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In line with my 2014 resolution to Read More, I have started a separate blog over on Wordpress (some little weirdness about keeping the book blog separate, idk) but I'll crosspost here.

This is one of those classics that’s been on my geez-I-really-must-read-that list for years. I remember picking it up and putting it down a bunch of times in Borders back when Borders was a thing. Being Borders, though, it was overpriced so I let it go.

Fast forward through a few years of the GFC, and into a liquidation (I think) shop called Book Grocer – it doesn’t have the advantage of a great range but it DOES have that of being close to my workplace. And it has a far better range of titles than those clearance places normally do. Terrible financial climate means better-quality stuff to offload, I guess. Anyway, who cares, right?

Flowers for Algernon is apparently on a lot of high school English cirricula. Not mine, sadly. It’s about Charlie, a mentally-disabled man who undergoes a surgical procedure to increase his intelligence. The eponymous Algernon, a white mouse, has previously undergone the procedure and the scientists are looking for a human test subject. The procedure works – temporarily. Charlie’s previously 68 IQ ends up topping out at 185…and then he learns something the scientists hadn’t told him. Algernon’s behaviour has become erratic, and his newfound intelligence seems to be slipping away from him.

This is a compelling, yet heartbreaking, read. Many of the potential pitfalls of a sudden upswing in intellect are explored – Charlie, previously blissfully unaware that people often mocked him and took advantage of him, learns that his “friends” had not been all that friendly, and that those same people end up fearing him. All he had wanted was to be “normal”, yet he is as isolated with his genius IQ as he ever was with his low one. He remembers trauma from his childhood which he had forgotten. Also, a steep upward curve in intelligence does not correspond with one of emotional maturity, as Charlie learns in his feelings for Alice and his intolerance for alchohol.

Told in a neccessarily first-person epistolary style, the narrative itself follows a bell curve – Charlie’s own writing, his own spelling and punctuation, reflects his changing intelligence. There are the usual generation-gap things you notice when reading an older text – this was written in 1959 and set in 1965, so many of the terms used (ie “retard”) are no longer acceptable. It’s not as backward in gender politics and sexual politics as other texts from that period, though (I LOVED Fay, slight Manic Pixie Dream Girl overtones aside) and there is a small scene towards the end that I am sure outrages the book-banning types as well.

Started: 3 Jan. Finished: 3 Jan. (I had a lot of free time yesterday :))
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Actually having a good year for profic over here (OK, one of them was published original slash, but not reading it on a screen feels like pro)

N0S4R2 by Joe Hill. Nasty old vampire(?) kidnaps children, takes them to "Christmasland". Scary as it sounds. Joe can write a yarn just as well as his dad can. And speaking of Dad...

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Neither his best work nor his worst, but a compelling enough sequel to The Shining. Danny Torrance is all grown up, he's gotten sober (well, wouldn't YOU drink if you Saw Dead People?) and a new kid with the shining badly needs his help. Nothing all that new here, but I enjoyed it.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This one will probably give you nightmares. A woman writes a series of letters to her absent husband about their son, Kevin. Kevin is your basic walking evil personified, who decided one day to massacre a bunch of kids at his school. Eva is unsure whether Kevin's nature is her own fault, or natural born. The reader is never quite sure because we never get another viewpoint. I sympathised with Eva, *hard*, because of her ambivalence about having a kid at all in the first place, but I couldn't fault her for trying her best with the little shit.

Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. These were actually re-reads, but it had been so long they were more or less new. Yes, the *balls-out awesomeness* of Hannibal was what prompted the re-read. I found RD much more compelling than TSOTL, although whether that was because of my close familiarity with the TSOTL movie (watched umpty-teen times) or actual quality, I'm not sure. I did like all the Will Graham stuff in RD, though. Will is fun. (Won't somebody please help him)

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Absiolutely exquisite, even for GNeil. A take on the triple goddess myth, done as only Neil can. Polished like a gem, finish it in one sitting if you can.

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik. What can I say? More Laurence and Temeraire goodness. moved along at a decent clip, and I did find it hilarious that Temeraire thinks Iskierka is a dud root (to put it in Australian terms.)

Captive Prince by S. U. Pacat. oh, dear lord. This is original slash gone pro, and although master/slave dynamics are ones I tend to avoid HARD, this is the one work that, I don't know. Rises above? It's NOT what it looks like, let's just say. If you like patiently written, sloooooooow building relationships, this one's for you. (Warning - volume 3 isn't out yet). Volume 1 is all right, but Volume 2 knocked my fucking socks off, so if you're like me and find Volume 1 a little less than compelling, stay with it. Trust me :)
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I watched Red Dragon. Ed Norton wasn't *nearly* tormented enough.
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Journaling - just not as high a priority as it used to be.

