Book Report: A Bear Called Paddington

Published January 24, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Why are all my Read Harder 2018 books so far being “Read Easier” instead?  I feel like such a loser.  (But I’m almost done with Year 1 of Sparkler, so then I’ll be able to dive into some heftier reading!)  This time I’m reporting on Challenge #11, “A children’s classic published before 1980.”

For those of you who are somehow unaware of Paddington, he is so called because Mr. & Mrs. Brown find him one day in Paddington Station, with a tag around his neck saying “Please look after this bear.  Thank you.”  He explains to them that he’s just immigrated from “darkest Peru,” since his elderly aunt moved into a retirement home for bears (who knew there was such a thing?) and can no longer look after him.  The Browns are perplexed — both at finding a bear in a railway station and by the fact that he can talk and is so terribly polite — and decide to take him home.  (Giving him the new name of Paddington, since he insists that no one would be able to pronounce his Peruvian name.)  Of course, being the nicest, sweetest talking bear (except, perhaps, for Winnie the Pooh), he quickly becomes a precious member of the family, and forgiven for any trouble he might cause (flooding the bathroom, for example) because he just tries so very hard to fix everything, even when he doesn’t quite understand what went wrong.

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MLM No “D” – Stats

Published January 22, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

For lack of anything more creative to post about, I’m gonna share a bit about my blog’s pathetic stats.  (Yes, I am aware of the fact that the low number of views are entirely my own fault, reflecting the lack of interesting new content.  So I’m not complaining.  I’m just commenting.)

From 1/22/17 to right now, my blog has 3,632 views in total, with November making the best month, at 450 views.  (Even though only one post went up in the entire month!)

My best posts (hit-wise) were:

My analysis of the relationship between Zeus & one of his brothers, with 262 views,
The Ahhiyawa Texts,” with 189 views,
Homophone Trouble,” with 129 views,
The almost-conclusion of the Perseus saga, with 105 views,
My post about snakes & other serpenty things in Greek myth, with 105 views,
My re-telling of the Sisyphus myth, with 102 views.

Also, the home page got 803 hits.

Many of those hits might be from spambots, though.  These are the posts that get the most spam comments, so if a spambot hitting a post for a comment counts as a view…



I really ought to get back to writing more re-tellings of Greek myths.

Hopefully I can get to that this year.


Book Report: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Volume 1

Published January 19, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

And it’s another fast one!  Because this time I’ll be reporting on challenge #8, “A comic written or illustrated by a person of color.”  And my comic of choice was written and illustrated by not one but four Japanese women, the manga master-team known as CLAMP.  (This would also work for challenges #15, 18, and 19.)

Of course, in a way this is me cheating, because it was a no-brainer that I would be reading this.  A) I read almost every CLAMP manga translated into English and B) I follow Cardcaptor Sakura with an almost religious zeal.  (Though I admit I haven’t started watching the new series (based on this new manga) yet.  Largely because that will involve signing up for Crunchyroll, and I’m notoriously slow about signing up for new things, particularly if I have to pay for them.)  Actually, the only surprise about me reading this now is the fact that it was published almost a month ago, and I only found out a few days ago.  (Amazon failed me yet again!  They’re supposed to notify me every time a new CLAMP book is listed!  And yet I still only find them by browsing the manga shelves.  I think they’ve only actually notified me once since I signed up for those notifications like two years ago…)

The original Cardcaptor Sakura manga (and the television show and movies based on it) was back in the late ’90s, so this is a twentieth anniversary sequel, but it takes place soon after the original.  (Sort of.  I was really thrown off by the sight of Eriol-kun talking on a freakin’ smart phone.  Those hadn’t even been invented yet when the original series ended!  So it’s like…the entire world of the manga jumped over nearly twenty years and no one noticed…or something.)  CLAMP has been doing some direct sequels to finished manga lately (Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles (which starred alternate versions of Sakura and her love interest) and xxxholic both got them, and Wish sort of got a stealth sequel) so the appearance of a new Cardcaptor Sakura manga isn’t as surprising as it might be.  From watching the trailer for the anime, I thought it was just going to be a series-length adaptation of the second movie, but that certainly isn’t the case with the manga, though it does seem to be borrowing at least one theme from that movie.

