Weekly Update, 6/4/2018 to 6/17/2018

Brief Update

(Two weeks here, I can totally math).

I en’t dead. But I have been playing a lot of ESO, which means I’m kind of dead to anyone who doesn’t play πŸ˜‰

(That’s not the whole truth, though — as you can see, I’ve done some social stuff as well. But I have been laser-focused on ESO the past two weeks).

I went up to ye olde hometown this weekend to visit my mom, and on the way I finished listening to The Cruel Prince, a YA fantasy which I highly recommend! The basic premise is of a human girl who is raised in Faerie and has to learn her way around fae politics. The title is kind of an interesting conundrum; at the beginning and the end it’s pretty clear to whom it refers, but the middle it seems like there are several princes it could be. There’s a cool twist at the end, but I think what I most loved about it was watching the protagonist become powerful and terrible as she is surrounded by literal monsters. I wasn’t entirely sure she wasn’t trying to turn into her own cruel prince, by the end. And yet, it’s still hopeful, somehow!

If you wanted something novel-length that encapsulates the feeling behind “A Guide for Young Ladies Entering the Service of the Fairies,” this is pretty close!

If I have any complaints, it’s that the middle felt a little slow and directionless. But that could also just be that my mind was in Tamriel for so much of the past two weeks…

Also relevant: I haven’t been running lately, because in my training for the 5k in May, I seem to have fucked up my right ankle. A preliminary investigation shows that it has some arthritis in it (thanks to a bad injury when I was younger); there also seems to be something going on in the soft tissue that my GP was unsure about. I’m seeing an orthopedist next week. Really hoping I can get back to it soon!

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote blog post, “Seventeen days in Tamriel”

Reading
– Read The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black

Other Media
– Listened to Sword and Scale, episodes 114-116
– Listened to The Art of Charm 706-707
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Sleep and Creativity”
– Listened to Elder Scrolls Off the Record 209-210

Social
– Did a tasting at Revival Brewing Company/dinner at Brutopia in Cranston, RI with EB
– Saw the RiffTrax Live of Space Mutiny with Adina and Brian
– Visited my mom in Plattsburgh, NY

Health
– Had a therapy appointment x 2
– Had a massage
– Did a short 30-min walk

Picture of the Week


Enjoying the fruits of my trip to Revival Brewing — their delightful Berliner Weisse, Pinky Swear.

Weekly Update, 5/21/2018 to 6/3/2018

Brief Update

Two weeks here. I have gotten sucked back into playing ESO and, gotta admit, that has taken up a lot of my time. I have also been hashing out some really intense stuff in therapy, which has made me feel emotionally raw, so I think it’s been a bit of the old escapism, eh? At the moment, I am okay with this. I ended up skipping Madrigal this weekend to deal with some of those uncomfortable feelings, and I think it helped — I definitely feel more human this week.

Re: ESO. I quit about two years ago, but I am so thrilled to be back. I feel like I picked up with the UESP guild where I left off. But game-wise, I’m already kicking myself for everything I’ve missed while I’ve been gone. The Summerset quests are brilliant, the Morrowind quests are amazing, and I’m just sad I missed getting my vvardvark loyalty pet by, like, a day. I may post more of what I’m up to later…

If anyone feels inclined to join me, now is a great time to start; I found it super easy to jump in and just start playing through Summerset with a new character. The game is buy-to-play, and right now you can get the base game + Morrowind + Summerset for like $80, or just the base game for even cheaper. There is an optional monthly membership, ESO Plus, which I think is worth it just for the limitless craft bags.

I have a tiny guild which right now is just a few of my larp friends; I’m also involved with the UESP guild — founded by the builders of uesp.net, the best and most famous wiki for the Elder Scrolls — which is an amazing group of lore-loving nerds, and to which I can also get you an invite, if you are so inclined.

