Friday, April 28, 2006

If it's Friday - it must be Book Review Day

This was a good week for books. I blazed through three of them and, with the exception of a few minor flaws, all of them were really enjoyable. That almost never happens!

First up is “The Hidden Stars” by Madeline Howard. This book combines everything I love about fantasy: a richly detailed background world, interesting characters and best of all, a well done “ancient tales told around the fire” voice. The latter is VERY hard to pull off without sounding silly, but Howard does a great job with it. I could feel strong elements of both Tolkien and Andre Norton in this book and yet it was unique to itself and not a rip-off in any way. I agree with the Amazon reviewers who said that some of the characters were perhaps too one-dimensional, but I feel that mostly relates to the secondary characters. Sinderian, Faolein and Prince Ruan all have inner demons to struggle with as well as the problems caused by trying to survive in a sorcerous, war-torn realm.

I only have two criticisms. I don’t care much for the shifting viewpoints - I prefer to follow one or at most two viewpoints in a novel, but that’s more of a personal preference. Secondly, there was no resolution or end to this book. It’s quite obviously meant to be the first in a series (there’s even an excerpt from book #2 at the back), but I’m a little concerned about whether the rest of the series will actually be published. Amazon certainly doesn’t have a listing for it yet and that never bodes well. Plus, I understand that it’s all about the “series” nowadays, but I still think each individual book should be able to stand on its own and be a complete story. So, on the whole, I recommend this, but you might want to wait until we see if the sequel is actually going to get published or not.

From high fantasy, I switched over to urban fantasy with “Nightlife”by Rob Thurman. I thought this book had an interesting concept and a lot of potential, but I’m not sure it completely lived up to said potential. I like the whole “what would you do if you were half a monster” idea, but the end result is a little too “teenage guy” for me. Of course, since the main characters ARE teenage guys, that argues well for the author’s ability to be authentic to the characters. I felt a lot of “Buffy-verse” influence in this book and I also had trouble buying that Niko, the fully human brother, was so much more of a bad-ass than his younger brother Cal AND all of the various monsters.

However, the monsters ARE interesting and unusual. They’re also different from the recent market-overload of werewolves and vampires (although the description of the Auphe reminds me of the creepy vampire in the old “Nosferatu” movie.) The troll in particular is very well done. All in all, I rather enjoyed this book despite its flaws.

And lastly, I went back to high fantasy with “The Shining City” by Kate Forsyth. I’ve been enjoying her “Witches of Eileanan” series for a long time. The first series finished with "The Fathomless Caves" and this book is the second installment of the second series. Forsyth has moved on to follow the adventures of the children of the original characters and has added a new character in Rhiannon, the wild satyricorn girl who tames a flying horse.

This story takes place (as do all the other books) in the world of Eileanan - a well done background world that is richly peopled with different magical races. In addition, the author also gives the reader the intrigue of a royal court and the tragedy of doomed romances. One thing Forsyth absolutely excels at is maintaining tension and a fast pace. Her books are characterized by the reader’s inability to “find a good stopping place” to put the book down for the night. I don’t suggest them as bedtime reading because you WILL be up all night trying to find out what will happen at Rhiannon’s trial and whether she’ll survive or not.

I will warn you that Forsyth does have a (to some) disturbing tendency to kill off main characters when she’s through with them – she proved this quite well in the first series. In addition, I personally find the “brogue” that most of the characters speak in to be rather wearying after a while. There’s a little too much use of “ye ken” and “happen ye will” and “how are ye yourself” for my taste. Lastly, I found in this particular book that the characters seemed a little too ready to overlook the obvious. Having followed them all through about eight or nine books now, I have a good sense that none of them are fools (in addition to which, there are prophetic dreams) and yet there’s a lot that seems to pass beneath the notice of these very intelligent, powerful people. That didn’t ring quite true to me. But, I do always have to find little things to complain about (it’s so fun to be a perfectionist!) so most people probably won’t be bothered by this. I really do highly recommend all of Forsyth’s books and this one is no exception.

