Susan’s Salon: 2020 November 29/30

Putting up Christmas decorations in November

The final Salon for November. Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Sydney time which is still Sunday in most countries) . It’s fine to be sad, worried, angry or happy (or all of those things at once).

Please feel free to post what you like (either troubling news or pleasant distractions) in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments.] Links, videos, cat pictures 🐈 etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another 😇

56 thoughts on “Susan’s Salon: 2020 November 29/30

  1. My fervent wish was to resume twice weekly walks at the local Mall for some very much needed exercise but my Nurse Practitioner who’s my PCP vetoed that when we had our weekly Zoom conversation on this past Wednesday.

    Back in May, I had a blackout and fell severely fracturing my right knee and also fracturing my right shoulder. As a result, I’ve either been in-hospital or home confined ever since as I’ve had three knee surgeries. (and nearly two month in-hospital fur a staphylococcus infection treatment as well.) Jenner said the risk of catching Covid-19 was way far too high around holiday crowds, so that was not to be. She too is basically home confined for the holidays as she just passed the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant.

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      1. I am. I just that I’ve been doing this since the first week in May. And am now told that it’ll be at next Spring before I can expect it to change. I feel
        Like a hobbit in its hobbit hole at this point – comfortable but in need in of a long walk.

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    1. I understand your frustration. But catching covid would not be a good idea for you. I’m not high risk at all, but I’m not setting a foot in a mall right now.

      Hang in there!

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      1. Yep I fully agree. It’s just that twenty four seven for months on end is getting tiring. Only the presence of Covid-19 ironically makes it more bearable.

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  2. I am busy swearing at tech yesterday and today. My laptop’s battery had been going bad for awhile, but now something in the battery and/or elsewhere is so badly borked that it won’t complete startup even while plugged in. And because of Covid, I can’t even get an Apple appt til Tuesday. Lord knows how long it will take — or how much it will cost! — to get it up and running. Gaaaaaaaah.

    I will be able to limp along for the time being with my phone and Kindle Fire, but it will definitely be limping. More gaaah plus heavy sighing!

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    1. Thank goodness you won’t be completely cut off, but there’s no substitute for a real monitor and keyboard. I remember the dark days when we had but one computer and if it went out, we were stuck.

      I hope it only needs a new battery!

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    2. O frabjous day! Halloo, hallay! (I’m too lazy to look up all that spelling. Don’t judge!)

      I just dropped off my laptop at the Apple store in Nashville. And joy o joy, there is currently a battery replacement program going on that I hadn’t known about. Initial repair estimate (four different problems) is $570, but WITH the battery replacement credit the total cost to me is likely to be only $33! Hurrah!

      Trying not to get my hopes up too high, and of course I have to wait days and days to get it back, but it’s nice to have something to be cheerful about!

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  3. My favorite short stories from this week’s reading are both from Beneath Ceaseless Skies 313 (24 Sep 2020):

    “The Heart That Saves You May Be Your Own” by Merrie Haskell: A different take on the idea of unicorns and maidens. Some really nice world-building and characterization.

    “A Tally of What Remains” by R.Z. Held: Warning that this one is set during a plague so definitely skip if that might be too much right now. But I found it really touching, and I thought it ended on a slightly hopeful note. Really well-done characterization and interesting magic. I would like to see another story in this setting (maybe before or after the plague though).

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  4. Having fallen behind a bit on my own compulsive commentary-writing that no one asked for, I recently got very involved in reading someone else’s. This blog by “Arthur B.” has tons of reviews and essays, mostly but not all about genre material, but the author went above and beyond with two series that combine critical writing with biography: one about Philip K. Dick, and one about David Icke. Highly recommended to anyone who has the slightest interest in either, although both might fuel your frustration about people being the way they are.

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  5. It was a rough Monday and Tuesday at work, but a half day Wed, Thanksgiving off, and Friday working from home made this a better week in general. Also I read a bunch of books and now have hit 200 books on the year, which was a goal for me the past two years that I’d given up on before quarantine (I hit 180 the past two years instead).

    My favorite book of this week was Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore’s “Miss Meteor”, which is barely sf/f at all and is instead mainly a queer rom com featuring two latinx girls, one pansexual and the other secretly made up of starstuff (that’s the sf/f element), two love interests – one of which is a trans boy – and a beauty pageant they’re determined to win despite the winner never being anyone other than the typical white beauty. It’s a short novel, but just incredibly charming and I needed that.

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  6. Four day weekend! Vegan takeout Thursday, plus making some of my wife’s favorites the rest of the weekend.
    Read the medieval Arthurian poems of Hartmann von Aue, who has a deadpan sense of humor at times (“You would have to have a virgin of marriageble age willing to suffer death for your sake. Now it’s not the usual behavior of people to do this eagerly.”).
    Made an oatmeal bread from Breaking Bread by Michael Philip. Came out great. Thinking about applying some of his techniques to recipes in my other books, though they’re not all transferable (most books don’t list a “desirable dough temperature”).

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  7. I love the header picture as usual. And it’s traditional to start the decorating in the US this weekend, and it’s almost (or is it?) Advent, and who knows what the Fungus Town customs are? So go ahead, Susan.

    We had a really lovely Thanksgiving with one other couple who are as hermit-like as we are due to chronic health conditions. We ate both outdoors and socially distanced, and we sat indoors also distanced, but no masks at any time. And we were careful with the forks, spoons, etc. but of course we all ate from the same dishes.

    Plenty of leftovers (there’s a limit to how small a turkey you can get) which is also a bonus. We didn’t have all the side dishes we usually do, but there was turkey, yams, and pumpkin pie (plus the canned cranberry sauce — we usually have a homemade cran relish, but the sauce from the can with the marks still on it was a nice remembrance of childhood). So it was quite official. Gewürztraminer with turkey, local cider with pie. Not the extravaganzas we usually have with 8-20 people of all ages from all around the area, no proper silver, fancy dishes, or cloth napkins, but I did come across some place cards.

    It was so wonderful to see other people, no masks, one hug each, and different credentials who demanded I provide many treats. They did not get canned food for dinner, as they each managed to capture a large piece of turkey while we weren’t looking. About 5-6 hours of normalcy, which was delightful. Fingers crossed everyone stays healthy enough we can do it again at Christmas, though by then we’ll have to eat inside. Probably, but it’s still 2020.

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    1. Today was the First Advent Sunday, though there wasn’t much happening here, since there are no Christmas markets, etc… this year. Though I did take a drive around the countryside this afternoon, which was nice.

      There’s obviously no Thanksgiving here, though I did have turkey and Brussels curry on Thursday, because the turkey breasts were on sale at the grocery store.Gewürztraminer is really nice, by the way.

      Otherwise, I’ve been working on a holiday romance short, which is not easy going, because I don’t feel very Christmassy at the moment and would rather be writing sword and sorcery or space opera.

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  8. My favorite reads this month were actually two Audible novellas, Elizabeth Bear’s Sub-Inspector Ferron series, “In the House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns” and “A Blessing of Unicorns”. The first is available as an ebook but the second is an Audible exclusive right now according to Bear. Her Machine novel also was an amazing experience as well, and I’m reading various works in Aliette De Bodard’s Asian tinged space opera series now as well.

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      1. @Laura

        Yes. It’s in the same universe and a couple of people from the first book make cameos, but otherwise, it’s a complete story in a new setting, with new characters.

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      2. Thanks, Bonnie! I would like to read the first one, but good to know it’s not necessary. I’ve heard they are in the same universe as the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy which I’ve meant to read too.

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      3. I was really enthused about Ancestral Night for the first 1/3, to the extent that I was thinking it might go on my Hugo ballot, but as the book progressed I became less enchanted — particularly by some deus ex machinas which seemed way too “Hollywood” and really broke my suspension of disbelief. It’s still worth reading, though.

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  9. So I haven’t done a lot of reading this week but I’m a little further ahead in Phoenix Extravagant. I’ve mostly been playing Age of Calamity; aiming for 100% completion so each chapter is taking me a couple of days while I blast through side missions and obtain ingredients for upgrades etc. This week I’m excited for the release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, a 30 year old game. I’m hoping that both Fire Emblem and Zelda get more re-releases, remasters, ports etc in the next year or so.

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  10. Are you guys still following puppies at war? I was looking back to the glorious days of yesteryear and decided to walk over to Correia’s place. Discovered “ASKED ONE SIMPLE QUESTION TO PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH FRAUD” – a Correia post in which his fans discuss how Joe Biden didn’t win the election. It really is the same mentality as the Larry Correia didn’t win a Hugo discussion from years back. It’s entertaining drivel.

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      1. I had forgotten how to get to Brads place. I found his new page and from there his facebook where he and auditor Larry discuss the election. Holy-Jesus-wilikers. I think it funny with Correia hawking that he was an auditor. He has been doing this forever.. As a CPA, I know lots of auditors. It isn’t anything special – I was an auditor too for a slice of my life. I notice he never says CPA. Well that’s OK – it is a difficult exam to pass.

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      2. And nobody likes auditors. Even when you’re 100% in compliance (in whatever business), they’re a pain in the ass. Ruins your whole workflow.

        I don’t think I’ve ever met an accountant who wasn’t a CPA — certainly never used one.

