Friday, April 30, 2021

Guess What

Hmm, could it be?

Actually, it's in my present as well:
Isn't that pretty?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Murderbot So Far

No, I haven't heard from B&N yet that my copy is in, WTF, B&N? However, why wait to go into series detail?

With the excellent recent news that author Martha Wells has a deal for six new books, and three of them specifically Murderbot books, fans such as myself can relax: more of this excellent series is coming! As well as three non-Murderbot books, which I am also most interested in (I love her Raksura series, too). However, I thought this would be a good time to give a nod to the ‘read’ part of my blog title and give… the story so far.

Note 1: I will try to avoid major spoilers, but really, if you haven’t read any of them, and have any interest in the series, just stop reading here and go try All Systems Red, or at least try the excerpt here. You can thank me later—or, if you somehow don’t like it (I mean, anything is possible), you won’t have wasted your time reading the rest of this.

Note 2: All books are available in physical and e-book form, and in audio—those last being read by Kevin R. Free, who does a fantastic job, seriously, you should listen to them.

The basics: Murderbot is a part-bot/part-human construct, a Security Unit that is rented to clients for their protection during dangerous jobs. However, the client it is most protecting is the company that hires it, not the humans involved, and it has no say in where it goes. It’s a tool. It is also self-aware, and hates a lot about its job.

The series starts with four novellas:
All Systems Red
Artificial Condition
Rogue Protocol
Exit Strategy

These set up the character of Murderbot (smart, sarcastic, awkward, relatable, and awesome), and the supporting cast (also lots of awesome, I especially love Ratthi but Pin-Lee rocks and of course Dr Mensah rules), and each story is satisfying on its own while also building to a strong overall conclusion. Fun fact: the author did not plan it this way! She wrote one, got asked to do a second, and then when they took off, continued on with the other two.

(The next item by interior chronology is a short story from the point of view of Dr Mensah, called Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory, set shortly after the end of Exit Strategy. It was a pre-order bonus when Network Effect came out, and is now available from Tor electronically (here), but not in physical form. It’s really cool to get the outside POV.)

Just out this week (ahem, for some people), but chronologically next, is another novella, Fugitive Telemetry, which is a murder mystery set on Preservation Station, as Murderbot is trying to figure out its place among the humans, some of whom are also not at all sure of its place there, or even that it should have a place.

Then Network Effect is a full-length novel, with some of the same characters and some different ones. I read one spoilery bit before I first read it, and it was Very Upsetting to me; although it worked out when I read it, I would have preferred not to have come across it, so I won’t go into detail, but I will say that having the longer canvas for the story, and room for lots of backstory and some future hints, was a lot of fun for me as a reader.

Wells said in an interview that of the three new ones, it will probably be one novel and two novellas; the more, the better, and I will take whatever she comes up with!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Murderbot Day!

And what wonderful sci-fi book comes out today? Why, that would be Fugitive Telemetry! More Murderbot!

This was supposed to be where I put a photo of the book in my actual hand, but Barnes & Noble let me down: I pre-ordered it a few months ago, but they didn't get it in today! Can you imagine? I know it's a long time since I worked there, but on-sale dates are very common and you can't tell me that this isn't a big enough book for them to make sure they get it in time. 

Humph. At least Audible came through for me. I'll have more on the book/series another day.

Meanwhile, I was filling out paperwork for a medical visit (I'm trying PT for my back), and was much struck by this:

Who indeed? That is the question.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Around and About

Saturday was not quite so bad as Friday had been in terms of energy*, happily, since I had lunch plans with some knitting friends. We had a nice, no-rush lunch on the patio at PF Chang's and hung out for a while, knitting, and it was very pleasant. Kind of normal, while still thinking things like "most of us are vaccinated now" and "plus it was outside!"

*Still sore/swollen under the arm, but apparently swollen lymph nodes are not uncommon after the vaccine, and nothing to worry about, so that's good.

