pedanther: (cheerful)
1. This week I have five Christmas/end-of-year social events in six days; in no particular order: work, the Rep Club, the other theatre group that isn't the Rep Club, Toastmasters, and the brass band. Three of those have already happened, and all of them were on evenings when I would have had to give them a miss or leave early if I'd been in the Christmas Show, as I was saying last entry, which would have been regrettable.

Also on the list of things I'd have had to miss out on: going to see the WA Symphony Orchestra's annual public concert with the family. (Does that count as an end-of-year social event? I'm inclined to say not, because nobody fed me.)


2. The choral group I mentioned joining has finished up for the year. I've been enjoying it and will definitely be back next year.


3. I have been to two charity book sales recently. I donated a box of books to the first one, so I came out with a net decrease in the number of books taking up space in my house. Win!

A significant amount of the box I donated consisted of duplicate copies, many of them a result of seeing a book at a sale and going "I've always wanted a copy of that" and then finding when I got home that I already had one in the to-read pile. I managed to do it again at both of these sales, so I've already made a start on the next box...


4. So far since the new $5 note was released, I've only had one pass into my hands. It was weird and disconcerting and I spent it in the very next shop I went into so that I wouldn't have to keep looking at it.


5. At work, my computer finally got old and unreliable enough that the boss felt obliged to find room in the budget for a new one. This meant leapfrogging from Windows XP (yes, it was that old) to Windows 10, which despite my reservations has been relatively un-horrible. The worst of it were some initial issues with the wireless keyboard, which seem to have sorted themselves out, and a weird tendency to reboot itself without notice, which I think has been fixed now that I've tracked down the option switch that was set to "Reboot immediately after installing a system update" (the documentation says that that option will still wait until the computer is standing idle, but such was not my experience).

There's also the unanticipated side-effect that my computer at home, which had always felt speedy and powerful compared to the one at work, is now by comparison showing its age and small memory.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Diane Duane. So You Want to Be a Wizard (e) (re-read)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix Ascendant (e)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix in Shadow (e)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix Rising (e) (re-read)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Adrian Goldsworthy. Augustus (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Diane Duane. Deep Wizardry
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle (e)
L S Lawrence. Horses for King Arthur
Andy Weir. The Martian (e)

In progress
Kim Newman. The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (e)
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. The '44 Vintage
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr Dinosaur (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Lords and Ladies (e) (re-read)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. A signal boost I had intended to do sooner: August is [livejournal.com profile] naarmamo, National Art Making Month:


Basically in August we hope to make one piece of art every day. NOT NECESSARILY VERY GOOD ART. But a finished achievement of artistic endeavour.

A picture, a painting, a photo, an icon, a sketch, stick figures, a line on a page, a model, a sculpture, a finger painting, a finger print, a song, a poem, an interpretive dance, a bruise, a something. We are surprisingly non-judgey about what counts as art :)

And it really doesn't have to be very good. I try to stress that quite a lot. There are people here who have never drawn a thing, people who only ever do art in August, people who are very much doing it for fun rather than greatness. There are also people who are very good at art indeed, but who still find it a challenge to devote time to it every single day. Don't be intimidated, it's all good.

With it being every day for a month, the emphasis is much more on getting something done rather than getting it done particularly well.


I'm thinking of giving it a go this year.


2. I have been to the gym at least once a week since I mentioned I'd started going again. I might like to have managed more often, but it's still a good deal better than not going at all.


3. Every now and again somebody will try to get a theatre improv group up and running here, and I'm always there when they do, and usually there'll be a workshop or two and maybe a performance evening and then nothing until the next time.

This time, we might be on to something. The people running it got organised and arranged a series of workshops over the weeks leading up to the first performance night, some of them at different times of week so people who couldn't make it to some could make it to others, and even though only half the people who attended workshops were available and willing to perform on the night that was enough. (And the fact that it's people, plural, running it this time is I think also an important factor. They're both people who've tried individually before and not got far; by joining forces they're able to cover each other. The fact that they could offer workshops on nights that one or the other wasn't able to be there is not the most subtle example of that, but it's not the least important either.)

The performance night went really well, and it looks like we've got enough momentum going to do another set of workshops and another performance night soon. (Quite a lot of people had praise for my performance in particular, which was nice, but I don't think that's really the most important thing. And, as I tried to explain to some of them, improv is really a team effort and any standout performance is being invisibly supported by the efforts of everybody else in the scene.)


