Category Archives: Tales of the Neighborhood

My eyeball, let me show it to you (now with more linkity than you’d expect from that title!)

Due to the holiday weekend here in the States, the Misadventures in Stock Photography will be on Tuesday instead of Monday next week.



Learn, Make, Do, Think





Teh Cute

Reading Update
Fall Down the Mountain by P.D. Singer. ebook. Very good m/m romance about a guy who works as a ski patrol at a fancy resort and who’s having a hard time getting over both his crush on an unavailable man and not having been able to save someone from dying in an avalanche. Will the sexy chef who lives down the hall from him be able to help him move on? I must confess to getting a titch frustrated with the main character’s clinginess during part of the book, even though I completely understood why he was acting that way.
The Best Man by L.A. Witt. ebook. Good m/m romance about two guys who become involved in a casual affair as they’re both getting over being dumped. This was one that I thought could’ve been very good to excellent with a bit more editing to tighten up the story. (And, hey, stalker alert!)
His One and Only (Only Forever, Book 4) by Shawn Lane. ebook. His One and Only was a sweet finish to this m/m romance series centered around the partners at a California law firm.
Poisoned Ivy by Scott Ryersson. ebook. This so-so historical paranormal m/m romance about students at Yale in the early part of the 20th century just never really came together for me. Between the language (aping Jane Austen? or trying for a more literary feel?) and the WTF ending, I never warmed to the story.
Straight as an Arrow by Sean Michael. ebook. Good kinky m/m romance about a guy who travels a lot for his job. He’s in a long-term relationship, but starts to surf D/s chat sites while he’s away from home. Typical Sean Michael fare, although one of the major aspects of this book was so implausible that it definitely detracted. (All that eye rolling I had to do, you know.)
Bound Together by Jane Davitt. ebook short. Very good m/m romance about a book collector who discovers his dominant tendencies after a younger man shows up on his doorstep selling a rare book. (Yes, that is Candy Cane Guy in the back. Good show, you!)
Aftermath by Angel Martinez. ebook. Good m/m romance about a long-term couple who struggle to recover after one of them is betrayed by a friend and assaulted. I did have a bit of a niggle about the couple not using condoms after such an assault…
Mastering Toby by Jan Irving. ebook. So-so m/m romance about a straight actor on a gay soap opera who has some confusing feelings for his gay costar (and best friend). This book never really came together, for all sorts of reasons: pacing issues, an odd tangent from the main storyline 2/3 through, and a mixture of Eastern mysticism and D/s that just didn’t work.
Strange Carnivorous Flowers from Outer Space by Matthew Vandrew. free ebook short. Cute short scifi m/m romance about a guy who’s taking his alien boyfriend home to meet the family.

From the Dreamspinner Midsummer’s Nightmare Daily Dose…
One Wild Wish by Devon Rhodes. ebook. Very good paranormal m/m romance about a band hired to play several shows at a mysterious lodge, with a contract that has some very unusual clauses that they sort of fudge.
Romanus by Mary Calmes. ebook. Good paranormal m/m romance about an exhausted firefighter who gets lost driving home after his shift and whose life will never be the same.
Beneath Lake Redemption by Libby Drew. ebook. Good paranormal m/m romance about a guy who rents a houseboat to check out a mysterious area of Lake Redemption because he suspects it hides a secret government operation.
Give the Devil His Due by Zoe Devlin. ebook short. Good paranormal m/m romance about a guy who tries to avoid emotional entanglements because the Devil takes away those he loves.
Reverie by Dawn Kimberly Johnson. ebook short. Cute paranormal m/m romance about a guy who saves someone’s life in a dream one night, then starts to wonder if it was actually a dream.
Halfway House by Lisa Worrall. ebook short. Pretty good paranormal m/m romance about two college students who don’t really know each other and are just sharing a ride home for Spring Break… and then the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
The Man in the Woods by Ashleigh Brannigan. ebook short. So-so paranormal m/m romance about a guy who gets a flat tire while driving on a desolate road through the woods and is rescued by a very bossy and slightly creepy guy. And what the heck – this is at least the third story I’ve read from the Midsummer’s Nightmare Daily Dose that’s based on a car breaking down on a deserted road!! Hmph.
The Min Min Lights by Barry Lowe. ebook short. Ok m/m historical romance about a relatively innocent young British man who interviews with a more worldly Australian who’s looking for a tutor for his children. The ending was a bit abrupt and left me “huh?”
The Gray Ghost by J.J. Levesque. ebook short. So-so m/m romance about a couple who have just purchased a house that no one’s stayed in for longer than a week.

