When Filing Eyes Are Smiling

Several days ago, kmkat revealed an object most wondrous on her blog. The drama played out in the comments is quite amusing. Go on. I’ll wait. Now go back and read her post from the next day. (The comments are pretty good on that one, too.)

I’m not sure why she was so concerned about the safety and security at ChezKatā„¢, but I sure do appreciate her thoughtfulness! šŸ˜‰ Thank you, kmkat!

As is usually the case when anything new enters the condo, a small drama unfolded here as well.

“C’mon, big kitty, let me see! I wanna see!” -Mayhem

“No.” -Chaos

“Fine. I don’t want to see it anyway.” -Mayhem

“Yeah, right.” -Chaos

“Trust me, she’ll be back. 5…4…3…2…1…” -Chaos

“Pleeeeeeeeeease, big kitty, can I see it?” -Mayhem

“No.” -Chaos

*time passes* Shall we admire it while we wait?

“Sheesh. I thought he’d never leave. Hmph. There’s big kitty spit on it. Eww.” -Mayhem

I think it fits right in with the decor, don’t you?*

*Ā Picture not edited down to its immediate environs because I know some of you enjoy looking at books on shelves and asking questions or commenting.

Keep on bookin’

How did I not know about the Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge?! You can join any time before December 31, 2009. There are three levels: read 12, read 25, or read 50 books from your local library in 2009. Um, looks like I hit the third in March and April alone… *blink blink* I’ve read over 100 library books so far this year.

There’s another Hachette audio book giveaway over at J. Kaye’s Book Blog (and there will be one each day this week *hint hint*) – leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of the nonfiction audio book The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Cooper Ramo. Make sure you read the rules, or you could win and not even know about it!

Here’s an updated list of many current book blog contests – and they aren’t just for paranormals. šŸ˜‰

Are ebooks ruining cultural snobbishness? (Woot if they are!)

Interesting – a machine to print books on demand while you wait in the bookstore.

Brace yourselves – after several weeks of abdomen extraordinaire, there are no abs whatsoever in this week’s reading update! Unless you click on that Lauren Dane Cascadia Wolves link. But you might get more than you bargained for at that point. You have been warned. (I swear, warning y’all is akin to daring you…)

Reading Update
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. The Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers books are never my favorites in this series, but this one wasn’t too bad – probably because Ranger and Joe played a more active role than they usually do in these.
Tri Mates, Wolf Unbound, Standoff, and Fated (Cascadia Wolves, Books 3-6) by Lauren Dane. ebooks. I’m totally sucked into this series about werewolves in the Pacific NW. S3x and political intrigue – what more could you ask? Hmm – maybe more books, now that I’ve read them all? If I was rating steaminess on a five jalapeno scale, this series would probably merit an off-the-scale habanero meltdown.
Eternal Moon (Moon Series, Book 10) by Rebecca York. This continues to be a well-written werewolf series, but I think the time has come for the Moon Series and I to part ways. I’ve been enjoying the series less and less since the whole parallel universe aspect was introduced – I keep hoping that particular thread will die out, but it seems unlikely to happen.
Out of the Night (Night Slayer, Book 1) by Robin T. Popp. I know, I’m shallow – I picked this up because of the Nathan Kamp cover, but it was a surprisingly good read about chupacabras and vampires.
Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, Book 1) by Chloe Neill. This was a really, really good book about a grad student turned into a vampire without her consent. Unlike many paranormals, it’s not filled with graphic s3x or anything, either. Definitely recommended and I am already looking forward to the next book.
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost. Cat Crawfield is half-human, half-vampire and looking to rid the world of vampires when she discovers that things aren’t as black and white as she’d believed.
Edge of Hunger (Primal Instinct, Book 1) by Rhyannon Byrd. Conceptually intriguing and I sort of enjoyed it, but I spent so much time being pissed at the “hero” and thinking he had a whole lot of TSTL (too stupid to live) going on that I really couldn’t get into the book. Apparently there’s a limit to the amount of hero angst I can take. But hey, I did finish the book, which counts for something.
The Monster of Minnesota (News from the Edge, Book 1) by Mark Sumner. I couldn’t resist this title when I saw it in the used section at Uncle Hugo’s over the weekend. Think tabloid journalism and the Loch Ness Monster on a Minnesota lake. Sort of. šŸ™‚
Mouth To Mouth by Erin McCarthy. Another sweet and steamy romance from McCarthy, this time about a Cleveland cop andĀ the woman he meets under unusual circumstances. Somewhat unexpectedly, this book has some nice insights into deaf culture and the challenge of living between two worlds.

