mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
I'm trying to remember to post a little bit here & there, but I am totally sleep-deprived again and so I hope this comes out making sense. (I got like four hours of sleep yesterday.) I've already had one try at going to sleep earlier and I sat and read instead (now on Expanse book 3, which is called Abaddon's Gate, I believe? not sure of their spelling of that but I'm fairly sure that's the name. SPOILER (although fairly minor, I guess): there's a giant alien stargate (?) thing - or maybe it's not a gate, just a Ringworld - lurking around so that makes sense for the name at this point in the overarching plot.)

We have a plan for the weekend which does not include a movie for me. Rob is going to see Vice, finally (no new horror movies this week), and I will stay home and we will go out to eat on Sunday. I'm still saying the same thing I was saying a couple of weeks ago, which is that I was not amused by the Bush administration the first time around and I have no desire to re-live it. Rob has been wanting to go see Glass when it comes out next weekend, but the reviews aren't good. On the other hand, it's his birthday weekend so I may end up going anyway. Movie-wise, I'm just marking time til the things I actually want to see (like Captain Marvel) start coming out.

Also I had a mammo last week and I have to have a followup because they saw a shadow of some kind. I got phone messages about it and looked online, and I get the impression that the nurses who were trying to call me were all set to have to calm me down, and I'm like, no problem, been there done that (every few years since I turned 40, basically) and I'm not going to get excited til I'm sure there's actually a problem.
mellicious: "I have nothing significant to say" (in a thought bubble) (nothing significant)
 I mentioned yesterday that I was feeling a little sick. Well, we are both sick - pretty mildly sick, I think it's just a cold - and furthermore, my sister and her husband are too. So I guess maybe somebody that waited on us earlier this week was sick, because meals were mostly when all four of us were together. (I believe one server on Christmas Eve mentioned that they were sending her home because she was sick, in fact.) But anyway, I'd rather have a cold than a severe allergy attack, because the cold will go away in a few days. With allergies you just don't know.

Rob went off to see the Halloween movie at the dollar theater. I just stayed home. I'm watching the MSNBC shows from earlier today (what the heck is the stock market doing?) and futzing around on the computer. I bought two more candles from Bath & Body Works (I always want to say Bed Bath & Beyond, but that's wrong) because they have the 3-wick candles on half-price sale again. I bought another Fresh Balsam candle and a non-holiday one that was Eucalyptus Mint or something like that. I thought that sounded like it was pretty safely something I would like.

I'm obsessing about Zoya polishes at the moment - not the new ones, but the old ones - like, the ones so old you can't figure out all the information on them. I suppose this is a stupid thing to obsess about, but I am just the same. (I have this spreadsheet with a lot of holes in it and I was trying to figure out some of the missing ones. I have names and Zoya's polish numbers and I'm trying to match those up, basically.)

Last night I finished the book that I was reading - one of the series that I didn't get around to talking about earlier, the October Daye books - one of Seanan McGuire's urban fantasy series - so then I had to decide what was next. I have unread stuff that I could have read without spending more money, but I really wanted to either get the next book in that series or the next Expanse book. That was book 9 of 12 on the October Daye books and I've only read the first Expanse book (Leviathan Wakes) - there are a bunch of those too, at least 8 of them, I think, from what I saw when I looked on Amazon. I like both series and I'm not in any particular hurry to finish one or the other. If the October Daye books seemed to be heading towards some particular ending, I would probably be wanting to finish, but as far as I can tell, they're mostly just serials and could possibly go on forever. I'm not far enough into the Expanse series to have any idea about that - it did have an ending to the first book, they're not just cliffhangers like, say, Lord of the Rings, where it's really just one book divided up. But there's plenty of plot to go on with, too. Anyway, I bought the second Expanse book, which is Caliban's War. It seems to pick up maybe a couple of months after the first one ends, from what I've read so far.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
I've got books and movies to discuss, and I suspect TV is going to wander in here too if I get very far, so "entertainments" it is.

First of all, I finished Queen of Air and Darkness, and it had a satisfying ending, although it continued to be almost unbearably talky right up til the end. Another (more minor) gripe is that I think it's misnamed, because the Queen of Air and Darkness was supposed to be the character Annabel (rather than the Seelie Queen, which was what I expected), who hardly ever showed up. (The Seelie Queen was there about as much as Annabel, for what that's worth.) I kept waiting for something to happen to justify that title. Maybe the idea was that Annabel's actions in the last book (in killing a character who I won't name in case that's a spoiler for somebody!) drove this book all the way through, because a lot of this book was about the process of grieving. Anyway, I'm glad I read it, because it's closure for the series, but at this point I'm even more glad to be done with it. - I don't usually think in terms of how many stars I give things, but on a 1-5 basis I'd probably give this a 3.

