Girl post – on the practicality of bonnets

The other day I was doing a bit of wall-painting, and had left my hair in a braided ponytail rather than bunning it. No disaster occurred, but the swinging brush-end definitely got a little closer to the wet paint than I’d like! Last time I did major painting was several years ago, and my hair is much longer now; I didn’t think through the logical consequences of that when I tossed on my painting clothes. And even if my hair were bunned, I still wouldn’t want to get any paint in it like I did last time – so I thought, I need a bonnet for this! – and also for gardening, to keep pollen and assorted dust out of my hair. Last summer I wouldn’t always wash it right away after doing short gardening stints, and my allergies don’t appreciate the great outdoors!

With more painting on the horizon, and spring gardening on its way, I got to thinking about colonial America and women wearing bonnets. Those gals were onto something, for sure! A bonnet keeps your hair out of your way, protects from flying dust, and hides any evidence of Bad Hair Day. The “protected from dust” is doubly important when hair is greasy or oiled (dirt magnet) and when that “dust” is likely to contain a high proportion of powdered manure particles. I may not have to deal with the latter in this neighborhood, but I’m highly allergic to pollen, and keeping it from settling in my hair during the time I’m outside mowing and/or digging in the dirt should help minimize spring hay fever!

So I’m not talkin’ ’bout fashion-plate bonnets, with fancy frills and whatnot. I figure I could probably sew my own simple bonnet from a costume pattern (famous last words) or ask my historical-dress seamstress cousin who sews her own dresses for reenactments for a recommended historically-accurate pattern, but since I’ll be doing painting and gardening in ratty jeans and old t-shirts rather than in Colonial Williamsburg attire, a colonial-style housework-bonnet would look… weird. And also that would be a lot of effort to put forth in order to have something specifically to get grungy and dirty. (Latex paint isn’t exactly historically authentic!)

I figured, wait, there’s more than one way to cover one’s hair – what about scarves? Scarves are easily obtainable and require no sewing skill on my part. I certainly don’t know how to attach one to my head so that it stays there, but there are plenty of women who wear scarves over their hair, so with the right-size scarf and YouTube instructional videos, I’ll be set! Maybe I’ll even be able to figure something out that’ll hold while I’m sleeping, reducing friction and flyaway tangles in the morning. Then I can teach my hypothetical daughters how to wrap their hair in scarves while doing messy chores, so they don’t have to go to their version of YouTube to learn. (I wonder when the covered-for-protection hair tradition was lost in my family tree. I don’t remember seeing either of my grandmothers wearing anything on their heads except in bad weather, and the only time Grandma would wrap our heads in anything as children was after bathtime, with towels to dry our hair.)

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Fiction on FB?

Real life is seldom very pat. Therefore, when one sees a story like this one on social media, it’s a good idea to take it with a whole saltshaker. Especially since the original link was a reproduction on some clickbait site. How many people clicked forward, to the link above, to see the source? (At least the clickbait site did link to the source.) And how many people will read the About tab… and learn that this site’s editors will make changes to user-submitted stories?

Of course, it could well be true, given the way certain British authorities responded to the sex trafficking that happened in Rotherham, and the fact that the “justice” system in Britain is apparently very highly concerned that people never defend themselves against criminal aggression.

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Hugo Reading: Lines of Departure

You know, if I had read the blurb on the back of the book before starting this novel, I would have known that it’s the sequel to Terms of Enlistment. And now I have to go put a hold on that one after finishing the sequel *fake grumbling* and the system doesn’t even have a pre-order in for the final volume of the trilogy, coming out in April!

So, here’s my take on it, having read it without knowing it was 2 of 3 in a series until I got to the end. D’oh. Suddenly some things make a little more sense now. Like the fact that I couldn’t find a plot thread until 2/3 of the way through the book. I was all, “Stuff’s happening? Yay? But I don’t know why this stuff is important?” – now, I figure the importance of those battles was established in the first book. I hope. Maybe reading #1 will make the first half of #2 seem less glacially slow to get started, in retrospect. However, like any good action movie, the real entertainment is watching things go BOOM. Plenty of things went BOOM in the “plotline unclear” parts, so I’m not displeased.

One thing I found was that most of the book is really kind of depressing. Things are looking grim for our heroes, sure, but that went on… and on… and on… and on some more. So as I neared the 300-page mark, I was really hoping that the author nailed the end, because otherwise it was looking an awful lot like another bummer read. I can say that the end was indeed nailed, glimmers of hope surfaced, and now I’m waiting for that April release date on the third book!

The premise of Earth suffering massive overpopulation was sort of odd, kind of like a Malthusian alt-history-future. I don’t think that Earth will ever suffer global overpopulation of that magnitude; it’s just not plausible given our knowledge of how humanity reproduces itself in high-tech socialist environments (namely, generally not much). There was so little explanation of “how things got that way” or why socialism of various flavors took over the entire planet without having vastly expensive space industry totally collapse that I just mentally assigned those premises under “don’t get hyper-realistic about this or it will ruin the reading experience.” But it put my suspension of disbelief under some strain, to be sure, and added to the depressing atmosphere of the book. Maybe book #1 explains that part, too.

