and Spock commits mutiny, which is not exactly going to do much of his career either. Those parts are not so well planned - he pretty much relies on Starfleet feeling sorry for Pike and understanding why Spock does it, once he explains. He is also perhaps relying Kirk putting in a good word for him. He risks a lot for Pike, which speaks to the depth of their relationship.

What makes it interesting, is Kirk's reaction to all this, once it's all been explained. He says:

Mister Spock, even if regulations are explicit, you could have come to me and explained.

Spock says he didn't because he didn't want Kirk to face the death penalty too, which Kirk doesn't get the chance to respond to. But it does tell us that if Spock had gone to Kirk with his plan, Kirk would have helped him. Kirk didn't even know Pike - they only met once. So it speaks a lot for the depth of Kirk and Spock's relationship that Kirk would take on the same risks, just to help his friend help another friend.

Kirk points out at the end that Spock has been very emotional about it all. Of course Spock says it's all logical, but really, it's not. The planning Spock does it logical, but initiating it is entirely out of emotion.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars April wrap-up

This month I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I looked through the episode descriptions (which Netflix likes to make difficult) and chose one that seemed most relevant to me (ie didn't involve small children). The format was that it introduced you to the people who were getting tidied up and why they were doing it. And how American houses have so many cupboards. And then they are inspired to tidy up, with some cut-aways to Marie Kondo giving us tips.

It was interesting to see how she inspired them to get rid of things and interesting to see different people's lives and American houses. I just didn't feel the need to watch any more - I feel like if you've seen one you've seen them all. And also you can find similar videos on YouTube for free (although it turns out if you don't have Netflix for a year you get another month free).

So I'll give it a 7/10.

Mirrored from my blog.

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Not posting much

I'm struggling to find the time to post much. The three evenings a week I am in look like this:
6pm get home
6-7pm dinner
7-9pm 1 hour coding plus 1 hour doing things I need/want to do (not necessarily consecutive or in that order
9-10pm feed Sammy and watch TV
10pm go to bed to read

Two nights a week that 1 hour free I have includes half an hour of doing things I need to do (eg food shopping). I end up leaving most things for the weekend and then don't have time to fit everything in.

But I am doing better at the coding thing, now my rules are to do 10 minutes to an hour and no more than that, except on weekends when I can go up to two hours.

And I am watching more TV. This is partly because I have Netflix for a month to watch Discovery, and it turned out to be another free month, no idea why, but I'm not complaining. I have got through it quicker than I thought I would, partly because I have had some time with no energy to do anything other than watch TV that doesn't require a brain. And partly because it's not as bad as the first series (which is not hard).

I have two problems with Discovery this series:

  1. They're obsessed with spinning the camera round and can barely keep it still for two seconds, so it becomes more something I'm listening to than watching
  2. Last series there was one character I liked, one I hated and the rest I was meh about (well, by the end of the series - there was another I hated at the start). This series has one character I love, who I suspect is not going to be in series 3 (if there is one) and two I hate. They keep teasing that the characters I hate are going to die/leave the series and then they don't.

Mirrored from my blog.

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