copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Come in, please, come in. I can’t entertain you shipboard as I once could, but there is tea and plenty of food, and I understand you’ve done well for yourself at the gambling tables. I suppose I can afford to lose a little now and then. My late first husband was a wealthy man and I magnified his wealth – well, you know how.

I think there should be discipline in everything, you know, even lawlessness. When I ruled the sea and the Red Flag Fleet, no one disobeyed me. Literally. Those who did were beheaded. But, on the other hand, I think my rule was mainly benificent. Did you know I forbade those under my command to steal from villagers who supplied us? That only made sense, of course. Death was also the sentence for any assault on a female captive. One makes these laws when one grows up as I did.

I also insisted that anything taken from town or ship was to be presented, registered, and given out amongst all – oh, the original taker got a percentage, and twenty percent is better than nothing, you know. That’s how you keep a sailor happy.

My dear second husband, he also issued some laws, I suppose, but they weren’t written down or very well enforced. What were they? Who knows. What does it matter? My laws were what mattered.

Eventually, of course, it became easier just to tax the local cities than to keep sacking them. Nicer for all concerned and not so much work for us. Bureaucracy will have its day, sooner or later, always.

That is how I came to be here, you know; several years ago, after I defeated their entire Navy, the government offered amnesty to pirates. Well they might; what other option did they have? But I was wealthy, so why should I continue to work when I was no longer a criminal? It was in 1810 that I left crime behind forever and opened this little gambling house. Here I am content, you know, and I think I will be until I die. Hopefully not for a long, long time!

Oh, I am called many things. I was born Shi Xianggu, and I am called Cheng I Sao, sometimes, but mostly I am known as Ching Shih – the Widow Ching, wife of two pirates, but a pirate empress myself.

(After all, it’s Talk Like A Pirate day, not Talk Like Every Pirate day. I chose Ching Shih.)

(Also if you enjoyed this, consider dropping some spare change in my Ko-Fi!)

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Handoff

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:51 pm
apollymi: Zack looking confused, text reads "WTF?" (FF7**Zack: WTF?)
[personal profile] apollymi
[personal profile] katsuko and I have been handing my phone back and forth for nearly five hours now, working on the same story. She writes a while, then I write a while, then she does, and so on. It means we've managed over 3000 words between the two of us today. (It also means that I have to leave my phone plugged in because we are seriously murdering my battery... but it's all good, because so many words!)

You see, [personal profile] katsuko came up with an AU off one of Worst Case Scenario stories, where Faraday puts in an early appearance. It's spiraled out of control. It's two parts long... and mine is already nearly 8,000 words. Because it's out of control. Really. Also, I think sometimes I give Jack the Horse too much personality. Other times, I don't think I give him enough. Because I adore Jack the Horse.

And after all that, I'm not sure I've got much words left in me. I think I'm ready to go the hell to bed for the night. I think I'm going to do just that.

So... good night, my freaky darlings.

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:45 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we start, a quick note because I've had a handful of issues with this lately -- if you want to bring a cause to my attention the best way to go about it is to fill out the Radio Free Monday form (also linked from the sidebar of my tumblr page). It's not just that I might not see a post tagged to me or that it saves me a ton of time, but also that it makes sure I get the information I need to describe the situation, link the appropriate pages, and name and gender people correctly.

The form doesn't ask many questions, doesn't pull any metadata (literally it doesn't even record the date you entered the information), and is as anonymous as you want it to be -- there are options for complete or partial anonymity for the person submitting the item.

Ways To Give:

[tumblr.com profile] prismatic-bell linked to a fundraiser for Congregation Beth Yeshurun and their attached day school, which were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, which hit two Jewish neighborhoods in Houston especially hard. The families are currently attending Temple Brith Israel, and the children from the day school have had to scatter among several schools temporarily. You can read more about the damage here, reblog here, give directly to the rebuilding fund, or purchase toys and learning materials or replacement books for the school directly through Amazon.

[tumblr.com profile] reesa-chan is preparing for surgery and gathering supplies to make recovery go as smoothly as possible, but they're coming up short on a few things and surgery is looming. They have a Amazon Wishlist available here and have their paypal giving page here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] poplitealqueen, who is trying to help her mother get some experimental medical treatment which might allow her mobility without the use of a wheelchair. You can read more and reblog here (including links at the top to Patreon and Ko-fi) or give directly to their Ko-Fi here.

