incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2024-01-01 12:21 am
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Winter War Index

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This story is now also available on AO3 here.

Index of Winter War posts.

Below the cut. )
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2017-07-17 12:56 am

whoops, or how time flies

I apologise. But it's hectic here.

Work (as whined about in a few previous entries) is in overdrive. And writing is also, well, fairly hectic. I've just finished going through the copy-edits for the US version of The Lost Plot, and I have the proof-pages of the UK version waiting to be read through. And book five to write, of course.

I'm not getting much else done.

I have rewarded myself (expensively) by booking a couple of theatre tickets for when I'm in Vienna in October - for Don Giovanni at the Opera House, and the less-highbrow but still fun Tanz der Vampire at the Ronmacher Theatre later in the week. One forgets what theatre tickets these days cost until one has to buy them. Still, I'd rather pay a bit more and have good seats, than pay less and spend the holiday regretting not having sprung for good seats.

Oh, and I see that the next Doctor Who is going to be a woman. Should be interesting. Fingers crossed she gets good writing - I can see that she's already a good actress.
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2017-07-07 02:02 am

detective stories

A couple of visits to the dentist today, and feeling rather shattered now. (Dental restoration: an old filling was giving/had given way, and it was the dentist's opinion that it would be better to just do a replacement on the relevant chunk of tooth than to try to refill it.) Still, at least I should be able to relax about that side of my mouth in the near future...

Work continues extremely busy. But with almost everyone else off on the team awayday today, it was at least nice and quiet in the office.

Have been reading the Tales of Judge Dee by Zhu Xiao Di that [personal profile] flemmings sent me, for which many thanks. It was pleasant to get some new Dee, but I have to say that the author's English was not as good as that of van Gulik, even if his stories may have been more "authentic". One aspect I did like was Sergeant Hoong rebuking the Judge on one occasion with reference to what his father would have thought - an aspect of the "old family retainer" which I don't recall coming up so much in the van Gulik versions.

Had the urge to go and reread some of the Gervase Fen short stories by Edmund Crispin after that, and even if the stories are (mostly) more puzzle than character, the actual writing is extremely fluid and well done. I'm reminded of why I end up rereading the Fen books every now and again.

---

He explained at great length. He explained with a sense of righteous indignation and frustration of spirit. - The Moving Toyshop, Edmund Crispin

If you took the Rector from the top downwards, the first thing you saw was iron-grey hair thatching a high, noble forehead. Below this point, however, matters deteriorated abruptly. No doubt about it, the Rector's actual face was simian - so that the overall effect was as if Jekyll had got stuck half-way in the course of switching himself to Hyde. The clothes were a crumpled, laurel-spattered clerical black, with dog-collar and with outsize cracked black shoes. Despite bow legs, the height was six foot three, and the frame was formidable. 'I'm not,' the Rector had once complacently remarked, 'the type of thing you want to meet unexpectedly on a dark night.'
-- The Glimpses of the Moon, Edmund Crispin
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2017-06-23 01:58 am

taking a moment to complain about workload (day job)

Well, this is going to be heavy.

Not only have we got about twice as many concepts as usual to map this release (at work), we've got less time than usual, due to them not managing to adjust the brand new tooling to process them till a bit late in the schedule.

On the positive side, this may mean missing the work awayday. And it will probably mean not being given any other work, such as research articles, while this is ongoing for the next month and a half. (I'll take any consolations that I can get.)

Oh well. Moan, then get on with it. Coffee is my friend.
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2017-06-15 01:53 am

taking a moment

My posting speed has slowed right down these days. I apologise.

The UK bubbles like a stewpot. I hope that the Tories' attempt to court the DUP lasts just long enough for them to shoot themselves in the foot a few more times.

The weather has turned sunny, though not yet too hot, which is pleasant. Work is busy, and will soon be busier. I'm working through book four copy-edits, and will hopefully soon be back to original work on book five.

