Fieldnotes: On Staying Clam & Reading More in 2021 ☽ Part II ☾

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Fieldnotes: On Staying Clam & Reading More in 2021 ☽ Part II ☾

1clamairy
Abr 1, 10:09pm

Thought it was time for a new thread.



Finished The Goblin Emperor and found it charming and well written. I did think perhaps that Maia might have been a little too perfect. He actually reminded me a bit of Cazaril in The Curse of Chalion, in that he's just basically a great guy. Except of course he's much younger, and completely untrained for anything. Also, geeze louise, the names killed me. I should have kept a list. Luckily when using the Kindle if you highlight a name you get a pop-up that usually clears things up. It wasn't just the character names that were a horror*, but the names of the towns, provinces and cities were sometimes seven or more syllables long. Anyway, thank you to whomever was plugging this one back in 2015 and influenced my purchase.

*Like Russian literature many the characters were referred to by more than one name.

2cindydavid4
Abr 1, 10:47pm

still waiting for it to come!!!!

3Karlstar
Abr 2, 10:54am

>1 clamairy: Glad you enjoyed it.

4clamairy
Abr 2, 5:08pm

>2 cindydavid4: Hope you get it soon.

>3 Karlstar: Thank you!

I started Paladin of Souls last night. Excellent so far.

5clamairy
Abr 11, 4:42pm

I'm still here! Just working my way through both Paladin of Souls on my Kindle and The Silmarillion via Audible.

I also watched the six hour Ken Burns & Lynn Novick PBS documentary about Hemingway and I'm almost sorry I did. I am probably going to have to wait until the shock wears off before I can ever read anything else of his. Has anyone else watched it?

6cindydavid4
Abr 11, 6:25pm

I know someone on another post that did and had several choice words for the man. So yeah ; I had similar words for him after reading paris wife the bio novel of his first wife. Never really been all that much of a fan of his, less now.

7MrsLee
Abr 11, 8:01pm

>5 clamairy: I've read various things about him. I wouldn't want to be in his life, but some of his stories are powerful and moving. When I was young, I was quite idealistic and remember scoffing something about all artists being mental or depraved. My uncle said something I've never forgotten.

He said it was quite possible, but it was also quite possible that the same thing which made them behave in such anti-societal ways was what enabled them to see the world differently and interpret it in ways that we could never have imagined. Ways that widen our view. I found that thought echoed in a book I recently read on mental illness/dementia. The brain is a black box really.

I don't think that excuses anyone from hurting others, but I wonder if we need to separate the art from the person? I don't know. I do know that if we eliminated all the art; written, painted and instrumental, from the world because the creator of it didn't behave well towards others, our world would be a lesser place.

8Karlstar
Abr 11, 8:51pm

>7 MrsLee: A very astute observation, MrsLee.

9Karlstar
Abr 11, 8:54pm

>1 clamairy: That might have been me plugging The Goblin Emperor, though it was in 2019.

10clamairy
Abr 11, 9:25pm

>7 MrsLee: Agreed. I have been milling this over all day. I don't think he would have been driven to write if he didn't have all of those painful issues.

Also, I know he often suffered from depression, but I don't think he was 'crazy' at all. The series mentions how he thought the FBI were surveiling him and implies this was an indication of his mental illness. Well, turns out the Feds were watching him for years, and sadly the series did not address this at all.

>9 Karlstar: Thank you!

11clamairy
Abr 12, 8:58pm



I have to say I enjoyed Paladin of Souls a lot more than I did The Curse of Chalion. Maybe I identified with Ista more than Cazaril, or something... It also didn't hurt that I was already familiar with the world.

I'll be adding some comments to the group read.

It's on to Drowned Country for me. (That's the sequel to Silver in the Wood.)

12ScoLgo
Abr 12, 9:09pm

>11 clamairy: I really need to fit Paladin of Souls into my reading schedule soon. In the meantime, I will be watching this space for your comments on Drowned Country as I am just about to start on Silver in the Wood tonight. Or maybe tomorrow as I'm also about 1/3 of the way through Lucifer and the Child at the moment, and it is turning out to be an excellent read so far. Also just finished Mexican Gothic a few minutes ago, which I really enjoyed. One of the better horror novels I have read in recent years, (although that genre has gotten less and less attention from me as I age).

13clamairy
Editado: Abr 12, 9:45pm

>12 ScoLgo: I read less horror as well, and there are several reasons for that, not the least of which is that I now live alone! And, wow! You're reading quite a bit! I probably would still be slogging through Paladin of Souls but our weather turned cool and wet, and I didn't feel like cleaning so I finished it.

14clamairy
Abr 16, 6:02pm



Finished Drowned Country yesterday while I was recovering from my second Moderna shot. (My reaction was NOT fun, but it certainly beats the alternative.) I enjoyed this one, but not as much as I did the first book in the series, Silver in the Wood. I hope she's planning to follow this up with a book about the exploits of Silver's mum and her new sidekick.

I've already started Why We Swim and it quite good!

15Meredy
Abr 18, 3:52pm

>7 MrsLee: >10 clamairy: I entirely agree that we have to separate the art from the person. And that works two ways. We can't discount the art because we find the person or the person's politics objectionable, but neither should we have to know all about the person in order to appreciate the art. The creator's biography can inform our experience of the art, but it shouldn't be dependent on it.

We are all flawed beings. We have to be able to learn from a flawed teacher, respond to the work of a flawed artist, and love and be loved by flawed humans. There isn't any other kind.

16clamairy
Abr 18, 7:54pm

>15 Meredy: It's a slippery slope, is it not? I know I have trouble listening to Michael Jackson's music now. I think watching most Woody Allen films will be problematic for me as well. Hemingway is NOT in the same category as these two at all, by the way. I wasn't implying that.

Yes, we are all flawed, and we sometimes hurt each other. I think I may feel forced to draw a line when I see the hurting is or was done intentionally. Again, I am not putting Hemingway in that camp.

17cindydavid4
Abr 18, 11:24pm

>7 MrsLee: I do know that if we eliminated all the art; written, painted and instrumental, from the world because the creator of it didn't behave well towards others, our world would be a lesser place.

have always felt a separation between art and artist. I am usually much more interested in the former, in fact for years I didn't pay attention to the author names of beloved books. I can still watch Woody Allen, heck I can still Listen to Bill Cosby's original albums that I grew up with. And Michael Jackson I can't not listen to. Then there is also Mists of Avalon which has been a fav of mine for decades; only recently after Marian Zimmer Bradleys death did I hear about the accusations. There is also the question of innocent until proven guilty. But These people created masterpieces which I think can still be appreciated despite the monstrous actions of the artists.

18-pilgrim-
Abr 19, 5:02am

>15 Meredy:, >16 clamairy:

For me, it makes a difference whether the artist is alive or dead. I can value the art independently of how I feel about the artist. But I prefer not to give money, via royalty payments, to people who intentionally harmed others.

That said, I am extremely wary of works of art in which such authors promulgated concepts that advanced their ability to commit awful acts.

19clamairy
Abr 19, 8:36am

>18 -pilgrim-: This makes perfect sense to me. (Except in Michael Jackson's case, where I feel physically nauseous when I hear his music now.)

20clamairy
Abr 19, 8:41am

>17 cindydavid4: I thought you said Bing Crosby and I thought "What?!?!?"

Just to clarify, I am not consciously choosing to avoid many of these artists. I have a visceral reaction when I hear Jackson's music. I could probably watch a movie that Woody directed but wasn't starring in, but I haven't put that to the test. I might wait until he's 6 feet under.

21pgmcc
Abr 19, 9:05am

>20 clamairy: I know I am not in line with many people but I have never found Woody Allen’s films worth watching. I never took to the humour. Consequently I had no conflict about not watching his films when he ran away with his partner’s adopted daughter.

22Busifer
Abr 19, 9:42am

Tricky topic, this. I do subscribe to the general idea that we must separate the work, the output, and the person, the creator. We must allow people to be people, and no-one is perfect. Thankfully. It is in the flaws that we move ahead.

That said I find that there are people who I will not ever give a single penny to as long as they are alive. Creators who use their art to peddle ideas that I find repulsive I will not support.

With dead artists the situation might be different but some things are just too hard to digest, even then. I dislike the Victorian authors, the Victorian view on women was simply demeaning, and the more I learn about the realities of the era the more I'm glad that we've left that behind us.
I am willing to give quite wide space, though. We cannot evolve and learn if we do like the ancient Chinese: erasing all records of previous dynasties is not a good way to learn. To understand that "common sense" and morals is not a universal set standard but situational, cultural, and dependent on power structures and politics, we need to be able to compare over time.

