Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 20/21

Happy solstice, everybody. May the Earth’s axis wobble in your favour.

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 😇


69 responses to “Susan’s Salon: 2021 June 20/21”

  1. Since I have stupidly mentioned it here, I have gotten feedback to the work I have written. Spoiler wasn’t good. I will try to repare myself, but probably never show my fiction to anyone again. I still have to apologyse to people I have sent it.
    Good news I have to opportunity to get somethink tomorrow, that I have waited a long time for and a few weeks later the second one. Yes immunisation from Corona.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Echoing Cora – writing is a skill that takes time. I’ve written 6 full novel-length books. I’ve published one and am aiming toward number two. Don’t get discouraged by some critique on your first go. And if there was something that really did need apologizing for then take the criticism to heart, and use it to improve next time. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • First, second will be on the second of August. Two weeks later I will celebrate (I mad a promise to go for icecream when the whole thing started.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry it wasn’t well received. Hopefully, the critique was a bit more detailed than “nope”, giving you valuable pointers for what to improve. On the whole, the only way we grow as creators is by looking carefully at what our critics say, then pick and choose what to improve.

      Sometimes, the “didn’t like” is something that is sufficiently inherent to the intended telling that it cannot be pulled out without compromising the work’s integrity. Other times, it is things taht can be changed, so as to increase the work’s integrity.

      It is not always possible to tell what’s what, without some consideration (and at times, not even that).

      FWIW, I think only a single Trigger story went from my keyboard to published without having at least one round of revision. And while it is a story that was filled with hope, it is possibly also the weakest of them. That would be Trigger Snowflake and the Catchy Thing.

      And that is obviously NOT a first story, nor is it the first Trigger story.

      I guess what I am trying to say is “hang in there, show your work to people, that is how you improve”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark, and hiding inside, away from the vicious heat outside. Weather guy says tomorrow will be cooler. I am knocking wood.

    Like

    • I just finished listening to A Master of Djinn and it’s on my Hugo nomination list. I’m re-listening now all the most excellent Dagmar Shaw series that Walter Jon Williams penned. I’m reading the latest Polity novel by Neal Asher, Jack Four.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Our Plush Dog hurt his back (he’s half lhasa apso, they have a lot of back problems) last weekend (jumping off the back of the couch may have done it). Crate rest was only endurable because the painkillers made him dopey, but he’s largely back to normal now. Keeping him from jumping is a constant challenge though.
    Read “The School for Good and Evil” and was very underwhelmed. The emotional core is supposed to be the friendship between the two protagonists and it never worked for me. And where the evil students are genuinely trying to be bad, the good students are all unconvincing and performative. I assumed that would lead somewhere but it didn’t.
    Watched the four episodes of “The Corridor People,” a very oddball British thriller series of the 1960s. Loved it but some of the racial elements in “Victim as Black” have not aged well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I’ve seen “The Corridor People” – as you say, very oddball; it never seemed to settle on any given mood – wasn’t sure if it was a weird thriller, or a surreal thriller, or even a flat-out comedy. That final freeze-frame at the end of “Victim as Black” rather exemplifies the dissonant tone – there’s a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings (ha! ha! how droll), as a result of which an innocent Black woman is just about to get her brains blown out. Which is… not so funny at all.

      (I think it’s the second episode, too, which has a character explain why he sabotaged a previous assassination attempt – replacing the female assassin’s bullets with blank cartridges – with an anti-feminist rant that had me thinking, “Today, that man is Vox Day.”)

      Like

      • “The gun is a phallic symbol — THE phallic symbol!” Yes, I had the same reaction.
        I didn’t think the ending of Victim as Black was at all meant to be funny. I took it as showing Kronk and Syrie are both cold-blooded bastards though with different motivations.

        Like

  4. @StefanB – Have you thought about joining a writer’s circle? They get together to critique each other’s works and they can be very helpful.

    As for me, I missed out on Juneteenth as a federal holiday because I was laid up with a twisted foot. This weekend has been cooking and Pitch Meeting YouTube clips nonstop.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Currently in the middle of the fourth cruise, watching the sun set on the lovely Llangollen canal. After basically taking last year off, finding working for a living again, shockingly hard! The guests we’re seeing all seem to be very happy to be back out in the world, but we are missing all our customers from overseas…

    Very slowly reading the final Odd Jobs book in my precious spare time and enjoying it very much!

    Liked by 3 people

      • We actually have four newbies on the current trip who would usually do European river cruises or escorted exotic holidays abroad. If they return to us for the next few years, we’ll be very happy!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My partner was off from work this week and we had a staycation. Mainly just relaxing at home, but also going out to eat a few times.

    Not much progress on Hugo reading, watching, etc. Mostly just downloading and discovering what all was in the Hugo packet.