“Mmmm… is there anything tastier than furry mouse tails?! I don’t think so!” -Mayhem

Abysmally behind in thank yous

Picture me wringing my hands in the finest White Rabbit fashion! But before I start the thank yous, here are a few contests and a giveaway of interest:

For your chance to win a skein of Lucky Lucy sock yarn, leave a comment at Wendy Knits by 4 pm EDT, April 30.

If you’re a Bob Dylan fan, head on over to Largehearted Boy for your chance to win a pretty amazing Bob Dylan prize pack. Make sure you leave your comment before midnight CDT, May 1.

Win the first six audiobooks of James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series from Hatchette Books at J. Kaye’s Book Blog. (Please note that winners will not be notified by email – you will need to check back at the blog on May 30 to see if you’ve won.)

Barnes & Noble is giving away The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in mp3, plus eight mp3 short stories from authors such as Alice Munro, Elizabeth Berg, and Kurt Vonnegut. You do have to install their download software. This giveaway ends 2:59 am EDT, May 16.

Working back from the present… I won a contest over at the Knitting Doctor for leaving a comment that made the Knitting Doctor laugh out loud. My prize was a gorgeous skein of STR Raven in the Lenore colorway. Thank you!

“It doesn’t smell like a bird. I think you got ripped off, Mom.” -Mayhem

Ahem. Brigitte sent me some lovely goodies, including a gorgeous skein of sock yarn, some of her precious three-ply Hebridean yarn (it’s purple, Marina, so back off! šŸ˜‰ ), skin care goodies (Brigitte and I both have very sensitive skin), kitty toys, a Toronto t-shirt, breath spray that claims I’ll instantly feel Canadian when I use it, and a very handy book…

“My goodness, what are these? They are much, much larger than my furry mice toys. Maybe they are elephants.” -Mayhem

“Mmmm… olive oil stuff.” -Chaos

The Action Heroine’s Handbook! Click to embiggen and discover some of the useful skills this book teaches. Thanks, Brigitte!

I sent Maeve some bibs and baby music and she sent me a lovely card and book as a thank you. Hmm. I wonder why she thought I might like this book? šŸ˜‰ Thank you, Maeve!

MamaTulip and MrsPao sent packages that arrived on the same day! From MamaT (on the left), a book that came highly recommended, a funny card, and book and coffee journals. From MrsPao (on the right), and assortment of tasty treats, a funny postcard, a lovely journal, a mystery, and kitty toys. Thanks to both of you!

*sniff sniff sniff* -Mayhem

Can’t really see the kitty toys?

Sheepy mouse?!” -Mayhem

That colorful ping pong ball has become a particular favorite of Chaos’. MrsPao also sent another box (we’ve been sending each other treats that can’t be found in our home countries) with more tasty treats, a book, and a lovely card. Thanks again!

“Is this entire stack the same thing? Sheesh, Mom, you must really like these weird flat crunchy things. Are they made from nip or something?” -Mayhem

“Don’t mind me – I’m just here to obstruct the picture.” -Chaos

In which the kitties capture a real mouse!

…and have no earthly idea what to do with it.

Chaos carried it around for a minute or so (including hopping in and out of the bathtub) while it squeaked pitifully and then heĀ dropped it on the throw rug in the hall (which is his favorite place to hork, too). I got an emptyĀ plastic container and Mayhem helpfully tapped the mouse into said container for me so I could take it out and place the (lidless) container and mouse into the dumpster. (I didn’t want to make it too easy forĀ the mouseĀ to get back in the building!)

No pictures exist of the kitties and their puzzling prize. However, I gave them a brand new furry (toy) mouse and took a few pictures of them playing with it. Truthfully? They seemed to enjoy the toy mouse a lot more. Here I thought Mayhem would be a great huntress, based on her behavior hunting bugs and furry toy mice.

“I am so a Great Panther Girl Huntress!” -Mayhem

“Note my mad mouse catching skillz!” -Mayhem

“This mouse is toast! Take that, mousie!” -Mayhem

“Let me show you how it’s done, May.” -Chaos

“You can’t escape me! Bwa-ha-ha!” -Chaos

No mice, real or toy, were hurt either preceding or during the preparation of this post. However, a real mouse may now require years of psychotherapy and a furry toy mouse may have had its tail eaten after the camera was put away.

Well, crap

It isn’t a WordPress thing – it’s a Firefox thing (perhaps coinciding with a new version of Firefox taking effect) that is apparently mucking about with the WYSIWYG post editor. Of course, it’d be more helpful if I knew what exactly said thing was, wouldn’t it?