Yesterday we went to see what I keep calling the "Spider-verse thing" because its name is too unwieldy to bother with, as far as I'm concerned. It was really good. Easily the best Spiderman movie I've seen, although I told Rob that that's a pretty low bar. I saw at least a couple of the Raimi ones back in the day, they were decent but not really anything special. I never saw any of the Andrew Garfield ones. I would say that the best of the ones I'd previously seen is the one from last year - Homecoming, I think? It was still messy in that way that Spider-man movies seem to be prone to, but pretty good.

In the animated one, we get an origin story for teenager Miles Morales, who eventually runs across an irradiated spider - of course - and then into a confrontation between Kingpin & Spiderman (the usual sort of Spiderman, Peter Parker a few years after his origin story, now in his 20s). Kingpin is trying to bring his wife & son back from a parallel universe, which is how the whole multiverse thing gets started. From there we eventually end up with a whole gang of Spideys - male, female, and in one case, non-human. I won't spoil you past that. It's all a lot of fun, and the animation is wonderful. (Who knew Sony had this in them?)

Before I started on the Shadowhunters re-read, what I read was the first book in the Expanse series, which is also a TV series - it's been on SyFy for several years. We used to watch SyFy a whole lot but in recent years we've drifted away from it, for no particular reason. So I didn't know anything about the series except that it existed. And lately I'd started hearing that the series was pretty good, I guess that's what got me started with this. The TV series turned up on Amazon Prime in the past few months, and I knew it was something that came from a book or book series, and my rule is usually if there's a book and a TV/movie adaptation, I'd rather read (or see) the original one first. So I went and found the book - the first one is called Leviathan Wakes. And man, it was good. So I started wanting to watch the series before I'd even finished the book. Once I got past the first big section of the book (where they're on the Canterbury) I figured that was bound to be as far as the first episode went, and so Rob and I watched the first episode and it was also really good. Anyway, if you're not familiar with this, it's, like, straight-out sci-fi, a space opera set in a not-too-terribly-distant future in which Mars is in the process of being terraformed, and the asteroid belt is being mined and some of the moons of Jupiter & Saturn are starting to be colonized. I'm not going to try to really summarize the plot, which is pretty convoluted, but it has action and a mystery, and I love it. (I love the book somewhat more than the series, but they're both good. I'm only about five episodes into the series, but it's well-done, also. At some point soon I'll probably go hunt down the second book.)

(There's another series or two I've been reading lately, but I'll come back to those later.)
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (star wars)
 I made a list of what I've been reading lately, and I was going to talk about several different series that I've been reading. But I'm in the middle of the latest Shadowhunters book, and I seem to have Feelings about it. So I don't figure I'll get much further than this tonight.

I used to say "I'm reading a Cassie Clare book" or "I'm reading a Mortal Instruments book" but Shadowhunters is the name of the TV series (on Disney, switching to Netflix, I hear) so I figure they're all Shadowhunters books now. I'm sure not everybody has read these books and not everybody even knows about that series, either. (it's on Disney, after all - if you don't have kids you don't necessarily follow what's on Disney channels, at least I don't.)

"The Mortal Instruments" was the name of the first six books - or was it only the first three? I forget. I can't keep all the series names straight, anyway, which is why I'm perfectly happy to switch to a nice simple(-ish) name like Shadowhunters. I can remember The Mortal Instruments for some reason but I can't ever remember the name of the series that was set in the 1800s or the one I'm reading now. It's "The Dark Artifices" but I only know that because I looked earlier today, and who knows if I'll remember by tomorrow. Maybe I will, because I was thinking about why it's called that. This is the set of books that's set (generally) in California - although really only the first book stayed put in California, and since then they have bopped around and large parts of it have taken place in Europe and some in Faerie, too. I decided that Dark Artifices makes sense because it has running plot-lines about necromancy and there's a physical Book of the Dead that everybody keeps looking for. (And also a xeroxed copy of it, which I was amused to find that the Fairy Queen doesn't know what to make of.)

(I just took a detour of an hour or so over to my old Livejournal because I was pretty sure I remembered talking about Shadowhunters, and I found it. It was at the time - almost three years ago - when the Shadowhunters series was starting up, and I went on at some length about the casting with reference to the book and also the very bad feature film (City of Bones) from a few years back. That's here, and also a little bit in the entry before that, here.)

