Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 13/14

Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is still Sunday in most other countries). It’s fine to be sad, worried, vaccinated, unvaccinated-yet, angry or maybe even 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 πŸ˜‡

59 thoughts on “Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 13/14

  1. My wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary Friday, went out to dinner Saturday (next year we hope to arrange something fancier). As it’s the “tin” adversary I got tea to put in my little tea tins.
    Saturday, Plush Dog came down with back pain (it’s a recurring problem). We have to cage him in the living room, let him rest and keep him on drugs. Unfortunately by the time we got back from dinner, realized it wasn’t going away and got him to the E/R vet (very reasonably priced), we wound up getting to bed late. I’m way zonked today

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I got my second vaccine dose yesterday, so am down with fever and shivers today. Otherwise, I found a new favourite Xianxia book, Beware of Chicken. In a fantasy genre of mostly driven characters and violence a main ingredient, it is nice to get a main characters who leaves all that behind in the first chapter to instead build a farm. It is such an enormously feelgood book, well written and using the farm animals as almost shaolin disciples is an act of genius.

    If anyone is interested, it can be read for free here.

    Also reading Drew Hayes latest superhero book, Bones of The Past. A bit slower than his earlier books, hope it will pick up speed.

    I have moved out to the cottage for the summer and Nevyn and Sir Scrittles are coming to terms with having to walk in a leash to leave at least some birds alive. Sir Scrittles adjusted perfectly, but Nevyn remains a sceptic after getting himself tangled up the first day. Also, they have a new dog neighbour that both seems to like.

    Covid is going down everywhere, around 25% week, so we hope we will get some loosened restrictions start of July.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Me, I’ve submitted my Dragon Awards ballot!

    Science fiction novel: They All Died Screaming by Kristopher Triana
    This was originally my choice for horror novel, until I realised that it was the closest thing to an SF novel in the Dragons’ eligibility period that I’d read. It’s about zombies, but the zombies are given a… vaguely plausible origin, so it counts, I suppose.

    Fantasy novel: The Taxidermist’s Lover by Polly Hall
    Again, a bit on the margins of the genre a bit, but when I looked over the eligible books I’d read I found slim pickings…

    Best young adult/middle-grade novel: Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
    I have no idea if this counts as YA or meets the required wordcount, but I decided it was worth a shot. I mean, it’s a story about a boy who develops a paranoid fear that if his friends watch a certain superhero film, a giant shop dummy will climb out of a lake and kill them. That’s clearly award-worthy.

    Best MilSF novel: Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

    Best alternate history novel: pass
    I was hoping to vote for something from the Death’s Head Press Splatter Western line that started last year, but annoyingly, none of the entries I’ve read are eligible.

    Best media tie-in novel: Pandemonium by Ryan Harding & Lucas Mangum
    It’s about demonically-possessed wrestlers, it mentions a couple of real-life wrestlers, so it sort of counts. Okay, it’s not an official tie-in, but since The Replicant War made the cut, I don’t see why this one can’t.

    Best horror novel: Belle Vue by C. S. Alleyne
    In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t run out of horror novels to nominate before reaching this category.

    Best comic book: Far Sector by N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell
    I’ve been voting for this thing every year since it started.

    Best graphic novel: The Dollhouse Family by M. R. Carey, Peter Gross and Vince Locke
    I decided to go with one of the Hill House titles. It was a close-run thing, but Dollhouse Family just won out as my favourite.

    Best TV series: Castlevania season 4
    I’m pretty sure this was the only eligible series I’ve seen. Yeah, I know, Warren Ellis. But I think the animators, voice crew et al deserve a nod. It’ll probably lose to WandaVision anyway.

    Best film: Jiang Ziya
    Yesterday I watched a film from 2020 called The Pandemic Anthology that included a possessed doll that watches Night of the Living Dead, a homicidal Muppet that impersonates its victims online and a cat that summons Satan to provide food for its friends. Alas, it came out a couple of months too early to qualify; the fact that it wasn’t nominated last year is a travesty. I decided to go with a Chinese animated feature instead. I enjoyed it, although myself a crash-course in Ming dynasty literature as background research helped.

