chomiji: Sai, the courtly, go-playing Heian ghost, playing a flute - from Hikaru no Go (Sai - music)

Idan Raichel Project: an Israeli group with members from around the world. The song is "Im Telech" ("If You Leave"):

If you leave who will hug me like this
who will listen to me at the end of the day
who will console and calm me
as only you know how

And if you leave who will I wait for by the window
in a festive dress
to come hug me so,
when you arrive

When you leave go, I'll go out to the sun,
in the golden field, morning and evening,
the moon will light up my face
which dreams all day long of you

When you come back,
you'll carry me in your arms,
from the field to the river,
you'll wash my face and tell me words
as only you know how.

Translated from Hebrew by Vered Klinghofer of Chicago, Illinois, USA.

chomiji: Sai, the courtly, go-playing Heian ghost, playing a flute - from Hikaru no Go (Sai - music)

I give you Max Weinberg, drummer for Springsteen's E Street Band, and his son Jay. This performance was in 2009:

Talented, good-lookin' Jewish guys. ♥♥♥ :-D

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

I finished my last-minute reading of Hugo short fiction items and did my voting on Saturday morning. I think that there were a LOT of very good "shorts" this year.

I am re-reading The Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart, which is the second of the Master Li and Number Ten Ox books. I also tried (really, I did) to read two Very Serious books, which turned out to be nearly unreadable and almost useless for their intended purpose. *looks shifty*

chomiji: Red 20-sided die for tabletop gaming (Gaming)

We've been playing our second Numenera campaign for about a year now. Numenera is a rather open-ended system that encourages the GM to reward creative play: anyone can try to do anything, and there is essentially one scale and one mechanism for doing just about any sort of task. If you're trained (or the higher-level version, Specialized), you just have an asset (or assets) toward making the roll. The scenario is an ancient world situation (think Vance's Dying Earth, but with more Steampunk-ish elements), and the current campaign is ocean-oriented. We have a ship (and more recently have also acquired a small submarine), and most of the characters have seafaring or other aquatic backgrounds.

cut for long )
chomiji: Sai, the courtly, go-playing Heian ghost, playing a flute - from Hikaru no Go (Sai - music)

Music and lyrics by Bill Staines; performance by Priscilla Herdman

"You can trust the moon to move the mighty ocean
You can trust the sun to shine upon the land
You take the little that you know
And you do the best you can
And see the rest with the quiet faith of man."

Dedicated today to myself, because I need to calm down and move forward.

chomiji: Chibi of Muramasa from Samurai Deeper Kyo, holding a steamer full of food, with the caption Let's Eat! (Muramasa-Let's eat!)

Over the winter, we got a "lamb share" CSA from one of the vendors (Cabin Creek Heritage Farm) at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. We liked it, but they don't have lamb over the summer. The Mr. is particular about his beef and doesn't want it to have been frozen, so we went for "mini pork share" this time.

Cut for CSA details and cooking description/rough recipe )
chomiji: Sai, the courtly, go-playing Heian ghost, playing a flute - from Hikaru no Go (Sai - music)

On The Dark Side - John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (as featured in the movie "Eddie and the Cruisers")

If the song sounds vaguely familiar but somehow you don't think you ever heard it, you may be thinking of songs by Gary "U.S." Bonds, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, or … Bruce Springsteen. They're all exemplars of the Jersey Shore Sound, which for some reason always feels very hamische (like home) to me. In the comments on this one, in fact, someone complains that Springsteen stole this style from Cafferty and Southside Johnny.

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

Drive by:

Progressing slowly through Too Like the Lightning. Still reminds me of Diamond Age in the setting.

A Bad Bad Thing has happened in Stand Still Stay Silent, so I have had to resort to comfort reading: the manga Bunny Drop at the moment. The event in SSSS should not be discussed here, because it is a spoiler like whoa.

Finished with the reason for re-reading Fruits Basket, so I need to bundle them all up and put them back in the basement bookcase from whence they came.

chomiji: A young girl, wearing a backward baseball cap, enjoys a classic book (Books - sk8r grrl)

The Exchange at Fic Corner is a gift exchange for fic based on children's and YA books and short stories from picture books to edgy teen novels. The FAQ can be found on Dreamwidth (and I think on LJ still).