Conclusion: entertaining read, probably better if you read the first novel first; good ending.

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And not Rhode Island, either.

Came very close to being in a terrible accident on our way home from church today. An SUV lost traction in the slush, spun out, flipped upside down, spun back across the road and into a ditch where it rolled into its side – all right in front of us. Thankfully no one was injured and the emergency response people cleared things up quickly.

Apparently the same sort of thing happened to our neighbors as well, only on their way to church. You could say we all gave our guardian angels a workout today, I suppose! Praise God for His mercy.

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Girl Post – Guilt and Chores

Hey y’all. You know that sort of cloud of guilt that follows you around waiting for you to think about chores, the one that reminds you of all those little things that you haven’t done yet but should have?

That one that reminds you that there’s a layer of grody towel fuzz lying on your bathroom baseboards – while there’s a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink, all over the countertops, and piled on the stove, bringing all kitchen work to a grinding halt after that epic feast you cooked last night?

That cloud. I dub it The Voice of Misplaced Priorities. All those little nagging flaws that you know about but haven’t gotten to because there was something else to do, that accumulate into a vast cloud of “I need to remember to…” It doesn’t matter what the “something else” was that you did instead; The Voice of Misplaced Priorities doesn’t care. All it cares about is reminding you that you’re GUILTY.

Don’t trust that voice. Guilt is like pain: it exists to show you that something’s wrong. But sometimes it attaches itself to the weirdest things. Make sure you stop and figure out why you’re really feeling guilty, so you have a shot at fixing it. Are you feeling guilty because you feel like you should have cleaned those baseboards last week? It’s not the household chores that are oppressing you – your conscience probably thinks you need to develop better time management skills.

Or maybe you just need to give your priorities an overhaul. Guilt occurs when you break a standard. Examine the standard and its priority level in relation to all your other values.

Then, don’t complain, complain, complain – either get ‘er done, or ditch the Voice of Misplaced Priorities. What’s important? What’s time-sensitive? Focus on the big picture, and don’t let a little bit of dust in inaccessible places get you down. A little bit of dirt in a dark corner never hurt anybody, even if you know it’s there. :)

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Hugo Reading: status update

I did indeed read “The Journeyman: Against the Green” and the green was indeed green people. +1 for John Carter of Mars similarities! lol I don’t think I’ll nominate it, even though I enjoyed it – as a standalone piece it’s mostly about medieval/early firearm military tactics and battles, which is certainly entertaining but not quiiiiiiiiiiiite what I have in mind as representative of “year’s best” in sci-fi.

Then I picked up Trial by Fire, noticed it was a sequel, and successfully found Fire with Fire on the teeny-tiny shoebox library bookshelves. Which means I now have a lot of novels to read!

As for the rest of the short works, I’ll be occasionally checking to see if more become easily obtainable, but with ten days left before nominations close, I’m gonna get cracking on novels so I can finish them in time.

Note to publishers: I really am not willing to shell out for an entire subscription/anthology/whatever when all I’m really interested in is one story. The technology exists to “unbundle” pieces and sell them separately. Pleeeeeeeeease consider this. Authors too. I’ll pay $3 for a story I’m reasonably certain will be good, but not $10 for a bunch of stories that might mostly be totally uninteresting to me along with the only one I want. I’ve bought anthologies before, but not many at all compared to individual works.

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Hugo Reading: The Journeyman: In the Stone House

Now, this is the way to do a post-Apocalyptic sci-fi tale wherein the main characters are at a tech level more suited to a fantasy story. I noticed that there was at least one other “Journeyman” story in one of the other Analog magazines, and I think I’ll read that one before I go to the library tomorrow to pick up my last novel hold. The other story – “Against the Green” – is apparently a novella, which, if I like it, means I’ll have an easy replacement nomination for “Flow.”

What makes this novelette better, even though the sci-fi elements are, as in “Flow,” part of the mythical distant past and woven into the religions of the primitive peoples remaining? Motivation. The travelers have been tasked by the AI of a downed shuttle, trapped beneath the earth, to bring news of her plight to the cities of the “starmen.” The sci-fi elements aren’t just window dressing – they’re on a quest given by an actual technologically advanced character! They don’t really believe they’ll find anything, but unlike the Country Bumpkin in “Flow,” the main characters here have actual personalities, which makes them far more interesting to read. The backstory about the quest was woven in very well, too – the main plot of “The Stone House” revolves around Teodorq and Sammi getting captured by the knights (who live in a BIG stone house, according to the plainsman and the hillman) and being pressed into their Foreign Legion. Since the brave heroes of impeccable fighting skill, high intelligence, and gifted lingual skills don’t know what lies beyond the knights’ territory, they graciously decide to stick around instead of using their l33t ninja skilz to escape. (No really, literally, Sammi camouflages himself with grass at one point!)

Yeah, there’s just a bit of Marty-Stu in the main characters. But that’s perfectly okay in this genre – John Carter of Mars, anyone? Solid traditional Men of War characterization, here. If the “green” against which the Stone House knights are fighting turn out to be green aliens a la Martians, I’m gonna laugh. :D

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