Angelic Paranoia

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What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil by James Swallow.
I bought this because it was 99p and because it was Riker and Troi. I started it and struggled, then decided I was going to finish or give up0 on all the books I was reading on my Kobo and this was one of them. I did finished it, but it was still ultimately set before the first series of Picard and therefore all about Romulans and synthetics. I couldn't find a way to care about them in this book any more than I had in the series.

How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford.
I went to add this one to my spreadsheet and couldn't find the 'acquired' entry in order to add it to the 'read' entry. Turns out it's because I bought it in 2021 and my spreadsheet starts in 2022. I had started it, but got bored and stopped. This time round I found it interesting, talking about race and genetics and how we can't infer anything at all really.

What I'm Currently Reading
The Innocents by Francesca Segal.
I just started it today and have so far only read one chapter. I had it on my Kobo wishlist and then it was reduced to 99p, so I bought it. I have no idea why I added it because it seems to be a bit romance-y.

What I'm Reading Next
I did put a hold on a library ebook. So that, if it comes in. Or it would be good to read one of the physical books I have taking up space. I have now read all of my currently reading books on my Kobo, so I have plenty of other choices. But I looked at them the other day and didn't fancy any of them. The trouble is I have nothing to read...

An update

I survived my first month at my new job. For the first week survival was definitely the best word as I was so tired, including on the Saturday. And I managed to have something go wrong every week for the first few weeks, including a plumbing non-emergency (I've had it happen before) and my laptop charger being temperamental about whether it would charge or not (a new one fixed that problem).

Currently I have an hour for lunch and everyone has their lunch at different times at their desks, so I've been getting a lot of reading done. My commute is all through villages and country roads, so I've seen plenty of cyclists, an average of a tractor a week, a horse (being ridden down the road), a turkey (standing at the side of the road watching the cars go past) and a pheasant (eating something by the side of road, not bothered by the cars going past extremely close - as per usual with pheasants). Also fields with horses, sheep and a lot of water. And it when it rains a lot (like it did last week) some of the roads turn into lakes. But it's better than my previous commute on a dual carriageway, some of which is at 10mph due to multiple roadworks lasting months/years.

I've finally had some time to write. The [info]unsent-letters-exchange sign ups started around the same time as I started my new job. I signed up knowing I had a free long weekend this weekend and I could write it then. I spent the intervening time thinking about it, and now it's mostly written. I'm considering whether some of it should be in person rather than epistolary, so it's going to sit for a bit while I think about that. The deadline is at Passover, so I have plenty of time.

And in the meantime I'll also be writing [info]unconventionalcourtship. I have a summary and a plan, so hopefully that won't take too long to write. Especially as my weekends get busy in May. The summary I have ends: find out the true meaning of trust and betrayal which is just crying out for a Blake's 7-style ending. I haven't 100% made up my mind which way it will go yet.

I've also been watching a load of Lego Masters. I was trying to keep an eye on E4 on Sunday afternoons to see when Lego Masters Australia was back and it turned out I'd missed New Zealand series 1 and USA series 3 (New Zealand series 2 is currently on and I will binge that once it's finished). The NZ version is really small. They only had six teams (to Australia's eight) and half the prize money. But since all the episodes are 44 minutes (Australia's are variable - sometimes can be an hour and a half) it actually works ok. I really enjoyed it. USA is tough to get through the first half of the series because they only have 42 minutes and twelve teams. It's just too many teams and not enough time to get to know anyone or really remember what's going on. Once they're down to six teams it's much better. There's a lot of things in there that show there's clearly a lot of money in it, but that's not a good thing. I much prefer the Australia version.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Murder at Bletchley Park by Christina Koning. I saw this title on the library ebook site and thought ooh, I went to Bletchley Park last year and I like murder mysteries. And then it was hardly set at Bletchley Park and a lot more about the Blitz instead. There was a lot of stuff going on about the detective's life and sometimes some bits of the mystery would come up. It turns out this was the 8th in the series, so maybe if I'd read more I'd be more interested in his life. But I wasn't. And when he announced the murderer was obvious I couldn't remember who the person was. So I think I'll give the rest in the series a miss.

