Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 10/11


Please use the comment section to just chat about whatever you want. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Whatever 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 ๐Ÿˆ etc are fine! Whatever you like and be nice to one another ๐Ÿ˜‡

37 thoughts on “Susan’s Salon: 2021 October 10/11

  1. Still summer in Arkansas. I’ve been reading Gamechanger, by L.X. Beckett, set mainly in 2101, and dealing with what a climate-disaster affected world might look like. Despite the description, it’s more hopeful than depressing, at least so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked Gamechanger, although I found its use of hashtags and @s really irritating – its sequel Dealbreaker I didn’t think worked quite as well, and got way too cute. Still, I really appreciated the ambition of those novels.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like the InCryptid EU backlog has unjammed. Actually seems it may have unjammed a while ago. I also seem to have a new domicile lined up for “before the end of the year”. I am now definitely on the “will stay at supporting” for DisCon III, what with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spent the day sweeping the roof and cutting down the mock orange that has occupied the majority of my (very small) lawn. It’s getting a bit cold here in the cottage, so I will most likely have to move back to the apartment coming weekend. Sir Scrittles and Nevyn has also started to spend a bit more time inside, taking a small walk in the morning and then coming back to cozy up in bed for awhile more.

    Nothing new on reading front.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wisp had a small foot injury but it’s healing. Plushie Dog is off crate rest though we’re still making him rest as much as possible. Wisp is spending more time indoors as the weather starts to cool. This is good as our neighbor’s grumbling about the cats getting into her property and scaring off the birds.
    Movies watched for the Alien Visitors book: It Conquered the World (just enough clever bits to make me wish it was actually good), The Phoenix (Judson Scott as a very New Age God From Outer Space), Gary Shandling’s What Planet Are You From? (“You made love to me while we ate โ€” if I’d known you were going to do that, I’d never have ordered the soup.”), Tribulation 99 (all those dirty things the US has done in the past 70 years were to save the world from evil aliens! Yes, it’s a parody), I Am Number Four (even given Y/A SF films aren’t targeted at me, this was bland as crap) and I Come In Peace (not bland but much worse crap).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So, I’ve taken My Dog is Named Hannah’s advice and had the SJW auditors in to check whether the passing years have sneakily turned me into a RWNJ, without me realising. I thought I’d share the results with you all.

    Media Consumption

    The Guardian (‘A British Rag’ says Ms Hoyt. A hotbed of communism according to our local right wingers)

    +50 points

    The BBC – mainly Radio 4 (Is accused of bias by both ends of the political spectrum, but the Right hate it more, due to its unique funding mechanism, or ‘Poll Tax on the poor’)

    +30 points

    Towpath Talk (All the canal side news that’s worth knowing. A bit white and middle class, but surprisingly politics free)

    +0 points

    Voting Intentions

    As a person of no fixed address, staying on an electoral register is a pain in the arse, but so far I have never voted for a Conservative candidate, or for a candidate to the right of the Conservative Party.

    +50 points

    On the other hand, I’ve not always voted straight red either. I find Labour disturbingly authoritarian at times and I’m a fan of PR voting systems, which Labour only embrace when they are out of power.

    -20 points

    SJW Credentials

    The work I do (running boat cruises), where I live (on a boat) and horrible allergies, all preclude owning (being owned by) an SJW credential.

    -10 points


    As the owner of a small business, I use my accumulated capital to exploit the working classes, making money from their blood, sweat and tears.

    -100 points

    On the other hand, I only exploit three of them, for six months of the year and the work is quite fun sometimes.

    +10 points

    Total score +10 points.

    Phew! Just scraped through! May have to subscribe to The Socialist Worker to be on the safe side…

    Currently re-reading the Terra Ignota books in preparation for the final part finally coming out later this month.

    Currently watching Lower Decks as my DVD drive has died so Blake’s 7 is off the menu.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Busy Reading/Reviewing week for me, as a number of absolute delights and highly expected books came out or I got copies of this week. Just finished a sixth book today – with the six books being:

    Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
    Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
    Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Science Fiction (an anthology of Chinese SF Short Fiction)
    Noor by Nnedi Okorafor
    Paladin’s Hope by T Kingfisher
    Rogue Heart by Axie Oh

    Not much to say about these (which is not to say they aren’t great) – I liked all six, for reasons you might expect – Okorafor’s Noor is a really strong anti-colonialist/capitalist story that isn’t too long, Paladin’s Hope is another incredibly enjoyable fantasy romance also with serious themes of police reform/corruption, which Ursula Vernon somehow manages to mix in without ruining the tone, etc.

