I love this Neil Gaiman quote. So much so that it currently hangs in my bedroom.

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Time to watch the butler get shitfaced yet again.



I have no idea why this is such A THING in Germany, but it is. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. Happy New Year, dear ones.
Ok. I can do this. 25 actual books, without "well, this one was basically two books, so there" coming into play.

Lightspeed Magazine, July 2014
I really really loved "The Panda Coin" and the Harry and Marlowe story. Some of the other stories, I absolutely hated. But that's the point of anthologies :-) And I always knew I was leaning more towards the F part of SF/F anyways. Now I know more SF authors that I will actually like.

English as a Second Fucking Language by Sterling Johnson
I think I was expecting more from this than what I got - I wanted it to be a true grammar and vocab book, not just a random listing of more or less useful swear words ("ass eyes," really?). Frankly, I learned more vocabulary from spending a night in an Irish pub during the World Cup and more grammar from watching Boondock Saints than I did from this book. Disappointing, and not even that funny.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase by Douglas Adams
I didn't realize this audio came with an extra documentary on the making of the series. It was a little freaky hearing Douglas Adams talk to me from beyond the grave, to be honest. But the production itself is fantastic. Funny as expected, with great voice actors, and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the top of their game.

The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell
Severed Streets
Any questions? And yes, that was indeed retweeted by Paul Cornell :-D

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
I really like the world of these books (this is part 2 of the Old Man's War series), in a twisted, not-quite-dystopian-but-almost kind of way. Knowing how the series continues (I asked for it, not like I can ask an author at a reading not to spoil books written years ago), this is a really nice set-up for what I know of future books, and on its own, it's just an intriguing story. Who are we? What makes us who we are? What happens when that self-image goes catastrophically haywire? So much thinking to do. As a sidenote, I do have some small issues with Scalzi's writing, but they're much less noticeable on paper than in audiobook form. Sorry Wil Wheaton.

Neverwhere: The Radio Play by Neil Gaiman
I've loved this book since I first read it, but the audioplay from BBC Radio 4 is a whole 'nother story. The casting is PERFECT. The story comes alive in an amazing way. And the whole thing is just so much fun.

W Is For Wasted by Sue Grafton
This book is 50% description of people making sandwiches and filing papers, 50% awesome crime story about medical malpractice and illegal experimentation. Too bad 40% of the sandwich-making happens in the beginning of the book, before you ever get to the actual crime story. The last third is great, and exciting, and fast-paced. The whole thing just really needed a stronger editor.

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
I just adore Christie novels. They're so calm, and quaint, and subtle, yet still so thrilling. I mean, they're full of the times, and prejudice, and irritating social norms, but I can deal with that. They're just such a fun vacation read.

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Wil Wheaton reading this audiobook made me cry. In a good way. Such a beautiful story, even if it's totally stereotypical. It was fun, and touching, and environmental commentary in the least annoyingly obvious way possible. Plus, Karl is fantastic, and I quite like the rest of the cast as well. Plus, snark. I love snarky books.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
I picked this up based on the "read fewer white male authors" challenge that went around social media earlier this year, and I did not regret it for one minute. The story is well written, the characters are interesting and diverse, the book's world would be gorgeous in a miniseries, and there's going to be a sequel. Approved at all levels.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Apparently this was the year of Ernest Cline or something (probably had something to do with the movie deal). I finally read this (Armada is sitting on my shelf as well, for later), and quite enjoyed it. It definitely is 80s fanboy fanfiction, and I have a feeling Armada will be too much of the same thing, but on the first time around, it's quite entertaining.

Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Oh Harry. Poor, no longer dead Harry. At least some of these stories were from before that time, so there was less... drama, in the "oh dramaz" kind of way. Some fun ideas, some definitely not fleshed out as much as they could have been, but overall a really good, easy read. Exactly what I wanted at the time.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: The Play by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs
I love this book. I love this audio play. The cast is amazing, and the whole thing is just so enjoyable. Love.

The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Have I mentioned I adore this universe? Yes, I think I have. So much fun. So much snark. I just really like the characters and how they interact. The plot becomes sort of secondary, although this is definitely a good one. And a fun little (big) twist at the end.

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
I read this right after The Last Colony and was a little worried about it being repetitive, but Scalzi does a good job of not repeating everything you just heard from the adults from the point of view of a teenager. And Zoe is the kind of teenager I love - smart, snarky (see a pattern?), but goodhearted and willing to do the right thing. This book was just fun.

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
I... may be growing tired of Neil Gaiman short stories. Which is SO SAD. But half of these were just odd, or I didn't get them, or something. The other half were beautiful and scary, and totally worth the cost of the book, but the rest were too... artsy? Literary? Something like that. I much prefer "true fiction" like Neverwhere and Stardust, apparently.