4. And that's pretty much the only acting I've got done so far this year, because the opportunities for acting in regular productions have tended to clash with other commitments. Including, as I've mentioned, the fact that I couldn't act in the short play season because I was busy directing one of the plays.

I don't think I've mentioned yet that I will busy directing again later this year, as I've been tapped on the shoulder to direct the Christmas show. We'll be doing a pantomime called Humpty Dumpty: The Egg's Files, which I've noticed is somewhat awkwardly titled; if you know the plot you can see where the title comes from, but if all you know is the title it's probably giving you the wrong idea about the plot. It's about a small egg-shaped robot who has been entrusted with certain secret files which might help the noble rebels overthrow the evil Galactic Empress (and her chief enforcer, who wears a face-concealing mask and breathes noisily).

It seemed like a good time to revive it, considering what else is being revived this December.


5. It's one of the lesser-known laws of nature that any arbitrarily-selected quiz night team that includes me will always come second. It happened again last night. I also won a spot prize with my rendition of "That's a Moray", and took the third prize in the big raffle. And, more importantly, had a lot of fun spending an evening hanging out with friends. It was a good night all round.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne (e) (re-read)
George MacDonald. The Princess and the Goblin
Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs. Li'l Gotham volume 1
Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs. Li'l Gotham volume 2
Ryan North. Poor Yorick
Tamora Pierce. Street Magic (e)
Terry Pratchett. Reaper Man (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Necessity's Child (e) (re-read)
George MacDonald. The Princess and Curdie

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce. Cold Fire
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare (re-read)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)
Robert Lopshire. Put Me in the Zoo (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Healing in the Vine (e)
Terry Pratchett. Eric (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Guards! Guards! (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Ghost Ship (e) (re-read)
George MacDonald. At the Back of the North Wind
Terry Pratchett. Moving Pictures (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Kylie Chan. White Tiger
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger. Tesladyne Industries Field Guide
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Power in the Storm (e)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Fire in the Forging (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)

In hiatus
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Lundy Bancroft. Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men
Sara Douglass. The Betrayal of Arthur

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Wyrd Sisters
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Rehearsals for The Duchess of Coolgardie continue. We're at the point now where we've learned our parts enough to relax into them somewhat and explore the possibilities for enriching them, instead of getting stuck on worrying about whether we'll have our lines down in time for opening. Last weekend we had some workshops with a couple of professional theatre people our director knows, which inspired some of the cast to lift their game (including, let's be real, me). There will be another set of workshops this weekend, which will hopefully have a similarly improving effect.


2. The other local community theatre group's production of The Wizard of Oz opened today, and I went to the opening night. I enjoyed it a lot, and although it had some of the weak points one usually gets when community theatre attempts big-budget spectacle - particularly since they were basing it on the movie rather than a version designed for live theatre - there were some moments that were genuinely magical. (On which note, they got major points from me for the way they handled the bit where the ruby slippers disappear off the Wicked Witch's feet and appear on Dorothy's.)


3. The annual performing arts festival has been and gone. I was on the organising committee again this year, and acted as MC for most of it, although I had to skip out for part of one afternoon to go to a Duchess rehearsal. Annoyingly, the part I missed was the part with all the character vocal sections, which is always one of the highlights for me. There was plenty else to enjoy in the parts I was present for, though. It ended on a high, with the final session of the final day featuring various vocal ensembles doing impressive harmony work.

Weirdly, I had the old show-about-to-open nightmare a few days after the performing arts festival was over. Didn't bother me much, I know it too well by now, but the timing was odd.


4. Another thing that's been and gone is the annual Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest. I usually take part in the Table Topics contest, but this year it was another victim of being scheduled against a Duchess rehearsal.


5. I did go to see Guardians of the Galaxy before the local run finished. I enjoyed it overall, but there was room for improvement in several areas: most blatantly, a number of skeevy jokes that I think it could have done perfectly well without.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Let the record show that, even after ten years working with computers for a living, I am still capable of spending fifteen minutes trying increasingly arcane methods to get the computer to talk to the scanner before realising that the scanner isn't switched on.


2. The production of 'Allo 'Allo has closed after a successful run, both in terms of audience response and -- very important for an amateur production -- in that everybody in the cast and crew got along with each other and enjoyed themselves.

