September 2008

Bookity bookity book

Nicole’s giving away a paranormal romance on October 3 and another on October 10 – stop by and leave a comment for your chance to win.

Don’t forget about Chaos’s birthday contest!

Hey, if you live within an hour of Portland, Maine, and are looking for a job (PHP hacker/JavaScript genius with library-data experience, graphic designer/user interface guru, or brainy & overworked assistant), use me as your referral and I’ll split the $1000 with you! I think working for LibraryThing would be awesome.

Did you know that it’s Banned Books Week? Like the ALA says, “Free people read books freely” and “Closing books shuts out ideas.” Some of the challenged books of 2007 include The Golden Compass, The Color Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harry Potter books, Of Mice and Men, and Slaughterhouse-Five.

Reading Update
Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip. A contemporary fantasy about the power of handcrafters…
Summer Pleasures: Second Nature / One Summer by Nora Roberts. Although there are still an apparently infinite number of Nora Roberts books to read (you should see the stack I took back to the library unread!), I think I have this one under control now. Whew!
Any Given Doomsday (The Phoenix Chronicles, Book 1) by Lori Handeland. I received this book as an advance copy via Library Thing Early Reviewers, so you get more of a review than I usually provide. 🙂 The pros: A strong female protagonist and an intriguing premise suggest that The Phoenix Chronicles might be a worthwhile series to follow. The cons: This reminded me way too much of Anita Blake, post ardeur. Since I think the onset of the arrdeur is what turned that series from a great paranormal fantasy/romance series to a soft porn series, this wasn’t a positive association. To further the Anita Blake similarities, the protagonist, Liz Phoenix, is torn between two men – one with vampiristic characteristics, the other with wereish characteristics.
Hotter than Hell, edited by Kim Harrison. Although there were several decent stories in this collection, it wasn’t anywhere near as strong as the Dates from Hell or Holidays Are Hell collections.
Hell Hole (A John Ceepak Mystery) by Chris Grabenstein. Another intense Jersey Shore mystery – I suspect that fans of Robert B. Parker will particularly like Grabenstein’s style.
One Bite Stand (MacKenzie Vampires, Book 4) by Nina Bangs. Yes, lured by another cheesy title, I found this a surprisingly enjoyable read and will have to read the first three books now.
A Dose of Murder, The Stiff and the Dead, One Dead Under the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Deep Sea Dead (Pauline Sokol Mysteries, Books 1-4) by Lori Avocato. This humorous mystery series is strongly modeled after Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mysteries – simply substitute Pauline for Stephanie, Jagger for Ranger, Nick for Joe, Uncle Walt for Gramma Mazur, Goldie for Lulu, Fabio for Vinny, Adele for Connie, Spanky for Rex, Connecticut for New Jersey, family dinners at the Sokols instead of at the Plums, and being a bumbling medical insurance fraud investigator for being a bumbling bounty hunter. Fortunately, the fourth book was a lot better than the third, which needed at least 100 pages hacked out of it.

“Aw, shucks, you guys. You are too kind! Thank you all.” -Chaos


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Happy birthday, big kitty!

*sniff* I can’t believe that Chaos turned five yesterday! As Carrie K pointed out to me recently, if he was a human kid instead of a fur kid, he’d be in preschool or possibly even kindergarten now! (She also pointed out that he would need to wear some warning labels, such as “Biter” and “Does not play well with others.”)

“What do you mean, ‘does not play well with others?!’ I’ll bite you if you don’t recant that slanderous statement, Mom!” -Chaos

Additionally, this is my 775th post. How the hell did that happen?! In honor of all this sentimentality, I must, of course, hold a contest. (Like you didn’t know that was coming.) I’ll be giving away yarn and black cat memorabilia and maybe even music or a book. (“Oh, shiny!”) Prizes can be adapted for both knitters and non-knitters.

To participate in the contest, simply leave a comment on this post by 6 pm CDT, Monday, October 6. Your comment should contain an intriguing bit of information – a favorite quote, the best book you ever read, your favorite Chaos moment, an interesting link – you get the idea. I’ll randomly select three winners.

(If you’ve never read the story of Chaos, you can find it here.)

Those Cats

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In which the link thing gets completely and totally out of hand

It’s time for Jane’s Fourth Annual Show Me Your Socks Contest! Check out the details and drool over the gorgeous prizes (sock yarn, of course) donated by Numma Numma. Contest closes at midnight EDT, September 28.

BrainyLady Alison’s giving away a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. For your chance to win, leave her a comment (by September 29) about what your favorite knitting book was this year.

Sarah’s having her preemie hat knitting contest – sign up on her blog if you’d like to knit some preemie hats.

Yesterday’s post inspired Michaele to share this link to a short video about the very cool bike racks former Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne designed for New York City. Thanks, Michaele!

On Saturday, September 27, the Smithsonian is sponsoring Museum Day – you can “enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide.” Some of the participating locations in Minnesota include the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

If I had seen these signs, I probably would’ve been laughing too hard to take pictures…

Can’t you just picture Mayhem in this particular lol? (Although I suspect that a kung fu mouse would make her very happy!) I thought these two lolz went well together.

