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TBD is two years and seven months old.

Talking, talking continues, but more dramatic is the singing, singing -- fragments of known songs throughout the day, both while chattering to herself and to us. Including at least one invented song -- as taught to me, it goes "I'm a small rainbow / Bay bee boh boo BEEEE!" I almost never get the accent quite right on that last line, leading to several rounds of laughing corrections. When singing "Twinkle, twinkle," at the 4th line, TBD sometimes puts thumbs and forefingers together to make a diamond shape.

More imaginative play, both with us and alone, often working through recent experiences. Cooking is a favorite one, especially making something we had that day, but playing with trucks and buses and the people who ride them is also common. Role-based pretend showed up this weekend -- saying "I'm a firefighter. Help people!" while climbing a playground ladder, and at the top taking my hand to help me to the slide so we can escape the burning building together. Reading books remains more important, though, at least around me -- Richard Scarry is the current Most Favored Author.

Trick-or-treating was enjoyed, but up and down one block was definitely Enough. Our zoo visit a few weeks later, however, we went through the whole place in three hours, returning to the elephants when we ran out of animals. Endurance: still growing.

Achievements unlocked includes *ahem* unlocking the front door bolt -- something both admirable and unwanted. Also zippers, simpler screw-tops, the radio, buckling her seatbelt, a mad face, and an emphatic desire to be a "big kid" leading up to changing rooms at preschool. The you/me distinction still gives trouble, but "you" is tipping toward pronomial rather than nominal use. I'm starting to be addressed as Daddy outside of commands. Questions are becoming more sophisticated: "What's that sign say?" And generally words are running together into phrases, even while being stumbled over.

"I do it!" has been replaced by "That's my do it!" (an occasional variation is "That's my choose!") and "Oops" displaced "Uh oh" as the something-went-wrong word. And I keep not jotting down the better exchanges -- here's two I did:

me: "How are you this morning?"
TBD: "I'm doing well."
me: *silently* What, are you a little old lady?

(After a couple teary preschool dropoffs, as we prepare to leave in the morning)
TBD: *serious face* "Daddy, I'm crying waa waa." *mimes wiping eyes*
me: "Are you sad because I'll be leaving you at school?"
TBD: "Yeah." *looks more cheerful*
(It was still a teary dropoff.)


Subject quote from "Sonnets to Orpheus," 2.xiii, Rainer Marie Rilke (in honor of that last conversation).


Reading, reading, who's got the reading? I do, I do, stories for the seeding.


I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, which I'd been saving for a rainy day, which it wasn't when I put a hold on this in preparation for The Shepherd's Crown, but my library unexpectedly popped a copy loose with at least two months to wait on the sequel -- ah, well. Anyway, it's very good, like all the Tiffany Aching books, but not quite as good as Wintersmith, which is an extremely high bar indeed. Structural weakness: too many difficulties were resolved before the climactic big resolution, instead of being resolved with it. I'm not sure the epilogue was fully earned, either. But still, quite satisfying.

Ancillary Mercy by Anne Leckie, and despite the (possibly essential) structural wonkiness I feared it might have, a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The examination of privileges on multiple levels is especially welcome.

And now that I'm done with the series, I can ask: do we ever get clues for the gender of Breq's body? As an (spoiler) AI who declares herself another species, it can be argued human genders are irrelevant, but what gender does she present as to those who don't recognize her as an ancillary? I think we get something for most of the main characters, otherwise.

Outbreakers by Mercedes Lackey -- undemanding, generally unobjectionable fantasy, because needed.

Star Guard by Andre Norton, which I think is the first Norton I've actually finished? When humans achieved space travel, the existing galactic Powers That Be decided their proper role was as mercenaries, and a recruit on his first gig, who is burning to change this, runs into a conspiracy to enforce the status quo. If someone were to rip off the plot and retell it with contemporary skiffy sensibilities (and updated political analysis) it could be a moderately successful YA novel. (This is praise.)

In progress:

Another chapter or two of Outlaws of the Marsh -- taken slowly because Li Kui can eat flaming death ANY PAGE NOW. He is singlehandedly ramping up the Ninja Replacement Score, as every character he interacts with would VASTLY improve the story if they ninja'd out and took this asshole down. That Song Jiang, the closest person to a hero in this this, is generally amused by Li Kui's "antics" Does Not Help. I'm trying to stay with this, but some Action Girls need to show up STAT to keep me much longer.


Subject quote from "Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads.


Perhaps we’ve heard this before.

Timelapse by train: NY to SF in 5 minutes. Almost half the country is Colorado. (via)

36,000 Kids You Don’t Want to Mess With, a video edited from footage from the documentary Dragon Girls about students at Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Academy. Stay past the credits to get the best snippet. (via)


Subject quote from "Breath Me," Sia.

If anyone knows of a way to make the lyrics to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" not so relentlessly heteronormative without reducing the pacifist message, I would appreciate the tip. Because, yanno, it makes a great lullabye otherwise.

Or maybe we can brainstorm here.




Clementines have returned to the grocery stores.

Further bulletins will be issued as the situation warrants.



