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The Bibliophile
Too busy reading most likely ...
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Discovered this one-off half hour show yesterday, thanks to it beginning after the end of one of my regular shows: A Sense of History, written and performed by Jim Broadbent (who was, once upon a long time ago, the Spanish Infanta's translator in the first series of "Blackadder"). Deliciously dark-humoured mockumentary with a twist at the end. :-)

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Two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug (100% merino) in "Autumn Leaves". This colourway goes way beyond autumn (on this planet, anyway) ... though the initial visual impression is of the vivid yellows I think every colour that exists is somewhere in these skeins. :-) (Okay, I don't see any green. On the outside. But with Jitterbug, being handpainted with the colours overlaying and merging into each other, anything is possible once one gets inside the skeins) (Next day edit: found a couple of dark green spots on one of the skeins, where blue appears to have been accidentally dripped ... something that happens with handpainted and adds to their uniqueness ... in both instances right where yellow is transitioning to orange on the strand so that's why they're dark green instead of bright green

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Yep, BBC Radio online again. This time they're repeating Kenneth Williams reads: Cold Comfort Farm and oh! what reading it is! He was obviously having a ball with the voices and accents and over-the-top descriptions of everyone and everything. The book has been on my to-read list and I suspect that when I finally get 'round to reading it myself my brain is going to be using Williams' voice instead of my own.

A new segment is being made available each day this week (three are up as I type this) with the usual one month listening window for each.

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Was made aware of this BBC Radio series through cataloguing the companion book: "Incarnations: India in 50 lives". Available as downloadable individual podcast episodes or compiled into omnibus episodes (not downloadable ... yet), each containing several of the podcasts. Have been playing the omnibus eps (the easiest way to hear the series in order) and been quite enthralled ... highly recommended if you enjoy learning the history that wasn't in your textbooks. :-)

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The Spring 2016 issue of Twist Collective has been released! My favourites are:

Zellige
Wrought
Flux
Parcel
Epiphany

Also contains an interesting article on the history of bathing suits.

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jlsjlsjls
... from my John Wyndham re-readathon (though I did finish all my print copies and one ebook, with a couple more ebooks still in reserve) to pick back up on my old plan to try to read every book which had a representative illustrated in Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials. So I'm now just over 100 pages into Heavy Planet which is all Hal Clement's Mesklin tales, two novels and two short stories, together in one volume (The novel "Mission of Gravity" is the official Barlowe connection).

I read SO much science fiction SO voraciously (basically everything in sight, good, bad or mediocre) in my high school and college years that I wasn't sure if I'd ever read Clement before. I suspect not ... that sense of humour would have stuck in my brain. The Mesklin (original Barlowe image here, not recommended for those who dislike creepy-crawlies) are a marvelous creation and have made me realize (not for the first time) that the majority of science fiction movies and television really shortchange us on varying sizes of other species ... most of their intelligent nonhuman lifeforms are withing human size variation because slapping a forehead and some makeup on a live actor is the cheapest way to go (kudos to "Farscape on this one for using muppetry to give us large-scale Pilot and small-scale Rygel). A movie adaptation featuring Clement's 15-inch long Mesklin is something I'd really love to see (insert here usual proviso of provided it was done well, bore some resemblance to the original stories, etc., etc.)

Wonder if Peter Jackson is looking for a new project ...

Here's a sentence that made me laugh out loud; the Mesklin sailing ship captain Barlennan, who is the main POV in "Mission of Gravity" and the first of his species to make contact with humans, comes to a new conclusion about the type of people who opt for his professsion of wandering seafaring trader: "The captain, thinking over this event afterward, realized that by his own lifelong standards he had a crew composed entirely of lunatics, with himself well to the front in degree of aberration; but he was fairly sure that this particular form of insanity was going to be useful."

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The problem is this: buying knitting patterns is SO much faster and easier then making them. Yeah, I've been shopping. And justifying it using the rather dubious reasoning that they are cheaper than yarn ... (though using the supporting and encouraging the famous designers of tomorrow excuse might work better)

Tiebreaker
Labyrinthus
Road Trip

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We're supposed to hit a high temp of 28 tomorrow. That's PLUS 28C! In April. In Calgary.

