I asked him to stick his head out the door, so I could confirm it was indeed him. We had a bit of a chat. He hadn't known (no reason to) that I was moving too. So this was all very serendipitous.
I am now going to be
The Summer Birds, by Penelope Farmer, because of rachelmanija's recommendation.
• What did you recently finish reading?
The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard. I think this is the right length de Bodard for me. The other one I've tried was The House of Shattered Wings, which had a similar flavor: melancholy, lots that is unspoken and maybe unspeakable, communication that is clearly conveying much more to the characters than I will ever understand. Maybe it is just too grown-up a flavor for me.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I want to read all the good books for eleven-year-olds. Here's my list so far:
Suggestions and comments are welcome. No need to read through my list to make sure your suggestion is not on it; more mentions of a book make me more likely to read it.
• What are you watching?
Russian Doll, whenever I get some wifi.
Bad Times at the El Royale. Violent but worth it.
Tully. Really good.
A Wrinkle in Time.
1. This movie is so beautiful.
2. I am okay with it being its own thing, even though it has more love and less math than I would have chosen.
3. I have a surprising sore spot that this movie hit when the Happy Medium, urging Meg to find her balance, yelled, "You can do this, you’re choosing not to."
I don't have a sense of balance, not like most people do. I don't have a thing in my head that is constantly telling me what direction 'down' is. I have a substitute that I have manufactured for myself, from seeing horizontals and feeling pressure against the soles of my feet.
Most likely I was born this way. The nerve endings in my left ear never got finished. My parents noticed that I was deaf in one ear when I was five, but I didn't figure out the balance problem until I was an adult. Fortunately I don't have vertigo because my baby brain was still plastic enough to realize that the signal from my inner ear is not worth listening to.
The balance mechanism in my right ear still works, but the brain interprets any signal from right ear + no signal from left ear = 'down' is whatever direction the right ear is pointing. When I was a kid I used to sit in a swing, raise my feet and close my eyes, to get the illusion that I was spinning, very slowly, clockwise. I was always surprised to open my eyes and see that the swing's chains were not twisted together.
So the yoga exercise that has you stand on one foot, find your balance, and then close your eyes fells me like a tree. It was an immense relief to learn that no, I'm not choosing not to, I just can't.
I flew from BTR (Baton Rouge) to DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) on AA 3180 on Feb. 15 in the morning. The original departure gate was B2. They switched it to B7. This is significant because that morning at B7, the computers were down. The gate agent did not have any way of scanning boarding passes and for all I know she didn't take any record of passengers at all, who knows.
Today I showed up at DFW for my return flight home, which was to have been AA 3185 departing DFW at 4:55 p.m. for BTR.
The kiosk couldn't find my flight.
I went to the desk agent.
Two desk agents and one American customer service person on the phone ALL told me that because I was a no-show on the flight from BTR to DFW (they are telling me this as I am standing in the airport at DFW), American automatically dropped my return flight, without telling me. The only way I could get home was now to REBUY a ticket either for that flight or a later one.
Dear reader, I did not fucking teleport from Baton Rouge to Dallas-Ft. Worth. I was on AA 3180 on Feb. 15. It was not my fault that American's fucking incompetent recordkeeping listed me as a no-show. The desk agent asked if I'd kept my boarding pass. I had not, but hell, I remember some people on that plane boarded with electronic boarding passes on their smartphones, so what does that even prove?
As a result, I had to spend $341.30 of my own money to get back onto a flight that American had kicked me off of BECAUSE THEY ARE INCOMPETENT and listed me as a no-show for a flight I WAS ON.
I Tweeted about this in an attempt to get American's attention , basically reiterating what I have told you here.
There were only two flights in the itinerary, BTR to DFW then return flight DFW to BTR. I was ON flight #1. I should not have been dropped from flight #2. The issue was that they had INCORRECTLY recorded me as a no-show on AA 3180 from BTR to DFW. I should not be penalized for their failure! At the LEAST I want a refund of the ticket I shouldn't have had to buy thanks to American's incompetence.
I have a smartphone that I leave on until I'm physically on the plane, and turn back on once the plane lands. Google's creepy tracking will show that I was in BTR and DFW at the appropriate times. Moreover, my friends telophase and myrialux physically picked me up from DFW when AA 3180 landed and I got off. I have a hotel receipt showing I was in DFW.
I DID NOT TELEPORT TO DFW.
Yes, I have emailed American Airlines with a complaint, since whoever runs their Twitter is incapable of basic reading comprehension. However, I expect that I am never flying American again unless the alternative is getting drawn and quartered by locomotives.
Bad news: On the way home, my car hit a curb with such force that the entire wheel came loose, including the suspension. So that's probably the end of the line for my small blue thing, aged ten and just beginning to feel it.
What's worse than losing one's car is the impossible struggle to get anybody, body-shop consultant or insurance person on the phone or anybody, to explain what the course of events will be before you commit to following it. Afterwards they'll happily tell you many things, but you can't eke an outline out of them beforehand. Consequently you have to make decisions in a state of ignorance or even of misleading partial information.
