Musical vocabulary in French

I am beginning to see that when it comes to musical instruments, the French words for them are pretty easily recognizable. For example, if I look up flute, piccolo, guitar, and bouzouki, the primary instruments I can play, I get flûte, piccolo, guitare, and bouzouki! Also, I know from Le Vent du Nord song lyrics as well as the liner notes of the Symphonique album that violin translates to violon.

And that of course points me at an important musical verb: jouer!

So I can say Je joue le piccolo, la flĂ»te, la guitare, et le bouzouki. The important thing for me to note here also is which noun gets ‘le’ and which one gets ‘la’. Why piccolo gets ‘le’ and flûte gets ‘la’, damned if I know! But that’s the wacky fun of a language that does gendered nouns. I remember running into that all the time as well with German.

(Wherein that same sentence I just quoted becomes Ich spiele Piccolo, Flöte, Gitarre und der Bouzouki, according to Google Translate, but I must be dubious about that sentence slapping a ‘der’ in there when none of the other nouns get one.)

I just bought the ebook edition of the book 501 French Verbs (the print version of which userinfomaellenkleth very kindly sent me!), and it tells me ‘jouer’ is considered an essential verb for students. Certainly it is relevant to my interests! And present tense conjugation looks pretty easy. I will need to see if I can practice this one!

All of which should warn y’all that I’m going to be Frenchgeeking periodically on this blog, as I inch my way into trying to figure out more of the words of all this Quebecois trad I’ve been listening to! Again, mad props to userinfomaellenkleth for pointing me at that verb book, and I’m on the hunt for French translations of any of my favorite SF/F authors as well. If I can get hold of any French editions of anything by userinfojimbutcher, userinfomizkit, userinfokatatomic, userinfocmpriest, userinfoandpuff, or Julie Czerneda, that would be particularly awesome. :D

ETA: Fixing the spelling of jouer up above. I keep making the typo joeur, oops! Thanks to userinfollachglin for the catch!

Several awesome things make a post

I’ve been total Scattershot Girl when it comes to blogging for some time–like many, I’ve found most of my day to day online communication shunted over to Twitter and Facebook. But that said, I’ve had several recent lovely things happen that are worth sharing with you all in longer, blog-based form. So! In no particular order:

  • Finally saw The King’s Speech, since userinfospazzkat got it via Netflix. That was a very satisfying film, and I’m not at all surprised that it’s spawned so much fanfic across my various Friends lists and such. Everyone in that film did an amazing job, and I have much increased respect for Mr. Colin Firth now. Also, mad love for the scene where the speech therapist’s wife comes home and discovers the King and Queen in her dining room. :D

  • Also, as of today, finally saw Source Code with userinfosolarbird. Mad, mad props to userinfomamishka for recommending that! It’s a nice, tight little SF flick, and if you like alternate-reality type plots, try to catch this before it vanishes entirely. If you’re local to Seattle, it’s still playing at the Meridian 16 downtown, and it’s running at the Crest as well.

  • I have finally found a way I might actually read more comic books: the Dark Horse comics app for the iPad. I installed this on the grounds that a couple weekends back, Dark Horse had a sale of all its digital versions of Serenity and Firefly comics. Since I didn’t have Shepherd’s Tale yet, I thought what the hey, I’d buy ’em all. The iPad is definitely more suited to digital comics reading than the iPhone, that’s for sure, although the iPhone does actually talk to this app as well.

    Also on the iPad, I have a shiny new app called TunePal, recommended to me by Marilyn, one of the fiddle players who attends the weekly session userinfosolarbird and I have been going to. Those of you who know the Shazam app will find the way this works familiar; it basically identifies songs. But in this case, it identifies traditional Irish tunes! You can play them at the app on an actual instrument, or, it’ll identify ’em if you’re playing them in iTunes as well. Then it goes out and hits up a big ol’ database and yoinks back several guesses as to what it thinks you just played it. It’ll show you sheet music for its guesses, and it’ll play the sheet music for you as well. And, you can add tunes out of the database manually by searching for them as well. You can’t import your own tunes, which is my only complaint about the app, but it’s otherwise very, very cool. Any of my fellow music geeks out there who are interested in trad tunes, you should be checking this out.

  • Speaking of the iPhone, my coworker Joe pointed me at my new favorite iPhone game: Tiny Wings. You play a birdie with, of course, tiny tiny wings, and the object of the game is to get the birdie to fly as far as possible by tapping. It’s super-cute and only 99 cents, so check it out.

  • FOLKLIFE! Well, that deserves a whole separate post, but I’m noting it here anyway.