Still not sure what I am going to do when WoW’s next expansion rolls out, in August. I’m feeling very uninvested in the faction conflict aspect of that, although the raids will be sound. And I suspect that while I love almost everything about ESO, the trials (12-man raid-like content) are probably going to be disappointing to me. So, who knows…

Accomplishments

Writing
– Did an hour of brainstorming/free-writing on Built Up Fairyland
– Did ~15m of revision on Lioness

LARP
– PCed Shadowvale event 4

Other Media
– Watched episodes 1-2 of Explained (a Netflix documentary series)
– Listened to The Art of Charm, #702 and #704
– Listened to Larpcast #109
– Listened to Writing Excuses 13.12
– Started up my ESO account again and did a bunch of stuff

Health
– Did 2 x 1.4mi walk
– Did a Zombies Run supply run (2.38mi in 38:28)
– Ran the Metrowest Corporate 5K! (42:22)
– Had 2 x therapy appointments

Habitat
– Cleaned both upstairs and downstairs toilets
– Patched and put a second coat of paint on one wall in the guest room
– Cleaned up the folding tables post-SV

Rejection Log

– 17 day form R from Strange Horizons for “Mirrors”

Picture of the Week

Weekly Update, 5/14/2018 to 5/20/2018

Brief Update

This has been a bad brain week for me. I’ve been working with my new therapist on my insecurities, and it has brought a lot of painful stuff to the surface for me. It’s good and necessary, and I think I will be better for it in the end, but right now I just feel like this deep pit of hurt.

Plus on top of that my cat Brianna had major dental surgery last week, and Matt is sick with something like strep. And I have a larp coming up this weekend. Whee!

Writing (editing) this week was a mixed bag. I integrated the mini-mission into the main body of Lioness, and that brought some uncomfortable feelings about efficacy, whether or not I was going in circles, etc. But I also had one session where I turned a meh scene into something more emotionally raw for the MC, so that was pretty cool.

Habitat-wise, I’m painting the guest bedroom, which currently is an off-white and pale blue (and has been since I moved in). I’ve literally never painted a room before, though, so I’ve already screwed up some important things — like I discovered after starting the first wall that there was a corner with crumbling drywall that I needed to spackle over.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Integrated “mini-mission” into main body of Lioness — did ~3h15m of editing

Reading
– Read “Sirius,” by Ben Peek (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Real Crime Profile, episode 85-88
– Listened to Writing Excuses 13.8 – 13.11

Health
– Did Zombies Run S2 E21 (2.59mi in 40:38)
– Had a therapy appointment
– Did Zombies Run S2 E22 (2.18mi in 31:01)
– Did ZR supply run (2.72mi in 42:25)
– Did a 1.4mi walk
– Did Zombies Run S2 E23 (2.57mi in 41:15)

Social/LARP
– Had dinner and Panera and worked on Tauros Express larp with EB
– Had a D&D session

Habitat
– Vacuumed downstairs
– Put the first coat of paint on one wall of the guest bedroom
– Donated old coffeepot

Picture of the Week

I was going to offer you a picture of my shitty in-progress paint job, but luckily for you I also have this picture of a flowering tree along my usual run route.

Weekly Update, 5/7/2018 to 5/13/2018

Brief Update

This week, plodding along on the “mini-mission”/new beginning of Lioness, I realized that it keeps getting longer and longer, and I’m still not ready to integrate it back into the main story. As it continues on, I’m not necessarily adding new material — there’s a lot of copying and pasting going on — but it is subsuming existing chapters and expanding them, like some sort of literary katamari.

At that point, I think, maaaaybe this is really a rewrite?

That thought was so depressing, though, that I’m not completely resigned to it. I’m going to try getting this back into Scrivener, and see where that leaves me. That said, at this point I’ve made so many changes to the beginning of the novel that I will need some serious time and effort to rethread those echoes throughout the entire work.

I just hope this is actually important work I’m doing, and not vamping. It’s easy to keep editing endlessly to avoid the fear of rejection. But it’s also easy to submit something too soon, something that’s not “ready.” I don’t know which this is.

Writing is hard. Let’s do math.

Let’s see, what else is new? I’ve been running a lot more this week, in preparation for the 5k I’m doing next week (eep!) I would like to beat last year’s time, but at my current pace that will be hard. To be fair, “my current pace” is measured using a lot of hills that I can’t just run up.

My audiobook of the moment is Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince, which I am really enjoying, both on an emotional and a craftsmanship level. (Executive summary: human child raised in Faerie has to learn to make alliances and navigate fey politics). It’s really interesting to see what she does with voice, with chapter breaks, with making the fey utterly and completely alien. At the same time, it’s often heart-wrenching — I don’t think I’ve ever had a book invoke a feeling of powerlessness quite so well.