    Wasn’t here in last week’s thread but also wanted to chime out one book I read recently (and recently published ) which is a clear standout: Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, which is just so so good and my pick for my book of the year. The book’s blurb compares it to Becky Chambers and Good Omens, and I totally get the Becky Chambers vibes, even as it deals with our real world and prejudices (the most prominent character of the ensemble cast is a trans girl runaway). It is just so so good, and I don’t know how to talk about it without spoiling or ruining anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This week I managed to accidentally scratch Mr angharad’s cornea. I was reading in bed and we both rolled over at the same time and I caught him in the eye with the corner of the spine. It was just a minor scratch, thankfully, and healed up very quickly, but never let it be said that reading is not dangerous.
    (It wasn’t even a very good book, just a trashy urban fantasy).
    It’s also our wedding anniversary today. Twenty four years!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Happy anniversary!

      I scratched my own cornea once, with my fingernail, and if you think that wasn’t embarrassing to tell them at urgent care, think again.

      I am no danger to others, only myself.


  8. I’ve been greatly enjoying the just-released Jeff VanderMeer adaptation Secret Life, adapted and drawn by Theo Ellsworth, a very distinctive psychedelic/Symbolist cartoonist who is also an incredibly sweet guy (I knew him slightly through friends when he lived in the Pacific Northwest). It’s a series of vignettes about daily life in a horror-fantasy satire version of a corporate headquarters, gradually developing a plot of sorts. I knew Theo was great at dream imagery but I’m not sure I’d ever seen him draw more than a handful of human characters before, and I really like how he handles the characters in this.

    Also catching up reading the back catalogue of a local writer whose name I won’t mention because I really don’t want to jinx anything, because there’s a chance I might get to collaborate with them on some kind of comics project, but I’m trying really hard not to count any chickens there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nothing changes here, save it is definitely autumnal. We have to wear PJs, and clothes during the day. EGG still annoying.

    But! We went OUT to eat with our bubble-mates. Sit down restaurant, inside, with people bringing food to you on actual dishes! :O Delicious food at that, no problem with dietary restrictions, big portions, and really strong and tasty drinks. Socially-distanced tables, everything clean, hand sanitizer everywhere. It was like the Before Times.

    I finally get my permanent crown glued on Wednesday, which I note is exactly a month after I got the first failed temp. Fingers crossed that it STAYS on. Tune in next Salon for details.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m still waiting for my first appointment for the crown. I hope all goes well with the permanent crown.


  10. Evening, all!

    Not a whole lot going on here this week, aside from ongoing complicated residual legal issues still hanging over my dad’s estate A YEAR AND A HALF LATER. Which, crossing fingers, may actually be settled by the beginning of November. Hurrah!

    In pet news, I haven’t heard back from the lady with the kittens, so that might not be happening. OTOH, now I’m all scheduled to pick up the new dog this coming Thursday, so I’m about to be having fun breaking in a new unknown. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And I’ll call the kitten lady after I get the new dog settled in to be sure what her current intentions are.) The new dog is already named Haylie; it’s not a bad name, but I may or may not keep it if I think of something better. We Shall See.

    In watching, I watched about half of the last season of Lucifer. It was about as I expected — plenty of dumbness and bad acting from the leads, but it still makes me want to know what happens next. Then I also watched Black Widow, which I enjoyed pretty well. It also had plenty of dumbness, but that was to be expected from a Marvel movie.

    In genre reading:

    First I finished my umpteenth reread/relisten of the last half of the Murderbot series. Still tons of fun. I am giving this more serious consideration for best series — it takes a good book to hold up to multiple rereads.

