The Seichi Journals: Hitting a Wall

Seichi at the dog park

Sometimes we embark upon a new adventure with all the good will and skill in the world, and it just doesn’t work out. The time may be wrong, or the clash of personalities may be overwhelming, or unforeseen, insurmountable problems may arise. This is as true for adopting a pet as for marriage, employment, or any of a host of other life changes.

When last I wrote, we had adopted Seichi, a 4 year old German Shepherd Dog, likely purebred, from a local shelter. She was young and bouncy, but intelligent and eager to please. She’d just been spayed, too. For the first few days, Seichi was subdued. Then both the delightful and exasperating aspects of her personality began to emerge. Playfulness, yes. Smarts by the bushel. House manners… not so much.

Very shortly, we realized she wasn’t potty trained. Three accidents (all on carpets that now must be professionally cleaned) later, we embarked upon a puppy protocol. Seichi, to her credit, got with the program very fast and had no more accidents. Meanwhile, it was bare floors and gates all around.

The real deal-breaker came when we had to admit she was not only not cat-safe, she wasn’t cat-workable (the difference is whether the dog can learn to leave indoor cats alone). We set up our usual procedures for introducing her to the house and the cats (initially behind closed doors, then her in crate/cats loose, then baby gate barricades so they could gradually smell and see one another, then supervised cat-on-tree approaches. At first, all seemed to be going well. The various species sniffed where the other had been and regarded each other curiously from a distance. We put Shakir up on the cat tree, out of reach, and let Seichi approach. A little hissing ensued. Seichi’s response — to continue to stare, which is threatening in both cat-speak and dog-speak — clued us that she had not had previous experience living with cats. We kept an eye on them to see if they’d work it out. Several things emerged: one was that Seichi continued predatory behavior even when Shakir was giving very clear “back-off” signals (growling, yowling, hissing, pupils dilated, ears flattened). If he swiped at her with claws extended, she’d jump away, but then come right back. Worse yet was that any movement on his part would engage her prey drive.  Continue reading

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BVC Announces No Perfect Magic by Patricia Rice

No Perfect Magic by Patricia RiceNo Perfect Magic
Unexpected Magic Book 6
by Patricia Rice

Will Ives, the bastard son of the late marquess, is as strong, handsome, and smart as his brothers, but he has no interest in society or book learning. His unique gift for training highly-prized rescue dogs is all he needs. His peace is shattered the day the beautiful but eccentric Lady Aurelia demands his help in finding a child no one knows is missing. Continue reading

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Wonder Woman: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

My son and I agree that the super hero movie is now become formulaic. You need your origin narrative. Your superhero debut. Your major conflict, ideally involving saving the world. It’s as rigid a formula as the Western.

It’s about due for a shakeup IMO. We don’t get it with Wonder Woman, because DC is not where you go to for innovation, But as any romance writer will tell you, there’s a reason why formulas exist. And this movie does show why, by demonstrating the excellence of the old tropes. Her Amazon heritage and upbringing on Themiscyra, the arrival of Steve Trevor and the move to Man’s World, all there. The battle with Ares is very nice, tying together her innocence (a new and welcome addition to the mythos) and the Amazon mission which dates back to William Moulton Marston’s original conception of the character. Continue reading

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No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin


No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le GuinBVC mirrors founding member Ursula K. Le Guin’s blog. We are happy to report that selected blog posts will appear in No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters.


Barbara’s Picks, Nov./Dec. 2017, by Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal. “Le Guin here collects the best essays from her blog, a new medium for her that fits her pointedly glistening writing.”


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Blending People

(Picture from here.)

Human beings are biased towards themselves.

We then to think of the world as reflections of ourselves. We project our nature on our pets, our automobiles, our weapons, the landscape and fictional entities. Sometimes I think we are incapable of separating ourselves from the world.

But we force three qualities together that are completely separable because they are bound together in us. These qualities are sentienceconsciousness and intelligence. Continue reading

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The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”. Continue reading

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New Worlds: Status Without Wealth

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

We all know that status has its benefits. Rather a lot of them, in fact, and the lack of it is rarely a good thing.

But it also brings burdens. And when the benefits and the burdens get out of balance, being a person with status can suck in some creative new ways.

Last week I talked about the dynamics that arise when wealth is not (supposed to be) the metric of your rank. But I spoke of it mainly from the direction of people without status having lots of money, rather than from the other side — when rank is accompanied by insufficient cash.

Continue reading

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BVC member Marie Brennan joins LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS!

Book View Cafe is delighted to announce that Marie Brennan has joined the fiction-writing team for the relaunch of the game Legend of the Five Rings!

Set in the fictional, Japanese-inspired land of Rokugan, L5R has been a fixture of the card game and roleplaying game scene since 1995. Its most noteworthy feature has always been its interactive story: an ongoing narrative about the Great Clans of the Emerald Empire and the deeds of their heroes and villains. Player input via tournaments and other contests shapes the tale, deciding who will live and who will die, who will be allies and who will be foes. Marie’s first contribution to the new story is “The Rising Wave,” which introduces readers to the reclusive Dragon Clan and the challenges they face. Other fictions published so far are “Her Father’s Daughter” (introducing the elegant Crane Clan) and its sequel “The Price of War” (introducing the militaristic Lion Clan).

And that’s just the beginning! Keep an eye on Fantasy Flight Games’ website or forums to catch all the new developments as they come out.

the logo for the game LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS

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The Language Attic

by Brenda W. Clough

Our language is a treasure house. Some of its glories are well-used and well-polished, taken out and set on the table every day. But up in the attic we’ve got some thrilling long-lost terms. This is a series devoted to dragging some of the quainter antiquities out, and dusting them off for you to see.

And today’s fun word is fistiana. Oh, you have a dirty mind. I can see what you’re thinking. No, no — it had nothing whatever to do with X-rated matters. We have pure minds around here, at least at this moment. Maybe later in this series we’ll get some really colorful words. This word’s close relative is boxiana, and both words refer to boxing — pummeling people with your fists. Continue reading

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