Personally I might have trouble reading, watching, listening, though.

23Busifer
Abr 19, 9:43am

>21 pgmcc: Me neither. He's just not my cup of tea.
And that can be said about Michael Jackson and his music as well. Never took to it, so have no trouble staying away.

24pgmcc
Abr 19, 11:32am

>23 Busifer: I was never a Jackson fan.

25haydninvienna
Abr 19, 12:26pm

I have problems with Herbert von Karajan and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, both of whom had some relationship with the NSDAP. Fortunately, I’m not a huge fan of the von Karajan style, and there are plenty of other great sopranos than Schwarzkopf.

26-pilgrim-
Abr 20, 4:16am

>22 Busifer: I find it helps to treat earlier eras like the cultures in a science fiction novel, and explore "what it would be like to live in a society that held those values?"

I am firmly in the "those who do not study history are doomed to trust it" camp.

27Busifer
Abr 20, 4:53am

(Sorry, clamairy, I didn't intend to hog your thread!)

>26 -pilgrim-: Oh, I do that. My daytime job is in great part to get under the hood of the motivations and though processes of people, and to understand how this affects the way they use various tools as they try to achieve whatever it is they're trying to achieve.
To get them talking I need to show empathy with even the most weird ideas. As a result I have a quite wide acceptance for the variety that is humankind and our individual interpretations of "normal", and am able to create an analytical sandbox, so to speak, in which those ideas can live their own life for as long as I need them, in isolation from everything else. As a consequence of this I am trained to look for different viewpoints, different ways to interpret not only history but what is going on around us, presently.

One of my strategies for handling the - to me - weird or revolting ideas i encounter is for me to have a firm grasp of my personal values. To know where I personally draw the line, what I would like the world to be like, and what behaviour I judge unacceptable: my inner moral compass. A guard against the eternally relativist mire that leads nowhere but paralysis: always a risk when one is used to see things from multiple viewpoints.
We need to learn from what came before us. We need to learn from the sometimes bad example of others. But we also need to know where each of us stands.

This is not a black or white situation, one or zero, on/off. I can chose to exclude art and artists from my personal viewing, reading, listening list, without erasing them or their importance. Edification and pleasure is two different situations, and though interlinked I do sometimes chose not to partake of things that I don't endorse.
Life is too short to waste it on getting a raised blood pressure over things you can't affect ;-)

28-pilgrim-
Abr 20, 9:15am

>27 Busifer: Oh, I agree that recreational reading should never be "compulsory". It is just a technique that enables me to explore factual realities without expending too much energy on my blood boiling that people actually ever treat(ed) one another like that.

29clamairy
Abr 20, 9:49am

I've reached an age and mental state in which if something isn't pleasing me to read, listen to, eat, or watch I have very little guilt about backing away. My only exception is if I'm reading (or watching) non-fiction, and I feel the benefits of the knowledge gained will outweigh the distress I'm experiencing. Otherwise I'm done.

30Busifer
Abr 20, 9:56am

Well said. And with much fewer words than me :-)

31pgmcc
Editado: Abr 20, 10:11am

>29 clamairy: I believe that is the same approach I am taking with respect to the crap books the book club is putting forward for discussion. I enjoy the meetings but the majority of books chosen for discussion are more of an endurance test than an entertainment. I have DNFed quite a few recently, and there are some I did not even go near.

The myth that the majority of literary works being published and promoted as worthy are crap is proving, through the sample of books our book club has chosen, not to be a myth at all. There are books full of beautiful language with no plots or interesting characters; books with florid language that are based on big names and famous events but are like a broken pencil, i.e. they are pointless; books with no mystery, no interesting information, no people with any real character, etc...

There are exceptions, but our book club appears to be very good at avoiding those.

E.T.A. Sorry for the rant, but you did get me started. Only I am preparing for a meeting in fifty minutes I would go on for more pages, and pages, and...

32clamairy
Abr 20, 10:32am

>31 pgmcc: If this group has taught me anything it's that books that others deem crap I often love, and vice versa. Because you or I feel something is unworthy does not make it so for others. I'd rather see people reading and enjoying something I don't particularly care for than not reading at all. That said, I've dragged myself through quite a few torturous books for the sake of various book groups over the years, and it is not pleasurable. You're right to avoid them, though try not to think less of your fellow club members for enjoying them.

33clamairy
Abr 20, 10:32am

>30 Busifer: Ha! Thank you.

34cindydavid4
Editado: Abr 20, 10:46am

>27 Busifer: As a result I have a quite wide acceptance for the variety that is humankind and our individual interpretations of "normal", and am able to create an analytical sandbox, so to speak, in which those ideas can live their own life for as long as I need them, in isolation from everything else. As a consequence of this I am trained to look for different viewpoints, different ways to interpret not only history but what is going on around us, presently.

This entire post is one I plan to save somewhere, because it has been something i so want to live like. Its a place to strive for,and it takes work. And its so different dealing with clients (or parents where I work) where I can be impersonal, rather than dealing with dear friends and relatives whose ideas and values have me shaking : how they can believe some of these things, and how I can still accept them as the people I love. I always swore Id never let politics or other issues get in the way of friendships, but Im afraid I have unfriended people, at least online when its all too much to take

To know where I personally draw the line, what I would like the world to be like, and what behaviour I judge unacceptable: my inner moral compass. A guard against the eternally relativist mire that leads nowhere but paralysis: always a risk when one is used to see things from multiple viewpoints.
We need to learn from what came before us. We need to learn from the sometimes bad example of others. But we also need to know where each of us stands.


So well stated and again some thing I think Ive tried to do all my life; A moral compass, when all else is chaos. Im another who is able to see things from multiple viewpoints, which does cause paralysis. To depend on what I believe in my core, and yet be willing to see another as a human being. Bravo,!

35cindydavid4
Abr 20, 10:48am

>32 clamairy: Ive suffered through groups like that and have quietly left when it was all too much. In two right now that I have stayed interested in because most of the choices can work for me, others, nope, I just dont touch and don't attend.

36pgmcc
Abr 20, 10:53am

>32 clamairy:
The fact that I love the sessions means I think highly of the people despite the crap books they try to force me to read. :-)

I am looking forward to the day when we can all meet in a restaurant or someone’s house and have a good old chin-wag without Zoom cutting out some people’s voices.

You are right about people having different tastes in books. Without that difference we would never be able to get a good row going. :-)

37cindydavid4
Abr 20, 10:57am

>27Life is too short to waste it on getting a raised blood pressure over things you can't affect ;-)

Thing is that I have always believed in this, as stated in the Talmud (interpretation of the Torah) states: Pirkei Avot 2:16 - Sefari "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”" But as hard as I work I have come to the sad realization that I have to stop, or pause for a while, because its all too much.

38clamairy
Editado: Abr 21, 2:01pm



Why We Swim was a decent read. I absolutely loved the beginning, Bonnie Tsui discusses what drove her into the water, and what drives others. I particularly loved the tale of Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a fisherman who survived six hours in 5°C (41°F) water after his boat sank. Three of the crew started out swimming from the boat to their native Iceland, and only he made it. Every year Iceland celebrates his survival, with many people swimming the distance he covered. (Though not in that temperature water!)

She did sort of lose me a bit about 2/3rds of the way through when she got deeply into swimming as a martial art. But she wrapped it up again nicely. It made me greatly anticipate my local water reaching swimmable tempartures, and I am even contemplating buying a wetsuit.

I had started The Ghost Brigade, but my OverDrive copy of The Scapegoat* became available, so I'm reading that.

*Not the one I tossed aside back in my previous thread.

39Meredy
Abr 21, 2:23pm

>38 clamairy: I was on a Du Maurier kick for a while and enjoyed The Scapegoat. But I tried twice to watch the movie version, with Matthew Rhys, and couldn't get past the halfway mark, even though I liked how well he managed both roles. Maybe something about that one just works best when it stays inside your head.

40pgmcc
Abr 21, 2:23pm

>38 clamairy:
I am looking forward to your comments on The Scapegoat.

41Meredy
Abr 21, 2:31pm

>40 pgmcc: I've just read and thumbed your review, which came right after mine, seven years ago. Very thoughtful and perceptive. I'd like to see clam's too.

42pgmcc
Abr 21, 2:35pm

>41 Meredy:
Thank you for that. I must go and reread my review and have a look at yours.

43Bookmarque
Abr 21, 3:03pm

>39 Meredy: Oh I love Matthew Rhys. I might have to try it on myself to see how I feel about it.

