when the wolf comes home

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I woke up early this morning, having had a nightmare that Brexit had won, and decided to get up to see the news, since when I went to bed last night it looked like Remain would win. So much for that: it looks like the nightmare is real. (I am devastated and worried; I've also made an appointment to apply for UK citizenship, since I doubt that this vote will make life any easier for non-EU immigrants either.)

I didn't want to go in to work today, so I have stayed hom to make challah; I started to do this earlier this spring when my usual supplier didn't have them, and find it kind of restful to take out my frustrations on some innocent bread dough. I've been using this recipe, which I find very reliable -- and the blog is full of great recipes. But I've made a few tweaks, so I'm writing the recipe out below:

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And writing this out I have realized that I left the salt out. Grr. I will have to try to knead it in during the punching-down stage, but that doesn't work very well.

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I don't know. The future is not looking very bright right now.

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when the wolf comes home

Penny Dreadful season 3

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I have a feeling that I need to request this at Yuletide, not in the sense that I need a fix-it AU, but I need to make sense of what actually happened, and perhaps deal with all the hanging threads (like Cat Hartdegan, or how no one ever found out that Victor was reanimating dead people, or how Lily and Ethan never met again)

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when the wolf comes home

producing and consuming

Due to a disruption in my usual suppliers, and having Fridays free, I have been baking challah. Last week was nutella challah. The recipe (or rather, my execution of it -- it needed more nutella) needs work, but I would definitely make that again!

On the "things consumed" front, I have seen the two Hollow Crown: Henry VI episodes. After the first one I said to A that as far as I could tell the Wars of the Roses were caused a massive game of pass-the-parcel with the idiot ball. As of the second, they seem to have moved on the the crazy throat-slitting ball. Everyone gets a turn! Next week: more Cumberbatch as Richard III, presumably with more crazy throat-slitting fun. Although actually the high point so far has been Ben Miles as Somerset.

With almost as high a mortality count Collapse )

On the subject of other things which are The Aeneid, I am re-reading Watership Down in preparation to reading it to Spartacus at bedtime; I hadn't realized how many narrative beats it also shares with The Kin.

Tonight is the next episode of Game of Thrones, and tomorrow the next episode of Penny Dreadful. I admire the fact that Vanessa's taste in men is so consistent!

Oh, and back to producing -- I crocheted a string bag! It is very stretchy, so stretchy that you could use it as a beach bag more easily than a market bag.

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when the wolf comes home

Game! of Thrones!

I suspect that, as with The 100, no one likely to see this is actually still watching the show. But now that I no longer have a book canon to compare GoT to, I am really interested again. It can go be its own thing. Still too much (talk about) rape and not enough Frey-related cannibalism, but otherwise it was enjoyable.

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when the wolf comes home

Prehistoric fiction

If I'm going to start posting more, then I should definitely post on February 29! Our tiny local paper ran a story about a guy who was 72 years old and just having his 18th birthday. (Our tiny local paper is pretty good, considering its size, but it can be hard for them to get more than about 8 pages of news, not counting sports. And that's using the term news loosely.)

It is possible that my awareness the date is a side effect of having a seven-year-old. Further side effects to follow, because Spartacus is really interested in animals in general, and dinosaurs and evolution in particular, so we have been reading a lot of books about these topics. Since he is hardly the only child to be interested in this kind of thing, here are some notes on what we've been reading.

Peter S. Dickinson, The Kin. This is somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction, I think, since it's about a group of early homo sapiens, and so D. has had to invent their culture more or less from whole cloth. He clearly draws on his knowledge of Africa in doing so, which sometimes works well and sometimes makes me wonder whether he overestimates the willingness of hunter-gatherer groups which aren't being pressured by agriculturalists to inhabit marginal land. The novel is made up of four shorter novels, each told from the point of view of one of the children in the core group -- they have survived the destruction of their tribal network by an invading group, and the novel follows their adventures as they try to survive and to create a new social group. There are actually five children in the core group, three girls and two boys, but one of them, Tinu, doesn't get her own novella, although she is central to the plot of each of the others. Collapse )

Spartacus also has been reading the Dinosaur Cove series by Rex Stone; these are aimed pretty squarely at his exact age bracket and interests, so he mostly reads them to himself now. They're about two boys who discover a portal through time in the back of a cave, and go on to have adventures in various different periods and encounter various kinds of extinct animals -- mostly dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. They have a faithful pet, a wannanosaurus, who somehow turns up no matter when they go. Overall these are pretty fun for what they are. My attempt to suggest to Spartacus that he could dress up as one of the boys for World Book Day fell on deaf ears, however, so now I have to figure out how to make a pterosaur costume. (Because of Nosy, the pterosaur in Dinosaur Trouble, by Dick King-Smith, which Spartacus also enjoyed. At one point he suggested going as the lynx from White Fang, which I should have agreed to since I already have a lynx costume from dress-up-as-an-endangered-animal day, but it seemed like such a weird idea, especially because we didn't finish White Fang; I thought it was too gory and violent.)

