Am just back from day two of Awesome Con, which has absolutely lived up to its name. More on this tomorrow. In the meantime, have a song.

17 - a song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke
  Roxette – Dangerous
  I've done The Look but for some reason the Japanese karaoke boxes never had this one, even though they should have.

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16 - one of your favourite classical songs
  Paddy Glackin & Michael O Domhnaill - Elizabeth Kelly's Delight
  I love slip jigs the best of all forms of traditional Irish music, and I love Elizabeth Kelly's Delight the best of all slip jigs. It was the first tune I taught myself to play by ear because at 12 years old all I had was a cassette tape of The Chieftains' 8, with no liner notes, that merely called this "The Session" and lumped it in with two other tunes, and I thought it was all one thing and could find nothing like it in any of my sheet music books BUT I WAS GOING TO PLAY THIS TUNE MYSELF NO MATTER WHAT IT TOOK.

And I love this rendition of Elizabeth Kelly's Delight the best of all versions. Fifteen years ago I went into a used record store recommended by a coworker as having "a lot of Celtic stuff" and asked to be shown their Irish music section. All the place had was this CD. The owner put it on the stereo for me and I bought it 10 seconds in. When I took it home and discovered at the minute twenty-six mark that there's a double jig version of Elizabeth Kelly's too? MIND. BLOWN.

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15 - a song that is a cover by another artist
  Le Butcherettes – Wrecking Ball
   Teri Gender Bender is the second coming of PJ Harvey (and my future wife!). Here she shows Mylie how it's done.

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What I Just Finished Reading

What Your Financial Advisor Isn't Telling You – Liz Davidson
I'm still searching for the book that will convince me retirement plans amount to anything more than state-sponsored gambling. That said, the gambling Davidson peddles is far less injurious than most financial advisors', and she includes a truly fascinating section on the psychology of habits that I wish had gone on for far longer.

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman
When reading Gaiman's ouerve, I often find myself asking a) Could I have written this, and b) If so, would Harper Collins have published it in a handsome hardcover edition? At least 80 percent of the time, the answers are yes and no, at which point I get cranky.

This book made me cranky.

The Wasting of Borneo – Alex Shoumatof
Shoumatof's conservation message would be more convincing if he weren't also a priveleged ecotourist whose globe-trotting contributes to the very environmental destruction he decries. He's also cringe-inducingly oblivious in other areas, such as his rendering his Malaysian guides' speech in “me talk good” pigdin English and his reaction upon meeting a highlander in traditional garb (“the most authentic-looking Penan we've met”--I guess the ones in Western clothing were imposters?), or his risible contention that sexual violence was unknown on Borneo prior to contact with multinationals. It's a shame, because the opening chapters on Shoumatof's youth in the woods and fields of New England were lyrical.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Windfall – Diksa Basu
I'm still very much enjoying the foibles of the main characters as they try to navigate status and class in Delhi and the Indian expat community in the US.

The Infidel Stain – MJ Carter
I enjoyed the opening chapters the first time I read this and am enjoying them again now. What remains to be seen is if my opinion of the rest of it improves on the second read-through.

10% Happier – Dan Harris
Still loving this one, and will probably purchase next time the ebook goes on sale.

Tarot 101 – Kim Huggens
After a nigh-fifteen-year absence, I dipped my toe back into the online Tarot community and promptly went o.O. I signed out this book in an attempt to find out where some of these trends are coming from.

The Souls of China – Ian Johnson
Still truckin'.

Arkham Asylum – Grant Morrison & Dave McKean
For: McKean's artwork is stunning, Morrison understands that creepiness resides in what you don't show, was written in 1989.

Against: Oh look, women being tortured to death so's the menfolk can have something to do.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
Still truckin'.

Deathless – Catheryne Valente
Still truckin', although with a POV shift to a new character this week.


What I'm Reading Next

Gah, I don't know. I exceeded my owned-but-unread ceiling this week, triggering a mandatory massive unloading of volumes into neighborhood Little Lending Libraries from which I am still smarting.


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14 - a song that you would love played at your wedding
  David Bowie – Absolute Beginners
  In fact, if I could only ever listen to one David Bowie song ever again, this would be it.

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13 - one of your favourite 70's songs
  The Bothy Band - Fionnghuala
  This song seriously rocks, and it's just one track on an amazing album.

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12 - a song from your pre-teen years
  Shakespeare's Sister - I Don't Care
  The radio edit wisely cut Siohban's spoken word bit in the middle while keeping the extended guitar solo at the end; what I would not give to get my hands on this superior version once more. Also, when this came out, I could nail Marcella's soprano. Times have changed.

