Showing posts from June, 2010


Working, working, working.
Meh. Blarg. Argh!

Reading, absorbing, thinking, processing, formulating.
Woo-hoo! Hmmm... Oh my stars, yes!! Whuh? Whoa!

And some of this...

(Just because. :))

Something new, and good, soon.
Yes, a review. Patience.

Vampires & Shapeshifters, Served up Chicago-Style

There’s plenty of uncertainty in this thing we can “life”, but there's one thing we can always count on: time is gonna keep right on doin’ its thing, marching along at its own pace. No matter how much we might want to stop it, or at least to slow it down a bit, that’s just not gonna happen. It’s not always bad, that passage of time; some things actually improve with it. Wines and whiskies become smoother and mellower. A favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans grows softer and more comfortable. Trees stretch taller and fill out to provide more shade and beauty. (Okay, I'm sure there's more, but that's all that springs to mind.)    Most things don't have such a positive relationship with time, of course. The cycle of life as we know it is such that, after a particular point, all living things cease growing or regenerating and begin the gradual process of decline, leading, inexorably, to... well, a last hurrah, if you will. Generally speaking, animals (including humans) go thr…

A Badass in Beantown

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several years, you’re no doubt aware that Urban Fantasy fiction has virtually exploded during that time, in terms of both popularity and the number of new releases. That doesn’t mean it’s some newfangled genre, however; the fact is that there has always been a certain segment of readers devoted to the macabre, the mystical, the mythical, and the magical--and an assortment of writers more than willing to cater to such devotion.  For those of us who like to dream of a different place--not necessarily better, mind you, just different than where we are right now--UF offers a chance to escape, to explore new worlds and new realities... while retaining at least some semblance to the world in which we live. New-to-the-genre Nancy Holzner’s Deadtown is an example of one of the best new UF series out there.     Deadtown is set in Boston, in an uneasy world in which supernatural creatures are "out"... but not really trusted or respecte…

Werewolves in London? Try Bloodsuckers Down Under

Aside from a few dozen or so songs--the unremittingly-cheery sort of dreck I can only charitably term “uplifting”--there seems to be something of a universal consensus that life can be pretty awful. Sound overly harsh? Let’s look to some experts then, shall we? Consider that the first of Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths is that “life means suffering”. Think back to John Hobbes, who concluded in his 1651 book Leviathan that life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. “ Of course, if you prefer your proof to be of the less-erudite variety, there’s always that late-20th-century classic, “Life sucks, and then you die”. (Lacks a bit in the eloquence department, but it gets the same point across, in inimical Bill-&-Ted fashion.) With such depressing thoughts bearing down on us like so many dark, angry stormclouds--and the fact that most of us have just seen too much bad to fall for the false promises in those sappy songs--it's no wonder a lot of people look for ways to escape the…

Don't Mess with a Killer Chick

One thing you can say about the field of Urban Fantasy fiction? It’s a crowded one, and getting more so every day. (Seriously, isn’t everyone writing one now?) Another thing you can say? As happens with most genres, the majority of UF stories tend to follow a similar formula (their authors obviously adherents to the school of “if it ain’t broke...”).  That tried-and-true formula usually goes something like this... There's always a youngish kickbutt heroine--a gal who’s really good at, well, wiping the floors with bad guys (who totally deserve their really unpleasant fates, by the way). She generally has a friend or two she can rely on when things don’t go as planned (which is a very good thing, because nothing ever goes as planned). And, in between hanging out with her pals and engaging in all that bootay-kicking, the heroine always gets a hot love interest to spice things up. (Yeah, so the hunky dude is predictable; who really wants to read about her getting busy with the dweeby, …

Father's Day Tears

June is always a sad, melancholy sort of month for me. It's the month for Father's Day, obviously. It's also the month my folks used to celebrate their anniversary.

The last June they--or I--celebrated either one was in 1998. Two months later my Dad was dead.

Did he change the world? Did he discover, invent, say, or do anything amazing? Did he achieve either fame or fortune during the 65 years he graced this earth? Hardly.

Everything he did, though, he did with grace, dignity, and integrity. He was just an humble, regular guy who came from modest origins. His education went no further than the ninth grade, yet he was actually an incredibly intelligent man who read voraciously and was interested in everything. He loved all animals, but especially cats :) --and they, in turn, never failed to love him back. Everyone who met him, in fact, loved him; he was easygoing, had a great sense of humor, and was always ready to lend a helping hand, without ever being asked.

He will alwa…

Bon-bons and Idiots

Cursed with a sweet tooth, I am. Not one of those harmless little “oh, I’ll just have a miniature cupcake once a month and be perfectly happy with nothing but health food the other 29 or so days” things, either; this is more of a full-blown, “must-have-something-sweet-every-single-day-OR-ELSE”-kind of thing. (Fortunately, I love fruit. Unfortunately, fruit doesn’t cut it when I want a sundae. Or a cookie. Or that cupcake.) Still, one does what one must. Makes allowances. Fits the occasional sinfully-decadent whatever into the overall dietary plan (and hopes the combination of guilt and sugar buzz doesn’t prove lethal). Although there’s a case to be made for the similarities between desserts and Romance novels, I have a very different relationship with the books than with sweets, because of suffering no ill effects from their absence. Not that I out-and-out sniff with disdain at love stories or anything--and not that plenty of non-romance books (meaning, the majority of what constitutes…

Eye Candy

While I'm busy thinking about a couple of upcoming reviews (in the as-yet-to-set-fingers-to-keyboard stage), reading something else (ooh, shiny!), and tenderly caressing the pretty-pretty book I just received in the mail from a friend who knows me well (squee!moreshiny!)...

my boycat amuses and distracts me by doing stuff like this.

Yeah, TOTAL eye candy.

You're welcome. ;D

You're Gonna Need More Popcorn...

When I first got the notion to do a fun (well, fun to me, at least) little series about Classic Favorites, it seemed like two posts would probably cover it. (Hmm. Can only two posts a series make?) But once I'd written the first post, I realized that my favorite movies based on those book picks really deserved a post of their own, too. And so it grew, until, finally, we're now at the fourth (and last) post on the subject. (Hey! That makes it official, right? It's a bonafide "series", after all. A mini-series, if you will. ;))

In the same way that North and South, the book, has topped my short list of Really Good Stuff, so has North and South, the BBC production. It's nothing short of amazing.

Since I've already described the overall storyline in (ehem) some detail, I won't rehash any of that. (If you haven't read my thoughts about it yet--and you're breaking my heart if you haven't, you know--then check out yesterday's post first, '…

The World through Smoky Grey-Tinted Glasses...

Green is the color of life to me. (Consider plants, and the relationship which chlorophyll, photosynthesis, and oxygen forges between us and them. See, like that.) Still, despite these beneficial, life-giving qualities, some people don’t seem to feel any particular need to be aroundgreenery. (Those would be the people inexplicably content to have treeless, postage-stamp-sized lawns, or no lawns at all, I guess.) Meanwhile, others--like me--crave the presence of green like... well, like one of those plants you see which bends and stretches and does a crazy little jive-dance in its efforts to get just a little bit of sunlight.
My soft spot for classic English novels comes as no surprise then, eh? Overflowing with all those vivid descriptions of fragrant purple heather blowing on the moors, peaceful arbors wreathed in roses and honeysuckle, and colorful, carefree English gardens full of flittering butterflies (I know, I know--what other type of garden would one expect to find but an Engli…