MLM No “H” Repost – “Alcides”

Published July 17, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“Alcides”

Strongest son of Zeus,
Bane of lions and boars.
(Drunken boor!)
Persistently targeted
By papa’s jealous wife.

Wooer of Amazons,
(And lover of pretty boys,)
Groom of two wives,
Sire of many sons.
(But no girls?)

Argonaut,
Completer of Twelve Labors,
(And sometimes 13,)
Killed by a centaur’s trick,
And a friendly pyre.


MLM banner init  MLM H


Especially lame, I know.  But it’s 1 minute to 10 pm, and nada’s been posted yet.

It was a last minute post the first time, too.

Originally posted 1/18/16

MLM No “G” Repost – “The Story of the Many Moons”

Published July 10, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

The Story of the Many Moons

Once, when it was very dark, the horned moon felt curious and went to speak to Mother Sky. “How many sisters do I have?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,” Mother Sky answered. “Does it matter?”

“Maybe not,” the horned moon admitted, “but I still want to know.”

“I really can’t tell you. You’ll have to find out for yourself.”

“Then that’s what I’ll do,” the horned moon concluded, and left Mother Sky’s side.

She didn’t know how to find out how many sisters she had, but she was determined that she would, no matter what.

“Do you know how many sisters we have?” she asked the first of her sisters she came across.

“I have no idea,” her sister, the waxy moon, replied. “What does it matter? There are always moons in the sky.”

The horned moon asked several of her other sisters the same question, but their answers were no different. The wide moon didn’t know, the new moon had no idea, and the silvery moon was clueless. Even the full moon herself was without a clue.

The horned moon decided she would have to set out on a journey to seek her answer. Surely down in the lands below someone would have counted the number of moons in the skies above their heads. Surely!

Soon after she arrived on the flat lands by the curved mountains, she found the face of Mother Earth. “Mother Earth, how many sisters do I have?” the horned moon asked. If Mother Sky didn’t know, then maybe Mother Earth knew!

“I don’t really know,” Mother Earth admitted. “Doesn’t Mother Sky know? They cross her face, after all.”

The horned moon shook her head. “No, she doesn’t know, either. That is why I am on a journey to find out how many moons there are.”

“Very admirable of you, my dear,” Mother Earth told her proudly. “Be sure to take care on your trip. Not everyone on the surface of the lands below is as kind as your mothers and sisters.”

The horned moon promised to take care, and went on her way.

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IWSG – July CampNaNo

Published July 5, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m doing the July session of CampNaNo again, and I’m already starting to doubt myself.

Not doubting that I can meet the NaNo goals, of course.  (Since you can change those in CampNaNo, it would be really crazy if I couldn’t.  I’ll probably meet my current goals before the week is out.  I might up my word count, just to look less ridiculous.  Dunno.)

What I’m doubting is just how I fit into the grand scheme of being a “writer.”

There’s all these CampNaNo support messages with tips and tricks for developing characters and plot and stuff.

My plots are usually haphazard and random.  (Last July’s CampNaNo was one of the only times I’ve ever tried to align a character’s arc to the standard definition of a character arc, and it ended up being a ludicrous 155k words long, in part because I kept adding unnecessary material in order to put the character through extra tribulations in order to provide him a tiny modicum of growth.)  My current characters are…well, okay, no, they’re not actually borrowed, because this is OC-based fanfic, but normally my characters are either borrowed or more intuited than planned; I tend to just have this gut feeling of “this is how this person is” without stopping to define anything.  (Sometimes it works, and sometimes it really doesn’t.)

Other people in the cabin are talking about the character and world-building exercises they use, and I feel like such a poser, because I just dash out whatever gobbledygook I feel like.

I mean, it’s not as though I never do anything to put a little effort into it.  I do research when I can/when it’s needed, but…that seems like it’s about as far as I can reliably go.  Even the amount of planning and sketching out the story in advance that I do changes from work to work.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just rambling pointlessly (both in my fiction and here).

MLM No “F” Repost – “A Tale o’ Seven Suns”

Published July 3, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“A Tale o’ Seven Suns”

Once upon a time, there were seven suns in a land that was very, very bright.

