Category Archives: History

Monday Miscellanea, 1/17/22

TrekAThon, Round 2

A cartoon avatar showing a purple-haired young woman in a Star Trek: The Next Generation-style uniform.
Cadet Felicia Kendricks reporting and ready to learn!

TrekAThon: Starfleet Academy is coming in February!

This is just a teaser. I’ll have more info about Cadet Kendricks and a TBR later in the month.

Reading

Finished:

Cover for Hounded by Kevin Hearne, depicting a young man pulling a sword from a sheath on his back.
Cover for Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, depicting a man's head entirely covered, including his face, in chain mail.

I also read Poe’s Brother: the Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe by Hervey and Thomas Ollive Mabbott Allen, which was a research hole I went down last week.

Currently Reading:

Cover for Books of Blood by Clive Barker, depicting a gray stone carving of humans and demons cavorting.
Cover for Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown, with illustration by Edward Gorey.
Generic "public domain" cover for On the Art of Writing by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch.

Quiller-Couch’s On the Art of Writing got me thinking about the origins of American literature. I’ve earmarked an American Literature EdX course, so I might have some reading for that.

Goal Check-In

Shelf Maintenance:

  • I finished three books last week, two from various libraries and one a reread, so no change in my Beat the Backlog number.
  • It’s now been 18 days since I last acquired a book. Since I started keeping track of my book purchases/acquisitions in 2016, my record is 93 days (from Oct. 11, 2019 to Jan. 12, 2020); a goal to shoot for.

Writing & Tomes:

  • *whistles innocently*
  • Still haven’t heard back on “Colors of the Sea.” *checks email just in case* Yep, still haven’t heard.

Listening

Monday Miscellanea, 1/10/22

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

Bout of Books banner: A cartoon woman in a robe with a thermometer in her mouth, a pile of books in front of her. She has obviously come down with a bout of books.

About halfway through last week, I decided my Bout of Books goal (read 600 pages) was going to be THE goal for the week. Between a fatigue laden arthritis flare-up and taking down my all my holiday decorations, I wasn’t in the mood to do much more than read and play some Minecraft. So, how did Bout of Books go? Very well!

  • I read 642 page. I’m a slow reader so that’s really good for me!
  • I started and finished A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson and Minnesota Rag by Fred W. Friendly. I’ll have posts about those in the near future.
  • Read a bunch of other odds and ends, including going down a Beowulf hole.
  • Made it to the Saturday chat!

Reading

Cover of Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heany, features the head of a figure entirely (face included) covered in chain mail.
Cover for Hounded by Kevin Hearne, featuring a seemingly young man pulling a sword from a sheath on his back.
Cover for Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown. This is an illustration by Edward Gorey: an ominous view from some stony grotto.

Hmm, looks like a lot of boys with swords this week. I’m good with that.

Getting Back to It (or not)

Over the weekend, Valley of the Sun Ultimate (of which I’m a volunteer web master/admin person) decided to cancel New Year Fest, our locally hosted national tournament, which was scheduled for the end of the month. Back in October, it seemed like we would be able to run the tournament safely if we followed guidelines that worked for club tournaments over the summer (proof of vaccination/negative test & mask). Unfortunately, what worked over the summer isn’t working as well in light of Omicron. Plus, case numbers in Arizona are not great.

COVID-19 Cases by Day in Arizona for the time perios spanning July 11, 2021 and Jan. 9, 2022.

I’m disappointed that we had to cancel, but also relieved. I wasn’t looking forward to the admin overheard of tracking the COVID statuses of 400-500 people (accounting for 20 teams with around 20-25 players each). That’s a bit much for my neuroticism. Plus, I feel it’s still better to be safe than utterly “back to normal.”

Goal Check-In

Yeah, I’ll try doing this . . .

Writing & Entangled Tomes:

  • Haven’t heard back on “Colors of the Sea,” so fingers still crossed.
  • Touched my bird-watching piece, but didn’t make too much progress on it.
  • Did some formatting on Joseffy tome.