Each time I think, no, this is it, I have lost interest in fanfic for good, I fall arse over tit into a new fandom. Person of Interest has my by the you-know-whats at the moment. It's everything I love in a pairing - angsty pasts, stoic, private people who take *FOREVER* to trust one another (and they're grown-ups, not 20 year olds, which was my main problem with Teen Wolf, much as I do like the show), plus, as a bonus, it's an excellently made show, on the whole. The stupidly lovable dog helps, too - all the best fandoms have a team pet :) I don't tend to hang around long in fandoms these days, but this one feels like a keeper. I've read a few nice stories in the fandom, so far my thing for Reese/Finch (I HAVE seen it referred to as "Rinch" *full-body-shudder*) is PG-rated h/c or wedding fic. (Astolat wrote a GREAT wedding fic, the title of which currently escapes me).

I'm watching loads of good stuff right now that I'm not all that fannish for - Scott and Bailey, The Following, Southland, Game of Thrones, and I've been recommended Vikings which I'll try when I get some time. Still trying to catch up on Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, too. Good thing I've had two weeks' holiday in which to do fuckall.

Weather is FINALLY cooling down (god, I hope) so of course the blinds I ordered back in January got installed this morning. Bit late for this summer but they're saying the vile weathwer we had then is here to stay (fuck you, climate change), plus they'll give me some added darkness in the bedroom, which I need badly as it faces east.

I had a little visitor this morning, a microbat that thought my back flyscreen door was a good place to roost. Gorgeous little thing, seemed very sluggish, though. I Googled them and found they go "torpid" around now, and they can be vulnerable to cats, etc, so I rang WIRES. Nobody was available, but they gave me a number for Native Animal Trust, and a nice lady called Sandy came and got it. She very gently unhooked it from the screen, and all of a sudden it came awake. Not in a big way, though, you could sort of tell it wasn't all there, but it was squeaking and chittering and spread its wings out. One was broken at the very tip, (which may account for the bad roosting place) but the lady said it was otherwise fat and healthy looking, and all it probably needed was a safe place to spend the winter. She told me to keep her number as this is a good area for them - trees, lots of lights at night to attract insects, etc. I got a few piccies, but I didn't want to disturb it too badly. I've never posted a pic to DW before, hope this works.

Edit: Nope. Here, have an old fashioned link :)
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I don't do New Years resolutions, but I have been telling myself to get back in the journaling habit. I am making an effort to move over to Dreamwidth because the longer I look at LJ's death throes, the more I'm like, eh, LJ, you were fail in so many ways even before you started going all Varnish Error every five minutes.

Work: Work has undergone major upheaval these last few months, and probably will for the next few (hopefully no longer than that. We'll see). A round of voluntary redundancies in the final quarter of 2012 meant the loss of sixteen staff, along with assurances from management that OF COURSE there would be changes made and checks and balances, I don't know, checked and balanced so we would be able to operate with a 20% loss of manpower. Well, we've lost the sixteen bodies, but as of yet...that's it. No reduction of hours of operation as promised. No promised dissolution of two departments and the reabsorption of staff assigned to them back into the call centre proper. Just insane workloads, and OF COURSE they decided that Christmas was an ideal time to buy sixteen people off with a golden (well, maybe bronze) handshake.

I actually have no doubt that all the above will happen. The manager who made all these proposals has always put his money where his mouth was before now, and he is responsible for basically rescuing us from being shut down completely (get a dog up ya, Mr Premier) only this organisation being what it is, it doesn't happen quickly. And said manager now taking his well-deserved (no sarcasm) annual leave, so. You know. By the end of next year, the place might be squared away.

Family - Christmas was a little less fraught than usual - Grace (how on earth is she eighteen months old already) seems to be a civilising influence on Dad and while he was still pretty drunk, he was not the paralytic mess that he usually is given a fraction of an excuse. Also, because I didn't stay overnight there on Christmas Eve, he insisted on coming to pick me up on the day of, meaning he couldn't drink until he'd done so. Lost his head start. Small victories - I'll remember that for next year. He's proven to have a nasty habit of underminining Kelly's authority with Grace, which annoys her and embarrasses the rest of us. Kelly, being the daughter in law, obviously doesn't feel as if she can call him out on it, and Mark (who, being the man's son, SHOULD say something) just doesn't. I've been known to bloody well do it, though. Tha man can be infuriating.