Also I finally know how to pronounce “geas” (/Ι‘Ι›Κƒ/), so that’s neat. I guess that makes sense, given that its etymology is Irish; gotta love those lenited final consonants.

Links

My dear author-larper-friend Melissa Caruso wrote Let’s Talk Agency about that bugaboo of, well, my entire writing life. It’s a hopeful post, though, because I learned that agency is often something she has to fix in subsequent drafts, not something that comes naturally. Here’s hoping third time is the charm for this MS of mine…

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 3253 words on new Lioness beginning or whatever it is

Reading
– Read The Farthest Shore, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Health
– Did Zombies Run supply run (2.28mi in 36:57)
– Did ZR supply run (2.08mi in 33:35)
– Did ZR S2 E18 (3.03mi in 47:36)
– Did ZR S2 E19 (2.31mi in 35:53)
– Did ZR S2 E20 (2.01mi in 31:27)
– Had a doctor’s appointment

Other Media
– Listened to Sword & Scale, episodes 1, 3, 4, 109-110
– Listened to Real Crime Profile, episode 81, 83-84
– Watched The Keepers docuseries

Habitat
– Vacuumed upstairs
– Washed sheets
– Painted a test swatch of paint in the guest room

Weekly Update, 4/30/2018 to 5/6/2018

Brief Update

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to podcasts this week, and less time with the writing. This is the week where I discovered that true crime podcasts are a Thing, and immediately started listening to some.

What do I have to say about the books I finished this week? Vellitt Boe ended on a somewhat dissatisfying note, I thought. The Lovecraft pastiche is strong, and the dreamy tone of HPL’s Dreamlands stories really comes through, but as a result the narrative feels kinda distant. Thus I was never as invested in Vellitt and her challenges as I might have. I left feeling like I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a thoughtful psychological journey or an adventure story, and like it wasn’t quite either. Either way, it is beautifully written.

The Defiant Heir was a big winner for me. I was dragged through this one at breakneck speed by my love of Amalia (the main character), my investment in her courtship with our new friend Kathe, and the continual upping of the stakes. At the end I wanted to give Amalia a hug; she had to make some really tough choices. I love seeing how she’s changing and growing, while still being true to the person we met at the beginning of The Tethered Mage.

We also had the first session of the new D&D 5E game this week, it went very well; we worked together and killed some goblins, like ya do at level 2 in Faerun. As I wrote on FB, I’m liking 5E quite a lot; it feels like an improvement over 3.5. This led all my friends to opine, because of course I have the sorts of wonderful friends who have very definite opinions on D&D πŸ˜‰

Finally, I signed up this week to run the Metrowest Corporate 5K, the race I did last year. This year I’m fundraising for the sponsor, the United Way of Tri-County, which — among many great programs — supports a free mental health hotline called Call2Talk. If you feel inclined to donate to the benefit of the community in Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties, I’d be very grateful.

Links

How to be polite, by Paul Ford on Medium. Nothing in here is super groundbreaking, but it is a great example of how continual application of small social niceties can have a unexpectedly strong effect.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 272 words on the new Lioness beginning

Reading
– Read The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson
– Read “Makeisha in Time”, by Rachael K. Jones
– Read The Defiant Heir, by Melissa Caruso
– Read β€œFrom Their Paws We Shall Inherit,” by Gary Kloster (Clarkesworld Year Six)

Other Media
– Listened to Larpcast #107, “Fifth Gate Wrap Part 3”
– Listened to Writing Excuses, 11.41 and 13.7
– Listened to the Art of Charm #701
– Listened to By the Book, “Bonus Episode: Ask Us More of Anything!” This episode turned me on to the following podcast…
– Listened to Real Crime Profile, episodes “Profiling Dirty John,” “More with Dirty John Creator Christopher Goffard”, “Coercive Control in Dirty John”, “Male Sexual Victimization with Sword and Scale’s Mike Boudet”, which then led me to…
– Listened to Sword and Scale, episodes 99, 111-113
– Had the first session of the new D&D 5E game

