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About Me, Books

Quiet weekend

I hadn’t really said as much on this journal, but I was on an unofficial book-buying hiatus through most of January, trying to take the opportunity to get caught up on reading the books I actually already own (wacky concept, I know). This got thrown off track though yesterday, since I was feeling down about getting a rejection letter–so I decided on emergency bookstore and walking therapy, by way of coping.

Therefore, picked up in print and making my first two purchases of 2011, I present:

  • userinfocmpriest‘s Bloodshot (which I am likely to also get electronically, but which I have only in print for now). This is I think her first official urban fantasy. There are vampires, but then again, this is Cherie Priest, and she’s on the list of people who’ll make me buy a book even if there are vampires in it.
  • A used copy of Susanna Kearsley‘s Named of the Dragon–which I’d actually previously owned and hadn’t been impressed with the first time through. But I found myself wanting to re-read it and feeling sad that I’d gotten rid of my last copy!

What I was actually looking for were the first two books of Cassandra Chan’s mystery series, The Young Widow and Village Affairs. I cannot find them for love or money in any of the local bookstores on my usual routes–and I checked eight, including the downtown B&N, the downtown Borders, two of the three used bookstores at Pike Place Market (the third being currently inaccessible due to construction), the U-Bookstore, Half Price Books in the U-District, Twice Sold Tales in the U-District, and the Ravenna branch of Third Place Books. I shall therefore probably have to order them, and that’s fine, though I’d wanted to give the local stores a good fighting chance at selling me these titles first.

Also of note on this walk: my marketboys were doing crazytalk huge amounts of business when I swung by them for blackberries. The market in general was very, very crowded, possibly more so than usual just because the construction does weird things to the flow of people through the place. But still, wow! Way more people there on a Saturday afternoon than I’m used to seeing when I swing through there in the mornings and afternoons, to and from work.

There was a rally going on in Westlake Park downtown when I walked from Pike Place to Borders. I wasn’t terribly surprised to see it was a rally in support of the protestors in Egypt, and I was glad to see them raising their voices. Saw a couple of people on the corner of Fourth and Pike holding up an Egyptian flag, and scattered outlying knots of people on the fringes of the main rally as well as I swung over to B&N.

Yunnie Bubble Tea in the U-District still makes extremely tasty bubble tea. I miss them.

Half-Price Books in the U-District is still pretty awesome, even though they don’t have the amount of space at their disposal that Third Place does. Good place to go for book spelunking.

Gray, cool, and rainy but not too much so is a strangely appropriate type of weather to have if you’re moody and in the mood for exercise. I actually kind of liked the weather as I walked from the University District on up to the Ravenna branch of Third Place (which I’d never been in and which is much smaller than the main store), and from there up towards 80th. Also, north along 20th from Ravenna Third Place is a nice residental stretch of neighborhood, and gave me that odd little sense of satisfaction I sometimes get when I check out part of Seattle I’ve never seen before. ‘Cause, y’know, a Warder should walk her city and stuff.

By the time I made it home, close to five o’clock, I was feeling better mentally, albeit footsore. I estimate I did four miles and change while I was out, which is about what I do on a daily basis during the week–but during the week, it’s split up into morning and afternoon chunks.

And finishing off the day with a viewing of Megapython Vs. Gatoroid, this week’s Syfy channel crapfest, was pretty much exactly what I needed. Toss in some 4th season Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and some Voyage fanfic, and I was in a much better frame of mind by the time I went to bed.

I’m a little sad about missing Conflikt this weekend, but on the whole I think I made the right decision. My reserves of Cope were pretty low, and I needed some quiet Me time for a while. userinfosolarbird‘s been having a great time at the con this weekend though and I look forward to her bringing me a copy of userinfoseanan_mcguire‘s shiny new album!

Today I have been working on query letters for Lament, and a bit of actual writing. And I’ve been playing with the shiny new barcode scanning functionality in the iPhone Goodreads app, scanning in a bunch more of the books I own that I never got around to adding to my shelves on that site. I’ve topped 1,500 titles on my Goodreads account and will be amused to see if I top 2,000 by the time I’m done with the scanning.

