kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

So I'm buying a new desktop PC because the one I'm using now is sad and slow. What's the general configuration of a lower-middle-end machine these days? I would like it to be able to convert video files from one format to another or run casual games like the Mystery Case Files series without having to close down every other program, but I don't need to do complex video editing or high-end gaming or anything like that.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Some more Hugo-eligible short fiction that I've read and liked:

"Three Twilight Tales," Jo Walton, Firebirds Soaring (mostly not in bookstores any more, but try your local library)

"The Pirate Captain's Daughter," Yoon Ha Lee, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

"A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc -or- A Lullaby,", Helen Keeble, Strange Horizons

"And Their Lips Rang with the Sun," Amal El-Mohtar, Strange Horizons

Still reading . . .

And a recommendation: Readability, a browser bookmarklet you can customize to, well, make web pages readable.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

So I'm trying to actually read some short fiction before nominating for the Hugos this year, partly because I don't have a lot of time and partly because I'm not very enthusiastic about 2009 novels as a whole.

I've seen:

I have a copy of the anthology Federations which I am slowly working my way through. I've put in a library request for Firebirds Soaring because [livejournal.com profile] papersky's story in it is getting a lot of attention.

So: What have you read that you've liked? What have you published that's eligible? (If you're modest, you can post your eligible lists separately from your recommended lists. I want to know what my friends have published.) Either links or names of things I can get from the library, please. I'm not going to go buying back issues of magazines at this point.

Things I've read so far that I've liked—not a draft ballot, note, and I still have a lot of things left to read even from the above-mentioned sources:

  • "Carthago Delenda Est," Genevieve Valentine, Federations
  • "Bespoke," Genevieve Valentine, Strange Horizons (dilemma! I think I like "Carthago" better, but "Bespoke" is getting more buzz, so, strategy-wise . . . )
  • "Different Day," K. Tempest Bradford, Federations
  • "Élan Vital," K. Tempest Bradford, Sybil’s Garage No. 6
  • "Non-Zero Probabilities," N. K. Jemisin, Clarkesworld

So: go read those, and tell me what to read!

(If you absolutely can't stop yourself, go ahead and rec novels too, but I think I'm pretty well up on the possibilities there (things I have read or am reading but have not booklogged yet are in this LibraryThing collection) and I'd really prefer you focus on short fiction.)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Somehow I'd failed to remember until now that as a member of Anticipation 2009, I'm eligible to nominate works for the Hugo ballot again.

I expect that Terry Pratchett's Nation will make my novel ballot, and I hope to get around to reading Half a Crown, Matter, and Sly Mongoose before February 28. Other recommendations, with reasons please, for works eligible for best novel—and, also, best graphic story?

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Hanging shoe organizers with pockets are great for storing gloves, winter hats, scarves, ball caps, and YakTrax.

This no-longer-seasonal tip brought to you by my removing ours (which might well be this one) from the nails where it hangs inside the front closet door, so the contractors can do work on the closet ceiling today.

(And, oh, hey—there are my gardening gloves! Triffid, your days are numbered . . . )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

This weekend I have contributed to the household by hacking back a set of overgrown shrubs in the backyard (and marking for Imminent Death a vicious triffid that snuck up on me; as soon as I get a pair of gloves, it is gone) and stuffing some high-density foam into the squooshed-by-use couch cushions.

This, however, is pretty much the extent of my abilities when it comes to gardening and upholstery. Thus, I ask LJ:

  1. What can we plant in our backyard (pictures over on Chad's blog) as grass-replacement ground cover? Requirements:
    • Thrive in Zone 5 in basically constant shade, under sugar maples and one enormous oak tree, in soil that's not obviously sandy or clay-like but doesn't drain particularly well (possibly because it's pretty tight-packed at the moment).
    • Safe for FutureBaby.
    • No maintenance except maybe seasonal trimming.
    • Not going to take over the neighbors' lawns if we turn our backs.