Well, so anyway, the third book of the fourth trilogy about Shadowhunters has just come out (Queen of Air and Darkness). So there's an actual dozen books - not even counting the short story collections about Magnus and Simon and the one reference book. I'm about a third of the way through, I think, so nobody tell me any spoilers. (I was thinking that the one thing I really miss about reading physical books is that you can look at where you are and make a good ballpark estimate of how much is left and how long it might take you to finish. "34%" tells you that you're a third of the way through but not how long the damn thing is.) I re-read the two previous books plus the last Jace-and-Clary book (City of Heavenly Fire) because that's where these characters were introduced. I realized that I found the previous book (Lord of Shadows) a long slog, in particular. It's very talky. I enjoy the plot, when it finally happens, and it's not that I hate the rest of it, but I think it could have stood some editing down. I'm kind of impatient generally with the whole Emma-and-Julian doomed lovers business. Maybe it's partly because Cassie Clare has kind of worn that trope out, really. We were in the car the other day and for some reason I started trying to explain the whole thing to Rob about how Jace has had about three or four different last names and he was Clary's brother - no, he's not! - and all of that stuff. (I never believed that he would turn out to be Clary's brother for a minute.) Anyway, I like the characters of Emma and Julian aside from the whole romance thing but man, is that one plot that I'm bored with. (The romance that I'm really feeling is the whole Mark-and-Christina-and-hot-fairy-prince threesome thing.)
mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
When did BlackKKlansman come out, late summer? I think this is everything I saw in sort of late August to October. BlackKKlansman was really excellent. It's an amazing story, and apparently hews fairly close to what actually happened. Here's the book it was based on. Short version: back in the 70s, a black policeman in Colorado infiltrated the local Klan. He started out talking to people on the phone, and then when it came to actually meeting them in person, a white cop went in his place. The black cop is played by Denzel Washington's son (I didn't even know Denzel had a son who was an actor, but he was really good), and the white cop is played by Adam Driver. Topher Grace, bizarrely, plays David Duke. It's directed by Spike Lee and Jordan Peele was a producer, no less. I don't think a lot of people saw this in theaters, but it's totally worth tracking down.

I had seen it once before - ages ago - but Princess Mononoke made the rounds on the Ghiblifest circuit that they do every year, and we went to that. It's not my favorite Miyazaki movie but it's entertaining, and the artwork is really beautiful, as in all his movies.

Crazy Rich Asians wouldn't have been a movie Rob went to see on his own, of course, but he seemed to enjoy it pretty well, and so did I. I hadn't read the book - I knew it existed but it's really kind of an offputting title, you know? But everybody seemed to like the movie and so we went, after it had already been out for a couple of weeks, and it was good. I kind of think there's something wrong with the concept of marrying somebody who you don't know well enough to know if they're insanely rich, but once you get past that part, it really works. I liked it enough that I'll probably read the book when I get around to it.

And then another one we didn't go see until it had been around a while was Venom. I knew who Venom was from playing Marvel Heroes - otherwise we probably wouldn't have gone at all. The reviews were kind of so-so, I think, but it kept making money and making money and so I figured it can't be that bad or people wouldn't still be going to see it, right? And we both liked it. It's not exactly a piece of art and it's awfully testosterone laced, but it was entertaining.

And then we went to see The House With A Clock In Its Walls. It's a kids' movie, but the trailer looked good, and really it was pretty cute. (And I'll watch pretty much anything with Cate Blanchett in it.) It's set in the 50s and it's about a kid who goes to live with his uncle, who turns out to be a magician - a real magician. (How much you want to bet that somebody somewhere pitched it as the next Harry Potter?) It's based on a whole series of books that I'd never heard of that were written starting in the 70s, I think.

And then we're coming up on the things that have come out more recently, so I think I'll save that for a part 3 on another day.


mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
I think I intended to talk about baseball tonight. Or about television - I think that was because I talked about movies last night and television seemed like the next progression or something. My brain is kind of pinging all over tonight, though, so I don't know what you're gonna get.

If you read the entry from yesterday, but didn't read the comment that was added late in the day, MissMeliss reminded me that the actual title of the book that I was talking about at the end of that entry (although it's not the original title) is normally And Then There Were None, not Ten Little Indians as I was thinking. I think I just had the name for that poem - as I think I must have learned it - stuck in my head. And I read the Wikipedia entry and she is also correct that there's no Poirot, but I won't say any more than that about the plot. It's summarized at that link if you want to know. I can't believe I forgot, actually, now that I have been reminded, but in my defense I think it was somewhere in the range of 30-40 years ago that I last read it.


What I was going to say about television, really, is that I don't seem to be any good at binge-watching. I can watch maybe two or three episodes of something and that's usually where I'm ready to stop. And then I don't come back to them for weeks or months or sometimes more. (I'm still on season two of Agents of SHIELD, for example.) I'm trying to finish Iron Fist, even though it's not all that good, just to be completist, I guess, so I can eventually watch The Defenders. But I also haven't finished season two of Daredevil so if I'm really being completist I need to go finish that also. (I was watching Daredevil with Rob, but I think he's lost interest and I should give up on that part.)

I had watched one episode of Victoria and one episode of The Crown, and I liked them both a lot, but I had never gotten back to watching either of those. But last month when Rob went to Ohio to see his brother, I went to see my aunt for the weekend - she's always telling me to come visit more and I hardly ever do - and she and I bonded over The Crown. She is apparently a big watcher of Masterpiece Theater, and so she had seen Victoria (season 1, I mean) but she somehow had not heard about The Crown even though she has Netflix and when we looked it popped up on her recommendations. So we watched the first episode - I'd already seen it but I figured I could use reminding anyway - and then went on and watched a couple more. And I did watch some more of Victoria since then and I need to go ahead and watch some more of both of those because they're really good.