Larp
– Wrote PEL for Mad3 spring 1 event

Social
– Went to see EB’s play in Meriden, CT

Health
– Had a therapy appointment
– Had a massage
– Took a ~30 minute walk
– Did boffer sparring with Matt
– Did Zombies Run Season 2 Episode 16 (2.19mi in 38:11 … not a great day for me πŸ™ )
– Did Zombies Run S2 E17 (2.32mi in 35:19)
– Did a ZR supply run (1.82mi in 29:00)
– Signed up for the Metrowest Corp 5K

Rejection Log

– 11 day form from Apex for “Mirrors”

Weekly Update, 4/23/2018 to 4/29/2018

Brief Update

It was a busy week for me, sandwiched between two larp events. Still I’m generally happy with the amount — one game to play and one game to NPC seems just right for me.

One of my writer pals, Coral, is starting up a remote D&D 5E campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting, so I spent some time this week rolling up a character (human variant rogue, named Tamarys) and getting used to the Roll20 platform. The last time I played D&D was a high level 3.5 campaign — also Forgotten Realms! –and I’m still learning just how much has changed. Our first game is on Friday.

This week was my friend Melissa Caruso’s book birthday for The Defiant Heir, the second book in her Swords and Fire series. My copy arrived as expected, and I started reading it at Mad3 this weekend. One of the staffers said to me at the end of the event that she was impressed that I was reading the book before game-on instead of any of the ginormous RP write-ups I had to memorize. What can I say? It was super compelling!

Incidentally, I did a ton of RP and a ton of fighting at Mad3. Coming into it immediately after another larp weekend seems to have helped tremendously with my motivation; instead of feeling (too much) of my usual anticipatory dread, I just was excited to get out there and do stuff.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote… some? on the Lioness mini-mission. (Didn’t keep track of how many, but I’ve reached 10,905 words on this new beginning).
– Wrote blog post, “Big Paradigm Shifts in Editing Lioness”
– Submitted “Mirrors” to Apex
– Submitted “Granny Hubbard” to UFO7

Other Media
– Listened to The Art of Charm #683, #695-696, #700
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Jupiter’s Children”
– Listened to Larpcast #106, “Fifth Gate Wrap Part 2”
– Watched the RiffTrax of Junior Prom
– Made a character for a D&D 5E game

Larp
– Wrote my PEL for Shadowvale E3
– NPCed for Mad3

Health
– Did Zombies Run S2E15 (2.35mi in 39:07)
– Had a therapy appointment
– Had a hair appointment

Habitat
– Dropped a box of donations by the Savers

Rejection Log

– 1 day rejection from UFO7 for “Granny Hubbard vs. the Giant Slime”

Picture of the Week

This birb showed up on Sunday at Mad3, likely to feast on all the discarded millet. We weren’t sure what it was — a dove? A white pigeon? A vicious albino razorhawk? πŸ˜‰ It had a band on its leg, though, so it was probably some sort of domestic fowl.

Weekly Update, 4/16/2018 to 4/22/2018

Brief Update

Shadowvale was this past weekend, and as usual, it was great. The cold was an issue — I spent Friday night shivering in my bed — but as usual staff and NPCs did everything they could to make the game awesome despite the unforeseen circumstances.

I especially appreciated the rogue mods I went on. Stuff went wrong, but fixing those botches made it seem like something out of a heist story.

Also I was pleased that after last event — where I literally knocked myself out with a trapped box — I managed to open and disarm a box with two trap triggers on it. Thus our crew actually got paid as well as getting info πŸ˜‰

Alsoalso: one of the players has set himself up as a sort of tavern keeper, and in the tavern he had a lockpicking practice setup — a mount for pin and tumbler locks (sort of like the door they’d normally be set in), and five different locks you could try (1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 pins). I knew the theory of picking these sorts of locks, but up until now everything I’ve picked in game has been a simple warded lock. I eagerly set to working on these.

I managed to open both the 1 and the 2 pin locks; I worked on the three-pin one a while, but eventually gave up (it was pretty rusty, which didn’t help). But I was buoyed by that the rest of the weekend, let me tell you.