44pgmcc
Abr 21, 3:03pm

>41 Meredy:
I enjoyed your review. It appears I "thumbed" it some years ago. Probably around the time I posted my review.

There were a few things I did not mention in the review that helped the story resonate with me. For the sake of Clam's spoiler free reading of the book I will use the spoiler mask. The comments will be here for her to read when she has reached the end of the book.

At the start of the book John is driving from the Loire Valley to Cherbourg (I think it was Cherbourg. It might have been Caen or Roscof, but that does not change my point as I have travelled to all three) to catch his ferry back to England. Our holiday home is in the Loire Valley and I am very familiar with the route taken by the main character. It was interesting that he was taking three days to make the journey that we make in seven hours, even with meal stops. This is more to do with the state of the roads rather than my reaching illegal speed limits on country roads.

Also, he had been studying in the Loire Valley and Blois chateaux was mentioned specifically. Again, this is a place I know well, so I had another connection.

Now for the hard bit. The end of the story tells of the history of the people in the region and how some of them had collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation. It is something that has crossed my mind many times when in that region. While there was a strong Resistance presence there were also many people who did not resist. I feel it is a big elephant in the room that enables people to carry on with life by ignoring the dark side of their ancestors' lives.

I was intrigued by your observation about windows and curtains and viewpoints. That did not strike me while I was reading the book but your mentioning it brings back many scenes with windows and the things observed through them.

45ScoLgo
Abr 21, 4:32pm

>39 Meredy: The Scapegoat was my first du Maurier. I loved it. There is an earlier adaptation, (from 1959), starring Sir Alec Guinness. Both film versions changed the ending, and not for the better.

46clamairy
Abr 25, 9:22am

Yesterday I met up with some family members at my parents' gravesite to celebrate the anniversaries of their births. (101 for my mom and 106 for my dad. They were born exactly 5 years apart.) We brought wine, cheese, gin & tequila, chairs and small tables. We hung out for quite a while toasting their memories, also while munching and chatting. We started this last year during Covid and decided to make it an annual event.

47Karlstar
Abr 25, 10:10am

>46 clamairy: Sounds very nice!

48MrsLee
Abr 25, 10:10am

>46 clamairy: Sounds like a lovely celebration of them. My family will be doing the honors for my mother's ashes in May. It has been put off for a year, but now that most are vaccinated and in better health than they were, we feel able to do it. Also, we will be on a lava bluff overlooking the house/ranch they lived in. It's time.

49pgmcc
Abr 25, 10:54am

>46 clamairy: That sounds like a lovely tradition to instigate.

50pgmcc
Abr 25, 10:55am

>48 MrsLee:
That is a lovely idea and an ideal location.

51Busifer
Abr 25, 12:26pm

>46 clamairy: Such a lovely idea!
>48 MrsLee: What Peter said.

52clamairy
Abr 25, 12:41pm

>48 MrsLee: Sounds wonderful. Hope you find it brings you all peace.

53Narilka
Abr 25, 3:00pm

>46 clamairy: That's such a great way to celebrate their memory :)

54cindydavid4
Abr 25, 5:33pm

>46 clamairy: wonderful way to memorilize them, and for families to come together. Hope that continues for many years more!!

55clamairy
Abr 25, 8:00pm

Thanks, all. I am almost sure my folks would approve.

56clamairy
Abr 25, 8:52pm



Many thanks to ScoLgo for The Scapegoat. It was an inadvertent shot between the eyes, as I had abandoned a book with this same title and he almost fainted in my thread because he thought it was this book that he enjoyed so much.

It is a doozy. It does require a huge suspension of belief. That two humans can be so identical in size, face and speech that no one, including live-in family members, could tell them apart. I am glad I was able to suspend that belief because it was worth the effort. Once I let myself get sucked in I had trouble setting my Kindle aside. I did deduct a half a star from a perfect score for implausibility, but other than that quibble this book was fantastic. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to read a book with no technology. It made me promise myself to spend less time with my face in a glowy screen (This does not apply to Kindle time.)

57Meredy
Abr 25, 9:11pm

>56 clamairy: A book with no technology. Now, that is a nice criterion, and one I hadn't thought about. It did occur to me some years back, though, that the plots of most of the movies I watched and enjoyed simply could not have worked in the age of cellphones.

582wonderY
Abr 25, 9:46pm

>57 Meredy: And thus are probably incomprehensible to young people anymore.🤨. Could that be why their memes make no sense to me?

59clamairy
Abr 25, 10:17pm

>57 Meredy: Yes, there would certainly be a digital trail for both of these men making things a lot more difficult.

>58 2wonderY: I didn't mean just mobile phones and computers. I meant they barely had electricity, so there were no radios, televisions, etc.

60Meredy
Abr 25, 11:47pm

>59 clamairy: Any storyline that depends on someone's lacking critical information (they don't know the hurricane or the eclipse or the invasion is coming), or traveling in the wrong direction, or being unable to locate resources, or not knowing how to perform basic first aid, is going to flop today, when people can look up all these things on their phones. Just being able to call for help or warn someone would ruin a lot of movies.

Some contrivance by which they lose or destroy their phones or the batteries all fail might work once, but not for all the characters. The only safe way of avoidance is to set it in an earlier time. And how many viewers really go in for films that lack a contemporary setting?

Just ask yourself while watching any even slightly older movie: what if they had cellphones? The plot goes pffft.

I'm also waiting curiously to see how filmmakers get around the mask problem.

61-pilgrim-
Abr 26, 12:53am

>60 Meredy: I watched the evolution with interest.

There was a period of horror for filmmakers and authors as they tried desperately to find ways to divest their characters of their pbones, have their batteries expire etc. - although lack of signal has always seemed to me to be a viable explanation*.

Then they went proactive, and the mobile phone became part of the problem for the character - having their location tracked through Google location history, being located by the villain ringing their number, having their personal data hacked and their identity stolen to remove their access to money and so on.

---
*After having my usual SIM spammed to death, I have spent the intervening months relying first on a borrowed phone, and then on a replacement SIM from a provider who was open (a chemist's) for which the reception at home is intermittent and phone calls tend either to get dropped or are unintelligible. So lack of signal is a reality for me.

I am also very aware of Search & Rescue services being called out regularly to idiots who were relying on Google for hiking, instead of bringing a map. (Currently in abeyance because of lockdown preventing travel.)

62hfglen
Abr 26, 5:30am

>61 -pilgrim-: How many people these days can actually read a proper map?

63pgmcc
Abr 26, 6:40am

One of the things I am enjoying with Eric Ambler, and for that matter Chandler and Hammett, is the scarcity of technology. None of them have mobile phones. In the Amblers I have read to date, phones are a rarity, in some cases only available at one or two locations in a village, such as the pub or the post office.

The Ambler story I am currently reading was great at transporting me back in time as the main character arrived at a rural railway station to discover his lift to his lodgings, which had been arranged by letter, was not there due to their thinking he was arriving the following day. He had to make is way, by foot, in a general direction until he found a village with a pub. He then asked directions to the farm and had to walk along moonlit country roads trying to identify the landmarks was given in the pub for direction purposes. He could not get taxi as the only cars for rent were all booked to take people to a local dance in a village 20 miles away.

64Busifer
Abr 26, 7:11am

>62 hfglen: My son can, he turn 18 later this year. That might be because he's into grand strategy gaming, but in reality it is because they are taught it in school. They also have to prove that knowledge, once a year (compulsory orienteering practise and test).

65clamairy
Abr 26, 8:00am

I wasn't bashing technology, I simply enjoyed a book that was lacking it. Someone was washing bedsheets in the river! Can't imagine they would have been too clean if they tried that around here.

To be honest I'm not that sure map reading was ever a skill possessed by a huge percentage of the populace, especially in my country. I'm great with maps, but terrible at remembering verbal directions for more than a nanosecond...

66-pilgrim-
Abr 26, 8:13am

>65 clamairy:

Reading an Ordnance Survey map was part of the geography curriculum when I was in school. And there was enough open land about for competitive orienteering challenges (as a very small party of the P. E. curriculum). So the percentage of the population, of my generation at least, (in my country) who would be completely clueless I would expect to be fairly low.

67clamairy
Editado: Abr 26, 8:37am

>66 -pilgrim-: That's because you don't glorify stupidity like we do.

(This was meant to be half humor and half bitter truth.)