Our patterns now is that we read him a chapter or two at bedtime, and then he reads for another half-hour or so before turning out the lights; the result is that I often have no idea what is going on overall. But I went back and reread the end of The Abominables, by Eva Ibbotsen, to find out how it all worked out (look, this book totally belongs to the theme if you assume that Yeti are not-actually-extinct giant apes.) It is just charming, about two children who have to rescue a family of Yeti by bringing them to England, to live on the estate of their previous guardian. One thing I found very odd, though, was that although it was published only after Ibbotsen's death, it was very clearly set in the 1970s. Maybe. Or maybe all children's books actually happen in the 1970s?

Also noted: the series of Willard Price sequels (we are currently re-reading Shark Adventure). Spartacus likes these a lot, as they have to do with rescuing endangered animals. They do run to comedy foreigners, so may not be to everyone's taste (although the comedy foreigners are not always comedy foreigner villains, if that makes sense.) These also feature a boy-girl pair of cousins. The original series, about the fathers of these two children, is being reissued and I am tempted to pick them up for Spartacus to look at.

And now: teaching.

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when the wolf comes home

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I have given myself permission not to watch the new XF season; I've read enough reviews from all of you who have. I was half-tempted, because it looked like it was going to call back to a lot of the mytharc stuff that I really liked, like the virus and vaccine stuff. Were there bees? I never did understand what was going on with the bees. But it also seems to have had a lot of the things which I hated about the series by the end -- especially the way it always comes back to Scully's body and its manifold uses by other people. The Fall taught me that there is a limit to what I'll put up with for the pleasure of seeing Gillian Anderson on my TV, and that at least was well-written.

If they'd brought back Krycek and Marita, I would have watched it, though. Possibly through my fingers, but I would have watched it.

In any case there is all of a sudden a lot of TV to watch. The US shows are back (The 100, Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, Gotham, The Walking Dead, Brooklyn 99, probably some other things I can't remember -- oh yes, Killjoys!). Also back, the last season of Fresh Meat, which is still the only thing Jack Whitehall is in that doesn't make me want to hit him. And soon, Raised By Wolves! Also various subtitled things:

Spin, AKA L'Hommes de l'ombre, which is a French political thriller sort of thing. Thriller may be taking it a little to far. It has some very West Wing moments, although since it's French everyone is a bit more stylish and has more affairs. Also, it turns out from Season 2 that that time that Jed was in the hospital and Margaret offered to forge his signature for Leo would have been totally OK in France. (Probably not, I assume, in the real world.)

Occupied (AKA Okkupert) This is hands-down my favorite thing that I am watching right now, although it is very very odd. The idea is that Norway has stopped producing natural gas (for environmental reasons), and the EU has teamed up with Russia to deal with the resulting shortfall -- by authorizing Russia to take over Norwegian natural gas production. So now Russia is occupying Norway. (My real-world questions: why would Russia ever do that? Also, is this something Norwegians actually worry about? A and I do call the show Norwegian Red Dawn) It has all been kind of leisurely, but in a car-crash kind of way -- the prime minister can't remember whether his name is Quisling or not (this is unfair to him), the Norwegian resistance has been a bit slow getting going, but now everything is escalating quickly (it isn't entirely clear how involved the Russians are in this escalation, but there are, conveniently, attacks whenever the pressure on them to withdraw their people gets too heavy.) The characters are a bit broadly drawn but sympathetic, even the ones who are clearly headed for a bad end. Anyway, it is very enjoyable, but I don't think anyone else has watched it.

ETA: Also, Trapped, from Iceland, which I am less sure about because it is another murder mystery and those are a little tiring. But it is very atmospheric and the plot is (possibly over-) complicated.

Not subtitled, but pretty, is The Night Manager. In tonight's episode, I suspect that Tom Hiddleston will stare mournfully at Hugh Laurie, while Tom Hollander looks fed up with everything. Olivia Coleman will, as usual, steal every scene she is in, even from the scenery porn. There is a lot of scenery porn. By the end, we will all feel both worthy and satiated.

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when the wolf comes home

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Just in case any of you thought I lived some kind of super intellectual life, most of our discussions at home recently have been about who would win a fight between the Hulk and an Indominus Rex. Now it's Hulk vs. the mosasaur from Jurassic World.

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