January 31st, 2004On this day in different years

documentation, writing, quill

Buy-on-sight authors

I only have a few buy-on-sight authors. By this I mean that when I say that an author is buy-on-sight, if I see a book of theirs for sale (and I have the money to buy it), I will buy it immediately, even if I have not yet read the book.

My two most active buy-on-sight authors are Lois McMaster Bujold and Diane Duane.

There is a Lois McMaster Bujold community on LJ: lmbujold. There is also an official website (http://www.dendarii.com) and a mailing list associated with the website that Lois Herself has presence on.

Flagged for the attention of new reader naraht (noticing you, actually, was what prompted this entry, as I recognised the name): Diane Duane's blog has the RSS feed outofambit, and then there is the community youngwizards.

Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey are no longer buy on sight authors, due to one or more of the following factors:

  • decline in quality of work

  • me growing up

John M. Ford would be a buy on sight author, except that I seem to own many books that he's written and haven't run into one of his that I don't have in years, and that I'm not seeing much new material from him.

Robin McKinley had been a buy on sight author, but had been inactive for a while; Patricia McKillip is becoming one. C.J. Cherryh has been one for a while, but her writing is developing more, for me, into read-at-library-first series, and buy-on-sight series.

I will buy other books, but I have to get to know them first: someone must recommend them to me, or I must have read them before, or I must be sold on them by cover art grabbing my eye, and read enough of it to know that I'll want to read the rest and re-read it.

Re-readability is the real test of whether or not I think I'll want to buy a book. Books are not disposable, to me. I read fast enough that I zoom through books in a few hours (if I have the time) to a few days (if I'm somewhat busy) or up to two weeks (if I'm absolutely jammed for time). If I buy a book, I'll want to keep it, and if I keep it, I'll either want it for reference later, or I'll want to read it more than once again.
high energy magic


Once upon a time, swallowtayle told me of a cunning trick she'd developed, to annoy and confuse friends. She'd bake brownies, and incorporate tea leaves. Any child of the 50s*, 60s and 70s should know what the presence of plant matter in a brownie means...

...only in the case of swallowtayle's brownies, it's tea, for great justice and extra caffiene.

Tonight we baked brownies, using the powers of the great and wonderful bread machine to do the mixing for us. votania made typical brownies, of a standard type, with butterscotch and chocolate chips in. I made more brownies, and added black tea and crushed mint as well as chocolate chips.

Gently crushed mint, I might add. Maybe even a few stems.

votania plans to take some to work with her tomorrow. Mmm, evil!brownies.

*Any child of the 50s except my mother.
  • Current Music
    "Scampi" in my head. Still.
documentation, writing, quill

Book Pimp: Cherryh vs. Lackey; innocence, ignorance

norabombay, I recommend that you find the C.J. Cherryh novels Cloud's Rider and Rider at the Gate and read them immediately you finish To Catch a Thief.

I vaguely recall that the books about the Nighthorses (mercurial, hungry, omnivorous-verging-on-carnivorous, telepathic alien horse-type things with their own agendas (said agendas often consisting of getting fed, laid, or both) ) were written in reaction to the Companions (white, blue-eyed, Special Magical Pure & Good Reincarnated Spirit Horses), but I can't recall where I heard that said. Since I have a vague impression of it being in Alaska at Guardian, it was probably onList, but I can't recall who said it.

Rider at the Gate especially is a good antidote, as it's got a lovely blonde spoiled brat female delicate angel 13 year old, Brionne, who is In Tune with Nature (just the nice creatures, not the nasty mean scary ones) who is utterly out of tune with anything approaching reality, and it gets her in a royal mess of trouble.

I came to the conclusion that one of the more potentially explosive themes of the Lackey books is that innocence is one of the most powerful forms of Good and Protection that there is, and that often ignorance and innocence go together. (What the hell is 'innocence', anyway? That's one of those slippery words that escapes me at this hour of night.) This is the sort of innocence/ignorance that lets characters be happy and everything is all right as long as they don't know about the bad things that are going on, and if there are bad things going on that they know about, they have to Make It Stop in order for things to be OK again. Even so, once the characters have found out about all the bad things that can happen in the world, they'll never be completely OK again.

Thing is, when you're trying to preserve innocence as a virtue, what often goes along with it is ignorance of the basic life skills to cope with bad things. Take the Buddha, for example. He was kept ignorant of death and disease and poverty, and lived in a charmed dreamworld, and it was a major shock to him when he learned that Bad Things could and did happen to people. He managed to recover; a lesser mind might have gone boink and broken.

Innocence as a virtue only happens when there is an active force working to shield a protected class from reality, and those who are so shielded never learn, or learn too late, how to cope with reality. Think of immune systems, and the archetypical person shielded from all dirt and disease. Their immune system will be shot to hell, and the least sniffle will take over and kill them. A kid who eats poop and drain cleaner will, of course, suffer for it, but a kid who gets to play in mud, play with sick friends, and eat the occasional thing that's been dropped on the floor will develop a robust immune system unless there's an uncommon medical factor at work (such as AIDS).