After lunch, I stopped in at Bass Pro Shops to get some bug repellent, since we're going to do dinner on the beach when my friend visits, and I don't want to get bitten again. I'm not that familiar with the store, so I asked a couple of employees where I could find bug spray, and they said it was upstairs in camping, but there were a few kinds down by the cash registers, so we started over there. I explained what I needed, and they looked at the labels to be sure I got what I wanted. The very nice man assured me that this kind would work for "gee-nats"--I wasn't at all sure what he meant, but he pointed to the spot on the label.

See? Gnats. I don't know how I kept a straight face.

While I was out, the car hit a milestone: 65,000 miles!

Today I did a little more in the ongoing project of clearing out unused things: to weed, or not to weed, there is no question. Weed! I have made a good deal of progress in various areas, but usually I finish working on a messy spot, think how great it looks now, and then realize I didn't take a 'before' photo before I got started. So when I went to straighten out this part of my closet today, I made sure to do that.

This is where I keep sweaters (mostly not hand-knit) and other layers for cool days, on the right, and hand-knits, mostly shawls, on the left. It had gotten rather messy.

I decided that the shawls needed some more space, and I pulled things out and rearranged. I actually only got rid of one sweater, but just tidying it made a big difference.
There are areas where I've gotten rid of more things, but the end result feels the same: satisfaction at increasing the usable space. That's the goal, and I'm making progress.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Doing Okay, and That's Okay

So how is my day after second vaccine shot going? It's going... okay.

My arm is very achy, from shoulder almost to elbow. Surprisingly, my underarm is very sore, as I learned in the shower this morning, and that's definitely different from the first shot. But mostly, if I don't try to lift the arm up to the side, it's only achy.

I'm also even more tired than usual, which is saying something, as I am a naturally low-energy person.

And these things are fine. If this is as bad as it gets? I'll be counting my lucky stars. Because by all accounts, even a mild case of COVID-19 is much worse than this. I'm cussing about the sore arm, but only in a really grateful way.

Thursday, April 22, 2021


This time, the bandage was a regular one, not red. But it covers the shot site just as well, and I got a drink from Starbucks to celebrate being vaccinated. Because this is a thing to celebrate!

While I respect people's deciding for themselves if they are ready to be vaccinated, I can't say I understand ti when they don't. I told the woman working the drive-through what I was celebrating and she seemed pleased for me, then said she wasn't sure for herself. Working with the public all day, and you could get one, but you don't? No, I don't understand that. But I hope that in time she will decide to get it, and so will lots of other people.

And until then, I am at least vaccinated myself. Which feels wondrous. Two weeks from now, it will be complete coverage, and I am so excited. To go into a store and just wander around. To have my (vaccinated) friend visit, and then my (vaccinated) brother! To start planning travel of my own.

To relax, at least a little.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Cat Break

Maggie wasn't allowed on my lap while I was eating dinner, so she made do with what she could get.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

At Least, This Much

When I heard that Derek Chauvin had been found guilty of murdering George Floyd, I was, sadly, grateful for just that little bit of accountability. It isn't much, but better than the alternative.

I also thought of Doonesbury. Growing up, my brother and I read the cartoon collections over and over, including a great many that went way over my head, but it means that I make these associations sometimes.

And tonight, in my head, is the voice of Mark Slackmeyer:

Thank god for that much, at least.

Monday, April 19, 2021

I Don’t Wanna

Guess what came in the mail today? A summons to jury duty.

I don’t know how to link to it on the tablet, which I am using because of cat on lap, but I wrote in 2011 about being called to it then, and why it freaked me out, and I am feeling much the same way now. I just feel so deeply uneasy at the thought.

I also got to go to the dentist today, to have a crown re-cemented. It really has been a Monday.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Updates of This and That

A week ago, I wrote about the grass I grow for Maggie to nibble on, and wanted to show you how it grows in a week.

This morning:

Last Sunday:
Isn't that something? Maggie approves.

Pretty soon it will be time to recycle out the oldest and plant some more; we like to have a good crop going.

Then there's knitting. I showed you the little shawl with three colors done, and here it is with four done:

And here I am today, almost done with number five:
I tried to lay it out on Maggie yesterday while she napped on my lap, and she was not too enamored of that idea.
Uncooperative models, I tell you.

I got a bunch done on it today while the Bruins played; they are now 4-0 since the trade deadline, which shows how well they did there, for once! I mean, it's early days yet, but so far, so good with the new players. Which makes ccr a happy Bruins fan!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Blog-Name Day

Earlier today I was reading; then just now, I'm knitting while watching hockey with a cat on my lap.

Thereby unlocking my blog's name. Woo!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

That Says It

I saw this on Instagram the other day.


I wasn't familiar with the account the daily don before, but wow, nail on the head here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Have a Cat (photographically speaking)

I didn't get enough sleep last night, I stepped on the cat's paw this morning (she's fine), and in the afternoon I bashed my little toe against the desk so hard it made me cry. Was that karma? I don't know, but what a day. 

 So I hereby present to you some Maggie photos from the last week, which is all I'm up to right now.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Grass. Not That Kind.

Cat grass! Any other cat people grow grass for their cats to nibble?

I had read about it somewhere, as something that cats enjoy, and that can be good for their digestion. Since Maggie sometimes throws up, I decided to try her on it. See if she liked it, see if it helped. While I can't say it's helped much, she does seem to enjoy it, so I keep planting more for her.

The first time, I bought a kit at Petsmart, and then once she gave it the okay, I bought another, and more seed, as well as a pot to grow it in.

I rotate between pots, and try to keep up with it, so she doesn't have to go without (yes, she is very spoiled, I know). Here is just-planted, planted last week, and growing fine (and slightly chewed on).

They don't look that appealing to me, personally.

But then, I'm not the target audience. 
She ignores it.
She poses near it.
Demonstrating that the original instructions to let them sprout in the dark bring some yellow grass, compared to not hiding it in the closet.
But it still tastes good!
Any of it, all of it!
She's a fan.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Knitting Away

As I mentioned last week, I've started a new knitting project. And I'm having such fun! 

I wanted to use the Infinity Fade gradient set from Fiber Optic in a pattern that would really show off the progression. It's 14 colors! And I don't want to waste a bit of it. In poking around on Ravelry, I came across Valente by Martina Behm, which is described as a "cape-cowl-hybrid" and can be made to button up or not. Since it's done sideways, using short rows, it seemed like a good match to the yarn. I cast on more stitches, so it would be a bit longer than designed, and do not plan to add a button band. It's a simple pattern, which is suiting me just fine.

Just to get the negatives out of the way, I am finding that the yarn bleeds a bit; I don't notice it too badly on my hands, but see the needles? The one on the left used to be about the color as the one I out next to it.

The set came with instructions on rinsing with vinegar to help set the colors, and I will certainly do that.

The other things is, I had a terrible time winding the yarn! Something about the way each mini was wound and tied off, I don't know, but there was much cussing done. However, even in the midst of it, I knew it would be worth it, and it is.


The Bruins play this afternoon, and I'll be knitting and watching. I'm into the third color, so over one-seventh done!

Friday, April 09, 2021

Doing Better, Knock Wood

An awful day and a couple of non-normal days, but the period seems to be winding down again, thankfully. Ready to be done with it all, any time now!

Meanwhile, look!

I ordered a custom 3D-printed yarn box from String Theory Colorworks, and it arrived yesterday.

She'll put what you want on the sides; I got one with my initials on it, of course.

As well as the yarn ball with crossed knitting needles, which I love.

The top slides open, and has a hidden magnet closure.

I've always been hesitant to get a yarn bowl, figuring that the way I yank the yarn, the ball would go flying out the top, so I like the idea of a closure better. And it's miles better than nothing at all, which always ends with the yarn either rolling off the couch, or flying up in the air. Yay!