23 June 2017 @ 10:55 pm
Well, close enough. :) Stella Jaye Floyd arrived earlier tonight. Mom, kidlet and dad all doing fine, so far as anyone's told me. 7 pounds, 13 or 14 ounces (speaker phone made that blurry), and my conversions are rubbish, so... 3 kilos and change?

I need to find a figurine, and by that I mean a proper marble or similar carved one, not a rubbishy plastic one, of a Stellar's jay (I believe that's the name of the bird in question) and present it to her. Not to her folks, although they'll see it. The figurine will be hers.

Leetle not-feathery feathery star baby. :D
 
 
Current Mood: amazed
 
 
23 June 2017 @ 09:05 pm
Ibani is lying on the floor, datapad in front of her, scowling.

Karking word problems.

If you and five friends each have 100 credits, and the red speeder costs 500 credits, the blue speeder costs 600 credits, and the purple speeder costs 700 credits, what should you buy?

Ibani glares at the stupid question and writes : You shouldn't buy a speeder at all, because you can't fit 6 people on one speeder. You should all save your money and buy something that makes sense.
 
 
23 June 2017 @ 06:58 pm
They've been unreasonably lucky, and they haven't had to deal with the question of what to do with Ibani if a Jedi comes to the temple. But that luck couldn't last forever, and it finally runs out less than a week after her first sparring session.

The safest path is to go, to take Ibani out of the Temple and into the wilderness of Jedha for as long as the Jedi are in residence. The official story is that this trip is for survival training, hands on experience in the wild. Ibani's hardly going to complain about having her Dads all to herself for a while!

She's watching the last of the supplies they'll need be loaded as the cold Jedhan sun starts to rise.
 
 
23 June 2017 @ 02:47 pm
 
Since I have no thread brain and work isn't allowing play anyway, my impulsive self is looking at other pups to play at some point, likely sandboxes cause of bandwidth issues.

America Chavez, because damn you Marvel. You suck, but sometimes you do things right. Plus, she'd be a lot of fun.

Jack Wolcott, from Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. Thinking of came_tumbling_after as a user name and I have a bunch of icons cribbed from classic b&w horror films with mad scientists for use.

Ehren ex Cursori, from Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. Scholarly spy with a fondness for knives who seems pretty unfazed with life and odd things. About the only way he could be more my jam is if he were a shape shifter or teleporter. Only name I sort of have is study_of_cursors, but I'm not committed to it. I want to read more of the books first before doing anything farther. PBs are either Ben Whishaw or Mika., Ben Whishaw in Perfume: A Story of Murder would work really well.
 
 
23 June 2017 @ 03:20 pm
My sister's in the hospital having kiddo the second. :) It's early days yet, so say my mother and other sister, but...

EeeeeeeEEEEE! :D

Campfire plans for this weekend are thoroughly scuttled, as we knew they might be. Oh well, this is more important. I'm not going up to visit until everyone's home and settled in, which probably means either next weekend or for part of the weekend of the Fourth. But, oh my gosh! :D

I am going to laugh my butt off if it's a boy. Ultrasounds may be highly accurate, but they are not perfect. I know Jordan had them check twelve times, and whether that's hyperbole or not, I don't know; I wasn't there. My point stands.

:) :) Updates to follow.
 
 
Current Mood: excited
 
 
They've scoped out the three target merc companies over many long nights going over documentation and word-of-mouth. They've come up with a backstory for James, she's brought him what was essentially a bucket full of daggers from which to pick those that fit his purposes best, and they've gone through packing materials, bedrolls, waterskins, maps -- all of it.

They're as prepared as they can be, which is why Ysalwen, bundled up in her cloak and with a travel pack (and her sword) slung over her shoulders, is waiting by the front door for James to arrive. Liranan -- fitted out in his spiked collar and Lady of the Skies kaddith -- is there, too, tongue lolling out with excitement.

Travel!
 
 
22 June 2017 @ 08:42 pm
It's a few weeks shy of a full year since Ibani first set foot in the Temple of the Kyber, and someone who hasn't watched her progress over that time would find it difficult to believe that she's even the same person!

