vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Ah, Culture what would SF be without you? Probably vastly poorer and leaving us without suitable similes for things like Asher's Polity series.

Anyway, this is a Culture novel that has multiple strains of narrative, somewhat inter-related (even if it's not always that obvious). It is also a story about love, about sorrow, what constitutes good and evil. And possibly slightly about the responsibilities you have as a civilisation, for your past and future actions.

One strand is a composer, who's of a race of predators (the Chelgrsomethings), but who has now solidly decided that his former home memetope is no longer for him at all and has emigrated to a Culture Orbital.

Another strand is a Culture anthropologist/biologist/something who's way out in a weird "I am made entirely of gas" planet but not really a gas giant (ultratech, weirds everything, you know).

A third strand is a Chelsomething military, on a secret mission. A mission so secret that not even he knows what it is.

And then stuffs happen, in unimitable Banksian style. Possibly not the best first introduction to The Culture (mine was Player of Games, then Excession if memory serves me right), but probably not the worst possible.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Third book in Saunders' Commonweal series, wherein we see more of what we saw in the second book, and get to know what happens to a (relatively) small economy, when you introduce several orders of magnitude of difference in capability. Yes, it involves people discussing difficult things. No, it does not feel like "as you know, Bob".

All in all, if you liked the first two books, this is probably well worth chasing down, trapping in your book-trapping trap, then stun it for long enough that you can read it before, like the book it is, it turns around and devours you from the eyes inwards.

Or, at least, that is what I imagine books are, in the Second Commonweal. At least the really vicious ones.

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:59 pm
rbarclay: (stinkefinger)
[personal profile] rbarclay
We want to re-do our guestroom, because right now it's only usable for a single person, and also not terribly handy for us storing stuff.
For that reason it'll get my trusty old foldable futon bed/couch, upgrading sleeping capacity to two persons and also getting a couch. (The old cupboard and desk will also have to go at some point, but right now we can't find a new cupboard with sensible dimensions. Sloped roof doesn't make this easy.)

This will make room in the upstairs living room for a new couch/bed - and that's where we're stuck at the moment, because as usual what we want to have is not what industry wants to sell. I'd like something 180cm in width (seating three), folding out to at least 160x200cm bed-wise (though full 180x200cm would be better), with one couch-side at least not having a fixed armrest (gets in the way of me lounging around reading). Industry makes this as futons, but only in 140cm width (and SWMBO hates futons), and in 190cm+ width (too wide) folding out sideways to 120x190cm bed-wise with a max. load of 136kg (uh, we're not going to plan for gnomes but full-sized adults!). Or with fixed armrests.

A query from a self-published pundit.

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
reddragdiva: (party)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

My Bitcoin pundit career is going great guns! I got to go on BBC Newsnight and call cryptocurrency garbage. Don't ever buy into cryptos, btw, they're a car crash. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Soooo I just got a note inviting me to speak at a seminar, about why blokechain is pants, to a small number of people who have money. I'm gonna charge for my time of course, but I can sell books there. Which means physical paperbacks I bring in a box.

Now, one of the great things about this self-publishing racket in TYOOL 2017 is 0 capital expenditure. Has anyone here done this, or anything like it? Was it worth it? Did you end up with a box of books under your bed forever?

The books are $3.03 each to print, but all author copies come from America (because Createspace is dumb), at some ruinous shipping rate to the UK. Assuming Kindle and CreateSpace pay promptly I'll have a pile of money on September 30, but I sorta don't right now.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to approach this? Doing a talk with a box of nonfiction books - good idea, bad idea, no idea?

(I'll no doubt do a pile of flyers for people who haven't got cash on them right there. Who carries cash in the UK these days? Less people than you might think.)

Yet another holiday (nearly) over

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:36 pm
rbarclay: (laughingcat)
[personal profile] rbarclay
Been pottering around the Shannon-Erne region (again) for 2 weeks, on a houseboat (again), with friends (again).

