A story of the future set in the past. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Mistaken assumptions – Victorian literature – house party mysteries – fictional detectives – the timelessness of history – the unreliability of perception – love at first sight – the nature of cats – this conversation has happened before – this conversation will certainly happen again – the indomitable will of a woman on a mission – Ned really needs a vacation.

First and foremost, To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is a fun read.  It is a smart, comedic, time-traveling Sci-fi novel which primarily takes place in the English countryside in the summer of 1888.  I’m not going to get too much into the science and rules around time travel, except to say that time travel exists, it is primarily a research tool for historians, and there are natural laws that govern time travel.  One of the laws of time travel is that you cannot bring anything of significance from one time to another.  Another law is that, in effect, history protects itself.

Ned Henry is a Cambridge historian, specializing in the 20th century.  He has been dragooned into a massive research project by the formidable Lady Schrapnell.  Though suffering from severe time-lag, he sent on a mission in Victorian England, an era outside his area of expertise.  For a good portion of the first 1/4 of the book, Ned is disoriented and his understanding of words is suspect.  He completely misunderstands the situation, which leads to a lot of mistaken assumptions.  Though he has some familiarity with Victorian literature, specifically Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog).” 

Gradually, the pieces and threads come together as Ned comes to grips with the mystery of the cat, the identity of Mr. C___, and the whereabouts of the Bishop’s Bird Stump.  Along the way, Ned falls in love with his colleague Verity, and discovers that some conversations are universal, no matter the time period.  In fact I was very pleasantly left with the impression that no matter how much science and/or society develops, certain things will remain the same – people will believe in the illogical, men and women will disagree in the acceptable pace of repairs, and a woman with a strength of purpose will get her way. 

This is a comedic time-travel novel, so everything works out just as it should.  While it is a fun read, it is not popcorn.  There is substance to chew on while you enjoy the often farcical romp through a Victorian Summer week in the country. 


I am bad at dying people and yet, here I am again

Seriously.  My father has been the care giver for a friend of his, Steve, who is dying of cancer.  Due to too long a story to tell, Steve is sleeping on my couch tonight.  He has pooped himself, and won’t allow me to help.  And I don’t know what I can do anyway.  I can’t carry him to the bathroom.  Unless my dad dies in an accident, he’s going to die in a hospital.  I am good at a lot of thing.  Caring for someone who is about to die is not one of them.  I am good at the being present part, but there is a lot more involved than being present.

An ongoing list of the books I plan to review for CBR6, though not necessarily in this order

suggestions are welcome

Goal – Half Cannonball, 26 books

1. The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan – Mrs. Julien and Malin wore me down

2. A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore

3. Neverwhere and Stardust, Neil Gaiman

4. Whenever the new Dresden Files book comes out – that one

5. Russell Brand, My BookyWook

6. Kill City Blues, Richard Kadrey

PJ O’Rourke, Holiday in Heck

Doomesday Book, Connie Willis

Paul Auster, Moon Palace

Seanan McGuire Chimes at Midnight & Indexing.

Why I don’t like Christmas

No matter what else is going on, good or bad, the black hole of depression appears sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In a bad year it will appear before Halloween.  Some years I get sucked in and don’t reappear for months.  Some years it just hangs out at the edges sucking away any extra exuberance and joy.   Sometime in March it goes away, usually.

Tonight, while I was washing dishes, I realized it was there in the room with me.  Hello black hole of depression.  I haven’t missed you.   Please sit in the corner over there and have some cookies.

Be careful what you tweet

In a desperate attempt to be funny I tweeted a paleo recipe in a response to a request for gluten free recipes.  It was for cauliflower buns.  As a reward, a paleo twitter account decided to follow me.  I had to confess I am the opposite of paleo – a gluten loving vegetarian.  Ah well.  Better luck next time @YourPaleoGuide.

Edited to add: http://mentalfloss.com/article/54068/16-people-who-tweeted-themselves-unemployment

These are much worse.

I’m a Disappointment to Several People Right Now

And I’m ok with it.

constant source

I’m just ok, not happy, or great, or uncaring.  I have accepted that I am going to be a disappointment to people.  I am a people pleaser by nature, but have learned over time that nothing I do is going to make people happy with me all of the time.  There’s an inherent problem with trying to make other people happy – I’m not a manifestation of their consciousness.   I am an entirely separate entity balancing many competing demands, concerns, wants and needs.  I am doing the best I can with the resources I have at hand.  I am often a disappointment to myself.   If I must choose between disappointing you or disappointing me, I’m going to choose disappointing you.   Because when I disappoint you, it’s generally because I’ve chosen to do something that benefits my sense of self and self-respect.   When I disappoint myself, I’ve done something that hurts me far worse than I could ever hurt you.

So folks, while you are being disappointed in me, please keep in mind that I’ll do it again and again.  I will be a constant source of disappointment, because I will always choose to be true to myself.

My favorite thing said to me today


Sometimes somebody says something to you and it’s just too beautiful not to share, but way too inappropriate to share with any of the people around you. That’s what blogs are for.

This was shouted at me, over the Internet. I laughed so hard I looked like I was having a seizure. Only the first part is true. I am a vegetarian.

Airing resentments day

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, so today I’m going to declare today National Airing of Grievances Day!

Resentments fester if kept under wraps, so in order to make room for gratitude I’m letting out my grievances. That’s horseshit of course. I’m just grumpy and pissed off that I can’t over indulge on mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie tomorrow. So today I pout, for tomorrow I must pretend to be gratefull.

In response to the googs

Over on Pajiba, Jodi Clager posted a piece on the inequality in male and female nudity in film.  googergeiger commented that no one wanted to see limp cock.  I countered that it depended on the cock and the situation.  He accused me of being into domination games.  I laughed really hard, and then I told him I laughed really hard. 

But really, what he’s saying is that a penis is only attractive if it’s ready for action.  Not true.  Certainly some penises are more attractive than others, but they really aren’t any less attractive than vaginas.  After the break, an NSFW picture of a non-porn star attractive naked man.

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Beautiful yarn

I went to the yarn shop I discovered near my current resting spot today, and left my wallet at home (on purpose).  Oh, but I want these yarns!!!




The second one is $37 a skein and the first is $6.50.  So, I know which one I’m buying.