Come in, please, come in. I can’t entertain you shipboard as I once could, but there is tea and plenty of food, and I understand you’ve done well for yourself at the gambling tables. I suppose I can afford to lose a little now and then. My late first husband was a wealthy man and I magnified his wealth – well, you know how.

I think there should be discipline in everything, you know, even lawlessness. When I ruled the sea and the Red Flag Fleet, no one disobeyed me. Literally. Those who did were beheaded. But, on the other hand, I think my rule was mainly benificent. Did you know I forbade those under my command to steal from villagers who supplied us? That only made sense, of course. Death was also the sentence for any assault on a female captive. One makes these laws when one grows up as I did.

I also insisted that anything taken from town or ship was to be presented, registered, and given out amongst all – oh, the original taker got a percentage, and twenty percent is better than nothing, you know. That’s how you keep a sailor happy.

My dear second husband, he also issued some laws, I suppose, but they weren’t written down or very well enforced. What were they? Who knows. What does it matter? My laws were what mattered.

Eventually, of course, it became easier just to tax the local cities than to keep sacking them. Nicer for all concerned and not so much work for us. Bureaucracy will have its day, sooner or later, always.

That is how I came to be here, you know; several years ago, after I defeated their entire Navy, the government offered amnesty to pirates. Well they might; what other option did they have? But I was wealthy, so why should I continue to work when I was no longer a criminal? It was in 1810 that I left crime behind forever and opened this little gambling house. Here I am content, you know, and I think I will be until I die. Hopefully not for a long, long time!

Oh, I am called many things. I was born Shi Xianggu, and I am called Cheng I Sao, sometimes, but mostly I am known as Ching Shih – the Widow Ching, wife of two pirates, but a pirate empress myself.

(After all, it’s Talk Like A Pirate day, not Talk Like Every Pirate day. I chose Ching Shih.)

(Also if you enjoyed this, consider dropping some spare change in my Ko-Fi!)

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Sep. 18th, 2017

  • 7:45 AM
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we start, a quick note because I've had a handful of issues with this lately -- if you want to bring a cause to my attention the best way to go about it is to fill out the Radio Free Monday form (also linked from the sidebar of my tumblr page). It's not just that I might not see a post tagged to me or that it saves me a ton of time, but also that it makes sure I get the information I need to describe the situation, link the appropriate pages, and name and gender people correctly.

The form doesn't ask many questions, doesn't pull any metadata (literally it doesn't even record the date you entered the information), and is as anonymous as you want it to be -- there are options for complete or partial anonymity for the person submitting the item.

Ways To Give:

[tumblr.com profile] prismatic-bell linked to a fundraiser for Congregation Beth Yeshurun and their attached day school, which were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, which hit two Jewish neighborhoods in Houston especially hard. The families are currently attending Temple Brith Israel, and the children from the day school have had to scatter among several schools temporarily. You can read more about the damage here, reblog here, give directly to the rebuilding fund, or purchase toys and learning materials or replacement books for the school directly through Amazon.

[tumblr.com profile] reesa-chan is preparing for surgery and gathering supplies to make recovery go as smoothly as possible, but they're coming up short on a few things and surgery is looming. They have a Amazon Wishlist available here and have their paypal giving page here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] poplitealqueen, who is trying to help her mother get some experimental medical treatment which might allow her mobility without the use of a wheelchair. You can read more and reblog here (including links at the top to Patreon and Ko-fi) or give directly to their Ko-Fi here.

[tumblr.com profile] quinfirefrorefiddle linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] niines9s, who is trying to escape an abusive home and needs funding for housing after graduation. They are offering commissions and also taking donations; you can read more, reblog, and find paypal information at their post.

Anon linked to news about a Christian group, Faithfully LGBT, who are fundraising to aid transgender people with gender-confirming surgeries as a way of atoning for religious discrimination against transgender people. You can read and reblog the story here or give directly to the Tithe Campaign here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to a post called Saving Your Grades From A Mental Health Crisis, which is about what to do if you're in college and dealing with mental illness.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

to do: for Melb

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 11:43 AM
- book the Dior exhibit for Monday or Wednesday, work out how to get there
- see if L wants to go see Much Ado at the Melbourne Popup Globe (otherwise just arrange to meet for munchies)

Tags:

My fic for Franzi and Gecko's fic exchange - a small friends-oriented exchange. You would not believe how many times I rewrote this assignment before I finally settled on this story. Apparently I have sedoretu on the brain...
The Road That Leads To Home (1595 words) by tielan
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Laura Barton/Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton & Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton/Laura Barton, James "Bucky" Barnes/Natasha Romanov
Characters: Natasha Romanova, Laura Barton, Clint Barton, James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Post-Captain America: Civil War (Movie), Sedoretu
Summary:
He surveys the land before them as the Wakandan plane hovers over the landscape, and Natasha tries to imagine it through his eyes.