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I saw Wonder Woman today. It is as good as everyone says it is. You could have been first out the gate with a female superhero movie, Marvel, but you're gonna have a hell of a time catching up now.

Also, here are two songs.

10 - a song that makes you sad
  Polica - Wandering Star
  The 2013 iTunes Festival recording is the definitive version for me in terms of lyrics and delivery, but the album cut is damn good too.

11 - a song that you never get tired of
  PJ Harvey - Yuri-G
  As far as Clearchannel and MTV were concerned, "women in rock" was Sarah McLaughlin and Jewel and Lisa Loeb, and I wanted no part of it. Then I came across a reference to Harvey's "axe-wielding bitch cow" quote in a magazine and bought her album without having heard a song, and it changed everything.

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And we are all caught up!

09 - a song that makes you happy
  Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart
  I have an electric toothbrush that buzzes to let me know when my two minutes of brushing are up, but what I really want is an electric toothbrush that plays "Groove is in the Heart" for two minutes while I brush and do the dances from the video in my bathroom mirror. Why this thing does not already exist, I do not know.

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Last day of doubles.

04 - a song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about
  Pharrell – Happy
  The stoner who lived next door to me and often came home so messed up she tried to force her way into my apartment once played this on repeat for two hours. Just thinking about this song gives me a rash, so here you go.

08 - a song about drugs or alcohol
  Make-up – Substance Abuse
  As my ISP is now free to monetize whatever I do online and because I don't want them thinking I have addiction problems, here's a link to the entire album; today's track starts at the 59:30 mark. When I first heard this album it was impossible to buy it where I lived; I had someone's third-generation tape deck copy. Back then had you told me I'd go on to see them live twice, I wouldn't have believed you. When I saw them last month they played "Walking On The Dune" live, and that's something else I never thought I'd get to experience. I will die happier because I have.

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What I Just Finished Reading

The Devil's Feast – MJ Carter
Just as good the second time around. When is the next volume out, again?


What I Am Currently Reading

The Windfall – Diksha Basu
This is an utterly delightful and entertaining novel. Basu has an Austen-like eye for teasing out the absurdities and humor in the way her characters' desires and insecurities put them at cross-purposes to each other, and I love that there's no villain per se, just a variety of human beings being fallibly human.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
Still truckin.'

The Souls of China – Ian Johnson
Johnson is an excellent writer.

Deathless – Catheryne Valente
Thus far, this book is also a gem. Valente has the formula for writing a fairytale in novel form down cold. It's otherworldly and compelling and frequently creepy, and it does all of these things so subtly and so well. If she keeps this up, Deathless is going to rank among the top five novels I've read thus far this year.


What I'm Reading Next
Grogginess has slowed me down, so I'll probably just continue working on the volumes I've got in progress now.

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And come tomorrow, I'll be caught up!

03 - a song that reminds you of summer
  A Perfect Circle – The Hollow
  Oddly enough, most of my strong seasonal song associations are either for spring or winter, but I do have wonderful memories of a summer day spent driving down back roads to multiple nurseries, the car loaded down with platts of herbs, with Mer De Noms cranked up full blast.

07 - a song to drive to
  Adam Massacre – Glorious Domination
  Three minutes 45 seconds of the best face-melting chorus Freddie Mercury has ever channeled from beyond the grave. I may frequently put this one on repeat as I drive to work in the morning.


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lebateleur: Sweet Woodruff (Default)
( Jun. 6th, 2017 10:46 pm)
Dear Author, thank you for writing for me! So many of my favorite fandoms appeared in the tagset for this exchange. I can't wait to see which one you choose.

My few DNWs (unless otherwise noted in the prompt) are character death, eroticized rape, guro, heavy-duty AU, mpreg.

My kinks are myriad. I like the full spectrum from angst and hurt/comfort to humor and slice-of-life. I love reconciliation and two characters realising how they've misunderstood each other's intentions this entire time. Social mores and their subversion (conscious or otherwise) are a huge thing for me. Banter and bickering-as-flirting are also gold as far as I'm concerned.

I've set out some ideas for each prompt below. Feel free to use any that strike your fancy or write a completely unrelated story if you've got something in mind.

