A quarterly look back: Q4 2016
January 2, 2017
More than ever, it’s been important to do what we can to remember the bright spots in life. Even while I’ve immersed myself in what we can do to make the world a better place, I’ve kept on with paying attention to life and participating in it.
What I read
Jaran, by Kate Elliott. A generous gift from a good friend, I’d been hankering after a new world in a book and I got just what I was hoping for from Jaran.
The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Selina Siak Chin Yoke. This was a surprise and a pleasant one at that. Maybe it’s the geographical proximity that I responded to but there were so many parallels between my family and that of the protagonist’s that it felt like reading the biography of grandma’s second cousin. And it was oh so well written, too, blending languages like the flavors of blended cuisines. Oh and life with the changing of the times, losing grip on old traditional cultures with the British influence increasingly encroaching. That too could have been grandma’s dictation as she bid goodbye to her children going abroad for a better life.
Fate of Perfection, K.F. Breene. This was the December free Kindle book for Amazon Prime members. This seemed like it could be interesting but the writing felt stilted and awkward. I wanted to like it but I’m spoiled by excellent writers, who probably also have excellent editors who know how to bring the best out of their raw material, so this was an uncomfortable read. There was exactly one good pair of lines that hit the right note and tickled up a smile in the entire book. Just one pair. And that was my only reaction. Much of the time was filled with painfully overwrought emotions or action. Bored, I was mentally asking, “where’s the baby??” and “when’s the last time you fed her or changed her?” instead of being enthralled by the plot. Clumsy is the word I’m looking for. It’s how I feel my writing is on days when the words just won’t flow. They clunk around, they do the job of conveying what I’m thinking, but there’s no pleasure in reading the result.
What I watched
It’s been a very Netflix kind of quarter.
The Crown. I wonder how much of this show was fabricated whole cloth. My nose used to be buried in English history, during the Tudor period, mostly, but I don’t know anything about the current monarchy. If you have any interest in the English monarchy, even if it’s mostly just academic, it’s a fun watch.
Zootopia. We’ve let JuggerBaby watch a bit of tv on the weekends sometimes. It’s a little bit of rest for us, one of the few times ze is conscious and sitting still, and also a great way to teach zir not to be addicted to the tube. I’m glad that ze is willing to say All Done when it’s time to stop watching because we don’t allow the tv on during meals. We’ve tried it a time or two and ze ends up with more food in zir ears than usual. Generally we give zir 10-15 minute sessions so we can catch our breath but when I’m in terrible pain or fatigue, we’ve gone as long as 25-30 minutes. Ze actually voluntarily picks a book at the tail end and asks to read instead at that point.
The Land Before Time: The Land of the Brave. This was pure nostalgia for me. I was looking for the original but Netflix only had this one. Unfortunately JuggerBaby was not a fan of dinosaurs on the screen – they should only be in books or small plastic figures I suppose. It also earwormed me with the song “Hot and stinky” so double awesome.
Jessica Jones. I didn’t remember very much of the Alias series but this was very well done. It was hard seeing My Doctor as the villain but he pulled it off.
Luke Cage. This show was spun off Jessica Jones, rather naturally given the relationship between the characters, and had a wholly different feel.
Where I went
FinCon! That was it. We had a great deal of travel earlier this year and it was time for me to be home and rest for a good long while.
What I made or did
It feels like I didn’t do anything this quarter aside from work, dodge germs, and plan for the holidays. A lot of planning goes into minimizing the madness that surrounds our visiting of relatives. It’s still a madhouse, but at least it’s a short period of the year.
What I learned
Believe it or not, I learned basic electrical wiring: how to safely cut, strip, and reattach wiring, and what exciting things happen when you touch a live current with metal. The dogs didn’t quite poo themselves when said exciting things happen. Thankfully no one was hurt, it just made us all jump.