I wonder if there's a correlation between people who are vehemently against all forms of vaccination, and the people who are vehemently against allowing any form of something they consider 'bad' to get to their children.

The preservation of innocence at the price of knowledge and skills to deal with reality is anathema to those of us who value knowledge and experience. Little cute fluffy-bunnies who have never been exposed to General Dodginess will not have an instinctive revulsion for everything that is bad for them; instead, they will have a revulsion for certain classes of unfamiliar, having learned only that Things That Mommy Says Are Bad Are Just Bad, M'Kay?, and will not have the experience to pick out why that person who is buttering them up and saying they're perfect and wonderful is actually not having their best interests at heart.
Little Fayoumis, Nephew


Little Fayoumis got a haircut from marxdarx today (Friday evening).

Straight-across bangs, then the proto-sideburns are pointy-ish.

Spock, anyone?

It's so completely adorable. Of course, LF doesn't have the (Mastery! It is mastery!) emotional control thing going on. He doesn't have pointed ears, or even pointed eyebrows, or an inner eyelid or green blood. He does have a bright little brain, though. Yay!
running, bomb tech

Head, Bed

There have been several songs stuck in my head lately. The songs from "Scampi", "Bonjour Monseiur", and "Kenya" (think the Evil Power of "Badgers", same artist) have been bouncing around. Also, there is Aqua (I think. It was on a easalle mix CD that was heavy on the Aqua.). "Freeeeeaky Friday. Things aren't going my way. [incomprehensible/unrememberable.] My life is a country song."


One Lunatic, often in disguise, hiding from paranoid ImpSec minions in (choice of) Kenya, France, or Kuala Lumpur, with towel and extra underpants, on a very weird Friday, feeling much too much like Carmen Sandiego.

Have been, since last night, taking the St. John's Wort. Noon, evening, and midnight, 300 mg each. That should hopefully help.

At the store tonight, got two sets of the little clippy things, and used them to attach to the other two corners of my bed, pinning the mattresses together. Then I turned the mattresses around, so it is to be hoped that my bed will do less of the falling apart and more of the staying together.
Azzcalm, Quiet

General Happiness

Goldfish crackers.

A house full of people who actually do care, even though they're busy.

Mint chocolate chip brownies with a power boost. (Oooh. Goooey. Mmm. But next time I'll be sure to use peppermint, not spearmint.)

Good music. Good Ol' Shawn is hacking at some music, making a theme for something or other, and I have reaped the benefits (and non-benefits) of hearing the beta. Benefits: it's good. Non-benefits: it's big, cuts off 1:54 into a 3:54 mp3 track and not on a resolved note, and isn't the finished version yet. Also, for Baroque orchestration, it's insufficiently complex, but that's a feature of the age, I think. (This age, vs. Baroque.) My mind itches for a descant, probably violin or flute, but I can't note down what I hear accurately. The theme goes AAAAAABC, repeated; over two cycles, AAAAAABCAAAAAABC; I would have the descant echo dominant notes from bits of it, subtly, to reinforce the structure of it, to have it vary some.

My throat has clogged. Not-good. And I've been making with the sneezies, to the point where the transit cop at the Metro bus stop asked if I was OK yesterday.

Must do laundry. My blacks bin is full.
  • Current Music
_schools120835, IRL, professional, Naomi, _schools3485

Nice Afternoon

Did laundry, and happily was able to combine laundry with the timing on other tasks; 1/2 hour in the washer is just long enough for me to shower properly and dry off while reading some friends page. Then I did some other household things (swapping out bags from little wastebins, dishes) and when my laundry was ready to bring in, I was about ready to leave.

Bank was a bust. The bank by Metrocenter closes at 2 pm on Saturdays. !! Waldenbooks didn't have Irresistable Forces in yet (they said the 3rd or the 10th); there were two copies of Paladin of Souls out. Nice lady with clipboard didn't seem to be looking for my demographic group. Hopped a bus to the bank store branch on the corner of Northern. I attained quarters!

Homewards, then, and I finally gave in to the temptation and got the Orange Chicken. Mmm. I am becoming known there.

There may or may not be something going on at easalle's tonight. I will be advised if someone with active wheels is showing, so I can hop a bus. Meanwhile? Household amusements, catching up on e-mail backlogs, reading good classic SF, and some mild cleaning.

I got the pasta pot from last night washed. Lunatic's dishwasher organizational tip: Always wash the big things that take up the most space first, unless there are things more pressingly needed (ie: all out of plates or forks or cups) because there will always be small articles ready to be washed, but the big ones take up more space in the queue and if the washer is partially full of small articles, there may or may not be room for the big one.
  • Current Music
    Carbon Leaf - The Boxer