Remember that I took last Friday off to enjoy the weather? It was gloriously sunny and 74F and I wandered around Lake of the Isles in a tank top and shorts! Saturday wasn’t quite as lovely (upper 60s), but still quite pleasant for a tank top and shorts. Over the next few days, it cooled down (32F when I went to work Tuesday morning) and we got a bit of rain. It’s still really, really dry – dry enough that yesterday’s 85F didn’t cause quite the green explosion one would hope. Today: 75F, becoming rainy for the next several days, with highs of 45F or 50FĀ over the weekend! Crazy, crazy weather.

Hmm. Not much else going on. My sweater is about 6″ long now and I’ve gotten really, really good at correcting cable mishaps. Usually. Other than that one time. And really, it would only have added an inch or two to the sweater…

Maybe a few links to help liven up a dull post… Did you know Sunday isĀ Pet Parents Day? Totally a made-up holiday, but you can send ecards

Check out the free WordPress Black Cat Theme that Limedragon found! I’m pretty fond of my theme, but I know there are other black cat lovers out there. Speaking of which, did you happen to see the lovely black cat quilt that KitKatKnit found? And from yet another enterprising reader – check out the cute retro modern kitty beds that Shannah found over at etsy. (She also found a cool and completely non-cat-related link to making cupcakes decorated with marzipanĀ “knitting.”)

Hmm. What do you think crime scene investigators would say about this shower curtain and bath mat?!


*snort snuffle drool* -Mayhem

My favorite part of that picture? Not the soft and tempting bikini-marked tummy. Not the adorable paws-up pose. Nope.Ā My favorite part is that her mouth is hanging slightly open so you can see some tiny kitty teeth (click the picture to embiggen). Class act all the way, MayMay.

May your weekends all be as relaxing as Mayhem’s will be!

O noes! WurdPrez iz brokz agin

This will make writing a linkity-linkity-link post more than usually exciting. Don’t be surprised if this post stops mid-sentence. Gah.

Paula’s celebrating her blogiversary with a contest – leave her a comment by midnight CDT, April 25, for your chance to win books or sock yarn. And check out her cute lamp – a mini-spinning wheel with moving parts!

Help Teyani’s choral group go to Carnegie Hall to perform! By making a tax-deductible donation to their travel fund by May 26, you will be entered in a drawing for some wonderful prizes, such as yarn and gift certificates.

The book What Would Jane Austen Do? sounds like a good read for Amy and Jeanne, among others. You can leave a comment at RR@H Novel Thoughts for your chance to win a copy.

Author Barbara Bretton is giving away one of those spiffy new Knit Kits to a lucky entrant on April 25.

Author Meljean Brook’s clearing off her shelves – leave her a comment for your chance to win a copy of The Romance Readers’ Book Club.

Check out Marsha’s links to unusual things to knit – from bicycles to mushrooms to a horse head. Peruse the other links at the AntiCraft when you go to gawk at the horse head, particularly if you’ve always wanted to knit a Lovecraftian Elder God. Please note that some links at the AntiCraft are definitely NSFW, such as this one. *blink blink*

And now we really know where socks go when they’re lost in the wash.

Amy does some great photoblogging all over Minnesota – check out her posts about touring nearby Lakeland Cemetary (guaranteed you’ll recognize more than one name) and some of the other historic sights near downtown Minneapolis. (And now you’re probably all wondering why you haven’t seen pictures of all those things here that are all less than three miles from my condo…)

Wow – it costs $185.49 to build a Kindle2.

Thanks to kmkat for pointing me to this WSJ article about how the ebook will change the way we read and write. Not that I completely agree with the author, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless.

For those of you who boldly tweet at work, here’s a way to use Twitter at work and not get caught – it looks like an Excel spreadsheet. (Please note that SoC takes no responsibility if you try this and do get caught tweeting at work.)

And here are six ways that Lifehacker thinks you should be using Twitter.

This Honeywell email ad from 1977 is hysterical – especially with the Gizmodo commentary: “I can see why it took another 25 years to attract a mainstream following.”

The migraine in art?!

Although this under-sofa storage idea is brilliant (and would work with my futon couch and chair), I think the kitties would be very unhappy if they couldn’t sneak around under the furniture anymore.

“Hmm. I feel unaccountably nervous.” -Chaos

*furry malevolence* -Mayhem

Hopefully the technical difficulties are past…

…but I’m not holding my breath. Blue’s not a good look for me. šŸ˜‰

Want to win a copy of The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance? Leave a comment letting author Meljean Brook know what your favorite short story is.

