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Sun Nov 19th, 2017


09:03 pm - Four things make a post
1. Accomplishment for the day- 1 load of dishes, 2 loads of laundry, dust and vacuum and wash front hall and living room, finish boiling three sets of chicken bones for stock, and buy a hiking staff online. I'd prefer something thicker and more Gandalfy, but with luck this will get me through the snow more comfortably than a cane does.

2. They've taken down the inner walls of Honest Ed's, the east and west wings, leaving the outer shell. This a mere eleven months after the store closed. The other buildings on Markham are largely untouched, and could happily have stayed open through the summer, like that inexplicable health food store on Bathurst, still operating while the entire rest of the block was vacated at the end of January.

3. Yesterday was grey and warm and mizzly and wanhopey, though again that might have been hangover from Friday's marathon. Today was freezing cold and bright, and I walked down to Bloor and back with, let's say, less pain than any time in the last two weeks. Also waited till mid-afternoon when all the Santa Claus Paraders had departed, and their suburban cars with them.

4. Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy is about the only thing I feel like reading these days, so a good thing there's so much of it. Eventually one gets used to his 'sink or swim' style of writing about the Indian Occupation. The Raj is what it is, though as before, when reading his autobiography, I find myself lacking sympathy for the white-skinned occupiers going mad in the Indian heat. Go back to Torquay if the heat bothers you; and no truly it was your decision to interfere in the running of the native states, so don't gripe about the officials you have to deal with. Twits.

(I must also wonder about that corpse hidden in the ceiling. Seems to me that if you put a body anywhere in an Indian bungalow at whatever season, you'll be uncomfortably aware of it in very short order.)

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Fri Nov 17th, 2017


09:27 pm - "it is cold within the curtains/ there is no one to talk to"
Nothing is happening. I do not read. I do not clean. I'm not sure what I do, but I play addiction solitaire and read blogs and go t bed, sleep, and get up to work another day.
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Tue Nov 14th, 2017


08:39 pm - Keeping clean
Even on the sickly weekend with its three hour afternoon naps I managed to Housekeep a little: cleaned side bedroom's fan, thick with the dust of many a year; poured furniture polish on a couple of dry wooden tables and let soak in; and swept up the 90% of the cherry tree leaves that fell on Friday and blew into the side walkway to a depth of five inches. But either the sweeping or the weather made yesterday hideous in the aches and twinge department: hurty all over and owie in the arms and elbows. Mind, yesterday was like a London February- grey and dank- and everyone prone to suffer in such weather did.

Today I wore heat patches and sailed through a long day- one staff has mono just as other staff is off for surgery, argh. But housework returns to its defaults, dishes and laundry: with which I shall be content.
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Mon Nov 13th, 2017


09:40 pm - The uses of misfortune
Body decided to do fireworks on Saturday, caused maybe by not enough sleep Friday morning, or weather stress, or the Long Island Ice Tea I had after work Friday- have noted a distressing tendency for innards to take against alcohol lately. So sad. Expected to be at least two pounds lighter after practically fasting all Sunday and literally fasting all Sunday night (blood tests needing 14 hour fast: making a virtue of necessity.) But no- scarce half a pound. Then again, I was also waiting for my slow metabolism to register the gourmanderie of ten days previously and suddenly slap on a couple of pounds. So maybe that's what happened, and the fast just offset the expected gain.

I still weigh ten pounds less than six weeks ago, when Ratso first popped his head out of the blue bin. So thanks for that, Ratty.
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Sat Nov 11th, 2017


09:11 pm - Henh
The nciku Chinese dictionary page, the one that lets you draw with the mouse, has changed hands to some other kind of dictionary that doesn't. Fortunately there are others, like MDBG, but their mouse controls, if that's what I mean, aren't as good as nciku's used to be.

This in aid of finding the hanzi for little Guaiguai at work. Her mother says it has only one meaning, 'happy child', so no surprise that it doesn't show up in any of the online pages. Must haul out L's old hardcover hanzi dictionary and see if it's there. FWIW it's written with rice plant 禾 and north 北 mashed together, with north sitting between the two parallel(ish) lines of rice plant.
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Fri Nov 10th, 2017


08:51 pm - Mama said there'd be days like this
1 a.m. bedtime, 7:30 a.m. text, 'am sick, can you be me at 9?' Why yes, sure. Roads were clear after the evening flurries, and if I double bag everything ('cause it's -19C with the windchill: that's silly cold in Fahrenheit whichever way you slice it) I'll be fine. Open bedroom curtain and see snow-covered street. ACK! So no time for breakfast. Into several layers of everything, plus boots, and knee at once complaining about it, oh dear oh dear, how shall I manage the rush hour transit miseries?

Look again. Sidewalk is visible, maybe main streets will be bikable, and it will certainly be gone by sunny day's end. So manhandle bike down steps and coast down the patchy sidewalk where huge drifts of newly fallen leaves are more of a hindrance than the snow. And onto the street where it goes one way south, reach the road east, brake at stop sign, and--- back brake has frozen. So I toddle along veeerrry slowly, using the front brake at need, the one that makes the wheel rub when used, is why I never use it. And for once the Bloor bike lanes are empty of muscle warriors *and* have been salted, so I arrive at work in one piece and early.

Our numbers are down, I cancel the lunch shift, and bike over to the nearest bike shop, November empty. Mechanic looks at bike. 'Your front tire...' My front tire is fraying at the rims, is the only way I can put it, and was supposed to be replaced in August 2016. Canny mechanic offers to dry my brake housings for free if I get a new tire and tube, and to have it all done in an hour. I give him an hour and twenty, and he's just finishing up when I come back. So a fast ninety bucks later and I'm set to go. Non-puncture tires have gone up ten dollars since 2010, and there's sales tax and labour as well, but I am resigned to these inevitable expenses. And much more concerned about my knees' continuing quarrel with the boots they liked so much two years ago. Ah well. I shall hope for a dry winter after this early start.
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Thu Nov 9th, 2017


11:12 pm - Winter Is Coming
'Showers turning to snow flurries in the evening, gusty winds with blowing snow, accumulation 2 cm.' Thus last night's forecast for today, and me with acupuncture down Spadina after work. One can always take the Spadina streetcar down, but the Spadina car has the new-fangled system that won't accommodate cash fares at all.