Last week, I woke up to discover my eyeball looked like this:

I was, understandably, somewhat freaked, but it turned out to be very minor – a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which can happen when you’re sleeping, sneezing, coughing, or simply stressed. It’s quite a bit less dramatic now (because the red bits are mostly above and below my pupil), but probably won’t fade completely for another week.

Due to a new store in my neighborhood, things have been a bit noisy as July 4th draws near. Make sure you embiggen the photo to read the signs. Truth in advertising indeed!

Speaking of fireworks…

“I really, really hate all the loud noises outside, Mom. It’s probably your fault, so knock it off!” -Mayhem

At least I’m not an arboreal anarchist like some other blogger I know… :)

By popular outcry (and because I’m still not exactly sure where my tree identification books are), here are several pictures of the type of trees I was mentioning. Click to embiggen.

I know, I know, probably the first person who comments will know what they are and will mock me for all eternity. (And I’ll probably slap my forehead and mutter, “D’oh,” when I find out what it is.) Edited: I believe it’s a thornless cultivar of honey locust. Thanks to everyone who had tree suggestions!

Curious about the title? Tuesday’s post evoked the following comment:

I would never have guessed a forestry degree. However, if you contact the city arborist, they will tell you. At least they will in St. Paul. Then they add that they know you illegally planted flowering crabs on the boulevard. However, the cultivar was an excellent choice.


Some other pictures from my neighborhood… O noes! A dead tinsel tree!

*blink blink*

Definitely click to embiggen.

Every time I pass that sign, I’m tempted to look in the window to find out how buffalo manage to sit in the diner’s booths…

“…zzzzzzzzzzzz…” -Mayhem

It came from the phone…

Congrats to Dana, who won the copy of My Everything by Julia Rachel Barrett… and congrats to Julia on the release of My Everything today!

Today’s little series of photos has no theme other than that all the pictures were taken with my phone. You’d never guess that I actually have a real camera that has a bunch more megapixels, based on how many pictures I take with my phone and its crappy 2.0 megapixel camera. 🙂

We have indeed gone to Winter Parking Restrictions. See the ticket shoved into the snow on the windshield of the car below? Always a lot of ticketing and towing during Snow Emergencies and Winter Parking Restrictions. (If you’ve recently found yourself shoveling a lot of snow, you might want to check to make sure you’re doing it properly.)

Pizza is one of my favorite foods and I make it nearly every week. I start with Rustic Crust Gluten Free Pizza Crust and top it with pizza or spaghetti sauce, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni (which says gluten free right on the label), sliced mushrooms, and low fat mozzarella. Yum! (No, you’re right, I’m not going to quit my day job to become a food photographer any time soon.)

My beloved mp3 player, looking stealthy and mysterious in its black silicone skin.

And for the knitters, especially poor Nicole, who reads “Misadventures in Stock Photography” as “Sock Photography” every time, the Eternal Socks of Eternity!

“Hey, Mayhem, you missed the socks and needles on the floor.” -Chaos

“Big kitty! I think I saw a bird fly by the window. Bird! Bird! Bird!” -Mayhem

“That girl is bird crazy. Let’s see if I can irrevocably tangle this ball of yarn before Mom can rescue it…” -Chaos

*Neither yarn nor birds were harmed during the production of this post.

Potholes, potholes, everywhere potholes. Potholes, potholes, fill them up, please!

