Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Review + More on Books

I survived the incredibly over-booked, crazy-ass weekend! And yeah, okay, so I had to sleep most of yesterday to make up for the preceeding three days, but it was worth it!

Started out Thursday night with an amazing dinner at Scott's Seafood. Lobster bisque...I have died and gone to heaven! Then it was on to the Orange County Performing Arts Center to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers perform.

Now, I wasn't sure what to expect...not really being a fan of banjo or bluegrass music (I mostly bought the tickets because I figured he'd be funny and it would be something new to try) and of the BEST shows I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, if this tour comes through your town, you have to go. Martin was hilarious as expected, but it was the sheer level of musicianship displayed by not only him, but every member of the band that just blew me away. The fiddle player alone could have had his own show. This tour is to promote the second album he's done with this group - the first one won a Grammy already. This new album is called "Rare Bird Alert" as a tie-in to a movie he's got coming out this October about competitive bird watching. I highly recommend the songs "Yellowback Fly" and "Atheists Don't Have No Songs." Plus, he's re-done his famous #1 hit, "King Tut", on the banjo so that was fun, too.

So, that was Thursday night. Then it was up at a ridiculous hour the next morning to get the kid to the drop-off point for his YMCA trip to California Adventure. After which I went rocket shopping and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the hair salon.

I am now lighter by about 4-5" of hair and I said buh-bye to the blonde. The new color is sort of a caramel brown with some red and copper highlights. I'm still getting used to it, but other people seem to think it looks good (although who would really say "hey, your new hair cut/color sucks!" to your face, right?)

Saturday morning was up early again to meet the rest of the Cub Scout group to head off to Azusa (over an hour away which is disturbingly far outside the Orange Curtain for my tastes) to launch rockets. Despite managing to get yelled at (publicly over the loudspeaker) TWICE, I managed to get Ryan two successful rocket launches. And if our rocket wasn't the biggest or the fanciest, well, it went up in the sky, deployed its parachute and landed safely (avoiding trees) both times so I'm going to call that a success. As usual, I was the only mom there with all the dads so my social anxiety was in full flame, but also as usual, I stuffed it into a box until I could get home and freak out about it later.

I spent Sunday recovering and playing with my Bead Soup. A bracelet and earrings have been completed, but I still have materials left over so I've got to try to come up with at least one more design.

That's it for the weekend.

I've received a number of e-mails regarding the book reviews so I'm excited that there are some fellow readers out there. I was answering them one by one and then it occurred to me, I could just post the answers here.

Duh (you can take the blonde out of the hair, but not, apparently, out of the brain).

So, for those who asked for recommendations about fantasy and sci-fi books/authors, here's a quick and dirty list (although there's WAY more, of course):

For pure fantasy, my favorites are Andre Norton's "Witch World" series and Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" series. My ultimate favorite is Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Darkover" series, but it crosses the line a bit into sci-fi in some of the books. If you like King Arthur...then "Mists of Avalon" (also by Bradley) is AMAZING!

(note: if you really get into MZB, you can check out her website. Although she's passed away, while she was alive, she edited anthologies of short fantasy stories and discovered/launched the careers of many of the top authors in the field today)

For urban fantasy (set in "our" world and time, but with supernatural elements), the "Harry Dresden, Wizard" series by Jim Butcher is my very favorite, but Kelley Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs (she also writes EXCELLENT straight fantasy) and Rachel Caine (I like both the "Weather Warden" series AND the "Morganville Vampires" series even though it is technically supposed to be for teenagers) are all terrific.

For space opera I like Lois McMaster Bujold's "Vorkosigan" series (if you start this series, make sure you start with "Cordelia's Honor" as it contains the first two books and sets the stage for Miles Vorkosigan's family background and they are kick-ass books in and of themselves) and Sharon Lee & Steve Miller's "Liaden Universe" series.

I don't really go much into hard sci fi (despite the fact that I managed to get the rocket to launch successfully), but I can probably scrounge up some recommendations in that area if you are a super-techno person (although I tend to find that that area is more apt to appeal to the guys).

So, happy reading, and be sure to let me know if you try any of these and what you think of them. Who knows, if I get enough interest, maybe we'll have a monthly book club where we all read the same book (well, in my case, RE-read) and then we discuss.

Just a thought...



Therese's Treasures said...

Oh my that was a full weekend! I love Steve Martin I'm going to have to check to see if he comes any where close to where I live.

SummersStudio said...

OMG, I am exhausted thinking of your weekend. The Pern series is a fave and I love all of MZB. Must get some of those unpacked so I can reread them. I like them the the second...ah, many times around just as much as the first. Will check out your others. I love science fantasy!

Tara P. said...

I truly don't know how mothers do it! I'd be exhausted all the time! Speaking of hair, I have a really funny story. About 7 years ago, I cut off about 12 inches of hair - huge change. This woman at work comes up to me and says, "oh my GOD - what a HUGE IMPROVEMENT!" I didn't know whether to say thank you or screw you!

I love to read, but not sci-fi/fantasy. My boyfriend loves the Jim Butcher books, though, and anxiously awaits each one.

TesoriTrovati said...

And they say that I am a busy bee! You have me beat, dear! And where exactly is the picture of said new 'do? I can't wait to see, and I bet it does look great on you!
Enjoy the day!

P.S. Steve Martin is a great writer too. I read his book An Object of Beauty about the NYC art world. He is an art afficionado as well!