68cindydavid4
Abr 26, 9:27am

Im the navigator to my driver husband on trips (he gets car sick, and i can read while riding in a car, so it works out for both of us) I learned lots of map skills for basic survivial while traveling, because I have no sense of direction so had to learn just to get myself around. We do rely on gps now (the days of fighting with a map folds is long gone thank goodness,) I still can read a map if nec .oh and yeah, can't remember verbal directions either. David on the other hand not only remembers them but can recall them days or weeks later...

>56 clamairy: definition of technology : Technology is the way we apply scientific knowledge for practical purposes. It includes machines (like computers) but also techniques and processes (like the way we produce computer chips). ... In fact, a hammer and the wheel are two examples of early human technology. So they do have technology, just not ours, right? :)

>60 Meredy: Any storyline that depends on someone's lacking critical information ( is going to flop today, when people can look up all these things on their phones. Just being able to call for help or warn someone would ruin a lot of movies.

I don't think this would be the case; most people can read HF or see films about it realizing that at this time and this place, the technology will be different Tho I remember laughing at Michael Douglas in a movie from the 80s; his cell phone was as big as his head!

That being said in the museum where I work there is a typewriter on display next to a video of Jerry Lewis pantomiming using one. Most people have no idea what he's doing.....

69Sakerfalcon
Abr 26, 9:31am

>66 -pilgrim-:, >67 clamairy: Yes, we learned to read OS maps at school too. And then being in the Guides/Rangers we used them on hikes. I belonged to the Ramblers for a few years recently and they always use OS maps when leading walks and hold regular training sessions in navigating with a map and compass. There are too many places even in the UK where you won't get a phone signal, aside from the likelihood of getting caught in the rain (my phone dies if it gets even a few drops of water on it).

70-pilgrim-
Abr 26, 10:57am

>69 Sakerfalcon:, >67 clamairy: For common optional training we also have the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

So there is a sizeable proportion of voluntary childhood activity that teaches competent outdoor travel. But the school system means that even the uninterested have been taught the basics.

71Karlstar
Abr 26, 12:11pm

>67 clamairy: We certainly do and I really wish it wasn't such a bitter truth.

72Busifer
Abr 26, 1:27pm

>66 -pilgrim-: It's the same in Sweden: reading and using standard ordinance maps was and is part of the geography curriculum.
(There's also en emphasis on reading maps showing political geography, on a time line - ie how borders and countries change with time - as well as more standard geography where you have to correctly place and name the countries, capitals, big cities, regions/states, mountain ranges, rivers, other geological features, etc. /That was so much easier when i grew up, during the cold war./ )

73cindydavid4
Abr 26, 2:37pm

I remember my 5th grade social studies teacher had us learning about diferent countries and where they were, and she had a big map of Africa covered with a transparent cover, so she could use a marker and show us how the countries were changing (this was in the 60s, a period of great change for most of Africa and other former colonies around the world) But I don't remember much else. She was the teacher who got me interested in cultures and geography; if I didn't seek it out, never would have gotten that. Hope its changed now

One fascinating way I learned about countries was when I was learning eastern european folk dancing. The intructor had photos of people in their traditional clothing, and placed them were they belonged so we could see which countries were influencing others, and as we learned the dances could see the similar patterns.

74clamairy
Maio 2, 5:53pm



Hate to admit I'm happy to be done with this one. Audible always requests a rating when you're done. I gave it 4 stars overall, 3 stars for performance and 5 stars for the story. Does anyone know if there is more than one English audio version of this?

I already started the audio for The Crystal Cave and I am finding that narrator much more to my liking.

75cindydavid4
Maio 2, 11:04pm

Oh loved that series, one of the best versions of the arthur legends, at least until I read Mysts of Avalon and Bernard Cornwells Winter King Hope you enjoy it as much as I did

76clamairy
Maio 3, 8:05am

>75 cindydavid4: I read the series multiple times in my teens, but I don't think I've revisited it since. It's wonderful so far.

77clamairy
Maio 4, 2:27pm

I am enjoying listening to The Crystal Cave very much. I have bailed on the ebook I borrowed from OverDrive, which was The Great Believers. It is beautifully written, and I was becoming very attached to one of the characters when I became aware of all the not so subtly dropped hints this person was going to die. Nope. Not in the right frame of mind for that right now. So I have returned to something I put down over a year ago, which is Record of a Spaceborn Few.

78cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 4, 2:45pm

Lots of people die in Great Belivers. When you are in the right frame of mine, return to it if you can I thought I remembered what all was happening during this time re AIDs, but reading this told me I knew nothing. Worth trying again

79clamairy
Maio 4, 8:01pm

>78 cindydavid4: It won't be any time soon, I'm afraid.

80cindydavid4
Maio 4, 8:51pm

NP. stick with crystal cave!

81clamairy
Maio 4, 9:00pm

>80 cindydavid4: Ah, the Mary Stewart is my current audiobook. I'm reading the Becky Chambers I mentioned above, Record of a Spaceborn Few.

82Jim53
Maio 4, 9:24pm

>77 clamairy: I reread Stewart's four books recently and enjoyed them quite a bit. There was more to them than I recalled from the last time I read them, which was at least 40 years ago.

83clamairy
Maio 4, 9:33pm

>82 Jim53: I was probably in my late teens or early 20s, so yeah... it's been 40 years for me as well. I would say my only complaint so far is the dearth of female characters. That is something I did not notice when I read it the first time at 14 or so...

84clamairy
Maio 12, 9:03pm



I was lucky enough to borrow the ebook Fugitive Telemetry through OverDrive within a couple of days of publication. This was lots of fun, but I felt it was not quite as good as Network Effect. Or maybe that's just because it was too short. I do so love my Murderbot.

Now I'm going back to the Becky Chambers I was working on before.

85Busifer
Maio 13, 4:34am

>84 clamairy: I felt the opposite: that she's much better with the short format, but I have also noted that shorter stories work better for me on paper than they do in a digital format. In digital they whoosh by, while on paper I get more of a sense of volume/a more physical presence, if that makes any sense.

86clamairy
Maio 13, 8:35pm

>85 Busifer: It's also possible that I've read enough of them that the novelty is starting to wear off just a tiny bit.

87clamairy
Maio 13, 8:42pm



It's been 40 years since I read The Crystal Cave and it was just as wonderful as I remembered, if not better. I had forgotten just enough of it to keep me on tender hooks a few times. I've already started listening to The Hollow Hills, with the same narrator (Derek Perkins) who is going on my list of favorites.

88Marissa_Doyle
Maio 13, 10:03pm

>86 clamairy: I just finished a Murderbot binge and and the novelty is as shiny as ever. :)

89clamairy
Editado: Maio 14, 8:57am

>88 Marissa_Doyle: It's probably just my bad attitude. LOL I still enjoyed it thoroughly.

I set aside Record of a Spaceborn Few yet again, this time for the brand new Chris Bohjalian. It's Hour of the Witch, which is set in colonial Massachusetts during the dark days.

90Darth-Heather
Maio 14, 9:28am

>87 clamairy: This series is one of my favorite Arthurian tales. I love her take on Merlin, and seeing him as a child was a delightful way to start off the story.

91clamairy
Maio 14, 9:35am

>90 Darth-Heather: Yes, it's just wonderful. I'm so glad the suck fairy has stayed far far away from this one.

92Busifer
Maio 14, 10:58am

>86 clamairy: Could be. I definitely didn't enjoy Network effect as much as I loved either of the five shorter books, but I'm considering rereading Network effect during summer: I think maybe I was in the wrong place mentally when I read it.
In the main I'm with >88 Marissa_Doyle: - still in love with the bling of the novelty ;-)

93catzteach
Maio 15, 10:30pm

>87 clamairy: I think it’s been about 40 years since I read that series. I loved it then. Glad to hear the suck fairy has stayed away from it.

I really want to read the Murderbot series. My library only has a couple of them. :(

94clamairy
Maio 16, 11:21am

>93 catzteach: If you give me an email address in a private message I can send you the mobi file for the first one. Tor was giving it away a few years ago. Then if you hate it you won't feel like you're missing anything.

95MrAndrew
Maio 17, 6:07am

But what if catzteach likes it? I recommend sending Atlas Shrugged or Twilight instead. Then catzteach will not want to read any more of the series. Problem solved.

96cindydavid4
Maio 17, 3:20pm

>95 MrAndrew: HAHahaha!

97clamairy
Maio 17, 4:11pm

>95 MrAndrew: Yes, but I like >93 catzteach:, so I would not recommend either of those. Especially not that first one! 🤢

98catzteach
Maio 17, 8:53pm

>94 clamairy: That'd be great! I'll do that!