  • We had about eight inches of snow from Sunday night through Tuesday morning.
  • Nothing compared to the East Coast, true (hope you’re all battened down for Round Two out there!).
  • But still… Enough for a Snow Emergency and maybe a switch to Winter Parking Restrictions until April 1.
  • When Winter Parking Restrictions go into effect, you can only park on the odd side of the street because the streets have gotten too narrow for vehicles to pass each other or for emergency vehicles to make it through.
  • The title of this post would be my plea to the City of Minneapolis. O_o
  • I don’t know what happened over the last week (well, beyond the snowfall), but southbound Lyndale Avenue by the Walker Art Center is barely passable now.
  • Five miles per hour is a reasonable speed there, unless you’re trying to break an axle.
  • No clue what’s up with spam blog comments this week. (You never see them because Akismet holds them, then I run Worst Offenders to delete the high volume stuff. I have Worst Offenders set to delete three or more comments from the same IP address, which is why I recommend only leaving one comment at a time until after your first comment has been approved!)
  • Anyway, I’ll have ten or 15 spam comments for hours and hours… and then I’ll have 500. 😮
  • Um, I might’ve won a couple more contests this week. Many thanks to LB and to Smart Bitches!
  • There’s a reason I’m limiting myself to the number of contests I enter these days! 🙂
  • If you get an error message when you try to comment, will you please send me an email about it? I’ve been trying a couple different things to help things run more smoothly around here, but it’s hard to tell if they work without feedback. Thanks!

“You can only dream of being this beautiful. It’s the burden of a Panther Princess.” -Mayhem

Shhhh… Sleeping Princess Alert!

  • My poor brother – he celebrated his birthday Friday with stomach flu… exactly how he celebrated his birthday last year.
  • I’m trying to work up support for celebrating his birthday in July instead.
  • Yup, we picked those stores because they’re within walking distance.
  • We each got catnip slugs at Twin City Green (hmm, they’re $1.50 cheaper in the store and don’t have packaging).
  • The catnip slug has easily the most potent catnip ever in it.
  • The kitties love it with much bunny kicking and rubbing over their heads.
  • It was a day of strange conversations, with random strangers oversharing in Kowalski’s.
  • CJ and I also took a short walk through the neighborhood, but we got chilled pretty fast.
  • Before we wimped out (it was +19F/-7.2C) and walked to Spyhouse for hot cider, we saw this very interesting bus:

  • Here’s a closer look at the front:

  • Goth band? Punk rock band? Parking in a sedate residential neighborhood near Lake of the Isles? Huh.
  • Last Saturday I went over to Jeanne’s for dinner and took a really crappy picture (with my phone) of the Christmas spectacle next to her house.

  • Please note that this picture missed at least a half dozen glowing inflated snowpeople off to the left, plus the display that wrapped around the house, plus the loud Christmas music.
  • It’s much easier for Jeanne to give directions to her place in December: “Head toward the unearthly glow on the horizon…”
  • Recently, I was asked how to get avatars to show up in the comments. My blog uses gravatars (globally recognized avatars). You can register at Gravatar to create or upload your own gravatar and associate it with your email address(es). That’s it. After that, blogs that have gravatar support, such as many WordPress blogs, will display your gravatar next to your comments.
  • Wish me luck finishing my Christmas shopping over lunch today…
  • And try not to get too rowdy while you’re reading, ok? Mayhem’s catching up on her sleep.

“…..zzzzzzz…..” -Mayhem

It was a beautiful weekend in the neighborhood

We had a lovely, frequently sunny weekend (including my vacation Friday)! Inspired by the warmish weather, here are a few recent pictures from around the neighborhood.

Subtle, eh? (True, Drink is the name of the bar…)

This one is a bit less blatant, but only a bit.

Minneapolis is notorious for impounding and towing (scroll down to “Let’s Blow Up the Tow Truck” and listen to the sample – it’s about Minneapolis!), which this campaign hints at:

This one was a bit more mysterious, and my google-fu only provided a titch of enlightenment.