In practice it didn’t seem much harder than picking a warded lock, except for having to keep pressure on the tension wrench. There wasn’t that much finesse to it; it was mostly mashing different picks around in there until the tumbler turned. I expect with more pins you have to do more individual work per pin, and less raking and praying. But it was a big step forward for me, nonetheless — I’m ready for more difficult locks in mods now!

Links

I adored this video of the esteemed Dr. Nerdlove playing through Super Seducer. If you ever wanted to play a pickup artist game made by Tommy Wiseau, this is the closest you’re going to get to living that dream. The good doctor’s commentary turned pure cringe into must-see TV — just skip the first five minutes while he’s getting the video set up.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 505 words on the new Lioness beginning
– Read through line comments from a few different beta readers

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “Leviathan: the Wolf of Whale Street”
– Listened to Writing Excuses 13.6
– Listened to The Art of Charm, episodes 693-695. (Apparently this podcast started its life, some 10+ years ago, as a pickup podcast, but these days it’s more general “how to develop social skills” sort of stuff. I don’t think it was ever the more toxic variety of pickup stuff, but if anyone knows differently, I’d love to know).
– Watched the RiffTrax of The Fairy King of Ar. Corbin Bernsen, you can do so much better than this movie. Also you will perpetually be Shawn Spencer’s dad to me; sorrynotsorry.

LARP
– PCed Shadowvale event 3
– Picked my first pin-and-tumbler lock!

Health
– Did Zombies Run supply run (2.24mi in 35:03)
– Did Zombies Run S2E14 (2.39mi in 37:09)
– Had a therapy appointment

Weekly Update, 4/9/2018 to 4/15/2018

Brief Update

Not really feeling this sudden return to winter. I woke up this morning — APRIL SIXTEENTH — to a couple of inches of slush on the ground, and that was not okay.

Had a busy and productive week, followed by a mostly unproductive weekend. I am basically packed for Shadowvale next weekend, however, which is a lot of anxiety off my mind.

The video card in my desktop computer died suddenly this weekend (it was a GTX 970). I have a new GTX 1060 wending its way to me, only slightly ridiculously overpriced (thanks, Bitcoin miners), but paid for entirely with Amazon rewards points, so I can’t complain too much.

In the meantime Matt slotted in my old GTX 480. It’s a seven-year old video card, so I won’t be playing my heavily modded Skyrim game with it, but it runs WoW beautifully (thanks to the engine being old as dirt). Might be ready for another role reversal raid this evening…

It was a good week for finishing books, though! Crooked Kingdom ended in an A+++ satisfying way, and I hope to write a proper review of the Six of Crows duology soon. For now it’s enough to say that I think I liked this book better than the first one, and that I keep going back to the Goodreads quote page to remind myself of the sometimes silly, sometimes profound things my favorite fragile-yet-criminal-mastermind teenagers have said.

I also finished The Tombs of Atuan this week, which I’ve had on my shelves since I was a kid, but had never managed to finish until now. It’s kind of a jarring surprise, if you’re coming straight from A Wizard of Earthsea — our pal Ged doesn’t show up until halfway through the book, and otherwise we spend a lot of time doing ordinary dark priestess stuff with Arha/Tenar. Going in with that knowledge, I didn’t mind so much; in fact I was fascinated by how Le Guin manages to show intense emotions with a fairly distant POV (at least by today’s standards of YA narration).

I’ve moved on to The Farthest Shore as my print book of the moment, and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe as my next audiobook. The latter is a real treat for someone like me, who’s read and re-read Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle stories, as almost every proper name is a reference to something. I’m also enjoying it as an exploration of aging, which is a facet I wasn’t expecting.

I watched some more Versailles this week, but I’ve reached the point I reach in a lot of trashy semi-historical dramatic series, where my ability to stop noticing all the ahistorical details is worn down. I really don’t like the entire plot about Clermont; she’s not a real historical figure, her motivations are shallow and pasted on, and I don’t believe she could outsmart the people she outsmarts.

Links

Women Aren’t Nags — We’re Just Fed Up. I feel that Matt and I have a pretty good division of emotional as well as physical labor in our house, but there are still areas where I feel the frustration and decision fatigue the author talks about.