“Where are you going?” the eldest sun asked one morning, as the youngest was leaving the sky.

“I’m going to shine on the land below,” the youngest sun answered.  “And I don’t need your permission to do anything!” he added, leaving in a snit.

But he didn’t come back.

The other six were very lonely without the youngest around.  But they carried on shining, even though the light was a little less bright without him.

Several days later, the next youngest sun decided to leave the sky, too.  The eldest sun asked him where he was going.  “What do you care?  I can go where I want!” he snapped, and departed even more quickly than his younger brother had.

And he, too, didn’t come back.

The remaining suns were a bit more somber when they realized two brothers were missing, but the sky was still very bright, so they soon put their worries aside and resumed shining unconcerned.

Only the eldest sun continued to worry.  And his worries grew to the point where he almost stopped shining when he saw the third sun heading towards the lands below.

“Where are you going?”

The third sun didn’t even answer.

And he didn’t come back.

When the three youngest suns had been gone many days, the eldest sun said that none were to leave the house, and then went to speak to Mother Sky.  He explained to her what had happened to her three youngest suns.

“I thought it had become a bit darker,” she commented, with a yawn.  “They’re probably just lighting the world below.  Don’t worry so.  They’ll come home when they get hungry.”

“But we don’t eat!” the eldest sun objected.

“What could happen to my precious suns?” Mother Sky assured him.  “Go home and try to relax.  You worry too much.”

The eldest sun was not reassured by his mother’s words, but he relented and unlocked the door to their home, and reluctantly allowed the middle sun to leave when he wished to go down to the world below.

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MLM No “E” – “Frustrating

Published June 26, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Frustrating

Postman brought a box this morning, and a thin pack with a book in it.

And a box also as I was at lunch.

That’s all cool and good.

But with box and book was box #3…

…and that got took away again.

Postman’s suppos’d to ring 2x!  Not skipping ringing for taking away again!

ARGH!

(And I was in; “pick up tomorrow” slip was in mailbox with book.)


 

A Few Incidental Book Reports

Published June 23, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Rather, a few mini-reviews of books that aren’t for the Read Harder challenge.  (Even though the first two totally could be.)


 

First up, A Case of Possession and Flight of Magpies, books two and three of the Charm of Magpies series by K. J. Charles.  (The review of the first one is here.)  You may be wondering, before I get to the mini-review, why these two covers look so different.  Well, that’s because I screwed up.  When I ordered A Case of Possession, I didn’t go ahead and order the third book along with it, even though I knew I’d want to read it.  I did this for logical reasons, because I was sure if I had both, I’d read both right away, instead of reading something else I “should” have been reading.  Then while I was so bogged down in The Story of Egypt, I said to myself “okay, I deserve a treat, so I’m getting the next magpie book!”  And when I went to Amazon, the paperback had gone spectacularly out of print, suddenly costing upwards of $35.  For a book that runs about 120 pages.  I do love these books, but I don’t love them that much.  So I had to get the Kindle edition instead.  Which is better from the “I have no space in this house even for what I already have, let alone anything new” perspective, but it’s just not as much fun to read on my iPad as it is to read an actual book.  Anyway,  these books are hard to review, because they’re very much “more of the same” with the first one.  With the major difference that now our two lovebirds are an established couple, instead of first meeting and becoming involved.  The second two books focus heavily on Stephen Day’s job as a justiciar, the magical equivalent of a police detective, and although the idea is for him to be hunting warlocks who break any and all of the rules of their magical community, in these books that tends to resolve itself into the form of hunting down magical murderers.  We get to meet Stephen’s co-workers, who are also fun and interesting characters, and the Council who oversees things, who are a different sort of interesting and no fun at all.  (Not that they’re supposed to be fun.  They’re the people responsible for running Stephen ragged and giving him grief about it rather than properly thanking him.)  A Case of Possession featured two things especially worth noting.  First, it settled some of the worries I had coming out of The Magpie Lord about the way their relationship was going to play out.  And second, while The Magpie Lord had featured the POV of both men (and even a guest POV from Crane’s manservant Merrick), A Case of Possession was exclusively from Crane’s POV.  Given the story, it really had to be, but the change was surprising, and the POVs went back to normal for Flight of Magpies, the third and final book in the series.  As the final book of a trilogy, it wrapped up a number of loose ends for a satisfying conclusion that really felt like a conclusion.  I don’t feel like these second two books had quite as much world building as the first one, but there was some additional world building, and playing around with what was already there.  Somehow, the sex scenes in these two didn’t seem quite as exciting as the ones in the first book, either, but I guess that’s because the sex had gone from “finally!” to “routine”…er, okay, not “routine” exactly, but…instead of being this explosion of their pent-up desires and a discovery of what the other likes/dislikes/does/doesn’t do in making love, it’s just one more act in a play that’s been going on for a long time.  Yeeeaaaaaahhhhh, that made no sense.  I guess I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s just me, anyway.