She came the temple a tiny, malnourished, shy, little girl, but now she's solidly in the middle of her age group for height and weight and she's confident enough to sass others and employ sarcasm on a regular basis.

The sass is why she had courtyard cleaning duty this morning. (One of her teachers did NOT appreciate Ibani answering the request to 'tell me what I said' when they thought she wasn't paying attention with their exact words in as close to their exact voice and verbal tics as her physiology would allow.)

But even courtyard cleaning can't dim her spirits, because today is the day she is finally, finally cleared for sparring.

She's very nearly bouncing as she goes looking for her dads.
 
 
 
21 June 2017 @ 09:12 pm
Ibani has a secret. Well, two secrets, to be honest. She's been working on birthday presents for her dads!

She's never gotten anyone anything before, or made them something, so the work has been difficult. Scrounging for bits of leather, dropped credits, valuable things to trade for materials, those were the relatively easy parts. No, the hard parts were settling on designs and actually MAKING the presents.

The setting and thong for the Adegan crystal she gave Chirrut is finished, but the last bits of braiding on the leather bracelet for Baze are proving tricky. She scowls at it, uses the Force to make the material hold still so she can tie the end properly. Almost done....
 
 
21 June 2017 @ 07:36 pm
 
I recently reread Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death. It remains an onslaught of a book, although being somewhat braced for the barrage of ANGER INJUSTICE GENOCIDE GONNA DESTROY A WHOLE CITY NOW does allow a little more time to, uh, stop and appreciate the occasional non-fraught thing that happens along the way? Onyesonwu makes friends with a camel at one point! That's nice!

(...for the record, my review from 2010 seems to indicate that at the time I understood and appreciated what happened at the end. Well, good job, past self, because my present self has no idea. Spoilers ))

Anyway! Rereading Who Fears Death got me thinking about the kind of books that are constructed around an ancient lore or a knowledge of the world that turns out to be fundamentally wrong, cultures constructed around poisoned lies. The Fifth Season is the other immediate example that springs to mind of a book like this -- not that there aren't other parallels between The Fifth Season and Who Fears Death. It seems to me that I ought to be able to think of more, but since I can't I'm sure you guys can.

When I mentioned this to [personal profile] genarti, she immediately said "YA dystopia! Fallout!" and that's true, a lot of dystopias are built around a Fundamentally Flawed Premise that has been imposed upon the innocent population by a dictatorial government. Those feel a little different to me, though, maybe just because that sort of dystopia very clearly grows out of our own world. We know from the beginning how to judge truth and lies, we're WAY AHEAD of our naive heroine who believes the color blue is evil because the government put an inexplicable ban on it. But Who Fears Death, while it may be set in our future, is in a future so distant from our own that there's no particular tracing back from it, and The Fifth Season is another world altogether, and we don't have any home court advantage over the protagonists as they figure out where the lies are except a belief that something that poisonous has to be wrong; maybe that's the difference.
 
 
21 June 2017 @ 06:41 pm
Thank you so much to everyone who commented on that last entry of mine. Much love!

Showed the bosslady the list. She was sympathetic, if definitely a bit thrown. She first asked if I was quitting - "Nooooo no, definitely not." Wound up taking two days off, with her blessing. I need them. The day got better from there on in; I don't know why uncorking, embarrassing though it was after the fact, helped, but it did. Also helping were several messes getting sorted out all at once, and a relatively mellow day. I still need the vacation time, badly. By late morning, I was not flinching at phone rings or e-mail pings, and chatting with friendly customers was a pleasure rather than a chore. Definite improvements, and again, no idea why uncorking helped.

Seriously looking into getting a medical opinion on this anxiety stuff, because it's been bad, lifelong, and it's getting worse, and I have a family history of the same; Mom has it too, though often well-hidden. People at work seem to think it's purely an attitude/reaction thing, of the 'change your outlook' variety. As changing my outlook involves a good amount of what feels suspiciously like plastering on an obviously fake smile, I'm not sure this is something a sunny mindset is going to cure.