This is a billion, zillion flavours of WRONG!!! And the fact that I haven't damaged any of the people who keep joyfully saying how wonderful it is that the weather is so "nice" is one serious miracle. (well, the last one was my assistant who is allowed to live because she's essential to my survival, and aside from this remark, usually pretty good at keeping me able to project the illusion of sanity)

P.S. Just to clarify the point of this little outburst, the "normal" high temperature in this area at this time of year is in the 10C to 13C range with overnight lows around freezing.
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More gorgeous landscapes ... this time of Shetland :Vementry

And an interesting historical figure: J Cathcart Wason, Shetland’s knitting M.P. (I love the bit about him knitting his own socks in the House of Commons tearoom)

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Have been on a bit of a John Wyndham re-readathon the past few days, thanks to reminiscing talk about him in forums elsewhere. "Day of the triffids" is the one I've read the most (and fairly recently) so skipped that for now, but "The chrysalids", "Web", and "The Midwich cuckoos" were consumed rapidly and have been a reminder that a good tale, well told, is never ever boring even if you know it by heart. "Chocky" is next and that's the last of the Wyndhams I actually own print copies of. "The trouble with lichen", "The kraken wakes" and other old favourites will be an excuse for a Kobo shopping trip. :-)

Like I need an excuse. (ah well, at least ebooks don't consume precious bookcase space)

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One row into seventeenth eyelet pattern repeat. Have sensibly given up on that over-optimistic notion of a repeat per day ... the rows are long, with each one getting longer and RL things like eating, sleeping, and all that domestic survival stuff keep taking up some of my time. Even so, progressing pretty quickly. I do especially like how the occasional stretches of solidish colour emphasize any eyelets they happen to run across the top of (the weirder side of my brain is insisting that those ones have eyebrows!) :-)

DSCN0879_20160409_778

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Random Number Generator Scarf (it's doubleknitted so that each side is the negative image of the other)

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Just listened to this. Twice. Britain's Atlantis

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Got derailed for a bit by the past week's reading blitz, but nearly back on track now. Twelve pattern repeats completed now; I was aiming for at least one repeat per day (which gets more challenging as the shawl gains width with each repeat) so by that I need to aim at having done at least fifteen by the end of tomorrow. Certainly doable. :-)

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This was inside (okay, once again, it was actually in a boring old shipping envelope that nobody wants to see)
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And inside that was this!Collapse )

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Tano must, by now, be quite possibly the most multi-skilled Assassin on the planet. In the early days he briefly took care of reading Bren's fan mail (and got to be the first to tease him about getting marriage proposals), researched the financing/logistics/salaries of setting up a correspondence office when the mail got to the overflowing the post office stage (as well as taking care of all the government paperwork and even some hiring to get the thing operational). He's the medic for his team (with the rather daunting responsibility of being unique in having to know, in addition to atevi medicine, enough human physiology to duct tape Bren together when necessary and keep him from being accidentally poisoned when eating out). And he's only ever got to blow something up once in the dozen or so years he's been assigned to Bren.
And now ...Collapse )

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Got a new music CD via work today: the Baltimore Consort's Gut Wind and Wire. On second listen now ... lovely, lovely tunes! The official label site doesn't have any samples but Amazon.com will let you have a listen if you wish.

I've become quite fond of the Baltimore Consort; their stuff is like time travel to rock music of other eras**. :-)

**That's not just my perception/imagination either ... one of their albums is titled "La Rocque 'n' Roll"

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A good author will throw the occasional curve ball into an ongoing series that makes one have to rethink everything that went before. Instead of a ball Cherryh threw a large chunk of a galaxy in this one! Still gobsmacked.

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Got my copy of Visitor today!!! And I have leftovers I can reheat for dinner instead of cooking so that's valuable devouring reading time gained! See you when I surface!