However. Just at this moment, the over-weening and over-priced Shoppers Drug Mart has a sweetheart deal on with the TTC. You can buy Presto cards (our version of the Oyster card) at certain Shoppers outlets, instead of having to subway to various (inconvenient) locations; and one of those is a fast bike ride in the direction of my old acupuncture studio. Deal of the week is pay $50, get $60 worth of rides. Well, and pay $6 for the card itself, so the savings aren't all that. But now I have a card that will get me up and down Spadina, and to that pesky only-Presto entrance near my aunt's.

And then I biked down to acupuncture in the spitting rain, and home in the rain become snow flurries. However. Winter is still coming, and I am still prepared, so nah.
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Wed Nov 8th, 2017


09:30 pm - Non-reading Wednesday
Dunno. Haven't felt like reading lately. Finished Brust's Tiassa, am waiting for Hawk to come from the library, and Vallista, whichever shows up first. Reading Brust reminds me of May 2012 when I reread his up-to-then oeuvre in toto and also, flow-wise, had dinner with a visiting Petronia. So there's that nostalgia factor.

But what I do instead is clean. Largely in a spirit of inquiry: how often does one need to vacuum before one stops picking up dust? The answer would seem to be, every other day: because once a week fills a canister quite happily. As demonstrated with the bedroom and upper hallway that were pristine just last Wednesday. Those vents really need to be cleaned out. Meanwhile, living in a tidy house makes me feel like someone else. We shall see how long this lasts.

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Mon Nov 6th, 2017


09:16 pm - Gakkari redux
Down by my acupuncture studio on Spadina there are two maple trees where the birds have congregated all summer long. Tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet. The maples went gold and shone in the evening sun, and the birds went tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet even when I came out after dark, because the street light made the leaves shine still. But after yesterday's rain the trees are bare, and the birds have moved elsewhere.

Not gakkari because I half-expected it, but FedEx sends me a bill for processing paperwork at the border: a fast $37 with HST included. My Clear the Air bags work well, but not $40 a piece well. However, that's water under the bridge by now.

However, in minor technological triumph, restarting my computer has cured Chrome of that pesky habit of logging me out of all my sites. For now, at least.
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Sun Nov 5th, 2017


08:49 pm - Rainy Sunday
Well, that was a waste of a day, at least from a Puritan aspect. Yesterday's what-was-I-thinking? 5 pm latte was not followed by antihistamines or muscle relaxants or anything to counter the effect, so I lay in bed from 1 to 4 Old Style, got up and read some Brust, went back to bed at 4 New Style and was immovably awake four hours later. Outside was rain and mild temperatures in the teensC, 50sF, but my house and I were alike *cold*. Futzed about, playing addiction solitaire and feeling unambitious; managed to at least walk up the street to the super and back for the indispensable hot packs.

Then wrapped up in the wool blanket and comforter in the side room, ready to tackle Brust again, but my head grew heavy and my eyes grew dim and instead I lay flat and had a three hour nap. This BTW constitutes an *excellent* way to spend the afternoon, if you're Japanese. I'm not, but it's still not a bad thing from time to time.

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Sat Nov 4th, 2017


09:27 pm - The local
At the end of my street, many years ago, was a Greek greasy spoon called Tasty's. The chef was Sri Lankan, but no matter- great souvlaki, great gyros, great baklava, and pretty neat breakfasts as well. But the place was large and the tables were taken by middle-aged Korean women drinking tea for hours at a time and TO real estate taxes are hideous. The owners sold it in 2003 and then a year later it was sold again to a Korean businessman, who optimistically opened a soul food restaurant instead. For which there is little call in Koreaville. I think it shuttered for a while, maybe reopened as something else, but I paid it little heed since it wasn't the Greek food that I remembered so fondly.

Eventually- 2012, 2013?- it became an izakayaish place, with heart-stopping prices and empty tables. Then another change of hands, but the decor exactly the same, and just as empty whenever I passed by. I wondered how it stayed open at all. But because S offered to take me out to dinner on Wednesday, and it's almost within walking distance when I'm not crippled, there we went. And at 7 were the only people in the place. The food had suddenly become cheap but proved quite respectable- not the sushi that the out-of-date restaurant guides spoke of, but kara-age chicken and gyoza and so on, and serving a quite excellent Pinot Noir.

Friday night I thought to go back there to check what the vintage was, and arrived at 8 after my acupuncture. The place was three-quarters full and rocking. A bunch of college age guys were playing the pinball machines at the front, mixed groups of five or six were at the tables, and as I drank at my bar stool I watched a steady procession of parties come in and go out in increasing numbers as the hour wore on. It's a nightspot that doesn't get started until nine.

The denizens were almost all Asian wakamono, and for that reason much quieter than westerners of the same age. Even whooping and yelling over the pinball, their decibels were not on the level of the average white frat boy's air raid siren voice. This is why it's so relaxing to dine in my neighbourhood. Not exactly a quiet place to read a book, but good enough for one's phone. Though I mostly watched one of the four televisions, all sans sound, which was playing a subtitled Japanese film of the sillier variety, Masked Pervert; because the Japanese gameshow's titles went too fast for me to read.
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Fri Nov 3rd, 2017


10:14 pm - Friday at last
A long and busy week- doctors, physios, acupuncture, cortisone shot- made longer by dinner with petronia on Wednesday. As I said several years ago, and about the same person, "Being in some people's company, even for an evening, is like being on vacation." Partly that S occupies a world I know very little of- corporate culture- and partly that she's an inveterate traveller with tales of otherwheres seen through an unusual eye. At least, her traveller stories are quite different from anyone else's more mundane approach. Some people talk about the cockroaches or the drinks; S talks about the look of a city post-earthquake. (It looks like Montreal does all the time: streets torn up, concrete lying about.)