In theory, this means I can now throw myself into rehearsals for The Duchess of Coolgardie... so of course this week is the week when rehearsals have been called off because nearly everybody is out of town for school (or other) holidays. I'm additionally annoyed that it wasn't next week, because then I could have gone to a Toastmasters meeting (which I haven't been able to do lately because there's a Duchess rehearsal on the same weeknight).


3. Another consequence of 'Allo 'Allo ending is that I now have time to go to the gym again. I went this evening for the first time in a month, and got halfway through the routine before deciding I'd better go home and have a little lie-down until the spots in front of my eyes went away. I did feel much better afterwards, though.


4. In case there's anyone left I haven't already recommended it to, the latest addition to the webcomics I read regularly is Breaking Cat News, in which three intrepid feline reporters bring you the latest on such vital headlines as "Everything on the shelf fell down and broke; there are no suspects" and "It's 7.31am on Saturday morning and the food bowl is still empty".


5. Random fact of the week: The land area of the nation of Andorra is very nearly the same as that of the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Over at Mark Watches, Mark Oshiro has just watched his very first episode of Star Trek. (Yes. The fact that Mark somehow missed out on a lot of popular fiction growing up is kind of the point of the blog.) The plan is that he will go on to watch every episode of every Trek series in the original broadcast order. To say that he seems to be enjoying it so far would be a considerable understatement.


2. June 23 is Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Appreciation Day. I showed some concrete appreciation for one of my favourite living fantasy authors by buying a copy The Sea of Time, the latest volume of PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series.


3. I have been to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. I didn't go to see the first of the new-young-X-men movies because it didn't have Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in it, but I gather that the thing with X-men being involved behind the scenes of famous historical events of the late 20th century is something of a running theme. I understand the temptation, but I get the feeling that that's only going to work up to a point before it becomes impossible to pretend that this is a secret history and not an outright alternate timeline... and furthermore I suspect that point went past somewhere in the course of this movie. (The moment where Magneto drops the thing on the thing is a major contender.)


4. I have also been to see Maleficent. I'm not sure I liked it, either as a new take on Sleeping Beauty or as a story in its own right. Lots of telling-not-showing, and a few too many of the kind of plot holes you get when something happens because that's what happened in the old version even though the reasons it happened in the old version no longer apply. (When I try to think of other movies to compare it to, I keep coming up with TV miniseries and things that went direct to video.) And even though this is supposed to be a version with the female characters front and centre, by my count it actually has fewer interesting female characters than the original, because the three good fairies who were a significant presence in Sleeping Beauty have been almost completely sidelined.


5. 'Allo 'Allo is going well. I have learned quite a bit about theatrical makeup in the last week or two, since something was required to make plausible the jokes about my character being over the hill, and since this is amateur theatre I had to come up with something by myself that I could apply by myself. By opening night I had managed something that was generally agreed did the job; with practice, repetition, and incremental improvement, it's possible I'll have achieved something I'm satisfied with before the show closes.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. 'Allo 'Allo opens tomorrow. The last dress rehearsal went pretty smoothly, which I think I'd prefer to a disaster even if a disastrous final rehearsal is supposed to mean a successful opening.

([livejournal.com profile] lost_spook, since you raised the subject: I know exactly where I put the painting of the Fallen Madonna; the trouble is that since I put it there, somebody else has moved it...)

I haven't had the opening week nightmare yet, which might mean that it's become too familiar to retain any power. On the other hand, there's still tonight.


2. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a quiz night with a group of people from the cast and crew of 'Allo 'Allo. We upheld my family's proud tradition of always coming second at quiz nights, though it was a very close-run thing and we nearly spoiled it by winning. At the end of the final round we were in equal first place, and it took two tie-breakers to bump us down to second.

It's the kind of result that makes one think back on the points that one's team narrowly failed to achieve. I can think of a couple of points we would have got if the person writing down the answers for that round had listened when I said I had the answer; on the other hand, I can think of a couple of points we would have got if I had listened when I was the one writing down the answers, so I suppose it balances out.


3. Rehearsals have already begun for The Duchess of Coolgardie, though at this stage they involve less acting than they do the producer trying to figure out the movement of the various characters on, off, and around the stage. It's got a relatively large cast for an amateur production, even if you only count the named characters, and there's a fair number of unnamed extras and walk-ons in addition.