“A farm?”

“A safehouse.” Somewhere to recover, with no lingering ghosts, with nothing to trigger his responses, even now the programming has been taken out.

The expression on his face is bleak. “And is it safe for them?”

7pm and I'm about falling asleep...

  • Sep. 17th, 2017 at 7:04 PM
Also, I have a headache, although that might be from consumption of too much alcohol.

We lost the grand final, but it took us half the game to find out feet and our opponents came out the gate swinging. (Plus, I'm not entirely sure they didn't stack their team with a couple of players from higher grades, but eh. What can you do? The organiser has known when the Grand final games were going to be played for at least a month now, but we only got the update for times on Wednesday.)

Friday night and Saturday were great - a weekend away with the women from church. I had some good conversations, including one with the speaker. (She's in a situation much like my mother's was thirty years ago, and I wanted to let her know that I appreciated her candour, but also to reassure her that her children are watching her, loving her, and appreciating her - that shit happens, but we grew up and deal with it (some better than others).

I got all my assignments in, now there's only [community profile] crossovering until [community profile] trickortreatex and [community profile] yuletide.
Wow, you guys, the me of 2014 was such a good bro, he bought an extra three years of premium-level warranty coverage on his laptop.

I wasn’t even looking for whether I was still covered by warranty, I just assumed I wasn’t, but I went to Dell’s website to get the model number of my laptop so I could look up how to open it up properly and fix the terrible groaning noise my fan is making. And Dell was like hey, here’s your model number, also your warranty is good through June of 2018. 

I’m still gonna try to open it up and fix the fan myself, but if I can’t, I can send it in and get the fan fixed AND get a repair on the housing that’s starting to crack. 

Good job, 2014 Sam. You had no idea the crazy shit that was ahead of you but by god you knew you’d need three years of warranty. You and me, buddy, we’re fucking killing it in the adulting department lately. 

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Me: R’s in town this weekend so we may meet

  • Sep. 16th, 2017 at 12:22 AM
Me: R’s in town this weekend so we may meet up.

Mum: Send me a picture of you and R when you’re hanging out!

Me: Not sure when it’ll be yet but I’ll do my best. It’s a little uncertain right now.

Mum: If it were certain, I’d be worried it wasn’t really R.

She knows us both so well. 

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yuletide noms

  • Sep. 15th, 2017 at 8:16 AM
Nominated:

nominated )

Missing:
missing )

Okay. I have to finish an exchange today, in between testing things that aren't working, fixing things that are broken, and making a list of what to pack for the weekend away... not that there has to be much - I'm only staying Saturday. And then I got to get out of here early...

Tags:

Hello dear Trick-or-Treat author!

This is my first year in ToT, so this letter may not be what you're expecting. I've listed the fandom and characters we've matched on, then added relationships (optional), and prompts (also optional). They're really just places for you to start - something to catch your eye, perhaps, or something to challenge you.

I don't mind if it's a trick or a treat, take it light and fluffy, or take it dark - just keep in mind that while I don't mind a good dark/edgy story, I like there to be a little leavening at the end, a little hope!

In these canons, I'd prefer the story didn't have a specific Halloween slant, especially given that Rogue One, Pacific Rim, Merlin, and Stargate Atlantis happen in canon situations where Halloween would likely be less celebrated. (Also: I'm Australian: Halloween is becoming more popular here, but it's not a patch on the megaholiday status in the US.)

letter: still under revision )

I would also be good with any prompts from previous exchanges that match the parameters of this exchange. You can find my signups/letters at dear+fic+writer+letters if you're so inclined.

Ultimately, if none of these prompts take your fancy, then don't worry. Simply write the characters and fandom we matched on, and I'll be delighted to see your take on it!

not either or but close

  • Sep. 13th, 2017 at 9:26 AM
I prefer [community profile] femmeremix. Should have asked whether we were going to run it earlier in the year...

Yuletide and Trick or Treat

  • Sep. 12th, 2017 at 1:13 PM
More for my own assistance, since I'm pretty sure nearly everyone already inclined to write is participating in these.

