Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Eau de Nerd

Playing around with the samples I bought off of Luckyscent.com and starting to get a royal headache. I'm loving the fun and edgy Etat Libre d'Orange line, and I will probably buy my next fragrance from this website. But not anytime soon, seeing as it's the beginning of the holidays and will have to spend money on other people. Ugh.

Inhaling the scent of coffee beans is suppose to neutralize fragrance, but with no beans on hand and a cup of coffee not really doing the trick, I had to resort to inhaling the newly-empty coffee tin.


Me and The Hubs have been trolling the local comic shops these days. With the Ghostbusters series cancelled (UUUUUUGH!!!) and Watson and Holmes cancelled but possibly returning to it's original online format, I've latched onto a few new indie titles to keep me occupied.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches
StorytellerWitches

A four-issue series (currently on its third), each featuring a different tale about a witch, as told by this guy:
The StoryTeller 
Remember him?

Each issue is written and illustrated by a different person. So far my personal favorite is #2 The Snow Witch.
Jim_Hensons_Storyteller_SnowWitch

WYTCHES by Scott Snyder
WYTCHES
I'm desperately waiting on #3 this month. This comic both disturbs and enthralls me, and I'm not a big horror fan but I'm really into this.

Bob's Burgers
BobsBurgers
Don't judge me! Lookit Tina on the cover!

Superior Iron Man
I have not gotten into the whole AXIS storyline though I'm familiar with the basics of it, and I know that Superior Iron Man stems from that arc. I kinda want to see how Tony's semi-quasi-sortakindamaybe villain-essness (lol) goes down.
Superior Iron Man

And just because...
Life After Logan
I honestly didn't mourn Wolverine. I'm sure he'll be back in a few years. Hey, if they can bring back Nightcrawler...

Waking Up to Tuesday: "Milan" by High Highs

Caught up with last Sunday's The Walking Dead, and now I'm nothing but a puddle of tears.


Friday, November 28, 2014

"Totally not a fakie Star Wars trailer!"

Happy Post-Turkey Day, I had to work from 6pm to 3:45am so I wouldn't have to come in for a Black Friday shift. Slept for a good six hours when I came home. Me and The Hubs gonna go out for our belated Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and here's a teaser:

I just passed out because of the X-Wing fighters and the M. Falcon. And then me and The Hubs debated over the usefulness of that lightsaber's plasma hilt-extenders.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Slashing my way out of reading rut, Zatoichi style.

Head-deep as I am in obsessive fanfic pursuits, I did finish The Supernatural Enhancements last week, as well as the Griffin & Sabine Trilogy.

The Supernatural Enhancements
This book wasn't at all what I expected, especially with that cover, but I'm not complaining. It's still quite spooky, and although I did find myself getting lost with the bits about cryptography, there was enough creepy mystery and fun 90's references to keep me happy.

Griffin & Sabine Trilogy
Griffin&Sabine Trilogy
The first book in the series ended on a creepy note for me, but the second one, entitled Sabine's Notebook made me totally fall in love with the couple and I wanted so badly for the two to meet. The third and last one, The Golden Meansimply left me hanging, but it is open to interpretation.
I heard a few months back on Books On the Nightstand that the books are being developed into a film. I don't know how they're going to pull that off, considering that the books are simply facsimiles of correspondence between two people. Oooh, The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock come to mind, but I really didn't enjoy that movie.

I've picked up Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon as my next read. I've read her other book, Mortal Love, so I'm imagining the same kind of lush, dreamy writing style that I fell in love with.
I also found two of Hand's short story collections up for download on the Kindle store. Score! Seriously, they weren't available a few months back, when I was desperate for more of Hand's works similar to Mortal Love.

I'm slowly but surely beginning to work my way through the list of Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winners. Still have a while's to go.


And now for something completely different...
My favorite Zatoichi movie is now available on Netflix!
zatoichi2003
While I respect and enjoy the original Zatoichi films (all on Hulu), Takeshi Kitano's 2003 blonde-haired incarnation of the blind swordsman is my all-time favorite. And this dance sequence! How can you not love it? Don't watch if you don't want to be spoiled BTW.

Waking Up to Monday: "Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom"



Argh, an infectious earworm!

You try not shaking your bee-hind while singing softly to yourself, "chicka chicka boom boom..".

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Night Viewing: Interstellar

I love Captain America:The Winter Soldier like whoa!, but Interstellar has easily knocked it out of the top spot for my favorite movie of 2014. And no, it's not because me and The Hubs are biased cuz his sister is in it.

I honestly spent a good portion of the movie waiting for someone who isn't listed in the main movie poster credits to appear, and I wasn't disappointed! Me and The Hubs had a good laugh when he showed up.

Go see it, take your brain with you. You won't regret it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallow's Eve!

Whatev. Another Halloween where we draw the blinds and turn off the lights so little kids can avoid our apartment. Same old, same old.

We had a jack-o-lantern, but it got all smooshie two weeks ago so we had to chuck it. Shame. The Hubs did a really intricate carving of Cthulu on it.

So instead, I give you Lion!Luna.


What a happy camper!
We put this costume on her when she's being a spaz. For some weird, wonderful reason, she refuses to move when she's wearing it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Reading, or at least trying to.



Lately I've been seriously distracted by a new ship (damn you, ThunderShield!) and it has absorbed a lot of valuable reading time. But I think I've managed to prioritize and get my head together. I've finished two really REALLY good books in the last week, Michelle Paver's Dark Matter: A Ghost Story, and Midori Snyder's The Innamorati.


"Do you know the city Labirinto?
The blind know it, and the frustrated in love know it; the barren women, the silenced poets, the drunken priests, the stuttering actors -- all the unfortunates who suffer from cursed lives. They flock to the Maze at the heart of the city Labirinto to be relieved of their curses. It is said that when a pilgrim enters the Maze in good faith, any curse that hounds him will be lost within the twists and turns.
Four companions, the Innamorati, are journeying across a richly imagined Renaissance Italy alive with magic to meet at the front of the great labyrinth. Here, their adventures will grow ever more baroque, comical, and magical until they achieve the heart of the Maze -- and, perhaps, their hearts' desires.
"

2001 Mythopoeic Award winner, The Innamorati takes place in a fantasized Renaissance Italy, taking inspiration from the Commedia del' Arte, the popular Italian theater form of that time. It's a fantastic read with magical talking masks, sirens, scenes of a bawdy, sexual nature, centaurs, nymphs, romance, Italian street theater, and a giant maze that alters itself according to each pilgrim who dare enter.




"January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he’s offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.Gruhuken.
But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return – when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark
." -http://www.michellepaver.com/

After reading The Innamorati, I had originally moved onto Jennifer McMahon's Don't Breathe a Word, but after 100+ pages into it, I gave up and just flew to the ending. "Why do you do that?" The Hubs asked when I told him, sounding very irritated with me. It doesn't happen all the time, but when the feeling strikes me, I find it's because there's just something putting me off about the book. Maybe the cover's little girl with the creepy eyes, or the similarities (childhood friends, flashbacks, deep family secrets, etc) between this book and McMahon's other novel Island of Lost Girls. Anywhoo, into the box Don't Breathe a Word went, and I jumped straight into Dark Matter. Written in journal form, this book is a nice slow burn of a terror tale. I only wish it was a bit longer. I was able to read this at various times during the day, and then settle into it at night while The Hubs slept away. I really felt for Jack, especially when after his two companions leave because one of them falls seriously ill. He stays at Gruhuken to salvage the expedition with only the sled dogs for company, but his isolation is only made worse in the Arctic's endless polar night, and there is a nameless, creeping presence is lurking out in the silence.
While I was satisfied with the conclusion (totally didn't spoil it for myself!) I was sort of in tears and I couldn't sleep because all I could think about was Jack and his friendship with Gus, one of the other members of the expedition. Even though I finished it, I may have to bring book with me to work today so I could read it again during my hour break. It's that good.

Waking Up to Monday: "Sow Into You" by Roisin Murphy


Monday, September 15, 2014

No Manic Monday this week for this gal.

That lovely time of the month, and I'm feeling too lazy to haul my butt to the workout room (I'll go tomorrow, I swear!!!) but not too lazy to dust and vaccum. I'm currently sitting comfortably in front of the tv, watching the latest uploaded seasons of Midsomer Murders on Netflix (I love Tom Barnaby, but his cousin John has quickly grown on me) while doddering around on Goodreads on the laptop and culling my To-Read list.

Read loads since the beginning of this month. I highly reccommend World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Just don't confuse it with the movie of the same name (Brad Pitt-Making-Pancakes haha). The book is exactly what it says on the cover, and it's a jolly good read. It would make a better miniseries than a movie, me thinks. Anywhoo.
I tried to read a book that had been on my To-Read list since I signed up at Goodreads; The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. Found myself skipping through a character's POV and I knew it was over for me and this book. This is the second book set in Paris that I couldn't get through, and I'm usually a sucker for this kind of Chick Lit, where women find themselves in Paris trope, though I prefer it in nonfiction works like Paris Letters by Janice Macleod andLunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. I find way too many fanciful fiction books that are set in Paris with the same 'Career woman giving up her cushy job in America to find herself in France' trope. Maybe if the protagonist was a broke college graduate or a broke divorcee starting from scratch with barely anything savings, I'd happily dive into book. I'm going to try and give it another chance sometime in the future, so I'm keeping it on my Kindle. Moved on to Karen Charlton'sThe Heiress of Linn Hagh: The First Detective Lavender Mystery and it perked me right up again. A good mystery story set during the Regency Period, with a very clever but surprisingly human detective Stephen Lavender of Bow Street and his capable partner, Constable Woods. I love Woods. He's like the muscle and the heart of this dynamic duo, but he's not short on brains. I'm already itching for another Lavender mystery and I hope a new one isn't too far off in the future.
Another book that has long been on my To-Read list that I finally got to read is Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West. "Never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can." was what I took away from reading this brutal account of the doomed emigrant party. I've never been to Donner Lake nor have I ever been through that particular part of NorCal, but The Hubs says he has. Beautiful place to spend your summers, but winters are still brutal in the Sierra Nevada. I've always wanted to see that area because of the view, but now I have more morbid reasons.
Last but not least, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I wanted to like this book more than I did. The precocious and terribly clever Flavia de Luce isn't at fault, and neither is her brilliance and her love of poisons. I love her and her dysfunctional relationship with her sisters and even her lukewarm relationship with her father. The story just slowed down at some point and I found myself losing interest, but I managed to finish the story. I know there are more Flavia de Luce books, but I'm gonna hold off on the second one for now.

Holy crap, it's lunchtime already?! I've sat through three episodes of Midsomer Murders! It took me 3 hours to write this?! What's wrong with me?!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Went rafting, capsized, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

A week before our scheduled half-day trip down the Arkansas River, I stressed over how to keep my pricey eyeglasses from either being washed away by the rapids or getting damaged, or both. I thought about buying snowboarding googles, but my fear of embarrassment kept my money in my wallet. Instead I bought a cheap but durable retainer from REI and hoped to heaven that it kept my glasses snug on my face.

We had another couple with us today, Tony and his young wife Kaykay. Tony is The Hubs' workpal, and a pretty cool guy. He was the one who recommended the company Raft Masters since he'd gone rafting previously in June, when the water was much higher and more active than it currently is. I came dressed in non-cotton workout wear but still opted for the wetsuit and booties because of the cold weather of the past two days. There were twelve other people along for the trip, and we were divided up between three rafts, each with its own guide. Our dude was named Aaron - Tony and The Hubs jokingly called him A.A. Ron, a Key and Peele joke. He's awfully young, but has a very deep, commanding voice, perfect for barking out commands like, "Right, forward 2!", "Everyone, back-paddle 3", and my personal favorite, "Lean in!" whenever we encountered a rough spot and had to avoid being thrown out of the boat.

So it's only us four with Aaron, who's funny and engaging and knows his stuff. Tony and I got the left side of the boat while Kaykay and The Hubs got the right. Now Kaykay is a tiny, slim young thing and she's not the most powerful paddler, so The Hubs did a lot of the work on their side. Tony is quite fit and I have big arms that aren't too shabby so we were a good match. Since the river wasn't quite the monster it was at the beginning of the season, Aaron told us that rafting would be more technical, that it we would be more about us negotiating around exposed rock and bumps down the route than anything else. The route boasts Class III and IV rapids.
It took awhile to coordinate as a team, us doing a lot of the work while our guide steered, but we quickly got the hang of it. I stopped worrying about my glasses and let myself get splashed, though Tony and Kaykay in front took the brunt the worst wet. Along this route are some pretty impressive mountainsides and rock faces, the Royal Gorge (and the Royal Gorge suspension bridge) being the most impressive of the bunch.

So, an hour and a half into the trip, we catch up with the other two boats just 'docked' in not-so-busy area of the route. One of the other guides told Aaron that they'd lost an oar just on the other side of the river across from them, and asked him if our boat could go retrieve it. So Aaron got us paddling to that side, and I didn't realized that the current there was not-so-quiet. When our boat hit the rock wall, instead of it bumping against it, it 'slid' up the side, and almost as if in slow-mo, I watched The Hubs knock into me, our boat capsizing.

Now, I did the thing that we were advised at the beginning of the trip not to do: I panicked. At that moment, I was underwater, trapped under the raft, unable to breathe. I felt someone grab at me, but honestly, the only thing going through my mind was, "You're gonna drown. Get out from under the fuckin' boat.". I tried pushing it up with both hands, but it didn't budge, so I quickly pushed myself along under it until I could see the sky from under the water. The first thing I saw when I broke the surface was Aaron on top of the upside down raft, yelling at me to swim to the other boat. I remember seeing Tony not far from me suddenly start tearing through the water towards the other raft, but according to The Hubs, who had managed to make it to one of the other rafts, as soon as I had let go, I was quickly caught up in the current, heading down to the next set of rapids. I know that I was trying to swim to the other raft where everyone was yelling for me but I was already dead tired and I was gasping for breath. Then I spotted someone in the water, hanging onto side of the raft, holding out an oar to me. I remember grabbing it and hauling my ass towards the boat, and then being pulled in. But just when I thought I was safe, I hear everyone yelling, "Lean in, lean in!". I felt the 'rescue raft' lurch roughly, but it we stayed afloat.

When I finally got off the poor man who had pulled me in, I found The Hubs sitting on the front lip of the raft, not looking at all bothered. Tony and Kaykay were there as well. Everyone was asking if I was alright, if I hit my head or hurt anything. I was just seriously out of breath and extremely embarrassed. A couple people even pointed out that I didn't lose my glasses in the struggle. After Aaron sorted out our raft, we got back in and continued the trip down without further incident. But for me, I was already done, my mood was spoiled by my own scaredy-butt. Afterwards, at home in the shower, The Hubs told me that after our raft capsized, he immediately swam towards the other raft, not the 'rescue raft'. As soon as he got to it, he looked around and saw Kaykay being pulled in, Tony swimming for it, and me not too far away, caught up in the current and heading toward certain doom. He was like, "Crap, I gotta go get her!" and began to swim towards me. He hadn't meant to, but he also grabbed hold of the 'rescue raft' and began dragging it with him, thinking *Well, now you guys are involved!* According to him, the people in it were yelling at him to get in the boat, but no one was helping him (they're suppose to pull him up by the lapels of his life jacket and haul him in) and he yelled back that he wasn't getting in until I was out of the water. Even then, he rode out the rapids holding onto the side of the boat, getting knocked around by some rocks but managing not to hurt himself. At the end of it, he simply reached up with two hands to grab the lapels of another dude's life jacket and hauled himself out of the water.

Honestly, I feel like our boat had been set up. The other guides thought they'd have a little fun and have one of the boats capsize during the trip, and it had to be ours. We were such a good team, and Aaron is an awesome guide, we just had to be taken down a peg or two. Yeah, I'm going with that. Later, back at the Raft Masters headquarters, I passed the guy who I had been sprawled on top of in the 'rescue raft' and he asked me if I was feeling better. I told him I was and I apologized for my unlady-like behaviour earlier.
Would I do it again? Sure! I was having a good time anyway, well, before our boat took a little tumble. I dead tired now and my left ear feels weird, but I'm okay and my glasses are still intact, so it was a good day.

Oh, and I did buy a t-shirt that looked like the Dunkin' Donuts logo, except it reads Dunkin' Grownups. Ha!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading books and watching Boys.

Aunt Flo is a biatch, but she can afford me a very-much-appreciated extra day-off when she's being especially annoying and embarrassing. Oh well, I'm making up for it later on in the week.

All day yesterday, I did nothing useful around the apartment except vaccum and dust, paying special, loving attention to my bookshelf. And then dozed off while watching a load of anime on HuluPlus.


The Daily Live of High School Boys

Have watched two episodes so far, but only because it's 12 or 13 episodes long and I want to savor each one of them. Seriously hilarious, pokes fun at anime tropes, and the three main characters are the cutest teen dumbasses in a large cast of teen dumbasses.

Screencap courtesy of Google. Poking fun at the usual "Anime kid running late for school with toast hanging out of his mouth" trope with Tadakuni's -the middle kid - two pals running along with him, eating leftovers. The guy on the left (Hidenori) looks like he works at a Brazilian bbq place.

There's LARPING, ghost stories, and other shenanigans adolescent boys tend to get up to when idle. Anime adolescent boys, in this case. Oh, and there are girls in this show too.

Anywhoo, funniest shit ever, and yes, this is an actual still from the show. Don't ask.
Daily Lives of High School Boys_3


And now for something completely different...

I finished off Simon Van Booy's The Secret Lives of People In Love (beautifully written, though I found a handful of the stories really depressing) and have now moved onto Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson. I love the used copy that I bought online; an actual Persephone book from the UK, with its simple gray softcover and floral 'end-papers'.
Got rid of another book that has been sitting in The Stack since who-knows-how-long; Kate Morton's The Distant Hours. As much as I enjoyed Morton's other book, The Forgotten Garden, I don't think I can endure another 550+ pages of family drama and the constant back and forth from two different time periods and points of views. And when you can't seem to remember what compelled you to buy a book in the first place, then that's as good as sign as any that you should chuck it into the used book box.

Ever since I finishing M.R. James' Ghost Stories for an Antiquary and its follow-up, I've been having weird dreams. The only one I can still remember had Benedict Cumberbatch in it, and he and I were cosying it up in a hotel room. Unfortunately, we had to share said-hotel room with members of my family! And strangely enough, while it was dream!Cumberbatch in all his beauty, he felt and smelled more like The Hubs. Dunno if that was a good or bad thing.


Leaving you with one of the ending themes of The Daily Lives of High School Boys.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Waking Up to Monday: 'Voltes V' Opening Theme Song



I wake up to this theme EVERY MORNING. That, and The Hubs shaking me even more awake to get me to turn my phone off.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

B-I-N-G-NO!

Ugh, the end of summer is near, and I still haven't gotten Bingo on my BOTN summer bingo card. So Fell the Sparrow wasn't published in 2014, apparently. Good ghost story, but the cliched romance novel-iness made me throw up a little in my mouth. I blame myself for not seeing it as one of them paranormal 'bodice-rippers'. Linda Gillard's House of Silence was a better read.

BOTNS Bingo_2014
I've been using the bingo card as a coaster. I've spilled many a hot beverage on it over the last two months.

Cloud Atlas still sits on the night table, untouched since July 6th. My original goal was to read a page or two every night, but ever since I finished Elizabeth Hand's Mortal Love, my reading interests have veered more towards what I've deemed historical fantasy.
Mortal Love
Don't let the title fool you; this is not a romance novel. The story revolves around a mysterious flame-hair woman whose unearthly beauty has the power to both inspire and enslave. The writing is lush and often times dizzingly hypnotic. I had a hard time putting it down, and when I wasn't reading it, I spent a lot of time thinking about the story. I love that my favorite artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle figure into the story, and it makes sense that there would be something otherworldly serving as muse to their creativity.

On the heels of Mortal Love, I picked up Tim Power's The Stress of Her Regard. While the other book jumped between the Victorian Era and the present-day, TSOHR takes place (and stays there) in Europe during the early 19th Century. A young doctor by the name of Michael Crawford wakes up after his wedding day to discover his new wife brutally murdered beside him, and everything goes to Hell from there. He knows he is innocent, but something has followed him since the night prior to his wedding, a vampiric creature that now considers itself Crawford's true bride.
MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

The Stress of Her Regard

If you enjoy secret histories of famous historical figures of literature and art, here you go. You have the Romantic Poets of that era; Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats, all of whom are -in their own way- too familiar with Crawford's dilemma.
Scary in a lot of places, with loads of historical facts interwoven with the supernatural, and characters that are deeply flawed and noble. TSOHR is a dark and dense read, with a lot of supernatural creatures to entice, if you let them. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

And now I'm reading something non-supernatural and mature (Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After), and I can't help but feel like something's missing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Waking Up to Monday: "Cold" by Annie Lennox

really didn't wake up with any song in mind, other than the closing theme of Hetalia: The Beautiful World, which is cute and fun, but tends to grate after a while. And when I say a while, I mean after every five minutes. So I picked a song out of one of my favorite albums.


Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaack!

Just came back last night from a four day trip to New York to visit The Hubs' family. Actually, his older sister Jessica lives there, and his mom and stepdad were there to pick up his younger brother Daniel (who'd just finished a summer film program) and his younger sister Jackie (who'd just returned from a cool trip to Italy!). The two full days we had there went by so fast, but we still managed to see The Met Museum (always a staple) and walk through Central Park. And no matter how many times I ride the NY Subway, I never remember what train goes where. And no matter what I bring to wear, I'll never look as chic and put-together as the local gals who live there. That's just how it goes.

I'll have pictures up soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Waking Up to Tuesday: "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet


How can one NOT remember Cassandra and her band from Wayne's World doing their version of this song?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Waking Up to Monday: "Ushinawareta Aozora (Lost Blue Sky)" by TimeSlip-Rendevous

I remember watching this anime waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1998, undubbed and unsubbed. Despite me having to have to guess (or make up) what the storyline was all about, Crest of Stars was one of my favorite sci-fi soap operas. The ending theme is a long-time favorite.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting a whole lotta reading done!



Well, I no longer regard that once monsterous book stack in the corner of the bedroom with fear and trepidation. In the last 3 months, I have miraculously managed to whittle it down, and then build it back up into something I could look upon with pleasure and excitement. Now I actually look forward to the next book to read.

Separating the fiction from the non-fiction helps, so does a bit of purging; into the used book box went The Night Circus and Boneshaker. The Hubs actually likes Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and says it's worth having in our collection, so I rescued it and gave it back to him. I also rescued The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels, a book that I actually had on my Goodreads to-read list but after a handful of pages into it, I bemoaned the slow pace and threw it into the used box.. Even now I still don't know how I feel about it, but I just finished another Barbara Michaels novel, The Crying Child (the romance is non-cheesy, subtle and slow-building) and I liked it, so it warrants a second chance.

Two notable books I've finished in the last couple of weeks:

Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos: Probably the thickest book in the stack and the most intimidating, it took me a week to read, and at the end I was sorry to see it end. It's a family drama about three estranged siblings whom as children lose their mother in a tornado. As adults, it seems that each one of them has some issue(s) that stem from the tragedy of her loss. Larken, the eldest daughter is a compulsive eater and has a fear of flying; Gaelen, the middle brother, is a charming weatherman obsessed with bodybuilding, and engages in meaningless sexual relationships with women; Bonnie, the youngest, a sort of free-spirit and an 'archivist' who still lives in their childhood small town, collecting seemingly random things that may have blown away with their mother in the storm. When their father is killed suddenly (struck by lightning on a golf course), the Jones siblings come together, and very slowly find themselves confronting the memories and loss that has shaped their lives. I like an author who really makes you care about the characters, even the minor ones. There's just a little bit of magic realism, but it doesn't destract from how 'grounded' the story. At the conclusion, I was ridonkulously estatic, because I was satisfied with the conclusion, and because I had finished off the thickest book in the stack. Also, I love the book so much, I'm keeping it in my collection, right beside Kallos' other novel, her first, Broken For You. I highly recommend both books

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King: Okay, I had my reservations on this one, and with good reason. The book is the first in a series about Mary Russell, an orphaned teen living with her aunt in Sussex during the Great War. She's terribly clever for her age-and in the male mind of that era, her sex. While taking a walk one day, she literally stumbles over a peculiar older man observing bees, and discovers that he is none other than Sherlock Holmes, The Great Detective now in Great Retirement. In that first meeting, we find out just how clever Miss Russell is, and that her brainpower may just be the perfect match for the Great Mr. Holmes. Ugh, I know. How the hell did I get through this book, with my mind practically bleating at me every other page, "SUE! MARY SUE!!"? Actually, the book wasn't half-bad, once I got out of that indignant, angry fangirl mindset. After Holmes takes on Mary as an apprentice and eventually starts having her involved in the cases that come his way, the story becomes more engaging and interesting. I found myself enjoying their developing partnership, although she still came off at times as too perfect. Most annoying is how she initially regards Dr. Watson, whom she has supplanted, but later on affectionately calls, "Uncle John". *makes a face* I do like how Sherlock Holmes was written though. with his mind still sharp even with the onset of middle age. I couldn't help but imagine the late, great Jeremy Brett in this incarnation of Holmes. Kudos to King for keeping it nearly almost true to form, and for not making me want to kill Mary Russell with holy fire. I have the next book in the series on my other Kindle, but I'm saving it for another time. I still have an actual book stack to read through.


I've read four other books since The Beekeeper's Apprentice, all of them quick reads lasting no more than 300 pages. Among them, Armistead Maupin's More Tales of the City, and an old high school favorite, Joan Lowery Nixon's A Deadly Game of Magic.

I've been playing along with Books on the Nightstand's Summer Book Bingo. I'm trying to go for a full blackout, but if I can find a really good book published this year (Hollow City doesn't count because I read that before summer began!) then...


..."and BINGO was his name-o."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Heinous Incline


The Manitou Springs Incline.
And yes, it was my bright idea that The Hubs and I try to ascend it, last Monday morning.

My poor choice of clothing for this endeavor: Vans and jeans.


The walk from our Jeep to the foot of the incline was its own workout, and The Hubs had to take off his shirt ("What are you doing?!") before we could get started. We only had one bottle of water between us.


We were determined to keep a nice slow pace up the incline, but it's no surprise to anyone how easily winded I get doing anything. I'm proud of how I managed to not turn bitchy and complain-y pants (it was my idea anyway) when both my thighs and my left knee quickly started to ache. There were plenty of other people climbing the path with us at the same exact slow pace, but unlike me, they were all in active wear. There were a few times where I almost slipped on the gravel because of my shoddy choice of footwear. The Hubs made me keep to the wooden steps while he trudged without problem on the gravel path in his nice running shoes.

We progressed ever so slowly on the incline, stopping at every other shady spot. Got a really great view around us.



Twice along the way, I got kudos from people for wearing jeans. Yeah right. I was downright miserable and chafing! And being up that high with the sun on the back of my neck..

Made good use of that shirt.

Ugh. That is quite the middle I have...*poke*

When we reached what The Hubs vaguely assumed was the halfway point, we decided to call it a day and make our way back down. Easier said than done. My calves got the workout of their lives. The next day at work, I had the hardest time going up and down the smallest flight of steps. I wince everytime I climb in and out of the car. I need The Hubs to haul me off the couch.

Can't wait for the next time.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Waking Up to Monday: 'Ridin' by Chamillionaire

*is thoroughly embarrassed/not embarrassed that this was the first thing that popped into mind so early in the morning*


Friday, June 20, 2014

Too Old to Care

I work all this weekend, so I need poolside time now or else I spend the next two days feeling resentful and hating all the people I see there frolicking.

In my mid-30's and not really caring anymore that everything I eat now goes directly to my tummy and thighs (thank you, levothyroxine medication) and I'll never rock a bikini in public. And that's okay, 'cuz I can definitely rock a modest black one-piece and not give two fucks what the skinny biatches who try to stare me down think as they walk pass my lounge chair. Whatever makes them feel better about themselves.

Poolside_6_20

Took the thickest book from The Stack, Stephanie Kallos' Sing Them Home and read a chapter before putting it to the side and jumping into the frigid water. I had spent two hours earlier doing errands so the temp wasn't so bad. Had fun watching two teenage girls climb hesitantly into the water and yelp in shock.
I had only intended on being out there for an hour but ended up staying for two. Wondering why it's not so busy today, it being Friday and all. I came to the pool for the first time ever this past Tuesday and it was busy, so what gives?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mushi-shi: Zuko-Sho

Oh my stars and garters! I just recently discovered that one of my favorite anime series, Mushishi has a 2nd season and it's currently airing on HuluPlus.

Mushishi_S2_2 
Entitled Mushi-shi: Zuko-Sho, it continues the adventures of Ginko, an white-haired Mushi master or 'mushi-shi' who travels the Japanese countryside encountering various forms of mushi (think organisms like bacteria, amoebas, that sort.) and helping people suffering from mushi-related problems. The anime as a whole is very different; the settings are tranquil and seem like something out of a watercolor, the human characters are drawn very naturally, and the stories are intriguing and sometimes a bit spooky but never scary.
What I love most about Mushishi is it's soundtrack. Like the 1st season, the opening theme is actually an English song, sung by a non-Japanese artist. Ally Kerr's 'The Sore Feet Song' was a fitting track, quiet and beautiful, like the show.


But I think the 2nd season opening theme, Lucy Rose's 'Shiver' is sooooo beautiful. I'm happy that it's available for my repeat listening pleasure on Spotify!

I could listen to this allllllll day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Reading

Two books finished so far for the month of June! Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a part-memoir, part-instructional-but-not-really will have a permanent place on my shelf. It's everything I ever wanted in a book about fiction writing: his experiences are both entertaining and insightful. He talks at length about writing Carrie, which I loved a lot. The instructional part of the book is just as entertaining and no-nonsense; he taught English before his writing career took off, so without a doubt, you know he's legit. He talks about building a toolbox with grammar and vocab as common tools in the top tier, then style and form follows underneath, and so on. I recommend this book for anyone with fiction writing aspirations because Mr. King knows his stuff really well and doesn't b. s. about his craft. I especially love this bit of wisdom, "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.". Ah-ha. Read a lot, and be an observer.

I'm still debating on whether or not to throw The Perks of Being a Wallflower into the used book box. It was a good read, but I don't know if it's a keeper. I bought the book two years ago, right after seeing the movie, and since then it had been sitting in The Book Stack Mea Culpa.
Speaking of which, that dastardly stack is about to be joined by another stack of my own making. I found the HPB (Half-Priced Books) website, and dropped more than $50 on eight books. The most I've ever spent on used books. Yeah. I'm going to justify this purchase by saying that they had been on my Amazon wishlist for the longest time and I had recently swore that I was going to shop exclusively from my wishlist. Two of the eight books came in the mail yesterday; Jan Marsh's Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood and Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. I felt a bit like Helene Hanff (84, Charing Cross Road) when she received in the mail her precious used books all the way from her favorite English bookshop.

I'm off today, so I'm going to vaccum and make space on the carpet for this new eyesore, right beside the one I have going on.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Waking Up to Tuesday: "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow

I spent the better part of the night listening to Royksopp and Robyn's 'Monument' on repeat, but woke up with this song in my head.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another book to check off my reading list, and some tummy woes. Again.

One of the times I'm truly grateful for my job's employee attendance credit system: for the 2nd time this month(!?) I've fallen prey to a humiliating bout of tummy upset, but this time I have had to call-out at work not once, but twice this week! But luckily for me, I have earned more than enough attendance credits, and will only be deducted two for the days I've missed. I don't like being 'that person' at work, if you know what I mean.

I finished Doctor Sleep by Stephen King yesterday. Not as holy-crapola-this-is-scary as his early masterpiece The Shining, but I think it holds up well as a sequel. I'm grateful for the lack of graphic gore, but there is one part in the book that scares me, simply because of the lack of detail in it. The antagonists of the book, The True Knot - a group of vampire-like creatures who travel the country in RVs - feed off of 'steam', which is given off by children who possess the shining. In order to purify the steam so it would be more potent, these people torture the child to death. The more painful the death, the more powerful the steam. At one point, the group kidnaps a young preteen boy, and...well, I didn't need a lot of graphic detail, and thankfully Mr. King didn't have to provide a lot of graphic detail. I'm not exactly a parent, but as a gal with nieces and nephews, this shit terrifies me.
Anywhoo, if you're interested in finding out what happened to young Danny Torrance from The Shining, his story picks up in Doctor Sleep many years later. I love that I really cared for a lot of the characters; even the 'villians' were surprisingly human and a wee bit sympathetic. Damn you, Stephen King for giving the evil child-murdering 'steam'-fiends feelings!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm doing nothing and you can't stop me, so ha.

Been listening to Fenster for the last 30 minutes, and while I'm digging their whole dream!pop vibe, I'm feeling freakin' depressed just listening to them. I'm not saying I hate their music, quite the opposite actually but why am I'm suddenly wallowing in meloncholy right now? Hmm...

I've been off since yesterday, doing absolutely nothing productive. I've not worked out, save for random reps of push-ups. I can only manage 10-12 at a time, and The Hubs thinks I'm doing them wrong.

I've already finished two books that I managed to sneak between the two I'm suppose to be seriously reading at the moment. Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock, a strange and interesting sort of picture book detailing the correspondence between a lonely postcard artist Griffin and a mysterious woman named Sabine. After hearing about the book on an episode of Books On the Nightstand weeks ago, I managed to pick up a used copy at Poor Richard's, along with a used copy of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Two keepers, me thinks. I saw the film version of Hanff's book first, way back in early 2000 and loved it, so I downloaded it for my Kindle Fire to watch whenever.

Last week I decided to attack That Darn Book Stack and seriously weed out a few books that I've since lost interest in reading over the last year and a half. Sorry, Ruth Rendell. I'm determined to be more thoughtful of the books -new and used- that I buy. And I've decided that I'm only going to shop from my to-read list on Goodreads.com.
Now, my e-book purchases, that's a whole 'nother bag o' nuts...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Waking Up to Monday: 'What Have I Done to Deserve This' by The Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield

Had the line, "What have I...What have I...What have I done to deserve this..." while giving the cat ANOTHER bath because she'd come in from her nightly outdoor adventures covered in dust.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

It was actually hot outside today!!!

I'm not an avid golfer. I'm the one who usually drives the cart. The Dude and his pals back in Fort Hood were the ones who played, often times hilariously inebriated. For them, it wasn't so much the love of the game as it was the golf course shenanigans they got up to. Today, it was just us two on post (USAF Academy's golf course, to be exact) with his hand-me-down golf clubs and a can of lemon-lime Bud Light between us.



We found out when we were already on the driving range that we were required to were collared shirts out on the course, but I'm like, "What are they gonna do, chase us off? We're already here and we've already paid for our bucket of balls."
Everyone around us had on their special golf shoes, their collared shirts and lefty-gloves, their golf bags with the wheelies and kick-stands, etc. And then here comes us, wearing Vans and torn Chucks, forced to carry our ancient-ass clubs in an equally ancient-ass leather golf bag. We're hardcore like that.



The Hubs' is actually a decent golfer. He explained the different clubs to me and how to stand with my legs bent and back straight, although I spent a lot of time trying to get him to lower his voice because we were surrounded by other experienced golfers and it was bad enough that we both stuck out like sore thumbs. As a first-timer, I actually had a lot of fun learning how to swing, especially when I got a couple of good shots across the green.

After a good half hour, we moved onto a small putting green. We shared it with a few other golfers, including a coach and his young nubile teenage student.



Here, The Dude is taking his shot while in the background, the girl's dad (in blue) talks shop with his daughter's golf coach. Apparently, the guy thinks she's serious about the game and he would love for her to be part of his bigger group. Hey, it was hard not to eavesdrop on their conversation.



Me attempting to use my body to swing the putter and gently 'push' the ball along as oppose to just hitting it across. And yes, I'm aware of how much cleavage is appropriate for a family-friendly golf course. I'll be shopping around for some nice polo shirts for the future.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Not again! The Bad Reader in me has struck again.

Three chapters into Ruth Rendell's The Water's Lovely and I just couldn't stick with it! Argh! *throws book into the box marked for re-sell* I regret nothing.

Really tempted to just grab the other Kate Morton novel, The Distant Hours from the bottom of The Stack, but it's a recent purchase and I'm trying to go through The Stack by date of acquisition.
Trying to, and failing hilariously. I picked up Michael Boccacino's Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, a book I bought sometime in late 2012, when The Stack was just a small baby pile that consisted of five or six books, and not the ridonkulous 20+ it is now.

"Every night I dreamt of the dead..." Well, isn't that special? Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Book Stack of Many Names.

I finished Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden last night! I picked it back up after a two and a half weeks of ignoring it and I couldn't put it down. I even gave myself an excuse to have a hot bath just so I could continue reading it. I tossed the biggest bath bomb I owned into the tub and had a lovely soak while reading. I finished the book sometime around 10pm and felt very satisfied with it, even though the 'twist' was something I had already figured out 150 pages in, only to be thrown off towards the end of the book, AND THEN brought back to my original assumption before the last pages toward the epilogue. Nice.

Now back to The Bookstack of No Hope, my next read is Ruth Rendell's The Water's Lovely. I bought this hardcover waaaaaaaay back when I was still living in San Francisco, so nearly four years ago. The bookstore I bought it from is on the other side of The Academy of Art University's main office building where I first worked for nearly a year and half before moving to the Powell St. campus.
Ooh, I just opened the back cover of the book and found the receipt! Alexander Book Company, 50 2nd St., San Francisco. Googling to see if the store is still there...yes, it is! Wow, $7.99 for hardcover. Score.

I'm now trying not to eyeball the Stack because I have two other books I had bought around the same time from Green Apple Books on Clement St. sitting at the bottom.