I really don't watch much series TV, when it comes down to it. The Netflix Marvel shows are probably the most of anything I've watched in ages. (Rob & I both watched one season of Daredevil and then Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and part of season 2 of Daredevil before we played out on that.) We watch a lot of MSNBC and a lot of baseball for six months a year - or seven, this year. (I'll probably come back to that subject another day. It's all I can do not to start typing about it in all caps, shall we say. If you read my Twitter you've undoubtedly already seen that once or twice.) ...And so those two between them take up a lot of TV time. We both work the evening shift and when we get home we typically watch Rachel Maddow and then Rob goes for a walk and I usually start watching baseball, if it's that time of year. (Sometimes I watch the whole game and sometimes I don't. Since I generally know already whether they won or lost that plays into how much I watch, quite often - if it was a blowout and they lost, for example, I sometimes don't bother at all! But this year that didn't happen much.)

Anyway, Rob watches stuff that I don't - I stay up much later than he does, and he gets up much earlier and watches a lot of TV then, I think. (Our bedroom walls are thick so we don't hear each other doing this unless the TV is turned up very very loud.) Rob also watches The Walking Dead (and now Fear the Walking Dead also) on Sundays but I gave up on that after season 2 - it wasn't really the violence per se, it was the worrying about who was gonna die next - and so now I go in the bedroom and let him watch and come out for Talking Dead afterwards. I can deal with Talking Dead just fine, a nice nerdy show that I know what to do with.
mellicious: Astros' very colorful uniforms of the 70s-80s (Astros' rainbow uni)
I realized when I was driving home from work tonight (I get off at 11;30) that November was ending right then and that made it Holidailies time. I had signed up and I did remember that it was coming, but still December 1st snuck up on me as it always does. I could wait til tomorrow to write an entry but I'd rather get ahead. It's 4 in the morning so this may not be too drawn-out, though.

I've switched venues since last year but my old archives are here and it's not as if Livejournal has actually gone anywhere, anyway - here's the old place, for the record. Since a lot of links and stuff didn't transfer I'm probably going to be sneaking looks at it myself.

Not too much has changed with me in the last year. There's a paragraph or two about Harvey if you scroll down click over to my recent entries, so I'm not going to repeat that. (Short version: we didn't get flooded. We were really lucky.) I'm getting older and I have an irregular heartbeat, it turns out, and I need to lose weight, of course, and I've been procrastinating about having a sleep study for months, but I'm generally alright. (I had actually lost 5 pounds or so before Harvey, and then we sat around the apartment and I played Portal Knights and ate for a solid week because we were flooded in, so that put paid to that.)

(movie talk below that I'll try to keep unspoilery)

Oh, let's see, I should probably talk about movies before I forget again. I last updated in October, and if we went to see anything later in October I can't remember what it was, but I made up for that by seeing four movies in November. Well, three movies, actually, because I dragged Rob to see Thor: Ragnarok again last Sunday. So there was that, twice, by which you can guess that I liked it a lot. But then practically everybody did. We also went to see two movies that weren't so generally liked, and that was Murder on the Orient Express and Justice League. And honestly I liked both of them just fine. I'm kind of at a loss for why nobody (relatively speaking) went to see Justice League - it's better than freaking Batman v. Superman and everybody went to see that one anyway. And hey, it had Wonder Woman in it! I mean, it's certainly not a great movie, but it's not completely terrible, either.

Murder on the Orient Express had a better Rotten Tomatoes rating than Justice League, but not spectacularly so. And it is a better movie than Justice League, definitely, but not really a great one, either, even though it has lovely production values and a terrific cast. Now I had read the book and seen the old movie, long ago, but I couldn't really remember whodunnit (and I'm not going to say) but I looked it up on Wikipedia to see if it was the one I was thinking about, and it was. (I read a bunch of Agatha Christie at some point long ago, so I can't remember which plot is Death on the Nile and which is Ten Little Indians, etc. I think I would have remembered which one this was really quickly even if I hadn't looked it up.) In any case, I thought they kind of telegraphed the answer in this new version, and that's probably its big weakness. Now I'd like to see the old one again and see if they manage to do any better.

(Do you think there's any chance that Ten Little Indians will ever get remade? What would they call it? - And yes, I know what the original title was. Although I didn't know about that until well after I'd read it - no internet, after all! It does have a good plot, but I suppose the basics of it have been stolen a hundred times by other movies and TV shows by now, anyway.) (And honestly, I remember the part about people getting picked off one by one, but I don't remember whodunnit there, either. Or who the characters were other than Poirot, even. Although I'm sure it would start coming back to me if I started reading it again.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
It's Christmas, as far as I'm concerned. We're even having Chinese food afterwards.

(We work til 9:30 on Friday so that left a tight window to go to any movie then. We just got the tickets for 7:00 Saturday instead.)