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... or, When a friend gets you addicted to something, it's essential to pass it one. ;-)

The witch who came in from the cold.

anotheranon (who probably walked some of of these parts of Prague during her recent visit to that city) recommended it, I read the first "episode" this morning and at this moment I've just finished episode four and am about to start episode five. So very VERY good!!! So good that I know it's going to drive me crazy waiting for the remaining parts of this tale that have yet to be published (episode nine is being released March 30 so there's a brief relief in sight)

First episode is available for free download/reading on the website linked above ... just to get you nicely hooked.

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Yes, this is definitely the right pattern for this yarn. Halfway through seventh stitch pattern repeat now. Easiest repeat tracking ever ... each one adds a new column of giant eyelets to the shawl, so first repeat had one, second had two, and so on (if you squint you can see the seventh set of eyelets snugged up against the needle cord at the top; they need a couple more rows knitted above them before they'll open up)

DSCN0849_20160325_751

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... and so this is coming to live at my house (Pinterest link because the image is now pulled from the Etsy shop). Justified because:
*pretty (alright, downright splendiforous) colours
*I've never worked with yarn with yak content before and how will I ever learn whether or not I like it if I don't have any to try?
*I had a 10% off code that I got with the previous pair of skeins I bought from her

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This yarn is aboslutely divine to work with. Two repeats into pattern (so far)

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"Slain" has had all its yarn ends woven in (my least favourite part of knitting) and now all it needs is a bath and blocking. And now my two skeins of luscious handspun are wound into one big ball (with the two adjoining ends colour-matched), the chosen pattern is printed and all is ready to cast on! :-)

DSCN0835_20160320_737

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Laid down the law to myself that I couldn't touch the handspun until I'd completed at least one of two almost-finished projects. And I'm reasonably good about this kind of self-disclipine most of the time. ;p So as of a few minutes ago, I bound off the final stitch of Slain. Yarns are all from a local dyer who lives in Banff; the colourways are "Falling Leaves" (orange), "Dandelion" (green), "Dark Opal" (brown).

Now I want a burnt-orange wool jacket/coat (a couple of shades darker than that colour in the shawl) to wear it with ...

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DSCN0817_20160320_730

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Meant to mention that I succumbed and bought that Magnus Berg album (the one I'd heard an earcatching track from on the radio last weekend) on Wednesday as a download via Bandcamp**. Have played it a few times while doing computer stuff ... loved it the first time and love it more with each repeat. Shall definitely be watching for more from this artist (this was his debut album)

Highly recommended!

**You can listen via the site at no charge but payment required for downloads; CD is also available.

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Remember that blue/red handspun I bought recently? Well, this is the other yarn from that spinner that I was equally drooling over

And my Paypal has funds again ...

I don't have ANY yak yarn at all ... that's reason enough, right?

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jlsjlsjls
And another new-volume countdown flashback! Yes, I do have to do these. It's a law. ;-)
One of the things that make humans truly alien ... facial hair:Collapse )

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Adaptation of a Herbert Niebling design!

Niebling designs are what knitters dream of making when they're fantasizing about having unlimited time to work on projects ... he was a lace-designing god! Just look! (and remember, every one of those pieces is created with exactly the same stitches that made your socks ... it's all in how you do 'em)

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Dear morons in charge of this idiocy
When the aliens land they are NOT going to consider us intelligent lifeforms. Because intelligent lifeforms would not ever have come up with the utter nonsense known as daylight savings time. Intelligent lifeforms would say, "If you want more daylight during your waking hours then get up earlier in the morning."

P.S. I've never bought the excuse of this originating with wartime factories saving energy ... I mean, I know that's the reasoning behind it but honestly, since there's the same number of hours of daylight per day no matter what time the clocks say it is, nobody ever thought just to change the operating hours?

You'd never guess I really REALLY hate the idiocy known as clock changes, would you?
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Started reading Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Siege last night and carrying on with it this morning. Quite good, so far ... not just the story but the telling of history from a non-British viewpoint (which is why I love reading this author; he broadens and changes my historical perceptions). Definitely need better maps of Cádiz and environs though ... there is an area map and a city map in the book but they're both skeletal on labeling and also rotated to fit the pages so north isn't upwards on either and they each have a different rotation/"north" so it can be a bit brain-bending flipping between the two trying to match up a city location in relation to the larger area (the city is being bombarded from outside and that's important to the plot so one does tend to try to follow just where the firing is coming from)

I don't think the best map in the world will help me with how a pair of ships that left the city sailing west are now in Tarifa, which is southeast of Cádiz ...