Blake & Avery Series - MJ Carter
Jeremiah Blake/William Avery
Obsession with this series has enveloped my fandom life for over a year now. I don't think Carter intends their interactions to be slashy, but to this reader's eye, they are, and in all the ways I love. I very much want this fandom to be bigger (ie, exist) so I will be thrilled with any story involving these two. If you'd like some ideas to get you started:
- Avery's nightmares are still troubling him. What does he tell Blake about them, and what has Blake already figured out? How does Blake help Avery to deal with them?
- Blake gets on the ship to America. Does Avery follow (and if so, when and why)?
- Blake has a run-in with Avery's father. How does it happen, and what is the result?
* My one request is that you don't give Helen a bum deal as a result of these two pairing up.

Onmyoji
Abe no Seimei/Minamoto no Hiromasa
I've read the novels and the manga, but as far as I'm concerned the films are the definitive version of this series and I'm always thrilled to see them appear in a tagset. I sound like a broken record in my requests, but I love Semei's wry worldliness and Hiromasa's bemused dependability, so anything you write with these elements will do it for me. Having said that, some specific jumping-off points might be:
- Seimei is asked to perform an important rite in the Inner Palace. Why were higher-ranking onmyoji passed over, and what is the result?
- Hiromasa is tapped to take an imperial message to an important shrine or temple. But once his retinue leaves the Heiankyo city gates, something goes awry. Does Seimei step in to help, or does the trouble involve him?
- An jealous onmyoji journeys to the capital to challenge Seimei, and only Hiromasa can save him. How does it happen?

Samurai Flamenco
Gotou Hidenori/Hazama Masayoshi
I don't understand why this fandom and this pairing aren't bigger. I love Hazama's naivete and passion for making humanity Do Good!, and Gotou's steadiness and devotion. These two were made for each other, and I would love to read about their further adventures. Some prompts:
- Hazama opens school for aspiring superheros and tries to hire Gotou as an advisor.
- Some time has passed since the events of the series. Hazuma's popularity with fans of his good deeds and modeling career only continue to grow. Gotou becomes his personal security guard, one thing leads to another, and...?
- And the perennial favorite: Hazuma tries proposing again. What makes him do it and what happens this time around?


Gentlemen Bastard Sequence - Scott Lynch
Locke Lamora/Jean Tannen
I've only read the first book and it's no secret that it disagreed with me. There was such an intriguing world and premise, but I spent the entire novel waiting for Locke to realise that his thieving and killing and ruining lives feels just as horrible to his victims as it does to him when he's on the receiving end of it, and he never did. Author, please correct this here.

My guro and noncon DNWs are not in force for this story. Basically, I want Locke to get raked over the coals here, so mess him up, mess Jean up, do what ever you like until Locke has that epiphany. Let your baser nature be your guide. Bonus points if Jean gets it bad and still manages to come to the rescue. Bonus bonus points if they get schmoopy about it afterward.

World Wrestling Entertainment
Antonio Cesaro/Sheamus
These two. Oh my goodness, these two. The bar brawls. The promos. The matching utilikilts. The Celtic/Gallic alliance. Anything, anything with them will make me happy. Some possibilities might be:
- It's been a long, grueling dark show/PPV/24 hours in airport purgatory. Our duo gets to the hotel and starts bickering over the TV channel, the bed by the window, who showers first, you get the picture. One thing leads to another, and...
- Domestic rivalries. Whose country does breakfast better: breakfast fry or continental breakfast? Or if drinking, stout versus wine. Cesaro likes cooking, but what does Sheamus think of his attempts? Is the way to Sheamus's heart through his stomach?
- I would love something involving all the languages these two speak between them. Does Sheamus teach Cesaro to curse in Gaelic? Does Cesaro try wooing him (or insulting him!) in French or Italian or... Do they bond over being able to talk smack at the rest of the roster without the other guys being able to understand?

これで以上です。
And onward!

02 - a song you like with a number in the title
  Pixies - No. 13 Baby
  That outro. That outro. That outro. That outro.

06 - a song that makes you want to dance
  Members of Mayday - Sonic Empire
  Twenty years after I first heard it, this track still blows my mind.

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Let's start chipping away at the ever-expanding backlog of things I mean to post by dipping a toe in with this music meme. Thirty days, thirty songs.

01 - a song you like with a colour in the title
  Siouxsie and the Banshees – Silver Waterfalls
  Siouxsie at her buoyant best. This song just sparkles.

05 - a song that needs to be played LOUD
  Crystal Fairy – Necklace of Divorce
  I am proud to announce that Teri Gender Bender is my future wife.

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What I Just Finished Reading

Pleasure Bound – Deborah Lutz
A great read from start to finish. Lutz's prose is clear and her take on her subjects sympathetic and incisive. This one is definitely going on the reread shelf.

