There is nothing like cutting rocks on a buzzsaw and finding grit on your face and down your top hours later, nor crushing and milling rock samples and finding your hair (and nosehair) coated with very fine dust. THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF A GEOLOGY STUDENT, I TELL YOU.

Anyway, this entry is about books! I recently read Voices by Ursula Le Guin and A Brief History of Montmaray and its sequel, The FitzOsbornes in Exile, by Michelle Cooper. The problem is that I think everyone should read these books and yet I want to talk about them with spoilers, so here is the deal:

You will go out and find and read these books immediately and then read the rest of this entry, and/or you will get your hands on some type of memory-altering substance and apply it immediately after you read the rest of this entry, at which point you will go out and find and read these books. Simple, eh?

Actually I managed to review A Brief History of Montmaray without any major spoilers, but there are a lot for Voices under here. )
When you have suffered a disappointment there are certainly worse ways to console yourself than reading Jane Austen, and so tonight I have read the entirety of Sense and Sensibility for the first time.

My thoooooooooughts, for the three people who do not care to be spoilered )
Somehow I volunteered myself into doing coffees for a Breast Cancer Awareness breakfast at uni tomorrow. Two hours of frantic coffee-making interspersed with pancakes. I'm happy to get more practice and it's for a noble cause, but I'm under no delusions that this is anything but (yet another) method of procrastination.

Things To Procrastinate About

1. Literature review for generic-science subject. I've stopped counting the days it's officially overdue and gone onto how many days I have left to hand it in before they won't accept it. New method of counting current stands at 3.

2. [ profile] femgenficathon project. This is really quite unforgivable. I didn't start writing it until about a month before the due date, and I can't find the will to fix the thing. My brain sees 5000 words of fic and goes 'no, too hard, move on'. Added to that is that the first draft had a plot and was relatively easy to write, while the reworked version is going to be reflective, and probably a lot shorter. I'm really not sure at all where the reworking will go. I've had this problem with other fics - there's 3000 words about Beruthiel on my hard-drive. I like those 3000 words. I would really like to post those 3000 words, but the fic's not finished and yet where it stops is a logical place to stop, although it's incomplete. It's been that long since I wrote the first 3000 words that I'm wary of finishing it off with a completely different writing style that shows the join between writing so clearly. I wonder if adding extensions to houses is like this. Maybe I have Fic Renovation Anxiety Syndrome.

3. Top Gear/Transformers crossover. I promise I've not forgotten it.

On the other hand, my reading list is coming along nicely:

40. Silverthorn
41. Master and Commander
42. Dawnthief
43. Post Captain
44. Warrior
45. Warlord
46. Mortal Engines
47. The Princess Bride
48. Prospero's Children
49. HMS Surprise

Now I've begin The Mauritius Command, which will take my list to #50 and thus complete [ profile] 50bookchallenge! Huzzah! (Although there's a Temeraire novel in there somewhere as well, so I may have already completed it. It's getting hard to remember.)

I've started writing poems in Latin. I think this is generally known as the point of no return, "abandon hope all ye who enter here"* territory. Thanks to the Perseus Tufts website, I give you a poem written in Latin with a vaguely haiku format. It's all about the multiculturalism, really.

(And now we have poem mark II, hopefully now sans mistakes and now that I've had time to poke at it. Meaning is still the same, I think.)

Bellum adgreditur:
Milites pergunt, sacerdes precorantur,
Et ancillae in tenebris contremiscunt.

War approaches:
The soldiers march, the priests intone,
And the slave-girls quiver in the shadows.

All feedback on the Latin will be welcomed with open arms. I'm still not entirely certain about the third declension.

*If you have already abandoned hope, please disregard this notice.


In other news, I finished reading Master and Commander today! And I have Post Captain waiting for me! Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah! Drinks all around!

Bok bok bok

Jul. 2nd, 2008 08:25 pm
"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them.

My own addition - books marked with an asterisk were read for the IB/other school projects, sometimes under duress. I definitely wouldn't have touched Tess of the D'Urbervilles if not for a reading assignment.

100 books )
And do you know why they will call it the Glorious Fifth of May? Because on that day, I...


*squee* *squee* *fangirl* *squee*

That is all.
Once upon a time, a peasant boy of dubious parentage from a Doomed Home Town was saved from an evil overlord (which earned his undying hatred, of course) by a wise mentor, learned some awesome new skills, saved the day and got the girl. Sounds like just about every other fantasy novel in existence, but this one is set in Japan! With ninjas! And magic! How could it not be awesome?

I'll be telling you soon.

