April 30th, 2017
naye: two cats looking happy (our kitties)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 08:56pm on 30/04/2017 under
It's almost May! That means it's time for another month's worth of kitty pics.

For anyone new here, we have two silly floofs, Nora and Meenie:


Meenie is the gray one, Nora is the one with the pink nose. They're sisters, almost three years old, and their fur is all fluffy (Meenie) and fuzzy (Nora) because they're LaPerms. I would have loved to adopt kitties from the local shelter, but alas I'm terribly allergic (think asthma + rash + itchy/sneezy/leaky) to most cats I've met. Not that it's ever stopped me from petting most of them, but it wouldn't be feasible to live with those cats. Fortunately I discovered LaPerms back in 2007, and found out their weird curly-fur mutation has the side effect that I can tolerate all the ones I've met. So when my wife and I decided we were settled enough to have cats together, we found a local breeder who just happened to have a litter on the way. Meenie and Nora are two of six siblings - all with different colors, because LaPerms are cool like that.

They are super sweet, social little creatures. They like sitting on our shoulders or burrowing in bed, and Meenie is extremely chatty. They're both incredibly playful, and will go to their "toy box" and bat at it and meow until we take out a wand to wave around for them. We keep them indoors, as our area is very urban with lots of traffic, but they love getting walked in their little cat jackets. Actually, as soon as we get their jackets and leashes out they come running like excited puppies!

For more on these critters, I have a cats tag, and a kitty pic tag. ♥

Now on to the pic spam!

IMG_20170415_092948 IMG_20170415_094440 IMG_6121 IMG_6178

31 April Kitty Pics )
April 29th, 2017
naye: a huge sky over a distant town and mountains (kyoto in the distance)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 10:35pm on 29/04/2017 under , , , ,
It's no secret that I miss Japan a lot. It's been eleven years since I found out I'd been approved for the exchange programme between my Swedish university and Kyoto University, and the year I spent there changed my life immeasurably. I'm not just saying that - if not for the exchange year, I wouldn't be here in the UK today, married to the love of my life. So I have all of these bittersweet feelings of amazing memories and warm nostalgia and the constant sadness that I had to leave before I really wanted to. (It was for Adulting Reasons, and the right choice to make. It still hurt.)

What set off the latest wave of nostalgia was that I found out that train nerds in Japan will sit behind the driver's cabin or a window and film entire routes and upload them on YouTube. So you can step inside and ride along and it's weird to see all those familiar places - my home stations! - through the eyes of a stranger's camera. But also oddly compelling, to hear the thumping of wheels and rattling of carriage and soft conversations, with the speakers announcing station names and warning you not to leave anything behind when stepping off the train...

Here's the Keihan, Demachiyanagi to Yodoyabashi - also known as how I'd get down to Osaka from my dorm. And here's the Hankyuu, Kawaramachi to Umeda - the station where I first met [personal profile] doctorskuld in person. ♥ And this was my home station 2009-2010 - all the way up in northern Kyoto prefecture, in this little town.


So many rice paddies and bamboo-groves and wild hillsides on that ride.

And of course there's plenty of footage from the Tokyo Yamanote line's 1-hour loop. Why not get on at Ikebukuro and ride around the city?

April 27th, 2017
naye: mihashi from oofuri with a confused look (?)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 02:38pm on 27/04/2017 under ,
Meme from all over! Lots of my fandoms are in my profile.
Ask me:
1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed
April 26th, 2017
naye: (book)
What I just finished

Well... after reading the Inda series I was well and truly stuck in Sherwood Smith's amazing Sartorias-deles world. It's deeply compelling to be in such a fantastically crafted secondary world, whose creator has been working on it since she was a child. But I'm still afraid of starting on Banner of the Damned because I have a hunch it will be a pretty rough ride, emotionally, so instead I turned to Smith's YA offerings:Crown Duel, A Stranger to Command & The Trouble With Kings, cut for length )

The DispatcherThe Dispatcher by John Scalzi
This is such a fascinating book, both in form and content. Scalzi wrote it as an audio story - intended to be heard rather than read - and they got Zachary Quinto to narrate it, and the listening experience reflects both the author's careful crafting of it and the actor's fantastic skill. At this point I've only read a couple of dozen audio books, but it's enough to tell the difference between a book written to be absorbed off the page and a book written to be read out loud. This story flows really smoothly - there's never any long exchanges with what in a well-performed audio book is brimming with superfluous "said" and other dialogue markers.