You Are Here:  An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson.  I kind of wanted to put up a book report on this as soon as I got it, but…it’s sort of hard to review, because it’s half coloring book.  Sort of.  Her wonderful drawings alternate with text, some of it funny, some of it advice, some of it impossible-to-sum-up-in-one-word.  I love the drawing style, and some of the text was so funny I nearly cried laughing, while other parts of the text were sobering, or even sorrowful.  It’s something that needs to be experienced rather than described, ultimately.  (BTW, is WordPress dropping blogs from anyone else’s follow list?  When I went to get the URL for her blog, I realized it wasn’t showing up on my sidebar of “blogs I follow” and I started to get worried…but apparently WordPress just removed her from my list in May.  Which certainly explained why it had felt like a long time since I’d seen a blog post from her, but it’s frustrating/alarming to realize that I’ve got blogs just being dropped like that without asking me.  At least one other got dropped, too.  Is there, like, a maximum number of blogs you can follow?)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous than to do a review on You Are Here, then you scroll down and see that the final book in this post is Black Butler Artworks 2.  Because of course.  There’s so much to review here, right?  (If I did emojis on this blog, I would put a winking face with its tongue sticking out here.  But I don’t use them on this blog, so it would be very odd to suddenly start.)  I just finished looking through this yesterday and figured “why not include it?”  (Hey, just be grateful I’m not listing all the manga I’ve been reading!  That would get…actually, that would get pretty embarrassing…)  Inside the eye-injuring houndstooth print covers, this book is chock full of Yana Toboso’s incredible artworks.  Which is great for me, but your mileage may vary.  There are three sections:  full color manga illustrations, illustrations for the anime, and unrelated Toboso art, primarily collaborative illustrations of characters from other intellectual properties.  Thankfully, the pictures are followed up by a few pages of commentary on the images by Toboso, sometimes explaining certain poses or art styles, and usually answering the “who the heck is that?” questions I kept having in the anime section.


I’ve no idea when the next book report will come out, ’cause I’m not sure what I’m going to start reading next.  I was going to read the “classic by an author of color” challenge book next, but I can’t figure out where I put the danged book!  It’s somewhere in this blinkin’ house…I just don’t know where.  *sigh*  I still haven’t decided what to re-read, and what to use for a book on war, either.  So…yeah, no idea what I’ll be reading next, and therefore no idea when I’ll finish reading it to post about it.

(When did my blog become a book review blog?  I don’t recall making that change…but it totally seems to have happened…)

I may be a Doppelganger.

Published June 21, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m serious about this.

You know the legend of the Doppelgänger, right?  A mysterious double of you, and when you meet it, you die.  But what happens to the Doppelgänger after the original human dies?

I’m concerned about this, because I think I’m the duplicate, not the original.

Let me back up a minute, here.   For years, I’ve said I have a Doppelgänger around here somewhere, because I’ve often been mistaken for someone else, particularly in stores.  One time I went into a hardware store with my brother, and a salesman came up asking how the fridge he sold me had worked out.  I told him I’d never bought a fridge from him, and he insisted that I had, a mini-fridge for the teacher’s lounge at a local high school.  I assured him he was mistaken, but my brother and I were both freaked out by it, because it was the high school my brother had attended.

