pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Sean E Avery. All Monkeys Love Bananas
Tamora Pierce. Alanna: The First Adventure (re-read)
Jo Walton. Among Others
Greg Weisman, Karine Charlebois. Gargoyles: Bad Guys (re-read)

In progress
(anthology). Liavek
Padraic Colum. The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles (e)
Tamora Pierce. In the Hand of the Goddess (re-read)
Roger Zelazny. A Night in the Lonesome October (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Douglas A. Anderson, Verlyn Flieger. J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-stories

In progress
Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

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

Top of the to-read pile
Bram Stoker. The Jewel of Seven Stars
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The season of one-act plays has successfully reached its conclusion. The tradition in the Rep Club is that each director is presented with a commemorative spoon at the after party, but apparently they weren't ready yet, so we were each handed a teaspoon from the tea-and-coffee concession and promised that the real thing would be forthcoming at a later date. I managed to hold onto mine for most of the evening, but the others had vanished by the time I went looking for a second spoon later. (By that point, the party had evolved into a sing-along arranged around two people with guitars and one person with a ukulele, and it was late enough that adding a bit of spoon-playing to the mix seemed like a good idea. When I was only able to come up with one spoon, one of the actors raided the kitchen and found a fork, but it just wasn't the same.)

Each of the directors also got a copy of the official cast photo for their play, and I was also presented by my actors with a copy of the unofficial cast photo for mine (the photographer having had some time on his hands and a photo he'd taken at the zoo of a family of chimpanzees), along with a picture book about monkeys in which the cast had written messages of appreciation and drawn arrows from their names to the three silliest-looking monkeys on the first page.


2. Last week, I managed to lock myself out of the house again. On the way out the door in the morning, I got distracted at just the point when I would have gone over to pick up the keys from the table where I usually leave them, and realised as soon as the front door had locked behind me that they were still on the table. I got the bearer of the spare key to meet me after work, so that was all right, but it being the second time I've locked myself out of the house that way, I decided I needed to rethink where I keep the keys. They're now hanging from a lanyard hooked over the inside doorknob of the front door.


3. I've just started playing Portal 2 again, after a break of several weeks. I hadn't been in a hurry to get back to it, because the plot had been going through another slow patch. So of course it turns out that there was a major plot development about three minutes after the point where I'd stopped.


4. I don't watch much live TV except on Sunday evening, when for reasons that are unlikely to become clear again at the moment it's easier to watch TV than not. Currently that means the new Sinbad TV series. Not terribly enthused about it so far. I'm finding Sinbad himself less interesting than his supporting cast, and they're mostly familiar stereotypes. (He's also leading the field in Failing To Be Convincing As An Inhabitant Of Whatever Century This Is Supposed To Be, which appears to be something of a national sport; it was several minutes into the first episode before I was sure this wasn't a modernised setting of the story.)

This week's episode guest starred Sophie Okonedo, walking off with every scene she was in, appropriately as a pirate queen. Basically, Sophie Okonedo rules.


5. Speaking of which, the Doctor Who online game, Worlds in Time, recently added a new story arc set on Starship UK and featuring Liz X (who, you will recall, was played by Sophie Okonedo in the TV series). One of the first plot points to be revealed is that Starship UK has a king now, which had me worried that something had happened to Liz, but she's still around, and rather annoyed that, after all the trouble she's been to sorting out the old autocratic regime, somebody's stolen the crown with the intention of setting up a new autocratic regime. Somebody had fun writing this story arc: Liz X pronounces her surname differently these days, and her associates in resisting the new order are collectively known as -- what else? -- the London Underground. [ETA: Also, there's an alien starship captain going Ahab on the star whale. And the leader of the Underground? Call him Ismail.]
pedanther: (Default)
1. The season of one-act plays opens tomorrow, and my first attempt at directing will be exposed to a paying audience. I'm not worried; the play's come together really well, it got a good response from the people who saw it at the dress rehearsals, and in the unlikely event that the proper audience is less appreciative I have Oscar Wilde's bon mot ready to hand.

The fact that I'm not worried didn't stop me having the usual between-final-rehearsal-and-opening-night-mare last night. Interestingly, it was the usual "on stage and forgotten my part" version, even though I'm directing and not acting this time; I suppose since I've never directed before, my unconscious doesn't have any raw material to craft an appropriate horror out of.