    Then I decided to stick with Martha Wells and read her first published novel, The Element of Fire. It was generally pretty good, and not much like either Murderbot or Raksura. It’s book 1 of a series; I understand that further books become somewhat steampunky (with airships), but this one is magic and gunpowder and sorcerers and fae. It’s also got romance, which was extremely understated and a bit clunky but still kind of appealing. No fated farmboys or farmgirls to be found, not a lot of tropeyness aside from the Fairy Queen falling in love with Our Hero — and the “fairy queen” was actually the previous king’s bastard daughter, while “our hero” was a nearly 40-year-old guard captain who had been the lover of the dowager queen (the previous king’s wife), so even there the tropes got rather twisted. I was not fond of the age gap — even the characters themselves noted that the male mc was old enough to be the female mc’s father — but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

    After that I drifted off to a random couple of contemporary romances. The first doesn’t deserve any mention at all, but for the second (The Husband Gambit) I will say that it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by LA Witt, and I am happy to be reminded of what a sharp writer she is. The premise of the book is extremely dumb, but the characters and dialogue are appealing and fun. And in audio, the narrators are both excellent.

    And that’s all for this week. Tune in next week — same bat time, same bat channel — to hear all about Haylie and the uproar her introduction is likely to cause!


      1. @Bonnie —

        Haylie is an Anatolian Shepherd. I have a 5-year-old Anatolian right now along with Dublin-the-doberman. Anatolians are essentially the US version of the Kangal breed, which originated in — oddly enough — the Anatolian region in what is now Turkey. They are livestock guardian dogs (LGDs), and most are extremely large. My current girl, Tashi, is roughly 150 pounds or so. I don’t know how big Haylie is — some of the American Anatolians are relatively small — so she may be anywhere in the range of 80-150.

        There’s a pic of Tashi on my wordpress blog page ( to give you an idea of what Haylie may look like. Anatolians come in several colors, and I don’t know what color Haylie is, but Tashi’s color (fawn) is the most common. I’m hoping Haylie might be brindled — I’m a sucker for brindle dogs, and that’s fairly common in the breed. We Shall See!


  11. Got permission to go into the lab to check in on my cultures s went in today: it’s weird with hardly any people around. As we are still in lockdown, numbers of people are limited based on how big the lab spaces are & we have to remain masked & socially distanced. As for my cultures, I won’t know for a few days whether they all survived lockdown or not. I expect most of them to be ok, but the thing with yeast cultures being living things is that they will sometimes not behave as expected.

    Finally got round to seeing “Wonder Woman 84” which I enjoyed well enough, though the pacing was uneven. It’s a weaker movie than the original. Seeing as how everyone seems to be talking about, maybe I should give “Squid Game” a try?


  12. I had a really stressful week.

    The court interpretation job for the blueberry grower dispute took only 45 minutes, since the blueberry growers came to an agreement. However, getting there (the courthouse is in a town approx. 45 kilometres away) was a chore. First, there was a traffic jam due to an accident on the highway, but once I was through I would have made it on time. However, in the town where the courthouse is there was a huge traffic jam due to what was apparently a serious car accident. Once I realised that I was not going to make it in time, I called up the court to let them know.

    “Where are you?” they asked. Me: “On the B215. I just passed an Aldi and the intersecting road is called RheinstraรŸe.” Courthouse: “But that’s only two kilometres away.”

    When I got there, it turned out that the previous trial was running long, so I was on time after all.

    By the time, I got out of court, the traffic jam had got even worse, so I couldn’t get back to the highway and took the scenic route home instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. After I saw the trailer for the series, I decided to finally read the Wheel of Time series. It’s something like 14 1000-page books, and I’m now on #5. Now I understand why it has so many fans and detractors! I could list all kinds of flaws (e.g. the choice of names is really poor, and the pronunciations seem to follow no obvious rule), and yet the overall world building works well enough to make the place interesting. The first two books have awfully similar plots, but the later books get more sophisticated, and there’s something captivating about the whole thing that keeps me wanting to know what comes next.

    Book #4 managed to make all the pieces work together, and it engaged me to the point where our little foster kid complained that I was spending too much time with “that book” and not enough with him.

    So I set up the chess board and we played a few games. He’s getting better; I can no longer beat him if I spot him a queen; now I spot him a rook and a knight, and the games are close.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying TWoT. I got into it in the early 2000s when I was a remote contractor and one of my colleagues was one of the original RASFWRJs. They lived 500 miles away, but I got to go to a couple of the big Labor Day weekend Darkfriends Social bashes they had a history of throwing, and I met a bunch of the other RASFWRJs that way. (They’re also the ones who got me into Firefly, thankfully, because I had previously avoided it due to the “Western” description. They didn’t succeed in making me a Buffy fan, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      I had the same reactions you’re having. The first couple of books were very rough but interesting enough to keep me going, and subsequent books got better enough that I was willing to stick with them, despite the things about the series that drove me crazy (all that braid-twisting, and the “lap-sitting” which RJ used as a euphemism for sex, ugh). At that point there were 10 books out, so I was able to get them from my library and read them one after another.

