?

Log in

Otter's Tale [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
canuckotter

[ website | my sometimes home ]
[ userinfo | about me! ]
[ archive | archive ]

*meep* [Mar. 29th, 2011|08:18 am]
canuckotter
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]

*meep*

For those of you not in the know, Shadow Unit is... uh... Y'know, just go click the link. It is TEH AWESOME. Police procedural meets urban fantasy. Fulfill your love of detective stories AND your love of monsters AT THE SAME TIME!!!1!!PONIES!!

Seriously, good stuff. Go check it out. You can read it for free on their site to check it out, but it's some seriously good fiction.
Link1 poke|poke me

3D printing? Hell yes! [Nov. 11th, 2010|09:01 am]
canuckotter
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]

Thing-o-matic!

Do you know what's awesome about this thing? It takes a bunch of computer data AND TURNS IT INTO A REAL THING. Is there anything about that that isn't awesome? No! Nothing about it is less than totally awesome!

Now to start working on a plan to convince Andrea that it's a Good Idea (TM) to have one of these in the house...
Link2 pokes|poke me

This [Oct. 18th, 2010|08:52 am]
canuckotter
Yes, indeed.

(It's Scalzi, apparently in a serious mood. It's entitled "Things I don't have to think about today", and it's worth the read.)
Linkpoke me

Black Blade Blues, by J.A. Pitts [Aug. 13th, 2010|10:52 pm]
canuckotter
[Tags|]
[mood |sleepysleepy]

Just finished reading Black Blade Blues, by J.A. Pitts.

The book follows Sarah, a young lesbian who's an apprentice smith. She reforges a magic sword and ends up fighting all sorts of mythical creatures in modern-day Seattle. Along the way, she fights her destiny, meets all sorts of interesting creatures, screws up her life good and proper, and almost discovers some very interesting things about her friends.

It's a first novel, as far as I can tell. (I suppose I could go read the cover blurb, I'm sure it would tell me.) It certainly feels like it. On a technical level, the writing's shaky, prone to wandering. The word choice is often just off that little bit, enough to set my teeth on edge and make me want to whip out my red pen and put on my editor hat. The ending in particular drags on interminably; many of the plot threads are tidied up long after the climax is over. At least ten pages, and probably twenty, could have been trimmed from the end with just a little more care.

One important thing you need to know is that the main character is a lesbian, and very conflicted about it. No really, look how conflicted she is! And she's a lesbian! Look, she's a lesbian and conflicted! ... etc, etc. In theory, it might make the character more interesting, but it was clumsy, overdone, and in a lot of cases it felt gratuitous (like the encounter with Gunnr near the end of the book). Seriously, Mr Pitts, we get it. She's a girl who likes girls. For the love of god can we move on please?***

Those complaints aside, I'm happy with the book. It's a fun read, lots of excitement and action. The characters are a little flat, especially if you compare them to Jenny or Valens from Elizabeth Bear's first books*, but they're solid enough to hang a story on. The battles are well done, quite fun when things go well and carrying some real emotional weight when things don't go well. There are a few too many plots going on, but not enough to completely lose track, and while the arc of the book is pretty clear from early on**, it's executed satisfyingly.

Overall, a fun read. It's popcorn, not a steak dinner, but good popcorn. For entertainment value, I'll give it a 4 out of 5; for quality of writing, perhaps a 3. This book isn't going to set your world on fire but in the end I found myself wishing the next book was out already, which is generally a pretty good sign.


* Valens is officially my all-time favourite character. He's just such a realistic, lovable, magnificent utter bastard.
** If you've read the Dresden Files, you can guess it even more easily. I just really, really hope that the next book doesn't reuse the same character arc.
*** I realise Sarah's issues around the whole thing are entirely realistic for some people, even in this day and age, but honestly it felt forced. If it had affected the core plot of the book in some way, then maybe it wouldn't feel so gratuitous.
Link2 pokes|poke me

A very short story [Aug. 4th, 2010|03:18 pm]
canuckotter
[mood |amusedamused]

Something I sent Andrea earlier today that I thought I'd share. (Some days, I am too easily amused.)


-----------------


I can picture it now.. Joel whimpering, trying desperately to peel your fingers off his arm. "I know you need your knitting, Andrea!" he cries, but it's no use. You aren't letting go. "Please just let go of my arm!"

"No, you don't understand!" you insist, oblivious to the deep tissue damage you've already caused him. "We need to go to a knitting store RIGHT. FREAKING. NOW."

As tears start trickling down his face, Joel nods desperately. "Yes, yes! I'll buy you a whole knitting store! I'll put a gun to Mom's head and make her drive straight there. Just please let me have my arm back!"