Shelf Maintenance:

  • The two books I finished for Bout of Books were off my Owned But Unread pile. 2/25 for the year, thus far.
  • Also cleared out a couple of titles that were tagged incorrectly on LibraryThing. Owned But Unread is down to 545.
  • It’s been 11 days since I acquired a book.

Listening

Intentions for 2022

Happy New Year
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

The public declaration of goals is sort of a mixed bag for me. It used to keep me on task, but in more recent times, I simply shut up about goals as I fail to reach them. This is partly due to shame, but mostly embarrassment, which is a stronger influence on me. So, why do a 2022 resolutions post? Will it change anything? Probably not. It’s maybe insane. But it’s the ’20s and here we are.

As I often do, I start planning and implementing goals around my birthday, which is in the middle of December. It relieves some of that New Year’s Day pressure, and I figure if I can still be semi-excited about these goals after two weeks, they might stick.

Writing

I want to have three short pieces at market or sold by the end of 2022. I am including projects currently in progress, which is maybe a little cheesy. This is a low goal and I’m really okay with that.

What do I have in-progress?

  • Submitting: “Colors of the Sea,” a short story I finished in 2021. Two rejections, thus far.
  • Currently writing: A short story known as “Chess Gothic,” which is currently set in sun-soaked California and now has nothing to do with chess.
  • Currently writing: “Bird Watching Through My Back Window,” a creative nonfiction piece I intend to submit to the Tempe Writing Contest. 2/14/22 deadline.

Entangled Tomes

I want to publish three more Entangled Tomes in 2022; ideally two non-fiction projects and one fiction anthology. I’m currently working on a nicely formatted version of The Marvelous Creations of Joseffy by David P. Abbott.

Reading

I’m keeping my reading challenges to a minimum.* Instead, I want to read books I already own. I currently have a TBR stack of 550-ish books that I own, but haven’t read. I want to reduce that number to 525 by the end of 2022.

*Reading events I plan on participating in:

Reading Stats 2021

Finished

Books: 47
That’s down from 2020 and probably because I shucked off the notion of reading to a blogging/reviewing schedule. I read fewer ARCs, fewer comics, and more nonfiction than in 2020.

Short Stories: 108
I didn’t keep stats last year! 51 of those short stories are from the Deal Me In Challenge. (I still have Week 52’s story left.) A full 50% I would categorize as “horror.” This does not include short stories from anthologies/collections that I read entirely.

Favorite Books

Average Rating: 3.4
My ratings for 2020 and 2019 were around 3.4 average as well. If anything, I am consistent in my grumpy rating scheme. Below are the books I rated with four stars or above.

Fiction

Two rereads, two new works by favorite authors, no surprises. I didn’t make it through my Dune read-through, stopping after Heretics of Dune, but I reconfirmed to myself that the first two books are quite good. P. Djèlí Clark’s first novel-length work set in the Dead Djinn Universe is probably my favorite of these four, only because Glen Hirshberg’s anthology included a couple works I’d already read.

Nonfiction

I read more “writing” books this years (I’d consider The Letters of Shirley Jackson as one of those) and fewer magic-related books. Only one reread here, but again no surprises considering the subjects and authors.

Other Metrics

Male Authors: 70%
Female Authors: 30%
The ratio for short story authors was 47% Male / 53% Female. I plan to add a non-binary category in 2022.

Fiction: 60%
Nonfiction: 40%
My goal was 30% nonfiction. I don’t plan on setting a goal for 2022, but I have a lot of nonfiction library books earmarked.

Owned: 62%
From Libraries: 30%
The rest were ARCs.
In the land of “shelf maintenance,” I acquired 16 books (bought, downloaded freebies/ARCs) and read 10 of those. I spent $52.69 (most of that was two books). I plan on concentrating on books I currently own in 2022. (Despite what I just said about library books above.) Honestly, I don’t know why I count eARCs since I do not keep them. That will probably change in 2022 mainly because I don’t intend to read/review ARCs unless an author I know contacts me.