What I'm Currently Reading
We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman. I did a bit of putting (ebook) library holds on anything that sounded interesting and then had to wait a few weeks for them. And consequently have no idea what they're about or why I put a hold on them. I'm halfway through this, have no idea why I put a hold on it, but I am enjoying it. It's about a woman from New York who is a playwright, gets her big break and then it all goes wrong and she runs away to LA.

What I'm Reading Next
Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun. No idea what this is about or why I put a hold on it, but it looks like it's coming up soon, so it'll probably be the book I'm reading next.

So far I've read three books that I acquired last year and have acquired nine books this year that I haven't yet read. But in my defence, I did go to a second-hand bookshop, and looked at Kobo's 99p/£1.99 books on sale. I know I could theoretically do neither of those things, but I just don't think it's possible to go a whole year without buying books, even though I have enough to read between books I already have but haven't read, and the library.


I did some ficathons towards the end of last year and didn't talk about them (although one of them has only just had author reveals).

Doctor Who
There was [info]tardis-festivities where I received a Six and Evelyn fic where Evelyn is right and saves the world, which is what I love about those two:

Fit for a King (838 words) by lurking_latinist
Fandom: Doctor Who (Big Finish Audio)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Sixth Doctor & Evelyn Smythe
Characters: Sixth Doctor (Doctor Who), Evelyn Smythe
Additional Tags: Historical, Fluff, Baking, Dessert & Sweets
Summary:At the end of an adventure, Evelyn faces one more challenge that will call on all her skills...

I wrote an Amy/Rory fic. I had a blank sign up for this, so I went through various ideas for plots before realising that I had no idea how to solve them/they didn't make sense. I remembered that they had bunk beds on the TARDIS and decided to write something about that.

Wedding Nights are Cool (972 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Amy Pond/Rory Williams
Characters: Rory Williams, Amy Pond (Doctor Who)
Additional Tags: Wedding Night, Beds
Summary: It's Rory and Amy's wedding night, but their bedroom isn't quite what they expected.

Star Trek
And then [info]startrekholidays carries on with the cookery theme for my gift, which had Pike finding bugs in his flour and then it all goes interesting from there:

When There are Bugs in the Flour (2076 words) by Ljparis
Fandom: Star Trek, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: Christopher Pike
Additional Tags: Food, Starship Enterprise (Star Trek), Cooking, Bugs & Insects
Summary: Captain Pike finds something unwelcome in his pantry.

I kept looking at the sign ups for this, getting excited about various characters/pairings and adding them to my offers. And then ended up getting the most recent pairing I got excited about, which worked out quite well in that respect. And then I once again came up with a plot that just didn't work before I remembered an idea I'd mostly forgotten about.

Baby Dream (2077 words) paranoidangel
Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: T'Pol/Charles "Trip" Tucker III
Characters: Charles "Trip" Tucker III, T'Pol (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Pregnancy
Summary: Now is the time for Trip and T'Pol to have a baby, but nothing is ever easy for them, especially where children are concerned.

I didn't sign up for Yuletide. I didn't want to overdo the ficathons like I did at the end of last year. But I did manage to write some treats in that last week before Christmas when everything's quiet.

When all the requests were visible I was off work ill. It was sad that SJA wasn't requested, but Rani Takes on the World was, so it was a good excuse to re-listen while I was ill.

Time Bubble (1434 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Rani Takes on the World (Big Finish Audio Drama)
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: Rani Chandra, Clyde Langer, Samira Rustami
Additional Tags: Timey-Wimey
Summary: Rani's trapped and Clyde is going to save her. Just like old times.

And hhertzof's Chalet School request was just begging for some present day silliness. I think I wrote the fic in less time than I spent looking at the Maynard/Bettany/Russell kids names to come up with all the prefect's names.