  • And while I am still technically on book buying hiatus, I’ve picked up a few freebies. And I will unrepentantly, UNREPENTANTLY I TELL YOU, break hiatus wide open to buy userinfoseanan_mcguire/Mira Grant’s Deadline this week. Because GIMME. Seriously.

  • My friend userinforavyngyngvar is sending me a Blu-Ray of a-ha’s last concert in Oslo! Thank you, Yngvar!

  • I am sorely behind on Doctor Who posts, and will shortly be doing a catchup post. It’s an indicator of how much I’ve not been paying attention to the net lately that I totally missed that BBC America did NOT air the second half of the two-parter on Saturday, to wit, bah. I did not however give enough of a damn about this to actually try to find and download the episode; it’ll air next week as far as I know, and I can wait that long. Especially given that we’re about to have the mid-season hiatus anyway. Just nobody spoil me, mmkay, those of you who’ve already caved and downloaded the ep anyway?

  • And because it’s always worth saying, mmmmm blackberries of my marketboys mmmmmm.

Tonight’s amusing conversation with the Handsome Marketboy

So there I am stopping by my marketboys on the way home for my evening round of tasty!fruit when I find that my favorite Handsome Marketboy has the stand all to himself. Hurray, I’m thinking, as he says hi and asks me how my day has gone.

I tell him I have to work tonight but a nice man is about to sell me blackberries and an avocado, so hey! And he asks me what I do with all the money.

Buy books, mostly, I say–because as you know, my children, some women buy purses or shoes, but me, I buy books!

Handsome Marketboy looks a bit boggled and asks, have I not heard of the library? It’s like Netflix, only for books! I explain that I want to Own All of the Books, because this man clearly has no conception of how much I read. I am, obviously, going to have to explain this to him. ;)

(After, of course, I buy All of the Blackberries. Because nom.)

Hi, my name is Anna and I’m a bookaholic

I was quite amused to see this post by the agents at the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management site about compulsive book buying and reading. ‘Cause yeah, I do love me the books.

As y’all know I’m on a book buying hiatus this month, and you’d just know that this is timed with the drop of at least FOUR new books I’m interested in picking up: new ones by userinfokatatomic, userinforachelcaine, AND userinfomizkit, not to mention the shiny new Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, about which I’ve been seeing quite a bit of buzz.

So even though I’m not actually buying any new books this month, I’m still totally adding things to the To Read list. As of the last round of adds, I’ve now got 586 things on said list, most of which I own already and some of which are intended re-reads, like the Great Amelia Peabody Re-Read I’m in the middle of right now as we speak!

Which of course brings me to the question of how fast I’ll pass the 600 mark. I turn to you, Internets, for the answer!

Continue reading “Hi, my name is Anna and I’m a bookaholic”

Can any other Nook users with Macs repro this?

Standing down from silent running for this, because I gotta admit, I’m intrigued by this problem. This is how you tell I’m a QA engineer, people: I’m intrigued by the problem to solve, rather than pissed off that a product I’ve purchased is not behaving as it should. ;)

Here’s the backstory. The other day, as y’all may remember from my (endless, I know) reports of what books I buy, I grabbed an ebook copy of Jessica Andersen’s Nightkeepers. When I pulled it down from B&N, though, I noticed that when I tried to open it up in my Mac-side eReader app, I was prompted as per usual for my name and credit card # to unlock it, and then the program immediately crashed. All subsequent attempts to open the book failed, showing me nothing but a blank page 0, and not prompting me anymore to unlock it. I noted as well that three other books purchased on the same day worked correctly.

Note also that this very same book worked absolutely correctly when I tried to open it in three other places: on my Nook, on my iPhone in the B&N app, and when I pulled it into Windows to open it on the PC version of the B&N reader program. This told me, okay, the book itself is not corrupted, it’s readable by other programs. So something about the wrapping on the book just happens to be confusing the hell out of the Mac version of the reader.

I was able to repro the problem again tonight, on three different purchases. Two of them came from the same publisher as Nightkeepers (since the first book I tried tonight was book 2 of that series, Dawnkeepers), which was Penguin. The third, Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald, was from Pyr.

Barnes and Noble is using the same eReader app, essentially, that Fictionwise uses and which Fictionwise in turn acquired from The main change that B&N has made to it, at least on the Mac side, is to make it able to load epub format books. The version I’ve got is 1.1, the latest version, and the Mac version hasn’t been updated in months. So I’m quite sure that isn’t the problem.

What HAS changed with B&N lately, though, is that they’ve started making all of their downloads be epub format, whereas before they were predominantly using PDB format. So this made me think, “hrmm, so what if I go back and re-download one of my earlier PDB purchases, see if it comes down in epub, and if I can load it correctly?” I was in fact able to do that with my ebook copy of userinfomizkit‘s Demon Hunts, which opened up all nice and shiny-like.