My character is turning out to have more facets than I expected a melodrama villain to have. I rather guiltily prefer him to the hero, who has a tendency toward the kind of overwrought moping about his troubles that can only be described as "melodramatic", and frankly the worst of his troubles are more his own fault than either he or the authors seem inclined to acknowledge. The villain is a pretty poor excuse for a human being, but at least he's relatively straightforward and self-aware about it.


4. In the area of theatre I've been to see instead of been in, I saw Black Swan's recent modern-dress production of As You Like It. I liked it a great deal, and significantly it made me like the play itself more than I previously had. The only other production I'd previously seen had a lot of really neat sight gags interpolated into it, but left me cold on the play itself; this production made more of an emotional connection to the underlying story (and also, to be fair, had a few good sight gags of its own).


5. A few years ago, the stage magician Teller, in collaboration with veteran theatre director Aaron Posner, directed a production of Macbeth in which all the mysterious supernatural events were realized using actual magic: none of this business with witches and ghosts sneaking on and off stage in full view of the audience; they appeared and disappeared in front of the audience's very eyes. All the apparations apparated in suitably mysterious fashion. It also got pretty good reviews as a production of Macbeth even apart from that aspect of the production. I was very sad at the time that I had no chance of seeing it, and so I was unspeakably pleased to discover just now that it was filmed and has been released on video. It won't be the same as seeing it live, but it's a lot better than nothing.

The reason I was looking up details of that old production is that I recently learned Teller and Posner have done a follow-up this year, bringing a similar approach to The Tempest.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Having got the brass band competition out of the way, I've got time for acting again. I'm in rehearsals for a production that opens at the end of June, and after that it'll be straight into rehearsals for another production opening in October.

The June production is the stage adaptation of 'Allo 'Allo, in which I will be playing an amusing Nazi. It's a bit of a departure for me, in that it's being put on by what I think of, and have occasionally referred to here, as "the other local theatre group". I've been to see some of their shows, and learned from their workshops, but this is the first time I've been in one of their productions.

The October production is a staging of a 115-year-old West End melodrama called The Duchess of Coolgardie, which was given a topical spin by taking as its setting the gold rush that was going on in Western Australia at the time. This will be the first time it's been put on in the part of the world where it's set. Being a melodrama, most of the characters are broad stereotypes, and the supporting cast are mainly distinguished by being The Irish One, The Yorkshire One, and so on. (Also, The Aboriginal One, who occasionally wanders into talking more like The Native American One when the authors have a lapse of concentration.) I've been cast as the villain; it's not clear yet whether moustache-twirling will be involved, but I've already found a stage direction calling for me to laugh sardonically at the heroes' misfortune.


2. The Rep Club's most recent production, the one which I didn't audition for because brass band competition, was The Importance of Being Earnest. I have a feeling that anybody who knew much about Victorian dress, behaviour, or interior decoration would have picked up a lot of lapses in those areas, but it was pleasantly entertaining, and it got major props from me for playing the butlers straight. (Every professional production I've seen in years has cast physical-comedy actors as the butlers and let them wander around upstaging Wilde's dialogue with slapstick sight gags. Drives me nuts, and I can't imagine why the directors thought that would be a good idea.)


3. Back at the brass band, there are deliberations afoot regarding shifting some of the players to new positions, to cover gaps left by players leaving and what have you over the past few years. (When we were at the competition, we had guests from friendly bands, including a few temporarily-returned ex-members, helping to bring us up to full strength.) I have been approached about possibly being shifted not only to a different position but to a different instrument.

There are two things to note here: The first is that every brass intrument except the trombone is built on the same basic system, so if you know how to play one it doesn't take long to learn a different one, if the one you know isn't the trombone. The second is that the only brass instrument I've ever learned to play is the trombone.

Actually, the conceptual leap was the difficult bit; now that I've actually started learning the new instrument it's going pretty smoothly, and I may actually be up to speed on it by the time they decide whether they want me to play it or not.

(I'm still not entirely convinced they're going to end up shifting me off trombone. It's not that there's a shortage of players: even without counting me, there are more players who identify trombone as their preferred instrument than there are trombone positions, which is one of the things that triggered the deliberations. It's just that when the trombone players were polled on which position they would prefer to play, given free choice, all of them except me wanted the same one.)


4. I have given another project speech at Toastmasters, this one on the subject of Nancy Pearl's Doorways into Reading, which I have written about here before.