That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a great weekend!


The Adventures of BreakupGirl!

Or, as in my case, DivorceGirl! I just thought this was a great way to support yourself or a friend through any kind of break up. Go forth and enjoy:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ode to Memes

A meme away A meme away Weeeeeooooweeeeooo A meme um um away.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight…

Shut up – it’s a REAL song.

Gee, I hope “meme” is pronounced “meem” the way I think it is and not “mimi” or "mem" or the above song pun is going to be completely wasted…

Stuff I love (other than the obvious kid, family, God, etc.):

1. Creating awesome new jewelry designs. To wit:

2. Creating an awesome new jewelry design that I get paid for. Hopefully one of the above...

3. A good book – I mean REALLY good. Un-put-downable good.

4. Eddie Izzard’s comedy. “Cake or death?” “Cake, please.” “Ciao!”

5. New clothes.

6. New shoes.

7. Butterflies.

8. Seashells. I was crazy for seashells as a kid. And I don’t just mean the kind that you can pick up off the beach (except that you can’t any more because everything is a marine sanctuary – hey, hermit crabs need homes, too. Yet I find it kind of sad that future generations (i.e. MY kid) will not have the simple joy of finding and collecting sea shells and taking them home. Ditto for the outlawing of fireworks. Hate you fireworks outlawers! Boo! Hiss!) But anyway, I have lots of cool shells like a full sized nautilus, another nautilus cut in half so you can see all the chambers, cowries, conches and others that I used to know the name of but don’t any more because apparently 40 years old = brain damage. My mom still has a basket of all my shells sitting on the floor in her guest bathroom. Hi mom!

9. The way the ocean looks on a stormy day – all iron gray and waves pounding and stuff.

10. Shark Week – because, really, who can’t get enough of giant toothed monsters that are definitely going to EAT YOU ALIVE the next time you stick a toe in the ocean.

11. 5 PM on Friday.

12. Not having anyone sucking up all the joy and happiness in my house with his angry, obnoxious presence.

13. Feeling peaceful.

14. Being free to do (or not do) whatever I want whenever I want in my own house without someone else bitching about it and telling me why MY way makes me such a freak and loser.

15. Writing. Although I should probably not inflict it on the public, but hey, I didn’t INVENT blogging. I just follow along with the trends like the good little sheep I am. Baaa!

16. “Ryanisms” – because the kid can be darned funny. Like when I found him attempting to re-program the photo printer which, with my technology issues, would be impossible to fix or return to its previous settings (whatever the heck they happen to be) and I attempted to explain why that was a bad idea and his response was “I was not aware of that, Mommy.” Or this morning when I did a lane change and passed this really slow car that had been in front of us and from the back seat I hear “Muy awesome! You beat that car, Mom! You are the coolest mom EVER!” I love that kid!

Stuff I hate (again, other than the obvious war, famine, cancer, etc.):

1. Cigarette smoke. I mean, really. If smoking is supposed to kill you, could all the smokers who blow smoke on my nice clean clothes and my clean hair and my food and ruin the way the air actually smells clean after a rain shower just get on with dying already so I can have all my clean stuff back and stop smelling your disgusting smoke?

2. The checkout girl at Panda Express who COUGHED on her hands and then tried to hand me back my change that she was holding and had coughed all over. Um, here, just drop it into my wallet and I’ll disinfect it later, thank you.

3. People who cuss in front of my kid. Yeah? Well, fuck you, too. Hey, Jenie, lookee…I said a bad word. In public! I know you’re relieved.

4. Co-workers who take a jillion smoke breaks a day and expect everyone to just deal with it and then track and report the amount of time that other employees spend in the bathroom. Because yeah, your drug addiction outranks a necessary bodily function any day. Not.

5. Custodial staff who jam toilet paper into the dispensers so firmly that it is IMPOSSIBLE to extract without using both hands and tearing off a square at a time. It’s called a ROLL for a REASON, people. It’s supposed to ROLL. And the person occupying the stall should get to decide how much paper she (or he) might need at any given time.