Before I start, I must say a few things: I liked the books, truly I did, but they could have been so much more. As it is, I've read only the trilogy, not the sequel nor the prequel so perhaps there are things I'm missing. And Lian Hearn is writing for young adults, not nineteen-year-old uni students with a slight addiction to Still, I came away feeling that it was competent. And that's not such a good thing when you're writing feudal Japan fantasy. But I digress.

There is a time in every person's life when you try a food that people have been ranting about since the dinosaurs were still in town, and decide that hell, you like it, and join in the ranting about its awesomeness to the dwindling population of that-food virgins, who begin to back away.

Such a thing happened to me a while ago, and the food was celery and peanut butter. All right, it's an old fad, but I'd heard people on diets talk about it like it was the new sliced bread*. I didn't ease into it. I jumped in head first and adored it. There are two reasons for this: one; that in my house celery is rare but peanut butter is plentiful, so there was a certain time constraint, and two; that it is delicious. Celery is fairly tasteless on its own, and anyone who's tried to eat peanut butter straight** will tell you how rich it is. Together, however, they are the bread/butter of the food world.

And today, for similar reasons re: curiousity about food combinations, I ate peanut butter and a chocolate-chip biscuit together.

First thought: Um, that's not how they usually taste-
Second thought: OH. MY. GOD.
Third thought: Argh, too rich! Celery, stat!

Verdict: certainly tasty, but god, so rich. Both peanut butter and mushed biscuits are thick enough on their own, but this is serious density. Should not be eaten without celery or a drink on standby.

*And imagine what the reaction would have been like when sliced bread first arrived. Instant foodgasms!
**I'm not saying anything, except that I was young and stupid.


And that is a long-winded way of saying that I didn't do much today except finish Brilliance of the Moon, which I won't discuss now because the entire Otori trilogy deserves its own post.
Argh, how long has it been since I updated my [profile] 50bookchallenge list? Too long, anyway.

17. The Assassins: The Story of Medieval Islam's Secret Sect by W. B. Bartlett
18. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
19. The Pirates! in An Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe
20. The Tent by Margaret Atwood
21. Temeraire: Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
22. Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
23. The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents by Terry Pratchett
24. Grass For His Pillow by Lian Hearn

I now wait impatiently for Empire of Ivory and Brilliance of the Moon, which belong to separate series but are equally awesome.

It's hot. Argh.
14. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
15. Elizabeth's Spy Master: Francis Walsingham and the secret war that saved England
16. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

I've also joined [profile] 50bookchallenge, a comm for like-minded people to review the books they read.
I feel as though I haven't updated my sadly-neglected journal since christmas, which is broadly true, because three words and a link do not an update make, however awesome the news. I was not eaten by zombies, declared an enemy of the peace, or awarded the Nobel Prize for Being Awesome, which doesn't exist but should. I guess it's a bit late for bragging about christmas swag, so I shall say only this: owl calendars, Spamalot t-shirt, and all four seasons of Blackadder ftw.

What happened...

...almost a month ago:
we flew to Adelaide on christmas day. I don't know why either, the plane was packed anyway. I miss the good ol' days of travelling to Europe when you could have three seats to yourself because everyone was afraid of SARS. In any case, I bought Hogfather at the airport so all was well. It was nice to see the relatives, and my little cousins are growing up to be very cute. They have the same set-up as my brother and I: girl and boy, two and half years apart. I think it works well. Adelaide itself feels more like a big country town than the capital of a state, but I will say this: the sky is beautiful there. They have a special sort of afternoon light that makes the hills red and orange, and it doesn't exist in Melbourne. I think it's because of the humidity in the air, but it's beautiful, and makes for great stargazing. My inner scientist is slowly taking over, because I was mostly excited about stargazing and investigating an old quarrey up in the hills. Geology and archaeology in one burst, huzzah! I convinced my brother to come with me, and we started off up the hill. It was steeper and less tree-ish than I remembered, but we pressed on. We eventually gave up about halfway up to the top, but the views were nice. We learned later that it was not, in fact, the way to the quarrey at all, and we'd tried to walk up there at midday, in mid-30s heat and 5% humidity. Sometimes we're kinda dumb that way.

Howl's Moving Castle was on the tv on Christmas night, and it was a nice end to the day. They may have taken a few liberties with the plot, but the art made it awesome. Dammit, I want to live in a house that can change locations, walks on two legs and has a snarky fire demon. I think by this act I introduced my aunt to anime, which is all good. I just hope she finds the tamer shows first.

...two weeks ago: more holidays, this time to a beach house on the coast of Victoria. While Melbourne sweltered under 40-degree days, we sat back and laughed and, er, sweltered under 40-degree days. But we had sea-breezes, so hah. I got sunburnt and it still hasn't faded, but such is the price I pay for English skin. I burn faster than an oil-soaked wad of tissue paper in the Sahari desert. We walked along the beach and waited for the New Year, and aliens tried to abduct us*.