Since this isn't Pérez-Reverte's usual translator I'm thinking maybe an error and the text was really supposed to have them headed east ... gonna try looking up this specific military expedition to see what happened.

Edited to add: History stuff found online says the ships were originally being sent to Tarifa, they didn't end up there due to mischance or change of plan, so presumably this is just bad wording/translating (I suspect the latter since the author is a god of exquisite wording and historical accuracy) tied into the fact that while Tarifa is to the southwest of Cádiz, the position of the harbour at Cádiz requires sailing west very briefly to depart the city no matter which direction one is actually headed. ;p

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These things are SERIOUSLY addictive!

I figure if I save even one person from heading down the path of no return then that's more of 'em for me! ;p

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And we're back to the formal, we-mean-business group portrait cover. Last year's Bren-looks-like-his-tea-just-went-down-the-wrong-way-due-to-something-Ilisidi-said cover was just so much more fun (and likely more intriguing to potential new readers, too ... I've always maintained that if the cover of "Deliverer" had portrayed that scene where Banichi's only wearing a towel and a gun**, it woulda sold millions of copies ***GRIN***)

visitor

**The guy is 2.5 metres (that's 8'4" for the users of archaic measuring systems) of muscle who moves like a cat. And his hair was unbraided ... for an atevi that's more naked than not having the towel. ;-)

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A contribution to her quest for the history of camp humour ... this is Canadian musical camp from the late sixties. I was singing this song many many years before I ever had a clue what it was about (along with the band's other songs about the invention of the birth control pill, Batman's sexual orientation, Peyton Place, the KKK's failed attempt to operate in Canada and lots of other interesting topics). And now that you know more than you probably want to about the kind of childhood I had ... (explains a lot though, doesn't it?)

Song title contains an extra "e" on the YouTube post; it's actually "The Wild Wilde West"

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jlsjlsjls
Dialogue from "Cabin Pressure" + images from Tolkien movies = Tolkien Pressure!!!

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This year's instalment (the 10th) of the annual Sock Madness has begun in the knitting world. This is a speed and skill competition, with special patterns commissioned from designers to be used in the various elimination rounds. This is also an added challenge to the advanced knitters because the competition requires that the patterns be knitted as written ... no changes or customizations to stitches or size or technique (so that everybody has to knit the same number of stitches in the same way**); they get to choose their own yarns and colours though.

No, I'm not in this. But it's fun to "watch" and, though often not to my taste, the patterns are always fascinating to see when they are revealed to the general public just because they are always out of the ordinary. This is the just-unveiled first round one sock: SlipStripeSpiral

Edited to add: Just took a look at the numbers. So far only 87 out of 748 competitors have finished these socks (with 5 dropping out of the race)

Further edited to add: If you're curious about just how creative competition socks can be, here are the designs used in the previous nine years of Sock Madness.

**this is why you'll see marker rings or other such oddities on some of the submissions ... they're there as visible indicators to the judges that required number of pattern repeats were completed and aren't actually a permanent part of the socks.

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For some reason I started re-reading the Chanur books as bedtime reading (actually I know the reason ... pull one book out of bookcase to look up one little thing on the map due to something mentioned in a forum and next thing I know I'm reading ...) and have just hit one of my most-loved bits. In the midst of gloom and doom and darkness and we're-probably-all-going-to-die, we get the Dinner (uppercase intentional) hunt! Because in real life the absurd happens when it happens, not only during the good times, and a good story (even and especially science fiction) should always reflect real life.
Wherein the POV character has been somewhat out of it lately ...Collapse )

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Saw last night that there weren't any music samples (that my half-asleep brain could find, anyway) on the Blinddog Smokin' website but was too bordering on bedtime to go a hunting. Here's the song that I heard played on the radio:

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jlsjlsjls
This time a band called Blinddog Smokin' ... song is "Don't put no money on me" from their "High Steppin'" album. I don't think it's physically possible for a human singing voice to get any growlier than this!