Lock In by John Scalzi
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I know, Scalzi can be a bit sloppy about writing, but you know what? I'm ok with that. The plot is intriguing, the concept of Lock In and threeps intrigues me a lot, and I like crime stories that I don't immediately figure out in some way. Plus, Chris and Tony are hilarious, and I need more of those housemates in my life. And it says Lock In #1 on Goodreads, so I'll get more eventually :-)

Locke & Key Slipcase Set by Joe Hill
I'd never have read this, because for some reason I can't read comics, but this was good. Not awesome, but a captivating story, and the audiobook set I got for free somehow was quite well done.

The Martian by Andy Weir
In short: the movie was better. Seriously, this was terrible. The concept is so good, and it could have been such a fun book, and then it's ruined with boob jokes and half-pages entirely dedicated to setting up gay jokes, and... gah. Guess I really don't like books where the main character is kind of a dick.

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
I love new takes on fairytales (see also: my Pratchett obsession) and this one is SO CREEPY. Love it, especially as an audio story.

Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman
I never totally get this story... is the narrator an angel? Did he kill those people? Is he going to hell? I have no idea. But as usual, Lucifer is fascinating. That probably says terrible things about me, doesn't it...

Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who by L.M. Myles
These are the people who can't ever tell me too much about Doctor Who. They're just the best, in general and at pointing out interesting things about one of my favorite shows. Plus, short essays. So much easier to read in pieces than full-length academia-type books.

Final Result: 22. I totally cannot do this. Silly knitting keeping me from reading All The Books. Maybe next year I'll do a TV show challenge instead. I'm really good at those :-P
Time for tea, cookies, and pondering the prettypretty lights.

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And a joyous return of the light, today and always.

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I got myself all freaked out by CRIMSON PEAK so you don't have to.

Actually, you still kind of of have to. It's not that bad, horror-wise, and the movie is absolutely beautiful.

Ohio Renaissance Festival during Highland Weekend. It's what we do.

Obligatory turkey leg selfie - a great reminder of why I don't get a turkey leg every year. Too messy.

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As is also tradition, at least one Albannach set, or in this case two sets. I'm going to miss Aya (on the far left) when he leaves after this tour. Because apparently I have a thing for pirate-looking men who can dance in skirts. Or something :-P

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And then I got Chinese on the way home, because I was starving. This was my fortune cookie fortune...

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Yeah, I don't know. So far I'm not dead, so that's something, at least?
Usually these things are a bit boring, but this year? They let us go to the zoo :-)

There was (kind of meh) lunch at the new Africa event center, which has the best chandeliers.

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And then we pretty much just spent the afternoon wandering the zoo. image image

I didn't get a good picture, but there was an ostrich who was totally trying to pick a fight with a giraffe in the new open Africa exhibit they have. Poor giraffe just wanted to nap, and ostrich kept poking at its face.

We also fed giraffes! (That's coworker, not me.)

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And other coworker got a great shot of one of the tigers.

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Tigers make the weirdest noises... kind of like elephants with the flu. This one was mad at something, probably missing her friend, but she kept letting everyone know about it. Kind of creepy, in a rather cool way.
News flash: doing a 5k charity walk with no training whatsoever is a pretty horrible idea.

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At least it didn't rain.

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There were a couple of sprinkles as everyone was getting ready to line up, but as soon as the starting horn went off, it was sunny and warm and perfect. Weird, huh?

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And hey, I still survived! No slower than the walk I did a few years ago in the midst of actually training (the only reason I didn't run that one was because winter, and cold, and icy), and at least now I remember why I do sort of enjoy this running thing. Spoiler: it's not the running. It's the having run.

Because man. Best water ever.

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Also, you guys are awesome fundraisers. $406 total, with a short spell in the top 5 fundraisers before all the people who raised $500 came in. Maybe that can be our goal next year?
Because sometimes, you just need to make a 12-hour round trip to hang out with some friends and their cats for the weekend.

I think Burt approved of my dedication to cat pettings though.

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Athena mostly found me annoying, but would let me pet her head on occasion. And I got to touch the soft, soft belly and removed my hand before she could maul me. It's an accomplishment, I hear.

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Lemon was... Lemon.

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Yes, she is that big. She also makes an excellent weighted blanket substitute - I could just grab her, set her on my chest, and she'd settle in and start purring. Good kitty :-)

Other than cats, there was food. SO MUCH FOOD. And it was so good.

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We won't talk about how much yarn I bought at Stitches Midwest - let's just say it was a lot. But most of it has plans attached to it already! I may still skip Wool Gathering this year to let my credit card recover.

AND AND AND! Birthday Fluevogs! I luuuuuurrrrvvveee them.