[tumblr.com profile] quinfirefrorefiddle linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] niines9s, who is trying to escape an abusive home and needs funding for housing after graduation. They are offering commissions and also taking donations; you can read more, reblog, and find paypal information at their post.

Anon linked to news about a Christian group, Faithfully LGBT, who are fundraising to aid transgender people with gender-confirming surgeries as a way of atoning for religious discrimination against transgender people. You can read and reblog the story here or give directly to the Tithe Campaign here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to a post called Saving Your Grades From A Mental Health Crisis, which is about what to do if you're in college and dealing with mental illness.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Quiet day

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:43 pm
apollymi: Carl holding bottle of holy water, text from Monty Python & the Holy Grail (VH**Carl: Holy hand grenade)
[personal profile] apollymi
I have had so much kitty assistance today. Luci has been all over the place. She's given me at least three free breast exams, and she's checked to see if where I got my flu shot is still sore. I hate to inform her that, yes, it still is, thank you very much.

I am vaguely annoyed that I'm missing one part of Resurrectionist. I tend to work on Scrivener a bit right before bed, and sometimes that means I do stupid stuff with it when I get too sleepy. Apparently this time I deleted all the text from the file. And I have no idea when it happened. So however many words there were are gone, and I have no way to get them back except to just rewrite them. It just makes me mad, because it had been going fairly well... but also because I'm still a little uncertain on the crossover characters. So I'm sad to lose that progress.

But I've had several good writing days in a row, and that makes me happy after my poor showing in August. I will make September be a better month for writing... especially with Mag7week starting on the 23rd.

And that's all I've got. I'm going to try to get a bit more done before I go to bed tonight, but that entirely depends on how much [personal profile] katsuko gets written in the corresponding section.

So long, my freaky darlings.

Cupcakes

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:26 pm
apollymi: Doujinshi art, Roy & Ed, no text (FMA**Roy/Ed: These quiet moments)
[personal profile] apollymi
I finally got to have my "it's not cancer" dessert. I decided to go with cupcakes. I have a lemon drop one, because I love lemon drop cupcakes from Cami Cakes, and [personal profile] katsuko had a Cookie and Cream one, because what's a celebration if you can't include your best friend and better half? I even posted photos of my "it's not cancer" cupcakes on Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, because that's how I roll apparently.

I rebought a purse that I had returned for rent money last month, and I feel vaguely happy about this. I liked the purse quite a bit, but keeping a roof over our head was more important.

And yeah, that's about all I've got for today. I'm shortly to head back the hall for bed, and I think that [personal profile] katsuko is going to sleep out on her bed for the night, since Luci has decided she can't stand a closed bedroom door. (But she and Boo need some space, because otherwise the relationship between them is just going to keep getting worse and worse.)

And that's definitely it. Good night, all.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Wow, you guys, the me of 2014 was such a good bro, he bought an extra three years of premium-level warranty coverage on his laptop.

I wasn’t even looking for whether I was still covered by warranty, I just assumed I wasn’t, but I went to Dell’s website to get the model number of my laptop so I could look up how to open it up properly and fix the terrible groaning noise my fan is making. And Dell was like hey, here’s your model number, also your warranty is good through June of 2018. 

I’m still gonna try to open it up and fix the fan myself, but if I can’t, I can send it in and get the fan fixed AND get a repair on the housing that’s starting to crack. 

Good job, 2014 Sam. You had no idea the crazy shit that was ahead of you but by god you knew you’d need three years of warranty. You and me, buddy, we’re fucking killing it in the adulting department lately. 

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Not Cancer

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:59 pm
apollymi: Manic look Ninth Doctor, text reads "I solemnly swear I'm up to no good" (DW**9th Doctor: Up to no good)
[personal profile] apollymi
So I had my two/three doctors' appointments today. And the good news is... it's not cancer.

I started my day with the saline ultrasound, and while I was on the bench, they finally got me my results back from the biopsies last week... with the "not cancer" results. The walls of my uterine cavity are very thick for my age and health: about 1.3" centimeters thick. And the wonky periods now have a likely root cause. And that is a 3 cm long, 0.5 cm thick fibroid in my uterine cavity.

And may I say for the record that the saline ultrasound sucked? Because it did. It really did. But it didn't suck nearly as badly as the biopsies did. Plus the ultrasound tech and Dr. Hathaway and I spent a large portion of the time we we doing all this chatting about Captain America, DragonCon, and the Avengers. That helped a lot towards distracting myself.