So at this point I’m wondering a few things. One, who does the DRM wrapping? If that’s on B&N to do, it sounds like for some reason, some subset of the DRM wrapping they’re doing is breaking their version of the eReader. Two, what might have changed lately that this problem has only recently cropped up? If it’s because of the shift over to epub files, are there potentially different types of epub files they could be working with that could be breaking the reader app for some books, but not all?

I don’t know enough about the epub format to make a really solid guess, but I thought one of its major advantages was its universality. Anybody out there able to enlighten me on potential gotchas on epubs files produced by different sources?

Now I’ve got four books all exhibiting the problem, but since I’m able to read them on my Nook and iPhone, I’m way more intrigued than I am annoyed that they’re unreadable right now on my computer. It helps as well that really, reading on my Mac is maybe 10 percent of the e-reading I do, at most, so it’s not really an inconvenience, more just an intriguing problem to solve. Yep folks, if books are involved, I can even wear the QA hat when I’m not at work!

Amazon… well, Win, actually

So back in January I bought, along with several others, a Kindle edition of Ellen Klages’ The Green Glass Sea. This was as y’all may recall because I got an Amazon gift card and I wanted to spend it on something, and userinfosutures1 had highly recommended it.

Problem was, when I actually got the ebook opened up, I found that something was broken in it. The whole damn thing was in italics, which made it very hard to read. I found this quite a bit frustrating, which is the main reason I haven’t actually tried to read the book yet. (Side note: I’m aware that the technology to hack into the book and fix it probably exists, but I haven’t mustered enough give-a-damn to actually seek it out.)

Also, just to be sure, I yoinked down the sample of the same book off of Barnes and Noble’s site, thinking that I’d doublecheck to see if their version of the book was also broken. It was. So as far as I can tell, whatever’s actually wrong with the ebook was in the version issued by the publisher.

Fast forward to this weekend. I finally thought “screw it” and bought a print copy of the book, and while it’s now five months after the fact, I thought I’d also just email Amazon’s customer support and go “hey, by the way, this particular ebook is broken”. I very specifically told them that it was okay with me if they couldn’t issue me a refund, given that it was five months after my purchase (since Amazon’s official policy is to not issue refunds on Kindle books more than a week after purchase).

But! Their customer support people gave me a refund anyway, apologized for the inconvenience, and said they’d be working on fixing the broken ebook. I gotta admit, Amazon’s had its share of fail in the ebook arena, but this? This was a win. And I gotta give ’em props for it. Go Amazon. :)

Buying yet another bookstore’s worth of books or so

Because apparently a lot of the news in my life just involves buying a boatload of books, it’s time again for What’s New on Anna’s To Read Shelves!

Picked up in ebook form to feed my hungry, hungry Nook (and eventually, I swear, I’ll get around to reading all these too):

  • Bellwether, by Connie Willis. SF. Because Fictionwise is having a sale on SF and Mystery this week!
  • The Reincarnationist, by M.J. Rose. Mystery. Also because of the sale. I actually already had a freebie ebook copy of this, but it’s an Adobe Digital Editions PDF and not terribly readable on my Nook. So I said screw it, and got a far more readable eReader version. (Also, because M.J. Rose is apparently following me on Twitter. Hi!)
  • Blown, The Alibi Club, and The Secret Agent, by Francine Mathews. Mystery/Suspense. Because I’d previously read a lot of her work both under this name and that of Stephanie Barron, and I enjoy her quite a bit.
  • A Hint of Wicked and A Touch of Scandal, by Jennifer Haymore. Historical romance. In no small part because the Smart Bitches spread the news this morning that she has been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and this is me supporting a fellow survivor by buying her work. It helps quite a bit that from what I saw in the descriptions, I should have fun with these!
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank, Curse of the Pharaohs, and Seeing a Large Cat, by Elizabeth Peters! Mystery. This is, of course, me starting to buy ebook forms of all my Amelia Peabodies. Which I will ALSO be keeping in print.
  • The Summer of You, by Kate Noble. Historical romance. Highly, highly recommended by the Smart Bitches.
  • Hell Fire, by Ann Aguirre. Urban fantasy. Because I dig her work quite a bit.
  • A River in the Sky, by Elizabeth Peters! Mystery. This is the very latest Amelia Peabody, which I will be getting around to as soon as I read (drum roll)…
  • Changes, by userinfojimbutcher! Urban fantasy. Dresden Files. By which I mean AWESOME.

To go along with that last, I did of course also finally pick up Turn Coat, the previous Dresden, in print. Decided that even though the oversized paperback still annoys me, it will still serve well enough as an archival just-in-case-I-lose-all-my-ebooks copy. In the meantime, I’ll just be reading the ebook!

