so yesterday

It would appear that I've been slightly, well, absent from my blog of late. For two months. Yeah. Things happen. And don't happen.

It's not to say that I haven't had anything to say. I just haven't taken the time to sit and write what with working a couple jobs and all. And lurving on Kindle. Let's see if we can't play a bit of catchup here.

Month o' Edgy
We have now crested to the backside of the Month o' Edgy. So you probably ought to get on that already. Just sayin'.

I've been teaching Pilates at the JCC since about November. Now I'm teaching there quite a bit. Which I like. In the last couple months I've knocked off two more of my certification classes. That means I only have one more. Plus the test. The very nasty test. I may have to actually start learning the anatomy for it. *le sigh*

Instructional Design
I had my first trip to rKansas. That was pretty sweet. Especially since we flew in to Tulsa and then drove to rKansas, thus knocking off two states from my States I Have Never Been To list. While there, we ate lunch at Sam Walton's favorite restaurant. Or at least the one he ate at every Friday evening. And I had The. Best. Country. Fried. Steak. Ever. Seriously. The bread to meat ratio was at least 2.5:1. Instant heart attack, I tell you. And sweet potato fries. Such happiness. My hotel room was rather nice. I can say that because they put free Blue Belle Ice Cream in the freezer. And the Kindle kept me highly occupied and satisfied. Although the first stewardess threw a fit about me using an electronic device while taking off. I don't think it counts. The second stewardess was much kinder. Oh. Which leads to the highlight of the trip . . . I got a nekkid body picture scan at the airport. Don't believe any of the rubbish they tell you about it being quicker. Two families with multiple children each went through the standard security check in less time than I did through that machine.

I've been doing quite a bit of reading. I have about ten reviews I need to write up and post. Of course, one of the things that's been sucking the life out of me is a manuscript I've been evaluating. I must finish it at all costs today. Really. Because I'd rather read Fobby's most recent manuscript and I can't start that until I've finished this one.

Yard Stuffs
We have tulips this year. We haven't had them before, so I find this to be a bit odd. The irises are slowly starting to come back. The flowering cherry is nice and full and fat. Apparently she likes the annual wassailing. The red oak, on the other hand. She's such a stick. Although she has more than three leaves this year. Even if they're huddled around a branch shoot halfway up the tree. And we've finally potted some plants. That makes me happy. Now all we need to do is dig up the side yard and put in a garden.

That should cover everything for the time being. I'm aiming for more regularity, especially since the Poppa seems to have noticed the lack of posting.


sleeping beauty

Last night, Dec proposed that we move the puppies' beds. He'd like for Puppatrix to sleep on my side of the room and Puppicent can sleep on his side. He wants this because Puppatrix is a whiner. She sighs and whines and lets you know that she generally discontent. Of course, this is her own fault. If she would just stay under her blanket when we put her to bed, she wouldn't have to bellyache about how cold she is later on.

I, of course, told Dec no. But it has relatively little to do with Puppatrix's whining, especially when you consider that the whining is nothing in comparison to Puppicent's snoring. No, I turned him down because Puppicent, bless her dear little soul, is easily disoriented.

When we first got her, she slept under my nightstand while Puppatrix slept under Dec's. Then Puppicent decided she wanted Puppatrix's bed. So we moved her bed to the same side of the room. A couple months ago, deciding that it was more important that Dec and I be able to actually move around the entire bed, we moved her back under my nightstand. This has been amusing.

You see, the puppies like to lie in bed with me and cuddle as we read. If Puppicent should fall asleep, she has difficulty making it back to her bed when Dec comes to bed. Some nights, she insists that her bed is still in the other corner of the room. And she will curl up on the hard, wood floor, because she knows that's where her bed is. It will then take us a couple minutes to coax her over to her actual bed.

So out of consideration for Puppicent, I have vetoed Dec's suggestion. Because then she would have no idea where she's actually supposed to sleep. Oh. And that way I don't have to recover Puppatrix multiple times during the night.


big fat manifesto

I fear that I will never understand the gastrointestinal tracts of the puppies.

For example, Saturday evening, Softball decided she wanted to make brinner for her meal, as it was her weekend to cook. Furthermore, she insisted that we mark St. Patrick's Day with the dinner and turn everything green. So we cooked some green flan the night before. And we had kiwi and mandarin oranges in green whipped cream. And we had lemon-lime Crystal Light. And we had green German pancakes.

And then there was the green bacon.

My BiL had suggested that he had seen somewhere online that you can dye your bacon green. We thought that was rather kooky. So we tried it. Or, rather, we made Dec try it. (I'm noticing that if it involves a griddle or a skillet, I won't cook it. Don't know why. Probably ought to see someone about this.) What it comes down to is you put a couple drops on the fat. We then decided to rub it in and press it against the next piece of bacon. By and large, the fat of the bacon remained green. Tomboy and I thought it was cool; everyone else was rather grossed out about it.

So back to the puppies. In the cleanup process, unnamed persons (whose names rhyme with Fleck and Schmomboy) left the garbage can out in the middle of the kitchen after they had left the room. This is the garbage can that has grease-soaked paper towels sitting on the top of it. As is her wont to do, Puppatrix had pilfered some paper towel. I walked in on her hiding under a chair nom nom nomming away on said paper towel. She started nom nom nomming away quicker.

Apparently that was the second paper towel. This afternoon, I walked into the living room to find her throwing up. And what did I find in the pile of neon green vomit? (Did I mention that Tomboy insisted on neon green food dye this weekend?) That's right. It was a formerly-green-dyed-bacon-grease-soaked paper towel, still relatively whole.