I need the vacation time. There will be reading up a storm, and radio time as both receiver and transmitter, and *fingers crossed* a blood donation, and kitty cuddles, and maybe a campfire.

Bless my boss, seriously. I wrote her a grateful e-mail before taking off for vacation time. Strongly considering a gift of chocolate out of gratitude for putting up with my self-confessed high-strung self.

Just wanted to update everybody. I'm okay. I'm flipping tired and need a recharge.
 
 
Current Mood: tired
 
 
It takes a fair amount of open space to cut down one flying ship in order to repair another. In the end, Pearl and Loki had set up shop in the grass outside the garage. His skiff--scorched, dented from bullets, gashed along one side, crooked-winged--sits next to a larger Asgardian craft, one built on similar lines but considerably more ornate. Even by Asgardian standards. The hull is covered with inlaid twining patterns that work themselves out into serpents and wolves and falcons.

It's splendid. Beautiful craftsmanship in the style of two thousand years ago. And Loki is gleefully marking off portions of it to chop up. With a flaming torch thing that he certainly hopes is adequate to the task. Pearl had thought it might be.

"Do you think we'll need to replace the entire wing? Or just the damaged section?"
 
 
 
21 June 2017 @ 09:29 am
 
 Part of my recent self care is trying to do a daily meditation. Nothing huge, just five minutes in the car before I walk into work. Today I forgot and so just took five minutes in my cube, using a guided meditation on youtube. The search 5 min meditation auto filled to either "5-min calming meditation" "5-min mindfulness meditation" or "5-min goth meditaion"...wait, what? I'm all for dark expressions and aesthetics, but goth meditations?

Of course I had to look and there was no results that were actually goth, but I am amused that someone had to have entered that search stream right?
 
 
21 June 2017 @ 07:41 am
 
And once more I am on another day of little sleep. Third day in a row now where I've only managed 6 hours and let me tell you, I am noticing a decrease in my mental faculties. (I had to pause there and figure out how to spell 'row'.)

In the quest of self improvement, I came across an essay about how anxiety can present as anger and it was like a light from above switched on. I've always been fearful of my temper, often thinking of it as the classic Irish stereotype, but all the times I've lost it or snapped, I'm usually feeling overwhelmed, threatened, or panicked. I need to dig deeper into this, but it seems legit and has helped me take a deep breath and step back when I feel like attacking or yelling.

I've also come to realize I suffer much more from impostor syndrome than fear or laziness when it comes to creative things. Like I know I am creative and always have ideas for making art or stories, I can't stop the ideas, but any time I think about making them happen, I hit a wall. I've always read it as fear of making the thing badly or a general laziness, i.e. writing takes so long, but i think it's more a little voice in my head telling me I'm faking it. I'd like to know where I got that voice so I can pommel it.

OK. Time for pain meds, caffeine, and music to see if I can find my way out of my mental fog.
 
 
Current Music: AWOLNATION - Headrest For My Soul
 
 
20 June 2017 @ 10:51 pm
I am 99% sure I'm showing this to my boss tomorrow. I'm scared stiff, but it really is the best idea I can come up with. Then you know you...? Need a new job? Are burned out? Are an overly anxious ball of overreaction? Need to grow the hell up with your wanting-a-slower-pace self?

Bosslady*,

I know this mode of delivery is an odd one, and an oddly formal one, but formality's not what I'm going for here. Very much the opposite; you're a great boss, and you've been better to me than I deserve. I just do better when i'm able to draft something rather than blurting it out. You've probably seen me lock up verbally when trying to get words out in a tense situation, and I don't want to splutter through this.

This is me over the last few weeks. Second person pronouns used because I started this in list form.

When thinking about work, at all, causes you a physical - tightening guts, chills, tangibly elevated heart rate - stress response. This includes when you're doing mundane things, like sitting at home in your rocking chair, or watching a television series you usually love.

When thinking about the next day makes you queasy with dread.

When you don't want to eat, because of both the stomach squirmies, and the time loss sticking a granola bar in your face will cause you.

