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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-16 08:19 pm


Friday night we took our niece to Good Union Urban BBQ. Usually we have a delightful time there. But Friday we endured a long wait only to have one sandwich too few served. After a further interminable wait, we replaced that sandwich. We also picked up a simple burger for my niece, who did not enjoy a vinegar-based BBQ. We plugged a Star Wars DVD into the DVD player and enjoyed a quiet evening.

I passed Friday evening with muscle cramps and coughs. Saturday I rallied to walk the park with Beatrice, and ate lunch at Elke's. I enjoyed spending time with my wife and niece, but felt the need to  turn in for the day. In the evening we had steak, oven fries, broccoli and
a special ice cream cake in the shape of a heart for my niece's impending birthday.

Saturday evening I suffered from cramps, coughs and chills.

Sunday I slept late. I spent the day resting. Monday morning I got up and went to work. I even felt able to walk at lunch and after work. Tonight we watched Supergirl and then learned about Yorkshire villages. I hope to rejoin the land of the living soon.

. Saturday morning I

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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-13 07:47 am

bike wheel

Thursday at lunch I drove my mountain bicycle to Don Johle's Bike World in Garland. My bicycle needed new tires and inner tubes. I had tried to take it to Performance Bicycle in Plano, only to find a two-week service wait to get a 20-minute tire change done. But the bike shop in Garland was able to get my bicycle done in an hour. I picked it up after work. I thought how there is something very Plano in a long-wait for bicycle repairs, and something very Garland about instant service. Garland's store is less posh  but much quicker.

Last night I developed a cough and some leg cramping. I seem a bit better today. I hope I am not getting really sick.

I had another phone call with my young niece, whom my wife is picking up at the airport today. They are going to a tea room called Chocolate Angel for lunch, We three plan a fun weekend.

cereal and skim milk
fried chicken breast and leg, french fries, 1/8th biscuit
minute steak, sweet potato, salad

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marthawells ([personal profile] marthawells) wrote2017-10-12 07:23 am
Entry tags:

World Fantasy Schedule

I'm toastmaster for the World Fantasy Convention which is in San Antonio, TX, this year. The headliner guests are: Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, and Gordon Van Gelder.

And the full programming schedule has now been posted:

and here's my schedule:


* 2:00 I've Got a Secret: Introducing our Guests
Part interview, part get-to-know-you chat, our Toastmaster will ask our honored guests to share their thoughts on "secret history" -- their own, or the importance of "secret history" in their work.

Martha Wells (m), Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell

* 8:00 Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
With the aging of our readership why do we have so few mature female characters in fantasy literature? Can the pernicious Youth Culture be subverted, or are we doomed to keep reading about fresh-faced young sorcerers eager to become saviors? Our panelists discuss representation, power and common tropes in fantasy works that include an older woman (middle aged and upward, such as in Tananarive Due's The Black Rose and Nancy Kress' The Prince of Morning Bells) as a protagonist, including examples of what they want to see more of, and why it matters.

Sharon Shinn, Martha Wells, Elizabeth Moon, Tracy Caulfield


* 10:00 Spotlight - From Angry Fairy Queens to Flying Lizard People: An Interview with Toastmaster Martha Wells
Rachel Neumeier interviews Martha Wells about her work and career, including her Ile-Rien series and the Books of the Raksura, her other fantasy novels including Wheel of the Infinite and City of Bones, her media tie-in and young adult work, and her new SF novella series The Murderbot Diaries.

* 8:00 Our Signature Event
Sometimes called the Autograph Reception, sometimes the Mass Autographing, there is only one autograph session at a World Fantasy Convention. Every convention member is invited to come to the Fiesta Pavilion, pick up their name plate and choose a seat at the autographing tables. This is a reception; hors d'oeuvres will be served.


* 1:00 Reading - Martha Wells (1 hour)
(I'm not sure what I'm going to be reading yet. Maybe some Raksura and some new Murderbot.)

* 8:00 Art Ahow Reception


* 1:00 Banquet and World Fantasy Awards Ceremony
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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-11 11:32 pm

gray day reflection

I got up early to listen to an album and write release notes for it. I really liked two of the five pieces in the album. Our weather has been cooler this week.  I walked in Heritage Park at lunch and watched butterflies fly by. I could not decide if several were Red Admirals or Painted Ladies, though those species are not that similar.

Our mlikweed stand remains a puzzle. The leaves reflect lots of signs of being eaten, but I see neither the caterpillars nor the signs of chrysalis. I hope they are still around.  The Milkweed Bugs remain in evidence.