I have one more project speech to do and then I will qualify as an official Competent Communicator. If I do it before the end of June, I'll boost the club's standing in the annual assessment of club performance. I don't think that's going to happen, though, partly because I'm not sure I'm going to be available for any of the June meetings, and partly because the requirement for the final project speech is to be inspiring, and I have no ideas for a topic I could be inspiring on.


5. Today's Google Doodle on the Australian Google homepage pays tribute to cartoonist and puppeteer Norman Hethrington, creator of one of Australia's most-loved children's television shows (also, with a suitable amount of hand-waving, arguably the long-running science fiction TV series in the world).
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. I've just watched the season finale of Agents of SHIELD. It's gotten rather good in the last month or so; you may recall that during the mid-season hiatus I said I wasn't sure if I cared whether I saw any more of it, but lately I've been hanging out for each episode. Elseweb I saw it described as "a decent six-episode miniseries with a tedious 16-episode prologue", which is a reasonable description of what it felt like. It's not that the first 16 episodes are unnecessary: in retrospect, they do a lot of character-building and plot set-up that pays off in the last 6 episodes. It's just that... well, put it this way: it makes sense for there to be a contrast when the series kicks up a notch for the run to the finale, but the contrast didn't need to be that big. (Given the standard episode count for an American series, among other things, I don't suppose there was ever a chance of the character and plot set-up being compressed into a smaller number of episodes.) Anyway, it's a lot better now, and I hope that now it's hit its stride it will keep the standard up; I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next season.


2. Which reminds me that I haven't posted about seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet. Fortunately, others have done that for me:

[livejournal.com profile] daibhid_c said most of what I would have said, except that I would have added that I spent much of the first action sequence with a little voice in my head going "omg I can't believe they included that character in a serious Captain America movie and made it work".

[livejournal.com profile] glvalentine said some things I would never have thought of about the movie The Winter Soldier wanted to be and the movie it had to be, and how it negotiated the difference.

(Spoilers in both, of course.)


3. Also in recent movie-going, The LEGO Movie, which I had been looking forward to ever since the 1980s classic astronaut figure appeared in the trailer with exactly the kind of wear-and-tear the 1980s classic astronaut figure tended to get when you played with it a lot. As it happened, I tagged along with a friend who was being the responsible adult for a group of teenagers; she expressed surprise that someone my age would be interested, but as I told her I reckon I'm pretty solidly in one of the film's target audiences. (From what I remember, the other people at the showing we went to bore that out.) I enjoyed it every bit as much as I hoped to, and then some.

[livejournal.com profile] pedanther: The Lego Movie: two thumbs up.
[livejournal.com profile] poinketh: But Lego men don't have thumbs.


4. I mentioned a while back that one of our local theatre groups was doing a production of Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth, and I was interested to see how they managed it, considering that the play's staging requirements are challenging even for a professional company. I should therefore say that in the event, I feel they carried it off well.

There was one metatextually interesting moment: There is a key twist in the play in which a thing that appears to be genuine is revealed to be fake, to the astonishment not only of the character to whom it is being presented but also of the audience. In a professional production, the astonishment would be achieved by having the thing appear real; in this amateur production, it was obviously fake from the moment it appeared, but in a way that fit in with all the things on the stage that looked fake but were obviously intended to be accepted as real for the characters, so the revelation still worked for at least some of the audience. (One woman's whoop of astonishment could probably be heard throughout the theatre; during the rest of the play, I occasionally heard her speculating to her seatmate about what the next dramatic revelation was going to be. She was right at least once, too.)


5. My Re-Reading Liad continues; I'm currently a couple of weeks into Conflict of Honors. Which gives you an idea of how long I've been procrastinating on this post; I'd originally intended to make an announcement when I started it and suggest it as a place where people might be interested in coming on board for a while. Comments continue to be sparse, though there was a temporary bump a little while back when one of the co-authors of the Liaden series was kind enough to mention the project on her blog. (It was particularly kind of her considering I clumsily managed to upset her back when the project was starting out, and I wouldn't have blamed her in the least if she'd chosen to ignore it entirely thenceforth.)
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Ben Aaronovitch. Broken Homes (e)
Diana Wynne Jones. Deep Secret (e) (re-read)
Sharon Lee. Carousel Sun (e)
Sharon Lee. Carousel Tides (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. The Colour of Magic (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Conflict of Honors (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. The Light Fantastic (e) (re-read)
Patricia C Wrede. Talking to Dragons (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Adrian Goldsworthy. Antony and Cleopatra
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic. Thor, God of Thunder: The God Butcher
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Over at Mark Reads, where Mark Oshiro reads popular works of literature he's somehow managed to avoid knowing anything about, Mark has just begun reading the Discworld series. It's really entertaining watching him encounter for the first time things that we long-time Discworld fans have become used to. (Like the Discworld itself, flat and resting on the backs of four elephants which themselves stand on the shell of an enormous turtle.) (And then there's the Luggage...)


