Category Archives: Tunes

If it snows today, I might whimper a bit

Wendy’s giving away a copy of Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. Leave a comment by March 26, 4 pm EDT, for your chance to win.

You have until March 29 to enter moderncat’s drawing for a cute Red Tango bowling bag, compact, and pillbox. (Does anyone remember that I have one of those cute little bowling bags?!)

If you’re interested in helping figure out why bees are disappearing, Marsha has some information about how to get involved with bee research.

Obsidian Kitten is looking for some test knitters for her lacy Easter egg cloth.

This is the basis of my wardrobe – how about yours?

Sometimes it’s best not to ask too many questions when you get home…

Wow – I’m not sure my cardboard construction skills are up to making this spiffy cardboard kitty house from Martha… The question is, of course – will they like it more than a plain old empty box?

I had no idea you could develop film with coffee and vitamin C. Anyone ever tried this?!

For you ebook folks – a comparison price shopping site (still under development). Looks like Samsung’s Papyrus ebook reader will be available later this year in the US. The Foxit eSlick is already available, but doesn’t seem to support the range of formats my dream reader will. (And that would be why I’m slogging along with Mobipocket on my faithful Palm Tungsten E2.)

A month or so ago, Marta Acosta (author of the Casa Dracula series and owner of the Vampire Wire blog) asked what songs people thought might appeal to paranormals. I started to wonder if I had enough songs to put together a non-goth/non-metal vampire mix. I did! You can see the song list over on Vampire Wire. And if you’d like to put together your own vampire-themed mix cd, you have until April 1 to sign up for this swap. I’m already signed up!

“And you woke me up why?” -Chaos


Margene’s celebrating her blogiversary with a contest – guess how many yards are on her newly spun bobbin of singles and you could win a mysterious prize. Leave your guesses by 5 pm MST, February 26.

Make a donation to ARF (Animal Rescue of Fresno) and for every $5 you donate by March 8, you’ll get a raffle entry in Elisa’s contest. The prizes will be two yarn grab bags, each worth at least $40, and a Tiny Painting (random or custom portrait!).

Frank of Chromewaves is giving away two pairs of tickets to the May 19 Leonard Cohen show in Hamilton, Ontario. (Tickets will be from $100-$250 for that show when they go on sale.) Having seen Leonard Cohen at the State Theater in Minneapolis the last time he toured (in 1993) (it remains one of my top concert experiences ever), I’m sure it will be an amazing show! (Brigitte or MamaTulip, can I go with you if you win?)

Aquarium Drunkard is giving away two pairs of tickets to the April 10 Leonard Cohen show in Los Angeles.

I might’ve mentioned that book blogs give away all sorts of books. I was not kidding. Here are a few of the current offerings on the book blogs I follow. (Most are paranormals, but there’s a scifi title and even some straight up romance.)

Bitten by Books is giving away 10 copies of Anton Stroud’s latest urban fantasy, Deader Still. Contest closes March 1.

Remember how enthused I was about Nalini Singh’s forthcoming book, Angel’s Blood? While Angel’s Blood doesn’t come out for another week (March 3), Singh now has the companion novella Angel’s Pawn available as an ebook. (Bless Mobipocket for supporting the PalmOS – I’m hoping to stick to my Palm Tungsten E2 until the ereader business stabilizes more over the next year or two. Here’s a timely cartoon about ebooks.) Also, Singh is having contests every day until Angel’s Blood is releasedI’ve already won an ARC (advance reading copy) of Jaci Burton’s Riding on Instinct.

Leave a comment about what you think would be the scariest zombie animal, and you could win an ARC of Amanda Ashby’s Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Not sure when this closes, but it’s worth reading Ashby’s post on zombie cats even if the contest is over! Ashby’s also giving away all sorts of books during her blog party to celebrate the imminent release of Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Your best bet is to go to Ashby’s main blog page and work down through the various contests – and not all of the prizes are paranormals, CursingMama. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fantasy Book Critic is giving away 10 copies of Keith Brooke’s scifi novel The Accord. Contest closes 11:59 am PST, March 26.