Today is a "Gray Day". The September Law School Admission Test (LSAT) results came out today. They call it "Gray Day" because the appropriate website has the buttons go gray to signal that the scores are out. I took the LSAT 37 years ago. It was so different then. I did not take a prep course nor even know about prep courses. I knew of nobody but me among my small-town acquaintances who was taking it.  The world wide web had not been invented yet, and there was no mass way to communicate with others about the test. I took practice exams in a prep book to get ready. 

I took the LSAT to give me more career options. My undergrad grades were a B average, and I had heard that I could get into law school with a decent LSAT score even if I had a B average. I do well on standardized tests. As usual with number 2 pencil standard tests,  I got a very good but not truly great score.  But I knew so little about anything--law school "rankings" were not at all a "thing" within my awareness, though obviously I knew that Harvard or Stanford was super-elite, and my local state law school was not at all elite. But I knew that my place was the State U. so getting into someplace higher ranked was not important to me anyway.

One huge advantage in 1981 was cost. In-state tuition at public universities was, even after correcting for inflation, a fraction of what it is nowadays. Reasonably-priced professional school is a casualty of the state neglect of education in pursuit of tax cuts.

Law has been a good career for me. I am grateful that I went to law school when it was affordable.

Nowadays young women and men are so tuned in and knowledgeable about things neither I nor, I suspect, lots of folks my age knew at all.

I texted my 11 year-old niece who called me back. I took my mountain bike to Perfornance Bicycle, where they showed me that the tires held air after all while recommending we replace the tires. I will take that advice.

I walked Beatrice in the dark at 8 p.m. She loved that.

quaker lower sugar oatmeal, 3 slices pepperoni buffet pizza, cucumbers, carrots, dill pickles, pork loin, sweet potato, salad

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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-10 10:22 pm


I had a lot to do today, but it turned into a less hectic day than feared. At lunch, I went to the Wylie Post Office to mail a family matters form by a deadline. The postal employee patiently weighed my return envelope. I needed to buy stamps. He handed me a set of flag stamps. I asked what else he had. I got Halloween pumpkins.

The Harvey Weinstein story got more sordid today, as famous and less famous people told their stories of harassment. As one twitter user pointed out, Harvey Weinsteins exists in all walks of life. It's unfortunate that a powerful mogul acted unchecked for years.

I got a LinkedIn invite from my wife's cousin's daughter. We traded short "hi!" messages. She's a good egg.

I like cool weather like today.

breakfast: kix and skim milk, lunch: chicken, green beans, biscuit
dinner: ravioli with English peas and tiny bits of carrot.

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yendi ([personal profile] yendi) wrote2017-10-10 07:18 am

Alternate Take

There was a second ship out in the storm called the Fearless, and they all perished so that the folks on the Minnow could make it to shore.

It makes sense lyrically, and it's a lot more believable than the notion that Gilligan (the entire "crew") is capable of saving people's lives.
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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-09 09:10 pm

photoplay stunts

I got a lot done today. I hope to get a lot done tomorrow.

I walked in Travis Farm Park at lunch.  This is a little park in Murphy. I hoped to see hummingbirds, but instead I saw butterflies and Eastern Bluebirds.

After work, I walked in Crowley Park.

The news is full of difficult things. The police inquiry into the deranged terrorist who shot 500 people in Las Vegas continues to produce conflicting and odd surmises of the fellow.  The president reneged on an immigration deal designed to help folks brought here as children. There "should be" room for compromises on these immigration issues, but nobody seems able to find it. The horrid behavior of accused serial harasser Harvey Weinstein reads like a bad parody of a casting couch scenario.  Social media erupted in critical tweets after Meryl Streep withheld comment until the scandal was unearthed. I thought social media  a bit harsh on that part. Meanwhile, the Vice President staged a walkout from a football game over the kneeling at the national anthem issue that was even less authentic than anything described in the golden age movie days of Photoplay Magazine. 

Tonight we watched on PBS as Penelope Keith visited villages in Scotland.

breakfast: kix and skim milk; lunch: roast beef sandwich and wheat bread and baked chips; dinner: BBQ turkey, green beans, roll, corn

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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-09 07:40 am

missing monaarchs

Sunday I was up a little at Weight Watchers. This week's seminarian at the Way church service was a very good speaker. For the second week in a row, the speaker's little intro bio introduced the speaker as having a special interest. The previous Sunday, the speaker's special interest was in bridging the gap between origins originating in east Asia and Christianity.  This week's speaker was interested in mission work in impoverished areas. It's good that folks want to help out with both these fields. But it begins to make me wonder if the useful but unhip task of being a pastor at a church comes off as too prosaic for would-be saints. 

We ate lunch at the House Cafe. In the afternoon, I walked in Bethany Lakes Park to Story Park and back again. I got photographs of Monarch butterflies and Gulf Fritillary Butterflies.  In the evening, I watched television, foregoing a chance to be more productive.