[community profile] yuletide_admin community, nominations (tagset is hidden until after noms), the spreadsheet so far of nominations, we have until Saturday!

[community profile] trickortreatex community, AO3 collection for signing up, tag set for sign-ups, which run until Monday.
You guys today I researched someone who is such a rank evil motherfucker that the person who was going to meet them to ask for money came over to my desk after seeing my research and was like “What a rank evil motherfucker.” 

And I was like I DIDN’T EVEN PUT THE WORST OF IT IN BECAUSE WE CAN’T PROVE THE WORST STUFF SINCE IT’S ALL TECHNICALLY SPECULATION BY LIBERAL WATCHDOG GROUPS BUT I KNOW THEY DID IT. They gave millions of dollars to climate-change denial (which I learned today is referred to as CLIMATE INACTIVISM) two weeks ago. 

But I am heartened that a) the fundraiser saw through my VERY CAREFULLY professionally neutral report to the truth of the matter and b) they called their boss and were like “I’m not taking this meeting” and THEIR BOSS read my report and said “Yeah this is a PR disaster waiting to happen, don’t take the meeting.”

And normally I’d be like “yes take their money, take it all, take them for everything you can wring from them” but what makes this one so unsettling is that their donations always come with creepy post-contract strings. If we take the money, we’re gonna pay for it down the line, so I’m just as glad we aren’t. 

Once in a while in my profession I come across someone who is such a force for destruction on an international scale that I genuinely hope they will die in some very public and ironic way. I yearn for the day I read of their demise.

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Sep. 11th, 2017

  • 7:40 AM
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Melissa, a trans girl who recently escaped an abusive home and is struggling to make ends meet. She has been unable to get car insurance, and is also recovering from expenses and injuries from a recent accident. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] nivcharayahel and her sister are raising funds for help with September's rent, to avoid eviction; they are dealing with recent unemployment and underemployment. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] butnotinthisone is dealing with fallout from hurricane Harvey, including being unable to return to their apartment due to continued flooding; their apartment is on the first floor and they will likely be facing property loss and damage from the water. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[livejournal.com profile] rua_m linked to Zooniverse, specifically their Weather Rescue project, which allows you to help recover forgotten weather data by transcribing Ben Nevis observatory records. Zooniverse is a great site that lets people participate in citizen science and historical preservation by categorizing and transcribing documents; I'm actually a member and work on some of their animal-related stuff.

Anon linked to Halloween Lifestyle, a Halloween website recently put up (and so still a little sparse) by the mother of [tumblr.com profile] nextrrickanvils. You can read more and reblog here or go directly to the site here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here; they also have an ad up on SpareRoom here with photos.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Genex Recs

  • Sep. 11th, 2017 at 1:05 PM
The [community profile] genex stories don't seem to be doing too well on the hits-and-kudos front right now, so I thought I'd start at the backend and work my way up to the front, in reverse of the usual procedure.

But there are some good stories in there - beautifully written, well-characterised, enjoyable stories for canons which I know but don't usually participate in.

Conversation on a Summer Morning (1050 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Faramir & Gilraen
Characters: Faramir (Son of Denethor II), Gilraen (Tolkien)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
Summary:

The morning after Aragorn's coronation, Faramir has a chance encounter with someone he did not expect.

My note: A sweet little encounter, speaking of families and honour and relationships and connections.


When the Wheels Come Off (1519 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Parker, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Angst, Teen Angst, Missing Scene, Guilt
Summary:

Misusing the suit had consequences. Both Peter and Tony reflect on whether they were warranted.

My note: I'd actually call this 'fathers and sons'. Some good parallels, although I don't know if they were drawn in the movie or if the author made them independently.


Ensemble Piece (1378 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clint Barton & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Natasha Romanov (Marvel), Clint Barton, Nick Fury
Additional Tags: SHIELD, Slice of Life, Early Days
Summary:

Early in her time with SHIELD, Natasha gets tonsillitis, and starts figuring out her place in SHIELD.

My note: Home is where they bring you blue bunnies and icecream.


We Could Go to Mexico (3281 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Scarlett O'Hara & Melanie Wilkes
Characters: Scarlett O'Hara, Melanie Wilkes
Additional Tags: Gen Work, Female Friendship, POV Female Character, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
Summary:

Scarlett is carrying the load at Tara, but she isn’t alone.