My second appointment was basically Dr. Hathaway explain the results of the ultrasound today and the one last week. She did discuss with me the fact that I"m going to have to have outpatient surgery to get the fibroid removed. I gave some thought to asking her to just take the whole damn uterus, because I have no interest in keeping it, but somehow I didn't.

All in all, I liked the staff at that branch of my gynecologist's better than the Sandy Springs location. Everyone was a lot nicer, and they all treated me like I had a brain in my head, which isn't to say that the other location talked down to me, but I've been to enough gynecologists who do.

I did a quick lunch with [personal profile] katsuko at The Flying Biscuit. It was delicious as always... and it turned out that it was only five minutes from my primary physician. That was a quick visit. We went over my blood tests, Dr Woodhouse upped my Paxil prescription from 10mg to 20mg, and I got two jabs: tDap and flu. Because I'm hoping not get sick on my birthday this year.

After all that, I went to Panera while [personal profile] katsuko was at Mirko, and after she got out, we did a celebratory dinner at Jinya. I feel like I stuffed myself, but it's a happy thing... Even if it means that I can't quite seem to keep my eyes open now.

So I'm going on to bed. Sleep well, all.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Me: R’s in town this weekend so we may meet up.

Mum: Send me a picture of you and R when you’re hanging out!

Me: Not sure when it’ll be yet but I’ll do my best. It’s a little uncertain right now.

Mum: If it were certain, I’d be worried it wasn’t really R.

She knows us both so well. 

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Holy shit

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:09 pm
apollymi: Usagi, wide eyed and excited, text reads "boy porn!1!" (BSSM**Usagi: Boy porn!1!)
[personal profile] apollymi
Holy shit, today was a fan-fucking-tastic writing day. I'm still going, mind you, but I'm over 3000 words, closing in on 4000.... and I'm still going. I've needed a writing day like this since August, truth be told, and I'm so damn glad it finally hit. I might get on track for where I need to be for September with today's push.

So far for #365k/365Day, I'm finished. I finished back in August. I have written well over 365,000 words so far this year. However, I'm enjoying the challenge, so I'm definitely going to keep going through December to see just how many words I can actually make happen.

So far, August has been the only month that I've written less than the minimum. My best month was May, when I wrote 65,974 words. June was the second best, with 61,853 words. So far this year, not counting today's words, I have written 387,947 words. I'm almost 23 days or 23,000 words past the goal.

So yeah, that's coming along nicely.

Apparently the key to me getting some good writing done is to switch between a couple of stories. Whatever works, right?

And I'm going to get back to that now. Later, all.

Quick post

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:30 pm
apollymi: Ginji in taro/chibi mode with teary eyes (GB**Ginji: *wibble eyes*)
[personal profile] apollymi
Yeah, I'm not sure I really actually have a lot to say today. I'm freaking exhausted. My foot hurts, my ankle hurts, my back hurts, and my shoulder hurts.

You see, I went into work this morning like normal. When I got to the right floor of my building, the lobby door was closed. It turned out that Prometric itself was closed, but Georgia State was open. So at first I thought, well, this will be a nice quiet day. That's what I get for thinking, though, because we ended up cleaning the waiting room, office, and testing room from top to bottom. Yes, literally from top to bottom: I dusted the ceiling vents and walls, and Glynda vacuumed. We ended the day with a two hour meeting, which wasn't quite as painful as it could have been.

But all that up and down took its toll on me, and now I hurt. If it wasn't so late at night and if [personal profile] katsuko didn't have a 6:00 a.m. shift tomorrow, I would take a Flexaril, but I completely forgot I had them until now. Whoops.

Anyway, that's it for me. I'm going to finish up this little bit of writing I have going, and then I'm off to bed. Later, all.

Quick update

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:52 pm
apollymi: Animated, Roy sparks the lighter, no text (FMA**Roy: Set the world aflame)
[personal profile] apollymi
This is just a quick update. I'm back to work tomorrow. I'll be there tomorrow and Thursday, but then Friday I have two doctor's appointments. Well, technically three, but I think that the two gynecologist appointments may or may not count as one. I think I might count them as one, at least for now.