    Of the things suggested at Chad's so far, I like the idea of moss, and hate the idea of gravel or pavement. Vinca sounds too invasive, and hosta apparently requires a good deal of water. Other suggestions?

  2. If I wanted to walk into a store and buy ready-to-sit-on rocking chair cushions, do I want a furniture store? A department store? Something else?

    (Yes, I know I can get them online, but I'd like to sit on them first.)

Thanks, all.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

As Chad said today, after FutureBaby becomes an ActualBaby (knock on wood), we're leaning toward referring to him or her by a pseudonym on our blogs just to provide a mild amount of privacy (after a birth announcement with the actual name, probably). I've been having fun reading the pseudonym suggestions over at his blog, so I'll toss it open here too:

Recommend a post-birth pseudonym for FutureBaby, preferably one independent of age and sibling status.

Heck, if you're so moved, recommend a non-pseudonym for FutureBaby; it's unlikely that you'll come up with a suitable name that we haven't thought of yet, but since Chad's commenters got to offer suggestions, y'all might as well, too. Nb.: FutureBaby's last name will be Orzel (pronounced or-ZELL), with a middle name of Nepveu; probably no second middle name.

(Pseudonym, by the way, is a really weird looking word, or perhaps it only is if you've been awake since five this morning.)

And yes, we know about the Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager (Java applet).

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

It seems like time to start educating myself about childbirth in more depth. Since I will not be taking classes, I am now soliciting recommendations for books, videos, web sites, or similar self-study educational resources about childbirth.

I already own The Pregnancy Book by Sears & Sears and have a recommendation for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Simkin.

important note on giving me advice )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

For extremely tight muscles: menthol, menthol and camphor, or capsaicin? Bonus if you can vouch for non-stinky brands.

(No Aspercreme or equivalent.)

kate_nepveu: line drawing of startled cat with vacuum nozzle held to back (cat-vacuuming)

So I've got this idea in my head that I want to cross-stitch a decoration for FutureBaby's room. We're eschewing most of the usual nursery decoration stuff (lamps? valences? no, thanks), but I haven't been able to shake the urge to make something.

cross-stitch wibbling )

Comments from cross-stitchers or people who know what kids tend to like in decorations are welcome.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Okay, if you've been bursting to give us advice related to FutureBaby, here's your chance:

two questions )


Mar. 2nd, 2008 08:39 pm
kate_nepveu: closeup of two stacks of paper (buried under piles of work)

For reasons too long and boring to mention, I'm only just looking at this whole new-fangled podcast thing. And today I was inordinately delighted to discover the Car Talk Podcast — Click and Clack! free and without any effort on my part!

I also discovered, through iTunes, a free Cook's Illustrated video podcast (which doesn't appear to be available through their website). And behind the cut are a bunch of audiobook-like things that I'm going to try:

audiobook-type podcasts )

Any other recommendations? Note that I prefer to read my news, and don't have time to watch more than short videos (the Cook's Illustrated ones are in the five-minute vicinity). Things like audiobooks, radio plays, and other entertainment listening are best.

kate_nepveu: (con't) http://community.livejournal.com/book_icons/121545.html ; painting of bookcase with light slanting from window (happiness is a full bookcase)

Suddenly it's February, I have less than a month to get my Hugo nomination ballot in order, and so far my ballot consists solely of Shaun Tan's The Arrival (ETA: booklog entry) for Best Related Book. Eek!

cut for lists )

What else? I did a very quick search for 2007 lists and tagged them on delicious, if you're looking for reminders. Recommend me novels: but, it should be accompanied with specific reasons that I, personally, would like it, and as much or more than I might like the three things I plan to read. I will either ignore or mock anyone who fails to follow directions.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I have several paper journals from my teenage years, which are currently sitting in a box in an upstairs room. I'm organizing and decluttering that room, and am trying to decide what to do with them.