I know very few people who converse rather than chat. (I don't converse myself, being too lazy to do the work required for an informed discussion.) But it's so nice to be in the company of someone who does.
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Tue Oct 31st, 2017


10:08 pm - All the leaves are... green, actually
A very slow autumn, this. Yes, the locusts went yellow weeks ago, and the occasional maple is doing its maple-ish thing, but there's not only a lot of leaves still on the trees, the leaves have barely faded. I contrast this with the recent Hallowe'en that sticks most in memory, that of 2012, when the leaves fell in the unceasing pre- mid- and post-Sandy rain, forming a thick soggy carpet on all the streets. Probably I remember it so well because I was for once out in it, tromping about Toronto with G. in the days before the 31st, in chronic wet shoes.

But tonight was dry and clear, and the yellow leaves glowed in the street lamps as I biked around, looking at decorated houses and dodging invisible parties of trick or treaters. I know it's cold and I know dark winter coats don't show the dirt, but parents, seriously: if you can't give your kid a white costume, put blinky cat ears on them, or strings of fairy lights, and do it for yourself as well. You really have no idea how much you blend into the night.
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Sun Oct 29th, 2017


09:01 pm - Accomplished
Spent the weekend cleaning because someone's visiting next week, and also because I'm at a loose end in this unsatisfactory fall. The latter may explain why I started with rooms S. won't even go into, like my bedroom and the mudroom, and only today proceeded to kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. Much time was spent carrying things from the upstairs to the downstairs and the downstairs to the upstairs, as ever. I flattened all the mudroom boxes that I've been thinking I ought to flatten for the last seven years, carted large bags of throw rugs and curtains to the church drop-off round the corner ('If you haven't used it since the 90s you're not going to now'), and in passing mended several things that have been sitting in the side bedroom for weeks. So go me: but oh! what I would give for a self-cleaning house, or even a ferocious cleaning woman!

Amazingly, the dust allergies have only just started to tickle my nose. You know, I'd settle for a self-dusting house even.

LJ informs me that I did indeed read Tiassa five years ago, but it appears I didn't buy it. There's a nice trade paperback of Iorich, which I *do* remember buying at the time, but of Tiassa not a trace. No matter: library loan will get it to me soon, doubtless before it gets me Vallista. And now I feel the urge to reread Brust again. There are more worthwhile authors, but Brust is painless reading, and he does drop hints that get picked up later-- which puts him ahead of mindless detective fic.

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Fri Oct 27th, 2017


10:34 pm - The Geography of the House
Or rather, the heating system. Which is so constructed that somehow, no matter what mummified rat's presence may be detectable at the bottom of a shaft when the furnace is off, the smell does not carry when hot air is being blown out through that vent. Roll on the cold weather!
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Thu Oct 26th, 2017


07:59 pm - Up and Down
Up- my copy of Li He's poems arrived today.
Down- Customs' random snatch caught it and levied $14 duty on a $28 book.
Up- Customs didn't catch the Clear the Air order which was worth three times that.

Up- City workers delivered my new medium sized blue bin.
Also up- workers decanted my recycles from the old bin into it.
Down- bin is actually larger than the small size- higher and wider. I thought it would be small size minus the solid foot of plastic in the lower half which is there for no reason I can see.

Up- blessed blessed central heating on this cold night.
Down- still do not dare open the study vent and the study is cold
Up- Nor the bathroom one, but bathroom walls are warm and the only window is small
Wednesday meme on ThursdayCollapse )

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Tue Oct 24th, 2017


09:57 pm - Gratitudes
1. Clear the Air bags arrived no fuss. I was home, between shifts, and FedEx guy dropped them on the porch, rang the bell, and took off.

2. Clear the Air bags work. Hints of Ratso in study and bathroom vanish when I put a bag in the study. Vents are still blocked there but nothing seeps through anymore. Kitchen stink stops, mostly because I had a bag on the kitchen vent all yesterday.

3. Can run the heat without *too* much blowback in the rest of the house, and did this evening for an hour or so. It's not a smell that anyone but me would notice, and no, I'm not paying another $100 for three more bags when the smell will dissipate naturally, as it did with Rat #1. So at least I won't freeze in the coming cold.
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Sat Oct 21st, 2017


08:11 pm - Pleasant and unpleasant
Dreamed last night that incandescens came to visit me at a place purporting to be my daycare, though it was more like an elementary school which was in the process of having a school fair/ concert of some kind. incandescens joined in enthusiastically, but I couldn't quite make out what the kids and staff were calling her. Turns out it was 'Lily' or maybe 'Lilith'; she explained that this was her real name, but at boarding school there'd been too many girls with the name, so the staff decided she'd be called Genevieve for the duration.

incandescens may have been in my thoughts because she sent me a .pdf of Holmes pastiche which I have been reading on my phone (once I figured out how to save it to the phone). Now I understand why people read things on their phones: a well-behaved .pdf is much easier than a webpage or lj entry.

Fly in the ointment of my contentment is Rattus Recrudescens. While the weather was cold there was nothing to discern in my study or bathroom but the smell of ground coffee. (The mice in the basement walls had their brief moments of musk in that period, and then the smell cleared.) Whether it's warmer temps or some new victim, I now get ghostly reminders even through the three layers of plastic that covers the vents. Much worse, there's an appalling but different stink coming up the kitchen vent. Must give that one another week or ten days as well. Temps drop mid-week: we shall see what transpires after that.

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Fri Oct 20th, 2017


10:32 pm - Content
The hot sun shines on the yellow locust leaves, the nights are cool but not cold enough to need heat. Evening comes early but I bicycle around with my brilliant lights front and back and feel safe. My long daycare days do not seem to leave me as crippled as before. I have two or three books I want to read. I get sleepy early and wake early, which is a blessing.

