Ramen Salad

Here in the Midwest, pretty much everyone’s Mom makes the same “Asian ramen salad”. It’s cabbage and carrots and green onion and toasted smashed-up ramen noodles, some almonds and maybe some sunflower seeds, covered in a goopy oil-sugar-vinegar dressing.

It’s delicious, but we recently found
an upgrade. Add peanut butter, and cut out a lot of the sugar. The dressing is creamy and peanutty and … I’m going to go see if we any leftovers.

“A Winter Tide” by Ruthanna Emrys

Another entry in the woke Lovecraft pastiche. I liked this one quite a lot. It’s quite slow, but that’s part of the charm.

After “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, the government raided Innsmouth and put everyone in an internment camp. Only two survived, the main character and her brother. She’s trying to figure out how to be an adult, and how to properly learn magic, and the FBI swoops in and “asks” for her help.

I really, really liked this.

There’s a prequel short story, “The Litany of Earth”. I didn’t read it until after I had read the novel, and everything worked fine for me. If you read “The Litany of Earth”, make sure to read Ada Palmer’s response when you’ve finished.

“A Closed and Common Orbit”

This was a surprise! This is the second Wayfarers book, after The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I thought The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was OK–good even, but not super wonderful.

This book, however, I absolutely loved. I am so pleasantly surprised by how great it was. It’s a standalone story about an AI put into a robot body that can pass for human. This is very illegal. She has a relatively hard time adjusting, and the story is interwoven with another story about a little girl who escapes from a scrap harvesting factory.

I don’t really want to describe it more–just go read it.

“Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie

A little under a year ago, I hurt my lower back. I followed all the advice I could find online, expecting that it would heal in a few months. I was taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen a day, which helped reduce the pain a bit, but I was in pain every day.

The pain lessened after a few months, but I was still in pain every single day.

About two weeks ago, I bought this book “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie per some ancient Boingboing review. I read it in an evening, and did the set of stretches twice a day. They took under five minutes each time, and within a few days I was down to pain every other day or so, and two weeks in, it’s been a few days since I’ve had any back pain at all.

I don’t even notice my back! I will come back in a few months and update this post, but I really am amazed at how well this worked.

Acer R11 Chromebook

I picked up a Chromebook a week ago. It was a bit under $250, has touch, a lit keyboard, a reasonable trackpad, HDMI out, USB3, an SSD, run ChromeOS and also Android apps, and the screen can flip all the way around so it’s in tablet mode.

I’ve only played with it a little, but it’s reasonably snappy and seems to do a huge portion of what I use computers for.

I’ve been playing with Termux so I can have a reasonable Python environment, and I think I’m going to try some Django development on the device itself…

“The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe”

I absolutely loved this. It’s a 2017 Hugo nominee, and is one of the ones I read in preparation for voting.

It’s about an older woman who teaches at a woman’s college. One of her students leaves, and because the student is the daughter of one of the board members, the Vellitt Boe leaves to go bring her back.

Vellitt Boe lives in the Dreamlands, and as she travels across them we learn about her past and her environs.

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe is one of the many “woke Lovecraft pastiches” that have come out in the past few years, but I’m not complaining at all. It’s wonderful and a complete delight.

I read this at a campground in the middle of Wisconsin over Fourth of July holiday, and there’s a small shoutout to a town about 30 minutes away from where I was. Small world!

“Carson Crosses Canada”

This is a cute picture book about an older lady who travels with her dog across Canada to visit her sister. My 3 year old liked it and asked to read it multiple times. He likes the map page the best 🙂

I enjoyed having a woman without children as the main character–not because it’s emphasized, but I think that’s relatively rare in picture books. I like how they included a variety of places in Canada that look different, as many folks in the States just think of Canada as a frozen-over field of snow.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.