      There ended up being no contest on my Hugo ballot, since Ancillary Justice was so far above everything else on the ballot that year for me. But I really have to give Sanderson huge props for managing to un-fuck some of RJ’s plot problems and finish the series in a far better way than I would have ever believed.

      I’m so glad to hear that things are going well with your foster son, and that he’s obviously really warmed-up to you and has come to trust you. Growing up with a parent who devoured books, and who valued and encouraged education, made a huge difference to the outcome of my life, and I’m sure it will have that effect for your son as well. These days, the world’s problems seem insurmountable sometimes, but it’s like the Starfish story: you’ve made a difference to that one. At the end of the day, anyone who can say that has something to feel good about.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. He’s reading Jack London’s White Fang, which is surprisingly enlightened for its day, but not exactly anyone’s idea of PC. (Almost zero female characters, for example.) But the way he reacts to things in it is surprising. Last night he dropped the book, looked up at me and said, “White Fang is a racist!” Now White Fang is an animal (3/4 wolf and 1/4 dog), but the book is told from his POV, so, of course, it’s really Jack London speaking. But in this case, I was able to ask him to read the paragraph that concerned him, and pointed out that White Fang isn’t saying the natives are inferior to the whites; he’s just contrasting their technology.

        By coincidence, one of his friends is a 100% Alaskan native from Barrow, Alaska, and I pointed out that if White Fang could compare modern Barrow with 1898’s Fort Yukon, he’d apply the same logic to conclude that natives like our guy’s little friend are superior to the whites of his own day. That made him happy, and he went back to reading.

        But I’m still chuckling at the idea that a dog/wolf could be a racist. He was definitely immersed in the story to draw that conclusion rather than blaming it on the author, and that makes me happy.

        Maybe we’ll try something a bit more modern next, though.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. I can’t find my paper Covid vax card. I fear I may have left it in a pocket when doing the wash. Will get another one when I get my booster and get by with the QR code till then.


      1. I’m more annoyed with myself than anything, and hoping no anti-vax asshole is using it.

        Meanwhile, the !@#$%^&* permanent crown did not fit, and thus I have another temp and another long wait till the new permanent comes in. At least I wasn’t charged, but I do not know enough cuss words to fully express my feelings.

        In the silence after a noisy grinding bit, the Muzak sang to me “They got a name for the winners in the world, I want a name when I lose” and I thought “that would really be too on the nose if this was a story.” My diagetic music is stranger than fiction. Which somehow does seem very Steely Dan.

        While poky ouchy things were happening, I got my drive-thru flu shot.

        EGG sat on my lap for quite a while, which is somewhat rare and was very nice.


        1. Dang, STILL with the frickin crown? Ivswear that dentist has it in for you!

          Coincidentally, I also got my flu shot yesterday at a GP recheck. Not gonna fool around while Covid is lurking!


        2. Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with the crown again. Hope it gets fixed soon and that the vaccination card shows up again.

          My vaccination entries are in my vaccination record book and I also have a smartphone app I can show if required.


        3. New temp crown has now been on for 36 hours without falling off, beating the previous one by more than 50%!

          I have been lounging palely about the house from day after dental work and flu shot reactions.

          I have my Covid shot official QR code on my phone so I’m covered, and I can get a new paper card when I go in for my booster.

          Must go provide noms to EGG.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. I had to fire a translation customer today, only the second time that has happened.

    The guy (and of course it was a guy) felt that the certified legal translations I’d done of some documents were not “pretty” enough and decided to retype everything and make it prettier. Now the point of a legal translation is the content and format. It’s not supposed to be pretty, because you’re not supposed to frame it and hang it on a wall. So I told him that he can’t mess around with the translation and the format, because there are certain requirements.

    The guy didn’t like that and wanted to show up on my doorstep tomorrow (!), which is really creepy. So I gave him the address of a male colleague with a PhD (and warned the male colleague of the customer) and link to the official database for certified legal translators. I hope that’s the last I’ve heard from this guy, especially since he’s cost me more time than he would have paid me anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

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