    Gaming categories: Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m unable to figure out who would be attempting the Denial of Service attack on my blog of the past couple days — especially at the end of a week when there’s been nothing but good news for the villains.

    Even includes hundreds of hits on dead links from four cities in China. Living up to the brand?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. In my experience, the villains are just as angry (if not more so) when they have good news as when they have bad. When it is good news, that is taken as a sign of how awful their critics must have been to oppose them in their rightfulness, so they get cross. Contentment is not a viable outcome.

      Liked by 5 people

  5. It’s a public holiday today because today is the day our glorious Queen was born [unless you live in Western Australia, Queensland, Norfolk Island, Canada, New Zealand, or some obscure country in the Northern Hemisphere know as “the You-Kay”(? never heard of it) – in which case she was born on a different day, none of which is the day on which she was born]

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We call it Victoria day here and I’ve finally learned to remember that it’s the week before Memorial Day. With the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day, Canadian holidays are just like American holidays except shifted slightly (although Thanksgiving is shifted dramatically).

      I’m not going to think about Boxing Day. It does make up for the day after Thanksgiving, which we don’t get off here (although I didn’t get it off in the states for a good chunk of my career).


  6. Murderously hot here in Arkansas, plus the rabbits are eating all of my tomatoes.

    Reading: Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho. Highly recommend!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. OK – now you have to imagine that I’m a sphere. I can be split into a number of disjoint subsets and reassembled into two spheres of exactly the same size. It is the sphere on the left after that process is complete that is vaccinated.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Had my “day 5 test to release” results this morning, negative. I am now allowed to leave the house for all of next week. International move in plague time continues to be the gift that keeps giving.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I had a story come out in a magazine this weekend.

    Otherwise, there is little to report. It’s way too hot here and I’m still no closer to getting vaccinated, though I am on two waiting lists.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In Sydney younger people are going to vaccine clinics near the end of the day. Apparently, if you try this some clinics will vaccinate people who aren’t technically eligible yet in the roll-out, so as to make best use of the doses they have.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s how a friend got his vax back when they were still doing over-65’s. And once you’ve had the first, they have to schedule you for the second. They don’t want to waste the doses.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. One of the waiting lists where I’m registered contacts people when there are vaccines left over, the other is my doctor’s list. Part of my problem is that I can’t take AstraZeneca and there’s not enough Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna to go around, especially since they’ve just approved Pfizer/Biontech for 12 to 16 year olds.

        They dropped the prioritisation last week and now it’s even worse, because everybody wants to get vaccinated all at once, because they want to go on holiday, etc… Plus, some people want teenagers to be given priority, even though their risk is comparatively low. Meanwhile, a lot higher risk over 60 and over 70 years olds are still having problems getting vaccinated.


      3. Vaccination is a mess in Ontario, although it’s been getting better since we’ve gotten more vaccine. They loosened up the requirements for the second dose Friday, so my wife and I are trying to get a second dose of *something* before we go to the states to see her mother (who’s having surgery, and my wife is trying to get some paperwork straightened out with the VA so she can stay in her current nursing home).

        If we can’t get a second dose next week, we’ll try to get it in the states. I don’t anticipate that being a problem, but it would be better to get the side effects out of the way this week.


      4. For all the reported failings of Canada’s vaccination rollout, excluding assorted micronations and territories, Canada has at least partially vaccinated more people per capita than everywhere else; it overtook Israel a day or so back.

        This is partly because of the Canadian strategy of extending the gap between the two doses. Unfortunately, reports are that you need two doses for effective protection against B1.617.2, which is also even faster spreading than the last variant, and more severe including in younger people.

        There are oddities among the data. Gibraltar has vaccinated over 100% of its population. (It turns out that they’re also vaccinating cross-border commuters.) The UAE has an average of 3 doses per vaccinee. (They were mostly using the SinoPharm vaccine, which appears to be relatively less effective, and are apparently addressing this by giving third booster shots.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. My recent move from Maryland to Virginia is been successful. Now I am dealing with unpacking, paperwork, and general apartment orientation issues. The best news of all is that Sam The Cat has almost immediately found his bearings in the new apartment and did not have any adjustment issues. Strangest moving discovery: I am a single guy with three big coolers.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Nothing to report here, another week of sitting around the house. I was feeling blah, one quick errand wiped me out. It’s starting to get stupid hot. The neighbors are shooting off fireworks all the time, which is not only way too early, but illegal and also idiotic considering the fire danger.