Three days after Christmas I had my cousin's engagement party, and by then, tbh, I was partied out. I participated, but retreated once or twice just for some quiet. I also don't normally take holidays over Christmas (travel industry? Holidays? At Christmas? HAH!) so I've been working right through, and the combination of work/socialising/work/socialising (not to mention the abovementioned workcrazy issues) took the predictable and totally expected mental toll on this introvert. I set aside January 2 for a hermit day, stuck to it and oh my god, I felt so much better.

Fannishness seems to be on a downswing for me. I read the occasional White Collar fic, but while I'm still enjoying and squeeing over plenty of shows and movies, I'm back to reading profic and doing, idk. Other stuff. LOL. Speaking of movies, what have I seen since my last update? Probably Skyfall, The Hobbit and Les Miserables. Loved them all to varying degress and for varying reasons. Opinion seems to be split on them all, which is fine. I might write up something more involved on The Hobbit and Les Mis later, but I'll have to see them again first. I rarely do the multiple viewing at the cinema thing any more (time, money, inclination, access to downloads) so it might be a while. Mind you, I did just find a DVD screener of the Hobbit (thank you, Oscar season) so maybe it'll be sooner than you think.

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I've been tasked with putting together the music for Lucy and Nick's wedding. I think I've covered all the basic wedding songs (it ain't a wedding reception until the Grease Megamix, YMCA, Nutbush City Limits and Time Warp have been played) and I'd rather have too many than too few. Any ideas welcome ;)

If anyone has either Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb" or P Diddy and Nelly's "Shake Your Tail Feather", I'd be grateful. They're specific requests from the bride and she hasn't made many - I'm having trouble finding them.

YMMV - this list doesn't neccessarily reflect my own musical taste (although a lot of it does), I'm trying hard to keep the dancing music, especially, varied and danceable.

Dinner music )

Dancing music )
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Starting to get a bit excited now (although, the writing is definitely on the wall that this will be the final series. BAWWWWWWW!)


Really hoping this clip means we're getting a Lester-centric episode - certainly seems like that might be the case. One of Lester's finest moments was his BAMFery with the Future Predator at the end of season 2 - dare we hope for more? Not that the snarking from the sidelines isn't enjoyable, but there is no such thing as too much Lester.

Looks as trashy as ever \o/
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From ths month's SFX:

Tim Powers, author of On Stranger Tides, which was ultimately adapted by Disney and blended into the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie:

"I went to see it (the first movie) and concluded well no, they don't appear to have stolen anything from me," the American author remembers. "And then very shortly after the first movie came out, Disney optioned my book and at that point I stopped fretting about any parallels because I figured well, If they're buying it, I have no quarrel."

Fast forward a few years and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is about to hit cinemas. At this point, there are writers who would be worrying over whether the integrity of the book has been maintained in the transition to the big screen. Powers clearly isn't one of them.

"I wouldn't care if somebody was to buy one of my books and say we're going to make it an animated musical with chipmunks," he says. "I'd just say, 'Fine, why are you telling me? I don't care."

He prefers the attitude of crime writer James M Cain, the author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. "People would say, 'Mr Cain, what do you think of what Hollywood has done to your novels?' And he would simply point at his bookcase and say 'They haven't done anything to them - look!"

I think I need to buy a copy of this guy's book on the strength of this alone. Plus is sounds like it might be pretty good. And as for the quote, I'd like to stick it under the nose of every Alan Moore and Anne Rice out there.
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Because I was unbearably curious, I forked out the 99c for this app. It is basically exactly what I thought it was - something that tosses out random words, claiming to have picked them up from the "energy" (which is a lovely word that "psychics" like to trot out without really explaining) and, much like with those "psychics", believers latch onto the words that have meaning for them and discount the ones that don't. So far, it's given me "first"*, another, official, giving, written, the, frame, listen, butter, very, chamber, Thomas, baseball, term and poverty. Sure, a few of those words apply to me right now - there's a box under the desk, frames on the wall, I've a sandwich with butter on it - not exactly uncommon stuff. But baseball? What's that got to do with me? I'm certainly not poor, although I feel it sometimes! I don't know any significant Thomases.'s a bit creepy. In the same way using a ouija board can be creepy even if you don't believe. Some of these fears are pretty primal.

ETA: The longer it's on, the less creepy it gets. Maybe because there are far fewer relevant words than irrelevant ones. IDK. I feel a bit silly for giving this person my money, but hey. 99c.

ETA: "party". "Billy". "base". Nope.

ETA: "Grass". Come on, that's everywhere. "Barn"? No.