This, ladies and gentlemen, brings my grand total of acquired books for the year up to 119.

Book and TV catchup

Let’s clear out the backlog of new ebook and print book purchases, shall we?

Picked up in print from the Norwescon dealers’ room:

  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, and The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks. The former is a graphic novel adaptation of a section of the latter. I’d already listened to an audio copy of the latter but didn’t have a print copy, so picking one up was required!
  • Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith. This is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, basically setting up how the Bennett sisters became such infamous zombie slayers! Okay, yeah, I couldn’t resist.
  • Chicks Dig Time Lords, by assorted folks. This is the essay collection I wanted, billing itself as being all about Doctor Who, by the women who love it. Pretty much required reading for me!
  • The Mystery of Grace, by Charles de Lint. Urban fantasy. Because apparently I still need more Charles de Lint in my life!

And, yoinked in ebook form down from Barnes and Noble:

  • Dead Matter, by userinfoantonstrout. Book 3 of the Simon Canderous series. Urban fantasy.
  • Embers, by Laura Bickle. Urban fantasy. Bonus points for the heroine on the cover actually having a head!
  • Compromised and Revealed, by Kate Noble. Historical romance. Bought on the strength of the userinfosmartbitches review of the forthcoming The Summer of You, and which I will also be buying as soon as B&N has it on their ebook store.
  • Master of None, by Sonya Bateman. Urban fantasy. Heard some nice buzz about this one and have to frankly admit that I was drawn to it because the guy on the cover kind of looks like Sawyer on Lost. (Mmm, Sawyer!)
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. SF/Horror/Humor. Bought in ebook form, and this time NOT as a replacement for the print copy, just because this book is that awesome.

This brings the total for 2010 up to 104. And it’ll be going up to 107 as soon as Barnes and Noble lets me buy userinfojimbutcher‘s Changes, Ann Aguirre’s Hell Fire, and the aforementioned Kate Noble!

And as soon as I buy the brand new Amelia Peabody, A River in the Sky, it’ll be 108. There is, indeed, a new Amelia Peabody. Y’all may remember I have expressed some disappointment in Ms. Peters’ last few efforts, but this one? This involves the Ark of the Covenant. As an Indiana Jones fangirl, I think I’m morally obligated to check this one out. Plus, I did engage in the handy “Get a free sample” B&N ebook feature, and it started out strong enough that okay, yeah, I’ll be buying this too!

Meanwhile, userinfospazzkat, userinfosolarbird, userinfomamishka and I did a lovely doubleheader of this week’s Castle and the brand new Eleventh Doctor tonight. Picoreviews: speaking of Indy, as an Indy fangirl, I am now solidly in favor of Nathan Fillion playing Indy if they ever pry the part away from Harrison. He just looked too adorable in the fedora. ;) And, Eleven? Yeah. He’s a keeper. Brand new icons will be required. And I’ll be posting more in depth about the new Doctor tomorrow, I think!

Super-quick pre-Norwescon book roundup

Since chances of me buying more books at the forthcoming Norwescon are quite high, I thought I’d better get caught up right quick on the stuff I’ve bought before then! To wit:


  • Racing the Dark, by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Fantasy.
  • Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart. Fantasy.
  • Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. YA.


  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. Lots of good buzz going around about this one.
  • Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou, all by Elizabeth Lowell. Re-buys of stuff I’d previously owned in paperback; these are Lowells I like well enough to keep, her original four Donovan brothers books. Romance/suspense.

Total books purchased for 2010: 93

Justine Larbalestier and Alaya Johnson’s books

What I wound up spending my Barnes and Noble coupon on last night was a hardback copy of Justine Larbalestier‘s Liar.

I’d seen a lot of traffic about this book on the publishing blogs a while back, pretty much because her publisher had initially opted to put a white face on the cover–and her protagonist, Micah, is not a white girl. I wanted to show my support of putting brown faces on covers if indeed the characters they are depicting are brown people, and so I felt it appropriate to buy a copy of the book.

Not to mention it sounds like a fascinating story in general, and an exercise in the ultimate in Unreliable Narrators. I will of course be reviewing it when I read it, and I encourage y’all to think about checking it out too, especially if you’re interested in YA reading.

This same issue is why I want also to check out Racing the Dark by Alaya Johnson. She guest-posted on Justine’s blog about how her father had tried to advise her to not put a brown person on her book’s cover, and how she’d found that Borders exiled her fantasy novel to the African-American section, where, sadly, most fantasy readers are not likely to bother to look for it. Racing the Dark sounds to me also like a refreshingly different fantasy novel, just because it’s not the traditional pseudo-European setting you’re likely to get, and that alone makes me want to check it out.