Last weekend, Lifehacker’s Ungeek to Live column was about how to fit reading into your life.

Ewwwwww! Clever, though.

So, what’s your personal fairy? Jeanne thinks mine is the parking fairy. Can’t argue there – I’m always bemused when I don’t get rockstar parking, because it so often just happens. I could also make a case for the book fairy. Here’s an example – when I embarked on my rereading of all the Dark-Hunter/Dream-Hunter novels project last week, I used the Minneapolis Public Library catalog to figure out how to get all the books via the minimum number of close libraries. Over two days, I stopped at four different libraries (all within four miles of me): Walker, Hosmer, Washburn, and Linden Hills. As I was driving down 50th Street from Washburn to Linden Hills for the last few books, I had the twitchy urge to stop at the Paperback Exchange (not one of my usual haunts). They had a single Dark-Hunter novel, which I purchased even though my list showed it to be at the Linden Hills Library. When I got to Linden Hills, guess which Dark-Hunter novel was not to be found? Yup. I get that little twitchy urge for both used bookstores and thrift stores and it’s usually right on target.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

“Go away! Quit pretending you can see me!!” -Mayhem


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Racking it up

I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy whimsical bike racks, such as the ones outside of the Uptown Y:

This one’s presumably from the same artist/era and could use some welding.

More recent bike-shaped bike racks…

These have a slightly different style.

And this one departs utterly from that theme!

For ultimate security, try the Metro Transit bike lockers.

And remember…

Fall is definitely on its way – time to change from the crisp, cool cotton sheets to the snuggly jersey sheets.

“Go away! We’re not here!” -Chaos

“Yeah! What the big kitty said!” -Mayhem

Tales of the Neighborhood
Two Wheels Good

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Back to that crushes on fictional characters thing…

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.

– Richard Bach, Illusions of a Reluctant Messiah

Kristi’s knitting a tessellating fish afghan for her twins’ November birthday. In order to complete the afghan in time, she’s looking for some tessellating fish donations. For each tessellating fish received by November 3, the knitter will be entered in a prize drawing. (How many non-knitters are wondering “WTF?” right now?)

Scout’s giving away some KnitPicks Harmony needles if you leave a link to some great “swag” for her by the evening of September 25.

Did you see this wonderful cat modeling knitwear photoshoot over at Domesticrafts last week?

Imbrium has a very thoughtful post about knitblogging and Ravelry.

Oy, I am soooooo behind in Google Reader. The returning to work? Dang. Not an easy transition, especially since it appears I now am simply seven work days behind instead of relaxed from vacation!

Reading Update
Night Play, Seize the Night, Sins of the Night, Unleash the Night, Dark Side of the Moon, Devil May Cry (Dark-Hunter, Books 6-11); The Dream-Hunter, Upon the Midnight Clear, Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter, Books 1-3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Ok, I finished rereading the Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter books, then reread the last bit of Part 1 and all of Part 2 of Acheron as I tried to figure out why the heck Acheron bothered me so much. I think I understand that now.

All of the previous Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter novels integrate the flashbacks into the story. In Acheron, Part 1 is the flashback to Ash’s human life 11,000 years ago, while Part 2 is the modern story. At the beginning of the book, Kenyon explains why she did this – she felt that Ash’s backstory was simply too extensive to do as flashbacks. As written, I have to agree. However, I think that writing the backstory was cathartic for Kenyon and it got self-indulgently out of hand and overwhelming for the reader. I think this would have been a much stronger and more satisfying book if she’d integrated then and now as she usually does.

When I reread Acheron, I skipped most of the backstory and just read the last bit of Part 1 (from Ash’s mortal death) and all of Part 2. While I still think that Part 2 would’ve been stronger with more flashbacks, I did enjoy the story much more this time. I was less dubious about Tory and Ash. I still had all the details from the previous 14 books (counting the Dream-Hunter novels) in my head, so things felt less “gappy.”

And really, I had huge expectations for this book, which I doubt it could ever have met… Because, hello, Acheron?! Yum. Speaking of which, we haven’t talked about this for a while – what fictional characters have you had crushes on lately?

I’m still rather fond of Roarke and Ranger (mentioned in that previous post). I’m a bit less fond of Jean-Claude and Doyle (mentioned in the comments to that previous post), since I’m getting a bit bored by the Laurell K. Hamilton books that take 400 pages to cover three hours…

Of course, when I wrote that post, I hadn’t read the Dark-Hunter novels (suggested by several people in the comments then)… so I now have to add Acheron (obviously), Ravyn, and pretty much all of the non-blond Dark-/Dream-/Were-Hunters. Then there’s the delectable Japhrimel from the Dante Valentine novels. Harry Dresden. David from the Weather Warden novels. Clayton Danvers from the Otherworld series. I’m sure you’ll suggest some others that I’ve forgotten or have yet to discover!

“Even though I’m not fictional, maybe I’ll make some of those crush lists, since I’m so dark and handsome and suave and all.” -Chaos


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