Summer

Getting ready for SVFF goat show

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.

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Summer

Books: In Other Lands, by Sarah Reese Brennan

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.

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Summer

Books: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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.

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Summer

goat thoughts on dewormers

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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Summer

Goat update: Alys and Pansy are back

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.

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Summer

Hugos: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

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: Collapse )

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

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Summer

quote about fathers

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

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Summer

Grand Cru restaurant in Arlington

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: 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...

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Summer

Hugos, the progress report

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.

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