Leave a comment at Largehearted Boy by midnight CDT, April 24, for your chance to win a copy of the Wilco dvds Ashes of American Flags and I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, plus “an assortment of surprise books and cds.”

Nicole’s giving away books 3-6 of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood to someone who doesn’t mind covering media mail postage. I recommend this series to any vampire romance aficionados.

Leave a comment at Darque Reviews by the morning of April 28 for your chance to win copies of Jocelynn Drake’s books Nightwalker and Dayhunter.

A Braille ebook reader – very cool!

Arrrr – I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for The Guide to Pirate Parenting, right? Especially Deb. Deb lurves pirates. Probably you should all go and leave your very best piratey comments for her right now. I’ll wait. (No need to thank me, Deb. Really.)

The Top 10 Lies of the Romance Novel Hero/Heroine. *snort*

Listen to Alan Rickman reading Sonnet 130.

Listen to Neil Gaiman read his lovely book The Blueberry Girl, which I think is a wonderful book to give to the parents of daughters.

Reading Update
The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld, Book 3) by Gena Showalter. And now I wait until the fourth book comes out in a few months… Is it out yet? No? How about now?
Soul Song, The Last Twilight, and The Wild Road (Dirk & Steele, Books 6-8) by Marjorie M. Liu. The Wild Road was a reread and I have to say I got a lot more out of it after reading the preceding books! I’m really enjoying this well-done series about the paranormal detective agency of Dirk & Steele and again, I wait for the next book. *taps foot*
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs. This continues to be an excellent urban fantasy/paranormal romance series about coyote shifter Mercy and the other paranormal denizens of the Tri-Cities area (most of whom seem to have grudges against Mercy).
Everlasting Bad Boys by Shelly Laurentson, Cynthia Eden, and Noelle Mack. I couldn’t get into the dragon story by Shelly Laurentson, so I didn’t read it. The witch’n’demon story by Cynthia Eden was ok. The story by Noelle Mack about a man made of electricity was so punny, it was a bit painful.
You’re So Vein (The Others, Book 7) by Christine Warren. Speaking of punny… fortunately, the punniness here doesn’t extend beyond the title. If you’ve been keeping up with Christine Warren’s Others, this is a solid addition to the series. And you’d be right that this one focuses on vampires. šŸ™‚
Caught (Gemini Men) by Jami Alden. This is the first in what will be three scorching hot romantic suspense novels about the three Taggert brothers who run Gemini, a security and private investigation agency.
Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, Book 3) by Richelle Mead. This continues to be a good series about Seattle succubus and bookstore manager, Georgina Kincaid. I got very sniffly at the end.
Don of the Dead (Pepper Martin Mysteries, Book 1) by Casey Daniels. Fashionista Pepper Martin sees dead people. Dead people who can’t rest easily because they have unfinished business they need resolved. A good start to an intriguing series, with the requisite two elusive love interests – one a cop, one not.
You Don’t Know Jack by Erin McCarthy. This is one of McCarthy’s fun contemporary romances, with absolutely no paranormality in sight.
Private Lies by Amy Eastlake. This romantic suspense ebook was a freebie download. Choppy, some plot holes, and definitely could’ve used some editing and formatting… but I did get sucked into the story about a CIA operative, hackers, and terrorists.
Black Cat by Cat Johnson. Freebie download paranormal romance ebook short story that was kinda cute in a steamy sort of way.
Enforcer and Reluctant (Cascadia Wolves, Books 1-2) by Lauren Dane. Very steamy ebook series about a pack of werewolves in Washington State.

*mouse mouse mouse mouse mouse mouse mouse* -Mayhem

Tentatively excited about spring

It’s been sunny since Tuesday. The highs have been slowly creeping up – it hit 71F yesterday! Even the lows have crept up from 32F Tuesday when I drove to work to upper 40s this morning. A few blades of grass have turned green. We actually do need some rain to really get things growing (and reduce the fire danger); sounds like we might see some rain and (sadly) cooler temps over the weekend. (Um, yes, Minnesotans are unnaturally interested in the weather – why do you ask?)

Plus I saw the first two egrets of the season on Monday!

I haven’t noticed any particular effects from the prescription Vitamin D yet, but I hope that starts to change soon. Getting in some walks now that the weather’s nicer should help that. To facilitate that, I’m taking today off from work to walk and bask in the sun. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

…zzzzzzz… -Mayhem

*sun bliss* -Chaos

Please ignore the envelope in the lower right corner of the picture above. It’s actually a cat toy of sorts – Chaos has been happily dragging it around by the strip I used to rip the envelope open.