6. Building engineers who design a company bathroom with only three stalls. Two of which are next to each other and the other one of which is the handicapped stall so therefore, there’s no option to have a “courtesy stall buffer” between occupants. For privacy, one must use the handicapped stall which A. is not fair to the ACTUAL handicapped people who may need it and 2. has the toilet raised up so high that anyone who doesn’t have giraffe legs is left with their feet dangling a few inches off the floor which is NOT the optimum position for performing necessary functions.

I’m just sayin’…

7. Building engineers who put self-flushing toilets in the aforementioned itty bitty bathroom thus removing the option of the “courtesy flush” unless one wishes to perform the complicated ritual required for the self-flushing toilets to actually self-flush which is kind of not possible to do in the middle of necessary functions if you know what I mean. And I think you do. Plus, these stupid things never work right, anyway. One of them flushes itself incessantly whether you’re still sitting on it or not which is disconcerting unless maybe it was SUPPOSED to be a bidet? The other one WON’T flush no matter what you do which makes you feel guilty for walking way (except what ELSE are you supposed to DO?) and is disconcerting (to say the least) for the next occupant.

8. People who have loads of sick and vacation time saved up and yet still come to work deathly ill with whatever plague is currently making the rounds and pass their germs on to others who have NO vacation or sick time left on account of having to use it all for sick kids, lawyer meetings, divorce court, more lawyer meetings and actual vacation.

Disclaimer: Any mention of work, co-workers or employees is merely hypothetical and not meant to refer to any actually place of workage at which I may or may not work.

9. The snails who ate all my impatiens while I was on vacation.

10. Waterproof mascara that isn’t.

11. My current digital camera.

12. The way my windshield wipers seem to need replacing every other month.

13. The annoying way the windshield wipers sound because I don’t have the time, money or energy to deal with replacing them right now. Besides, didn’t anyone ever tell you “it never rains in Southern California…”? So, really, what’s the point of windshield wipers?

14. Men who tell you they are leaving you because the two of you have different values when what they really mean is that their values consist of lying, cheating and just generally being asshats and also that they found someone thinner (and stupider) who was willing to bang them.

Stuff I have a love-hate relationship with.

1. Donuts. You suck me in with your fried-in-fat-sugary-coated-goodness and then you make my pants too tight. Damn you!

2. Beads. You suck me in with your sparkling loveliness and then my electricity gets shut off because I spent all my money on beads. Um, not really, dad! Hi!

3. Trendy clothes. Because you’re SO CUTE. And also REALLY IN RIGHT NOW. But I can’t afford you and you’ll be out of style by the time I get you home from the store anyway.

4. Trendy shoes. See #3 above.

5. Bargains. Because I do so love a bargain. And yet, I’m a price snob (i.e. if the price seems “too good to be true” I immediately assume I’m being scammed and walk away and then later regret that I missed out on “that great bargain”) However, I’m working on this because I just bought some stuff from Payless Shoes (trendy shoes for $17.99! a bargain! if they don’t fall apart in a week!) in the hopes that it’s okay to indulge in “trendy” if it costs you less than $20.00. And also, who knew they had such cute shoes? Not me, apparently.

6. “All My Children” Hey, I love me some Tad Martin, but if I hear Kendall call her pregnancy pillow “this baby” one more time I’m going to puke. Also, Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery)? Should be seen (preferably sans shirt) and not heard. And Dixie? Girl, what is up with your HAIR?

7. Diet Coke. Because you’re calorie free but my mother says you are causing me brain damage with your aspartame.

8. Dr. Pepper. Because (shhhh!) you taste better than Diet Coke (which I thought was impossible) but you have CALORIES. If I drink you, I cannot have dessert. And since I am getting divorced – dessert is NOT optional. And Diet Dr. Pepper is SOOO not an option. It tastes like stinky feet.

9. Chocolate. See #1 Donuts above.

10. Divorce. Because I’m so much happier now that he’s gone…and I feel so guilty about that.

Which leads me to my list of “things I do now that I’m (almost) divorced that I didn’t do before.”