    EGG remains hungry and stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Read Lodestar and Norton/Nebula finalist Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. Good but definitely a book 1 (of a duology?) Now reading the last of the Lodestar finalists I needed to read (and Norton Nebula winner!) A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher — fantastic so far!

    Started watching the Best DP Long Form finalists. Despite the fact that hardly anybody got to the theater last year Worldcon members manage to nominate none of my 5 nominees and in fact 6 things I hadn’t even seen. Tenet was a good action flick with a sf twist. Palm Springs was cute and funny. Birds of Prey — lots of women punching, shooting, and exploding things. Eurovision Song Contest — silly fun but barely sff. So far kinda forgettable and I haven’t liked them as well as what I nominated. I guess Tenet and Palm Springs are sort of 2020 appropriate in that we all felt stuck in time loops or like time was running backward.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The Invisible Man and The Vast of Night were on my ballot as well. And only one of my nominees made it, namely The Old Guard.

        Tenet is available in the media package I get via my ISP, so I should watch it sometime. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan’s movies don’t work for me.


      2. Vast of Night is quite well done. Didn’t enjoy it the first time I caught it (partly because I was distracted) but I rewatched it last week and enjoyed it.
        Charlize Theron’s career is certainly interesting, ranging from Serious Drama to films like Old Guard (which I greatly enjoyed) and Fate of the Furious.


    1. YA is not usually my cup of tea, but this year’s Lodestar finalists are all very enjoyable. Lodestar and Graphic Story are the only two categories I’ve completed so far, as I am dependent on the whims of the Public Library’s gods. I hope to finish Astounding this week and then I’ll be in a good place for when the packet comes out.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m about quarter of the way through The Burning God now and still thoroughly enjoying it. None of her characters have an easy ride though, whoa. Will be sad to finish out the series but excited for Babel. Also Dandelion Dynasty 3 later this year. And the N books I bought in the last few weeks to fill in time until DD3.

    We’re also about 36 hours out from Nintendo’s E3 coverage so I’m hopeful for a Switch Pro announcement today/early tomorrow, followed by news on Breath of the Wild 2, Metroid prime 4, Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, Smash Bros character reveal, Shin Megami Tensei 5…

    And maybe a little more hopeful than expected: Fire Emblem announcements (either remaster or whole new game), extra announcements for Zelda’s 35th anniversary (remasters/ports of older titles?), Xenoblade 3? I doubt many other people around here care much about these things but I am extremely excited to hear about at least *some* of the above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not really a Nintendo gamer, but I was pleased to see the E3 news about Outer Worlds 2 and Starfield. I’m really hanging out to hear more about Dragon Age 4 but it doesn’t look like Bioware are even at E3.


      1. I’m going to keep an eye on any Sony/PS5 news also but I’m less invested, since I’ll only be using it as a guide to whether I should invest in a PS5 while I’m in Bali. I could always sell it again before I leave but I’d rather not have the hassle if there aren’t any major announcements for this year.


      2. The Nintendo Direct was good, but not amazingly mind-blowingly great.

        We *did* get some extra Breath of the Wild 2 news (Link lost his hair tie somewhere!); only a brief mention of Metroid Prime 4, but an announcement for Metroid Dread, which looks pretty good; Shin Megami Tensei 5 release date; Smash Bros character is Kazuya from Tekken (not bad!); no news on Bayonetta 3 or Splatoon 3 (fair enough on the latter, we only just got a teaser for it; bayo3 missing is worrisome though. Is it still happening?)

        Extra Zelda reveal was crap – a special Game & Watch system with Zelda 1, 2 and Link’s Awakening on. Meh.