Literary Escapism is giving away a copy of Cheryl Brooks’ novel Rogue: The Cat Star Chronicles (described by the author as “er0tic science fiction romance”). Contest closes midnight, March 3.

Patricia’s Vampire Notes is giving away a copy of Marta Acosta’s book Happy Hour at Casa Dracula: Casa Dracula Book 1). Contest closes 11:59 pm, February 25 (aka today).

Marta’s giving away several different paranormals (all new to me) at Vampire Wire during her week of contests. Contest runs through the end of the week.

If you join Michele Beardsley’s web forum, you could win copies of some of her paranormals set in Broken Heart, Oklahoma. Contest runs through March 1.

You could win some Kim Harrison-related swag at (a White Witch, Black Curse t-shirt and some “T4” tomato seed packets). Contest closes March 1.

Today I have a guest photo with caption from KitKatKnit. How perfectly does this tie in with today’s post?! Thank you, Susan!

Ten on Tuesday: My 10 or 20 or so Favorite Holiday Songs, presented in no particular order

Yeah, who knew I was a member of Ten on Tuesday, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Obviously, I don’t participate very often, but I couldn’t resist the holiday songs topic.

I’m not religious. At best, I’m agnostic. I’m a fan of SuperGuppy Kat’s term “gwfgwf” (pronounced “gwif-gwif”: “generic winter festive gathering with food”), which would include Christmas, Hanukka, the Winter Solstice/Yule, Kwanzaa, etc. (Tangentially, Wikipedia has an impressive list of winter festive gatherings believed to be inspired by the Winter Solstice.) So the holiday songs that I prefer tend not to be religious. Often, they decry commercialism or address holiday loneliness. Even Charlie Parr’s Biblically themed song “Bethlehem” is definitely not traditional.

  1. Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) – “I Believe in Father Christmas”listen
  2. Dar Williams – “The Christians and the Pagans”listen (the audio stream is only a snippet, but the video’s the whole song)
  3. The Therapy Sisters – “Pachelbel’s Tantrum” – listen
  4. Charlie Parr – “Bethlehem” listen
  5. The New Standards – “River” (originally by Joni Mitchell). Since I can’t find anything about this song online (although you can order their holiday EP by scrolling to the bottom of this page), how about the Captain Polaroid version of “River”? listen
  6. Annette Walowicz – “Time Goes” listen
  7. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – “Cold White Christmas” listen (hey, it’s set in St. Paul!)
  8. Neko Case – “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” (originally by Tom Waits) listen (hey, it’s set in Minneapolis!)
  9. Gentleman Auction House – “Home for the Holidays” listen
  10. Jim White – “Christmas Day” listen
  11. Johnny Bertram – “Merry Christmas (You Won’t Get What You Want)” (from Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album)
  12. Love Axe – “All I Want for Christmas Is What I Can’t Take Back” listen
  13. Okkervil River – “Listening to Otis Redding at Christmas” (from their Golden Opportunities Mixtape, which was a free download in 2007)
  14. The Priestess and the Fool – “Fairytale of New York” (originally by the Pogues) (you have to download their free Christmas EP, Ride On, Santa to listen)
  15. Steve Earle – “Christmas in Washington” listen
  16. Sufjan Stevens – “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever” listen
  17. Chris Hatfield – “Born Again Pagan” listen
  18. Trailer Trash – “Hard Candy Xmas” (you can’t listen to this song at their website, but you can listen to some of their other holiday songs)
  19. Aimee Mann – “I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up for Christmas” listen (the audio stream is only a snippet, but the video’s the whole song)
  20. Wormburner – “Bells of St. Ignatius” (you can listen to a preview via Amazon)
  21. Young Bison – “Lee Winters’ Last Christmas” listen
  22. Lightning Love – “Holidays” listen
  23. Sleeptalker – “This Is Christmas” (from Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album)
  24. Bing Crosby & David Bowie – “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (you can listen to a preview via Amazon, if you haven’t already heard this hundreds of times – I was a huge David Bowie fan when I was an adolescent, and I have fond memories of watching that tv special)

“But I don’t want to be the first cat famous for singing gwfgwf music, Mom.” -Mayhem

And we’ll keep on linking ’til they take our linkiness away

Knit’n’Lit is having a contest – suggest a pattern for one of the listed sock yarns and you could win a mysterious prize. Contest closes midnight CST, December 5.

O noes! Itty bitty kitty vampires! Run away!

I’m pretty sure this isn’t Mayhem. I think things would be a lot messier if she was involved… This lol gave me a flashback to when Mayhem arrived.

What an odd usb hub!

Aquarium Drunkard asked an interesting question yesterday – which sentence from their lyrics would best summarizes a particular band’s entire output? My contribution was for the Mountain Goats – although I’m still thinking about a few other artists. The comments are definitely worth a read!

How to stay in shape while you use your laptop?

Just in case you’ve missed the spiders. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Isn’t this an intriguing bookcase concept?

Remember the very amusing Romance Apologia Scale on the Dear Author blog that I mentioned last week? Yesterday, Dear Author had an excellent (albeit lengthy) post that went further into the attitudes and beliefs behind Romance Apologia. lists the forthcoming fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal releases for December.

Reading Update
Succubus in the City by Nina Harper. All about a fashionista succubus living in NYC and hanging out with her demon gal pals. Started out well, stretched on a bit too long, and lost it at the end as it lurched to an abrupt stop with a sequel obviously in mind.
Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld, Book 9) by Kelley Armstrong. Initially, I was disappointed that this was another book about Hope and Karl, but the story sucked me in and got me completely involved.
Valentine’s Day Is Killing Me by MaryJanice Davidson, Leslie Esdaile, and Susanna Carr. Three utterly unparanormal short stories about Valentine’s Day.
Don’t Look Down by Suzanne Enoch. The sequel to Flirting with Danger might not be quite as good as the first book, but it was still darn good romantic suspense. I’ve already started Billionaires Prefer Blondes and A Touch of Minx is on its way to my library as I type. (I just realized that Samantha and Rick remind me a bit of Eve Dallas and Roarke, with dash of Stephanie Plum and Morelli/Ranger tossed in to lighten things up a bit.)
Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer. I’ve read a few of Strohmeyer’s mysteries featuring Bubbles, but stopped reading them partway through one of the books (can’t remember exactly why anymore). This novel was a pleasant surprise.
Beyond Fearless (Beyond, Book 2) by Rebecca York. Paranormal romance featuring psychics – no vampires or werewolves or other things that go bump in the night.
Watchers in the Night (Guardians of the Night, Book 1) by Jenna Black. Not the greatest vampire series I’ve read, but I did get involved in the story and I’m curious to see what happens next.
The Magical Christmas Cat by Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and Linda Winstead Jones. Other than the extremely dorky title, this was a fun collection of cat-related paranormal romance. Mmmm… hunky were-leopards.

“Mom!!! I can’t get this most super cool toy free of the packaging! Help me!” -Mayhem

Ok, sweetie. *rustling and ripping sounds* Hmm, I wonder what Chaos is doing? (Yup, more of that foreshadowing stuff.)

Earworm alert!

I’ve had Cloud Cult’s “Everybody Here Is a Cloud” stuck in my head for weeks now. Ack! Actually, several Cloud Cult songs seem to be vying for ascendency – “Pretty Voice“, “When Water Comes to Life“, “Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide”…ร‚ย 

Moving right along – I have fallen behind in my reading updates, haven’t I?!

Reading Update
To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning. The second of the Highlander series, but the last one I read – my, but it’s humbling having one’s dirty little reading secrets out here for the world to see…
Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning. Bit of a send up of the time traveling Highlander romance genre.
Staying Dead (Retrievers, Book 1) Laura Anne Gilman. I much enjoyed this urban fantasy and am already looking forward to reading the next few books – but I sure hope they were printed in a serif font. I hate reading books sans serif…
Born in Fire (Born In Trilogy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts. Maggie’s an independent glass artist who tangles with Rogan, a Dublin gallery owner. Rogan might’ve been a predecessor to the ever yummy Roarke.
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. Normal decent Nora Roberts fare, set in Alaska.
Night Shift, Night Shadow, Nightshade, Night Smoke, Night Shield, and Night Moves (Night Tales) by Nora Roberts. The first five books are all related in some way, which makes Night Moves rather puzzling. I could definitely tell that one of the characters was a step leading to Lieutenant Eve Dallas.
Blackout by Annie Solomon. Nicely done suspenseful romantic fiction about a woman whose memory is missing… is she a murderer? Or not?
Tempting Danger and Mortal Danger (The Lupi, Books 1 & 2) by Eileen Wilks. An intense and enjoyable paranormal romance series set in San Diego, featuring Detective Lily Yu.
Black Magic Woman (Quincy Morris Supernatural Investigation, Book 1) by Justin Gustainis. If you’re a fan of the Harry Dresden series, you might want to give this new series a try – it’s very compelling and well-written (and Jim Butcher helped the author get started).
The Touch of Twilight (The Third Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson. Abandoned before Chapter 5 – I can’t remember enough about the first two books for this to make any sense! Obviously I need to wait until all 12 signs are out and then read the series…
Night Shift (Jill Kissmet, Book 1) by Lilith Saintcrow. This is the first book in a brand-new paranormal series by Saintcrow, whose Dante Valentine series was impossible to put down. If the next book is as intense and well-written as Night Shift, I’ll be very happy indeed!

You might’ve notice that enjoy reading a series more so than standalone books. I think it’s because I enjoy getting to know a set of characters and following their lives.

Am I the only one who discovers cat toys in her bag when she gets to work? Are they sending me presents, or sending forth their toys to gather interesting new smells?

“I don’t care what Mom keeps singing. I’m not a cloud and I’m not going to evaporate. And you better bring my toys home with you, Mom!” -Mayhem

Report from a busy weekend

The play Stitch, Bitch nรขโ‚ฌโ„ข Die was great fun Friday night! Apparently the playwrite’s spouse is actually a knitter, so there were many knitting “in jokes.” Although Saturday night was the last show of this run, rumor has it there might be another run in the future. I didn’t take a single photo Friday night – understandable at the play, true, but not even after the show as Jeanne and I were walking around Uptown in search of food that didn’t require an hour’s wait. (Good ol’ Chipotle…)

I took many more pictures Saturday night when Jess and I went to First Avenue to see Cloud Cult.

I’ve been to a lot of shows at First Ave over the past 20 years, but these are the first pictures I’ve ever taken there. (Thank you, blogging, for giving me the excuse.) First Avenue from the front…

and the side – each star contains the name of someone who’s performed there (and there are more stars on the Seventh Street side of the building).

I’ve always wanted to take a picture of the stall with a view! ๐Ÿ™‚

I took some pictures of Cloud Cult while they were onstage and, considering the shooting conditions, was actually pleased with a few of the shots. (Yes, two of the band members were painting pictures to be sold after the show.)

Alas, I didn’t take any pictures of the extremely drunk couple who leaned against Jess so they wouldn’t fall over while groping each other… I doubt it would have fazed them!

As we were leaving, I noticed this star and remembered what a great show Pere Ubu put on when I saw them 15 years ago.

Here are a few more stars – out of these, I’ve only seen Son Volt.

And, finally, First Avenue from the back as we were heading into the parking garage.

Poor sleepy kitties – they’re as unused to this nightlife as am I!

“Glad you made it home safe, Mom. I was really wor…. zzzzzzz…” -Chaos

Random entropy

Check out this amazing knitted music video!

AmberMoggie is celebrating her 500th post – leave a comment about your favorite yarn and you could win yarn, needles, and stitchmarkers. Winner will be selected March 24.

Chappysmom has a nice post about the Match It for Pratchett campaign to support Alzheimer’s research.

Ruth is having another contest. She comes up with really creative contest ideas that I have a hard time summarizing, so Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขll just send you over to her place for the details. :) The contest is open until May 10. (This was moved over from yesterday’s post – so you are experiencing deja vu.)

When I went to bed Wednesday night, there were four kiwi fruit on the counter. When I got up Thursday morning, there were three. Hmm. Fortunately, the fourth kiwi was found in the living room behind my knitting bag, unmolested.

Last night I met and knitted with ikisti, a very cool knitblogger who lives all of eight blocks away from me. Eerily, she lives in the same apartment building I did before I bought my condo. *insert Twilight Zone music here*

Remember my Keen World post from last Friday, with the picture of all my Keens carefully arranged in a circle? Keep that circle in mind as you look at the pictures below. In the first picture, the red Xs indicate shoes that were removed from the circle and worn during the past week. The green X indicates a pair of sandals removed to be washed when Chaos horked in them. (Why, yes, that would be the only pair I hadn’t worn yet.)

“Still waiting to learn the point of this game…” -Mayhem

“Maybe I’ll just have a little nap while I wait…” -Mayhem

Not quite a week later, this is what remains of the circle. What a remarkable demonstration of entropy in action!

…or possibly just Chaos and Mayhem in action…

Let us bow before the Goddess of Girlie Drinks

How many projects will Jenn take to her weekend knitting retreat, out of her 40 WIPs? Email your guess by 4 pm CDT, March 2, and you could win a mysterious prize.

If you live in the Twin Cities, you could be in a Cloud Cult video shoot (beware – link has sound) at Como Park this Sunday! (Thanks to Van for the heads up.) I might be there – I’ll be the one trying to knit while wearing mittens and dork boots.

I am so ready for this week to be done! Work has been busy. While the book scanning project was great fun, it disrupted my regularly scheduled relaxation – I haven’t knit since Sunday night. (Good timing on the Guilt-Free Fiber Dispensation, Trek – thanks.)

I’m behind in my blog reading. I’ve only read one book, and it was one of those “so horrible I have to keep reading to see if it can redeem itself” kind of books. The answer? Not even close. The book? Dancing with Werewolves: Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator by Carole Nelson Douglas. I really can’t remember the last time I read a book that bad. If there was an editor involved in the project (doubtful), he or she should never be allowed to work again. Gee, Chris, what did you really think of the book?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m enjoying my ASL class and even learning a bit, but it sure leaves my brain tired. (Stop giggling at me, Fraro!)

“I hope your class is also covering the more important KSL,* Mom, because the big kitty and I are getting plenty tired of having to communicate with you via these photo captions!” -Mayhem

Is it the weekend yet?! All hail the Goddess of Girlie Drinks! Worship amongst yourselves as you see fit…

*Kitty Sign Language

Weekend busyness

Don’t forget to play along in my personals ad contest – there are some very funny entries already! Deadline is 6 pm CST on Thursday, December 13. Now I realize that Cyn should actually be “Sin”… and watch out for Margene after she hits the martinis! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (But I am so not knitting that edible thong.)

Saturday night my friend Lisa and I had an evening out in downtown St. Paul, starting with yummy pad thai at Ruam Mit Thai Cafe. We then walked over to the Fitzgerald Theater (very quickly and with much complaining, as it was bitterly cold) for The New Standards holiday show. The New Standards are an unconventional jazz trio composed of Chan Poling, John Munson, and Steve Roehm. They opened with their amazing version of the Clash’s “London Calling.”

If you remember the 1980s New Wave band the Suburbs, Poling was the lead singer – check out the YouTube videos of “Love Is the Law,” “Waiting,” and “Cows.” John Munson was in Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic (“Singing in My Sleep,” “Closing Time“). (Tangential tangent – I went to a lot of Trip Shakespeare shows back in the day, including on my birthday one year as a present from my brother. Munson’s “rap” in the middle of “Toolmaster of Brainerd” that night remains a favorite musical memory.)