I’m not just doing it for the likes: does writing mean anything if no one sees it? Shared with me by Dave*, who understands I have some investment in this question! I liked this quote in particular, regarding why writers write:

In our faintly remaining hearts, though, we know it is because we are deeply emotionally wounded and want nothing more than to re-create a simulacrum of what it’s supposed to mean to have a successful life (i.e. one enriched by meaningful relationships), a normal interaction with those around us. And, to boot, we want to be acknowledged for the genius of our ability to so accurately present that simulacrum–one that we ourselves will never get to participate in as a result of some defunct emotional mechanism within our husk.

I’m not sure I agree with this assertion, that you have to be wounded to write, but I’m not sure I disagree, either.

Accomplishments

Reading
– Read Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-Hough
– Read Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo
– Read The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Writing
– Wrote 1875 words on new Lioness beginning
– Wrote blog post, “Quitting raiding and not quitting raiding”

Other Media
– Watched episodes 3-7 of Versailles
– Listened to Writing Excuses 13.5
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin #162

Social
– Dinner and writing with Phoebe at Panera in Waltham

Health
– ~30min walk x 2
– Freeform walk/run (1.5mi in 24:04; ZR app crashed on me)
– 10 x jackknives
– Zombies Run S2E12 (2.26mi in 36:46)
– Boffer sparring with Matt
– Had a therapy appointment
– Had a massage

Rejection Log

– Factor Four, 10-day form R for “Mirrors”

Weekly Update, 4/2/2018 to 4/8/2018

Brief Update

I celebrated my 38th birthday on Friday — mostly by remembering how much it sucks to get drunk after age 35. I still feel kind of awful after my happy hour tour of West Hartford, two days later — although “hungover” feels a lot like “ennui” at this age.

It should tell you how crappy I was feeling that I visited a famous used bookstore with acres full of books, and didn’t buy a single thing.

Also, the wildest thing I did in my old age drunkenness was read fanfic for a series I haven’t finished, and thus spoiled myself on the ending of Crooked Kingdom. Ah well. I’ve since listened some of the scenes that were spoiled for me, and they were still amazing.

Although, massive props to EB, who not only dealt with my drunk ass, but gave me an amazing birthday trip nonetheless — including books, Victorian death rooms (part of the That’s Weird exhibit we went to), goats, brunch, and rich people’s manors. Her big gift to me was a copy of Millay’s The Princess Marries the Page, a play she wrote at Vassar. I look forward to reading it, as I’ve never actually read any of her plays.

Links

Matt Sachs brought this amazing thread about Buckingham and Charles I’s Excellent Adventure (in wooing the Spanish infanta) to my attention. I knew about some of this, but the DETAILS, man. Trying to pay a ferryman with a gold coin. Bribing small boys. Philosophical conversations about goats. Historical daddy kink. Pretty much the genesis for the diamond studs plot of The Three Musketeers.

All I have to say to this is MY SWEET BOYS.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote blog post: “The only person in the world who loves books”
– Wrote 411 words/worked ~1h on Lioness
– Entered a bunch of old poems on paper into a Word doc

Other Media
– Listened to By the Book “Season 2 Wrap-up”
– Listened to Writing Excuses 13.1-13.4
– Watched episodes 1-2 of Versailles

Health
– Did a Zombies Run supply mission (1.44mi in 25:46)
– Did Zombies Run S2E11 (2.26mi in 38:19)
– Did Zombies Run S2E12 (1.85mi in 29:12)
– Decided on a therapist to see long-term

Social/Travel
– Celebrated my birthday at the Melting Pot in Framingham, MA
– Visited EB in Hartford, CT, and:

  • Did a tour of the That’s Weird exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society
  • Saw the tavern signs collection at CHS
  • Did happy hour in West Hartford
  • Visited the Book Barn in Niantic, CT
  • Had brunch at the White Horse Tavern in Newport, RI
  • Toured Chateau-sur-Mer in Newport
  • Visited the Common Burying Ground in Newport, and saw the graves of Ida Lewis (famous lighthouse keeper) and Ann Franklin Smith (early 19th century journalist)
  • Saw the grave of Mercy Brown, supposed vampire (not, as I kept saying to annoy EB, “Mercy Brown, vampire slayer.” Truly, history is written by the vampires slayers, not the vampires).

Picture of the Week

I didn’t take many pictures of my weekend adventures (see: ennui), but this one stands out.


LIES.

