November 28, 2011

It’s Sunday, therefore I am short of sleep*

 

But we had eight ringers this morning.  EIGHT.  I’m trying to remember the last time we had eight ringers for our eight bells.  After a howling gale with rain hammering on the windows at 7:45 am when the frelling alarm went off, and me lurching swollen-eyed around the cottage saying, I don’t want to go out in this, I don’t WANT to go out in this . . . at 8:45 it suddenly cleared off and became blue and dazzling and glorious.  And all the bells rang out. . . .

            Another day passes as a seventeen-year-old named Maggie.**  I envy her the amount she can still eat, but other than that I’m okay to stick with the elderly decrepit me.  She’s also a lot better constructed*** to cope with the intrusive magic besieging her landscape than I am.  I was thinking about this again after posting about how unsettling I found Aeon Flux the other night at the cinema:  I’m what you might call professionally off balance, I’d really rather not fall down the rest of the way, I might hurt myself†.  So if a dragon†† flew into the courtyard at the mews††† tomorrow would I be more or less likely than the average bystanding human to say, oh, hey, cool, that’s a dragon, or run screaming?

            Blither blither blither blither.  It’s been another good day as a seventeen-year-old named Maggie and as a result (a) I have no brain and (b) I’m having some trouble climbing back out of the vocabulary of an alternate-reality teenager.  I was also thinking‡ about the way I think of SHADOWS as my first ‘genuine’ teenage high school novel, which probably ought to be DRAGONHAVEN.  Except that Jake’s a grown up by the end with a kid of his own‡‡ . . . and more crucially, since a lot of my protagonists start out teenagers, he doesn’t go to high school.  Maggie goes to high school.  Yeep.  She takes algebra.  Double yeep.  With reference to my saying on these virtual pages some time recently that my hard sciences/maths phobia is probably largely due to very bad teaching . . . it’s probably taken me these forty-plus years also to come to a point where I can face going with a character back through the doors of an average suburban high school.  Well, maybe not quite average, but . . . ‡‡‡

            Meanwhile, speaking of hard science, I’m about to download§ James Gleick’s CHAOS.  www.Audible.co.uk, that ratbag, is having another 25% off sale for members so I was cruising for more tasty hard(ish) science.  As I’ve told you before I tend to avoid customer reviews of fiction—what ordinary readers want out of fiction is just too, um, various—but I usually do read reviews of nonfiction because there I am a very ordinary reader and may learn something from the same.  Not infrequently you see some aggrieved and outraged person saying, you’re going to have to buy the hard copy too!  You’re not going to be able to make sense of the maths from the audio!  Snork.  I wouldn’t frelling dream of trying to cope with any of this stuff without having the underlinable-paper copy also at hand.  Self-improvement is expensive.§§

            Having said that, I got out of step with BRIEFER HISTORY OF TIME and, having finished the audiobook a couple of days ago, the paper version finally fell through my door yesterday.  And . . . um . . . well, there are no equations§§§ but the illustrations make it worse.  Electron interference (p 98)?  Feynman diagram of Virtual Particle/Antiparticle Pair (p 123)?  What?  If I’d picked it up in a shop, instead of on Audible, I’d’ve put it down again.

            Meanwhile . . . Hannah is going to read CHAOS too.  We’re going to have a book club of two.  And if anyone had told me thirty years ago that Hannah and I were going to agree to read a book describing The Third Great 20th Century Revolution in the Physical Sciences (after relativity and quantum mechanics) at all, let alone over the Christmas holidays for light distraction from the figgy pudding, I’d have probably made myself sick laughing.

            Menopause Brain Rules. 

* * *

 * I was distracted from the passage of time by reading UNDER MILKWOOD.  Haven’t read it since college, I think.  Golly.  I may have to blog about this.  I read Dylan Thomas in my teens, of course, As One Does, or at least As One Did if one fancied oneself a sensitive literary intellectual in the 1960s (adolescence, I believe, optional).  But . . . GOLLY.  Also WOW

** Over-identification with fictional characters?  What you say?

 *** You should forgive the term 

† Also being elderly, decrepit etc. 

†† Although there aren’t any dragons in SHADOWS.  I don’t think.  Er. 

††† And good luck to it:  parking is already an ordeal and a torment. 

‡ Which is generally considered to be a function limited to those in possession of brains 

‡‡ This is not my idea of a spoiler, but if it is any of yours, apologies.  

‡‡‡ It’s not as if all my teachers were dire.  I had a lovely algebra teacher—I’ve told you about her.  We left Japan, and the algebra teacher who told me I was the stupidest child she’d ever taught, mid-school-year, and when we got back to America two months later the principal at my new school laughed a lot and tried to put me back a grade.  I could cope with the catch-up everywhere but algebra—and they would have put me back a grade if it hadn’t been for Penelope Windsor Curry.  If you’re out there anywhere, and have taken to reading fantasy writers’ blogs in your retirement, thank you very much. 

§ I hope I’m about to download . . . insert a few practise screams of rage and frustration here.    

§§ And it’s not, it seems to me, as if they’ve got all the bugs out of the electronic delivery system yet either.  An iPhone is a finite entity.^  After I’ve listened to something I delete it, of course:  if I want to listen to it again I can always re-download it^^ from my Audible ‘library’.   But—as the little iPhone warning box tells you—if you delete it you will lose all your notes and bookmarks.  Gee.  Thanks guys.  That’s really foresightful programming. 

^ Speaking of finite, as in computer memory, I had an email from Raphael, Computer Archangel, on Friday, and he says what a good thing I went for the ridiculously huge hard drive, that he’d been doing the sums, and . . .

            I should have my new laptop next week. 

^^ . . . theoretically 

§§§ As I recall this was one of the red herrings about the previous one—there were no equations, how hard can it be?  Um. . . .

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