I sat, I watched, I peeled things.

Smug otter on a log beside the text header "Sometimes I do other things"

I did lots more viewing than anything else the last couple of weeks. The final garden harvest came in, herbs needed to be cut for drying, and I had  a bushel+  of apples to process from weekend Wisconsin field trips.(Grilled cheeses! All the apples! WINESAP apples! WOO!)


Fire with Fire and Trial by Fire.  Yes, only two. These are Big Books, so they took a while to chew through. Plus they’re wordy books and it’s a new author, so it took time to  get up to speed on the presentation. So. What were they?  Interstellar exploration SF. Good stuff.

Reminds me strongly of Gordon Dickson and David Brin with a shake of David Weber and a garnish of mid-career Heinlein on the side. Contrasts strongly and thus complements the Expanse series, which dealt with a lot of similar themes. Complex conspiracy-laden plot, thoughtful premises, plenty of action, excellent characters (in archetypal, comfortably familiar ways) but the bottom line is: Too Much Explication For My Taste ™ It’s a style thing. Mileage on this typical science fiction feature varies wildly from reader to reader.

Me? I am losing more tolerance for the convention of having characters explain things more every year. These books avoid all the usual pitfalls, but there’s still SO MUCH TALKING ABOUT THINGS.  I resorted to skimming over much of the detailed, (tho’ accurate, gloriously accurate) scientific underpinnings that were thrown at the reader every damned time a page turned.  It’s all show not tell, so that’s good, but it’s showing by telling, if that makes sense, and it’s evidently no longer my flavor of tea. Another thing that’s an annoys-me-thing accepted in futurism? So many aspects of daily life are ‘ported unchanged from the present day to stories taking place 200 years in the future with planetary colonization, interstellar flight and so on.

I like these books vety much,  I’m starting #3, and I’ll keep reading the series because I have bonded with the main characters and am a sucker for good heroic adventures, but… I also eat peanut butter & jelly on white bread with potato chips stuck in. Doesn’t mean that’s for everybody. I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys cultural-meetings SF, alien race stories and space-based exploration tales, but don’t expect the glorious out-of-ALL-the-boxes style choices of the Expanse books or you’ll be disappointed.


Seasons have begun for Madame Secretary, Lucifer, NCIS, and…that’s it so far. All are impressing me with the new-season plot foundations.

My only new addition to the roster so far is Designated Survivor, which I am liking more than I expected.


London Has Fallen. I feel I might’ve watched it already, but it made zero impression on my memory if so. And it made me wince a lot watching it this time. All the messages I hate about protagonists being excused villainous acts because they’re “heroes?” Yeah. This.

5th Wave. Oh, the emotions. Voiceover angst, even. The first 10%+ of the movie? ANGSTY END-OF-WORLD PROLOGUE IN VOICEOVER with a scoop of awful science. (Avian flu is not, for the record, NOT the most deadly virus ever. <eye roll>)  As for the actual plot once that started? As stale as sampling a can of Pringles someone opened up last year. I think I’ll go read Legacy of Ashes on Wattpad again. I like my post-apocalypse alien parasite invader story MUCH more than I liked this one.

10 Cloverfield Lane. A closed-room mystery? A creepy trapped by crazies horror flick? A post-apocalypse psychological thriller? An alien invasion movie? Maybe it’s all of them?  What a cluttered, meandering, stray-thread tangled mess of a plot. I LOVED it, except for the drawn-out action chase that didn’t need to be nearly that long or that ‘spody. Hollywood excess for the lose.

The Danish Girl. Beautiful. Tough material to handle, directed and acted wonderfully.  Painful to watch sometimes, but well worth it.

Lilo & Stitch. Because I needed happy tears after Danish Girl.

And the tangible result of all the watching:  banana bread, three paper grocery bags of peppermint and one of lemon balm drying,  two gallon bags full of dehydrated apples, and six quarts of sauce in the freezer along with 3 quarts of stemmed/seeded chilis & jalapenos from the garden.

Mmm, autumn.