2. The annual performing arts festival was last weekend. (The music section; the drama section will be in a few weeks, after the one-acts are done with.) What with one thing and another, including rehearsals for the one-acts, I didn't make it to any of the sessions except the one in which I played in the brass band. I didn't even stick around long enough after we played to find out the results, but I expect we did as well as we usually do. I completely missed the Character Vocal section, which is the bit I look forward to all year. According to the programme, that means I missed out on someone in the under-14 division attempting my solo number from Chicago; I have no idea whether that's something to regret or be thankful for. I also note the unusual fact that nobody sang "A Whole New World", "Beauty and the Beast", or "Colors of the Wind" this year. I've always suspected there was a particular singing teacher with a partiality; I wonder if somebody's left town?


3. I have seen the new Doctor Who episode. The gap between a new Doctor Who episode airing in Britain and in Australia has been gradually decreasing: at first, the ABC wouldn't begin running a new season until the whole thing had run on the BBC, then they started airing new episodes with only a few weeks delay, then it got down to one week. It's probably stuck at one week as long as the BBC and ABC both prefer showing Doctor Who on Saturday evenings (the ABC can't show it on the same Saturday as the BBC because Saturday evening in Australia is Saturday morning in Britain, so Australia would be getting it first) - but this year, new episodes are being made available for viewing on the ABC's web site less than 24 hours after they debut in Britain. So I have seen the new episode, even though it hasn't actually aired in Australia yet.

I'm not going to do a reaction thingy, partly out of respect for [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook's expressed intention not to read such things. (Probably a sensible attitude. Certainly some of the reactions I've been reading have made me wish I'd adopted a similar resolution.)


4. I assume everybody on my friendslist who's interested in the Liaden novels already knows that the latest one just came out in hardcover (and has probably already read the e-book), and that all the novels - including the latest one - have just been released as Audible.com audiobooks. Just in case, though, details are available here.


5. I've occasionally pondered the idea of an alarm clock that matches itself to your sleep cycles, so that the alarm goes off when you're in a position to wake up easily, and not when you're in the middle of a deep sleep. I'd always assumed that this would require being wired to the clock with some kind of complicated and impractical sensor to detect out where in the cycle you were. Apparently I was wrong: a lot of people can get by with assuming an average sleep cycle duration, and get the same effect with a normal alarm clock and a bit of mental arithmetic. Somebody recently pointed me to http://sleepyti.me/, which has an explanation of the math, and automatic calculators for both directions (one suggests good times to go to bed, given what time your alarm's set for, the other good times to set your alarm for, given when you plan to go to bed). I've been using the system for nearly a week, and getting good results. (Especially considering that I'd previously been giving serious thought to giving up on the alarm clock entirely because I slept through it so often.)
pedanther: (Default)
1. Rehearsals are going well. As long as things don't fall apart when we get to the bit where the actors have to put their scripts down and do the lines from memory, we should be fine. Today there was set-painting, and on Monday there will be costume-fitting. We're still looking for typewriters.


2. The hot water system has been replaced. It took the guy several hours, but was more straightforward than I'd been picturing when he was telling me about all the things that needed fixing.


3. Speaking of hot things, it's been a whole week since I've felt a need to use the heater at work. Winter is on the way out.


4. Somewhere along the line, the Temeraire series has gone from being one where I buy the latest book as soon as it's available to one where I wait to get the latest book out of the library, and even then don't actually get around to reading it until it's already overdue.


5. Our newspaper has started re-running the Modesty Blaise comic strip from the beginning.

The first odd thing about this is that it was already re-running the series from the beginning, having begun immediately after it ended in 2001, and was only about a third of the way through. To be precise, it had just finished "Highland Witch", and was due to start "Cry Wolf" - which might be significant; that was when, for reasons we need not go into here, the strip started being written so that one instalment per week could be left out without harming the story, and newspapers were given a choice whether to buy the short or the long week depending on how many days a week they ran the strip. I'm wondering if that's caused some problem with the distribution this time through, and they're reprising the first story arc to buy time while it's sorted out.