I worked on Resurrectionist a bit today, which was good. I'm getting closer to having "After First Love" done, as well as "New Orleans", "Setting the Stage", and "Bite". I actually thought that I had "New Orleans" done, but I'm having to add little bits here and there. I made a small change in one of the Shelter stories and loved it, so I'm incorporating it into a few of the other stories as well. It doesn't work for Monstrous: After Midnight or Wicked Ones, but it does for Shelter, Resurrectionist, and Uncollared... and nothing in Trinity contradicts it, so it can be a quiet bit of canon for me there too.

All that said, I might try to work on an AU I have in mind for the Monstrous universe some tomorrow. I mean, it's straight up crack, but come on: that verse needs some straight up crack. It features an Old God, a Fae, an Antichrist, and an angel of death. It needs some crack. And given that I can't share this AU until after I finish Monstrous: After Midnight and Monstrous: Dark Nights doesn't really bother me all that much.

After all, I've got pretty much all of Shelter and Uncollared that I'm not sure I have any intention of ever sharing. I guess that all depends on the reception that Resurrectionist gets.

Speaking of Resurrectionist, [personal profile] katsuko and I are planning on posting for the Mag7 week challenge at the end of the month. We'll be hitting the following days:
*Day 2 - September 24: Self-Sufficiency: Monstrous: After Midnight - Sam Side-Story
*Day 3 - September 25: Alternate Universe: Resurrectionist - Outbreak Pt 1
*Day 5 - September 27: Supernatural: Monstrous: After Midnight
*Day 6 - September 28: Aftermath: Monstrous: After Midnight
*Day 8 - September 30: Friends and Family: Wicked Ones

Yes, I know we're missing Days 1, 4, and 7 (Fall or Proposal, Celebration or Outside POV, and Downtime or Memories, respectively), but I'm afraid we're striking out on them. Or I am. [personal profile] katsuko might have some ideas that she hasn't shared.

But also yes, there will be three new parts of Monstrous: After Midnight coming out that week. That ought to make some people's days.

And now, it's time for me to go to bed. 5:30 comes awfully early. Good night, all!

Irma, Pt 3

Sep. 11th, 2017 08:41 pm
apollymi: Jensen playing with the homemade monsters,  text reads "I am sane-ish" (Losers**Jensen: Sane-ish)
[personal profile] apollymi
So, bear with me here: I'm typing this out on my phone. Our power is completely out. It's been out since around 3:30 or 4:00 this afternoon. At this point, I'm not hopeful that it will be back on before tomorrow sometime.

We had warm Spaghetti-Os before the power went off and cold baked beans after we lost it.

Luci has been incredibly clingy, even for her, since the power went out, right next to one or both of us, especially when the wind picks up again. Given that that keeps happening pretty frequently, it should probably be no surprise that she's been right here as much as she can. Boo has spent the entire day under the bed, so no surprises there.

It amuses me a little that Roswell has lost power, but where Mum lives in Albany only lost water for an hour or so. She got hit with more of the wind and rain than we did, but we're the ones who have been without power. Of course the Atlanta area is woefully underprepared for a tropical storm, so there is a that.

Sadly, this does mean that I didn't get a lot written today. Mostly I did some editing before the power went off, and I'll be counting this entry towards my words for the day.

[personal profile] katsuko had today off IKEA for the weather, but apparently they're expecting people to go in tomorrow. I'm... not happy about this. MARTA is still down, as is Uber, and a lot of roads have debris and standing water on them. I haven't heard how the waterways are looking, but I imagine that the Chattahoochee is up significantly, given the amount of rain we've had so far.

And it's no surprise that Mirko will be open tomorrow and that she is expected to go in or risk losing her job... and I think she wants to quit on her own terms.

And that's about it for me. Later.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
You guys today I researched someone who is such a rank evil motherfucker that the person who was going to meet them to ask for money came over to my desk after seeing my research and was like “What a rank evil motherfucker.” 

And I was like I DIDN’T EVEN PUT THE WORST OF IT IN BECAUSE WE CAN’T PROVE THE WORST STUFF SINCE IT’S ALL TECHNICALLY SPECULATION BY LIBERAL WATCHDOG GROUPS BUT I KNOW THEY DID IT. They gave millions of dollars to climate-change denial (which I learned today is referred to as CLIMATE INACTIVISM) two weeks ago. 