"OK," you say, smiling brightly. Only the closest observer would notice that your eyes are following nothing visible to anyone else in the airport, the slight twitches in your fingers as you knit phantoms in the air. Tommy skips merrily along behind you two, asking cheerfully if he can see a lobster pinch some fish.
Link1 poke|poke me

Long overdue update [Jul. 5th, 2010|08:51 pm]
canuckotter
[Tags|]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

I set myself a goal. I think everyone reading this already knows the outcome, but just in case there's anyone I haven't seen in a while who's curious...

My goal was to weigh no more than 220 pounds by Canada Day. I met that goal... in February, I think. Might have been early March. My actual weight by Canada Day was in the mid-190s.

Now that I've lost a ton of weight (altogether about 60 pounds since mid-December) primarily through a better diet*, I've also started a new challenge for myself. I've never been a runner. I'm not built for it, and I'm not naturally any good at it. And yet I'm signed up for a half marathon in September, and I'm seriously considering signing up for a second in mid-October. I decided to do this the smart way and signed up with The Running Room for a clinic, and I gotta say -- it was a good choice. The program is very good, and I feel a whole lot stronger and more capable than I ever did running on my own. So I'm enjoying that too.

Anyway. Update was overdue and probably unnecessary, thought I'd post it.


* The last month or so has been a lot more hit-and-miss in this department, but I'm basically maintaining my weight, so I'm not too worried about it.
Link1 poke|poke me

Do our security forces have nothing better to do? [Mar. 24th, 2010|12:40 pm]
canuckotter
[Tags|]
[mood |aggravatedaggravated]

If you see someone taking pictures of the transit system in Ottawa, call the cops right away!

Seriously? What the fuck?
Link1 poke|poke me

Oh yeah [Feb. 28th, 2010|09:39 pm]
canuckotter
[Tags|]
[mood |ecstaticecstatic]

I set myself a goal just over two months ago: by Canada Day, I would weigh under 220.

I commented a month ago that maybe I wasn't being ambitious enough.

I forgot to mention that I beat that challenge a week ago, and now weigh under 217.

Am I happy with myself? Let me put it this way... FUCK YES.

(For those keeping score at home... Since writing this back in May, I've now lost 44 pounds.)
Link1 poke|poke me

I signed away my soul again [Feb. 24th, 2010|12:30 pm]
canuckotter
[mood |amusedamused]

Yup, I took the plunge and reinstalled WoW and reactivated my account. Things are both very different and very familiar. I had a grand ol' time last night slaughtering demon pigs (once I remembered how to attack... it was pretty embarrassing standing there getting gored half to death because I couldn't remember what button to push), which was familiar... but I was doing it in a shattered hellish landscape filled with demons, which was odd, to say the least. Then I got escorted to a magical floating city, which was freaky and weird.

I expect I'll play for a while and get bored again, but in the meantime, it's a lot of fun checking out all the new content that's been added in the last three and a half years.

As a side note: It was really fun to surprise friends by saying hi in game.
Link2 pokes|poke me

Well, I guess I won't be buying from Amazon for a while... [Jan. 31st, 2010|11:18 am]
canuckotter
[mood |irritatedirritated]

Amazon has yanked all print and eBook versions of Macmillan books in a dispute over pricing of eBooks. Basically, Macmillan wants to be able to sell eBooks at a variety of prices, Amazon wants every eBook at the same price.*

My big beef with this isn't that Amazon's pulled the eBooks. Hey, if they aren't happy with the eBook deal Macmillan's been offering, well, that's their business. What bugs me is yanking all the dead-tree editions. What does eBook pricing have to do with dead trees? Not a damn thing. This is simply a large company trying to use their near-monopoly in one market to enforce their control over another market. I dunno about the rest of you, but personally, that sounds pretty anti-competitive to me...

So for now, I won't be buying anything from Amazon. Chapters' online ordering isn't quite as good, but it is a heck of a lot better than it was for the first few years after they got bought by Indigo.

The big thing that confuses me is why Amazon thinks this is a good idea. After all, the big draw of Amazon is they have every book you could want -- or at least, they're more likely to have it than anyone else. Yanking every book by a major publisher means that there's a HUGE list of books that they no longer carry, making Amazon a limited supplier... which means they're inconvenient. Kinda the opposite of what made them successful. If Amazon was a true monopoly, this would be a smarter tactic, but they've got enough realistic competition that it's reasonable to think that this could drive away a significant number of their customers.


* Sound like Apple's iTunes stance back in the day?
Linkpoke me

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]