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I wrote a thing about Jurassic World for Sam and Emily over at An Inanimate F*cking Blog. Mostly I rant about shoes, Chris Pratt's arms, and misunderstood raptors. You should read it.

I love my zoo membership. I love being able to just decide to drive north, not pay exorbitant amounts of money for parking, and wander the zoo for an hour or two before I decide that's enough outside time for the day and run away. It's awesome.

This time, I finally had a chance to check out the new Heart of Africa exhibit - I hadn't been to it last year before it closed for winter, but it's pretty great, now that it's open again.

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It's an open savannah area with a bunch of different animals all in the same space, which leads to fun interactions on occasion. Plus, some of the areas are connected to various enclosures, so animals that couldn't be in the same area at the same time still get to wander around and smell each other's presence. Pretty sure the cheetahs love being in there right after the warthog or ostrich :-)

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Cheetahs

I was also mostly in time for the cheetah run demo, which was really interesting. Apparently all the cheetahs are trained as animal ambassadors, so the keepers can be in the enclosure with them without it turning gruesome immediately :-P



The lions weren't having it with the showing off though. It was hot. They're cats. They slept.

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Lion

The giraffes were very interested though. Including during the cheetah demo. Apparently they get a kick out of all the commotion as well. Or maybe they're just looking for food.

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And then I got to end the day with a baby moose. One month old. So adorable.

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Baby Moose
Oh yes, you read that right. (My job is so weird sometimes.)

We were asked to work on a video project related to tagging Lake Erie fish, so co-worker and I packed up all the camera equipment we could scrounge up and took a road trip to Cleveland.

Seriously. This was our view for the entire morning. It was beautiful.

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The fish were basically caught in a net, pulled up into a water tank on the boat, tagged, measured, and thrown back into the lake. All in all, a seriously efficient operation, with pretty minimal handling, considering.

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However, it's basically spawning season. And, well, when you grab a male fish and hold him tight enough to accurately insert a tracker... there's squirting. We may have had some "there's semen on the camera lens" incidents.

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Ah, science. Never change.
Or, you know, the university union outreach fair.

I got to hang out with Andy, who's just the cutest.

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Elaine and I figured out that we each have a snake that likes us better. Andy wouldn't hold still for her, Sheldon wouldn't hold still for me, but they were perfectly content when we switched.

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Free range snake! (Eastern Fox Snake, to be exact.)

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Eventually, Andy needed a break.

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But it got cold, so, warm hands to the rescue, and I acquired a snake bracelet.

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Which very quickly turned into "wait, your torso is warmer. Let me just get up there..."

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Silly snake.
Could we please stop killing people for a bit? Seriously. What the fuck, Baltimore.

As usual, when I can't do anything about the actual source of my frustration, I do something else to try to make the world a little less horrible. This time, it's some mail to Wool-Aid. Because that is something I can do.

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Must. Knit. Faster. Maybe that'll make things better.
I keep thinking I should volunteer more, but then I'm always foiled by regular commitment requirements that don't fit into my travel schedule, or training requirements that mean taking time off from work. But! There's always Craftin' Outlaws show set-up. Because they tell you what to do, and all it takes is a willingness to carry a lot of furniture.

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I really like this group. They're fun, they're accepting, they're creative, and they're so, so very appreciative of people helping out for nothing but some swag from their vendors (and it's great swag, in case you're wondering). This was my second time volunteering for them, and I'll definitely be back for the Holiday Show.

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This show was at the High Line Car House in... German Village? Whatever's on High Street just south of the courthouse downtown. It was a really pretty space, but it ended up being really crowded when people actually came in to shop.

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But considering how long the line was, that's not really surprising. I love that people actually stand in line, not just for the free swag bags, but also just in general, for the awesome vendors.

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Also, there was a food truck. Sweet Carrot may be my new favorite food truck ever.

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Why do I do this to myself again? Oh right, cool people and fun freebies. That's why. Because I'm a sucker for free food.

I had a good time with Tara and Kim though.

Equine Affaire 2015 Equine Affaire 2015

Booth staffing is a glamorous job, let me tell you. It even comes with a break room.

Equine Affaire 2015

And I did get to pet some ponies, which is really the main reason one goes to Equine Affaire.

Equine Affaire 2015

That, and fair food. Including, this time, deep fried cookie dough.

Equine Affaire 2015

I couldn't help it. Tika made me do it. Because deep fried cookie dough. I mean, who comes up with that sort of thing?

Yes, I know. Americans. They'll try to deep fry anything. (I have to admit, deep fried buckeyes are kind of delicious. Deep fried cookie dough, not so much.)

And yes, the cardinal is still incredibly angry. I don't know why, but it amuses me every time.

Equine Affaire 2015

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