---

Lear: Tell me, my daughters
(Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state),
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.
Goneril: Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Cordelia: [aside] What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
Lear: Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual.- What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Regan: Sir, I am made
Of the selfsame metal that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short, that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys
Which the most precious square of sense possesses,
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear Highness' love.
Cordelia: [aside] Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so; since I am sure my love's
More richer than my tongue.
Lear: To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
No less in space, validity, and pleasure
Than that conferr'd on Goneril.- Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interest; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
Cordelia: Nothing, my lord.
Lear: Nothing?
Cordelia: Nothing.
Lear: Nothing can come of nothing. Speak again.
Cordelia: Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
According to my bond; no more nor less.
Lear: How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Cordelia: Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me; I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
Lear: But goes thy heart with this?
Cordelia: Ay, good my lord.
Lear: So young, and so untender?
Cordelia: So young, my lord, and true.

-- The Tragedy of King Lear, Shakespeare
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2017-06-09 01:22 am

briefly political

The last few days have been a bit tense, with everyone at work either completely avoiding politics or chewing it over in detail. (We're a NHS organisation - you can guess how most of us are going to vote.)

And now that we're finally in the thick of it? I was greatly relieved by the exit poll predicting a hung Parliament. Please note that I don't trust it, and I do realise it's still entirely possible that I will wake up to a Tory majority (God help us), but I still think it's a much better situation than if the exit poll had predicted a Tory majority. I will go to sleep with some hope.

That is, I am about to try to go to sleep. I have to be up tomorrow morning, after all, and I'm tired. I should be trying to focus on the book four copy-edits, but I'm afraid the chance of me concentrating on that at the moment is less than nil. So I'll try to sleep instead.

And I'll hope to wake up to a Britain that isn't Tory-majority.
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2017-06-04 02:23 am

an update

For reference - no, I'm nowhere near London. And I can't think of anything useful to say about the London Bridge attacks. No, they shouldn't have happened. Yes, they are appalling.

It was otherwise quite a nice day. Went to Leeds Woolfest (small but fun) at Armley Mills, enjoyed nice weather (which will apparently be deserting us soon), had a quiet evening, got some writing done.

Today's quote is in honour of Theresa May and her relationship with Donald Trump.

---

HELENA:
And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.
Use me but as your spaniel — spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love —
And yet a place of high respect with me —
Than to be usèd as you use your dog?

-- A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare
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2017-05-28 01:51 am

sometimes a phrase just leaps out and hits you

Having been enjoying Mark Reads lately - in particular, him reading Pratchett's The Truth - I found myself rereading the book too, and a passage just struck me as surprisingly apt...

---

"... Oh, and High Priest Ridcully is telling everyone that he thinks Lord Vetinari went mad because the day before he'd been telling him about a plan to make lobsters fly through the air."

"Lobsters flying through the air," said Vimes flatly.

"And something about sending ships by semaphore, sir."

"Oh, dear. And what is Mr Scrope saying?"

"Apparently he says he's looking forward to a new era in our history and will put Ankh-Morpork back on the path of responsible citizenship, sir."

"Is that the same as the lobsters?"

"It's political, sir. Apparently he wants a return to the values and traditions that made the city great, sir."

"Does he know what those values and traditions were?" said Vimes, aghast.

"I assume so, sir," said Carrot, keeping a straight face.

"Oh my gods. I'd rather take a chance on the lobsters."

-- The Truth, Terry Pratchett
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2017-05-23 12:46 am

it is indeed past midnight

Hopefully final draft of book four now handed in. (Now it's just copy-edits to go, then page-proofs...)

Trying to write on book five, but getting nowhere fast this evening. Partly because of constant urges to check the news (Manchester). I know this isn't helping - me, or them - but it's very hard not to.

Probably best just to call it a night. It is after midnight, after all.

---

“Right, the detective.” Sarashina sat down with a sigh. “Basically, we don’t know much. This morning – no, it was yesterday morning now, I suppose... sorry, I haven’t had much sleep. Everyone got woken up early by His Frosty Majesty having a snit fit about where Ren Shun had got to and why he wasn’t there with the coffee and the newspaper and the day’s agenda. Then just as everyone was really starting to panic, word came over from Le Meurice that they’d found his dead body there. Cue panic. Cue accusations. Cue Lord Icicle down on the first floor declaring that the whole thing was a Fae plot and could anyone give him a good reason not to destroy their entire lying delegation.”