But I am heartened that a) the fundraiser saw through my VERY CAREFULLY professionally neutral report to the truth of the matter and b) they called their boss and were like “I’m not taking this meeting” and THEIR BOSS read my report and said “Yeah this is a PR disaster waiting to happen, don’t take the meeting.”

And normally I’d be like “yes take their money, take it all, take them for everything you can wring from them” but what makes this one so unsettling is that their donations always come with creepy post-contract strings. If we take the money, we’re gonna pay for it down the line, so I’m just as glad we aren’t. 

Once in a while in my profession I come across someone who is such a force for destruction on an international scale that I genuinely hope they will die in some very public and ironic way. I yearn for the day I read of their demise.

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(no subject)

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:40 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Melissa, a trans girl who recently escaped an abusive home and is struggling to make ends meet. She has been unable to get car insurance, and is also recovering from expenses and injuries from a recent accident. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] nivcharayahel and her sister are raising funds for help with September's rent, to avoid eviction; they are dealing with recent unemployment and underemployment. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] butnotinthisone is dealing with fallout from hurricane Harvey, including being unable to return to their apartment due to continued flooding; their apartment is on the first floor and they will likely be facing property loss and damage from the water. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[livejournal.com profile] rua_m linked to Zooniverse, specifically their Weather Rescue project, which allows you to help recover forgotten weather data by transcribing Ben Nevis observatory records. Zooniverse is a great site that lets people participate in citizen science and historical preservation by categorizing and transcribing documents; I'm actually a member and work on some of their animal-related stuff.

Anon linked to Halloween Lifestyle, a Halloween website recently put up (and so still a little sparse) by the mother of [tumblr.com profile] nextrrickanvils. You can read more and reblog here or go directly to the site here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here; they also have an ad up on SpareRoom here with photos.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Irma, Pt 2

Sep. 10th, 2017 11:02 pm
apollymi: Eliot, Parker, and Hardison walking, text reads OT3 (OT3: Eliot/Parker/Hardison)
[personal profile] apollymi
So around noon, I finally got a text that GSU will be closed on Monday. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, I got another text, that GSU will also be closed on Tuesday. Since I have three doctors' appointments on Friday and will not be at work at all, that means -- if nothing else changes -- that I will have a two day work week next week. Monday and Tuesday, the university will be closed for Irma, (if nothing changes) I will work Wednesday and Thursday, and then I will be going to the gynecologist (first for a saline ultrasound and then for an appointment) and my regular general doctor.

I'm keeping in contact with all of my Florida friends and former coworkers, making sure they're all okay. So far, so good, on that front.

I overdrafted the bank account getting supplies in case the power goes out. We bought the literal last bottle of water in the grocery store; we did use the Brita water filter to get some extra water set aside, basically by filling every reusable container we had in the house with filtered water. We've got food that doesn't have to be heated. I've charged up the battery pack for the mobile phones. I've got one flashlight charged up, and the other is on the charger. I did, however, forget to buy D sized batteries for the Maglight flashlight. I have an extra flashlight somewhere in the car, but it's pretty crappy and is only for emergencies.

Things I need to get in case this ever happens again: a new crank flashlight like I used to use for camping, a decent first aid kit, more empty bottles that we can use for water, and I'm sure a few other things that I'm not thinking of right now. I still haven't purchased an Uninterrupted Power Supply for the laptops, but it's on my list of things to eventually get, when money permits. If money ever permits.

If I'd known we were going to have at least one extra day at home, I would have found the money somewhere to get the roach treatment. I would rather do it when one of us will be here, so that we can sweep up the corpses before the kitties get into them.

And the Paxil is starting to kick in, so I'm getting tired, despite all the wind and noise outside. I'm going to try to throw myself at my bed and see if maybe sleep will happened. It's a hope anyway.

So long, my freaky darlings. Stay safe!
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
On April 1, 1985, a piece by George Plimpton was published in Sports Illustrated, called “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch”. It presented a new rookie pitcher for the Mets: Sidd Finch, an aspirant Buddhist monk and French horn aficionado, who could throw a pitch around 160mph. If you’re not familiar with baseball, a 90mph pitch is a good ticket to the majors, and the fastest pitch on record is around 105mph. The article was a joke, of course – April Fool’s – but the reaction especially among Mets fans was electric. Within sports journalism it’s widely considered to be one of the best hoaxes of all time.