Yes, the washing machine at work died this afternoon and the person who handles these things has been deathly ill for over a week. But that's a problem for next week.
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Wed Oct 18th, 2017


09:43 pm - Gnagh
It's been a decade since I used amazon Japan, so I'd forgotten the sad lesson I learned there: if a company uses Fedex, run away as fast as possible. $30 US shipping for a $48 order, plus Fedex fee for border paperwork, and Customs or HST on top of that. And then Clear the Air sends me an email telling me how to use their bags, with this helpful addition, which in a spirit of spite I will share with everyone here:
If you do not want to wait for bags to be shipped to you, it is possible to make your own bags:

Go to PETCO and buy Clear the Air Cat Urine Odor Eliminator. It is in the cat section near the cat liter (sic). It is in a pink canister with a white cat on the front. Most PETCO stores carry this product. Buy at least three or four canisters. PETCO SKU # 1564420

Pour the contents of one canister into an old nylon or sock and tie it off. One 14 oz canister will make one bag that will cover approximately 75 square feet.
Hang bag in room to be deodorized and, they claim, odours will vanish within a few hours. This I very much doubt. Vanish for others; not for me.
Still WednesdayCollapse )

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Tue Oct 17th, 2017


08:53 pm - The Furthest Station
As ever with Aaronovitch, my mind remembers details that zipped past while reading and that can't be found when I go back to look. I was sure there was a 20th century ghost that came apart as Peter was talking to it- a young chap, possibly in tennis flannels. He's not there. Ghost indeed.

But I also noticed a detail that may show up later: or again, may not. Who's poisoning foxes in the countryside? Truly just the displaced Londoners not fancying the local fauna? Because I'd have expected spoiler spoiler spoiler's foxes to have had something to say about it.
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Sun Oct 15th, 2017


08:20 pm - Necromancy
Open bags of ground coffee in the study and bathroom, essential oil peppermint on a paper towel over the vent in the kitchen. Thus do I exorcise Ratso, for today: since windows must be closed in this newly-arrived cold front.

Oddly, though neither furnace nor furnace fan was on, the peppermint smell spread through all the downstairs vents. These were all google solutions, BTW. Have no desire to try the 'cut up onions in a plastic container of water' one. I can smell a fragment of onion caught in the kitchen sink strainer, in my bedroom on the second floor at the other end of the house. Even the faint ghost of Ratso that comes through the plastic covered study vents is preferable to that.
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Sat Oct 14th, 2017


07:41 pm - Warm and weary Saturday
Canada Post never delivers on Saturdays but sometimes it does, for packages. I do not understand this at all. But in any case, I now have The Farthest Station from incandescens, for which I am very grateful, since today was one of great wanhope. Many many thanks. Aaronovitch is a great lifter of spirits.

Have put maktak over the study/ bathroom vent and run the air ionizer, so Ratso's ghost is not quite as overpowering as it was. I'm resigned to a good two weeks of faint hints and cold back rooms, but that's how it goes.
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Fri Oct 13th, 2017


08:45 pm - RIP
Ratso has had the bad taste to die before the exterminator could get him. Exterminator came Wednesday. Thursday morning the unmistakable odour of dead rodent was coming up the back air shaft. Far too fast for a beast that I was assured would take days to take the bait, being the wily critter it is. Have blocked up the vents between bathroom and study and thanked providence for warm weather that lets me keep windows open. I can still smell the acrid tang, but then I'm me. A few more days, judging by the Little Girls' experience with two successive gerbils that escaped into their air duct.

And bought a ceramic heating fan for Sunday, when the temps drop to 5 overnight, if the smell isn't gone by then.
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Wed Oct 11th, 2017


07:22 pm - Touching Wood
I shall be hearing thumps and bumps and the patter of little feet for a while, since rats are suspicious of new things. But for now I can tell myself that this too will pass: and with luck, pass before any ratlings appear. Exterminator was pleased that I hadn't seen any rat droppings, and the one I did see on the window sill with glass vases on it must have been a mouse, size notwithstanding. Rats don't like climbing, and rats would certainly have knocked all that glass down.

Finished?

Not a thing. Too antsy over the weekend to settle down. Listened to ancient tapes instead, which sent me looking for certain missing ancient tapes (where is my Turandot?), which sent me looking through an archive box at the bottom of the linen cupboard, which led to unearthing a package of the vinyl tiles used in the front hallway thirty years ago, which led to wondering if they might be used again to replace a few hallway tiles that are all worn and scratched from too many bicycle tires. Must call handyman. Ill wind, as they say.

Reading now?

Somehow seem to be reading P.D. James, The Black Tower. I consider James to be fundamentally immoral and Dalgliesh not merely a very unlikely inspector but a very unlikely human being as well. Which said, there are times a PD James hits the spot, as when one is in Tokyo. We shall see f this survives the return of your regularly broadcast reality.

Next?

Maybe the escapist detective stories got from the library; maybe something else entirely. Talking to a friend lately who's reading Buddhism and philosophy, in search of the meaning of life. Told her I couldn't manage that level of heavy any more.
'But what do you read instead?' she asked.
'Detective stories, mostly.'
'I read a detective story once,' she said, 'and when I finished it I couldn't understand what I'd read it for.'

Thus the difference between the brainy and the brainless.

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Sun Oct 8th, 2017


07:03 pm
On a sunny blue and white autumn afternoon I rode over to Yonge St to buy a tablet. Which I did, but technology never excites me. More to the point, I rode along the Famous Helen's old street with its jewel houses under yellow leaves, like some image of happiness. And I have been weepy and woeful ever since, which I put down to Rat fallout, not anything metaphysical or 'To think that two and two make four/ And neither five nor three/ The heart of man has long been sore/ And long is like to be.' (Housman is a medicine for melancholy: homeopathic, but effective.)

The fact is, I have always held a fallacious belief that certain past times were Perfect, and the perfection is gone and will never come back. This is why one keeps diaries, to record the grim actuality. The fall of 2001, whose Saturday nights were delightfully spent with Baby Helen, had its moments; but it wasn't an overwhelmingly happy time at all.
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Sat Oct 7th, 2017


01:04 pm - Argh
Putting wild life scarer in kitchen, and washing counters with peppermint/ vinegar, water solution, definitely put the mice off. So much so that they came upstairs to get away from it. -_- Woke mid-night to something poking at face. Thought it was misplaced beanbag. Poked again. Shoved bean bag away and something went thump-skitter out of the room. Too light for a rat, at least. But still. Roll on Wednesday's exterminators.
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Fri Oct 6th, 2017


08:54 pm - Domestic drama
I thought the rats and I could achieve a modus vivendi, at least until Wednesday when the exterminator comes. For one thing, I blocked the cellar door, down which Rat 2 disappeared when I startled him with the vacuum cleaner day before yesterday. But I accidentally closed the door between kitchen and bunker as well, and when I opened it tonight I found piles of woodchips on the floor. Rat had clawed and gnawed several inches off the width of the thing, to what purpose I cannot guess, and something else had gnawed a bit on the lamp cord in the kitchen. So I have put my wildlife scarer on in the kitchen, on high, with the noise of raptors descending. Next door is at the cottage and I shall sleep with ear plugs.