        Still, worth staying up for Metroid Dread and the good Zelda news.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I spent three nights last week on a course running on European time. It was very interesting, but hard core algebra at midnight was a bit taxing. And I couldn’t get out of much of my work schedule, so I spent most of the week with my eyes hanging out on stalks. Mr angharad went on a bit of a boys’ trip with his mates to the tank museum in Cairns over the long weekend, and I went with some girlfriends to a craft fair, so we had a very gender stereotypical weekend. I am booked in for my first COVID jab on Friday, and hoping the small cold that seems to be toying with me at the moment goes away before then.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Finished reading Anti-Oedipus and so returning to some fiction for a while with A Bond Undone (vol. 2 of Legends of the Condor Heroes) it is exceptionally funny – but in the sort of tonal whiplash way where a scene can start with slapstick and end with parents committing a dual suicide in front of their unfilial son.


      1. Nah. The dead don’t leave us ever in a Jin Yong novel – people are nodes in the fabric of history but those nodes stretch back forever and the past remains relevant forever.


  15. Really enjoying re-reading the Murderbot stories.

    Watch the first episode of Loki and I need to get a review up. Short review: funny and fun.

    My bay leaves have not arrived so I and the rat are kind of in a holding pattern. Most of the new lavender plants were ignored just as the older ones had been. It gnawed to stalks off of one of the lavender starters that doesn’t have any flowers… and left the stalks sitting beside the plant in the soil. My guess is that without the flowers the smell wasn’t strong enough to deter the rat, but by the time it had chewed through two it realized this is a plant it dislikes?

    It did the same thing a couple nights later with one of the salvia’s, which aren’t on the list but I’ve been spraying them with the mint oil each day.

    I have now seen the rat twice when the sun is up, and it is definitely an adult rat, and not an immature possum.

    Something keeps pulling up a some of my little solar lights. When the crows do it they smash them and carry away the shiny bits. These are just being pulled up and dropped near the planter then were in. Maybe the rat? Maybe the squirrels? Maybe a new critter.

    On the other hand, a purple martin has started visiting one of the bird feeders regularly, along with purple finches, pine siskins, and the very occasional gold finch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spraying mint oil or lavender oil seems to be the best idea until your bay leaves come in.

      Maybe a critter thinks you’ve got buried treasure underneath the lights!


  16. The day just concluding here in northern California (Tuesday, June 15th) was the day essentially all statewide pandemic restrictions were lifted. The mood generally seemed to be celebratory but mostly subdued.

    One business I visited, a grocery store, still had a posted mask mandate in accordance with management orders; one customer wandered in under the mistaken impression the store wasn’t requiring masking, but nobody seemed to care very much. A second business, a celebrated local brewery, giddily embraced “reopening”, back to full regular capacity and no mask requirement.

    Rather than hang out and enjoy the Before Times-like festivities, however, I headed for the forested hills and hiked trails for a few hours with my e-book reader. Hugo reading, y’know.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. This comment coming to you from the Chesham and Amersham constituency, a Liberal Democrat seat with a majority of over 8,000.

    Which is more than slightly amazing, given that until yesterday it was something like the third or fourth safest Tory seat in the country. Seriously, this is a gob-smacking result. Labour supporters seem to have been clever enough to vote tactically (the Labour vote collapsed completely, they lost their deposit, even), but there have never been enough Labour supporters around here anyway to account for the swing… this is down to former Conservative voters, probably sick of Boris and Brexit (the constituency was about 63% Remain in the referendum) switching to the Lib Dems. I must say, I’m hoping for a lot more of this kind of thing.


  18. My turn for S. B. Divya’s Machinehood on my library’s Overdrive waitlist arrived this week. I really enjoyed Divya’s Runtime and have been really looking forward to this. I’m about 10% in and… the publisher’s synopsis didn’t say anything abou this, but it’s yet another book which prominently features social media ratings as a vital feature of survival, and I’m just… so disappointed. I thought Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) was pretty revolutionary at the time, but this plot feature has been done to death at this point. And while it may be the way the future goes in real life, if so, I hope I’m dead by then. Because I can think of very few things which are less interesting to me than reality shows, influencers, follower counts, and valuing people based on their social media ratings.

    I’m still planning to finish the book right now – I’m hoping it will get more into the area of the published synopsis and less into the social media aspect – but I am so disappoint.


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