The New Prefects of the Chalet School (1041 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Chalet School - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Worldbuilding, Post-Canon, Tongue-in-cheek
Summary: It's September 2023 and the first prefect's meeting of the new school year is about to take place.

I also bid in an auction for the first time and got a long time loop fic:

Breakfast of Champions (12729 words) by sunlitroses
Fandom: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (TV)
Characters: Erica Ortegas, Christopher Pike, Number One | Una Chin-Riley (Star Trek), Christine Chapel, Joseph M'Benga, Spock (Star Trek), Nyota Uhura, La'an Noonien-Singh, Pelia (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Time Travel, Shenanigans
Summary: The Captain was hosting a breakfast gathering in his quarters. Number One was passing drinks. Spock was burning the pancakes. It was a morning like any other.

Until it wasn't.

Books 2023

This year my goal was to read 12 books that were bought in a previous year. I smashed that and read 15! Of the books I acquired there were 15 that I didn't read. Which means that my to read pile has not gone down. Or up. (It's not a literal pile since some of them are ebooks.)

So my goal for 2024 is once again to read 12 books that I acquired before 2024. And that my to read pile should not have gone up by the end of the year. Which given that I did that this year should be possible next year.

What I am reading Wednesday

I've had a cold, so I got a lot of books read.

What I Just Finished Reading
Rosamund Heads the Chalet School by Lisa Townsend. This is a Chalet School book written by someone else. It follows the same term as Redheads, but is about the head girl, who barely appears in Redheads. I enjoyed it - it was a pretty standard Chalet School story. Although I couldn't remember Redheads and at one point something happens, but Rosamund doesn't know what and it's never explained. So I then went on to read Redheads, which I'd recently acquired from GGBP, since it's one of the few I don't own at all.

Redheads at the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. I enjoyed this, especially seeing the other side of events that happened in Rosamund. The only trouble is that Lisa Townsend pointed out the inconsistencies and then I could really see them. Without having them pointed out I would never have noticed. In retrospect, I should have read this one first.

Spectacles by Sue Perkins. I love an autobiography and this one was interesting with her being on Taskmaster at the moment. It was just interesting to see her life and how she got into comedy.

The Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver. I was reminded of the existence of Lionel Shriver recently when I went to a second hand book shop and some of her books were there. I have a weird relationship with her books because I don't know if I like them or not. I owned a copy of Double Fault for a while, and then struggled to get rid of it because I wanted to re-read it but couldn't. But I thought I'd try some more because they are interesting. This one was her first book and it was a bit of a struggle. I found the characters a bit odd and weirdly named. There were very long flashbacks, which didn't feel relevant at the time (but were later). I don't know if I liked it or not.

Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver. This is about a married couple deciding to commit suicide together when they're 80 (which happens to be March 2020). And then each chapter is a different idea of what happens with them going through with it or not. Some of them massively go off into flights of fancy. It was all right, but I have two problems with this book. One is the number of pages that went on about Brexit. Maybe that'll be interesting in 50 years time, but not yet. And also the author is American but set it in Britain. So there are a few weird things in there, like one character getting ALS and a mention of England having been a member of he EU.

The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson. I read her first book, The Last Library, when I was on holiday and immediately put this ebook on hold from the library. Then it took ages to get to me. It's about a man looking for a girl he met once on the bus. And it's also about various characters in it following their own path, rather than the ones their parents have set out for them. Partway through this I worried that there was going to be an unlikely romance in it (like her last book, although that only happened right at the end). But then the plot took a turn, the romance took a back seat and then I really enjoyed it.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. I got into Sophie Kinsella when I picked one of her books for a reading challenge, knowing nothing about it. They're easy to read and have interesting characters (with some really interesting jobs). But I can't read too many at one time because quite a few are about romance (even though they don't sound like are they). This one isn't, strictly speaking, since the main character is married. I really enjoyed it - there was a mystery brewing which doesn't get solved until the end and I was into that.