I don't want to re-read them, because they make my skin crawl with embarrassment. I don't want anyone else to read them, because ditto. The only thing I can think to do with them is move them to the basement.

 . . . and yet I hate the idea of throwing them away.

Suggestions, from experience or otherwise?

kate_nepveu: Duck in duck form looking out from girl's school uniform, text: "nothing more boring than a perfect heroine" (Princess Tutu)

Princess Tutu is a 26-episode anime about ballet, fairy tales, and hope. It is metafictional like whoa, very peculiar, and not for everyone, but I ended up loving it, enough that it is a close second to Fullmetal Alchemist on my list of favorite shows.

cut for length; no spoilers )

kate_nepveu: kitten lying flat on ground with front paws stretched out before (flat-out exhausted)

Hello, LJ. Having completed [major work thing] today, I intend to spend the weekend catching up on a lot of stuff—including looking at exercise bikes. Anyone have recommendations, suggestions, things to look for or avoid?

All I know now is that it should be sufficiently adjustable that I (5'3") and Chad (6'6") can use it. Oh, and I'd like some way to monitor my heart rate so I know I'm not slacking off, but that doesn't need to be intrinsic to the bike.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Do you use an online backup service that you'd recommend? I'm looking at Mozy and Jungle Disk, but that was on a very quick look.

(My absolutely-essential files are on a USB drive that I carry at all times and automagically e-mailed to myself once a week, and we both have external hard drives; but it would be really good to have offsite backups of everything if it can be done without too much fuss.)

kate_nepveu: (con't) http://community.livejournal.com/book_icons/121545.html ; painting of bookcase with light slanting from window (happiness is a full bookcase)

Here are the books that I am definitely taking to Japan:

  • Scott Lynch, Red Seas Under Red Skies
  • Kij Johnson, The Fox Woman and Fudoki
  • R.H.P. Mason, A History of Japan
  • Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book

I am possibly bringing various John M. Ford books that I haven't read yet, in case that memorial panel actually happens—does anyone know if it's going to? If not, well, Ford is not my ideal vacation reading.

For the last half-dozen-ish slots, I find myself with a plethora of mass-market paperbacks, so, like everyone else: a poll!

possible books )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I have the post-vacation blahs in a big way, not helped by an upset digestive system (bad airline food? reaction to Northeast allergens? just not wanting to be here? who knows!) and a serious lack of sleep. Have very briefly skimmed over reading list and marked a rather large quantity of things "read" on Bloglines.

Feeling overwhelmed at the idea of leaving for Japan in less than two weeks. I still have fourteen chapters of Genji to read, not to mention learning more than five Japanese words, and half-a-dozen doctor's appointments, and all this laundry, and, generallly, everything that needs to be done for us to leave the country for three weeks.

Speaking of Japan & Worldcon: has anyone else filled out a program questionnaire & not gotten a schedule? There's at least one other con e-mail I've not gotten that Chad has, and so I'm worried that I'm not getting e-mail for some reason. (The other possibility is that they've decided they don't need me after all, which is fine, but I'd really like to know.)

Further to traveling: can anyone recommend a simple, preferably shareware, e-mail program for the Palm TX? Versamail apparently refuses to send anything longer than 4KB of text, which rather puts a damper on my post-by-e-mail plan for Japan.

I have this whole list of posts I wanted to write for International Blog Against Racism Week, and failed to write any of them while on vacation (and to finish Genji, and to read new-to-me John M. Ford books in preparation for a proposed Worldcon panel, and and and . . . ). I don't know whether I'll have the guts to write them and post them outside of IBARW (I was telling Chad, it's like being in a school of fish: it feels like there's less chance of trolls coming and eating you). But I did read Covering and will post about it, so that will be something.

But now, I am going to go buy food for the family and a camera for me. Yay, blatant consumerism as a mood lifter, or something.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

So if you're trying to split pills that don't already have a line down the middle, are pill splitters really an improvement over a sharp knife? If so, is there any kind that's better than another?

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