Plimpton eventually expanded the article into a novel in 1987, and I finally got around to digging it up and reading it – it’s what I’ve been reading on the train to the last few Railcats games of the season. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, as a novel, is in a way a time capsule; it captures a very weird era for the country and a pre-player’s strike, pre-Moneyball era for baseball. But it’s not really a book about baseball, despite Plimpton being primarily a sports journalist. It’s easily accessible if you don’t know a ton about the game, primarily because neither does Sidd Finch.

Rather, the book struck me as drawing heavily on what I think of as the “parable novel”, a genre popular in the seventies – part religious/philosophical treatise and part self-help book disguised as a fictional narrative (the most famous is probably Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach).

The novel’s narrator and fictional author is Robert Temple, a former journalist living in Florida and suffering from a decade-long writer’s block; he literally can’t write anything, including shopping lists and notes to self. (I’ll come back to this.) By a chance of fate he learns that the Mets have a rookie player named Sidd Fitch who can throw a 160mph fastball with uncanny accuracy, but who is still uncertain he actually wants to sign with the club. After getting thrown out of his boarding house for bringing a girl over, Sidd and his girlfriend Debbie Sue end up living with Temple at the request of the Mets, who hope Temple can convince him to sign with the team while he attends spring training in Florida.

It’s a really compelling read with enjoyable characters, and there’s some good tension set up in the question of whether Sidd will sign with the Mets, and whether it would be good for both Sidd and the sport as a whole for him to do so. And I appreciated that the one full pro game Sidd pitches isn’t the climax of the book – this is not a book about sport but a book that uses sport to meditate on other matters.

It does have its issues, however. Temple, the narrator, draws the reader in because we understand that he was a writer and no longer is, but we don’t know why – we know he’s suffered some terrible psychological blow, just not exactly what: 

If he had taken the time to check it out, he would have discovered that I was not capable of writing a paragraph, much less a line of copy. I was a completely defused member of the communications industry. 

[….]

I took my sister by the elbow afterward and I said, “Well, that’s my problem, isn’t it? I’m not really alive. I’m perhaps a quarter alive.”

“You’re coming along,” she said. 

I think it would have been best for that information to come out slowly in drips here and there, perhaps eventually being told more fully when Temple explains to Sidd or Debbie Sue why he can’t write. Instead we get an early-on chapter about it – basically a brief autobiography where he goes to Vietnam to cover the war as a journalist, has a breakdown, and retires to Florida where he fills empty days with pointless tasks as a way of keeping himself alive. It’s…not the most interesting chapter. And then he can’t really explain it to the others because we’ve already sat through it once. 

This complicated history is also a problem with Sidd, our young pitcher – Sidd is struggling with both his faith and what his purpose in life should be, and that’s immediately something people can identify with. The issue is that Plimpton, the actual author, built on the biography he created for Sidd in the Sports Illustrated article, which was a joke and thus comedically complicated. Sidd is an orphan from England adopted by an English anthropologist who then died in a plane crash when Sidd was a teenager, and he found Buddhism while looking for his father in the Himalayas. Sidd also, randomly, is very good at the French horn. This is a complex backstory for a baseball player and it’s not entirely well-told within the boundaries of the book, though it’s also a pretty ripping adventure story as Sidd runs away from boarding school to look for his dad and eventually ends up an aspirant monk who uses Buddhists lung-gom teachings to train himself to throw a 160mph baseball.

We never really get to the heart of why Sidd walked up to a Mets talent scout one day and decided to get himself recruited; there are hints here and there, and it does lead to a masterful set of discussions about why baseball is a game for mystics:

“Why baseball?” Frank Cashen asked. “Why didn’t he go back to England and play cricket?” 

Dr. Burns put his fingertips together. “Baseball is the perfect game for the mystic mind. Cricket is unsatisfactory because it has time strictures. The clock is involved. Play is called. The players stop for tea. No! No! No!” Burns sounded quite petulant. “On the other hand, baseball is so open to infinity. No clocks. No one pressing the buttons on stopwatches. The foul lines stretch to infinity. In theory, the game of baseball can go on indefinitely.” 

[…]

“I got very interested in the idea of causing a commotion at Point B when standing a long distance away at Point A. To throw an object that connects those two points is a very heady thing to be able to do…especially if you can do it time and time again with accuracy. It is something archers and hunters know all about – the trigonometric closing of lines.” 