And the story itself has a really gripping premise at it's core: what if people who were murdered didn't stay dead? Sure, everyone knows that's impossible - except in this world, all of a sudden it's happening. And after the world has had ten years to get used to the idea, how does this affect... everything? Oh, there's also a missing man and a tenacious cop and the titular dispatcher with a shady past - now that's more than enough to make the story real interesting.

This is one I'd love to see made into a (well-produced, well-cast) movie!

What I'm reading now

Agent to the StarsAgent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Another audio book! I reactivated my Audiable account to get The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and they had a big Easter sale so I snagged myself something that I thought would make for good background listening when working with spreadsheets or running - the kind of stuff I tend to listen to podcasts while doing. And it is! So far I'm very entertained - I love Wil Wheaton's reading of the book, and the whole thing does a great job of balancing comedy and sci-fi. Though it's weird how dated it feels already, given that it was published less than a decade ago - so much has changed, particularly online...

When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the WorldWhen Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World by Leon Festinger

I started this one today after hearing it referenced in Oh No Ross and Carrie podcast. Apparently it's a total classic in the field of social psychology - it has a detailed Wikipedia page. And it's been absolutely fascinating so far - 15% in, and I'm riveted.

Also - this totally explains (or at least predicts the pattern of) everything that happened with The Johnlock Conspiracy?! It's got all the ingredients of a failed prophecy - the date when something huge was totally supposed to happen, and then absolute proof that it didn't happen... which didn't deter true believers from keeping on keeping on. I keep reading my wife parts of it out loud, replacing "The Second Coming" with "Sherlock and John kissing" and without changing a single other word whole paragraphs still make perfect sense...!

What I'm reading next
I'm still holding out for a Hugo Voter's Pack to include at least one of the novels I haven't read yet, so I'm not buying those - but they are at the top of my TBR! I should also start reading the novellas and novelettes that are online. Plus I want to read Banner of the Damned but I don't want to run out of serious Sartorias-deles books and also do not want my heart broken... And there's a bunch of great book releases coming up in the next few months, but I don't think I've got anything in particular scheduled for May.

Oh, and Kate Elliot's Jaran books were on super cheap sale so I got them on a whim and they're sitting in my Unread folder looking intriguing as I know absolutely nothing about them. (I do love going into new books without any spoilers or expectations.)

That said, I have no firm plans so.. any recs? :D
April 25th, 2017
naye: nami hanging laundry, looking content (nami - ii tenki)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 08:46pm on 25/04/2017 under ,
This time last year I had just started taking lunchtime walks. With spring in the air and a big work deadline passed, I had time to take the path into the fields behind our campus for a 20-minute jaunt while listening to podcasts.

Somehow that slowly germinated into the idea to see if I could attempt a Couch to 5k - surely it wouldn't be entirely impossible to do Week 1 at least, which only calls for 90 seconds of running in intervals. (The scientists got to me! That's what it was. I work with them, and they keep publishing things about how much good it does your health to add any measure of physical activity to your day - even just a brisk 20-minute walk, but of course more is better...)

It took months for me to dare try it, and even then I was pretty much convinced I'd never be able to get past the 5 minutes running called for in C25k Week 4.

But I did. By sticking to it. By being determined and lucky enough to stay healthy all those long summer days, allowing me to choose to run before or after work. And I set myself the goal to run 500k in 2017 - it seemed like a lot! For fun, I added the out-there goal of 500 miles. And now?

Somehow I'm halfway to my original goal, and also on track for the 500 miles?!