Still I'm puzzled. Heard a bang clash last night from the depths of the house, stomped down to the kitchen to discover nothing disturbed. (May have come from the bunker, after all. Who knows?) This morning came down and found a ceramic Japanese tea bowl sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter. Bowl lives in the whatnot/ shadow box on the counter pushed up against the wall. How it fell off and landed bottom side down I cannot guess. I suppose rat might have picked it up in its ratty paws and carefully set it down, the better to examine its provenance, but I doubt it. Bowl is heavy and as large as a rat's body. Poltergeists?
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Wed Oct 4th, 2017


09:05 pm - Mid-Autumn Festival, like Midsummer, comes just after the start of the season
Moon Festival moon peers in the window. Cool breeze follows unseasonably warm day. Unseasonable warmth will return on Saturday. 'Cast not a clout'- do not put the fans away until the first snow falls.

Not a good day to dine in Chinatown, obviously, so I went to the Art Gallery's Members' Lounge to see what they had. They had a tiny portion of baba ghanoush for nine dollars. Ah well, have done that and need not do it again. Would have gone back to the exhibitions but my bloody hip was hurting too much to walk happily. This after acupuncture. Not sure what to try next: maybe strengthening abdominals?
And still Wednesday keeps recurringCollapse )

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Mon Oct 2nd, 2017


09:20 pm
There are always bumps and thumps in my house, from old timber or crotchety pipes, or from houses rebuilding out front and back and echoing down the walkways. This morning there was a steady bumping coming from the side walkway, as I judged it: but as I walked into the kitchen I realized it came from the blue box I keep there for recyclables. And in the box, with its nose in an empty and washed bottle of keffir, was a sleek brown rat. I watched it for several seconds wondering what I could cover the box with to get it outside. But Ratso finally became aware of me, leaped up and out, and vanished I couldn't follow where. Not behind the fridge or bookshelf, which I at once pulled out; maybe into the living room.

Last week I found odd things fallen on the floor from the lower kitchen bookshelves, enough to wonder if we'd had a mild earthquake one night; but now all is explained. Lucky to live in the future: within minutes I was online and talking to a 5-star pest control company that seems to be run entirely by women. If not for work, they'd have been here Thursday, but now will come out Wednesday week. Have read what a time-consuming process it is to get rid of rats, so I possess my soul in patience. At least it's not raccoons moving in. And meanwhile have spread CritterRidder around the baseboards. I dislike the smell as much as critters are said to, so I hope Ratty will keep to his (I suspect) basement home for now.
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Sun Oct 1st, 2017


10:05 am - Softening of the brane
I'm starting to get seriously worried here.

I did *not* put a new lens in this morning. I came upstairs with my breakfast, sat down and ate it, and read the net. Looked up and realized everything was in focus. Poked at left eye and realized there was a lens in it. There are no lenses missing from the strip of daily use lenses: still four, after I started a new 5-strip yesterday.

The one time I napped with a lens in, it was dry and peeling off when I woke up. Has everything suddenly changed in this gunk-eyed allergy season? I rather doubt it.

Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness, must be our watchword.
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Sat Sep 30th, 2017


08:52 pm - 2 found, 1 lost
1. Poems of the Late Tang, exactly where it should be, on the Chinese shelf in the study. Or one copy of same, because it's much more dilapidated and about to fall apart than I remember it being. Re-reading, am not sure why I found Li He 'Harrowing' the first time around, not in Graham's translation. Online is a different story:
Cut for verseCollapse )

2. Grey pants. 'Could I have left them on the line?' I thought last week, glancing out the back door. No. But when I went to hang today's wash on the line, there were my pants carefully folded over the porch rail, where they'd been in all weathers for two weeks, not one. Well-aired at least.

3. Lost: went out to bring the bicycle in. My rain cape was lying beside it on the lawn. Could it have fallen out by itself? No, because my head-light has disappeared, stolen by one of the pesky youth in the neighbourhood, who seem to have made an attempt on the rear light as well before taking off. Just when I thought it was safe to leave things outside. At least pesky youth lack the skills to detach my various neighbours' bicycles from their various porch rails: or lack so far.

PS The harrowing translations are by Frodsham, whose book I must get. Two reviews that quote even stranger verses can be found here and here .
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Fri Sep 29th, 2017


08:23 pm - Vanished volumes
Poems of the Late Tang sat on the bedroom shelf for years, known but undisturbed. And then I read it last December and put it-- uhh, in with the Chinese poetry books in the study? No. With the older Chinese poetry books downstairs? No. Back on the shelf? No. This is the trouble with shelving by usage. But now someone is asking for Li He's poetry for yuletide and recommends the introduction to his section in Graham's work, and I don't have it. Of course it might just be hiding somewhere. The combination of 'slim volume with black spine' and Johnson Spot Blindness means it could well be in any of the places I already looked.

Otherwise they promised us rain and thunder and sun and wind today, and we got all of it. Is coldish evening that tempts to turn on the heat but I will not will not, since the day before yesterday I was sitting outside with pants legs rolled up in sleeveless top, sopping in the 30C mug, and it will be 25 again this week.