P.S. Damn! HMV isn't carrying anything by them either!

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... a chap named Magnus Berg being played on The Friday Night Blues Party on the radio right this moment (song is "St. Pete Boogie"). And he is impressive and good! And he's on Bandcamp if you want to have a listen ... gonna have to go music shopping there once my current funds transfer to Paypal finishes going through (I'd love to shop local for the CD but have checked the online inventory of the best music chain in town and they don't stock this artist in any of their outlets here or anywhere else in Canada or in their online store)

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... completely and utterly blindside you. Just finished "Poison", volume four of Greg Rucka's "Lazarus". Excellent continuation of the story, all kinds of politicking and strategy and action and will-they-pull-it-off? The kind of tale that makes you happy you started it and sorry that you're nearly to the end of this instalment. And then I turned to the last page and WHAM!!! Did. Not. See. That. Coming.

So there's more than one reason her name is Forever.

And now I've got to wait at least half a year to see what happens next ...

yeah, yeah, I know I could find out sooner by buying the individual comic books instead of waiting for the fifth book. But that'd mean at least five cliffhangers (at the end of each issue) instead of just the one ... because there's no way this is resolved/explained all tidily in the next issue. I don't think I could stand the strain.

Edited to add: That was last night. This morning I discovered that the series went on a six-month hiatus after dropping that little bombshell on the readers. So it's more like a year at minimum before I find out what's next. Evil EVIL creators!!!

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... that I'm a wee tad addicted to C.J. Cherryh's writing. Just thought I'd share a little proof that I'm not the only one: MIND MELD: Celebrating a Grand Master – Our Favorite C.J. Cherryh Reads (some interesting stuff in the comments as well)

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I've just posted a new book list over at catdesk ... reading treats galore! Happy browsing!

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Have been cruising through the thousands upon thousands of patterns on offer in Ravelry looking for the perfect one to go with that handspun yarn that arrived last Monday (because some yarns get to immediately jump to the head of the queue, that's why). I'm not joking about that number either; as of this moment there are 28,819 shawl patterns listed on the site. And that number has likely gone up as I'm typing this post (also not joking; Ravelry is international and people 'round the world are continually adding to it 24/7). Qualifications that I've used to use to narrow things down a bit:

*Not over elaborate because I want the focus to be the yarn and its colours; fancy stitchery or lace will just be lost in the colours but I do want some texture/patterning

*Has to be a design that works with a single colour (I know this yarn is multicoloured but that's not the same as working a design that depends on the contrast between two colours in planned patterning)

*Because I want to use every bit of these skeins I want a design that is either for close to this amount of yarn or else one that can be extended to a larger size (which, depending on structure, isn't possible for all patterns)

*Preferably designed for this weight of yarn (it's possible to knit a pattern meant for a heavier yarn on thinner yarn/smaller needles but if it isn't a design that can be extended to compensate for that then one ends up with an elaborate handknitted pocket handkerchief. And some stitch patterning only looks good in heavier weights)

*I have to like how the thing looks (otherwise, what's the point?)

With all that in mind, my current possibilities list is now down to:

Nimbus by Lisa Mutch (extendable at outer edge)
Ischl by Monie Ebner (meant for yarn twice this thickness but is so huge that it will still come out a decent size in thinner yarn; extendable at midpoint)
Infuscate by Hunter Hammersen (an any yarn size, knit until you run out of yarn design)
Sinopia by Hunter Hammersen (an any yarn size, knit until you run out of yarn design)
Nacarat by Hunter Hammersen (an any yarn size, knit until you run out of yarn design)
Hamaya by Cecelia Campochiaro (extendable at outer edge)

I've veering strongly in favour of the Hunter Hammersen patterns; I'd been looking for an excuse (like I need one!) to buy her Curls ebook** (so I did, yesterday) which includes the three patterns I listed here plus some other good possibilities (though my favourite, Filemot definitely requires a more solid-coloured yarn to look its best)