When you know you're not learning from your mistakes, even though you're trying to.

When you flinch every time your e-mail goes off or your phone rings.

When you don't want to sleep, even though you know you need to, because then you lose a whole night on your own time, and after you lose the whole night of your own time, it'll be tomorrow and work again, where you dread...

When you just can't keep up with anything unless reminders of it are shoved in your face every five minutes, because you're a child, or not motivated, or both.

When you don't want to take a day off, because of what failure of yours might come to light in your absence, and because during your absence, another avalanche will fall into your queue and wait for you, and you know it.

When building pleasantly professional rapport with your customers stops being something you pride yourself on, and starts feeling like a waste of time someone will probably call you on one of these days.

When you forget the answers to obvious work-related questions that you knew six months ago, and you know you should know, but the person to ask is either gone, new, or knows as well as you do that you should know the answer by now.

When saving someone's event, or helping someone celebrate their daughter's birthday, or making sure someone has the clothes for work that may well allow them to keep their job, stops making you proud and just feels like another chore to be rushed through.

When you're more exhausted, mentally, then you remember being before February of this year, and there were plenty of times where you were extremely exhausted before February of this year.

When you don't like the woman under your work facade very much anymore.

When you have the bright idea to show this to your boss, and you're scared silly of the reaction you'll get, but it truly is the best idea you've got.

Then, you know you...?

*Bosslady's name omitted.
 
 
Current Mood: scared
 
 
Do you ever re-read something you wrote ages ago and just -- want it back? want to be doing more? I mean, obviously I feel this a lot, but today I saw that the [livejournal.com profile] thisengland Shakespeare Histories Ficathon is starting up soon for its 10th year, and then I became overwhelmed with Percys feelings, and then I reread my sole contribution to the challenge, "A Mouth-Filling Oath," which takes place on the docks of 1950s London and everyone (but Hal, of course) is working class. I so love that narrative voice I found, even if I'm fairly certain it bears no resemblance to any English spoken every day. Strong narrative voices make writing so much easier, incredibly so, and I want to seize or discover one for other projects, but I never really set aside the time to try, which frustrates me about myself. There also seems to be a popular idea going around now that you shouldn't talk about your projects or you'll just talk them to death, and I get that, but it seems at odds with having a writing community, in some ways?

So yeah, that's a thing I've got to push myself on more. (Meanwhile, I'm going to not spend my time rolling around in old [personal profile] valiantrebel logs. Not for long, anyway.) The notes came back from my WW/WWI story and THEY ARE GOOD AND VERY MINIMAL, WHAT, so I need to get those turned around and also work on my second story and also work on a third and fourth story for the month. There's been this gigantic weird storm this afternoon, and right now the sunset is doing weird things with the light, but I see a full rainbow outside my window with gray clouds and peach light lighting up all the windows and bricks. The storm is also probably responsible for the hard nap I took earlier, with, again, extremely vivid dreams (partly about being some kind of shapeshifter with the ability to stop something VERY BAD from happening, but being kept from it somehow; partly about being back in Athens with both parents at a huge gala event for us, and I was being given snakes and I was delighted). I rewatched the S1 finale of The Magicians, which I hadn't seen in quite some time, and I had forgotten many things, chief among them how fucking hot Eliot Waugh's everything is. Goddammit, Hale Appleman, tall, beaky, elegant Jews who can do a courtly bow past their own knees is MY SEXUALITY, APPARENTLY. I just spent like 20 minutes trying to find a GIF on Tumblr and now I'm like, this shit is not going to get me back on Tumblr. Okay. Anyway. Phew. Hello.

ETA WAIT, I FOUND THE MOMENT.
 
 
Billy hadn’t really known what to pick up from Wilford’s place, but there wasn’t much of anything there to be picked up. He didn’t have anything, and Billy already knew that. He came back with a ratty old bathrobe that Wilford had had since high school, a pair of slippers that had been buried in the back of his closet, and a backpack full of clothes that he couldn’t really wear around all the stuff he was hooked up to. The bathrobe wasn’t much, but just wearing something that was actually his made him feel a little more like himself. He mostly slept to pass the time, but it wasn’t a pleasant or restful sleep. It was a fuzzy, drugged sleep that left him feeling just as gross as he’d felt before. He hated pain killers, but he imagined he’d hate being in pain even more in this one case.