Possibly rousting about dusty shelves has reignited my allergies, or possibly the sudden temperature change has brought a sudden onset cold, but I have a sore throat and runny nose and think some hot lemon and honey might be just the thing.
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Thu Sep 28th, 2017


08:16 pm - Small happinesses
1. The parcel I sent from amazon which amazon's ridiculous delivery service was unable to deliver through multiple attempts, was at last delivered, though not to the alternate address I'd given. Props, I suppose, to the much-tried deliveryman who actually got it close to where it should be, but lord! could amazon's policies be less use than they are? You can leave parcels with a neighbour but not, say, the one across the street you're on good terms with. Nope, must be next door- who may be away or non-existent or non-English speakers or feuding bitterly with you. Nor can you change a delivery address once five attempts have failed to find the party at home shock horror during the work week. I mean, contingency plans, guys- that's what you need.

2. I have two books from the library to be brainless with.

3. Theoretically a day off, so I slept in till 11. Muscle relaxant and anti-histamine will do it to you.

4. It's going to rain tomorrow so I don't have to do laundry tonight.

5. I got my pay cheque, swollen to an unlikely number. Check the stub and see I've been paid for 4.5 staff hours when in fact I only did 30 minutes. Groan about how I must have entered an assistant shift in the staff column, as I have in the past, and go to check the hours book. And there, added to my 'garbage cleanup' entry, was the note 'and general helpfulness', while the '1' in the assistant hour column was crossed out and a '4' inserted in the staff hour column. Solid tokens of appreciation always welcome; and now I can buy my gin myself.
Cut for unsavoury garbage talesCollapse )
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Wed Sep 27th, 2017


09:07 pm - This sporting life is gonna be the death of me
It's nice to be assured, repeatedly, that the thanks of a grateful daycare is mine, for my simple presence as Fourth Body when the unhappy new bugs are requiring one person apiece and hence playing hob with the programme. But ohh my arms hurt and my elbows hurt and my shoulders hurt and and and. On the other paw, as I've often noted, the immediate and pressing needs of small people make any other concerns disappear swa heo na waere. So I shall keep on appearing and will get, at the very least, and expensive dinner out of it come Christmas, though I think I shall start dropping hints about how a bottle of gin would be much more appreciated.

My mysteriously vanishing blue t-shirt turned up at work where I'd forgotten I'd left it. The mysteriously vanishing grey pants have not turned up anywhere, which is puzzling, because I brought them in off the line last Saturday with my other pair of summer pants, both of which needed mending. I mended the stripey ones and have worn them all week. But the grey ones are not where they should be and not where I must have put them. Vexing and annoying.

Cool blows in at last. 12C tonight! Even my AC was never set that low. Welcome back, autumn: please stay this time.
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Tue Sep 26th, 2017


09:46 pm - Incredibly Long Day
"Oh most unhappy of babies, try to be happy! You have red hair like your sister brother."

But he only loves long-haired women, though his mother isn't long-haired. Am thinking of buying a wig.
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Mon Sep 25th, 2017


09:08 pm - This week seems to dragon
Time was, Toronto air quality alerts started in May and went on at regular intervals through to October. We rarely get them these days, a result I assume of closing coal-fired plants. But we had one today and I could feel the familiar burn in the throat. Haven't missed it at all.

Heat gives me apocalypsosis, so between North Korea and the DoJ having finally noted my existence for jury purposes, I'm feeling end of world and out of cope. Come Thursday I shall probably be able to deal with both, but for now I would welcome the G&T I do not have. What's the point of counting calories if we're all going to die, I think; and the point, as ever, remains that *I* may not die, or not soon enough, and in the meantime I would like my mobility back. Sigh.
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Sun Sep 24th, 2017


08:10 pm - Hotumn, they've taken to calling it
Others have remarked the oddity of not turning on the central AC until summer is over, I shall just say, blessed blessed central AC.

C.S Harris does a great deal of research for her Regency detective series. I'm therefore a little puzzled at her aristocratic detective threatening to call in the services of the Bow Street Runners for a crime committed in... Shropshire. Evidently the Runners aided investigations outside London, but Shropshire is an awfully long way from the Home Counties.
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Sat Sep 23rd, 2017


08:35 pm - Too hot
Had a lymph drainage massage today. Made me overwhelmingly sleepy.

In light of the recent additions to the Points series, I now find the Marlowe sections of The Armor of Light much more Astreianty than before. Not exactly a sketch for Eslingen, but a less positive version of same.
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Thu Sep 21st, 2017


06:57 pm - Better late than never
So now we're having the summer weather we didn't get in July and August. Mellow warm clear days without a hint of rain, sun hot in the afternoon but not unbearable, cicadas singing out of season, nights what August would call cool- 16, 17- but I still use the window AC, even set at 20C. It's as much for the dryness as to avoidance allergens (bad year for those) as well as the skunk that has its sights set on being king of the block. Gratefully, I can afford this luxury because the property tax increase rebate came through to the tune of 750 dollars.

Can also afford dinner at Pauper's Pub, excellent meatloaf and a frozen margarita, out on the patio under the yellow and falling leaves of the pumpkin trees.

The Indian gardener's son has gone with grass on his front lawn. Foolish foolish Indian gardener's son. Look at your next-door's unavailing attempts to have greenery. Only one house on this street has decent grass, and bets are taken as to whether it's the real thing or an expensive kind of astroturf. Sensible people go with ground cover.

Last April's mouse was invisible except for the magically vanishing bait in the untipped tip-trap. No gnawed bread in the bread bag, no poo on the counters. But I always had a feeling that it was still around somewhere. And thus, when I carelessly left half an unpalatable green-tea mini-mooncake on the table last night, perhaps no surprise that I found much of it demolished this morning, accompanied by large (for a mouse) mouse turds. Tip-trap is now baited with mooncake, and we shall see if mouse has become any porkier since the spring.
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Wed Sep 20th, 2017


10:48 pm - And now we're back
This is the crazy time of year when new babies start one per fortnight: which, yes, is better than one a week. But we're getting little babies, five or six months, and they teethe and fall sick and hate their bottles and cry piteously because the Boob has gone and everything hurts oh oh oh. Thus I spend my days patting their backs and rocking them to sleep and am sometimes paid for my labours, and come home knackered.