Irene winced. “I know this is just between these four walls, but I wish you wouldn’t keep on nicknaming him like that.”

“It’s a defence mechanism,” Sarashina said. “Have you ever had to share a hotel with a dragon king for a few days? No? Then don’t criticise me."
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2017-05-16 02:02 am
Entry tags:

Hell's Commissioner of Public Works

Thank goodness for whoever invented sticky post-it notes. When going through a dictionary of demons (Names of the Damned: The Dictionary of Demons, by Michelle Belanger) and looking for interesting candidates for a story I'm trying to plot, I need some way to keep track of the ones I've noted down for later.

(Well, besides writing a list out. Because that would be too easy.)

---

Alastor: a vengeance demon named in Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal. In this text, de Plancy indicates that Alastor was known in the Zoroastrian tradition as the Executioner. Although the Zoroastrian connection is dubitable, in the tradition of the ancient Greeks, Alastor was indeed a spirit of vengeance. Zeus was known as Zeus Alastor whenever he assumed a vengeful form. In Waite's presentation of the Grand Grimoire from his 1910 Book of Black Magic and Pacts, Alastor is described as Hell's Commissioner of Public Works. He is also portrayed as an infernal judge. These attributions tie back to the work of Charles Berbiguier, a self-styled demonologist from the early nineteenth century.

-- Names of the Damned: The Dictionary of Demons, by Michelle Belanger
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2017-05-13 02:42 am

Eurovision, and other things

The weather has got a bit milder. Whee! It is now cool but not actually chilly. If we had a little bit more sunshine, it'd be lovely.

Eurovision Song Contest final tomorrow, after a day spent at a craft show in Harrogate (and Doctor Who earlier in the evening as well). It promises to be a busy day.

For the curious, my favourite songs so far:

Romania - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX8LYc5eaEM - yodelling warning, but one of my favourites
Estonia - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxqPpzWYN1c - I liked this one, but it didn't get through to the final, alas
Portugal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0td62XxnjBk - just for the totally different factor, and genuinely nice
Armenia - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKh8sLLXix4 - okay, not that special, but I liked it
Croatia - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkP0xw_i_Ho - weird mix of types of music, but entertaining
Georgia - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agSS_a3ccgA - again, not that special, but pleasant enough
Montenegro - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ1BXJpfa4I - if only for the braid

And now I'm hoping Romania wins. It was ... fun.
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2017-05-08 01:05 am

sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Nice quiet weekend. Got the current quilt through the quilting stage and to the hand-sew-binding-round-the-edge stage, which will be pleasant when I'm sitting in front of the television on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday evenings for the Eurovision Song Contest.

(Yes, it's that time of year again. Whee!)

I think I've nearly got the current version of book 4 to a stage when I can send it back to my editor. And then I can return to writing book five. Next problem for Irene: explaining to irate dragon king why they can't simply kill all the attackers and throw the bodies out behind the hotel, owing to petty human issues like maintaining current cover and dealing with police, etc...
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2017-05-05 01:12 am

champagne (sort of)

Survived a couple of meetings today. The new mapping tool is working (so far) and I brought in some champagne truffles to celebrate, given that champagne itself would probably have been inappropriate to drink at work.

(It would have been nice, though.)

The weather continues cold and grey, and I'm still in winter-weight pyjamas and flannel duvet cover/sheets, with a blast from the radiator in the evenings. I probably say this every year, but I'm sure it's not usually this cold at this point...
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2017-04-30 02:20 am

Rag Market

Had a very nice day today - went out to Hebden Bridge (a nearby town about 45 minutes away by train, in the middle of some very pretty countryside) because they were having one of their regular Rag Markets. Which is basically an excuse for local crafters to sell off some of their stashes (or other spare fabric/beads/yarn/etc), plus a few other stalls. The local fabric shops held mini-sales with the intent of creaming off some of the influx of shoppers. And since I came out of it with some nice fabric (from both the Rag Market and the shops), some Swarovski beads, and a pleasant day's excursion, I'd say I profited all round. I even got back to Leeds in time to do my grocery shopping comfortably, though I admit that walking home with both the groceries and my purchases was a bit of a weight. Still, healthy exercise. And the weather was - well, if not exactly bright and sunny, it was mild enough for a light jacket rather than a heavy coat. So all around, a very nice day.