Ebooks: 55%
Physical Books: 34%
Audio Books: 11%
Nearly all of the 108 “loose” short stories I read were online or in ebook form.

Monday Miscellanea, 12/20/21

Old EverQuest 2 Frostfell Tree

Hermit-ing

I’m in the relaxation phase of the holiday season. We’re staying home for Christmas/New Year. We’re vaccinated and boosted, but things are unsettled and, socially, I’m pretty worn out. Cards and gifts are mailed. All the things are checked off the to-do list. I’m quietly turning my sight toward the New Year!

Reading

Listened to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided while playing Minecraft over the weekend. Interesting book, plays into some discussions Eric and I have had about the balance between positive and negative feedback in parenting (not that we’re parents). Personally, I probably err on the side of pessimism, but that probably keeps me out of trouble.

I should finish The Magic Square by John Gaspard and David Copperfield’s History of Magic by the end of the year. I’m debating Bout of Books, but it starts Jan. 3rd and I’m not sure if I’ll be ready for that level of online socialization.

Monday Miscellanea, 12/13/21

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Ultimate: Playing & Partying

Friday was our “Wednesday” Lunchtime Disc (WLDisc) annual party. It went off mostly without a hitch. Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit on Thursday night, leaving our ultimate field pretty soggy. We had enough room for a four-on-four field; I think everyone got a good amount of playing in before we adjourned for lunch. One of our long-time regular players lives next to the field and kindly grilled burgers for us and again donated the use of his backyard.

Saturday was fall league finals. Our team, Code Blue, made it to semi-finals, which meant we played two games. I was feeling peppy and I played pretty well. After that, I ate burgers, drank beer, and socialized during the finals game. Considering that it was after sundown and a bit chilly at that point, being a spectator was probably preferable to being a player.

In both cases, I was around a lot of people, but it was pretty much entirely outdoors. Plus, the ultimate frisbee crowd has a pretty high vaccination rate.

Reading & Blogging

I’m still happily reading without any TBRs or schedule. Well, more or less. I’m trying to work through a short story daily from Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown. I’m not going to worry about challenges for a while (aside from Deal Me In if Jay announces it) and concentrate on whittling down my “owned but unread” number. I’d like to get it down to 530 (from 551) by this time next year.

I plan on going back to a blogging schedule and will have some Favorites of 2021 posts in the near future.

Er . . . Tuesday Miscellanea, 12/7/21

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Boosted

Eric and I got our COVID vaccine boosters on Thursday night. The grade school in our neighborhood was having a walk-up event and we decided to avail ourselves. Side effects-wise, Eric had a fever again the day after and some arm pain. I ended up with a pretty sore arm again (though not quite as bad as my first jab), but also had swollen, sore armpit lymph nodes on the injection side. I was still getting over my Thanksgiving cold and probably should have taken it easy on Friday. Instead of, you know, playing ultimate frisbee at lunchtime . . .

Bah Humbug

I put up my tree last week, but found that my strings of incandescent lights were on their last bulbs. I decided to order a string of 500 LED lights from Amazon and got them on Thursday. So many lights! So bright! I happily began to deck out my tree with garland and ornaments, a process that usually takes a couple of days (more, when you just had a vaccine jab that makes your arm hurt). I had 80% of my tree done when I plugged in the lights Sunday night . . . and nothing happened. Checked the outlet; it was fine, the lights were not. Monday, I carefully removed the lights and will be sending them back for a refund.

Busy

Yeah, meant for this to be a Monday post, but here we are on Tuesday night. I have a busy week ahead (still). It’s the end of fall frisbee league. We had a game Monday night, will have a game Wednesday night, and have finals on Saturday. In addition to playing, this also means setting up the webpages for playoffs. Plus, Friday is our annual holiday party for our pickup game. Since I organize the game, I’m also in charge of wrangling people for a potluck. This is kind of the nature of December, though we’re usually done with league before Thanksgiving.