(The second odd thing is that they didn't precisely begin from the beginning this time. Confusingly, the series includes two runs of strips labelled #1-12: the actual first twelve instalments of the series, and a twelve-part introduction to the series premise and characters that I think was provided to newspapers that picked up the series in the midst of its run. And what's happened this time round is that the newspaper ran the twelve-part intro, and then switched to the series proper beginning at #13.)
pedanther: (Default)
1. Tomorrow, we start rehearsals for the one-act play I'm directing, which is about three chimps who have been locked in a cage with typewriters to see if any of them will produce Hamlet.

(Today, this showed up on my Tumblr dashboard. It's obviously an omen, but an omen of what?)


2. Yesterday, the plumber came around to have a look at the hot water system, which has been playing up, and pronounced that the heater unit is dying of old age and we're looking at replacement rather than repair. He also noted several other aspects of the system that have been left behind by changes in the codes over the decades since the house was built, which are probably going to have to be dealt with as well.

The house is not mine, so it's not entirely my problem, but I expect this is still going to get interesting before it's done.


3. The day before yesterday, I played Puzzle Pirates. They've recently added a new shipboard-duty minigame, which represents the task of repairing a ship's sails. It didn't take me long to pick up; it's almost exactly the same as the Repair minigame in the same developer's most recently-launched game, Worlds in Time.


4. A week ago last Thursday was the most recent meeting of the local Toastmasters club, and I was the designated emcee. Things got a bit worrying when it turned out we had a big gap in the schedule: usually, each meeting includes three or four members giving prepared full-length speeches, but as the meeting approached it turned out nobody who was able to attend the meeting had a speech ready, and nobody who had a speech ready was able to attend the meeting. One of the members volunteered to extemporise a full-length speech, and succeeded so well that he'd gone twice the designated length before he could be prevailed upon to wrap up. The rest of the speech time I filled in with improv games chosen to fit speech-related goals like vocabulary building and choosing one's words carefully; those also went down well, with one member complaining that they hadn't gone on long enough. In the end, there was general agreement that the meeting had been a success, though that didn't stop the club president in his closing address pointing out that every Toastmasters member is expected to be working on a speech project, and that it's a sign of something slipping if nobody in a room full of members has a speech ready to go.


5. Three weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] justice_turtle started reading every Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor book in chronological order. Each book gets a liveblog-style reaction post and a more formal review, with a score out of five. (Spoiler: One of the Newbery Honor books has already got a score of 0, and it has been unfortunately made clear that in the 1920s chronic racism was no bar to being considered a worthy contribution to children's literature.)
pedanther: (Default)
1. Chicago has concluded successfully. I get a bit of a break while everybody's scattered for school holidays, then it's the annual season of one-acts, which this year will include my directorial debut. (And, wouldn't you know it, every one-act this year is something I would have auditioned for like a shot if I hadn't already signed on to direct.)

2. As of the beginning of the new financial year, I am down to working four days a week, with no decrease in my weekly salary. The secret ingredient: An enormous pile of accrued holiday time, which I wasn't looking likely to use up any time soon, since the reason it's piled up is that I hardly ever find time for long holidays. So what's happening is that I'm taking a two-month holiday entirely in Wednesdays.

3. I went to see Pixar's new movie Brave last Wednesday, and enjoyed it a great deal despite having guessed the big plot twist that the trailers carefully avoided mentioning. (All the people who talked about the movie on my friendslists and blogrolls had also carefully avoided saying what the twist was, but when half a dozen people each say something that's not a spoiler in itself, it's sometimes possible to put two and two, or one and one and one and one, together.) If you've seen the movie, or don't mind spoilers, you might be interested in this essay (not by me) titled, with irony tags firmly in place, "Just Another Princess Movie".

4. As I mentioned when I started, I've been rewatching Cinar's version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I have now finished it, with, I'm sad to report, something of a sense of relief. It was fun revisiting a childhood favourite at first, but over the course of 52 episodes its shortcomings got a bit wearing. (Jo Walton occasionally writes about the Suck Fairy, who steals the books you loved as a child and replaces them with oddly similar books that aren't as well written, contain troubling isms that you never saw before, and in which that favourite scene you've revisited a hundred times in memory is merely a single baldly-written sentence. The Suck Fairy visits animated series too, leaving a trail of regrettable acting, shorthand animation, obviously recycled footage, and - in this case - an annoyingly intrusive narrator who insists on explaining stuff you already know. I'm almost certain she wasn't there when I watched this series every day before school.)

