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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
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7th-Sep-2017 09:49 am - Getting ready for SVFF goat show
Summer
I just filled out the forms for the goat show. As of right now, I'm putting Blair, Tia, and Emma into the white show. (There is no red card show this year.)

Casamir, Hix, Sweet William, Simon, and Richie will carry the flag for the boys in the colored show, while Poppy, Taffy, and Ginger are going out for the girls. Ginger is six, so will be competing in the "aged" category this year. Taffy is already four and will be up against 2-year-olds, but I think she has a strong case for being big, bold, and beautiful. Her little brother Simon is no slacker either.

Except for Tia, I won't have any yearlings in the competition. Padric is wethered and Mouse is still too sick to go.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2105321.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
Summer
In Other Lands, by Sarah Reese Brennan. Urban Fantasy/Fantasy. Hardcover, 432 pages. Keeping it.

This book is what would happen if Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs got crossed with Ilona Andrews' On the Edge and everyone got real about the fluidity of sexuality and the absurdity of stereotypes of all kinds, especially gender.

The focus of the novel is on Elliott Schaefer, a short, mouthy, sarcastic pacifist who knows too much, is intolerant of stupidity, and has far more determination than sense to keep his mouth shut. He teams up with a golden boy (of perfect lineage and amazing physical prowess) and the first (and most beautiful) elven warrior that he's ever seen. Maybe they can stop the Borderlands from having so many fights. Maybe they can get the various races and species to even just talk to each other. And maybe they can do this without tearing themselves apart on the metaphysical rocks of being teenagers.

The point of the novel is that growing up is hard no matter who you are, what you want, or where you go. Sometimes chosen friends can make up for broken family, but only sometimes. And knowing yourself is a great place to start when confronted by a bewildering set of conflicting expectations and prejudices, some of which aren't even aimed at you.

Recommended: Yes.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2105071.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
Summer
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Science Fiction. epub, equivalent to 608 paperback pages. (2011)

This has been on my to-read stack for a few years. I finally got to it this weekend on the recommendation of a co-worker who listened to the audio book narrated by Wil Wheaton.

Let me start with the good/acceptable/decent about the book. The world building is good as well as easy to grasp. We are dropped into the greater Seattle area in a massive post-fuel depression that isn't quite dystopian but feels very tired and crowded. More and more people are mentally fleeing to the OASIS, an immense virtual reality universe that allows for everything from attending high school - which our hero does - to competing in tournaments. The plot is a decade-long set of quests with a bit of a computer thriller added into it, while the quests themselves are built as an immense homage to 1980's geek culture trivia. The "hero" (narrating in first person - ugh!) is decently believable if a bit too well spoken during the mental narrative.

But there was a lot wrong with this book. It's got a horrible set of gender stereotypes that just get worse as the book progresses. About half way through the story, a painful pseudo-romance that has descended into stalker behavior is used as plot motivation for the "hero." And rather than build up the final fight scene to a beautiful starburst ending, the book ends too late, and finishes while focused on that same weird obsession that the narrator confuses with love. Also, in order to actually get to the final fight scene, the Great and Powerful OZ - I mean Og - shows up to rescue the heroes and heavily influence the competition/quest.

So, do I recommend it? "Depends." If you want to play around with the idea of an MMO/VR world that is chock full of 1980s trivia, sure, it's a fun romp. If you've become more aware of what is acceptable behavior for relationship-building and gender acceptance, then I recommend you give this a big fat no.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2104801.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
5th-Jul-2017 10:18 am - goat thoughts on dewormers
Summer
Yesterday was a very mixed day. I started with a couple of hours of goat chores and general barn time. One of the things I did was re-deworm everyone, despite the fact that I just did it last week. I have reasons, though:

The recent issues with Mouse and her status as a dead goat walking due to massive anemia has me reconsidering my medication protocol. There is a recent study out that claims to disprove general wisdom of using a single dewormer until it is ineffective. Combination Dewormers: The Time is Now. I usually use Valbazen except for in the fall when I have pregnant goats. I may consider doing both all year round, now.