I've already read Atlas Shrugged. Yeah, either I didn't really get it or it was awful, or maybe both. :)

99clamairy
Maio 17, 9:42pm

>98 catzteach: I will do it tomorrow. :o)
(I'm already in bed.)

100clamairy
Editado: Maio 29, 3:51pm



I enjoyed Hour of the Witch quite a bit, though for a brief while the suspense was causing me so much anxiety that I almost looked for spoilers online so I wouldn't have to wait to find out how it ended.

This is basically the story of a slightly forward thinking woman trapped in a time populated with the narrow-minded superstitious bigoted Puritans that settled the Boston area. For freaking sake they thought forks with three tines were instruments of the devil. I was both fascinated and disgusted. Not all the Puritans were like this, but the ones that were held almost all the power.

I'm tempted to read or listen to a history of the time, and I'm trying to decide between The Devil in the Shape of a Woman or In the Devil's Snare. But in the meantime I've already started A Desolation Called Peace which is part 2 of the Teixcalaan series. I do not know how many of these there are going to be, but I greatly enjoyed the first one. They are a bit chewier than my normal SciFi, though.

101ScoLgo
Maio 23, 5:11pm

>100 clamairy: If you haven't read it, a great non-fiction book about the early Puritan settlement of America is Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty. Roger Williams was a fascinating fellow. The book reads almost like a novel, once it gets going; I found it both informative and difficult to put down.

102clamairy
Editado: Maio 23, 5:33pm

>101 ScoLgo: I'll check out the details on it. I don't want to like any of these people, mind you. LOL

Edited to add: I loved the one book I read by John Barry!

103ScoLgo
Maio 23, 5:48pm

>102 clamairy: Oh, I will have to look for that one! Did you read The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History before or after the coronavirus hit?

104clamairy
Editado: Maio 23, 6:01pm

Long long before...
(I have it tagged 2009.)

105fuzzi
Maio 23, 6:30pm

>101 ScoLgo: bookbullet!

>102 clamairy: I am fairly certain you will like Roger Williams. He taught that native Americans weren't savages but equal to whites, he fought against slavery, and he held the "separation of church and state" opinion that got him in hot water with those in power. He and his followers founded Providence, Rhode Island.

106clamairy
Maio 23, 7:29pm

>105 fuzzi: Yes, I realize he wasn't part of that despicable Boston bunch that was burning Quakers. :o(

107Busifer
Maio 24, 3:40am

>100 clamairy: I think A desolation called peace was a bit less chewy than the first one, though I enjoyed both.

108Sakerfalcon
Maio 24, 6:21am

>100 clamairy:, >107 Busifer: I just finished A desolation called peace and really enjoyed it, though it took a while to engage me. I also didn't remember the style of the first book being so chatty, or all the asides and italicised words in people's interior narration. I need to go back and reread both books at some stage.

109reading_fox
Maio 24, 11:04am

>89 clamairy: - Record is my favourite of the whole series, I loved how she's imagined the future of colony ships and how their surroundings have changed how people think, but at it's heart it's still the same wonderfully hopeful warm SF. Really clever

Mary Stewart I don't know at all. Where would be a good place to start?

110clamairy
Maio 24, 11:40am

>109 reading_fox: I read some of her mysteries when I was a tween, but I can't recommend those. Her Merlin Series is outstanding, IMHO. Try The Crystal Cave if you can borrow the eBook and give it a test drive.

111Darth-Heather
Maio 24, 1:15pm

>110 clamairy: Mary Stewart's novels have been very hit-or-miss for me, but I did enjoy The Gabriel Hounds, The Ivy Tree, This Rough Magic and Airs Above The Ground and would recommend them with the caveat that they are somewhat dated now. She has a great way of describing a place that I've never been and giving me a way to visualize it clearly.

112clamairy
Maio 24, 1:39pm

>111 Darth-Heather: Yes, I enjoyed the ones I read when I was 13 or so, but there were always romances in there along with the intrigue. I suspected they would not appeal to reading_fox.

113Darth-Heather
Editado: Maio 25, 9:24am

>112 clamairy: ah, yes, I see what you mean. I tend to skim the cutesy stuff and forget it was there :)

114clamairy
Editado: Maio 29, 12:02pm



Loved listening to The Hollow Hills, almost as much as I did The Crystal Cave. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I traded in an Audible credit for the third one. I'm not starting that right away, though. I've already started listening to The Devil in the Shape of a Woman. Edited to add: I am not crazy about this narrator, but it's not bad enough to bail.

115clamairy
Maio 31, 3:25pm

It seems to be taking me forever to get into A Desolation Called Peace, and I am not sure why, but I suspect it's because we are jumping back and forth from one character to another. Every time I start to settle in it jumps again.

116Sakerfalcon
Jun 1, 7:10am

>115 clamairy: I found it took me a while to get into as well. It wasn't until Three Seagrass and Mahit met up again that it really grabbed me.

117clamairy
Jun 1, 9:11am

>116 Sakerfalcon: Yes, that's where I am now and I'm finally more engaged. I'm only at the 25% mark!

118clamairy
Jun 1, 8:34pm



I was using quite a bit of profanity while listening to The Devil in the Shape of a Woman. I'm sure if any of the Puritans of old New England could have heard me I would have been hung for blasphemy. I know I have to take it all in the 'context of the times' but for %&^#'$ sake, could these people have been any more superstitious and vindictive? In general they preferred to harass women with no male relatives, be it husbands, brothers or sons, to protect them.

Anyway, I will be taking a break from this topic for bit, though I did just purchase The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present for my Kindle. I haven't decided what my next audio book will be yet, but I believe I will look for something lighthearted... to give my proverbial knickers a chance to untwist themselves.

119clamairy
Jun 6, 1:55pm

So, I used the share link on LT to post on Facebook that I had finished The Devil in the Shape of a Woman. My sister-in-law let me know that she recently was informed that three of her ancestors were accused of witchcraft in New England, and one* was hung. She and my husband were adopted from the same agency in Vermont, but were not biologically related, and she has only recently found her biological family members. The other two ancestors that were accused pled guilty and were eventually released.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Wardwell

120pgmcc
Jun 6, 5:40pm

>119 clamairy: Interesting family history.

121clamairy
Jun 6, 9:58pm

>120 pgmcc: Fascinating and yet horrifying.

122Busifer
Jun 7, 3:14pm

>121 clamairy: Yes, to both. It's the kind of connection that makes history even more personal.

123clamairy
Editado: Jun 9, 9:18pm



I was pretty happy to be done with A Desolation Called Peace and I'm somewhat confused as to why this one didn't work as well for me as A Memory Called Empire did. I know a few other people said they had a hard time getting into it, but eventually it grabbed them. In my case it kept grabbing me and then letting me go. It did enjoy they way it ended, at least.

Next up is The Prime of Miss Jean Brody which I've wanted to read forever and never manged to get to.

124Sakerfalcon
Jun 10, 5:39am

>123 clamairy: I would agree that A desolation called peace didn't have the same hold on me as A memory called Empire. I don't know if it was the rotating viewpoints, or the distractingly chatty style (which I don't remember from the first book), but something didn't quite work as well for me this time. I do want to find and reread the first book to see if it still has the same magic.

125clamairy
Jun 10, 8:48am

>124 Sakerfalcon: The rotating viewpoints was a killer for me. I'll probably skip any more books in this series.

126EwanStokes
Jun 10, 9:02am

This user has been removed as spam.

127clamairy
Jun 10, 1:13pm

Thanks for the spam, but I'm not a fan. :P

128Busifer
Jun 10, 4:52pm

>123 clamairy: >124 Sakerfalcon: For me A desolation called peace in many ways worked better than A memory called empire did, mostly because I enjoyed the story as told by the young emperor-to-be (Eight Antidote?). The Mahit/Three Seagrass story was not as well told, though, in Desolation; almost cheesy/purple, but Eight Antidote balanced that out.
Each to her/his own, though :-)

129clamairy
Jun 10, 8:44pm

>128 Busifer: Yes, I was much more interested in Eight Antidote than the romance. I also was intrigued by Twenty Cicada (Swarm) and wished we'd had more of his backstory. I think the book might have worked better for me at another time, but who knows.

130Busifer
Jun 11, 11:54am

>129 clamairy: Impossible to know. I'm sure I've read books at the wrong - or right - time and thus enjoyed a book less or more than if circumstances had been different.

131Sakerfalcon
Jun 14, 6:40am

>128 Busifer:, >129 clamairy: I agree that Eight Antidote and Twenty Cicada were the most interesting characters. I think the book would have grabbed me more if we'd had more focus on them.