Now, that was years ago.

And since I started wearing braids in my hair, the incidences of people mistaking her for me began to taper off.

Then I went swimming on Monday at the Y.  It was an unusual time for me to be there, and I was stupidly trying to swim laps in the open swim lane (forgot there was one of those at the time) and this guy who was just hanging out in the open lane suddenly started talking to me as if to an acquaintance, and while I was standing there being confused, he said “You don’t remember me, do you?”

Well, I honestly answered that without my glasses on, I couldn’t see a thing.  I literally wouldn’t have recognized him even if I did know him.  (Seriously, all I saw was a human-shaped blob.)  And since he hadn’t made it clear where he thought he knew me from, there was always the possibility I’d taken a class with him, y’know?

But no, he thought I was the person who had taught him how to swim.  I barely even remember how to do the various strokes anymore (I keep meaning to take some refresher lessons), and I certainly never taught them to anyone else.  After explaining that I wasn’t who he thought I was, I did comment that I have a Doppelgänger around here, and how people are always mistaking me for her.

And in laughing about that…he mentioned her name.

And it’s the same as mine.

She and I not only have the same face, but we also have the same first name.

Admittedly, I just looked it up, and my name was pretty popular all through the ’70s.  (In the Top 30 most years.)  So it’s not at all weird that there are other women about my age with my name.  But for them to also have my face?  And considering I’ve sometimes talked to these people at some length without them realizing their mistake, she must also have a voice very similar to mine.

Therefore, one of us must be a Doppelgänger of the other.

And she’s a teacher, someone who touches a lot of lives.  (Though it sounds like she’s no longer at my brother’s alma mater.)  Meanwhile, I’m a near-hermit who avoids other people like the plague.  So if one of us isn’t real, it’s obviously me.

But if I just met someone at the Y who learned to swim from her, then she might be a member at the same Y.  And even if she isn’t, the encounter being so extended surely indicates that she and I are getting close to meeting.

So what’s going to happen to me after I fulfill my purpose as a Doppelgänger and my appearance before her eyes heralds her end?  Am I just going to wink out of existence?

And am I supposed to be okay with that?  The idea that it’s okay I’ll be causing her death, ’cause I’ll cause my own at the same time in a supernaturally imposed death penalty?

Because I am totally not.

I don’t want to disappear, and I sure don’t want to cause anyone else’s death, either.

But if I’m a Doppelgänger, do I even have a choice?

I’m seriously freaked out about this.

Book Report: The Story of Egypt

Published June 20, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, it’s been a very long time since my last Book Report, hasn’t it?  That’s because my choice for Challenge #11 “Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location,” was this:

(Oddly, according to Goodreads, this is the paperback cover, but it’s the image on the cover of my hardback copy.)  So, before I get to the book, let me give a little backstory on why I had this sitting around waiting to be read.  In my family, everyone writes Christmas lists every year, so that gift-giving isn’t a pain in the backside.  Because a list of nothing but DVDs/Blu-rays would be excessively dull, I always make sure to put some books on there, specifically ones that feel appropriate (the one about the mistresses of Charles II, for example, did not seem holiday-appropriate) and usually hardbacks, typically new releases that I find browsing idly at Barnes & Noble.  Last year’s list had a paucity of books at first, but after another browsing, I spotted this one and figured “may as well add it” even though it didn’t particularly scream out that I needed to read it.  So naturally this is the one my mother decided to give me. (Should I have ever expected anything else?)  I chose to read it at this time because the other Christmas gift waiting to be read (which would also have worked for this challenge) is a book about Mycenae that’s about the size of a coffee table.  Not really convenient to read unless you do all your reading at a table, which I don’t.  Aaaanyway, that’s all somewhat irrelevant, so I’m not sure why I’m going into it.