[…]

I suddenly had a clear image of what Sidd was doing to the game. It was what the listeners were suggesting – he was changing the properties and the essence of the ball itself. It struck me how often the ball is inspected during a game, as if anyone who touches it has to make sure the ball has not changed its properties. If the ball disappears over the fence, another, like a youngster’s dream pinball game, emerges from a black sack at the umpire’s side. He looks at it and gives it to the catcher, who rubs it briefly, and after a glance fires it out to the pitcher; he looks at the ball and rubs it with both hands, his glove dangling from its wrist strap, and then, as he stares down at the catcher for the signal, his fingers maneuver over its surface feeling for the comfort of some response – yes, this time it will do exactly as he wishes! […] Football players do not have this kind of kinship with their ball. Most of the players don’t even touch the thing during the course of a game. It sits stolidly on the grass. The center comes up over the ball from the huddle and barely giving it a glance turns it under his hands; his eyes are staring across the line of scrimmage at the unpleasant visage of the nose guard opposite. A defensive tackle is so uncomfortable with the ball that if he chances to pick it up on the practice-field he tends to throw it end over end to get rid of it. […] Tennis balls are not kept on the mantlepiece. Too many of them around. Who cares?
 

But there’s never that moment where Sidd says, this is why I came to America to play baseball. Especially since he knows so little about it going in. I suppose Plimpton had to make him a foreigner so he wouldn’t know much about the sport, but honestly, you can grow up in America and not know much about baseball, especially at the pro level. Though I do enjoy some of the eccentricities of the game that Plimpton chose to focus on: 

“They have shown me the heavy ring that one slides on the bat to make it seem lighter. I had thought originally that the heavy ring was a talisman to bless the wood. No! One has only oneself to rely on within the confines of the batting box.” 

There’s also some pretty lowered stakes in this book because everyone, even Sidd, is wealthy. Temple can afford to do nothing all day for a decade while still seeing an expensive private therapist about his writer’s block (and eventually supporting Sidd and Debbie Sue when they move in) because his family is rich and supportive. Sidd, an innocent who travels with very little, still has access to his father’s fortune and has a mansion waiting for him in England. Debbie Sue, the free-spirited beach bum that Sidd falls in love with, comes from a wealthy family and was attending an ivy league school before she left it all behind to windsurf full-time in Florida. Even the most desperate people in the book, namely the coaching staff of the Mets, are only desperate to get Sidd to play. Nobody’s life or livelihood is riding on anything in the book, which to me makes it slightly less effective as a philosophical treatise because everyone starts from a place of wealth and comfort. On the other hand, it does allow the reader to engage fully with the psychological side of things, and there’s something to be said for not having to worry about where Sidd’s next meal is coming from:

Rather haltingly, Sidd asked me if I would come to New York and see him through August and September…perhaps share an apartment. He didn’t feel he was going to feel at ease in the city. Over the phone he made one of his brilliant vocal imitations – the sound of a taxi horn, a police siren, and the sigh of a bus pulling away from its passenger stop.

“There are no mantras,” he said, “to take care of this sort of thing.”

All that said, it is a really fun book. Everyone in it is charming and funny, Sidd’s bewilderment over the rituals of pro baseball is touching, and there’s an interesting hint of threesome-ness (probably unintentional) to the bond between Sidd, Debbie Sue, and Temple. As a baseball fan I appreciated the thought Plimpton put into how and where the characters and the sport interacted, and you can tell he has a genuine love of the game. He also appears to have done his research about Buddhism – it’s not just a stand in for woo-woo esotericism, the way it was a bit in the original article. There is some of that, but there is also a lot of genuine discussion of Buddhism which seems, in my admittedly very limited experience, to be correct.

Sidd smiled…very much as Dennis Brain probably had on the stage of the Jubilee Hall. “There’s a saying of Buddha,” he said. “Be earnest in cessation although there is nothing to cease; practice the cessation although there is nothing to practice.” 

So yeah, do recommend The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch if you’re interested in baseball or just in a pretty good story about a baseball player. 

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Irma

Sep. 9th, 2017 11:26 pm
apollymi: Zack facing away, text reads "So don't judge me by my failures, only by my dreams" (FF7**Zack: Judge me only by my dreams)
[personal profile] apollymi
This is going to be a really quick post, since I keep drifting off to sleep here on the couch instead of writing, like I should be. In fact, writing all weekend was my original intention, but that just didn't happen.