Rough route: started in Bellanaleck (NI), up Lower Lough Erne for a bit, then south-/west-wards through the Shannon-Erne canal (crossing into Republic of Ireland) to Lough Derg, returned the boat in Banagher.

Now I'm looking forward to:
- a week of pottering around at home
- getting reaquainted with SWMBO.feline
- real bread (fluffycrumbly soda "bread" ain't my idea of edible)
- waterpressure in the shower that isn't measured in millibar ;-)
- no mentions of Brexit when talking to locals (prominently on everyones minds, both sides of the border)
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Second book of Saunder's A Book of the Commonweal series (that's what's on the books, calling it a trilogy feels a bit weird, since I have vague recollections of a fourth book on the way). it takes plce not long after the events in the first book. I don't think it's ever explicit, but I'm thinking "weeks to a few months".

We're primarily following Edgar (occasionally just "Ed") who starts the book just waking up from a coma, feeling very weird indeed. And there's a really good reason for that. It turns out that Edgar has spent most of his life having his magical power completely consumed by a metaphysical (and probably also physical) parasite. And now it's been taken out because that's what you do with parasites. And now there's a problem, because Edgar is too old for traditional wizard training to work. But too powerful to not be trained, otherwise things like "death" (and occasionally "mayhem") happens.

And so an alternative is found. We follow Edgar and his fellow students through approximately the first year of training, learning more (much more) about how magic works, as well as how the Commonweal works.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is Saunders' debut (as far as I'm aware) book. My recollection of this, when it came to re-read it, was "stuffs happened" and that was pretty much it. The book is... dense. Informationally speaking, that is. I can't, to be honest, tell you that I'm sure if the narrative voice is first person or just extremely tight third, but it's one, the other, or switching between those.

Anyway, this is a book set in the Commonweal. And, I hear you ask, what is one of those. Well, it would've been cool if there was an explanatory chapter, but there is't. So, as far as I have inferred, the Commonweal is the creation of the Wizard Laurel, about 500 years ago, as a general "I am so fed up" reaction to the last, what, several many thousands (hundreds of thousands, possibly) years of sorcerous rule (basic pattern: "magic user gets powerful, kills the previous ruler; mass sacrifices and brain squishing ensues", then repeat with the magic user from the previous sentence switched to the ruler position). So, the obvious solution is something that pretty much looks like representative democracy, with a heavy dose of enforced resource equality.

Now, some of that Commonweal information is gleaned from the next two books. Where was I? Oh, yes, as we start the book, it seems as if one of the neighbouring "we keep cycling through previous ruler and mass sacrifices" areas has decided that it is Really Time to enter the Commonweal, in force, and we get a first row seat to the experience of a small band of brave people trying to force the invaders back (or, as the case MAY be, keep them outside the border).

All in all, pretty good reading.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the third book in Sanderson's "first Mistborn trilogy" (there now seems to be ore than one, which is fine, I should try to remember looking into perhaps get hold of the first one). All in all, this is a series that plays on your expectations, but not in what I would consider a malicious way.

I did find it quite interesting to notice the things I did and did not remember from the first time I read the trilogy, there were vast chunks that had just left my mind, but other things were relatively as I expected. Memory says I last read this some 5-6 years ago.

[ bookmonth ] 2017-08

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:18 am
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Book list )

A linear extrapolation says 124.5 books by year's end. August was pretty much a miss in the "reads lots" department, with travel that was full of sufficiently interesting distractions that, well, this ain't just been a month for reading (also, perhaps, signalled by being about two week's late wit hte monthly summary).

Go Tell the Bees

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:08 pm
terriko: (Default)
[personal profile] terriko
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


This was my second rainbow for pride month, because once you’ve accidentally started such a great theme you might as well stick with it! Here’s the two projects together:

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


Yarn


Bling Bling Sister, a sparkly rainbow gradient from Alexandra’s Crafts. Probably acquired at the Oregon Flock and Fiber festival. You can’t see the “bling” in all my photos, but there is a little thread of silver sparkle in there and it looks great especially as it catches the light.


Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


I’d been saving this yarn for something special and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a bit more kinky than the last gradient I used from Wollelfe (I haven’t written up that project yet, sorry!), so it really really needed blocking when I was done. Here it is looking lumpy in the PDX airport:


Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


However, even a slightly inadequate travel “block on a towel in my mom’s living room” got it looking great:

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


Pattern


Go Tell the Bees by PDXKnitterati.


PDXKnitterati’s been one of my favourite designers since I first cast on her Fern Leaf Shawlette, which is still the bit of knitwear I wear most. (If you’ve seen me at a conference in the past year, I’ve probably been wearing it!) Her patterns are always beautiful, easy to read, well-tested, and she’s got lots that are in that perfect balance of complicated enough to be fun or to teach you a new skill, but with simple enough bits that I can still get lots done during standards meetings, on commuter rail, or hanging out in the hammock in my backyard. Or in this case, on the couch I gifted to my parents when I left Canada:


Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


Also, if you ever get a chance, she runs really great knit-a-longs on ravelry for some of her new pattern releases. Her fans produce beautiful inspiring work and she encourages us all to post pictures and even awards prizes! (I even won some beautiful bee stitch markers and candles!) It’s really fun to be part of her community there for a few weeks. Here’s a picture to commemorate the excitement of my first bees emerging from the pattern:


Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


I’ve got quite a few more pdxknitterati patterns in my queue, and just going through these photos again has me itching to cast on something else from her catalog!


Project


This one was cast on in Oregon and finished in Ontario, and it gathered comments from people across the continent because of the bright yarn and the great pattern.


From those first few rows:

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


Through realizing I had a perfect honeycomb bag for my project thanks to my friend M:

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


To taking finished object pictures in the light rain in Ottawa:

Go Tell the Bees Knit-a-long


This one was a super satisfying project, and a beautiful finished object that is quickly becoming one of my favourites to wear.

Bounce Blanket

Sep. 12th, 2017 02:01 pm
terriko: (Default)
[personal profile] terriko
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I wound up knitting rainbows through pride month, which was fun. This one was an accident (I just like rainbows) but once I realized I did go out of my way to dig out a rainbow ball for my next project. 🙂






Yarn


Bounce Blanket kit from Knitted Wit (“Little Black Dress” colourway, Stroller size)


This was a splurge purchase to celebrate selling off a bunch of my initial stock grant at work. Despite having been in tech for many years, this marks the first time I’ve actually had stock vest and get sold!


Bounce Blanket


My one complaint with this kit is that it wasn’t a perfect gradient — that stupid green skein on the end didn’t quite fit, so I left it at the end where it wouldn’t bug me too much. But I love the yarn, and with the exception of that irksome green, loved the colours. It also was quite generous in terms of amounts: I could easily have made this blanket wider than the stroller size only I legitimately wanted this to fit in a stroller and there’s not much advantage to having it wide enough to drag. So I’m debating a nice rainbow-y project to do with the leftovers. There might be enough for a stripey baby sweater to match!


Pattern


Bounce by TinCanKnits.


This is not a hard pattern, but interesting enough with the rainbow colours that I didn’t get bored! I’ve now done a number of patterns from this team now and took advantage of one of their sales to pick up a few more to try.


Bounce Blanket


Photos


In progress:

Bounce Blanket


Bounce Blanket


In progress with temporary dog (we were pupsitting and it turns out he’s a great knitting companion):

Bounce Blanket


Pre-blocking:

Bounce Blanket


Bounce Blanket


Blocking:

Bounce Blanket


I’m setting this to publish the day the baby it’s for is due to arrive, but I hear babies rarely adhere to schedule so no pictures with said baby for a while. 🙂

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