Now, you may be wondering if it would normally take me a month and a half to read a 368 page book.  (The page numbers go up a lot higher than that, of course, but that’s due to the notes and bibliography and such.  The text stops on page 368.)  And the answer is “absolutely not.”  The reasons it’s taken me that long are multi-part.  One, I haven’t had as much time to just sit around reading, due to one thing and another.  Two, because I’m swimming again, I’m not taking baths very often, and I usually read in the bath.  (Why waste water bathing when I take a full shower after getting out of the pool?)  Three, this book was very frustrating to read.

Number three, of course, is the big one.  This is a very heavily researched book, but the author tried her hardest to obscure that fact.  Not only are there no in-text citations or endnote markers, the endnotes themselves are horrible.  Basically, only quotations are cited, and they’re done in the most infuriating way I’ve ever seen.  If you see a quote, you have to turn the back, where you’ll find a list (in order, thank goodness!) of all the quotations, listed by chapter but without any reference back to which page they were quoted on, which then gives you a source, by author’s last name and year of publication only, so you have to flip still further back to find the author’s works in the bibliography to see where it actually came from.  And if you want to know where some of her non-quoted information comes from?  You’re just plain out of luck.  There were many times when I wanted to know what her sources were on things that weren’t quotes, but she didn’t cite them, so for all the evidence she provided, she could have outright made those things up.  (I doubt that she did make them up, of course, but any teacher on the planet would fail her for such miserable citations.)  And when I say there are no in-text citations, I mean it.  Any time she wants to admit she’s quoting someone, she’ll just say “an historian said” or “according to one ancient source”, sometimes being as “specific” as Greek or Roman…but she never gives the historian’s name.  As if anyone would be reading a nearly 400 page book on ancient history who’d be put off at seeing the name Herodotus in the text?  Not giving the names of modern historians I can understand, but avoiding naming the ancient sources is not just annoying, but downright misleading;  knowing something came from Herodotus is very different than it coming from Plutarch, Diodorus, or whoever else.  And given the way these citations were handled, I wasn’t about to sort through them to look up which ancient source said every thing she quoted.  Some of the translations she chose for the ancient historians were entirely inappropriate for modern works, particularly the one for which I’ll present the entire citation:

‘a thieving effeminate ballet boy in curlers’, Cicero in Graves  1968, p. 96.

Seriously?  “Ballet boy”?  Ballet didn’t exist for another 1500 years!  How is such an anachronistic translation appropriate to a scholarly work?  And as to “Graves 1968″…it is not in the selected bibliography.  So what book is it?  Assuming that “Graves” means the classical scholar (and novelist) Robert Graves, one can go to Goodreads and see what he wrote in 1968…and find nothing.  According to Goodreads’ sort by original publication year, Robert Graves had things first published in ’67 and ’69, but not ’68.  So is it a reprint?  Is it someone else named Graves?  Fletcher doesn’t tell us.  (Admittedly, given the decidedly old-fashioned manner of dealing with an ancient Roman insult to a man’s masculinity, it’s almost certainly Robert Graves, and undoubtedly simply something that was reprinted/re-edited in 1968, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she quotes and cites something without providing the most basic information on the work.  And in this case, she ought to have stated which of Cicero’s works it came from, so the reader could have sought out a more accurate translation if desired.)

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MLM No “D” – “It May Be Too Late For Me”

Published June 19, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

It May Be Too Late For Me

So I went to see the Rifftrax Live Show last week.

It was a collection of summer shorts.

(Okay, actually, just the skits in between were summery.  The shorts weren’t at all.)

It was a fun show.

But…but…but…

The name of one of the shorts was “Rhythmic Ball Manipulation.”

OMG…the perverse thoughts that ran through my brain!

I am apparently sick.

If there is an illness where all the symptoms are not-safe-for-work thoughts.

It can’t be contagious.

Probably.

(Maybe you better run.)

(Just in case.)


 

MLM No “C” – Oops

Published June 12, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Delayed post again, another six hours and I’d be a day late.

I’ve been forgetful lately.

Thinking about everything but what I should be.

Sleepy, too.

So now you get this post full of ex– er — laughable attempts at explanation.

*sigh*

Why am I still doing this, anyway?


 

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