2. I am continuing at the gym fairly regularly, though not quite as regularly as I'd like; I'm aiming for at least three visits a week, but often only manage two. (My evenings are pretty crowded these days, and I am very much not a morning person so going before work isn't a thing that is happening.) An unanticipated side-effect, thanks to the gym's choice of background noise being a hit music channel, is that I'm now more familiar with the current popular singles than I've probably ever been in my life.


3. We're not doing The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee this year after all; the new year brought unanticipated new workloads and time-sucks for several key people (and, in one case, the news that his employer was relocating him to a city 400 miles away). The club has regrouped and scheduled The Importance of Being Earnest to take its place; all the remaining cast of Bee were invited to take part, but I opted to step back and concentrate on preparing for the National Band Championships.


4. Because, and I may not have mentioned this yet, we will be defending our title at this year's Nationals, even though it means flying over to the other side of the continent to do it. (The flying is actually the bit I'm most worried about; it will be my first experience of commercial air travel, and I could have done without the extra worry of how my instrument case is going to interact with the luggage limits.) The guest conductor who helped us get into shape last year has been back, and I don't know if we're going to win again but I think we have a good chance of not disgracing ourselves.


5. Back to talking about local theatre, our other local theatre group has announced that its next production is going to be Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth. That's an... interesting choice; the play has some tricky staging requirements which I expect would be especially challenging for a community theatre production. I look forward with interest to seeing how it comes out.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Gail Carson Levine. Ella Enchanted (e) (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen
Ellen Raskin. The Westing Game
Patricia C Wrede. Dealing with Dragons (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress (re-read)
Patricia C Wrede. Searching for Dragons (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Diana Wynne Jones. Deep Secret
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lynley Dodd. Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper
Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell. Fortunately the Milk
Catherine Jinks. Pagan's Daughter
Catherine Jinks. A Very Unusual Pursuit
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Trade Secret (e)
Bernard Marshall. Cedric the Forester (e)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Choice
Susie Poole. All These Things
Terry Pratchett. Raising Steam
Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury. We're Going On a Bear Hunt

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Local Custom (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Trickster's Queen

Non-fiction books in progress
Joachim Fest. Plotting Hitler's Death

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress
pedanther: (Default)
1. I'm re-reading the last few volumes of Sandman along with Mark Reads Sandman. (To start with I just dipped into the books when I wanted to check a detail, then I started re-reading bits, and now it's definitely a continuous re-read.)

I don't think I've mentioned Mark Reads here before, though I keep meaning to. The general premise is that Mark reads a popular work of fiction that he doesn't know anything about, one chapter a day, and after each chapter he writes and blogs a post reacting to the events of the chapter and trying to predict where the story's going next.
Read more... )
Things Mark has read include Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials, and The Hunger Games. He also has a companion blog, Mark Watches, where he's currently episode-by-episoding his way through Buffy and Angel.


2. I've more or less given up on the multiplayer aspect of Worlds in Time, the Doctor Who online multiplayer game, and am working my way through the storyline as if it were single-player mode, accompanied only by the computer-operated assistants. Read more... )


3. Meanwhile, Portal 2 has an actual single-player storyline that I've been working my way through. Read more... )


4. For my thoughts on Brave and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, see my previous Five Things post.


5. I went to see Steel Magnolias mainly because I had several friends in the cast; I wasn't at all sure it would be my kind of thing. As it turned out, I liked it a lot. This suggests that there may be whole unexplored areas of fiction that have drifted by me because they seemed on the surface to be not my kind of thing. If so, I'm not sure I want to know; it's not as if I don't have a large enough pile of things to read and watch as it is.

(There's probably some clever way to tie this back around to point 1, since one of the things Mark Reads is built on is Mark discovering and falling in love with works that he'd previously drifted by because they superficially appeared to be not his kind of thing. But it's late, and I'm tired, and I'm not going to bother.)

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