About Me, Music

Conflikt was fun

Several of you who read my journal in whatever iteration already know this since you were actually there, but hey, Conflikt! That was fun.

This was the first year that and I got to attend the whole convention, which was nice. We still pulled a commuter con, which was not quite so ideal; next year, I think we’ll be getting a hotel room, just because driving all the way back to Kenmore at 2am or later is crazytalk. Especially when things like the Jury panels happen around 10:30 in the morning!

Dara did of course do more active music playing than I did since she has a CD in progress; me, I mostly hung out and beat on one of the novels in progress. And a nice lady I hadn’t met before even told me she quite liked Faerie Blood, to which I double-taked hugely, and was all ‘wait, a complete stranger actually read my novel? Whoa!’ (Nice Lady Who Read My Novel, if you’re reading this, I have forgotten your name and LJ, but if you drop a comment I shall make sure to note it again properly for the future!)

I did periodically also whip out Rags and do impromptu jamming near the registration table, which was also good fun. Special shout-outs on that are due to and Jeri Lynn who was managing the registration table, and whose LJ, if she has one, I do not know! We managed to play a not too bad little pass through “Si Bheag Si Mhor”, a song to which I am partial of course from its connection to Mr. Crowe and the Grunts. (Mmm, “Judas Cart”, I should listen to that again.)

Also participated in the Band Scramble, which let me meet a few nice folks and play music with them; we did “Elf Glade”, which is a standard at the Murkjams, and it was an interesting musical exercise to try to follow somebody else’s version of the guitar line. Also fun to try to invent piccolo twiddles on the fly since I never play flute on this thing at home.

The main attraction of the whole shebang was , though! Since my original exposure to filk was in the Midwest and my and Dara’s housemate at the time, , was an old college buddy of Tom’s, I’m real familiar with Tom and fond of his music quite a bit. He’s a superb musician, and I was very pleased to see that he hasn’t missed a step in live performance since I saw him last. His voice and guitar playing are both very strong, still! It was with great glee that I plunked down money for three, count ’em, three of his albums at the con–and furthermore picked up two more off of iTunes when I got home. Tom’s just that awesome.

Secondary highlight: seeing Alexander James Adams perform. I really want Alec to start writing more new stuff, just because as a long-standing Heather Alexander fan I have the original versions of a lot of his songs stuck in my brain and they don’t really want to be budged out by newer versions. He’s got a quite nice new vampire song though as well as a new one called “The Dance of Hoof and Horn”, and of course his fiddle playing is still sublime. Extra bonus points for Dara and I getting to sit near him in the big Sunday afternoon Jam, too. And I got to remind him of the incident in 1997 when he looked me in the eye at a room party and said “Play something!” and I squeaked and almost melted into the floor. Now? Now I can actually whip out a guitar and do something with it. He told me he was pleased to have inspired via terror. 😉

(Another shoutout to as well for whipping out that fiddle of hers and duo’ing with Alec on “Si Bheag Si Mhor”. Lovely and very well done!)

Alec has a work print of his next new album, so although it’s mostly reworked versions of Heather-era songs, I put down for that too since hey, again, awesomeness. And it may amuse as well that I bought a Heather Dale album–one of the CD vendors in the tiny dealer’s room had a whole bunch of her albums, so I got The Hidden Path and in fact listened to it tonight on the way home from work.

All in all a pleasant and relaxing way to spend the weekend. I may have been “hanging out on the periphery” girl for the most part, but it was a lovely periphery to be at. And “surrounded by musicians” is strangely conducive to getting actual writing done, not to mention guitar playing. <3 Looking forward to next year!

And maybe next year, I'll actually have a proper chord line to "How Many Hugos?", one of the few filk songs I've actually written. Not to mention, maybe I'll finish that Doctor Who filk still haunting my brain, and also have that shiny green guitar!