Weekly Update, 3/19/2018 to 3/25/2018

Brief Update

I still exist! I have been keeping away from social media because, quite frankly, it’s depressing. If you want to find me, well, you know how.

I finished two books this week. Six of Crows ended on a far more unresolved note than I was expecting; thus I’ve gone straight on ahead to Crooked Kingdom. I had some minor quibbles with the first book — some things which did not make sense, or stretched credulity (for example, who are these random Shu who attacked Wylan and Jesper and were never mentioned before or after? Is climbing six stories up an incinerator shaft really the best time for Inej to decide to take up piracy?) But overall it was very, very good, and that last conversation on the boat between Inej and Kaz was basically perfect. Broken fictional teenagers, I guess, are my bailiwick.

As for Savage Beauty… well, I have complex feelings on it, which keep not resolving into a post. Suffice it to say, it was quite good, but did not satiate my (possibly insatiable) appetite for Millay trivia.

Given the recent passing of Ursula K. Le Guin, I decided to (re)read the Earthsea series. I first read A Wizard of Earthsea maaaaany years ago, when I was thirteen or so, but never was able to get into the second book. Mostly my memories of the first book are haunting — mental images of a wide sea and endless running from shadows. This time around I’m taking the time to enjoy the poetry of Le Guin’s writing — her use of consonance, or how she varies the length of sentences, for example.

(Also, I’m totally imagining Ged’s furry friend, the otak, as looking something like a porg).

This month in the habitat project is the kitchen. We attempted to DIY the leaky kitchen faucet and the broken over-the-range microwave, both of which have been issues since we moved in. It, uh, did not go well. We couldn’t get the water turned off to even start on the faucet; likely there’s too much sediment in the pipes to close fully. The microwave, we attempted to at least get off the wall to see what the venting situation was, but after taking out the three ginormous bolts holding it to the cabinet, we weren’t able to find the last place it was attached. At that point I decided our time was worth more than this, and found a local handyman to come in and fix both issues.

We also ordered a coffee table for our living room (which has been without one since forever), although we’ve decided to hold off on buying a sectional for a while. (The process of trying to select one was thoroughly exhausting!)

After reading this depressing article about what it’s like to live without retirement savings, I’ve become motivated anew to work on my finances and live more frugally. (Some of you may recall I used to have a blog on this topic). I’m finding it challenging to balance this new imperative with the goal of making my house more habitable. I try to remind myself that my spending is in line with my goals, and that having a more comfortable house will make me more eager to spend time here, reducing costs overall. (As well as adding to the value of the house itself).

(Also, don’t worry too much about me — I’ve been saving for retirement since day one of my working life, and I already have a fair amount socked away. But a recent trip through a retirement calculator left me short of where I would want to be, so improving my savings rate is on my mind. Right now the big change I am trying is bringing my lunch more often. Saving $7, 2-3 times a week, really adds up with time).

Finally, I’m getting off my duff and looking for a new therapist. I haven’t had one for three years, but it’s becoming clear that my alternative is just dumping my problems on my friends, which is really not good for anyone concerned. I have intakes coming up with a couple that I’m auditioning.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Worked ~45m/wrote 790 words on new beginning for Lioness

Reading
– Read Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
– Read Savage Beauty, the biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, by Nancy Milford

Other Media
– Listened to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, “The Nuts and Bolts of Boltzmann Brains”
– Listened to By the Book, “The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook”
– Listened to Stuff You Missed in History Class, “The Easter Rising of 1916”, “The Daring Imposter Cassie Chadwick”, “The Minuscule Science of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek”, “The Luddites”, “Giorgio Vasari”
– Watched Take Your Pills, a Netflix original documentary about ADHD meds
– Finally was able to correctly identify all countries on a map! Yes, even you, Niue, you devious little island nation.

Health
– Zombies Run supply run, 1.72mi in 31:06
– Zombies Run supply run, 1.75mi in 30:12
– 1.4mi walk
– 2.6mi walk
– Set up intakes with two separate therapists

Habitat
– Acquired a new over-the-range microwave, and kitchen faucet
– Hired a handyman to replace microwave and faucet
– Purchased a new coffee table for the living room
– Vacuumed upstairs and down
– Washed sheets