Rounded off by a good episode of Doctor Who this evening. The current season - it's hard to realise we're now at episode 3 - is being good solid stuff, and I hope it continues.
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2017-04-26 02:15 am

universalities

I have been bad about posting recently. I apologise. Things are just ... busy. I'm working on book four edits in the evenings, and they're taking up all my spoons.

Life continues busy (well, see above). The weather's having a sudden cold snap. We had a very brief fall of hail this afternoon. You can probably imagine us all standing at the windows pointing out at it and going, "wow, such big hailstones!" and hoping audibly that it'd have cleared by the time we had to go home. Some things are universal. I'm now imagining demons in Dante's Inferno pointing at the current shower of flakes of fire (or other precipitation) and muttering about how it was never that bad last year, and they hoped it'd clear up by the time they were off work, they'd forgotten to bring an umbrella with them...
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2017-04-20 02:40 am

Irene is a ham actor

Still coughing a little, but my cold is a great deal better. Thank goodness. This may also be linked to the fact that work has managed to turn down the central heating, and we are no longer stifling, sweating, and about to fall asleep. We are a little cool (one of my coworkers who is very sensitive to the temperature is back to borrowing my at-work shawl) but I'd take that any day over being too hot.

Half the week gone, half of it to go. Most of my coworkers are currently trying to work through a set of tests on the upcoming ICD-11 classification (still in development, not yet implemented). The tests are being very frustrating, mostly due to a lack of coding guidance and an incomplete index. It's a safe bet that anyone at their desk who breaks out in moaning or cursing is doing so because of the line coding exercise. Alas, I'm doing it too. There is no mercy.

---

“So,” he finally said, “the newest witch who dares sneak into my domain and plot against me. Have you not learned, wench, that all those who came before you failed?”

“Oh, forgive me, most noble Graf!” Irene begged humbly. She knew that her German was a little too modern for this time and place, but sounding foreign could only increase his paranoia. “I was a fool to come here. I cast myself at your feet and beg for mercy!”

The Graf looked surprised. “You admit your guilt?”

Irene looked down at the floor, trying to squeeze out a tear or two. “You have bound me in iron, your grace, and there is a crucifix on the door. I am bound and my Satanic Master will no longer help me.”
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2017-04-18 01:18 am

I think my brain rewards me with dopamine, or something

Back to work tomorrow. How quickly the halcyon four-day weekend speeds past.

Things to do: too many. Still, I did get some sewing done earlier today, which was pleasant. A comfortable feeling of something achieved.
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2017-04-16 02:15 am

chocolate is waiting in the fridge for tomorrow

Deep in edits (and apologies for not being around otherwise), but I think I see some improvement.

New season of Doctor Who started tonight. Quite a fun episode - I found it much brisker than the previous season, and less weighed down by baggage. (Okay, I also admit that I didn't particularly like Clara, so personal bias is probably involved.) But so far it's entertaining, and I'm willing to be entertained.

Cold has reached the dry cough stage. This is something of an improvement, but I wish it would hurry up and get gone for good. Or at least till the next one comes along.
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2017-04-14 02:24 am

hello, fleshly indulgences (and edits)

Hello, four day weekend!

... most of which I'm going to spend on working on the new set of edits for book four, but at least I have two days more than usual to do them in.

Other things may also be involved. Like chocolate. And palinka. (That fruit brandy I brought back from Budapest.) I've just had a glass of the pear palinka, and it is lovely.

And there will be some sleeping in, too. For the next four days. Mmm.
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
2017-04-12 02:41 am

roll on Easter

A rather hectic day. Glad it's over.

Roll on the long weekend.