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Marilee J. Layman

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March 4th, 2011

08:47 pm: Jiggling Forearm

Last night I watched a DVD and read the paper before I got to bed to read at 2:30am. I stopped at 6am (having come out to talk to Spirit and watch about the weather) and didn't set the alarm. I got up almost exactly at 3pm.

I was getting ready to go out, unlocking the door, and wondering why Loki (on the kitchen window table) was looking outside. When I opened the door, I scared the mailguy who was bringing Spirit's heated pet bed. I took the DVD to the post office driveby and picked up the rest of the mail, all of which went into the mixed paper recycling basket except for the notice of the monthly amount of money I've paid to Kaiser/Medicare. Yesterday, I got a semi-bill from Kaiser because the IQ people billed them first, and not Medicare at all. I don't have to pay anything, I'm just supposed to tell them this.

When I came home, I started working on the computer and all the joints in my left fingers hurt, but even worse, when I do something with my right hand, like use the trackball, my entire forearm jiggles. I keep thinking it should stop. I took a break and fixed up Spirit's bed and I coaxed her over and she got in. She just sat in it for a while, but then lay down. We'll see how well she likes it. I put in the Peapod order, changing my card in the process.

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09:45 pm: Among Others by Jo Walton

I have to show you the cover:



The big stars are shiny and when you take the book cover off, the spine has the author, title, and Tor icon all in bright orange!

I've known Jo for many years, starting on usenet and now on LJ. I've met her in person a few times, too. I think fans in general were closer on usenet, but usenet changed too much and we had to leave.

I like Jo a lot and because I know some of the things in this book are real, it hit my heart strongly. The protagonist, Mori, is 15 and we are reading her memoir/journal over nine months. The journal starts partway through what happened and we get information about the older things, the things that bother her so much. Mori likes SF but never heard of fandom or clubs or Ansible and these things all help her in her life. There are so many books mentioned that I not only thought about each book, I also looked at my bookcases for most of them (even though I can't see the bottom shelves from the bed). Mori's life swirls through SF, dangerous magic, new people, and an awful boarding school.

I liked the book so much that I put post-its in a lot of places to mark parts. I'll tell you about most rather than copy them.

The Dedication says:

This is for all the libraries in the world, and the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people. There are nice librarians in the book, too.

I was pleased to find that I know almost all the people in the Thanks and Notes page and at the end of that, Jo talks about how people tell you to write what you should know and she thinks that's a horrible idea! Therefore there's no such place as a Welsh valley... no year 1979... and no such planet as Earth. The fairies are real, though. I laughed like crazy here.

After Mori has thought about Triton, she thinks One of the things I've always liked about science fiction is the way it makes you think about things, and look at things from angles you'd never have thought about before. This is one of the things we want from SF (except the Mundaners), something that makes us take what we've read and parse it with other ideas.

Again on libraries: Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization. Our library has had to start charging for them -- civilization is getting poorer -- but I still make them.

Mori comments on a book she sees: The back cover [of Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson] attributes the quote to the Washington Post, a newspaper whose quotations will always damn a book for me from now on. I've sure heard that a lot and since I read The Post, I agree on many reviews & books.

About her classmates: ...I don't feel as if I'm part of their species. I think all of us have those moments, even when we're with people more like us than Mori's schoolmates were like her.

Mori's had an accident and her hip and femur were crushed. Even at 15 she was using a cane. She keeps having people tell her she doesn't need the cane -- even when she's only walking because she has it -- as well as people who are too solicitious. I've had that happen, where people tell me I don't need a handicapped parking spot because I can walk. But I can't walk very far, which is why I have the tag.

At one point, she's thinking about Jurassic fairies and wonders if fairies are a sentient manifestation of the magical interconnectedness of the world. It made me think that maybe we should rename one of the quantum items "fairies."

The school makes her go to church so at the point where she was supposed to pray for two special things, she gave thanks for [friend] and interlibrary loans.

These are some of the things that really caught my eye, but I think it would be impossible to read it without having your eye caught for things you really like. It's a very personal book, but at the same time, speaks to just about everybody.

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10:02 pm: Two for the Money

This was a very good movie. Brandon (Matthew McConaughey) planned to be a big-deal quarterback but he damaged his leg badly on the day the scouts were in the bleachers and they all left. He does a lot of little jobs and then his boss finds out Brandon can forecast sports. He does it just as a hobby until Walter (Al Pacino), who owns a popular sports betting information company in Manhattan (peaple pay for call and are coached on what to bid on) hires him. Walter makes Brandon into Johnny Adventure! The Man of Odds! and things go okay. Walter's wife, Toni (Rene Russo) is worried about his heart, his gambling, and his belief that he's the biggest manipulator of all.

As they move on, Brandon starts missing some of the odds -- he's finding the job too stressful -- but Walter won't let him leave. At one point, when Walter is supposedly in Las Vegas gambling, Brandon and Toni make it look like he went inside for sex. The business starts falling apart and Walter has everybody put all their money into one game and while the office folk are watching on the TV in Walter's living room, he heads back to yell at Toni about the "adultery." She explains that they made it look like that just to see if he was still interested in her. They fall together and back in love. At the same time, Brandon is heading home. He sees the end of the game while at an airport and is glad to leave. We see him happily coaching boys in football.

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