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MLM No “C” – Thinking about Read Harder 2018

Published January 15, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, so, really I’m just late.  As, you know, life happens and I keep missing things.

But I have been thinking what books I want to use for Read Harder 2018.

I’ve made up my mind what to read for about ten of them, and have some ideas for several more.

Some of them are going to be pretty hard to find the right book to read.  #13 is all kinds of unusual, in that there’s a finite number of possibilities, y’know?  I had a look at them, the other night, via GoodReads.  I have a small list of them I might read, though I’m leaning towards two of them.

#20 is just plain nuts.  What, how, I mean, who…who even thought of something like that?!

Oh well.  I better post this before Monday ends.


Calling any “Revolutionary Girl Utena” Fans!

Published January 12, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Reblogging from my other blog, in case there are some anime fans seeing this blog that don’t see the other one. Because I spam like that.

Crazy Doll Lady

Desperate help is needed from fellow Utena fans!

There’s a Kickstarter going on right now for some really awesome enamel pins.  I’m not asking anyone to back them, though.  (Although if you like enamel pins and anime, you probably don’t want to miss these!)

From Kickstarter campaign. Click for link.

The pins are already fully funded, and they’ve unlocked the four designs shown above (in silhouette and skintone versions), which is all the campaign originally had planned.  So now there’s a vote for what the fifth and final design will be.

And this is where everyone else comes in.  The update with the poll is actually for backers only, so I can’t send you to it, which is a bit awkward.  I’ll just pass on the links contained within it, then.  The artist’s also polling on Instagram and Facebook, where I can’t vote, as I don’t have accounts with…

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MLM No “B” – Liar!

Published January 8, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros


Open request to the designers
Of automatic telephone surveys everywhere:


“This survey will only take up four minutes of your time.”

On what planet?
Whose definition of “minutes” are you using?
It isn’t the same as mine, that’s for sure!

That thing couldn’t take “only four minutes”
Unless you said “No, I’m not registered to vote.”
Rather, pressed #1 when it told you to,
In order to indicate that no, you’re not a voter.

Total waste of time, too.
All they had to ask was
“Are you an idiot?”
And then they’d know how I was going to answer,
As only an idiot would say they approved.

That’s not what gets me, though.
It’s the “only four minutes” malarkey,
As I had hastened to answer the phone,
Half-way through changing clothes.
“Only four minutes” my fat, naked ass!

It’s too cold in my house for this crap.

I need to learn to just hang up the phone.


(At least I got a post out of it…)


Book Report: Fern & the Moon Rabbit

Published January 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, I’ve got one of these up sooner than expected!  Though I’m not 100% sure this counts.  (Book Riot hasn’t posted its list of suggestions for this challenge yet, but the people in the Goodreads group seemed to think this type of book was okay.)

Fern & The Moon Rabbit is a book I backed on Kickstarter.  (Which is where this image came from; click on it to go to the campaign page.)  It’s a series of images drawn by the author during “Inktober,” which seems to be a lot like NaNoWriMo, except that it’s drawings and in October.  These stories cohered into the story of Fern, a cute and strong little troll, on her quest to restore the moon rabbit to its proper place, facing off against a slew of dangers in the process.

Each picture is matched with four lines of verse, in the form of two rhymed couplets, to tell the story of Fern’s journey.  It’s half art book, and half children’s picture book, and all very imaginative.  This is the kind of thing I’d have liked to do with my fairy tale-like stories “A Tale o’ Seven Suns” and “The Story of the Many Moons,” only unlike my stories, this is actually really good.