Additionally, I've been told (yet again) that I'm seriously under-dosing my goats when I do deworm. This Dewormer Chart for Goats is three years old now, and lists dosages that are more than double what I've been giving my goats. For example, oral dosing of Valbazen is 8mL for a 100lb* goat.

It's useful to note that there is conflicting information on whether to use the FAMACHA method or not. Some papers say that it is still a good idea, because it takes longer to build up a resistant parasite population when the parasites are allowed to breed to a particular level (pro-FAMACHA). Other papers say that it is not worth the risk to herd health and that killing off as many parasites as possible will keep them from spreading so quickly and breeding into resistance.



*Is it only me who finds the combination of metric and English units amusing?

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30th-Jun-2017 02:07 pm - Soft wean vs. mean wean
Summer
I had been planning on a "mean wean" for the babies where I just suddenly shipped out the moms to summer camp. But circumstances have led me to try a softer removal... Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2087076.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
5th-Jun-2017 08:55 am - Goat update: Alys and Pansy are back
Summer
Alys and Pansy were returned to me on Saturday morning, each with a kid in tow. Alys has a gorgeous big redheaded buckling named Sweet William. He's people-shy, but is basically happy-go-lucky in the pasture. Freaky Pansy's freaky little girl is named Poppy, and she is in charge over William.

I set the returning goats up in the shag-shack field to get a breather and reacquaint themselves with the farm while I got ready to send the big girls to summer camp. On Sunday, Achaosofkittens and LizKayl helped me load up Anna, Lerris, Lily, Fiona, Elsa, and Emma for the trip east. The theme for this year's Suburban Jungle Camp is "poison ivy." As in "please oh please eat all of this horrible plant!" When it comes time to wean the bucklings, I'm going to do a mean-wean and just send Alys and Dahlia off to camp, too.

After the campers went off on Sunday, I integrated the returning moms and their kids back into the rest of the herd with a big Goatapalloza. Hercules ran around whining his hellos and trying to sniff the new kids. The new kids celebrated their new life by running up and down the fallen tree. And Blair-baby got the worse end of a Poppy-smacking.

While small, Pansy is massively aggressive now, which made the greetings a little amusing to me. Taffy tried to beat down Alys, but kept getting rammed by Pansy. Ah, the joys of goat politics. If nothing gets in her way, Pansy is going to teach Poppy all about short-goat aggressiveness.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2080066.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
25th-May-2017 09:00 am - Hugos: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Summer
The story was of a type that I like - an odyssey across expanses in the search for someone or something - and had the excellent, odd details that build a fantasy world for me. I liked the main character, an older and wiser Vellitt who thought she had settled down. I liked the setting, a fantasy land with nuance and mystery and cheery little flowers and rules that were mostly internally consistent. That said, the story was close to ruined on page 98 of 146 (epub, so your mileage may vary) when I read the line: Read more...Collapse )

I give it an A for story building and a C for story telling.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2076957.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
24th-May-2017 02:30 pm - quote about fathers
Summer
When she had been small, Vellitt had indulged in the fantasy all children had, that these were not her parents, that someday an Elder One, kindly, wise, and handsome, would reclaim her. It had not been until after her father's death that she realized the father-god of her imaginings was exactly like him.

- The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2076824.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
24th-May-2017 09:26 am - Grand Cru restaurant in Arlington
Summer
I met DizzyLlama for dinner on Monday night at Grand Cru in Ballston, to which I had never been. http://www.grandcru-wine.com/ They advertise themselves as a "wine bar" and French restaurant. I went because the menu had ALL THE CHEESE. As I am not quiet with my opinions, let me tell you what our hundred dollars purchased in a meal for two: Read more...Collapse )

Despite the problems, I enjoyed the meal. In fact, now that I know they are a sneaky-spicy place, I'm considering when I might be able to go back...

