Friday, October 24
Dinner. I knew I was forgetting something.
Just don't call me late to dinner.
I just realised that I am absolutely starving. I've been trying to cut back on the meals a bit, lately, and this is what happens. 'Scuse me while I go pig out.
Went shopping tonight, which is something I just haven't done lately. My Anime-pusher had a stack of stuff waiting for me, including the latest volumes of Chobits, Card Captor Sakura (What? What?!), Inu Yasha (Hi Mookie!), Please Teacher, Full Metal Panic, Haibane Renmei (which I saw one-and-a-half episodes of at Animania), DNA2, Noir, and His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano). Also the latest two issues of NewType... Not that I actually have time to read it.
King's Comics had the Azumanga Daioh manga - yay! I'm a huge fan of this wonderful show, but as far as I know the anime is currently not available. The fansub has been pulled from distribution now that the series has been licensed, but it hasn't actually been released yet.
Not that I care, because I already have it. Ha ha!
Then I took my few remaining dollars to Galaxy Bookshop (Sydney's best Science Fiction and Fantasy book store) where I found Lois McMaster Bujold's new book, Paladin of Souls. This is the sequel to her fabulous Curse of Chalion, which was nominated for the 2002 Hugo Award for Best Novel.* (The winner was Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which I didn't like at all.)
Oh, and Jack Williamson's Darker Than You Think and Lawrence Watt-Evans' Something-or-Other. Sorry, LWE, I just buy your books, I don't notice the titles so much...
But it's Paladin of Souls that's going to keep me away from the blogs for a couple of days. Try not to break anything, peoples, and beware of frogs. They're up to no good!
* Bujold did win the Hugo for Best Novel in 1991 for The Vor Game, and again in 1995 for Mirror Dance.
Saturday, October 18
Friday, October 17
But don't touch the Flying Foxes.
Tuesday, October 07
Long-time readers of Ambient Irony will have noticed that my blogging output over the last couple of months has been considerably less than what it was back in the good old days of, for example, July. There is a reason for this: I got eaten by mice.
Well, not literally. Back in February, after a few months of blessed non-employment (just as it was moving from extended holiday to out of work), I was offered a job with a company I had previously worked for. This job, Job X, involved a certain amount of system administration, web mastering, network tweaking and so on. Only a short-term thing, but once things were sorted out, I would move on to Job Y, which involved producing complex analyses of very large data archives. Since those data archives were not yet available, there was plenty of time for me to work on Job X while they were prepared.
Which was all well and good, until management decided that they were unhappy with the person performing Job Z, and started looking for a replacement. Since I had previously performed Job Z myself, I was the perfect candidate. And since I had the most critical parts of X under control by then, and the databases for Y were still not available, I was not exactly overworked at the time, and it was hard to avoid Z even if I had wanted to.
So I took on Z, which turned out to be in something of a mess. I started sorting out the mess, and handling new Z-related projects as they came down the pipeline. There was a fair bit of work involved, but I was dealing with it and things were getting easier.
Then the databases for Y arrived. Suddenly I had more work than could reasonably be done, and all of it was needed now. Suffice to say that there was rather less blogging time for Pixy.
The worst of it seems to be over now, and as I move into blessed October, I hope to be bringing you more of the anime reviews, funny news items, and incoherent rants that a few of you were accustomed to.
Also, thanks to the wonders of percussive maintenance, I have fixed the light bulb in my microwave.
Saturday, October 04
Well, I survived the week, and now it's a long weekend here in Pixy Land.
On my way home from the salt mines this evening, I dropped in on my friend Richard, who owns a book store. (Dymocks on the corner of Pitt and Hunter streets in Sydney.) I was looking for a copy of Kushiel's Chosen, the sequel to Kushiel's Dart, the latter having been my bedtime reading material these last few nights.
Normally I avoid long fantasy novels; it's a rare author who can hold my interest for eight hundred pages (much less ten volumes of eight hundred pages each). But when work gets particularly hectic, I sometimes find it hard to get to sleep, because my mind is still buzzing hours after my body has left the office. During one particularly wearing project I read the entire Recluce series, something I wouldn't contemplate when my brain was functioning normally.
As I was saying, for the past week my sleeping pill of choice has been Kushiel's Dart. This book - I don't know how many of you have read it - this book has the same strange attraction as a road accident. You know that you don't want to look; you know what you will see if you do look, and you know that you won't like it. But you have to look anyway, just to have your fears confirmed.
Kushiel's Dart takes place in an elegantly conceived world, with most of the story occurring in a version of France called Terre D'Ange, the land of angels. The D'Angelines are literally descended from angels, and consider themselves something of a breed apart from normal mortals. More beautiful and longer lived.
Though, I must say, rather less intelligent.
The well named Eight Deadly Words in story-telling are I don't care what happens to these people. That's not quite the feeling Kushiel's Dart inspires. Rather, it is a case of I would quite enjoy seeing the villains of the piece being disembowelled and buried upside down in a nest of fire ants. As for the heroes, well, they all need to be whacked upside the head with a clue-by-four, and then sent off to trade school so they can become good and useful members of society.
Post-hole diggers, perhaps. Latrine attendants.
The story is told by Phedre, a masochistic whore sold into slavery by her parents. Her role in the tale is almost entirely passive; she is tossed about on the sea of events and rarely takes a hand in anything. Even when, late in the book, she makes a heroic bid to get a vital message through to a besieged town, there is little sense of excitement or adventure. And she is promptly captured anyway.
The book has been described as erotic, but if you find some of the sex scenes in Kushiel's Dart erotic, then you are a very disturbed individual. The whips, well, those were bad enough, but when Phedre finally gets together with Melisande and the Warning: If you are easily squicked, stop reading now. I mean it! scalpels come out, well... Ugh.
If I had written this book, it would have been about six hundred pages shorter, because Phreddie would have driven a stake through Mel's heart right after that scene. Or possibly even before. Maybe that's why I'm not a best-selling author. Or maybe it's because I haven't finished writing my first book yet.
Well, anyway, I never claimed to be able to resist a good train wreck, so I went to look for Kushiel's Chosen. I didn't spot it immediately, because someone neglected to inform the people stocking the shelves that Card (Orson Scott) comes before Carey (Jacqueline).
What I did find while I was browsing, though, was a copy of A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay, in the wonderful Fantasy Masterworks series, and - completely unlooked for - a new Terry Pratchett novel, Monstrous Regiment.
Well, that goes straight to the top of my to-be-read pile, of course. And since I have nothing planned for the weekend other than setting up a blog or two, maybe a forum, and a little light house keeping,* I may as well go get started on it now.
See you all in the morning.
* Trim the wick, clean the lenses, sound the foghorn, that sort of thing.
Wednesday, October 01
This coming weekend - should I by some strange chance live that long - is a long weekend for me. It looks like I will be spending my time backing up my millions of stray files and installing new disks for them to live on.
Yes, my DVDs have arrived. (Almost. The Post Office says it has them. I'll have to drop by and pry them loose tomorrow.)
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