Tragically, I don’t see anything on the Kickstarter page indicating that the book is available for sale anywhere; it looks like they only printed up enough copies to match the number ordered by the backers.  Which is a real shame, because this is a beautiful little book, with a heroine who could easily endear herself to the whole world if given the chance.

Anyway, this is my pick for Challenge #15, “A one-sitting book.”  Because “one-sitting” is very vague, and I don’t seem to read as much in a sitting as I used to, but this is super-short, and I literally read it all in a single bath.  (Yeah, I read in the bath.  So what of it?)

Looking at this year’s list, btw, I feel like maybe it’s a bit lighter weight than last year’s:  there are three challenges that specifically require a comic book, and one that specifically requires a children’s book.  Which isn’t to say that comics and kids’ books can’t be heavy-duty (or really long), but…I dunno.

Oh, looking at the comments on the Goodreads thread about the final challenge, “An assigned book you hated (or never finished,” I found myself being reminded of a number of so-called classic works of literature that I had to read and hated and have zero desire to re-read…but I also noted some people talking about how they thought books they had only been assigned to read selections of might count as books that they had never finished.  So that opens up a lot of possibilities.  Though most of them are really long and unwieldy…but maybe Gulliver’s Travels would be a good choice.  At the time I enjoyed the 3/4 of it we were assigned to read.  (They had us skip Laputa for whatever reason.  Possibly because my high school did teach Spanish.)

IWSG – Late but not skipped!

Published January 3, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

I totally forgot about this, again!  If I hadn’t checked my Reader on my lunch break, I’d still have forgotten.  *deep shame*

Aaaaaanyway, my self-thingy as a writer is not really in a good place right now.

I mean, technically, nothing about me is in a good place right now because things have been so crazy in the last week that I literally forgot I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday until two hours later, and then I was going to call today to apologize and reschedule only I forgot again.  (Ack.)

But, yeah, I’m not feeling good about my writing right now.  I put up a Christmas/New Year’s fanfic in my favorite fandom, and a bunch of others went up at the same time, because there’s a gift exchange at Christmas, so a lot of other fics went up at the same time, and they’ve all been read and liked more than mine.  Which doesn’t really mean much, since I write because I want to, not because I care what other people are going to think about it, but it’s depressing to realize that I suck so badly that everyone else avoids my work.  Also brings up the question of “wait, why am I even bothering to post it in the first place?”

I still haven’t started work on the re-write of my NaNo novel, because it’s going to be a hefty endeavor.  And it’s too cold to think hard right now.  Also I’ve kind of been hooked on a video game for the last month and a half, so that isn’t helping.  (Embarassing, but…it is what it is, y’know?


Not much of a post.  But today was a long and exhausting day at work, so I really don’t have the energy for much more.

Hopefully I’ll be in a better headspace next month.

MLM No “A” – Enter 2018

Published January 1, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Enter 2018.

Hopefully, 2018 will be better than 2017.

I don’t do resolutions, but there’re still things I’d like to do in 2018:

  1. Get my house in order.  This isn’t some question of choice; it must get done.  Period.
  2. Get more clothes, esp. more clothes for work.  This, too, must be done.  Most likely within the next week.  My closet of winter clothes is pitiful.  (Most of them shrunk & got too short.)
  3. Rework the project I wrote in November.
  4. Try to stop spending so much money on my hobbies.  Not going cold turkey, just not spending quite so much.
  5. Losing some weight would be good, but…
  6. Improve myself entirely.  (Why not, right?)

Yup…not much, yet completely overwhelming.


Good luck in 2018, folks!

Looking back on Read Harder 2017

Published December 31, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Because it’s something to post about.

So, this year is finally going to be over (good riddance to bad rubbish!), and it seems like a good time to look back on the only reading challenge I’ve ever taken part in.  (Aside from, like, children’s summer reading things from libraries.  I think I did some of those.  But it was so long ago that I don’t remember for sure.)

Anyway, here’s the recap on Read Harder 2017: Read the rest of this entry →

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