I pull out the old bill to compare, and the difference is that "limited basic TV" was $8, but will be $21. :[
The only reason I have limited basic TV is because the discount on my internet is more than its price. I will have to have speaks with them. Not amused.
FedEx gave me a time window the driver was likely to deliver the rugs tomorrow, and is passing along my request to try to deliver between 1pm and 3pm (which is a subset of the likely time, anyway). The do not need a signature and volunteered to just leave the package, but I explained I needed them to bring the 50lb package all the way up to my apartment, for which I needed to be there to buzz them in. (Not strictly true, but I want to be there so they don't get abandoned in the mail room, leaving me to schlep them.)
UPS's agent was unable to add special delivery instructions to the order until the package was more or less here, and told me to call back tomorrow morning. I politely explained that was not possible, and was incredulous that that was how things were. She apologized that it was so. So I'll try to post a sign tonight.
In other news, I called Comcast to set up my move, and they were completely reasonable. I can change my plans with them at any time, I am eligible to self-move (so it's free), and the internet will be on in both places on the move day, so I can carry the router from one apartment to the other and everything should be fine. Fingers crossed.
With one flaw: I am very picky about audiobook narrators, and this one seemed okay in the sample you can get before you buy it, but that hid his habit of putting on terrible accents when reading quotes. This is a non-fiction book; it's not like voices had to be distinguished from each other! And since the narrator was American (he was very good at Boston accents!) and a lot of the people were British, they came out sounding vaguely Australian. It was not good.
And this month I picked a book about NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto (and beyond!). I am hoping for less white men in a modern astronomical story.
I'm not too far into this one yet, but I have detected a flaw with this narrator as well! He's one of the writers, he's definitely American, but he's trying hard not to say "Pluto" like an American. He is saying "plu-toe," really hitting that t because I think he doesn't want to say it the normal American way with that alveolar tap I love so much. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind how anybody says "Pluto," I just don't like the emphasis he seems to be putting on it in order to say it a way that seems unnatural to him. I think it's unnatural because not only does it sound weird but he doesn't always do it. Whenever he says /ˈpluːroʊ/ I want to applaud and cheer a little to encourage him to do it more.
But since it's a book about Pluto I expect to hear /pluːˈtoʊ/ about fifteen million more times.
Also, my doctor's office doctor sent me the lab report on the pre-surgical blood testing, with the comment "looks good."
Adventurer! Many talented designers of tabletop roleplaying games have joined to celebrate the Bundle of Holding's sixth birthday with this 2019 Birthday Bundle charity benefit. You can find all these terrific RPGs free elsewhere around the web (links below). But, for just a small donation, you get convenient access to them here on your Wizard's Cabinet download page -- and your entire donation (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the RPG Creators Relief Fund. The RCRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity founded to provide financial assistance to tabletop roleplaying creators suffering hardship due to medical emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophic situations.
More details here.
What I read
Finished the Pauline Kael biography: not sure if it's just that somebody whose career was basically sitting in darkened cinemas watching movies and then writing about them is not going to be wildly exciting, and it's by its nature going to be mostly about her critical opinions and spats with other critics, directors she dissed, etc, or whether it's down to Kellow not having got a lot of cooperation from relevant individuals, e.g. Kael's daughter (there does seem to have been a certain amount of drama in her earlier life, resulting in single motherhood). I am not sure I wouldn't have done better to dig out the volumes of her criticism and read those.
Re-read all Martha Wells' Murderbot novellas and the prequel short story: The Future of Work: Compulsory.
Stephanie Burgis, Snowspelled (2017), which I think I saw recommended somewhere and the ebook of which was on offer, and which was very good. It may have the 'not like other girls' going for the protag, but that is just because the other women are differently badass rather than simpering Mean Girls, and the being different is not posited as necessarily at odds with. Have preordered the sequel.
On the go
Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent (eds), The Underwater Ballroom Society (2018), as the prequel to Snowspelled was in this (and it was only slightly dearer than buying it separately, and anyway this had been vaguely on my radar).
Nothing immediate after that, but next week promises not only the Stephanie Burgis sequel above mentioned, but Amanda Downum's The Poison Court.
Rep. Ilhan Omar shuts down the war criminal that Trump wanted as a special envoy.
Scientists are rethinking how animals think.
Is America becoming a four-party country?
"Firefall" is glowing at Yosemite National Park.
I was supposed to be at a doctor's office this morning, but I rescheduled yesterday when I got the notice that even my dentist's office was closing in the face of the storm. I woke up to 4" of snow, untreated roads (the first plow went past 3 blocks away in front of the hospital 10 minutes ago) and more coming down. Good reason not to have to be on the roads. Even the Beltway is relatively quiet (1/2 mile away, normally heard unavoidably 24 hours a day.)