Hey, munchkins. Hope you had a good weekend. Mine was pretty lazy, I have to admit, with a fair bit of computer game playing. I ended up buying The Sims with part of my prize money (the rest going dutifully to pay off debts), and thus losing a good chunk of Friday, Saturday and Sunday to game playing. It's a little astonishing to me how time disappears while playing computer games.
I did do other things in the last few days, thankfully. Friday night, I ended up doing some last-minute baby-sitting for a friend who really needed some time to go to a movie with her sweetie. No problems; the kid and I watched Hook and then I read him a couple of stories and sang to him until he felt sleepy. Then I curled up on the couch and read James White's latest Sector General (cool interspecies hospital in space) novel, Mind-Changer. I love those books. I think they satisfy that tiny part of me that thinks that maybe my father was right and I might have been happy as a doctor (like him, and my two sisters). Just enough medicine to remind me that I wouldn't really want to do it full-time. :-) I read some more on Saturday, Sharon Shinn's Wrapt in Crystal. Good book, but one of the most misleading covers I have ever seen. It looks like a typical fantasy novel, no? Magical crystal, mage-lady, medieval setting, etc? Instead, it's a sf detective murder mystery, with a religious conflict at the heart of it. Hard-boiled protagonist, brutal criminal, etc. Totally different genre from what the cover promises. Very strange. Even the title sounds high fantasy-ish. There is no magic in this book whatsoever. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it quite a bit -- the prose isn't exciting, but along with a decent mystery you get some nice relationship complexities (another one I think you'd like, M'ris...). I picked it up because in one of the latest Laurell K. Hamilton books she not only mentions Sharon Shinn in the acknowledgements, but she has her protagonist, Anita, reading a Sharon Shinn novel at one point in the book. Cute. Hamilton also does interesting things with relationship dynamics; I'm very curious to see where she's going to end up with this complicated love triangle plus extras that she has going. I think the next book is coming out soon...
In other news, people came over for brunch yesterday. I spent the morning cleaning and cooking, which was rather pleasantly domestic. I was so tired and ill last week that the place had gotten kind of grubby and I'd been subsisting on ramen noodles, cheese and crackers, etc. Just didn't have the energy for cooking. Yesterday I made an apple-cranberry salad (I'm not a big salad fan, so I put lots of fruit in :-), broccoli-cheddar quiche, parmesan-garlic-red onion quiche, and a blueberry crisp. The crisp didn't come out very crisp -- I was feeling poor so I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh, which added a lot of moisture to the dish (I'd been a bit afraid of that) so it took an extra half hour to bake and the top came out more like coffee cake than crisp. But that's okay. It still tasted okay, just different. Others brought lots of yummy things, including Paul's cheese grits. Yum yum. :-) I really ought to try making southern food more often; I like it when I have it. There were flowers on the table (autumn colors, because despite today's 90 degree temperatures I think in late-September you're in autumn, dammit), and good conversation; all around very pleasant. I did some academic reading in the afternoon, starting Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok, an early American novel about a white woman who marries an Indian (in a moment of insanity, when she finds out that her white fiance has been killed at sea). Interesting, but I got sleepy partway through, so put it down. Ended up making a big batch of curry (hopefully sufficient to feed me through much of the week) and watching Rush Hour on tv; I hadn't seen it before. Very funny. Jackie Chan is just an absolute doll -- funny and sweet and sexy. Hey -- I hadn't thought of it before, but it kind of continued the culture-clash theme started in Hobomok. :-) In the late evening, talked to Karina -- it was already her birthday in Australia. :-) Various chitter-chatter, fell asleep.
This morning, I finished Hobomok and some short stories and essays of Child's over curry breakfast. (Yum.) Fairly predictable in many ways, but some thought-provoking stuff in connection to the current crisis. I'm going to leave you with a quote from an essay of hers, where she's protesting a violent reaction to an Indian attack. It makes me a little sad, to see that we're still having the same argument so many years later:
"Do not suppose for a moment that I have no feeling for the white settlers of the frontier. They are in a horrible situation, surrounded by savages, whom we have exasperated by generations of wrong, and degraded by many years of whisky-guzzling. They must by protected! But let Justice be blind to color, and hold her scales with an even hand. Let an Indian who murders a white be punished in the same way that a white is punished who murders an Indian; and let both have the same fair chance for lawful trial. If their depredations and outrages make military interference necessary, let war be carried on as it is with white people who commit outrages on life or property. It is more than can be expected of human nature that the white frontier settlers, living as they do in the midst of deadly peril, should think dispassionately of the Indians, or treat them fairly. It is not in the nature of things, that they should coolly reflect upon the antecedent causes which have made the Indian what he is , or upon the present influences which invitably keep him what he is. If a white settler finds his family murdered by an Indian, he does not ask himself, 'Was this man's family murdered by a white man? and if so, is it not natural that the same revengeful feelings should be excited in his bosom which are now excited in mine?' He asks himself no such questions. He is filled with hatred to the Indians, and he shoots the first Indian he sees, without knowing whether he is at all implicated in the murder or not. Indeed, the shooting of Indians is habitual sport with white adventurers in that region."
-- "The Indians", Lydia Maria Child, The Standard, May 1870