June 18th - June 27th - Sign-Ups
June 28th - Assignments Sent Out
August 21st - Deadline for Stories
August 28th - Collection Goes Live

Tag Set (on AO3)

Sign Up Form (on AO3)

chomiji: A young girl, wearing a backward baseball cap, enjoys a classic book (Books - sk8r grrl)

The Exchange at Fic Corner is a gift exchange for fic based on children's and YA books and short stories from picture books to edgy teen novels. The FAQ can be found on Dreamwidth (and I think on LJ still).

So I had these dates ALL WRONG:

June 18th - June 27th - Sign-Ups
June 28th - Assignments Sent Out
August 21st - Deadline for Stories
August 28th - Collection Goes Live (Hmm, I need to ask the mod - it looks like they changed that date ... sometime the first week of September, at any rate)

Tag Set (on AO3)

Sign Up Form (on AO3)

Good timing for a Yuletide warmup, perhaps?

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

I finished All the Birds in the Sky. It wasn't bad, but it just sort of ended: too much build up, not enough resolution. And now I'm annoyed by the title, because although it sounds really nifty, it doesn't have all that much to do with the story. This is not going to be my top vote for best novel, I'm afraid.

Also in Hugo reading, I read through Ursula Le Guin's Words Are My Matter, a collection of recent short non-fiction pieces. I love Le Guin as an essayist, and the first part of the book contains some good examples. But the back half-and-a-bit is introductions to books and book reviews, and I found those less interesting. A number of them were for non-genre literary or magical realism works that didn't sound as though they'd appeal to me. She did mention a couple of Western (as in, Western U.S.) novels that I might want to look up, which I will mention here partially for my own reference: Crazy Weather by Charles McNichols and The Jump-Off Creek and The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss. Also, although Perdido Street Station pretty much put me off China Mielville for life, her review of Embassytown is making me reconsider.

Overall, unless the rest of the Related Works are very mediocre, I don't think this will be my top pick in that category.

I have just started Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, which is short-listed for Best Novel. A number of the readers on File 770 had trouble with this book, but I'm not finding it problematic thus far. Possibly the fact that I actually like Anthony Burgess' A Dead Man in Deptford (link goes to Kirkus review), which was also purposefully written in the style of an earlier era, has something to do with this. I'll have to see where the book goes, of course.

Finally, I'll be re-reading some of Fruits Basket, Because Reasons. Does anyone recall the number of the exact volume in which Machi shows up? It's when she wrecks the student council room, if the Wikia is to be believed.

chomiji: Sai, the courtly, go-playing Heian ghost, playing a flute - from Hikaru no Go (Sai - music)

Yes, it's stereotypical marital sex roles all the way down, but it still sounds like summer to me:

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

Drive-by post: reading All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I had been arguing with myself back and forth about getting it, but then it became a Hugo finalist, and so I got it in the voting packet.

I'm interested in it, but I feel a little uneasy about where it's going, and also it's somehow not super-enjoyable on the emotional level. I think there are too many misunderstandings and seeming betrayals. On the other hand, the depiction of the slow-motion slide into dystopia, with bits and pieces of technology and societal systems failing and people seeming to just shrug their shoulders and adapt, is kind of interesting.

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

So I have been re-reading "Books of the Raksura" (link to author's site), because Reasons. OK, one good non-secretive reason is that the final volume (*sob*), The Harbors of the Sun, is coming out soon. How could I have forgotten how involving these are? Also, I had forgotten a major plot development near the end of The Edge of Worlds (Spoiler; highlight to read: the young half-Fell queen who seemed to actually have good sense, plus her equally reasonable half-Fell followers ... I hope Malachite doesn't rip them all limb from limb before we find out what's up with that.)

I also read one of the Hugo novella finalists, The Ballad of Back Tom by Victor LaValle. It's a Lovecraft pastiche and critique, with an African American protagonist. It was pretty involving, but I wouldn't say I liked it. One of the other novella finalists, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, is also a Lovecraft pastiche and a bit of a critique too, in that it involves mostly female characters. I'm not sure what the deal is this year with Lovecraft pastiches. I read some of his stuff back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and got the general impression that he expected you to be horrified by describing things as too horrifying to describe. I was not impressed.

I might as well add that of the remaining novella finalists, I loved Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (although she didn't stick the landing) and Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold. Why do I really like Bujold's fantasy but am decidedly meh on her SF?

I still have two novella finalists to go: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson and This Census-Taker by China MiƩville.

chomiji: A silhouette of a couple watching a famous kiss in a movie, with the caption I've Seen that Movie Too (film - I've seen that movie too)

This movie is awesome and you should go see it right away.