132Busifer
Jun 16, 2:16pm

>131 Sakerfalcon: Agreed. Some of the Mahit/Three Seagrass parts were decidedly purple, prose-wise.

133clamairy
Editado: Jun 16, 2:29pm

>132 Busifer: In more ways than one! (Lavender being a Pride color here in North America.)

I set aside everything to read a palate cleanser. I was going to do another of those ghost stories by Bellewether author Susanna Kearsley, when I realized that I did NOT want a romance. So I'm reading a YA book that was one of my daughter's favorites as a tween, Dealing with Dragons. So far, so good.

134Busifer
Jun 16, 2:32pm

>133 clamairy: Yes, the "purple prose" phrase was unusually apt ;-)

135Narilka
Jun 16, 7:54pm

>133 clamairy: I'm glad you're giving Dealing with Dragons a try :)

136clamairy
Jun 16, 9:07pm

>135 Narilka: It's really wonderful. Like a Fractured Fairy Tale, but with a bit more depth.

137Meredy
Jun 16, 10:27pm

>123 clamairy: Will you be able to read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie without picturing Maggie Smith in the role?

138cindydavid4
Editado: Jun 16, 10:44pm

>136 clamairy: oh just what I'd love to read!

while checking that one out i saw this The Ordinary Princess by the author of one of my favorite books of all time Far Pavillions Cant wait to see what she does with this!!

139clamairy
Editado: Jun 17, 8:29am

>137 Meredy: I actually have never seen the movie, and can't watch it now without buying it. (Which I refuse to do. I should qualify that by saying 'pay extra,' since I already pay for cable, and then pay even more for multiple streaming services.)

140Sakerfalcon
Jun 17, 4:49am

>138 cindydavid4: The ordinary princess was one of my favourite books growing up! It's a sweet and funny little tale that takes on some of the absurdities of fairy-tale tropes.

141cindydavid4
Jun 17, 6:18am

I am a huge fan of fractured fairy tales and this one just slipped from my radar - I was already teaching at that time so it wouldn't have known about it as a chid. Glad to now! just ordered the book, can't wait to read it!

142pgmcc
Editado: Jun 17, 12:14pm

>137 Meredy: Now that you have asked the question, >139 clamairy: will not be able to read the book without seeing Maggie Smith whether she has seen the film or not. Maggie Smith's acting is so wonderful the very mention of her name evokes images of her in many roles. I have neither seen the film nor read the book, but I feel that if I ever do read the book I will see Maggie Smith in my mind's eye.

I have read Our Man in Havana on at least two occasions. The film is one of my favourites. (I hate saying something is a favourite as a "favourite" implies a degree of uniqueness in my mind. It is either the favourite one or it is not. I cannot think of a different word that means a specific film is one of several films that are well loved.) Watching Alec Guinness in the lead role meant that the first time I read the book I could only hear Alec Guinness's voice coming from the main character. I even stopped to study the language in the book and I was left with the distinct impression that the dialogue was written with Alec Guinness in mind. Well, given that I love Alec Guinness's work it is not a hardship to have him in mind any time I read the book.

One of the things I always forget about the film of Our Man in Havana is that Maureen O'Hara was in it. Add Burl Ives to the mix and you cannot help but have an entertaining movie.

143Narilka
Jun 17, 8:11pm

>136 clamairy: Yay!

>138 cindydavid4: I'm going to have to keep an eye out for The Ordinary Princess. That looks pretty good.

144clamairy
Jun 19, 12:13pm



I thoroughly enjoyed Dealing with Dragons, and wish I'd read it when my daughter was younger so I could have gotten more of her references to the series. Just plain ol' good fun.

I've started Project Hail Mary which is decent so far, but I'm only a few pages in. It certainly has my attention. I adored Andy Weir's book The Martian, but just could not get into Artemis at all.

1452wonderY
Jun 19, 3:39pm

>144 clamairy: ! Most of the reviews seem favorable for Project Hail Mary, and one mentions the audio version by Ray Porter. Can’t find the audio yet on any of the libraries I have access to. Harumph.

146clamairy
Jun 19, 4:12pm

>145 2wonderY: I love Ray Porter reading the We are Legion (We are Bob) series! That should be great. Perhaps Audible owns exclusive rights for a bit.

147Meredy
Jun 19, 5:07pm

>142 pgmcc: Is it a BB if you get me with a movie? I've always enjoyed Alec Guinness, going way back, but somehow I never saw this one. Just added it to my Netflix queue (I still subscribe to the DVDs).

Maggie Smith is wonderful as Miss Jean Brodie. Some of the lines are unforgettable purely on account of her delivery. You're right, she's wonderful in everything, including Maggie Smith: A Biography (which pairs nicely with Judi Dench's memoir And Furthermore, being a kind of yang to her yin).

148pgmcc
Jun 19, 5:57pm

>147 Meredy: Maggie Smith was great in Murder Under the Sun. The bitching between her and Diana Rigg’s character was so good you could have cut it with a long fingernail.

149Karlstar
Jun 19, 11:22pm

>144 clamairy: Everyone seems to love Project Hail Mary, I may have to pick that up so I read something current this year.

1502wonderY
Jun 20, 4:28am

>146 clamairy: Audible it is! SIL has an account I can access. Oh, and I can read Heaven’s River! Yay!

151clamairy
Jun 20, 12:54pm

>149 Karlstar: Hope you enjoy it!

>150 2wonderY: Great! I'm saving Heaven's River for the dawg days of Summer.

152clamairy
Jun 20, 1:03pm



I got a big kick out of listening to The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene, which was a compilation of a zillion interviews. It wasn't read by the cast members, but by a bunch of voice actors, which was fine. This is one of my all time favorite TV shows. Oddly enough I don't think I ever would have taken the time to watch it all if my son hadn't started streaming it constantly when he was in his early teens.

I've already started listening to The House of the Seven Gables, because of my interest in Salem of late. I thought I read this in my youth, but NONE of it is familiar.

153pgmcc
Jun 20, 2:06pm

>152 clamairy: I picked up The House of the Seven Gables when we visited Salem a few years ago. I look forward to hearing your views.

Naturally I have not read it yet. It has not been in my house for ten years yet.

154clamairy
Jun 20, 2:23pm

>153 pgmcc: I have you beat, Peter. Pretty sure I've had a copy since I was 14 or so.

155pgmcc
Jun 20, 2:44pm

>154 clamairy: What, you have had it seven years?

156MrsLee
Jun 20, 2:58pm

>152 clamairy: Good marksmanship! I bought the book about The Office for my husband, since it is Father's Day, and his birthday was yesterday. Thanks!

I know I read The House of Seven Gables, but I couldn't tell you what it's about.

157clamairy
Jun 20, 4:37pm

>155 pgmcc: Ha!

>156 MrsLee: Hope he enjoys it.

I don't think I have ever read Gables. I see I read The Scarlet Letter and a collection of his short stories. Might be time for me to start taking those jellyfish supplements they're always plugging on TV.

158MrsLee
Jun 20, 7:41pm

>157 clamairy: Do jellyfish help you read faster?

159clamairy
Jun 20, 9:04pm

>158 MrsLee: I think it's supposed to help you retain more. It's probably a load of crap. Or perhaps carp. :P

160hfglen
Jun 21, 4:59am

>159 clamairy: Do the Pub Rules allow carping?

161pgmcc
Jun 21, 5:35am

>160 hfglen: Is carping not piffling, but with earnest conviction, or giant goldfish?

162hfglen
Jun 21, 5:45am

>161 pgmcc: As long as you're not koi about it

163pgmcc
Jun 21, 5:48am

>162 hfglen: Boom! Boom!

164YouKneeK
Jun 21, 6:18am

>159 clamairy: I think you should try it for the halibut. Then please report to the grouper if it worked as whale as trouted or if it made you flounder.

165pgmcc
Jun 21, 6:23am

I think we are all being schooled here.

166hfglen
Jun 21, 7:24am

>159 clamairy: Is that its sole effect? Or does it protect against losing your plaice?

167cindydavid4
Editado: Jun 21, 7:48am

This has been done before, just sayin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGceb4If8PY

168clamairy
Jun 21, 8:44am

>162 hfglen: This post is the gold standard. Just saying...

Love the rest of them, too.

169MrsLee
Jun 21, 4:37pm

I just love it when this group breaks out in a rash of puns.