I'm baffled because she has eaten since the nom nom nomming and had movements. Where was she hiding this paper towel in her system? I'm thinking she might be part cow and have an extra stomach or two. Not sure though.


The Sandman: Endless Nights

The Sandman: Endless Nights
by Neil Gaiman
Graphic Novel. 152 pp.
DC Comics. 2003.

back copy:

Before becoming a New York Times two-time best-selling author, Neil Gaiman revolutionized the comic-book arena with The Sandman. The most acclaimed and award-winning comic series of the last decade, The Sandman is a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy, in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven. The Sandman set new standards for comics literature, and the ten volumes of The Sandman library are seen today as one of the high-watermarks of the medium.

The Sandman: Endless Nights will be a delight to fans of Gaiman's work and newcomers to the graphic novel. Whether haunting, bittersweet, erotic or nightmarish, the seven stories in this book—one for each of the Endless siblings—reveal strange secrets and surprising truths. Each story is illustrated by some of the greatest comics artists from around the world.

Fortunately, I checked this book out from the library at the same time as I checked out Preludes and Nocturnes. had I not done that, I would have never read this one, I enjoyed this one considerably more than the other. There are a couple things I'm going to chalk such like up to. First, the stories are better contained and more interesting, probably because we get to see a little about each of the Endless siblings. Second, the illustrations are in a style that I find more pleasing, even if each story is illustrated by a different illustrator. This was a huge component of my liking this one.

So, I won't completely write off the Sandman series; I just won't actively set about finishing it.


The Last Exit to Normal

The Last Exit to Normal
by Michael Harmon
YA fiction. 288 pp.
Knopf. 2008.

kindle summary:

Yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his father and his father's boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Ben, angry and resentful about the changed circumstances of his life, begins to notice that something is not quite right with the little boy next door and determines to do something about it.

further summary:
It’s true: After 17-year-old Ben’s father announces he’s gay and the family splits apart, Ben does everything he can to tick him off: skip school, smoke pot, skateboard nonstop, get arrested. But he never thinks he’ll end up yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his dad and Edward, The Boyfriend. As if it's not painful enough living in a hick town with spiked hair, a skateboard habit, and two dads, he soon realizes something's not quite right with Billy, the boy next door. He's hiding a secret about his family, and Ben is determined to uncover it and set things right. In an authentic, unaffected, and mordantly funny voice, Michael Harmon tells the wrenching story of an uprooted and uncomfortable teenaged guy trying to fix the lives around him—while figuring out his own.

This is the first book I read on my Kindle. (And I haven't told you how much I lurve my Kindle yet, but I do. And I will. After I finish catching up with these reviews.) I had tagged this book as To Read some time ago, though I don't remember where I found the recommendation. Overall, I found the book to be average. That said, there are some strengths to it to commend it.

For starters, the characters are well drawn. Particularly Miss Mae, Ben's new step-grandmother. She's brusque and apparently rather weather-worn and hardened. But there's a deep and abiding love underneath her tough exterior, and you're thrilled as Ben begins to discover this. (You're also thrilled every time she whacks him with a wooden spoon for some offense, be it foul language, laziness, or smarting off. Even better when she kicks him out of the house for his behavior and makes him sleep in the shed.) You fall in love with Billy, the boy next door who is walking a tough line in his own life. Edward is even extremely likable.

The novel shows amazing growth on Ben's part, and that leaves the book with an overall feeling of hope. Is Ben a punk? Yes. Do you see and understand why he is? Yes.

I'd say the one thing I found distracting was the language. I'm not even sure why. Because this was the language used around school as I grew up. It's the language of ranch hands and cowboys. But it just seemed to be in excess in this novel.

other reviews:
Becky's Book Reviews | Guys Lit Wire | Literature Blog


The Demigod Files

The Demigod Files
by Rick Riordan
YA fantasy. 151 pp.
Hyperion. 2009.

back copy:

Young demigods, brace yourselves for a peek inside the highly classified Demigod Files! Compiled by Camp Half-Blood's senior scribe, Rick Riordan, these top secret archives include three of Percy Jackson's most perilous adventures and behind-the-scenes interviews with your favorite characters—Connor and Travis, Clarisse, Annabeth, Grover, and Percy. Become an authority on Percy's world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

So, we know that I lurve me some Percy Jackson. I had forgotten that this little nugget was to be released until I happened to be at the Devil's Den buying a birthday present for Bruce and saw sitting there, begging to be bought. So I bought it. And enjoyed it. This book consists of a few short stories, some character interviews, and some puzzles. I like that it fleshes the characters out a bit more. What I wonder, though, is if Riordan is using the short stories to move the principals along to where they need to be for the final volume, The Last Olympian. All I know is that I'm glad to have a little bit of Percy to tide me over until May.


The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
by Neil Gaiman
Graphic Novel. 239 pp.
DC Comics. 1991.

back copy:

Enter a dark and enchanting world of dreams and nightmares and meet the Sandman, master of dreams, and his kin—the Endless. This first collection of Neil gaiman's unique and multi-award-winning Sandman Saga introduces key themes and characters, combining myth, magic and black humor.

bn synopsis:
A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death.

I picked this title up at the suggestion of a few friends because I've found myself interested in Gaiman's writing of late. ejwise said:
Gaiman, for the unitiated, is best known for his Sandman comic book series -- or for the more sophisticated, a graphic novel series. (It was serialized before it was bound into separate volumes based upon its many story-arcs.) This is a must-read!
In terms of story, I think I'd agree with him. The story itself is intriguing. Morpheus himself is fascinating. As I've thought about it over the weeks since I finally finished the volume, I mostly didn't care for the illustration style. And because of that, I found that I didn't particularly care for this book and will likely not carry on into the series.