The special guests on Saturday night were fabulous – Dan Wilson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic) sang “Free Life“; his brother Matt (Trip Shakespeare) made an appearance, too, and they both sang backup on the Trip Shakespeare song “Snow Day.” Other guests included Haley Bonar, Adam Levy of the Honeydogs, and Laurie Lundeen of Zuzu’s Petals. There was also an odd little bit where Poling’s wife Eleanor Mondale sang a very discordant round of “Silent Night” with him… Anyway, you’ll be able to listen to this show yourself if you’d like – it’s supposed to be broadcast and streamed on the Current on Christmas Eve. Although you won’t have the opportunity to get your picture taken sitting on Santa’s lap… both Lisa and I skipped that one! (Nope, there weren’t any kids at the show… so yeah, there were adults sitting on Santa’s lap. Feel free to discuss among your selves.)

This little dinosaur across the street from the Fitz in front of the McNally Smith College of Music caught my eye as we were heading back to the car after the show.

On Sunday, Jeanne and I headed over to Craftmas at the Uptown VFW. We didn’t buy any gifts, but I picked up a few things for myself… We also wandered over to Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s, then had lunch at French Meadow Cafe, and ended up at Needlework Unlimited because Jeanne was looking for some very specific yarn. A busy but very enjoyable weekend!

“I have no idea what a barrette is either, May. I agree, it does look like some sort of cat toy. Shall we?” -Chaos

Looking for some advice, plus randonymity

I need some advice. My downstairs neighbor has been complaining about Chaos and Mayhem running around during the night and early morning (5:30 am, when I get up) while she’s trying to sleep. I can’t blame her – they’re loud: “thundering paws” comes to mind. But I also can’t think of any great solutions, either. I know that while I was on medical leave, my schedule was very messed up (um, I might’ve unthinkingly played fetch with Mayhem after 11:30 pm on more than one occasion) and I think that was the final straw for my downstairs neighbor.

About all I can think of to do is to shut them out of the bedroom overnight and in the morning. Anyone else have ideas on how to tame the thundering paws of my extremely active kitties?? ETA: Some additional information – I have carpet. Chaos is around 16 or 17 pounds, so when he runs, you definitely notice. May is 10 pounds.

Ok, onto some random stuff. Congrats to Marina and La, who were the winners of my Superpower Blogiversary Contest!

I stopped at my quirky neighborhood liquor store Monday evening (if you’ve ever wondered where all the body mod people work? Yup – that’s the place) and mentioned my annotated beer case. She just rolled her eyes and said that “the boys in the back room” got a little bored sometimes…

Seems like it’s cats two, Christmas trees zero so far…

Some of you may be aware that I have extremely eclectic musical tastes. ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, if it’s by a top 40 artist from the past 10 years? I probably haven’t heard it. Anyway, there’s some pretty interesting holiday music out there, especially if the traditional songs are already getting on your nerves. Here are just a few – please note that this is all listen at your own risk!

Aquarium Drunkard has a nice playlist, including songs like Mae West’s “Put the Loot in the Boot, Santa” and Big John Greer’s “We Wanna See Santa Do the Mambo.”

Big Rock Candy Junk Shop Christmas will be available for a few more days. There’s some overlap with the playlist up at Aquarium Drunkard, but that’s because Aquarium Drunkard’s songs came from Big Rock Candy Mountain! Check daily for more fun songs, too – yesterday’s songs were from Billy Childish & the Musicians of the British Empire (“Christmas Hell” and “Christmas Lights”).

Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands has a free and legal Christmas mix up, which includes songs from Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Suburban Sprawl has its annual Christmas compilation up. Some of the songs include Love Axe’s “Happy New Year,” and Jon Cendrowski’s “Dick in a Box.” You can also download their previous compilations.

Snow, snow, snow. We had more yesterday. Some pictures from work before I spent an hour driving 8 miles.

Generally, the world continues on a little further…

“Do I look as if I could possibly be noisy?! It has to be the big kitty.” -Mayhem