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      1. I’m legitimately wondering what they’re going to do when the Electoral College is certified, or when Biden is sworn in. Just declare Trump an antipresident and pretend he’s still in charge?

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    1. It’s funny how these guys are all certain that there was lots of fraud, and that it was obvious (and in Correia’s words, clumsy) but that Trump’s legal team has been entirely unable to present any evidence that holds up to even the slightest amount of scrutiny in court thus far.

      Actually, the funny part is that they are so certain even despite the fact that Trump’s legal team has suffered what can only be described as a savaging in the courts on this subject. The Trump team’s legal arguments have been so bad that I would not be surprised to see something like Rule 11 (or the state law equivalent) sanctions applied against them if they continue to bring spurious cases like they have.

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      1. That’s an intriguing thought. If all that fraud was so obvious and clumsy, but Trump’s “elite special forces” team couldn’t actually come up with any evidence of it to satisfy the courts, then just how dumb does that make them?

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      2. I think there is a chance that Sidney Powell etc will be recast as the baddies in a few weeks/months i.e. they were decoys/secret-leftists who infiltrated etc etc and intentionally lost the slam-dunk cases of fraud etc etc.

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      3. Oh, I would so love to see them walloped with Rule 11 sanctions by at least one Federal judge. I’ve been waiting and hoping for that to happen, but the judges so far have contented themselves to withering sarcasm. Who knew, that they’d be so saintly of disposition?

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      4. I’ve seen a couple references today from right-wingers about a “hearing” in Arizona, and how the testimony was super damning evidence of widespread fraud.

        Except . . .

        There was no hearing. There was a Trumpist press conference that was staged to look like a hearing. The “evidence” was a “cybersecurity expert” who said he thought there could be a problem if a whole lot of conjectures he pulled entirely out of his ass turned out to be true.

        They are truly grasping at straws.

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      5. Someone pushed the argument (I forget who) that they’re just saving their conclusive, unshakeable evidence for the Supreme Court and there’s no obligation to show their hand yet. I find this … unconvincing.

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      6. This is the thing for me with the people insisting that there’s been fraud:

        Oh, come on, are you kidding? In this day and age, if they’d had any evidence of fraud, they would have leaked it all over the internet! They wouldn’t be sitting on proof if they actually had it, they’d be spreading it far and wide to get the public and Republican government officials behind them!

        I mean, seriously! Do you not think that the Republican Governors and Secretaries of State and Election Officials would be completely behind them, if they were able to show even the slightest iota of proof? Of course they would!

        What’s especially hilarious is that Correia, who has generally tried to walk the line of sanity (presumably trying maintain the illusion that he’s a legitimate author and not a total whackjob like Hoyt, Freer, JCW, and Torgersen), has finally been willing to go all in on the conspiracy theories.

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      7. That’s a very good point about these Mormon puppies. Both because the culture very very heavily enforces conformity, and also because persecution narratives are so deeply ingrained.

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      8. “Actually, the funny part is that they are so certain even despite the fact that Trump’s legal team has suffered what can only be described as a savaging in the courts on this subject”

        And as far as I can tell there’s no outcry on the right about this. They seem to mostly accept the various rulings from courts. Or not accept exactly, more like ignore – as in, they still say “but there was fraud”, but they don’t say, “hey there’s plenty of real evidence in these filings and the judge must have crooked to throw it out”.

        I suppose we should be happy that they aren’t attacking judges, but it’s weird. It’s one more sign of how unconnected to reality they are. Not that anyone arguing “but there’s plenty of evidence in this filing” would have been connected to reality either, but addressing the reality of the court cases would at least show a willingness to engage with reality.

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      9. “Someone pushed the argument (I forget who) that they’re just saving their conclusive, unshakeable evidence for the Supreme Court”

        Well, that is someone who doesn’t understand the basic mechanics of the judiciary in the U.S.. The place to present your evidence is at the trial court level. The appellate courts not only will not hear new evidence, they cannot hear new evidence. If you don’t present your evidence to the trial court judge, you simply cannot introduce it later during the appeals process. The plaintiffs are literally required to show their hands now. That’s how the system works.

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      10. Oh, I know it’s bullshit, It may not be ignorance though: they may be posturing for Trump because he figures the Supreme Court is in the tank so he can’t lose. And as long as the legal fight goes on, they get paid.

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      11. “Brad pondering the positive sides of the Galactic Empire in Star Wars”

        Of course he is. Brad never met an authoritarian he didn’t fall in love with.

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      12. The Empire had spiffy uniforms and an apparently-unlimited budget for capital ships.

        Said ships had terrible engineering, though.

        And I’m surprised Brad didn’t care that the Empire was actively anti-religious — that’s in the original movie!

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