170Busifer
Jun 27, 9:41am

Just to break the run I feel I need to say that I never enjoyed watching The Office. Watching it is, to me, like stopping to watch a traffic accident as the emergency services work to cut someone out of a wrecked vehicle. I have worked in The Office for my whole life, and expect to continue to do so until retirement. I don't need to watch it on telly in my free time ;-)
But happy that it makes some people happy.

171pgmcc
Jun 27, 11:11am

>170 Busifer:
I am with you. I do not see the humour.

172MrsLee
Jun 27, 2:44pm

>170 Busifer: I know several people who feel the same, for the exact same reasons. :)

173Karlstar
Jun 27, 3:37pm

>170 Busifer: Same here. Just never found it consistently funny enough to bother.

174clamairy
Jun 27, 6:22pm

I think if I had still been working in cubicle (prairie dog land) I would have found it too painful to watch. But because I was no longer trapped in a cube, I found it hilarious.

175-pilgrim-
Jun 29, 8:55am

Like Busifer et al., I can't watch The Office - it's just painful.

How do you guys feel about The I.T. Crowd?

176pgmcc
Jun 29, 9:59am

>175 -pilgrim-:
IT Crowd is great fun. Just so unashamedly daft.

177clamairy
Editado: Jun 29, 8:31pm



I thought for sure I had read The House of the Seven Gables as a teen, but after listening to it I realize I did not. None of it was even vaguely familiar. I did enjoy parts of it greatly, but like many books of that era it suffers from not too much detail exactly, (because I love that with some authors) but too much superfluous dithering about the details. LOL I'm glad I listened to this and didn't try to read it because I might not have been able to get through said dithering if I had to scan it with my actual eyeballs. To have that dithering going on in my ear while I go about cleaning, gardening or cooking is just fine.

I haven't decided what I'm listening to next just yet, but I am still enjoying reading Project Hail Mary, and am at about the halfway mark on that.

178MrsLee
Jun 30, 12:22am

>175 -pilgrim-: I learned my best IT advice from that show, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" Loved that show, but then I loved the American Office as well. Never watched the British version.

179pgmcc
Jun 30, 3:50am

>175 -pilgrim-: & >178 MrsLee:
I was caught on the first episode when I saw the RTFM T-shirt.

180MrAndrew
Jun 30, 6:15am

I have the "No." tshirt. I wear it to work every week.

181pgmcc
Jun 30, 6:31am

>180 MrAndrew: Do you work in IT support or Customer Service?

182MrsLee
Jun 30, 9:37am

>179 pgmcc: I was not familiar with that particular slang, but I will keep it next to my heart now for all the customers who buy a new vehicle and come back every week because it "isn't working." :) Not that I have ever been guilty of not reading a manual.

183MrAndrew
Jul 3, 5:56am

>181 pgmcc: Not sure. Do you classify male escort as Customer Service?

184pgmcc
Jul 3, 7:07am

>183 MrAndrew:
Would that be more like “Client care”?

185clamairy
Jul 5, 10:28am

Just a little FYI on the popularity of The Office (US) here:

'During a global pandemic, when most people were stuck at home every day, all day, there was one TV show Americans couldn’t stop watching: “The Office.” Viewers spent more than 57 billion minutes in 2020 on Netflix binge-watching the sitcom’s paper company drones — more than any other show on any streaming service, according to figures released by Nielsen...'

From The Washington Post

186-pilgrim-
Jul 5, 11:01am

>185 clamairy: "Homesick" for their own offices? ;)

187pgmcc
Jul 5, 12:04pm

>185 clamairy:
What >186 -pilgrim-: said. They were having withdrawal symptoms from workplace deprivation.

188clamairy
Editado: Jul 5, 12:51pm

>186 -pilgrim-: >187 pgmcc: That is what the article implies. LOL But also that people don't actually want to go back to theirs.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/06/30/office-return-work-from-home...

189MrsLee
Jul 5, 5:30pm

I've always seen my two very different jobs more as seasons of Survivor. A show I never much cared for.

190clamairy
Jul 5, 9:01pm

>189 MrsLee: Oh, I'm so sorry. I've never seen Survivor, but I know enough about it to feel very badly for you. My job before I had kids was an engineering position in a huge converted part of a WW II manufacturing plant. Talk about Prairie Dog Town... I was mostly surrounded by Dwights. Before I moved I worked a few hours a week at the town library in the Historical Room. I did not have much interaction with the rest of the staff. I miss that job.

191clamairy
Editado: Jul 6, 8:20am



This was a decent read, although I did not love it quite as much as I did The Martian. It seemed a bit like Weir was trying too hard to squeeze in ALL THE SCIENCE. Some of it was not necessary. There are some very good plot twists, and a bit of a surprise ending, though. It certainly is not predictable.

I'm now finishing The Prime of Miss Jean Brody and I am enjoying it more now that I did during the first half, for some odd reason. I'm also halfway through my audiobook Heaven's River which I am enjoyed tremendously. I just love the Bobiverse books.

192Karlstar
Jul 5, 10:50pm

>191 clamairy: I just received Project Hail Mary, I'll be starting it soon-ish. Is it going to show up on award lists next year, or not that good?

193clamairy
Jul 6, 8:19am

>192 Karlstar: I guess a lot of that depends on the quality of the competition. It definitely could. I think if I hadn't had such high expectations because I loved The Martian so much I might have enjoyed this just a little more than I did. I still gave it 4 stars.

194clamairy
Editado: Jul 10, 7:08pm



I didn't love this book, but I was intrigued by it. I want to watch the film version, since Maggie Smith won an Oscar for her portrayal. I have to say I didn't like Jean Brodie much, but I didn't hate her either. She might have been much better off if she'd stuck to actually teaching the subjects she was employed to teach, however.

I've started reading Early Morning Riser which was recommended in an NPR interview I heard while driving somewhere.

195clamairy
Editado: Jul 11, 8:39pm



I finished Early Morning Riser and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It managed to be relatively lighthearted but still poignant. Second grade teacher moves to a small town and learns to completely retool her concept of family. Thank you to that unknown literary commentator on NPR who recommending this.

On to something less humorous, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert. I read Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change and listened to the audio book of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. She's brilliant, but I'm sure this will be a bit depressing.

196clamairy
Editado: Jul 11, 8:45pm

Here's one of the pics I took of my pup Sammie on the beach only an hour or so after the last edges of Tropical Storm Elsa had passed through. There were a few new tidal pools formed and she was enjoying them. Click on the pic for full screen shot.

197Karlstar
Jul 11, 10:42pm

Looks like a great day at the beach.

198Sakerfalcon
Jul 12, 10:20am

>196 clamairy: That is so gorgeous! It looks tropical, but I'm sure that water is chilly!

199pgmcc
Jul 12, 11:19am

>196 clamairy: Did you go for a dip yourself?

200clamairy
Jul 12, 11:20am

>198 Sakerfalcon: Actually this time of year the water is close to 80°F near the shore. By August people will be complaining that it's not refreshing any more. That's when I love it best because I can float for hours.

201clamairy
Jul 12, 11:21am

>199 pgmcc: I didn't that day. Hoping to get in there tomorrow!

202Narilka
Jul 12, 4:12pm

>196 clamairy: Such a lovely day!

203Jim53
Jul 12, 7:43pm

>179 pgmcc: >182 MrsLee: RTFM was one of my favorite closing codes for customer problems when I worked in software support. My colleague loved to use PICNIC ("Problem in chair, not in computer") as code for "Can you believe how stupid this user is?" I preferred PEBCAK ("Problem exists between chair and keyboard").

204Karlstar
Editado: Jul 13, 1:01pm

>204 Karlstar: A former colleague was fond of calling such things ID-10-T errors.

(just had to add the missing word in)

205cindydavid4
Jul 12, 10:36pm

206Sakerfalcon
Jul 13, 6:54am

>200 clamairy: 80F sounds perfect! Hope you enjoy some floating time soon!

207MrAndrew
Jul 13, 6:57am

I always liked "The problem appears to be a loose nut between the chair and the keyboard".

208pgmcc
Jul 13, 7:58am

The poor users; we make such fun of them.