*the ghost of an internet troll, maybe?
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Via BoingBoing: Spinal Tap have finally recorded Saucy Jack.
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OK, I'm floating on air here.

1- Sel likes my Nick fic and beta is going well
2- I joined RP-X and introduced myself, saying I'd have a Nick fic for them soon and someone said they'd just been discussing the need for Nickslash. So I need not worry about being the only sad git out there into this.
3- Paul Kidd returned my email, and he's a right hunny! What a sweet- he told me *all* about what his current projects are, thanked me for "paying attention" AND sent me a shitload of artwork from the Tank Vixens film project and the Tank Vixens card set (I told him I loved Tank Vixens, can you tell?)

Float, float, float.

Oh, and in the Nick book I just bought, Nick describes Blixa as "the most beautiful man in the world". This is too easy ;-)
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I'm still a little amazed at myself - I slashed the Nick. I just sent an extremely rough draft to Sel. Who now gets to pay me back - I'm about to see if I can take a beta as well as I can hand one out.
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I am a bad girl.

They shouldn't allow nifty little second-hand book-and-record shops to open up within walking distance of my house. I was going to just buy some Lemon Ruskis next door and I ended up layby-ing 4 Nick Cave singles - Into My Arms, Straight To You/Jack the Ripper, Do You Love Me and What a Wonderful World (nice piccy of Nick kissing Shane McGowan on the cover!!) and - worst of all, a Nick book. Sigh. At least the book was substantially reduced. I may redeem myself when I go back - he had for sale a copy of Dale Cooper, My Life, My Tapes for $10. I recently sold a copy on eBay for $32. Might grab it to sell again. Might not.

I'm in the middle of writing an email to Paul Kidd- I LOC fan writers a lot but he's a *published* one! Oo-er ;-)
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Oh dear, I found a plush Meeko up for sale on Furbid - I almot feel I should buy him just to rescue him from a life of sexual slavery. Plus he'd be a nice friend for my Meeko ;-)
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Take the What Kind of Slacker are you? Quiz


Mar. 26th, 2002 12:46 am
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Take the Which Star Wars Hero are You? Quiz!

...created by Kenzie.

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That comment in my last post needs clarification - yes Paul Kidd writes/as written wank fantasy but a) don't we all and b) his are *always* worth reading. They're *classy* wank. Or at least intentionally funny.
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Wow! 30-odd pages in to "A Whisper of Wings" and I can already tell lightning did not merely strike once with Paul Kidd - this is just as good, if not better than "The Rats of Acomar". He has a talent for shaping fantasy worlds (believe me, I've read enough bad ones I can spot a good one damn quick) He seems to like writing in the vein of long-long-after-humans-ruined-the-earth type stories, without getting preachy but instead using it as a nifty springboard for his narratives and, even better, serves as a basis for his civilisations to build their mythology on. It's so nice to read fantasy that doesn't rip off Tolkien (one reason why I'm only just now sliding back into the genre after a 10-year hiatus). He also writes anthropomorphic characters - the people in this one are a beautiful mix of fox and butterfly, and the book is gorgeously illustrated by Terrie Smith to boot. The main character is pretty, plump (yay) and mute, and her sister, (who I haven't seen a pic of yet but sounds gorgeous in description, with glossy black fur and black and electric blue wings) has some excellent femslashy vibes...very slashy and it looks as if Paul can write it without making it sound like a Genus wank fantasy. He's written wank fantasy in the past, but he's demonstrated he can do better, anyway...

Oh, and set in an Australian landscape - our trees, our wildlife, and refelctions of Aboriginal culture. Typical that he had to go overseas to get it published. Feh.
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Well, the 'rents are home, they had a marvellous time, brought me a lovely Bendigo Pottery party plate...well, I dunno what else to call it, it's got a place for crackers and a built-in dip bowl, so party plate works ;-) The dog was impressed to see them - he's been so *sad* these past three weeks, poor little dude.

Exams - gaaaark, that was a fucking hard one. UCCP is all about linking files between applications, and although I do know it, I'm a little shaky. Took me THREE hours but I did get right through it. Missed a class, but no great loss. Had mometary heart failure when the files were'nt on the A drive, but stupid me had saved them all to the C drive- thank Christ I checked before handing it in. I aced last week's presentation, tho (76 out of 80 yeehaw).

Tole Mum about the LJ thing - I'd like her to get a bit more net-savvy and really, getting online did such marvelous things for my social, inner, creative and intellectual lives that I really think she'd get a buzz too if she could just get started.
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