The first time he saw the damage, while a nurse was invading his space and checking his stitches, he almost puked. The only reason he didn’t was probably because he had nothing in his stomach to puke up. One of the hidden benefits to a clear liquid diet, it seemed. He hadn’t ever seen the aftermath of taking three rounds to the stomach and surviving. He’d expected a few stitches here and there from where the bullets had gone in. He hadn’t expected the long incision straight down his stomach, or the other long one just over his hip. There were more in his side, and two more spots on his back that needed checking.

“Two of them went straight through. The third took a detour,” Billy had explained later.

It was no wonder everything hurt. Because everything was hurt. The clean-up operation must have taken hours.

“You’re a tough little bastard, you know that?”

He kept his bathrobe tied closed after that. He had to wear the belt high around his chest, because anything around his stomach was agony. But anything to keep him from having to look at that mess was preferable. Even more preferable would have been being anywhere but where he was. He hated the nurses and doctors and everyone else constantly invading his space. Billy was there more often than not, but he at least kept his hands to himself. He probably felt like he had to be there, for some irritating, sentimental reason, since nobody else would be coming to look smug at him.

“I want to go home,” he said while the doctor was in having a look at his charts.

“I… would very strongly recommend against that,” the doctor said.

Wilford shook his head. He hated the room, and the people in it, and the bed he was on, and the TV that never stopped showing the news, and everything that was sticking out of him. He wanted it all to just go away, so he could curl up somewhere dark and just be miserable for a while.

“I want to go home,” Wilford repeated.

The doctor put the clipboard back on the end of the bed. “Do you have anyone at home to keep an eye on you?” he asked slowly.

Wilford started to answer that he didn’t need anyone else, but his head was still all full of sand and cotton, and Billy was faster. “He’ll stay with me,” he said.

The doctor seemed to accept this a little more easily, but going to Billy’s wasn’t what Wilford wanted. He wanted to be left alone.

“Wil, you’re on the third floor. That’s a lot of stairs, man,” Billy said.

It occurred to Wilford he may have been even more slow to react than he realised. Or maybe Billy was secretly psychic. But he had forgotten about the stairs. Even sitting up hurt; he’d never be able to get to his front door.

“I’ll go with him,” he said, pointing at Billy.

The doctor still didn’t seem very convinced, but he nodded anyway. “Okay. I’ll go get the discharge started.” He gave Wilford a strange look before leaving the room.

Billy watched him go, waiting until the door was closed before turning back to Wilford. “You sure you don’t want to give it a few more days?”

He didn’t. It was the last thing he wanted. He hated everything about this place.

“I want to go home,” he repeated again.

“All right. We’ll go home.” Billy didn’t seem convinced either, but at least he’d leave Wilford alone. He respected personal space boundaries, unlike everyone else here. Wilford just needed to be left alone, and then he’d feel better.

Eventually, the doctor came back in with a stack of forms and releases and waivers for Wilford to sign - agreeing that the hospital wasn’t at fault if complications arose from refusing treatment, agreeing that he’d refused treatment, agreeing to having consented to the treatment he did receive. He didn’t care about any of it. He signed them all with a loose, sloppy signature that barely looked like his own, trusted that Billy was listening to medication instructions and garbage about follow-up appointments, and everything else. He still didn’t care about any of it. He was tired, he was starving, everything hurt, and he wanted it all to go away.

While the doctor finished up, a nurse Wilford hadn’t seen before came in and started getting everything ready for him to get up and leave. He removed all the gunk stuck to his chest, and took the line out of his arm so quickly, Wilford hadn’t even realised that’s what he was doing until it was done. He was already starting to blank out again when the nurse got up and moved to the foot of the bed. He was saying something, but Wilford wasn’t paying attention. He just wanted this guy to finish what he was doing so he could go. And then he felt the nurse’s hands go under the hospital gown, and Wilford jumped back to reality so quickly, he could feel his foot connect with something hard.