    Like

  7. Reading the second volume of the Legend of the Condor Heroes translation and having a lot of fun pinning down what exactly the philosophy of Huang Yaoshi and Hong Qigong are. Hong the beggar has an interesting fusion of straightforward class struggle with the I-Ching that I need to dig into further but Huang the Heretic is described variously as “not a Taoist” because his understanding of internal cultivation is significantly different but also, “not a Confucian” because he thinks that the sages are, one and all, a bunch of sophists and rhetoricians of little value.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been reading a paper book because my Kindle Oasis has frozen up and the very simple procedure for rebooting it has no effect. And it being an Amazon product, maybe I’m just supposed to toss it and pay $350 for another?

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m about to be in the same boat. (Would that I were in @Braxis’ boat instead) Mine is blinking in an “about to lose vertical hold” manner, plus every now and then it just yeets my Collections out into the ether, or even more often just a couple of them, and it takes several reboots to bring it back.

      And I don’t have an extra $250-300 to spare either (see dental issues).

      I found that Target is “mysteriously” having a sale the same as Prime Day(s) and a thing I needed to buy was 12.5% cheaper there. Plus since I have a Target charge card (for the giant credit limit of $500), I got another 5% off and free 2-day shipping. Take that, Bezos.

      Speaking of whom, over 40K people have signed petitions to not let him come back from space.

      Anyhoo, I recommend checking Target for stuff if you’re in the US. Many of their things are even cheaper than AMZ, and you can look at and touch a number of them at your local store. And they don’t sell guns and ammo. (We don’t buy enough stuff for a Costco membership.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Glyer: the very simple procedure for rebooting it has no effect

      I presume you’re referring to having held the power button down for 60 seconds.

      Having Googled it, this seems to be a common problem with that model – such that Amazon has had to replace a lot of relatively new devices. You could try doing a Chat with Kindle Support if you haven’t already, on the slim chance they might be able to help you.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us/kindle-help.html

      Liked by 1 person

    • Even if Amazon support can’t help, there’s a decent chance you’ll get at least a discount off your next Kindle device, if not get it replaced entirely.

      Like

    • Reading real books is kind of hard after using a kindle for a while…for example, it’s impossible to lie in bed and turn the page with your nose!

      Liked by 2 people

      • And a Kindle has enough mass to hold itself open. Eating a burger with two hands while reading a paper book is out of the question.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Kindles are also better for reading Really Big Books.

        You drop a hardcover of the last Harry Potter on your face as you fall asleep and you’re going to need the ER. Drop a Kindle on your face and NBD.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mike, since it’s Prime Days, I got an 8″ Fire color tablet for $50 (!) plus free returns. It’s heavier than the Kindle, but since I also have a tablet that won’t charge, I’ll deal if this can replace both. It took them about 18 hours to get it to me, and so far so good. It seems to do both Kindle things and tablet things, and I turned off Alexa first.

      It’s going to need a handle of some sort for me to hold it, and I might not keep it after all, but free returns for a month, so what the heck, right? New toy!

      Like

      • I have an older 10″ Fire with an SD card slot that I am intensely fond of. I like having the larger one — it helps with magazine readability as well as books and movies. This is the second one I’ve had, and when this one eventually dies I plan to continue the dynasty.

        I don’t like the current OS much, but hopefully Amazon will update out of this one before too long.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I still have a working Kindle DX, which I got because of the larger screen. But the last few years, I’ve been using my Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which is the size of a tablet, because the Overdrive application has a sepia setting which I have found to be more pleasant and readable than the e-ink reader or the crappy Kindle app. And with Calibre and Apprentice Alf, I have the ability to read all of my books by either method.

          Like

          • Oooo, yeah, I hate sepia. I have a lot of astigmatism, so more contrast equals easier reading for me!

            I also love having the color for reading magazines and such — not to mention appreciating book covers.

            I bought Dad a waterproof Kindle Paperwhite not long before he died, which I now have. I can’t stand it either. Blech!

            Like

  9. It has been HOT here but cooler today, but soon to be HOT again. Unseasonably.

    EGG is annoyed by this. He is being very flat and very long and very whiny. He even sulked in the Closet of Sadness once.

    I went to the dentist. One filling, and coming up are more fillings and probably an extraction. Much money.

    It is our anniversary, but since it’s Sunday and Father’s Day, we are sitting home today and going to a restaurant tomorrow to avoid crowds and children. Have not eaten indoors since this mess started.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Not much to report here. I sent “The Black Knight”, the novella in my Kurval sword and sorcery series, out into the world and someone already bought it, before I could even officially announce it.

    Otherwise, it’s been very hot here last week and I don’t deal well with heat at all. And since my Dad was on a business trip, I had to water my parents’ garden every day. Plus, I had some kind of Zoom meeting (mostly virtual German classes plus a Chicon staff meeting) every single day of the week, which was quite stressful.

    My Mom is getting her second covid shot this Thursday. I’m on two waiting lists, but no closer to vaccination.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I’m halfway through The Burning God – slow going because I’ve just been having too much of a social life, and the one night I wasn’t being sociable, I was up until 3am playing the new Age of Calamity DLC pack. I’ve now fully upgraded Link’s new flail weapons and I’m one away from fully upgrading Zelda’s Master Cycle. The last big thing to unlock is the new character (Battle-Tested Guardian) and then a couple of other bits and pieces. Then waiting until November for the next DLC pack. But in the meantime Skyward Sword HD comes out so I’ll have more Zelda to play anyway.

