edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Tonight I finally got around to sorting, counting, and repacking the books I am donating to the Friends of the Library Booksale, on the principle that even if I don't itemize my tax deductions, my parents might as well get to claim these donations on their tax return as a tiny payback for the help they have given me over the years.

Tomorrow morning I will drop off 69 hardcovers or trade paperbacks (including various graphic novels and some manga); 46 mass market paperbacks; 7 children's hardcovers; 9 children's paperbacks; and one really nice illustrated version of Anne of Green Gables that might go for a higher price.

A bunch of these books were things people gave me that I never actually wanted -- this accounts for at least a dozen books on writing, plus some weird Christmas gifts -- and some others were things I picked up thinking I'd read them but never actually got around to and which are readily available through libraries, but an awful lot were from my latest bookshelf-pruning expedition. I don't think I have ever cleared out this many books at once.

But Vicky has been experimenting with a life-decluttering philosophy whose gimmick is that rather than looking at items and asking if you want to get rid of them, you should pick each item up in your hands and ask if holding it brings you joy. If the answer is not a firm yes? Ditch it. So I did.

I mean, I still have somewhere between 500 and 550 volumes of fiction, some graphic novels, some manga, two shelves of "I'm going to read this someday, I swear!", and my nonfiction bookcase which I really need to sort through one of these days. I used a fairly low threshold for joy. But there were a surprising number of books I'd been keeping more or less because I'd always kept them, rather than because I liked them or had any intention of ever rereading them, and I decided that that was a dumb reason. Therefore, out they go, and may they find a home with someone who will love them properly. :-)

Next up, decluttering my clothes!
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Yesterday (Saturday) Mom and Dad went to the mainland and drove west to Grand Forks to visit Mom's cousin Anita and her husband Albert, who spend their summers teaching linguistics to fundamentalist Christian missionary types, so they can record and create writing systems for various tiny languages as prep work for translating the Bible and spreading the Gospels and suchlike. Since unlike Vicky, I am not professionally trained in linguistics, and since I have only met Anita and Albert twice in my entire life, it was decided I would stay on the island and take care of the dog.

Dottie mopes when her humans abandon her. I am only a subsidiary member of "her humans" so I don't really count, but I can provide at least a little comfort via physical contact. Also I can give her snacks and take her out for walks. She came and curled up on my bed for about half an hour right after Mom and Dad left, and spent much of the rest of the day lying on the back of the porch sofa, watching the lake in case the boat suddenly reappeared.

On their way home from Grand Forks, my parents detoured through the town of Climax, Minnesota, which is where Ardis was born. It was not a hugely illuminating trip, since apparently the town has changed so much since then that even Ardis, on a visit several years ago, was unable to say for certain which house she had grown up in. Everything has been remodeled or rebuilt beyond the point of identification.

Today (Sunday) we had pancakes for breakfast, after which we set out for the west shore via the south shore. The south shore is the most resort-like part of Star Island -- back in the day, it was the site of the Star Island Lodge, and just FYI, Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet's junior partner in Berkshire Hathaway) has, IIRC, three family cabins on the south shore. The south shore is closest to the mainland marina, and also has a beach, you see; therefore it was mostly settled by businesspeople. The east and west shores are up on high bluffs, which is much less appealing from an ease and comfort standpoint. The east shore was traditionally populated by academic types from the University of Minnesota. All these distinctions are historical and not really valid anymore, btw.

Anyway, we reached the west shore and then returned home via the south shore of Lake Windigo -- the lake within Star Island (which makes it a lake-within-a-lake, pretty neat!) -- and collectively collapsed for a bit. Later we did a bunch of chores. Mom did some raking and general cabin cleaning, while Dad and I undermined the shore station by digging sand out from under its feet and thereby shifted it a couple inches toward the dock and a couple inches away from the shore, since it was misaligned when it was installed this spring. We also attached the styrofoam bumpers to the springy bits.

I have been plowing my way through Richard Rhodes's The Making of the Atomic Bomb and have reached the testimonial accounts of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. It is sobering. The book as a whole is extremely well written, managing to get across science, engineering, personality conflicts, politics, war, and all sorts of complicated material in a clear and coherent narrative. I bogged down in the middle, but that is because the middle is largely about bureaucratic bog-down, and that sort of thing can affect my reading speed. I inherited this copy from Grandma Doris, who had helpfully gone through and bookmarked every time my Grandpa is mentioned. This is kind of funny -- my mother's mother bookmarking mentions of my father's father -- but is very much the sort of thing she tended to do. ...I still miss her. :-(

Anyway.

Now we are going to have steak for dinner. Mmmm, steak.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Stuff I have done today:

1. Bought a new shirt and a new pair of black pants at Target. (All my old black pants are getting slightly ragged about the hems, and many also have small bleach stains near the cuffs -- a minor hazard of cleaning cappuccino machine parts at the smoke shop.)

2. Made an appointment to have my eyes checked and pick new glasses frames tomorrow afternoon. \o/

3. Called my mom to wish her a happy birthday.

4. Started reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. So far it is very interesting, though I had to put it down and go off and be squicked when I hit the description of what William Halsted's radical mastectomies physically involved in the 1890s. *shudders*

5. Watered my plants. I think tomorrow I should pot my latest round of baby spider plants. They have grown some rootlets and are starting to get unhappy sitting in water rather than actual soil.

6. Made a plan to lose weight this year. It has been creeping up over the past three years without me really noticing -- I blame getting the internet at home so I'm not hiking up East Hill to use Cornell's computer labs anymore -- and is almost at the point I previously hit after being unemployed and inactive for six months. So I have decided to get up 15 minutes earlier every day and do some brief exercises before I shower. Also, no more midnight snacks. Jointly, those changes should fix everything within eight to twelve months.

Now I am going to heat fishsticks in the oven for dinner and listen to the two CDs Vicky got me for Christmas, which just arrived in the mail this afternoon. :-)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Random things I have done recently, in no particular order:

1. Spent a couple days studying the construction of porches and the placement of gutters on the houses I pass on my way to and from work, in an effort to figure out why one particular porch struck me as abnormally ugly, and to make myself aware of things I tend not to notice. (The porch is ugly for several reasons -- bad paint job [by which I mean bad colors and the paint is peeling], roof about a foot too low, solid walls instead of banisters and railings, solid wall descending nearly a foot from the roof to meet the support pillars, pillars too thick and squat, etc. The overall effect is like a dank, decaying cave, and I cannot figure out how the house's inhabitants can sit there for hours at a time without descending into utter existential despair. It is just that awful.)

2. Read Ghost Story, Jim Butcher's newest Dresden Files novel. I am deeply iffy on the increasingly Christian metaphysical backdrop to that universe and I hope it either fades away or is revealed as a red herring to some degree, but I loved the flashbacks and am looking forward to see where Butcher decides to take the series next. :-) (I think that is vague enough that I am not going to spoiler cut. If you want to discuss anything more detailed with me, please do put a spoiler warning at the top of your comment!)

3. Sliced my right index finger up rather badly when trying to change an air conditioner filter at work. The cut is half an inch long and deep enough that, unlike the sting of a paper cut, it didn't start hurting until I got to the bathroom and started to wash it out. It took two bandaids before the cut stopped bleeding enough that the third bandage stayed on and didn't leak blood through the pad. (I am frankly amazed I was able to type at all on Saturday night, let alone write something like 6,000 words!)

4. Read The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means To Be Alive, by Brian Christian, which is about a guy who hears about the Loebner Prize (i.e., an iteration of the Turing Test held each year in the UK) and immediately decides he wants to participate and also write a book about the experience. It is very interesting and I am glad I read it, though I do take some issue with his definition of poetry. Then again, he is apparently a poet in addition to being a computer scientist, philosopher, and writer of articles for science magazines, so I suppose his thing about poetry comes with the territory. *wry* (And it's funny that that is the thing my mind snagged on the most, out of everything in his book, but the mind is a funny thing.) Hmm, what else, what else... Oh, right. Christian's discussion of conversations and how to move them out of rote exchanges into a genuine interaction is something I think most people should read, whether you give a damn about the Turing Test of not.

5. Worked out some details of my impending mini-trip to NJ with Vicky and Susan. I am heading down for Susan's birthday party, but rather than renting a car, I am getting a ride from Vicky, who is staying at our parents' house for a while until she goes back to D.C. to start training for a consulting job with the FBI -- something to do with giving and evaluating language fluency exams, I think. Anyway, Vicky will meet me at my apartment Thursday afternoon, I will be in Madison Friday and Saturday, and my Mom (who, along with my Dad, arrives back from London on Saturday afternoon) will drive me back to Ithaca Sunday morning so I can close the smoke shop that night.

Tangent: So why are my parents in London? )

6. Finished my Narnia Fic Exchange story, of course. \o/ And hey, when it is posted (and you will know when it is posted, if you are following the NFE community and have read my previous Narnia fic), if you want to leave con-crit, I would be endlessly grateful, because if ever a story needed some constructive tearing-apart so it can be put back together better, that one does. :-)

And now to bed.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I kept forgetting to post this, and then I was ill. But better late than never, right? In that spirit, it's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in October 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

New: 3
---How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond, Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier nonfiction )

---Backup, Jim Butcher fantasy )

---Candide, Zadig, and Selected Stories, Voltaire, trans. Donald M. Frame fiction )


Old: 1
---The Heart and Stomach of a King: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power, Carole Levin nonfiction )


October Total: 4 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 66 books (39 new, 27 old)


---------------

On a vaguely related note, I survived two days of work while still ill and recovering from being more ill. Wednesday I have off, thank goodness, and I plan to sleep a lot.