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
This book had great promise but fails to deliver. Reasons why behind the cut )


What I Am Currently Reading

The Windfall – Diksha Basu
Being a novel about a nouveau riche Delhi family. So far we have been introduced to the affable but bumbling father, the long-suffering mother, the son with a secret American girlfriend, and the neighborhood widow who wants to live out her missed youth.

The Devil's Feast – MJ Carter
Still truckin'.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
Still truckin'.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew – Daniel Pool
There is a lot of interesting information in this volume but Pool is not a particularly lucid writer, which makes it difficult to absorb. Now that much of what he covers can also be found in Wikipedia, I'm not sure how much utility there is to be had in slogging through his presentation of it here.

The Wasting of Borneo – Alex Shoumatoff
Shoumatoff has finally made it to Malaysia. For my part, I am still truckin'.

Deathless – Catheryne Valente
I am really liking this one. Writing a novel in fairytale prose is no easy feat, but thus far Valente is doing an excellent job of it.


What I'm Reading Next
Unfinished volumes from Wednesdays past, most likely.

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The worst of times. )

The best of times. )

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What I Just Finished Reading

Two months' of back issues of four magazines, and the WaPo and WSJ. Subscriptions are destroying my ability to novel.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Devil's Feast – MJ Carter
Still rereading, and enjoying catching more little character nuances I didn't fully note the first time around.

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
Woah, this got very dark in a way I'd not seen coming, but I like it when novels surprise like that.

Clariel – Garth Nix
We're really starting to get some intimations that all in the capital is not as rosy as it may first appear. I am very much intrigued.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
I wish my ARC copy contained the color plates. And yes, still truckin'.

The Wasting of Borneo – Alex Shoumatoff
Shoumatoff is a passionate and engaging writer, but his naivete can grate. To wit: “The Dalai Lama didn't remember me when I went to see him again several years after a two-hour private audience with him” but the second time Shoumatoff visits the elephant Bubbles at a commercial exotic animal reserve, the elephant “immediately zooms in on me...wraps her trunk around me and pulls me to her breast and raises her right foot for me to rest on. [Her handler] tells me later he's only seen her do this three times...” To Shoumatoff's mind, this is confirmation of his unique understanding of human-animal bonds that have been forsaken by the majority of humanity. Whereas this skeptical reader thinks it more to do with the fact that Bubbles is a captive, trained animal with 27 years of cinema and circus shows behind her, whose handlers saw a mark and a golden opportunity to generate good PR for their $250-a-head show at their “unusual and controversial operation, which, it has to be said, is not held in high regard by the animal-rights community.”


What I'm Reading Next
Thick As Thieves. Thick As Thieves. Thick As Thieves. Thick As Thieves. And that's how I'll be spending my long weekend.

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What I Just Finished Reading

Summerlong – Peter Beagle
This was indeed not my cup of tea. I connected with none of the characters, the majority of the narrative is a wish fulfilment fantasy, and the big reveals (and what happens subsequently) were visible from a mile away. The volume concludes with an About the Author so pompous that readers may be forgiven for wondering why, in a world graced with Beagle's genius, anyone still bothers with Shakespeare.


What I Am Currently Reading

Japan and Korea – Frank Carpenter
In which we move on to traditional crafts; it's neat that what Carter wrote about 90 years ago still goes on in Kyoto today.

The Devil's Feast – MJ Carter
I'm a third of the way through the book and narratively, now the real fun is beginning. Carter has a tendency to deliver history lecture as chunks of dialogue, but it's far more natural here than in The Infidel Stain. But when she does show, she does it so very well.

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie Holmberg
I'm still very much enjoying this novel. It's a darker, more adult narrative than any of Holmberg's previous books, and I'm interested to see how she develops certain elements, such as ethnicity and religion, that she introduced in the early chapters.

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
This novel--about the denizens of a school for children who have been expelled from fantasy realms and are desperate to get back--has a classic Holly Black vibe. The social commentary is laid on a bit thick in places, but I'm fine with that because it's good commentary.

Clariel – Garth Nix
In which we learn some intriguing things about our protagonist, and encounter a Charter Mage who is going to teach her more.

Uprooted – Naomi Novik
I've reached what I think of as the second part of this novel, where the cast of characters and setting both undergo a major shift. I remember liking the first part better; we'll see if that still holds true during this reading.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
Still truckin'.

Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans – Min Byoung-chul
Still truckin'.


What I'm Reading Next
I will keep on truckin' through the above.

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