To me, that's... amazing. Running with asthma and a knee that's been dodgy since I was 16, it's far too easy to compare myself with others and write my own efforts off as useless. But they're not, and I shouldn't. Because - come on. Today I got up at 6am and ran 5k before work in 1C weather and that's fantastic, no matter how slowly I jog along or how many times I need to stop for a breather. (... I needed my inhaler twice this morning.)

Now looking at what I can do next )
April 22nd, 2017
naye: steven universe making star eyes (steven starry)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 10:07pm on 22/04/2017 under
After hearing about it last fall when it was released, and then having it recced to me by my Kiwi coworker, we finally watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople tonight. It was an utter delight! Sweet without being cloying, hilarious in a quirky and understated way, and both beautifully and entertainingly shot by masterful Taika Waititi.

The US release trailer is pretty great:

It was deeply entertaining, and for those who don't mind a few spoilers this scene is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest scenes I have seen in anything in a long time. Bonus: features Taika Waititi himself!

And if that's not enough of a draw, you get a lot of gorgeous shots of New Zealand's "majestical" landscape:

(Images from Tumblr here & here.)
April 19th, 2017
naye: a photo of the view of ocean and sky through a window at dawn (dawn)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 09:34pm on 19/04/2017 under ,
I'm loving seeing all these intro posts and general hellos going around! Speaking of which: I finally had a look at my Circle settings, and I somehow managed to give a bunch of people access without subscribing when was trying to do both. Whoops. This means I have been missing posts I meant to be reading, which is really unfortunate and embarrassing.

The good news is that I'm all subscribed to everyone now, and will be keeping up with posts going forward!

And to be more upbeat than yesterday about the state of everything - we've used Skuld's unexpected work bonus to book a five-day May holiday on the Adriatic Sea in historic Dubrovnik!

Also known as* Game of Thrones' King's Landing, it looks like a dream - blue Mediterranean waters, an old town to explore and hills to hike in, all in a gay-friendly corner of the world that relies on tourism and so hopefully won't be difficult about a lesbian bi-racial couple holding hands in public.

I've never been to Croatia, but had friends there growing up, and have been staring enviously at their holiday photos on Facebook.

This was more or less spontaneous - we love traveling, but we didn't have any holiday plans at all yet what with so much up in the air right now. Then I started looking for places to travel from our local airport without using Ryanair, and things just fell into place.

It's going to be our very first beach holiday - something [personal profile] doctorskuld has been longing for since we moved in together, and that I've kept putting off for things like campervaning in Iceland and renting a cottage on the Swedish West Coast and taking the train to Scotland... So that's exciting! (I'll bring lots of reading. As long as I can take breaks to splash about in that gorgeous water I'm sure I won't get bored.)

*To people who didn't get so squicked out they've had nothing to do with the GoT TV show
April 18th, 2017
naye: a traffic warden holding up a stop sign that says "oh shit!" (lom - oh shit)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 10:23pm on 18/04/2017 under ,
This is getting ridiculous. I've been in the country for less than four and a half years, and there's a third major vote thing (election/referendum) I can't participate in that's going to make things awful - more awful! - for everyone. Including people who vote to make things awful for themselves because... reasons, I guess? (Reasons include but are not limited to: tabloids, racism, lying politicians, Boris Johnson, a bus, and David Cameron's hubris.)

Theresa May (who wasn't democratically elected but now will be despite the fact that she totally hates us queer people along with immigrants, poor people and human rights) releasing her snap election news right before lunchtime after a four-day holiday was a huge production killer in our office (overheard next door, mid-rant: "I came to ask you a legitimate question, but I can't stop screaming long enough..."), and I am forever grateful to [personal profile] dolorosa_12 for whisking me off to a quiet room for coffee, chocolate, and some intense venting.

Ahh, migrant life.

And speaking of which: nope, still no news about whether or not I get to bring my wife back home to Sweden. It might take another five or six or even more months before we find out what the decision on that is. At the same time, something might drop into our letter box any day now that will require massive panic and I'm afraid of planning any long holidays because we'll literally have 21 days to appeal for our entire future together and it would suck to be late to that particular race. No pressure or anything.


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