1. Work out.

2. Wear jeans and look damn good in them.

3. Wear high heels and look damn good in them. It’s amazing how much easier it is to walk on stilts when you’ve dropped 40 or so pounds. Love you, Anne Klein shoes-of-death!

4. Wear eye makeup. Okay, I wore it on occasion before the separation, but very, very rarely. And yet, I used to LOVE eye makeup (that whole 80’s thing, remember?) I just got to where I couldn’t be bothered with it any more. But, I hear blue eyeshadow is making a comeback! What’s next? Mousse with gold glitter in it (don’t ask…it was the 80’s).

5. ________________ (private)

6. ________________ (private)

7. Indulge in my hobbies and watch TV without feeling guilty.

8. Go to movies by myself on Friday nights. I’ve always done this on the weekends or on weekdays off from work (I kinda enjoy that whole “theater all to myself feeling”) but never thought I could do it on “date night.” Not only can I do it, but it’s nice to pick a movie I actually want to SEE (and that will not give me nightmares due to blood and guts and explosions). Plus, I don’t have to put up with the sighing and fidgeting from the dork who didn’t want to see said movie.

9. Notice hot guys. Wonder if they’re married or not, how old they are and whether they can sit through a chick flick without fidgeting.

10. Figure out technology stuff by myself.

11. Find that it’s actually easier to figure it out myself than to go through someone who thought he was an expert but who, I’m finding, actually didn’t know what the heck he was doing.

12. Stand up for myself.

13. Think about getting back into scuba diving. (note to self: get higher paying job so I can afford to dive in WARM water).

And that’s it for this week’s “Ode to Memes”

A meme away A meme away Weeeeeeooooweeeeooo A meme um um away
Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village, the quiet village
The lion sleeps tonight

A meme away A meme away Weeeeeooooweeeeooo A meme um um away

Hush my darling, don't fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight
Hush my darling, don't fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

And, now that I've outed myself as the biggest dork of all time...

Take care, everyone!


Monday, April 24, 2006

The Flame Bracelet Lives...

...except I cannot take a decent picture of it to save my life. Sigh.

The good news is that I have learned how to use my digital camera AND how to take the flash card (formerly known as the “little card thingy”) out of it. And also, guess what? There’s a slot in the side of my photo printer (hey, I have a photo printer – who knew?) that the flash card fits into perfectly and then the computer automatically ASKS YOU if you want to download the pictures from the card onto the computer. So, I have pictures. And they made it to the computer from the camera. This is BIG news.

Yay, me.

In fact, here are a couple more butterfly pictures from my vacation:

According to the exhibit brochure, these are "Common Buckeye" butterflies. However, with their orange and purple spots, I think they're anything but common-looking. And these two were so polite to sit still and pose for me (unlike the giant swallowtail butterflies which were willing to sit on my hand until I whipped out the camera and then flew away and I never did get anything but a blur of them).

But, as usual, I digress.

The bad news is that, miraculously good butterfly pictures notwithstanding, this camera is a piece of crap that will NOT take a decent close-up picture no matter what I do. Obviously this calls for desperate measures. I must buy a new camera.

Yes, that’s right. I, the most technologically challenged person on the planet must venture out of the house (which is frightening in and of itself) and go to technology stores and chat up teenage geeks (why does this suddenly feel like high school again?) and try to somehow get myself a camera that will take close-up, detailed shots but that will not break the bank. Because my bank is SMALL, people. As in miniscule. Microscopic. I could even go as far as calling it nonexistent (see previous entries about new shoes and massive vacation shopping spree).

Why can’t Best Buy have a BOGO sale? Oh, right. Because it’s run by geeks instead of sorority girls.

Anyway, here are the best shots that came from my weekend-long bracelet photo shoot:

And yeah, I know, they’re blurry. Guess my longed-for invitation to be a guest photog on ANTM will not be forthcoming any time soon.

I’m going to go have a headache now. How was y’all’s weekend?