“Woah!” Billy said, quickly stepping forward to lean Wilford back into the bed. He had a strange look on his face that Wilford couldn’t read, but he wasn’t trying to. He was more concerned with the nurse.

“What the fuck is he doing down there?” he demanded.

“Man, you haven’t been able to get up to take a piss in three days,” Billy reminded him. “He’s got to take the tube out of your dick. You have to let him.”

Wilford had been so out of it, this fact had not even occurred to him until that moment. He didn’t even have anything to say. He just glared up at Billy, like it was his fault.

“That’s a normal reaction,” the nurse assured. He didn’t sound very sincere, but Wilford wasn’t equipped to go picking that fight. “It’s just a couple of seconds, okay? Let’s try again. Deep breath.”

Wilford did not take a deep breath. He kept his jaw set tightly and tried to ignore the fact that this man had his hands on him. It wasn’t a fact that was easy to ignore, and left him feeling light-headed and nauseated. Even once the nurse finished up, Wilford could feel himself trembling from trying to stay still. Billy put a hand on his shoulder, but Wilford slapped it away before he puked.

“Okay, all done,” the nurse said. “Do you want to try to get up and go pee for me?”

“No,” Wilford said firmly.

An awkward glance was shared between the nurse and Billy.

“All right. He’s going home with you, right?” the nurse asked.

Billy nodded, giving Wilford that same strange look again. “Yeah.”

“If he’s not able to urinate within the next eight hours, bring him back,” he said. He nodded to Wilford and gathered up everything to be taken away. “Good luck.”

Now that it was finally time to get up and go, Wilford couldn’t even force himself to get out of the bed. He felt like if he moved, he’d be sick. He hated himself for not even being lucid enough to realise that was going to be a thing. Thankfully, Billy said nothing, and busied himself with getting some clothes out of the bag he’d brought over on the first day. He’d been smart about it, and grabbed some T-shirts that were too big, and a few pairs of pyjamas.

“Do you want my help?” he asked cautiously as he laid the clothes out on the bed.

Wilford shook his head. He wanted to tell Billy to fuck off, but he didn’t know what would happen if he opened his mouth. Billy hung around after that for a few more seconds, before nodding and finally turning to leave the room. Even after he was gone, it took what felt like a week for Wilford to feel like he could move again. He moved even more slowly and sluggishly than was just from the drugs surging through his system, but he didn’t try to fight it. He put the pyjamas on first before he even thought about taking off his robe and gown. Even that was exhausting, and he had to take a long break afterward. Then he pulled the shirt on and took another break before even considering getting something on his feet. But he couldn’t reach the floor from his high perch on the hospital bed, and trying to stretch or bend down to get his feet into the slippers just made everything hurt again. If his nerves didn’t make him puke, trying to get down on his own would have, so he sat in a bitter silence. As he waited for Billy to come back, he slowly realised that there was something else he should be doing. Something important. Something about all this.

If something did happen now, he’d be doing all this again. He did not want to do all this again, because it was awful. He slowly and deliberately took his save log from his inventory and opened it up to find the next empty space. This was not an ideal place to save, but it was better than the alternative. If a helicopter dropped out of the sky on him as they drove down the freeway, he wouldn’t have to figure out what to do differently next time, and risk getting shot in the face instead. Any other time, he wouldn’t have even thought twice about it, but this time was different. He was clinically dead twice. But clinically dead is still dead, and should have triggered a reset anyway. But it didn’t. And now he was here, feeling miserable in every possible way while someone knocked at the door to be let in.

Wilford didn’t bother responding, forcing Billy to crack the door open and cautiously peer in. When he found Wilford dressed, he opened the door all the way and pushed a wheelchair into the room. Wilford tried to get down on his own, but even with the absurd amounts of morphine in him, it hurt too much to try, giving him no other choice but to let Billy help him down. Once he was in the chair, Billy helped him get his slippers on, and folded up his bath robe so he could hold it in his lap. Wilford had never felt so useless in his life.

