February 2016

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Was February a better month than January? Oh man, it would almost have to be, right?

I did only spend one day home sick from work last month, so I suppose it’s a definite step in the right direction. This time it was courtesy of a cold I think I caught from my boss — my second cold in as many months, as it happens. I’d like it to be my last one, at least for a little while.

Otherwise, it was kind of an uneventful month.

I watched four movies:

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
  • Deadpool
  • Mortdecai
  • Less Than Zero

I mostly liked the first two, and mostly didn’t like the second two. Mockingjay suffers, I think, by being split in two, though I’ll certainly watch the second half when it’s available to stream.

Deadpool is violent and rude, and sometimes less clever than it thinks, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Mortdecai…well, isn’t. It suffers from being late into late-period Johnny Depp, this stage of his career where it’s all affectation and no acting. If it had come earlier, I don’t think it would be any less not-funny, but it wouldn’t suffer as much by comparison. It would just be a dull movie, not a symptom of the disease.

And Less Than Zero? Well, it probably seemed more impressive in 1987. There are some good performances in it, from Robert Downey, Jr., and James Spader, but too little of anything else. I mean, seeing ridiculous yuppies ruin their previously pampered lives through cocaine might have been compelling in the mid-’80s, but thirty years later it’s a little dull and trite.

I managed to read two books in February: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin and Updraft by Fran Wilde. Both books are very imaginative, creating rich and unique worlds, but Jemisin’s novel was definitely my favorite. It’s just a stunningly original fantasy.

I also read thirty short stories, continuing to read one every day. My favorites included:

  • “Charlotte Incorporated” by Rachael K. Jones (Lightspeed)
  • “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
  • “Starfish” by Karen Tidbeck (Lightspeed)
  • “Between Dragons and Their Wrath” by An Owomoyela and Rachel Swirsky (Clarkesworld)
  • “Vulcanization” by Nisi Shawl (Nightmare)
  • “A Partial List of Lists I Have Lost Over Time” by Sunil Patel (Asimov’s)
  • “And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead” by Brooke Bollander (Lightspeed)
  • “Coming of the Light” by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu) (Clarkesworld)
  • “So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld)
  • “Midnight Hour” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny)
  • “Our Lady of the Open Road” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s)
  • “The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball” by Genevieve Valentine (Lightspeed
  • “Alchemy and Ice” by Charlotte Nash (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine)

As with last month, the first five six stories are from 2016, while the rest are from earlier, in this case mostly 2015.

And finally, like always, I listened to some music. Here’s my monthly mix:

You’ll notice there’s a song from Hamilton in there. I finally listened to the internet and listened to Hamilton. It really is quite good. Good on you, internet.

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