Next step might be drawing Hammersen pattern names out of a hat ... ;p

**Actually, I want ALL of Hunter Hammersen's books. Just because. (and I just looked at her blog, Violently Domestic and discovered her very first is on sale at 25% off until tomorrow. So need to check if I've enough Paypal funds left, after the decimation of the handspun buying and yesterday's "Curls" purchase, to grab the ebook version now (I have a personal rule of never letting Paypal spending go past the cash in hand and onto my credit card)

Edited to add: Scored! With seven bucks and change to spare! (after allowing for the exchange rate) So I now also own a copy of the first The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet book! (there are two more volumes in this series but those can wait until I've replenished funds)

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Thanks to libwitch alerting me that it's being rerun, I've been listening to the BBC Radio version of Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" this week (they've broadcasting an episode per day this week). Overall, quite good with all kinds of extra twirls and flourishes, some of them new and some of them from the novel (which contained several bits that had had to be cut from the original TV miniseries plus ideas thought of afterwards). Writing that last sentence I'm now wondering if "Neverwhere" is the new "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy": multiple versions with each plotline a little different (okay, in the case of H2G2, often extremely different)

The cast are excellent, as are their performances. I've confessed elsewhere in LJ that Anthony Head as Mr. Croup was giving me some minor brain issues, not because he wasn't great in the role ... he is ... but because I've got multiple listens of five series of "Bleak Expectations behind me and he's sorta hardwired into my head as Anthony Head evil role = Mr. Gently Benevolent. I'll just have to listen to "Neverwhere" an equal number of times to balance it out ... that'll work, right? The voice I was actually expecting to sound wrong in the role was Benedict Cumberbatch as Islington; that's because long before Sherlock there was "Cabin Pressure and he's pretty much indelibly imprinted on me as Captain Martin Crieff. But the Cumberbatch surprised me by sounding so much like Peter Capaldi (who played Islington in the TV version) that I actually rechecked the radio show's cast listing thinking I'd missed reading that there'd been an actor substitution.

There's loads of time left to listen to the whole series if you haven't heard it yet!

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Just finished listening to a most interesting BBC Radio documentary: Musical Variations: The Life of Angela Morley. Probably best known to most folk these days for her "Watership Down" score and her work with John Williams but anyone addicted to classic BBC comedy has heard her music, arrangements and conducting in the form of opening/closing themes for "The Goon Show", "Hancock's Half Hour" and many others, credited under her original name: Wally Stott.

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This was in my mailbox today!!! (okay, really it was inside a gray shipping bag but I figured you've all seen one of those before)
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And inside the pretty wrappings ... Red Light DistrictCollapse )

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Decided I deserved a reward for finding an innovative workaround solution at work for something our IT can't get to right away, so gave in to the urge I've been feeling lately to go handspun yarn hunting; that Laura Chau skein I turned into a Hitchhiker shawl last year was such a joy to work with and then there's the whole truly one-of-a-kind yarn cachet. And it's always a pleasure to support a skilled artisan.

So tonight I went online a-cruising among the folks who work with hand-applied dyes and paints, drop spindles, and spinning wheels, and then give the rest of us mere mortals the privilege of buying their creations and found some glorious yarny treasures that had been spun in the province next door to the west (even more of a pleasure to support a Canuck artisan), and finally managed to make a choice ... a pair of giant-sized matched skeins of handpainted Polwarth wool/silk blend. And they'll be here very soon because the spinner has already printed the shipping label (just under three hours from my placing the order ... another reason to love this kind of shopping)

Can't show you what it looks like until the package gets here because the image/description has already been removed from the shop. But I can give you a hint if you want to try to guess at the colours ... the yarn is named "Red Light District"

Edited to add: Dawned on me that I could give you a peek at the skeins I didn't buy, just so you can get an idea of why it was so hard to choose

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SFWA Names C.J. Cherryh the 32nd Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master

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Carrot cake from the local bakery ... they make it with chopped walnuts instead of raisins and it is utterly scrumptious!!!

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