Friday, April 21, 2006

Bohemia, Butterflies and Books

Although not necessarily in that order.

But first, a little housekeeping. I’ve made some site updates including edits to the home page and moving some items that have sold (thanks, Linnea!) to the gallery. Sadly, no new items to post yet. Well, there are new things, but I just can’t seem to get the time to do the photography…GRRR! Hopefully, with some wonderful tips from my friend, Jenie, I might make some progress this weekend. But don’t hold your breath. Technology and I do NOT get along. Anyway, all the changes I’ve made can of course be seen at Silver Parrot Designs.

Also, there’s been a lot of interest in my bead embroidery work recently (shut up, there has, TOO!) so here’s a link directly to that page. And, just because I'm feeling all full of myself today, here's a picture of my favorite pair that I've made so far:

Okay, on to the books. I’ll do the clunkers first so I can end on a positive note.

Last month, I reviewed Laurie R. King’s
“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” and I quite enjoyed her take on the famous Sherlock Holmes and his new protégé, Mary Russell. So, I decided to pick up
“O Jerusalem”
- the next book in the series. Well, it was written and published as the fourth or so book, but chronologically, it takes place during an interlude in “Beekeeper.”

Sadly, it was nowhere as interesting or quick-paced as the first book. In fact, trudging through it is one of the reasons the book reviews have been scarce lately because it was blocking me from getting to the next book in my “to read” pile. However, I’m not sure this is due to inherent flaws in the novel. I think it’s more likely that I just found this particular subject matter to not be nearly as engaging.

The book takes place in the Holy Land not too long after the events of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia.” Which, by the way, if you’ve never seen it? One of the greatest movies of all time. Seriously. Netflix, people. How many times do I have to say it?

And if you HAVE seen it, you’ll understand me when I say “I am a river to my people.”

Because, dude, I so totally am.

Anywho…barring my love for that particular movie, I have no real interest in that area or period of history. And then there’s all the trudging back and forth in the desert and Wadi this and monastery that and it’s hot and dirty and there are BUGS and frankly I was just bored, bored, bored. Although I suppose that says something positive for the author’s descriptive abilities because I actually felt hot and dirty and tired and like I had bugs in my hair while I was reading the book.

Yet, those things? So not making me enjoy the reading experience. I want the book that makes me feel like I’ve just come out of the spa and I’m a size 4 and tan and wearing fabulous designer clothes and just generally looking smoking hot. Where’s THAT book, I ask you? Oh wait, that's why I like Mary Janice Davidson's "Vampire Queen" series LOL!

Still, I haven’t given up on the Russell series. The next book gets Holmes and Russell back in jolly old England where they belong and I have high hopes for it. It’s already in the reading pile!

Then, there’s the big pit of suckage that is “Dates from Hell.” This is a collection of four short stories by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, and Lori Handeland. I was surpised at how bad these were because I love Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong’s other work and so I expected at least two out of the four stories to be worthwhile. I never heard of the other two writers so didn’t have as much in the way of expectations for them. Oh, and by the way, Ms. Sands? It’s spelled L-I-N-D-S-A-Y not Lynsay. And I should know. I’m a descendant of the Lindsay clan from Scotland. It’s true. I have the plaid to prove it so back off! And get your name changed. It’s embarrassing.

The first story from Kim Harrison gives the reader a background look at the character of Ivy Tamwood, the not-dead-yet vampire from Harrison’s “Dead Witch Walking” series. And frankly, I like Ivy a whole lot less now. She’s more twisted than I had realized. And the kind of stuff that makes her go weak in the knees? Kinda sick. Plus, I thought it was poorly plotted. There just wasn’t enough THERE to really make a story. It was just background on the character.

I’d tell you what I hated about Ms. Sands story (besides her stupid name) but honestly, I don’t remember it. And that about sums it up.

