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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window


cropSo somewhere or other—mebbe NPR?—I stumbled across a best 100 books of 2017 (or 2016...) on a variety of topics and one of the recces was a very traditional looking romance, Pretty Face, by Lucy Parker, which is actually the second in her series of ‘London Celebrities’. The premise sounded unappealing: a TV film star playing a sexpot bad-girl role decides to switch to high-end stage theatre, run, of course, by the irascable director who despises her current career choices, her appearance, her vocal issues...

London celebrities? Really? I actually went to the Goodreads review site, because I was so dubious. But once again, was assured by the folks there: yes, really, worth your time. By people, like me, who just couldn't stand reading romance anymore. I love the idea of romance, but most of them marketed under the label make me really annoyed, because the characters don't talk to each other, don't have organically arising issues coming out of their situations and personalities, and usually fail the feminism test, hard.



cropHm, it's been a month, mebbe I should post something. I have been doing more than just live under a rock—I actually wrote the review, below, in July, frex—but it sure doesn't seem like it. So to make up, a bit, today's goodie is something of a twofer.

Let's start with a disclosure: some Scalzi fiction I really enjoy, others I bounce. (I consistently enjoy his essays, particularly those incorporating social-political observations.) So, frex, I never finished The Collapsing Empire, because I didn't like one of the characters, who, to be fair, was even by the author's admission, a raging asshole. —But for many readers, and the writer, an entertaining one!

However, I really liked both the setup & main character, Chris, who so far has appeared in two (of what I'll call) Hayden universe novels. The basic premise of these books is that a mysterious, communicable disease swept through the population, locking in perhaps 1% of them inside their own heads, unable to interact with the rest of world except by way of mechanical bodies or a virtual world called the agora.



cropI don't always diss the stuff I review: here are a couple of excellent YA fantasies I've recently read. First up, Sarah Rees Brennan's In Other Lands, featuring 13 year old Elliot, who would be happy to go to magic school (or at least, school in magic lands) so long as it has lots of mermaids and other cool sophonts and not so much weapons practice. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't quite work out that way.

It's pretty clear that Brennan was having some fun poking fun at the canon of teenaged protagonists magically transported to magical places, but thirteen year old Elliot, in all his snarky, bitter too-smart-for-his-own-good glory is the heart of this book. He immediately falls for a beautiful elf named Serene Heart in Chaos of Battle and tries his damnedest to fix her interest before everyone else's hormones catch up with his. Oh, and, in the tradition of this sort of book, also befriends the sunny, blonde, good-at-everything Luke, who forms the last third of their trio.



cropAh, the delightful odour of slightly stale links...I was reading some blog or other, and then came across some article or other about terfs —trans-exclusionary radical feminists (which totally baffles me, but I guess some people feel as if wombs, and, by extension the child-bearing they represent, are the defining aspect of womanhood, whereas to me femininity [& masculinity as well] always seemed like a sort of social costume one could put on or off at will) and while not quarrelling with the author's larger argument (which is basically: ok, so what do we do with intersex folk, or XY women who have successfully borne children [!] not to mention androgen insensitives and the like?) somewhere (perhaps in a link wandering off...) I came across the argument that if we have cis and trans, then we need something for folks inbetween, and their (several-years-old-so-it-obviously-never-caught-on) suggestion was ipso and I thought Noooooooooooooooo! I have a better idea:



cropNeed to post this before the next mouse page, so that's at least one french beaded project up... today's link is a happy-ending story about a couple who painted their house in wild, beautiful colour.

They aren't the only ones; this extremely generous textile artist has also done a wonderful—and colourful house as well. We have a bit of that going on locally, which I [would] love [to do]; unfortunately, I'm kind of afraid to take the vinyl siding off, because of all the squirrel (and raccoon) problems.


cropSorry for the no-posting. I had great and glorious plans, since I wasn't travelling this summer, to really tidy up the garden! and get household projects like window restoration & sidewalk installation (& possibly roof repair) done! and try some new media, such as mosaic! ...pfffft. To be sure, while the hot spell, anxiety over roofing bids, and teaching my class all had an impact, today's excuse is that NS2 is misbehaving, & as that's completely out of my control, frees me up to make a post completely without guilt.

I did explore some of the cut-end loopback techniques for french beaded flowers, and as I get them photographed and documented, I'll be showing those. But I've more or less cycled out of that project, and as part of the cleanup process, made a bunch of dead mouse tails to deal with the odds and ends of seed beads. Today's mouse is actually a restring, which inspired me to photograph and document it more-or-less promptly so as to get it back to its owner.


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