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2076213.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
23rd-May-2017 11:56 am - Hugos, the progress report
Summer
The progress report:

Best Short Story - DONE
Best Novelette - DONE, one abandoned (T-Rex)
Best Fan Artist - DONE
Best Professional Artist - DONE
Best Novella - 4/5, one abandoned (Census)
Best Series - 2/5, one abandoned (Craft)
Best Graphic Story - 3/6
Best Dramatic, Long - 1/6

Best Dramatic, Short - 0/6, though I'll be voting for the filk album out of general favoritism if I don't get to them.

Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2076108.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
22nd-May-2017 03:16 pm - Hugos: Best Fan Artist
Summer
Ok, yeah, I don't know where to start with this one, so I'm just going to muddle through and see where I come out. Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2075061.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
22nd-May-2017 12:47 pm - Hugos: Monstress Vol 1
Summer
I admit that I'm not well-read in graphic novels, but I've touched a decent portion of Neil Gaiman's work, so I know how a good graphic novel can look. (Monstress is not a Gaiman work.) This story read and appeared like something out of Books of Magic but the story was much easier to follow. It was Gaiman-esque - or perhaps troperific - in the over-the-top sadism, the spraying gore, the circles of betrayal, and even the smart-ass cat.

Since we all know there are no new stories, the craft is in the telling. And this one was decently built. I like the origin stories of the various sentients. I am glad the names are distinct because I had some trouble telling Sophia and Maika apart at the beginning before I caught the rhythm of the when vs. the where as the story moved around. I like the choices in secondary characters, including a hulking big warrior woman and the pacifist farmer woman.

And really - I want their costume and special effects departments on my team. Gravity is only in effect when it's flattering.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2074742.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
22nd-May-2017 11:30 am - Hugos: Saga, Vol 6
Summer
Pretty good. There are some odd choices in characterization, but that might just be because I'm dropping in well after the plot was established. And my little geeky heart adores that Esperanto is used as the "foreign" language in the story.

The narrative voice is an older incarnation of the four-year-old Hazel around whom the plot revolves. The commentary is a mostly-thoughtful juxtaposition of philosophy against the various conflicts this story is following. As far as I can figure out, Hazel's parents are on different sides of a galactic war. There are intergalactic tabloid writers on the hunt for an exiled prince whose guardian knows how to break Hazel out of prison camp, as requested by Hazel's parents. And there are a bunch of other characters and happenings that appear to be intertwined but aren't central to this volume.

I don't mind being dropped into the middle of a story when the characters are complicated but not opaque and the graphics make it easy to remember who is who and where is where even when I can't keep up with the names. And I appreciate that scent is important to at least one race in the story.

"... anyone who thinks one book has all the answers hasn't read enough books."

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2074420.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
Summer
Pink and blue and weird all over.

I'm not a visual learner, and I am more distracted than informed by images much of the time. For this reason, I read a lot of comics but not a lot of graphic novels. So a simple art style with distinct features and forms is a good way to go for me. As such, the drawing in Paper Girls gets a strong nod of approval for its "readability" by me.

The story is obviously just getting started. We've established our core characters, the three sides to the plot/argument, and a couple of initial questions/quests. The main characters are female Goonies, but the trope doesn't completely flip because the All Knowing Elder is still male as are most of the random encounters with representatives of both of the other two sides. So while it passes the Bechtel test, it still feels at lot like t'ween girls vs. frat boys.

I give this volume a distinct "meh."

Also, as a sneak peek at Saga Vol 6 - The "foreign" language on the first few pages is Esperanto. *geeky little swoon*

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2073890.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
19th-May-2017 08:53 am - the day's Hugo progress
Summer
Yesterday evening, I spent time during a crashing thunderstorm reading the rest of The Ballad of Black Tom. It was a horror story that crept up on me slowly, gently, luring me with a vivid juxtaposition of the rich and gritty Harlem with fantastical otherworld dimensions. The end was shocking, lurching, abrupt.