My note: I haven't read Gone With The Wind in decades, but this fic captures the hardships and pain of both Scarlett and Melanie as they stay at Tara, trying to make life for themselves.

Tags:

genex and auexchange

  • Sep. 11th, 2017 at 8:31 AM
Honestly, I'm a little shocked. I got two Maria Hill fics! TWO OF THEM.

*stares at them like they're cute little Mogwai that someone is about to feed after midnight*

My [community profile] genex gift:
A Little Thing You Better Not Forget (1896 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter & Maria Hill, Jane Foster & Maria Hill, Maria Hill & Pepper Potts
Characters: Maria Hill, Peggy Carter, Jane Foster (Marvel), Pepper Potts
Additional Tags: Female Friendship, Marvel Ladies Getting Shit Done
Summary:

Four women, one cause, and in the end they might just save the world.



My note: The best thing about this fic? Is that the women aren't girly for the sake of being girly; they're in-character, female and feminine, while being practical, frank, and a little bit wry/sarcastic. (The end exchange between Maria and Jane, where Jane modifies her answer? I love that. Because Jane so would! And I want the rest of that story where we see just what Maria and Jane went looking for...)

--

My [community profile] auexchange gift:
The Heroes We Need (1159 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Maria Hill & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Maria Hill, Nick Fury, Natasha Romanov (Marvel), Pepper Potts, Skye | Daisy Johnson, Melinda May
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe — All Female Avengers, Alternate Universe - Post-Canon, BAMF Maria Hill
Summary:

“The world needs its heroes," Fury had said, and Maria got to work.



My note: Frankly, I would give the right testicle of every man I know for this continuation of the MCU.

--

As per usual, I want MOAR FIC in these narratives... (Fic that I don't have to write myself, mind you.)

Off-hand, if anyone is inclined to Remix Madness, I've signed up here with anything and everything that isn't a remix of something else (it's always marked with 'remix' in the title).

Tags:

Book Review: The Curious Case Of Sidd Fitch

  • Sep. 10th, 2017 at 3:36 PM
On April 1, 1985, a piece by George Plimpton was published in Sports Illustrated, called “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch”. It presented a new rookie pitcher for the Mets: Sidd Finch, an aspirant Buddhist monk and French horn aficionado, who could throw a pitch around 160mph. If you’re not familiar with baseball, a 90mph pitch is a good ticket to the majors, and the fastest pitch on record is around 105mph. The article was a joke, of course – April Fool’s – but the reaction especially among Mets fans was electric. Within sports journalism it’s widely considered to be one of the best hoaxes of all time.

Plimpton eventually expanded the article into a novel in 1987, and I finally got around to digging it up and reading it – it’s what I’ve been reading on the train to the last few Railcats games of the season. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, as a novel, is in a way a time capsule; it captures a very weird era for the country and a pre-player’s strike, pre-Moneyball era for baseball. But it’s not really a book about baseball, despite Plimpton being primarily a sports journalist. It’s easily accessible if you don’t know a ton about the game, primarily because neither does Sidd Finch.

Rather, the book struck me as drawing heavily on what I think of as the “parable novel”, a genre popular in the seventies – part religious/philosophical treatise and part self-help book disguised as a fictional narrative (the most famous is probably Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach).

The novel’s narrator and fictional author is Robert Temple, a former journalist living in Florida and suffering from a decade-long writer’s block; he literally can’t write anything, including shopping lists and notes to self. (I’ll come back to this.) By a chance of fate he learns that the Mets have a rookie player named Sidd Fitch who can throw a 160mph fastball with uncanny accuracy, but who is still uncertain he actually wants to sign with the club. After getting thrown out of his boarding house for bringing a girl over, Sidd and his girlfriend Debbie Sue end up living with Temple at the request of the Mets, who hope Temple can convince him to sign with the team while he attends spring training in Florida.

It’s a really compelling read with enjoyable characters, and there’s some good tension set up in the question of whether Sidd will sign with the Mets, and whether it would be good for both Sidd and the sport as a whole for him to do so. And I appreciated that the one full pro game Sidd pitches isn’t the climax of the book – this is not a book about sport but a book that uses sport to meditate on other matters.

It does have its issues, however. Temple, the narrator, draws the reader in because we understand that he was a writer and no longer is, but we don’t know why – we know he’s suffered some terrible psychological blow, just not exactly what: 

If he had taken the time to check it out, he would have discovered that I was not capable of writing a paragraph, much less a line of copy. I was a completely defused member of the communications industry. 