I don't think I mentioned that I actually read the Rogue One "prequel" book that came out a month or so ago. It's called Catalyst. It's not a great book but it was pretty interesting. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but rabid Star Wars fans, really. It's the backstory of Jyn's childhood and how her father - who wasn't at all interested in weapons design - got roped into the Death Star project. It has a lot of back and forth between Galen, her father, and Orson Krennic, who's trying to get a weapon built for the Death Star. Kind of the most interesting part was a lot of detail thrown in here and there about the building of the Death Star. It took them years and years to build it (which is logical but I've never heard anybody say so before) - they started out with a flat circle and built from there, and the early part all had to be done by robots since there was no air. That was honestly the part I liked the best, not all the bickering and politics between Galen and Lyra (Jyn's mother) and Krennic and Tarkin. I'll be interested to see how much of that backstory made it into the movie.


Added after seeing the movie: having read the book did help me understand why Krennic pretty clearly went into the confrontation at the beginning of the movie planning to shoot Lyra unless she shut up and came quietly. He blamed her for - well, basically he was trying to pull the wool over Galen's eyes about what he (Krennic) was trying to do with Galen's research, and she kept making Galen wake up and see. And she masterminded the getaway scheme that resulted in them escaping the Empire (temporarily) and taking up farming.


I went and looked and Rogue One made $29 million on Thursday night previews, which is not surprising, really.

I watched "The Force Awakens" just now, since I am so firmly in Star Wars mode. Oh, and also I put on my Star Wars nail polish - which I actually forgot about last year. It's called These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For. I was already wearing dark-blue polish so it goes really well over that.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - Wilfred)
Okay, I said I was sort of "meh" about Shadowhunters the TV series, but I actually watched it again and I was still (mostly) interested, so I guess I liked it more than I thought, really. So I have Thoughts, which are not going to be really deep or anything, most likely. I was thinking about the cast of the movie vs the cast of the TV series (vs maybe also the books), so let's see...

and oh, right, SPOILERS (if you haven't seen Shadowhunters pilot, or y'know, read the books - I guess I'll put the rest it behind a cut, just to be polite)

Read more... )
mellicious: pink manicure (Mel - snow)
I said I was going to use my LJ to try to keep up with movies, but maybe I'll talk about TV also. I haven't been watching a lot of TV lately, in general, but this week while Rob has been gone I've done an unusually large amount of binge-watching, spread out among several different series.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
This is a 7-part miniseries of a book that I've read and re-read over the past few years. I had seen the first episode and liked it, but I failed to set the DV-R and I didn't get episode 2 when it was on BBC-A last summer, and I refused to watch it out of order. So finally I saw that it was available on Amazon (I think it's on DVD as well) and caved and bought it. I started to buy one episode at a time, but I figured I would end up watching it all and I did. It got the gist of the book quite well. It's a big book and it took some telescoping of events to fit it into 7 hours, but basically I think they did it justice. I have plenty of small quibbles (for example, it's repeatedly said in the book that Jonathan Strange is not handsome, but here he rather definitely is. But that doesn't really especially affect the plot, I have to admit) but no really gigantic ones.

2. Mozart in the Jungle
I had never even heard of this until it started winning Golden Globes the other night (I believe my actual comment to Col in Trove chat was along the lines of "wtf is Mozart in the Jungle?") but it turned out to be about classical musicians in NYC. I have a music background and so this right up my alley. I loved it. It's on Amazon Prime, which I already had, so it didn't require any additional cash layout.

And then that made me think of the other Amazon Prime series I was already aware that I hadn't watched, and that was (of course)...

3. Transparent
Honestly, I had a mixed reaction to this. I loved Maura and wanted the series to spend much more time with her and much less with her whiny children. I watched the first three or four episodes (I forget; it was late) and I'll keep going but I really only love about 25% of it.

Oh, and one more, although this was on network TV (on the former ABC Family, which has some new name that I've already forgotten) and is just starting so no bingewatching:

4. Shadowhunters
I can't say that the first episode was good enough to make me want to binge-watch, anyway. But it was better than the movie (which was The Mortal instruments: City of Bones) - which is to say, not absolutely awful. And I love these books, so I'll keep watching at least for a while. (I guess this is one of those products of the New Age of Entertainment or whatever: has there ever previously been a failed movie which was immediately picked up and made into a TV series? Maybe there has, but I can't think of one, offhand. But then, Cassie Clare's books have a huge and mostly young fandom, and if they can successfully tap into that it'll all be gravy.)
mellicious: pink manicure (winter trees)
(NOTE; I think this will become pretty clear, but this is nothing to do with the entries I've been doing for Holidailies. I got to poking around, and there are a lot of "Friday five" quizzes about quilting that I did in a quilting community that is inactive and that I thought at first might have been deleted. So I thought I would gather these here, where they'll be archived with the rest of my stuff. There's a lot of information gathered in them that I'm tending to forget, now.)

Here's where the original is.