Since my last awesome cover of "Smooth Criminal" got taken down too quickly, here's one on orgue de barbarie. (via)

3+ minutes of nicely choreographed juggling.

Conversations with North Koreans. (via)


Subject quote from "The Herons of Elmwood, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Reading Wednesday? So it is. And I've gotten absolutely nowhere on anything in progress two weeks ago because I started:

Outlaws of the Marsh aka Water Margin by Shi Nai'an and/or Luo Guanzhong, in Shapiro's translation of a 100-chapter edition -- I bounced hard, a few years ago, off an abridged version, but this is snorking down nicely. It doesn't hurt that I've read enough wuxia I can recognize this for an ur-text (one even more important than Journey to the West), but the better translation is probably more relevant. I did initially worry about how coherent a story with a main cast of 108 could be, but part of that was lingering effects of that abridgement, which was egregiously episodic -- and this version isn't. Having the Wikipedia plot summary with its links out to major characters has also helped (ditto being able to look up locations).

I'm up to chapter 39, and while so far it's all been multiple characters weaving in and out of each others' stories as we set up the Liangshan Marsh bandits, given a very low Ninja Replacement Score I'm good with that. Which is not to say I like any of these guys -- with hardened bandits as nominal heroes, we're firmly in the realm of Black and Grey Morality. Also, it's misogynistic as fuck -- I'm hoping that when one of handful of Action Girls finally show up, they'll help moderate things. Every time a woman appears, my enthusiasm dims a little more.

But despite that, he picked up the book. As a result, the pages were turned like a river in flood, minor characters died like a clear-cut forest. What happened next in the story? Read our next post if you would know.

Officially DNF: Eon, Freedom's Landing.

Subject quote from "She Knows," Shino Lin.


Update on yesterday's post:

Twice last night, TBD sang, "Row row row boat down stream / Merr'ly merr'ly merr'ly merr'ly dream!" more or less on tune all the way through.


Subject quote from "Rowing Song," Patty Griffin.


TBD is exactly two-and-a-half years old.

Achievements unlocked: doorknobs, blowing a whistle, randomly singing songs aloud (sometimes with recognizable words and melody: "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "Twinkle, Twinkle," most often), moving the wings of an origami flapping bird without tearing or crumpling it, Richard Scarry appreciation, a love of mochi and miso, and a desire to be a "big kid" and change rooms at preschool.

Current favorite book: Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, which has a character hiding on every page -- "Where Goldbug go?" Books are, along with trucks, the most coveted objects in the house. When we visit a library or bookstore, we get reminded TBD gets "Two books!" -- and any more in the pile, we have to explain are ones we're getting. A distant third: the current favored stuffie, which is a pink stegosaurus.

More lispings are resolving: "oh-tay" is slowly turing into "okay" (OTOH, initial k- sound is still usually p-). "What's that?" is still favored over "Why?" -- and when asked of something already well-known, it's our cue to ask back so that knowledge can be shown off. I haven't been recording (read: remembering long enough to jot down) the better bits of conversation, though this morning, there was a grasping after past tense, correcting "I do that" to "I did that."

It's not clear how much of our explanations of Halloween are understood, especially the part about some people finding spiders scary (TBD has been known to thank spiders for eating flies), but we plan a short trick-or-treating costumed as a redonkulously cute ladybug. Next year, there will be more to build on.


Subject quote from "The Fall," Peter and The Wolf."

Reading day. Or reading reporting day. Or readmeme day. Or something.


Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer, and was underwhelmed by the abrupt ending. Not top-rank Heyer. (Slap-slap-kiss is not my favorite trope.)

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey, because I wanted undemanding fantasy adventure, and mostly got that. I may even read another book with these characters.

And a lot of Richard Scarry, several times over: Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, The Best First Book Ever, The Best Lowly Worm Book Ever, The Adventures of Lowly Worm, What Do People Do All Day?, et cetera, et cetera. (I've been leaving off books read to TBD, but these are meatier than most.)

In progress:

Freedom's Landing by Anne McCaffrey, because I wanted undemanding science fiction adventure, but the frequency of skin-crawly sexual politics is not really compatible with "undemanding." Dunno if I want to continue the series. Or finish the book.

Also, still, Eon (technically, in the sense of I haven't returned it to the library yet) and Life and Society in the Hittite World (really, in the sense of a dozen pages during a nap last week).


Subject quote from "Regret," New Order.


Oh, right, it's that time of year -- we'll be at our local SF con this weekend. I'll be doing an origami tutorial for all interested, as well as a panel on the practical aspects of three-act structure. Janni's on a couple panels herself. A light con schedule for both of us as parents with a toddler in tow. Or towing us, as the case may be.

Say "hi!" if you stop by.


Subject quote from "Black Balloon," Goo Goo Dolls.


What it looks like to land on Mars. If you were Curiosity, that is -- someone compiled the photos from its final descent into a short video. (via)

USGS is using Twitter to find earthquakes in places without detectors. (via)

Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" covered on shakuhachi and koto (ETA: video gone). Smooooooth. (via)


Subject quote from "MacArthur Park," Jimmy Webb.

... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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