Possible the fatigue causes brain rot, but in fact I'd had it in mind for a while to call the gas company to ask if I'd booked my furnace check-up and if so, for when. Came home last night from two Long Island Ice Teas and a salad, to several calls on the machine. First from the gas guy to ascertain if I was at home that morning, which I wasn't; then to say he'd have to cancel because his car had broken down; and a third silence, which might have been him or, equally likely, some call centre. Dodged a bullet there, whichever. And now I *must* call the dentist to ascertain if my appointment is Oct 10 or Oct 19, because both are marked on the calendar.
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10:07 pm
Internet connection went down, though for some reason I'm still connected to the Addiction Solitaire site. For which I am grateful, you understand, but still. I hear there are people who use two thumbs to write on their phones. If *I* do that not even auto correct can guess what I mean. It's middle finger typing all the way, for me.
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Sun Sep 17th, 2017


09:03 pm - Gakkari once more
I had great plans for this weekend, starting with a lymphatic massage at noon on Saturday. Alas, came home Friday night to a message on the machine: 'It's now ten past twelve, are you coming for your massage?' How did I confuse Friday with Saturday when I made the appointment on Thursday? Who knows? But Saturday I left my phone on the table at my local cafe and had conniptions when I went to take it out at home. How could I ignore a bright pink phone case sitting on the table? Again, who knows?

Saturday afternoon was merely trying. Went to visit aunt and found the place in the middle of 40th anniversary celebrations, meaning a very loud jazz band playing from 2 to 4 and my aunt sitting in the audience. Even when we made our way to our usual table round the corner the saxophonist still drowned out my aunt's frail voice, and when he didn't, the very genki staff and visitor genkily chatting ten feet away sufficed instead. I suppose the staff get used to speaking loudly, but there's no excuse for the visitor.

Was going on a picnic to Riverdale Park with automobiled friend on Sunday, but Saturday night began to suffer from indefinable malaise. Cancelled, went up to lie on sideroom bed, fell asleep, woke at 11, moved to own bed, slept till 8. Twelve hours should put a dent in anything. But tum was still off, as it has been all week- summer stomach or plague, again, who knows. So frittered the afternoon reading mysteries until I pulled myself together and rescued the day with a little domesticity: made soup from vegetable ends, mended perennially holey summer pants (which I hope will last until the cooler weather comes), vacuumed hallway and washed kitchen floor. Then washed the sweat and grime from me and my hair in a grateful shower, and am almost ready for bed again. Good night.
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Sat Sep 16th, 2017


08:53 pm - Noted about the neighbourhood
Florence and Mary's house- detached, three story- must have sold for large bucks. One imagines that well-heeled yuppies bought it, and fears (if you're someone like the Gecko People with two renovations/ rebuildings happening very near by) that the usual mandatory strip-to-the-walls will ensue. New owners seem finally to have moved in this week- lights were on Friday night and curtains open to the living room, which they never were in Flo and Mary's time. Not much furniture to be seen, but there's a large Canadian flag tacked to the wall. Yuppies don't go in for this kind of interior decorating, so we may have dodged a bullet.

(The ongoing renovation across the street from me has been quiet and discreet. I notice the company's van out front and occasional appliances left for pickup, but none of the banging and cursing that accompany the new house across from the Geckos, or the new house a-building out my back window.)

The Indian Gardener's slow rebuild has reached the point of tearing out the old concrete walk and replacing it with interlocking stone that the IG's son is going to regret the minute it starts to snow. The front garden has once again been leveled flat and all the plants removed; given that various weeds and bushes came back up within a week of the last raze, I'm sure there's mighty fertile soil in the IG's yard, and no surprise. Frankly the house looked a lot better when it had a twelve by eight foot jungle of flowers in front of it, and bright pink front steps and door. Homey and loved. Am not looking forward to the landscaping that's clearly planned.

Prof & Mrs Islamic Studies are pruning their magnolia tree, which is a good thing, because it's trying to top the second floor. To be precise, their son is pruning the tree, lost up in the branches eight feet overhead. Wish R could be persuaded to turn his energies to my hedge, but R has gone from rambunctious boy to serious student and prefers not.
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Fri Sep 15th, 2017


09:12 pm - Slow, and oh so mellow
Warm sunny soupy September. Pumpkin trees down Spadina turn yellow. Synagogues have High Holiday hours posted. I run the AC at night.

Went back down to the AGO to look again at the Jean Bradbury calendar; still not decided. Then to re-view the Rita Letendre retrospective before it closes. Walked about my favourite galleries and discovered they've swapped out the painting in the room with the wolves, to my annoyance. Trust they'll put it back when the exhibit's over.

Then wandered about looking for something that was on the fourth floor, not the second; but by happenstance walked into a room of-- well, the more than numinous. Inuit artist Manasie Akpaliapik's sculptures done in whalebone, ivory, stone, balleen, and other things beside. That site shows three works: 'Respecting the Circle' (one side of it- the other side is quite different), 'Shaman Muskox' and 'Spirit Woman'. There's also the amazing Suicide Story. That's a youtube video taken at the AGO and showing the work in detail. There's another for Respecting the Circle.

(An excellent overview of the exhibit can be found at this blog, which is, disconcertingly, a Malaysian food blog.)

Never mind the woodwoses and green men of the old country. This is what the Canadian North does instead:
circle
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Thu Sep 14th, 2017


09:09 pm - Highs and local mysteries
Muscle relaxants and/or antihistamines guarantee I sleep late this season, if not deep (up several times a night for the loo; that I then go back to sleep indicates the drugs' potency.) But I have a morning shift tomorrow and must be up at 7 at the latest in order to get breakfast (15 minutes) and my body working (45 minimum stretch and strengthen plus time for painkillers to work.) Thus, a full ativan, and the full ativan's happiness.

Actually a full ativan means I won't *want* to get up tomorrow morning: its sleep is so delicious, especially if I indulge in AC tonight to keep more allergens from blowing in through the window fan. But tomorrow's troubles tomorrow.