Kelley Armstrong introduces two new characters in her story, but uses the same background world as her “Women of the Otherworld” books. This story was probably the best of the four, but there was a lot of wandering from room to room in a museum (see annoyance above about wandering the desert and frankly, wandering in general) and a lot of the typical Romance-genre-required overdoing of the anatomical detail stuff which I’ve probably mentioned before I’m not so keen about.

Mystery, people! Romance! Great kissing! What happened to this stuff? If I wanted porn, I know where that section is at the video store. Not that I've ever been IN that's just hard not to miss the cordoned off/secret roomness of it all and the furtive, guilty looks of the people (guys) who go in there.

Hey! When you've been standing in the video store line for an hour because the be-pimpled teenage geek at the counter has huffed away a few too many brain cells to be able to operate the cash register in a timely fashion you have to find SOMETHING to do. And I like to glare at the pervs heading for the porn section. I did actually make someone leave without getting a movie once. That was a highlight. But, eventually, the game got old. And then Netflix came into my life. LOVE you, Netflix.

Still, at least Armstrong's story had a beginning, middle and end and a resolution of the plot.

Lori Handeland’s story was just silly. I’ve never gotten the romance of falling into overwhelming passion with some dude you just met literally two seconds before. I mean, really. I get that you can notice someone is hot in that amount of time but to go from 0 to doing the nasty in an alley two seconds later (maybe three if complicated lingerie is involved)? I believe there’s usually money involved in that type of transaction. Oh, and the whole incubus thing? Not well done. If you want a better book on that subject, check out Katie McAlister’s “Aisling Grey, Guardian” novels.

So, on the whole? This book? Waste of a cute title.

And now to the positive.

As much as I am uninterested in the Holy Land at the turn of the century, I am IN LOVE with Europe during the Napoleonic era. I mean, look what you get. Jane Austen, empire waist dresses, great battles, "Horatio Hornblower" (Hi! LOVE you, Ioan Gruffudd...for YOU I would go from 0 to nasty in two!), passion, romance, men with swords, swashes being buckled, etc.

So, I was thrilled to learn that Naomi Novik’s debut novel, “His Majesty’s Dragon” takes place during that period and is a wonderful combination of “Horatio Hornblower” and Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” novels. In fact, I can truthfully say I don’t think dragons have been so skillfully handled by an author other than McCaffrey until this book came out.

And, in a stunning move of marketing genius, the publisher has decided to try the “innovative” tactic of releasing three books in this series IN PAPERBACK and ONLY A MONTH APART! Yes, folks, this book came out at the end of March and book #2 is due on April 25th. That’s NEXT WEEK! The third book is due May 30th.

Genius, I say. How DO they come up with these things? By the way, everyone IS getting the sarcasm here, right? Okay, just checking.

Anyway, here’s my take on how this happened.

Fade in.

Interior of a conference room in some fancy-schmancy high-rise New York publishing building. It’s 2 AM. The table is covered with empty coffee cups, crushed soda cans, takeout containers and crumpled pieces of paper. Four desperate marketing executives sit in a circle on the floor with their jackets off, shirt sleeves rolled up and ties askew. The camera begins panning in a “That 70’s Show”, Eric Foreman’s basement, you know what this scene is supposed to be even though there’s no smoke and you don’t see anything being passed around kinda way.

ME1 (marketing exec #1): Dude, we are so hosed if this book doesn’t sell.

ME2: Dude.

ME3: You are so totally right, dude. And some idiot in acquisitions already bought two more books from this totally unknown, unproven writer.

ME4: Stop giggling. Does anyone else hear high-pitched giggling coming from the microwave in the break room?

ME1: Dude, you are so baked

ME4: Dude, I know. But what about the giggling?

ME3: I mean, how are we supposed to market THREE WHOLE BOOKS.

ME2: Tthhhhpfpffff inhaling noise. I know. It will take YEARS. And the universe is entropying, too. All that time. Entropy. Down the tubes. Dude.

ME4: Oh. My. God. Do you HEAR it? Gnomes. There are gnomes giggling in the microwave.

ME1: Dude, shut up. I’m having an idea. What if it didn’t take so long?

ME2: What if what didn’t take so long?

ME1: Between books.

ME3: You mean if they came out closer together?

ME4: Gnomes. Giggling. In the microwave. Shhh…don’t let them know we’re here.

ME1: Dude, you are so totally cut off right now. And stop hiding under the table. And yeah, what if the books came out closer together.

ME2: But…but…but…that’s never been done before. Think of the consequences.

ME3: Yeah. Dudes, I think the world might totally spin off its axis.

ME1: Actually, it has been done before. In the 70’s. My grandfather told me about it. Books used to come out in paperback and only three to six months apart. Dude, it was like totally awesome because people could actually REMEMBER what they’d read in the FIRST BOOK by the time the second book came out. Plus, with the whole paperback thing? People could actually afford to BUY all three books. Without a coupon.

ME2: Hey, yeah. Now that you mention it, I remember learning about that in my “Archaeology of Publishing” class at Over-priced Pretentious East Coast University.

ME4: Make it stop. Whimper. Hide me. Gnomes coming.

ME1, ME2, ME3: Dude, SHUT UP!

ME1: Yeah, it was great. Then this dude Robert Jordan came along and fucked everything up.

ME3: Yeah, fuck Robert Jordan.

ME2: Who’s Robert Jordan?

ME4: I know! He’s a gnome. He’s the gnome leader. And he’s giggling and he’s coming to get us all!

Brief interlude while ME1, ME2 and ME3 tackle ME4, wrestle him to the ground, tie him up with phone cord and stuff a gag in his mouth.

ME1: Okay, where were we? Oh yeah. Publish the books closer together. Whaddaya think?

ME2: Could work. And we market it as this genius new idea. No one will know. Hardly anyone else took that class I was in except a few football players who took it as a “mick” and most of them have brain damage from repeated concussions and probably never really learned to read anyway because of the whole football-trumps-grades thing.

ME3: Take THAT, Robert Jordan and your umpty-zillion novels of neverending spewage of crap!

ME1: Besides, the boss is in the Bahamas until at least July so by the time he finds out about it, it’ll be too late to stop it.

ME2: And if the idea does tank, we’ll just blame HIM!

All three turn and look at ME4 who’s slowly rocking in place with his eyes closed and mumbling something around the gag about the gnome king.

Fade out.

Dude. You SO know it’s true. And you should’ve seen the advance release notice I got on this book in my e-mail from the publisher wherein they actually CONGRATULATE themselves for having such a bold and innovative idea. Publish books closer together and in paperback. Whew! Took a think tank to come up with that one, I tell ya! What’s next? Can the cure for the common cold be far behind?

Well, anyway. That’s it for the books this week.

In other news…

Vacation rocked. Sun. Swimming. Shopping. New shoes. Zoo. Kid’s Museum. More shoes. Food. Frou frou drinks. Baby Ducks. Butterflies. Picture taking. Boat rides. Yadda yadda yadda.

Did I mention the shoes? I may have to take some pictures now that I know how to download things from my camera to the computer like a real adult techno-savvy person. Because the Anne Klein sandals? To. Die. For.

Seriously. I will probably break my neck in the damn things, but I will die a happy woman. With hot shoes.

And just to prove that I can SO download pictures all by myself (uh, thank you camera schmo at Sav-On for helping the crazy and dumb blonde lady) here’s a butterfly picture from the butterfly exhibit at the Living Desert Zoo (which, by the way, if you EVER have a chance to see it, you MUST check it out. It was amazing!) According to the brochure, these are “Julias.” I don’t know why, but that’s what it says in the little booklet. So, um, anyway, here’s the picture:

Because butterflies? SO pretty.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Watch Your Language, Young Lady!

Hey, folks! Back from vacation and I promise a full blog entry AND book review coming tomorrow, but in the meantime, have fun with this li’l tidbit:

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

10% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

5% Dixie

0% Midwestern

Although, I dispute the accuracy of one of their questions regarding “what do you call an easy class?” Because they left out the most obvious term. An easy class is, of course, a “mick.” As in “mickey.” As in “Mickey Mouse.” Because it’s so easy it’s like going to Disneyland.

For an example of said “mick class” see “Japanese Tea Drinking Ceremony” at UCLA. Yep, you spend an entire quarter just learning the ceremony and then perform it for your final exam. And for this, your parents spend a massive amount of money and you get three official elective credits that can be applied towards your base requirements.

Or at least that’s how it was back in the dark ages (i.e. the 80’s) when I went to school there. And no, I never took the class myself, but I know plenty of people *cough* football players *cough cough* Kappas *cough cough cough* who did. It was VERY popular for Spring Quarter (the traditional “I’m taking all ‘mick classes' so I can spend most of my time at the beach or partying quarter). Because really, Winter Quarter with all the temperatures below 80 degrees and maybe some rain and stuff? That’s when you take the 16 units of REAL classes. Spring is for 8-12 units of M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.

Oh shut up…you know you did it, too.

And as long as I’m posting fun tidbits, let me introduce you to my new favorite addiction: Crazy Aunt Purl.

Not only does she crack me up, but she’s as crazy about knitting as I am about beads AND she’s also going through the same life circumstances as I am and yet manages to write a much funnier, more interesting blog about them. In fact, this entry says exactly what *I* would say about *my* impending divorce if I had any talent as a writer instead of just being a schmo who posts boring meanderings about her life on the internet.

And yeah, it’s true, he was just a guy I met one day.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Silver Parrot does a book review (finally) and takes a much needed vacation!

Okay, okay, I’ll stop sulking about UCLA losing to Florida in the NCAA championship game. But, still, you know, 2nd place…not too shabby. And hey, we beat LSU in the Final Four so, for the “person” who left the pro-LSU comment on an earlier post – how d’you like us now, eh?

Now, on to more important matters. Like the fact that I’m going on vacation. That’s right, I said it, vay-cay-SHUN, baby! And I’m going to get tan and drink frou-frou drinks to my heart’s content. Because the last few months have been hell on a stick and I deserve a break! So, before I go, and because I’ve been sadly lacking in this area for the last couple of weeks, here’s a teeny tiny book review to keep you busy until I get back.

Some time ago, I read the first book, “Mystic and Rider,” of Sharon Shinn’s new “Gillengaria” series. It was great. REALLY great. Had all the things I like in a book: interesting characters, good love story (without the overly-intimate anatomical details that I so detest), rich and varied world-crafting including mystery, political intrigue, religious persecution, etc. And I’m happy to say that the second book in the series, "The Thirteenth House,” lives up to the expectations set by the first book.

This second installment in the series focuses more closely on Kirra Danalustrous, a character from the first novel. Other characters make appearances but do not play as much of a primary role as they did in book one (i.e. Tayse and Senneth). We learn a little bit more about the mysterious princess, Amalie and her even more mysterious stepmother, Valri (although still not enough, dammit!). Love triangles, assassination attempts and an impending civil war all combine to provide action galore.

If I had a tiny complaint (and, as a card-carrying perfectionist, you know I always have to have at least ONE complaint), it’s that the ending of this book isn’t as satisfying as I would’ve liked. While it can definitely stand on its own, it’s quite clearly meant to be a bridge between the first book and whatever comes next. I would have liked to see a few more of the hinted-at “mysteries” of book one resolved here. There would have been PLENTY of material left over for the next book, believe me.

Also, I found the identity of the villain to be a bit obvious and yet, that could’ve still been effective if there had been a bit more resolution to that particular storyline. There was never a big confrontation scene between Kirra and the villain and I felt a bit let down by that. Again, maybe it’s being saved for the next book, but that seems an awfully long way away to have to wait for it. It should’ve been in THIS book, IMO.


Okay, evilness took over my brain there for a minute so...if anyone read that last bit that I just thought better of and edited, sorry. And if you didn't read it, well, then this conversation never took place.


KJ - please pass the suntan lotion and could someone refresh my Cosmo, please?