1. Have you ever participated in a Mystery Quilt project? I started to say "no" - but actually I took a class from Charlotte Angotti once, and that was essentially what it was.

2. What concerns do you have with doing a Mystery Quilt? That I won't like the quilt when it's done!

3. Have you ever finished a mystery project (share picture, pretty please?)? I sure did. The one time I did one, I did finish it. I'll put the picture at the end. (Although I'm sure I've posted this one before - it's kinda my pride and joy.)

4. Do you enjoy reading mystery genre books? Yup. I've been reading Anne Perry's two Victorian-era mystery series for the last several years - I'm finally about to run out of them. I like the Sue Grafton alphabet mysteries quite a lot, too.

5. Do you like surprises? Y'know, I am kinda iffy about them, really. If the person trying to surprise me really knows me well enough to know what I like, then yes. Otherwise, it's a big waste of time and money.


This is available as a commercial pattern called "Faceted Jewels" so I called my purple version "Faceted Amethysts". (That links to the uncropped Flickr version of this picture, in case anybody wants to see more. This pattern is much easier than it looks.)

(ADDED: that last link doesn't work, but the picture is still there, somewhere.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - delete)
Apparently I am reading Twilight. I don't know what got into me. I've had it on my Kindle for more than a year, and I basically only bought it to mock it in the first place, one day when Amazon had it on sale for $1.99 or maybe it was $2.99 - and I never got past the first chapter. But tonight I didn't have anything to read and I picked up the Kindle and started idly reading bits out loud to Rob, and I'm afraid now I might be hooked. I'm not sure it's really that I'm hooked on the book per se, but more that I remember the movie from the one time I saw it (with Rifftrax accompaniment) and I know bits and pieces from what other people say, too, and now I'm curious about how it all fits together. We'll see how far I get. Maybe I'll go hunt down Mark Reads Twilight for my edification.

(The writing at the beginning is really not all that horrible, but I've read enough here and there that I know for a fact that it gets worse.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Happy NY - sparkly)
We went to see The King's Speech this afternoon - I liked it more than I expected to. I liked it quite a lot, actually, and the rest of the audience seemed to too. The theater was almost full, too. I have been looking up various members of the royal family on Wikipedia ever since I got home.

I didn't come straight home, though, I dropped Rob off and went and got a sandwich at Schlotzsky's and then went to Starbucks, where I read about OB/Gyn codes for a couple of hours, in preparation for my interview on Tuesday. (Today I read about procedure codes, and tomorrow I need to do diagnosis codes; then I'll be as prepared as I reasonably can be, I think.)

I've apparently gotten over yesterday's relapse. I'm still sucking on cough drops, but that's not so bad. I always manage to be sick sometime between Christmas and New Year's, that's just inevitable.

I hear that the Texans actually won today - I suppose it taped, so I guess I'll have to watch it this time, instead of erasing it like I've been doing most of the year. Usually I've already heard before I get around to watching that they lost, and then it's too depressing to watch it. I'm just not enough of a masochist for that.

Minor Spoilers for Those Damn Martin Books )
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - Mr Darcy)
I talked Rob into going out to eat with me tonight, and going to Half Price Books afterwards. I can't ever get him to go anywhere on work nights - I don't even try any more - but since he doesn't have to work tomorrow, I kidnapped him as soon as we got home and we went and ate Italian (just for fun, we went to a different Italian restaurant than the one we normally go to!) and then went book shopping. I completely forgot to buy anything for my father - that tells you how disconnected I've been from my normal Christmas preparations this year, 'cause normally I think of things like that a lot earlier in the process than December 23rd. I almost always buy my dad books, thus the trip to Half Price - they always have a good selection of the kind of thing he's interested in. Don't ask me the name of the book I bought - something about the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. My dad says himself that I have a good track record for picking books he'll like, so hopefully this one will work.

Jay Thomas is on Letterman right now, telling a story that I've heard before, I'm pretty sure. Maybe it's part of the Christmas tradition, along with throwing footballs. (Letterman seems to have a lot of Christmas traditions, after all these years. Wonder if Paul has done his Cher imitation yet.)

I mentioned something about nail polish and small children's gifts, or something to that effect, yesterday. I meant to talk about the highly important subject of my Christmas-green nail polish, I think, which I am now going to have to re-do, or at least touch up, because my nails have pink and purple paint stuck to them, from said small children's gifts. I had to go and buy something that needs painting. (I am still working on this. I'll try to remember to take a picture when I get done. I hope to god these gifts are not totally embarrassing in the end. Of course the kids in question, who are quite small, will probably think they're great no matter what.)

Stuff about A Game of Thrones, with one fairly mild spoiler. )
mellicious: pink manicure (winter - snowflakes)
(Friday)
I just accidentally swallowed a cherry stone, and I'm having this totally irrational fear that a cherry tree is going to start growing out my ears. My grandmother - and possibly my mother, too - used to tell us an old wives' tale to that effect when we were kids. Although I think it was oranges, not cherries, at the time.