-

Billy’s apartment was small, but thankfully on the ground floor. He opened the door into his front room, and slowly led Wilford over to the sofa to sit down.

“Let me get some stuff out of my room, and you can have my bed.”

“Couch is fine,” Wilford said as firmly as he could manage. Like hell was he sleeping in someone else’s bedroom. The hospital room was bad enough.

That strange look was back on Billy’s face. He was making assumptions, but Wilford didn’t have the energy to challenge him on it. He could have his assumptions, if it meant Billy would leave him alone while he was stuck here.

Still, Billy disappeared to somewhere in the back of the apartment. A few moments later, he returned with a pillow and a blanket from his room, which he carefully put down on the sofa for later. Wilford wanted to lie back down, though it felt like it would take him about twenty years to get the energy to do so. Billy put the remote and a huge paper bag down on the table in front of the sofa, before leaning over to pull the table out to make a little more room. He sat down on the other end of the sofa, keeping plenty of room between them, and reached for the paper bag again. He pulled out several bottles of pills, reading the labels for each of them in turn. Antibiotics, pain killers, sedatives, anti-inflammatories. No wonder he felt like everything was full of sand. He’d been pumped full of two of the things he hated most, and a bunch of other junk on top of it. With everything laid out so neatly on the table, Billy sighed and looked toward the kitchen.

“You think you’ll be all right on your own for about twenty minutes?” he asked.

Wilford nodded. Being on his own was exactly what he wanted at that moment.

Billy got up to get the bag he’d brought from Wilford’s apartment, and dug through it to pull something from the bottom. He handed Wilford his phone, and went to the kitchen to write down a quick note.

“The address here,” he said, putting the note down on the table next to the remote. “If you need to call an ambulance.”

Wilford waved him away tiredly. He didn’t want to look at Billy’s face for a moment longer. Billy hung around for a few moments longer before leaving the apartment again. Wilford waited until he seemed like he was well and truly gone before he convinced himself to try to get up. It felt like it took about a year to manage it, and the first thing he did was slowly wander off to find the bathroom. Whatever that nurse had done to him made him feel like his bladder was about to burst, which made that priority one. Once that was taken care of, he started to make his way back to the sofa, but thought better of it about halfway there. He turned to find a door, and on the first try, managed to find exactly what he was looking for. He stayed at the bar just long enough to leave a note, before returning to Billy’s apartment to rest. About fifteen minutes later, he got up to check the bar again, and was pleasantly surprised to find Buster waiting for him in the bed the kids set up for him. The dog started to jump up excitedly, but seemed to immediately realise something was wrong. Wilford let him into the apartment and closed the door behind him, where the dog promptly dropped his bat right in the middle of the hallway. He tried to make it back to the sofa, but ran out of energy in the middle of the living room. Buster danced nervously at his feet, looking up at him and whining loudly. Eventually, Wilford gave up and very carefully managed to lie down on the floor. It wasn’t comfortable in the least, and just getting down there hurt, but it meant he wasn’t standing up anymore. Buster continued to dance around him, and tried to lie on top of him until Wilford pushed him away sharply. After a few more repeats of that, the dog got the hint and sprawled across Wilford’s legs instead. That was… acceptable.

He didn’t know how long he’d spent on the floor, but Billy didn’t seem terribly pleased about it when he got home with his hands full of Chinese takeaway. As soon as he stepped through the door, Buster turned his attention to him and growled sharply.

“Knock it off,” Wilford said, twisting his ear.

“…Where’d the dog come from?” he asked.

Wilford suddenly remembered that Billy didn’t know about the dog yet. Whoops.

“He’s mine. Friend brought him over,” he said.

“I didn’t see a dog at your place,” Billy said.

“Lives with my friend.”

Billy shook his head and abandoned this line of questioning, and took the paper bags to the kitchen instead. Once they were settled, he immediately rushed back out to the living room to kneel down beside Wilford. Buster growled at him again, until Wilford twisted his ear and shut him up.