Cut for some vaguely stated spoilers )

I cried and cried for the last 15 minutes, I was so happy.

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

[personal profile] lady_ganesh hooked me up with some really good stuff: Maggie Stiefvater's YA series The Raven Cycle. This consists of

  • The Raven Boys (finished!)
  • The Dream Thieves (finished!)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue (finished!)
    and
  • The Raven King (still reading, unlikely to finish tonight)

Also, apparently some extra-story authorial snippets exist (I only just discovered this while checking the titles of the main series).*

In the little town of Henrietta is a posh boarding school called Aglionby. The mascot of the school is a raven. Eccentric local girl Blue, the scion of a houseful of psychic women (including her mother, Maura), thinks Aglionby boys are nothing but trouble. Local wounded-at-the-core boy Adam is attending the school on scholarship; he has managed to become best buds with the charming and earnest Gansey (that's his last name), whose circle also includes the tough-but-brittle bad boy Ronan. And then there's Noah, who shows up somehow at the off-campus digs that Gansey and Ronan share in an old factory.

Gensey is obsessed with the local ley line, which he thinks will lead him to the tomb of the Welsh hero Owen Glendower. The others are drawn into his search—including Blue, who starts out as somewhat of a mascot but becomes something much more. There are dreams, magic, terror, and lots of fast cars.

Parts of this seem to be the love child of Alan Garner's The Owl Service and the better "After-School Special" types of teen novels, but it's very involving and tremendous fun. The writing has some weaknesses, especially when Stiefvater seems to be marking time until she can get to the Good Bits, but she's very good at action sequences and the spookier parts are truly chilling.

Cut for long and maybe a spoiler or two )
chomiji: Goku from Saiyuki, looking confused. Caption: Huh? (Goku - huh?)

If something is tagged fandomedit, where fandom is (duh) a fandom, does it refer to photo-edits (such as finding a photo that looks like a character and then editing the photo somehow)?

Or am I totally off base, and if so, what does actually mean?

chomiji: Miyazaki's Totoro, standing in the rain with an umbrella (Totoro - umbrella)

The weather service said is was only 55°F (not quite 13°C) on the walk back form the Metro, but it felt colder. My unlined Goretex rain jacket was not adequate, and I was glad to find a pair of fleece-type gloves I'd forgotten I had in the pockets.

Honestly, 90°F in April and 55 in May. I want a refund on this bogus weather. Spring is usually my favorite time of year.

I shudder to think of what this is doing to the local fruit farms. Local strawberries are usually a big thing in June. And it's too cold to put in tomatoes, which would normally be growing well by now.

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

Life has been rather too much work-work-work this week. I realized I haven't checked up on Stand Still Stay Silent at all.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through The Hanging Tree, which is about to become the latest-less-one Rivers of London/Peter Grant book (the new one is due out in hardcover (!) next month). I'm enjoying it, although there's already been one kick in the gut. This is a good book to read near Mother's Day: some great and terrifying mums in here (especially Lady Ty and Peter's mum).

Before that, I did some comfort reading. I discovered two old favorites in ebook format: Shirley Rosseau Murphy's White Ghost Summer and The Sand Ponies. Both are pitched as horse stories, but actually, they're family stories with a dash of mystery. There are horses, and they're significant, but they're not actually what the stories are about.

Does anyone know whether it's worth trying to contact a publisher about scan errors in ebooks? These have repeated problems when the end of a paragraph coincides with the end of some dialog in quotation marks. Most of the time it wasn't too terrible for the flow of the story, but at one point several words were lost.

chomiji: Close-up view of hands, writing with a pen on paper (Writing)

So hey, I found this:

[community profile] raksura_fans

They have a challenge that's going to close for signups real soon and like NO ONE has signed up for it.

Schedule
Sign-ups: April 24-May 1
Assignments sent out: May 3 (or earlier)
Assignments due: June 14
Assignments revealed: June 21
Creators revealed: June 28

I'm not sure what to do myself. The comm has 22 members. But there is NOTHING in the exchange tag set, which I'm not sure how that would work .

ETA: Ah, the mod says to use last year's tag set, which has a pile of characters and relationships under "Characters."

And this is way last minute, but I only tripped over the comm and the exchange yesterday, while browsing Tumblr.

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