Nicely done.

I also read "A Taste of Honey" which had fascinating world-building and decent characters for the most part. But wow that ending was... disappointing.

Best Novella (progress: 4/5, with 1 abandoned) Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2073561.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
18th-May-2017 11:52 am - reading progress for the Hugos
Summer
Ok, with reading "The Jewel and Her Lapidary" yesterday over lunch, I've read all of the Hugo short stories and novelettes. And I liked many of them. The novellas are the next set to conquer over lunchtime at work, at allergy shots, etc.

For long-form fiction, I tried to start Three Parts Dead last night (nominated for Best Series), got exactly three chapters in, and decided I would rather read something else for the evening thanks. I had a lovely palate-cleanser of the second half of Ashes of Honor. I don't know if I'll go back to that first book in The Craft Sequence immediately or try something else. I only have ABOUT THIRTY BOOKS* from the Hugo packet to read in the next two months.

Thank goodness I've already read all of October Daye and most of Vorkosigan or I'd be really intimidated. Ha.

ETA: I'm 51 pages into This Census-Taker and I'm ready to try something else. The narrator isn't interesting, the world-building is flat, and there isn't any noticeable plot yet. I did learn a new word: "pinchbeck." It means cheap imitation.

ETA2: The Ballad of Black Tom is good so far. The narration is lyrical, the characters interesting, and the setting narrowly focused around the characters.

My reason for loving or giving up on stories is usually the same at the root. I need at least two out of three things to be good to enjoy a story: world-building, plot, and characters.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2073219.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
17th-May-2017 10:46 am - The Hugo Voter Packet is out!
Summer
Alright, all you indoor sports fans, get your Hugos on! The Hugo packet has been released, and I'm now in the progress of downloading huge zip files onto my laptop so that I can unzip the packets and send the individual files where they need to go to live.

In case you might be interested in a large pile of good books on the cheap, consider that your supporting membership ($40) will purchase a crapton of ebooks, graphic novels, magazines, and other categories. According to Seanan McGuire's Twitter feed, her contribution to the Best Series category download has EVERY OCTOBER DAYE story ever written (up to the end of the nomination year), including 10 novels and 14 short stories. Thank you to Tor publishing house!

... My first goal is to get through the rest of the short stories and novelettes by the end of the week. (ETA: DONE!) Note that I've read *none* of the nominated novels, so I've got a mountain to climb in two months.

Edited to add the progress report:
Best Short Story - DONE (6/6)
Best Novelette - DONE with all I'm going to read (5/6)
Best Novella - 2/6
Best Novel - 0/6
Best Series - 2/6, just started The Craft Sequence

Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2073026.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
16th-May-2017 08:37 am - llama alarm
Hercules
Hercules hit his alarm six times this morning during chores. None of the goats mustered for the defense, and even the dog blew him off.

Hi, neighbor cat!

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2072316.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
15th-May-2017 09:10 am - Presenting the 2017 vegetable garden
Summer
As of yesterday, the entire vegetable garden has been planted for round one. (Round two won't be until the onions are pulled up and their places are taken by bush beans.)

The post is behind cut tags because of illustrating photos. Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2071659.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
9th-May-2017 01:21 pm - Books: Black Wolves of Boston
Summer
Black Wolves of Boston, by Wen Spencer. Urban Fantasy. Hardback, 480 pages. keeping it.

Joshua was trying desperately to fit into his social group at high school in a small town in upstate New York, so volunteered to join the prom committee prior to the Halloween dance. He regained consciousness in the hospital with questions from the police about weapons and violence. He broke out of the hospital and ran to Boston on the force of a nightmare, there to figure out how to be a werewolf and control his new fight-flight-feast impulses.

Read more...Collapse )

I picked this up as a recommendation from IndigoRose99 and recommend it to Kate Daniels fans who don't want to have to think today.

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2069405.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
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