I've been doing Jade Quarry all night in GuildWars. I had never done it at all until about a week ago, because when I tried before there were never people available to fill up both sides to do it. (It's a sort of a hybrid PvP-mission kind of thing. You're playing against other players, but you also have an objective you have to do. In this case it's about keeping control of (guess what) jade quarries, and whoever gets a certain amount of jade back to their base first wins.) Columbine may be surprised to hear that I was doing this because we never used to do these missions. But I've been racking up the faction and I may get the Friend of the Luxons title this weekend if I keep it up.

(Saturday)
Rob asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Usually he gets me things like DVDs and sometimes a piece of jewelry, and I usually wrap up a couple of odds and ends I bought for myself, if I suspect I need it to balance things out. (I sort of try to make our gifts to one another match in size, if you know what I mean - I usually buy him a bunch of books and DVDs, and he tells me what to buy there, too. So I figure the expenditure should be more or less consistent for each of us, although I'm not stringent about it at all. In fact I don't really total it up at all except in the very roughest way. Some years my stuff costs a bit more, some years his does.) This year is a bit different, though, because of me not working, and while we're not out of money, we are definitely watching the purse-strings much more carefully now than we were. So when I thought of getting a Kindle I thought no, that's too expensive. Only it turns out that I have quite a large credit with Amazon, almost large enough to pay for the whole thing, if I get the Wi-Fi one. Although I'm thinking I might even go for the 3G one. The amount we'd have to pay in cash to get the 3G version would be roughly in the range of say, the MST3K box set I've got put away for Rob, anyway. Anybody have any opinion on this? If you do, speak up fast, I may be ordering something soon. (Too late, already, that ship has sailed. I got the 3G.) They say "In stock" but I don't entirely trust them. (Late word: I got an e-mail already that says that it has shipped, due in Wednesday.)

Poor Rob got called in to work today. That's been happening pretty regularly lately, at least sort of once a month or so. He went in and worked about 5 or 6 hours, but he told them that if the person who was missing doesn't come in tomorrow, they're going to have to find somebody else to cover then. Which I think is wise. We can use the OT, sure, but he needs a day off, too.


One of the things I've been reading, or re-reading (do you consider it re-reading if you listened to the audiobook the first time?) is A Game of Thrones, and I just stumbled onto replicas of the swords in the book, on Amazon. I guess I should not be surprised, but I am. Wonder if these were around before HBO announced the miniseries.

Anyway, here's Arya's sword Needle, for example. (I've started on the 2nd book but I'm not even far into it. So if you have anything to say about those books, be careful with spoilers, please! I would welcome non-spoilery discussion.)

Arya Stark's sword

Needle, Sword of Arya Stark. Licensed from George R.R. Martin
mellicious: pink manicure (mermaid)
Anybody want a lemur for their profile page? Seriously, I get some free ones, apparently. (I mislaid the link but you should be able to look in the LJ store if you want to know what they look like.)

I'm back to going to Starbucks every afternoon and sitting for at least an hour or so and studying. Except now I'm working on continuing education units instead of studying for the certification test. I figure if I finally get an interview I need to be able to talk the up-to-date talk, and when I get a job it'll be good to be ahead on the CEUs, because I have to have 18 hours by January, which sounds like a lot to me.

I finished reading North and South - it was 500 pages of small print and I blew through it in two days so I think that tells you I liked it. I was worried it was going to be hard going (I think I was worried that it might go on excessively about the working conditions of 19th-century mill workers) but it wasn't. Now I want to watch the miniseries again. Actually I have threatened to make Rob watch the miniseries but I don't know if I'll follow through on that.

I made some little resin pendants - it's the first jewelry I've made in ages. It's harder to get the resin to work correctly than the tutorials would have you believe, but they look cute, anyway. If I ever get any pictures taken I'll put up a link. Next I need to drag out all of the skull beads that I've been collecting and make some necklaces so I can sell them in the fall. I took down my Etsy store because I wasn't doing the work to promote it and thus I wasn't selling anything, but I think the skull necklaces would sell, if I'll just get around to making them. (Fall feels like a long way away right now but of course it'll be here before we know it.)

(Speaking of Etsy and skulls, I bought these earrings which are the cutest thing ever. They just came today; they are incredibly light and they really truly don't seem to have sharp edges, although I'm not clear on how they manage that.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Default)
I'm watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I must never have seen since it was first out; I don't remember much of it. (I got it for Christmas.) (Also, every time they show Dumbledore I think "Groovy new Dumbledore!" which is from [livejournal.com profile] m15m  but apparently not from the Goblet parody.)

I read a book this afternoon - a pretty short one - it was Holes, which won a Newbury (or is it Newberry?) award a while back, and I think was made into a movie at some point, also. It was good, although it was considerably different than I was expecting. Somewhere along the line I formed the impression that it was going to have a lot more fantasy-type content than it actually did. I think I thought they were going to fall through the bottom of one of the holes or something; I don't know where I got that idea. But I liked it, just the same.