Now I am off to drink more juice. (I think I have single-handedly been keeping the US cranberry juice industry afloat these past few days... And no, Europeans, that does not mean I have a UTI. In America, we drink cranberry juice because it tastes good, not just because it's medicinal. *grin*)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in September 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

New: 3
---The Raw Shark Texts, Steven Hall fiction )

---Duma Key, Stephen King fiction/horror )

---The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World, John Demos nonfiction )


Old: 4
---The Magician's Nephew, C. S. Lewis fantasy )

---The Silver Chair, C. S. Lewis fantasy )

---The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis fantasy )

---The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis fantasy )


September Total: 7 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 62 books (36 new, 26 old)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in August 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

New: 4
---Raising Twins: What Parents Want to Know (And What Twins Want to Tell Them), Eileen M. Pearlman, Ph.D., and Jill Alison Ganon nonfiction )

---Ithaca: A Brief History, Carol Kammen nonfiction )

---Life in a Medieval City, Joseph and Frances Gies nonfiction )

---The Door Through Space, Marion Zimmer Bradley science fiction )


Old: 1
---The Magic of Recluce, L. E. Modesitt, Jr. fantasy )


August Total: 5 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 55 books (33 new, 22 old)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in July 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

New: 4
---The Empty Chair, Diane Duane sci-fi )

---Branded by Fire, Nalini Singh romance )

---Uhura's Song, Janet Kagan sci-fi )

---Lisey's Story, Stephen King fiction/horror )


Old: 0


July Total: 4 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 50 books (29 new, 21 old)

---------------

I meant to read more, but I have been perniciously distracted by fanfic in general, by RemixRedux 7 in particular, and by attempting to watch streaming episodes of Heroes season 3 on Hulu over a very persnickety wireless connection -- in other words, it took me an average of three hours to watch each 45-minute episode. *sigh*

Also, I did start a couple other Star Trek novels, but either they didn't grab me or, as with Best Destiny, I was so put off by the writing that I set them down and have not yet got around to trying again. (There are only so many times I can read the phrase 'buff curls' with a straight face, for example. Diane Carey, I am looking right at you.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in June 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

This month is basically nothing but Star Trek tie-in novels, about which I have waxed dreadfully long-winded. (Seriously. My reviews/reactions have been getting longer and longer over the years, but these are just ridiculous. Ah well. Obsession is fun?)

New: 8
---Troublesome Minds, Dave Galanter sci-fi )

---The Romulan Way, Diane Duane and Peter Morwood sci-fi )

---Swordhunt, Diane Duane sci-fi )

---Doctor's Orders, Diane Duane sci-fi )

---The IDIC Epidemic, Jean Lorrah sci-fi )

---The Prometheus Design, Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath sci-fi )

---Yesterday's Son, A. C. Crispin sci-fi )

---Home Is the Hunter, Dana Kramer-Rolls sci-fi/historical )


Old: 4
---Spock's World, Diane Duane sci-fi )

---How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford sci-fi )

---The Return of Rafe MacKade, Nora Roberts romance )

---The Pride of Jared MacKade, Nora Roberts romance )


June Total: 12 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 46 books (25 new, 21 old)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's time for the continuing adventures of Liz and her reading list! These are the books I read in May 2009. (Click on the cuts for summaries and reactions. I reserve the right to spoil all hell out of any book if spoilery bits are what I feel like talking about.)

New: 7
---Envy of the Gods, John Prevas nonfiction - ACTIVELY DISRECOMMENDED )

---Salt and Silver, Anna Katherine paranormal romance )

---Vulcan's Glory, D. C. Fontana sci-fi )

---My Enemy, My Ally, Diane Duane sci-fi )

---The Vulcan Academy Murders, Jean Lorrah sci-fi )

---How Much for Just the Planet?, John M. Ford sc-fi )

---Star Trek, Alan Dean Foster, adapted from a script by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman film novelization )


Old: 2
---I Am Spock, Leonard Nimoy nonfiction )

---The Wounded Sky, Diane Duane sci-fi )


May Total: 9 books (plus several magazines, a few newspapers, and a ridiculous amount of fanfiction)

Year to Date: 34 books (17 new, 17 old)

---------------

On a completely different subject, my glee at my new apartment is partially offset by my annoyance at the death of my latest pair of sneakers.

I sat down this evening at work to remove a stone from my right shoe, and noticed that I could see light inside said shoe, down near the toe. This is never a good sign. Closer investigation revealed that the join between the sole and the upper section has an irreparable tear at least an inch long. "Oh," I said, "no wonder my sock got sopping wet when it rained a few days ago."

So on Wednesday, I have to take a bus to the mall and buy new sneakers.

I think this pair lasted about 11 months. I don't really expect sneakers to make it much past a year -- I am hard on my shoes -- but I was hoping these would hold out until August. *sigh*

Profile

edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

S M T W T F S
1 234 567
891011 12 1314
1516 17 18192021
22232425262728
293031    

Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags