Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thoughts on Katrina

Wow. I just watched some of the coverage about the Katrina aftermath. Remember those old commercials (from the early 70's) which ended with a garlanded Mother Nature saying 'Don't mess with Mother Nature!' & then had a huge thunderclap? I know I'm a shallow person, but honestly that was the first thing I thought when the footage scrolled by on the tv. You know it was bad when the emergency shelters had to be evacuated after the storm.

So I've donated some money to the Red Cross & made a few phone calls to check up on some friends. Say a few prayers, folks. They can use them.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Catching up

Back momentarily from the land of computerless orphans. I hope everyone had a fun weekend surfing & blogging while hubby & I trolled Best Buy & CompUSA & Dell online for computer sales. YUCK. That's all I have to say. Double yuck.

We are all here in sunny central VA at my sister's house watching Weather Channel coverage of hurricane Katrina walloping New Orleans. I've said my prayers for everyone down there. If you've family or friends there, I wish them the best. The reports are pretty scary.

Hubby & sis & 2 of the kids are watching a Bill Murray movie- The Life Aquatic . Listening in from across the room, it sounds good. The littlest one wants to go & see Valiant. It's the movie about homing pigeons in Britain during WW II.

Finally finished painting daughter's room Saturday. The paint chip claimed something called 'sea grass' but it looks yellower up on the wall. More of a spring green perhaps. No matter. It's finished & she likes it. Spent Sunday rearranging her room & (eeewwww) cleaning out her closet. Sortingg through her books. Boy, am I glad the kids' rooms are done. Only mine left & I am indecisive as to color choice.

As to reading. Not much reading done at all unless it has been either computer or painting related. I've read as far as chapter 14 in Redwall (info about Redwall here). Which isn't as far as it sounds as the chapters are ridiculously short, even considering this is a children's novel. Hubby had to carefully pry it out from under me after I fell asleep on it. It's good. I've just been tired.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

home improvement vs. computer repair

Hubby is up & at 'em, so to speak. Poor dear, he really hates it that I'm not as nurturing & attentive as he is when someone is ill or hurt. I try though, really I do.

Meantime, the boys love their new color & are after me to buy them new curtains & bedspreads. I'm planning to do that, although not just yet. I really want to finish daughter's room before we go away next week. I just primed her room this morning & am now waiting for it to dry so we can paint it. She's chosen a nice shade of green the chip claims is 'sea grass'.

Also, our computer at home is off to my sister's for some much needed TLC. Turns out the modem is ok, but part of windows crashed yesterday morning & now the computer won't finish booting up. I keep getting a DLL error saying some part of windows is missing & we need to reload windows. Problem being when we try to do just that, the computer simply sits there & hums at you. Idly.

So we're all off on vacation- us on Monday & the computer is out there already. I'll drop in & update as much as I can. At this point I can use any excuse at all to escape the paint fumes at home. I hope to read & relax & do as little as humanly possible-starting as soon as the daughter's room is painted.

Redwall continues to sit on the sidetable in the livingroom. I managed to get as far as the rats arrival in the forest & the abbot's golden anniversary party. It'll likely go with me next week. I foresee the painting taking longer than anticipated for various reasons. I think I just need to clone myself in order to accomplish everything.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Finished painting- Started Redwall

Well, the boys' room is now an eye opening electric Wedgewood blue. Inch for inch more cheerful than the drab, generic beige it had been only a couple of short days ago. Meanwhile, poor hubby has twinged his sciatica & is now bedbound begging for sweet iced tea & brownies, poor lamb. Honestly, between you & me & the lampost- he has shown quite a talent for color selection & furniture arranging. Don't tell him I said so, he's still the college football playing super jock at heart.

I've managed to move on from this weekend's Home Depot 1-2-3 Decorative Painting to Brian Jacques' Redwall. Somehow I managed to acquire the first five in the series, now pushing twenty I believe, but have yet to read them. Hubby & sons had gone through the boys' bookcase & were going to toss them, but I've rescued them. I'm on chapter five already & hope to get at least halfway through before we begin daughter's room. Supposedly to be sea green, but after the boys' experience we'll just see how correct the name & the chip turn out to be.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Painting the boys' room

Daughter is away visiting the grandparents these last several days. Hubby, the boys & I are using this to our advantage to prime & paint their room. Her room is now stuffed to the gills with their furniture. They chose sky blue & I wanted semi gloss (all the better to scrub off the scuff marks). Hubby did the ceiling for me before he went to work last night. Today while he sleeps I hope to complete the first coat-with the boys' help, naturally.

As a result the only book I've read is The Home Depot Decorative Painting 1-2-3. An excellent resource, especially if you're beginner painters like we are. The book has proven handy in helping me deter salesclerks in the big box home stores. Most of whom are less educated about painting than we are. My advice,if you find someone who actually knows paint, shop in that store when you're sure s/he'll be there. It saves much aggravation. Trust me.

On the 'puter front, it was weird all day yesterday but is ok this morning. If I disappear for a day or two this week that's why.

Wish me luck finishing the boys' room!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Movie Meme

A whole lotta people were tagged over at McVane (click link above) & were asked to answer the following questions:

1. Last movie watched?
On tv- Top Hat with Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
In theater- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

2. List 5 movies that are either personally signifigant or that you watch often (in no particular order):

1.Lion in Winter with Katherine Hepburn & Peter O'Toole
2.Amelie starring Audrey Tautou
3.The Triplets of Belleville- an animated mystery set in 1920's era France concerning a kidnapped French cyclist & the devoted mother who goes looking for him. Silent, but the score is excellent period jazz.
4. In America- An Irish film, loosely based on director Jim Sheridan's life. An Irish family emigrates to modern New York City's Hell's Kitchen, where they relearn loving & living & believing in the goodness of humanity. Told through the eyes of their two daughters.
5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy

3. Worst Movie Michael- starring John Travolta

4. Favorite Quote- This is from the Fellowship of the Rings. Frodo says to Gandalf,"I wish none of this had happened." Gandalf answers," So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.."

5. Favorite adaptation from a book- Lord of the Rings trilogy

6.Book you would like to see as a movie- Like Maili, I don't believe historical romances would be properly made, but there are quite a few other books that would be neat. A live action version of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Some of the Anne McCaffrey books. Although I hear they're being made for tv.

Friday, August 19, 2005

New Book Awards

Two days ago whilst hunting for updated book award lists I came across the website above. Quills is an organization that is looking to promote literacy & has hit upon a new way to promote itself & its cause- reader voted book awards. The nominees are in quite a few categories, a few of which are:

General Fiction:

A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd
Plot Against America, Philip Roth
Zorro, Isabelle Allende


44 Cranberry Point, Debbie Macomber
Blue Dahlia & Northern Lights, Nora Roberts
Rocky Road to Romance, Janet Evanovich
Undead & Unemployed, Mayjanice Davidson

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror:

The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower,Stephen King
Going Postal,Terry Pratchett
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Shadow of the Giant, Orson Scott Card
The Stupidest Angel,Christopher Moore


The Closers, Michael Connelly
Eleven on Top, Janet Evanovich
The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, Alexander McCall Smith
With No One as Witness, Elizabeth George

So, start clicking & vote HERE for your favorites. Winners anounced on NBC TV 22 October. Time apparently TBD.

Back online (hopefully)

Well, I'm unsure what the exact problem was yesterday, but I returned home last evening to a message on our voicemail claiming 'everything's ok now' from the cable company. I've no idea what that's supposed to mean since we weren't home most of yesterday afternoon, but the modem is working now so I'm striking while the iron is hot. 'Tis Friday though so I expect the modem will go out again over the weekend.

I don't know what the problem is, but I've been awake over an hour now (since before 6 am Eastern time). It's very unusual for me to be awake so early in the summer as I like to sleep in whenever I don't have to send the kids off to school.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Modem crashed

Will be in & out as a result. Have to use a public 'puter until the cable guy comes. Yuck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More on the lit challenge

Still mulling over the possiblity of replicating the gent's goal (see Monday's entry)- with a few quirks of my own.

One- no time limit (he has roughly 28 days I think).

Two- I'm not going to read the Man Booker longlist. I will read an equivalent number- 17.

Three- I may decide to read serious children's literature, since I have three kids & thus the books will be read again. This last, however, is a small sop to my aching & screaming book budget.

Hmmm...I'll read either the National Book Critics Circle Awards for at least the last three years or I'll read 17 nationally recognized children's lit titles. Both are tempting. I only have one book off of the NBCCA listed titles, but I have several titles off of the Children's lists. I usually buy the entire list of Newberys although this year I'm late.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Giving up genre lit for serious lit fic?!

So, this British guy decides to forego his usual diet of genre fiction, video games & surfing on the 'net to read the long list of this year's Booker Prize. What's the Man Booker Prize? Check HERE. Said Brit will be keeping a blog at the BBC news site.

This has sown a few seeds in my fertile little brain. Emphasis on little. Could I do the same & write dumb little ditties about my saga here? Could my straining book budget handle it? Could I say, read the entire Newbery list for this year or maybe the entire National Book Critic's List for young adults? The excuse being that our kids could then read them...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

ebay link weird

Try as I might, I can't figure out what the deal is with the ebay link. It should send you to a redirect,, but if you get a 'page not found' & then hit refresh the correct page ought to pop up. ?????? Worked for me, but..we'll see.

Popular authors to auction on ebay

Popular & bestselling authors such as La Nora, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman & Lemony Snicket will auction on ebay character names or small 'walk ons' in upcoming novels in an effort to raise money for The First Amendment Project, chaired by Michael Chabon. The auction will begin September first, click link above for a timetable of the auction. Intersested in the text & addenda of the first amendment? click HERE. Also, the Washington Post has an article about the auction. I hope all of the links work properly, I've had no coffee yet. Chip in everyone, it's for a good cause!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Review~Seraphim; Michele Hauf

Quite an amazing book, IMO. Overall an excellent read, though not without a few problems. Mostly minor problems. This is a Luna title, www.LUNA-Books.com. Anyhow, this is an alternate reality fantasy romance set in 1433 France.

France has been taken over by five evil fallen angels, the ringleader is Lucifer d'Morte. The d'Ange family holdings were utterly destroyed by Lucifer d'Morte (the fallen angel), the sole survivor being Seraphim d'Ange. She was raped & sodomized & had her throat slashed but survived with the help of a single surviving retainer, Baldwin Ortolano.

Seraphim is bent on vengeance & decides to kill the five d'Mortes to satisfy her blood feud. With only Baldwin's help, Seraphim manages to kill two d'Mortes while disguised as a fully armored man. Exhausted & recovering from her mental & physical wounds, Baldwin & Seraphim meet up with a mysterious mercenary who offers his assistance with Seraphim's quest.

Dominique, a half Fairy half angel changeling raised by humans, convinces a suspicious Seraphim that she needs his help to complete her quest. Together, the merry band of three complete the quest. This is a traditional quest type storyline, with revelations about & growth of each member of the trio. There is a traditional HEA.

Overall, the tone is quite dark. Hauf lightens this by showing signifigant character growth in each member of the trio. There is world building, but most of it is adroitly woven into the story. Kudos to Hauf for having a wounded heroine & hero, neither of whom whines or complains about the hand they were dealt. Not to say they don't wish occasionally for an easier path.

My biggest problem with this book were the names. Seraphim d'Ange? Lucifer d'Morte? Some of the names are French & play off of the English translation or what/who the character is. I didn't appreciate the humor & found it tedious. Also, Seraphim had a younger sister named..get ready.. Gossamer. Seriously. Give me a break. Being the whiny, picky woman that I am, I also took to calling Dominique ( a perfectly respectable name in France I'm sure) Dominick, since Dominique was a red headed girl in fifth grade. I did have a slight issue with how soon Seraphim was willing to trust & accept Dominique, but after some thought I decided that I too would probably want someone to shoulder the burden with me if I had endured everything Seraphim had had to endure.

All in all a hearty read, forging new bonds between fantasy & romance. Not for the faint of heart. I very much look forward to more along this line from Michele Hauf.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Review~A Crown of Thorns; Fiona Avery

Hubby bought this in the scifi/fantasy section at BAM last week. After reading it, I think it oughta be reshelved along the lines of speculative religious inspirational fiction. Revisionist Christian fiction. Something like that. Warning: if you believe the Bible is the literal, exact Word of God- DO NOT BUY this book. I personally am not a literalist & don't have any major issues with religious speculation. Even if I had strong objections, I would've been nearly all the way through this boook before I realized what was happening.

Taking place between 1234 and 1242 in Paris & Angers France The Crown Rose revolves around the royal family of Louis the IX, the Queen Mum Blanche, sister Isabelle & brothers Robert & Charles. Oh, yes, Louis' wife Margaret too. Poor thing, she never stood a chance trying to fit in with this close knit & doting family, run by Blanche.

The action is told mainly from Isabelle's point of view. After refusing to marry Conrad, king of Germany, Isabelle decides to take vows & become a religious. She resolves to do good works especially to help the poor women of France. Meanwhile, there's plenty of action going on. His Majesty, Louis needs family members to help him with: stolen holy relics that must be found & returned, & conniving relatives who strive to overstep their rightful lands. No to mention those ever land greedy English, whipped into a frenzy by an immoral moneylender who plays all sides in a desperate attempt to win Isabelle's affection. However, he seriously misjudges the consequences of playing the Knights Templar for a pack of fools.

Woven throughout the action are three mysterious sisters who have been Blanche's closest advisors since her husband died twenty years previous. Everything changes when Robert is mortally wounded in the woods & Isabelle begs for land to start a convent. In the end, Isabelle achieves one of her heart's most treasured desires, but is forced to let go of another.

Deftly characterized and thoroughly researched, The Crown Rose definitely pulls you into the middle of a loving family striving mightily to do what is right. The plot is complex and leads you along by the nose until the denoument at the very end.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

They ate my damned post

The supposed powers that be ate my entire review of The Crown Rose by Fiona Avery. Fuckers. It's too late to redo it, so it'll have to wait til tomorrow. Why can't the bastards do site maintenance after midnight?! Or build in a save function so that anyone who's in the middle of writing, their work'll be saved!!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Book Spree

Haven't done any reading in the last two days, but I have done my part to keep the American economy at a full boil by purchasing the following:

1. Goddess of Light, by PC Cast

2.Beyond Sunrise, by Candice Proctor

3.The Last Knight, by Candice Proctor

4.The Selkie, by Charles Sheffield & David Bischoff

5.Dinner with Persephone, by Patricia Storage

The first three are, obviously, romances. Number four is an horror novel, pubbed in 1982. I read a few pages here & there & was hooked. Number five is a memoir of a year lived in Greece written by a published poet & essayist. I opened it to a scene where she is buying a newspaper at her neighborhood kiosk & the vendor tells her (paraphrasing here) 'the newspaper is cheap but practicing your Greek is expensive.'

I was really bummed though. I wanted to buy some of Gena Showalter's books (I only have The Pleasure Slave), but I didn't find any. Off to Amazon again!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

This ~n~ That

Well, we're getting ready to plunge off of the 'interior painting' cliff. Last year we did the livingroom, kitchen & bath. This year we hope to (intend to?) repaint the kids' rooms- while they are still here. Yes, yes, I know we ought to have repainted while they were all away earlier. Hubby & I had, shall we say, other things in mind for our first two weeks alone in..OMG, donkey's years.

The Sharon Kay Penman has been very good as has the Fiona Avery novel. Did I say hubby bought me The Crown Rose as a consolation? Earlier this week, after the fiasco at BAM. There's an excellent synopsis HERE.

My favorite line in TCR has been:

"It was a spoiled girl's notion that a woman could have everything."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Why I love Amazon

The other day I went to my local BAM (Books A Million) in search of Patricia A. McKillip's new hardcover Od Magic. Can't find it in the puny sci fi/fantasy section. Look in the lit section. No dice. HEave a huge sigh & wait my turn at the desk. Spend 15 minutes listening to a non-spelling, snail paced clerk order a book for a man with the patience of a saint. Finally, I score a clerk of my own & ask her about the book I want.

"Uh..can you spell that again?" Wait pregnantly. Get led back to the sf/f section. She should be right here." Points to Anne McCaffrey. I remind her, gently, that I'm actually looking for McKillip- which ought to be a short way down the shelf from McCaffrey. Unfortunately, there are none. We schlep back to the desk. The clerk rummages around in the 'puter some more and says,"Well, if you call every few days we can check the shelves for you & you can come & get it."

"Could you reserve one that's already on it's way?"

"Oh no, ma'am, we don't do that."

"Where else might I look for her books?"

"Oh, she's listed in mystery & romance & literature too. She could be anywhere!" This said with a bright, vacant grin. "Happy hunting."

With that I was left to my own devices. It's a wonder BAM makes any money at all at that location it's so disorganized. I never did find the new McKillip.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

S. K. Penman & houseguests

I've temporarily given up on Rebel Passion in favor of Sharon Kay Penman's The Queen's Man, which somehow reminds me of one of Candace Robb's Owen Archer books, but I don't remember which title right now. Queen Eleanor is a character & I look forward to reading about her.

The parents arrived & departed safely picking up one child & depositing a bicycle, a computer monitor & several miscellaneous items which don't actually belong to me. Hopefully they have safely arrived at their hotel & are currently fussing over the frigidity of their hotel room.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Struggling with an old B. Krahn

Hmmm. I started Rebel Passion by Betina Krahn last night. To my dismay, I find it was set less than 20 miles from our parents' (hubby's & mine). I've managed 122 pages, but was unexpectedly dropped out of the story by Ms. Krahn's assertion that the heroine would need a jacket outside during the day in August in southern Virginia!!!!! Now, even accounting for the fact that it was published way back in 1987 (OMG, the dark ages) I can't seem to work around this. Petty of me I know.

I can assure you, as a resident of Virginia, that one does not need a jacket in Virginia between say April & September or even October. Umbrellas. Sunscreen. NOT JACKETS.

Other problem- heroine surrenders her virginity outside. During the day. Without second thoughts (until afterwards natch).

Still, the hero is your basic cut out alpha with no personality, but I have a soft spot for Betina Krahn's newer books & for the Revolutionary period in general. We'll see. No hurries, mate.

After all, my parents just called & said they're coming over to spend the night while on their way to NH for a family reunion. I suppose I'm grateful they gave me a few hours warning.