I have not seen the handful of Monarch caterpillars on our milkweek plants this past few days. I know that such caterpillars are not as likely to become bird food,because their milkweed diet makes them taste toxic to birds. But though I see evidence of lovingly-chewed leaves, I do not see either caterpillars or chrysalis. We'll see what I see next.

Breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk.  Lunch: oven-fried catfish, vegetable soup, fruit, baked potato.  Dinner: Mexican chicken bake, salad.

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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-07 11:40 pm

Billie Jean Rocks

Last night I stayed up too late. At 4 in the morning I began watching episodes of the original Star Trek series. I woke a bit late, I decided to head into my office. I worked on work matters and administrative matters until around 1 p.m.  Then I drove to a KFC for lunch.  When I arrived home, I decided to take a bicycle ride on the Watters Branch Trail. I enjoyed an 80-minute ride, covering just 6 miles. I got off my bicycle in DaySpring Nature Preserve, a small open-area with trees and CCC-looking replica picnic structures.  I was looking in my binoculars to get a better look at a Blue Jay when I saw a large Red-Tailed Hawk in a tree. I got some nice pictures of this hawk.

In the early evening we met our friends Scott and Donna and our friend (and my wife's former co-worker) Cathy at the Alamo Draft House in Richardson. We went to the movie "Battle of the Sexes".  I like the actress Emma Stone, but I had low expectations for this film. But we all enjoyed it very much.Though parts of the movie were fictionalized, it's amusing to think how much of the oddest details of the film are drawn from real life. I like that an event with the credibility of championship wrestling ended up changing the course of history. I also like that the movie showed all those designs and colors that were part of living in 1972-1973. I like also the way the movie showed that circumstances and choices involve pain sometimes, and that's a difficult thing.

After the movie, we ate at the little Italian place near the cinema. My food was lovely but very plentiful.  We talked about Puerto Rico, the Equifax hack, Bogolusa, Louisiana, a pumpkin patch and Cathy's upcoming choir performance.

In other news, the site did a new launch. I signed in to the new site, only to find my previous purchases missing. The site found them, though, which made me glad.

Also, I like butterflies.

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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-06 10:34 pm

over two dozen chips

I ate lots of tortilla chips today, as a counter-balance to the pescado ajillo.

An on-line friend got a cool artist residence in the desert. I am a bit less artistically geographic. I plan to bicycle on a suburban sidewalk trail.

A police vehicle pulled out behind me with sirens wailing--the ambulance wailed not for me.

breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: 2 slices alfredo flatbread, 1 slice pepperoni pizza, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers
dinner: pescado y camarones al ajillo, salad
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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-05 10:09 pm

belated inadequate fixes and charlize

Warm, late-May-like weather dominates the days.  At Travis Farm Park, the columbine in bloom continues to attract migrating Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds.

Tonight I liked the television line-up---"The Good Place", "The Orville" and "Chicago Fire".  Charlize Thereon was a fun guest star on "The Orville".

The news covered the realization by lawmakers that  a ban on automatic weapons is circumvented if any sociopath with money can buy a device to make a semi-automatic gun behave nearly like an automatic. It's too bad it took 500 casualties at a concert to give rise to this realization. I hope they fix that issue with the law now.

breakfast: organic frosted flakes and skim milk
lunch: 3 soft chicken tacos
dinner: salmon, sweet potato, salad
marthawells: (Zoe)
marthawells ([personal profile] marthawells) wrote2017-10-04 01:20 pm

Book Quote Wednesday

A quote from The Murderbot Diaries 3: Rogue Protocol for Book Quote Wednesday on Twitter:
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marthawells ([personal profile] marthawells) wrote2017-10-04 07:58 am
Entry tags:

Book Recs on Wednesday

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)

* Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
Victorian missionaries travel into the heart of the newly discovered lands of the Fae, in a stunningly different fantasy that mixes Crimson Peak with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels.

* The Rule of Five by Melissa Scott and Don Sakers
THE RULE OF FIVE: YEAR ONE contains the first twelve episodes of the serial space opera that's changing the way stories are told.

* The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons. This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

* Story: Though She Be But Little by C.S.E. Cooney

* Dragon Sisters by Joyce Chng
A special edition to celebrate the enduring friendship between Xiao Xiao and Ming Zhu, two princesses from two different worlds. Enter a world of fantasy and magic and recipes set in Qing China. What happens when Xiao Xiao, a daughter of an Imperial Courtesan, finds a magical green pearl in the hands of her adoptive little sister? When she meets Ming Zhu, a dragon princess, daughter of the Dragon King, a friendship is formed. But will Princess Ming Zhu ever return back to her watery kingdom and reconcile with her father, the Dragon King? The vignettes and recipes will make you nostalgic and very hungry.