    Like

  12. My SF reading this week has been Elizabeth Bear’s Machine. Fifty percent of the way through and I’m not really digging it so far, which is unexpected because I did enjoy her previous novel in this universe.

    My current non-fiction reading is Cybernetic Revolutionaries by Eden Medina, which is excellent. It’s about the Allende government in Chile’s project to build a computer-based and technocratic management system of their industrial economy in the early 70s under the guidance of British cyberneticist Stafford Beer.

    Like

    • robmatic1: My SF reading this week has been Elizabeth Bear’s Machine. Fifty percent of the way through and I’m not really digging it so far, which is unexpected because I did enjoy her previous novel in this universe.

      I found Ancestral Night good, but a bit too deus ex machina-ey to be great. I thought Machine was better than the first (4 stars vs. 3.5). I will be interested to hear your opinion once you’ve finished it; I think (hope) you will find it to be the satisfying payoff that I did.

      Like

    • I adored MACHINE. It may be because my mundane TV viewing skews heavily to the fire & rescue and hospital shows.

      Like

      • I saw the movie Marathon Man when I was really young, and I don’t think I really understood at the time just what an effective form of torture drilling holes into someone’s teeth without anesthesia could be. But once you’ve had the mother of all toothaches, you really understand. A couple of decades ago, when giving me a temporary crown, my dentist apparently nicked a nerve with the anesthesia needle. 2 hours later, I was in such agony that I was sobbing and praying for death. I got back to the dentist’s office shortly after they closed and pounded on the door, and I could see that someone was still there, but they apparently decided I was a drug-crazed addict and wouldn’t come to the door. So I had to drive to the nearest phone booth and navigate the after-hours on call system in horrific pain before finally getting to talk to one of the dentists, who went back into the office for me.

        All of this is to say, I really sympathize, and I hope that you’re feeling much better. I had a crown which was installed by a shitty dentist go bad last year, and ended up getting an implant tooth. It was incredibly expensive, but I’ve been really happy with the result — it looks and feels just like my own tooth — and I hope that’s an option for you.

        Like

      • Fortunately no one nicked a nerve. They did a bone graft after they removed the teeth, so we’ll see what options are available when I go for the follow up. At the very least, the teeth aren’t making my eyes hurt any more, although they did give me some fancy painkillers to take for the next few days, so who knows.

        My teeth were, at least in part, casualties of the pandemic. They have been bothersome for several months, but no one I could find was taking dental appointments until recently, so things got worse because of the delay.

        Like

        • Aaron: They did a bone graft after they removed the teeth, so we’ll see what options are available when I go for the follow up.

          Oh, good. They do that to add mass and density to the holes left by the roots, to prevent collapse of the gum, and it gives them a solid base for inserting implants. If you go that way, they will give you ~3 months for the wound to heal and the bone grafts to incorporate with your skull structure, then screw in the implant posts and give you another ~3 months for those to heal and the body to layer bone around them so they are solidly implanted. Then they’ll attach the replacement teeth.

          Just make sure to follow the dentist’s instructions right now while you heal. Dry socket is a possible complication, and I understand that it can be quite painful and make later implants more difficult.

          Like

  13. I read John Scalzi’s blog, and occasionally go over to the Mad Genius Club to see what they’re doing. It’s such a contrast. Scalzi is generally happy, writing about new projects and new hobbies, posting pictures of his family and his pets, and just celebrating life. The Geniuses seem uniformly depressed, fatigued, and unhappy. Truly, living well is the best revenge.

    Speaking of reading, I just finished The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, the final book in the Becky Chambers Wayfarers series. To my complete lack of surprise, I loved it. Terrific world building, rich characters, lovely story about people, not derring-do. I was reading it on a city bus, and a girl sitting behind me excused herself and said she just had to say how much she liked the series too, and we gushed for a while.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I am an hour and a half post my first Pfizer shot and so far not even a sore arm. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
    I have, however, been laid up for a couple of days with a shoulder/back injury. I have hurt this area before and made the mistake of thinking ‘oh, this old thing again’ and doing a lot of gardening and other chores over the weekend. Perhaps I do actually have a sore arm, but am not noticing because my shoulder hurts more (I got the jab in the same side so I would have at least one non sore arm 😀 ).
    The weather here has been very unpleasant on and off for a couple of weeks – windy, rainy and cold. It brought down a tree in our front garden last week – thankfully most of it fell outwards onto the lawn, not on the house.

    Like

  15. Dinner was very nice. Tasted yummy, though the service was … leisurely. They are a bit understaffed.

    A bit surreal to be eating indoors, and everyone was without masks! Well, the staff all wore masks, and the tables were all socially-distanced, but other than that it was like the Before Times. And we got Fancy French Fusion Dining for under $100 with booze and dessert.

    Liked by 1 person

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: