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I read 81 books this year, mostly science fiction. A few of my favorites (with no significant spoilers):

Permutation City and Diaspora by Greg Egan )

Cluster and Chaining the Lady by Piers Anthony )

To Be or Not To Be: That Is the Adventure by Ryan North )

The Hobbit

Dec. 29th, 2013 03:01 pm
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Well, it was better than the last one.

Spoilers )
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That was… a lot better than I expected. In fact, my only real complaint is that it was too abridged. I realize the abridging really couldn’t be helped; but it was only a two-hour movie. They could have made it a little longer!

What there was of the story, though, was great. And it’s rare for me to say this, because I usually have a million complaints about film adaptations of books I like. But this was so perfectly faithful to the book — and, admittedly, it’s possible that my love for the book is affecting my judgment here, and that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much if weren't able to fill in the gaps in the story with my knowledge of the book.

Not really that spoilery, but cutting anyway. )

tl;dr: Enjoyed it. Would watch again.
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This year's Jack-o'-Lantern: clearly I'm running out of ideas.

Books

Sep. 29th, 2013 09:39 pm
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I'm trying to branch out a little and read more nonfiction; here are some quick comments about a couple space-related books I read recently.


How I Killed Pluto And Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

A memoir by the guy whose discovery of a Pluto-sized object caused the demotion of Pluto from planetary status. A fun read that taught me a lot about the solar system and the world of astronomy. Definitely recommended.


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

Entertaining book about the more "practical" side of sending human beings into space. It made me wonder how many of Mars One's 200,000 applicants would have signed up if they had any idea what it's actually like to live in space -- because Roach makes the whole experience sound pretty miserable! Crappy food, substandard hygiene, cramped environment, space sickness, plus the unanticipated psychological strain of living in a completely artificial environment for days or weeks at a time. She makes it sound doubtful that it would even be possible for a human being to reach Mars without going completely nuts -- much less live there permanently.

It might offer a grim view of an astronaut's life, but the book is not a grim read at all -- it's full of humor. I'm impressed at the dedication Roach shows in chasing down all the seedy secrets that NASA tries to keep away from its public image -- although occasionally she goes a little too far into things I'd rather not know (if you've ever wondered about poop, vomit and B.O. in space, this is the book for you).

Also recommended.
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Opened my library book, and a photo fell out. I guess someone was using it as a bookmark. It's a small Asian child in a pink jacket. There's no identifying information on the photo. The library would know who checked out this book before me, but probably there's no point in trying to track them down just to give them the photo back. They can't have cared that much about it if they were using it as a bookmark, right?
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I know it'll probably suck, but I just want so badly for it to be awesome.

The anticipation is taking me back to my preteen years, when I was way into Star Wars -- particularly, oddly enough, The Phantom Menace. Partly the movie itself, but also the Jedi Apprentice spinoff novels (AKA Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: the Early Years). At the time TPM came out, I was ten years old -- not really old enough to distinguish good movies from bad ones. It had spaceships and lightsabers, and that was enough for me. I had a thin little movie guidebook with all sorts of background information about the characters, aliens, droids etc. in the movie, which I read to pieces. Even now I have such a nostalgic attachment to the movie that I just can't hate it the way I know I'm "supposed" to (though, admittedly, I haven't rewatched it in years -- maybe I'll feel different when I finally do). I started watching RedLetterMedia's review of the movie a while ago, but I didn't get very far because it was just making me want to turn off his sarcastic commentary and watch the movie for real.

The other two prequels came out when I was a little older and more discerning (if you can call it that), and I don't have any particular fondness for them (beyond OMG Yoda with a lightsaber!!, and also RotS was pretty good, I guess). But even if I end up hating it on a rewatch, I think on some level I will always hold a certain nostalgic fondness for TPM.
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I think I've just discovered my new favorite blog.

Alternately, find something vast quantities of normal people out in the real world have been doing routinely for decades without a second thought, then present it as astonishing and revolutionary because a few rich people and fashion designers have picked up on it.  Eric Wilson succeeds brilliantly with “How Cold Is it?  Enough to Make Long Johns Stylish.”  In case you haven’t heard of long underwear, it’s a form of underwear that is long, and thus typically considered warmer than the more conventional, “short” underwear.   “Are people really wearing these things? In public?”, asks Wilson, a professional writer who got paid to write this.

“After the snowstorms and frigid weather in New York this winter, it sort of makes sense that long johns would be having a moment here.”  Yes… warm articles of clothing having “a moment” when it gets cold outside in the winter… it’s so counterintuitive, but it works!  True visionary madness!  That’s what I love about fashion… its paradoxes and contradictions… the way it combines the yin and the yang, the hot and the cold, the black swan and the white swan… it lets me express my true, savage inner nature…  Also, I like to be cozy.




“When and why did this verb ['obsessed'], which once connoted a serious psychological disorder, become hijacked by the fashionable young women (and a few men) of America?”  Yeah, a few men.  An odd number, if you know what I mean.  Odd as in queer.  Queer, as in fruitier than an Edible Arrangement sticking out of a glory hole.  And speaking of metaphors, when did the word “hijacked” become hijacked to connote the mere metaphorical or hyperbolic extension of a word to express related meanings?  Hijacking used to connote a serious crime; what’s more, it used to denote it, because that’s its literal meaning.  Now it’s being serial-murdered and eaten by linguistic Jeffrey Dahmers of colloquial language use.  Even cannibalism is being cannibalized to refer to things that imitate other things.  For shame.
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[personal profile] skygiants has been posting some really awesome Les Mis fics recently. Her writing is amazing, and all Mizfen should read these. (P.S. They're all gen.)

on your way up to the light
Eponine throws a note at an old man. She doesn't anticipate the consequences.

And Yet Are Orphans
For lack of anything better to do, Azelma pays a visit to her brother.

Marius Rises In the Esteem of the Revolution
It is not Marius' fault that his friends mix their metaphors.
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[personal profile] calvinahobbes has put up a great list of fanvid links here. Of those new to me, I think my favorite is A Different Kind of Love Song (multifandom) by [personal profile] giandujakiss, which brings all the warm fannish fuzzies.

Well, that and TUMBLR FANDOM STYLE. :D :D :D
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Just closed the deal on my new condo!! I AM A HOMEOWNER OMG. It's 2 bed 2 bath, which I wanted even though I'll be living alone because it has a garage (no more scraping ice off the windshield every morning in the winter yesssss) and it's about two minutes from where I work (BEST COMMUTE EVER).

This is an especially big deal for me because except for my first year of college when I lived in a dorm (and went home every weekend), I've never lived outside my parents' house in my life. THIS IS A PRETTY BIG TRANSITION, is what I'm sayin'.

I AM EXCITE.

On the way home I saw a car with license plate A SMILE, and a smiley-face sticker on the rear window. Aww.

wtf

Mar. 23rd, 2013 08:45 pm
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Just saw a car with the license plate "LOOOOMS".

Doctor Who fan, I can only assume. : )
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...

HUSSIE I LOVE YOU.
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Dave/Eridan.

... okay!

I think I will 'ship them in the caliginous quadrant. Hey, it could work!
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My loot from the Homestuck kickstarter is FINALLY on its way!

I can't wait to find out my officially-designated OTP. :D

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