Sitting in the side bedroom these past nights I hear something moving in the walkway between me and next door. I think of beasts- specifically, I think of raccoons- but it might be people. Poking about with flashlights reveals nothing and after last night's garbage putout, I conclude it may be an odd trick of acoustics, because it certainly sounded like next door was putting out their already put out bins when it was across the street. Then again, what I thought were the clumps of fallen ironwood seeds on my front steps seems to be fecal in origin, though I know no local animal that poops golden. Maybe it's the Mystery Skunk who occasionally perfumes the neighbourhood?
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Wed Sep 13th, 2017


09:03 pm - Heigh-ho
Haven't posted because nothing has been happening aside from the usual- work and wandering aches. Lower back/ lumbar at the moment, making walking unpleasant. Have had this pain before, many times: it recurs in spite of chiropracty, physiotherapy, acupuncture, and weight fluctuations. Can't remember what if anything made it go away the last time, and the time before, and back in 2015 when it seriously interfered with meditation, and and and.

But today I went down to the AGO to see what 2018 calendars they have. Not many and nothing that says 'This is IT!!' like last year's Emma Haworth calendar with its long distance views of London. Hokusai, Carr, and O'Keefe, of course; a whole calendar devoted to sections of The Garden of Earthly Delights which I have hanging over my bed and don't need to see in greater detail; and a Canadian artist who does odd representations of animals, so far the best bet. (Midoco had a Hasui calendar with all the warhorses, most disappointing. Maybe when they get more stock in... I mean, I always buy next door a Mucha calendar- the man was beyond prolific- and have no idea what to do if they stop producing art nouveau calendars.)

But being there decided to eat in their restaurant: a $15 Long Island Tea and a $15 appetizer of smoked slamon and marble bread (two slices, I grant you) plus assorted obscure small vegetables. Wish I was rich enough to indulge in a $25 hamburger which has no meat in it, being- as I understand it- a portobello mushroom with trimmings and fries on the side. Pretensions go- well, a lot farther in fashionable restaurants, I believe- but for a sort-of common person's venue like the AGO, that's pretty pretentious.

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Sat Sep 9th, 2017


08:57 pm - Discoveries
Discovered that when trying to free up space in perpetually 'not enough space' phone, 'empty cache' is good for all apps. 'Delete data' is fine for everything but browser. Since no manufacturer these days will tell you anything about phones, tablets, laptops or desktops (instruction manuals, oh yes, I remembers them) one must learn by trial and error; and occasionally that involves deleting all your browser's bookmarks.

Evening with the Young Ladies last night. We watched a Percy Jackson film. Discover that Percy Jackson works infinitely better as a movie than as a book.

I don't say that all recent Holmes pastiche is ridden with vocabulary near misses, but certainly Paul D. Gilbert's stuff is. Not the true howlers, but a string of niggly Wrong Words that eventually begin to grate. "Holmes' long, sinewy fingers reached out greedily for the wire and he began to read it with urgent intent." "...I believe that our client is sincere in her interpretation of the events she has witnessed. As to whether my investigations validate that construer is, of course, an altogether different matter." "...Daxer's hold over Douglas had its roots in Dundas' handling of the Prussian Crisis, the event that precipitated his meteoric rise to political imminence." And on and on.

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Thu Sep 7th, 2017


09:28 pm - Reading Wednesday again on Thursday
Last finished?
C.S. Harris, Where Serpents Sleep
-- the loonie bin tempted me and I did buy. Number 5 in the Sebastian St. Cyr series about murder and detecting and dark deeds in a Regency London that owes very little to Jane Austen. The Big Bad who *really* runs the country is cousin to the king and behaves like a Mafia don: someone gets in his way, we send our hitman to off them. The author is American. St. Cyr is clearly going to fall for the Big Bad's independent-minded daughter, now that his Twoo Wub is denied him for truly melodramatic reasons. That said, I'd assumed the politicians involved were as invented as the Big Bad cousin, and they're not. Probably a good thing my regency history is as hazy as it is.

Moore and Wossface, Century: 1969
-- a little more meat to it than 1910, but the real point of LoEG is clearly to read them with the online annotations that identify every face in every panel. Yes, I got the Fotherington-Thomas reference myself, but hadn't a clue that Brian Jones died in A.A. Milne's swimming pool. The things you learn

On the go?
V.E Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic
-- that Library crossover gave me false expectations of the tone. Fun up to the point that everything started going Grand Guignol. Will finish, of course, but hope it doesn't lead to reading the next two (three?) books in the series.

Agatha Christie, The Harlequin Tea Set
-- got for the title story, the last of the Harley Quins. A very very late work, confirming that authors in old age shouldn't let their publishers persuade them to revisit favourite characters- cf L.M. Boston and P.L. Travers. (Though the former actually started writing in what, at the time, was considered old age, so I suppose it was older age for her.)

Ima Ichiko, 100 Demons 26
-- Either Ima-sensei has become even more obscure or my Japanese has gotten even worse than it was. I enjoyed the first story but will have to reread carefully to figure out how all the disparate bits fit together.

I still use my Word Tank for lookups because all the Japanese phone apps that get recommended seem to lack a very basic function: the list of compounds attached to every kanji. The apps all seem geared to learning Japanese: memorizing kanji or learning stroke order rather than functioning as a straightforward dictionary. Maybe when I have a tablet I can find an online source; for sure my phone doesn't have nearly enough memory to download a program whose offline access is touted as an advantage. My phone still keeps trying to deny me use of the camera.

Next?
All the above? Maybe something meatier if I feel serious; maybe a loonie bin Ian Rankin if I don't.

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Tue Sep 5th, 2017


08:30 pm - Still don't know if it's the Harvest or the Hunter's*
But a very large golden moon is rising out of the trees out my back window.

Another triumph: I still have oddments from the family house in my basement, unused and unsorted since 1988. Yesterday I put one box of rusted metal this and thats- wrenches, screwdrivers, a desk lamp on a bracket- out on the front lawn, hoping someone might pick it over and remove the usables. Instead they walked off with the whole shebang. Maybe I can get rid of those three coffee tins of old nails now?

* In fact it's neither. Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, and is Oct 5 this year. Hunter's Moon is the first full moon after that one, which is in November. There's no name for an early September great big moon.
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