It didn't happen because so much of m attention has been on Hurricane Irma, trying to track its progress, trying to see where it's going and if it's still going to come near or through Atlanta. Right now, it looks like we're only going to get the outer edges of it, and that will still mean some pretty nasty wind and rain.

Still no news on if Georgia State will be closing for the weather. Almost all the counties around Metro Atlanta are closing their schools, including the universities. But the ones within Metro Atlanta are still waffling on the matter, including GSU. So who knows? I might have work on Monday. I might not. At least [personal profile] katsuko is off at IKEA, though that's because it's a regular day off for her, not for Irma.

And as I keep up with the news coming out of Florida, I have to sigh. At least Florida State has already closed and gone down to essential personnel only. If I was still there, I probably would have already packed up [personal profile] katsuko and the kitties and come to Grandmother's, but at least I would have known my job gives a damn about my life and safety. None of this "we're not closing for a little wind and rain" nonsense. For all my issues with it, I can at least say FSU gave a damn about its staff and students, and there are a lot of days where I honest to all the gods miss it.

But there's nothing to be done for that right now. What I am going to do is take myself to bed.

So long, my freaky darlings. Sleep well.

stormy days

Sep. 9th, 2017 12:00 pm
tsutsuji: (XelZel wet & happy)
[personal profile] tsutsuji
wow I can't believe I haven't posted a thing here in years. What have I been doing?? 

Well, I haven't been writing much fic, for one thing. I've been poking at old WIPs in the hopes of updating them someday before I'm too old to type anymore, but not making much progress. I never seem to get inspired with new ideas anymore. I don't even have any current fandoms I'm particularly interested in. Sad state of affairs!

I will try to post a bit more often on either this or my general DW journal. Just for old times' sake if nothing else.

I dont' even know who's around here that I know anymore.... 

I'm awake

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:44 pm
apollymi: Stitch holding his head in pain, no text (L&S**Stitch: Headache)
[personal profile] apollymi
I'm so freaking tired, but I'm working towards getting everything finished up on various things, mainly After Midnight. I finished a Faraday part and a Teddy part today, and now I just need to finish up the Vasquez section I'm working on. Then I can move on to an Emma part. And after that, I think there's just the epilogue, though that might be multiple section long (and just all put together into one really long epilogue).

In addition to the bits I'm working on, [personal profile] katsuko just finished a Red Harvest chapter. She's working on a Sam chapter to come after it. I'm not sure, but we're going to be good to go for Mag7 week at the end of the month.

Now if I can just make fucking Wicked Ones talk to me... But nooooooo... Those boys are fucking stubborn as hell. They would rather do literally anything else in the world besides talk to me... or each other. I'm still going to give it a go this weekend, see if I can make something happen. I'm planning on releasing a chapter for Mag7 week, after all, the last finished chapter I have in reserve.

I'm going to give working on Resurrectionist a go as well. I know I'm going to be working on Shelter and Uncollared, because those are the two that are currently working for me. As for Shelter, I'm getting words done on both the regular verse and the modern femme Faraday verse. Oddly, the Worst Case Scenarios have chilled the fuck out finally, so that's good. If working on them will get me words, though, I might revisit them a bit.

I'm so tired and so out of it, that I keep forgetting what day of the week it is. I think it's Friday. I hope it's Friday. I'm honestly looking forward to my three doctors' appointments next Friday, because maybe they can tell me some of what's been going on with my body and all. Or at least get me one step closer to that goal. I'll take one step closer at this point.

So, yeah, I'm exhausted, so I'm going to go the hell to bed. Good night, all.

Something quick

Sep. 7th, 2017 10:04 pm
apollymi: Hicks' face, faded icon, text reads "If in doubt, NUKE IT" (Aliens**Hicks: Nuke the site from orbit)
[personal profile] apollymi
I'm honestly not sure what to say for myself for today. It was a day. I went to work. I didn't kill anyone while I was there. Honestly, the thought only occurred a time or two... and weirdly, not about testers. Sometimes boss lady just plucks my last nerve.

I had to take a Flexaril last night, and it left me all... "drifty" during the day today. So I'm going to avoid that today. It was nice not having to feel all stiff and tense and uncomfortable during the day, but being awake for the day is much, much better.

And I wrote on After Midnight. I'm actually really proud of what I wrote on After Midnight. It's some quality stuff. Creepy, but quality.

And I think that's about all I have to really say for myself. Later, all!

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