It's actually the second book this week which I've sat down and read in one sitting - the other one was a Dresden Files book - I think it was called Grave Peril, and it's about the third one. I've had it for some time, and I don't know why I hadn't gotten around to reading it before. They're always very entertaining books.

We went to Half-Price Books the other day when they were having their sale that they have a couple of times a year, mostly to buy something for my dad, but they had three Anne Perry books I hadn't read - and there aren't too many of those left - so I bought all three. Hopefully I won't feel the need to read any of those at one sitting; I think they take somewhat longer.

(I wrote up some stuff about the Terminator movie last night but I'll put that in a separate post, it got rather long.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - adipose)
So I finished my Medical Terminology class, and I have a certificate for it and everything (I think my final grade was 98), and now I'm on to Anatomy. I actually signed up for the Anatomy class a couple of months ago, some of you may remember, and I took a couple of tests before I decided that it was too slow to do both classes at the same time, and so I went ahead and finished the other one instead. I think I had already taken three anatomy tests - and last night I took a fourth one. It covered three chapters, all on the nervous system (one chapter on the brain, one on the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, and one on the autonomic nervous system) and so I was kind of worried since that's a lot of material - but it was easy, it turned out, and I got every question right. (If it was not open-book I would not have made a 100, because I just have not gotten the numbering system down on the cranial nerves, mnemonics or not.)

Rob is on vacation the rest of the week, and we are going to see Terminator: Salvation in a few minutes. I know it didn't get great reviews, but most of the people who've actually seen it (the ones who aren't critics, that is) seem to like it okay. I'll have to report back later.

I've been re-reading A Little Princess and now I want to see that movie again. Maybe Amazon has it cheap! But I'll have to look at that later, too, because right now I have to go.


(Incidentally, I wrote this before I saw that Col was complaining about nobody posting. But here you go, Col, anyway!)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
Things that made me happy today:
-- coffee
-- the necklace I made to give my mother-in-law (blue and green Czech glass)
-- reading So You Want to Be a Wizard (more A Wrinkle In Time than Harry Potter, but good)
-- shopping, even though I didn't buy much
-- the holiday decorations on the gigantic houses in the River Oaks area in Houston
-- sourdough bread from Central Market


So I made my more-or-less annual trip into the horror that is Houston traffic today to go shopping. The traffic wasn't really too too horrible, and in fact I drove around considerably more than I really needed to, just to look around. In fact, I think it's fair to say that the purpose of these trips is as much to get in the holiday mood as much as it is to actually shop. I generally do get some shopping done, just the same. (See last year's entry for actual numbers, although I didn't spend anything like that amount today.)

I usually do this on a Thursday or Friday, and so I was trying to decide how much of the reduced foot-traffic I saw today was the economy, and how much was just that it was Tuesday. I suspect it was both. There were a lot of parking spaces at Highland Village, but the stores I went in mostly seemed to be doing decent business - except for West Elm, which was almost deserted. There were a lot of people in Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel - particularly the latter. There was an exceptional number of very fashionably-dressed women in Pottery Barn, but that may just be that women like that don't work and so they're free to wander around shopping on weekdays. Or maybe it has something to do with that this particular Pottery Barn is about two doors down from Tootsie's, a very chi-chi women's clothing store. I don't know. Usually I buy some ornaments and stuff like that at one place or another, but today I didn't. That might have partly had to do with the economy, too - or it might just be that I can't really justify buying ornaments for the tree I haven't bothered to put up.

I spent the most money in Central Market, actually. I don't think I'd been in there in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten how much stuff they keep around this time of year that's gift-able. We are supposed to be holding down our gift-giving to the minimum this year, more or less, but I sabotaged that by buying, among other things, a big jug of maple syrup for Rob. (Is that a weird gift? He had expressed interest in having some, and it's very expensive. [livejournal.com profile] columbina has already informed me that giving my father-in-law apples is a rather odd choice, but Rob came up with that idea so I don't take any responsibility. I just bought some nice organic apples that looked like they might survive the trip, and I added some locally-grown honey to it, that seemed like something most people would like.) (Also, I pointed out to Col that if the apples came from Harry and David and cost about three times as much, nobody would think it was odd at all. Which he agreed was a valid point.)


Something I noticed on the tollway coming home - and to a certain extent in Houston proper - is the number of roofs still held together by blue tarps. There are still quite a lot of them, three months after the storm.


Today's Holidailies prompt was "Write the annual holiday card/brag letter for your family." but I have already done that. (And I wouldn't exactly call it a "brag letter" except in the sense of "Can you top this?" -- Which, come to think of it, is one reason I didn't send it to people who are local - because many of them can.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Maleficent)
I don't think I've done this one recently.

01. What are your nicknames?
Mel is a nickname, as are mellificent and mellicious and all the silly variations. Those are the main ones these days.

Cut to spare those bored by too many memes! )

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