We drove along the coast to see the Apostles Of An Indeterminate Number, and my inner geologist squeed. My family winced as I took a multitude of pictures of the eroding coastline, and listened rather unwillingly to me pointing out the layers in the rock and how the beaches were formed, etc, etc. My father and brother will warn you against travelling in a car with me along the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne, because I will not shut up about geology. Is it my fault that the freeway has an awesome collection of geological features? Seriously, they have a monocline and layered beds and synforms and antiforms and faults in the rocks and erosion and a completely different set of dark volcanic basalt rocks, I could make a geology bingo game if I could find some other people to play with...

I'm doomed, I know.

*well, surveillance helicopters. But they had large searchlights like all proper aliens.

...a week ago: I thought that my efforts to cover my local shops with resumes had finally been useful, because I got a call asking me to come in for job training. 'Huzzah!' said I, 'I will have money and a reason to get up before midday!'

The experience made me swear off shop assistant jobs for life.

I disliked wearing make-up and heeled shoes, but I could accept that as necessary. But I would have been all alone while I worked, and I am not naturally talented at selling things to people. I did six hours of training last week, and wondered if the store owners would look down on me for doing the crossword at slow points in the job. Besides that, it's been a week and no phone call, no email, no nothing. I don't even know if I've got the job, and at this point I'm inclined to decline it. I'll go back to Wholefoods and practice serving food instead. I don't mind being paid in food stamps.

On the plus side, I spent a book voucher on Reaper Man (the book that changed my views of shopping trolleys forever) and Feet of Clay. I feel like a true Discworld fan. I've read all the books apart from FaustEric and Wintersmith, and I am the proud owner of:

Guards! Guards!
The Wee Free Men
Good Omens
Reaper Man
Going Postal
Feet of Clay
Making Money
(which I'm disinclined to include, because I didn't enjoy it.)

...this week: I have not done very much apart from reading [community profile] metaquotes and [community profile] fandom_secrets, and visiting the library. My goal this year is to read fifty new books, and I'm up to four so far, although I went to the library and came back with... er... seven. My backpack is a thing of beauty. Spacious! Red! Padded straps! Multiple sections! Pockets! And what I like most is a little carabena hook for keys. It is awesome.

I also bought new sunglasses, because my old ones have been with me for at least five years and I was getting sick of tightening the screws constantly, even if doing so with my penknife was interesting on the bus. The new ones are black, and apparently have seven layers of protection, which makes me feel better about the price. 'Forty dollars!' quoth I, 'this is a sore price on a uni student budget!' But they sang sweetly* and convinced me.

*the constant stream of strange music at K-mart may have influenced my mental state at this point.

...this weekend: Apparently, the wildlife of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne loves me. While out walking during the last two days, I have crossed paths with kookaburras, a turtle, a tiny possum and two Tawny Frogmouths (and as I now know from my perfectionist brother, they are not in fact owls, in the same way that daddylonglegs are not spiders. But I digress.) I got within two meters of the second one, and it was beautiful, if rather stupid. It flew down onto the gutter, and then didn't move when a car approached. I had to shoo it away, silly thing. I have also had to escort a grasshopper from my bedroom, and a spider from the living room.

And now I must go away and beat my muses into submission if I want to get anything done at all. Yes, Beruthiel, I am looking at you. And it doesn't help that I want to write The Muse's Guide to AuthorsWriting Slaves.

Book meme!

Jun. 19th, 2007 12:50 pm
Grabbed from lots of people.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next three sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Right, there are no books on my table, so I picked the closest one on the shelf.

"You should also begin to recognise some of the differences in styles and communication strategies depending on the types of goals for a presentation. It is important to realise that different people have different styles and strategies, even for a simple task. Some of these differences relate to the kinds of goals one sets."


Not particularly interesting, but it was from a book called Effective Presentation Skills. :P


Nope, I was mistaken. The closest book is in fact the Yellow Pages, but since that's supporting the monitor, I can't really get to it.


It's raining right now. I like it.


Apr. 30th, 2007 07:24 pm

I debated with myself about putting this under a cut. Not because it's anything particularly personal or distressing (I hope...), but because the cut means it can be safely ignored when people want to read more interesting posts. But then again, would curiousity prompt readers to click on the link anyway? And would they then be disappointed that there wasn't anything world-shattering under the cut?


Apr. 28th, 2007 10:03 am

Well, I took the test twice to get that result. *shifty*



May 2012



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