What I'm Currently Reading
The Week (magazine). It was posted on Thursday and arrived today. So now I've finished my book, I will catch up on week-old news.

What I'm Reading Next
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. The last of her books I have to read, aside from the Shopaholic series, which I've tried and I'm not into. I don't know anything about it, I didn't even bother to read the blurb. Annoyingly though, the library doesn't have it in ebook form, only in hardback. Which are needlessly big and heavy.

I've Never Seen Star Wars: Art Gallery

I listened to a podcast years ago where Susan Calman got friends of hers to introduce her to new hobbies. One of them involved going to an art gallery and appreciating paintings by looking at them from different angles.

And then an episode of Crowd Science (another podcast) also involved going to an art gallery and similarly the idea was to look at paintings from other angles. Including lying on the floor.

I recently went to an art gallery. I wondered round and if something took my fancy I read the description and looked at the painting for longer.

There was one with a group of people in a boat and the longer I looked at it the more details I noticed. It made it more interesting. I thought I've got the hang of this looking at paintings thing.

And then I looked at a horse. It was a horse. There wasn't a background, it was just a horse. It didn't matter how long I looked at it, it was still just a horse. And then I looked at Van Gogh's sunflowers and it looked like what I already knew it looked like because I've seen pictures. It was unexciting.

There were a lot of Jesus-y paintings. Where I learnt on the second one I saw that John the Baptist was Jesus's cousin. Which explained why he was in the first painting. And I also realised that the only thing I know about John the Baptist is his name. And then I thought how hard it must be to sleep if you have a halo - there's no way of getting your head on a pillow where the halo wouldn't get in the way.

Then I found my way back to non-Jesus-y paintings and there was one of Narcissus being distracted by his reflection. With a couple of women peering around a tree at him. And a random topless woman that is out in the open that no one has noticed. I thought maybe that's the point because Narcissus is being distracted by himself and the two women are marvelling at him. But then it still seemed like the topless woman was in there because the painter just fancied painting a topless woman. I felt like I was doing English Lit at school and ascribing meaning the author didn't put in just because the teacher told us it was there.

I found a painting with more detail, of a dockyard and some workers. In the snow. Although when I looked at the painting for longer I realised that perhaps the painter thinks that all water is white. And then realised that the painter also can't do faces. I mean, I can do faces better than that and I really can't do faces.

And then I got bored with looking at paintings because it's just looking at a load of pictures and I couldn't really see the point. So now I feel like I've tried that and don't have to do it again. So it's a 2/5, if only because in a choice between an art gallery and a sauna it's a very easy choice. And at least it was free.

I've Never Seen Star Wars: 3 things

I went on holiday recently and did four things I've never done before, which plenty of other people have.

Sat in a car with tinted windows
I didn't plan to do this, but my taxi to the station turned out to have tinted windows. Which I didn't properly notice until I got in. I'd always wondered what it looked like from the inside. Now I know that it looks like I had my sunglasses on. Way less exciting than it looks when a car goes by and you can't tell who (if anyone) is in the back.

I'd give it a 2 out of 5.

Sat in a sauna
The hotel I stayed in had a small pool with a jacuzzi and sauna. I've already tried a jacuzzi (didn't like the bubbles), but I thought I'd try the sauna.

Before I went in I thought it would be a room where you sit and feel really hot. I found that it was in fact a room where you sit and feel really hot.

Although the 'really' bit depends on how long you sit there. I don't think I managed a whole minute. I couldn't see a reason to make myself as hot as it had been outside in the heatwave the week before. It was just as unpleasant.

It's getting 1 out of 5, and that one is entirely because it was exactly like I expected.

Got room service
I've never had room service before and really fancied it. It was quite nice. I sat in my hotel room in my pyjamas and ate dinner while watching TV. What's not to like? Despite that, now I've done it I don't feel the need to do it again. It costs extra and I am quite capable of sitting in a restaurant with a book.

I giving it a 4 out of 5.