Of course, Mayhem had to add her thoughts on that cat-related billboard…

“I bet it means there’s going to be a restaurant for kitties in Uptown! Raw fresh birds and fish and mice – yummy!” -Mayhem

How did it get to be Monday again?!

  • And stop back tomorrow for a new book contest…
  • This time we went to the Paperback Exchange, which has an impressive selection of used romances.
  • Along with a rather complicated trade-in system that took us a long time to decipher from our receipts later.
  • Fortunately, we were comfortably seated in Dragonfly Coffee, which is right next to the Paperback Exchange.
  • I’m so going back to Dragonfly again, because they had gluten-free muffins and bars!
  • Sadly, I wasn’t hungry while we was there.
  • After I posted that, the radio didn’t come on for two days.
  • Not intermittent, true, but not exactly what I was hoping for.
  • Thanks to everyone who commented or sent email last week with reading and book-related song ideas! Now I just have to track down a few of those and integrate them with what I have…

“When the contest is finally over will I be able to get off the books, Mom? Please? My butt is getting sore.” -Mayhem

Ok, so the snow was gone by the end of the day yesterday, but still…

…it’s just so, so wrong to have snow this early.

“Big kitty, look! Look outside! Thousands of little white birds falling out of the sky!” -Mayhem

“Mayhem, that’s snow. We go through this every year.” -Chaos

“Hmph.” -Mayhem’s tail

“Definitely birds. The big kitty’s just dumb. Mom, why won’t you open the window so I can get closer to the pretty fluffy white birds?” -Mayhem

Looking at Libraries: Ridgedale

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the contest post before 7 pm CDT, Thursday, August 6 (aka as today!), for your chance to win a copy of Diana Holquist’s How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Then stop back tomorrow for another book contest!

I saw the Show Us Your Library Meme over at J. Kaye’s. Not that I usually participate in memes, but this one seemed perfect for me!

Although I live within a few miles of a startling number of libraries, I mostly go to three libraries. Two of those libraries are close to work, not home, making them great lunchtime destinations.

First up is the very large Ridgedale Hennepin Area Library, which is a five minute drive from work. Please excuse the lens flare in my shot of the exterior! (Again with the cell phone pictures, I know. Actually, the cell was perfect for taking pictures in the library – no flash, very quiet, and quite unobtrusive.)

The library shares a building with the district court, service center (motor vehicle licenses, etc.), social services, and a coffee shop. As you climb the flight of stairs to the second floor where the library is located, you see a lovely shared atrium between the first and second floors. Lots of light and small tables for relaxing with a cup of coffee to enjoy the free wifi.

Finally, the actual entrance to the library! That mysterious blue line on the floor indicates the actual length of a blue whale.

Looking back out toward the atrium from just inside the library entrance gives you a great view of the mural along the stairs.

No, I don’t know what the deal is with the red circle is, either. 🙂 Back inside the library… The computer area looked very busy.

The reference desk is just beyond the computer area. Not sure you can tell, but those rows of shelves go back and back.

The children’s area is lovely. There’s also a separate computer area for kids, although I didn’t take any pictures of it.

Yup, more skylights in this area.

The library overlooks trees and a pond. Please excuse the saturation on this picture (most noticeable on the chairs) – the tinted window really washed out the trees and I was trying to bring back a little green (not too successfully, either – it was verdant out there).

Finally, a sign in the the library bookstore (attributed to Gustave Flaubert):


“Well, that’s just silly. It’s eat in order to live, Mom.” -Chaos

The view from the Basilica

I took a few pictures from the front lawn of the Basilica last month on a dark and stormy day. First, the Basilica itself.

Here’s the view looking southwestish from the Basilica toward the Walker.

Hmm. What’s that on the roof over there, to the southeast?

Ok, that’s what it looked like, but I’m still mystified! Anyone?

Um, I may have taken a few editing liberties with the next picture, but I couldn’t help myself – that elm is lovely!

“Mom, the big kitty told me that big noisy trucks driving by on the street could come in and eat me at any time, and that they know all my safe and secret hiding spots, and now I’m afraid to sleep!!” -Mayhem