* Story: Angel of the Blockade by Alex Wells

* The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

* The Lilies of the Dawn by Vanessa Fogg
There is a lake of marvels. A lake of water lilies that glow with the color of dawn. For generations Kai's people have harvested these lilies, dependent upon them for the precious medicines they provide. But now a flock of enchanted cranes has come to steal and poison the harvest. The lilies are dying. Kai's people are in peril. A mysterious young man from the city thinks he might have a solution. Kai must work with him to solve the mystery of the cranes, and it will take all her courage, love, strength, and wisdom to do what she must to save both the lilies and her people.

* The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang
The Red Threads of Fortune is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang's Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls "effortlessly fascinating." For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Black Tides of Heaven, available simultaneously.
Fallen prophet, master of the elements, and daughter of the supreme Protector, Sanao Mokoya has abandoned the life that once bound her. Once her visions shaped the lives of citizens across the land, but no matter what tragedy Mokoya foresaw, she could never reshape the future. Broken by the loss of her young daughter, she now hunts deadly, sky-obscuring naga in the harsh outer reaches of the kingdom with packs of dinosaurs at her side, far from everything she used to love.

* The Best American Science Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams and Charles Yu
Authors include Leigh Bardugo, E. Lily Yu, Nisi Shawl, Jeremiah Tolbert, A. Merc Rustad, N.K. Jemisin, and Joseph Allen Hill.

* Null States by Malka Older
After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

* Preorder: Moonshine by Jasmine Gower
In the flourishing metropolis of Soot City (a warped version of 1920s Chicago), progressive ideals reign and the old ways of magic and liquid mana are forbidden. Daisy Dell is a Modern Girl – stylish, educated and independent – keen to establish herself in the city but reluctant to give up the taboo magic inherited from her grandmother. Her new job takes her to unexpected places, and she gets more attention than she had hoped for. When bounty hunters start combing the city for magicians, Daisy must decide whether to stay with her new employer – even if it means revealing the grim source of her occult powers.
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gurdonark ([personal profile] gurdonark) wrote2017-10-03 09:50 pm


A gentle rain fell in the afternoon and evening. I listened to a voice on the radio describe over 500 shots being shot in less than ten minutes. In the evening, the television played "NCIS", "This is Us" and ""NCIS: New Orleans". I ate several bananas.

organic frosted flakes, skim milk, turkey sandwich, baked chips, cube steak, a sweet potato, salad, fortune cookies, a low-fat ice cream sandwich, popcorn cakes, grapes
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malinaldarose ([personal profile] malinaldarose) wrote2017-10-03 08:26 pm

Here's Hoping This Works

  • I am tired. I could totally go to bed right now. It's 8:15....

  • At least things are picking up at work again. I have things to do...just when I got used to not having things to do, of course.

  • With six litter boxes in the house, Kethri has been going behind furniture again. I'm beginning to wonder if she's senile, lazy, or actually sick. Since this has been going on for more than a year (off and on), I'm thinking either senile or lazy.

  • The above brought to you by having to bleach-clean the corner of the back room behind the loveseat about an hour ago.

  • Fucking cat.

  • The Gecko has started sleeping all day again. So far, she hasn't used the couch, but maybe she figured out that the tablecloths -- which I was just considering dispensing with -- are uncomfortable. She completely slept through the gas station fire last Friday and I'm sure she was only awake yesterday when I got home because her father wanted to make sure that I knew that I had to cart her home last night.

  • Good thing I don't need her to actually pay attention to Jack...though it's October now, and I'm wondering if there will be An Episode this fall.

  • Not that it matters, since she claims she couldn't get him to stop during last fall's Episode.

  • That skin irritation that I went to see the doctor about has returned. It comes and goes. I'm beginning to wonder if I should take Zyrtec. When I had the hives all those years ago, I took Zyrtec (long before it was released as an OTC medication). If it's a histamine response to something....

  • I believe I have now spotted both kittens and their mother. I saw a grey kitten of about the right age to be Brother over with the colony, and there was a black kitten that could be Sister in the next door neighbor's yard last night. There was also a black adult cat hiding in the weeds nearby. So they didn't go far. I also spotted kittens of roughly the same age up the street where the Spring Kittens went and I'm wondering if they're the Spring Kittens' siblings...or offspring.

  • Got an oil change yesterday afternoon. They found an oil leak right at the filter. They also found that my low tire was really low, at only 20 pounds. Oops.

  • Blah. Blah, I say.

  • Oh, and Semagic seems to be working now -- thanks, Beth!