[….]

I took my sister by the elbow afterward and I said, “Well, that’s my problem, isn’t it? I’m not really alive. I’m perhaps a quarter alive.”

“You’re coming along,” she said. 

I think it would have been best for that information to come out slowly in drips here and there, perhaps eventually being told more fully when Temple explains to Sidd or Debbie Sue why he can’t write. Instead we get an early-on chapter about it – basically a brief autobiography where he goes to Vietnam to cover the war as a journalist, has a breakdown, and retires to Florida where he fills empty days with pointless tasks as a way of keeping himself alive. It’s…not the most interesting chapter. And then he can’t really explain it to the others because we’ve already sat through it once. 

This complicated history is also a problem with Sidd, our young pitcher – Sidd is struggling with both his faith and what his purpose in life should be, and that’s immediately something people can identify with. The issue is that Plimpton, the actual author, built on the biography he created for Sidd in the Sports Illustrated article, which was a joke and thus comedically complicated. Sidd is an orphan from England adopted by an English anthropologist who then died in a plane crash when Sidd was a teenager, and he found Buddhism while looking for his father in the Himalayas. Sidd also, randomly, is very good at the French horn. This is a complex backstory for a baseball player and it’s not entirely well-told within the boundaries of the book, though it’s also a pretty ripping adventure story as Sidd runs away from boarding school to look for his dad and eventually ends up an aspirant monk who uses Buddhists lung-gom teachings to train himself to throw a 160mph baseball.

We never really get to the heart of why Sidd walked up to a Mets talent scout one day and decided to get himself recruited; there are hints here and there, and it does lead to a masterful set of discussions about why baseball is a game for mystics:

“Why baseball?” Frank Cashen asked. “Why didn’t he go back to England and play cricket?” 

Dr. Burns put his fingertips together. “Baseball is the perfect game for the mystic mind. Cricket is unsatisfactory because it has time strictures. The clock is involved. Play is called. The players stop for tea. No! No! No!” Burns sounded quite petulant. “On the other hand, baseball is so open to infinity. No clocks. No one pressing the buttons on stopwatches. The foul lines stretch to infinity. In theory, the game of baseball can go on indefinitely.” 

[…]

“I got very interested in the idea of causing a commotion at Point B when standing a long distance away at Point A. To throw an object that connects those two points is a very heady thing to be able to do…especially if you can do it time and time again with accuracy. It is something archers and hunters know all about – the trigonometric closing of lines.” 

[…]

I suddenly had a clear image of what Sidd was doing to the game. It was what the listeners were suggesting – he was changing the properties and the essence of the ball itself. It struck me how often the ball is inspected during a game, as if anyone who touches it has to make sure the ball has not changed its properties. If the ball disappears over the fence, another, like a youngster’s dream pinball game, emerges from a black sack at the umpire’s side. He looks at it and gives it to the catcher, who rubs it briefly, and after a glance fires it out to the pitcher; he looks at the ball and rubs it with both hands, his glove dangling from its wrist strap, and then, as he stares down at the catcher for the signal, his fingers maneuver over its surface feeling for the comfort of some response – yes, this time it will do exactly as he wishes! […] Football players do not have this kind of kinship with their ball. Most of the players don’t even touch the thing during the course of a game. It sits stolidly on the grass. The center comes up over the ball from the huddle and barely giving it a glance turns it under his hands; his eyes are staring across the line of scrimmage at the unpleasant visage of the nose guard opposite. A defensive tackle is so uncomfortable with the ball that if he chances to pick it up on the practice-field he tends to throw it end over end to get rid of it. […] Tennis balls are not kept on the mantlepiece. Too many of them around. Who cares?
 

But there’s never that moment where Sidd says, this is why I came to America to play baseball. Especially since he knows so little about it going in. I suppose Plimpton had to make him a foreigner so he wouldn’t know much about the sport, but honestly, you can grow up in America and not know much about baseball, especially at the pro level. Though I do enjoy some of the eccentricities of the game that Plimpton chose to focus on: 

“They have shown me the heavy ring that one slides on the bat to make it seem lighter. I had thought originally that the heavy ring was a talisman to bless the wood. No! One has only oneself to rely on within the confines of the batting box.” 