“Knock it off,” he said again.

Cautiously, Billy offered his hand for the dog to sniff. “We gotta get your daddy off the floor, okay,” he said, hoping to convince the dog to get up.

It didn’t, but a nudge from Wilford did. Buster danced nervously nearby while Billy helped Wilford up off the floor, and got him back to the sofa. As soon as Wilford was settled again, Buster immediately climbed up onto the sofa and sprawled over Wilford’s legs, resuming his task of dedicated protection. Wilford would have found it funny if he didn’t feel so fucking helpless. When Billy came again from the kitchen, he put a squat, styrofoam bowl down onto the coffee table, along with a plastic spoon. While Billy got rice and teriyaki beef, Wilford got egg flower soup. If he hadn’t been so tired, he would have been insanely jealous.
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19 June 2017 @ 05:54 am
 
I'm just snapping out of about a week of funk. Haven't been letting my inner pirate/tyrant/monster/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it out of its cage, and it got bored with me, curled up, and took a nap. Leaving me with not enough energy to run the rest.

I *seem* to have that momentarily resolved, and now it's being Warm. Not *Hot*, yet, but still excessively conducive to naps.
 
 
19 June 2017 @ 09:12 am
 
I knew I probably should have written up A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet before I read the sequel, because I loved A Closed and Common Orbit SO MUCH that now there is no way I can do justice to the first book.

I mean, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is certainly a lot of fun! It feels a bit more like a season of television than a novel -- very much out of that genre of beloved, relatively lighthearted crew-is-family space TV, full of aliens and semi-incidental interstellar politics, with approximately one episode dedicated to each crew member's interesting alien culture or surprise dramatic backstory as well as episodes where Everyone Just Goes On A Shopping Trip. There is a Noble Captain, a Friendly Polyamorous Lizard Alien Second-in-Command, an Earnest Financial Assistant, a Manic Mechanic, a Caring Chef Who Feeds Other Species To Compensate For The Embarrassing Genocidal Tendencies Of His Own -- ok, some of the archetypes are more archetypal than others. In the dramatic season finale, our plucky band of space truckers reaches their long-haul destination at last and becomes involved in a major diplomatic incident, the outcome of which is the one thing in the book that rubbed me slightly the wrong way ) Anyway, if you like this sort of thing, you will almost certainly like this particular thing.

I like this sort of thing all right but the things A Closed and Common Orbit is doing appeal to my id MUCH more. A Closed and Common Orbit focuses on two characters who appear relatively briefly in A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: Sidra, an AI who, due to compelling personal circumstances but counter to interstellar law, has been installed in a designed-to-be-instinguishable-from-human artificial body; and Pepper, the mechanic who has volunteered to take on responsibility for her.

The main present-day thread of the story involves Sidra's attempts to figure out whether she can comfortably inhabit a body that she was never designed to inhabit - not just whether she can live permanently as something like an independent intelligent biological life-form without giving herself away, but whether she wants to do so. The plot is mostly comprised of small slice-of-life events like Sidra Makes A New Friend or Sidra Considers Getting A Tattoo, all interwoven into a really compelling and thoughtful examination of artificial intelligence, self-determination, and free will.

The other half the book delves into Pepper's backstory as an artificially created human being, designed to be cheap disposable labor. As a child, "Jane 23" mostly-accidentally escapes the factory where she labors, and is subsequently raised by an abandoned ship's AI in a junkyard. The backstory plot does a couple of things: a.) serves as an excellent example of the always-compellingly-readable 'half-feral child must make home in dangerous environment, survives with ingenuity and a box of scraps' genre; b.) works in dialogue with Sidra's main plotline to complicate ideas of 'human' and 'artificial' and 'purpose' and 'free will'; c.) gives me FIVE MILLION FEELINGS ABOUT AI MOMS WHO LOVE YOU. Sometimes a family is an AI mom, her genetically engineered daughter, the daughter's boyfriend, their AI roommate, and the roommate's alien friend who honestly didn't even particularly want to be there that day! AND THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.