5. A while ago I got talked into buying an on-demand water purifier, the kind that attaches to the end of your tap, even though I'd been happy with the filter jug I already had. It's ended up on the bathroom sink, because that's the only tap in this old house with a tap modern enough for the attachment to attach to. I think I will probably end up admitting to being happy I have it, but not just yet because I'm still grumpy about their sales technique. (I did put my foot down, firmly, when they started asking whether I have relatives or friends who'd be interested in a water purifier. Maybe I do and maybe I don't, but I certainly don't know anybody who'd thank me for siccing a salesperson onto them.)
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Verlyn Flieger. Pig Tale
Murray Leinster. The Forgotten Planet
Ellis Peters. The House of Green Turf
Ellis Peters. The Knocker on Death's Door
Ellis Peters. Mourning Raga

Non-fiction books
Verlyn Flieger. Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World

In progress
Barbara Sher, Barbara Smith. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

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

Top of the to-read pile
Di Trevis. Being a Director
pedanther: (Default)
This evening, I bolted a novel in one sitting because it's way overdue at the library, and ended up with the mental equivalent of indigestion. I then spent an hour looking at photographs and movie clips of chimps performing in degrading outfits, and was much eased.


(Footnotes: The novel was Pig Tale by Verlyn Flieger, an intriguing and layered book that really didn't deserve such cavalier treatment. The chimp thing was research, I promise.)
pedanther: (Default)
So, I've just appeared in the newspaper. Again.

It's not because of anything I did, particularly. The Rep Club has started to advertise its productions for this year, and I've been shopped to the local rag as a human interest story: local boy who's been on and off stage for twenty years now turns his hand to directing. Last week was a brief mention in an article about the club, this week was the human interest profile thingy.

Being interviewed for the profile thingy was kind of interesting. Everything I said got translated into The Way People Talk In Human Interest Profile Thingies as it was written down. And if I couldn't think of what to say, I was offered a selection of Things People Say In These Circumstances so I could pick one to be reported as having said.

The factual bits of the profile are accurate, more or less, but the bits about what I said and did during the interview happened more in the interviewer's head than in the interview room. There's a lesson in that, probably.

My directorial debut will be part of the season of one-act plays in September. Before that is the Rep Club's big production for the year, which will be 'Chicago'. I haven't decided if I'm going to audition yet. I've done quite a few musicals in recent years - that became 'admitted to a particular liking for musicals' in the profile, which isn't right, because usually by closing night I'm worn out and swearing never to do one ever again. On the other hand, well, it is 'Chicago'.
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark. Gotham Central: Jokers and Madmen
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness
Mike Costa, Fiona Staples. Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor
PC Hodgell. Bound in Blood
PC Hodgell. To Ride a Rathorn (re-read)
Bob Ingersoll, Tony Isabella. The Case of the Colonist's Corpse
Greg Rucka, JH Williams III. Batwoman: Elegy

In progress
Walter Simonson, et al. Thor by Walter Simonson

Non-fiction books
(none)

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

Top of the to-read pile
Mary Shelley. Frankenstein
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Warren Ellis, John Cassaday. Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology
Grant Morrison, et al. Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage
Ellis Peters. Brother Cadfael's Penance (re-read)
Ellis Peters. A Rare Benedictine (re-read)
Ellis Peters. The Virgin in the Ice (re-read)
Justina Robson. Keeping It Real
Jeff Smith. RASL Volume One
Vernor Vinge. The Witling
Sean Williams. The Changeling
Sean Williams. The Dust Devils
Sean Williams. The Scarecrow

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
Warwick Davis. Size Matters Not: The extraordinary life and career of Warwick Davis

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

Top of the to-read pile
Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark. Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Rosemary Kirstein. The Language of Power
Rosemary Kirstein. The Lost Steersman
James D Macdonald. The Apocalypse Door
Baroness Orczy. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Tim Powers. Last Call (re-read)
John Scalzi. Old Man's War (re-read)
John Scalzi. The Last Colony
John Scalzi. The Ghost Brigades
John Scalzi. Zoe's Tale
Jeff Smith, Tom Sniegoski. Bone: Tall Tales
Gene Wolfe. Soldier of the Mist

In progress
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace

Non-fiction books
(none)

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

Top of the to-read pile
Gene Wolfe. Soldier of Arete

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