There’s also some pretty lowered stakes in this book because everyone, even Sidd, is wealthy. Temple can afford to do nothing all day for a decade while still seeing an expensive private therapist about his writer’s block (and eventually supporting Sidd and Debbie Sue when they move in) because his family is rich and supportive. Sidd, an innocent who travels with very little, still has access to his father’s fortune and has a mansion waiting for him in England. Debbie Sue, the free-spirited beach bum that Sidd falls in love with, comes from a wealthy family and was attending an ivy league school before she left it all behind to windsurf full-time in Florida. Even the most desperate people in the book, namely the coaching staff of the Mets, are only desperate to get Sidd to play. Nobody’s life or livelihood is riding on anything in the book, which to me makes it slightly less effective as a philosophical treatise because everyone starts from a place of wealth and comfort. On the other hand, it does allow the reader to engage fully with the psychological side of things, and there’s something to be said for not having to worry about where Sidd’s next meal is coming from:

Rather haltingly, Sidd asked me if I would come to New York and see him through August and September…perhaps share an apartment. He didn’t feel he was going to feel at ease in the city. Over the phone he made one of his brilliant vocal imitations – the sound of a taxi horn, a police siren, and the sigh of a bus pulling away from its passenger stop.

“There are no mantras,” he said, “to take care of this sort of thing.”

All that said, it is a really fun book. Everyone in it is charming and funny, Sidd’s bewilderment over the rituals of pro baseball is touching, and there’s an interesting hint of threesome-ness (probably unintentional) to the bond between Sidd, Debbie Sue, and Temple. As a baseball fan I appreciated the thought Plimpton put into how and where the characters and the sport interacted, and you can tell he has a genuine love of the game. He also appears to have done his research about Buddhism – it’s not just a stand in for woo-woo esotericism, the way it was a bit in the original article. There is some of that, but there is also a lot of genuine discussion of Buddhism which seems, in my admittedly very limited experience, to be correct.

Sidd smiled…very much as Dennis Brain probably had on the stage of the Jubilee Hall. “There’s a saying of Buddha,” he said. “Be earnest in cessation although there is nothing to cease; practice the cessation although there is nothing to practice.” 

So yeah, do recommend The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch if you’re interested in baseball or just in a pretty good story about a baseball player. 

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adulting the adult adults

  • Sep. 10th, 2017 at 8:24 PM
I have adulted muchly this weekend.

Friday night, I made bechamel sauce and assembled a lasagne. Two, actually. I also adjusted/modified/fixed my exchange fics for this weekend, and they'll do, although I don't think they're as good as the two for Rarepairings.

Saturday morning, I picked kumquats off someone's tree by arrangement. She took some seed potatoes, planting garlic, and a pumpkin in exchange, and then I headed out to swap the last of the winter produce (fennel and winter greens and another pumpkin, seed potatoes and planting garlic and suchlike) for honeycomb and eggs and quite a few seedlings. So far as I'm concerned, I came out a winner!

Back in the garden, I 'bagged' the fruit trees against fruit fly, and deep-watered the newer trees that haven't been doing quite so well. I arranged to rent chickens from Rent-A-Chook (a program that allows you to try keeping chickens in your backyard) and I expect they'll call in the next couple of weeks to arrange for delivery and set up and explanation. We'll see how they do as the weather warms up!

I also measured up a section of the house for a couple of slimline water tanks to hold water when we start getting rain again. (It's been a crazily dry winter, which has been nice on the 'not getting stabbed in the eye by an umbrella on the train' front, but not so great on the 'persuading things to grow' front.) Eventually, I'd like to run our toilet and our washing machine through the rainwater tanks, but right now, I'm settling for just the garden...

This morning I played in my team's hockey finals, and assisted in the sole goal scored during the game. It was a pretty amazing game; we definitely brought our best play this week. People were doing all the right stuff, things came together, and we won! We really needed things to come together, though - the team we played against were tough stuff, and next week's team will be, once again, a hard game.

On the plus side, my body doesn't ache as badly as it did last weekend. Now I just have to hold it all together to next weekend. (You should have seen the face my sister made when she discovered we'd made it through to the finals; she's 'eh' on winning/losing, but since she gets to listen to me complain about how my body creaks, she has a vested interest in me not playing.

Then I came home, washed the kumquats and made kumquat brandy and kumquat whiskey. There's still enough kumquats to make some spiced preserves, though, so I might have to get to that tomorrow.

And now I'm going to angst over my nominations for Yuletide. Only three slots for nominations? WHERE'S THE LOVE?!?

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