209YouKneeK
Jul 13, 12:36pm

>203 Jim53: I always liked RTFM and PICNIC myself. :)

I mostly use these terms in reference to fellow IT colleagues though, the ones who lack the skillset and/or mindset one would expect for somebody in their position and with their level of supposed experience. I should not have to tell somebody in IT that I need more details with an error report other than "it isn't working!" I should not have to tell either a programmer or a report developer how to write correct Boolean logic. I should not have to tell them their logic isn't working when it would have been obvious to them if they had bothered to test it. I should not have to Google solutions for other IT departments who can't do their own jobs. I should not have to tell a programmer to debug a program that isn't working after they added new code to it. I should not then have to tell them, after they've debugged it and determined that a certain incorrect path was taken because Flg_DoThisThing = 'Y', that they need to look further back to figure out WHY Flg_DoThisThing was set to 'Y'. And yet I frequently have to do all those things. :p

Ok.. mini IT tirade over. For now. :) I'm not much bothered by an end user who doesn't know things that aren't necessarily in their skill set, and I find most of the ones I work with to be pretty teachable when I take the time to explain things to them in terms they're familiar with.

210Karlstar
Jul 13, 1:08pm

>209 YouKneeK: My favorite used to be the colleagues who would claim they hadn't been informed of something or had no knowledge of what I was talking about - despite being included on an email explaining that very thing.

I don't use that kind of language at work, but RTFE.

211YouKneeK
Jul 13, 1:15pm

>210 Karlstar: Aaah, yes, I have those too, and very much agreed on RTFE!

212cindydavid4
Jul 13, 2:42pm

>209 YouKneeK: ah, I thought you were talking about customers who don't have a clue. Im pretty much a dinosaur with how computers work and with trouble shooting. Most IT folks are very patient and helpful with me. There have been a few that were not so much. But I learn from all of them

213YouKneeK
Jul 13, 4:13pm

>212 cindydavid4: I think that’s how the discussion originated. I was just butting in to say that I think those terms are funny, but I usually limit their use to people who should actually know better – my fellow IT colleagues. :)

214pgmcc
Jul 13, 4:49pm

>210 Karlstar: RTFS is another useful variant.

215clamairy
Editado: Jul 15, 10:05pm



Heaven's River is the latest in the Bobiverse series, and I enjoyed this latest one at least as much as the previous ones. I listened to the Ray Porter narration from Audible, and he is just wonderful. I can't sing the praises of this series enough.

I am not sure what my next audio will be. I've got a few dozen to pick from, and I haven't decide if I want to hear a non-fic title, a classic or a more current piece of fiction.

216Busifer
Jul 20, 2:14pm

Late as ever but I have no relationship with The IT Crowd as I've never watched it.
After 30 years of "working with computers" - IT and ICT - I use to say that my ability to use any system and any application is my super power.
(In reality I work with the part that's about building the right system for the task or need at hand, in the best of ways. Ie understanding what people needs done and then assure that the system supposed to help actually do help, instead of rising demand in courses teaching how to use a system. Therefore my goto is not RTFM but "if a manual is needed the system is badly done (and if I have a choice I won't use it)". If you know how to do your job you should not need a course to be able to use the system designed to help you do it.)
(As Iv'e worked on several teams delivering online services I know how to report an error/bug/unintended behaviour etc. And so when I report errors I write down OS/version, browser/version, what I intended to do, step by step how I went along trying to do it, what went wrong, plus screen shots. I usually get extremely swift service.)

I need to get to the Bobiverse books, at some point. I keep meaning to, but The Pile is not growing smaller (and this vacation, with little time for reading, has not helped).

217clamairy
Jul 20, 4:02pm

>216 Busifer: Well hope you get to them. There is a lot of Star Trek related humor that I think you would appreciate

218clamairy
Jul 20, 4:09pm



I'd already read two books by Elizabeth Kolbert on Climate Change so I thought I knew what to expect, but Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future still managed to surprise me. There's a bit in there about humanity's plans to fix what we've so colossally forked up, along with a bunch of anecdotes about how we've tried to fix things before and only managed to fork them up even more. Not a terribly optimistic book, but not completely pessimistic either.

I'm already into The Premonition: A Pandemic Story which was only published a couple of months ago.

219MrAndrew
Jul 21, 5:42am

forked up, huh... watched The Good Place?

220clamairy
Jul 21, 9:34am

>219 MrAndrew: Of course!!!

221Busifer
Jul 21, 10:55am

>217 clamairy: Bumping them further up on the list!

222clamairy
Jul 21, 12:20pm

223cindydavid4
Jul 25, 11:09pm

Finally getting around to Goblin Emperor for our sci/fan book group next month. Really enjoying it, and am so glad there is a glossary of names, as well as some tips for travelers!

224clamairy
Ontem, 7:41am

>223 cindydavid4: So happy to read this news. Hope the whole group enjoys it.

225cindydavid4
Ontem, 12:35pm

>224 clamairy: I just finished the coronation segment. In this made up world, she makes it all so real using all of our senses as she describes Miras trip to his mothers tomb, to the day long fast, and the ceremony itself. I can see a few members saying they flipped through that part, they would want more action, but I was amazed how she could make me visualize everything and i loved it. Im not sure I buy in to this young mans ability to be such an independent thinker given how little he knew, who is able to choose the people he wants for his journey and other times - but perhaps his mother and cousin gave him the tools he needed that he could draw from.

I think someone else said this, but I would have liked illustrations of some of the parts, or a map of her world. But it still works

226cindydavid4
Ontem, 12:36pm

>144 clamairy: just finished this, along with The Ordinary Princess I would have loved these as a kid let alone as an adult!

227Karlstar
Ontem, 5:11pm

>223 cindydavid4: I wish she'd included the glossary in The Witness for the Dead! That would have helped a lot.

228cindydavid4
Ontem, 5:34pm

well even the glossary she put in this one was incomplete; several times I looked up a name and couldnt find it. Probably what I should have done was starting from the beginning as characters were introduced, wrote them down!

BTW I love the cover for this book. at first I just thought it was a castle. took me a while to see the goblin wearing it!

229clamairy
Ontem, 8:41pm

>226 cindydavid4: Going to have to look for The Ordinary Princess.

>225 cindydavid4: I agree it seemed like he had a lot more self possession and self-control than I would have expected. But we could have the nature vs. nurture argument.

230clamairy
Editado: Ontem, 9:11pm



I was pretty much blown away by much of The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis, who also wrote The Big Short about the housing bubble crash of 2008. For people like me who started getting panicky over the news out of Wuhan back in January of 2020, and wondering why no one here stateside was doing anything about it, this book lays out the details about who was trying to get something done early enough to slow this thing down and how NO ONE WAS PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM. The CDC gets the biggest portion of blame in this book, because it didn't want to stick its neck out:

“The greatest trick the CDC ever pulled was convincing the world containment wasn’t possible...”


I was dumbfounded by much of what I read, and I'm still digesting it. I did start The Midnight Library, but it's not really grabbing me for some reason. Maybe after something so weighty it feels like fluff.

231Meredy
Ontem, 11:18pm

>230 clamairy: That's some recommendation. Unfortunately Cassandras are doomed to go unheard. And the paradox is that they can only show they were right if the catastrophe is not averted.

I don't want to be the one to bring up the P-word, but it seems like that tale could not be told without getting into a lot of politics. Question: Will the reader's stance or orientation affect how they read the book, or would you say it lays out the facts convincingly with a minimum of bias showing?

2322wonderY
Ontem, 11:30pm

>225 cindydavid4: I thought a big part of his motivation was to avoid being anything like his father. He didn’t have a positive role model, so he did rely on his inner voice. And anytime you are reaching for truth and justice, instead of self, the outcome should be positive. I so enjoyed watching his development.

233clamairy
Editado: Hoje, 7:36am

>231 Meredy: It's not as political as one might think. I was kind of surprised. The people trying to stop the carnage were from both parties, or with little political affiliation. The people ignoring them were more concerned with not 'overreacting' than with any political motive. The takeaway here for me was that just about everyone who could have made a difference was waiting for someone else to make the big decisions. Once the thing got here and was loose then politics were a part of the problem, but this book is more about how we could have stopped it and didn't even try.

234cindydavid4
Hoje, 11:22am

>232 2wonderY: oh I agree; and I think his time with his mom showed him another way to be. A reviewer here posted : "The main character, a bi-racial, poorly-educated, unconfident fish-out-of-water, is a brilliant creation, seldom knowing the proper thing to do, but somehow always doing the right thing, with a remarkable kindness and quiet bravery." yes that.

235cindydavid4
Hoje, 11:30am

>229 clamairy: But we could have the nature vs. nurture argument.

hee, had those often over the years. As a special educator, I have seen what happens to a child born with an intellectual disability, with the right amount of love, support and acceptance, goes way past what would have been expected other wise. What I have decided is that everyone of us are born with a certain range in our intelligence, our interactions with others and our behavior. I think the environment you are in is what moves you higher or lower on the range. So the years he spent with his nurturing mother certainly helped stem some of the tendencies his father's DNA might have put there.